I’ve Got a Bad Case of the “Should’s” | Finding the Right Words Day 5


Breaking news! We’re quickly approaching that time of the year where the temperature drops low enough for me to turn my AC off at night. This means summer is almost at an end. I happen to be a summer baby ☀️. I was born shortly after the Summer Solstice, a time of bright sun, warm weather, long days and everyone being outside and having fun.

I hate it. I hate the summertime.

Here’s a little fun fact about me: I get Seasonal Affective Disorder (also known as S.A.D.) in the summertime. Most people associate S.A.D. with the wintertime, when the sun sets absurdly early and we’re forced to spend the majority of the day in darkness, craving vitamin D and the time we used to spend with our friends before the air gets so cold it hurts your face just to open your front door. But me, I look forward to the winter, because it means my season of “shoulds” is in the rearview mirror.

Summer stresses me out, it always has. As a kid, summers were especially hard for my family, it was a time when my mother–a teacher–would be out of work and therefore out of an income, so funds and food were particularly lean in the summer months. As an adult, I still deal with the trauma/memories of those experiences, but now added to that is an intense pressure to make my summers worthwhile. In the age of social media (and honestly long before), I feel a powerful obligation to be doing what everyone else does.

I should be wearing tank tops and short shorts and sundresses.

I should be at music festivals.

I should be outside with my friends.

I should be at cookouts.

I should be doing things!!

But a lot of these summer traditions make me uncomfortable. I’m still learning body positivity so exposing my skin makes me feel self-conscious. I get nervous around crowds and I don’t like loud music (or spending money) so festivals are a no-no. When my friends are busy or equally broke and I’m stuck in the house alone, I start to feel bad that I’m not out and about gallivanting for the ‘Gram. I don’t like cooking, so I dread invites to the function where I’m expected to bring a dish. I get so stressed out!

But why?


Give the People MONEY!!!


One of the last times I was in an office. Unionize your workplace!

Happy Labor Day, comrades!

A few years back, there was a viral “I Don’t Dream of Labor” movement happening online. People (particularly Millennials and Gen Z) were posting videos on TikTok, IG, and YouTube about how there’s no such thing as a “dream job” and that prioritizing climbing the corporate ladder and achievement under the system of capitalism was fruitless. We as a people should be prioritizing ourselves and our personal growth and goals.

I used to relate to this sentiment (before it went viral, haha). I’ve echoed Miryam Hasnaa’s personal definition of success: being able to take naps whenever I want! And I’ve had a very successful career, napwise and corporate-wise, if I say so myself. I’ve worked for magazines, newspapers, websites, and a very popular streaming service. I’ve traveled the country and world. I’ve made a lot of money for myself and my family. I’ve met some amazing people and I’d like to think my work has had a positive impact on others.

But spending a decade as an overachiever climbing the corporate ladder was exhausting physically, mentally, and financially. And the idea of abandoning my career and traveling the world as an internet influencer was looking really tempting.

I’ve been out of the traditional workforce (by choice) for about 6 months now. And I’ve realized that while I’m not quite as ambitious as I used to be and I’m no longer that interested in a high level career and I’m actually enjoying no longer being in the rat race, I do, in fact, have a dream job. I believe there are some basic things that every job should have and I don’t know if it’s even possible (that’s what makes it a dream).



Orange White Floral Illustrative 30 Days Saving Challenge (1)

Get A Life, Jolie Brown. | Finding the Right Words Day 2

All work and no play makes life suck. Don’t wait til you get “healed” to be happy.

Today's journal entry + art by Rayo & Honey

Today’s journal entry + art by Rayo & Honey

Feel the Depression, Do It Anyway | Finding the Right Words Day 1

20230901_164028Every room in the house is a mess.

I’ve been trying to clean my home for 5 months. Each time I start to get organized, something goes wrong. Between the stress of leaving my job, moving back home, losing a friend, losing two aunts, getting sick, losing my home (temporarily), family drama, boy drama, getting sick again and then one more time just for fun… it’s been a pretty shitty spring and summer, to put it lightly.

My mind is a lot like my house right now. Everything is in disarray and I don’t know where to start putting it back together. Should I move my body and go back to the gym? Well, I’ll need gym clothes for that so I should do laundry. If I have time to clear out your closet, I should be spending it looking for a job. I should feel bad about being unemployed. I should feel bad about letting my feeling bad cause me to distance myself from my friends. I should feel bad about gaining weight while self isolating. I should go to the gym. Well, if I’m going to do that, I need to do laundry…

​​On and on the cycle of thought goes and nothing gets done and it seems simpler to just crawl back into the bed I’ve been metaphorically chained to and let the rhetorical and literal mess continue to pile up and drown me.

…That’s depression for ya.

Depression is so fucking dumb.

Like, it is the dumbest, most stupidest thing in the entire world. And I can say that as a card carrying, prescription popping, DSM-diagnosed person with moderate to severe clinical depression (and a sprinkle of anxiety and PTSD thrown in for a little razzle dazzle).

It’s more than just feeling “sad.” It’s feeling… incapable. Of anything. Depression has a powerful yet subtle little voice that tells you “don’t” repeatedly. Don’t get up. Don’t bother. Don’t move. Don’t try. Don’t annoy anyone with your emotions. Don’t do anything. And in some severe cases, don’t live.

Even things that will make you happy or feel good or accomplished, depression whispers, “Now why would you do a thing like that? Wouldn’t it be better if you just… didn’t?” What if you didn’t answer the phone when your mom is calling even though you miss her? What if you didn’t journal even though you and your therapist know it will help you feel better? What if you didn’t go to dance class and see all your friends? What if you didn’t reply to those emails of employment opportunities? What if you just don’t bother??!

Depression tells you you don’t deserve anything. That people and circumstances–and by proxy, you!–will be better off if you just didn’t get in the way. So, you do get out of the way. You bury yourself under a cloud of sadness and despair. And when that fog finally lifts, you can see all the life you neglected and all the people who’ve been waiting for you on the other side. And sometimes, that’s enough to make you feel so ashamed and wanna crawl back under the comfort of the covers and let the fog take over again.

But each time you emerge, you gotta just let yourself start over. If my depression has taught me anything, it’s how to start over.

Change The Things You Can

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. The courage to change the things I can. And the wisdom to know the difference.”

Happy New Year! I missed the trend where everyone was posting on Instagram in the days leading up to January 1, 2022. I enjoyed watching all the slideshows and reels and stories and super long posts about everything people learned and loved from 2021 and everything they were hoping to leave behind.

In looking back over my own 2021, that year was… a lot. A lot happened! I moved into my dream home in a new state where I knew virtually no one. I’ve reconnected with old friends. I got my heart broken. I got attacked in my car! I got a promotion at work and started a journaling program, something I’d always wanted to do. Then I left that job to start a crazy new opportunity at Netflix of all places! My loved ones have gotten very hurt and very sick and some have not made it into the new year. I dealt with (and am still healing from) some extreme illnesses of my own. My niece was born and named after me! I had some really hard but transformative therapy sessions. I’ve had some amazing opportunities and collaborations. I met new people and I said good-bye to others.

Even though I spent 80% of 2021 in my house in the middle of a pandemic, it was an eventful year. I experienced some really high highs, and some really low lows. People tend to say: “If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing.” And after looking back over my own year and years passed, I’m asking myself, “If I had the do it all over again, would I change a thing?”

And my answer is “Hell yes, I would!” I would change A LOT of things!

Things are the way they are but that doesn’t mean that’s how they always have to be.

Look, I’m grateful for my life and all the lessons I’ve learned along the way. But some rough and tough shit has happened to me and I’ve often found myself wishing that it hadn’t! I’ve wished that I’d been smarter or more alert. Wished that I’d made different choices or never met certain people. I’ve looked back and wished I’d done many things differently but it’s too late now.

Or is it?

The thing is, I think I can do a lot of things differently. I think we all can, all the time. I’ve been looking back with my wishful thinking when I should have been looking ahead. I may not be able to change anything from my past but, knowing what I know now, I have the opportunity to do a lot of things differently moving forward.

I can’t go back in time and undo shitty relationships and one-sided friendships that caused me pain and distress but I can use what I know and make sure I’m never in another relationship like that ever again. I can’t take back the Sundays I’ve spent depressed and anxious about the upcoming work week. But I can make changes so my work life is less of a drain and I can figure out what I need to have a career I enjoy. I can’t cure everything that physically ails me. But I can make changes to live as healthy as I can in spite of all that. I can’t undo childhood fears and traumas. But I can use all the resources at my disposal (like therapy) to make my current and future existence are as peaceful and happy as possible.

I do think our experiences have something to teach us, even if the only lessons we glean is that we never want to experience something like that ever again.

I’m not sure if everything happens for a reason. Some things just happen and it sucks, it really sucks and you may never get any explanation as to why it happened to you. But I do think our experiences have something to teach us, even if the only lessons we glean is that we never want to experience something like that ever again. I also believe everyone exists for a reason. And I think every new day we’re still here is a new opportunity to try to make this life a little better than the day before.

So yeah, if I could change some things about my life, I totally would. And now I’m starting to think I totally can. Things are the way they are but that doesn’t mean that’s how they always have to be. If I’ve learned anything in the last year, it’s that life will change on its own. In an instant, you can go from healthy to sick. In love to alone. Employed to broke. Alive to dead. I don’t think we can control everything. But that doesn’t mean everything is out of our control. Life doesn’t have to be a thing that just happens.

I’m still learning that I do have the power to make some things happen for me, and to make sure other things never happen to me again. And of course there will always be times in my life when I can’t control a damn thing. But why not take everything I know now, everything I’ve got, to do life a little differently than I’ve done before? Why not try? I mean, the alternative is to go through life with the same things happening to you over and over again. And like I said, I’m grateful for my life but there are some things I never want to repeat.

This is the time of year when everyone is trying to make some changes and yeah, it’s a little cliché and in some ways annoying (especially at overcrowded gyms). But in many ways, it’s admirable to take your life into your own hands and change what you can. I don’t want to keep lookin back and wishing things had been different. When I’m looking back at the end of this year, I wanna be able to say, “Yeah, I did that!”

What’s It Going To Take For Black Hair To Be Seen As Professional? [via HuffPost]

5c5b4095260000d401fb0aa1Last week the New York City Human Rights Commission released new guidelines that make it illegal to discriminate on the basis of hairstyle. Under the guidelines, residents have the right to have “natural hair, treated or untreated hairstyles such as locs, cornrows, twists, braids, Bantu knots, fades, Afros, and/or the right to keep hair in an uncut or untrimmed state.” And any targeting they may face in a public place like work or school can be deemed racial discrimination.

When I read this long overdue measure toward equality, I immediately thought about my grandparents and a specific day in the spring of 2012.

I was just a few weeks away from my college graduation and was visiting my family in Virginia during spring break. I recall sitting at the table in my grandparents’ house with my grandma, grandpa, mom, sister, aunt and cousin. We were having an important family discussion, or what some might call an intervention.

The issue on the table? My hair.

I’d recently stopped getting relaxers after more than 13 years of keeping my hair chemically straightened. Trying to tame my growing naps with just a flatiron was proving a frustrating and futile fight, so I grabbed the scissors to finally do a big chop and cut off all my relaxed ends, revealing a teeny weeny Afro for all to see.

And what my family saw was a problem that needed solving.

Read more on HuffPost.com

Why Even Try? Well…Why Not?

So last week I wanted to write a thing about self-love. I wanted to write it for Valentines Day because, you know, tis the season to show love and who better to show love to than yourself? But I got really sick that week and did not feel like writing and when I finally got around to it, I felt like it was too late to introduce my ideas on love to the internets.

Years of working for news sites and magazines has drilled into me the importance of timeliness. If you’re too late on a story or an idea, you might as well just throw the whole thing away. Someone else has probably already gotten to it and has probably done it better. Or else it’s so far after the moment that no one is going to care about it anymore anyway, what’s the point?

And I’m noticing this “it’s too late, what’s the point” mindset exists in both my professional and my personal life.Screen Shot 2019-02-22 at 10.12.56 AM

I tell myself it’s too late and there’s no point in doing things that I really want to do. I tell myself there’s no point in starting a podcast, there are so many in the market already. Or I tell myself why bother going to the gym? It’s going to take way too long to get the results you want and you should’ve started earlier, it’s too late now. Or I tell myself I’m far too old to be making new friends or making a career change.

Sometimes, I feel like I’m starting a race 10 miles behind everyone else. Or maybe I’m not behind other people, but I can’t seem catch up to the best version of myself in my imagination. And so I tell myself, “what’s the point in starting to run now when you’re so far behind? Why even try? You might has well not even bother.

And many times, I don’t bother. There are some days (most days actually) where I just decide not to do anything at all. Because whatever cool idea I have has probably already been done (and done better than I could do it) and by the time I get started, it’ll be far too late.

I’m in my late 20’s and my peers and I seem to be at the age when we believe time is running out. We’re running out of time to buy a house, to get married, to get a dream job, to get our shit together. And sometimes that feeling of missing a certain deadline can be so defeating, that we don’t even bother making a new deadline or goal.

We tell ourselves “I’m too late, too far behind, there’s no point. I might as well not even try.

And I wonder where this pressure to keep up or catch up comes from. Continue reading

7 Times Rihanna Was Unapologetic About Her Blackness [via HuffPost]


Robyn “Rihanna” Fenty unapologetically embraces her sexiness, her talent and her Blackness and that fearlessness reminds me to live just as boldly in my skin.

Here’s the thing: I don’t need to Rihanna to “remind” me I’m also Black. I can see I’m Black when I look in the mirror, when I show up to the office or when I go out into the world. But Rihanna does remind me that my Blackness is powerful, that the culture I come from is complex and deserves respect. She inspires me to show up fully as myself in all rooms I enter, be it a boardroom or a bedroom.

Still, when I need a boost in confidence, I turn to some of my favorite memor-Rihs (see what I did there?) of when the singer showed the world that she’s a proud Black woman.

Read more at HuffPost.com

10 Quotes About Love From Iconic Black History Makers [via HuffPost]

Screen Shot 2019-02-14 at 3.21.03 PMFeb. 14 is an amazing holiday within a holiday. It’s a time to celebrate love when we’re also celebrating the numerous contributions of Black Americans from the past and the present during Black History Month. And these Black history icons have a lot to teach us about what love means not only in relationships, but in our community and for ourselves.

On Valentine’s Day, let’s take some lessons on love from 10 Black history makers of yesterday and today who remind us what real love should look like.

Read more on HuffPost.com

[HuffPost] Beyoncé’s Black History Month Collage Teaches Us A Powerful Lesson

Screen Shot 2019-02-05 at 12.08.35 PMBeyoncé remains the queen of poignant Black History Month moments. In 2016, she dropped her hit-single-turned-black-anthem “Formation.” In 2017, she revealed her pregnancy with Sir and Rumi Carter. And this year, she surprised us with a creative reminder to recognize the black history happening around us every day, with a photo collage on her website honoring 45 black men and women who have done and are doing amazing work in the black community.

The collage honors some well-known names in black history like Aretha Franklin, James Baldwin and Maya Angelou. It also features famous faces from today like Beyoncé’s sister, Solange; Emmy Award-winning producer Lena Waithe; and activists DeRay Mckesson and Janet Mock. And it features some people who you may not recognize ― but should definitely get to know.

Read more at HuffPost.com