100 percent.

Everyone wants 100 percent of you.

Your job demands 100 percent, your bae, your kids, your friend that keeps calling and crying about the same guy she said she was gonna leave three calls ago.

They want your undivided attention, your time, your unconditional love. And you oblige. You slice yourself up like a pie and divide yourself into equal portions until there’s nothing left.

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Now you’re hungry. 

Now you’re drained and burnt out left wondering whose gonna help replenish you.

You take days off in the name of self-care but still end the day restless, anxious and unfulfilled. But here’s a secret I’ll let you in on…

Self-care is more than bubble baths and mimosas. Self-care is an attitude. It’s knowing that giving 100 percent to everyone and thing else, 24/7, 365 is not only impossible but a destructive goal. It’s having the courage to tell your boss no to coming in for overtime because you know your personal time is more important. It’s setting boundaries even with the people you love. Self-care is what you tell yourself when no one’s listening; the words that you use to mentally talk to yourself. It’s the ultimate relationship you have with who should be the most important person in your life…YOU.

 

True Love

It’s what you value and celebrate about yourself even when no one around you does. Self-care is self-love. How you care for yourself is a direct reflection of what you think you deserve. It is a parallel between how you allow others to treat you. At this point in my life, I treat myself well enough to accept nothing less than adoration from others hoping to engage with me on a personal level.

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Self Awareness

Self-care is self-review in caring enough about who you are to fix the flaws that promote your self-hate. Doing what you need in the emotional and mental areas to feel your best. To BE your best.

Self-care is about surrounding yourself with people who share your values, celebrate your wins and encourage you in your losses. It’s allowing only those in your space whose intentions align with yours and knowing when to let go when they don’t.

 

The Little Moments

Self-care is the pep talk you give yourself before entering work. It’s the time you give yourself to cry when you’re feeling overwhelmed as a single mother. It’s the moments that you decide not to delay your gratification this time to buy the purse you’ve been eyeing. 

It’s choosing yourself every day, 24/7, 365.

Giving 100 percent of your love, time and attention to yourself too.

As we embark on this self-care week let us understand that it’s more than an Instagram post; Self-care is a way of life, a constant goal to strive for.

Hey Builders! Tell me how you self care, like, share and Let’s Build up Ourselves.

 

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Phone dry.

Lips dry.

DMs dry.

Dry. Dry. Dry.

 

While everyone is out having a “Hot Girl Summer” my room temperature summer only heats up when I step outside and burst into flames at the actual 104 temperature. I am in a DRY season but aside from fighting the urge to hump the legs of random cologne scented males; I’m actually having a pretty great time. My focus, creative connections, and self-discovery have been keeping me entertained. Sorry inner Blanche…you’re gonna have to find a way to cool off ole girl.

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Maybe I’m partially to blame for this Dry season; It’s not as if I don’t have the standard two to three unanswered DMs and friend requests every female possesses. I’ve said before in Single F*** the Mingle that I’m not at a point where I’m ready to date yet I’m not sure I want to just play around either. I need a strong flirt partner who takes me on unique dates and keeps me laughing. The prospects currently don’t fit those requirements so I’m left filling my summer with things that add to my own growth and happiness.

 

Focus

Call it pent up energy (cause oh Chillay, I NEED) but my focus is making a comeback. The trauma and stress of 2018 flared my anxieties to unparallel amounts. The result was that I found it hard to focus on anything for more than 30 minutes, I often abandoned great ideas halfway through and became so unfocused that I couldn’t function in the smallest areas of my life.

Now, I am successfully juggling work, a master’s program, and blogging. Somebody give me my damn props because it has truly been a journey to gain this focus back if I ever really had it at all. Not having male distractions has allowed me to dive deep into other areas of my life that have needed my attention for some time. My mental health is only a piece of the pie. Areas like creativity, intellectual insights and spirituality have been FLOURISHING this summer. I walk around feeling like…

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I MAKE MY OWN BREEZE BOO

Creative Connections

The soil of this DRY Season has been surprisingly fertile ground for my creativity; from amazing blog posts and interactions with the Builders to planning events, offering innovative ideas…my creative synopsis are firing at an all-time high and I am loving every minute of it. With the mental space and time to dedicate to my passions, I’ve been able to produce on a level that I never have before. These creative ventures have led to the self-discovery that I am, without doubt, a creative being. This is something I once doubted. Being born into a family of artists in the literal sense (drawing, painting, cooking, braiding); I didn’t have traditional talents that were easily recognized. The more time I spend with myself, the more I discover just how creatively in-depth I am.

 

Unlimited Self Discovery

While nostalgically, reminiscing of Hot Girl Summer’s past I appreciate what they gave me in those moments. Amazing sex, great adventures and female liberation. At one point I thought I needed to have the kind of summer that’s expected for single, twenty-something women but this remixed version of “Hot Girl Summer” is giving me something different. Something I’ve needed for some time, growth.

I am being liberated in my creative and intellectual field like no other.  Granted the environment I need to truly become the very best version of myself. My focus is simple, me. Discovering every inch of what makes me amazing. ‘Cause let’s face it, even on the nights when I’m a little hormonal and lonely, I am still using my creative skills to take care of business. So, in the voice of the greatest Meg the Stallion that’s “Real Hot Girl Shit.”

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Hey Builders! Tell me about Your Summer and Let’s Celebrate amazing Summers together!

I’m called a free spirit…a hippie; which are declarations proclaimed on the heels of what many of my chocolate dusted friends call “doing white people shit.” Let me explain…

When it comes to activities that are involved in nature many of the groups I run with are not used to or familiar with others like them or in their circle who genuinely enjoy things like hiking, tubing, kayaking, even cabin trips. My labor day weekend couples retreat was the perfect place for many to declare such a statement and it got me to thinking; do I limit myself in the same ways a statement like that limits my community?

 

In truth I’ve always done the things that I like. It’s those things that has gotten me stamped with the label “weird” or “strange.” Yet, even some of those labels are followed by the statement which makes an assumption that I must be an outlier to the norm for liking outdoor activities. To be honest, it not the labels that concern me so but the idea that liking something for pure enjoyment in a specific category places you in this gray area where black people are not thought to reside.

 

Boxed In

“Oh, y’all doing white people stuff. White people really know how to have fun and enjoy life; I wish black people would do that more.” I’m paraphrasing but this was a statement that was made as a way to show excitement for the news that I was in a mountain cabin, trekking to hidden waterfalls and floating on big donut shaped tubes downstream. I analyzed this statement, wondering if there were some truth to it that I had not thought of before.

I mean when I typed in “cabin” and “kayaking” I did get a bunch of smiling faces of people doing these activities who look nothing like me. I imagine typing in “hip hop dancing” or “barber shop” would have generated more familiar faces. Even the search engine stereotypes us and locks us into a search box; must we also do that to ourselves? In my thought process  I discovered that my community is creative, rich in making the most out of the smaller things because many times that’s all we could see in front of us.

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We can have spontaneous karaoke at an Applebee’s on a Tuesday night or turn a Friday night at the cinema into a fashion show/world premiere atmosphere, just refer to the hype surrounding black panther. My point is, my community does know how to have fun and enjoy life; more and more we are expanding and reaching outside of our boxes to see a world of different activities that has been otherwise foreign to us for more than one reason. But those activities do not belong to a specific race or ethic group; they belong to all of those adventurous enough to explore them.

Will I ever go bungee jumping or do the great cheese roll (omg look that up, it’s hilarious)?…HELL NO; but if one of my black friends decides to I won’t tell them that they’re “crazy to do that white people shit.” I’ll just say “you’re crazy,” because what they look like doesn’t determine WHAT they like.

Don’t put arguably the most diverse group, black people, into such a box, there are many of us who love nature; who feel at home in it and feel like we find another piece of  ourselves when we partake in outdoor activities.

 

Free Yourself

No Race explains all of what you are, what you love or what you can do.

I am not just my race. Though I advocate on behalf of this important part of who I am, it is not what I am. What I am is a 27-year-old soul with free-flowing natural hair who loves doing all kinds of fun, exciting things. I love finding different parts of myself in bars on the dance floor, hiking trails, forever 21 sales racks, or even completely pretentious books. What I like doesn’t determine what race I belong to no more than my skin determines whether I should be fairly treated. I will never place myself in those mental chains, my only hope is that those in my community no matter what gender, demographic, race etc…will free themselves from it as well. Let’s just do white people shit we enjoy in this life. No labels, No statements, just life.

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Ok Builders, Let’s hear it. What new activities have you participated in lately that was not considered your cultural norm? Comment below and Let’s Talk.

 

Millennial Lesson: Never determine who you are by other people’s definition of what you should be.

By now you’ve probably been to countless cookouts and family gatherings since Memorial Day; but everyone knows that August is not only the hottest month in the summer, it’s also the month where navigating the cookout becomes a skill you need to learn.

Heat, mosquitoes, drunk uncles, bad ass little cousins, a myriad of personal questions and extra burnt hot links become a lot to deal with in 106 degree weather with no place to sit. You gave up your seat to Great Aunt Billy Mae who’s 106 and still talking smack. Luckily I’ve developed a guide to help steer you clear through to a cool shower and a plate of leftovers in your air-conditioned apartment.

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1. Don’t make eye contact with the old aunties huddled in the kitchen; quickly give kisses and hugs and get the hell outta there!

2. Do kiss your oldest relative in the wheelchair and one arm hug the cousins; beware cologne.

3. Take a cold beverage to the grill cook from the rear so all the old uncles aren’t watching you walk away.

4. Check with your mom to see exactly how close you and the cute “cousin” are before eye-flirting begins.

5. Notice when big-cousin-can’t-understand-how-we’re-related starts bragging about your car; they are about to ask for something; just say it’s a rental and walk away.

6. NEVER take a swig of the uncles “drank” in the brown paper bag, you’ll die.

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7. Remember MUTE RKELLY does not apply to the family cookout; don’t quote me.

8. Expect old neighborhood flings to stop by so make sure you’re dressed the part and have an inspiring story about your unemployment.

9. Don’t get carried away with giving your Lil bad ass cousins the water gun work, you’re an adult.

10. Give up your chair to your elder, you know there’s never enough seats.

11. Ask who made the potato salad.

12. Take deodorant and baby wipes, you’ll need them.

13. Eat before you get to the cookout. They said everyone will start eating when the food is ready around 4 p.m. which actually means 6 p.m.

14. Try to avoid throwing shade to Auntie-always-in-everyone-else-bidness-but-not-her-own-husband’s when she tells you you’re too old to not be married with kids and a house by now.

15. Always follow your favorite cousins to their old school car that has one door that doesn’t work; you’re bound to have a great conversation while getting lit.

16. Pray before you head to the club after the cookout with the cousins, Ray Ray n dem taking you to bullet hole central.

17. If you bring a friend of the opposite sex be prepared to be grilled by family about why you’re not dating or headed toward marriage.

18. If you bring a friend of the same-sex after not dating anyone for years be prepared for the awkward sermon given to “everyone” about what the Bible says while simultaneously fending off cousins who are trying to talk to them.

19. Enjoy beautiful weather with the one family you have this summer cookout and all to come!

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Hey Builders! Help me finish this helpful guide by giving me a #20! Tell me about your cookout experiences this Summer ☀️