The Perfect Storm: She Who Believes Recap

September 29, 2015


The Tribe at She Who Believes

The storm has brewed inside of me for some quite some time. Winds have roared, rain has poured and entire houses have been blown away. Everyone likes to say there’s a calm before the storm. But this is the storm before the calm. That day I walked into She Who Believes was the day thunder shook everything in my not-so-distant past. It was the day I couldn’t summon my storm to be quiet any longer. It was the day I had to toss my umbrella aside so I could get drenched once and for all.

But, first, rewind. Rewind to Wednesday, July 1 in the “living room” section of Founding Farmers when I sat with Roconia having dinner. Rewind to a moment when She Who Believes was simply an idea penned across several pages in a notebook. Roconia and I sat at dinner for almost two hours before she started divulging the gems about what she planned to do and precisely how she planned to do it. I quietly applauded her for protecting the vision that long. I rooted her on and I did that thing I do where I get way too revved up in a public place. I remember telling Roconia that I planned to attend another event on that same day, but I promised to be there in spirit.

Little did I know on Wednesday, July 1 just how much my spirit would need to be there on Saturday, September 19.

Fast forward to She Who Believes, an event with a simple objective: help women visualize our way toward our ideal lives. A simple objective, but a boulder of an undertaking when you consider the complexity of womanhood, the fragility of our dreams and the moving target of our ideal lives. Fast forward even more to halfway through the event when life coach and motivational speaker Ayana Coston commanded the room’s attention. I instantly liked her. Her energy. Her pacing. Her bright orange pants. She was someone I wanted to listen to. So, I did. And when she started outlining her idea of a successful life, I noticed just how much her definition contradicted my own empty one. I wanted the kind of success she alluded to, the kind of success rooted in peace, joy and freedom.

Ayana locked eyes with me for all of five seconds, and that is when I felt the storm.

I let the wind roar. I let the rain pour. I let all of the houses blow away.

I let myself be that awkward girl at the event who cried her hideous cry and required someone (thank you, Yetti!) to bring her tissues. I let myself buckle over and feel shittier-than-shit. I let myself finally acknowledge that the way I’ve done things hasn’t always worked. The things I’ve believed haven’t always yielded happiness. The goals I’ve fought for simply haven’t always been worth it. I let myself surrender to the storm and I told myself that it’s been a long time coming, but I know a change is gonna come.

There are moments that allow us to break chains we didn’t even know existed.

I gave Roconia the nickname R Squared for Revolutionary Roconia a few weeks ago. What she created with She Who Believes was nothing short of revolutionary. Since those few hours on Sept. 19, things in my life have been set into motion. I’ve felt a new blend of courage getting stirred inside of me, one that has propelled me to grasp things I shied away from just months ago. I I said yes to a spoken word opportunity that only a month ago I deemed myself unqualified for. I sit with my legs crossed in the dim hours of each morning silently preparing myself for the day.

I’ve committed to living my most fulfilling and creative life. Not an entrepreneurial life. Not a powerhouse life. Not a boss life. Not a life that looks great on the outside but feels hollow in the middle. But a solid, vibrant and creative life. With family. And friends. And things that make me feel good even when they’re not tethered to any sort of perceived success. A life rooted in the things Ayana mentioned–peace, joy and freedom. So, I wiped the slate clean of many of my upcoming plans in favor of spending autumn focused on just being happy. Creating the things that mean the most to me. Spending time with people who mean even more to me. Not holding my feet to the fire. Not kicking myself in the ass. But instead, enjoying the calm after the storm.

Thank you, Roconia, for starting a revolution and sparking my evolution.


When Art Says What Words Can’t: Spirit Show Recap

September 22, 2015

Nobody Knows by Vanessa Smith, photo credit Jamé Jackson

Nobody Knows by Vanessa Smith, photo credit Jamé Jackson

The piece was called “Nobody Knows.” I stared at it for two solid and uninterrupted minutes before Jamé even brought the pun in the title to my attention. I wasn’t focused on the woman’s missing nose; instead, I was fixated on the phrase “Nobody Knows,” one that seemed to sum up the current state of my life all too well.

At the beginning of this summer, Michelle Izquierdo invited me to do PR for Spirit, an art show she curated with her close friend and artist Vanessa Smith. I met Michelle earlier this year when she showcased work at See. Speak. Feel. and she seemed like the perfect kind of person to partner with–open with her artistry, but also able to get down to business. It’s not always easy to find those types.

What I didn’t know when Michelle and I started working together back in June was just how much I would need that show on Sept. 12. When I signed on to work Spirit, I added my PR duties to a growing summer to-do list. But, by the time the show rolled around, I was depleted creatively. At my wit’s end. Empty. Lost. Unsure of my next steps on every possible level.

I still am.

Play Me by Vanessa Smith; photo credit Jamé Jackson

Play Me by Vanessa Smith; photo credit Jamé Jackson

But in the hour or so that I got to soak up the art at Spirit, I remembered that even when my inner flame starts to flicker, I am still surrounded by an incredible tribe of creative, vibrant and artistic women. See, this life will ebb and flow. I will rise and I will fall. But, those things never affect this amazing fabric of people I’ve met along the way. Sometimes it is OK to let other people breathe life into you when it feels like you’re fighting for air.

Right now, nobody knows. I have promised myself that I will write through the storm and pen my way past the cyclone, but the truth is nobody will ever know the war I’m waging with myself. Right now. In this moment. As I live and breathe and type these very words. It is a war with fangs and claws and bloody red eyes. It is a war pushing me beyond my comfort zone and rearranging the things I once knew. It is a war that means penning less, planning less and praying more. And on some days, no matter how many promises I make to myself, I can’t dilute the mess into words. So, thank you, Michelle and Vanessa, for saying what words can’t with the work you’ve created.

And, when I say I’m surrounded by an incredible tribe of creative women, I also got to share the day at Spirit with a few of my loves: GG Renee Hill of All The Many Layers, Roconia Price of Ever So Roco and Jamé Jackson of The Blonde Misfit. Here are some of my favorite excerpts from their recaps:

Michelle said she doesn’t know if she wants to paint for a living necessarily, but she knows that she wants a creative career. I talk about creative living a lot here on the blog and with my clients and how this doesn’t necessarily mean you quit your day job and become an artist. It means taking all the different aspects of you and bringing them into everything you do. Creative living is purposely designing your life so you can thrive in environments that inspire you. It’s about actively utilizing who you are, what you believe in and what you’re good at to make a difference in the world. This takes curiosity, self-awareness and of course, courage. –GG, “5 Creative Ideas From the Spirit Art Show

There’s a universal spirit threaded through every element of artistry, whether you wield a paintbrush, push a pen, or strum a ukulele. It looks like you, striding in your purpose. It smells like something all your own: fresh paint, an empty venue, the pages of your newly printed book. It sounds like Michelle telling you that she recalls speaking to you in the bathroom before your performance at See. Speak. Feel., saying she remembers how focused you were in the mirror, saying that she enjoyed your poem. It feels like the lurch in your stomach when you walk into Spirit and smell fresh baked authenticity, served with a side of chilled good vibes. –Roconia, Spirit Art Show: The Recap

Jamé at the Spirit Art Show

Jamé at the Spirit Art Show

In a world where Misfits are always told ‘no’ or artists are not celebrated, it felt good to see artists who proudly walked in their own right and who found a way to monetize on that. Ok, I know some people will probably side eye for saying such, but let me just say that just because we love creating art does NOT mean we don’t still have bills. Hello. –Jamé, TheBlondeMisfit: Recap: ‘Spirit’ & A Reawakened One

Tyece & the ladies of Spirit


The Male Think Tank: Has Tinder Ruined Dating? Pt. 2

September 18, 2015

Check out part 1 of this post here.

Have you ever met anyone with long-term potential from Tinder?


Guy 8: No. I probably don’t take most of the women seriously because I feel like they don’t take the guys seriously either.

Guy 9: No. I personally have never used the app. My knowledge of Tinder leads me to believe that it is very superficial at best. I’m probably not going to spend much time reading a bio, but tend to focus on what someone appears to look like. Swipe left or swipe right. Hopefully we hook-up. The app does not provide a platform that enables users looking for substance much to anticipate or look forward to.

Guy 11: I’ve never used Tinder but I don’t see why you couldn’t find a potential partner using it. We’re primed to seek out visual cues of attractive traits in potential mates. There’s definitely some truth to the trope of love at first sight. But physical attractiveness is subjective and unpredictable. It’s a mingling of biology and history and you can’t be sure if your attraction towards someone is requited until you engage with them. There’s a lot of insecurity in dating / relationships and knowing that the other person has an innate attraction to you can build confidence and provide the freedom to be yourself. Tinder mitigates that initial anxiety by getting you past the superficial to the real work of determining compatibility.


The million dollar question: has Tinder ruined dating? Why/why not? Is it still possible to form genuine connections? If so, how?


Guy 7: Tinder hasn’t ruined dating completely, but it removes two key components from the process: courtship and chivalry. The app enables a larger problem of male laziness and superficiality. A guy no longer has to even get off the couch to find a date. And his pre-requisites for a match are now based off geographic proximity and facial symmetry rather than personality and intellect. I feel like many single women activate Tinder accounts in an effort to keep with the trends and expand their opportunities. I don’t totally discredit the app because I do think true connections can occur and it helps people meet that otherwise might not have the chance. The sad part, however, is those real connections often have to wade through a sea of dick pics in order to happen.

Guy 8: I don’t think it’s ruined dating. I do know some people who are/have been in meaningful relationships because of dating apps (including Tinder). You just have to know what you’re getting yourself into. You can’t form a genuine/authentic connection through Tinder. The best you can do is break down SOME of the initial awkwardness before you meet up in person. From there, it’s just like going on a normal date. And once you’ve met up in person, you still have to hit it off to continue going on dates. Tinder just makes it easier to say “I like you, do you like me back?” or “you’re hot, I want to bang, shall we?” without the person knowing you’re asking. You can just swipe right and if they swipe right back you know they’re already into you. If they don’t, there’s no shame or embarrassment. It eliminates the fear of rejection. I do think dating apps have made people more picky. Not because something better is on a dating app but because the idea that there COULD be something better is in the back of your mind. So it hasn’t ruined dating but maybe ruined the likelihood to commit or be happy with what you have.

Guy 9: Tinder hasn’t ruined dating. It serves as a platform for those looking for something quick, easy an fun. Which I believe was and still is the intention. If substance and a long term relationship is something an individual seeks, Tinder would never serve as the appropriate medium for such. It’s a bit naive. You can’t turn water into wine. Forming genuine and authentic connections still take place. Once everyone decides to drop their guard a little, take a chance and step out of their norm, they might see potential in someone. We prohibit ourselves from enjoying these fleeting moments because of our pre-requisites and long list of requirements we attach to everything. How can something be genuine or authentic when in essence we are attempting to control and mold the situation almost from the very first time we interact with someone? Do something new, be a bit vulnerable and lose the laundry list of shit that truly doesn’t matter. That is the meat and potatoes of forming not just genuine and authentic but liberating.

Guy 11: No. If anyone has ruined dating it’s the immature guys referenced in the Vanity Fair article that aren’t ready for a serious relationship anyway. They remind me of the cast of Jersey Shore and I hope they aren’t representative of most Tinder users, for women’s sake. Although I’ve never used it and can only go by what I’ve read, Tinder sounds like a great tool for meeting people who are attracted to you. If you want to use it for hooking up, I’m sure it’s great for that too. But how can an app with the sole purpose of introducing two people who find each other attractive keep them from forming a genuine and authentic connection? It’s up to them to determine if there’s going to be a connection or not.

Tinder is going to make your life easier by casting a net to bring you in contact with people you might not otherwise, but it’s not going to form a lasting connection with someone for you. There’s not an app for that. I think many young people today struggle with the mentality that there is always something or someone better. We’ve grown up in an age of great technological advancement and we’re used to having the latest and greatest neatly pre-packaged for our



The Male Think Tank: Has Tinder Ruined Dating? Pt. 1

September 17, 2015

The Twenties Unscripted Male Think Tank is a select group of men (aka my friends) who anonymously provide their thoughts on select topics, specifically related to dating and relationships. The group has been on a bit of a hiatus, but the men have returned today to share their thoughts about everyone’s favorite subject…Tinder. Today’s post includes five of the guys responses. Check in tomorrow to hear from the rest of the guys.

The September issue of Vanity Fair includes an article entitled “Tinder and the Dawn of the Dating Apocalypse.” I finished the article all too convinced that when it comes to dating, my generation is doomed. But, having never actually used Tinder myself, I figured it was time to get The Male Think Tank involved. Has Tinder ruined dating? What’s the fastest any of these guys have hooked up with a girl after meeting her on Tinder? Is it still possible to form genuine and authentic connections in today’s world? The Male Think Tank sounds off on these questions and more in this month’s post.

Have you ever met anyone with long-term potential from Tinder?

Guy 1: No, but that’s because I didn’t use Tinder long enough to really meet people on it. Also, when I was using Tinder I wasn’t using it to find a long-term partner.

Guy 3: I personally have not. It’s not to say that those people don’t exist, it’s just that the ones on Tinder I match with are generally not as attractive as I’d like. It’s usually the ones you think to yourself “Well, I’d at least beat” that you match with. From there it’s a few bland messages, maybe a phone number, some dry texting then ghost. I’ve been on one date resulting from Tinder (she was actually attractive) and she ended up being crazy.

Guy 4: I haven’t met anyone through Tinder. Most of the instances where I get a match, it’s usually just a robot who wants me to click on a mysterious website link, and I always decline.

Guy 5: No, because I haven’t tried. I just don’t think the odds are favorable for finding the right type of woman on a site like that.

Guy 6: No, neither one of us were looking for long-term commitment, just the connection we had right there. We had an understanding, however, the vibe was there.

When online dating, what are some things you look for in a woman’s bio? What are some red flags?

Guy 1: What I look for: 1. She’s attractive 2. We don’t have mutual friends (it would suck to go on a date with each other, it suck, and then have to see her at some event with friends) 3. She’s not looking for a serious relationship Red flags: 1. She comes off crazy/erratic just based on her profile 2. She’s looking for a soulmate online.

Guy 3: I look for a clear understanding of the English language. I also look for subject-verb agreement, spelling, grammar, syntax and to see if you could possibly read above a third grade level. In all seriousness, I just look to see if you’re showing a persona or just being honest. Red flags include using the same vowel several times within 10-20 characters e.g “ii love miii”, talking about any exes negatively, or at all (let that hurt go). I’d also say that if you put some shit like “only looking for friends”…go the fuck outside and make friends. We’re here for a reason.

Less is more. People are more complex than a few words can say in a bio – so don’t sell yourself short. Include enough to get you to the next step, whatever that may be. If you’re looking for a relationship, you should say so. If you just want to hook up, you should be up front about that too.

Guy 4: I always fancy a good pun or quip in a woman’s bio. It lets me know that she has a good sense of humor. Anything alluding to her musical tastes can also act as a positive. When it comes to red flags, it’s all relative. Personally, I find that if she is in school, works a lot, or is really active with groups or stuff like that, it can be a flag. Not in the sense that women shouldn’t do stuff, because they can of course. I just know that I would be busy with what I got going on on my end, and maybe our schedules wouldn’t be able to line up right to spend time with each other on a consistent basis. I am not one to get in the way of anyone’s personal endeavors.

Guy 5: I would look for similar interests, but not generic “long walks on the beach” things. What a person chooses to do with their spare time says a lot about them. It would also be smart to pay attention to just how much detail someone freely puts out there for the public eye. In the age of social media, it seems few things are held sacred and private. A good woman usually plays things closer to the chest.

Guy 6: Location obviously, but that’s not a deal breaker though. I like to see if she’s open minded to certain things, or if she dismissive to anything aside from what she likes. Those things matter to me, I’m not don’t have standards, but if you require house/car/job, and I have a house, and job…working on the car…does she work with dude? Or she completely downing him. In all I just love open-minded women.



The million dollar question: has Tinder ruined dating? Why/why not? Is it still possible to form genuine connections? If so, how?

Guy 1: I don’t think Tinder (or any online service) has ruined dating. I think it has created its own niche for people who want to find fuck buddies though. Personally, I don’t take online dating seriously (though others may) because I feel like profiles don’t do a person justice. I can’t know someone/whether I’ll like them just because we have similar interests that I read off of a page. This is why I’d be way more likely to sleep with someone from Tinder than take them seriously as a significant other.

I want the person who I start dating seriously and I to have a fun backstory about how we met. I don’t want have to tell my friends that “Yeah, I met my girlfriend on Tinder.” I think it’s possible to form a genuine connection with someone off of Tinder. Maybe it’s my pride, but I think there’s something to be said where you can go up to someone (before you know that they’re attracted to you) and build the connection from the ground up without having to read who they are from a webpage.

Guy 3: I have formed genuine connections over the length of my singlehood. Tinder hasn’t ruined anything. It’s a tool, nothing more. To say Tinder ruined dating would be like saying Twitter ruined all personal social interaction. It’s a tool.

Guy 4: I don’t believe Tinder will ruin a person’s dating experience, just as long as they don’t use Tinder as their only method of dating. In conjunction with a lot of activities, Tinder can be of great use. So if you use it, continue to do so, but still hit some speed dating events, go to a meet up, talk to somebody you find attractive in a club, even ask you friends if they have someone they can hook you up with. To me, genuine and authentic connections are still very much alive. But in this day and age where instant gratification and social ADHD run rampant, getting to those connections is an extremely difficult task. There isn’t a universal rule or tip I can give anyone to foster connections with others because everyone is different. I can say though, if you get to know yourself better and truly understand what resonates with you, you should try to lead everything you do with that connection. I feel like in doing that, the things that do strike you will be more noticeable and recognizable to you.

Guy 5: Believe it or not, I think Tinder might be helpful for the overall dating scene. The thots can stay online, and find all the hookups they want, which in turn makes it easier to find the serious daters. I do believe there is a place for online dating, and authentic, long-term connections can be formed from those interactions. Hell, I met my ex on Twitter. It just makes it a lot harder to find what you’re looking for, which is the opposite of what these sites are selling. It’s tough to fake a conversation for an extended period of time, and truly keep someone interested even though you’re not their type. Online, however, I can be who, or whatever I want to be. To me, that’s a scary proposition.

Guy 6: 1). No, it hasn’t ruined it. People ruin things. There are pros and cons, the same way there are pros and cons with meeting in person. Tinder expands your options and can cut the awkward phase if you’re a person who is hesitant or nervous to approach. For example, I’ve chatted with a woman for a week, we exchanged contacts and when we finally had our first date it wasn’t shaky. We felt like we were connected, the initial physical meet up was like “Whoa, this is really happening,” but overall the mental/verbal ice breaker was over…but I feel genuine connections can still be formed, rather it’s online or in person. The person you meet online would be the same one you met at the bar or grocery store; the only difference is they’re behind a screen, as we all are often times, you know? I believe it’s just all up to you, and your preference. 2). Con: catfish is real. So safety concerns are definitely something to take into consideration, however that’s why I advise meeting in public places…

Check in tomorrow to hear from the second half of the Male Think Tank.

Tyece (and the men)

Cry Your Ugly Cry.

September 15, 2015

No one ever told you that serving as a light

You should find your new favorite corner. Stare at it for a few minutes. Contemplate if you even want to go sit in that corner because you know that once you slide to the floor, a pent up brigade of tears will march.

You should go sit in that corner. Legs curled up to your chest. Face in your knees.

You should cry your ugly cry. Eyeliner smudged. Cheeks puffy. Eyes red. Mascara demolished.

You deserve to cry that cry.

See, no one ever told you about this part. No one ever told you about a Thursday night, drinking wine on an empty stomach, wondering once more if this success is even worth it. No one ever told you that serving as a light to many would require your own pitch black moments. No one ever told you that success does not, and never will, equal happiness. No one ever told you that you would attain the very things you once hoped for, and you would still be left with cracks and craters in your spirit.

No one ever told you that you can’t keep snorting lines of success without eventually overdosing. You can’t keep conjuring up ideas hoping to drown out the demons in your own head. You can’t keep going on like this.

No one told you that you shouldn’t have quit therapy; you shouldn’t have so quickly assumed that you were whole. What someone should have told you is that when you experience a seismic shift in this life, you never go back to the old life. You can’t pray yourself back to the old life. You can’t work your way back to the old life. You can’t reminisce back to the old life. This is the new life with all of its blinding bullshit, bedlam and blessings.

So, you’re going to have to deal with you and all of your mess. And you’re not going to be able to hide behind your writing or your brand-building or your pretty poems and paragraphs. Everyone else does that shit; you do not have the luxury of doing that shit. Have you not seen how many times and in how many directions this life will whip you? You do not have the luxury of only scratching the surface. So you can’t just sit on Dr. Jones’ couch a few times and assume you’re good. And you can’t just meditate a few times and believe you’re whole. And you can’t just drop down at an altar once or twice and tell yourself everything is fine. Oh, no. This is slug-your-feet-through-the-mud kind of healing. This is every-day-all-the-time kind of revival. This is bid-the-old-life-farewell-once-and-for-all kind of living. If you want to crawl out of the abyss, you’ve got to let your fingers bleed.

But, see, when your fingers bleed, they tell stories. Someone else needs those stories. When you want to give up, as you so often do, that is your savior: someone else needs your stories. If you do not tell those stories, they will die at your beautifully bloody fingertips.

But, for now, cry your ugly cry. Cry for everything you still crave and every crater in your spirit you still have yet to fill. Cry for all of the blessings and all of the bullshit. Cry because wine stopped working and good sex stopped doing the trick. Cry because it’s never, ever going to be the same. Cry because you know the road ahead is long, and it is just as beautiful as it is calamitous. Cry because you always prayed for the light, but never realized there would still be downpours of darkness. Cry because you are fortunate beyond what you deserve. Cry because you survived. Cry because you are here. Cry because “here” is still 1,000 precious miles from where you ever believed you should be. Cry because of forgiveness and amazing grace. Cry because there is a tribe that has stuck by you even when you were an outright jackass. Cry because you want more out of this life than accolades and retweets. Cry because some days you don’t quite believe you’re worth more than accolades and retweets. Cry because every now and again, your soul and spirit just need to cry their ugliest cries.