There Is Limited Space And Energy In My Life.

April 15, 2014

Last week, during the middle of an intern interview, I found myself engrossed in a conversation about space. I’m not exactly sure how we stumbled upon this topic, but we found ourselves talking about the importance of boundaries when it comes to physical, emotional, mental and social space.

Clearly, if you want to land an internship with Twenties Unscripted, you should be able to talk about very abstract concepts and be prepared to work with a strange woman.

This idea of limited space and energy in one’s life didn’t really rise in importance for me until post college. Perhaps like everyone else I was on the endless hamster wheel of exams, papers and parties during undergrad. It never occurred to me to be deliberate about how I spent my time or expelled my energy. But, once I got my head above water (also known as survived my first post grad year), I became a lot more intentional about how I spent my time and with whom I spent that time. I became more purposeful about what things I let occupy my mind because I started to realize just how limited the space and energy in my life was. I learned how to say “no” to things that I didn’t want to do on weekends instead of feigning interest and then bailing at the last minute. I started to see time, space and energy not as infinite resources and more as limited commodities that I had to use wisely.

Recently, I made amends with a friend and it was something that was incredibly important to me. I knew it was something that was occupying an unnecessary amount of my mental and emotional energy and I couldn’t afford that. I didn’t discount how or why I felt the way I did, but I acknowledged that I’m trying to do a lot of shit in this life, too much shit to be bogged down with issues that have resolutions. There are people who hold grudges believing it gives them some sort of leverage over a person. But, they don’t realize how nasty your insides get when you hold on to the things you could just as easily let go.

I’ve written at length about letting go and it is a concept that continues to reveal itself. Because, maybe that’s what life is, a constant tide of taking some things on and letting other things go. I’ve burned some bridges. I’ve let some people in and escorted others out. I have peered very carefully at the relationships in my life and considered whether those relationships were assets or liabilities. I have been fucking selfish, hyper-aware of how my life transforms into ruins when I try to give too much of myself to too many people or too many things. I’ve learned how to put my own sanity before a shit ton of things that matter far less.

But, maybe more than anything I have been honest with myself about myself. I have started to understand the weight and responsibility that come along with being an emotional and creative person. I have started to understand just how deeply I can feel, just how much I tend to let people in and how vital it is to be intentional about that space in my life. I have started to understand that when you are trying to accomplish giant tasks, when you are trying to conquer the very world you feel is your oyster, there is limited time for kiddie games. There is limited space to devote to small thoughts and you have to decide what is significant and what is trivial. You have to let go, over and over and over again, so you don’t make the mistake of selling mental real estate to a thought or person you’ll soon evict. Maybe that’s the difference between girls and grown women. Girls react to what people bring into their lives; grown women decide who gets to bring anything into their lives. There is limited space and energy in my life. I’ve started to understand just how deliberate I have to be about it.

Xoxo,

Tyece

 

 

 

I Didn’t Have Any Phone Service This Weekend And It Was Slightly Awesome.

April 14, 2014

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Birthday weekends are not to be missed.

When my sister announced back in January that we would all trek to Bumblefuck, America for her 26th birthday weekend, I can’t say I was instantly thrilled. The introvert in me worried about spending 48 hours with a large group of women. The lazy ass in me didn’t have any desire to drive three hours away to the house we were renting for the weekend. And, the blogger/tweeter in me wasn’t ready to unplug. But, this was my sister’s birthday weekend and if there’s anything I’ve learned in life, it is that you do not miss Alexis Wilkins’ birthday or you will hear about it for months to come.

On Friday afternoon, I hopped in my car and started the drive to Bumblefuck (also known as McHenry, MD). About halfway through, I noticed the demise of my phone service. Pandora kept telling me it had limited connectivity and was buffering. My mother called me and I continued to repeat the infamously idiotic “Can you hear me now!?” I drove over windy roads and past gas stations that looked like a scene straight out of a Forensic Files episode. Goodbye, phone service and civilization.

But, once I got to the house, my worries about the weekend began to subside, partially thanks to my good friend Chardonnay. There were only eight women renting a damn mansion, so I had my own room, a fact that reassured the introvert in me that if I had a burning desire to go crazy on these bitches, I could retreat somewhere. But, I never had that desire. In fact, it was quite the opposite. On Sunday morning as I packed up my car, I felt a tinge of sadness, not exactly ready to say bye to that sick house, the relaxation I didn’t realize I needed and, most importantly, the amazing women I got a chance to hang out with.

It’s hard to really see the beauty of unplugging until you are forced to do it. If you’re anything like me, you have a hard time intentionally unplugging. I spend most of my days hyper-wired, mostly to Twitter and email. The habit has gotten exponentially worse since I purchased Fiona (also known as my MacBook) a few weeks ago. Now, I spend many days toggling between two iPhones and then I come home and sit on my laptop for a good fraction of the evening. It’s sort of this necessary evil that comes along with trying to build a blog. You can’t really have an online personality if you’re not, well, online. It only gets a little bit better on the weekends when I don’t have blog posts to promote nor do I feel a pressing need to stay up with what’s going on. But, this past weekend, I hardly had the option to keep up. I think I was able to send a few texts to my best friend and put one photo on Instagram (the other one failed seven times before I just gave up.) Other than that, I cozied up to the other ladies at the house.

The birthday weekend crew

The birthday weekend crew

I had a chance to connect with other people. I laughed until my insides hurt. I had a bunch of different conversations about a bunch of different things including, but not limited to, the plight of sweaty palms, cats, how friendships evolve and having/not having children. I received some advice that stuck with me about not being too quick to pick at the scabs of my emotions (a conversation that could merit its own blog post, really.) I played my first game of Cards Against Humanity. I danced like a crazy woman to Outkast. I ate well. I drank well. I slept well. I lived well. And, I did it all without having to document my every move via Twitter or memorialize every moment via Instagram.

I needed that. I drove myself slightly insane last week with pitches, following up with editors, sifting through intern resumes, and everything else that accompanies the craziness of writing, this blog and just living as my normal anal-retentive self. I was constantly plugged in and it only resulted in an affliction of my mental state. So, while I’m not going to tell you that I suddenly won’t be on Twitter 50 times a day,  I won’t ever again discount the beauty of a trip where you don’t have any choice but to unplug. I would recommend all trips are in such remote locations. After all, I did see a bear. A motherfucking bear. So, you know this location was remote.

Xoxo,

Tyece

Peace Out To The Most Relentless Winter In History!

April 10, 2014

I never put exclamation points in my titles. That is how you know this shit is serious.

Usually, if you’re writing or talking about the weather, it’s because you’ve run out of ideas and are grasping for a creative morsel. But, in this case, it is my God-given duty as a citizen of the United States to formally bid farewell to the most soul-sucking winter the world has ever seen.

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My snow gear

I lived through the Blizzard of ’96. I survived Snowmaggedon. I even spent half of a winter in Boston. Somehow, none of those things come close to the bitchass winter that just happened. It’s not as though I’ve ever loved winter or even liked it a little bit. But, I’ve managed to suck it up, extract my giant purple coat from the closet and endure the temperature. But, this winter? This winter was truly a test of my faith, sanity and overall ability to function as a decent human being.

You know when it got ugly? February. The snow stopped giving you that “Aw, it’s beautiful!” feeling and really made you just want to curse someone the fuck out. Before the snowstorm that happened the week of Valentine’s Day, my best friend mentioned something about keeping her car parked in a garage because she didn’t want to have to dig it out.

“That’s a good idea!” I said.

I’m not sure why at this juncture in the conversation it did not occur to me that I, too, would need to get a shovel to dig my car out. But, because I am an idiot disguised as a smart person, it did not occur to me to go buy a shovel. The next morning, I looked outside and saw my 1996 jalopy drowning in snow. I looked around my house to see if I had anything to substitute a shovel. Broom? Mop? Countless wine bottles? No, Tyece. Those won’t work.

In my sorrow, I checked my email and noticed my apartment complex had emailed the residents about “winter storm procedures.” Toward the end of the email, it said, “We have a few snow shovels that we will be happy to lend out on a first-come, first-serve basis during normal business hours.”

I had never put on 5,000 layers so fast. I walked to the leasing office and got one of the coveted shovels. When I went to return it, there was a wait list. A WAIT LIST. FOR A SHOVEL. Sorry, suckers.

I assumed my first mad dash for a shovel would be the last. But, it just kept snowing throughout the winter. And, I just kept being idiotic enough not to buy a shovel and to instead show up at the leasing office when it opened to borrow one.

Let’s also discuss all of my friends who have “government” jobs or jobs that adhere to “government procedures.” Let’s discuss the copious amounts of envy that ran through me whenever I saw “Snow day! Back to bed” tweets while I had to “work from home.” Snow days did not exist for me. Not a one.

And, finally, there was my social life. I’m already a homebody and after the holidays, I am very adamant about hibernating. But, this was some next-level, pariah-type of shit. Admittedly, I was probably a really terrible friend because I said “no” to virtually every invitation that came my way to do anything that required me to walk more than 10 feet from my car to the destination. After the holidays, I guess I was still somewhat in the festive, pre-hibernation spirit and I grabbed drinks with a friend on U Street. But, the wind whipped my narrow ass so badly and I’m still not sure if I got my ears back. After that, there wasn’t any more trying to be cute in sub-arctic temperatures.

By March, we all finally assumed it was over, or at least about to be over. We could stop fretting that every time we walked outside, our nipples might fall off or our faces would freeze mid-conversation. Some 50 and 60 degree days started to appear. And, then it was as though winter said, “GOTCHA, BITCHES” and then showed back up in the form of a freak storm or some freezing rain. I started to completely lose faith that I would ever wear a maxi dress again.

But, I feel safe now saying goodbye to winter. I’m ready and, dare I say, excited, for what’s ahead for spring and summer. So, may you flourish in this weather. May you reunite with friends and get drunk outdoors. May you wear all the crop tops on the planet. Goodbye, black tights. Goodbye, puffy jackets. Goodbye to the worst winter ever and may it never, ever come back.

Xoxo,

Tyece

The Advice Twenty Somethings Are Sick Of Hearing

April 9, 2014

Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth. Mary Schmich, “Wear Sunscreen”

Most of my days begin with reading some sort of article. Some days, I find it on Twitter and other days, like today, someone sends it my way. This morning a coworker sent me an article from LinkedIn entitled, “The 7 Things I Would Tell Myself 25 Years Ago.” Any time I see lists like this, part of me cringes because I know I am most likely not going to read anything new. I’m going to read the same aphorisms, clichés and recycled pieces of advice that clutter every list of this ilk.

And, still, I’m sucked into the vortex of washed-up advice, partly because I write a blog whose primary audience is twenty somethings and I feel obligated to keep an eye on information thrown out there for this audience. Plus, I’m a sucker for quotes or inspiration and, every now and again, these lists contain some sort of gem that I want to pocket for a shitty day.

But, the first piece of advice on the aforementioned list was “Follow your passion.” I let out a heavy sigh and prepared myself to read every piece of advice I have already heard one too many times.

We get it. And, by we, I mean twenty somethings. We’re young, we’re dumb, we’re in debt, we don’t eat healthy, we need more sleep, we need more water, BLAH BLAH BLAH. But, you know what we don’t need? Any more lists or articles with the same supposed pearls of wisdom. I’ve amassed some of the “advice” that it is time to recycle, thanks to my own frustrations as well as a quick social media poll of the people who are foolish enough to follow me.

“You’ll understand/change your mind when you’re older.”

I have a coworker who is acute enough to always say “if” when she refers to my potential child-rearing. It’s not much of a secret that I’m not one of those people who is completely sold on the idea of having children. It makes my skin want to burst into 1,000 individual flames when people say, “Oh, you’ll change your mind when you’re older.” Please. Stop making assumptions about the future activity of my uterus. If any sentence includes “you’ll understand when you’re older” or “when I was your age,” please think twice before letting the sentence escape your mouth, you old fuck.

You don’t have to “make” it in your twenties/you have your whole life to get ahead.

Not only is this advice old, but I also find it to be extremely inaccurate. Right, you don’t have to “make” it in your twenties. We get that. I don’t know that many people who think they will conquer the entire world in one decade. You know why I don’t know those people? Because I don’t associate with delusional maniacs. But, the inaccurate piece is “you have your whole life to get ahead.” No. You don’t. Because there are people who will use this decade to hustle their ass off and they will be miles ahead of those who don’t. If you wait your whole life to get ahead, you’ll just end up behind.

Enjoy being single; you’ll find love when you least expect it.

Stop any sentences that sound like the beginning of a Carrie Bradshaw column. Please and thank you. And, also, this sentence does nothing for you when you’re curled up into a ball of feelings, drinking red wine and belting out Adele. Being single is like being in a relationship: there are good days and there are bad days. There are times when you are enjoying it and times when you would like a significant other. But, just no more of the amorphous and ambiguous, “Don’t worry, he/she will show up when you least expect it.” Gives me too many visions of someone popping up in a genie-like way or materializing from a cloud of smoke.

Settle down.

Or, any other iteration of “your clock is ticking, go make babies, go find a husband, BLAHHHH.” No thanks. Bye, ashy.

Get a mentor.

Coming from someone who has a few unofficial mentors, I still absolutely hate this advice. Someone mentoring you is a very organic process, born out of a natural rapport you have with a person and your respect for them, their work, etc. You don’t just go pick out a mentor the way you would a cucumber in the produce aisle.

This is the best decade of your life; enjoy it while it lasts.

Listen, I’m looking forward to my life consistently getting better, not worse. More earning power. Divorcing Sallie Mae. Jumping on yachts and other fancy shit. Witnessing weddings and births (weddings in person, births…not so much.) Writing books and books and more books.  I am looking forward to a lot of goodness in this life, not just in this one decade.

Follow your passion.

I saved the best (or, in this case, worst) for last. I have truly started to hate these three words with every fiber of my being. Saying, “follow your passion” assumes privilege. Telling someone to sacrifice and take a low-paying job in an industry they love assumes they have the financial freedom to do that. It assumes that you are in a position, whether it be geographically, financially, emotionally or otherwise, to jump and do whatever the fuck you want to do. Newsflash: most of us are not there. At least not entirely. You know what was sad? Today, on Twitter, I said I wanted to read an interview with a full-time blogger who has student loans and could speak to their income stream. Crickets. Absolute crickets. If you know of that interview, please drop it in the comments section of this post because inquiring minds want to know.

I follow my passion, but I also have a salary and keep a roof over my damn head. I have not yet cracked the code on how to do this writing thing full-time, and I am perfectly OK with that. What I am not going to do is jump and leave my job and then try to figure it out under the guise of “following my passion.” No, sir. Not me. For now, following my passion means busting 9.5-hour days at my day job, coming home and then spending two or three hours on my side hustle. My passion is still very much alive and well and my lights are still very much on and running.

What are some other trite pieces of twenty something advice you’re tired of hearing? Drop those bad boys in the comments section.

Xoxo,

Tyece

Self-Promotion: A Budding Blogger’s Best Friend And Worst Nightmare

April 8, 2014

“Have you thought about getting a flyer that highlights everything you do with writing and performing?”

That’s the question a coworker asked me yesterday when I mentioned I did a show last weekend.

“You need something that shows off the blog and the performing,” he said.

And, that is how the words, “Tyece postcard” got added to the never-ending list of projects on deck for this summer.

After my show last Saturday, I started talking to another girl who performed and toward the end, I handed her my business card which felt far too formal for two women talking about poetry. Plus, it didn’t really say anything about, well, my poetry. My coworker was right. I needed something beyond my cards.

“Did you plug the blog before you performed?” he asked.

“Nah, not really,” I replied.

“Yeah, you’ve gotta always plug the blog.”

I’d venture to guess for most budding bloggers, writers, artists, performers, entrepreneurs and whoever else that self-promotion can be both a blessing and a curse. I know in the writing community, there are people who turn their nose at it and believe their work should speak for itself (I do not subscribe to this school of thought.) Honestly, I am sometimes extremely shitty at self-promotion, at least in person. A few months ago I was at a show and I had the postcards to advertise my showcase, but when the host asked if I wanted to get on stage and plug the show, I paused until my friends urged me to do it.

“This is your primary audience; you better plug it,” one of my friends said.

It’s a strange feeling–being proud of your work and always teetering the line of proud blog mama and complete narcissistic prick. I know that at least 70% of my social media content is about the blog, my events, performing, etc. But, it doesn’t mean I don’t think before I blast things or feel weird doing it. Just today I hesitated to post the promotional flyer for my upcoming brunch on Instagram for the second time. But, bitch gotta meet that food and beverage minimum.

When it comes to social media, I make a conscious effort to retweet people more (and actually retweet them, not be one of those people who jumps through extra loops to copy/paste someone’s tweet and put “RT” in front of it so I can get credit. There is an entirely separate blog post for those types of goons.) I share articles and quotes I find interesting. But, still, there will always be a “NEW POST, FOOL” somewhere in the arena of 8pm most nights, followed by a series of quotes from that new post. I figured if people get sick of it, they can click unfollow and we can all live happily ever after.

The early stages of building a brand or making a name for yourself are tough, exhausting and expensive. You often times feel like the kid in the class waving your hand erratically and shouting “Look at me, look at me!” while the teacher glances your way and then calls on the next kid. You worry that your constant promotion is falling on deaf ears. There is a lot you do that goes unnoticed. And, there are things you do that get noticed, but you never know. Last night a high school classmate sent me a Facebook message and said she reads my blog virtually every day; that’s not something I would have ever known if she hadn’t jotted down those few lines. You reach an entire population of people who are just readers. They are not commenters. They are not tweeters. They are not congratulators. They just read. They see what you’re doing; they just don’t say anything. And, those people are no less important than the people who share your work profusely; because, ultimately, they are all reading.

Even though the early days are tough, exhausting and expensive, part of me thinks they are the most rewarding. Everything feels like a victory because it’s unprecedented. The first time Demetria Lucas retweeted me, I thought it was the coolest shit ever. When Evette Dionne highlighted my blog on Clutch Magazine, I beamed for a full week. Hell, when the first person applied for my summer internship, I couldn’t believe it. What I think people don’t know is that every time I do something new, whether it’s search for an internship or host an event, I never know if it will work. Of course, I hope it does and I put my total energy into making it happen, but there is still that tiny part of me that wonders, “Would people actually take this seriously?” And, then I have to remind myself that I don’t work this hard or care about this blog this much  for people not to take it seriously.

Xoxo,

Tyece