The 27th Birthday Post: When You Stop Writing And Start Living

October 12, 2016


It was the year of finally getting out of your own way. Of surrendering the search for validation. Of throwing your hands up and letting your hair down. It was the year of stepping off the treadmill and seeking solace in the stillness. It was the year of finding refuge in the whims of the wind while you built a sanctuary out of your beautiful disasters.

It was the year of not knowing what was next. Of no longer cramming your planner with dates and reminders and minutiae, but understanding the beauty of blank canvases. It was the year you sometimes forgot to answer emails. The year of prioritizing private writing over public work. It was the year you finally learned that the words don’t move until the writer begins to dance. The words don’t sing until the writer hears the sound of her voice. The words mean little until the life is lived well.

It was the year of ombre weave and loud laughter and very few you-know-whats to give. The year of shamelessly sharing your number with men you didn’t text back. It was the year of whiskey over wine and yes over no.

It was the year of Tinder. My God, it was the year of Tinder.

It was the year of DMX’s How’s It Goin Down and Drake’s Too Good and Bey’s Don’t Hurt Yourself. It was the year of Ella Eyre’s We Don’t Have to Take Our Clothes Off and Q-Tip’s Breathe and Stop and Adele’s Send My Love (To Your New Lover). It was the year of new music for old feelings and old music for new feelings and all of the music for all of the feelings.

It was the year of transformation. Of uprooting and undoing and upending. It was the year of your seventh apartment-this time only a few miles from DC, this time a place you finally knew you would call home.

It was the year of youth, of vibrancy, of concerts, of trap music, of turning up, of letting go.

It was the year of love. Of wedding vows and babies in bellies and that guy who finally kept a smile on your sister’s face. It was the year you told the Universe you were open to love and the year the Universe held you accountable for every single word you said.

It was the year you seriously considered what happens after Twenties Unscripted.

It was the year you knew everything would be more than OK when you chose to pack your bags, say goodbye to this Internet home, and begin the next voyage.

It was the year of leaning on others and offering shoulders for them to lean on you. It was the year of trust. Of transparency. Of real-life problems and true friendship without training wheels. It was the year of tears. Of breakthroughs. Of sunshine after storm clouds. It was the year you learned to celebrate other people’s victories just as much as your own.

It was the year you became the writer. Not the award-winning blogger. Not the author. Not the editor-in-chief. No, it was the year you became the writer – the woman behind the words, the soul at the center of the sentences.

Because it was the year you spent less time pushing the pen and more time surveying your spirit. Savoring the silence. Sinking your teeth into the morsels of your honeyed and moonlit life.

It was the year you lived. And not the kind of life you spent more than three years writing about, but the kind of life you relegated to the sidelines. The kind of colorful life you didn’t know was yours for the taking. The kind of life buzzing with feel-good vibrations. The kind of life you never caught your breath long enough to inhale.

It was the year you put the living before the writing.

And now that you know how sweet this wickedly beautiful life of yours can taste, you’ll never order the same things. You’ll never crave the same menu.

You, my love, will now always putting the life before the words.

Happy Birthday to you.



Now Is Not The Time To Run

October 6, 2016


Now is not the time to run.

I know.

I know fear would have you think that this is the precise moment when you should collect all of your belongings, cram them into your knapsack, and make your way to the nearest exit. History would tell you that right now is about the time when things begin to fall apart. Your head would convince you that this is as good as these things are ever going to get, so strap up your Nikes and zoom away. Do not take the risk. Do not pass go. Do not give any more. Do not try any harder.

Leave now.

Leave now before tears are shed and wounds are opened and knees have buckled. Leave now while all of your pieces are still together and all of your dignity is still in tact.

But, no. Now, my dear, is absolutely not the time to run.

See, I know you’ve been here before and are so sure of how this pendulum is going to swing, but what you have not quite learned is what lies only two steps beyond this familiar fear of yours. You do not know how it feels to push yourself forward because this is always the point where you get knocked down. You’re waiting for the fear to do what it always does–break you. Crush you. Smash you. Make a bloody mess out of you. Send you out of the ring.

But, that is not how this story goes. This is not the time to run.

The fear is not just magically going to vanish. There will not be a day when you wake up suddenly free of the shivers and shakes. Your fear will not begin to cloak someone else’s body and make a home there. It does not work like that. Fear does not fail until or unless you force it to malfunction. Until you muzzle it. Until you give it one last kiss goodbye before you take the two steps. Fear does not fail until or unless you choose to move forward and taste the manna of your evolution.

Do not run. Sit at the table. Taste the manna. Lick the plate clean. Kiss the fear goodbye.

This is the breeding ground for growth like you never knew and growth you never knew you needed.

Let your heart stretch now; it will change you forever. Let your spirit feel now; it will change you forever. Set your mind free now; it will change you forever. Everything in this moment now is bound to change you forever.

So, do not run. Lay your burdens down, tuck your Nikes back under the bed, and exhale.

One step forward.

Then one more.

But, whatever you do, please do not run.


The Stories Your Heart Isn’t Ready to Tell

September 21, 2016


Quit looking for excuses. Stop looking for an out, a reason to cancel, a watered down way of telling him that you don’t usually make it this far with anyone and you’re starting to get nervous. See, you are a master at building up walls and ducking behind bricks. But, not tonight. Tonight is not about building one more wall nor ducking behind one more brick. Tonight is not about throwing banter across your Twitter timeline during the latest episode of Love and Hip Hop Hollywood. You can catch the show on demand; if there’s anything 2016 has taught you it’s that true and lasting experiences happen outside of the comfort zone you’ve built in apartment 404.

When you wake up in the middle of the night approximately 16 hours before the open mic starts, stand firm in your decision to go to Busboys and Poets. Surrender the opportunity to go to yet another forgettable bar with overpriced drinks. Invite him to your turf. Show him how you soak up the world, how you “Yasss” and “Mmmm” at the lines that tug on you. Show him your idea of a good time and let go of all that trying-to-be-cool shit.

Toss all of the clothes around your room an hour before you head out as the cat watches you with her eyes half-shut. Try on four crop tops and decide you are way too bloated. Flip Mother Nature the bird. Throw on a pair of boyfriend jeans and a tank top that says “Don’t be basic.” Feel absolutely and utterly basic in a shirt instructing you not to be basic. Settle on your favorite black pants, a tank top, and your denim jacket. Throw on your fedora for good measure.

Step outside. Catch your breath. Graze your fingers across the brick wall when you stride down the sidewalk. Leave all of the nerves upstairs where they belong, sprinkled among the dresses and jeans you didn’t hang back up.

Blast the music on your way there, Joe Budden’s Touch & Go. Roll the windows down. Soak up one of the last summer sixteen nights.

Order the French fries. Forego the alcohol.

Do not glance over at him when the featured poet says “You’ve got lips and I’ve got lips…” Instead feel the temperature between you two rise 4.5 degrees. Then blink back tears when she says the line that stings and sucker punches you all at once: “We haven’t done all this surviving not to dance.”

You, my dear, have certainly not done all this surviving over the past few years not to at least tango a few times with him. If nothing else, you deserve this dance. You and your skeletons, your shadows, and your sins all deserve this dance.

So, let it feel good. Let it pick you up, twirl you around, and take you wherever you are meant to be. That narrative of resistance no longer serves you. There is not anything resilient or beautiful about a heart that stays tucked away in its cage.

Relinquish the grip you’ve had on that heart. Understand that when the Universe brings a certain alchemy of human connection into your life, it’s no longer your choice whether the guard stays up or not. The guard will crash and crumble; bid it adieu while you watch it burn in the blaze of every time you said love doesn’t live here anymore.

And when your fingers sting with the temptation to write about this unexpected unraveling of experiences, let them. Censorship and shields aren’t what make you a writer. People will try to piece you and the details of your life together whether you give them permission to or not, so write what you feel and say what you mean and do as you please. Let your fingers yield the stories your heart never knew it was ready to tell.


Join The Movement: Announcing Love Me Well

September 15, 2016

Video produced and edited by Roconia Price,
Video also available at: 

Twenties Unscripted Presents Love Me Well
A Multimedia Series Celebrating and Elevating Black Love

Premiering Fall 2016

Join the movement by donating to the Love Me Well crowdfunding campaign HERE!

The Story

Back in January, I sat at a a Tapas restaurant with one of my friends and told her that 2016 was the year I would be open to love. When I said it, I thought I was sending some sort of signal to the Universe that I was ready for that life-changing, earth-shattering kind of love to sashay my way.

But, the Universe had something entirely different in mind.

Instead, declaring this as a year I would be open to love has meant a swirl of incredible, palpable, and authentic love circling in my orbit.

And,it’s no coincidence that the love around me has been beautiful, blossoming black love.

Black love is both interesting and intoxicating at a time such as this. It’s personal and political. It’s rare and revolutionary. It’s simultaneously widely celebrated while remaining viciously attacked. Black love is the tapestry of emotions we feel when we listen to LEMONADE. It’s the trumpet of pride that sounds through us when we look at The Obamas on the cover of Essence. But, black love is also breathing and thriving among every day, real people.

I believe the world needs to consume some of those black love stories now more than it ever has before.

And, I believe in the vision at the bottom of my belly to tell some of black love stories through Twenties Unscripted.

The Project

Love Me Well is a limited edition multimedia series debuting on Twenties Unscripted that aims to celebrate and elevate black love. The series, premiering during fall 2016, will tell the story of nine different couples at various junctures of their love journeys. Through photography and both written and podcast interviews, each couple will showcase their individuality and share a significant thread of their love story.

These couples will delve into topics at the epicenter of their unions, including:

  • Black love in a 21st century of black turmoil
  • Cultivating authentic and effective communication
  • The role of God and spirituality in a relationship
  • Building trust and transparency
  • Nurturing a family and raising children
  • Bridging gaps in age and background
  • Balancing careers
  • Cross-cultural black love
  • Juxtaposing black womanhood with vulnerability in a relationship

The Ask

However, I certainly can’t produce this project alone.

After four years at the helm of Twenties Unscripted, I have learned in the unparalleled power of tapping into the community you’ve built. Of leaning on your tribe. Of asking for help when you need it. Multimedia projects such as Love Me Well are the lifeblood of my brand, and it often times requires significant financial resources to pull them off.

Let’s do this one together.

Every contribution to the Love Me Well campaign will be used to offset the production costs of this project. This includes costs for:

Studio rental
Equipment for photo shoots and podcast interviews
Travel to photograph and interview couples
Photo editing fees

Thank you from the tips of my toes and the bottom of my belly for being a part of not only this project, but this movement. Let’s show the world just how extraordinary everyday black love really is.

So, what are you waiting for? Join the Love Me Well movement and contribute to the Gofundme campaign today!


Go Where Your Heart Is: On Stepping Back From My Annual Showcase

September 6, 2016


showcase collage

photography by @jazzthenoise

I will look back on 2016 and remember that this was the year I made peace with quiet. With open space. With blank canvases and untouched paint brushes. I will remember this as the year I stopped hearing the sound of the treadmill beneath my feet and listened to that of my beating heart instead.

I knew it when I climbed into a hotel bed in Crystal City back in March. Clad in my “See. Speak. Feel.” t-shirt that night after the show, I let my bare legs kiss the sheets and I told myself that something would have to give. I didn’t know what and I wasn’t sure when, but I absolutely knew that something would have to give. As spring melted into summer, I never felt quite right searching for new showcase venues. I let follow up emails from event coordinators grow stale in my inbox as I shied away from scheduling site visits or sharing any details about the budget.

Sometimes your heart offers up answers long before your right mind is willing to accept them.

My heart knew that I needed to take a step back ever since that night at the hotel in Crystal City. My heart knew that after three years of cultivating a cornerstone of my brand, I needed to catch my breath for more than just a season. My heart knew that I could not breathe life into something if doing so another time around would only leave me begging for air.

Choosing not to host “See. Speak. Feel.” in 2017 is both a simple and complicated choice, one that births questions I often times do not have answers for. When I have shared the news with those close to me, the first reaction has always been, “Well, what will you do instead?”

The answer is always, “I don’t know. The Universe will send something my way.”

I’ve learned to believe in the Universe’s timing. I’ve learned to listen to my heart. I’ve learned to make creative decisions unapologetically. I’ve learned that if something ceases to inspire me at any given moment, I am free to step away and savor the silence that remains. I’ve learned that if something is truly mine, it will always come back to me, often times better than how I left it.

“See. Speak. Feel.” will come back to me, more than likely in 2018. I know that this step back will give way to clarity, elevation, renewed energy, and a vision I could not have conjured up by simply remaining on the treadmill. This show sits in the most precious and sacred groove of my spirit, and I want to see it grow leaps and bounds. I trust that this break is only the prelude to that growth.

The biting cold of this upcoming winter will nip at my ankles more than it has in the past three years. I know that one day, sometime in the dead of January, a few sprinkles of sadness will shower me when I think about the call for artists I would have been working on or the opening act I would have been fighting to lock down. But I also know that in place of that work, something else will materialize. A project. A trip. A complete overhaul of my apartment. Whatever. That is how evolution works–it happens when you leave just a few lines on the page blank. It happens when you make the powerful and complex decision to go exactly where your heart is.