Reflection [by GG Renee Hill]

July 10, 2017

For the Twenties Unscripted fifth anniversary, I’ve invited five writers who have been anchors throughout my journey to contribute guest posts during the month. I asked each writer to pen whatever they’d like relative to the theme of transformation and turning tides.

First up is GG Renee Hill. 

GG is the lighthouse. Over the past five years, I’ve watched her emit the sort of glow that helps so many others, including myself, find their way back safely to shore. There is a grace about her that I have long admired. I always feel  like I’m getting access to some sacred and rare gift every few months when we get together in a nondescript coffee shop and catch up. There are few people in this world who understand you deeply and without explanation. For me, GG has grown to be one of those people. I’m thrilled to kick off the Transformation and Turning Tides guest post series with GG. Here’s her story Reflection. 

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He figured me out too quickly. He got me laughing and feeling comfortable, making me want him before I really knew him. I knew that he loved my hair messy and my face with no makeup. I knew that he was young and unpredictable and I was drawn to him. His lips, his hands, even his crazy felt like home. He took me to meet his family. He learned the weird language I spoke with my friends and he spoke it fluently. He was attentive then aloof then attentive then aloof. That was how he hypnotized me. I was convinced his attention could heal me and the withdrawal was worth the high. I couldn’t say no to him. I couldn’t explain myself. All I could do was come when he called.

Being loyal to a lying man means ignoring your heartbeat, silencing your voice and diminishing your spirit. Pretending you don’t want all of him so you can be content with what you get. It means that fighting becomes foreplay because the thin line between love and hate keeps moving. You stop seeing clearly and the difference between real and fake gets blurry. You find yourself trapped inside a bleak and repetitive story.

Twisted Love. That’s what I called our story. The good girl and the bad guy. He didn’t want to be with me, but he didn’t want me to be with anyone else. He would go away but wouldn’t stay away. I said we were done but never meant it. We carried on like we had no choice. Break-up sex, make-up sex, i-love-you sex, i-hate-you sex. I was endlessly patient, thinking that if I were worth it, he would change for me. But he didn’t change. So I decided I wasn’t worth it.

We get so used to feeding lack to ourselves that we begin to hunger for it, looking for ways to satisfy the craving and stay full with its emptiness. It’s a heavy, manipulative, clingy thing. It’ll have you believing that you are damaged, unlovable, unfavored and out of options and you don’t have the capacity to change.

Our twisted love story was a reflection of my life. Afraid of not being enough and afraid of being too much, I tried to fit in. My neediness disfigured me and I couldn’t see the shape of who I was made to be. I didn’t dare to dream of more. Living like this makes you weary. The words you don’t say. The pain you smile through. The dreams you suppress. The disconnection I felt kept my mind occupied for long periods of time. But it taught me what I didn’t want to do and who I couldn’t bear to be. I couldn’t go through life playing a role anymore. All the lies I told myself were making my life feel so frail, like it could fall apart any second. I knew from experience that lies pile up and attract more lies, but I learned that truth multiplies too.

Once you open the floodgates and start admitting real things to yourself, the truth starts to overflow from your heart, then it takes over your mind and starts pouring out of your mouth. Truth moves things around and makes things fall down and rise up. When you start telling the truth, your life changes.

My truth made he and I feel like strangers. He seemed incapable of being vulnerable with me. I thought that maybe, just maybe, we could have an enlightened conversation and move on with positive vibes between us. But there were places in his heart he kept closed and I was not willing to pry him open. The twisted love story was finally ending. But something remained. A pulse lingered that I ignored for months. He must have felt it too because one night he asked if he could come over and sleep on the floor next to my bed, something he used to do when I was mad at him. It was as if no time had passed. I was still hungry for his attention so I said yes.

From the floor, with a soft voice I’d never heard before, he said that I cry more than anyone he has ever known and it confuses him. Sad smiles, happy tears and everything in between– he said my up and down feelings make him dizzy. He said when I’m low, I pull him down, and when I’m high, he can’t reach me. To him, it seems that I walk through life looking for reasons to feel wounded. He apologized for running. He held me accountable for staying.

I sensed that he had more to say but he got quiet.

Some words float over your head. Some burn out before they can reach you. Some crash into you and leave a mark. His words created a clean slice that opened me. I didn’t think this man had an emotionally intelligent bone in his body, but his words gave me a peek into what it’s like to be with me. I couldn’t get enough. I couldn’t explain why his words gave me hope and humbled me. All I could do was lay there and listen as he started talking again.

photo by TraciElaine Photography (@TraciElaine)

GG Renee Hill is an author, speaker and advocate for self-discovery through writing. A candid voice for mental health and self-care, GG writes about the joys and challenges of living an authentic life and being a fully expressed woman. This passage is an excerpt from her upcoming book, Underneath.

Honoring the Space In Between

July 5, 2017

The feeling of a pen in my hand dressing a blank page is foreign to me.

It is perhaps the greatest irony and embarrassment for a woman who identifies as a writer. But, it is also the reality of a woman who identifies as a blogger. A woman who has told the Internet a lot of her secrets. A woman more comfortable typing within the four walls of a WordPress frame than penning on a piece of loose leaf. A woman who hasn’t kept a steady diary of her inner thoughts since freshmen year of college. A woman who just recently took up a self-discovery course, hungry for it to catapult her back into journaling. A woman who now knows that public wounds still require private healing. A woman trying to find her way back to writing off the record.

Woman.

A woman who has been transforming and watching her tides turn for some time now. A woman at the juncture of who she shared with the online world and who she became when they weren’t watching. When they weren’t reading. When they weren’t there to bear witness.

Five years after breaking ground on this blog, I am less wedded to the trademark of being in my twenties. I have foregone impassioned rants about rent and the relentlessness of adult responsibilities. I feel less compelled to preach and pontificate, all too aware of how that approach diluted so much of what I wrote early on. I do not need to shout from the mountaintops that I am a feminist or a millennial or any of the other labels I once wore so proudly. I simply need to live the life I am convinced is mine for the taking. Some times, I need to write about it. Other times, I just need to walk in it.

Tyece – 2014 [photo by Jazzmin Awa-Williams]

Nowadays, I am more wrapped up in my womanhood and all of its complexity, fragility, and multiple dimensions. What started as a coming-of-age outlet brimming with angst has transformed into a sea of thoughts and ideas about what it means to shape one’s place in the universe. What it means to feel lost and found in the same body.What it means to experience life in a way that often times feels different and unconventional from the way those around me live it. What it means to honor the past without allowing it permission to dismantle the present. What it means to be a woman who aims to thrive with intention, substance and self-possession.

I also crave a more private life now. A more full-bodied life. A life that takes shape off the screen. A life that doesn’t beg for documentation. A life and a set of memories that can stand on their own two feet. There are times when I thumb through my book or scroll through my blog archives, cringing at how I made parts of my personal life so public. But, perhaps all I can do is appreciate that version of myself from afar, a girl who gave the digital world all of the fearlessness and chutzpah she had. She is the reason I now know how important it is to snatch some of that fearlessness and chutzpah back from online airwaves and return it to myself.

So, this blog anniversary is not like the others. It’s a milestone that arrives with the most bittersweet blend of celebration, reflection, nostalgia and vision. I always knew I would not wait until I turned thirty to answer the question, “What happens to the blog when you’re not in your twenties anymore?” I would not wait for the arrival of a new decade to force my hand; I would only wait until the Universe whispered that it was time to begin again.

Tyece – 2017 [photo by Jazzmin Awa-Williams]

The Universe started to whisper a few years ago, prompting me to register a domain that’s been waiting in the wings. There is still a bit more left here at Twenties Unscripted to do. But, I’m assured that when I move out of this Internet home, I will be ready to start construction on a new place. A place that will evolve over time. A place that will give me new layers of purpose and meaning. A place that I will pour parts of myself into. A place that will come alive with my signature blend of poetry, prose and power. Another place that I can call my own.

Five years feel right. They feel round. I feel ready for a new leg of the marathon.

But, for now and the balance of the year, I will honor the space in between. Between Twenties Unscripted and her successor. Between being a woman well on her way while still a work in progress. The space in between a shrill life on the Internet and a rich existence outside of it. The space in between the vastness of the ocean and the stable sand of the shore. The space in between then and now, past and future, yesteryear and everything that’s still to come.

Here I am, at the space in between, prepared to honor it with my whole heart.

Happy 5th Birthday, Twenties Unscripted.

Xoxo,
Tyece

Some Days

June 6, 2017

Some days I’m cloaked in veils, hiding underneath 10 thin layers of dark lace and dim lies.

Some days I’m grasping for straws, looking for love from men who keep one hand open and one fist balled shut.

Some days I resent the very precious Internet sanctuary I built by hand. Because I now realize that writing about your downfalls doesn’t always kill your demons. Sometimes you dance for years with the exact same devils. Some days you write and write and write and still have the monsters underneath your bed.

Some days I wish that my storytelling abilities didn’t skyrocket when it was time to chronicle unrequited love and the ones who didn’t last. I want the good stories. I want the great love. I want to write outside the lines of heartache.

Some days I don’t feel like I’m living as honestly as I write, like I’m shouting from the mountaintop about authenticity while still digging through thorns to figure out who and what I am.

Some days I am both finished manuscripts and ripped out pages. Rich soil and wild weeds. Pitch black caves and one million beams of light. All of the things at the exact same time.

Some days I still worry when the question marks will become periods, and I won’t have to wonder anymore.

Some days are really most days–a coming-of-age cyclone, a hard peer into a smoky mirror, a fight to gain footing and trust this thing called the process.

Xoxo,
Tyece

For The Days When It Feels Like Love Eludes Me

May 22, 2017

One.

You were never a little girl who dreamed of white dresses or picket fences, but you are a now woman who dreams of love. Lately your dreams have transformed into hunger, an insatiable abyss at the pit of your stomach that you simply can’t seem to ignore.

Two.

You’ve written this story one million times before. You don’t want to write it anymore. Each time your fingers curl to pen this narrative, you tell yourself that these words are the flesh a horse you’ve beaten to death. You don’t want to keep shouting and screaming on the Internet that you are yearning to be loved; it’s a chapter of your memoir that has grown stale. Yet you will write this story again and again because you know that you aren’t the only one. You can’t be the only one. There are other people out there starving just like you.

Three.

Some days you are fragile and easily shattered, unable to swallow the flurry of wedding photos that now dance across your newsfeed. You don’t want to be that person who can’t muster up a double tap to co-sign someone else’s happiness. But some days you are that person simply because you are a human being, a thread of emotions that do not always connect and can’t always be contained. Forgive yourself and log off. Pick up your broken pieces.

Four.

One afternoon you will write, “What I judge in others that is in me is a proclivity to plant deep roots with men who are unattainable, or will never have the capacity to love me in ways that truly nourish and nurture all the parts of me.” You will ink those words on the unlined pages of a book during Ashley’s writing workshop. It will be the first time you confess to yourself and to a small room of women that you are a willing participant in your own disarray. It will both liberate and trouble you to know that the pattern of men you’ve tethered yourself to is not coincidental.

Five.

The process is defined as a “systematic series of actions directed to some end.” Perhaps the greatest action in that systematic series is scraping through your wreckage and finding a way to love yourself, time and time again. Let the love for yourself rise from every cave you’ve traversed and every corner you once overlooked. The most savory love peeks out from behind hidden places.

Six.

Forego the impulse to fill your life to the brim with distractions. Sit quietly with your demons. Listen to the stories each one of them has to tell.

Seven.

Drape yourself in a kimono of grace. Let it cover your shoulders and drip down your arms. For the days when you keep asking yourself why it seems like love is this golden thing that keeps eluding you, wear an extra armor of tenderness. Those are the days to believe that the Universe is simply doing its work. Those are the days to trust the process. Those are the days to remember that you are flawed, fragile, beautiful and complex, deserving of love just like everyone else and on a jagged journey to uncover it some day.

Xoxo,
Tyece