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

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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.

Xoxo,
Tyece

 

The Other Dimensions

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I couldn’t write this one in second person. Couldn’t hide behind poignant paragraphs or punchy sentences. Because sometimes truth is not poignant or punchy. Sometimes truth is simply necessary.

I’ve been away. Blogging less. Tweeting less. Event planning less. Strategizing less. Checking my numbers less. Thinking about Twenties Unscripted less. At a time when there’s unprecedented pressure to hustle and “build your brand” I have deliberately taken a step away from mine. c Only a few days after I announced several things on the horizon for Twenties Unscripted this autumn, I canceled most of them and turned my focus toward other parts of life starving for my attention.

My fingertips are bloody from clawing my way to a balanced life.

After two years of making Twenties Unscripted the alpha and the omega, I have finally accepted responsibility to nurture other dimensions of my life. So, that’s what I’ve been doing. I talked a good game about trying to find balance last year, but I didn’t do it. I still catapulted myself into a flurry of projects. I still let my identity as Tyece of Twenties Unscripted rule, reign and influence me the most.

But, I am not a one-trick pony. There’s a blessing and curse in that. Some days I think it would be easier if there were just one thing I were good at, one thing I could chase with my whole heart. But, there are other parts of me that deserve to rule, reign and influence. It doesn’t mean those identities are at war. It doesn’t mean silencing one aspect of myself so other aspects can shine. But it does mean that to whom much is given, much is required. It does not mean listening to the other parts of myself when they whisper that they need my attention so I can give them the love they deserve.

I don’t write much about my full-time career in communications, but it is incredibly important to me and is one area where I’ve recently made a change. After four years of kickstarting that career in one place, I acknowledged it was time to evolve. Move on. Grow. Do something different. Take on a new challenge. So I did just that.

I’ve also thrown more energy at my spoken word. Spoken word has always been something I just sort of dabbled in, but the poet in me has recently been rattling the cage. She’s ready to get out. So I’m prepping for my first ever feature performance next week.

I can’t say it feels good to step away from the machine. But, I can say it feels right and it feels necessary. I always knew this time would come, and I cowered from it for awhile.

Twenties Unscripted will always be the pulse of the entire operation. And nothing I’ve written here implies I am abandoning my beautiful little corner of the Internet. But, at least in the foreseeable feature, I will be writing less–probably once a week. I won’t host any more events until “See. Speak. Feel.” in March 2016. I have a project on deck for the end of the year that will highlight the voices of nine other incredible women and the work of my amazing friend and photographer, Jazz Williams. Even when I step away, preserving and growing this space still tugs at my heartstrings.

It’s easy to get lost in building a brand. It’s easy to dissolve in the deluge of tweets telling you ten ways to grow your following. It’s easy to throw every bit of yourself into this thing you’ve built and love with every fiber of your being. But, it’s much harder to trust that the very thing you built can stand on its own two feet. It’s harder to look at the other parts of life where maybe you’ve grown complacent and make a concerted effort to evolve. It’s harder to step away in favor of nourishing the other dimensions of yourself.

Xoxo,
Tyece

Shift Happens.

“You’ve been through worse than this.” That’s what you tell yourself as you stand in the mirror in your bra and panties, feeling unmotivated and uninspired. You don’t want to grab your dress from the closet. You’re not ready to start the day. You just want to stand there in your undergarments and coach yourself through this moment. You want to say that “You’ve been through worse than this” over and over until the words are stitched into your DNA.

You, my sweet and easily affected love, have definitely been through worse than this.

You miss the mornings when you woke up and felt wildly enthused to tackle another day. You miss feeling fortunate to seize another opportunity to hone your craft. Those days weren’t too long ago, but now it feels like they’re never coming back. Those days feel long gone in the rear view mirror as you drive away from the life you had with miles to go before hitting the life you’re headed for.

You are used to seasons of change leaving you shipwrecked. The moments of transition that you’ve survived were stormy. Those moments of change knocked you out of the ring, and you had to claw your way back in.

But this moment doesn’t feel quite like that.

Things feel uncertain. And the anchors you thought you had drifted away. The allies you relied on no longer exist. The mere comfort of an old friend you could kick it with, laid up in bed naked until noon, is even now gone. All of your security blankets have been stored in a bin, forcing you to grow up. Change. Mature. Let go of the life you had and lean in to the life you’re headed for.

This is the moment when you show what you are made of.

This is the moment when you are forced to summon all of the faith you have. This is the moment to believe that everything God does is for your greater good. This is the moment when you hold tight to the conviction that you are who you are and you were made to do exactly what you’re doing. This is the moment to show the fuck up for yourself, independent of the validation you once had from others. This is the moment when you clutch your core and believe in the strong, smart and good woman you know you are.

When shit happens, a shift happens. You can’t change the shit. You can’t rewrite the script. You can’t live with regret. You can’t ever do anything with “What if?” “What if?” is an abyss of a statement, a black hole approach to life. You can’t change what was done or what was said or the tidal wave that followed. It is done. It was said. The tidal wave followed. You can’t change the shit. But you can accept the shift.

You can accept that things are happening for you, and not just to you. You can accept that something wildly beautiful is being cultivated in your favor. You can accept the shift. You can ride the wave. You can heed to the call.

It won’t necessarily feel good. You’ll feel abandoned and unstable. You’ll keep looking at your old life with a gnawing sense of nostalgia and an insatiable longing for familiarity. You will feel like you’ve lost your mind, lost your tribe, lost yourself and lost your shit. But, it is all a shedding so God can make room for whatever comes next. You didn’t even know that you needed this space, and you don’t yet know what you need it for. But you need it. So what feels like loss is incredible gain, and only retrospect will affirm that for you.

The next time you look in the rear view mirror, you will be looking at this moment. And then you will know with every fiber of your being that this, my sweet and easily affected love, was all for your greater good.

What people don’t tell you is that greatness doesn’t always feel good. And that’s precisely why greatness is not for everybody. Everybody isn’t built to endure the pangs of growing pains in order to reach a higher rung on the ladder.

But, you are built for just that.

You always were. You always will be. The hot coals you’ve walked on, the tightropes you’ve traversed and the pouring rain you’ve stood in have all prepared you for this very moment. This is your path, and it wasn’t ever going to come easy. For awhile, you thought it would. You got high off of a little bit of success. You assumed the worst was over. But, it wasn’t. And it’s not. However, you should know that every teaspoon of bad promises a shit load of better. You just have to be patient enough to see it through.

The shit has happened.

Now let the shift happen.

Xoxo,
Tyece

Getting Back On Track With Your New Year’s Resolution

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Guest post by Tatum Temia

Editor’s Note: Even though 2015 is only a few weeks in, I’ve already changed my plans for the year and started to turn a blind eye to some of the things I said I would. Boundaries, creating them and setting them, are huge for me in 2015 and I haven’t focused as deliberately on them as I would have hoped. In today’s post, Tatum Temia of Dear Regina shares five ideas for staying on track with our new year’s resolutions.

How to get back on track with your New Year resolution:

Since it is February, I believe that it is safe to say that we now know how dedicated we really are to our new year’s resolution. It takes a lot of discipline to keep up with these resolutions because truthfully, it’s easier to say “f*ck it”. Whether you are walking the f*ck it line or have already given up, here are some tips to get you back on track:

1.       Remember why you started: The why is the most important aspect when trying to make any type of change. The why serves as the motivation and the reasoning behind you making the resolution in the first place. If your resolution was to lose weight to be healthier, you need to keep your health at the front of your brain. Whenever you want to skip the gym or eat that cupcake, remember that your health is at stake if you make the decision to fall off track. If you remember why you started, it will be easier to continue.

2.       Change your words: Any successful person will tell you that words have power. New year’s resolutions have gotten this reputation as things that people say they want to do differently in the New Year and never follow through on. Sadly, it’s kind of true. Instead of calling what you want to accomplish a resolution, call it a goal. Goal sounds so much better. It also doesn’t limit your progress to a year. Goals are more specific and clear about the outcome.

3.       Talk about it: This one is difficult for a lot of people. People are so negative these days. Especially on social media. You can’t post any type of goal on social media because it’ll be a meme and a viral joke in .5 seconds. This is why I say talk about it and not post about it. When you talk about your goals, people automatically will hold you accountable. If they don’t, you may need to evaluate your inner circle. I had a friend who told me that she wanted to stop drinking for a year. I told her that I would support her. Whenever we were together, I would never let her drink. Whenever she got weak, I would remind her that she said she would not drink and I want to support her in her goal. This will spark enough guilt for most people to resist the temptation. By talking to your inner circle about your goals, they will hold you accountable to what you said you would do.

4.       Write it down: Writing down goals is something that most people don’t do. They have it in their brains and never put it on paper. When you write down that goal, make sure it includes your why, how, and a time frame. It should be specific. Back to the losing weight example. If you want to lose weight, write down your goal so it looks something like this: I will lose 20 pounds in the next four months through healthy diet and exercise. My health depends on it. Notice that I put, “I will” and not “I want” or “My goal is to.” Words have power and by speaking this way, your actions will eventually align with your words. By writing this down, you are able to see what your goal is and hold yourself accountable.

5.       Post it somewhere you look everyday: After you write down your goal, hang it up. A good place for this is in the bathroom on the mirror and/or the screen saver on your phone. By posting your goals somewhere visible, you end up reading it over and over. When you read something over and over it gets stuck in your head and your actions, behavior, and mindset start to change. This keeps your goal on the front of your brain as you go about your day.

It isn’t easy to make a change and stick to it. However, doing so is something that will serve as a benefit, long after the novelty of a new year’s resolution has worn off.

-Tatum Temia

Tatum is a blogger, self-improvement writer, and marketing professional. She blogs about self-worth, relationships, and is dedicated to inspiring women to be the best version of themselves. To read more articles by Tatum, please visit: DearRegina.com or follow on social media (Twitter&Instagram) @DearReginaBlog 

 

My Biggest Challenge This Year As A Writer

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I remember the first time I saw the “Through The Wire” video on BET. I was a high schooler sitting on the couch, flipping through channels until I landed on the video. I had no idea who this Kanye West was, but I knew I wanted to hear more from him. When my sister purchased “The College Dropout”, I borrowed the album from her so much that I forgot she was the one who originally bought it. It was a no-brainer that a few years later, I would buy “Late Registration” and then “Graduation”, an album that I played to the point of obsession in my freshman dorm.

Kanye’s sound and sentiment took a turn after that trio of very perfect albums, but I remained loyal. I held on. In 2011, I flew from Boston to Baltimore for one night to attend the “Watch The Throne” tour with my best friend. But, by the time “Yeezus” came around, my fandom wavered. I didn’t buy the album. The tracks I did hear didn’t make a lot of sense, and I found myself turning to J. Cole, a rapper whose lyrics and knack for storytelling reminded me more of the old Kanye. I would YouTube the old Kanye songs, longing for the time when a man dropped an ad lib in the middle of a song apologizing because his mouth was wired shut.

I do not want to become a Kanye West when it comes to my writing.

Last week I got entrenched in several heated conversations about the direction in which I’ve taken my blog. And by heated, I mean people close to me calmly offered their thoughts about how they have seen the blog change and evolve because I solicited their opinions, and I pretty much just wanted to curse everyone out. When people discuss Twenties Unscripted, it’s kind of like someone telling someone else how to raise their child. It’s difficult not to get immediately defensive and overly explanatory because you believe only you know what’s best for your offspring. However, when I finally processed all of the conversations–I have a tendency to react first, process, then revisit the chat with less of a go-fuck-yourself attitude–I realized the overall theme from these conversations was just that the direction has noticeably changed, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Still, I wondered if I had Kanye Wested my readers, if I had gone so far left from where I was early on when I would write about my dates that I now felt too removed, too distant, too above it all. I have said before that this is a personal blog that has simply gotten less personal, but I realize there is still a need to shed my layers from time to time and write the stories that reflect my insecurities, vulnerabilities and fuckedupness. I also know those insecurities, those vulnerabilities and that fuckedupness look a hell of a lot different than they once did.

Art changes because people change. I didn’t buy Yeezus, but I get it. I get that for better or worse, who Kanye West is now is not who Kanye West was in 2005, so his work will represent that. I stopped reading one of my favorite blogs because it started to feel less like truth and more like click bait, given that the blogger had taken off and needed to continue to get her coins. I am not as hooked on Scandal as I used to be, and I am still trying to figure out what the hell happened last Thursday. All of these are examples of artistry changing because the masterminds behind them change as people.

This space has grown up and I now know what I want it to look like and how I want it to feel. I realize that I have a mic in my hand, people are listening and I am not going to just stumble through my speech. I know that when you have people’s attention, you should not waste their time. I believe in the power and gravity of this moment for my writing. I feel it, I see it, I know it, I respect it, I honor it and I cherish it. I also know that once you’ve been called a whore, a naive fuck and a dumb nigger by random trolls, yes, you are going to become much more protective of your experiences. You aren’t going to be so quick to blab about your personal life. You are going to give people less access. If someone comes into your house and takes a shit in the middle of the floor, you are probably going to stop letting people into your house so freely.

The first few years of TU were really about the sassy and smart-assy take on growing up. These years now are more about the sincere take on growing up. These years are about a coming-of-age story marked by the aggressive pursuit of my dreams, the gall to challenge societal norms, and the fight to become the woman I want to be. Still, I know my biggest challenge this year as a writer will be to balance strength with vulnerability in every strand of my work. Temper privacy with transparency. Embody the sincere, the sassy and the smart-assy. I came into the year with a grand plan for what I would do, but now I am taking a step back to focus on how I want to do it.

The people who were with you on Day 1 may not be with you on Day 500. In fact, most won’t. All you can do is roar your truth, believe in your path and blaze the trail you are so sure you have been sent here to create.

Xoxo,
Tyece