To The Beautiful Black Women Who Read And Support My Blog

Author’s note: Today is my last post until Monday, July 21. Next week there are 11 phenomenal writers whose work will be represented during Twenties Unscripted Guest Writers Week. Please show them love.

I never write about race. It’s sort of this unofficial rule I conjured up a long time in hopes that my writing would reveal itself as universal for women, not just black women. I struggled with the title of today’s post, aware that I could lose readers or polarize my audience. But, I had to write this, especially in light of celebrating two years of Twenties Unscripted and knowing the bulk of women who have made my blog what it is.

I’m not writing this to say that there are not women and men of all races and ethnicities who have supported my work and boosted Twenties Unscripted. I completely get that. I do not take it for granted one bit. And, I will continue to write in the interest of all women, independent of what they look like. I appreciate anyone who has ever read my work, even one word of it. But, I had to pause today. Because there is something incredibly special about the black women who support my work.

There are certain moments in life that only prove to be pivotal in retrospect. One of those moments was last summer when Evette Dionne listed Twenties Unscripted on a Clutch Magazine list of 5 Underrated Blogs You Should Read. After that list, a lot changed for me. A lot of doors opened. And, black women I would have never known read the list and embraced my blog with the kind of love I thought could only come from close friends and family.

Later that year, I won a Black Weblog Award for Best Personal Blog. Another one of those pivotal moments that I didn’t even realize would change my trajectory until after the fact.

Since then, women like Candice Shaw of Brown Girl Bloggers have reached out to me and given me opportunities and exposure. Women like Morgan and Lindsay of #BlackGirlsWhoBlog have constantly promoted my work. Women like Kimberly have given me opportunities to write for From A Wildflower and present my writing to a larger audience. And, there is no way I could write this without saying that women like Erica and Yetti have let me lean on them and vent to them about every tiny writer woe I have. They have uplifted me and pushed me beyond my own incessant self-doubt to do things I thought I would never be able to do.

These are all beautiful and supportive black women who have taken chances on me and given me opportunities to run like the fucking wind. There is not one doubt in my mind that black women have primarily made my blog what it is now. When I scroll through my Twitter mentions, I see a hell of a lot of beautiful and different brown faces. So, instead of resisting the need to write anything about black women, I have decided tonight that I must embrace it. I must embrace the same group that has so graciously and zealously embraced me.

Listen, black women are awesome. We are motherfucking awesome. I don’t need to tell you why. We just are. And when we get together and support each other, we are only that much more motherfucking awesome.

So, thank you. Thank you for making me feel validated and valued as a black woman in the blogosphere. Thank you for taking in my work and wry wit. Thank you for telling the rest of the world that black women do not only have to blog about hair to kick ass and gain readers. Thank you for being beautiful and supportive and responsive and encouraging and intelligent and so accepting of what I am trying to do and give to the universe. Thank you for holding me down in a world that too often tries to hold me back. I mean this. All of this. From the bottom of my heart and the tips of my fingers and the pit of my belly. You all are some kind of wonderful.

Xoxo,

Tyece

Why Women Need To Look Out For Other Women

I was on my second red cup of Chardonnay (the epitome of being classy and trashy at the same damn time) Saturday night when I started on my feminist rant.

What? You mean you don’t expect feminist rants at house parties?

It didn’t begin as a rant so much as a series of compliments sent to several of the women around me. One woman’s outfit was giving me a very Love Jones vibe and I needed her to know I appreciated that. Another woman’s hair was laid by the gods and goddesses. And, one woman just had really great boobs.

One must always acknowledge really great boobs. Always.

While my mild state of inebriation probably made me more apt to dish out the compliments, they still came from a sincere place. The ranting didn’t start until I kept saying “We as women don’t do this enough”, but I blame that on the unknown concoction I imbibed after the Chardonnay.

Last week, I read Alida Nugent’s “Hail The Sisterhood: Little Ways To Be Nicer To Your Fellow Girlkind” and it stuck with me. Her list included things such as “Respect the importance of the female bathroom line” and was meant to encourage women to try just a little harder to be kind to one another.

It seems like a simple concept. Women supporting other women. Women looking out for other women. Women complimenting other women. Unfortunately, I’ve seen people make this simple concept so much more difficult than it has to be. And, I know that because I used to be one of those people making it really difficult.

You want another anecdote? Last year, I went to a Grits and Biscuits party (if you don’t know, don’t ask.) My friends and I pre-gamed at some random hotel, compliments of a woman whose name I never gathered. She was a friend of a friend. In retrospect, she was a sweetheart. She also was wearing a pair of white volleyball shorts (a more appropriate way of saying booty shorts) and I did nothing but hurl my side eye at her and spit snide remarks about her attire in the January blistering cold.

It was a really ugly and nasty way to talk about another woman, especially a woman who had been nothing but nice and let a bunch of us cram into her hotel room to pre game. I remember that moment and I always want to kick myself when I think about it.

The more I write about feminism and the more I work to embody the things I believe in, the more I fight to support other women. Support comes in varied forms. Compliments. Reading women’s blogs. Buying women’s books. Going to women’s events. Taking a second to text someone and see if they are OK. Mending fences with someone after a prolonged and unnecessary hiatus. Letting someone know you loved something they said or wrote. Saying hello to all of the women when you enter a room, not just your gaggle of girlfriends. The list could go on and on. But, I am very conscious and proactive about giving props to other women. Because, as I often times say, we are all fighting the same damn fight. And, that fight is relentless, a barrage of societal bullets hurled at us from every direction. I don’t think it helps us one bit to toss more bullets at each other.

It always baffles me when women say “I don’t really get along with other women” or “I can’t stand females”. (My issue with the term “female” as an insult is an entirely different blog post that I will reserve for a different day). Anyway, by all means, have your male friends. I love my guy friends and I always appreciate how frankly I can speak with them. But, I don’t discount my girlfriends and the incredible value they bring to my well-being. They keep me sane. They make me feel a lot less crazy than I often times feel. They simply get it.

Saying you “don’t really get along with other women” is really just an insult to yourself. Look down. You see that? It’s a vagina. You have one just like the very women you so proudly proclaim you don’t get along with. So, to say you don’t get along with other women is pathetic and inaccurate. Maybe you’ve had some women in your life who did not mesh with your spirit or where you were headed, but that doesn’t mean all women are like that. It’s the same as saying “I hate all men” because you had one douche of a boyfriend. You’re looking at the world through a limited and broken lens.

It doesn’t have to be as difficult as we make it. To paraphrase another thing I’ve written, lifting someone else up, especially another woman, will never diminish you. Throwing side eyes and shade takes so much more energy than just choosing to be kind and accepting. It doesn’t matter how many side eyes you throw. It doesn’t matter how many snide remarks you make. Because that woman’s ass will always defy gravity. Her talent will always amaze audiences. She will always garner the attention and respect of certain people. She doesn’t even realize you’re attempting to dull her shine; she’s too busy glowing. Your hate does not and will not subtract from her light. So, don’t waste the time. Don’t waste the energy. Just support her. Because there is nothing but goodness to be gained from you looking out for another woman.

Xoxo,

Tyece

We Need To Show Each Other Authentic Support.

I wanted to wait until my official blog birthday month to write this post. But it’s been brewing inside of me for awhile and so much of its message came to life today.

I woke up this morning at 7 a.m. excited because I planned to begin promoting “Wine, Writing, Women and Wisdom: Celebrating Two Years of Twenties Unscripted.” It usually takes Jesus, Mary and Joseph for me to wake up early in anticipation of anything, but this was big enough. I started blowing up social media shortly after I got up with the flyer my graphic designer did a kickass job on.

morgan tweetI received some love and retweets about the “blogaversary”, but around lunchtime, my phone buzzed with an unanticipated  compliment. See to the exhibit to your left.

Morgan and I haven’t known each other for a long time. We haven’t actually ever met in-person. But, like most of the women who support my blog, she emerged from an unexpected place and has become an important creative partner. Her words came at a much-needed time this afternoon and there weren’t enough characters in a tweet for me to let her know how much I appreciated what she said. She shows support with a capital S and if there is anything I have learned over the past few years, it is that capital S support is extremely rare. Especially in the blogging community.

To people outside of the blogging world, the amount of public praise and love we show our fellow bloggers may seem excessive. Or, so I’ve been told. It comes across as dick-riding or ass-kissing or any other term people have conjured up. But, for those of us who pen our stories online day after day or search for interesting locales to shoot our photos, for those of us who have taken the plunge into this really strange and beautiful world of online exposure, we know that there are never enough words to show someone your love. I can’t retweet or quote Jessica Schiffer enough to show her how much her words have made me pause, reflect and appreciate the writing that she offers the world. Now take that sentence and apply it to so many of the other writers I adore. Erica. Yetti. GG. And, the list goes on.

It’s unfortunate that we exist in a world where many people think praise needs to be watered down with sarcasm. People hoard their authentic support. They place a quota on their compliments before they think it’s “too creepy”. God forbid they actually retweet something you said or outright compliment something you did. Perhaps what those people fail to understand is that lifting someone else up never, ever lessens you. If anything, it elevates you. There are so many people who show support with a lowercase s–they believe their support should be assumed because they gave you a page view for the day. And, yes, support with a lowercase s helps build the numbers. That support still means something. But, I don’t think love should ever just be assumed. It has to be shown.

And, that support has to be shown because what we do as writers, as artists, as creative people, is nothing short of an act of war. It is tough and it is soul-sucking and it requires more energy than we ever thought we had. It requires commitment beyond what we ever anticipated. It requires WORK, all caps required. In the words of Jay-Z, it ain’t for everybody. You think you’re reading 500 words and continuing on with your day, but we poured our souls and ourselves into that shit. We thought about it. We mulled it over. We jotted sentences down on napkins. We deleted phrases that we didn’t like. We fought to offer you something meaningful. And, more often than not, it feels as though we’re being met with deafening radio silence. No, we don’t do it for the accolades, but my God, does the encouragement helps. It helps to know that someone hears us, understands us, connects to what the fuck we are trying to say. It helps more than words can say.

My love language has always been words of affirmation. Words matter and there isn’t a soul on this planet who can tell me any different. Words are how I most openly receive and understand other people’s love and support. Some people want you to show it. Some people want you to say it. I believe you show it by saying it.

Xoxo,

Tyece

To The Woman Who Helped Make My Showcase A Reality

Wildflowers Unscripted Writing Challenge Day 12: Praise a person

ssf-invitation-webfinalToday the showcase that I have been planning since December sold out. It was sort of a surreal feeling given that when I booked the venue a few months ago, I lost sleep over whether or not I would even be able to put a show together. I didn’t know if anyone would be interested in showcasing their work. I charged $5.00 for the tickets because I was so worried that people would not come, so I didn’t want price to be an issue. Then, over the past few weeks, I saw the amount of available tickets go from 60 to 30 to 11 and then to 1.

Today was a good day.

And today’s writing challenge topic is fitting because all of the effort behind this showcase comes from so many people. The person who sticks out most in my mind is my friend Kalani who has done all of the graphic design for the show–the original call for artists, the showcase invitations and the program for that night. She was one of the first people I talked to when I came up with this idea last summer. It didn’t quite work back then which only increased my anxiety about trying it once more.

I won’t deny that I can be a bit of a Nazi to work with. I send a lot of emails, I always have edits and I can be a manic perfectionist. I expect a lot from people because that is the standard I hold myself to. Do it right or don’t even bother doing it. Kalani has witnessed all of this and has still done a kickass job. An idea is usually just an idea until someone puts some creative thought behind it and makes it visual. Visuals make it real. She made the vision for this showcase real. She gave it a look and feel. She gave it a design so we could promote it. And, now it’s fucking sold out.

One of my favorite quotes is the sentence, “Praise the bridge that carried you over.” Praise the bridge. Praise the people. Praise it all. So many of my friends have stood behind me and this blog. No one has to believe in you or anything that you do. But, when people back you up and support your work, it’s an incredible thing. I am a manic perfectionist when it comes to Twenties Unscripted because it is such a huge part of who I am. In about two short years, I have put an investment in this space. I put my heart into this space. I put my soul into this space. I put my thoughts and my time into this space.

I am always, always, always thinking about this blog and this brand. And, sometimes I even hate calling it a “brand” because this isn’t Ralph Lauren or some shit like that. But, I do believe this has become more than a blog and I truly don’t think I could say that if I didn’t have the solid support of so many of my friends. Graphic designing is not my talent. Photography is not my talent. Hell, event planning is not my talent. Writing is my happy place. Everything else only comes together with the help of so many people behind me.

I thought I would wait until showcase night to shower Kalani with accolades, but, if you are reading this, thank you. Thank you for helping to make this crazy idea/dream of a showcase actually happen. Thank you for loving this idea even last summer when I didn’t know what the hell I was getting myself into. Thank you for dealing with my many emails and then subsequent gchat messages when I got too anxious. But, above all, thank you for having faith in this very infant brand. Hopefully I get a sweet book deal one day and can look out for you. If not, there’s always monopoly money.

Xoxo,

Tyece