Clear The Runway, I’ve Only Just Begun.

clear the runway

I have this thing about dates.

July 24, 2011. August 18, 2011. October 21, 2014. April 27, 2015.

Those are all dates I can’t forget. See, some days are bad days, and some days are rock bottom days. Those were all rock bottom days, for reasons ranging from minor to mammoth. They were days when I took voyages to the most doubtful, dim and demonic places in my head and camped out for way too long. They were days I pitched tents on every insecurity and uncertainty I ever had. They were days when I told myself I would never make anything out of my dreams and I would never make it out alive. Those were days I could not walk away from unscathed.

There are other dates I can’t forget.

March 12, 2013. March 1, 2014. April 8, 2015. July 16, 2015.

Those are dates that catapulted me to new places. Dates that wrapped duct tap across the mouths of everyone who ever uttered one phrase of doubt about my capacity and calling. Dates that put a full tank of gas in the machine that is Twenties Unscripted. Dates that reflect conviction, sacrifice and resilience after the rock bottom days.

There will be more days like March 12, 2013 and April 8, 2015. I do not hope, and I do not wish, but I know. And I know because there will also be other days like October 21, 2014 and April 28, 2015. They will all balance one another out. They’re all fuel for the engine. Life is very cyclical that way–it’s all about riding the high when you’re up and banking on the comeback when you’re down.

So, I’ve learned to say a quiet prayer of gratitude. I know that it all stitches together the fabric of my journey. I know I am on a journey worth taking. I’m on a path worth trekking. I am in a deep sea worth treading.

That knowledge about my purpose is scary for some people. Unnerving. Off-putting. Planting my feet firmly in the very reason God put me here is not something everyone can handle. I’ve learned that. People love you when you’re up-and-coming. When your words are free. When you can be their protégé and don’t establish yourself as the prototype. When that thing you do on the side is simply a “hobby.” When you still blanket your words with self-deprecation. When you hope and don’t know. When you wish and don’t do. When you wait and don’t act. When you will still play in mud. When you focus on the drama. When you waste your days tweeting away.

People love you then.

People love it when you’re up-and-coming, but they don’t quite love it once you’ve come up.

They are worried you are going to arrive and leave them somewhere in the dust. You’ll surpass them. You’ll take their dream deferred and turn it into a dream done. You’ll manifest the very thing they have sat on for years.

What they don’t realize is that you may leave them in the dust, but, you will never arrive. You should never arrive. If you arrive at one destination, there is always another one to turn toward.

I don’t want to arrive. I want to keep pushing, keep driving, keep thinking, keep inventing and keep expanding.

Publishing the book anchored Twenties Unscripted. That’s how I saw it–an accomplishment, sure, but also an anchor. I’m proud of it. But, nothing for me is ever one and done. Tomorrow ends a month that has been a behemoth in the lifespan of my work. But, I’ve only just begun. Everything is strategic. Everything feeds the next thing. Everything is just one more anchor. You want to know my secret? There it is.

If you see something drop, I’m planning something else. If you see something launch, I’m on to the next thing. You should always be wondering what’s next. There is always a next. Everything clears the runway for me to keep going and see just what the end is going to be.

Thank you for everything this month–congratulatory notes, book purchases, shop purchases, showing up to the book party, texting me, tweeting me, saving me from myself and having my back. It could not have been a colossal month without your love and loyalty. I mean that from top to bottom, beginning to end. Thank you. And thank you again. One more time–happy third anniversary to Twenties Unscripted.


book blog tour promo


August is all about a Womanhood, Writing, and Relativity blog takeover! Join me and 14 other bloggers as we dive into everything about the book–everything from the writing process to finding an authentic tribe to root for me. Head over to the blog tour page to learn more, follow along and buy the book if you haven’t done so already!

Protect Your Vision.

protect your vision

When you go quiet, people should be worried.

When you are on timelines a little less and inundating Instagram feeds with fewer pictures, people should assume that you are in the lab. You are in the war room. You are prepping for the next match, ready to return as the heavyweight champion. When you have gone undercover, it’s so that you can work and write. Curate and create. Cultivate and produce.

When you go quiet, people should be worried.

They should take notice. They should expect some sprinkling of your magic dust to appear. When you go quiet, you aren’t telling the world you have left. No, when you go quiet you are telling the world that you are getting ready to conceive something that is next-level. You are preparing to unveil something powerful. You have traded in the noise of daily chit chat for the boom of a longer, more lasting monologue.

When you go quiet, people should know that is exactly when your vision is being fully executed.

Maybe they won’t know the vision. But, they should bet their ass that whatever the vision is, it is being brought to life.

You are a blogger so you’re expected to live out loud. Every little thing you think is supposed to reveal itself in 140 characters or less. Or on an Instagram photo. Or, above all else, in a blog post. You’re supposed to write your goals on pastel stationery notes and share them with the rest of the world so they can validate shit that you’ve already been convicted about. The nature of what you do as a blogger is public. Accessible. Communal. Reachable. Attainable. People are supposed to be able to leave their sticky fingerprints on the things you think. The ideas you believe in. The work you have set out to do.

Except you have learned that everyone can’t know everything.

Everything isn’t for everybody.

Dreams are very private things. Your vision is a very sacred thing. The work you have been put on this planet to do is cherished, and it isn’t always meant for everyone to know about.

You don’t want to write your goals on pretty stationery. You don’t want to share what you’re conceiving with just anyone. You want to protect your vision because you know how spoiled it could become if it’s handed off to the wrong person. Few people are good at following through on their own dreams, but many are adept at assassinating the dreams of others. Few people are capable of conceiving their own vision, but many are skilled at stealing someone else’s. If the wrong person catches even a glimpse of what you’re doing, the entire thing could be ruined. The sacrosanctity of your beautiful plans could be demolished. The beauty of what you’re creating could be destroyed.

Your dreams have been planted on holy ground. Not just anyone is allowed in that place.

You have spent sizable fractions of your life living out loud. Confessing your plans. Letting people know what’s in the works. Divulging your dreams. Sharing your blueprints. You have made so many chunks of your life accessible that sometimes you have to fight your instinct to blast off an idea to the Twitter airwaves. There was a point where you were addicted to the likes, drawn to the validation of strangers cosigning ideas that you already believed in with your whole head and entire heart.

That time has come and gone. Now, you know just how much you must protect the vision.

You know just how patient you have to be in order to protect that vision. You know that some days will come and go without you even saying what’s up to Twitter or scrolling through Instagram. You know that it’s not always fun to put your head down and work. You get antsy and maybe even insecure when everything you’re doing isn’t prime for the rest of the world to see. You worry that maybe people have forgotten that you and your work still exist.

But, “protect the vision” is the proverb you live and create by, even at the expense of your impatient heart and antsy spirit. You have come to trust your gut and the wisdom of your inner tribe. You have learned to rely on a select group of friends and mentors when you want to filter your thoughts. You know that your most significant ideas are often times the ones that you can’t ever reveal until the final product is ready, until you have seen the idea through its final trimester and birthed a masterpiece.

When you go quiet, people shouldn’t count you out. No, when you go quiet, people should anticipate that you have aimed your missile at something that it’s sure to destruct. When you go quiet, people should get every single one of their ducks in a row. They should cross all of their t’s and dot every single one of their i’s. When you go quiet, people should remember that your steps are ordered and you are focused as a motherfucker.

When you go quiet, people should be worried.


Bloggers And The Beat Recap: You Can’t Be Afraid To Fly


(Left to right) Karen Civil, Brandon "Real T@lk" Williams, me and Matcy and Breeze of Tha Shipmates
(Left to right) Karen Civil, Brandon “Real T@lk” Williams, me and Matcy and Breeze of Tha Shipmates

It felt sort of like an out-of-body experience. Sitting at my desk on Tuesday night with a bottle of wine next to me and my hands shaking, I didn’t recognize myself. The apartment was too hot. My bag wasn’t packed. I still had no idea what I was going to wear for the event. I could barely get myself grounded enough to write. That night I didn’t recognize a woman whose confidence, bravado and sometimes pure audacity were her signature trademarks. I felt like a scared puppy, unsure of myself and what I was getting ready to do.

Then I heard about the Illinois plane crash, and I felt myself crumble. The nerves that had been festering for weeks about taking a regional plane for the first time swung into high gear. I transformed into a piping hot mess. So, I called my best friend.

“Don’t think about it for an hour,” she told me. “Don’t pack, don’t prep, don’t do anything related to the trip. Just decompress.”

Surprisingly enough, I took her advice. And while the nerves didn’t fully subside on their own that night, a cosmic signal finally put them to rest. While digging through my disaster of a closet for a tote bag, I found my first tattered notebook. I’m on my third one now. You know, those books writers just carry and keep to capture any and every note so a thought never escapes them. I took the notebook out of an old bag and flipped through it. I saw a page from a coaching session I had with Demetria Lucas D’Oyley–years before she had appended D’Oyley to her name and weeks before I had started Twenties Unscripted.

I looked at the page and realized that the notes from that conversation had come to life. There was this little diagram with my blog as the center and things like events, collateral and speaking engagements as the spokes coming from the middle. There was a bullet that said, “No one is ever going to be as invested as you are.” And the final bullet said, “Don’t judge your start by someone else’s middle or end.”

I packed that notebook and took it with me all the way to Southern Illinois University.

The Universe always has these beautiful and unexpected ways of reminding us we are on the right path. And even though I was still scared shitless to board that tiny regional plane from St. Louis to Marion, IL the next day, I am more scared to think about a life without that opportunity.

IMG_1867I could say a lot about Bloggers and the Beat, a panel discussion I had the chance to speak at, hosted by the Student Programming Council at Southern Illinois University. I could say how refreshing and reaffirming it was to listen to the other panelists recount their early days as artists and entrepreneurs, and drop some powerful words of wisdom. I could say how much I loved the students, from the moment I was greeted by Quiana and Kia at the airport, to the second I sat down at the open mic event prior to the panel, to the post-event meet and greet. I could say how much each of them, full of such life, energy and passion, inspired me to continue on this beautiful and wild ride. But, most of all, I could say that you can’t ever be afraid to fly. And, sure, that goes for tiny and claustrophobia-inducing regional airplanes. But, really, it goes for taking that next step and leaning all the way the fuck in to what you are being called to do.

Witnessing your dreams manifest is an amazing, frightening and surreal sort of thing. Even as recently as January of this year, I was dying to start speaking at events, while simultaneously stomaching the rejection I had gotten after having panel pitches turned down. I was starting to think that maybe it wasn’t in the cards for me and the Twenties Unscripted brand to begin translating my work in that sort of way. And, then, poof. Here we are. And, it’s not really “poof” at all because it’s not magic. No, it is years of work and writing and days dating back to that coaching session with Demetria. It has been a long and trying road just to get here. But now that I’m here, my God, am I ready to fly.


Be sure to check out the work of my fellow panelists, Kia Smith–the amazing young woman who surfaced this opportunity for me–and SIU student Tierra of My Future Is Chic who did a great job recapping the event.

Fellow panelists

Karen Civil | |

Brandon “Real T@lk” Williams |

Tha Shipmates |

Kia Smith

Kia Smith |

Tierra of “My Future Is Chic”

Tierra’s recap | “10 Lessons I Learned from “Bloggers and the Beat

Decide What People Will And Will Not Speak Into Your Life.

I’m going to tell you a few things you probably already know. In 2013, Beyoncé’s eponymous album sold 430,000 digital copies within 24 hours. On December 16, Apple announced that Beyoncé was the fastest selling album in the history of the iTunes store. As of a few weeks ago, Beyoncé has sold more than 2 million albums and been declared double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.

Now I’m going to tell you something you may not know. Because, I did not know this until a friend brought it to my attention a few weeks ago.

In 2003, former New York Times journalist Kelefa Sanneh reviewed Beyoncé’s debut album “Dangerously In Love” under the headline: “The Solo Beyoncé: She’s No Ashanti.”

Sanneh’s review said that, “If Beyoncé has a mirror-image rival, it’s Ashanti.” I dropped $130 dollars on a ticket to Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s “On The Run” tour this summer. The last I saw Ashanti, she was doing a quick show on Good Morning America, belting out a song that has not yet seen the light of an airwave’s day.

Mirror-image rival.

The most holy shit moment in the piece is when Sanneh writes:

“Maybe this album is merely a misstep, and maybe Beyoncé has yet to record the brilliant solo album that people expected. Or maybe it’s proof that she isn’t quite as versatile as she seemed. She’s a strong and independent singer, no doubt, but maybe she seems strongest and most independent when she’s got a posse behind her.”

In that assumption, the former is clearly more accurate than the later. In 2003, Beyoncé had not yet recorded the brilliant solo album people expected. But, by 2013, Beyoncé was recording brilliant solo albums that people could not even begin to expect. By 2013, Beyoncé was single-handedly changing the way albums were unveiled, demanding that album releases remain hallmarks in a music artist’s history. By 2013, no one was thinking about Beyoncé’s posse and whether or not she needed them behind her. Destiny’s Who?

This is not another Beyoncé think piece. But, when I poured through that 2003 NYT review a few Fridays ago while waiting for my sister at dinner, I just thought “What if Beyoncé read that review and stopped there? What if she took these words to heart and truly believed that she could not be as strong or independent without a posse behind her? What would that mean for her, for music, for entertainment?” I read that piece and immediately realized everyone in life has their version of a Kelefa Sanneh.

I don’t write any of this to discredit Kelefa Sanneh’s journalistic prowess. After all, reviews are reviews. We can only write the present, not the future. In 2003, Kelefa Sanneh wrote what he knew. But, I’m a writer, and, you know…metaphors. We like them. Even Kelefa Sanneh has some Kelefa Sannehs in his life.

The Kelefa Sanneh in your life is that person who tries to short-circuit your future. It’s the person who tries to speak something into existence without the full understanding of your vision. It’s the naysayer. The cynic. The non-believer. The person who just can’t see it. The person who knew you way back when and tries to use that knowledge of your former self against you. The person who scoffs that you’ve become “brand new”. The person who wants to pull you back down into the mud with them. The person who can’t stomach that your world is bursting and bright and full of promise.

Who is your Kelefa Sanneh?

Every day, people speak things into our existence. It’s our choice what stays and what goes. When people say, “One day when you hit it big…” I let that stay. When people tell me I’m a naive fuck, I let that go. When people say they’re proud of me, I let that stay. When people say I’ll never feasibly make a living from writing, I let that go. When people say, “I can’t wait to read your book,” I let that stay. When people smile patronizingly if I mention that I have a blog, I let that go. When people say my words pushed them to keep writing, I let that stay. When people say writing about feminism isn’t original, I let that go.

I’ve learned I have to deliberately decide what stays and goes. Because what goes is often what’s most memorable and what stays is often what I want to laugh off. What stays is often times what I want to retreat from, my knee-jerk response being a self-deprecating comment as I cower away from stepping into my own strength. I’ve learned that deciding what energy stays and goes often times means deciding who stays and who goes. Positive people and positive vibes are rarely independent of one another. It’s hard to keep assholes around hoping they will wish you well. I’ve learned that I can’t let the words of my Kelefa Sannehs drive or wreck my journey. Barns don’t get to determine how high skyscrapers can rise. And, I’m the Rockefeller Center in this bitch.

So, I’ll ask again: Who is your Kelefa Sanneh?