Jump, Dance, and Bask In Your Purpose: Showcase Recap

The 2016 SSF cast Photo by @JazzTheNoise
The 2016 SSF cast
Photo by @JazzTheNoise

Author’s Note: Today is my last post until the week of March 21. It has been an unbelievably amazing start to 2016 with the showcase, a trip to Charleston to speak, the launch of TyeceWilkins.com, and everything else God has been gracious enough to send my way. But a lot of hard work has accompanied these incredible moments. So, it’s time for a break to rest, regroup, and get ready for whatever the Universe will bring next.

I wanted to write it all down. Wanted to get it on paper before the memories start spilling through the cracks in between my fingers. I wanted to relive it. Replay it. Remember it. I wanted to let those memories pick me up and twirl me around before life got in the way. Before bills got in the way. Before the pendulum swing between the present and my unending pursuit of purpose got in the way.

Except there isn’t any way to write it all down. I can’t capture that night in photos or videos or hashtags or even this blog post. I can’t sum it up in the few sentences I spit out when my coworkers asked me how it went. I can try. I will try. I have tried. But so far I can’t find a direct translation for how much my heart fluttered on Saturday night when my life’s purpose played out. Live. Direct. 100%.

I’ve written about “See. Speak. Feel.” before. The history. The failures. The doubt. The success. But, this year was the first year that the show and the people in it reflected the very reason I have been put on this Earth. If all of that sounds lofty and ridiculous and too nebulous to handle, that is because finding your purpose in life is often times lofty. Ridiculous. And too nebulous to handle.

I told my sister during the early weeks of planning that I wanted a dynamic show. Less reading. More performance. People giving it all they had. But soon enough the stress of managing the event outweighed that vision. I was herding cats. Fighting fires. Just trying to push my boulder of a baby uphill and across the finish line. I stopped thinking about what I told my sister all those weeks ago and gave in to my inevitable “this has to get done” modus operandi.

I dropped exactly three f-bombs in rapid succession five minutes before showtime. Murphy’s law stepped in and started playing with my spirit. My nerves stood on edge. The more anyone tried to calm me down, the more my blood boiled. We had to change something at the last minute. And then the plan shifted and we didn’t have to change that something anymore. By the time I sat near the booth to direct the show, I wasn’t even thinking about what to expect. I wasn’t thinking about this moment I created. I wasn’t thinking about purpose and I wasn’t thinking about that vision. I was thinking about sucking down a drink laced with alcohol once it all was finally over.

But, like every year, soon enough I settled into the show. Last year it didn’t happen until intermission. This year it happened during the second performance. I absorbed it. Watched it. Hollered when I liked a line. Waved my hands. Clapped. Laughed. Thanked God and his angels that the mics worked. Smiled when our stage manager knew exactly what to do without being prompted. Enjoyed myself. Relinquished the stress. Assumed full ownership of the vision.

When I say my purpose is to spark people to connect to the best, bravest, and boldest parts of themselves, that statement unnerves me. It feels like a giant pair of shoes to fill. It scares me that at the ripe age of 26, God has made that purpose so crystal clear and already allowed it to manifest in so many ways. Sometimes it makes me scratch my head and wonder what’s next? It makes me feel undeserving when there are people who spend entire lifetimes searching for the reason why their feet have been planted on this planet. I know why I’m here. Now. Tomorrow. Forever. So, when I say my purpose is to spark people to connect to the best, bravest, and boldest parts of themselves, as scary as it is, I know it’s right. It’s real. It’s rooted in everything I have come to learn about this life, the space I inhabit, and the energy I create.

I saw that purpose take on new life last Saturday. I saw it in my sister and the Adele notes she belted out, even after I told her “That’s a hard song. Adele messed it up at the Grammy’s.” I saw it in Roconia and Sharonia, whose unbreakable sisterhood radiated during their performance. I saw it in Jamé who went from managing the registration table at last year’s show to blowing the audience away with a poem (that she wrote that same morning!). I saw it in Yetti who rose to the challenge of reciting spoken word about the very palpable and universal concept of heartbreak. I saw it in Tassika when she smiled at the audience in between reading lines that left you swaying and humming “Yassss.” I saw it in Kalani who has not sang publicly in decades, but gave me shivers with an a capella version of Share My World. I saw it in Teresa who won our impromptu dance contest last year and went on to wow people as the only dancer this time around.

I saw my purpose in each of these women and everyone else who touched this year’s show. I witnessed people connect to the best parts of themselves. The brave parts. The bold parts. I watched them embrace the visions they had of themselves. Elevate the bar. Raise the standard. Rise to the occasion. These flickers of magic were inside each of them all along, dancing around in different ways. Peeking out. Creeping out. Waiting for a chance to burst and see the light of day. I’m grateful the stage was set to become that spark.

I don’t know if I can write it all down. I can’t translate entirely what that night meant for me or what it affirmed. But I can tell you there is not a better feeling in this lifetime than to dance, jump, and bask in your purpose. I can tell you that I want every single day to feel like the first Saturday in March.

Xoxo,
Tyece

On Her Own Terms, In Her Own Time

on her own terms post

Her heart is a rebel wrapped in a leather jacket. So she does not float along with the motions. The status quo smothers her because she never wanted the things this world dictated ever since she was a little girl with pig tails and a crinoline slip. She never feels those hunger pangs to be someone’s wife, the kind that seem to leave such a hollow pit in the center of other women’s stomachs. She wants the kind of love written outside of those lines. She is not wired quite like the rest.

Her fingertips bear the stories the world craves. And every time she sits down to write, she sprinkles a tiny bit of her soul onto the page. She leaves things a little better than how they were before she arrived. She fights to leave the world a little softer than it how it was before she was here. More heart. More laughter. More words that bleed truth. And some days that undertaking feels far too enormous and immense to wrap her arms and mind around. Some days she would rather rest than revolt. Some days she wishes she could fold her hands and plop them into her lap. Some days she wishes she could just smile and swim along with the current. But, she knows that the rumble inside of her would not relax. The vision entrusted to her would not vanish.

Her skin is a temple with stained glass windows from the past. She never quite learned how to disjoint her heart and her body, so every lover’s fingertips became tattoos. Some are inked on her thighs, others on the corner of her neck where he used to nuzzle his chin. There is one she can’t forget etched on the small of her back. She is the sum of many complicated parts and unfinished stories.

Her voice is a hurricane with record high winds. It booms and bellows and roars. It is the kind of voice that sends men running if they only started the day expecting an afternoon drizzle. Her words huff and puff and blow the whole house down. She is a storm you won’t soon forget.

Her mind is a bolt of lightning and her spirit is the last wave before the tsunami. She is hard and soft, dark and light, gentle at her core, but jagged around her edges. Serious, serene, and silly, all in one breath. You can’t figure her out. You can’t stick a label on her or add her to just one column. She is some wild and rare blend of John Legend’s Maxine, Michael Jackson’s Bille Jean and that woman who left her shoes in Maxwell’s urban hang suite.

All she wants to do is speed down the highway in a world of brake lights and stop signs. All she wants to do is toss the umbrella and two step in the rain. And with everything she creates, with every ray of light she emits, she has to do it on her own terms and in her own time. She has to do it in her own way.

Xoxo,
Tyece

I Is For Inspired | The Deep-Rooted and Complex Place

 

aml beauty tour-2This post is part of The Layers of Beauty Tour created by GG Renee of All the Many Layers. Follow the tour through the blogs of 25 women exploring the complexities of womanhood and beauty from A to Z.  Click here to keep up with each post and enter to win a giveaway package of goodies for your mind, body and soul.   #LayersAtoZTour

If I told you that you’re beautiful, some days you wouldn’t believe me.

Some days you get caught in the online web of believing that your face needs to be beat. You keep wondering how in the world Beyoncé could have possibly woken up like that. You pick yourself apart. You hate your feet. You hate how your clavicle protrudes in every photo, no matter how much you will it to do the opposite. You feel like a pariah in a world that praises curves and worships contours.

If I told you that you’re beautiful, some days you wouldn’t believe me.

You would remember that time during freshmen year of college when you sobbed to your best friend and told her that guys liked her more because she was light-skinned. You would remember trips to Miami where your dresses never fit quite right and you never fit quite in with the salacious South Beach scene. You would remember feeling like every set of male eyes always landed somewhere other than on you.

Back then, if I told you that you’re beautiful, you would not have believed me.

But, today, I am telling you that you’re beautiful.

And, today, you will believe me.

Today you’ll remember that male gazes and likes on Instagram pages are not the metrics of beauty to which you heed. You’ll abandon this idea that beauty starts and ends with what people deduce from what they see. You’ll know that beauty comes from that deep-rooted and complex place, the rich and rare combination of self-worth and self-regard and inspiration.

You, my love, are an inspired woman.

deep rooted 2

That’s where your beauty begins. It comes from this sanctuary in the pit of your belly, a place that is ignited by vision and conviction. A place moved by what you extract from interactions and observations, both grand and molecular. A place where you translate that inspiration into words that set the world on fire. Your beauty rises because of the vessel you choose to be, the purpose you choose to honor and the calling to which you choose to surrender.

An inspired woman is a beautiful one.

She has planted her feet firmly in the things that mean the most to her instead of giving in to the whims of the world.

For the world, beauty will always change. It will always be this insatiable and unsatisfied beast. It will always favor someone in one moment and shun them in the next. But, for an inspired woman, her beauty can’t waver. It isn’t up for debate. It’s not susceptible to the shifts in someone else’s standards.

No, for an inspired woman, beauty rises from that deep-rooted and complex place.  For an inspired woman, her beauty is all her own: beginning to end, top to bottom, left to right. That definition of beauty propels her throughout the voyage. Serves as her bridge over troubled water. Feeds her, keeps her and carries her.

You, my love, are an inspired woman. Hold that. Know that. Keep that and carry that. When I tell you that, believe it.

Xoxo,
Tyece

Guest Writers Week | My Saving Grace

marquita quote

By Marquita Johnson

As an introvert, writing has been my saving grace. I started writing over two decades ago. My writings started out as poetry and love was my inspiration. I started writing as a teenage girl in love. At that time, I had yet to realize the bouts I was going to have with the infamous emotion of love. I would fall in love, fall out of love… I loved love, I hated love, just all of the above. Writing became my saving grace because at that time it was my only outlet to release the emotions I couldn’t speak about.

Writing poems was my therapy. Whatever thoughts were on my mind in regards to love, I would just put pen to paper and think no more about it. I had released. Purpose served. Once those emotions escaped my mind and were placed on paper, I wouldn’t read them until weeks or sometimes even months later and just be in awe. Still, I never saw my writing as anything more than just a way to release pent up emotions. It was the safest stress reliever for an introvert with a temper. I had no idea that writing would end up being my passion and that I would even consider pursuing it as a career.

Not many people were aware that I was a writer. I wasn’t good at sharing my thoughts or opinions verbally. When I wrote out my thoughts, opinions and rants, I didn’t share them with others. “I’m sensitive bout my sh**” as stated by Ms. Erykah Badu. And I was very sensitive about my work (actually, I still am). I would always think, what if they don’t get it? What if they think I am just crazy or delusional? So, for years I only shared my work with very few people. I received positive feedback from some and negative feedback from others. Still, it took me years before I started sharing my work publicly.

For years I wondered what my purpose and passion were. Needless to say, it was under my nose the entire time. No one I know has a career as a writer. Writing wasn’t considered a “job” where I grew up. I have had several unfulfilling jobs since I was 16 years old. One dead-end job after another. Regardless of the amount of money I was making on those jobs, they were still dead end jobs to me. I finally let go of all fear and doubt and decided, to hell with it, and started a blog. Over the past two decades I have kept all of the poems and articles I have written. I have a storage tub filled with papers and tablets that had never been shared until I started my blog. I am also in the process of publishing my first book.

Writing has been my life saver, my best friend, my companion, and truly my saving grace. I never thought I would have a blog. Although I am still working out some kinks and researching how to improve my blog, I enjoy blogging. I enjoy allowing complete strangers to read my thoughts and opinions and not care about any judgments. Being a poet and being a writer are more than just venting to me now. It allows me to share my story which I pray helps other women. If my writing is a saving grace for me, I pray that it’s a saving grace for others as well.

Marquita Y. Johnson grew up in the small town of Sparta, GA. She started writing poetry at the age of 14 years old. Her passion is encouraging young women who think they are alone in the trials they face in regards to love and life. Connect with her online @Marquita_56.

Why I Am Here: My Third Blog Anniversary Post

 

The past year has been one hell of a ride for Twenties Unscripted.
The past year has been one hell of a ride for Twenties Unscripted.

I would leave at lunchtime to go to therapy. The therapist they recommended to me didn’t have evening hours, so every other week I would sneak out under the guise of going to a “doctor’s appointment.”

That was November 2011.

You remember some years because of how lucky you were, and you remember other years because you are just grateful you survived. I’m grateful I survived 2011.

Without 2011, there wouldn’t have been 2012. There would not have been me sitting in an apartment in Texas after attending Blogging While Brown. Shit, there would not have been the courage to even attend Blogging While Brown. There would not have been me deciding to stop blogging on Tumblr and electing to get a real dot com. There would not have been me being so happy that I survived 2011 and finally being ready to bear the untold stories inside of me.

It wasn’t serious back then.

I called my sister on a Sunday afternoon and we kicked around ideas for a tagline. “Sincere” was a no-brainer. “Sassy” came soon after. She conjured up “smart-assy.”  And it was a sincere, sassy and sometimes smart-assy take on growing up that underscored the things I would write, the words I would choose and the path I would take.

But, never ever did I think that path would bring me here.

Here. To a place where I have been called to be a voice and vessel for truth, honesty and courage. Here. To the space of reconciling so many of my past demons and feeling prepared to slay all of the future ones. Here. From blogging on the couch to asking for a desk as a Christmas present to finally getting a home office come September. Here. To a point where I have been blessed to connect with hundreds of women who see their own reflection in my work. Here. To a juncture where I have amassed nearly 600 posts, and plucked the leading ones to curate a book. Here. To a place I did not set out to be, but one that I am so grateful is now my residence.

That path brought me here. And that path brought out the best, bravest and boldest parts of myself.

I used to think revealing a mission statement was corny and short-sighted. But, it is important to verbalize exactly what you have set out to do. Today is the third anniversary of Twenties Unscripted, and I want you to know exactly what I set out to do.

mission statement

Cultivate.

Nurture. Take care of. See something through to its full potential. Leave it better than it was before you came. Not here today, gone tomorrow. Not “let me see what’s trending and write about it.” Not just when I feel inspired or energized. But, take care of it even when I don’t feel like it. Even when it’s past my bedtime. Even when what’s on my mind is not the same as what’s trending. Take care of it, and see it through.

Personal blog.

I’m a personal blogger through and through. I’m not a DIY expert. I don’t have recipies. I can’t tell you the best lipstick or where to shop. I can’t offer you pretty pictures. But, I can offer you myself. My stories. My truth. My battle wounds. My mended heart. My courage. My fallouts. My fuckups. I can offer you words that rise from the pit of my belly.

Community.

Reach up. Reach out. Reach back. Reach to your left, and reach to your right. See, somewhere along the line it got so much bigger than me. It got bigger than my sincere, sassy and sometimes smart-assy take on growing up. It got bigger than venting and whining and screaming. It got bigger than just me. It is bigger than just me. It will now always be bigger than just me.

Spark.

Reading Twenties Unscripted shouldn’t be a passive experience. Twenties Unscripted ain’t for everybody. If you can’t read without accompanying pictures, then you shouldn’t read this blog. You should come here so that something inside of you gets and remains ignited.

Women.

Oh, women. Fragile, complex, beautiful, smart, observant, cerebral, introspective, opinionated and inspired women. I love you. I thank you. I honor you.

The best parts of yourself.

The parts that make you feel good and make you want to dance. The parts that you whip out on first dates and job interviews when you are trying to impress someone. The parts that you know are beyond amazing. Feel those parts of yourself.

The bravest parts of yourself.

Tap into the vulnerability. Pull up the roots of your sordid past. Make your way to center stage to tell the story. Face the fear. Stand close to the edge. Throw your hands up on the roller coaster. Seize the courage that’s been buried underneath what you handcraft for social media. Expose those parts of yourself.

The boldest parts of yourself.

The badass in the leather jacket. The girl who wears the red lipstick. The one who takes no prisoners. The woman who laughs loudly in public. Listen to those parts of yourself.

This year’s post isn’t about collecting quotes or reminiscing on past events. The quotes are all in the book. Just go buy the book. This year’s post isn’t about confetti or balloons. This year is about honoring my call to cultivate a personal blog and online community that spark women to connect with the best, bravest and boldest parts of themselves. This year is about owning that it is bigger than me. This year is about stepping into my purpose. This year is about acknowledging the gravity of what I have been put here to do. This year is about celebrating how good it feels to be here. This year is about understanding that Diane Sawyer quote: “The moment that carries you forward can also mean no turning back.”

Here’s to being carried forward. Here’s to not turning back.

So, thank you. Thank you for being a part of this journey by reading. By reaching out. By emailing. By tweeting. By liking. By sharing. By showing up. By texting. By direct messaging. Thank you for bringing me to a place and moment such as this. Your prayers, support, connection, confidence and understanding have been the bridges that carried me over and carried me forward.

Happy 3rd birthday, Twenties Unscripted.

Xoxo,
Tyece