I Still Think Of You.

It was around this time last year, just as summer began to sunset, that you and I started to make waves. First they were tiny, soon they were tidal, and now I don’t know if there will ever be another August when I don’t think about you.

It’s not lost on me that the level to which you still puncture my thoughts is completely incongruent with the amount of time we spent together. But, that is how the human heart works. It clings to the memories of the last connection that made her feel like she was on fire, even months after the embers have stopped burning. So, I decided long ago to forgive my heart for how she beats. She is her own creature. Her own temple. Her own jungle. I can only watch lovingly as she pumps bright red blood.

I still think of you when I notice the bold print of a man’s socks and remember how you always wore your loafers without them, even in the dead of winter. I think of you anytime I’m at Marvin, the first stop on our six-hour U street date. I think of you when I see orange. Or when I hear “We lit.” Or when someone recommends a restaurant in Old Town.

I still think of you sometimes first thing in the morning. Before I know what day it is. Before I munch on breakfast. Before I scroll social media. Before my feet hit the floor. These are the broad and big picture musings where I wonder how you’re doing or where you’ve been living or if you’re happy with the way things have been.

I still think of you when I hear PnB Rock’s Selfish or Third Eye Blind’s Never Let You Go.

I still think of you when I arrive at the notes section of my phone to jot down a grocery list or capture a blog post idea. I think of the way that notes section was once a treasure trove of messages we sent to each other after we hung out. Every single time. I think of you when I glance at the bookshelf in my living room and my eyes catch the spine of the book you created, a collection of all the notes we ever shared. Dispatches from one heart to another.

I still think of you when I slip on my favorite black dress and remember the last time we saw each other, just as spring gave way to summer. I think of the subtext, sultriness and sadness you tasted on my skin that night. Each of those pieces fused until the sun came up and everything lost its color again.

I still think of you in moments such as these when I summon the audacity to tell the Internet my half-baked love stories and uncover my emotional wounds. I think of the bevy of strangers who will read this. I think of their eyes scanning this story and their minds drawing conclusions. I think of the way an essay like this can feel like a shout in the void or a shot in the dark or the shrill of a woman who is lost at sea.

And then, once more, I think of you.

Xoxo,
Tyece

When You’re Tired Of Who You’ve Been [By Ashley Coleman]

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.

Next up is Ashley Coleman.

Ashley is the mover and shaker. Whether she’s penning books, hosting workshops or standing at the helm of Permission to Write, her boundless energy never ceases to amaze me. It’s no surprise that she was the first person to send her guest post in for this series! But, aside from her unwavering discipline, Ashley intimately understands the DNA of her dreams. She is unafraid to take risks, innovate, improvise and do what’s necessary to translate her aspirations into action. I’m beyond inspired by her hustle, and I’m grateful for all the ways she roots for me and encourages me to push forward. I hope you enjoy her piece “When You’re Tired Of Who You’ve Been.”


It’s getting harder to remember who I was in my twenties. The things that I did, the jobs that I worked, the people I was around are all vivid. But the mindset evades me.

I think I’ve become so enveloped in who I want to be that the memories of who I was seem to be fading. All things become new right? But I try. I try to pull her up. I try to look back through those eyes. The girl who spewed anti-religious rhetoric before she knew who God was for real. The one who wasn’t sure she would ever love anyone the way she loved him. The budding songwriter. She’s peculiar to me now.

I see my higher self. Almost like she’s trapped and if I keep banging hard enough eventually the glass will shatter. I have laid myself on the altar because trying to do it all on my own has just left me tired and frustrated. I am learning the depth of what it means to be easy. Of what it means to be scarily focused yet extremely flexible all at the same time. I am learning what it means to have peace. Real, from the inside peace that is not easily shaken by outside stimuli.

I don’t want to be who I’ve been.

Ambitious yet doubting in my spirit because it’s just not moving fast enough. Wanting more money to have options but being afraid of who that makes me. Being grateful but wanting more. Wanting to send the card on time and be thoughtful, but constantly missing the mark.

The constant warring is unhealthy and to take a note from Nayyirah Waheed, “all the women in me are tired.”

I read the other day in the Bible that I am light and that a house built on a hill can’t be hidden. But can I be honest and say that sometimes I do feel hidden? Sometimes I feel like there is this huge life on the inside of me that for some reason just can’t get out. Recently, I have felt like I am in the way. Like I am the obstacle and the barrier for that life to escape and if I just could move. If I could just change and it’s both encouraging and maddening all at the same time.

See, because if it’s just me that’s in the way, that’s the one thing that I can control. But there is a pruning that needs to take place. A refinement. I need to be ushered into my best and highest self, which is no easy feat.

So much of this life has been about chasing things. About materialism and achievements and accolades. But in this space, I realize how much of my life needs to be about chasing me. Making the best decisions for myself, believing in myself, letting go of the nagging voices that just try to tell me I’m not good enough. Or that make me take for granted all that I do have, all that I am.

There is no more time to play small. There is no more time to simply react to life instead of setting the tone. This is your life, what will you do with it, Ashley? This is what I have asked myself on multiple occasions.

I can’t afford to wait for the tide to turn, I’m turning it.

I don’t want to exist in a life that feels stuck and unresolved and full of maybe ifs. I don’t want to exist in a life where I am plagued by the memories of good times instead of creating new ones. I will live assured, fulfilled, and with unmatched confidence.

The reality is I am not who I’ve been. Who I was would not even be able to see this clearly. I’m wedged in between who I was and the woman that I want to be, and I see her so clearly. I am the bud on the brink of blooming.

“I’m in charge,” to be read like Taryn Manning in Hustle & Flow. I am in charge of the transformation. I am at the helm of the ship. My thinking, my mind. That’s where it starts. The steering. Our lives will go in the direction of our thoughts. What have you been thinking?

I know for me, it has not been that I am fully capable and worthy of every great thing. But it is changing. It is morphing. It is transforming.

The girl in my twenties, I am okay with letting her go and realizing that the journey I am on may leave me unrecognizable on the other side.

Ashley Coleman is a writer and entrepreneur based in Philadelphia. The cultivator of the online space WriteLaughDream.com, she writes about life, love, and pursuing goals as a writer. She splits her work between helping other writers develop their voice and writing habits through one-on-one sessions, courses, and workshops and her own work in books like “Dear Love” and “Love on Purpose.” Ashley has been a guest lecturer at Temple University and a guest speaker at Blogalicious 8 in Atlanta. Her work has been published in GRAMMY.com, Essence.com, JUMP Magazine and more. 

Reflection [by GG Renee Hill]

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.

Some Days

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

Growth You Can’t See, Height You Can’t Measure

growth-you-cant-see

There is not a yardstick for this.

There are not rulers or scales or levers to measure the woman I’ve become. I can’t assess her according to numbers, can’t spit her out on the other side of an equation, can’t plot her on a graph where x marks the spot. I would be doing the woman I’ve become a disservice if I crammed her into the box of digits we so often and mistakenly appraise people by: salaries or weight or age or likes or karats.

All I know is that things are different now. Something is different now. The woman I am is different now.

Maybe I became this woman sometime in early spring, donning a flower crown and shedding inhibitions while drinking smuggled-in whiskey at a music festival. Or maybe I became her one balmy summer night on U street, flirting with a man who was once a much-needed jolt of electricity and now resides in the archive of my other fond memories. Maybe I became her some time in autumn when I gave my heart permission to grow five inches wider and let someone in. Maybe I became her sometime right before winter when I gathered all of the courage in my body and said goodbye.

Or maybe I became this woman during the more motionless moments–on the Sundays I sat with my cat folded next to me; on the weeknights when I lied on the couch contemplating all of the things that could be next; in the hours when I welcomed silence as an answer and not a threat; in the minutes when I chose to bid farewell to the things and people and feelings that no longer served me.

Or maybe I have always been this woman, this web of complexities, this yin and yang of free-spirited and committed, creative and corporate, spontaneous and forward-thinking, lost and somehow still found. Maybe this woman has always brewed beneath the surface and I spent too many years foolishly trying to measure her by arbitrary markers, force fitting her into the box of digits. Maybe this year I finally just let her be and live and dance and twist and shout.

Maybe she is better off that way.

So, at a time of the year when many people’s declarations tingle with the hope of everything they want to leave behind in the year ahead, I want to take the woman who always brewed beneath the surface with me. I am bringing her moxie and her newfound comfort with not always knowing what’s next. I am bringing her resolve and her familiarity with letting go. I am bringing her unpainted fingernails, her beloved neon pink sweater with the hole in it, and her inability to keep flowers alive. I am bringing her yin just as much as I am bringing her yang. I am bringing her heart, one that I know will expand again whenever the time is right and the person on the other end is ready for a heavyweight kind of love. I am bringing her spring and her summer, her autumn and her winter. I am bringing all of her seasons and all of the tides that turned within them.

I am bringing this woman I’ve become with me. She is my greatest compass for wherever the road weaves and however the wind blows. And when I survey this woman, I will know that there is not a yardstick or a scale or ruler on this planet that can measure her coming of age. Evolution is simply not a numbers game.

So if I could offer you anything in my last post of the year, among the chorus of feel-goodness you’ll consume in the coming days, maybe it’s this: a wish that we’ll put the measuring tape down in 2017. It’s a yearning that we won’t wedge the many ways in which we blossom into that box of digits that don’t matter. Instead, let the seasons come and let the tides turn. Let the moments bloom and let the mountains crumble. Let the messes spill and let the waves crash. Let the life happen and let the words follow. Be and live and dance and twist and shout. Grow in the directions not everyone can see. Stand tall in the ways that simply can’t be measured.

Xoxo,
Tyece