For Brown Girls With Sharp Edges and Stories to Tell

Photo by Christian Fregnan on Unsplash

The world will continue to shout that you should be softer. You’re not quite sure when you began to hear this demand, but somewhere along the line you did, and it started soaking up space at the pit of your stomach. Somewhere along the line someone told you that you needed to dull your edges if you ever stood a chance of being loved and understood.

For a brief moment, you believed them. You wanted so desperately  to be adored, particularly by black men. You wanted to be a woman who felt warm and inviting, someone a man would be more inclined to stroll over toward during a balmy evening at a rooftop bar. So you worked hard to shrink yourself. Temper your confidence. Tone down your strength. There you were, a shell of the woman God created you to be, trying to shatter this angry black woman stereotype that you never birthed in the first place.

Yes, the world will continue to shout that you should be softer. It is an echo that will reverberate in the back of your ear for the rest of your life. On conference calls. In boardrooms. In bedrooms. On first dates.

Measure your tone. Speak slowly. Sprinkle some sugar on your words. It is an unwritten decree that will find its way into many conversations, both solicited and unsolicited.

But then you will remember sitting in the back of an Uber one night and asking a man–a man who you fought hard for and lost big for–what he thought of you. And the first thing he’ll say is “You say what you mean and you mean what you say.” It will become one of the highest compliments you’ve ever received, and you’ll never care to be called beautiful again. You’ll want to be known, and loved, for saying what you mean and meaning what you say.

The world has decided that women without sharp edges are easier to consume. And it seems like sometimes that’s all this world wants to do –absorb you without ever getting to know you. Devour you. Digest you. Make a meal out of your brown skin and beautiful eyes. But if you are sharp and if you have stories and if you speak with the conviction of a firm-and-brimstone preacher, then the world can’t eat you up so fast. It can’t figure you out. It can’t just suck you up and sit satiated while you dissolve at the bottom of its belly.

You were not handcrafted by heaven to be soft. You were not designed simply to be consumed. You are not here to live a miniature sort of life or assuage the insecurities growing like wildflowers inside of others.

Shout. Be loud. Stay tough. Take up the space. Allow the walls to crumble for the people who are worth letting in. Protect yourself when you need to. Dismantle your fear when you should. Let your energy rearrange the room and let your laugh suck up all the air.

Your sharp edges do not preclude you from being fragile. They do not mean that you aren’t sensitive or complex or affected by the way tides turn. Your sharp edges simply mean that you stopped being afraid of your own strength a long time ago. You quit apologizing for your sunlight. You decided to claim more space.

Not everyone believes in just eating you alive. Know that and believe it. Keep it somewhere in your back pocket for a winter’s night when it feels like love always proves to be a losing game. Some people will dare to peel back your layers and savor you one story, scar, and sharp edge at a time.

Xoxo,
Tyece

Dimensions of Black Womanhood: The Visionary and The Powerhouse

You don’t make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas.–Shirley Chisholm

Tyece: The Visionary

Photo credit: @jazzthenoise
Photo credit: @jazzthenoise

The summer of 2011 tasted like cough syrup caked at the bottom of a Cabernet bottle. Sour. Bitter. Unwelcome. One bad surprise after another, the kind my mother insists make your left eye twitch. Except these weren’t just surprises, they were grenades. And bad wouldn’t describe them, but harrowing and hellish would. That summer sprinkled cyanide into my sweet glass of burgeoning adulthood and summoned me to take a sip.

I should have died. But it would be unfair to say I wanted to. If you ever want to die, I imagine you must feel something, if nothing more than the pitch black desire to leave this planet. Instead, I went numb. My mind went blank. There are whole months I do not remember. I took a passenger seat in my own existence and let the devil on my shoulder drive me straight into oblivion. We cruised through fog for hours. I fell into a hard sleep. Didn’t wake up until 2012.

Read more of my story here.


 

Jamé: The Powerhouse

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6 a.m.: I’m up, reading the eight plus news outlets I’m subscribed to, catching up on what’s been going on in the world. I eventually fall back asleep.

9:30 a.m. I’m back up, this time looking to make sure all is well on TheBlondeMisfit, checking for the one millionth time on grammar, punctuation, and social media handles.

1:30 a.m. The day has passed, and amidst busy schedules, many posts, and countless time spent on various projects, I’m forcing myself to go to sleep.

Somewhere in between 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 a.m. the next day, I am an artist, spoken word poet, lyricist, singer, dancer, actress, musician, journalist, blogger, stylist, and social commentator. The friend who blurts out a creative idea while drunk and realizes the next morning it might actually be brilliant. The hard working student who everybody tries to get on their group project, because they know no matter how much or little they do, it’s going to be a great project.

Read more of Jamé’s story here.

Dimensions of Black Womanhood: The Powerhouse

 

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Photo credit: @jazzthenoise

By: Jamé Jackson

6 a.m.: I’m up, reading the eight plus news outlets I’m subscribed to, catching up on what’s been going on in the world. I eventually fall back asleep.

9:30 a.m. I’m back up, this time looking to make sure all is well on TheBlondeMisfit, checking for the one millionth time on grammar, punctuation, and social media handles.

1:30 a.m. The day has passed, and amidst busy schedules, many posts, and countless time spent on various projects, I’m forcing myself to go to sleep.

Somewhere in between 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 a.m. the next day, I am an artist, spoken word poet, lyricist, singer, dancer, actress, musician, journalist, blogger, stylist, and social commentator. The friend who blurts out a creative idea while drunk and realizes the next morning it might actually be brilliant. The hard working student who everybody tries to get on their group project, because they know no matter how much or little they do, it’s going to be a great project. I am the Type A friend you have whose anal, not in the extremely annoying way, but in the If-It-Has-My-Name-On-It-It-Needs-To-Look-Amazing type of way. The nicer version of Miranda Priestly and the passionate one who will cry every time she makes any step in the right direction because she remembers the hard work she’s put in. I am the girl who loves Pinterest for ideas but hates posting on Instagram because of lighting.

Powerhouses are not just CEOs from the corporate business sector. We are the women who somehow do a million and one things without breaking a sweat. We seamlessly blend all of our gifts, talents, and necessities together and manage to work hard to get what we need and want. We look fabulous doing it. Yet, behind the cool images, awesome clothes, and seeming facade, let me tell you this: It is literally crippling.

Looking back, I don’t think I ever had a choice of not being a woman who wanted to tackle the world. As a child, I saw my mom somehow work for the government, go to grad school, and support me in literally EVERY SINGLE THING I was in at school. She was a strong Black woman. As are her sisters. As is her mother. As is her grandmother. I didn’t have the option to be anything BUT strong.

Photo credit: @jazzthenoise
Photo credit: @jazzthenoise

Life, however, can quickly remind you that you still need help. You still need to cry, and you still need to step back from trying to tackle the world before it tackles you. While everything appeared fantastic, I found the things that used to bring me joy were only bringing me pain as my stress levels continued to escalate. I tried to hold the entire world up on my shoulders. Be the perfect student, friend, daughter, girlfriend, Black woman who doesn’t cry (according to society), activist, and still be the life of the party. Pretty much, I was suffering from the ‘Superwoman’ complex, the blessing and curse bestowed on us Powerhouse women. Us Black women.

For years, I always felt I had to over perform to excel. That projects had to touch the sky or everything that I did had to go over and above. While people were patting me on the back, I was dying inside trying to remain the strong and perfect ‘Powerhouse’ image, not allowing anyone to see I was literally bursting at my own seams. Until one day, when amidst shooting pains in my chest and migraine headaches that would last days, I was diagnosed with depression. WHAT? Powerhouses don’t break; Powerhouses can stand up against anything. It was in that moment that I had to step back and realize that I was good enough. I had to make lifestyle changes to avoid a life of pain and self-sabotage from my constant need to perform and do well.

So today? I am still the Powerhouse, A-1 player you want on any team. However, I use down time to rest. I practice yoga and meditation. I learned how to say ‘no’ when things either didn’t appease me or they felt like an inconvenience to my life and what I wanted. I learned and am learning every day that things don’t have to be perfect to be perfect, and that making mistakes sometimes is the only indication to remind yourself you are still simply human. Do I still have my days I find myself pushing myself too hard? Of course. But I have so many Netflix & Chill nights alone, where I can just unwind and enjoy the time I have to myself.

Realize that a Powerhouse is only a Powerhouse when she learns that before she saves the world, she must save herself. She must treat her life like the greatest project she will ever tackle and understand that she is no good to anyone else if she is not first good to herself. Realize it takes a lot to look this good, and if sometimes you have to rip the layer off and expose the wounds to breathe a little, do it. Powerhouses are not impenetrable. We are transparent in our journeys of how we get to where we want to go- and no matter how easy or painful- proud of the process that makes us more beautiful every day.

Jamé Jackson is a native Washingtonian and recent graduate of Howard University, where she received two Bachelor of Arts’ degrees in English and Classics with an emphasis in Greek literature.In July 2015, Jame’ officially pioneered TheBlondeMisfit.com, an online, inspiring destination for young, Misfit-thinking women. A self-taught fashion photojournalist, Jamé has been published in Elite Daily, Gritstyle and several other publications. 

Dimensions of Black Womanhood Pt. I | The Revolutionary and The Rebel

“I write for those women who do not speak, for those who do not have a voice because they were so terrified, because we are taught to respect fear more than ourselves. We’ve been taught that silence would save us, but it won’t.”– Audre Lorde

Roconia | The Revolutionary

photo credit: @jazzthenoise
photo credit: @jazzthenoise

There’s nothing revolutionary about making a cup of tea. Unless, of course, the tea is your own.

I stirred my cup of tea and started a typhoon.

Step 1: Fill a kettle with fresh, cold water and bring to a boil. 

You never forget the moment the music stops. When life stops being a party and you stop being a princess. You never forget the moment you’re dropped from the clouds of exemption into a pile of real life shit. At that very moment, you begin to cherish every move of your last naïve dance.

Read more from Roconia here.


Denni: The Rebel

Denni_03
photo credit: @jazzthenoise

noun: rebel; plural noun: rebels

a person who resists authority, control, or convention.

nonconformist, dissenter, dissident, iconoclast, maverick

Being a rebel—for any reason or cause—is not easy. It’s often a lonely existence. It’s easier to just “go with the flow” on everything. To not challenge. To not ask questions.

For me, fortunately and unfortunately, taking the “easy road” has never been an option. Even when I try to sit quietly while listening to or seeing a micro or macro injustice, my true self—my intuition, spirit, the voice in my head—shouts at me and says “Rise up!”

Read more from Denni here.

The Woman Who Builds The World With Her Own Two Hands

the woman who builds

Author’s Note: Today is my last post until Wednesday, Sept. 9. After an amazing and intense summer of publishing and promoting my first book, I’m taking a breather to regroup for autumn and move into a new place that will be complete with a HOME OFFICE. Yassss. Plus, you know when I go away, I always come back with surprises and announcements. Get ready for another amazing season together. Until then, xoxo and enjoy the last unofficial days of your summer. 

I write for the woman whose heart is inked by lovers past and whose lips are stained from red wine. The woman who feels every emotion in some deep burgundy. Or blinding sapphire. Or neon pink. I write for the woman who does not ever teeter in the middle, but gallops across the bridge with gusto and gall.

I write for the woman who ran out of fucks to give because she traded them in for one shot at the chance to let her true self blast from that bubble at the bottom of her soul.

I write for the woman who knows he still has one fragment of her heart, that jagged and distorted fragment of her heart. I write for the woman who sometimes stares into a pit of nostalgia and wonders what happened or what’s next. I write for the woman whose longing for love swallows her whole, but whose hope keeps her alive. I write for the woman who is not easy to love because she is a burst of fractured and blinding light. I write for the woman whose embers burn the kind of men only accustomed to fighting someone’s fire and saving someone’s day.

I write for the woman who is a web of complexities and a pile of contradictions.

I write for the woman who lives out loud, but works in silence. The woman whose dreams have the power to shake the ground, move mountains and split the Earth at its seams. I write for the woman who revolts, rebels and rages against the machine.

I write for the woman who chooses a Barnes and Noble gift card over a Mac one. The woman whose feet have gone without a pedicure all summer. The woman with a pile of clothes that still need to go to the dry cleaner. I write for the woman who gets lost in the stationery aisle and spends too much money on notebooks and pens. I write for the woman who is madly, deeply and drunkenly in love with creativity.

I write for the woman who owns her shit. I write for the woman who faces her demons head on and peels back the scabs so she can see the true scars. I write for the woman who came undone and knew she would never walk away unscathed. I write for the woman who cried at 1:45 a.m. in the middle of the floor and shouted to a God she didn’t know she could believe in. I write for the woman who built a shrine from her broken bits and made that place her home.

I write for the woman whose greatest currency is her mind. Her spirit. That fractured light. I write for the woman who doesn’t care if her eyebrows are on fleek or her face is beat. I write for the woman who doesn’t want to be seen, but begs to be heard.

I write for the woman who is a force to be reckoned with. I write for the woman who has let the story inside of her escape so that it can set the world ablaze. I write for the woman who sometimes dreams so immensely and intensely that it scares her. The woman who draws people in with that certain je ne sais quoi. I write for the woman whose energy sends rays through a room without her ever saying a word.

I write for the woman strapped with words and armed with metaphors. I write for the woman who knows anything she says could build people up or blow them away.

See, I don’t care if the woman is a single mother in south Bronx or a starving artist in South Carolina. I don’t care if her mother is white and her daddy is black. So, when you ask me who my target audience is, I will tell you I write for the woman who challenges convention and builds the world with her own two hands. The woman who loved, lost and tried again. The woman who is a warrior on behalf of her dreams. The woman who laughs that loud laugh and cries that ugly cry. The woman who craves authenticity in a world that eats facades. The woman who is finishing this read with a heart inked by lovers past and lips stained from red wine.

Xoxo,
Tyece