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

 

The Male Think Tank Discusses What Makes A Strong Woman

The Twenties Unscripted Male Think Tank is a select group of men (aka my friends) who anonymously provide their thoughts on select topics once a month on the blog. They each have a designated number to identify them in posts. 

Today, they were asked to respond to one question–what makes a strong woman?

Guy #5

My perspective on this question comes directly from my upbringing. From my single mom, to my hard-working aunts, and my do-it-all grandmother, I’ve been surrounded by “strong women”. Therefore, it seems only natural to me that’s what I’m drawn to.

marc quotePut simply, a strong woman gets shit done. For her family, friends, and even coworkers. She is someone you can confidently rely on without any fear of a letdown. She is stoic when necessary, but also has no issues displaying emotions in a rational way if need be. Her belief system is her backbone, and she will not waver from it; though she can adjust if need be.

A strong woman doesn’t need a man to make her feel complete. She also won’t emasculate her own when in a relationship. Her loyalty and caring nature will make him feel secure, while her independence will let him know she has the willpower to leave if and when she sees fit. Her strength empowers him, and makes their combined fortitude almost impervious to any external forces.

A strong woman is a leader, a companion, and a catalyst for success. Whats not to love about that?


Guy #6 

A strong woman to me is supportive. Also steering away from the independent mindset, and being more interdependent. We need each other. We’re a unit. So many women are hell bent on proving that they don’t need is, and it’s like baby I know, but knowing that you’ve been doing for yourself makes me want to do more for you. I just want you to know I’m here for you. 


 Guy #1

You, know…I really don’t know what makes a “strong” woman now that you ask me. Who am I to say what qualifies someone as a strong or weak person? My idea of those things is pretty fickle, so like you said, I’ll just rattle off what comes to mind. When I think of what makes a strong woman, I think of what makes up my sister. Now I know that people worship celebrities and laud all kinds of great adjectives on them (*cough* Beyonce, *cough* Rihanna), but I see my sister’s strength surpassing theirs. It’s not just because she’s my sister, but it’s because she’s the strongest person that I know.

My sister has dealt with countless setbacks and obstacles that she has had no control over in osi quotelife, but you would never know unless she told you. My sister doesn’t hang her head, ever, and doesn’t break down. Yes, she may get frustrated at times, but there is no quit in her. Yes, she’s a little rough around the edges, but she fiercely defends what’s hers. She’s no pushover, and she doesn’t compromise her morals, but she isn’t a raging bitch either (until you get her mad). I respect my older sister, because I wouldn’t be able to take on as much as she does and keep a positive attitude. She doesn’t crack, and she continues to smile.  I’ve always called my sister “the family gate keeper” because she’s a protector; a lovely protector of what is hers…I guess that to me makes a strong woman.


 Guy #2

When I think of the term “strong woman”, what I like to do is just take off the “woman” part and replace it with “person”.  I personally don’t think the characteristics that make someone “strong” should separate by gender.  Anyone who is “strong’ is someone who can persevere through the tough times, can learn from their mistakes, has the resolve to stand for what they believe in and not care what others think about them, and can learn from their history vs. dwell in it.

This is true for both men and women.  Now, you can state that there certain issues that affect only women (slut shaming & abortion for example).  But EVERYONE faces their own unique challenges.  It could be your race, your gender, your age, your sexuality.

Bottom line, if people can get past the “woman” part, and just focus on “people” instead, we can better realize we’re all facing similar challenges.


 Guy #4

The greatest quality in a strong woman is the ability to provide peace of mind. This is a quality that everyone should have, but I think it is more important for women because of all the negative stereotypes put against them. Women can be seen as crazy, sporadic, spontaneous, and a host of other wild adjectives that can make anybody worry about interacting with them and developing relationships with them. Even if a woman does have those qualities, and I know many that do, she has to be able to have them and not be able to damage herself and other around her. A woman being able to provide the peace of mind that she isn’t about to cuss you out, stab you while you sleep, or any general bug outs, is a really important quality in a strong woman. And if she can do that, she is probably focused on more important things, like her career, her health, etc. Peace of mind is where it’s at.


 Guy #7 (New guy!)

A strong woman’s strength is far more than physical.

A strong woman has firm opinions and fights for what she believes. A strong woman has valor in her voice.  A strong woman is educated, passionate and poised. A strong woman is witty.

garrett quoteA strong woman’s eyes glow with enthusiasm and determination. She takes risks. She doesn’t back down and never loses hope.  A strong woman’s work is never done and is never simply good enough.

She supports her loved ones and knows they’ll support her in the rare instances a strong woman feels fragile.

She is someone I want on my side. Someone I admire.  She is inspirational and pushes others to do more than they thought possible.

Simply put: A strong woman can make a man weak in the knees.

Xoxo,

Tyece & The Male Think Tank

 

 

 

 

 

Ban Bossy And My Issue With Sheryl Sandberg’s Neatly Packaged Brand Of Feminism

“Have you heard about this Ban Bossy campaign?” my coworker asked me last week.

“Yeah, I think I’ve seen something about it on Twitter,” I replied.

“Yeah, I kind of like it,” she said.

I decided to investigate more on the topic because streams of Twitter dribble are hardly ever enough to fully learn about something, contrary to what some of my generation believes.

When I Googled “ban bossy,” the first search result took me to www.banbossy.com and my initial thought was “Oh, Sheryl Sandberg is behind this.” The website’s template was enough to give it away, not to mention the pledge calling people to action to #banbossy. And, if that were not enough, the “Lean In” text in the top right hand corner was a pretty obvious clue.

I don’t think you can critique something without first assessing it. Hell, sometimes you first blindly admire it. That’s how it was for me and “Lean In.” I have no problem admitting that when Sandberg’s “Lean In” dropped last year, I preordered it, devoured it on a flight and then mentioned it in many conversations after. I even considered starting a “Lean In” circle before my common sense kicked in and I realized that should never, ever be a “thing.” Let’s be serious.

photoI remember talking to another coworker of mine about the book and she said she had read some chapters but as a working mother, found most of it unrelatable. It’s a common criticism of the book. For many women, it feels discouraging at best and belittling at worst when Sandberg sits from her perch at the Golden Gates of Facebook and instructs women to rise to the top professionally, be amazing mothers and also wonderful spouses. I’m in corporate America every day. I know that the demands of the environment often times pull women in opposite directions and they don’t always feel like they can be successful in both arenas, professional and personal. I doubt I’m just speaking for myself in that case. It is simply the nature of the beast.

But, back to Ban Bossy. I’m not going to just aimlessly throw eggs at the campaign. I see what Sandberg is doing and, on some level, I respect it. I appreciate the statistics about the confidence of girls relative to that of boys dipping as early as elementary school. I I love Beyoncé’s “I’m not bossy; I’m the boss” line in the video. I find the photos of the excited little girls on the website to be extremely endearing. I just wonder how much any of it will advance our male-dominated culture. I worry how much any of it will really help. I am not saying this is not a valiant start. I just know all too well how much no amount of it will shield excited little girls who grow into powerful grown women from the criticism and bigotry. How it’s going to be so much harder to eradicate the stigma that comes along with being assertive while also just happening to have a pair of breasts.

By, the time you’re even the ripe age of 24, you learn that “bossy” is no longer the choice word if you’re an assertive and straightforward woman; instead, the choice word is “bitch.” Awhile ago, I started a poem by saying, “One time a man called me an unhappy bitch. This is for him.” Pretty sure I said the word “bitch” at least 30 times in that poem. Pretty sure my mom, who sat in the audience at that show, wasn’t too thrilled. Love you, mom.

I say that to say that feminism and what comes along with being a strong, no-nonsense woman is not something that can be neatly packaged. You can’t package the times that people roll their eyes at you or do not even know how to respond. You can’t package the moments when people say you are being “extra” or you are “doing the most” because you simply have an opinion. You can’t package the points where your friends joke “Yeah, you are an asshole” because you have high standards for your work, your friendships, your men and pretty much everything else in your life except for your wine. You can’t package the junctures where mere strangers tell you that you are too ambitious just because you are in relentless pursuit of your dreams. You simply can’t package that.

Some of this strong woman stuff is messy. And, half the time, you don’t become a strong woman just because people patted your cute little head along the way. You become a strong woman because you toured the trenches and teetered on tightropes. You become a strong woman because people and life tested you more than enough. You become a strong woman because a stranger called you “bitch” or a man on a street scoffed and said “What, you think you’re too good for me?” when you opted to walk past them on a stoop. “Strong” followed by “woman” is not an adjective and a noun that are easily paired together. Nor should they be. There are a lot of adjectives they use to describe us; but when they use strong, it means that we are about our shit. And, this world still has not learned how to fully embrace women who are about their shit. So, this is not cute. This is not easy. This is not fun. This is about trial by fire. This is not a neat package at all. At least not my brand of feminism.

Xoxo,

Tyece