August Already???

Well, shit! I can’t believe it’s already August. Per usual, I’ve been neglecting this place. Honestly, I don’t even know why I still do this. I guess I kind of like having my lil’ space, but this shit is so different now. Like…I miss having an online journal. Like REALLY REALLY miss it. But, at the same time I’m like damn…I can’t be out here doing this shit.

Anyway…

35th Birthday

I haven’t really posted an update since the beginning of June. Nothing new. With the Rona, it seems like all the days are running together. I’m well. The kids are well.

Last month, I turned 35. I took the week off to chill. Went bowling with the kids. Spent a weekend in the country with my parents. Did a little self-care. Got a new therapist. Got my birth control removed. It was everything that I didn’t realize I needed. This new chapter has definitely brought some clarity along with it. I don’t worry as much. I’m not having as much trouble sleeping. I just overall feel better.

There is a lot going on that I still haven’t put into words. It’s coming, though. Promise. Might even be in August.

Lost Files – June 2020

It’s Father’s Day. The kids went to dinner with their dad while I opted for free time. I cried while watching a low budget romance on Netflix. I don’t even remember the name of it. I took the most relaxing bath. Thought about how much I needed time alone during quarantine.

Then there was something in my eye. I tried flushing it with water, but it made it worse. The result? A bloodshot red eye that hurts like hell. Maybe I need a nap, I think to myself. But I’m unable to get comfortable because of my damn eye. Maybe crying will help. What thoughts would make me cry? I settle on what feels like failure.

I’ve never written a blog about this, but I was in love once. Like madly in love. That I’ve found my soulmate type of love. But I messed up. Or rather, I feel like I messed up. But… no one really knows what the path untraveled really had in store for them, right?

Anyway, I loved someone with every part of my being. I still do. But I was afraid of taking a chance. I was afraid of the unknown. So I decided to end it (childishly, might I add). I decided on the safe choice that resulted in a loveless marriage and two beautiful children.

I said on my wedding day that getting married didn’t feel right. You’ll get over it. It’s just jitters. Everyone gets them. But that feeling of dread? It never went away. I wanted to be happy so I pretended for over a decade. But I’m tired.

Thanks to therapy, I can see my faults and admit that I was wrong. That I was selfish. That I broke the heart of a man who I truly believe really loves me, even though my heart is somewhere else.

But the past cannot be undone. Maybe I needed to cry to be able to move on.

Wow, 2020! Really?!

If 2020 was a meme.

If 2020 was a meme, it would definitely be this one. This has been a helluva year, and we are only at the half-way mark. There is so much to unpack, so I figured I’d do a month-by-month breakdown.

January 2020

Y’all remember that time I started a 365 Blogging Challenge? Again…for the umpteenth time? I had soooooo many good intentions for this blog in 2020, but that fell FLAT after 4 damn days. Here’s what happened:

On January 4, I wrote this post about how excited and motivated I was about revamping T. Selena Photography. A few days later, I was called up to HR, where they informed me that I was being placed on probation for not reporting my hobby/side hustle. Apparently, they received an anonymous report that I was doing business, discussed it with Legal, and determined that I needed to report all income regarding this hobby to them. It ended up not being an issue, because I was making less than $500 a year from the hobby. But, the damage was done.

Every ounce of excitement that I felt about doing something positive for ME was stripped away in a matter of seconds.

Not to mention my white coworker with a full-blown photography business did not receive the same treatment, but who am I to throw her under the bus?

Anyway, the month ended with my son (and his entire class) being sick with an unknown illness. Both the kids celebrated their birthdays. Life was great with the exception of Kobe, GiGi, and their friends/family passing.

February 2020

Last December, I applied for the Graduate College at North Carolina A&T. At the beginning of February, I received my acceptance offer, which I immediately accepted. Starting in August, I will officially be a NCAT student, and I am beyond excited!

March – May 2020

ALL THE SHIT HITS THE FAN! COVID-19 forced me into homeschooling and remote work. Once upon a time, I had a dream of being a teacher, but I was promptly reminding of all the reasons I changed my mind. This shit is HARD! And I’m glad it’s summer break.

While I’m grateful to have my job, I’m still struggling to find balance most days. I’ve been struggling with actually leaving home, so I bought some patio furniture. Sitting outside is better than not going out at all, right? A huge shoutout to Animal Crossing for helping me keep my sanity. Y’all don’t even want to know how many hours I put into it.

Present Day

There is so much going on in the world, and none of it is new to my people…BLACK PEOPLE. I’m trying to navigate being Black in this country. Being a Black woman in this country. Being a Black mother to Black children in this country. And it’s hard. I just want to say that I love y’all, Black people. Continue to fight for justice. Continue to educate your children about truths of our past. No justice. No peace.

I will continue to fight to make this a better world for my children, just like the generations before us fought to end segregation. Just like the generations before them fought to end slavery.

-Me

Image Credit: American Son: Netflix

Photography Resurrected – 004/365

T. Selena Photography

I did a thing, and brought back T. Selena Photography.

Since high school, I have been dabbling in photography on and off. Every few years or so, I would start a business, then realize that I prefer it as a hobby. Mostly because owning a business is hard work. I am also super critical of myself… Sometimes I feel like I’m not as good as other photographers. Other times, I struggle with figuring out what to charge. (Which always ends up being way less than my worth, because I don’t want to “hurt people’s pockets.”)

So I quit. Plain and simple. I would still do my annual holiday event and a couple of random sessions if people family asked. But marketing myself and promoting a business? Absolutely not. Problem is… People like my work. During December 2019’s holiday event, I made 3 times more than previous years!

How it all started…

Honestly, I have to give credit to my co-worker. The motivation to bring back the business started with her asking for my website address, which at the time was a holding space for my client galleries. She looked at my work, then proceeded to show it to her family and friends. That turned into asking for my business card and price list (which I didn’t have).

So, the Sunday before New Year’s Day, I woke up determined to get this shit together. I had already created the logos for the annual event. I upgraded my Pixieset account, then spend most of the day researching prices for my area. I updated my portfolio and worked on the website page by page. I created another Facebook page and updated the business’s Instagram. Next week, I’ll be registering the business and applying for my license.

I didn’t make any plans for 2020, but it looks like 2020 has plans for me. I didn’t realize how much I had grown as an individual. Four days into the year, and wow! Who am I?

Relationship Advice To Who? – 003/365

So, today was weird. I did a thing, and gave relationship advice to my ex.

It may not seem like a huge deal, but I never give advice. EVER! Honestly, I think I’m a terrible advice giver, especially when it’s relationship advice. I often struggle with the right words to say, despite having so many different experiences. But, this time felt different.

It all started with a conversation about needing new friends…to which he responded that he needed a girlfriend. I reminded him that he’s a great catch… (Because…why not? We didn’t work out, but that doesn’t mean that he isn’t perfect for someone else, right?)

Then, I proceeded to tell him about the little things that I’ve noticed about him as a person over the years. Things that would definitely ruin any relationship. Things that he may not have noticed about himself. I assured him that there is someone out there who is capable of understanding him.

Basically, I said that we all have natural reactions to relationships. In order to succeed in a relationship, you have recognize and understand your natural reaction. You have to figure out why you react that way, then find a solution. Is it easy? Sometimes no, but therapy is a godsend.

For example: Through therapy, I have learned that my natural reaction is to push people away when I feel like they are too close to capturing my heart. The why traces back to my childhood. As the youngest of six, I often felt forgotten or unloved. I was shy, so I didn’t have many friends. And overall, I really started to like being alone. Therapy has helped me recognize when I’m pushing people away. For me, I start arguments or I just flat out stop talking to you, sometimes going as far as changing my phone number and blocking people on social media. The solution? Yeah…I’m still working on that.

The best advice that I have to give is: If you really want something to work, you have to take the time to understand yourself first. If you don’t get you, then how can you expect someone else to?

Damn, I love therapy, lol.

New Year, New…Never Mind – Day 001/365

Let me start by saying, “Happy New Year!”

A bit of reflection about what I’ve been up to since the last New Year’s Day? I had more [paid] photography gigs; took my first flight to Vegas; graduated; and I started therapy. I ended the year by revamping my photography website to prepare for business in 2020. There are some other things that I have placed in motion, that I hope to be able to share soon. But, that is not the reason for me resurfacing on this blog.

I made a decision…

I woke up this morning, and my first thought was: I need to change my diet. For the last 13 years, I have been struggling with adult acne. I’ve tried so many different routines to try and correct it, but nothing works. The one thing that I have never tried is changing the way that I eat.

I spent the morning researching low and high glycemic foods, as well as foods that can cause or worse acne. I also joined a PoC Skincare group on Facebook to learn more about products that would work best for my skin. The one thing about living in South Carolina is that it is hard to find a Black dermatologist. The products I’ve been prescribed so far by dermatologists don’t work for me at all.

So starting today, no dairy or sugar, and limiting caffeine and meat. It’s also time for my Nexplanon to be removed. I’ll be trying to work out more and drink more water. I also picked up some vitamins, a new face wash, and moisturizer.

So hopefully, I’ll see some improvements within the next couple of months. I just need to be healthier overall, and losing weight in the process would be a win.

2020 is going to be a year of reflecting and changing how I navigate life. I’ll be back soon.

What is happiness?

My therapist asked me this question about happiness two weeks ago, and I have yet to truly answer.

Truth is… I don’t know what happiness is outside of the Merriam-Webster definition. It’s not something that I’ve truly considered. Happiness is something that I’ve thought about, then immediately said to myself that it’s outside of my reach.

  • What is happiness to me?
  • What will I do to change the things in my life?
  • What makes my happiness less important than others?
  • What is my dream?

When I told my therapist that I didn’t know how to answer this question, she responded:

You are the one who has so much going for herself, but you don’t feel empowered by your position.

Dr. Keshia Keith

And it’s so true! I recently told a good friend, that I have been “dumbing” myself down to make others feel comfortable. When I think about my life, I notice a trend of always putting others before myself. I always think about how others will be affected, or how they would feel about me if I said, “Fuck this! I’m going to do something for me!” I have to start putting myself first. It is my nature to encourage others to follow their dreams, but I struggle with following my own. I struggle with opening up and showing the real me. I have so much potential to be great, but I’m choosing to be mediocre. I’m choosing to keep myself down, instead of forcing others to keep up.

With this is mind, I was able to somewhat answer the questions. Here is what I came up with:

What is happiness to me?

Happiness is living! Having breath in my body. Focusing on the good in my life and not the negative. Being positive and giving my all. Not being resentful of those around me, but appreciating their progress and positivity. Celebrating successes. Striving to be the best version of me.

What will I do to change things in my life?

In order to change things in my life, I need to change my way of thinking about life. I have to stop being so negative, and take time to think about my actions. Write more. Set daily affirmations as a remind to find the positive in all things, and think about my feelings.

What makes my happiness less important than others?

In reality, my happiness is not less important than anyone else’s. I am in control of my own happiness. It is not something that I should look for in other people, but something that I should find within myself.

If I cannot create my own happiness, then how can I expect others to make me happy?

What is my dream?

My dream is to have a job that I love. To have a home that I love, and a happy and healthy relationship with someone. To have my children grow up to be successful in life. What is your dream?

Why is it so hard to be a Black woman?

It’s a dreary Sunday. I’m listening to my “In My Feelings” playlist on repeat. It’s a thought that I’ve had often over the last week. Why is it so hard to be a Black woman? Why do I feel as if I have to work 10 times harder than non-POCs, even though I’m better than them? Why doesn’t anyone care about Black women?

Every day that I’m alive, I am constantly reminded that I’m different from everyone else. The more I live, the more I realize that it doesn’t matter how well off my family is, how qualified I am, or how many white friends I have… I’ll never have a fair chance.

As a Black woman, I have been overlooked for jobs because of being overqualified. I’ve seen jobs that I applied for be given to people with no experience. I’ve seen people get promoted faster than me, when I’m the one who taught them everything they know. I deal with this every single day. Then, I have to come home and raise Black children. Children who are afraid of being approached by a police officer, because they are afraid that they will be killed.

As a Black woman, I’ve seen my people get disrespected by law enforcement more times than I’d like to admit. I’ve watched multiple times as their lifeless bodies are left on display in the streets. I’ve spent many nights wondering why no one cares about the thousands of missing Black girls in this country, but can find the body and killer of a white woman [and present a bill in her name] within 48 hours. The only thought that comes to mind is why is no one bothering to protect us? Black women are constantly on the forefront of standing up for our people, but no one stands up for us.

I’m tired. It’s sad that Malcolm X’s words still ring true decades later.

The most disrespected person in America is the Black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the Black woman. The most neglected person in America is the Black woman.

– Malcolm X

Am I The Only One Without A Resolution???

Seriously! I can’t be!

Life has been… A lot of things. I think this may be the first time I’ve entered a new year without a clear vision for my life.

I haven’t been taking photographs. I haven’t blogged. I haven’t planned or updated my social media accounts. I’ve just been…existing, and I love it!

2018 was interesting. New house. New job. New certifications. Even closer to my Bachelor’s degree! The kids are growing well, and doing well in school. I was more financially stable. I, honestly, have zero regrets.

2019 is starting with a new business venture. I’ll be graduating in less than 6 months with my first degree (16 years in the making). I’ll have a 9 year old and a 6 year old. And I’m thriving in my new job.

I feel so blessed to be alive. Finally growing into my own person, and not a shell of who I’m expected to be. It feels amazing to live for ME!

I wish you all the best in 2019. I may be around to blog, I may not be. I am kinda enjoying my life without being a constant oversharer.

A Semi-Annual Update

Okay, so not really “semi-annual”, but I’m here!

It’s kind of hard to believe that my last real post was in January… Life has been…going, since then. Here is a brief rundown of my year so far:

Work

I ended up getting a promotion at TD. As of August, I have moved on to a different company. I am absolutely in love with the culture there! I’m back to an entry level position, but it pays way more, and I can breathe!

School

I am 8 classes away from graduating! My coursework is so overwhelming, but thank goodness for friends who push me to be better.

Home

The kids are well! They are growing up so fast! I’m still in a place with J… I honestly don’t know where that is going to end up. But… We’re here.

We moved to a bigger apartment, which reminds me so much of our old home before we came to Columbia.

Life

Because of the move, we didn’t get to go to Jamaica this year. We took the kids to the Georgia Aquarium for their birthdays. We went to the World of Coca-Cola for my birthday. Ivy had her first beach experience at Folly Beach. We went back to Atlanta for the 2nd Annual BWWPC Conference.

Planning

I left the B6 life and spent some time in an Erin Condren Hourly. I’m ending my year in pocket rings, which is close to where I started in the planning world. I’m participating in Super Wild 30, which starts tomorrow! It will be focusing on decluttering, lettering, creative journaling, and budgeting.

That sums up my year so far. I’ve been flying under the radar, just trying to work on me.