For My Misses Who Are Feeling Burnt out – How I Re-lit My Hustle

For My Misses Who Are Feeling Burnt out – How I Re-lit My Hustle

 

So I am sitting at my desk listening to the rain fall, watching my cursor blink until my eyes burn. It’s the kind of grey Tuesday that pairs perfectly with the overall blah-ness still hanging over my head from the weekend. Today would be the perfect day to spend in bed, because frankly, ya girl is burnt the fuck out.

Thanks to social media, it’s no secret I’ve been going hard to turn my dreams into a reality. I’ve been putting in work 7 days a week for so long I’ve lost count. Between clocking overtime at my whack-ass 9-5, setting up photoshoots, promoting my new book, and working as a brand ambassador on the weekends, my life has room for very little play right now. Like, VERY little. But, in order to be great sacrifices must be made. . .

I’ve always viewed my ambition or my “hustle” as a good thing to have until about two months ago when I went to LA for the first time. And while I enjoyed my time there, I can still remember standing in the middle of my Air bnb on that first day and just feeling like, “Okay. I’m here. I made it. Now what?” Surely, there should be someone I should be calling or somewhere I had to be by a certain time. I felt uneasy and anxious at first, and it had nothing to do with the fact that I just traveled across the country by myself.

I’d just released book number four the day before I flew out. Technically I was on vacation, and I for damn sure earned it, but there I was feeling guilty about not being productive – even if only for a few days. For the first time in a long time I legit had nothing to do, and I didn’t know how to feel about it. What I will tell you though, is the peace I felt on the rooftop as the wind blew through my curls and the sun bronzed my skin was a feeling I hope to recapture next week. Lord knows I needed that.

Not that there is anything wrong with working hard. I just think it’s important to set limits and be selective. Lucky for me, I came home to more interviews and my very first hosting gig, but my time away taught me that I cannot take every opportunity presented to me – even though the do-it-all in me might want to. In order to keep making progress it is important that I take time for myself and rest. Coming home from LA helped me realize I can still find ways to get things done, and that it is okay to give my body/mind the time it needs to catch up.

For My Misses Who Can’t See Past Their Own Expectations:  Find Your Outlet and Shine

For My Misses Who Can’t See Past Their Own Expectations:  Find Your Outlet and Shine

Hey y’all I know it has been a lil’ minute since your girl checked in but I’m a writer, so you know I stay with a good story!  It is always a struggle to balance my ambitions, and this past month or so has been nothing less than hectic. At times it feels like a bit of an overload to be honest. It’s like I have so much to express I don’t know where to start. Without a proper outlet, I am easily overwhelmed by my own thoughts – which brought me here.

Back in June I had to press pause on my modeling in order to get my fourth book done. My original plan was to wrap up the “Fast Life” series on 7/17/17, with the release of “Paradise & Promises: An End to the Fast Life.” After all, July marked my 10-year anniversary as an author, and I am a pretty big fan of symbolism. However, some unexpected news on the family front clouded my mind with too much emotion to touch upon. As much as it killed me to do so, I had to push the book back by a month.

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Needless to say, I felt janky as fuck because I pride myself on being a woman of my word. If I say I’m going to do it, you better believe it will get done. Not to mention, it is my name on that cover which means when things go wrong, I take the fall. But hey, I still accomplished my goal – even if it was a little later than intended. And although it bothered me not to deliver as promised, I take pride in my work.

With that being said, I am super proud of how this last project came out, and feel confident about the series as a whole!  I had been working so hard for so long on this book, sorting out formatting and cover issues down to the last minute, that when it was finally done and the pressure wore off, I was left to process all these mixed emotions. I was so consumed by my characters and their story that once it was over, I didn’t know what to do with myself.

Now, I won’t lie, there is some relief in knowing I am finally DONE. Another part of me is sad, though, because I have to say goodbye to these characters I’ve grown up with, too. Overall, I am most excited to execute new ideas and continue to grow as a writer. As with any book, I am curious how I will be received now and in the future. It’s still too soon to tell.

All I can really say for sure is that I have been going hard all year, and it seems as if my dreams are finally starting to manifest. I can’t quite describe it. But I can feel it. In the few weeks I took a break from blogging, I have seen and heard so much that I want to share with you guys, like my experience working a NASCAR event as a brand ambassador the weekend of the Charlottesville protests, where I witnessed some young white boys walking around in Confederate flags draped like capes. Then there are the amazing 4 days I spent in LA trying to recoup from it all, but I’ll be sure to touch on those adventures in another post. Just know I am back. I am on fire. And I am hungrier than I’ve ever been.

Who Do You Think You Are?

Who Do You Think You Are?

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs

Alright y’all. I have a confession. I’m at this age where “Who Are You?” is still one of life’s hardest questions for me to answer. Just coming up with the little bit of an “About Me” section for this blog was a struggle, and I barely watered my interests down to a paragraph. So many people brand your twenties as time spent “finding yourself,” so with only two years left I figured it was time to make sense of my past, present, and future. I’ve spent years reflecting on the good, the bad, and the ugly in order to uncover the core traits that make me the sensitive thug I am today lol. And while I was looking for direction, I also knew I needed the courage to follow it. Here’s what I found.

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If I remember correctly, my discovery came about randomly one day while scrolling Facebook (of all places, I know). I came across a link asking me to take a “personality test”, and with time to kill, I figured why not? What could it hurt? And believe it or not, it actually helped. Growing up in a culture dominated by materialism and good looks, it is all the more important that we celebrate our personalities, and to also understand that we are much more than our jobs, titles, or responsibilities to others. We often search for things outside of ourselves because we had yet to realize our own worth and abilities, but unless we know who we are now, we will never become the person we are truly meant to be. It’s actually part of the reason I’ve stayed single so long. Not only did I need to take time to rebuild my career and my self-esteem, I refuse to enter into another relationship until I am sure of who I am and what I want.

So you could only imagine my surprise when I found out that my personality type is classified as ENTJ (extraversion, intuition, thinking, judgment) and that only 2% of the general population think the same way I do. That number is even lower for women at just 1%! After reading through each section detailing my strengths and weaknesses, romantic relationships, friendships, parenthood, career paths, and workplace habits, I gained so much understanding over my life. The accuracy was unbelievable. I mean, it was almost like a psychic typed it.

Not to say I was ever lacking in the personality department because that is certainly not the case. I could identify things I did well or could stand to change for quite a while, but the results from my test helped fill in the “why.” When they pretty much summed up everything I already knew to be true about me in the introduction I knew they were on to something. It was like all of a sudden my whole life made sense. Seriously.

They call me “the commander” and for a reason. I own my strengths like being efficient, charismatic, and inspiring, and have come to learn how this can sometimes overwhelm others. I can also admit that some of my weaknesses are my stubbornness, impatience, and the fact I have a hard time processing mushy emotions, which can sometimes make me come off as cold and ruthless, even to those I love (tried to tell y’all I’m a thug).

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Although I will say the one aspect of my life I questioned the longest up until this point were my friendships. I’ve acquired a lot of “friends” out of circumstance, or better yet, convenience, and would later be left questioning why they never lasted. What the hell was wrong with me? After all I was the common denominator so I had to be doing something wrong. Afterwards I was always left feeling like the disposable friend no one really valued, thus was never afraid to lose. I even went out of my way to befriend new people just because. One of the best decisions I’ve made came at the start of this year when I took the pressure off myself to make friends and put more energy into appreciating those already in my circle. Most importantly, I’ve learned that by surrounding myself with other creatives, I am so much happier. So if you want to discuss some deep shit about goals and the universe then holla at me. But don’t waste my time with gossip and bullshit.

Another big part of my life is my work. I put a lot of pressure on myself to succeed, to the point where other people can see it. Aside from my desire to write full-time, my dissatisfaction from working dead-end jobs also stems from my craving for leadership, responsibility, growth and opportunity. I was pegged as a leader at a young age. My earliest memory of my influence stemmed from my 5th grade teacher Mr. Larson pulling me aside while the rest of the class was at recess, and asking me to set an example for the other students since he felt they would follow me.  I can only hope I’ve done a good job.

Curious about your personality type? All you have to do is go to https://www.16personalities.com, answer the questions and don’t forget to share. And while one test might not have all the answers, it can get you closer to it.

How I Made Rejection My Bitch

How I Made Rejection My Bitch

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Rejection sucks. But I’m sure you don’t need a blog post to tell you that.

Whether you finally got an interview for that great paying job you always wanted, you snagged a big audition you’re praying you land, or you are obsessing over that guy that is just “too busy” to take two seconds out of his life to text/call you back, the sting of rejection is always painful. And I’m speaking from first-hand experience as an author, model, and a woman. Just this past weekend, I was passed over by another major modeling agency (yet again). Over the course of the last three months, I realized the one guy who is always on my mind, clearly never thinks about me. . .

Putting yourself out there can be scary enough, especially when our vulnerability is not padded by a sense of achievement or acceptance. At least not on our timing.  Going for what you want takes a certain level of courage and bravery that may take some time to muster up, so when that risk is not immediately followed by a reward, it easy to see how a sense of failure could take a toll on your confidence. But it doesn’t have to.

When thinking of all the times I’ve been forced to swallow the bitter taste of “not being good enough,” there is one instance that sticks out most in my mind. I was in my early 20’s, and I had been working a dead-end job cashiering at Whole Foods for several years too long. In short, I was miserable waiting on snobby Ann Arborites who could barely be bothered to acknowledge my existence, while at the same, I was dying for the opportunity to write full time.

With my talent, working retail was a special type of torture that seemed to be prolonged by my negotiations with my publisher at the time, Kimani Tru. Per my contract they had first dibs on my next manuscript. Only thing was it took two years of negotiations to tell me they didn’t want it – no exaggeration. I was actually at work when I found out that I’d written a whole new book – like so many had wanted, and all that work, was for nothing. After watching my email like a hawk on a daily basis, it was back to the drawing board. And then, not even five minutes later, I am on my lunch break when I get a call informing me that my agent Mannie Barron, who helped me get my start in the industry, had passed away. It was all so overwhelming. And it all came crashing down on me in a matter of 15 minutes.

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Now, I think most people at this point would have taken this as a sign and left it at that. I could have easily said the author life is not for me and let it go, but my passion for writing would never allow it. It was then I decided to re-write what I had already written, and publish it myself, which was great because it granted me the freedom to create on my own terms. Once I wasn’t trying to fit anyone else’s criteria, I could restructure the story to my liking. However, cutting out the middle man also meant I would have more creative control as well as financial responsibility. I had a lot to learn and it was up to me to teach myself, but I still managed to launch “Love, Lies & Consequences (The Fast Life Sequel)” on my 25th birthday, after a six-year hiatus in an oversaturated industry. Coming back to the game after being gone for so long, and without a major publishing house to back me, let’s just say I had my doubts (lol). Had I listened to them, I wouldn’t be getting ready to launch book number four this summer.

So as much as it hurts, rejection has taught me to be all the more grateful for the opportunity in the first place. And instead of trying to figure out why things didn’t go the way I hoped they would, I simply accepted the outcome. I’ve learned to build off of constructive criticism without critiquing myself as a person and that most of my frustration comes from the fact that I actually do believe in myself and my abilities – not the opposite. Knowing I have what it takes, I figured I could drive myself crazy or I could channel that energy into my success. I could let it stop me or use it as fuel. After all, there is always room for improvement.

Whether it affects my personal or professional life, rejection has taught me there is good to be found in everything – especially new beginnings. So if anything, hearing the word “no” only motivates me to go harder. More promo. More photoshoots. More castings and open calls. My perseverance has no expiration when it comes to things (or people) I really want. I also realized that the more I put my name or face out there the more likely I am to be recognized for my grind later. And in this day and age, you really never know who is watching. In some cases, all it takes is one yes in order to be successful. Just know I’m not going to stop until I get it.