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.

What the Price of Instant Gratification Could Cost You

What the Price of Instant Gratification Could Cost You

I want what I want and I want it now! Sounds familiar right?

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Waiting is hard, especially when we live in a culture that has been re-designed to fulfill our desires at the push of a button. But in the end, what are our wants really worth when we don’t work for them? And is instant gratification really a bad thing?

I don’t remember where I was or what I was doing, but I could sense this need for instant gratification slowly seeping into every aspect of my life, and not just online. Perhaps you have yet to notice, but the evidence of short-term satisfaction is everywhere you look. From the way we shop down to the way we love one another, the beauty of social media is the ability to exchange ideas and opinions with the rest of the world; however, there is no denying the negative ways this tool has shaped our lives as Millennials. And while none of our needs are new, our expectation of what is ‘fast’ is 10x faster than our parents’. Because who has time to wait, when you have a million other things to get done?

More and more retailers are helping us not leave the house by offering same-day delivery. Bits and pieces of the daily news are sprinkled throughout hashtags and timelines as we bullshit through our workday. Quick fun has become more important than learning regardless of age. Practically every beauty product on the shelf claims to offer ‘instant’ results, even though 90% of their labels are nothing but lies. Excuses provide us with material things we don’t have the money to buy. And sadly, some of our closest relationships suffer when Facebook or Twitter is preferred over what could have been a five-second phone call.

Personally, I noticed this habit popping up most notably when dating. I had to check myself when I realized that as soon as I meet a guy I like, I become obsessed. He’s like my new favorite song and I can’t get enough of him. I’m clocking all his moves and interests online. I make an effort to talk to him damn near every day. But the problem with this is that by having these needs fulfilled so soon, actions lose value. I came to realize that I cannot place expectations on foundations that haven’t been built yet, or else my trust would crumble. So instead of day-dreaming about romance and what the future holds, I am allowing the person I am interested in to meet me there. As time goes on, even the smallest gestures will mean SO much more.

So while instant gratification can serve as a great source of motivation, my point is it can also hinder us from what it is we really want, ultimately leaving us unsatisfied. I also think that most of us treat the future like a myth until we wake up the next day, which is why it is so important to practice self-control and accountability before you are faced with long-term consequences. From now on, when I set my goals the first thing I look for is long-term value, without allowing short-term pain to distract me from my success. And while patience might be one virtue I have yet to fully grasp, I can’t let my need for instant gratification cost me something I can’t afford to lose – my future.

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.

 

 

Black & White Beginnings

Black & White Beginnings

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Photography by Christian Davis

For as long as I have been an author, I’ve had people on my head about a blog. I mean, we’re talking yearssss. And while I dabbled with the idea back in 2013-2014, my own motivation and inspiration quickly died out not long after I launched 16dreams. It was apparent that I was writing more for others than for myself and was way more concerned with their thoughts or reception – at least to me anyway. As a writer, I felt so constricted, like I was still trying to fit my ideas into a theme I had since outgrown.

But this blog? This blog here is different. I will tell you upfront I am not a big fan of censorship and I rarely care enough to lie so brace yourself for some real shit. I’m wordy so I will warn you now that most posts will probably be pretty long. But the idea of “For My Misses” actually stems from my social media handle @callmemisscarta. I came up with that name given the fact that I actually had my peers addressing me as “Miss Carta” back in high school – and I still do. Plus, we all know us millennials don’t just go around using “sir” and “miss” on a regular basis so I felt like that title was given out of respect and that was something I wanted to share with others, especially other women.

And for the sake of pure honesty, I was also partially inspired by Drunken Master’s “50 Playas Deep” (True Story) lol. So you can probably tell I can get a little hood with it at times, but if this is not proof that inspiration can be found in some of the most unexpected places then I don’t know what is!

That is also part of the reason why when I did finally decided to give blogging another try, I said I would wait until I dropped book #4 so I could give myself enough time to put it together exactly how I wanted it. I wanted to make sure I had the perfect title to match my perfect background and plenty of engaging content to kick things off. Part of me wanted to be like all the cool kids with their carefully curated feeds and photos. But then I said fuck all that.

I’m not perfect, no one is. And I don’t plan to mislead you with a blog of deep quotes and shallow entries to fake you out. I refused to be boxed in – let alone by my own damn blog. There is no topic off limits just like there is no set schedule to my posts. The less rules the better. I mean, it’s already hard enough to define yourself as just this one thing without limiting your opportunities, and I think this struggle applies to most women regardless of what we look like or where we are from. Our moods change by the minute. Our styles change with the seasons. Our interests change with age. So it only makes sense that we change with them, right?

If you’ve ever read one of my books then you know my main focus is romance, but when it came to blogging I knew I had to get out of this “me, me, me” mentality and create something more inclusive and relatable. So while I hope this blog can serve as a reflection of me and my thoughts – however that looks or feels at that time – I also see this as a way to open the door for deeper dialogue on some of the similar issues or experiences we share. Even if it’s a simple head nod in agreement. It’s always nice to be reminded you’re not alone.

I must admit this whole blog thing is still pretty new to me and I’m not sure where it will lead. All I really know is I needed to find a way to unleash any and everything I’ve been holding in without social media getting in the way and I know I can’t be the only one. This year I’ve been wrestling with an unbearable urge to use my voice outside of Facebook coupled with the desire to express some of my deepest thoughts in ways Twitter won’t allow. Now I can finally say I am ready to share my truth beyond the Gram. Just know ain’t no filters here.