Black Girl Dreamin’

This week has been such an important one for trying to get a plan together for my life over the next few years, as I get ready to go to grad school and get even more serious about living and succeeding as a writer.

After years of being confused about what I want to do and how I’m going to make it happen, I finally have a clear vision and intention about both. I’m exciting for what it on the horizon. And I’m excited for what feels like me finally coming into my own, my grown, my sexy.

I’m not sure when I last wrote on this blog — or what I wrote — so I’m not sure if I made the official announcement yet. But yeah… I was accepted to USC’s School of Cinematic Arts for the MFA program in Writing for Screen and Television. It’s probably the most exciting news I’ve received in a really long time. USC was my first choice school, so the fact that they wanted and chose me feels really good. I begin my classes in August, Lawd and financial aid be willing.

I think my acceptance into USC has really affirmed that I’m on the “right” path. I’ve spent a lot of time doubting myself and if I have what it takes to be the kind of creative I dream of being. When you’re living to paycheck to paycheck — and voluntarily about to take out thousands of dollars in debt — it can be very hard to feel confident and self-assured about the decision to be a writer, artist, and creative entrepreneur. It seems “silly” to most people.

But in those seemingly never-ending moments of self-doubt, I have to remember weeks like this — where intellectually and spiritually, everything is just coming together in ways that make sense. Yes, what I want to do is hella ambitious and very risky, but I honestly believe I’m doing the things and pursuing the path that God intended for me. And who am I to tell God that He/She/They is/are wrong? The Universe has been working this kind of stuff out for a lot longer than I have, so I’m just gonna keep working towards my goals.

I’ve been working with a life coach and spiritual mentor on and off for the past few years. And she’s amazing, because she never hesitates to bolster my ego, by reminding me that she believes I can do awesome things in my life. This week it has been easier to agree with her.

And it’s not even just about career or long-term goals either.

Even with more personal things, like my body and my romantic life (or non-romantic life, should I say?), I can feel shifts occurring. I’ve recommitted myself to healthy eating and lifestyle changes. With the pressures and responsibilities of grad school, it’s important that I have a routine and system in place for self-care. I want to be present with my studies, present in the journey I’m about to take. I don’t want to have to worry about not being able to handle my classes and the experience, because I’m always sick or tired or physically exhausted/burnt out.

And so, I decided that now is the time to get this shit on lock. I’ve been eating more fruits and vegetables and whole foods. I’ve been drinking more tea and water. I’ve tried very hard to cut out processed foods and refined sugars. I’ve had a couple of slip-ups with Mexican food, cake, and ice cream, but overall I’m doing good. I have more energy, my mood is more balanced, and my skin has cleared up. And in general, I’m more clear about things — desires, needs, goals, relationships, etc.

After I have the healthy eating part down, I want to focus on my fitness and activity levels. Working from home for the last two years, I’ve gotten really lazy and really content with just sitting at home on my ass for days on end. I have even more of a pancake booty than I did before, and my fitness ability is probably atrocious. But I’m going to work on getting fit and just being more active period. In my dream of dreams, I want to be the kind of Carefree Black Girl who wakes up at 6am and drinks tea and does yoga and then goes out and conquers the world while looking fabulous and getting shit done all day long. This is not currently my reality, but I have faith that I’ll get there soon enough.

I always forget how returning to my body and making sure it’s taken care of has such a huge impact on how I feel in general. I spent so many years disconnected from my body, hating and wanting to erase it. Adulthood has largely been a battle in learning to accept and love my body, and exist in it unapologetically. I’m not 100% comfortable at my current size and activity level, but I no longer yearn to be skinny anymore. Yes, I want to be healthy. Yes, I want to be fit. But if I’m a “big girl” for the rest of my life — and I most likely will be — I’m perfectly OK with that, as long as I look and feel my best. And looking/feeling my best does not mean I have to be model thin.

In the coming months, I hope to begin blogging regularly (for real). I’d love to write 3-4 times per week on this blog, and maybe once or twice a week on my health and fitness based blog. But you know, we’ll see about that…

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Something About a Little Bit of Nothing

Being a “grown-up” is an interesting-ass journey. I say journey deliberately, because there’s nothing static about being an adult. And it’s taken me almost four years since graduating from college to come to a regular acceptance of this (but I still forget sometimes).

I used to believe that adulthood was this final destination of having-your-shit-together-ness. Like, once I hit a certain age, then all of the blocks would go in their right place and everything would be set. I would just kind of live. There would be no more lessons. There would be no more change. I would pretty much feel the same everyday.

You know, I’d settle in and settle down. My life would be “settled.”

But that shit just doesn’t exist. In a way, adulthood is way more fucked up than adolescence. The stakes are higher. There’s a lot more going on. Things are in a constant state of flux. But the gift of adulthood is that you’re old enough to know who you are (mostly) and you’re more or less independent, so no one can tell you shit.

In the past few years, I’ve achieved the “I know who I am” part of adulthood, but I’m still working on not giving a shit what others think or have to say. I look at how much things have changed in the last four years, and I get why people would have certain opinions. When I graduated from college, I was more or less on the “right track,” according to others. I had a full-time job. I was doing community-based work on the side. I was saving money and being responsible.

I was well on my way to having a “normal” life. And then I realized: That’s not what I want.

And there is absolutely nothing wrong with having a normal life. Working full-time and paying your bills and doing what you need to do to get by and make a living. That shit is real, and I don’t have any uppity-ass feelings about people who deal with the realities and responsibilities and obligations of real world adult life in this way. In some ways, my lifestyle is very Disneyland-ish to the “normal” way.

But it didn’t feel authentic. It didn’t feel like something I fit into. It didn’t feel like something I would regret in a few years. And so, I made a change. I quit my full-time, well-paying job. I got a part-time job working from home. I set out to do less community-based work and focus more on my writing and creative dreams.

And then I spent a long time being confused and scared and complacent. I kind of failed at it. I was lazy. I was self-pitying. I was a hot mess. And then I got over myself.

I was able to get an editorial internship, which became a part-time job with a media company and website I admire and respect. I was able to get some of my work published online. I was able to pursue other creative projects in the meantime. I was able to get folks to understand, “Hey, this isn’t me fucking around. This is me trying to do the slow, maddening work of building a life and a career as an artist.”

And now, I have this life that not very many people comprehend, but I know folks accept the fact that writing and telling stories and producing media is what I plan on doing with my life. That’s a great feeling. Being able to say, “Hey, I’ve been putting in the work and it’s slowly paying off,” is a great feeling.

I feel proud that I was able to make this change and be this self-determined adult, even though there are plenty of ways I still don’t have it figured out and I’m not where I want to be. I still live at home with a parent. I still don’t pay rent or have a place that is completely my own. My finances and savings aren’t where I want them to be. I don’t have a retirement plan. I spend more time sleeping and fucking around on the Internet than I should. I still don’t know how to treat my body right. I’m still single. I still dress and look like a teenage boy most days.

But these are the things I do have: I have a vision for my life that honors my passions, talents, and purpose. I have my own money. I have my own car. I know exactly who I am and who I am not. I have no misgivings about how the world works. I have family and friends and a whole tribe of people whom I love deeply. I have a job that allows me to put into daily practice all the things I believe about writing and storytelling and media and community. I have the time and space to figure things out, which is a luxury not afforded to many people. I have parents who love and support me.

I have so much, so much, so much.

Oh, Nice of You to Show Up Again…

Well, I’ve been absent from this blog for a minute!

I say that at the beginning of every post. I think I just need to accept that I can’t keep up a blog worth shit.

Anyways…

I got into grad school about three or so weeks ago. In the fall, I’ll be studying at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. Yes, that’s right, bitches! I not only got into film school, but I got into THE BEST FILM SCHOOL IN THE WORLD! I was pretty high on myself for about a week after I found out. And then monotony and bullshit set back in. I’m still excited, but it’s a more turned down, conservative version. I’ll be back on my you-can’t-tell-me-shit-right-now, Beyoncé-ish vibes in the summer as registration and the first day of classes get closer.

My web series is also coming along. We’ve finally wrapped production — except for one tiny, pesky thing that needs to be reshot. We’re promoting the shit out of it through social media, so if you’d like updates on this labor of love, you can visit the Facebook page and the Tumblr for GIRL, GET YO’ LIFE!. 

I can’t believe we’re already in the middle of March. Like, where the fuck does time go?

I low-key began another healthy living journey this week. Right now, I’m focusing on the diet and nutrition part of it. Or trying to anyway. (It’s hard, but not as hard as I make it seem.) And I remember to the last time I was seriously trying to get my health together at the beginning of 2013, when I vowed to lose 100+ lbs. and wrote a blog about it. And oh, look… THAT NEVER HAPPENED! I punked out after less than three months. I did lose like, 25 lbs. though! But then I gained them all back… and then some.

Anyways… When did this become about my weight/health issues and major life failures? This is getting way heavier than it was meant to.

I just brought all of that up because all of that happened TWO YEARS AGO, and I can’t believe it. Time just moves by so fucking fast the older you get. Like, it’s been four years since I was in college. FOUR YEARS. OK, I will stop typing things in all caps now, but that’s how flabbergasted I am by how fast life literally moves.

With transitioning from youth work to online media work and getting into grad school and producing this web series, I’ve just come to realize how important it is to spend your time invested in doing things you’re wildly passionate about. And not only that, but to also make sure you’re spending time dong things that are meaningful and keep you engaged.

Basically, do what you love and don’t waste time doing lots of other dumb shit. This is easier said than done.

I still spend a lot of time doing a lot of dumb shit. And I don’t do enough of the things I want to do. I spend so much time on social media, attached to a computer or phone screen — which is somewhat valid, because of work — that I don’t do much living anymore, it feels like at times. As much as I love media and the Internet and technology and the fact that my lifestyle allows me to stay in yoga pants pretty much all day, that shit’s not healthy and it doesn’t make me feel like a good human. But it’s so easy to confuse being active online with having a real, full life. And I feel like I kind of do that now.

It’s such a huge distraction, and it keeps me from focusing on real shit. You know, like writing regularly. And applying for freelance positions. And finding other small creative projects to pursue. Or leaving the house to absorb fresh air and sunlight. Or maintaing legitimate friendships with other people that are not facilitated by screens and “likes” and surface interactions.

I’m just reminded sometimes that there’s so much more I could be doing with my time than being online all day, hoping something I post is noticed… or figuring out what the latest celebrity “news” is… or binge-watching some TV show on Netflix.

I think I’ve been doing a little bit better. I decided to give up all video streaming services for Lent. No Netflix, Hulu Plus, HBO GO, or Showtime Anytime. I’ve cheated twice now, by watching The Wire On Demand through my AT&T U-Verse app. (Does that even really count?) But it’s not exactly the same. When I’m streaming shows, I can do it for like, twelve hours straight. But if I’m actually watching a physical television, I can do it for a couple of hours tops. I thought I would miss it more than I do, but I think I just really needed a break.

I don’t really have much else to say. I always feel like I’m bullshitting my three subscribers when I blog, because I “don’t be talkin’ about nothin’.” But I felt compelled tonight, so here it is…

Now I’m either going to fall asleep or Facebook creep on people I don’t actually care about that much. I’m so good at Friday nights…