Confidence is the Best {Fashion} Accessory

Today we’re talking about another one of my favorite f-words: FASHION.

Those of you who have known me for a while probably know that I’ve always liked shopping. I’m one of those people who can usually find any reason to justify a purchase… (I know, I know. My poor bank account 😩 …. there’s a reason why “finances” is the last “f”). Even still, over the last few months, there has been a large shift in my thoughts in this area of my life, both of which are largely due to two people in my life.

The first shift, which might be a little surprising, is largely due to my boyfriend, Josh. See, before being in a relationship, I pretty much wore whatever I wanted, however I wanted, whenever I wanted… not that I dressed all crazy or anything… but I definitely wasn’t intentional… and then I got a boyfriend…. and I started to realize that the things I do, say and wear now affect someone else.

WalowacWedding

I remember the first time he asked me about something I was wearing… I think I almost punched him in the face (jk, i do not condone physical violence). But seriously, it was a little off-putting if I’m being honest. I wasn’t used to having to explain myself to someone… or being wrong 😉 (sarcasm).

Sometimes it can be hard to be questioned on something  you’re doing. Even still, it made me do a “heart check”.. and really look at what my motives were for wearing certain things. Was I wearing them for negative attention? Whose attention am I seeking? God’s? Josh’s? Other people’s?

Also, for me, it used to be hard to to hear the word “modesty”. Without realizing it,  I think I started equating it with the word “Amish”. I typically thoughts of potato sacks and petticoats. But now I’ve come to realize that I can still wear cute things and feel feminine, without flashing the goods all over Richmond.

winter statement necklace

Sometimes it means shopping at different stores than I used to, or giving away shorts that look like I’ve had them since I was six (but hey, giving clothes away = shopping trip!) but I’ve realized it also makes me feel like a lady… and ten times more beautiful when he looks at me and my “lady clothes” and still thinks I’m as sexy as ever (if he’s reading this, I’m sure he’ll probably be embarrassed that I used the word “sexy”).

The second person I’ve learned from, which is probably a lot less surprising, is my friend Kelsy. Those of you who know Kelsy probably aren’t shocked that she’s one of my inspirations. (Those of you who don’t, go check out her website and it’ll make a lot more sense 😉 ). So yeah, like I mentioned before, I’ve always loved clothes / shopping… the thing is, I’ve also loved yoga pants and leggings. I was one of those people, that unless i had somewhere important to go (aka work, church or a date), I was probably in yoga pants.

Earlier this year, I went to Aruba with Kelsy and her family. For the plane ride I packed my signature travel outfit: converses, leggings, a v-neck and a sweater/jean jacket. Kelsy, on the other hand, was wearing a dress…

on a plane…

where we have to walk through an airport for ~3 hours and sit for 5.

it was a maxi dress, but still.

Another instance I remember is earlier this year when Kelsy came to Richmond to visit. The day she got here was rainy and gross… so naturally, I was in yoga pants and probably my Uggs (I know, I know. so basic). Kelsy, who had actually been out in the rain all day, shows up looking like she just came off the runway, in a sweater dress and heels.

If she wasn’t the sweetest person I know, I probably would’ve mugged her for her clothes.

But that’s Kelsy for you.

I remember saying something sarcastic to her.. probably along the lines of “Kelsy, you WOULD”… and because of who she is, she gave me the most gracious answer ever… she told me how she really just dresses for herself. and how for her, it really is a form of expression… she also told me how good it made her feel about herself when she put forth an effort.

After that second instance, I decided to take a page out of her book; to make an attempt, even if a little attempt. I went from wearing yoga pants on comfy days to wearing t-shirt dresses and sneakers.

transition clothes by season

And from wearing no makeup, to adding mascara and lipstick…and something crazy started happening. Just by putting in an extra 5 minutes a day, I started to feel way more confident about myself…

and I liked that feeling.

jcrew pea coat

I then started looking for other little tricks I could do that didn’t take much time yet helped me feel more “put together”… and then it became fun to me. I love figuring out new things to try together, or finding ways to make dressing up not as intimidating. I especially love the way I feel once I’ve put together something I like… and honestly, sometimes it does feel nice to get compliments (i’m human).

So that’s my challenge for you… try something different for the next 7 days… whether it’s letting your hair down if you’re always wearing it in a pony tail… or wearing jeans or a comfy dress instead of yoga pants. It’ll make a difference, I promise.

And If you do end up trying it, please comment and let me know how it goes!

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We Are {Family}

Well look what we have here…another post! First it took six weeks, this time it only took me five and a half… I’d say that’s cause for celebration #glasshalffull #definitelybeingsarcastic.

Today we’re talking about another one of my favorite things: Family. Over the last year, the biggest change in this area of my life has been the loss of my paternal grandfather.

GrandparentsAtGraduation

Taken at our College graduation after party.

On May 26, 2015, my “Grandada” went to be with Jesus.

Even though I knew his health had been declining, I don’t think there is anything that could’ve prepared me for such a loss. I’ve learned the easiest way to get through it is to focus on the positives. Like the fact that he is in heaven, sitting at the throne of our King. No longer in pain. No longer suffering.Or that we knew this was coming.

I am so thankful for the times we spent together… especially as it neared the end; moments that we may not have gotten had it happened suddenly. One of the things I’m most thankful for is that Josh got to meet my grandpa before he died.

If your family is anything like mine, then they probably like to ask a lot about your love life… you know, questions like “so… is there anyone special in your life?” or “when do you plan to get married?” or the dreaded one… “you know, when I was your age, I was married with 2 children already.” Thankfully, my grandpa wasn’t TOO bad, but every time we talked on the phone, he always would mention how he was praying for me and for this area of my life.

fam

Anyway, this past May, my family had planned a trip to Nashville for Memorial Day weekend. A few days before we were supposed to leave, my grandma called my dad and told him that he needed to get down to Florida asap.

Translation: the end is near.

With everything going on, we almost decided to cancel the trip but ultimately decided to go in hopes that being around our family friends would help cheer us up. So that Thursday, Kelly, Josh and I rented a car and drove from VA to NC to meet up with my mom and brother so that we could all do the long drive together.

(Random side note: this also happened to be the same time Josh would be meeting my mom and brother for the first time. Who else’s boyfriend signs up for an 8-10 hour car drive with a crazy family that he’s never met? Can you say “keeper”?).

When we were about 20 minutes out from Nashville, my dad texted us telling us that Grandada was having a good day and that if we wanted to talk to him one last time, we should call as soon as we were able. So as soon as we pulled up to our friends house, still packed in the car, we FaceTimed my grandpa.

I have never been more thankful for technology.

About ten minutes into our FaceTime, I panned the camera over to Josh to officially introduce the two of them.  At first my grandpa was super polite. He said hi and how grateful he was to get to officially meet him. He then looked at him seriously and said “Now that you’re dating her, you need to forget all the other girls. Don’t play any games. If you love her, marry her.” (Keep in mind we had only been dating for about two whole months at this point… I told you, Josh is a saint). But that’s the guy my grandpa was. Very sweet, at times he would come off as shy… but he was always going to tell you the truth, wrapped in love.

As I sat there, slightly embarrassed, I also felt so at peace with everything. I felt really blessed that he got the opportunity to meet someone who I think will be in my life for a long time. Potentially, the man that he’d been praying for.

That was my last conversation with my grandpa.

Later that night, after consulting with all of his doctors, our family decided to grant my grandpa’s wishes and take him to hospice. For those of you who’ve never dealt with hospice, it is essentially where you go when you know the end is near. At this point, they stop giving you medicine to keep you alive, and focus more  on giving you medicine to ease your pain and make the “transition” easier.

As my grandpa’s pain grew stronger and he became  too weak to talk, my dad and his siblings reach out to all of their kids (his grandkids) to let us write letters, send videos, etc. for them to play for him during his last few days. Our family friend ended up putting them in a video format, which was played at his funeral. I’ve decided to share this video with you all because I think it gives you great insight into just how special he was. Although the video makes me cry, it is the best reminder of the type of man he was, the memories he helped create and the legacy that he’s left. (You may have to be on a computer to view it).

Filling up on {faith}

Six weeks later and we finally have a post! I’d say we’re off to a good start (sarcasm).

You know, I’m always having an internal debate when it comes to my schedule. I feel like I rarely ever have downtime and I can’t decide if that’s just how life typically is at this phase or if i need to take control of it and be more intentional about creating downtime / learning to say “no”.

….anyway, I digress.

Last time I wrote, I promised to update you guys on what has been going on in my life in each of the 6 “F’s” so today, it’s all about Faith.  I would definitely say I’ve always believed in God but, over the last year or so, I feel like I’ve really been learning how much He loves me.

I know, I know. That sounds so clichĂ©…

Especially because those who know me well know that I’ve been going to church since literally the womb. For most of my life I was one of those kids that went to sunday school, “big church” and some other form of activity on Wednesday nights. But honestly, I don’t know that I can say I had much of a relationship with Him (at least until these last few years). And I definitely feel like I didn’t fully start to grasp His love for me until this past year or so.

Growing up I would say I was a pretty good kid. I got good grades, I had a great relationship with my family, I was involved in sports. I was everything that I feel like a parent would want their kid to be. But then I hit the teenage years… and not only did the devil horns come out (am I allowed to blame hormones?), I became someone that I hardly recognized. I did things I wasn’t proud of. I hurt people that I love. I was so far from God and honestly wanted little to do with Him.

But that’s the amazing thing about Him – even when we want little to do with Him, He never stops pursuing us.

It wasn’t until I moved to Richmond that He really started to get my attention (you can read a little about that here and here). In one of my last posts, I was talking about how I had just joined a new small group (shameless plug: if you’re not in one, you should join one. do not pass go. do not collect $200. join one. like now.). When I wrote that post, I had recently joined “the Fan Fam”. As part of that group, we all committed to sharing our stories at some point throughout our time; not as a confessional, but more as a testament to the work God had been doing in our lives. As my date to share was nearing, I had so many mixed emotions. Part of me was finally getting somewhat comfortable with the fact that I would be sharing intimate details of my life, but also part of me felt kind of sad. I felt like God had been doing so many amazing things in my life… things I wanted to be able to share with my family, but i felt stuck. Because for my family to understand all of the things God had been doing, I’d have to tell them what I’d been through.

Isn’t it weird? Sometimes it’s easier to tell people you just met your deepest darkest secrets, yet we’re crippled at the thought of telling those closest to us… those who have shown and proven that no matter what you do or have done, they will always love you.

Anyway, I decided to start with my mom.

For those of you who don’t know my mama, she’s amazing. She’s loving and caring, wise and supportive. Of all the people in my immediate family, we are probably the most dissimilar. I’m often loud and boisterous, she’s typically the type that doesn’t mind playing more of a “behind the scenes” role (although don’t let that fool you, she can still talk your ear off). Yet, no matter what, when I really really need someone, she’s usually the first one I call.

So yeah, I called her and asked her to come to Richmond. I basically told her that in my (at the time) 24 years of living, I’d never had one-on-one time with her so I wanted her to come spend a weekend with me. (How can anyone say “no” to that?). We locked down a date and put a plan in place. She was going to come on a Thursday night and leave that Sunday afternoon. I scheduled the weekend with a dinner/girls night in on Friday, a gala with Dr. Ben Carson on Saturday, church on Sunday, followed by brunch at Graffiato afterwards… and I was going to share my testimony with her (that part I never told her).

It was going to be the perfect bonding weekend.

But before I knew it, the weekend had arrived… and when she got here, I couldn’t muster up the courage. Before bed each night, we would lay for hours (literally hours) watching Suits and as each episode played, I would tell myself that as soon as the episode ended, I would bring it up. As every episode neared the end, I would pray, asking God to remove the fear and to give me the courage to talk to her… yet every episode would end and I would just let it go to the next one. Finally at around 3AM each night, I would finally call it quits, go to bed and promise to do it the next night.

Except Thursday night passed. Friday night passed. Saturday night passed… nothing.

Sunday morning rolled around and we got up to go to church and anyone who knows me knows my favorite part of church is usually worship. I just love listening to the words and really meditating/reflecting on their meaning. That Sunday, for the first time ever, my church decided to play a song called You Make Me Brave and I seriously felt like God was speaking directly to me. If you don’t know the lyrics, there’s a part of the song that goes like this:

I have heard You calling my name
I have heard the song of love that You sing
So I will let You draw me out beyond the shore
Into Your grace
Your grace

You make me brave
You make me brave
You call me out beyond the shore into the waves
You make me brave
You make me brave
No fear can hinder now the love that made a way

I. Started. Bawling.

Like ugly crying. Tears, snot, everything. And as you can imagine, this blew my cover a bit… but my mama, being the patient woman she is, just handed me a tissue and kept singing (she’s a lot like Jesus in that way. Patient. Very Patient.)… and me being the woman I am, still just tried to play it off like everything was cool.

Church ended and we went to brunch, we hung out with friends, we made dinner… I literally kept going on with the weekend like nothing had happened. After dinner, Mom wanted to keep watching Suits and since she wasn’t working on Monday, she decided that she would just stay the night and leave Monday morning (deep down, I know the real reason that she stayed). So we go to my room to watch Suits… and as the first episode is coming to an end, I say my prayer asking for courage, I pause the show and tell my mom I need to talk to her…
 
 
 
… Not really, I let it go to the next episode. (Didn’t I already tell you what kind of woman I am lol?). Yep, I literally chickened out AGAIN. We watched a few more episodes that night and then got ready for bed…nothing. We wake up the next morning and lay in bed talking… still nothing.

Finally, I went upstairs to make my mom breakfast while she got ready and as she comes upstairs and sits down at the bar, she looks at me and asks me if everything is okay. Naturally, i look at her dumbfounded and say, “yeah, why?”… she brings up what happened at church and I ask her if we can wait until she gets in the car to talk.

So we pack the rest of her stuff up and go sit in her car and I just burst into tears. I tell her about Needle’s Eye. and how amazing the Fan Fam is. and I tell her that God has been doing some great things in my life and how I want to be able to share those things with her but that scares the poo out of me. because for me to tell her who He’s molding me to be, I have to explain to her who I used to be… and that’s terrifying. It’s terrifying because I love my family and I love my parents and I would never want to do anything that hurts them…and then she stopped me.

and you know what she told me?

She told me that she loves me. and that my dad loves me. and that there is literally nothing, NOTHING i could ever do that would change that. She told me that she understands that there are some things in our lives that we don’t need to tell everyone, and sometimes that includes our family. and that’s okay but that if I ever want to tell her, she’s there with open ears and arms. She also encouraged me to make sure that I at least talked to someone about it because often times the Devil uses secrets to hold us captive (or as another woman that I look up to always says “Secrets make us sick”).

She told me that there were people in the bible who had done all sorts of things and that not only did God love them, He used many of them to do amazing things for His kingdom… because at the end of the day its not about what we did, do, or will do. It’s about what Jesus did on the cross.

And then she grabbed my hands and she prayed for me.

And when she finished, she looked me dead in the eyes and asked me if I knew that Jesus loved me. If i really, deep down, believed it… and when I told her that I knew it but didn’t feel like it, she told me to wake up every morning and thank Him for loving me… because she knew that the more I said it, the more I would believe it.

And she was right.

——————————————————————-

How Can it Be by Lauren Daigle.

I am guilty
Ashamed of what I’ve done, what I’ve become
These hands are dirty
I dare not lift them up to the Holy one

Chorus
You plead my cause
You right my wrongs
You break my chains
You overcome
You gave Your life
To give me mine
You say that I am free
How can it be
How can it be

I’ve been hiding
Afraid I’ve let you down, inside I doubt
That You could love me
But in Your eyes there’s only grace now

Chorus

Bridge
Though I fall, You can make me new
From this death I will rise with You
Oh the grace reaching out for me
How can it be
How can it be

Chorus

Guess who’s back… back again.

Wow. To say “It’s been awhile” is an understatement… but I’m baaaack. And hopefully to stay this time.

For those of you that used to read my last blog, you’ve probably noticed that I’ve changed the look and name. I changed the look because I wanted it to be a little more feminine… and I changed the name because when I thought about all of the areas God has been working on me over the past year, it seemed like a majority of them started with the letter “F”. (Plus the name is a little sassy which I think accurately reflects my personality ;).)

To start off, I plan to do a blog on each “F” and sort of fill you in on what has been going over the last year or so and then we’ll jump in.

So yes. Here’s to picking this up again and to seeing where it goes! Hopefully you’ll stick around for the ride!

xx

Vulnerability

I feel like I start every post like this… but I’m so embarrased at how long it has taken me to write on here. Back in the day, I started this blog for two reasons. The first was to help keep myself accountable with goals that I’d set for myself. I figured if I was writing about them publicly, and people knew about them, it would force me to do them, right? Clearly that isnt the case.  It’s been a while since I’ve started this blog and all the goals that I set are STILL goals that I am working towards to this day… over a year later. What’s that saying again? “Nothing in life worth having comes easily” haha. The road definitely hasnt been easy… and there’s definitely been setbacks along the way, but I guess I’ll find solace knowing that I’m a lot closer to most of them than I probably have been in my entire life.

The second reason I started this blog was to allow myself to be more vulnerable. To quote an earlier blog, I believe I wrote “I wanted to put myself out there more and show people the side of me that I usually keep to my close friends… or most often, just myself”… The problem is, when it came to doing it, I chickened out. For some reason, I thought it would be easy to say what I wanted to say because I was hiding behind a computer screen… but not knowing who could read this made it ten times more intimidating. So now, a year later, I have come to the revelation that maybe that was a bit aggresive… Time for a new plan haha.

Today I was reading through some of my old posts and then decided to go catch up on posts from the blog that inspired me to start blogging, Walking Barefoot. One of the reasons I love that blog is because she is always so open, and puts it all out there.. and honestly, I hope that one day that will be me. Anyway, as I was reading (creeping), I came across one of her blogs talking about bearing witness. She was talking about how her friends are going through a rough time and how her family has been able to be there for them. Here is an excerpt from her blog:

“My friends bare themselves, and now we can bear with them.  Now we bear together.  

And life gets just a little easier.  

But to bear with each other, we have to bare with each other. Which is really scary, and exposing.

It’s terrifying, if you get right down to it. 

You’d much rather cry in your closet and then go reapply your makeup before facing the world.  It would be much safer not to talk about it, and if it comes up, just duck and cover, duck and cover.

But then, miracle of miracles, you find that instead of ducking and covering, you stood still and told someone. You let them see your tears. You let them in. And instead of laughing at you, or offering you a Kleenex and walking away to go get someone who is much more experienced at helplessness and pain and wracking sobs, they stayed. They actually felt really special to be part of the inner sanctum of the three other people on earth who have seen you without makeup.  

They bore up with you.  

It’s the closest thing to heaven this side of heaven.”

As I read that, tears just started rolling down my face.

Had I read that even a few months ago, I dont think it would have had any effect on me. A few months ago, I dont think I could’ve understood what “bearing witness” meant or comprehended its impact. A few months ago I didnt know what it felt like to be that open with people… to tell them the things that are REALLY going on in your life – the things you keep under the mask. A few months ago I didnt know what it felt like to tell people about your “messiness” and have them love you even more in spite of it.

But now I do.

Over the last few months, I have been a part of a few mentoring groups/small groups that have really started to stretch me in this area of my life. Most recently, I was at a small group (or should I say “team” or “household”? haha) that I just joined. It was our first time meeting so we were going over norms, expectations, goals, etc. and one of the common themes that kept coming out was that we all really want to do LIFE together… that this group would be more than just a group that shares at the surface level but that really feels comfortable diving in, sharing the good, bad and the ugly, and lifiting each other up. When we started mentioning all these things my first reaction was excitement because that is something I’ve craved for a while. I want genuine, intentional, authentic realtionships. I want people who hold me accountable in my faith. I want to meet people in Richmond to “do life with”. Who wouldnt? But then fear started to settle in. The word “testimony” got brought up and I started to sweat. I’m already not good about asking for help and it’s even scarier being vulnerable and  telling people about the good, the bad and the ugly.

As the night wrapped and we were going over prayer requests, I asked the group to pray that I would have the courage to not hold back. I then, very briefly, shared a few struggles that I’m facing in some close relationships and some internal battles that I’m fighting. Honestly, it was somewhat vague but that was as much as I felt comfortable saying at the time. Since that night, one week ago, I have received numerous calls, texts, facebook messages, etc. from people checking in on me, offering words of encouragement, letting me know they’re thinking about me. It is so humbling. I honestly dont think i’ve cried this much in a while haha. But its not a sad cry. It’s more of a “shocked/surprised” one. That people would really think about my problems during their day… and really pray about them… and honestly want to know if they’re getting better… even after only knowing me for such a short period of time.

It really is the closest thing to heaven, this side of heaven.

So thats my new plan: To let go of the fear. To learn to let go of shame. To learn that its okay to let my small group in and to show them how much I really dont have it together. I know it’s going to be hard. I know I’m nowhere close to where I hope to be… But I am confident that there is power in the name of Jesus and that He can break every chain.

And I’m excited to tell you about it someday… when I get the courage.

Present Tense

I came across this poem a few weeks ago & it really spoke to me. Being a planner (and mild control freak at times) I sometimes feel like I’m always looking to the next phase of life rather than appreciating the one I’m in. Over the past few weeks, I made a conscious effort to stop putting so much emphasis on the future & start paying attention to the beauty in the present. I can honestly say this is the happiest I’ve been in a long time… So here’s to sharing in hopes that it has the safe effect on others as it’s had on me :).

XX

It was spring, But it was summer I wanted,

The warm days, And the great outdoors.

It was summer, But it was fall I wanted,

The colorful leaves, And the cool, dry air.

It was fall, But it was winter I wanted,

The beautiful snow, And the joy of the holiday season.

It was winter, But it was spring I wanted,

The warmth, And the blossoming of nature.

I was a child, But it was adulthood I wanted,

The freedom, And the respect.

I was 20, But it was 30 I wanted,

To be mature, And sophisticated.

I was middle-aged, But it was 20 I wanted,

The youth, And the free spirit.

I was retired, But it was middle age I wanted,

The presence of mind, Without limitations.

My life was over.

But I never got what I wanted.

In honor of our Housewarming Pregame this past weekend…

It has been a LONG time since I’ve written on here… So many things have happened in the last few months: I watched friends celebrate their love by getting married, I have been to Spain, France and Italy on a Mediterranean cruise, and I moved into a new place! Since this past weekend was the first weekend since moving in early June where all 3 of us were in Richmond, we decided to have a Housewarming Pregame this weekend. In honor of that… I decided it was finally time to break the blogging drought and post some before and after pictures. Looking through these again has reminded me how far our place has come. So proud of all the work we’ve put in… Hope you like it!

Outside: My awesome Padre & Mama helped to improve the curb appeal by cleaning off spider webs, sweeping & planting plants. Shannon, my roommate, painted the planter boxes & I took care of the weeding.

After

Before

Now- still a work in progress

Now- still a work in progress

Before

Before

After

After

After

Now

Entry Way

 

Before

Move-in Day

After

Now

Hallway

 

Move-in Day

Move-in Day

After

Now

Hallway Bathroom (my roomate, Mia, and I share this bathroom)

 

Move-in Day

Move-in Day

Now

Now

Family Room

 

Move-in Day

Move-in Day

During

During

Now

Now

Now

Now

Now

Now

Dining Room

 

Move-in Day

Move-in Day

Now

Now

Kitchen

 

Move-in Day

Move-in Day

Move-in Day

Move-in Day

Now

Now

Top of Stairs

 

Move-in Day

Move-in Day

Now

Now

 

Basement (my room)- My sweet mama painted the accent wall for me, my sister bought me the mirror as a housewarming gift and I took care of the organizing.

 

Move-in Day

Move-in Day

Now

Now

Now

Now

Laundry Room

 

Move-in Day

Move-in Day

Now

Now

Move-in Day

Move-in Day

Now

Now

Now

Now

Now

Now

Bedroom:

 

Move-in Day

Move-in Day

Now

Now

Now

Now

Now

Now

So happy with the way everything has turned out! Now all we need are visitors :).

Give Me {Faith}

Give me faith

“I need You to soften my heart,
To break me apart.
I need You to open my eyes,
To see that You’re shaping my life.

Pre-Chorus:
All I am,
I surrender.

Chorus:
Give me faith to trust what You say
That You’re good, and Your love is great.
I’m broken inside, I give You my life.

Verse 2:
I need You to soften my heart,
To break me apart.
I need You to pierce through the dark
And cleanse every part of me.

Chorus

Bridge:
I may be weak, but
Your Spirit’s strong in me.
My flesh may fail, but
My God You never will.”

Women Empowering Women

I was going through some blogs and happened to come across this speech that Gabrielle Union gave at Essence’s Black Women in Hollywood’s Luncheon earlier this year. It really spoke to me so I figured I would share. Hope you enjoy!

“We live in a town that rewards pretending. I had been pretending to be fierce and fearless for a very long time. I was a victim masquerading as a survivor. I stayed when I should have run. I was quiet when I should have spoken up. I turned a blind eye to injustice instead of having the courage to stand up for what’s right. I used to shrink in the presence of other dope beautiful women. I used to revel in gossip and rumors, and I lived for the negativity inflicted upon my sister actresses or anyone who I felt whose shine diminished my own.

It’s easy to pretend ‘to be fierce and fearless because living your truth takes real courage. Real fearless and fierce women admit mistakes and they work to correct them. We stand up and we use our voices for things other than self promotion. We don’t stand by and let racism and sexism and homophobia run rapid on our watch. Real fearless and fierce women complement other women and we recognize and embrace that their shine in no way diminishes our light and that it actually makes our light shine brighter.

So many of us in this room are sisters. We don’t always get to see each other and its good to see you here today. Women who we’ve laughed with, cried with, and struggled with, thank you for not turning your back on me, thank you for not tap dancing on my misery, even when I wasn’t always returning the favor.”

“For I know the plans I have for you” declares the Lord.

I was inspired to start blogging by a former teacher at Battlefield. I never had her as a teacher when I was in high school.. honestly, I doubt she even knows who I am. I, too, didn’t know much about her…I just knew she was married to another teacher at Battlefield. I remember thinking how cute they were as a couple. They just looked like the kind of couple that gets married and has the perfect wedding and make perfect beautiful babies and move into a beautiful house with the white picket fence.  Eventually, they both left Battlefield and I never heard about them again.

That all changed a little over a year ago. Their family had just lost almost everything in a house fire and many of my former classmates were trying to help raise money for them. Through their posts, I happened to stumble upon her blog and ever since then, I’ve just kept reading. Her blog is called “Walking Barefoot” and its all about what she calls her “mess”. She writes about her vulnerabilities and weaknesses and all of the things that she considers her shortcomings.. and I so admire her for that. I admire her for the fact that she is willing to put it all out there and showcase her faults. I think so often we all try to pretend that we live this nice, perfect, fairy tale life when none of us are perfect. Every “perfect” family and person has their own “mess” and instead of sharing that with each other we build up these walls because we are so afraid of what people’s reactions will be when they find out that we might actually be human.

When I started this blog, I started it with every intention of trying to follow in her footsteps.. I wanted to put myself out there more and show people the side of me that I usually keep to my close friends… or most often, just myself. I wanted to let people see the issues I deal with so that if they are dealing with those issues, they could know they’re not alone. I honestly must’ve been drunk or something because I clearly could not have been in the right frame of mind. I’m the kind of girl that keeps 99% of my feelings inside. I am so afraid of showing people emotions because in my mind, that’s giving them some power that they could potentially use against me…or worse, they might not like the real KK that exists under there that has a whole bunch of “messiness” inside… so instead I started writing about my goals & things I’m learning about myself… which isn’t a bad thing or “wrong”.. but it is definitely me avoiding the uncomfortable.

So today I’m going to do something new… I’m going to take very, VERY small baby steps because you have to start somewhere, right? I’m going to tell you that really, this week has been a really rough week for me and that I’ve been very unhappy and very emotional… I’ve been dealing with a lot of internal struggles and although the only one I’m ready to talk to  is God, I really could use some positive vibes right about now. (So that being said, please no calls or texts or comments… I don’t mean that to be mean, I just know it’ll push me back into my “shell” however, prayers & positive thoughts are much appreciated :)… I said baby steps, right?).

It’s ironic because last week I was talking to my dad and joking about how sometimes I feel like if I stay in Richmond, I will be single for the rest of my life. Even though I was COMPLETELY kidding (well, maybe not completely) my dad told me I should go read the posting he had just put on his Facebook. That night, once I got home, I clicked the link but got distracted and never read it… Tonight, 11 days later, I was cleaning up my internet tabs and happened to see it so I finally decided to read it.

The post was talking about Jeremiah 29:11 which states “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” It said that most people read the verse and take it out of context. We read it and think that God is saying if we follow him, he will give us a life full of prosperity and wealth when really what that verse is saying is that he will never abandon us… even though sometimes we may not feel like he’s there. As I read the post I just found it so amazing that a post my dad had told me to read 11 days ago for a completely different reason could speak the words that I so desperately needed to hear after the past few days.

God, you are so amazing and I thank you for never abandoning me.