on rebranding – readefining.com

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readefining

Hey Everyone!!

So, I have some very exciting news: Readefining is finally going to be self hosted!

I made the decision to get a domain name because it aligns more with the places I want this blog to go and the impact it was destined to make. Having my own “.com” will also allow me to post more quality content with more customized features for the site. Plus readefining.com looks way more sexy than readefining.wordpress.com. AmIRight?

With change comes positive redirection. Readefining.com will have more of a focus on my entrepreneurial journey and my promise to myself and God to live a purpose fueled life. I have so many stories lined up to share with you, as well as some unsolicited advice on ways you too can join me on this journey of living our best lives today. 

You can expect to see posts on:

  • Why I’ve decided not to go to gradschool right away
  • How I started a successful business as a college student
  • How I’m handing dealing with my diagnosis of Imposter Syndrome
  • From setbacks to comebacks
  • How changing your language can change your life
  • On being a recovering creative (+ 5 tips to recultivating your inner creativity)

and more!

A lot of you have been asking why I have been missing in action on this blog, and it is because I’ve been preparing hard for this relaunch. And to be honest, I was quite nervous about all of this since it actually aligns more with who I am. I feel like I’m introducing you to another side of me which is exciting because through this we get to know each other more.

If you’re following me through WordPress, you’ll have to subscribe to readefining.com with your email address to continue to keep up with the blog. If you’re subscribed to this blog with your email address, your subscription will automatically transfer to the new blog, so no need to worry! To be safe, you could subscribe again to make sure you don’t miss a thing.

Readefining.com will be going live on June 25th.

That’s in 5 days!! Set a Reminder, get your party outfits ready,  buy some champagne, because it’s going to be a virtual celebration! Follow me on Instagram @_mselaineous and on Twitter @readefining for updates and behind the scenes of this rebranding and more!

Thank you so much for your endless support. I am excited to embark on this new journey with you.

Catch you on the flip side 😉

e.

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On Results

Akotowaa Ntontan

You have no idea the kind of stress I went through just to make this post coherent (or at least, I hope this version is) and not as emotionally charged and messy as it was before.

This post is something like a response to the thing my almost-cousin, Elaine, wrote, “on checked lists,” even though I have been thinking what I am now writing way before her post was published.

I’ve been thinking so much about results, what they show, how effective they are, and the effect they have on us in general – especially in a college context, when everyone is trying to find the right stepping stones to lead them to their successful futures.

I realized I had a problem perhaps halfway through the semester, when nearly every college-age human being I knew seemed to be preparing to do something super impressive with their summer break…

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on checked lists

gpa, check. internship, check. attend event, check. apply for job, check. networking, check. respond to emails, check. self care, check?
the college culture of productivity often has me feeling inadequate. am i doing enough? am i involved in enough? social media has become a platform people use to boast their productivity, which indirectly breeds an atmosphere of competition. i get that this productivity culture could be motivational and push us to do our best and aim higher, but it sometimes feels like a toxic space that makes it hard to celebrate the achievements of others because of envy, and even harder to celebrate our own because nothing ever feels like enough.
i’m not sure if i wrote this for you or more of a reminder to my self, that you are not your productivity. you are enough. you are doing enough, and in fact you don’t have to be doing anything at all. waking up is productive. breathing eating sleeping is productive. spending hours in the dining hall chatting about the meanderings of life with those you love is productive. taking care of your self is productive. perhaps the most productive thing you can do.
we have to get out of this existence of always being in a state of “getting my life together”. we have to be mindful of how this lifestyle chips away at our mental health and snatches contentment from arm’s reach. we have to. dare to create your own measurement of what it means to be productive and live by that rather than ascribing to the world’s. dare to readefine what success means to you. because the prize for this world’s productivity is a checked list and a tired heart. the prize for living life on your terms is priceless.

e.

interlude

they call it writers block,
i call it my mind as hostage to my pen wishing it’ll release me through words that will pull apart these iron bars caging my creativity. i looked up the cure — the blueprint to show me the way to myself. As Solange would say, I tried to sleep it away. i tried to scrub it away with long showers. i tried to pray it away. and when i thought i’d broken free, there i was at the intersection of the truth and the thing i’d been avoiding looking at.
depression has a way of stealing away your motivation for the thing you love, the thing that fuels you, in my case my writing. as a generally optimistic person, these episodes feel like a war between my true self and this other self that doesn’t understand joy even when it’s plain as day in my face. it even numbs the urge to succumb to the itch of my fingers to write it away.
one thing that has been helping me return to myself has been the epiphany that even though i’m an introvert who recharges her energy through isolation, i have access to tons of good energy that surrounds me that i only need to accept and tap into rather than reject. the universe naturally likes to restore order after chaos — let it. let it even if it means sitting with the discomfort of vulnerability because the restoration comes in the form of your best friends with the big ears to listen to you. it comes in the form of warm hugs and silence because they understand the art of listening. let others be there for you. let the universe do it’s thing of healing. cooperate with nature. it is kind.

e.

when home means more than one place

transnational chronicles: a series of “poems” on the negotiation of identity when home means more than one place.

and while you break your teeth
to keep your tongue

and you seek healing
by stitching the gaps

they will spit you out
from the mouth
because you taste
foreign.

-language


don’t be nervous
you won’t even notice

you won’t notice the transition
from being ghanaian
to being african
to being black
to being person of color

don’t be nervous
you won’t even have to decide which you want to be
the choice isn’t yours

perhaps in this there is a freedom

-identity


and when you call your grandmother on the phone
and she asks when you’ll be coming to see her
you must lie and say sometime this year
even though you know
that has been your response
for the past
8 years

do it for her heart

-gofundme back home


i’ve always hated math

but somehow
i’ve become a mathematician

calculating the number of hours between us
plotting how many oceanic galaxies it will take to get to
you
dividing the ventricles of my heart
and dedicating each one to a different
home

-metrics

e.

on letting the light in

he had tattoos all over his body, long grey hair and piercings, and spoke like someone who has seen it all. i squinted to read the words on his shirt correctly from the very last row because i’d walked in late. “There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” i simply couldn’t resist writing this quote down. it seemed to set the tone for what this class is going to be like. critical philosophical theory. should be interesting. i’ll be sure to keep you posted on the impending existential crisis.

this first week of classes has been something. from almost slipping from ice that had yet to melt from the random snow storm, to panicking because two important classes i need are both at 11am on tuesday and thursday. to an argument that ended up reshaping how i think about things. i learned my emotions are not unique to me, and that whatever i’m feeling towards someone, they’ve 99.9 percent experienced that emotion at some point too. i learned that no one actually means to hurt you with their words most of the time, no matter how hostile they come across. most importantly, it dawned on me that people just want to feel supported and to be told that they make sense. in fact, most conflict is born from feeling like we don’t make sense to the other person, rather than feeling they aren’t making sense.

a friend told me recently they feel like my life is perfect. i was shocked because it is far from it actually. i never really share my struggles mainly because i prefer to sweep them under the rug and pretend they’re not there or i rather talk about it with God. in a society that broadcasts only smiling faces on social media, it’s easy to assume the status of someone’s life. having the label of perfection projected onto me made me realize that i probably also place that label on others based on how their life looks from my perspective.

for some reason perfect has a negative connotation to me. i want to embrace my cracks and imperfections because they allow for the light to get in. in fact, without them the light cannot get in. i hope this resonates in your heart the next time you’re feeling like your cracks are overwhelmingly big. you are not broken. you’re simply making room for the light.

i hope you had a beautiful week:)

e.

on flowers

we’re here. we made it. we are still breathing and it’s lit.
i think rupi kaur put it best when she wrote what she learned from 2016. “i learned everything is temporary. moments. feelings. people. flowers. i learned love is about giving. everything. and letting it hurt. i learned vulnerability is always the right choise because it is easy to be cold in a world that makes it so very difficult to remain soft.”

absorbing these lessons, it’s clear to me what my mantra for 2017 was destined to be: sow.

sow. | verb

  1. to plant seed for growth by scattering
  2. to set something in motion
  3. to introduce into a selected environment

the many definitions of this word is why i think it’s perfect for this new season in my life because it’ll allow for reoccurance in every situation and moment this year has in store.

to me, sowing mean to plant what i want to reap because nothing ever grew where it wasn’t sown. to invest in something with a heart of patience, knowing that something has been set in motion from what i have sown. whether i can see results or not, trusting that sowing is the catalyst for blooming.

in 2017 i will sow softness, patience, and forgiveness into my relationships with people. often times i’m too quick to respond and tend to hold onto negative feelings longer than is healthy. i know that sowing softness into my daily interactions will build stronger relationships where vulnerability thrives.

i will sow my time into an organization (i’m picking only one to be realistic with myself and to make sure that i am giving the best of myself and not a half hearted piece) in hopes of impacting my community.

i will sow into adulting by setting money aside to pay off my student loans, as well as seeking opportunities that will contribute more funds to that cause. it’s my dream to graduate debt free.

i will sow into my mental health by taking time to journal often, by taking time to self care through talking walks, taking myself on adventure dates, and reading the books i’ve been wanting to read. by being honest with myself and my friends when asked if i’m okay, and to talk out my feelings.

most importantly, i will sow into my spiritual health by intentionally making time to spend fellowshiping, and by listening to Hillsong’s Let There be Light album *heart eyes* — it’s gold. go check it out. you’re welcome in advance.

happy new year to you, and cheers to many blooms in all aspects of your life in this new year!

what word are you living by in 2017?

e.

on mapless road trips

when my dad called G and i this morning to get ready for church, our first response was to groan because we were still tired from last night’s New Year’s Eve party which we got home from around 3am. we washed our crusty eyes and dressed lazily in contrast to how we usually like to slay to church.
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on the year i sought

two years ago i abandoned resolutions and decided to choose a single word that i would be my mantra for the entire year instead. it took the pressure off setting myself up for disappointment when my human tendencies kicked in and i didn’t meet a set goal. the word would inform my decisions and reactions in both happy and tough situations. it would be the theme of how i live my life. it would be daily a reminder of my values and priorities.
in 2016, my mantra was “seek”. i declared i was going to
seek clarity
seek spaces of love and healing
seek God’s presence
seek community
seek opportunities to make my future self proud
seek challenge because there hasn’t been a challenge that hasn’t lead to growth
seek spaces that i and my ideas can create valuable change.

as i sit here on the eve of the last day of the year, in my sweatpants and hoodie, contemplating whether walking downstairs to get tea is worth losing the comfortable position i’m in, i am amazed that this year has gone by so quickly. actually, just kidding.. 2016 was lowkey really long. however i amazed that i was able to actually implement seeking into my life this year without even doing it on purpose because honestly i forgot i was suppose to be living by a word.

i did seek clarity when i didn’t understand. i have a friend with whom i don’t always get along with because our personalities clash. i simply don’t understand where she’s coming from sometimes because i think very differently than she does. so when we would disagree, i sought clarity of what she meant and why. going through this process was of course not easy, and i had to come to terms with the fact that i was perpetuating the strife in the friendship by making assumptions. this reminded me to seek clarity even when i feel i already understand.

i did seek God’s presence through spaces of love and healing which ended up inducting me into a community that was before my eyes all along. i just never made time. i barely attended church this year but i found the peace i needed in attending a campus ministry meeting once a week. i missed a meeting occasionally here and there, but used that time to seek other ways of surrounding myself with that same feeling by listening to Hillsong Worship music in my room and writing out my prayers. i’ve found that writing them out helps me say all i want to say in the most raw honest way without trying to sound perfect. i plan on continuing this in the new year.

i did seek an opportunity to make my future self proud. i made the bold move of sending my resume and a letter to a company i wanted to work for in Ghana over the summer. i knew i wanted to spend the whole summer returning home to Ghana since i hadn’t been back in over 8 years. i created that opportunity even though it didn’t exist and it worked splendidly. i had the best summer of my life and got to see family i hadn’t seen in ages. my future self will be proud that i didn’t go another year asking when i’ll be able to go to Ghana again, yet rather created an avenue that would take me there.

i didn’t seek all the time though, and honestly i spent most of my time at school in my dorm room. this meant i didn’t seek opportunities to meet new people or get involved on campus. 2016 was the year i was antisocial. i wish i could say i was using that time wisely but i mostly napped and enjoyed my solitude. this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but i know that too much solitude won’t feed my soul new food.

as i think about what next year’s word should be, i am am humbled because i know that with whichever word i go with will come growth.

e.

on the gift i gave myself

i can’t remember the last time i stepped on a scale before this week. i stopped weighing myself sometime during highschool because i realized it started taking over my mental space. i wouldn’t say i had an obsession, but i would spend a lot of time looking in the mirror sucking my stomach in and then relaxing to compare the difference and then repeating. weighing then exercising and then repeating. i wouldn’t say i wanted to lose weight but i would spend a lot of time thinking about what i would eat and how much.

to break this habit i decided to delete my tumblr account which was perpetuating my idea of what a healthy body looked like as i scrolled through picture after perfect picture. it was hard and i found myself finding new avenues of consuming that form of media.

i think i finally stopped when i got to college and didn’t have a scale at my disposal. i stopped because you know.. out of sight out of mind. and that happened to work for me. i chose to make the long walk from south campus to north campus instead of taking the bus so i felt like i was getting my daily dose of exercise and i even joined a dance team for fun. as the semesters went by, i’ve gotten more busy and have stopped making these small efforts.

this week i went to the hospital for a checkup and when they did the routine weight check, i stood infront of 3 digits that shocked me. there’s no way i weigh this much. granted, i haven’t weighed in a long time so it isn’t fair to compare the past to the now but in the past couple of days i’ve been troubled by these 3 digits even though i know i’ve normal weight for a 5’1 20 year old.

this year i spent the most i ever have on gifts for others. a friend asked me what i’m gifting myself. i was taken aback because i didn’t quite know how to answer. what did i give myself this Christmas? why wasn’t i on my own list? what do i want from myself? what do i need from myself?

this year i’ve decided to gift myself some slack. some slack for not being “in shape”. some slack for not meeting all my goals i set for this year as a new year is about to begin. some slack for not having perfect grades. some slack for not knowing what i’m doing with my major or after graduation. some slack for being spiritually stuck. some slack because i deserve it.

my plans hereon to stay in shape include acknowledging my own beauty and realizing that my worth is not in 3 digits. it includes consuming body positive media intentionally. it is eating when i am hungry and not worrying about how that affects the scale. it is to exercise not because i want to change my body but because i love it. because it feels good to get that adrenaline and boost of energy since i often feel tired and spend more time napping rather than living.

in retrospect, i’ve lost more emotional weight than physical weight over the years, which is the weight that really matters. i’m the happiest i’ve been. i am more introspective than i’ve been. i am more self loving than i’ve been.

what are you gifting yourself this season?

e.