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.

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 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.

an honest prayer

dear lord it’s 3:46 am and i miss you. i know i haven’t talked to you in a while and i feel like that fake friend that only waves at you sometimes but is quick to ask for something when i need it. earlier this week in class i know you were watching when my professor asked the class to make a list of 10 descriptions of our identity all beginning with “i am” and i wonder if you were as astonished as i was that i did not mention that i am your child. i wonder if you sighed a little that that wasn’t the first thing on my list and that that wasn’t the first thing on any of the people around me’s lists. the topic of the day was whether who we are is mostly shaped by our culture or whether we are simply who we are even if we were taken out of the context of this culture. my response was that i am naturally made up of the culture in which i am a part of. in hindsight i realize that my response is equivalent to saying that i am of the world. dear lord i know that you did not call on me to be of this world and that as your chilld i am not suppose to be living by the standards of this world but by your standard of love and fellowship. i don’t know where to start in getting to know you again. i wasn’t even aware that i had allowed my surroundings and busy environment to drown out your voice. teach me to hear your voice again and to know the difference between your voice and my voice. teach me to trust in you. immerse me in your presence and anchor me to your word even when everything around me tells me you’re a concept rather than an ever present force. dear lord it’s 3:46 am and i miss you but i know you’ve been here the whole time.

e.