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 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.

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 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 love and logic

if you asked me what love is about 5 years ago i’d have told you something along the lines of it’s that feeling you get in your stomach when you lock eyes with that person who you’ve been getting to know. i’d have told you testimonies of a warm flood in my veins and a fluttering heart beat. i’d have told you it’s a mutual feeling.

if you asked me what love is about 2 years ago when i was in my first year of college, i may have answered with a laugh, giggled at your obsession over something that may or may not exist because we live in socially constructed realities, i may have pulled out my philosophy text book and flipped to the index to find the word love.

if you asked me what love is a year ago, i’d have asked you to be more specific. which kind of love? capital L or lower case? i would have asked you its root word, its origin, asked you to use it in a sentence because love is not one thing but everything. i’d have told you love is contextual.

if you ask me what love is right now, i’ll tell you it is seeing with your heart. it’s replacing your eyes with mirrors and seeing your self in them. it is a verb. synonymous with choice. it is an adjective. synonymous with unconditional. it is a noun. God.

e.

on the healing properties of music: my seat at the table

let it be known that on september thirtieth of the year twenty sixteen, Solange Knowles dropped an album that resurrected my faith in the healing powers of music. in the last couple of weeks i almost reached my breaking point of balancing being a student and being in pain about what’s going on not only around the world but in my own backyard in Charlotte with police brutality and the ignorance of those who refuse to wake up and acknowledge a broken system that perpetuates the cycle of white supremacy and hate. let it be known that my weary heart was hugged by the soft tunes of her voice which sung lullabies of peace and self love and revolution. each song sounded like the manuscript of my thoughts and feelings. she evoked how we try to absolve our pain in Cranes in the Sky and affirmed my crown in Don’t Touch My Hair. she talked about gentrification in black neighborhoods in Where Do We Go and reclaimed ownership of our narratives and creative voice with For Us By Us. each interlude featured voices of people spreading black positivity and truth and straight up bars on the current issues of today through their lens. the overall album theme of reclaiming our selves and protecting our spaces and spirits in a world which tries to leech our joy is one that i don’t feel is present enough in art and i am grateful. thank you Solange for welcoming me so gracefully to have a seat at the table and for serving me pure conscious lyricism on a platter of beautiful instrumentals and breathtaking vocals.

sincerely,

your biggest fan and spirit animal,
e.

on coincidences: milk

i don’t believe in coincidences so i’m going to write them down for those aha moments that will surely surface for why these things repeated themselves.

so i was browsing the web and i saw an image of a mother who was breasfeeding her child who has a full set of teeth. As I read the comments section, there was a whole debate on the mother having agency to do what she pleases and feels best, and the other side was worried for the effect it would have on the child’s development and future because the child was too grown to be breastfeeding. one guy brought up that the child has reached the age where memories become concrete and that a boatload of problems will arise with that remembering when the child is older. the mother had a caption detailing the benefits of breastfeeding for the child. some of the facts were that it gives the best nutrients and the physical touch regulates bodily temperature and blood pressure and reduces stress and depression in mothers post-birth.
that same day as i was reading my favorite blog, i found an interesting blog under ‘similar blogs’. so i started reading some of her posts, which were mostly about motherhood. to my surprise, she wrote about how she was having challenges when it came to the weaning of her child. she’d tried different methods and nothing seemed to work to get the child to stop being needy.
whoa.. right?
but that’s not all.
later that evening i decided to stop procrastinating to do my research project on black women in 18th century England colonies for my Blacks in British North America course. i remember getting frustrated as i used every advanced search option possible to find a woman that had enough information about her to use as my subject (a task that has proven to be much more difficult to achieve since black women in those times were mostly slaves and didn’t have the privilege of writing their own narratives so a lot of their stories were what we can gather from the writing of white males.) and that was when i stumbled across an article that discussed the practice of extended breast-feeding among black women slaves as a form of resistance to field labor because the rule was that they were permitted breaks to tend to their young. so these women would often breastfeed for as long as they could, sometimes even past 19 months. they also used this as a fertility suppressant form of birth control since they were perpetually subject to rape by their white masters. as i kept reading, i learned that extended breastfeeding wasn’t merely for resistance, and that it was first drawn from cultural norms in African countries.
it’s wild to me that this theme repeated itself to me so many times in the same day. in the first scenario, the mother was embracing the extended breastfeeding. in the second, the mother was trying to make the child stop breastfeeding. in the third, the mother was using breastfeeding as protection. i can’t help but think of this from a spiritual lens. perhaps there’s a message in there somewhere. perhaps we can figure out this coded message together.

what are your thoughts?

e.