on rebranding – readefining.com

Featured

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.

.comlogo6

 

Advertisements

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 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.

on traditions: fakedeep express

this Christmas wasn’t at all like the others.

for the first time, my family stayed in and we spent the day resting. we ate breakfast for dinner and did our annual screening of the Polar Express, except this time we managed to drag my dad into watching with us even though he’s not a movie type of guy. i knew this time would be a different experience because my parents love to make commentary throughout movies. and it was hilarious. it had only been about 3 minutes when my dad asked “what kind of animation is this? It looks like a hybrid with real people.” we laughed and hushed him and told him to pay attention.
halfway through the movie, my mom asked us why we like this movie so much and i didn’t know how to answer other than that it’s tradition and it wouldn’t be Christmas if we didn’t watch it. this was about the 5th year my siblings and i were watching this movie as part of our tradition, yet this time we decided to pay close attention to try to catch things we may not have noticed before. and boy were we catching them. maybe it’s because i’ve become more of a critical thinker since being in college, but while watching it dawned on me that there has to be a deeper meaning behind this movie because it’s lowkey a little bland and it’s appeal for me comes mostly from the beautiful visual art and the smell of the hot chocolate we always drink while watching.
so we decided to put on our fakedeep thinking caps and tried to decipher what each character and scene symbolized. by the end of the movie, we’d come up with a masterpiece analysis. we concluded that the Polar Express train represents a spiritual journey on which you discover more about yourself and the journey on the way to believing. the conductor could be Jesus because he recruited the passengers on board through giving them the power to choose whether they wanted to join or not. at the destination, which is where the main character finally believes, the other passengers receive tickets on which there is a single word which represents their true gift — we took this to resemble the spiritual gifts you receive as a believer. it took us longer to figure out what was going on with the weird ghost on the roof of the train, but G thought he was suppose to be the holy spirit since he saved them every time someone was about to fall off the train. but i personally think it wasn’t executed well if that is true. maybe i’ll figure it out next Christmas lol.
while we did the dishes, my mom asked us whether we still planned to continue with our tradition now that we have deciphered the movie. and we looked at her like she was crazy and responded “but of course!”

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.

on where i’m from

i am from
where the sun loves the earth so deeply
our skin glistens a hue of its rays mixed with melanin

i am from
where the glass is half full
yet if your glass was empty
i’d give you my last half.

i am from
read your bible
it will cure your depression
i am from
yea though i walk through the valley of the shadow of death
he restoreth my sole.

i am from
a womb that housed
3 bodies,
i am from
the folds of stretched skin etched with love
i am from
a mom that prays for me
more than she prays for herself.

e.

on being back: triple consciousness

“you know that isn’t going to do anything here, right?”
i stared down at the white letters on my black shirt that read “NO JUSTICE NO PEACE.” it was the day following the murder of Alston Sterling by police officers in Baton Rouge. when i heard the news the night before, i retreated into a state of silence. the usual question “again?” didn’t touch my lips. i was simply quiet. and i slept in hopes of escaping. i slept not because i was tired but because i felt the weight of a thousand pounds on my heart.

it was different this time. it felt different this time around that i wasn’t in the midst of the turmoil. Continue reading

on being back: notes on communication

note 1. Ghanaians have a unique culture when it comes to communicating with each other. it is not uncommon for your uncle or your grandma or your friend you just met yesterday to call you every day just to check on you and say hi. so it took me by surprise when i would receive calls hourly that weren’t exactly for any reason other than to hear my voice. i quickly learned that my asking why the person called was kind of rude and embraced the love.

note 2. they say majority of human communication is nonverbal. i’d say Ghanaians are experts on that. during conversation, you’ll most likely hear a series of dramatic oh’s and ah’s and eh heh’s and other sound effects that make up the soundtrack of our expressive dialogue. these sounds may sound random and meaningless to the outside ear but a Ghanaian knows the difference between a long drawn out oh and a short staccato oh. The sing song of our voices are reminiscent of musical chords. like music, we communicate moods with tones.

note 3. “broken english” aka pidgin is the preferred language with millennials. i consider it a legitimate language because of its complexity and nuances that encompasses words from different languages mixed with english. it’s poetic to me how there is no regard to different tenses. past is present. future is present. it reflects the general relaxed carefree nature of the people. the way we don’t take things personally. the way we talk carefully like we’re tasting every word. the way we walk slowly like our destination is just around the corner.

note 4. language is linked to societal perception, class, and status. some international schools continue to ban the use of local languages and promote the use of english primarily within the classroom. students can even be punished for speaking local Ghanaian dialects. although it isn’t as common today, this rule isn’t surprising for a country previously colonized by the British. the mentality that “proper” english is the most respectable form of speaking still persists because liberation is still relatively new. a people can be decolonized but the decolonization of the mind and societal systems is its own tedious process.

e.

on being back: dumsor

dumsor is a different kind of silence. a hear your neighbor’s chickens’ crow and morning birds sing songs kind of silence. your thoughts become an audiobook that you feel is being broadcasted for everyone can hear. lights out in Ghana is quite the unexpectedly expected surprise. you know it’s coming yet you can’t help but grunt when you’re in the shower and all of a sudden everything goes dark and you’re worried about where that wall gecko you’ve been keeping an eye on might be currently.

when i was younger, the frequent power outages meant fishing for the flashlight and sitting with grandma and grandpa as they told us stories. everything stops yet it’s the start of a new world.

this time around, though it doesn’t happen as often,  it holds a different meaning to me as i look at it from squinting eyes that haven’t yet adjusted from the sudden switch from light to dark. Continue reading