Dear World…

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Written By Cash., – Official Contributor of The Crowned Series

Dear World…I don’t have the words…

 

Dear World,

I don’t have the words.

I don’t have the strength.

I don’t have the resources or the experience.

I am not equipped for this.

I am struggling.

Yet, I find myself struggling for a different reason than 

Most. I look into the world and I see 

Pain. Fear. Confusion.

And, my job is to hold all of that. All of it.

All of the time.

I am supposed to be the one who is all knowing.

Who sees, and hears, and feels, and fixes.

Yet I can not fix this and deep down, I know I don’t want to.

Today, I just want to be another human

Experiencing life and letting life take a hold of me.

Today, I just want to wake-up and know I don’t have 

Any control. And, with that knowledge to live,

Effortlessly. Today, I am begging for release from 

The need for me to be anything besides who I am.

I don’t want to watch the news, or hold a hand.

I don’t want to hear the silent screams of those who

Need to feel affirmed in their belief that everything 

Will fall apart. Today, I just want to sit. Today, I just want to be.

Because, today I don’t have the words, or the strength,

Or the resources. I just have my silence.

I have my own strength. 

I have the ability to just be. 

And, today that has to be enough. 

Love, 

A Public Administration Worker

A Health Care Provider

A Service Industry Worker

A Counselor

A Practitioner

A Human

Cash, Official Contributor of The Crowned Series

A New Normal

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Written By Vica., – Official Contributor of The Crowned Series

We must do what we can to protect the interest of public health. 

COVID-19, a virus that has sent the world into a frenzy and flipped everything upside down. Life as we know it will change forever, and I’m not even trying to over exaggerate. Gas prices are down to $1.96 a gallon, restaurants, bars, schools, hotels, and almost every other place where large numbers of people congregate have been shut down until further notice. Graduation has been canceled/postponed for High Schools and Universities all across the nation. For many seniors students, this means that they won’t have the much-anticipated celebration they’ve worked so hard for. Even though it’s a tough time for all of us, we must do what we can to protect the interest of public health. 

Still, we must all identify, address, and share our feelings to maintain our mental health as well. That’s the beauty of the era we live in now. Not even 20 years ago, if this would have happened, we wouldn’t have the hundreds of outlets to utilize to connect with one another. I count myself extremely fortunate to have access to online video chats, text messaging, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. I am able to connect with friends that live a few states away and family that lives across the equator.

Not to mention the other platforms for entertainment. I’m sure streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime have seen a soar in profit due to everyone being at home. Personally, I’ve started 3 new shows already and it hasn’t even been a week since self-isolation has started! (I probably need to chill before I run out of programs to watch).

Apart from working remotely from home for my on-campus job (which I am so grateful for the option to continue to work), I find that I am returning to do the things that I used to before starting college. Growing up, my mother put me in a compendium of activities to give me not only to hone in my talents,  but also to provide me with many outlets to choose from when I needed to decompress. For example, the tactile arts. A few weeks ago, I dried some flowers and leaves but completely forgot about them because of all the schoolwork I had to do. Just last night, I used them to decorate my journal. I’ve also taken this time to rediscover my love for photography as well. One would be surprised at how many things in the home there are to get creative with. 

Being at home for an extended amount of time is a breeding ground for innovation. I implore everyone to try something new. Maybe read that book you’ve always wanted to but never had the time. Practice meditation, do at-home workouts, draw/ write your feelings, reconnect with your loved ones. Below is a list of other ways you can make this time a little less monotonous. 

* Side note, if you do choose to go out, make sure to support your local business! They are struggling without corporate funds. Tip a little extra (if you can), and treat others with the same amount of kindness and respect you would give to the person you love the most. 

How to Pass the Time

  • Deep clean your home
  • Reorganize/ change the setup of your home
  • Start to learn a new language (Mandarin and Spanish are some of the most commonly used in the international setting. German is also the business language of Europe.)
  • Connect (virtually) with a friend or a family member.
  • Journal; years from now it’ll be a way this time will be remembered.
  • Find new recipes and make them! 
  • Take a breath outside, if possible. Even though we must practice social distancing, it’s important to get your Vitamin D and fresh air!
  • Keep up with school/work (Even though our schedules have been extremely modified, don’t slack. It’s important to keep some kind of routine.)
  • Lastly, practice self-love. Whether that’s painting your nails, have a spa night, or watching your favorite movie, pay extra attention to yourself!

Vica, Official Contributor of The Crowned Series

A Modern Love Story

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Written By Aspen., – Official Contributor of The Crowned Series

The time has finally come! Next week marks 10 months since I’ve moved back to my home state and started a new chapter in my life. It’s been almost a year since I pursued a romantic relationship and almost four years since I was in a serious long-term relationship. Over the years, I’ve had little interest in investing the time and energy that I felt would be required of me to be a good partner to someone else. Grad school served as a fantastic distraction as I was far too busy with work and class to even worry about dating. But now I’ve found myself with slightly more free time and a mild quarter life crisis since turning twenty-five that has left me curious about dipping my feet back into the dating world. 

Now, the last real relationship that I was in began in high school. I’ve quickly learned that it was far easier to meet people in both high school and college than it is as an adult. So, I’ve decided to join the wave of dating apps. Now, I’ve also been the type of girl to dream of a fairytale relationship. Perhaps we would meet on an airplane or run into each other on the sidewalk on the way to our respective jobs. The kind of scenario where they knock the hot tea out of my hand and the in the midst of an apology we lock eyes and from there history is made. As I get older and older, the chance of this seems less and less likely. Out of necessity, I’ve decided to get on board with the times and pursue an online love story instead. 

Throughout this journey, I’ve enlisted the help of two of my best friends who are currently or were previously well-seasoned when it comes to dating apps. I’ve created accounts on Tinder, Hinge, and Bumble and the experience has been stressful to say the least. It certainly is fun to swipe left and right based on the people but in the back of my mind, I struggle with the idea that it’s all fake! I see the success stories but I constantly wonder if that could ever be me. As is usually the case for me, I’ve taken a lot of time to sit in my discomfort surrounding the dating app process and have determined that my most developed romantic relationships were heavily built on strong emotional connections fairly early on in our interactions. And that’s precisely what my dating app experience has been missing so far. But I’m not giving up just yet! 

My friends said that I just need to get to the next level. They brought up the good point that I need to put in the work to utilize these apps as a starting point for one day reaching these in-depth emotional conversations —- even if it means starting off with petty small talk. In an effort to challenge myself I’ve decided to give it a try. If nothing else, it’s an opportunity for me to get more comfortable with the idea of reaching out to people, being honest about what I want, and taking realistic steps to get it. 

In grad school, I made it my mission to do something every week that scares me. As I navigate this quarter-life crisis, I’m bringing this mindset back as a means of forced challenge and change in my life. Besides, what’s the worst that can happen? If it doesn’t work out there’s always casting for season 2 of Love Is Blind, right? My students are already setting up my future stan accounts.

Aspen ., Official Contributor of The Crowned Series

“I’m so Ugly”: A Black Girl’s Nightmare

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“The most disrespected person in America, is the Black woman.” – Malcolm X.

A common theme of the blog posts I write, is my ability to share vulnerable and personal experiences that I’ve had in my life. Last time I wrote about being a dark skinned Black girl, it was a letter to myself addressing the trauma being dark skinned has caused me throughout my life (I posted it on an external blog and I can’t remember where it is at this time).

Reminiscing on that trauma happens often when I think about how my niece sees herself as a dark skinned girl. She goes out in the summertime in jeans and long sleeve shirts or talks about how she doesn’t want to be in the sun too long because she doesn’t want to get darker. But as a 30-year-old woman, I’ve accepted my dark skin as an integral part of my identity. I love the way my skin makes colors like yellow and lime green dance in the sunlight. Diving into communities of other Black folx in my transition into adulthood in college made me love being dark skinned even more. It made me see Blackness differently.

But last week, a viral video of a beautiful, little, dark skinned, Black girl getting her locs retwisted surfaced. In the video, the little girl, Ariyonna, calls herself ugly and her hair stylist immediately stops and tells her not to say things like that. The stylist immediately began to tell Ariyonna how beautiful she is. Ariyonna started to cry and as did I. I felt every inch of that pain and that emotional turmoil that I felt most of my life growing up. I, too, felt ugly as a Black girl. 

I hated going to school and the kids I went to school with, reminded me daily that I was ugly and undesirable. Some names I was called were so harsh that to this day, I still can’t bring myself to say out loud or type. That sense of humiliation finds a way to creep back up. 

While I cried for Ariyonna’s pain, my pain, and the pain of other dark skinned girls, I also cried out of anger. I was angry that in 2020, someone probably told little Ariyonna that she was ugly. I was angry that in 2020, we still don’t see ourselves represented in mainstream media. We have the Lupitas and the Viola Davises here and there but beauty is still being defined by a Kardashian/Jenner (who spend all their money to make themselves look Black) or a Black couple of T.V. that has a dark skinned man with a light skinned woman. Taking in all of these unconscious messages can tell our subconscious that we aren’t beautiful or can tell us that we are not deserving of love. Hell, I even had a Black man tell me one day that he “normally doesn’t entertain Black women” but for me, he would “make an exception”. Finally, I was angry that in 2020, I still felt the sting. I thought I healed from it all. I thought I forgave the people who said anything horrible about me in the past. But I still feel it. Reflecting on all this now, reminded me that I felt it months ago when folx on social media said Ari Lennox looked like a “dog”. 

Colorism and the experiences of being a Black woman in general have been part of our history since slavery. Societal standards of beauty and privilege go beyond the borders of America and extend into every facet of the human experience on every continent and in every country. We’ve been socialized to believe that white people and lighter skinned people are the superior beings and we must all look that way to be beautiful. As much as I try to debunk this ideology, it continues to be the norm in our culture. Social media has given internet thugs and shitty people access to be shitty people to others they don’t even know. Psychologically, it takes a toll on our mental well-being. We hear statements from Black men like “I want to have mixed babies…” “I prefer white women/Latinx women so my kids can have ‘good’ hair…” while beautiful Black women are pushed to the side and ignored.

But no more. Begin speaking LIFE into your Black women and young Black girls. We experience some of the most horrendous attacks on our looks and our character than anyone. No one can me that they’ve experienced worse situations than Black women. We are expected to accept that we aren’t beautiful as fact and we carry this with us internally. For me, it’s been a constant struggle but I recognize the beauty I possess. I see the beauty in my niece and other Ariyonnas around the world. Black girl. Black woman. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL.

❤ Queen T

My 30th Birthday: A Solo Trip to Bali

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I traveled to Bali, Indonesia for my 30th birthday: a birthday that usually marks new beginnings, deep introspection of life, and less-than-megan-the-stallion-knees.

Introducing our newest writer: Cash!

Written By Cash., – Official Contributor of The Crowned Series

I am thrilled to be introduced as a writer on The Crowned Series Blog. This group of amazing women have blessed my eyes with their stories and advice for the past year or so. And to be asked to accompany them in sharing words is a dream come true. To mark this (among other) new adventures – I traveled to Bali, Indonesia for my 30th birthday: a birthday that usually marks new beginnings, deep introspection of life, and less-than-megan-the-stallion-knees.

I can say that all of those things reigned true for me as I spent two weeks on the other side of the world. But the most important experience was the deep introspection. I took a solo trip to Bali for my 30th Birthday and here is what I learned…

Fear is a personal construct, created to keep us from achieving our own next-level greatness. I know what you’re thinking, so cliche right? I was thinking the same thing as I recited this to myself on the balcony of my Kuta hotel. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I was in Bali by myself against ALL odds that had been put against me to be there. The weeks before I traveled to Bali, I went through illness, canceled plans of comrades and family, inconvenient personal matters, and the almost impossible choice of deciding if I was going to take an interview for a school or pour into myself one last time before letting it all go. Somehow, I made it to the place I was meant to be. You see, if I had let fear guide my decision at any step of the way, I wouldn’t have been able to be in Bali reflecting and guiding this new journey into my 30s. Allowing fear to be just another emotion gave me the control that I needed to make the decision that was right for me.

Self-love sometimes means critically acknowledging the pain you’ve created for yourself, and that you’ve allowed others to create for you. Yep, this wouldn’t be a self-reflection journey if I didn’t talk about self-love. Self-love is probably the most amazing form of self-care we can participate in. But, it’s not always rainbows and butterflies. Sometimes, it’s about acknowledging pain. Period. And this particular form of self-love actually creates the stepping stones to liberating yourself from creating the same habitual responses you have been used to when faced with a difficult situation. I realized during this journey that I had shown everyone in my life that I was okay with not being held and cared for (in the ways that I preferred to be). I was so used to being the rock and prided myself on being the strongest person that everyone knew, that I forgot to show them that I was, in fact, human. The weeks before my 30th birthday, I found myself reaching out to the people I cared about most, in a way I never had before – asking them to see me and to acknowledge that I was in pain because I felt lonely and unseen. This was new for me, but also inhibiting. It reminded me that I, too, deserve love and it’s my job to communicate the ways that I want to receive that love. Which brings me to my next point…

People do not naturally understand boundaries. It’s your job to set and communicate them. Just as I’ve learned that you can’t get upset when people don’t know how to love you, if you don’t tell them; You can’t get mad at someone else if you’re showing them through your actions that you are always available. Trust me, the time is never better than now to communicate that you are not. This is actually healthy to share what you can and can not do to support others in times of self-care. Don’t think of this as being selfish, but being self-full. You deserve the space to be in joy alone if that’s what you choose. You can say no and decide not to always be “that friend” that shows up whenever people need you. This is not because you don’t care about the people in your life. This is because you, too, are a vessel, a cup that needs to be filled. How can you carry another’s energy when you haven’t even dealt with the emotions and feelings in your own vessel?

And finally – Forgiveness is necessary to create a clean slate for your next opening/adventure in life. Joy comes from a clearing. There, deep down within yourself, are situations and people that you need to forgive to create that clearing. So often we think that we are defined by the burdens that we carry. But, who we are without them is authentic and ready to explore whatever new moments life has for us. In Bali, I did things I never did before! I took chances – I ate food foreign to me, I threw up on a catamaran, I got a tattoo. But at the end of it I realized that these actions were just metaphors for a space that I was creating for myself to invite new experiences into my life this year. I don’t know what this journey has for me. However, I do know that this year my practice is to constantly forgive myself and create those clearings so that I might be ready for the next authentic journey.

I went to Bali on a solo trip defining the mark on this new 3rd decade of my life and there I found greatness, self-love, boundaries, and forgiveness. My charge to you on this next birthday is to sit with your own clearing and see what authentic experiences you can create. Thanks for having me as a part of your journey this year on The Crowned Series!

Cash., Official Contributor of The Crowned Series

Long Live MAMBA

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Written By Mesha G., – Official Contributor of The Crowned Series

As the world celebrates the lives of Kobe and Gigi Bryant, the last week of February and a month after their passing, I still find myself with polarizing feelings.  On one hand, I am completely heartbroken. Their deaths were nothing shy of a tragedy and horrid to hear. I mourned their deaths as if I knew them. I consistently found myself in tears and questioned (as I always do) what makes God decide when you’ve done a good job on Earth and calls you home.

On the other hand… I am compelled by their legacies and have the utmost admiration for “The Ultimate Girl Dad”, huge shit talker, ball hog, fantastic basketball, and his daughter. I would be remiss if I didn’t call out a few things before I continue:

1. I’m not the biggest  basketball fan. However, whenever I attend an NBA game, I’m all in; the TV sidelines don’t do it for me. That said, MJ vs Kobe debate.. Kobe. LeBron vs Kobe debate… KOBE. I’ve always been a stan from afar throwing out arbitrary facts from clips on ESPN or the nightly news when necessary. Sometimes, I landed myself a winning argument, others, I googled until I became right. 

2. I am very aware of the “complicated” person that Kobe may be to some people but I’ve intentionally chosen to recognize and praise him and his daughter for their impact on the world.

Which leads me back to how compelling their legacies are and how just within a month, has impacted me exponentially and even more so than my superficial fangirl moments.  There are some things about Kobe that’s just undeniable and he instilled in his children at such a young age. Yesterday’s success wasn’t enough for today.  The push and drive that he had to be better than what he was yesterday was consistent energy and the definition of perseverance.  

Basketball was just a vessel that displayed his purpose.  Although most of us, me included, have bragged about his ferocious and relentless skills on the court, Kobe lived a life of legacy and helping others and living in his purpose.  His energy has inspired me to be a better person. Now, I definitely don’t want to play basketball, got hit in the face once in 5th grade and barely ever wanted to pick up a ball again.  But I’ve been inspired to live within my purpose daily. To become a better person than I was the day before. To reconsider the 4ams and how I dedicate my time to my craft. To ensure that with or without children of my own, my legacy will continue after my days on Earth. To use every opportunity as an opportunity to grow.  To be an infectious perfect that breathes life unto others. 

Greatness is subjective, but most of us know when we’re half assing something… giving 1,000 percent to doing what you’re calling is, is greatness. Not giving up is greatness. Being intentional with your actions in a way that helps you achieve your goals is greatness. Challenging yourself is greatness.  Before anyone contests me, you don’t need to be rich to live in your purpose and to strive for greatness. I’m not rich yet but I find ways daily to ensure that I’m living in my purpose and investing in myself with small contributions to become a better me.

It’s quite strange, for the lack of better words, to be so inspired by someone’s death to do all you can to live in your own purpose and to do it wholeheartedly and fully. Many celebrities that I’ve had some sense of admiration for have passed and this one is one that hit differently for me. It’s one that hits many people.  And that’s when I realized that no matter what God has called me to do within my time on Earth, I, too, can (and will continue to) live a life of purpose and drive.

Mesha G., Official Contributor of The Crowned Series

 

The Principle of Balance

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Written By Vica., – Official Contributor of The Crowned Series

Everyone knows or should know, that to have a clear space is to have a clear mind. As spring quickly approaches, I have come to realize that my space/zen/paradise is in desperate need of attention. I find myself rummaging through clothes, books, papers, empty Amazon boxes every day to get to what I need. I have noticed that since this begun (a few months ago) I have debuted an extreme loss of motivation in almost every aspect of life. 

Yesterday evening, I reached a point of enlightenment and declared a new start.  I have realized that my paradigms are not aligned and this has caused an extreme obstacle in my drive. I learned about the different paradigms of one’s life in high school as apart of my leadership role in the Marching Band. We were made to read the book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens” and complete its workbook and I have never been more grateful. In this book, certain common paradigms were described as self, school, work, love, enemies, etc. They are the principles in which we lead our lives. If one becomes more apparent than others, there is an imbalance which can disrupt one’s life entirely.

 “Before you’ll ever win in the public arenas of life, you must first win the private battles within yourself. All change begins with you.” (Sean Covey) This quote has stuck with me for years. One must master themselves before they can master anything else. The first step is to identify what areas you need to improve upon. I’ve focused more on social interactions rather than self-care. As much as I love being surrounded by many people, I need to make time for myself to decompress and recharge, if you will. 

When a person is given the chance to establish their principles and lead their life through the lens of their paradigms, they are then able to achieve great things. This shouldn’t be viewed as daunting but rather exciting. It is important to start off with small steps. This can turn into a snowball effect and can finish as a complete shift.

 First, change your outlook on life. As cliche as it may sound, look at the glass half full rather than half empty. Positivity breeds positivity. When the outlook changes, then your response to certain challenges become better in a sense that you say, “I can overcome this” rather than, “Why me?”. 

Next, find a passion project. Do something that makes you happy while simultaneously making others happy. For example, if you enjoy creating things ,you can make jewelry and sell it. This way, you are doing something you love while enhancing the beauty of others, all while making some COIN!

Lastly, keep it personal. If there is something that goes against your principles (values) avoid it at all costs. Doing so will save you from feeling off or “guilty” if you do something that goes against what you truly believe. Say no if you really don’t want to do something and treat yourself like you would treat your best friend. 

  With love,

  V

Vica., Official Contributor of The Crowned Series

Self Care VS Self Love

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Written By Aspen S., – Official Contributor of The Crowned Series

Valentine’s Day is here and in the air! After an exhausting work week and the constant movement that has been my life in the past few weeks, I am quite looking forward to a night filled with homemade brownies, a bottle of wine, and a hearty Netflix binge.

Now, that sentence alone gave it away that I am very much single, but Valentine’s Day is still one of my favorite days to celebrate. Even as a young child I loved the way the day could be so inclusive. We made our mailboxes and then gave everyone in our grade school classes a valentine so that they felt special. As I got older, it was important for me to continue these traditions but more selectively with my friends. Over time, I outgrew the Valentine’s cards and have replaced them with a simple text, a Valentine’s Day meme that fits their sense of humor, or a quick phone call reminding them how much I love and appreciate them. Platonic love is still love and telling everyone I care about that I love them is something I am actively trying to make more commonplace.

Something else that the spirit of love has me thinking more about lately is self love. In grad school, I gave a lot of thought to the idea of self care as a display of loving oneself. In recent days, I stumbled upon an Instagram post that self care and self love are not one in the same. Self care is making sure that I am ok mentally and physically. For me that looks like binge watching television to mentally disconnecting from stressors in my life. It means lighting candles, listening to soothing music, and taking a bubble bath with a bottle of wine. It’s blocking off time on my Google calendar to go to the gym and meal prep.

In reflecting upon my experiences, I see that surely I have made the space in my world to navigate self care. But self love is something that I want to be more conscious about making time and space for. Self love is exactly what it sounds like. It is all about loving your body and who you are as a person in both your glory and your faults. It takes the idea of acknowledging who you are as a person and what you bring to the table and expressing grace and gratitude towards your existence as you would for the many other people that you’ve grown to love.

I’ve started thinking about the ways that I can better express self love. I’ve come up with three small, but tangible ways that I hope to do this moving forward.

  1.     List the qualities that I love about myself. Just like the people who I care about in my life, there is a reason that I enjoy my own presence. I contribute a lot to the world and to the relationships that I engage in and I need to do a better job of actively acknowledging those traits.
  2.     Speak to myself with grace. Something that I am realizing is that the way I speak to myself is not the way that I speak to others. I speak to others with kindness and understanding. I find myself often speaking to myself with anger and disappointment. I need to change that narrative immediately. While there will be times that I am disappointed in myself, that is not the case most of the time and I need to use the down time to speak to myself with love, expressing some kindness and praise towards my self and my accomplishments.
  3.     Prioritize myself. My other two goals will mean nothing if I don’t make time for myself. I often hear people saying that we will make time for the people and the things that we love and care about. If I’m making a conscious effort to love and care about myself then I need to first make myself a priority.

I’m looking forward to going into this Valentine’s Day with a brand new perspective. I now understand that self care is about building stability while self love is about building confidence. This year I vow to tell those that I care about how much I love them, myself included. I’ll use the holiday as a kick off to my new goal of maintaining a healthy balance of self care and self love.

Aspen S., Official Contributor of The Crowned Series

Being Realistic with Your Goals

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Written By Mesha G., – Official Contributor of The Crowned Series

As the new year begins (February 1st for some of us), we all make our new year resolutions.  Those resolutions typically involves some part of our lives to become more cultivated, healthier people.  Goals to lose weight, to read, to get of our debt, to travel more, to stop smoking, to eat better, to drink less, finish school (or begin), to declutter, or to be more social are all goals that we all make top of the year.  We become incredibly optimistic but achieving them and live off the high from the ideal of being successful. 

But what happens when we fall short? I will be vulnerable enough to be honest with you all.  When I fall short of my goals, I’m ridiculously hard on myself to the point it makes absolutely no sense…. (the real life of a perfectionist). There are times I make goals that no one even knows about but I don’t achieve the plan that I made for myself, disappointment is an understatement.  I know that I probably am not the only who have similar sentiments about being too hard on yourself. But as I mature, I realize the importance of making realistic goals.  

Setting realistic goals provides is with the chance to give ourselves grace,  decrease anxiety, and lower depression. If you are anything like me, I created so many huge goals for myself and some I would accomplish but many I did not and it set be back so far to where I created burnout for myself.  

S.M.A.R.T. Goals has been recently trending at indeed, it does make sense.  In order for your vision to come true, it is important create smart goals to ensure the success of your vision.  

S – Specific. Being specific with your goals cuts the ambiguity that could prevent you from your goals.  

M- Measurable. Measuring your goals align very closely to being specific. How will you track to make sure that you’re doing exactly what you set yourself out to do?

A – Attainable. Make your goals realistic.  Do not make a goal to lose 20 pounds in a day. Not. Realistic. 

R – Relevant. This is all about alignment.  If your goal is to lose weight, then are you eating healthy, cutting calories, or working out more? Doing actionable items that aligns with your big goal creates relevance to make it happen. 

T – Time-based. Creating an end date keeps you accountable for your goal.  Again, the time should be attainable… 

SMART goals are something that’s a little new to me, but since I have been incorporating it in my life to do all the things I want to do, I gained some perspective about how I ran myself like hamster on a wheel.  I was running and felt like I was going nowhere. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve accomplished a lot but I wasn’t efficient with the actions that I made to accomplish all that I have. 

All and all said, my goal of this blog post isn’t to create a world where we all do more, but to work smarter and not harder for ourselves.  We live in a world now where we see the highlights of everyone’s lives on social media and have the perception that they all got there in a day… which is far from the truth.

Mesha , Official Contributor of The Crowned Series

Invisible Pain

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Written By Vica., – Official Contributor of The Crowned Series

Well, you don’t LOOK sick. It’s probably not even that bad.

Living with an illness that isn’t explicit to the eye can be quite challenging, especially when people start to doubt the pain you’re in. It’s like a slap in the face because it took all your strength to even get out of bed that day. For someone to dismiss your pain just because you carry it well. This is something I have had to deal with for many years. I have so many back issues and injuries that it’s hard to even recount a time where I was just “me”. 

Live your truth.

Since I don’t wear a cast or am missing an extremity people like to pretend that nothing is wrong. Yes, I am fortunate that what I have to deal with isn’t as extreme as what others go through, but does that diminish my experience? The notion of “Well at least you’re not… or at least you can…” undermines one’s struggle. I recall my senior of High School when I missed 66 days of school. Of course, they were all excused but I had teachers and even friends make implicit remarks questioning if I was really sick. One of my classes laughed when I came back and said they thought I had died (which is soooo not funny). It’s important that people realize this and think twice before they make comments regarding someone else’s health. 

Moving Forward.

Because of this, I often downplay my pain and brush it off as nothing to make other people more comfortable. I recognized this and realized that it is deleterious to my health and am actively trying to break that habit. Sacrificing my well-being for those who don’t really care is not in the cards for me in 2020, nor the rest of my life for that matter.

A History.

Unfortunately, the denial of truth is often felt in the medical field as well. I can’t even count how many doctors I have visited and how many times they told me there was nothing wrong. I even had an MRI done in 2016 with results indicating a herniated disk and other ailments and the “treatment” suggested by a physician was to take 2 Motrin. This attitude can be expressed towards all patients but is undeniably present in Black patients. Racial bias in the assessment and treatment of pain is something that stems from false “scientific” evidence made by doctors during the slave trade. They proposed that the Black race or “Negroids” were a different breed of human and felt little to no pain compared to the “caucasoids” or white race. This “science of race” was obviously a means to justify the inhumane treatment of Africans. In fact, a great deal of medical advancements were made because of the experiments carried out on enslaved Africans. Although this view is no longer revered as true, the effects are still felt to this day. A lot of people remain undiagnosed or even end up irreparable damage or death because of the disbelief. It’s way past time for a total change to be had.

Be kind.

The global skepticism of pain isn’t exclusive to physical health but applies to mental as well. Many people struggle every day with anxiety and depression and still make look “fine”. But the mask they wear on the outside covers the true pain felt on the inside. Keeping this in mind, ask your friends, neighbors, coworkers, and even strangers, if they’re doing okay regardless if they look fine. Remember, it costs nothing to be nice. Set an example. One small act can inspire many. 

Vica, Official Contributor of The Crowned Series