Fear of Success


Written By Mesha, – Official Contributor of The Crowned Series

I struggled with what I wanted to write about this month.  I recently turned 30, it’s a freaking pandemic, and what we know as life has been flipped upside down. Before all of this, I created a vision of how I wanted my life to be and of all the things I wanted to do. And my heart kept pushing me to write about my bi-polar relationship with success.   I drafted (let’s say a) memo to myself over a year ago. The memo pushed me on the days I wanted to keep on going, but the fear that usually leads me to jump into something headfirst became fear that left me unmoved and paralyzed. I wanted to share it with you all today as we can all take pieces of my self-motivation talk. 

Admittedly, parts of our fear now aren’t about success necessarily, and it may be more about survival during the times that we are living in.  I still find value in what I told myself a year ago… maybe we shouldn’t book that flight quite yet, but we should always find value in our lives and shape our narratives as best as we can.  We are LIVING at home.  If anything, social distancing has taught me is the world doesn’t want to stop, so we must continue to evolve. We must continue to remember ourselves.  We must keep going. I hope you all enjoy the message below!

Hypothetically, we all want to make it, right? Whatever that means to us, we all want to either make a lot of money or enough to be comfortable, be happy, and have some purpose in life.

So, to make it, we chase our dreams and strategically make moves in life that align with our goals to get us where we want to be. I feel that there are times where we know that we can be successful, and we choose not to be out of fear.

Fear of success is real. The fear of actually making it is real. Because once you make it, expectations that you have for yourself changes in addition to the expectations that others have of you. You essentially leveled up, and you KNOW it would be a detriment to go backward in life, and sometimes, you can’t go back to that comfortable place.

The fear of success is worse than the fear of failure because with the fear of success, you know you can do it. But the change of it all is terrifying because it consists of a path you haven’t walked yet.

 One of my friends and I had a series of conversations back to back about our goals. My goals were geared toward my business plans. I wish to execute one day, and hers was about the possibility of a job change. At the core of what both of us vented to another was the fear of it working. Knowing that what’s comfortable would be shifted, all the “what-if’s” occurred. A legit concern that I had that makes absolutely no sense as I type it is, “what if it becomes too much and I can’t have my side hustle and my job?” The goal is to work for yourself! Or at least mine is at some point in my life.

We scare and intimidate ourselves with doubt of accomplishing our goals and miss out on incredible opportunities to make our dreams come true. The fear of success can be paralyzing. 

Taking life by the horns and going for it can be scary, but it is all worth it. So apply for that job, start that business, go to the gym, eat something you always wanted but haven’t tried, book that flight, sis! Whatever your heart desires, …do not paralyze your future with fears.

COVID may have us paralyzed now, the fires in our bellies must not die.  For those of you like me with business dreams, HP, General Motors, Burger King, Microsoft, CNN, EA Games, Uber, Venmo, Groupon, and Airbnb were all birthed out of recessions.  Again, I get it… right now is a little bit different, but if I relied on this inspiration a lot during our social distancing, so I figured it could inspire others too.  Whatever you decide to do, whether that starts a revolution, a business, a book, or cutting a person out of your life, I get that it can all be scary, but making the first step is all worth it.

Mesha, Official Contributor of The Crowned Series

Carpe Diem @ Home


Written By Vica, – Official Contributor of The Crowned Series

Let me first start by saying that everyone’s quarantine experience is different. Some are at home alone, with a partner, with children, or with friends. Different environments cause for different approaches. This blog will be written from my own personal experience with self-isolation.

It’s okay to just chill.

Please don’t think that you have to achieve a said amount of goals every day of every week that we’re stuck at home. This mentality is unrealistic and can harm one’s mental health. Understand that it’s okay to have days when you just lay in bed binge-watching your favorite show or on Insta or TikTok. These days are just as important as the days spent “doing things”.

Set a schedule.

As much as I love laying in bed, we can’t succumb to that desire every single day. Nothing will get done! Start by listing your goals for the week and then proceed to plan out each day. I love a good color-coded planner. I like to do this the night before with ambient music playing. It’s the perfect way for me to relax! 

Adhere to it.

Making sure you’re being responsible and achieving the tasks you’ve listed is key to thriving in this era of self-isolation. Set your alarms, get up on time, and get your day started. I would be lying if I said I do this without fail. But trying is half the battle!

Reward yourself for a day/week well spent.

As humans living in Western society, statistics prove that we seek praise. If we accomplish a task and don’t receive any recognition, it’s unlikely we’ll go out of our way to achieve anything. That’s not to say we must rely on accolades as that’s a problem in and of itself. All I’m saying is if you take the time to acknowledge and appreciate your hard work, you’ll be more inclined to keep up the good work!

A Little Work a Little Play.

Balance is everything. We can’t have one thing without the other. Too much work leads to stress. Too many FaceTime calls take away time spent on quality work. Allot time for both so you can get done what you need to get done and still have time for socialization. Humans need interaction so make sure to say hello to your friends!

Make a new friend.

This one can be a bit tricky especially since we’re not at liberty to roam around outside. The beauty of the technological age we live in is that we can connect with someone on the other side of the world in a matter of seconds. Personally, I found a pen pal! I first stumbled across her Instagram a few weeks ago as her page caught my interest. She lives in the English Countryside with her family and travels all across Europe giving travel tours. One day in her story she put up a poll asking her followers if they would be interested in a pen pal program. Naturally, I said yes and we’ve already exchanged letters (via email cause I’m not about to risk contamination lol)! 

Last but not least, try your hardest not to give in to impulse purchases! I know it’s difficult because it’s like “What else can we do!?” But trust me, you and your pockets will thank you in the long run! Ask yourself, “Do I really need this?”


Vica, Official Contributor of The Crowned Series

Insecure S4, Ep. 1: Friendships and Plus Sized Men


*Spoilers ahead, language, and my first time writing about sex – which shouldn’t even be a thing to be nervous about but hey…*

After two lonngggggg years, Issa Rae’s hit HBO show, Insecure, is finally back. And this season, Issa blessed us with 10 episodes. I. AM. READY. Do you hear me? What a perfect time for it to be back during the quarantine none of us were expecting.

I was ready for the bomb fashion each character possesses, the beautiful way the camera captures every character’s shade of Black skin, THE SOUNDTRACK, and the laughs and emotions that the show always brings me. I relate to many of the characters on the show. I see the Issa, Molly, Kelly, Tiffany, Chad, and Lawrence in me on very different occasions. I told my best friend a couple weeks ago that Insecure is the only show on TV (it used to be Insecure and Power until Power wrapped up) that is truly for the culture. It is so unapologetically, millennial Black…probably the reason I like it so much. Many of the scenarios that play out on the show are adaptations of some of our real lives. The show highlights friendships, career, emotional and sexual relationships, and if you watch with a close eye, it’s also political in some ways. 

The season 4 premiere this past Sunday night covered a plethora of topics. I had to rewatch it to really set the basis for this blog post. Many of the topics intrigued me but I see it best to talk about two of them in this post and how they connect with me or others. 


As a semi-thriving, 30-year-old woman, I value the deep connections I have with each of my best friends and my extended friends (extended friends – my real friends outside of my best friends). Friendship is what sustains me daily and what has gotten me through a number of good and bad times in my life. So, of course, the friendship stories in Insecure are ones that resonate with me the most [the second is the character’s relationships with men].  But, yes, as I was saying, if there’s one thing Insecure does well, it’s the friendship storyline among all of the main female identifying characters. 

In every season, we’ve seen conflict and overtly petty things happen between each of the women characters. Season one, we saw just how deep into the “petty bitch” abyss each character could go. For example, Molly told Issa about her experiences with men and sex. Issa goes to an open mic at a bar and sings “Broken Pussy” in honor of Molly, humiliating her in the middle of the bar.  AND someone recorded Issa and put it on the internet. Let’s not forget about the hot tub scene when Issa, Molly, Tiffany, and Kelly all go on a weekend getaway and all four of the women threw all the shade they were born with at each other. It was wild as hell. 

From then on we would see small jabs they all would throw at each other. 

[My favorite one was during the coachella episode when Issa was talking about how something didn’t make sense. Mind you, Issa didn’t have a job at the time. And Kelly says to Issa “You know what else don’t make sense (cents)?….or dollars?…..You”. ]

I say all that to say that we’ve seen many instances where these women should probably stop hanging around each other or they need to just not be friends anymore. They’re lowkey kind of toxic. Molly and Issa are absolutely toxic for each other. When one of them goes low, the other one can cut even lower. We saw no different in this last season. Before season 3 ended, Molly and Issa got into it after Issa’s “situationship” with Nathan came to a halt after he ghosted her. He showed up on Issa’s 30th birthday and Molly stopped him from going to see Issa. When Issa got mad, she started saying some hurtful things to Molly which made Molly fire right back. 

The season 4 premiere opened with Issa on the phone with someone. Issa said to the person “I just don’t fuck with Molly no more” but then the show moves on to I think a few months prior to that. It shows Molly going to Issa’s apartment for Yoga. They were seemingly back to their old selves after the blow up on the season 3 finale. but you could see a bit of the awkwardness when they were in the clothing store together. After Molly found out that Issa was going to try to stay friends/work with Condola after finding out Condola was dating Lawrence, Molly immediately told Issa that her life “don’t have to be this messy” and that she’s “beginning to think she likes that shit”. Molly has a way of taking her frustrations out [in a negative way] on Issa when she is upset about something going on with her. Before this conversation, Molly just found out that guy she was dating, was dating other people. 

I think that Molly and Issa need to call it quits. I think their friendship is at a good enough stopping point to where they won’t have any ill feelings towards the other because they mutually know they need to let each other go. I tried to think about how my friends would have communicated their disappointment in me. I know for sure they would never approach me the way Molly and Issa approach each other. My friends don’t sugar coat their feedback but they know how to deliver it in a way that doesn’t cut you down as a person. Molly and Issa seem to continue to cut into each other all of the time. I’m rooting for their Black woman friendship, but I also know when it’s time to let a friend go. I’ve had to let many friends go over the years. Most of it was due to the fact that we were on completely different life paths. Maybe Molly and Issa need to go down that “Road Not Taken” (shout out to Robert Frost for this poem) and see what else is out there outside of their friendship.

Another point I’d like to make is that it is absolutely okay for you to be friends with your exes new boo in certain situations. For Issa and Condola, they had a prior relationship with each other before Lawrence came into Condola’s life. I think they both made it awkward by letting the situation be awkward. Clearly Issa and Lawrence are done. I don’t see Issa trying to get back with Lawrence either. There are healthy friendships and relationships out there. If everyone has a mutual understanding and can conduct themselves as adults, I think it’s fine. Condola was a huge part of Issa’s new success and it would suck it see it fully wither away because Molly doesn’t think they should be friends or because both Issa and Condola aren’t mature enough to not let Lawrence get in between them.

Plus Sized Men:

“Welcome to a full sized nigga”. – TSA agent on Insecure (I feel bad for forgetting his name).

As I mentioned earlier, the writers of Insecure perfectly shape the relationships between the men and the women on the show be it sexually, romantically, or friendly. Last season, Issa was distraught that the connection between her and Nathan had suddenly stopped when he ghosted her for over a month. When he returned, he told Issa about his mental health issues. At the start of season 4, Nathan is nowhere to be found. 

We do, however, see a scene where Issa is having sex with a plus sized man, who we later find out is a TSA agent. Now, I haven’t seen many shows that truly showcase a sex scene of that capacity with a plus sized man. I’m sure there are some out there but what I’m saying is, I haven’t seen many. The one I recall is the movie Notorious. And again, Notorious is a movie, not a show. Anyway, the scene begins with Issa and Mr. TSA having sex from the back and Issa is clearly not enjoying herself. She expresses her displeasure and they try something else. She again expressed her displeasure and they then moved to the missionary position where Issa was no longer experiencing displeasure. The scene changes to TSA getting dressed and he and Issa were having a very funny exchange. 

I bring up the man’s body size for a few reasons. The first, as I mentioned before, we don’t see many bigger men in mainstream media be centered in that way. Society has a way of feeding us images of men and women who are seemingly “in shape” and it gets ingrained into our subconscious. Once we see those images over and over, anything outside of that is kinda like wtf? Not going to lie, when I saw Issa and him, I definitely said “wtf” for a quick second and then I checked my bias and said “I’m glad Insecure is being body inclusive”. The diversity advocate in me was rooting for the representation. We need to start normalizing all body types in these types of sex scenes because plus sized people also have sex and enjoy having sex. And there’s people out there who enjoy sex with them. Our society desexualizes (is this a word?) plus sized people too much.

The second reason why I mentioned his body size is because Issa absolutely looked very uncomfortable while they were having sex. I’ve had conversations with women who prefer bigger men and women who do not and their thought processes are on two different ends of the spectrum. Issa didn’t seem to enjoy it until he was on top of her. I thought about the times I was uncomfortable during sex with a plus sized man. My one of my exes is plus sized and my other ex gained a lot of weight while we were together. I remembered how sometimes I felt uncomfortable during sex from the sweat, or the other restrictions that came up, and their unwillingness to try to eat right or workout. It got to the point where towards the end of one of those relationships, I wasn’t sexually attracted to him anymore and we weren’t really having sex (probably why he cheated lol). But, how do you express that nicely? Especially because I used to be way bigger than I am now so I know what it’s like to not be seen as desirable. But I also saw my health at risk and needed to do something about it. So, while I am all about representation and ensuring all people have a right to feel loved and beautiful, I also recognize people have preferences and that’s okay.

Next, Issa and TSA guy seem to have a mutual understanding that their relationship is strictly based on sex. However, when Issa had him working the door at her block party, I started to question if Issa was using him. It’s one thing to just have someone slide over for a quick little razzle dazzle, but then to have him working the door at your event…and then did not ask him to come into the event and mingle. A little shady to me, Issa. But go off! If he was Nathan or someone else, I’m sure he would not have been working the door. Don’t try to hide the fact that you are sleeping with a plus sized person. Don’t keep them in the dark on the back burner. It’s not right to do.

The last thing that doesn’t have to do with body size but I believe is relevant here, was Issa being able to express her displeasure. Often times, women are afraid to tell a man during sex that she isn’t feeling it. I’m one of those women. I’ve never told anyone I’ve been with that I wasn’t enjoying what we were doing. I never wanted to hurt anyone’s feelings because the male ego is so fragile. So, when Issa was telling him she didn’t like it, I was sitting on the couch talking to the TV like, “Issa, I’m so proud of you for standing up for yourself”. Lol. Seriously, though. I’ve told a couple of my girls this before and they all told me “girl, you better say something”. It’s also like, I don’t think I’ve been with anyone actually interested in satisfying me or a woman in general. It’s always been about them. I’m to the point now that if I do have sex with someone, there has to be conversation beforehand and a mutual understanding that this just aint about you. 

Insecure is my favorite show on TV at the moment and I am excited to see how the rest of this season plays out. I encourage you to watch closely to the characters and see how they relate to parts of your life. 

❤ Queen T

Preparing for a Very Different Future



Written By Aspen, – Official Contributor of The Crowned Series

It’s the first full week of April and I’ve somehow successfully managed to avoid shopping in a store since March 13th. Today, I had to break my streak to grab a few grocery items and chose to go to Target because it was close and certainly serves as a one stop shop. Now, despite my time away from in-person store interactions, I was not naive to the long lines and the empty shelves. I came prepared with my homemade bandana mask (which wasn’t as successful as the Twitter videos made it seem) and my latex gloves ready to take on any crowds and hopefully any germs. But what I wasn’t prepared for was the way that everyone was reacting to one another.

There’s an omnipresent feeling of fear that filled the air throughout my Target experience starting as soon as I parked my car. The store opened at 8 am and I arrived at 8:05 am, hoping to get in and out quickly. Three other cars arrived at roughly the same time as me and we were each careful to park at least a space apart from one another even if it meant walking further (and I always usually look for the closest spot!). I took a deep breath, made a quick alteration to my DIY mask to better secure it, put on my gloves, and got out of the car. One of the other customers who also just arrived was several feet ahead of me. Given that we were going to the same place, I maintained a safe following distance yet he still kept turning around to look at me as if to measure and confirm that I was six or more feet away from him. In the store, it was a very similar dynamic as we avoided aisles until others have left them. A Target employee restocking the shelves even flinched when I reached to grab something on the other side of the aisle from them. In the comfort of my home (with the exception of nature walks), I am somewhat shielded from the one thing that is bringing us together in these times of physical distance, genuine fear for our lives.

Having gotten the items that I needed that were in stock, I quickly paid and returned to my car. Once there, I of course wiped everything down with Clorox wipes and then took a deep breath. If I’m being quite honest that breath scared me because I suddenly thought about all of the ways that I could have possibly contracted COVID-19 in that short public adventure. I then got sad as I thought about those Target employees and the thousands of other essential employees who are working hard to clean the self checkout machine and the carts for my convenience, despite the fact that they are constantly on the front line of exposure. My next thought was that I can’t wait for the day when this is all over and that really got me thinking. 

The truth of the matter is that things will have to be different after. Those of us who have the privilege to telework often joke about a better future where meetings can be emails and companies will be more understanding of a work from home option. But in my observations, the changes will be much more extensive. We hear on the news everyday about the impact that this has on our economy but there is no discussion surrounding the impact on the mental and physical health of those in our society. Our bodies and minds are riddled with fear and anxiety as we are constantly made aware of the rising number of cases, the increasing death toll, and the new state legislature that continues to get stricter and stricter in a much needed effort to save lives. But in 21 days I have grown somewhat afraid of the outside world. I can’t even imagine what will happen in 50 days or even 100. 

So, what do we do and where do we go from here? I don’t know. But now that I’m conscious of the fear that is constantly sitting at the forefront of this global catastrophe I’m hoping I can use that to get ahead. I’m hoping to use some of what seems like endless time at home to re-center myself in an attempt to lessen my emotional reaction in days to come and in the aftermath. This way, I can hopefully be there for those around me who perhaps weren’t given the chance to do that throughout all of this.

Aspen, Official Contributor of The Crowned Series

Dear World…


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. 


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


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


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


“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


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


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