EMPATH.

Guest Blogger : Brianna Graham

em·path

ˈempaTH/

NOUN

  1. A PERSON WITH THE PARANORMAL ABILITY TO APPREHEND THE MENTAL OR EMOTIONAL STATE OF ANOTHER INDIVIDUAL. 

It is a beautiful gift, yet so so exhausting. For the girls filled with “too many emotions”, it is not your fault. It is not your fault you easily connect with people. It is not your fault that the world sometimes weighs down on your shoulders and you feel responsible to carry it. You allow yourself to feel everything. You are forever in touch with your emotions, which sometimes leaves you consumed.

As an Empath, you constantly feel compelled to take on your own burdens and others too. People gravitate towards you for advice and you always have the right words to say. But, you aren’t willing to tell anyone the difficulties of bearing such a gift.

Stress is all to familiar to you. You often feel overwhelmed. You recognize and understand all feelings. You easily express yourself. But, when you are burdened, you keep your problems to yourself. You fear being bothersome. Release any buildup. You are human.

You have the ability to not only see things, but “feel” them. I mean truly feel them. The Earth’s energy and vibration feels differently. You experience it all. It’s no wonder you are drained. It’s no wonder your mind is constantly in a race. You are loving, sweet, kind, and generous. But love, please understand you cannot handle it all.

Breathe.

Rest.

Take a moment for yourself.

Ignore a few text messages.

Give your mind a break.

You matter MOST.

Empaths are the healers of the world, which is why we deserve the freedom to be free.


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Guest Blogger :

Brianna Chara Graham

Brianna is a writer full of life, with so much to say. Writing is her way of releasing emotions and inspiring others. She aspires to become a Journalist and Broadcaster, while traveling the world. Her newest project is her blog 7EVEN|Reign. It encourages happiness, self wellness, and so much more! She includes relatable topics of today’s generation and interviews from successors on the rise.

7EVEN | Reign is waiting for you! Check it out now: 7evenreign.com.

9 Great Tips For Building Your Brand

1. Accept the opportunity to grow.

Fellow creative, don’t tell them that you can’t do something! Avoid complacency and refuse to limit yourself! Just because you’ve never done it before, doesn’t mean you can’t do it. You can’t get better if you don’t challenge yourself. Be willing to step outside of the box. Also, if there is something new that you want to learn, offer a discount to get more practice.

2. Know the difference between a business and a hustle.

A hustle keeps money in your pocket. A business keeps money in the bank. If you want to go fast, hustle. If you want to go far, build a business.

3. Change the way you look at your gifts & environment.

You can make money anywhere if you keep your eyes open. You just have to get their attention by catering to the needs of the community around you. What’s not being offered in your area? Is there anything you could do differently? You have to open up your mind to different avenues within your craft as well. Add to your skill set and hunt the opportunities down.

4. There is no better person to invest in than yourself.

This is self-explanatory. In order to make money, you have to spend money. This could mean paying for equipment to get started, giving something away for free, advertising costs etc… Investing can get a little pricey but it will pay off in the long run!

5. Set your price and stand firm in it.

If you have something you want to sell, don’t spend another day without having a set price for it. Find out the true cost and time that it takes to make your product. Otherwise, you’re more likely to basically give something away instead of making a profit because you didn’t factor in cost and labor. This will also eliminate any inconsistencies when giving quotes to potential customers.

6. Know your worth and then add tax.

There is a saying that goes: “Until you understand the true value of something, you’ll always get talked down on its price.” A great way to grasp this concept is to research what other people charge for something you can do. Repeat this step until it sinks in that your work is of great value.

7. There can never be too many.

There will be plenty of people who can do what you do but the truth is, they can’t book them all. You’ll always be able to find work for two reasons: You’ll only get better at what you do and there will be times when you’re available and someone else is not. You don’t have to necessarily compete. Just perfect what you do and advertise your availability.

8. Closed mouths wont get fed.

There are going to be times when you have to put yourself out there *ques anxiety*. Networking can be nerve-racking but in order to make money, you have to talk to people. You can’t be afraid to ask questions to get better at something. You have to be willing to work with others and promote them as well. People won’t know what you offer unless you tell them. (By the way, always be ready to give an elevator pitch.) You want more visibility? Opportunities? Business? You have not because you ask not. Go get it.

9. Check your image!

Know that when you attempt to build anything, the very foundation of your brand will be your reputation. You could have quality products and exceptional service, but if you don’t present yourself professionally to others, no one will buy what you’re selling. You are a reflection of the business you do. With that being said, social media presence is one of the leading ways people gauge who you are as a person. Review your profiles and make sure that what you say is in line with that you sell. Otherwise, hang it up.

Keep these tips in mind as you venture out to make a name for yourself. Feel free to add anything you have learned along the way in the comments below! I’d love to hear what you think!

Keep Evolving,

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Anxiety

Anx·i·e·ty

/aNGˈzīədē/

noun

1. A NERVOUS DISORDER CHARACTERIZED BY A STATE OF EXCESSIVE UNEASINESS AND APPREHENSION, TYPICALLY WITH COMPULSIVE BEHAVIOR OR PANIC ATTACKS.

1,2,3,4..

Why are you counting the steps as you walk? Stop pacing! Just breathe.

*Inhales* *Exhales*

“You okay, hun”

“Yeahh, just tired.”

Fake a yawn.

Why does your heart feel like it’s beating out of your chest?

THUMP, THUMP, THUMP.

Can she hear that? Your hands are shaking… What are you nervous about? There’s nothing to be afraid of! Relax. Breathe… BUT QUIETLY! Keep the screaming in your head.

*In…Out….*

“Something kept you up late?”

My thoughts.

They keep me up late.

It’s taking over my life. It’s creeping into all of my waking moments. It’s tucked in between the huge breaths that I take. There goes the flutter in my chest followed by the familiar tightness in my stomach. Where did all of the air go? I CAN’T BREATHE!

Okay, okay.. just focus.. You’re having a panic attack… Keep calm…

I can’t… WHY CANT I FOCUS? My thoughts have company now and no space to move around. Why is there a hint of desperation in every second? My temple is pounding from fighting a battle in my head..that I’m losing.

I feel heavy, weighed down, as if there are anchors on my feet. Is that why it feels like I’m drowning? My life doesn’t feel like it belongs to me anymore. It doesn’t feel full. It feels overcrowded.  

“Anxiety!”

I’m begging now, close to tears..

I want my life back!”

“You can have it back when you admit defeat…”

“How can I!?…”

when you wont let me breathe…

 

 

 

 

 

8 Things You Need To Hear After Graduation

1. You don’t have to know right now

I’m serious! It feels like the entire world is dying to know what’s next for you! “What jobs do you have lined up?” “What grad schools did you apply to?” “What are your plans?” Ugh! It can be so nerve-racking! They want something that you can’t give them right now. I want you to know that you don’t HAVE to have all of the answers! They don’t. They may have an idea but the truth is, no one knows what God has planned. Yet we spend so much time trying to live in the future that we can’t even be proud of today. Relax! It’s okay not to know. We’re all stumbling around trying to figure it out.

2. Rejection is a redirection

So, you’ve applied for quite a few positions that you thought you really wanted? Maybe you applied to a few back ups just in case your initial plan fell through. However, it didn’t make much of a difference because they all said “No.” Ouch! You know you’re more than qualified! Maybe you were an honor student. Maybe you’ve accumulated an excessive amount of internship hours. Maybe you’ve got connections in every zip code. For God’s sake, the job posting only called for a high school diploma to begin with! So why did you receive that “Thanks for applying but we regret to inform you…” email? I’ll tell you: Yes, your degree has value. Yes, networking can be quite useful. Yes, having field experience is a plus! It doesn’t mean you aren’t good enough or that you didn’t do enough. It doesn’t mean that you chose the wrong major. Here’s what I found out the hard way: Sometimes it’s not about what you know or who you know; it’s about what God has for you. The worst thing that God can do is give you what you desperately think you want. The rejections could be pouring in right now, but pick yourself up, brush yourself off and know that it’s all apart of a bigger plan. Be patient.

3. Don’t force it

Don’t try to talk yourself into something that you aren’t passionate about. I know it’s scary not knowing what’s next and I’ve heard the saying “If the door doesn’t open, it’s not your door” but you don’t have to take any and every opportunity presented to you either. Be picky with where you invest your time and energy. I know that it can be hard to stay true to yourself but don’t jump into something just to say you’re doing something. It may sound like a no brainer to start a grad program in the fall to hold off on making payments on your student loans. I mean at least you’ll be working towards something, right? But, you know what you’ll find at the end of that graduate program? The same situation that you put off. You’ll still have to face some rejection. You still have to decide what you want to do with the rest of your life. You may still feel lost. I’m not trying to change your mind about furthering your education. You can never be overeducated (or overdressed.) However, I am telling you to make sure that your decision isn’t just a last resort. The same goes for jobs that will be presented to you. Every time I got rejected, I would find another position that had nothing to do with my interests or the position I had previously applied for and go through this process of trying to convince myself that this one was “the one.” I talked a little about this struggle here.  I applied to be a claims adjuster, software trainer, cellphone retail sales specialist, bank teller, management trainee… and the list goes on. What did all of these jobs have in common? Nothing. I just wanted something to show for my degree. I thought that something was better than nothing. I was absolutely, positively WRONG. If you’ve found an open door, I’m not trying to convince you to turn it down. I’m just telling you to consider what you want and what they have to offer you. Consider who you are and use Glass Door to see what others have to say about the company culture. Consider the position and whether there is room for growth. Otherwise, consider yourself a sell out because if you take just any door, the longer you stay, the harder it will be to walk through it.

4. You’re right on time

The absolute worst thing that you can do in this moment is compare yourself to others. When you hear about the luck your friends are having, the places they are moving to, and how they seem to be finding themselves, be happy for them.  Everyone is on a different schedule. It doesn’t matter if it took you 4 years or 7, if you graduated with a 2.5 or 4.0 or if you have 10 job offers or none. You’re doing just fine, kid. Just like a seed being planted, you can’t always see the progress, but the product will be beautiful. You’ll never be late to the party because you can’t rush greatness.

5. Money isn’t everything

If you have to choose between your passion and more money, please choose what you love. Your bank account can be full and your spirit be empty and it will show in the work you do. Don’t burn yourself out for a buck. Trust me, I get it! You’re a poor graduate with a stack of student loans and bills that have to get paid. But, life is also about more than just surviving. If you can’t do something that makes you happy now, just make sure you find time to do the things that make you feel alive.

6. They’re still proud of you

When you are at your lowest, remember all of those smiling faces that cheered you on as you graced the stage with your presence. They love you and want the best for you. But sometimes, you can put a lot of pressure on yourself to keep everyone else happy. They have expectations that you’re afraid you won’t be able to meet. Maybe they have expectations you have no interest in meeting at all. And if you don’t, it can feel like you’re failing them. You’re not. You’ve already committed to something huge and saw it through! It’s time to live for you. There may come a time when you realize that what they want for you isn’t what you want for yourself. In those moments, you’ll have to be your own advocate and it probably won’t be an easy thing to do! Maybe you want to be an artist but they want you to be an engineer. Maybe you want to be a social worker but they’ve always pushed for you to be a politician. Maybe you want to write…. I say do it. Don’t let other people project their lives and dreams onto you. Be brave, be bold, be honest with yourself but, above all else, be ready for the criticism and doubt that is to come because nothing you want badly will come easy. You will have to fight for those dreams. And don’t worry, even if it’s not what they want for you, they’ll continue to be proud of you (even if it’s in secret) because they’ll know, deep down, that they taught you to stand up for what you believe in. The time is now. You are responsible for the life you want. Go after it.

 7. This isn’t the end

This is where the plot gets interesting! You are standing on the edge of  adulthood and the possibilities are endless. You have the freedom to be whatever and whoever you want to be. You have the right to leap, run, walk or crawl but whatever you do… don’t stop! You’ve got work to do, a life to live and for the first time ever, you call the shots!

8. Don’t forget to breathe

You only graduate from undergrad once! This chapter came with a whirlwind of emotions. You’re in disbelief that you made it, sad about leaving your friends, excited about your next adventure, afraid of what’s to come… But just for one moment, do yourself a favor and BREATHE. Take a day off to take it all in. “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.” – Matthew 6:34. This moment belongs to you and only you. You earned it.

So, once you walk across that stage, know that the work has just begun and that you are walking onto a battlefield for those dreams of yours. If you put them off, they will let you. If you slow up, they will let you. If you give up, they will let you. No one is more accountable than you. You are responsible for your own happiness, your own potential, your own life. Congratulations! You deserve the world! But first, you have to believe that you can conquer it! 

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The Top 5 Things My Teachers Told Me…

The best advice I’ve ever gotten didn’t come from a guidance counselor. I didn’t read it on a billboard or an advice column. I didn’t hear it from a friend or a talk show host. The best advice that I’ve ever gotten came from an underpaid teacher who spent countless hours making lesson plans, creating Powerpoints and grading papers. They taught me y=mx+b, the cruelties of the Holocaust and Newton’s Law of Gravity, all of which were useful to know. Still, their most valuable lessons didn’t come from a Calculus textbook or a Chemistry study guide. On the contrary, it was the wisdom that they poured into their students about life that stood the test of time. I carry these lessons wherever I go. Today, I pass them on to you.


1. On people….

“Statistically speaking, the best way to predict what someone is going to do isn’t by what they say. It’s by what they’ve already done.”  – J. Eastman, Sociology 101

He wasn’t saying that people couldn’t change. He was, however, being realistic about human nature and applying what he knew to be true about people. As a freshman in college with insurmountable expectations for everything and everyone, it was exactly what I needed to hear. Every time I applied it, I was a little less disappointed.

2. On life…

“You play with time and then time plays with you.” S. Nair, Prob and Stats

In a basic math class, full of high school seniors who had no idea what was ahead of them, Mr. Nair told us that we had no time to waste. I was 17 years old and my biggest concerns were prom, the senior trip and graduation. I looked away for a second and now I’m an adult with an extensive to-do list, a tight budget and an alarmingly high amount of anxiety and still… no time to waste.

3. On relationships…

“What you see is as good as it gets.” – K. Brinkley, Algebra

Known for her exceptional teaching and witty comebacks, she kept us all on our toes. On one occasion, she told us that she had been married before and that it didn’t work out because she never changed. Whenever I think about someone’s potential, I try to assess whether or not I would be okay if that was all it ever was… Could I marry potential? Would I be okay if I couldn’t change them? Would I be able to accept them? It made me examine the relationship that I was in at the time… I thought it would last forever but it was toxic and, as she said, was as good as it was going to get.

4. On work ethic…

“Excuses only satisfy those who make them.” – R. Pinnex, Global Studies

Ahhh, the world history teacher with a “no-nonsense” policy and a low tolerance for slackers. Your best was not HER best for you. She wanted more. There was only one way to do everything: her way. “If you don’t have time to do it right, you have time to do it over” she would say. She deemed me “Ms. Sassy Pants” because I challenged those rules. Today, I am thankful that she had so many. She taught me that excuses were useless to others and myself because they enabled me to be average. She held us all to a higher standard with the hopes that we would exceed it.

5. On finding yourself…

“Finding your calling is like your parents forgetting to tell you your name on the day you were born. You spend years trying out different names, hoping to find one that fits. Then one day, in a crowded room, someone whispers your name and it finally makes sense.”   Dr. W. Fondren, Communication and Technology

Listen, everything this guy said was pure GOLD! For this particular class, he based an entire course around 7 key concepts and taught them using tv shows, movies and his own personal anecdotes. On the first day of class, he told us that he never planned to teach. He got married young, decided to get a degree in Psychology, worked as the Director of Technology for a newspaper company, became an ordained minister and then fell into teaching and loved it. What did I learn from all of this? It was okay to not have all of the answers. It was okay to keep trying on shoes until they fit. I was a graduating senior, nervous about the future and at that time in my life, what he said was exactly what I needed to hear. Besides finding ourselves, he taught us the importance of knowing when to start over and admitting when there were “too many feathers on your back.” I was in no way, shape or form, a morning person but in that class, I kept my notebook, eyes and ears open.


Here’s to the teachers who double as motivational speakers and therapists; who teach you about people and about purpose; who push you to be more but not to be someone else; who have experience in both their professions and in life. You are well respected and greatly appreciated.

Future Educators,

The impact that you can make on the next generation is endless. Every word that you speak will have the power to change a life. I am a writer because a teacher told me that I had a gift. Whatever you pour into them, they will put out into the world. Knowledge is power but your wisdom is timeless. So go forth, be great and share it.

With all my love and appreciation,

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“A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.”
–Henry Brooks Adams

When Your Sunken Place is a Person… GET OUT!

SPOILER ALERT:

Since the highly anticipated debut of Jordan Peele’s, Get Out, an American comedy horror film that has surpassed box office expectations, earned a nearly perfect rating on Rotten Tomatoes and shed new light on age-old oppression, the buzz around the movie’s allegories and applications to reality have yet to cease. Upon its release, average movie goers and experts alike scrambled to pick apart the film and give their own interpretations of its hidden messages. Of their discussions, the most common speculation centered around the symbolic meaning of the “Sunken Place.” For those who have not seen the movie, the main character, Chris, is hypnotized into a cognitive state of mind, where he is wide awake but unable to move or call out for help; similar to sleep paralysis.

I’ve read so many different theories behind what the sunken place really is: the public education system, racism, slavery, etc. Peele even offered insight on Twitter, stating that we’re all in the sunken place:

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Still, I think what makes this concept so captivating is its abstract nature. It has the ability to take on multiple meanings and apply to just about anything. There is no right or wrong answer because each person has their own set of sunken places. For this reason, I would like to argue that the sunken “place” can also be a person or an unhealthy relationship.

Here’s what you need to know about the Sunken Place:

  • It happens so quickly that you don’t even notice until it’s too late
  • You are most vulnerable when you are cut off from friends and family
  • You are unable to live up to your full potential
  • Something prohibits you from getting out of it
  • The entry way is an insecurity or shortcoming
  • You feel stuck and like you have no control over the situation
  • When it happens, you make excuses for it instead of accepting it for what it is and leaving.

So how does this apply to a bad relationship?

1. It happens so fast…

When Chris comes in from a late night smoke break, his girlfriend’s mom, Missy Armitage, insists that they have a chat about the relationship. One minute she’s hitting a tea-cup with a spoon, probing him with personal questions and the next, he is lost in limbo, falling. This can be similar to falling in love. One minute, you are single, care-free, sure of who you are and what you want for yourself, then BAM! someone comes along and in an instant, everything changes! Before you know it, you’re in love and all you can see is them. You don’t notice the rising action at all; it isn’t until you’re in the climax, trying to figure out when it got so serious or so hard, that you see what its become. When did this stop being fun?, you ask yourself. When did this person become my life? By the time someone flashes a camera and you realize that something isn’t right, you’re in too deep. If it was called “stepping into love” then you would be prepared for it. But it’s not, so you trip and fall head first instead.

2. “Wait, something isn’t right…”

It didn’t take Chris long to pick up on the fact that something was terribly wrong. For starters, Chris remembered being hypnotized! Georgina and Walter were enthusiastically “off.” There is a scene where Georgina literally cries in front of him while reassuring him that everything is okay. The guests at the party treated Chris like he was on display at the zoo! Andrew a.k.a. Andre, the only black guy at the party, tried to give him a handshake instead of a dap. If ever there was a moment to prove his blackness, that was it and he failed! I promise you, no one had to tell a black person what Andrew did wrong in that scene! Finally, Chris’ friend told him to GET OUT! But do you know what he did instead?! He trusted Rose over his own intuition. He didn’t feel safe but instead of getting to the root of those feelings, he took her word. He let her talk him down because he loved her and believed she had his best interests at heart. Surely, she wouldn’t hurt him, he thought. He later finds out this isn’t the case. In unhealthy relationships, you can very well know that something is off. You know how you’re supposed to be treated. You can assess where your partner falls short. You can feel when you’re being lied to. You can tell when you’re not yourself anymore. You can see what you’ve given up to make it work. But instead of trusting your gut, you discredit yourself or make excuses because you think it’s easier to fix than it is to start over. You believe that your partner means well, even when they have had a hand in hurting you. I’ve seen things with my own eyes and got talked out of them! You can make up your mind about something over and over, but the wrong person will change it for you every time. Let me be the one to tell you: Love is not supposed to think for you.

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3. You become less of who you are…

In Get Out, there is  a scene where Chris, a talented photographer with an “eye” for detail and an athletic build, is being auctioned off to the highest white bidder with bingo boards! It turns out that Rose, the girlfriend, was luring black men (and Georgina) in so that white people could harvest and steal their bodies! While Chris and Rose take a walk to discuss the anxiety he is feeling, Chris is sold off to a blind man who covets his keen sight. Undergoing a procedure of this caliber would mean that Chris would no longer be himself. His body and life would no longer belong to him but instead to the blind man who bought him. I know you’re probably saying, “This is an extreme example!” But, is it? In an unhealthy relationship, you’ll find yourself becoming less of who you are and more of who they want you to be in order to keep the relationship. It’s called COMPROMISE. Your plans begin to center around a future with them even if that means that your own personal goals aren’t anywhere in the mix. Their life becomes your life because you’re desperate for a life with them. Little by little, you’ll compromise the parts of you that make you who you are. You’ll give up the dream that gets you up in the morning. Instead, you’ll live for them. Then one day, just like Chris, you’ll see a face in the mirror that’s familiar, but it won’t be you at all. Someone pointed out that the definition of sunken is literally “at a lower level than its surrounding area.” When a person is your sunken place, you’ll settle for a life that is only half as good as the one you could really live.

4. “There is strength in numbers” and weakness in solitude…

Although love can be blind, we have to account for what made Chris a seemingly easy target from the start: family. Or really, lack there of. He revealed early on that his mother died in a hit and run and that he never knew his father. On the surface, what would this mean to the Armitages? I’ll tell you: it meant that if he went missing, it was unlikely that anyone would look for him. Outside of the perceived physical advantage, this is probably another reason why Rose victimized black men. The wrong person will make you feel like you have to choose between a relationship with them OR the relationships/friendships that you had before them. Sometimes it isn’t voiced but instead, implied. And you may never say you’re making a choice but your actions will tell it all. You’ll start to leave out parts of a story, neglect them, become disconnected or uninterested or even feel as if you have to hide the relationship from them altogether. The worst thing that you can do is box out the people who know and love you because these are the people who will come looking for you when you’re lost! They will show up and go to war for you.  These people will notice when you’re not yourself. They will sense that something isn’t right and they’ll love you enough to tell you! Sometimes you can lack perspective in the middle of a storm. They can save you from yourself but to do this, they would have to know that you need help! Luckily, Chris’ saving grace was his best friend, Rod! Even though he had already done his part by warning him that something was off, he still went looking for him when the communication ceased. When you isolate yourself, you’re an easy target because you’ll be convinced that they’re all you have left. You need to know that your family and friends would never stop looking for you.

5. Flaws are open windows…

Have you ever heard someone describe fear as paralyzing? It can stop you in your tracks and hold you in place. However, there was another technique that was used to trap Chris. I want to point out that Mrs. Armitage would never have been able to make Chris “sink” had it not been for his underlying issues. She figured out that his weak spot was the guilt that accompanied his mother’s death and like a scab, she picked away at it until it was wide open. Once she got inside of his head, there was no escape; he could only suffer through it. In any relationship, you’re bound to be vulnerable with your partner and this isn’t necessarily a bad thing! But in a toxic relationship, this will be the thing that exerts control over you. We all have skeletons in our closets. We all have things that we don’t talk about for fear of being judged. You have to be careful about who you open up to because the wrong person will remind you of these things to keep you stuck. Your insecurities will be used to gain ground. There could also be mistakes OR a situation that you go through as a couple that can make you feel like you owe them. Seeing the dark parts of you and abusing them is a clear sign that they are not your safe place. There is no light at the end of that tunnel. I would also like to argue that Chris was a sitting duck from the start! She could only use something that he hadn’t forgiven himself for. Exploitation happens when you don’t come to God exposed. As long as you don’t believe that you’re forgiven, you won’t forgive yourself. Here’s a tip: when someone shines a light on those dark parts of you, when your flaws feel as paralyzing as fear and when you feel yourself sinking…Forgive yourself so that you can free yourself.

If after reading this you come to find that your sunken place isn’t really a place but instead, a person…

If you keep discrediting your intuition and calling it “trust issues”…

If you feel like you can’t share your love with the people who love you..

If you’re molding your future to fit around someone else’s life…

If you feel paralyzed by the things that you haven’t forgiven yourself for..

and there is always a voice to change your mind…

get out

No Holding Back: PoeticallyRaw

Meet Alayssa Thomas, a.k.a “PoeticallyRaw”, a 23-year-old writer and poetess who is passionate about personal freedom and women’s rights! Originally born in Georgetown, Guyana, PoeticallyRaw’s love for writing flourished from a very young age. She finds it easiest to write about heartbreak and uplifting men and women because of her generation’s desire for lust and lack of love for others and self. Artists like Lauryn Hill, Jasmine Mans and Sista Queen have had a major influence on her writing and perspective thus far.

allaysa1Aside from writing, Alayssa loves fashion; her style is uniquely her own! She is a recent graduate of South Carolina State University, an HBCU, located in Orangeburg, SC! There, she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. She is driven to serve others through both writing and public service and aspires to be a police officer and author in the future.

I got the chance to talk with PoeticallyRaw about her art; heres what she said:

Who or what inspires your craft?


“When it comes to writing, quiet a few people and things inspire me. My top two people who inspire me to write: Lauryn Hill and Jasmine Mans. When it comes to Lauryn, she was the voice of the people and a top female MC.  What made her dope to me was the fact that her content was always very uplifting for both women and men; her style was untouchable. When it comes to Jasmine Mans, I must say her rawness is my inspiration. I remember coming across one of her pieces, “Dear EX Lover”. In the beginning she said, “Your words don’t start to mean anything until you start telling the truth.” I was a senior in high school then. From that point on, I knew that whenever I got on stage and opened my mouth to speak, I wanted it to be nothing but the truth because the truth shall set you free. One thing I’ve learned is that truth is the only safe ground to stand on. Jasmine Mans’ opening to that poem was the game changer for me.”

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When did you start writing?


“I began writing at the age of eight. When I started, it was only as a means to feel better; I didn’t know that I would be creating a space for others to run and find comfort in. When I was in 7th or 8th grade, I came across a piece called “Try being a lady”  by Sistah Queen; she was one of the featured poets on the show Def Jam Poetry. While watching her, I remember thinking to myself, I can do that. Thats what I’ve been doing this whole time. In that moment, I knew that I would become a spoken word poetess.”

What new projects are you currently working on?

“I don’t currently have any projects that are set in stone, but I am writing everyday. In the near future, I intend to drop an EP! Later on, I’ll publish a book.”

What goal are you ultimately trying to accomplish with your work?

“Honestly, my ultimate goal has been changing since I started. I used to want to be famous for my  writing, but now I’ll be satisfied with just using my art to inspire as many as I can. Also, to publish a few books. If I did end up getting paid to do what I love, that would be the happiest moment of my life.”

Any advice for other artists?

“My advice to any artist would be to be true to yourself and your work. Always be honest. As long as you’re true to yourself, the crowd will always love you no matter how far you travel.”

Connect with Alayssa aka PoeticallyRaw!

Instagram:  @PoeticallyRaw (Newest work will be posted here!)

Youtube: Poetically Raw

Soundcloud: poeticallyraw

Interested in being featured for your own art? Tell me here!

Prompted: What did you get in the most trouble for as a kid?

The purpose of “Prompted” is to provide an outlet for myself and others to reflect on past experiences, personal goals and innermost desires. It is my hope that this exercise will encourage unconventional thinking and self awareness. Each week, I will provide a new prompt and post my response on the blog. Readers can comment with their responses on this post and read what others said.

Mama always said, “Your mouth is going to get you into a lot of trouble.” and boy, was she right! Now that I’m older, I wonder if she could truly see that my tongue would be the greatest source of struggle or if it was just something that adults said to deter you from “talking back.” I wonder if she could really see the extent of its power over me or the adversity it would bring.

I was always an exceptional student, but on my report cards, next to the As and Bs, I always received the same feedback: “Does great work but talks too much.” They tried reassigning seats but that never helped. Everywhere I went, my mouth went with me and besides, the quiet kids were the best listeners. This is where it all began.

Then, I became a teenager and it stopped being about how much I said. The bigger problem was what I said. I was a force to be reckoned with. I had a mouth and the attitude to match. I was “The Great Debater.”  I had a teacher who would stop me at the door and say, “Not today, Ms. Washington.” and another who deemed me, “Ms. Sassy Pants.” I even had a teacher tell me to shut my mouth in French. “No, you ferme la bouche!” I said. The phrase “Shut Up” would probably only insult a person who talks a lot. To anyone else, it wouldn’t hold the same weight.

My mouth might not have been so bad if I was able to control my emotions. I have always been very sensitive and it was so much easier to get under my skin at this age. If something didn’t go my way, I had something to say about it and I wouldn’t just say it, I would explode! I used to wonder why I even had a cellphone. I could never keep it in my possession because I was always in trouble! It would be weeks, sometimes even months before I got it back. I would ask myself, why is my mom even paying the bill?

Now that I’m older, I see how strategic that punishment really was. Why didn’t she tell me that I couldn’t go outside or watch TV instead? Why didn’t she spank me? It’s because I liked to TALK. Maybe if I liked to go outside, she would have taken that way. Maybe if I actually watched TV, she would have suspended those privileges. But no, I spent hours at a time on the phone because I loved running my mouth.

*Side note: Remember when your minutes weren’t free until after 9 so when your mama asked if the person was with the same company, you would be like, “Hey, are you Verizon?” (KNOWING DANG WELL THEY WEREN’T!!!!), then when they said “Uh, no”, you’d tell them you’d call them back when your minutes were free. No? Just me?… Cool.

So, anyway, I think she knew that there would never be a way to control what I said. But, she could, however, control the medium. For non-communication majors, a medium is just the tool in which you communicate with; a means by which a message is transferred between the speaker and an audience. Another example of this would be the internet. They kind of went hand in hand for me. When one was taken, the other was too. I was so distraught when I couldn’t “share the love’ or update my status on Bebo! haha. Good times.

But the punishment was genius. I felt incomplete without my phone.

So far, we’ve covered teachers and parents. So what about your peers, Alexus? Did you get in any trouble with them? Yes, yes and yes! And it was always because of that darn mouth! I cannot begin to tell you how many times I had to own up to or defend something I said. I even spoke up for other people and made their enemies my own. And if I heard that something was said about me, you could bet I was going straight to the source.

You know that phrase, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me?”  Who lied? You can always tell what your enemy places value on based on what tactics they use to attack you.  My mouth was a lethal weapon. I could cut you with my words. But if you live by the sword, you die by the sword. I was a ticking time bomb and that was the only thing that could set me off.

I grew out of chasing after every rumor and learned how to mind my business if something had nothing to do with me. But then, I went to college…. and found out that my new problem was my delivery. “It ain’t always what you say. It’s how you say it, Alexus”, mama said.

I am and will probably always be a “straight to the point” kind of girl. One of my college friends said to me recently, “I can tell that you’ve always had problems with your mouth because of either what you said or how you said it. I am almost sure that most people who don’t like you, probably don’t know you at all. But you said something way too honest once and they wrote you off because of it. Either that or they didn’t understand your dark humor.”

It was like she read a book about me.

A good example of this “problem”: I recently found out that someone held a grudge for months over a joke that I don’t remember making.

Still, I believe her for two reasons: 1. It sounded like something that I would say and 2. When she repeated it, it took everything in me not to laugh out loud.. for the second time. She, however, did not crack a smile. So, yeah, I definitely said it and for the life of me, I still can’t understand why it was so bad!

I hardly ever know when I’ve struck a nerve.

But, story of my life. Did mama know that I would be this misunderstood?

So what do you do when your native language is sarcasm? If I were a style of coffee, it would be black with no sugar or cream added. Not the best taste but I bet it gets your attention!

So, I wonder… if when my mom said “Your mouth is going to get you into a lot of trouble.”, did she really know how much. I wonder if she knew that I would spend most of my childhood apologizing for what I said and the beginning of my adulthood struggling with the best way to say it.

It’s true that you catch more flies with honey but it’s also true that you die a little inside when you stop speaking up for the things that matter.

I’ve tried changing, but it never lasts.

For a while, it really bothered me to be this way.  I used to wish I was quieter. I thought that people would like me more if I said less. It’s not fun trying to shrink yourself to be accepted though. They say, “If the shoe fits, wear it.” Well, I keep trying on this stupid shoe and each time I find out that it’s not my size, it makes me feel smaller.

I found out that these troublesome words just wont fit into a neat little box. They don’t come wrapped with a pretty bow.

I decided that I would rather be ostracized than censored.

And, let me tell you something (and if you’ve gotten this far, you know I’m not asking for your permission): I recently heard a sermon about potential and purpose. The pastor said that your greatest struggle is probably central to your purpose and I believe it because you wouldn’t even be reading this if it wasn’t for my “struggle”.

It also happens to be my strength.

Mama said that my mouth would get me into trouble and she was right! But, I also think she knew that it would still take me far.

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Apply it! What were you constantly in trouble for? Did you grow out of it? Take a moment to reflect and leave a comment!

Prompted: Write about a song and the feelings/memories it evokes…

The purpose of “Prompted” is to provide an outlet for myself and others to reflect on past experiences, personal goals and innermost desires. It is my hope that this exercise will encourage unconventional thinking and self awareness. Each week, I will provide a new prompt and post my response on the blog. Readers can comment with their responses on this post and read what others said here.

To: The King I Fell Hard For

From: Yours Truly

Subject: Summer Love ♥

NP: Thinking Bout You - Frank Ocean

Those violins come in and it’s the summer of 2012 again. The year of new beginnings; the summer of new love. Nothing I attempted seemed to fail and the world was at my feet. I didn’t yet know what it was like to love or to lose yourself in it, but I thought I did. I spent the first half of the summer weighing my options but by late June, he had tipped the scale.

 I hear, “Or do you not think so far ahead?” and I remember what it felt like to see my life in a person.

I couldn’t help it. I had started a lot of things, but for the first time I was interested in finishing. I could feel “FOREVER” when he hit that high note in the chorus and I believed that I could give him that.

“No, it won’t ever get old, not in my soul, not in.. my spirit.. keep it alive.”

I hear this line and I feel like I’m 18 and hopeful and 22 and hopeless all at once. He sold me alluring dreams and I bought them with the little change that I had left in my pocket; I gambled my heart and soul for his affection. I spent it all. And I know it was my last, because I haven’t been able to afford it ever since. Open minded. Open hearted. Fearless. Unaware of what it might cost me if we lost it.

“Yes, I remember! How could I forget.. how you feel?”

I think of the phone conversation that lasted 5 hours, that 7 day absence, the meaning of 143 and the “4ever” that I imagined. I wasn’t afraid of love and what it would do to me; I was alive.

The song is timeless. I hear it and I know that I wouldn’t change a thing because even the pain that followed was worth the poetry that he gave me in exchange….

for that summer love.

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 Apply it! What song/album moves you everytime? Take a moment to listen to it and leave a comment! Read what others said here!

Prompted: “You are what you…”

The purpose of “Prompted” is to provide an outlet for myself and others to reflect on past experiences, personal goals and innermost desires. It is my hope that this exercise will encourage unconventional thinking and self awareness. Each week, I will provide a new prompt and post my response on the blog. Readers can comment with their responses on this post and read what others said here.

It has been said that you are what you eat. Rewrite the phrase: You are what you…

My response:

You are what and who you surround yourself with.

When I was younger, I refused to accept the idea that “birds of a feather flock together” or the saying “Tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are”. I never thought it was fair or justifiable to assume or judge someone based off of another person’s behavior. I argued that everyone has free will, no one is in control of what the next person does, I am my own person, everyone is different and unique, all of my friends aren’t friends with each other… blah, blah, blah. Well, I’m here to admit that I was wrong. Your friends ARE a reflection of you.

There are so many connections that you have no say in. You are literally born with a set of people who have the same blood running through their veins as you. You may dislike them or disagree with them but your differences or commonalities have absolutely NOTHING to do with your connection. I know you can’t stand your aunt who makes everything about her or your cousin who can’t stay out of jail. But, while you could pretend you aren’t related, that doesn’t change the fact that they are family. You have no choice in that.

So, blood, out of your control. Cool.

But there’s more… You may go on ratemyprofessor.com and strategically pick your classes but your classmates are fair game. You may both enjoy math and want to make a career out of it but that could literally be the only thing you have in common. Oh, and don’t even get me started on elective classes! There’s nothing like 20 different majors in a philosophy 101 course! What a time to be alive! Still, your teacher will throw you in a group (usually not of your choosing) and place your grade in the hands of strangers. They call it “learning to work well with others under pressure.” I call it instructor-assisted GPA suicide. BUT. YOU. MUST. DEAL. Out of your control.

Let’s take it a step further…you had a choice in your major, what companies you applied for, even what positions. You don’t, however, have a choice in who you work with. The only thing that Susie and Tom have in common with you is the fact that all of you would like to be able to afford to eat every day and have a place to lay your head. Oh, and the fact that you all enjoy sales or marketing, I guess. Which is why they make small talk with you (I hate small talk) about the weather and how fast or slow the week is going by. So, food, water, shelter, work, week and weather…I bet you all could talk for hours about how much you love your job but you’re all so busy working hard that you don’t have the time! Not. Still, you make the best of it because you have a job to do and a homeless shelter doesn’t sound that appealing.

I think you’re getting the point.

So, I was wrong when I tried to debate the premise at hand.

Your friends are the only group of folks you get to choose! Why would you choose people who you don’t have anything in common with? What would you even talk about it?  What would you even do together?  When you want to take a break from it all, you choose more of the same? That just isn’t logical. Your friends are people you enjoy being around because you can relate to one another, they understand you, you can talk to them, you make each other laugh etc. They aren’t your coworkers, classmates or family. They’re LIKE family but you can actually disown them if they embarrass you. If someone asks if you know them, you can deny it because all of your instagram pics are deleted and they have no proof the friendship existed. Ha! No but seriously, no one is forcing you to maintain the connection. You like these people for a reason.

I used to argue that I shouldn’t be judged based off what someone else does. If I have nothing to do with it, I shouldn’t be held accountable. But if I’m offended that someone would assume that it is also my behavior, why would I be so passive when it comes to surrounding myself with it? Unless, of course, I see no problem with it. This can be equally damaging. It’s wrong to rob a bank, but if my friend robs a bank and I don’t speak up about it, that sends the message that although I didn’t do it, I’m okay with it being done. You can’t be neutral. No message is still a message, even if it’s not the one you mean to send.

I argued that I am my own person. I have my own mind and I’m not influenced by others. You ever notice that when people spend alot of time together they begin to pick up on one another’s mannerisms, patterns and phrases?  If you asked your friends to mimick you, I bet they could act it out perfectly. They may even mirror what you do with out realizing it from time to time. It’s natural. It’s easy to pick out those influences because they’re light and mostly positive. It’s obvious that we can pick up on bad habits from a person as well. Energies can transfer. Behaviors rub off. You could go all day without saying a swear word, then meet up with your friends and drop 5 F bombs and not even bat an eye. You probably don’t even like to gossip but with a certain person you can never understand why all of your talk is about other people. You adapt to the conversation and the vibe. It’s the same reason you put on your “professional” voice with your co-workers. You do it without thinking because you adapt to the “surroundings”. There’s that word again.

Then I said, well if birds of a feather flock together, why aren’t my friends all friends with eachother?! Oh boy, I’ve got an answer for this one.

It’s because they have the same CHOICE that I have on who they surround themselves with. I’m not just one type of person. You can place me in categories and stereoype me if you’d like, but it’s layers and levels to this. Especially, if you’re speaking in terms of zodiac signs. Geminis are supposed to have two or more personalities to begin with right? Okay, so when I made this argument about my friends not being friends with eachother and everyone being different, I should have seen the issue with that from the start. Your friends can be reflections of different parts of you. Even the parts that you would like to hide. That’s right, you aren’t fooling anyone! I could have something different in common with 5 different people and they could have nothing in common with eachother. My friends don’t have to be friends with each other for the premise to be true. They have the same choice that I have but no say in who else their friend is friends with.

You want to know how I know that birds of a feather flock together? Because as I changed in college, my circle changed. Who I started with was not who I finished with. We had less and less to talk about as time went on. I started working here, found this hobby or that habit, joined this club or that organization and as my interests changed, my surroundings did too. Sometimes change is good. Sometimes change is bad. But, the saying is definitely true.

Yes, opposites can attract but if the only connections you get to choose are your friends, you’d better make sure you’re choosing wisely. This isn’t always an easy thing to come to terms with but its necessary for growth.

You ARE who you surround yourself with. If this offends you, you need better surroundings.

Keep evolving,

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Apply it! You are what you…? Leave a comment! Read what others said here!