My Roadmap to Building Your Perfect Website

I have successfully launched my own personal website (click here to view), helped design and edit three (click here and here and here to view) and run a products and services website of my own (click here to view). Needless to say, I think I know the basics. Here’s how I built them:

**please note these suggestions will be curtailed to wordpress.com but it should apply to any hosting site**

  • Choose a publishing platform

There are many web hosting sites that promise to do various things. But don’t get overwhelmed. The key is finding the website that works best for what you want to do.

So, here’s the 411 on wordpress.com It is mainly tailored for bloggers, photobloggers, musicians, etc or pretty much anyone who has a portfolio they want to display. The interface supports selling products and services on any of its premium themes.

Next up is, wix.com. Many people love Wix for the straight forwardness. For example, it gives you have more options to pick and choose what you want your website to look like before fully committing to paying any fees for hosting it. That is, it has a drag and drop interface.

Lastly is squarespace.com. I love Squarespace for its simplicity. They offer the widest range of themes to fit any one’s needs. If you are looking for a simple invite page, personal resume page, online store, a simple landing page, then Squarespace is what you need.

  • Choose a catchy, simple + obvious domain name

Domain names are the first thing people see, say and type when they search for your site. Therefore, you must choose a domain name that fits well. I suggest something short and easy to remember. Domain names are usually combined with a purchased hosting site when you register; however, they do cost money. Which brings me to my next point.

  • Prepare to spend money

All of these websites offer free plans, however, to get all of the best and most out of your website, plan to spend some money. Whether it be for a domain name or website plugins or, even, upscale themes, there will be a fee. I suggest paying for a simple plan nothing too fancy, but something that will give you a little freedom to accomplish your goals with the site.

  • Don’t spend too much money

Many of these hosting websites will pressure you, as is their job, to buy their plans or upgrade from the one you’re already paying for. Don’t do this. Zero in on what you want for your website and leave the rest for others.

  • Your website’s vibe MATTERS

Colors, fonts, images and content matter. Spend time beautifying your website the most.

People will keep coming back to your site based on how it makes them feel.

Choose colors that connect with you and your theme for your site. Make sure your fonts are easy to read and be sure your content always serves a purpose for your viewers.

And, dassit, fam. Following this simple roadmap can get you started on building a perfect website from the ground up.

Strong Black Woman Pt 2

I posted a blog series last year on my experiences with strong black women and becoming one myself. The narrative gave voice to my mother’s strength and my origins of dealing with the ideal itself.

So, if any one knows me, they know I am a feminist and they also know I do NOT like labels.

By definition feminism is the advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes.

Thus, a feminist is one who advocates for those rights. This has been the hardest for me in regard to relationships. As I’ve said before, I was raised by a single mother and so, many of her views on independence and ways that men should and should not treat women have influenced me.

Let’s be honest, relationships are just plan hard.

I’ve had men tell that they want to date women who are independent but then get upset if the woman is too independent. I’ve had men suggest that women are too dependent on them and thus, break up with them. I’ve had one man tell me that he does not want his girlfriend to expect him to be a gentleman (no kidding), as if a woman requiring a man to open her door or pump her gas is beneath him.

So, building off of part one (it was much of a cliff hanger in many ways) I’d like to start with a healthy definition of strength AND what it means for black woman.

Many people think that strength looks like being super independent and uber talented, having a no-nonsense attitude and an innate ability to absorb the world’s problems without having any of your own. Sounds impossible, right? That’s because it is.

With this blog post, I really wanted to talk about how black women are these strong pillars of strength in the black community, how we give and give and give and, routinely, get nothing but more problems in return. I wanted to talk about how this is amazing and that we are AMAZING and we should be honored and regaled as goddesses in the face of society’s pressures to ALWAYS perform well. However, this is not what I have to say.

Let’s be honest, being both black and woman is hard.

And I am reminded of a study on intersectionality I was introduced to in college, but I won’t bore you with that. The point is, we are expected to perform… at work, at home, with friends and strangers on the street. We are expected to carry the worst of life’s burdens as if that is our only God-given responsibility. I wish I could say that I was okay with this notion. But I am not.

I think what attracts me to the “strong black woman” ideology is that, in essence, I believed I didn’t need anyone else. Years of trust issues, abandonment issues, and daddy issues can do that to anyone. Pair that with a fiercely strong and independent single black mom and you have a recipe for disaster or, in the black community, a strong black woman.

But I find strength in saying that I am not strong all the time. I don’t always want to be the girlfriend who nurses my boyfriend’s past wounds. I don’t want to be the friend who stretches herself thin for everyone but herself. I don’t want to be the woman who has an amazing career but a dismal if, at all, present romantic life. I don’t want to me the woman who hates men. I don’t want to be the daughter who is afraid of not measuring up to the strength she’s seen her single mother exude. But too often, I’ve been exactly her.

Sometimes strength is saying no. Sometimes it’s found in letting someone else share the burden. And I know some of you ladies with trust issues are flaring your noses up at me right now. But that’s okay, I am there with you. I have been on this “strong black woman” kick for too long. Quite honestly, it’s draining. It takes more from me than I ever thought it would. So, I wanted to birth a new definition of strength, contrary to what I have known it to be, and that is: surrender.

I know if you look up strong in the dictionary you won’t find surrender anywhere close to it. But

surrendering, in its own right, takes an unprecedented level of strength.

Think of it, it is easy to be there for others because it means no one has to be there for you. It is easy to climb the corporate ladder because it makes you feel good about yourself. It’s easy to be your boyfriend’s everything because you’re used to being that for everyone else but yourself. I know this thinking sounds backwards but it’s absolutely true. And if this doesn’t sound like you or someone you know then this post isn’t for you.  

But if this post hits home, I want you to at least consider my definition of strength. Even if you can’t embrace it right now. I want you to know that you don’t have to be strong all the time. Life is hard and you don’t need to take it by yourself. Share the load with someone else.

I know we have trust issues and a host of other issues that keep us from doing this, but if you have one person you can surrender the burdens to, then do it and do it often. And pretty soon, being strong won’t be an act of sorrow it’ll be an act of surrender.

How To Stand Out As A Black, Female Business Owner

First off, let me say that black women are killing the game! There has never been a more opportune time for us to own a small business (or provide services) than right now. With that being said, here’s how to stand out from the crowd:

Be Yourself

I had to learn this the hard way. Truth is, your gift will make room for you! And I know you thinking like: “But everyone, is writing a book, starting a blog, beginning a podcast, has a YouTube channel, claims to be a life coach, (or insert whatever business venture you want to pursue).” And my response is: ain’t none of them you!

These platforms are yielding the highest audiences and consumers right now. Fam, you better get you some of that! Everyone has their own audience. And it’s not that you are doing something entirely different or extravagantly innovative. No, we are all doing the same things, just putting our own personal touch to it.

You have to find your people.

Just so we’re clear up front, everybody IS NOT going to like you or what you have to offer. And quite frankly: so, what? You’re not for them. Think about it? How many brands of t-shirts are there?… I’ll wait. And you’re probably just naming the big brands. It seems like everybody and they mama got a t-shirt out and people are still buying them.

No one ever said: “Hmmm, there are too many brands of sliced bread. I’ll just take mine off the market. It’s too saturated anyway.” Are you kidding me? Have you been down your local grocery store’s bread aisle lately? They all profess to do something different. But really, they just all have their own consumer-based audience who’ll invest in what they offer. So, find your audience then find out what they want. Create an avatar of your ideal consumer and consistently produce content they find irresistible. For help on identifying audience click here for my last blog post.

You must produce, provide & promote

That means you gotta show up! Once you’ve found your people, produce what they want. Whether in content, actual products or services, give your audience what they want. That also means you have to provide it to them. Find a platform that works best for you services and for your consumers. If you find that YouTube lags behind in subscribers but you have a good amount of Instagram followers them share your videos there first, then your audience will invest in subscribing to a new platform.

Which brings me to my next point: promotion. You really don’t need to pay for advertisements or pay someone else to do it for. All you need is to get the word out there. This can be done online but having real life conversations still work. Once you have some traction then investing in ads can be a lucrative option.

And that’s it. I know this list isn’t exhaustive so share with me tips and tricks you use to stand out as a black, female business owner in the comments below.

Keep Being Honest.

 

 

7 Side Hustle Creatives Can Start Right Now

Let’s be honest, if you’re like the rest of America, you could use a little extra cash. So, I wanted to share 7 side hustles I’ve been using to put more $ in my pocket (and no, I don’t mean door dash or uber eats). These suggestions are strictly for creatives who would like to put their talents to use. Oh, they’re also strictly online because that’s way the world is set up right now. However, all of these websites have been in formation since way before the quarantine so, no worries about them going away any time soon.

 

  1. Medium

If you’re a writer or aspire to be, Medium is a great platform to get your writing out there. They already have subscribers, so you don’t need to garner a following yourself (thank God). Once you create an account, choose to be in the Medium Partner Program where you can receive money for your work. (see some of mine by clicking here). Your income will be based on how many people read your piece so make sure to advertise, promote and use relevant tags and categories when submitting your stories. Click here for the link to join Medium.

  1. Fiverr

If graphic design, photography, editing, ghost writing, website design or virtually any kind of freelance job is your thing then Fiverr might be one of the best resources for you. All you need to do is create an account and your profile is open to thousands of people who are looking for your kind of expertise. Make sure your profile is creative and portrays what service you provide clearly, kind of like a resume and portfolio. Click here for the link.

  1. Upwork

In a similar fashion, Upwork provides freelance services where specialized talent and agencies to connect to. If you already have a business that employs people then Upwork may work for you, too. Like Fiverr, they connect you to thousands of people looking for the services you provide so make sure your profile is top notch and really displays your work. Click here for the link to create an account.

  1. Rev

Rev is a fairly new business that provides transcription, caption, and translation services. I would only recommend this if you are tedious and can dedicate some time to it as it requires such. Rev requires a test and practice questionnaire with the application. But if you are accepted it is good money for the work. Also note that they have a long waiting list. I applied in June, was hired, and still have yet to start. If you’re willing to traverse through, then click here to apply.

  1. Academia-Research

If tutoring, education, or writing essays are your forté then Academia-Research is meant for you. They connect you to people who need homework help, mainly in the field of writing essays, editing papers and they even have some coding and dissertation options too. They pay is a set rate by the support team; however, there are options for you to request an increase. They also have incentives for writers who earn the most money month by month. If this sounds like you, then apply by clicking here.

  1. We Work Remotely

Is a website offering remote business through their platform. As the website boasts, they have over 2.5 million visitors monthly. The website team services freelance individuals who are skilled in array of skills including programming, writing, engineering, sales/marketing, education, design and many more. We Work Remotely is for people who are looking for part-time of full-time work for a determined period of time. Because the businesses and companies who are a part of this website are looking for longer term clients, the pay is exceptionally well. All you have to do is create a profile and make it sound great. Click here to start searching.

  1. Chegg Tutors

This side hustle is best for tutors or those who have some academic skills in the core subjects. The tutor platform will pair you up with students who need help in virtually any subject including resume writing and SAT, PSAT, ACT test prep. Apply to this job by clicking here.

This is not an exhaustive list but I am pretty sure one of these opportunities will fit you and your creative genius.

Keep Being Honest.

Shanisha

 

26 Life Lessons

  1. Build Wealth

So, I’ve been working hard at building a wealth portfolio for my future family and, if you’re like me, you got some debt! I started following Dave Ramsey’s baby steps (click here for resource) and putting myself on a strict but necessary budget. Around the same time, I signed for a few online classes I needed for my teaching licensureandmy graduate degree, which both costs way too much $ But, I realized something… there’s no way I could start paying off debt by getting into more debt! So, I paid for these classes upfront. Listen, graduate school ain’t cheap. But I’d rather be a little tight on money for a season than to be in debt for lifetime.

  1. Relationships Are Essential

And this should be a duh. Lately, I’ve been following Michael Todd and I’ve purchased his book Relationship Goalson Audible (click here for the link to the book). And I’m glad I did. I’m tired of getting relationships wrong like all the time. Following what my culture presents about relationships is probably the biggest culprit. Relationships, friendships, familial relationships and everything in between are what make the world tick. And even though I am not where I want to be relationally, that doesn’t mean I give up one trying to make them work.

  1. Life Happens

It is “post” quarantine 2020 and COVID-19 has scared the nation into hoarding, homeschooling, and online living. Let’s be honest, no one knew this would happen, no one could have planned for a worldwide pandemic, but life is not something we can control. We just have to make do with whatever it gives me.

  1. Health is Wealth

Similar to #1, staying healthy is something I wish to do, not only for myself, but for my future family. Last year I became a certified Mossa instructor for Group Power at the YMCA. And whenever people ask me: “Why’d you do that?” I tell them because it’s amazing what our bodies can do. But the truth is, I don’t loveworking out BUT I do love the results. And I know that if I keep this healthy lifestyle up now it won’t be a problem when I get older.

  1. Value Family

Some people, my age at least, get in the habit of pursing their “dream” or “calling” and, in doing so, become blind to what matters most. I have a strong bind to this too; however, there is a good balance between pursing your dreams, wherever they may take you, and being there and present for loved ones.

  1. Apologize Quickly

Forgiveness is something a lot of people seem to be in short supply of, especially with the social climate we are in right now. And if we happen to be the ones who are wrong, a “sorry” or “I didn’t mean it” can go a long way.

  1. Change is Good

Growing up as a black kid in the hood, I often feared changed. Consistency and stability are both states of being I craved. Change was something I didn’t quite understand… until I encountered its byproduct – growth.

  1. Do The Right Thing

This may be the hardest thing to do at times. But it can be as simple as speaking up for someone, a co-worker, or friend who has been wronged or speaking to someone who may need some sound advice. And, most times, a listening ear goes a long way, which brings me to #9.

  1. Be Present

I don’t ever want to be so caught up in my everyday life that I don’t pause to see, listen, be there for someone else.

  1. Master The Side Hustle

Multiple streams of income is where it’s at! Starting a side hustle of your own or even working for other businesses is a great way to make some extra money to save up or pay off lingering debt.

  1. Know Yourself

This one can seem a bit tricky, but the more I am aware of my likes and dislikes, the more I can better accept or decline any relationship, business idea, or social agenda anyone presents to me.

  1. Laughter is Medicine

I have been practicing smiling. And no, I am not an angry black girl, but I found that when I smile more throughout my day, I feel a lot better emotionally, mentally, and physically. I loved it so much I wrote a poem on it called, “How To Smile” for Medium (click the link here to view the full poem).

  1. Say Yes More

I finished Shonda Rhimes’s book Year of Yes about two years ago and I cannot get it out of my head. As a black woman, I am aware that we have so many different choices on our plate that it gets a bit aggravating to say yes to just one thing. So, in her book, she practiced saying yes to everything for an entire year.

  1. Say No More

Now, I know what you’re thinking, but this does not contradict #13. Ms. Rhimes didn’t just say yes to the entire world. I mean, she’s a busy woman. She prioritized things that are important to her like family, her company, & her health. If she had a gala scheduled for one night but her daughter wanted her to stay home and read her a bedtime story, guess what? She did say no. She chose to say no to the lesser of the two, which is, dressing up for rich, white people. She showed her daughter that she cared more for her than those bougie folks in white America.

  1. Confidence is Attractive

My 2020 word of the year is Confidence. It is, literally, the best thing you can do for yourself. The confidence I’m talking about isn’t conditional to a person’s good looks or big achievements. It isn’t conditional to recognition of reasoning either. It is a kind of confidence that no one can give or take away. It only comes from within.

  1. Teach the Children the Truth

I’m coming into my third full year as a high school English teacher, and I must say, kids actually want to learn. Though, they may put up a fight at first. They are genuinely interested in what we (as adults) have to say. So, I’d rather teach my students what is true. The events of Spring 2020 are going to be recorded and documented in history books for ages to come, some narratives may be falsified and just plain ugly. What will you say? What will you teach the children?

  1. Be A Hero(ine)

I am not a healthcare worker or any other essential personnel. But I have had countless students reach out for guidance, friends reach out for a mental health check ins, and family members connecting for nothing else but a good conversation. And that, folks is what I call being a hero. Most times you will not be recognized for your heroic deeds, but they do make a difference.

  1. Read As Much As Possible

Don’t @ me on this one! I am a reader at heart and a writer by nature, so reading comes easy for me. However, I would encourage anyone who wants to grow mentally, academically, professionally, or just gain awareness about the world around them should read. It is still the largest consumed form of entertainment available. Read anything and as much as you can.

  1. Compromise is Key

The biggest deals are made through compromise. I’ve had to compromise at work with co-workers, compromise my living space at home with my family, and compromise on a brand-new pair of shoes I wanted for the old Vans I already have. I am not saying compromise on your big things or that it should be done often. But a stubborn person doesn’t get far.

  1. Learn A New Skill

I picked up (or tried to) soap-making this summer. And it has been a wonderful mess so far. I believe in healthy, clear skin and I only use products that I trust. So, face bars are going to be a new edition the Honestly Store facial care selection (click link here for full list of products).  I am only getting older and with that being said, at a certain age, the brain stops learning new things, (click link for more info). So, make the most of it!

  1. Humility is Sexy

I don’t know about you, but a stuck up, prideful, egotistical person just drives me crazy! Do me and yourself a favor by staying humble. As the great proverb says, “Pride comes before the fall.”

  1. Failure is Necessary

Success never comes by easy, and definitely not by always being right. Failure makes you stronger and it makes you human

  1. Let People See You

This one is in conversation with #15. I have battled fear and insecurity for so long that I couldn’t just let people see who I was, the real me. Let’s be honest, being real is scary sometimes, but I wouldn’t want it any other way.

  1. Be Open

Open-mindedness is next to godliness or something like that, ha! Seriously though, being open to people and their views doesn’t mean you don’t hold strong to your own. You just acknowledge that there are other narratives to the story.

  1. Challenge the Status

Statistics, stereotypes, and stigmas seem to plague the black community, but you don’t have to be one. Just because your grandmother was a people pleaser doesn’t mean you have to be one too.

  1. Love is King

Let’s being honest, love is still the greatest force on earth. Spread some today.

5 Steps to Detox Successfully During Social Injustice

Let’s be honest, a pandemic, protests, and the imperfections of regular life can take a toll. I mean, I have never experienced anything quite like what I am experiencing right now. It’s a unique, frustrating and life changing time all wrapped into one. 

So, last week I decided to take a much needed break from all the media heavy, bad news barriers and take some time to detox… successfully. Here’s how you can too:

1. Stop Watching The News

All kinds of news can misconstrue stories to fit their political connects, and their pockets. Many times half of the story, which turns into half truths are all that the media cares to portray. So, I stopped watching it altogether… for a good 5 days.

2. Turn Off Social Media

This was probably the best thing I could do for myself. I found that my emotions were tied to wether people, racists people, agreed with my stance or not. I was arguing with these said people in hopes that they would, magically, understand the plight of black Americans in America. And I am not even one to post on social media that much. I was angry and sad and I needed to release. Which brings me to my next step.

3. Have Conversations

I had some hard conversations with my loved ones, my pastor, and friends to try and figure out if I was the one that was wrong. (I am not). Some of my non-black friends reached out to me with a simple “I am here for you,” and sometimes that is all I need to know. I had some conversations with them as well, just to see if they understood my views. And for the most part it helped me progress pass my anger. It showed that not all white (or insert whatever group of people) people are not bad. 

4. Get Active

But I still had some pent-up anger so I decided to go for a run. Getting active relieves stress and relaxes the muscles as well. (Click here for studies and stats.) Thirty minutes of doing anything that gets your body moving and gets your mind off all the bad stuff can go a long way.

5. Fight for Rest

I don’t know about you, but since I’ve been out of work due to quarantine, my sleeping habits have been ridiculous. I mean, not having a set schedule or having to punch a clock everyday has its good and bad. During my five day hiatus, I focused on getting a full 8-hours of rest. Hear me, not all rest is good rest. Turn off the television when you sleep, turn on calming music, use incense, or buy a new mattress. Do whatever you have to to make sure your rest (your peace) is not interrupted.

 

I hope these tips are successful for you as they were for me. And if you find yourself spiraling down a dark hole, deleting friends whom you know (or perceive to be) bias and calling out random racists over the internet; take some time to pull back, breathe, and know that what you are feeling is valid. These feelings are what our ancestors had since we were brought here. And like they did, we will overcome.

No More

Let’s be honest, in case you have been living under a rock for the last week and a half (or dare I say: last 400 years) then you know about the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and countless others by the hands of those sworn to protect and serve.

I have had to take a break from it all. The news, social media, friends/fam. The weight of it all is, at times, unbearable. The truth is, black and brown bodies have NEVER been safe in this country. Black and brown bodies have NEVER mattered as much as white ones. Black and brown communities have always been at a disadvantage. And these truths aren’t new. My ancestors have been screaming BLACK LIVES MATTER since the first African stepped foot on this stolen land. It hasn’t ended.

I’m sure many of you have seen the video of George Floyd’s death. It was eerie to watch. In retrospect, watching someone take their last breath is (or should be) reserved for loved ones/ close family members. However, millions seen this traumatic and tragic event unravel before our eyes and on our handheld devices. It’s sickening to me. It brings tears to my eyes to think that this video had to be seen in order for RACIST people to understand. This is systemic. This is historical. This is wrong. I couldn’t even watch the entire video. Watching someone die is NOT normal. This man could have been my father, my uncle, my cousin, my friend.

Right now, I know a lot of us are showing support: protesting, marching and posting on social media. Which is great. I don’t want to downplay that at. all. However, I want us to go beyond this current moment, while keeping that same energy. I want us to keep pushing this movement when those hashtags are no longer prevalent. At what point do we say NO MORE? At what point will we vow that not another black body will become a hashtag? And how do we get white America to listen??

So, if you’re like me and you are fired up right now, I’ve compiled a list of resources to promote and support anti-racism efforts beyond this current moment.

  • Join your local marches, protests, rallies.

I know a lot of people are like, “why? Marching doesn’t change anything.” But it does, fam. Don’t let thoughts of doubt and cynicism keep you from standing up for what’s right.  Numbers make people listen. It’s been proven historically and statistically. Hit up her your friends on facebook to find out when protests/marches in your city is happening.

  •  Give

And this may seem like a small feat, but movements can never keep moving on nothing. There are, literally, a host of organizations you can give to; however, I suggest three major ones here. Give your best; any amount helps.

Reclaim the Block – an organization working to defund the police department, based in Minneapolis, MN. Click link here.

The Bail Project – an organization working to release individuals who are wrongfully convicted. Click link here.

NAACP – stands for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. They are doing local work in your current community. Click link here.

Support your local churches!! They are doing work in your community and sometimes does not get as much recognition as they should. If you don’t know where or who to give to click here to give to Radial City Church.

  • Sign Petitions

Literally, takes nothing to sign a petition. Click here to find a wealth of petitions to sign in order to get justice for people of color.

  • Speak Up

Like, signing petitions, this takes nothing but getting out of your comfort zone. Many of my white friends have reached out to be via text giving me their support. And that’s fine. However, say something! Broadcast on social media, have conversations with your white friends about their racist behavior. This will not keep getting swept under the rug. Silence equals complacency. Educate your white friends. And if you are white, here’s another resource specifically for you:

  • Learn

I’m a writer by nature but a reader at heart. These books have birthed in me a righteous anger for discrimination for any groups of people. Click the link here for a google doc suggesting many books on the black canon.

I really desire this movement to spark a revolution but it’s going to take everyone (including our white brothers and sisters) to help. I will be sharing more tips and resources via my IG account, follow me here.

 

Keep Being Honest,

Shanisha.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing Your First Blog

This blog is a part of the #TipTuesday Series.

Honestly, writing blogs can be a bit tricky. I mean, I can hear all the questions now: What if no one likes it? What if no one reads it? What if the post doesn’t publish right? What if I spell something wrong? What if someone is offended by what I have to say?

And those are just the questions in my head, ha! But writing blogs don’t have to be as tough as everyone makes it seem. Follow these easy steps and you’ll be just fine:

  1. Ground Yourself in a Topic

And I know that sounds like a duh, but many writers (yes, that’s you) don’t understand the importance of having a great topic that people can relate to. You don’t have to be an expert on said topic, but you should be able to articulate it in a such a way that your readers trust what you have to say. Which brings me to the next step.

  1. Identify Your Audience

Is your audience female or male? Are they young people, urban people, older suburban people? Do they work from home or have a 9 to 5? Are they business owners, middle aged professionals? Maybe they’re into indie music, pop, electro dance and 90’s hip-hop? What kind of foods do they like: drive thru, or homemade? I know these questions seem monotonous, but they will help you narrow done your audience, your avatar, your one reader who will keep coming back for more.

  1. Be Passionate

And this should be #1! Listen, if you ain’t passionate about your topic, your blog or whatever you have to say, guess what? No one else will be either. You have to be your best cheerleader. I mean, who wants to read or buy something from someone who’s unpassionate about what they’re selling (because that’s what you’re doing)? Have you ever read anything by Essence Mag that said, aight, y’all read this article about Beyoncé’s new outfit, okay? Thanks. Nah, boo. They are passionate about their articles! They’ll say something like, Fam, did y’all see Beyoncé’s new outfit she wore to the Grammy’s last night? I mean, It. Was. Amazing! Or something like that. The point is, they’re passionate about their stuff (as Erykah Badu said).

Now, this isn’t an exhaustive list, but it’ll definitely get you going in the right direction. And, you’ll look up one day and realize writing blogs weren’t so hard after all.

 

Keep Being Honest.

Shanisha

 

 

 

Beauty

There’s nothing worse than having a pretty face and un ugly soul.

Pursuing inner beauty can seem pointless. But I promise you it’s not. The good thing about this quarantine is it’s forcing some of us to spend much more time with ourselves.

We find out all the yucky stuff in us that we don’t want anyone to see. The stuff we cover up with busyness or serial relationships or purposelessness for sake of “having fun.”

But let’s sit with that ugly stuff, all the flaws (internally) that make us cringe and hide. Don’t mask it. If you’re seeing it now, then I’m sure others are too.

Stop running from you. There’s nothing worse than having a pretty face and un ugly soul. So, what you saying, Shanisha? I’m glad you asked. (Let’s get some inner beauty gains).

I’ve been identifying places in me that ion really like. I’ve done this by:

  1. Being Still

Sometimes you just gotta get quiet. Free yourself from distractions. Use the Do Not Disturb feature on your phone (it actually works). Delete social media accounts, deactivate if you need to (you can always reactivate later). Turn off your tv. Netflix, Hulu, Disney+ and all that can wait.

  1. Being Quiet

And I know this can be scary for some people, and extremely hard to do with errbody being home. Maybe your quiet space is your bedroom, a bathroom, a closet space. Maybe you get quiet by going on walks/jogs. Maybe you steal quiet moments in your car. Lately, I’ve been making the carpet on my bedroom floor my quiet space. You gotta do what you gotta do.

  1. Lean In

It may be easy to run from it. But don’t.

Typically, I bring a journal with me wherever I go and lately that’s been from my bedroom to my couch to my car and back again lol (and that’s okay). The goal here is to get yourself thinking about you. Think of a relationship you have/ had (romantic, friendship, family, professional, etc). Think of a conflict you had. How did you respond? Or maybe something good happened. How did you respond to that? Study your habits. That’s a sure-fire way to discover how you respond when things are going good and bad.

  1. Define Your Own Beauty

Here’s the “fun” part, and I use that word loosely. From what you’ve discovered about you (habits and actions that make up your character), define what beauty looks like to you. What habits or character traits do you have that do/ do NOT fit your definition of beauty? What can you do to change it? If you don’t define beauty for yourself, you’ll be living up to everyone else’s expectation of it for you. And it doesn’t have to be beauty-pageanty. Something clear and simple and relatable and true to you will work.

My definition looks a lil’ something like: beauty – the combination of humility and care I give to those closest to me…

Yours doesn’t have to look like mine and it can change over time, as long as you are living up to your true definition of beauty.

 

So, what’s your definition of beauty? Respond below.

Keep Being Honest,

Shanisha.

12 Things I Pray For

This week’s poem by Honestly Me’s very own, Shanisha, is for all those who worry.

You can follow her on instagram @shanishabwrites

This is the last installment to Feature Friday for #NationalPoetryMonth. You can subscribe to be notified when more blogs are posted or follow us on IG @honestlyme_blog

Keep Being Honest,

Shanisha

  1. I pray doubt doesn’t confine me

My indecisiveness is often clouded with dreams.

  1. I pray I have the audacity to hope

It’s strange to feel faith in the face of despair.

  1. I pray certainty saves me from myself

Wish I could pick a choice. Make it mine.

  1. I pray wisdom finds its place within the life I lead

This thing called knowledge is attractive.

  1. I pray I don’t become lonely

Preservation is a skill and a curse.

  1. I pray God sends a man my way

Black, Degreed, Paid, Strong, Consistent, Prayed Up…

I may be asking too much.

  1. I pray my writing lasts

Temporary impacts breed hate.

  1. I pray I fail enough to stay humble

(see #4’s reasoning)

  1. I pray my fear run scared

I am impressed by its thirst for ruin.

  1. I pray prayer be my weapon

When emotions blare louder than truth.

  1. I pray obedience be my 1stchoice

Freedom has a way of shining up reality.

  1. I pray my next steps are bold even if my flesh disagrees.