Call

This week’s poem by Demetria is dedicated to the whispers and silent prayers God speaks to our hearts. You can follow her on Instagram @deekeesee

 

If you’d like to be featured for #NationalPoetryMonth reply to this post below.

Keep Being Honest,

Shanisha

 

When you call I will pick up and answer.

You are the first person that comes to my mind.

When I hear the sound of my text messages go bing, I look down and began to smile 😊. I’ve been waiting on you for a while.

Can I call you as of now? Will you answer me?

“How deep can this love really get” is what your spirit sings.

Let me whisper sweet melodies 🎶 in your ear.

I will comfort you in your time of need if you let me in.

You can hide in my secret place safe and sound you will find rest.

Give me all your worries, your fears, and the pain, I got your covered.

Put your trust in me, give me all you got.

I’m here listening to you pray as we speak.

Call unto me and I will make a sound back.

I’m moving beyond the pace of your speed. Yes it’s me.

I’m reaching out towards you. You know I got what you need.

Wondering like hmmm 🤔 if you will answer me back, I’m waiting on your response.

Would you say yes? Can you be true? to a person you haven’t seen before?

Open up to me, don’t leave me on read.

I’m here calling out to you for sure.

To My Future

This week’s poem by Stephon is one for all the dreamers out there. You can follow him on instagram @intensified_souls

And if you want to be featured on the blog for National Poetry Month let me know in the comments below.

Keep Being Honest,

Shanisha

 

I had to stay motivated

Because my mind was racing to the Golden Days

Where my blood line will be born and raised

On the principles of following their dreams and you can do anything you

put your mind to

But listen when i say this journey will not be easy

You’re gonna have some struggles

And your ears will be Bombarded with disgruntle rebuttals

Telling you to settle for a basic 9-5

With no regard to the talents hidden deep inside your mind

But Remember

You can Fly!!

You hear me i said

YOU CAN FLY AND DON’T LET NO BODY ELSE TELL YOU OTHERWISE!!

Because like a Painter and his Canvas or a Mass Comm and her Camera

The possibilities are endless

And in your times of doubt

Close your eyes and listen out for my voice saying these last four words…

You Can Do This

The Ultimate Guide to Healthy Skin

Everyone should have a solid skin care routine, nothing fancy. But it should hit all of these components:

  • Exfoliate

You know those cute little beads in the shower gel, hand sanitizers, and cream? Those are used for exfoliation. I suggest starting with a clean, damp face, then use a scrub or any skin care product that has small beads. Apply a small amount into the palms of your hands and massage into your face. This promotes healthy blood flow and feels really good, too.

  • Cleanse

Fam, you need a cleanser. And I mean, a good one. Cleansers that have the first ingredient being water, is a great start. After you have exfoliated, you typically use a cleanser to refresh your face and add in some moisture that the exfoliant stripped.

  • Toner

Don’t underestimate the power of a good toner. Listen, I thought it was a waste of time too, but I was so wrong. The right toner tightens and, depending on the one you use, combats acne and dark spots when used over a period of time. These are usually lightweight and can be added after cleaning your face or can be spread on throughout the day to give your skin a little boost.

  • Serum/ Moisturizers

These aren’t for everyone. You will have to know your skin type before you actually can decide what’s best for you. Serums are lightweight oils that add in extra moisture that toners strip from your face. Moisturizers, like the name suggests, have the same effect but can be a bit heavy depending on the type of skin you have.

 

And that’s pretty much all you need to go out there and kill it! If you don’t have products to strengthen your healthy skin, no worries, I have a full line of 100% natural products. Click here to see what I use on my face, hair and skin.

 

 

Keep Being Honest.

Shanisha

 

When the Smoke Clears

This week’s featured poem by Holli Locker is one of heartbreak, hurt, and healing. You can follow her on instagram @reinaaa_05

If you’d like to be featured on the blog for #NationalPoetryMonth let me know by leaving a comment under this post.

Keep Being Honest.

Even through the broken lenses

And the wells of pain hidden behind in plain sight,

I saw you

 

You were persistent…

Trapped by the shade of hesitation with wings destroyed and clipped from my last flight

 

I thought there was no place for me to go,

 

Winded, worried, and crushed

Persistence, unyielding in its pursuit,

With intentions unknown,

you chased the shade away and brought, a light

 

Yet, the wells still filled like the dams in dark forbidden woods

But,

I still saw you

And soon, they dried

 

Was it persistence?

Was it ease?

Or was it simply the continuance of a never ceasing intoxication,

One that lifted me high,

High above the unsolved realities

The ones that patiently awaited my arrival, after every flight

 

Whatever it was, like, transformed to love

And lust covered it, like the flakes of winters first snowfall

I saw you

And you felt warm, even with the shivers at night

And even with the days that brought frostbite

 

A vision of distortion became the lense of life, of love

You promised me forever

And the manure that filled my mind and fertilized my thoughts

Propelled me to be-lie-ve you

 

Your words smelled as sweet as hope had ever tasted

Although the stench still lingered

A subtle reminder of an unacceptable truth,

I saw you

And the sight I saw was bitterly-sweet

 

My thoughts were so well cared for

You made sure to water me

I felt safe,

The limited prison of complacency comforted me,

Spacious, with just enough room for:

Fear-regret-turmoil-sadness-depression-suicide-and-despair

 

I saw you

And you killed me, with kindness

Every now and again I drift back ashore,

Never anchored enough to stay

Tied to you promise,

I was always pulled back to set sail with my blinded captain

 

For a little while, you let me steer the wheel,

The view seemed promising

All the black and blues,

the gasping of purples,

the warnings of yellow,

and the cautions of red were breathtaking

 

Forever felt beautiful

I thought as I steered that I still saw you

 

In the ship you retreated

I figured it was just the cold air calling for maturity,

or the dark night sky demanding decisive decisions

 

So for us,

I kept sailing

As the waves swayed like

The hips of a well figured women, our ship shifted

 

A storm chased away my bright sky

I searched for you

I looked for you

I even used our covenant compass,

But it didn’t work.

 

The wells filled again

The shade returned

 

…And I couldn’t see you

 

But,

Like the seasons change

And a wintery clothed window soon

Clears as the ray heats the glass

 

My vision became as clear as a crystal

 

Finally,

I saw me!

 

Resilient

Radiant

Relentless…

 

                                                                                  I saw me. 

 

Breaking

Let’s be honest.

So, I know a lot of y’all thinking like why would I want to be broken?

 

I mean no one really wants to be broken. In fact, we avoid it at all costs. It’s not pretty or comfortable. It doesn’t sound fun and exciting. It doesn’t promise to give you all the things you’ve ever wanted in life. And when you think about it, breaking is not a season we want to enter into either.

But what if breaking is necessary? What if it’s exactly what you need to move forward.

 

Last week I read a piece at an MFA Reading Series at my school. Grad students sign up for time slots to read at local coffee shops in Norfolk, VA and last week was my chance. It’s always a dope scene. The vibes are urban and the people are live. I force myself to do it so I can rid myself of all the fears of public speaking, plus the crowd ALWAYS shows love.

During my reading I shared a piece that I’ve written recently called, Weight Problem (view a clip of my Live video by clicking here). This “breaking” for me was two-fold. I always find sharing truth through open mics on silent stages while overlooking waiting hearts and minds a feat in and of itself. The thought of having strangers’ eyes examine me and my words is a call to brokenness – a journey of sorts – one in which my listeners and I embark on together with only our selves (true selves) honesty and vulnerability to help us make sense of all the places of pain. For those 10-20 minutes or so, I and my listeners are one and I am never more present, more alive than in those moments. But the piece also put me in a place of reliving said brokenness – it isn’t so much that I have a weight problem but that other people have a problem with my weight. And I am still contending with that fact.

This “brokenness” I’ve experienced lately helped propel me into a healthier version of me. And this ain’t a post promoting fitness or healthy eating. Although those things are good, too. But the healthier version of me could not have been accomplished but if not for me breaking. You see, brokenness can either make you bitter or make you better. My bad eating habits wasn’t just that, there were layers of emotional baggage and mental bondage that needed to be brought into the light. Namely, I needed to be broken.  I don’t ever remember being smaller than a size 12. I have, literally, been overweight for as long as I can remember.

My breaking point happened when I realized I didn’t have to be. Two years ago, I started being more intentional about going to the gym and, of course, all those same negatives thoughts came like why do you keep doing this? It never works? You will never lose the weight? You can’t stick to a diet. And so many more I don’t even remember. So, one day I just got tired and I looked in the mirror, completely naked (seriously) and told myself you will be healthy. You will love the way you look naked. You will love your body, every pound of it.

And this sort of dramatic, climatic, cathartic breaking point was exactly what I needed. But the weight just didn’t go away easy, the insecurities didn’t magically disappear. But I know the breaking was necessary so that I could be better.

And in so many words I relived that moment on that empty open mic stage. Once I concluded my piece, the audience gave me a well-earned applause. Maybe out of courtesy, likeness or both.

For me “breaking” is defined as uncomfortablity that forces growth to happen. I know if I am ever too comfortable than I am not experiencing growth. I need to be challenged. I need to be uncomfortable. I need to be broken. Not so that I will be a jumbled up mess but so that I can push myself to be better. Some things in life only come by breaking.

So, let’s be honest, what in you needs to be broken or is breaking?

Share in the comments below.

 

Keep Being Honest,

Shanisha.

Confession

I confess: I’m a people pleaser. This nasty little trait is hard to get rid of, but I know many of us share it.

I’ve always wanted to make people happy but I’m realizing that it’s not my job. Literally, you are not in control of any body’s happiness. As a matter of fact, no one’s happiness is your job at all. I find myself seeking to please those closest to me. You know, because I actually care about what they think about me, my decisions, and my life. I value their input and judgement. And, it’s nothing wrong with that.

As a child, I found acceptance in knowing I did something that made my mom proud. Like making honor roll and joining the youth choir at my church. Everything I did just seemed right in her eyes. However, when I started to mature, specifically, when I went to college, I started to make decisions on my own. The ones she didn’t necessarily agree with.

“Nee, what about your home church?” my mother asked after I told her I was going to join a different one.

“I’ll still come visit, you know, for holidays and stuff,” I reasoned with her.

“OK, Nee, what about the new church you’re going to?” my mother asked. After 20 minutes of me explaining the new community I joined and everything they stood for, my mother still had her nice-nasty feelings about my decision.

“Alright, I’ll come visit next week,” she responded, only in hopes of being nosey, I’m sure. I felt uneasy about that decision for, I don’t know, months after I joined. But, I then realized something. My mother’s happiness isn’t up to me. Sure, I want to make her happy and I want her to be proud of the woman I’m becoming but her happiness isn’t my job.

Seven years later my mother is still uneasy about my decision and I’m absolutely sure she will be uneasy about more decisions I make. But that doesn’t keep me from making any. No matter who it is: my mother, my significant other, my sisters, or my best friend– my job isn’t to please them. My decisions don’t rely on solely if people like them. Sure, I want people to like them, but I don’t care if they don’t. And, that doesn’t mean I run around doing whatever I want without any sound advice or counsel. But if I know deep down that this particular decision is something I have prayed about, consulted people on and gained information on then I’m going do it regardless of if anyone is happy about it. I don’t find acceptance in making people happy. I find acceptance in knowing I’ve done exactly what God calls me to do.

And, guess what? If I mess up or it ends badly then I have no one to blame. And if it doesn’t then there was nothing lost. I’m firm believer that everything, and I mean, everything, happens for a reason. A mess is all a part of God’s sovereignty.

You can’t live your life trying to make everybody happy. It’s unrealistic and exhausting. So, free yourself from people bondage.

What are you confessing this month? Share in the comment section. I’d love to hear about it.

Keep Being Honest,

Shanisha.

What I Refuse to Do in 2020

In years past I have written about a definitive number of things, however, not a lot can change in a year or has changed (with me at least). So, in order to avoid dead end new year’s reso(lies) and focus on ONE thing I will refuse to do or stop doing, which is putting limitations on what or who I am or can do. In a word: Confidence.

Confidence is defined by having a firm trust in someone or something.

Confidence is something I’ve been in short supply of for, idk – as long as I can remember.

And I’m not just talking about confidence in myself, I mean, many people have that. However, I’m talking about a confidence in my goals, dreams, and, of course, myself – that I can achieve. 

You know what steals confidence? doubt. 

That’s been something in 2019 that crippled me and my progression. But, let’s be honest, doubt and her cousin: fear, haunts many of us. 

Listen, doubt and fear don’t just go away (I wish it did!). Nah, they never die like cockroaches in the hood; if you kill one 20 more appear from nowhere.

But, I believe the best way to combat doubt and keep your confidence in whatever you want to see come into fruition in 2020 is belief. I know believing can seem like a childlike thing to do but, It. Changes. Things. I’m telling you what I know.

The biggest win I had last year was losing 35lbs (see Challenge Yourself) and that is a lot of weight given the amount of pressure I was under. 

I was talking with my trainer, Jackie, at the gym and she says something like, “you know, you are a lot stronger than you think. What ever I give to you, you always do it. I’ve never seen you stop or slow down.” 

Now, being that she was trying to encourage me to do five more burpees and run eight extra minutes, I figured she was just giving usual trainer motivation. But I really thought about what she was saying when I got home. Through all the pain and fussing I was doing, I realized she was right. And once I put my doubt in its place, working out didn’t feel like a chore (well, sometimes it does) but I never leave the gym thinking: man, I wish I never went to the gym today. The end result was so much more worth it.

So, what confidence are you honing in 2020? Is it confidence in yourself, your goals – buying a new care or a new home, becoming self-employed or work from home, gaining better relationships with your family or close friends, reading more books and spending less time on social media (that’s one of my goals too!) or maybe you want to graduate on time or go back to school, save more and spend less, get healthy, or what ever your goal may be; there is hope for you yet.

Envision the end result before you start and believe that you can do it. Put your doubt in its place, silence the little voice in your head that tells you anything other than the truth. If you need someone in your corner, I’m ya girl! (Follow me on Instagram here.)

Leave a comment below and let me know your goals.

Keep Being Honest!

Shanisha.

Staying Intentional

Hurrying is a curse. 

So, I’m going to practice what I preach and post a blog I like I’m posed to lol; don’t judge me. 

December has been a challenging month so far (and I love Christmas, so it sucks a little). The dread of finals and having to LIVE through them has been kicking my butt. 

Let me explain:

December 02-06, 2019 was the LONGEST week of my life and I am not over exaggerating.

So, I work full time as a high school teacher and the hours are usually 7am to 3pm (on a good day).  I go to school full time at Old Dominion University (I’m pursuing a graduate degree).

An impeccable 10 page was due on that Monday as well as a stellar presentation on that paper. Another 7 pages was due along with four cited sources (I hate researching) for a different class. 

I had three classes to attend (all starting at 4:20 and ending at 7pm) on Monday, Thursday and Friday.

I successful conducted my first Group Power (strength training) class Wednesday night at the YMCA. 

I lesson planned before the week was over. I blogged like crazy visit posts here.

And on top of all that I made a choice to be present for my students (most teachers tap out around this time of the year).

I gave 100% to my family and friends.

I didn’t miss life-group, an open mic or a worship night. I meal prepped in order not to stress eat and I went to the gym three times to combat stress too.

So, needless to say, I was drained and stretched beyond my capacity. 

And I am not saying all this to brag. But I am saying it because I could have made different choices. I could have caved in, I could have chosen to break. 

I don’t like being busy or hurrying all the time (that’s just how I am designed).

My energy was depleted by the end of the week but I knew was intentional about finishing what I started. And the results are long lasting. 

So, family, it is the end of the year; what are you being intentional about? I know life is happening, and sometimes things are out of your control. But that doesn’t mean you give up. I don’t know about you, but quitting is not a part of my vocabulary. I know the goals I started on January are not all going to be met by January 1, 2020 but I have been intentional and that means progress is being made. And that is a reason to keep trying.

I don’t give up because stuff gets hard. It ain’t getting no easier, fam. But you can have hope in knowing that being consistent and staying intentional is what separates winners from quitters.

So, what will you choose to be? Reply in the comments below.

Keep being honest.

Becoming Necessary

I used to believe I hated myself. And that made me assume others did too. 

But I recovered… So I thought. I only covered up pain, a temporary remedy. It was senior year of high school. I was taking DE classes and spent my days at a community college receiving college credits before I gained a high school diploma. I had, maybe, 3 close friends. My sisters were kind but had their own lives to lead. 

One night, I went to the kitchen to do I don’t know… I ended up taking a small knife out of the kitchen drawer. You know, the ones next to the butter knife and grandma’s silver serving spoon? I picked up the harmless blade and raised it to my throat to feel the coolness of the edges against my brown skin. I pressed it further until the cool mingled with my body heat. It stayed. 

 How would my family feel? Sure, they loved me but that wasn’t enough. They didn’t know how much I wished to be someone else, how much I longed for a different life, a different school, or to just start over. But I couldn’t talk to them about that. They wouldn’t understand. And my “friends”? Man, they’re everything but. Everyone would be better off without me.

 I made myself feel all of it: the boy in 9thgrade who called me a hippo, the teacher made fun of my stubborn stutter, my classmates who assumed I was mean because I didn’t share my test answers with them. Until tears reigned in place of joy. 

Then, I let go. Only because my mother asked for me. I don’t remember exactly what she wanted but I know she wanted me. And that was enough

 In retrospect, high school wasn’t as bad as I made it (add emphasis to “I”). But when you’re 16 the smallest things are magnified. Because a few lies were thrown at me by people who believed lies about themselves, and because I didn’t have any truth to combat those fallacies; I was left to believe them. Years of an absent father can cause any daughter to search for validation in lesser things. So, I chose to be validated by other people, which never sufficed…

See next week’s blog for Part 4! Who are you becoming? Comment below.

Keeping Being Honest.