Launching February 14th

Happy To Announce:

 

On February 14th Live Your Life Inspired will launch two new projects:

  1. Health & Wellness Coaching:

    For a limited time, three Free health and wellness coaching sessions with a Mayo Clinic trained Wellness Coach. The three sessions include one consultation and two follow up sessions. The coach can assist you in clarifying your Health & Wellness Goals, Establishing Priorities, and Identifying Strategies for Success. For more information or to participate, email info@liveyourlifeinspired.org.

  2. Basic Vegan:

    This will not be a traditional food blog: 1) It won’t be filled with pretty, well orchestrated pictures, to be honest I don’t have the time to create “food porn.” The pictures will be simple, honest, and if I have a minute I may throw a filter on it. 2) I’m going to be honest, always, even when whatever I just cooked tastes disgusting (that will happen) and when I miss my goals (which will also happen). 3) This will be a journey of self-love. If I, an omnivore who uses overeating as an ineffective method of coping with overwhelming stress and pain, can transition to herbivore…so can you. There is nothing that I will do that can’t be done be someone else. There is no magic nor manipulation. This is just my honest attempt to live a healthier, fuller vegan life.

 

For additional information on these projects, submit the contact form below:

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12 Therapeutic Crafts To Kick Off A Creative New Year ~ Priscilla Frank

 

PRISCILLA FRANK

Another new year, another opportunity to incorporate self-expression, creativity and mindfulness into your daily routine. You don’t have to be a professional artist to reap the many benefits of a little arts and crafts. Simple activities like coloring, doodling, and playing with clay are known to decrease anxiety and boost mood

Below are 12 simple suggestions for restorative art projects that will start your year off with serenity and ingenuity. Whether you make 2016 the year you keep a dream journal, paint into a tissue, or revamp your old beeper into a found sculpture, it’s going to be a good year. 

PRISCILLA FRANK

Dreams are weird. Often times, language isn’t the best way to convey your logic-defying, physically impossible, difficult-to-untangle night visions. Instead of writing down last night’s hallucinatory adventure, doodle your favorite moments from the trip. It’s a mindful way to start the day and, who knows, you may end up a promising surrealist artist! 

PRISCILLA FRANK

Creating a work of art all at once is a daunting task, we know. So why not start the process off with a single shape, even a single line? Every day, add to your image, even with a simple touch, maybe eventually adding color, paint or sculptural elements. You can also make each new detail pertain to each day, turning the artwork into a kind of beautiful calendar. 

PRISCILLA FRANK

How long do you actively think about your New Year’s resolutions? A month, a week, an hour? Try writing your goals onto little slips of paper you can dangle above you when you need the motivation. I love the look of a simple Yoko Ono “Wish Tree” style mobile, Connect the strips with thread to a single branch and try hanging it above your desk. 

PRISCILLA FRANK

If you have one of those old gadget drawers, full of random extension cords, defunct beepers, desktop mice and whatever else, bring out your inner scavenger and create a found sculpture. There are few things as beautiful as a circuit board. Add a little glitter, paint, feathers, yarn — whatever floats your boat — and you’ll end up with a beautiful homage to a technology no longer with us. 

PRISCILLA FRANK

Portraits traditionally depict a pretty elite crowd — noblemen, patrons, Katy Perry. I suggest taking a (very) alternative route and turn one of your most humble household items into your newest subject. You may not have spent ample time gazing at the complexities of your washing machine or toaster oven, but, rest assured, they’re every bit as visually compelling as Ms. Perry. 

PRISCILLA FRANK

If you already keep a diary, why not treat it as the literary masterwork I’m sure it is? Create a proper book cover for your sacred memories, in the style of your favorite memoirs or novels. Whether you opt for a serious portrait of yourself pouting with a cigarette, or minimalist graphic design with the help of some construction paper, your journal will finally have the visual accompaniment it deserves. 

PRISCILLA FRANK

Tim Moore was an artist assistant who, entranced by the marks they incurred, saved his employer’s blotting tissues. The fragile canvasses accrued random blots of pigment and water, made unconsciously when washing and drying brushes. The result is the happiest of accidents. Either save blotting tissues of your own or take the concept a step further, setting out to intentionally turn tissue into canvas. 

PRISCILLA FRANK

A spot in your closet. A corner in your cabinet. The bottom drawer of your desk. Paint a secret space that’s reserved for you and you alone. Like skipping underwear for a day, the miniature sanctuary will be a covert corner you can think of throughout your day and smile. You stealthy minx. 

PRISCILLA FRANK

There’s something so beautiful about maps, isn’t there? The way stretches of land and sea are condensed into lines, colors and codes. Try making a map of your own, whether recounting a trip you took, a place you love, or even mapping realms of memory or imagination. I recommend looking at the work of artist Val Britton, whose cut paper maps blend reality and imagination with stunning precision. 

PRISCILLA FRANK

If you can’t turn down a little occultism here and there, I challenge you to create a deck of tarot cards with your own personal symbology. Who or what would be your High Priestess? Your Sun? Your Fool? The personal nature of the cards will make future readings all the more intimate. If Benjamin Mackey created a deck just for “Twin Peaks” characters, you can do it. 

PRISCILLA FRANK

Food coloring. Shaving cream. School glue. That’s all you need to create a homemade paint the texture of fluffy clouds. Just combine glue and shaving cream in equal proportions and mix in the food coloring to your liking. Then get to work creating your very own puff-filled universe. 

PRISCILLA FRANK

I don’t know much about composing sheet music. But I do have a soft spot for the beauty of musical staffs, treble clefs and scales of notes. Artist Ana Prvacki celebrated the erotic nature of classical music with her “Porn Scores,” adorning sheet music with surprising drawings of miniature genitalia in conversation. You don’t have to go an NSFW route, but let the boundaries and traditions of classical music guide you on an unplayable musical journey of your own. 

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/12-therapeutic-crafts-for-a-creative-new-year_56857594e4b06fa68882528b

So What Is Self Care? ~ University of Kentucky

So What Is “Self Care”?

Self care includes any intentional actions you take to care for your physical, mental and emotional health. Good self care is a challenge for many people and it can be especially challenging for survivors of interpersonal violence and abuse. It can also be an important part of the healing process. Self care is unique for everyone. Below are some ideas to get you started in developing your own self care plan. It can be overwhelming to consider taking on many new things. It may be helpful to start with a couple of ideas and build on that.

Physical self-care is an area that people often overlook

Planet

Food

  • Food is a type of self-care that people often overlook. People are often so busy that they don’t have time to eat regularly or that they substitute fast food for regular meals.
  • It’s not always reasonable to expect people to get 3 square meals a day (plus snacks!) but everyone should make sure they get adequate nutrition.
  • One example of a self care goal: Even if it’s a small amount, I will eat something for each meal. Exercise
  • avoExercise is one of the most overlooked types of self-care. The CDC recommends at least 30 minutes of exercise 5 times a week.
  • Exercise, even if it’s just a quick walk at lunchtime, can help combat feelings of sadness or depression and prevent chronic health problems.
  • One example of a self care goal: I will go for a walk Tuesday and Thursday after I get out of my morning class.

     

     

     

    Sleep

  • Although everyone has different needs, a reasonable guideline is that most people need between 7-10 hours of sleep per night.
  • One example of a self care goal: I will go to bed by 11:00 p.m. during the week so that I can get enough sleep.

    Medical care

    • Getting medical attention when you need it is an important form of physical self-care.
    • Some survivors put off getting medical care until problems that might have been relatively easy to take care of have become more complicated.
    • One example of a self care goal: I will set aside money in my budget (or seek financial help) so that I

      can get my prescriptions filled every month.
      Some information adapted from RAINN.org, UK Violence Intervention and Prevention Program

Watch

Emotional self-care will mean different things for different people. It might mean:

Counseling

  • This could mean seeing a psychologist, a clinical social worker, or therapist.
  • The VIP Center can help refer you to a counselor.
  • The UK Counseling Center provides free services to UK students.
  • One example of a self care goal: I will find out more about the UK Counseling Center so that I can decide whether this might be helpful for me.

    Keeping a journal

  • Some survivors find that recording their thoughts and feelings in a journal or diary helps them manage their emotions after an assault or abusive situation.
  • One example of a self care goal: I will write in my journal at least 3 times this week.

    Meditation or relaxation exercises

• Relaxation techniques or meditation help many survivors with their emotional self-care. For example:  Sit or stand comfortably, with your feet flat on the floor and your back straight. Place one hand

over your belly button. Breathe in slowly and deeply through your nose and let your stomach expand as you inhale. Hold your breath for a few seconds, then exhale slowly through your mouth, sighing as you breathe out. Concentrate on relaxing your stomach muscles as you breathe in. When you are doing this exercise correctly, you will feel your stomach rise and fall about an inch as you breathe in and out. Try to keep the rest of your body relaxed—your shoulders should not rise and fall as you breathe! Slowly count to 4 as you inhale and to 4 again as you exhale. At the end of the exhalation, take another deep breath. After 3-4 cycles of breathing you should begin to feel the calming effects.

• One example of a self care goal: I will practice deep breathing before I go to sleep to calm down from the day.

Emotional self-care can also involve the people around you.

It’s important to make sure that the people in your life are supportive

  • Nurture relationships with people that make you feel good about yourself!
  • Make spending time with friends and family a priority
  • If you have trouble finding people who can support your experience as a survivor, consider joining a support group for survivors or getting involved with the VIP Center

    Be wary of…

  • Friends or family who only call when they need something
  • People who always leave you feeling tired or depressed when you see them
  • Friends who never have the time to listen to you

Some information adapted from RAINN.org, UK Violence Intervention and Prevention Program

• Anyone who dismisses or belittles your experience as a survivor

Smile Yellow Face 3

You can deal with these people by setting limits.

  • You don’t have to cut them out of your life (especially with family, that may not even be an option!)

    but choose the time you will spend with them carefully.

  • Make sure that your time with these people has a clear end.
  • Cut back on the time you spend with people who don’t make you feel good, or spend time with them

    in a group rather than one-on-one.

    Screen your calls!!

• There’s no rule that says you have to answer your phone every time it rings. If you don’t feel like

talking on the phone, call people back at a time that’s more convenient for you. You can deal with these people by letting some go.

  • If there are people in your life who consistently make you feel bad about yourself, consider letting those friendships or relationships go.
  • This can be a difficult decision. Remember that you deserve to have people around you who genuinely care about you and who support you.

     

    Another challenge can be in finding time for fun leisure activities

    Many of us have full time jobs, go to school, volunteer and have families. Finding time to do activities that you enjoy is an important aspect of self-care.Smiling Buddha

  • Be aware of things you may be doing that take up a lot of your time but don’t support your self care such as too much time on the internet, watching TV, even sleeping. These can all be relaxing, enjoyable activities in moderation but can become a way of retreating and isolating yourself.

     

    Get involved in a sport or hobby that you love!! Find other people who are doing the same thing! Knowing that people are counting on you to show up can help motivate you.

    Make a date night and stick with it, either with a partner, a friend or a group of friends.
    Turn off your cell phones (within reason. If the babysitter needs to be able to find you, consider leaving him/her the number of the restaurant so that you can turn off your ringer!)
    Treat leisure appointments as seriously as business appointments. If you have plans to do something for fun, mark it on your calendar!
    Make your self-care a priority, not something that happens (or doesn’t happen!) by accident.

Some information adapted from RAINN.org, UK Violence Intervention and Prevention Program

http://www.uky.edu/StudentAffairs/VIPCenter/downloads/self%20care%20defined.pdf

What Happened When One Poet Embraced Radical ‘Self-Love’ ~ Taryn Finley

If time travel were possible, poet Caira Lee would visit her 15-year-old self. 

Lee would commend her on her courage and honesty. She would tell her to how remarkable she was, maybe even throwing a cheesy pick-up line or two to assure her that she knows her worth.  

“Did you read Dr. Suess as a kid? Because green eggs and DAYUM,” she would tell her adolescent self in recognition. 

 Because Lee realized what so many of us fail to recognize as teens: the importance of radical self-love. 

“When you do not act on your self-esteem, you aren’t loving yourself and when you aren’t loving yourself, you are failing at life,” she said in a recent TEDx Talk in Shaker Heights, Ohio. 

The 21-year-old  Baltimore-native stresses the importance of embracing your true self despite what negative things others have to say about body image, race or sexual orientation.

“It’s looking in the mirror and saying, ‘I am the most important person in the world to me. I accept that person. I admire that person and I will do everything in my power to see that person’s dreams come true,’” she says.

Reciting the words to the hook of Kendrick Lamar song “i” with the audience, in which the rapper declares “I love myself” several times, Lee explains that the outside forces of the world working against them are no match for their self-love. 

But how exactly does one practice radical self-love and how do its practitioners gain from it?

Lee offers four points of practicing and reaping the benefits of radical self-love. 

 1. “Find that thing that you can do for hours and lose yourself in that.”

Lee urges her audience to find the skill that makes them feel “cool, productive, important, challenged.” Come alive, she says, because that’s what the world needs.

2. “If you’re black, know your history.”

There is no one way of living in this world despite society’s expectations of black people, according to Lee, and knowing your history will reveal that. She says that one’s “blackness is at the top of the list of things that the United States has that will continue to use and misconstrue in order to get you to dislike yourself.” Don’t let it.

3. “Police the people in your head.”

Many of the negative things we think about ourselves come from other people, she says, and most of it isn’t true. “We let it infest us,” she says. Lee polices the doubtful people in her head by writing positive affirmations like “you are good enough” and posts them on the walls of her dorm room. 

4. “Give self-love to others.”  

The fourth step is hard to do but IS the most important, Lee says. She urges audience members to stop other’s self-deprecation when they hear or witness it. “Dedication to radical self-love is not just about ourselves, it’s about not letting weakness in your circle at any time.” 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/this-poet-stresses-radical-self-love-with-4-crucial-points_55ccc104e4b0cacb8d332df4?utm_hp_ref=black-voices&kvcommref=mostpopular

13 Quotes by Black Women on Survival and Critical Self-Preservation ~ Altheria Gaston

In her essay titled “Sin, Nature, and Black Women’s Bodies,” Delores S. Williams writes about “spirit breakers” or “Negro breakers,” those who were hired by slave owners to break the spirit of slaves who seemed to be too confident, too uppity, and too independent. The sole purpose of these “spirit breakers” was to put slaves in their place and to convince them that their status as mere property would never change.

It would seem that the repeated offenses against Black women (and other women of color) serve what is perhaps a similar yet unintended purpose—to break the spirit of advocates and activists working towards equity and social justice. Those with broken spirits may be discouraged, hopeless, and just plain tired. The writers of The Combahee River Collective Black Feminist Statement articulate this point:

The psychological toll of being a Black woman and the difficulties this presents in reaching political consciousness and doing political work can never be underestimated. There is a very low value placed upon Black women’s psyches in this society, which is both racist and sexist.

Since we can’t depend on others to uplift and encourage us, we must do so ourselves. I offer you these quotes on self-preservation and survival to do exactly that—uplift and encourage.  

 

Audre Lorde in Oberlin College Commencement Address, 1989

“To face the realities of our lives is not a reason for despair—despair is a tool of your enemies. Facing the realities of our lives gives us motivation for action. For you are not powerless… You know why the hard questions must be asked. It is not altruism, it is self-preservation—survival.”

Sherley Anne Williams in “Surviving the Blight,” 1988

“And when we (to use Alice Walker’s lovely phrase) go in search of our mothers’ gardens, it’s not really to learn who trampled on them or how or even why—we usually know that already. Rather, it’s to learn what our mothers planted there, what they thought as they sowed, and how they survived the blighting of so many fruits.”

Elizabeth Alexander in “Praise Song for the Day,” 2009

“Some live by love thy neighbor as thyself / others by first do no harm or take no more than you need. / What if the mightiest word is love?  

Love beyond marital, filial, national, / love that casts a widening pool of light, / love with no need to pre-empt grievance.

In today’s sharp sparkle, this winter air, anything can be made, any sentence begun. On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp, / praise song for walking forward in that light.”

Melissa Harris-Perry in Sister Citizen, 2011

“Sisters are more than the sum of their relative disadvantages: they are active agents who craft meaning out of their circumstances and do so in complicated and diverse ways.”

Angela Y. Davis in an interview with Jennifer Byrne, 1999

“Well of course I get depressed sometimes, yes I do. But at the same time these changes never take place overnight. They always require protracted struggles and I can look back at my life and add all of the struggles I’ve been involved in, and I can see that we made a difference. We really did make a difference.”

Audre Lorde in A Burst of Light, 1988

“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”

Patricia Hill Collins in Black Feminist Thought, 1990

“African-American women have been victimized by race, gender, and class oppression. But portraying Black women solely as passive, unfortunate recipients of racial and sexual abuse stifles notions that Black women can actively work to change our circumstances and bring about changes in our lives. Similarly, presenting African-American women solely as heroic figures who easily engage in resisting oppression on all fronts minimizes the very real costs of oppression and can foster the perception that Black women need to help because we can ‘take it.’”

Layli Maparyan in  The Womanist Idea, 2012

“Self-care is a way of maintaining both wellness and balance in the energetic economy of social and economic intercourse. Activists and caretakers who do not attend to self-care are vulnerable to burnout, and burnout in turn can breed alienation from both issues and communities… Self-care and care of others needs to be balanced.”

Barbara Omolade in The Rising Song of African American Women, 1994

“Women of color warriors are constant warriors who dig in bare earth to feed the hungry child, who pray for health the bedside of the sick when there is no medicine, who fashion a toy to make a poor child smile, who take to the streets demanding freedom, freedom, freedom against armed police. Every act of survival by a woman of color is an act of resistance to the holocaust and the war. No soldier fights harder than a woman warrior for she fights for total change, for a new order in a world in which can finally rest and love.”

June Jordan in “Where is the love?” 1978

“I am a feminist, and what that means to me is much the same as the meaning of the fact that I am Black: it means that I must undertake to love myself and to respect myself as though my very life depends upon self-love and self-respect. It means that I must everlastingly seek to cleanse myself of the hatred and the contempt that surrounds and permeates my identity, as a woman, and as a Black human being, in this particular world of ours.”

bell hooks in Sisters of the Yam, 2005

“Black women have not focused sufficiently on our need for contemplative spaces. We are often ‘too busy’ to find time for solitude. And yet it is in the stillness that we also learn how to be with ourselves in a spirit of acceptance and peace. Then when we re-enter community, we are able to extend this acceptance to others. Without knowing how to be alone, we cannot know how to be with others and sustain the necessary autonomy.”

Shanesha Brooks-Tatum in “Subversive Self-Care: Centering Black Women’s Wellness,” 2012

“Black women’s self-care is also subversive because to take care of ourselves means that we disrupt societal and political paradigms that say that Black women are disposable, unvalued. Indeed, people and things that aren’t cared for are considered expendable. So when we don’t take care of ourselves, we are affirming the social order that says black women are disposable.”

Florynce Kennedy, Unknown Source and Year

“You can’t dump one cup of sugar into the ocean and expect to get syrup. If everybody sweetened her own cup of water, then things would begin to change.” 

We all need refreshing from time to time. It is my hope that these quotes—some lesser known than others—from our foremothers and sisters in the struggle will invigorate your spirits in the days, weeks, and months to come. 
http://www.forharriet.com/2015/05/13-quotes-by-black-women-on-survival.html#axzz3ZLT2L8Zj

Every Day Something Has Tried To Kill Me ~ Naomi Jackson

“Being a black child in America means confronting the fragility of your life at a young age.”

Charlotte Gomez / BuzzFeed

My debut novel was published this summer at a moment filled with profound grief about the vulnerability of black women’s lives. This year has been marked by the distant but still painful deaths of black women I don’t know — Cynthia G. Hurd and others killed in cold blood in Charleston, South Carolina, and Sandra Bland, found dead in a jail cell in Texas. As I’ve tried to make sense of these events, the only thing that I’ve been able to hold on to is God. 

When I was a child, I didn’t understand why my grandmothers — Oriel from Barbados, Ruth from Antigua, and Lily from Jamaica — were so prayerful. Today, I understand the concept of getting prayed up, the reason why black women need anchors in a world that sometimes seems indifferent to our survival and at other times, dead set on our demise. Now, face to face with the brutal deaths of women like me and the women in my family, I look to God because there is no other place where I have been able to find peace.

Charlotte Gomez / BuzzFeed

I knew that my book’s journey would be different than I expected when, just before its publication, my novel was mentioned in two takedowns of the unbearable whiteness of the New York Times summer reading list. At first I wondered, naively, why my writing was caught in the crossfire of these debates. And then I remembered the inescapability of my blackness, the way that race would propel me and my work into the world in ways that I couldn’t anticipate and would have to engage. While I believe that writers have no social or political obligations beyond those they choose, I know that what will be asked of me will be different than what’s asked of my peers. I write now in the tradition of writers who have lent their voices to social justice movements, including Edwidge Danticat, Junot Díaz, Roxane Gay, Binyavanga Wainaina, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, James Baldwin, and Audre Lorde. I am inspired by the youth-led movement in defense of humanity and against police brutality, embodied in the Black Lives Matter and #SayHerName campaigns.

The Sunday after the massacre in Charleston, I went to a church, the progressive Middle Collegiate, led by a black woman pastor, Reverend Jacqueline Lewis. I had been looking for a church home for some time. When I first visited I knew that this was where I needed to be — in a multiracial congregation that included artists, transgender folks, intergenerational families, and an out gay minister. That Sunday, the service broke my heart, already in pieces after digesting as much of the news as I could handle. Nine chairs were set out on the altar to represent the nine people who were killed in Charleston. And then the Sunday school children were asked to sit in these chairs in remembrance of the slain. I held my breath as I watched the children take their seats. The church fell silent; perhaps everyone was wondering, like me, if this gesture was too heavy for children. But then I remembered that, as Ta-Nehisi Coates writes in his book Between the World and Me, being a black child in America means confronting the fragility of your life at a young age.

Charlotte Gomez / BuzzFeed

The #SayHerName campaign asks us to call the names of the women who have lost their lives to racism and state violence. Among the dead is Cynthia G. Hurd, the librarian killed while attending bible study at Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston. I see in Mrs. Hurd the kind of librarian who meant so much to me as a young reader and an aspiring writer; I deeply regret that I’ll never get to meet her. I am haunted by the picture of 30-year-old Shereese Francis that circulated after her death at the hands of New York City police officers in 2012. I see myself in Francis’s face — her chubby cheeks, her carefully applied makeup, her short and well-tended hair, and her modest dress, the inheritance of a daughter of conservative Jamaican parents. Each time I look at Shereese Francis’s picture, I am reminded of the unfairness that she is dead and that I am still alive. When I think about my parents’ sweet gesture of purchasing flowers at their Brooklyn church to celebrate the acquisition of my novel, I am reminded that the only flowers Francis’s parents will ever buy for their daughter will be in her memory. 

I was on book tour recently when the news of Sandra Bland’s untimely death popped up in my Twitter feed. I read the story and started crying, holding it together just long enough to share the news report with my partner at the wheel. My heart sank as I read about how Sandra Bland, just 28 years old, was found dead in a jail cell in Texas, self-asphyxiation listed as the cause of death. Her family refused this explanation for Bland’s death, confident that their child did not take her own life. She had everything to live for. She was young, gifted, and black. She had been a vocal activist in the Black Lives Matter movement that has mobilized young people in America and around the world. Reading Sandra Bland’s story, and seeing her beautiful face, I am outraged by the injustice of her death. Each time I make a stop on my tour, I am reminded that Sandra Bland never made it to her first day at work, and that she will never travel again. 

I want our dead to live, to write their own stories, to laugh and travel and love and fight. I want to live for just a moment in a country where my life and the lives of my sisters and brothers — straight and gay, transgender and cisgender, black and brown — are not imperiled at every moment, even in the homes we make for ourselves as a refuge. This summer has taught me both the limits and the necessity of my faith in these dark times.

Charlotte Gomez / BuzzFeed

I know that writing, like prayer, helps to close the distance between ourselves and our freedom. I love Lucille Clifton’s poem “won’t you celebrate with me” where she invites readers to “come celebrate / with me that everyday / something has tried to kill me / and has failed.” Even as I celebrate the gift of my life, I do so knowing that I could just as easily be Sandra Bland or Shereese Francis or Cynthia G. Hurd. 

There’s God, and then there’s the work that people of faith and fight are called to do. I am reminded of Assata Shakur, whose words activists turn to for strength. I’ve said Shakur’s words with people of faith and fight in New York and New Mexico this year, and I leave them here now. “It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love each other and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.”

***

Naomi Jackson is author of The Star Side of Bird Hill, published by Penguin Press in June 2015. She graduated from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and lives in Brooklyn.

To learn more about The Star Side of Bird Hillclick here.

30 Dating Tips People Wish They Knew In Their Twenties ~ Shannon Rosenberg

Dating and relationships can be a special type of shit show in your twenties.

30 Dating Tips People Wish They Knew In Their Twenties

Between trying to be a real adult and figuring out what you want to do with your life, how does anyone have time to find the person you want to spend the rest of your life with?

30 Dating Tips People Wish They Knew In Their Twenties

The struggle is too real. So we asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to tell us what they wish they knew about dating and relationships when they were in their twenties. Here’s what they said:

Alice Mongkongllite / BuzzFeed

1. “Assume that you can get anyone to fall for you if you want them to.”

30 Dating Tips People Wish They Knew In Their Twenties

“It might not be true, but you should go into every date with that assumption, instead of worrying about whether or not the guy is into you.” –kristencarol

2. “Making the first move is terrifying but it will be the most awesome terrifying thing ever.”

30 Dating Tips People Wish They Knew In Their Twenties

ckfreak

3. “The best pick up line in the world is ‘Hi, I’m (insert your name here).’”

30 Dating Tips People Wish They Knew In Their Twenties
Columbia Pictures / Via gifsgallery.com

–Joey Hamilton, Facebook

4. Follow the “Three Month Rule.”

30 Dating Tips People Wish They Knew In Their Twenties

“Follow the Three Month Rule: If after three months there’s something you can’t live with then move on. People don’t change.” –Tracy Evette Paul, Facebook

5. “Don’t commit to someone who hasn’t asked you to.”

30 Dating Tips People Wish They Knew In Their Twenties

kgrandstrand

6. And feel free to actually say no when you want to.

 

Paramount Pictures / Via pshawscorner.com

 
 

“It’s okay to turn someone down. And it’s okay if the person you turn down gets upset, that is beyond your control. I went on so many unwanted dates because I felt bad saying no.” –MrsH810

7. Don’t feel pressured to achieve any specific milestone by any specific time.

“There is no specific timeline that you have to achieve any specific milestone. Some of your friends are going to get married and start having babies early. Others will wait a bit longer. If you’re not one of the first to achieve either or both of those milestones (if that’s what you want), it’s okay. It will happen when the time is right. It’s better to be single than stuck with the wrong person.” –Jen Stone, Facebook

8. Believe people’s actions, not their words.

30 Dating Tips People Wish They Knew In Their Twenties
20th Century Fox / Via imgur.com

“If he/she’s not contacting you, or playing games, or being flaky, etc., it’s pretty clear what they actually think, despite what they may have said.” –Mcfly7719

9. “Don’t drink excessively on first dates.”

30 Dating Tips People Wish They Knew In Their Twenties
AMC / Via wordpress.com

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10. Make sure you date on your own terms.

30 Dating Tips People Wish They Knew In Their Twenties

“Write a contract with yourself to date on your own terms. Be clear about what those terms are and advocate for yourself if it’s not working.” –Sean Fitch, Facebook

11. Have no regrets.

30 Dating Tips People Wish They Knew In Their Twenties

“Regret NOTHING!! You will learn from it all in the end.” –Justin Hilton, Facebook

12. Know that your “ideal” partner can change over time. So just do you right now.

30 Dating Tips People Wish They Knew In Their Twenties
Screen Gems / Via yvonneashlee.wordpress.com

“Focus on yourself, your goals, and with time, the right one will come around. After all, your 20s are the perfect time for you to explore and really find yourself. Besides, what you saw as an ‘ideal’ partner back in college may be totally different now!” –Valeria Marquez, Facebook

13. And just completely forget about dating if you’re sick of it.

30 Dating Tips People Wish They Knew In Their Twenties

“Ugh. Just get a cat.” –Shannon Hooper, Facebook

Alice Mongkongllite / BuzzFeed

14. First, learn to be okay by yourself.

30 Dating Tips People Wish They Knew In Their Twenties

“Be okay with being by yourself. You’ll enjoy it so much more when you add someone meaningful to your life and even when things don’t work out, you’ll still have that joy of being with yourself.” – Danit Ehrlich, Facebook

15. And don’t feel like you need to change for anyone.

30 Dating Tips People Wish They Knew In Their Twenties
NBC / Via theberry.com

“Don’t change who you are for ANYONE! You can adapt and try to take an interest in things that they love, but never change the essence of you. Never lose yourself. The right person would never want you to.” –NurseTina3938

16. Just because they’re perfect, doesn’t mean they’re perfect for you.

30 Dating Tips People Wish They Knew In Their Twenties

“They may be the perfect person, but they may not be the perfect person for you. You’ll know when it’s the right person to stick with.” –Sharon Walles, Facebook

17. “Find someone who you can laugh with and have fun with, any time and anywhere.”

30 Dating Tips People Wish They Knew In Their Twenties
NBC / Via pandawhale.com

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18. Don’t stay in a dead relationship just because you’re comfortable.

30 Dating Tips People Wish They Knew In Their Twenties

“Just because it’s comfortable, doesn’t always mean it’s right for either of you. Don’t be afraid to go after what you want, and do not be afraid to be on your own. You are far stronger than you think you are!” –Cait G.

19. Don’t try to find yourself through a relationship.

“Find yourself, then the right relationship will find YOU. A relationship will never work out when one or both people are only half done downloading.” –John Shinners, Facebook.

20. And don’t give SO much of yourself without getting anything in return.

“You need to both be in a position where you can sacrifice and compromise.” –Alice Louisa Davies, Facebook

21. Really take into consideration what your friends and family have to say.

30 Dating Tips People Wish They Knew In Their Twenties
Buena Vista Pictures / Via buzzfeed.com

“If all your friends and family tell you that he/she is a creep, hear them out. Especially if they tell you this repeatedly. They love you and want you to be happy.” –janetm43885b0d5

22. But don’t let them make the decisions for you.

30 Dating Tips People Wish They Knew In Their Twenties
New Line Cinema / Via weheartit.com

“Don’t let your parents pick out who to date. You’re not in high school anymore, you can tell your parents no.” –Sharon Walles, Facebook

23. “Know when to throw in the towel.”

“You can’t strong arm someone into their potential.” –Kate Morrone, Facebook

24. And don’t feel like you ALWAYS need to be in a relationship.

30 Dating Tips People Wish They Knew In Their Twenties
Warner Bros. Television / Via teen.com

“Going from one relationship to another is not healthy; have a single break!” –Claire Reading

25. Absolutely don’t let anyone mistreat you.

30 Dating Tips People Wish They Knew In Their Twenties
Disney / Via manrepeller.com

“Do not stand for bad behavior of any kind — cheating, shouting, lashing out at you and making you feel like shit — if any of this happens, LEAVE!” –Gabi Garb

26. Remember that there is such a thing as giving too much.

30 Dating Tips People Wish They Knew In Their Twenties

“When you do that, whoever you date will grow a sense of self-entitlement rather than gratitude.” –Laurann Rilmen, Facebook

27. “Know that you’re good enough. Anyone would be lucky to have you.”

28. Don’t stay with someone because you think you can change them.

“You CANNOT change that very interesting ‘bad guy.’ Don’t be afraid to set limits. Don’t be afraid to communicate your needs. If he isn’t able to fulfill them or at least compromise, it won’t work out.” –kaa

29. Be with someone who genuinely makes you reallysuper happy.

“No one should make you cry more than they make you laugh.” –hanny12080

30. “No scrubs.”

30 Dating Tips People Wish They Knew In Their Twenties
Warner Bros. Animation / Via gifkeeper.tumblr.com

damnitness

Truth.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/shannonrosenberg/just-get-a-cat#.fvbm86eZR1

Two Poets Just Called Out The Black Men Who Hate Black Women ~ Zeba Blay

“These black girls need to watch out, ’cause white girls is winning.” 

Thus begins the viscerally honest poem, ‘To Be Black and Woman and Alive,” performed at the  2015 College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational finals in April.

College students Crystal Valentine and Aaliyah Jihad teamed up to recite the poem, and Button Poetry posted a video of their performance to Youtube on Sunday, July 19.

“Puerto Rican, Italian, Bajan, Thai — I know they want me to be everything I’m not,” the poets powerfully recite together at one point during the performance explaining the misogyny, colorism, and constant pressure to be more “exotic” looking that black women face. 

The poem perfectly encapsulates the reality of being a black woman, highlighting how ironic it is that while black men make black women feel undesirable, black women are also on the front lines of civil rights issues that affect black men — and rarely getting any credit for it. 

One of the last, powerful lines in the poem: “I grew up learning how to protect men who hate me…learned how to be the revolution spit-shining their spines.” 

Jihad and Valentine (who also performed the profound poem “Black Privilege” at the event), were part of a six-person team of poets representing New York University who eventually went on to win the competition.  

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/two-poets-just-called-out-the-black-men-who-hate-black-women_55acfb79e4b0caf721b325b0?

The 11 Realest Solange Knowles Quotes ~ Zeba Blay

What’s not to love about Solange Knowles? She’s a talented tastemaker, has phenomenal style, and makes amazing music. Once compared to her equally fly sister Beyonce, Knowles has carved out a niche for herself as a quirky carefree black girl who is more than comfortable to take chances and say what’s on her mind.

It’s Solange’s outspoken nature that’s perhaps the most compelling thing about her. Beyonce sings in her song “Flawless,” “My sister taught me how to speak my mind,”and it’s pretty easy to believe that — from speaking out against police brutality to clapping back when critics slam her style, Solange has never shied away from saying what she wants to say and always keeping it realer than real.

In celebration of her 28th birthday, below are some of Solange’s realest quotes from the last several years. 

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/24/the-11-realest-solange-quotes_n_7647874.html?utm_hp_ref=community-pioneer