Happy Half Birthday to Me: Fun Facts, Confessions and Lessons

Happy Half Birthday to ME!!!!!

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Half inspired, half challenged by Courtney Saunders of Passionate Woman Blog‘s Post about being 25 and Winging It. This post will include fun facts, confessions, and lessons thus far.

Fun Facts

  1. I am a HUGE ANIME FAN. I feel like anime is becoming trendy, but I have been watching since I was in middle school (2006 to be exact). I started with the basics Naruto and DBZ, and I just fell in love. I don’t know what it is about anime – maybe it’s the reading of subtitles, the animation, the stories, or something. But I will always be a huge fan.
  2. Black is my FAVORITE color. I don’t know why I’ve just always loved it, black is just pure to me. It is also the color I wear the most of.
  3. I am a huge animal lover! I wanted to be a vet when I was younger (pre-my lawyer phase). My dad kinda ruined that dream by telling me I had to stick my hand up a cow’s butt when I went to Vet School.
  4. I am OBSESSED with my dog, Nehemiah. He has made the transition to living alone sooo much easier because without him I would never leave my apartment.
  5. I loveeeee flowers. Especially lilies. I believe it is because my dad always buys them for me, so I associate them with love.
  6. I love to watch weddings shows, wedding videos, engagement videos – honestly anything where people are in love. It brings such joy to my heart. It’s funny because I currently don’t want a huge wedding ceremony, just a reception with my closest friends.
  7. I cry at everything! Happy, Sad – it doesn’t matter. I am such a crier. Which is super ironic because if you ask my parents as a baby – I NEVER CRIED. I guess I am making up for lost time?
  8. I love the beach/lakes/ocean. The ocean/the beach makes me so happy and calm. Whenever I felt anxious or overwhelmed in college, I would go to the beach. Maybe because I was born on an island (Guam).
  9. I love to read, but not really non-fiction/self-help. I think it’s because I use books as a way to escape/live a different reality. I do think there is a great value to self-help and non-fiction books, just for some reason I am not into them. (If you are on good reads/interested in what I am reading – follow me here)
  10. I loveeee playing games on my phone – however, if a kid asks me I will always say no. Idk why but currently I have 19 game apps on my phone. A gamer at heart?
  11. My brother is probably my favorite person in the entire world, probably more than my parents. He can never do any wrong to me. We even got matching tattoos!
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Ancient Greek: φιλία, often translated as “brotherly/sisterly love.” | matching tattoos with my brother, cause no matter what we got each other.

Confessions

  1. #MeToo. If I say no, that doesn’t mean convince/coerce me. Listen the first time.
  2. I battle with imposter syndrome and severe anxiety DAILY. I am working on it. I am working on it by putting myself into more uncomfortable And working on my confidence especially when it comes to school. I know that my research and my academic perspective is necessary.
  3. I honestly feel every emotion super deeply. I’m not sure why but I do. And I also take on other people’s experiences and emotions and experience them myself. It’s hard but a gift.
  4. I am generally the person that everyone goes to with their problems, however, I have a hard time trusting people with my problems.
  5. I worry A LOT about being a Black woman whose professional life is BOMB but whose personal life is lacking. I feel like most people want me to focus solely on my professional life and graduate school, but my personal life is equally (if not more) important to me. I struggle with trying to balance both of these circles.
  6. I love blogging and vlogging – but sometimes I worry that my content isn’t that exciting or engaging enough to keep folks interested in what I have to say or produce (on YouTube).

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Lessons

  1. It is okay not to be okay. I have learned this really within the past year or so. With the passing of my dearest friend last year, losing my uncle a few days ago, dealing with a lot of rejections for graduate school, insecurities – I have been dealing with a lot lately. And honestly, I have been trying to hold it all together, but I can’t. It’s unhealthy for me to try to hold everything in. BUT I have found solace in confiding in the very few people I trust.
  2. Experiencing multiple emotions at one time is absolutely normal and you are not going crazy.
  3. Closure, for me, is such a blessing and a curse. A blessing when it closes a chapter nicely, however more often than not has been a curse and made me feel worse than not knowing.
  4. As much as I believe that I need to be superwoman, I cannot save everyone or do everything at once. It is okay if the only person I save is myself.
  5. I am learning that my worth is not dependent on ANYBODY’s ability or disability to see or acknowledge it.
  6. Change is inevitable, and the quicker you can learn to adapt or roll with the changes the better it will be.
  7. Sometimes you just have to go with the flow. If you know me, you know I am such a planner and type A – but I am learning to just let go of my strict plans and remain strict about my goals.
  8. (BONUS) I am learning how to say no (and you should too!). For years I thought that saying no implied that I didn’t like someone or was trying to be confrontational. However sometimes, saying no is the kindest thing you can do for yourself or someone else.

Challenge: Do you have any Fun Facts, Confession, Lesson you’d like to share? JOIN THE CHALLENGE – OR share below 🙂

I challenge Samantha of Melanin Project Blog and Khari of Twelve-Eight

Best,

-Tanesha Renae

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SoapBox: Don’t Take It Personally.

Dealing With A Loss-2

People sometimes suck. Being the kind-hearted person I am, I am always expecting people to treat me the way I treat them. But that’s not always the case. People will hurt you, slander your name and not even think twice about it. Which is so strange to me because in school growing up we were always taught – “Treat others the way you want to be treated.”

But maybe that’s how they pull it off – the people who treat you poorly, never expect to be treated badly or are ever actually treated badly. When people don’t treat you with the same decency, respect or kindness that you have shown them, you could get super angry, irritated and upset. OR you could not take it personally. The way people treat others has everything to do with them, and hardly anything to do with the people receiving the actions. For example, if my friend Sally treats me terribly, that says more about Sally than it does about me – especially if I know that I’ve continually treated her kindly or with respect.

At least that’s how I look at it. So continue to treat people kindly and with love – it’s honestly the only way to live with a clear conscious and also it just feels better. 🙂

Love you all bunches,

– Tanesha J.

 

 

Sunday Soapbox: Don’t Live In Fear

Fear is defined as an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain or a threat. Even if the fear is illogical or nonexistent – it still so causes distress on your body. Our bodies are naturally to equip to handle day to day stressors and fears but perpetual fear and stress causes wear and tear on our bodies.

Fear can even cause you not to do things you once enjoyed. I feel like I live in a constant state of fear – I’m afraid of not getting into grad school, letting people who believe in me down, someone hurting me or my brother (or any family for that matter), afraid of hurting someone’s feelings and the list goes on. And it sucks. I feel like always having to push past that fear becomes so overwhelming that it drowns out the other positive feelings in my life.

But as I am living with this fear and learning how to deal with it – I often find that the fears are mostly in my own head – thought up from an overactive imagination. Sometimes I have to remind myself that this fear won’t kill me – it might hurt a little, worry me a lot, and physically cause me to be uncomfortable but I won’t die.

I saw on Pinterest once that you must “starve your fears,” which I didn’t fully understand until now. One of the main ways not to feed your fears, is to do whatever it is that scares you. For me, it’s applying for different programs or asking former professors for letters of recommendations or even going to Walmart alone. For you, it might be conquering your fear of heights or standing up for yourself when you’re not being treated respectfully – Whatever it is – do it anyway.

Another way is to purposefully counteract the fearful thoughts with more confident, strong ones. Sometimes you’ll have to go to a person with a strong, confident voice to counteract your fearful thoughts. My go-to person is my mother because she’s almost too straightforward and is practically fearless. Whenever I start to have fearful thoughts, I think about my mother telling me, “what’s the worst thing that will happen?”

Don’t let your fears control your life. You are the captain of your fate. 

What ways do you conquer your fears? Share below in the comments. 

XOXO,

-Tanesha 

Valentine’s Day Impromptu Date Ideas

Happy Valentine’s Day

Some folks go out with their girls to dinner and movie (like a date with their girls), while others sit in the house and sulk. Honestly, my friends all live in different states and sitting in the house and sulking doesn’t sound appealing either. So what am I to do? I decided to come up with some impromptu “date ideas”! These are great ideas for you go out with your significant other, your girls, or even go out solo!

  1. Have an intense workout session.
  2. Go to a museum or an art gallery
  3. Buy Yourself some flowers or pick some!
  4. Get up early, make breakfast, and enjoy the quiet morning.
  5. Write yourself a love letter
  6. Send your girls a heartfelt text message (or call) about how much you love them.
  7. Go out to dinner (I love good food!!)
  8. Take a long walk in your favorite park
  9. Go to the library or Barnes & nobles to read for a while (I guarantee it won’t be crowded!)
  10. Get a mani/pedi – or even give yourself one at home!
  11. Go see that movie you’ve been waiting to see!
  12. Have a “Night In” – eat junk food and watch a movie marathon!

Don’t be forced to stay home on this day full of love – Enjoy the love you have received over the years and give some love away (maybe a random act of kindness?)

XOXO,

– Tanesha

 

Things I Learned in 2016 That I Am Bringing Into My 2017

It has been about 7 or 8 days into 2017 (at least when I am writing this) and everyone around me has been either saying “new year, new me – I am overhauling my life to make more positive changes and resolutions” or the more self-righteous “I don’t need New Years to recreate myself – I do that every week.” I am somewhat in the middle. This new year, I am super excited about the upcoming possibilities and opportunities that are coming my way. However, I didn’t get there by happenstance – without 2016 there wouldn’t be this chance for 2017.

So here are some of the lessons that I learned in 2016, that I am definitely taking with me into 2017.

  1. It is absolutely OK to not be OK. You are under no circumstances required to be OK all the time. There are days when you are going to be unhappy, distraught, stressed out, worried, etc – and that’s okay. Life is not roses and daisies all the time and that is okay. Honestly, think about this, if life was everything you wanted it to be, you wouldn’t be satisfied nor have an appreciation for all the good that is going on. You gotta take the good with the bad. Balance.
  2. Positive in, Positive Out. You must speak life and positivity over your future and your life. My mother and my friend are always saying you must visual your success and have positive thoughts about your future. Otherwise, it won’t happen. You have to have confidence that the things you desire, the love you want, the job/career you want, all of those things and more will come to you.
  3. Planning is great, but God’s plan is perfect. I am a planner by nature, I like to know what’s going to happen, when it is going to happen, why it is happening – everything. But God does not work like that at all. Not because He is going to harm us, rather because he has plans to prosper us in the future (my paraphrase from Jeremiah 29:11). Furthermore, God’s plan is perfect, absolutely perfect (so perfect we cannot even comprehend). There is nothing in the perfect plan of God, that is not meant for your good. There was a quote by Lisa Bever – she stated, “If you think that you have blown God’s for your life, rest in this: You, my beautiful friend, are not that strong.”
  4. Time heals all wounds, even the ones that hurt the most. Both physical and mental wounds are the same in some sense. First, you get hurt and then you got to put a bandage over the wound to not infect it anymore but also to give your body time to do what it is designed to do heal. Even for mental and emotional wounds, you have to put a bandage on it and give it time to heal. Invest your time into healing yourself. You cannot rush healing my friend, you have to go through all the pain, suffering and once you experience all that you will be allowed to heal.
  5. You deserve to be treated well. People’s actions are not a reflection of you, but rather of you. You don’t have to be a savage, specially in the “world of being a savage.” It is okay to treat others better than they treat you. There are not enough kind-hearted people in the world. But with this, do not be mistaken – I am not saying put up with everyone’s crap. I’m saying treat people kindly, but be sure to take care of yourself.

With all that being said, I hope that 2017 brings you everything that you need to be the best version of yourself.

I love you bunches.

XOXO,

– Tanesha J.

Things I Would Tell Freshman Year Me!

Dear Freshman Year Me,
First of all, CONGRATS! We made it to college!! This is such a huge blessing and accomplishment that not many people get to have! Here are some things you need to keep in mind to make your freshman year, and collegiate career the best time of your life.
Focus on school. Don’t lose sight of why you are in college – you’ve come to obtain an education to get yourself further in life – further than you could’ve with just a high school diploma. So many people lose sight of why they come to college. It is too expensive to lose focus! You could’ve stayed home to party, and waste money to be honest. Also, freshmen year is the foundation year, so get your GPA up super high because once it’s low – it stays low. School is the ONLY mission!
Experience life. Go out and do something that scares you (or makes you feel adventurous) – at least once a week. I’m not saying go out and get shit-faced drunk, (hey if you want to get shit-faced, take a buddy – safety first!), because that may not be your idea of an experience. Go and travel the world (like study abroad), try new foods, learn new skills, do anything – but experience life the way you want to, not the way you think society may want you to just because you’re in college.
Take advantage of literally every opportunity – academic, professional, or personal. Many opportunities are lost because you are too afraid to try or think you are unqualified. Do not be afraid, just do it. No bad can come from it, if you get the opportunity: great, you’re about to do something awesome, if you don’t get the opportunity – that is okay too because you’ve gained the experience of applying for these things, which you can use when applying for other opportunities.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions or for help. Have the confidence to know and accept that you don’t know everything about everything (I know you may think you do, but you don’t). It takes a lot of confidence to ask the hard questions, and you will probably help someone who wanted to ask the question too. Asking questions is not a sign of lack of intellect, rather a yearning for a deeper understanding.
Love will come, just wait on it. As a person who has been there, done that – its not always worth it. I’m not saying don’t go on dates, or have an interest in people, I’m just saying that you will know when it is right. You will feel it in your heart, and within your soul. It will happen when you’re ready, but only then. And in all honestly college may not be the time when you become ready. Focus on building yourself, and your brand – and the rest will fall into place.
Don’t compromise your morals – ever. This is advice more so for the future, not just for college! I would be doing you a disservice, if I didn’t tell you that compromising is easy, like almost too easy. Sticking to your guns about your beliefs, morals, and values is going to be hard as hell.You will have to intentionally stick to them at first, but then over time it will become second nature. Your college years will be the ultimate test of your faith, beliefs, morals, values, and everything else. Be sure to stick to what you believe, no matter what. It will help you in the long run. Your parents spent a lot of time raising you to be the woman that you are today – don’t put all their hard work to waste!
College is going to sometimes be awkward. You are growing, and maturing at a rapid rate. It’s not going to be the best days of your life every single day – but most days will be great! Don’t be afraid of growth, and development – staying the same will get you nowhere.
But above all, have fun! These years will become the best times of your life – act like it!
Love Always,
-Me (T. Renae)

My Trip to Washington University in St. Louis

So last week this time, I was packing up to fly all the way (this sounds very dramatic) to St. Louis for the second time, for a graduate school conference sponsored by Target Hope at Washington University in St. Louis. The conference was only about 3 days, but it was an amazing experience! So I am going to talk about some of the highlights of the conference, and just some of the overall experiences.

You know how that saying goes, “First impressions are everything,” Washington University in St. Louis definitely got that message and embodied it in their entire school presentation. The school is absolutely stunning. All the buildings on campus have the same matching; kind of “old brick” feel. All the buildings seem like they were built back in the day, however, the inside is entirely modern. Every building I went in on that campus was breathtakingly modern: State of the art equipment, fun bright and vibrant color schemes, technology systems used in every building. It was just amazing. This may be standard at other schools, but at Hampton University our stuff does not look like that – at all – not that I don’t love my beautiful school. The school is nestled on the edge of the Forest Park area of St. Louis, which is sort of like Central Park in New York. Apparently the person, who designed the park, wanted it to “feel like you are literally in the park/forest with feeling like you are still in the city.” He did not only accomplish this goal, he went above and beyond it! The campus is literally its own entity within the city/park. The entire time I was on campus, I did not feel like I was within this “big city.” I could see the buildings and stuff, but I didn’t feel IN the city. I loved the campus vibe and just the overall beauty of the campus. I felt like I was in this brand new, beautiful, environment that I did not want to leave! The campus was just soooooooooo beautiful and just so well kept. I never saw any trash anywhere, and the grass was so neat and luscious – I just wanted to lay in the field it was so just awesome! There were all these weddings going on. I saw probably 3-4 weddings going on that we passed just while on our campus tour.


        I could talk about the beauty of the campus for HOURS! Anyways, so now I am going to talk about the dorm room set up for underclassmen. So I stayed in the dorm called “South 40,” and oh my goodness! Compared to these dorms, I’ve been living in a shack on a dirt road! This dorm was so lovely! The dorm room was set up in a suite style. So my assigned room was a single dorm room (just for me), within a larger dorm room of three other “single” rooms. Each of the rooms shared a bathroom, shower, and common “living room” area. This room was so great! I loved having my own private room just for me, within a “community” of rooms. I thought it was very incredible. The room was super clean, and the University even provided us with linen and towels to use while we were there, like a hotel. I felt like I was living large and in charge.


 The Conference involved a tour of the beautiful city of St. Louis! So the tour of the city was great. If we are being honest it was not a tour of the entire city, but more of just a tour of the Forest Park area. Which was great still. I have been to St. Louis previously because I lived relatively close to the area as a child, and so my family always went to St. Louis for fun. I learned things I had never known before about the city. It wasn’t like all the facts you can read on the Internet either; it was facts that only a person who has lived there a significant amount of time would know. Even tho the area under the St. Louis Arch was under construction, I still had to get a picture!


 So the first excursion was a trip to the St. Louis Zoo. Even though we only had about 45 minutes to cover this large and beautiful zoo, my group of friends and I “power walked” a little more than half of the zoo! The Zoo was so awesome, and the animals seemed to be well kept. If you ever go to St. Louis I highly suggest you go to the zoo – it’s free!


   The next super fun excursion was a trip to the City Museum. While the City Museum is not free, it was worth the money to get in. The Museum is not a museum in the traditional sense, it reminds me of an adult size playground. The museum even has a rooftop Ferris wheel. When I was a child I was terrified about climbing around on the attractions that were in the ceilings, as well as going down the 10-foot slide – But I faced my fears and had a BLAST at the City Museum! If you are visiting STL, DEFINITELY GO TO THE CITY MUSEUM.


   The food was amazing as well! We ate mostly on campus, but we did go out to a very nice sit down dinner. The restaurant had my favorite food of all time – toasted ravioli! Another thing I want to highlight about Washington University in St. Louis is that the entire campus is green. There are recycle bins everywhere! You wont find any bottled water on campus, but they do have super clean bottle refill stations. Overall I had a BLAST at the Target Hope Graduate School Conference at Washington University in St. Louis, I learned so much about applying to graduate school, graduate school life, and just a lot about a city I’ve known about for years. Who knows, maybe next year I will be attending Washington University in St. Louis for graduate school!

Keep it Classy,

-T.Renae

Tanesha’s Truth on Relationships

Prior to dating my current boyfriend, deep deep deep down inside, I hated relationships, with burning passion. I always felt like I was putting in more effort than I was receiving and that they weren’t really worthy of my precious God given time. So for a while I just kinda stopped dating, I mean I still talked to guys here and there, but nothing serious. And if I am being completely honest with myself, I knew I was wasting my time with these guys. Sure they were nice, but no one I wanted to be with long term, or even be serious with. So once I was out of that phase I decided that I needed to make some boundaries or better standards for myself when it came to dating. The rules I made, if I do say so myself, worked out pretty well because I am now dating the most amazing guy on Earth.
So here we go.
  1. You must really intimately know him for at least 2-3 months before beginning to date him. – I knew that being in a serious long term relationship meant that we would first have to be extremely good friends. People always say that the best relationships come from friendships. So I figured why not test this theory.
  2. He must meet all of your serious dating MUST HAVE checklist – No, I’m not talking about that superficial checklist where the guy has to be 6’6, basketball player, with a sensitive soul. I’m talking about the things he must have to even be considered in these dating games like honesty, respect, humbleness, etc.
  3. Effort must be shown consistently. – Both parties are involved in this. Relationships in my opinion are 100/100, and I refuse to be giving 100, and he’s only giving 50. It makes no sense and leaves one person hurt, usually the person who is putting forth the effort.
  4. Never settle for less than butterflies. – I feel like I deserve to be wow-ed. Dating today has become boring and effortless and not in a good way. I knew I wanted a long term relationship with someone who floored me all the time. Not necessarily with materialistic things, with like good-morning phone calls, random flowers, cute little notes, compliments, surprises, etc.
  5. Your gut must say yes too. – Sometimes a guy can have everything you want and need and STILL BE WRONG FOR YOU! Trust me I know! Listen to your womanly intuition, and trust it, because 8/10 it’s right. If your gut is say stay clear, STAY CLEAR!
What I’ve learned keeping these boundaries and standards, is that the right guy for you will meet all these and more. These standards are not asking for too much, Serious, long term relationships are nothing like in the movies, where you meet him, the next day fall in love, and then have earth shattering sex, and then everything is great, and ya’ll live happily ever after. I mean, it is a possibility that it could end up that way, but it is also a possibility that it won’t. Relationships take five important components: Communication, Time, Commitment, Effort, Consistency, and Fun. Communication is valuable and needed for any relationship to flourish. Its not about how much you talk, rather the QUALITY of the conversation. Without communication your relationship will not work. It’s literally that simple, so if you’re struggling in this domain like do not pass go do not collect $200 do not go on to the next level because you’re not ready for for a serious relationship. You both have to put in the time and effort into the relationship, its really that simple. You are going to have to be there for that person, and it shouldn’t feel like a burden, you should want to be there for your significant other. Relationships shouldn’t feel like work, they should feel more like an extension of your happiness. Your happiness, and your significant others happiness should expand over each other kinda like a Venn Diagram. Similarly a true, real, genuine relationship should swirl into each other. Relationships should make you a better person, well rounded, want to achieve more, not the opposite. And with that one of the main things I am doing in my not new relationship is that I’m making sure I don’t lose who I am, and what I want to become, and he doesn’t lose who he is, or what he wants. Making sure we achieve our individual’s dreams and goals, so we don’t lose ourselves is apart of our healthy relationship. So in essence my truth on relationships, maybe different, but it has truly worked for me, and I hope it can work for you too!
-T.Renae