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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Live Better, Feel Better

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Back at the beginning of the year, I had decided that my only New Years’ resolution was to be a better person all the way around – mentally, physically, emotionally.

For years, I’ve experienced low self-esteem as well as many years of verbal assaults. “Fat girls shouldn’t wear this.” “You’re too big to wear that.” But, I decided that I didn’t want that to be who I was. I didn’t want to allow other people’s thoughts and opinion to play such a huge factor in my life. I wanted to gain back control of how I view myself and now allow other’s opinions to taint how I view myself.

So on April 16, I decided to start back hitting the gym. I am a plus sized girl, so hitting the gym came with a lot of anxiety. I was afraid of what people would think about me being a bigger girl working out, not really knowing exactly what I was doing, or people thinking that I’m just doing this to get skinny. None of that is the case, I am literally just trying to gain control of how I feel about myself.

So, I started working out. It’s not about the weight-loss or getting skinny, it is more so about me gaining control and loving who I am. I was afraid, but now I feel more empowered. Which has made me want to live my best life. So getting healthy has made me start living my life a little bit better. I don’t worry as much about what I am wearing, or how I look.

Once you start living your life to your fullest potential, unapologetically – you will ultimately feel so much better. Your insides will begin to be reflected in your outward interactions and life.

In what was are you going to start living better – share below in the comments! I want to start improving other aspects of my life as well (such as my living in love (with actions), or spiritually, mentally, etc.)

Love Always,

– Tanesha J.

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.

Happy Birthday Mom!

Today is my mother’s birthday. Over my lifetime, my mother has always tried to instill in my brother and I the best life lessons. I feel like she’s done a pretty great job of raising my brother and I as well as she’s done a pretty amazing job of making her life the one she wanted. (Isn’t the cover picture of us precious!)

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“Work smarter, not harder.” I don’t know why, but as a child my mom would always say this to my brother and I. But it’s always been a token of truth to me because through high school and college working the hardest didn’t necessarily mean that it was the best work. However whenever you worked smarter, 9 times out of 10 it was the best possible work.

No matter what we got each other. My mom (and dad for that matter) are truly my best friends. And no matter how much I disappoint them, they are there for me unconditionally. Because of us being a military family, I moved around a lot and didn’t have a lot of friends, but I could always count on my momma to be there for me.

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You can do anything, truly. My mom has never been one to push my brother and I into doing anything that we don’t want to do. She has always been the one to make sure that we are setting goals for ourselves and achieving them. She’s super encouraging and is often my biggest supporter.

Your kindness is sort of your weakness but also your strength. I get my feelings hurt a lot due in part to me being so kind and loving to people and expecting people to treat me the same way I treat them. Which hardly ever happens. In the midst of all, my mom has always told me straight up that my kindness is going to be taken advantage of and that I have to be prepared for it. (My mom is one of those super honest moms – sometimes she’s a savage hahaha.) thumb_Roni 2_1024.jpeg

My mom is super amazing, which I’m sure a lot of people say about their mom’s but mine is truly the greatest. I aspire to be as strong and confident as she is. She goes after exactly what she wants and deserves in life. I hope one day to be like she is!

Again, Happy Birthday Mom.

– Tanesha

Sunday SoapBox: Practice Self-Care

Self-care is ANY activity that you do to help maintain your health – not just physical, but also mental and emotional health. It’s often done to help a person when they are feeling overwhelmed with their daily lives. I am always saying that I am going to practice more self-care, but often I am putting it at the bottom of the totem pole of my responsibilities.

My friends who are in business always say, “Pay Yourself First,” The same should go for your self-care time. So starting today, I am going to take time once a week to practice more self-care. Quite frankly, I deserve it, and you do too.

Here are some examples of self-care that are pretty simple that you can easily integrate into your life:

  • Sit in silence and meditate for 15 minutes: I promise you won’t miss anything in those minutes
  • Go for a walk: Especially now that it is fall and the weather and trees are beautiful, just a quick walk down the street.
  • Declutter your space: You don’t have to do an entire overhaul of your house, maybe just straighten up your desk!
  • Spend an hour alone doing something you love: It could be a bubble bath, or drinking Starbucks, or reading a novel

What are some of your favorite self-care practices? Share below in the comments (because I want to add to my list!)

XOXO

– Tanesha

6 Things Hampton University Has Taught Me.

So I choose 6 because 2016. Get it? I know I’m corny. I spent 8 semesters at this wonderful institution of higher learner called Hampton University and it has taught me some truly invaluable lessons. So I thought who better to share these lessons with than the beautiful and intelligent followers of this blog.

  1. It is not always what you know, rather WHO you know. Networking is soooooo important. Literally, every internship and opportunity I’ve received are due in large part to networking. Even within your own social circles and friendships. There are numerous times when opportunities are sent my way, and the opportunity might not fit your goals and ambitions but might fit another friend – there is no need to be holding on to what you can’t use. Sharing is caring, especially when it comes to opportunities.
  2. Act like you have some sense. I know you have heard this from your mother and grandparents at least growing up. But I feel like while I was at Hampton, I really started to understand that how you behave is a reflection of everyone around you. You are not only representing your family, friends, but also everyone who has every invested in you. Also, how you act in public will follow you. Your reputation is everything. First impressions are made within the first 7 seconds of meeting someone and takes about 12-15 interactions after to change that impression.
  3. Balance work and play. I cannot stress this enough. You have to be able to balance what you HAVE to do, and what you want to do – otherwise, you will be miserable fulfilling other people’s dreams. I can always sense when I am doing too much work because I begin to get super overwhelmed with the simplest tasks. If you are getting easily overwhelmed, frustrated or irritated – stop what you are doing and immediately take some time to refresh your life.
  4. Speak Up, but sometimes silence says it all. I’m always told that I don’t speak up enough. In an effort to avoid confrontation with people, often I am just silent. Partially because not everything in life needs a reaction or response, but also because I am generally passive. But, I have learned there are specific times and spaces where your voice needs to be heard. Especially if it deals with your money, your reputation or your emotions.
  5. Choose Happiness & Love. There was a young man at school who was a minister, and every so often he would say that “Love is a choice.” I don’t know why of all things that really stuck with me, but it made absolute sense. And the same could be said for happiness. Lou Holtz said that life is ten percent of what happens to you and 90% of how you respond to it. Respond with love and happiness.
  6. The experience is what you make it. One of the first things they told us during New Student Orientation is that “Hampton is literally what you make it. You can choose to make it lit and have the greatest of times, or you can choose to make it boring. The choice is yours.”  Honestly, this goes for anything. You choose how things are going to go up to a certain point. Even when things are going badly in your life, you can choose to stay positive and moving forward as opposed to remaining stagnant and unhappy.

So to Everyone in Onyx 11, who just started precollege and everyone at the illustrious Hampton University. Enjoy and trust the process. Even when things seem to not going your way, all things work together for your good.

Love Always,

– T. Renae

Thank Your Ex-Boyfriend.

Sometimes you just have to thank your ex-boyfriend.

A few Sundays ago my father’s sermon was titled, “Enough is Enough” from Mark 5:25-34. The part of his sermon that stuck out the most to me is this story. It was about a girl who had grown so much in her life. The short version of the story was this young lady had the minister come over to bless her new home. While there, the minister saw a picture of a man on her table. The minister asked the woman was this man her friend, cousin or brother but she quickly explained to him that he was her ex-boyfriend. I kid you not all of us women in the church was like “oh no! Warning! Unhealthy! She must be crazy!”

My dad laughs then continues his story, the woman left this picture of her ex-boyfriend because without the challenges and heartbreak he put her through, she wouldn’t be the woman she is today. After they broke up, she grew so much in her ministry with God, learned more about her self-worth and was able to face challenges because the situation made her stronger. So her reasoning for keeping the picture of the kitchen table was a reminder to thank him for helping her get to the place where she was today.

Now keeping a picture on the kitchen table might be a bit extreme but the moral of the story stuck with me. When we experience a negative break up, initially we dwell on all the negatives. I also do this myself. When actually we need to focus more on what we learned from those relationships and grow from those experiences. As women, we dwell so much on the hurt and pain that man caused us, but the key is to learn and grow. We have to push through the hurt and use the pain to push us to higher heights. The key is to dwell on the lessons learned and to focus on your growth in the process.

Therefore, let’s thank our exes for helping to end that chapter so we can focus on what God has in store. Trust and believe this will not be easy but we have to stop running from our pain. We have to face our pain and allow it to push us into all we have ever wanted and needed. I’m not saying keep a picture (unless it’s one you really look bomb in) but keep those memories as they push you into a more powerful, peaceful and purposeful you!

Love Always,

– A. Rochell

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)