Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Louder Than Words (Justice for...All, Pt. II)

When I first heard the news, my heart fell to the bottom of my chest. Once again, justice did not prevail. Images of hurt, fearful nation flashed on the television. A lawless country at war erupted right before my eyes and all I could see was a dismantled reenactment of The Purge. I felt hopeless. What now? 

Trying to ignore the pain, the horror, the utter distaste in my mouth, I continued business as usual the next day, but I knew it wouldn't be long before the opportunity to speak up resurfaced.  Even though a fire was lit on my insides, I didn't want to say anything out of anger. I didn't want to get into the endless, recycled debates about the problem(s) at hand; I only wanted to be apart of the solution. I wanted to DO something.

As expected, the chance to educate presented itself in my workplace. I went with that gut tug and started a conversation among a diverse group of young athletes, all looking at me for some sort of guidance. Their eyes were so full of wonder and hope. They waited patiently for me to speak and probably not expecting what was coming.  

It was overwhelming to discover how many of them were unaware. Breaking down the events surrounding Mike Brown was important enough for me to risk losing my job, because they needed to know. They are the leaders of tomorrow and how can they reshape the world we live in without knowing what is taking place? Slowly, but surely, I watched the hopefulness fade from their stares, semi-crushed, feeling like I stole pieces of their innocence. As much as it hurt me, I knew I did the right thing.  

I do apologize for stealing your rose colored goggles. 

I said all that to say: you are not as helpless as you think you are. Social media is a powerful tool, but it's not enough to just sit on our soapbox all day and pretend to be activist. Public protest is an awesome way to allow you voice to be heard, but there are more effective ways to seek the necessary attention. It begins with educating yourself and passing that knowledge on to others, especially the youth. I've researched ways we can all be the change we seek and put in the effort to implement justice in a system that constantly fails us. 

1. Write letters regarding your concerns to the Ferguson Police Department: 
222 S. Florissant Road
Ferguson, MO 63135

 Ph: 314-522-3100
Fx: 314-524-5290

2. Donate to the Bail and Legal Fund for Those Arrested During Ferguson Anti-Police Demonstrations

3. Tell Congress: no more weapons of war for local police.

4. Contact Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal 
201 W Capitol Ave., Rm. 330 
Jefferson City, Missouri 65101 
O: (573) 751-4106 
F: (573) 751-0467

5. Contact the Missouri House of Representatives 
201 West Capitol Avenue Room 116-5
Jefferson City MO 65101 
Phone: 573-751-0855

6. Send your support and love to the family of Mike Brown: 
via: NAACP

7. Start your own movement.
We are the generation of dreamers, artist, creators, influencers where the brilliance of technology and innovation is only getting better. How can you use your talents and influence to help steer people in a positive direction? What can you do to contribute the the solution?

Surely, there are other ways to be apart of the solution. There is so much you can do, so much you can find to do through mediums such as Google. Every action you take matters. Every tweet, blog post, status, etc. matters. Never think you are too small or insignificant to enact or provoke change. Above all, we need to pray and to put our faith in God (a higher power than ourselves), rather than world systems and men. 


Sunday, November 23, 2014

Self-Love ♡ Sundays | An Act of Release

Despite how freeing it is to finally let go of something, it's not always a speedy process. It may take some people longer than others to get to a place in their existence where the hurt, pain, damage, etc. is just not worth holding on to anymore. We are all so infatuated with time, that we allow the time to pass while we're complaining about it. The point, though, is not to keep track of the time, but to take the time to heal in spite of it. 

For example, I spent years, literally, blaming a particular person for the damage they caused, for "ruining my ability to love". Even when I thought I moved on, when no one was watching, I would mull over the things that went wrong and what I could have done differently.  I created this ideal image of what happened within our involvement with one another to avoid facing the cold, hard reality. The most significant part was looking in the mirror and realizing the role I played in allowing one person to have that much control over my mind and emotions. No one should have that much power over you. 

Then one day, I craved closure. Not only was the previously mention situation still haunting me in a way, it was creating a blockage that wasn't fair to the person I'm currently building with.  This is not to imply that moving on always requires [direct] closure, but it was absolutely necessary for me personally. 

I remembered a message I wrote that was saved on my notes app that pretty much said (in nicer language, of course), "Good-bye and have a nice life"; waiting for me to release it to who it was intended for. Every now in then, I'd read it and prayed for the day where I was courageous enough to mean what was said, but it just sat there, because I wanted my words to hold weight. I kept thinking to myself, especially during moments when I saw all the goodness happening right in front of my face, 'Girl. Let it go.'  So on this particular day, I decided it was time.

Self-love is a continuous process and often times, quite challenging, so I continue to write through it. Hoping my mess message will make a difference in someone else's life. Writing a letter is the best way I've ever known how to express myself. I sent the note as an act of release and I was taken back by my own bravery. Seeing that he did indeed read it was such a relief, which was even more of a surprise to me (I thought I would be hurt by the lack of response, but I really wasn't affected at all, to be honest). And let me just say from this and many other experiences, letting go of something that you've been holding on to in vain has to be one of the most liberating feelings in the world. 

Pearls of Wisdom: It's all a matter of finding forgiveness in your heart, distributing it out to anything/anyone that hinders joy, growth, or inner peace, and not worrying that your compassion will somehow deplete the more you give it away. To forgive others is to heal self. Forgive others so that you are able to move forward without negativity pulling you backwards. 


Sunday, November 16, 2014

City Finds | Sun in my Belly + Beyond

Girl time is so vital to life. It's nice to not only find a friend to who seems to float on the same wavelength as you most days, but to also make efforts to connect and spend time with people I care about. Friday was spent exploring the city with Sheriden, one of my favorite individuals to be around.  I'm so appreciative of the connection we've had since day one and the fact that it's bloomed into a healthy friendship of value and mutual respect. 

The day started with brunch at Sun in My Belly Cafe in Mid-town Atlanta, a first time experience for both of us. With its rustic decor, industrial loft aesthetics, and pleasant customer service, this place stole my heart as soon as we walked in the door. I ordered the Challah french toast with a Brussels sprout slaw side dish and was pleased to know the food was equally amazing. 

After leaving the brunch spot, we began the apartment hunt, which was the sole intent of our outing. Because I'm not sure how much information I'm permitted to share at this point, I'll save the details on that subject matter for later. Working up an appetite once again, we stopped for fast food and continued our adventures in Little 5 Points, perusing the thrift and record stores in the area.  

By the end of the night, we impulsively decided to meet up with one of her friends to catch a late night movie. Beyond the Lights was the movie of choice, which wasn't one that I ever intended on seeing in theaters, however, I'm so glad I did. It was an awesome movie with such a beautiful message, and in retrospect, I definitely think it's a movie worth paying to see.

It was a great start to the weekend and the epitome of an epic day (because life is meant to be epic), full of love, laughter, adventures, and all around good vibes. These are the kind of days I live for. 


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Music Collective: vol. 18 {Dreams are Made For Two}

Not only is this a completely captivating record, the sound is mastered so well with such a beautiful vibe, which is very typical of +FE. Adding the lovely Carlitta Durand on the vocals was icing on the cake. My love for this song has recently been resurrected and heightened by a certain individual in my life, so, lyrically, it resonates on a more personal level for me now. Whether you're in like, in love, a combination of both, or simply someone who appreciates good music, you'll definitely love this track, a sound you can easily get lost in. Enjoy your jam session! 


Sunday, November 9, 2014

Look Book | Refined Sunflower

Refined Sunflower

This outfit works well for an all inclusive, post-date-meet-the-parents type of evening. Something classy, but not conservative. Black is a staple color in my wardrobe, but let's add a pop of color to show the bright side of my personality. Feminine, but casual. Nails painted neutral/soft pearl-like color. Keep jewelry simple; nothing gaudy.  Viola! It's expressive and bold, but not obnoxious, a relatively toned down look for a wildflower, who is as free as a bird without caging said individual into a claustrophobic box, constructed by society's rules of being a lady.

What do you think? How would you have styled this ensemble differently?


Friday, November 7, 2014

November Goals

Image found via tumblr.

The year is almost over and flown by at light speed. 2014 has been so unexpectedly wonderful and although I'm constantly learning to be present enough to take it all in, I can't help but to be excited for the holidays, as well as the upcoming year.

In retrospect, it's been a pretty successful year. I kept my goals coming into this year pretty simple and was able to accomplish so much more, so that's going to be the underlining mission from now on when it comes to goal setting: Keep it simple
  1. Exercise daily and be mindful of my eating habits, even on the weekends. For the most part, I eat pretty descent during the week, but for whatever reason, as soon as the weekend hits, I just stop caring. I'll get better.
  2. Finish the semester strong. It's been challenging, but I have to keep going. It will all pay off one day. Not a debate.
  3. Apply to be apart of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE)
  4. Maintain zen. Protect my peace. Stay balanced. These may all seem like 3 separate goals, but I believe they all essentially work together.
  5. Try not to over-think every little thing. Some things are actually designed to happen organically. Allow.
  6. Pick back up on reading. Commit to reading, at least, one book this month and 2 in December.
  7. Make more of an effort to spend time with the people I care about. 
  8. Do something exhilarating to get the adrenaline pumping, like go cart racing or running a full mile to a twerk play list without slowing down the pace. (laughing out loud at "Twerk Play List" terminology)
My goals for this month pretty much align with what I've been doing to stay focused this past year or so. I don't want to make a long list of unfulfilled promises, but I do want to continue to make progress towards the bigger picture. While it's good to be driven, it's also important to take baby steps and celebrate the small victories too, as I emphasized in a previous Self-Love ♡ Sundays post, so we'll see how this goes!

On a scale of 1-10, how has your year been?
What are some of your goals for November??

- ♥ Chymere A. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Self-Love ♡ Sundays | Perception.

As we all know from basic physical science that potential is the possibility of a thing, while kinetic is the action and force behind the realization of potential. A brick can potentially shatter a glass mirror, distort and reshape whatever image it holds completely, but not without force or action. A woman can reshape whatever image she holds in her mind, but not without force or action.  

In our lives, we can sense and differentiate between when something is stagnant and when something is moving. Sometimes we see it in literal forms, most times we can't. Even subconsciously, we are able to recognize when something shifts from one state to another. It doesn't matter if we decide to adapt accordingly or if we try with all our might to resist, the change is still happening, because change is inevitable. 

For a long period of time, I felt stuck. I reached this chateau in life and didn't know how to manipulate my environment to how I saw fit.  Now, if I made the decision back then to trust God and be still, I wouldn't wreck my brain trying to control the circumstances, but...I'll get back to that.  The point is, I was stagnant. I couldn't move, I couldn't decide on anything, and because my vision was so clouded with what was happening in my immediate view, I didn't understand my purpose of being there. My mind wasn't in the right place, so everything I did to try to change my situation was null and void, pretty much. So I wallowed and cried and imprisoned myself with indecision.

Then I gave up. In an almost sudden movement, Instead of trying to push and question my placement, I prayed for peace. I surrendered control and learned to hold myself accountable for certain things. I decided that my might alone wasn't strong enough. That's when the shift happened, or at least that's when I noticed shift was happening all along. That's when the universe began to show me things and construct doors that weren't there before. The changes that took place were so beyond anything I could've imagined for myself and that deserted chateau became something else. I was now on a beach, surrounded by beauty and positive energy. It was like magic. Anyone can reshape whatever image she holds in her mind, but not without force or action. 

God stepped in and transformed my mind, open my heart, and made me not only realize the power within me (Exodus 9:16), but also the power of perception (Ecclesiastes 2:14). By the way, I don't mean to preach here, just sharing my story, testimony, whatever you want to call it. To divert to more scientific terminology for all my logical thinkers reading, American sculptor, Horatio Greenough, phrased it best:

"Whether it be the sweeping eagle in his flight, or the open apple-blossom, the toiling work-horse, the blithe swan, the branching oak, the winding stream at its base, the drifting clouds, over all the coursing sun, form ever follows function, and this is the law. Where function does not change, form does not change...It is the pervading law of all things organic and inorganic, of all things physical and metaphysical, of all things human and all things superhuman, of all true manifestations of the head, of the heart, of the soul, that the life is recognizable in its expression, that form ever follows function. This is the law."

Form follows function is a commonly used phrase in most S.T.E.M. based courses in academia, so I don't know how much more proof is needed to convey just how powerful the unseen (energy, mental capacity, force, etc.) is and for God to bless us with all this power when he created us never fails to amaze me. 

Pearls of the day: I challenge you upon reading this, to relinquish your need to control; to understand that there is a higher force working on your behalf. Nothing is as bad as you perceive it to be. You are there for a reason. You are here, on earth, for a purpose. Even if you believe in the Big Bang theory, just think of how the stars are placed in the sky. You are made in the image of a divine creator and there is nothing more phenomenal than that. 

♡ // Chymere Anais

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