My Anxiety and Me

Mental Health

For the longest time I have thought that anxiety was this big scary thing and if you truly had it then there was something very wrong with you. But hey, guess what, anxiety is not that. In most cases, anxiety and stress are normal (almost) everyday things humans interact with, but in other cases, it can pose a problem.

I’m here today to tell you my story. It’s not some fantastical exciting story, this post is just going to be the raw, real truth.

College is stressful, there is no denying that, and anyone who tries to tell you differently did not do college right. But at what point does normal college stress become something a little more serious? For me, it began during my sophomore year, I had an interesting set of roommates, and I was dealing with some other personal issues. Every day I woke up, it felt like I was walking on eggshells. I was so terrified of saying or doing something wrong that I honestly became a hermit kind of. I went to school, I did my homework, I worked out occasionally, but other than that, I stayed to myself mostly because that’s where I felt safe.

For those of you, that know me well it might surprise you when I say that I am a very shy person. I’m usually that person hugging the wall at a party, but it doesn’t take much for me to get out of my shell. My sophomore year pushed me further into my shell, however.

I started losing hair, I was having a really hard time sleeping, and it just felt like my mind never stopped thinking. I was always deep in my thoughts processing and planning my next move.

It wasn’t until the middle of my junior year that I decided to seek help. I came to this decision fairly easy. I had a few breakdowns and panic attacks and after talking with my mom and a few other family members, the idea of therapy sounded really promising.

I began therapy about two months ago… I think, but that doesn’t matter, what matters is that it’s helped! I never expected to see the results come so fast. My therapist is amazing and makes me feel really comfortable whenever I come in. She has helped me realize that the things I struggle with are normal, but the way I was handling them was not.

She has helped me find healthy coping mechanisms and if one ends up not working for me, she always has another idea to help me reach the other side. I can confidently say that since I’ve started going to therapy I have seen a dramatic improvement in my overall mental health. I’m happier, I’m not nearly as scared of approaching certain situations, and I feel like I’m back in my natural element.

Thank you all for taking the time to read this. Since May is Mental Health Awareness month I decided I would take the time and use my platform to share my story. I also want to encourage you all to not be afraid to seek help if you need it!

Dear White and Black People

Mixed Girl Monday, Race

First things first, if you haven’t watched Netflix’s new series Dear White People please find the time to do so. If you have watched it, then you are aware of how the context of this post is going to go. So let’s get this thing started.

Dear White People, I am biracial, I am American, I am human. Please stop acting like I’m an exotic species.

Dear Black People, I am biracial, I am American, I am human. Please stop making me feel as though I’m less than any of those things.

Dear White People, for the love of all things holy please stop telling me how bad you want to have a baby with a black guy just so you can have a “cute mixed baby.” Mixed people aren’t some special breed you can just pick. If you want to adopt, adopt because you want to give a child a loving, safe, happy home. Do no adopt because you just want to have a mixed baby, we are not dogs.

Dear Black People, I am very much aware of my light-skin privilege. I know how colorism works in society and the black community. Do not assume that I think I’m better than others, get to know me first before you make rash judgments.

Dear White People, I wake up and wash my hair. That’s how I get these curls. That’s all.

Dear White and Black People, stop trying to put me in a box. I am biracial. Being biracial is a thing, do not make me discredit half of who I am just so you feel comfortable.

Dear White People, stop telling me I can’t get offended when you make a racist comment “because I’m not really black.” And to piggy-back off that, I have the right to take offense to any prejudice or racism I see, half of who I am is black and if you feel that way about black people, you feel that way about me. There is no “oh no I don’t think of you that way because you aren’t really black.” Yes, I am. So just think of that next time.

Dear Black People, I know I will never understand the full extent of your struggle, but just remember that there are people in the world who think I am you and treat me the same. Just because I’m half white doesn’t mean I’m protected from the racism and ignorance of some people.

Dear Black People, you can be racist too. Racism is not just limited to white people. By assuming that all white people are racist and out to steal from the black community, you are conforming to the same mindset of those white people who assume all black people are illiterate thugs.

Dear Entire World, until we can all realize that no one is their stereotype, there will continue to be racism and hatred in the world. Until we can all accept each other for our differences there will be no peace. I understand that there is deep rooted institutionalized racism in our world and that may never go away. But we can not continue to turn a blind eye when we see someone become another victim of an unjust society.

Dr. King, Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, and Harriet Tubman, they did not sit quietly and wait for someone else to do something, They got up and fought for what they believed in. They didn’t just sit around and complain about how unfair the world was, they got up and fought to make it a little more fair. We have come a long way from then, but there is still much more to be done.

Dear White and Black People, will you stand with me? Can we put aside our differences and accept that God made us all different for a reason. Can we work on respecting each other’s culture and not appropriating it for fame? Can we learn from each other?

Sincerely,
A biracial millennial trying to find her voice

El Fin *deep sigh*

My Journey

Guys. I did it. I survived my third year in college. There were times where it seemed like I wasn’t going to make it to this point. This has by far been my most challenging semester, but knowing that I only have one year left is such a satisfying feeling.

So much has happened in such a short time and I honestly feel like I have grown so much. Over the course of this school year, I battled with getting over my first heartbreak, seeking help for my anxiety, gaining and losing friends, balancing a full class load and working all week. Needless to say, I’ve been pretty busy, but I wouldn’t trade any of these experiences for all the money in the world. I can tell that I have honestly gotten closer with myself and have learned that it’s ok and really important to create alone time.

I wouldn’t have made it to the end if it wasn’t for my wonderful roommate Skylar. We have had so many crazy adventures this year; from random late night talks to comforting each other when boys do stupid things, to late night food runs, to playing rock, paper, scissors over who went to talk to the RA, she’s been there for it all. She’s seen the good, the bad, and the ugly (seriously she has some good blackmail on me lol.) We pushed each other to finish strong, and here we are. We survived.

If there is one thing I have learned this year, it’s that I am 100000% in the right major. I have been working as an afternoon teacher at a daycare this year and man oh man, those kids are crazy. I have a whole new level of respect for teachers everywhere. It truly takes a special person to work in education, no matter the age.

But I love my job, I work with the best group of people and even though there are days when my kids make me want to pull my hair out, I have grown to love them all so much. If anything, they’ve taught me the true meaning of patience. My class ranges in age from 18 months to 2 years and most of my day is spent saying “get off the shelf” “We don’t sit on our friend’s head” “no don’t eat that!”

Ahhh my internship this summer is going to be such a refreshing break, but I know I’m going to miss those crazy kids. I could go on and on about stories from the daycare, but I’ll save those for another day.

As I look back on this year it all seems like such a blur, it seems like life keeps moving faster and faster and I’m just trying to slow it down before the real adulting begins.

Busiest. Day. Ever.

Family

So here’s a little story about the busiest day of my life (thus far). It all started at 4 a.m. Saturday, April 8.

I woke up in my cozy little apartment in Conway, AR, ready to start the long journey ahead of me. I was about to travel to Chicago for the day for my grandmothers 80th (surprise) birthday party. I had to be 100% ready for the party before I go on the road, so I sleepily found my outfit and attempted to put on makeup (which by the way did not work out).

I got on the road around 5 a.m. to meet my uncle and cousins in Memphis to catch the jet to Chicago. Yes, you read that correctly, on this wonderful day I got the privilege to check flying on a private jet off my bucket list (eep!). Anyways, my dad had told me I needed to be at the place by 9 a.m., I gave myself an extra hour just in case I got lost, or there was a wreck or something crazy.

Anyways.. the drive to Memphis was long and boring, I fueled up on Red Bull and Burger King (awful combo btw) and was on my way. Needless to say, I made it to Memphis around 7:30 a.m. (I have a tendency to arrive places entirely too early). This all ended up working in my favor because while I was putting my makeup on in the wee hours of the morning, I had forgotten to apply mascara. So I decided to find a Wal-Mart to pick up a cheap tube of mascara and of course, pass the time.

I went back to the airport and waited…and waited…and waited some more. When my uncle and cousins arrived we boarded the plane and were on our way. I love flying and for some reason, I thought flying on a jet would be different, but in reality, it wasn’t. I never had to turn my phone off but once we got up high enough it stopped working so it was basically the same as any other flight, minus the massive amounts of people and better snacks.

We landed at a municipal airport in the middle of nowhere, not a soul was to be seen. Had I not known where we were flying into I would’ve never guessed we were right outside Chicago. My cousin Jordan called an Uber and off we were to the party. We made it just in time for the surprise. Those first moments of my grandma taking in the surprise and seeing all of her family and friends are memories I’ll cherish forever. I am so happy I was able to be there to celebrate with her.

The rest of the party went relatively smooth, I sat at a table with the rest of my cousins and we all just talked and caught up on each other’s lives. Time flew by and I was sad when my uncle told me it was time to leave. The long journey home was upon me.

We landed back in Memphis around 5 p.m. and I immediately hit the road back to Conway. I was so tired and it took everything in me not to fall asleep while I was driving. I did have a pretty cool realization though, I saw the sun fully rise and fully set in the same day. It was really pretty, and the sunset was relaxing after such a long and busy day.

I finally made it back to Conway around 7:45-8 p.m. and I literally ate dinner as fast as possible and passed out. I woke up around 12:30 a.m. and stayed up for an hour, but once I fell asleep again I was out like a light, and that concludes the busiest day of my life… thus far.

 

 

Never Question God’s Timing

My Journey

I’m sure we have all heard the saying “God works in mysterious ways,” and this post is about to tell you how God has been working in my life over the past year, but more specifically these past few months.

Last summer I applied for an internship at a company called Stone Ward, they are a PR and marketing firm located in the Rivermarket of downtown Little Rock. I had applied for the internship because  I had heard good things about the program, and I was looking for any opportunity to stay near my now ex-boyfriend.

I was not offered the internship sadly, but I truly think that was all apart of God’s plan. I moved back home for the summer and interned with a close family friend, Allyson Twiggs. She has her own company, the Twiggs Group, and became my mentor for the summer. I couldn’t have asked for a better first internship. Allyson was, and still is a wonderful mentor, and I was able to learn so much during my summer with her.

Fast forward to this semester

 As you all may remember my boyfriend broke up with me at the beginning of the school year and part of that had to deal with the fact that we were not together for the summer. I am thankful for the time we had, but since then doors have opened up in my life that I don’t think would have been possible had I held on to that past relationship.

I applied for the Stone Ward internship again, this semester, I felt it was a long shot, and planned to apply to a few other internships around Arkansas as well just in case I didn’t land this one again. After waiting a few days after the deadline, I started getting nervous and began thinking I wasn’t going to get called in for an interview. As soon as I was about to give up hope, I received an email from someone who worked at Stone Ward, he wanted to set up a phone interview with me!

After the phone call, I remember thinking “did he really just say he was going to recommend me for hire?” Sure enough, a few days later I received a call from Stone Ward asking if I would be interested in taking a position in their Camp Reality summer internship program. I was stunned, how did I go from not even getting a phone call last summer, to getting hired without a formal interview this summer… timing, all of this was a part of God’s timing.

I’m saying all of this to reiterate a long time saying, never question God’s timing. I could’ve easily taken the situation I was handed last summer and complained and sat around in my room the whole summer. But instead, I took the bull by the horns and found the best first internship ever. Not only did I learn a ton, but I gained a great mentor in the process. I wouldn’t have been able to get that experience had I stayed in Little Rock to be with my (ex)boyfriend.

I am so thankful for this opportunity to intern at Stone Ward this summer. I can’t wait to see where this new journey takes me, and I promise I will take you all along for the ride too. Until next time my friends ❤

For the Love of the Game

My Journey

My childhood was largely centered around basketball. From 2nd grade, all the way up to my senior year of high school most of my weekends were spent inside of a gym, either working out or playing in a tournament. *Disclaimer* I did also participate in normal childhood activities, but there’s no denying basketball was a large part of my life.

OG Camp Unity

The OG Camp Unity

Throughout my “career” I really only had four coaches, not including my dad. For this particular post, I would like to highlight the coach that introduced me to the game. The coach that made me fall in love with the game. His name is Shannon Lang.

I met Shannon when I was 8 or 9 and played with him until the summer before my senior year. Our team name was Camp Unity. I was on the first team Camp Unity had, it has since grown tremendously and that is only a representation of the type of coach Coach Shannon is.

When I think about my time playing basketball, I am flooded with memories of long practices, weekend tournaments, line drills, push ups, workouts, and family. Camp Unity was my family. Especially when we first started. We were young, we had no idea what we were doing, but Coach Shannon was there to guide us.

Camp Unity 2Coach Shannon made practice fun. I will never forget the first time he told us all to grab a ball and get ready to practice dribbling. I was a post and hated when we did dribbling drills. But then all of a sudden Kirk Franklin started blasting through the speakers and Shannon was up front swaying from side to side with the beat. He looked at us and told us to follow what he did. By the end of the drill, Shannon had taught us an entire “dribble dance” to a Kirk Franklin song. It was the best.

Now I don’t think I ever had a coach that got as fired up during games as Shannon did. I remember numerous occasions where he would get benched for getting so fired up at a ref. He also got really fired up at us too. But he wasn’t the type of coach that only yelled at you when you messed up.He was by far the best cheerleader on the sideline during games too.

When we were younger, and awful at free throws, to motivate us Shannon said that for every free throw we made, he would do a backflip. Sure enough, when we made a free throw, all you had to do was look at the sideline and there was Coach Shannon, doing a backflip in the middle of a game. It was awesome.

Ramay:Woodland CUCoach Shannon is one of the main reasons I stuck with basketball for as long as I did. When I entered high school, my confidence in my talent dropped a lot. I had a hard time connecting with the coach and it was just tough. I started to lose the love I had for the game. But even when I wanted to throw the towel in and hang up my jersey for good, Shannon was right there to tell me that he believed in me and that I could achieve anything I put my mind to.

Can’t was not allowed to be in our vocabulary. Anytime we were caught saying can’t during practice, we would have to either run or do pushups or something awful like that. As we would be doing our punishment, Shannon would blow his whistle and at the sound of the beep, we all chanted “I can. I will. I am.” That was our motto. That is what helped push me to finish high school ball.

To Coach Shannon, if you happen to read this, thank you for everything. As hard as it was for me toward the end, I looked forward to practices with you. I miss the late summer nights spent in hot gyms practicing for weekend tournaments. I miss the conditioning you would put us through. Thank you for always believing in me, even during those times I didn’t believe in myself.

 

Livin the Life of a Lefty

My Journey

So, after living 20 years on this earth, I feel like it is very important that I address this always present issue in my life. Being left-handed.

Yes, I am a part of the 10% of Americans who are left-handed and let me tell you, it is not as easy as some would think. I have been forced to train myself to do literally everything backward.

Opening a can? Yea that’s hard. Tieing shoes? Yep, I do it backward. Shaking hands? Always an awkward few seconds. Sitting at a table? Yep, that’s me elbowing you.

Being left-handed is great because I can do some things that most people can’t, but it is also so challenging.

Let’s take sitting at a round dinner table for example. While most people generally reach for their drink with their right hand, I naturally reach with my left. Talk about awkward.

There is also this problem with eating in general. Unless I am sitting at the left corner end of a table, I will constantly bump elbows with my neighbor, which makes for another awkward, and sometimes uncomfortable situation.

Another common problem lefties face, that the privileged right-handers don’t have to deal with is writing. Yes, you read that correctly, writing.

It has taken me 20 years to find the perfect pen/paper combo that doesn’t smudge and smear all over the paper as I write. I am still left with lovely black marks on my hand after an intense session of essay writing, but hey at least my paper is somewhat smudged free. And please, don’t get me started on 3-ring binders.

While we are on the subject of writing, I would just like to say whoever invented the connected desk contraption that is in almost every college class, did not think of the left-handers in the world. Most of my college career has been a struggle because I’m forced to sit in a seat that is not made for the way I write.

Being left-handed is great. It’s a fun trait that makes me who I am, there are not many other people who are left-handed. Whenever I meet a fellow lefty, though, it feels amazing. It’s great talking with them and comparing our struggles.

For all you other lefties out there in the world, just know that you are not alone. I am here and struggling with you.

Curly Hair Struggles

Mixed Girl Monday

Throughout my life, one of the first things people comment on when they meet me is my hair. They love the way it looks and can’t believe that it is all real. My family is even baffled and amazed

img_4833

This is my hair when it was at it’s longest.

To me, though, my hair is just my hair. It’s this long, curly, thick beast that I am still learning how to tame. Although I have learned to manage it a thousand times better from when I was younger, I still have a long way to go.

I know I’m not alone in this curly hair struggle, and I’m sure there are hundreds of girls who can relate with me when I say, one does not just wake up with perfect curls. It’s a process, and each day is never the same.

Some days I am fortunate enough to wake up and my hair does not look like this weird half bird nest, half I don’t even know how to describe its style. But, those days are few and far between.

I love my hair, I am thankful that I can wear it curly and straight. When I was younger I begged my mom to let me get a perm to make my hair straight all the time, and I am very happy that she never allowed me to. I have heard horror stories from people with similar hair textures as me about how when they went back natural, their curl pattern was never the same.

I would be lying if I said I haven’t had my share of hair horror stories. Let’s take a trip back in time, to what I like to call The Dark Ages….

Once upon a time, my mom took me to this small country hair salon, and bless the ladies heart, I don’t think she had ever dealt with my type of hair before.

I wanted to cut my hair short, I was tired of it being long, and I wanted layers. All the other girls I went to school with had layers. All the other girls I went to school with also had relatively straight hair, so just keep that in mind.

 

bad-hair

We all have that “one” hairstyle…

My mom semi-willingly agreed that I could cut my hair and get layers. I was so excited, the lady cut my hair, dry, *red flag #1.* When she was done, I looked in the mirror and stared face to face with a girl that looked like she had a pyramid on top of her head. I was mortified.

 

From that day forward, I vowed to never cut my hair short, ever again. Well until Christmas 2015. But I was older and more mature, and have found the best hair stylist ever. Kylee, you’re my hero.

Honestly, I’m not sure what state of awfulness my hair would be in had I not met Kylee. She always listens to the ideas I want to do with my hair, and if she doesn’t think what I want will look good on me, she offers an alternative that still embodies my idea, and when finished, looks 100 times better than what I had wanted in the first place.

The keys to surviving in this world with curls are simple:
First, find a hairstylist you would trust with your life because if you’re like me, your hair is your life.
Second, be willing to spend the big bucks on hair products
Finally, love the hair you have. Don’t try to change one of the things that make you unique.

What are some of your hair horror stories? Share with me in the comment section!

 

img_8163-3

My hair is slowly growing back, and I’m so in love with my bangs!

 

“I don’t think I should have to stand up”

Race

Today, on my 21st birthday I would like to celebrate the life and legacy of someone I can only aspire to become. This woman showed bravery and strength in a time when she could’ve been killed for defying a white man.

I am honored to share my birthday with this wonderful woman. Rosa Parks was a remarkable woman. Not only did she light the flame for the Montgomery bus boycott during the Civil Rights Movement, she was deeply involved in her local NAACP chapter and worked tirelessly to end segregation and the racial tension deeply rooted in the sourosa-parks-mug-shotth.

As a little girl I can remember learning about Parks in school, but my teachers never went much further past “Rosa parks refused to give her seat to a white man and that started a big bus boycott in Alabama.” As I got older I wanted to know more. I wanted to learn more about not only Rosa Parks but the Civil Rights Movement in general.

Throughout all of my schooling, the Civil Rights Movement is something that was almost always looked over. Teachers would touch on it vaguely during February because of Black History Month, but it was always the same thing, every year.

It wasn’t until I got to college and took an African American Studies class that I really learned about my history and what the Civile Rights Movement really entailed. Since then I have made it my goal to educate myself about that time period.

After Parks’ arrest, she was fired from her job and her husband was also let go. While she was a hero within the Black community, she was seen as a problem by whites. This is the same narrative that most black people face when they stand up (or sit down) for equal rights.

Rosa Parks was not violent or hostile to the men who told her to move on the bus. She simply said “I don’t think I should have to stand up,” which she had every right to say. What made that man so special? Did he have a disability? Was he holding a small child? Had he just finished running a marathon? No, I don’t think he was any of those things. He was a white man though, and that was the only thing that mattered. The color of his skin automatically made him superior to anyone of darker complexion on that bus.

The actions of Parks reminds me of what a few individuals are doing right now. You may recall me talking about Colin Kaepernick in an earlier post and how him simply kneeling during the National Anthem has caused nationwide outrage.

You may be tRosaparks_bus.jpghinking to yourself, “Jasmine that’s not the same thing, what he’s doing is disrespectful.” Is it really that different, though? Parks decided to stay seated because she was tired, not only from work but she was tired of giving into the racism. Doesn’t that sound familiar? Kaepernick is not kneeling because he hates America, he kneels because he, like many black people, is tired of discrimination, systematic racism, and senseless police brutality that is still all too present in the country.

I realize this post has strayed away from my original intent, but the message is still the same. Rosa Parks was an incredible woman. She embodied strength and dignity and did not give up on what she believed in. I can only hope that I become half of the women she was.

I am honored that I share a birthday with someone who was so influential in the Civil Rights Movement. It is my goal to uphold her legacy and live my life as fearlessly as she did.

21 Lessons Learned

My Journey

My 21st birthday is finally here! This Saturday, Feb 4, I will officially be able to drink…legally. So I thought a great way to celebrate my day of birth with you all would be to share 21 lessons I have learned so far.

  1. Nothing in life comes easy
  2. Friends come and go, and that’s ok
  3. High school was nothing like High School Musical
  4. College is much harder than they make it seem on TV, but it is still loads of fun
  5. Classic Disney songs never get old
  6. Don’t stress the small stuff
  7. If you want to try something new, do it, YOLO
  8. Just keep swimming
  9. Hakuna Matata
  10. Do what makes you happy
  11. Mac and cheese is always the answer
  12. Don’t put goldfish in warm water… They’ll die
  13. It’s better to go with your gut… it’s usually always right
  14. Workout because you want to, not because society tells you to
  15. Your vibe attracts your tribe
  16. This world was made for right-handed people
  17. Don’t go chasing waterfalls
  18. 90’s music is truly the best
  19. Books are the best way to escape reality
  20. Sometimes life hands you major Ls and you have to deal with that
  21. There is no such thing as “too many shoes”

So that’s my list, some of them are funny, some of them are serious, but they have all helped me get to where I am today.