1480969527417I grew up in a family that was and is very much rooted in Christianity and the church. My father was recently “installed” as the pastor of the church I grew up in. My mother is now a first lady and missionary. One of my grandmothers is a church mother, the other is an evangelist. My uncle is a Pastor and my aunt is a first lady as well…you get the point because the list goes on. As a kid, I was active in Sunday school, the youth choir, the junior usher board, and the youth ministry programs and activities, but as I got older, none of it felt authentic to me. It was as if I was programmed to practice Christianity because that’s what my parents practiced and their parents and so on, but I never felt like I belonged there. I felt fake. I felt like I was going through the motions.

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When I got to college, my first couple of years, Christianity and church were the last things on my mind. I was in a new environment completely free from my parents who didn’t wake me up every Sunday morning to get dressed for a long day in church. I felt free. I felt liberated from it all. Somewhere along the way, I tuned into all the background noise telling me I needed to be in church, and I needed to read my bible and I needed to pray and there I was feeling guilty because I wasn’t doing any of those things. So once again, I found myself in church, and attending campus small groups during the week trying to fake it until I made it. I pledged a Christian sorority and found myself with more questions than answers trying to reach a standard I really didn’t care too much about in the first place. I got tired and burnt out from trying to keep up. So I stopped.  (more…)

Disclaimer: In no way is this post a means to throw shade, but I get asked often if I’m still freelancing for certain media sites and my answer is NO. I’m just putting it out there for inquiring minds before I get started. 

Monday mornings, 3-5 pitches a week, research, deadlines, and pay per work contracts were a normal part of my daily routine as a freelancer. I would have to brainstorm 3-5 pitches each Monday to send to my editor for approval. There were days when my “word well” ran dry and I found myself surfing the web and other media sites targeted to my audience to see what was popular or trending. I would even use personal experiences and encounters as the basis for many of my articles.

There are several perks to freelancing should you decide to make a living out of it, but there’s also a high level of discomfort and unrest when trying to make it your sole means of income. First, the perks…you in a way work for yourself. You create your pitches and sometimes when you find yourself stump on ideas, they’ll provide some for you. You can freelance from anywhere in the world as long as there’s internet access.

On the downside, however, you are working for someone else when it comes to getting paid, although you can freelance from anywhere in the world as long as there’s internet access, you can’t really afford to be anywhere in the world other than home or local because you just don’t get paid enough with these pay-per-work contracts. Worst of all, you don’t get paid when you’re supposed to.

Whenever you sign a freelance contract, there are pay dates. Some freelancers get partial payment if it’s a one time project and will get the rest at the completion of the project. Some freelancers get paid bi-weekly just as a regular employee and then some get paid an accumulated sum of money for the work they’ve done for the month. Finances are unpredictable. You save, but then an unexpected bill surfaces, or you have to tap into emergency funds or you’re expected to get paid on a certain date per your contract, but when it doesn’t happen it messes up your entire flow. I found myself there all the time. Pushing deadlines, trying to keep my content creative and original, late nights because I can’t seem to get what’s in my head onto the computer screen only to be told that my payment will be late without even knowledge of when I can expect it by. So I’ve found myself in the red with so many bills, things getting cut off, subscriptions being cancelled, not being able to pay for things because I couldn’t get paid. We’re halfway into October and I’m just receiving payments from July. I haven’t even gotten August’s payment and I have no idea when I will.

So my logic is…you want your work on time? Pay me on time? Other wise I can do this s**t for myself.

What am I doing now?

My own s**t. I’m resurrecting this blog site after a two month hiatus. I’m editor in chief of Black Girl Magik where I’m managing writers and contributors. I’m also editing a teen fiction manuscript. At the end of the day, you can’t make people appreciate your work and your time, but you can do that for yourself.

xoxo

When life comes at you, sometimes it comes at you hard…and fast and there’s never a way to be prepared for it. Some days you just have to say f**k it and let the waves carry you. Sometimes what you thought you were scared of and weren’t ready to handle actually turns out to be quite a beautiful journey and a story.

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This story is about connecting dots. A few days ago I was standing in the checkout line at the grocery store. As usual, I was looking at the covers of the unorganized rows of magazines to see if there was anything interesting. So after checking out the food and bridal magazines, I saw tucked neatly near the register was a “connect the dots” book and I said wow I haven’t seen one of those in a long time. You know, the connect the dots activities where you have to find the consecutive numbers and trace them until what’s left is a picture. I thought about that in terms of my life.

At first glance the dots just look like a bunch of nothing. There’s dots everywhere and numbers everywhere and nothing makes sense. The 1 dot is next to the 50th dot and the 2 dot is next to the 30th dot but the more you connect the dots, the more clear things become and you begin to see the bigger picture.

I thought about why I had been so unhappy and why things just weren’t falling into place the way I wanted. I got lost in the jumble of dots and wanted so badly to leap from 1 to 40 so that I would be more than halfway there. There being my “destination.”

It wasn’t until I acknowledged the divine order over my life did I learn that fulfillment comes in the connecting of the dots. To stop looking to the future for my answers and instead be present. To peel away the layers to find the dots. They were there all along, as they are for each of us. If only we wouldn’t pave over them with messages of “I’m a failure” or “That was a big mistake” or “What’s next and where will I find it?”

What’s the moral of my story? Start at 1 and then 2 and then 3 and even if you have to erase a few lines and redo them…even when it feels like things are taking forever to make sense and even when things aren’t looking as neat as you’d like, just know that no matter how you began, life will come full circle because you can’t finish the bigger picture until you connected the final dot back to 1.