Accepting Yourself as a Work of Art

Art Undone - Acceptance

I was in the fourth or fifth grade in, ironically, art class when I realized that my initials spelled art. I thought it was super cool that my initials spelled art and of course, I made a big deal out of it for the rest of the class time. But, sometime between that class and college, I forgot about ART. Well, maybe I didn’t forget about my initials being ART, but it didn’t have any significant meaning. During that period, I also never connected to art. I always thought it didn’t make much sense to me. It felt unattainable. I didn’t get it.

So, here I am now, completely embracing Art as a name and as a concept. Yes, the initial reasoning behind this was to have a synonym for my name during my job searching process, BUT it’s turned into so much more. How, because, I, you and we are all pieces of art. The Oxford Dictionary defines art as “The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture”, and I’d like to add such as people. Because isn’t part of who we are imagined and manifested?

We create our vision and we paint our lives with action. It doesn’t always turn out exactly how we imagined. Sometimes we draw out the lines. Sometimes we’re abstract paintings that people don’t get because everyone’s used to looking at photorealism. Art is subjective. We are subjective. There are artists who never get their due respect until they’re dead. There’s not one single work of art that every single person in this world loves. But, there’s someone out that loves the “ugliest” painting to ever be made. We are all art. We paint our story.

And just like painting, once the paint is on the canvas, no matter what you do, you can’t ever completely start over. You can re-imagine and re-utilize, but you can’t start over. You just have to take what you have and make it beautiful. Some works of art take longer to “fix” than others, but the most important and essential part of this process is that when you walk away from your piece of art, you should walk away proud. Even if you have to turn, rotate or flip it, you, the artist, should be able to say job well done, even if your art isn’t completely done.

Accepting and loving your art during the entire process.

Every layer matters. Every stroke matters. It doesn’t matter if you like it or not, it is now apart of your journey and it will eventually create and allow you to picture exactly who you are at that moment and time. It may not be ideal, but it is who you are. A part of art and you being art is accepting who you are at every stage of your life, no matter how you feel about it. As you continue to grow, you’ll learn how to turn your mistakes into flowers and your regrets into depth. It’s all about perception. It’s important during your process to be honest with yourself, but also look at the canvas you’re painting as invaluable. Every stroke matters, so do it with passion, determination and intention. It’s okay to not know exactly what you’re painting or doing, but it is important to do it with intention.

Accepting that you are the artist and your canvas is yours.

The day you realize that this life you are painting is yours and there’s an audience of one, the quicker you can start create something that fulfills you and makes you happy. It’s your canvas, so do as you please. Get wild, even reckless. Just know everything will have its place in your story. Just remember this life, this canvas is yours, so make it count in the best way you can.

Signed,

Art Undone

The Saga of Art & The Lean-With-It-Rock-With-It Stairs

Art Undone - Saga

Sometime in July, 2019

fresh prince of bel air GIF

Now, this is a story all about how
My life got flipped-turned upside down
And I’d like to take a minute
Just sit right there
I’ll tell you how I almost became victim to the lean-with-it-rock-with-it-stairs…

meek mill falling GIF

I don’t think I’ve ever been so exhausted in my life. Actually, I’m sure I’ve never been so exhausted in my life. It was 7:00 pm. I had driven twelve straight hours from Middle GA to Chicago, IL. I had already unpacked the top cargo from the top of my car at my storage unit. I was now at my new, temporary residence, on the top third floor of the building, unpacking my overly-packed car. Going up and down the three flights of stairs to my new dwellings just TWICE, I knew I had gotten myself into some mess. How in the hell do stairs safely lean? I brought up my tv and purse for safe keeping. Now, I had to figure out how to get everything up these lean-with-it-rock-with-it stairs and manage to survive.

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After two more trips up the stairs to bring up a couple of boxes and bags, I knew I had to change up my game plan. Going all the way to my car, that was parked on the side of the building, to the top floor apartment, every single time wasn’t going to be the move. Screw that. So, instead I got a burst of energy and an idea. I was in the back stairs of the apartment. On every floor, there was a pretty large platform in the back. I figured I would unload everything from my car to the first-floor platform. So, that exactly what I did. I unloaded the car and put everything on the platform.

Moving Stan Marsh GIF by South Park

So, once I got done unloading my car and locking it, I felt accomplished asf. So, what if I didn’t know my neighbors and I put all my stuff in front of their backdoors and was the only black person I seen in the neighborhood. Efficiency was on my mind. Safety and any Backdoor Beckys would have to chill out.

moving GIF

You know that feeling of accomplishment I described? That shit went away quick asf. I was on my SECOND trip back down from carrying my things up and big girl was TIRED. Um, why did I think this was a good idea? Who told me to be Queen Independent?! Let me just say, I had a lot of stuff. I mean at least 15-20 flights of things, stuff. So, I’m not exaggerating. I promise. Anywho, while I was upstairs, my previous roommate’s partner comes out and says hey, I can help you.

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BITCH! I almost kissed them! I have never been so grateful in my life. A true blessing! Not only did they help, but they carried MULTIPLE loads at once. They literally cut my load in half. Let’s be completely clear, if they didn’t help, my stuff would’ve still been on the platform. There would’ve been NO way.

thankful GIF by America's Got Talent

My roommate and her partner had to go so I was left alone again. I felt so blessed but sad they had to leave. Like, can I pay you to stay? No, seriously, I’ll pay you to stay. Unfortunately, that wasn’t an option. I went back down the stairs, happy to report that I had maybe 7 trips left. But at this point, my energized buddy was gone so I wasn’t feeling it. However, I kept on trekking… until the last two trips.

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Yes, two. I had two trips left and I had nothing to give but hopes and dreams. And honestly, barely hopes because that took too much breath. I was walking slower than molasses. I couldn’t afford the luxury of breathing through my nose, so my mouth was agape, just trying to find a way to push out as much air as I needed to be okay. I wasn’t okay. On my way back down, I sat on the stairs for at least five minutes.

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I prayed. I prayed hard. I needed Jesus to get on the mainline so I could tell Him what I wanted. Heck, I was even okay with Mary answering at this point. Imagine me calling out for help like Fabo in the second half of “Scotty” by D4L.

Help Me Phone GIF

I only had two trips to go, but the ability to do anything was gone about 3 trips ago. Someway, I believe Jesus heard me and helped me through the second to last trip. I was literally on some Eminem shit by that point. Palms were sweating, knees weak, arms were heavy. I mean GONE. Anyway, I made it and I only had one flight left.

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At this point, I’m contemplating if I’m going to pass out on these stairs. Since the time I started moving, NO ONE has come out their back-apartment doors so I doubt if I passed out anyone would discover my body for at least three hours. So, I had no other choice but to survive. I refused to be a headline story, “Girl passes out and dies of exhaustion while unloading car after moving from Georgia to Chicago”. F that. I have places to see and meals to eat!

So, what did I do next? I took one step at a time. Slowly, but surely, I climbed those lean-with-it-rock-with-it stairs, TO FREEEDOM! I took my time and sent up a little prayer on every twist and turn. When I finally reached the motherland, I stretched out on the bed and just breathed. To this day, I don’t know how the hell I made it, but I did and I’ve never in my life been so grateful that I didn’t turn into a crazy headline because that’s not the introduction I wanted Chicago to have of me.

Moral of the story? I made it. Screw a beautiful success story that was done in style and grace. None of my belongings are stuck on the first floor. I don’t care if I didn’t leave the house for two days afterward and ordered groceries to avoid the lean-with-it-rock-with-it stairs. So, yeah, that’s how my first day in Chicago went, and when I move, I will definitely be paying someone to do all the packing and lifting for me.

Update: I definitely hired a mover when I moved into my apartment.

Signed,

Art Undone

Have you been ghosting yourself?

Art Undone - Ghosting

Note: This was written Pre-Rona, so, as always, take what you need and leave the rest. Take Care of you!


No matter how you feel about ghosting, I think we can all agree to be the person on the receiving end sucks. For those who may not be familiar, ghosting is when a person who has been in contact with another person on a rather consistent basis unexpectedly ceases all communications with that other person, essentially turning into a ‘ghost’. I’ll admit, I’ve been ghosted before by someone and it completely sucked. They were initiating all these future plans and emotions, just for them to go ghost for absolutely no reason. I was shook. I feel like I was even more in my feelings because Issa on Insecure was getting ghosted at the same time. It was too much. Basura.

Back to the point, many people have different definitions of ghosting, but I think the worst part may be the consistent communication with a lack of warning signs that shit is about to go left. Then the next thing you know, you’re at home blaming yourself for all these what-if situations that really had nothing to do with you. However, you’re still ghosted, alone, and trying to figure it all out.

Ghosting can happen in a plethora of situations. From recruiters ghosting you to friends, ghosting happens a lot. However, I don’t think we talk about it enough when we ghost ourselves. Ghost ourselves? Huh? Let me explain….

Just like a person may ghost you because something came up, an old flame popped up with the “wyd big head” text or maybe they just changed their minds about you. Harsh, but it happens. While I don’t feel like we admit it, we do the same thing to ourselves. How many times do we make plans with ourselves? How we’ll write more, take care of ourselves better, create peace within only for us to ghost ourselves because of life, or someone else popped-up. We’ll leave ourselves on ‘read’ for days, weeks, and even months to tend to everyone else and come back to ourselves like nothing happened and we didn’t break all our promises.

We tend not to look at it like this because it seems too harsh or restrictive of the fact that we’re living in an outside world and can’t just focus on ourselves. However, I think we tend to do ourselves a disservice by not acknowledging the relationship with ourselves is just as important, if not more important than any other relationship in our life. We have all this energy to be mad and frustrated with others when they don’t live up to our expectations, but we tend to forget about the commitments we’ve made to ourselves.

I want to be clear, this is not a green light to kick yourself over every missed gym appointment or every journal entry not written. Instead, just as we tend to ask in a relationship, I think it’s important to listen to yourself, your body, and your mind and find ways that allow you not to “ghost’ yourself in the midst of life. It’s okay to acknowledge that you know the next week will be crazy and you’ll have minimal time to fully address all your needs, however, don’t just ghost yourself for an extended amount of time. Be intentional, just as you would hope others would, with your time, expectations, and needs.

Yes, 9 times out of 10, when you return back to yourself, you’ll be there fully ready to accept any attention you can get. However, sometimes when you ghost yourself for such a long time, you forget who you are. You don’t remember who you are coming back to. You forget your needs, your wants. All those things you used to be in sync with that helps you get by, are faded memories. So, if you find yourself ghosting yourself, be intentional on ways to not lose yourself in this loud ass, crazy ass world because it’s so easy to do.

Signed,

Art Undone

Dear Art at 27

Dear Art at 27

Dear Art at 27,

I’m already so proud of us. We have already accomplished so much this year, I can’t help but already be proud of you for things I know you will accomplish at 27. That’s honestly how confident I am in us. It’s so much bigger than being perfect or having It all figured it, it’s about being true to ourselves and just doing the best we can in this crazy, beautiful, wonderful life we are blessed to have.

Art at 26 showed out honey! I mean, we freaking moved to Chicago, on our own! We started a new job that changed our tax bracket. We’re navigating a new, completely different city on our own. I mean, can you say growth? We started THERAPY! Thank God for Therapy! We had Hoodie Season 2! It’s just so much. Even without a list of technical “accomplishments”, I’m so very proud of all the mental and emotional growth that we’ve done in this INSANE year.

Sorry that you couldn’t be celebrate the 4th annual ART Weekend with your friends in Atlanta due to the Rona (Coronavirus) messing up your plans, but don’t fear, this birthday and this year will be amazing. I’ve been doing a lot of reflection on life and I can fully say that while this year has been no crystal staircase, your life has been very fulfilling and blessed in so many ways. I honestly can say “Job well done, beautiful!”.

I really wish I could put into words the amount of emotional and mental growth that has happened this year. It’s honestly part of the reason I haven’t been putting out as many blogs because so much has happened. So much is still happening and I really don’t have all the words. Everything just feels different. I’m literally sitting and typing in the middle of a pandemic and I’m so calm. I’m happy. We’re happy going into our 27th birthday. We feel so good. It feels like all the mental work we’ve done by establishing boundaries, maintaining peace and overcoming trauma is paying off. The crazy part is that we’re still in the thick of it, but this is a peace that surpasses all understanding. It feels like a miracle honestly. It feels like a blessing. It feels like God.

What’s crazy is that as much as I’d love to be with my friends and eating the best fried shrimp in Middle Georgia, I feel like I’m right where I/we should be. This year I’ve realized that past Alena has gotten us through so much. From past blogs, journal notes and therapy sessions, I’ve found a way to leave myself multiple resources to get through the toughest of times. That’s why I know Art at 27 will be okay.

Art at 27, you have 26 versions of yourself that have consistently found ways to be there for you before they even knew you would be here. I don’t have much advice or predictions for what this year will bring. I just know that you will be okay. You’re a survivor. You’re a thriver. Regardless of what life brings, you’ve done a damn good job with everything you’ve been given. You’ve made lemonade out of lemons. You’ve overcome things others will never know. You’ve had very hard conversations with the people you love. You’ve made some very difficult choices. You haven’t given up. You may have had to re-adjust, but you haven’t given up. I can’t say enough how damn proud I am of you.

Whatever this year brings you personally, never forget your worth and how amazing you are. I’m once again going to say Job well done already because I’m already proud on day 1.

I love you beyond measure. Stay beautiful, stay true and trust your growth.

Love,

Art at 26

I Didn’t Lie This Time! | Art Undone

Didnt Lie - Aug 1

Yes, this is the energy we are coming in with because it is the truth! I didn’t lie this time. I didn’t lie to myself or anyone else. I kept a promise and it feels really good to say that I actually did it! It feels even better when it feels like I’ve lied to myself for such a long time. Let me explain…

explain tv land GIF by YoungerTV

Ever since I graduated from college, I’ve had a plan. I was going to work for two years then go to graduate school, specifically at the University of Pennsylvania. It had been my dream school in undergrad, but afraid to transfer, I decided to defer the dream instead and attend for graduate school. I was going to go to an amazingly elite graduate program, for FREE. That was it. That was the entire plan. After that? Well, of course, get a good-paying job. Doing what exactly? Didn’t matter. I just needed to get into grad school and say it was all paid for.

So, what did I do to make this happen? Well, I took the GMAT twice and failed miserably twice. I then postponed taking the third test I bought THREE times before I finally got a “refund” after I realized it wasn’t going to happen.

sad doctor who GIF

Me to all my wasted money

Let me tell you, that was an anxiety-induced time in my life. I was telling all my friends how I was “studying” so hard for the GMAT to get into grad school, while privately having this internal battle inside that made me keep on saying myself “why?”. Why did I want to go to grad school? Why couldn’t I shut up about it? Why couldn’t I stop lying about really studying? Why couldn’t I focus?

over it no GIF by The Daily Show with Trevor Noah

With so many unanswered whys, came even more lies. So, why the hell was I lying so much about grad school? Well, honestly that shit sounded so good. It gave me the next step. It gave me a purpose, a pathway. It also gave me a great acting role. Acting you say? So, who was the audience? The audience was truly me. Every time I could convince someone to believe in my “dream”, I was one step closer to believing it myself. It was a great show, but afterwards, there wouldn’t be an applause because when the curtains closed, I had to face myself and the truth always comes out. I didn’t want grad school. I just liked the fake audience applause it generated. I didn’t want to really lie. I just appreciated the fact that people believed in me. So, yes, I did lie, but this time I didn’t, and it feels so good.

On July 17, 2018, walking down W Montrose street in Chicago to go to get breakfast at a bagel shop, I stopped to take a selfie to commemorate a promise I knew I would keep. That day I decided I was going to move to Chicago. It felt right. It felt like home. It felt like the truth. I didn’t know exactly when I would get there, but I knew that it would be. In some ways, I don’t know how it all happened, but I can say I didn’t lie. Two weeks short of a year from that day, I’m sitting in my bed, a street over from W Montrose, in Chicago with all my belongings, gladly able to say that I didn’t lie this time and I kept my promise. Oh, what a feeling this is.

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Signed,

Art Simply Undone.

The Free Breakfast Podcast | Episode 9 | This is TEW Much! Dealing with Stress/Anxiety

Free Breakfast - Option 1

Beyoncé, Therapy, Battlefields, Off-Pitch notes, & a few sprinkles of Spiciness are all on this week’s menu of The Free Breakfast Podcast. Let’s Eat!
Stress Vs. Anxiety Article: https://www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org/external/2018/06/stress-vs-anxiety/
Therapy Resources: https://www.therapyforblackgirls.com/ ; https://www.talkspace.com/

Join in on the fun and hashtag us! #FreeBreakfastPod🍳

Email us questions or feedback at freebreakfastpodcast@gmail.com.


Free Breakfast Podcast Episodes

The Free Breakfast Podcast is free, fun and fulfilling conversations between a granddaughter and her grandmother. We’ll discuss topics such as boundaries, pet peeves and so much more. No matter your age, we believe you can get something worthwhile from the Free Breakfast Podcast. We hope you all are ready for a good time because we are!

The Free Breakfast Podcast | Episode 8 | Signs & Sighs of Getting Older

Free Breakfast - Option 1

This episode, Art & Nanny discuss signs of getting older, doctor visits, acting like your mom and more. Let’s Eat!

Join in on the fun and hashtag us! #FreeBreakfastPod🍳

Email us questions or feedback at freebreakfastpodcast@gmail.com.


Free Breakfast Podcast Episodes

The Free Breakfast Podcast is free, fun and fulfilling conversations between a granddaughter and her grandmother. We’ll discuss topics such as boundaries, pet peeves and so much more. No matter your age, we believe you can get something worthwhile from the Free Breakfast Podcast. We hope you all are ready for a good time because we are!

 

Dear ART at 26

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Dear Art at 26,

Whew, Chil-lay! 25 did NOT go as planned in more ways than one. But, you made it here and you DESERVE to be here. You deserve to be happy. You deserve to smile. You deserve to thrive. Why? Because with all that life has thrown you this past year, you’ve still managed to find the silver lining in a lot of crazy experiences. Also, you deserve everything just for simply existing. That’s one new lesson that you’ve definitely learned this past year. Surviving IS doing something. It takes courage to just make it through the day when everything and everyone seems to just not get it. You survived 25 and I’m so proud of you for that because at times it did not seem like the easiest thing to do.

I don’t know if we would call this stage “getting old” or “shit happens”, but a lot of all that has happened, and it was A. Lot! Life will life. Don’t forget that. Also, don’t forget that Art will make Art out of the materials she is given. It wasn’t and won’t always be easy but it’s necessary. It is essential that you don’t forget who you are because of what has happened in your life. It is important to remember that while you will change in the coming years, your core essence still remains the same and always get back to her when you feel like you have lost your way.

So, yeah, as much as we thought we grew from 24 to 25, 25 to 26 kind of took the cake. We’re not in competition or nothing, but 25 showed out with the tests and lessons thrown our way. But, made it from the bottom, now we’re halfway there! Whatever there is… So with all that growing, please, please, please find ways to document, document, document! Because you WILL need reference materials as you continue to go through life. Think of it as your personal life cheat sheet J.

Oh, yeah, that thing you do where you find little pockets of time and space to be selfish, even in the times of storm, continue to do that. You’ll need that. You’ll need those moments of clarity and solace to be able to operate effectively. This year has been a little more bearable because of those moments of selfishness. You can’t take care of everyone else if you’re not taking care of yourself.

That brings of a very great point… Trust. Your. Growth. You’ve come very far. You have to trust who you are now. You’ve worked hard to get here and it’s important not to revert back because you continue to look back. I know it’s easier said than done, but while we appreciate who you once were, it’s time to celebrate who you are now and where you are going. Just because you may go through a period where you aren’t actively moving forward (Because of life), doesn’t mean you are going backward. You have to trust your growth more than that.

Give yourself space to think AND listen. Sometimes your body is simply trying to talk to you, but if you don’t have the ear to hear, you can miss out on some important information. That also brings me to an important point that you should never forget. Your peace of mind is PRICELESS. If something doesn’t feel right, it is better to be safe than sorry. You know when something is not right. Always be your strongest advocate and make sure you keep records of everything. You never know when you may need them.

Don’t forget that there are people waiting for you to let them in. You don’t always have to be the strong one. You have more support than you know if you’d allow yourself to be open enough to accept. I know you and I know you won’t even go overboard (It’s not our style).

This year has been crazy, but it’s felt good in a lot of ways. I want you to know that God has you, your family has you, your friends have you and most importantly, you have you. You are on a winning team. You are the winning team. I can’t tell you what to expect this next ART year, but I can tell you that I have full confidence in your ability to make it through and doing a great fucking job because I believe in you.

Remember just how much you rose to the occasion this year. Honestly, you showed out. The growth jumped out! It wasn’t easy, but you found a way and made it work. A resourceful queen! I’m so very proud of you for everything you’ve done.

Also knowing when to ask for help and when to make it on your own. That’s a gift to know yourself that well. It’s a blessing. Keep on using your wisdom in those situations.

Just because this year wasn’t the easiest, doesn’t mean you have to have a tainted idea of this next year. Instead, I want you to be hopeful. Careful, but hopeful. This year will manifest greatly.

One big takeaway I can’t Thank God enough for you going into a new ART year is the vision! You found out what it feels like to really want something and that’s a beautiful thing. This year Will Be the year a lot of your hard work pays off. The vision is clear and what is yours, is yours. You know this all feels different and it’s a blessing to be able to pass the baton to someone so ready for all these blessings ready to rain on you.

So, go into this new ART year with great expectations, an open mind, determination, graciousness, faith and love.

I love you soo much.

P.S. Back-up EVERYTHING!

Love,

Art at 25

The Free Breakfast Podcast | Episode 7 | Getting To Know Yourself

Free Breakfast - Option 1

This episode, Art & Nanny discuss their journey to self-discovery. How exactly do you get to know yourself? What does it mean to have a relationship with yourself? How do you hold yourself accountable while trying to grow? These are all questions they explore on this episode of The Free Breakfast Podcast. Let’s Eat!

Join in on the fun and hashtag us! #FreeBreakfastPod🍳


Free Breakfast Podcast Episodes

The Free Breakfast Podcast is free, fun and fulfilling conversations between a granddaughter and her grandmother. We’ll discuss topics such as boundaries, pet peeves and so much more. No matter your age, we believe you can get something worthwhile from the Free Breakfast Podcast. We hope you all are ready for a good time because we are!

 

The Free Breakfast Podcast | Episode 6 | An Extra Side of Confidence Please

Free Breakfast - Option 1

This episode, Art & Nanny discuss their relationship with confidence and what it means to them. Does building confidence mean you start out lying to yourself? Is it necessary to have confidence to live a fulfilling & successful life? These are some of the questions Art & Nanny explore. Let’s Eat!

Join in on the fun and hashtag us! #FreeBreakfastPod🍳

Free Breakfast Podcast Episodes

The Free Breakfast Podcast is free, fun and fulfilling conversations between a granddaughter and her grandmother. We’ll discuss topics such as boundaries, pet peeves and so much more. No matter your age, we believe you can get something worthwhile from the Free Breakfast Podcast. We hope you all are ready for a good time because we are!