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

Why the Hell Can’t I Get Off Of Social Media?

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Listen Linda! Linda! Listen! I was/have been going through it with social media this year and it’s NOT something I want to admit. However, I’ve already told ya’ll that I’m undone and this is part of my unpretty truth. I’m happy to say I am much better now, but the fact remains the same that it can happen to anyone and I’m just going to be real enough to admit it. It came to the point where I had to ask myself, “Why the hell can’t I get off of Social Media?”. These are some of my findings and they aren’t cute, but here we are.

You can’t mind your own business.

Social Media is about being social. Yes, liking, viewing, and sharing is a form of actively being in a social space. Let’s be honest, you do this because it takes you away from minding your own business. You now have a reason to leave all your problems or tasks behind and you can just focus on absolutely nothing that concerns you. It’s easy. It’s accessible. It’s free. Truth is, not minding your own business costs you something more valuable than money, time; Time that you can’t get back because you couldn’t mind your own business.

You don’t have your own business to mind.

You can’t mind your own business if you don’t have any. Let’s be honest, a lot of our lives can be boring at times. Instead of making life something we would be proud of, we decide that other people’s lives are more interesting to focus on. Of course, when you’re on autopilot, you have more time to check out the views and focus on everyone else but you.

You’re addicted.

Yes, addicted. People get addicted to social media and sometimes they aren’t even consuming the information. It’s a time suck and it’s easy to get stuck just scrolling to scroll, taking in mostly useless information just because it is available to us. If you are addicted, it’s probably harder than ever to put your phone down with the fear that you MIGHT miss something important. Instead of deciding to live your life, you’d rather be an audience member of someone else’s show.

It makes you happy

You laugh. You cry. You share. You comment. You retweet. You feel a part of the crowd. Social media brings happiness to a lot of people. It’s original intent was to connect people…i.e. be “social”.

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So, have you identified your problem of why you can’t get off of social media? If not, take some time to think about the feelings it gives you. What are you doing when you decide you have to check your phone? What are you trying to stop doing when you pick up your phone?  Before you can find a solution, you have to find the problem.

Solutions?

For once, I’m not going to give you the answer because honestly, it’s different for everyone depending on the day and I don’t know if I have them… but good news! You have clicked this blog and realized you have a problem (or that I have a problem and you’re laughing at me right now). I’m in the same boat, I realize I have a problem and I know there must be a solution. So, here’s what I’ve been doing/trying to do:

  • Find something to do! Ever since I’ve been busy working on my own projects, social media has become less important, unless it directly deals with my projects. It’s amazing what happens when you have your own business to mind.
  • Take away the ease of access from the social media apps that I spend the most time on. Example. I can only access Twitter on my laptop.
  • Limit the amount of time you are on social media with an app. The Space app helps me drastically by sending reminders when I’ve been on social media for too long.
  • Create an alternative, quick access task for you to do to replace the time you spend on social media. I’ve downloaded some game apps, knowledge-based apps, and e-books as alternatives.
  • Go completely cold turkey and delete the apps. You would be amazed at how much time you waste on social media by not getting on it at all. This allows you to have more time to think, including thinking of new things you can do instead of being on social media.
  • Find a passion project, then put deadlines on it. When you’re focused on something meaningful, the meaning-less matters less
  • Travel… Most countries don’t have data available. You have to live more. (This may just be a selfish plug for traveling. Don’t judge me!)
  • Hide your shortcuts to your apps. While you’re searching for them, you’ll realize how much you don’t actually need it.

To be real, Social media is hard to get rid of, but it’s possible to survive without it. Ask your mom & dad. Don’t worry, you’ll know what you need to know. Your friends will tell you when Beyoncé drops. Stop using social media as a crutch and live more. How about we do it together?

Signed,

ART getting it together

Stop Torturing Yourself

ART - Stop Torturing Yourself.

(Note/Warning: This was definitely a self-read so here’s a look into my stream of consciousness)

At some point, you have to stop torturing yourself. Replaying and internalizing situations that you know are no good for you or are no longer available to you. You have to break up with the ideas of these things happening because at this point you are self-inflicting yourself with wounds that need time to be healed instead of re-opened for more exposure to harmful environments that can cause infections.

Stop putting yourself through voluntary mental warfare just to see if you are progressing. Allow yourself time to fully heal before you voluntarily go back to the battlefield. It’s not helping your healing process.

Sometimes you just need to let things go. I don’t mean storing them in a storage bin in your closet for ‘just in case’ scenarios, I mean take that shit to the city dump, toss it in the pile and never look back. You have to fully let go in order for something new to have the chance to grow. Scabs don’t disappear until you stop messing with them. Cut off all contingency plans and allow yourself to be free. Be free. Take off those mental chains that won’t allow your brain to process new horizons and be completely free of this mental battlefield you don’t even have to fight.

This battle doesn’t have to be fought. You already won the war. You have to get out the mentality of the game and step into something new. Have the audacity to leave the battlefield and never look back. Stop letting the ‘idea’ of someone hurt you. Stop letting the idea of someone hurt you. It’s all in your mind and even if it is true, that’s none of your business. Focus on yourself. Love yourself. Feed yourself. Free yourself.

You were once walking into the jail and closing the door because you liked the familiar surroundings. No longer. We don’t do that any longer. We are freeing ourselves of relying on these made up ideas of others and accepting people for exactly who they are. That doesn’t mean we don’t deal with them, that means that we take away the costume we put on them to make them fit into our life.

So, what are we doing now? We’re also taking off the idea of us that we have hung onto that’s hindering us from growing. We’re being honest with ourselves and loving ourselves for who we are we now, in whatever part of life we are in and not covering ourselves with layer after layer of who we think we are. Instead, we are living our absolute truth and loving on ourselves. The energy we put into creating storylines for the people around us, we’re taking that energy back. We are taking that energy back and putting it into our own mental, emotional and spiritual growth. That cloak of emotional invincibility, we’re taking that off too. We’re going to be honest with our emotions. We’re going to let ourselves feel. We’re going to let out all of those emotions and then, we are getting in the car, going to the city dump and letting all of that shit go. We’re not holding onto emotions for ‘just in case scenarios’. We’re not allowing ourselves that opportunity anymore because better opportunities are worth taking.

So, if you need to heal, take the time to do so. Comfort those demons, but after you’re done, let it go. We’re not going back just to live in the past. We’re not going back just because the feeling of pain feels almost comforting and familiar. Instead, we’re moving forward and letting all those ideas, dreams & detrimental case scenarios go. We’re going to be free. It will be glorious.

Love,

ART Undone

The Mental Diet | Watching What You Think

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I’ve been on a new diet and it’s unlike anything I’ve ever done before. It’s something that’s been much needed because honestly my previous diet was filled with a lot of trash with no nutritional value. It’s called a mental diet.

I’m on a mental diet where I’m consciously watching what I think by looking at my mental intakes. Basically, the information I consume on a daily basis dictates my thoughts, therefore watching and limiting certain mental intakes helps me to think better thoughts and be a better person.

My junk food of choice happens to be social media, specifically Twitter and Instagram. Mostly Twitter, if we’re going to be honest. So, Twitter is like my Zaxby’s of mental food. It feels good after the first and second bite, but too much and I’m useless. From celebrity news to regular news, my consumption on a daily basis invades my thoughts, subconsciously, and makes me feel full. Full of thoughts that are just illusions of nothingness that don’t contribute to any beneficial nourishment.

So, here I am, now on a mental diet trying to live a better life. Not completely cutting out the mental junk food, but limiting my intake until I have more discipline.  I’m working on supplying myself with nourishing mental meals in the forms of books, articles, blogs, marketing information and even my own thoughts (writing). I realized that part of the reason why I wasn’t writing as much as I used to was that I wasn’t giving myself much to work with. I needed the energy, knowledge, and thoughts to even operate on my normal schedule. Therefore, I had to really put myself on a mental diet, no matter how crazy that sounds.

So, how does a mental diet work? Here are some pointers that I’m learning on my journey:

  • Write down the thoughts that occupy your mind the most during the day as an assessment
  • Identify the things offer you some sort of nutritional benefit and the things that offer no nutritional value
  • Point out 3 things you want to learn about for your personal or professional growth
  • Find multiple resources that you can consume on a daily basis to learn about those 3 things
  • Create reminders and fillers to replace your mental junk food with something more beneficial
  • If social media is an issue for you, update your phone with more useful apps and move the ones you use too much to a less accessible place or take them off of your phone until you can achieve a new normal
  • Find a happy balance for your mental diet that works for you. Cheat days are completely understandable

Well, good luck! Let me know how this goes for you and I’ll do the same!

Signed,

ART Undone

Dear ART at 25

Dear ART at 25-1

Dear ART at 25,

Hey Girl! I can’t believe I just typed 25! Woah, it’s crazy how time flies when you’re living life. I feel like we just turned 24! Anywho, here we are, live and in color.

So, ART at 25, I wish this that your 25th year is one of the best years of your life. This past year has definitely been one for the books. It’s been a fun ride that had its twists and turns. You thought you were done learning about yourself, but every day there seems to be more layers to this work of ART.

As you continue to live life, I hope you continue to learn and love yourself a little more every day. Also, don’t be so hard on me and your past. While we have made mistakes, we’ve always tried to do the best we can. It’s a learning process. You’ll make mistakes this year and possibly let yourself down in a few areas, but the good news is that if you stay true to yourself, you’ll make a way through.

Even better news, I’ve set you up for the ultimate come up! You know what you have to do, you just have to do it. Don’t spend so much time pondering what needs to be done. JUST. DO. IT. Yes, get up and do it and stop talking yourself out of your greatness. I may not have made every layup, but I have the ball in the air; All you have to do is catch it.

Side note: you know that one thing you ridiculously afraid of failing at? Do it anyways.

This year, I hope you surprise yourself. I hope you exceed every expectation you once had of yourself. I hope you get out of that comfort zone and rise to the occasion. You are gathering all the tools you need for your journey, the only thing that is missing is you putting your all into it. I hope you decide that you deserve to give life your full court press.

It’s important to remember that you’re not always going to be at 100%. Sometimes, you’ll be operating at a much lower level. That’s completely okay. It’s okay to do something, instead of nothing at all. Stop holding yourself back. Progression over Perfection.

Let’s not forget: No matter how strong you are, you didn’t get here on your own. You have been blessed with an amazing support group that shows up and shows out for you constantly. Don’t take them for granted. They have helped you grow exponentially. It still takes a team. Nurture those relationships.

Also, don’t forget to make yourself smile. I see some new things entering your life. Remember that the essence of ART is ART. Don’t forget about ART. Love her. Cherish her. Appreciate her and all her forms.

Remember, instant gratification is a sham. Save your coins so you can take even more trips.

Finally, just do the best you can with what you have. Cherish your family. Save your coins. Read more. Please read more. I can feel that this upcoming ART year is going to everything you could ever want in the best possible way. Get ready girl, because your future is BRIGHT and ready to shine.

I love you girl, don’t you ever forget it.

Love,

ART at 24

P.S. This year was LIT! Don’t let anyone tell you different. You lived your best life as ART at 24. Doors have opened that you have never even thought of and more great surprises are on their way!

P.S…. Every day the world is changing more than we ever thought it would. In some ways, it can be very terrifying. Please don’t forget that there are good people out there. Remember that you are one of them. Don’t compromise your truth for temporary gain or satisfaction.