An Organic Meandering

Today’s Guest Post comes from Nailah. She is unapologetically herself and an all around incredible woman!

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In my life, the things that I don’t seek and I simply allow to find me, have always rung truest. I always have been on conquests for things unknown.

A wise man put things into excellent perspective recently.

I asked, “How do you find your purpose?”

He left this thought tickling the air: If you don’t know what you’re looking for, how can you find anything? Your purpose isn’t something you find. It finds you.”

At the ripe age of 18, I knew all there was for me to do, and I set out to do it. Looking to gain wealth and accolades were the commensurate details of my voyage. I bought into the stealth lie that my passion was quantified by manmade gizmos and gadgets, and failed to see that the journey is the most golden part of our experience. The destination is forever changing.

After several jobs and many trials and errors, I feel refreshed on my road in life. I had a

stint in NYC for the few past months experimenting in one of my favorite supreme art forms, fashion. However, I started to feel angst again, like it was being forced and coerced.

I switched lanes. I started interviewing for farm apprenticeships, and finally landed one in Pennsylvania! I have never felt more fulfilled in my life. Each day I work until my back aches, yet and still my heart smiles ad meets the sun daily in transcendent gratefulness.

More than anything, I am humbled and thankful. I have been steeped in patience and tempered in diligence that surmounts bitterness and self-doubt.

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Cheers to life- xx

Nailah Marie

why so glum chum?

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you know, i believe in the power of perspective. that change your attitude, change your life thing. but man, there’s just so much death around.

so many good people lost. and i’m angry. angry at life, angry with GOD. i’m so close to throwing a tantrum and screaming “IT’S NOT FAIR!”

and i feel it amongst my peers too. we’re all just so OVERWHELMED. overwhelmed, and tired, and sad. the race has just begun and we are spent.

i wish i had some encouragement for you today. i guess the simplest and most profound thing we can do is just not give up. just claw our way through and help our brother man in any way possible.

God Bless Us All.

top: etsy, pants: F21, shades: KOMONO, sandals: ALDO

we all need a little healing

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hey, you. i know you’re tired, worn out. i just want to remind you to recenter; get back in check. this world is gonna try to pull you in different directions, stretching your boundaries further than you’ve conceptualized. don’t let it stretch you too thin.

take a breather. step out into the sun. hug yourself.

heal yourself so you can help heal this world. our brothers and sisters are in turmoil and need and all the love and TLC they can get.

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wearing a zara summer 2015 dress, gentle soul lace up sandals, baublebar earrings, my headwrap is a hand-me-down from the moms.

song of the week:

chief don’t run by JIDENNA. saw him perform this weekend and been obsessed since. that ute is dope.

d e a r N O L A

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Brittany

“I sat in the beige hotel room waiting for my friends to arrive; a million thoughts running through my mind. I hear the door lock buzz and I squeal with delight as Di walks in, or attempts to walk in (I had the door bolted because I have watched way too many movies where random people invade personal space…but I digress). I jump up to greet my friend. A similar scene happens when Chela strolls in. This is going to be a good trip.

See few things make their way to leave a mark on my heart. Real friendship is one of those things.  Here we were, three women whose friendship transcends time and distance meeting in the historic New Orleans to indulge in the trilogy of NOLA culture – food music and art.
It wasn’t a particular instance that made my heart smile, but the synthesis of the various experiences – from beignets to shrimp & grits, exploring the Frenchmen art market, grooving to tunes at The Spotted Cat or just having candid conversation about life and love- that made me truly appreciate the awesome young women we’ve become.”

Michela…

“This trip to New Orleans was refreshing for a number of reasons. At the top of the list, however, is time spent with old friends – the type of friends that know you from yuh eye deh a yuh knee. Those who can comment on how much you’ve grown or stayed the same, over the years.

Nola was the perfect backdrop to a girls weekend where we could embrace our different journeys and share our challenges, similar to how the people of Nola have stood tall post-Katrina and rebuilt over the years. It’s funny how the positive vibes and cozy warmth of Nola, just gelled with our chit-chat and nostalgic moments.

Not to mention the food in Nola is amazing, and we definitely had our fair share. There are few things that mix as well together as good friends, deep conversation, and a great meal. Together they just provide that feeling of warmth straight from the inside out…”

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*** in light of the Alton Sterling tragedy of Louisiana, let us pray for our people. speak up even if we may feel we are screaming in the dark, stand up even though our spirit may feel chained. blackness is not a sin. we may be oppressed, but the PRIDE with which we stand, with which we raise our fists for coming generations must never be subject to victimhood. let us take hope, black people, for our melanin is not branding, but armor.

to family and of Alton Sterling and those grieving in Louisiana, we pray for you with joined hands, we stand with you with unshackled feet.***

 

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what is real?

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is it just me or is no one being honest?

social media has created a matrix. everything seems real if you stay plugged in, but if you remove yourself you see it is a simulated reality. a reality that we try so desperately to show others in efforts to form an identity.

but hardly anyone is showing their darkness. some hint at it. some may use it to segue into a “but look at me now, i’m fabulous” piece. some may speak of all their haters (HUGE side eye). Don’t get me started on the supposed haters. some speak to get attention or just have the basic human need for affection and encouragement, and that’s fine. but sometimes, life feels lonely and it gives you strength to know that there are people in the struggle and they are fighting just as you are each day. and it’s not glamorous, it’s not self -seeking. it’s just like, “hey, i’m in some deep shit, but i’m working my way out of it. and you can too.”

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sometimes, you just need to be honest and get soul-naked. wash your naked soul with a good cry. have a dance party in your room. get on your hands and knees and scream to God. or sit in the dark and just listen. what needs to happen is that people need to share their struggles more. what are we here for but to support each other? life isn’t as pretty and honkey-dorey as instagram makes it seem. achievements don’t just appear in life like on a facebook newsfeed.

but hey, we’re all plugged in, right? sucking on the teat of useless information and comparison for likes and reshares. what a time to be alive.

a coming out story

 

 

 

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hi, my name is dionne. i suffer from depression and anxiety. it does not define who i am and you cannot make me ashamed of it.

WHEW! it feels so good to finally admit that. there have been so many times i wanted to share what i’ve been going through with you, but i struggled with the shame of it all.

mental illness is no joke, lemme tell you. it is truly debilitating. it is torture. can you imagine if your mind felt like it was attacking itself, and then manifested itself in physical pain all over your body? depression sucks.

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i’ve been very apprehensive about writing this post because i was worried it would harm my prospects for work or future romantic relationships. i also don’t want to sound like i want pity or like i’m apologizing for my condition. both of which i certainly refuse to do. it has taken me years to reach this point and i’m not about to revert now. not for anyone.

the main reason this post was a necessary part of my treatment is the fact that i hide my struggles so well. no one truly knows when i’m crying out for help. i’m here to let you know that there are many more like me, people prone to self-harm who may not show the signs or ask for help.

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we need to create an environment where people who suffer from mental illness are not ostracized. where we can speak and express ourselves freely. that way we can get the help we truly need, instead of bearing all the weight on our own and self-medicating or taking our own lives. it is a harsh reality to face, but hey, it’s the truth.

the thing i want you to take away from this is that we need your empathy and support, but most importantly we need to pay attention and be our brother’s keeper. because when someone is under the weight of mental illness they don’t see things based in reality. in the case of depression, you are so clouded with despair and numbness that you become a shell of a person.

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and for those of you like me: make peace with yourself, you are not any less of a person. you are deserving of love and life and good fortune. don’t allow anyone to stigmatize you, but be patient with those that do. talk honestly to someone. be in touch with how you are feeling. do not neglect yourself. and for GOD’S SAKE, take your medication.

you belong here.

 

society, you sly dog.

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let’s talk about sex, shall we?

specifically, the societal construct of the  “lady in the streets, freak in the sheets” precept. society is a real slick rick, creating intrigue around this famed paradoxical woman, when really it is just another method of control.

as women, there is a certain level of duality that society would like you to possess. and if you possess this duality, it ups your value. men will want you, because you will not bring them shame in public but will be lascivious in the confines of the home. women will admire you because men want you, you are demure and sensual. don’t believe me? look at BEYONCE’S public image.

the duplexity of being ladylike in public and naughty in private in order for men to find you desirable lends itself to a few questions:
1.  is heteronormativity the only way to achieve the elusive duality?
2. what about women who aren’t sexual? is their value diminished?
3. what about being a lady in the sheets and caring for a lover’s desires vs. simply being insatiable?
4. why is a woman who is sexually empowered to be feared?

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a woman should be able to own her version of sexuality, wherever on the spectrum it may fall, whether she be prone to asexuality or nymphomania. as long as a woman is aware her actions affect others, she isn’t spreading any nasties or hurting innocents, can we all just live without putting ourselves in a cage?

i propose we all just be proud of our sexuality and stop giving silly sayings like this merit. all in favor say ‘aye!’.

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low-key, i admire ADINA HOWARD. she owns her sexuality and it led to this female anthem!

photos: SHAE REID

hat: free people
top: MANGO
skirt: wowfactorja
heels: STEVE MADDEN
sunnies: spitfire
pearls: family hand-me-downs and juicy couture

Zoë on being internally driven

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“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

I think that used to be one of the most intimidating questions I’d ever heard back when I was 13. How the heck was I supposed to know? Back then, my biggest concern used to be what colour sneakers I should buy for P.E. However, by the time it came for me to go to university, I had grown out of my childhood fashion dilemmas and had my heart set on being a chef. I had my mother’s full support, but every other family member tried to give me an alternative. My father suggested I study interior decorating and team up with him and his architecture firm. Both sets of grandparents suggested I go into medicine, one set even said that they would send me application forms for the local college to be an X-ray technician. Other family members  and friends would always gave me the ‘ oh that’s cute’ face when I told them my dreams and goals. I was basically on my own, but you know what? Not for one second did I buckle under the pressure of doubt. I knew exactly what I wanted and I went for it.

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sunglasses – random London market jacket – zara top – boohoo leggings – boohoo booties – H&M

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In 2008, I left my little rock in the sun, Jamaica, and went to The Culinary Institute of America. Hands down the #1 culinary school on that side of the world. This is where I met one of the strongest women I know and someone who has turned out to be one of my best friends: the wonderful Dionne Reid. Ten years, numerous restaurants and 5 countries later, all the persistence and hard work has paid off. Not only can I work any section of a kitchen, but I am now training to become a restaurant manager. There were times I doubted myself, times the hours were too long, the work stress too difficult, the lack of a social life or interaction unbearable. Times I hated putting on the tough role of being the only woman in the kitchen, trying hard to stay afloat in a man’s world. I had many moments when I wanted to pack my bags and go home, give up on being so adventurous and just have a normal life. But God took me through every step of the way, over every single hurdle. He kept me focused and kept my feet planted but most importantly gave me strength. I made it through and am STILL making it through day by day.

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So the moral of my little story today is this: Never let anyone tell you you can’t do something, especially yourself.

There is a whole world out there, it seems scary but there is actually so much waiting for you to experience, to expand your knowledge and broaden your horizons. Don’t hold yourself back from anything your heart truly desires, if the passion is there a way will always be made. Never give up on yourself, don’t let people put you down, everything you go through will always pay off in the end.

Even now my grandma will still drop a line like “It’s not too late to be a doctor.” Honestly all I can do is smile when she says it because I know what my heart is set on and I know I believe in me. You can do anything you put your mind to, your biggest supporter is YOU! Once you remember that, nothing else matters. As my man Bruno says ‘ Don’t believe me just watch!!’ Every time I here this song it just gives me a burst of confidence and energy. I hope it does the same for you 🙂

 

the F3 factor

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friends / faith / family. it is the ultimate healing formula.

i say this because sometimes the soul feels empty, like a gas tank depleted; you have no more fuel to function at your best. it’s in cases like this, that the perfect F3 combo can get you ready and rearing to go.

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though i personally do not celebrate thanksgiving(just not a part of my jamaican culture, so i don’t feel an attachment to it), i do participate in it with my american family lowkey. it was good vibes: baking, eating, the itis, movies, and lots of laughs and prayer. you can’t beat that. there was a bounty of food, mac and cheese especially. mac and cheese is the true wave ladies and gents. my friend Gail makes a killer one.

anyway, this past week has been all about the thanksgiving tour, i.e. traveling around to spend time with friends and family i haven’t seen in months/years.
i have been bed bumming for almost a week. 7 nights, 4 different beds. though i missed MY bed, spending time with those i love made up for all the discomfort.

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the friends / faith / family trifecta really served to empower me and make me feel safe. it reminded me of where i was coming from and where i am going.
i can only hope the holidays were just as fulfilling for you.

denim shirt - target  cardigan - uniqlo jacket - zara skirt - nordstrom booties - report signature bag -zara necklace - dillard's

denim shirt – target
cardigan – uniqlo
jacket – zara
skirt – nordstrom
booties – report signature
bag -zara
necklace – dillard’s

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song the week was introduced to me by my girl Priscilla, it goes hard, and legit makes me have flashbacks to good times with friends, jamming out in the car, feeling infinite.

black and white

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black and white: two of my favorite shades to wear. sometimes i like to wear only black; it’s the shade i’m most comfortable in. it can be edgy, sleek, chic and unconventional, even menacing. black can be so many things, but it is always flattering on me, and it is always beautiful.

i also love to wear white. some people like to describe white as ‘clean’, for example: wearing all white creates a ‘clean’ look. i will refrain from describing white as clean because it assumes that the opposite is dirty, which it is not. black is not dirty, it is simply not white. undoubtedly, white is elegant, shining, and neat, but so is its black counterpart.

 

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but together? TOGETHER, black and white are striking. they work harmoniously together. so much so, that the combination becomes dapper and visually arresting.

clothing aside, i would love to see harmony between black and white people worldwide. i’d like to see black not demonized or only have white be seen solely as pure or clean.
the mike brown verdict was surely a sad one. i woke up yesterday morning crying tears of agony. there was pain in my heart; my mind could not comprehend why our lives are not valued the same as our white counterparts.

but today my hurt has turned into rage, and i choose to embrace this anger, not to run from it, or be ashamed of it. i also choose not to use my anger to burn he who angers me. because then my anger gets ugly.  i want people to see the beauty in how angry black people are, because it means change is coming. things can no longer remain the same.

our people cannot continue to be lynched and subjugated by a judicial system that continues to fail us. it is as simple as that. and either you stand with us or you stand against us. it is black and white.

top- ruby & jenna trousers - asos satchel - botkier jacket - vintage pumps - steven sunnies - karen walker jewelry - abc costume jewelry (on broadway)

top- ruby & jenna
trousers – asos
satchel – botkier
jacket – vintage
pumps – steven
sunnies – karen walker
jewelry – abc costume jewelry (on broadway)

featured song is ‘strange fruit’ by billie holiday. google the history behind it if you can.

 

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