My life...OOH CHILE! But I realize that everything I go through (most times lol) has nothing to do with me. The lessons I've earned and learned...smh. Being a writer, I process a lot of things through words and trying to find the good even in the bad. I hope my words of encouragement and my stories help you transition into being the best YOU possible...ENJOY!
"NEW YEAR...DO YOU!!!"
By Archeila Riley / January 29, 2020
Well it’s that time of the year again where everyone is pumped up, full of New Year resolutions, and running at high speed towards their goals. It’s inevitable that during the first month of the year that most people are goal oriented and have prepared lists of accomplishments they hope to achieve. But after the first month has passed, what happens to most of these lists? They are tossed aside or thrown into the sea of forgetfulness and it’s back to running full speed in the rat race! If we may be honest, in today’s world, most people are interested in their side hustles becoming their primary source of income. Long gone are the days that a regular 9 to 5 will suffice when it comes to living the quality of life of our dreams! Let’s face it! Taking regular vacations and being the boss of your own work schedule sounds like the ideal life! But would you be willing to sacrifice everything you have now, to enjoy this type of lifestyle? And are you putting your business on the back burner for other things that don’t bring value? In 2020, we must learn how to focus on our businesses and move towards whatever vision we have; whether that’s to transition full-time to entrepreneurship, increasing our revenue, or building our brand! It’s time out for procrastination and fear! Here are a few tips to get you started on your way:
1) Cut back on working overtime for others and start using that extra time towards building your
Working overtime is like a double-edged sword; especially for those that are non-salary earners! There’s nothing like being able to budget into your schedule additional hours to make the additional income desired. Whether if it’s to provide an extra cushion during the month or to save for that dream vacation! But if you’re working your side business and you are looking to replace your primary income, then you definitely need to focus on putting more time into your business! If your business brings in less than what your primary job is bringing in, then you may want to ration out how many overtime hours you work. Perhaps, work overtime on the job and shift 25% of those additional hours over to your business until your business income increases and matches your current full-time income.
The goal is to completely do away with overtime because you are making more than your current job pays per month! Play with the percentage of OT you are able to give up while working towards expanding your business!
2) Set milestones / deadlines for completing tasks!
This is major! If you don’t have a plan to obtain certain certifications or accomplish specific goals, you are behind the power curve! The only way to track progress is to have a plan and to stick with it! Never allow anything else to keep you from hitting your milestones or due dates for your business! You are your own boss and you must act like it! Therefore, you will need due dates just like your supervisor expects of you because as an entrepreneur, no one will check to see if you’ve hit the mark! So, stay on top of your deadlines and press for the finish line!
3) Measure your accomplishments each quarter!
At the end of each quarter, you should be a little closer to accomplishing the goals you’ve set for the year. But how will you know how you’ve measured up if you haven’t developed a tangible method for tracking your progress? In my office, I have a large calendar on the wall that I use to input what I want to have accomplished by the end of each month. By the end of each quarter, I would have taken steps to really get me closer to the main objective for the year! Setting goals is one thing, measuring your accomplishments is another!
4) Have fun!
All work and no play is not fun! If you’re going to work hard, then you should have doing it! Why work to make money, but never enjoy the fruits of your labor! As much as you plan your work for the year, make room to treat yourself and travel! Or if your idea of fun is going to the spa, then plan for more trips to the spa this year! The message is to always include time to recharge and welcome relaxation!
With these four tips, I hope that you are well on your way to leveling up your business for 2020! If you implement these steps, I am sure you will be happy with your results by the end of the year! Remember, it’s not about how quickly you get to success, but how you persevered on the way there! It’s time to grind and shine in 2020! Are you up for the challenge!?!
"IT'S TIME TO LEVEL UP!
By Siobhan Rainey / January 22, 2020
I don’t do New Years resolutions, but after 31 years of my life I have resolved to not let this 32nd rotation around the sun end the way I’ve allowed it to continue in the past decade alone. Here are some 2019 lessons I’ve resolved and learned (that may help you as well):
There is a difference between being valued vs. being tolerated. Stop wasting your time in spaces, groups, ministries and environments where you are merely *tolerated* and not invested in or celebrated. I’m not saying only divert your time and energy in spaces that feed your ego....but there is a difference between an environment where you are *actually* valued, celebrated and invested in, versus environments that merely tolerate your presence, yet doesn’t actually offer meaningful time or investment into your life and what you are actually gifted in. Half of us don’t admit it but we REALLY DO remain in these spaces longer than necessary because we are holding out hope for approval that may never come...we are hoping for change in squares that will never be circles. We are longing for value out of people who will never see us as anything but dispensable. As much as it may hurt to say goodbye to those spaces, if the first reaction from people is to distance themselves from you, write you off, ignore you and/or merely tolerate you when you are around, that’s not community...that’s not love. That’s indifference...which, in many cases, is even worse than hatred (at least you know where a person stands if they have hatred towards you).
It’s okay to know what you want and not back away from that...especially if you’ve spent years of hard work figuring it out. Its okay when you get criticized or backhanded insults for it...even from those closest to you. It’s okay to stick out like a sore thumb when everyone around you thinks you are too crazy, deep, hardwired or whatever else because you won’t back down from what you want. Only sing the songs you actually *want* to sing. Only make the music you *want* to make. Write the books, poems and material you *want* to write. Read the books you *want* to read. Study the theology you *WANT* to study. Do the things you actually *want* to do (for the glory of God of course). Life is too short to live for criticism, disapproval and heresay. Life is ESPECIALLY too short to keep wasting your gifts...especially on things that not only don’t bring God glory, but truly suck the life and ambition out of you. Yes do the hard work, but increase your ambition through consistency in what you actually *want* to do.
You’ve been in a cocoon long enough. You’re a butterfly now...so use them wings and fly!
Wear this life well, but wear it loose. Things are going to hurt when they have to leave. People will hurt you when they have to leave. You will be hurt when you’re the one who has to leave behind a friendship, experience, environment and/or community, but you’re going to have to be okay with most things (and people) in your life being seasonal. (This is a hard one for me given that I am the type who only wants lifetime deals...but that’s not the way life pans out most of the time).
Read your Bible, IN depth, IN context. ALL of it, EVEN THE MAPS. I’m telling you, nothing tops this lesson. It will change your life. Become biblically literate. Don’t let anyone force feed you any lie that says knowledge and exposition of scripture is unnecessary. God has spoken and breathed His words. Don’t ignore them.
Don’t slander or scoff at people. Actually LOVE your neighbor. Love does NOT include scoffing. Like really...even backhanded insults meant to poke fun at people is slander. (Example: referring to white people as “colonizers.” Yes it was funny in “Black Panther” but let's admit that we have taken it a bit too far sometimes) God frowns on scoffing throughout scripture, especially the book of Proverbs. We are not to sit in the seat of “scoffers.” Let’s treat everyone (even those we disagree with) as image bearers. Let’s use our words to build up, not make fun of or even worse, tear down.
"NEW YEAR...WHO DIS?"
By Jona Nanette / January 15, 2020
So if you call me and I don’t answer, it’s me, not you! I’m trying to be a better person and some people just not gonna be happy til they get these hands. So, if you pull on the old Jona more than edifying the NEW me I’m trying to be, know that I love you and honor you always, and I ask that you love me forever...BUT, don’t NEVER EVA EVA don’t call me again!
Love you...mean it!!
By Archeila Riley / November 5, 2019
Waking up a BBW (Beautiful Black Woman) every day is not an easy task, honey, and let me tell you why! See, these curves and hips, brown skin and thick lips couldn’t be hidden even if they wanted to and I am here to show it all...Yasssss! But there was such a time in my life when I didn’t embrace these attributes because it was not what society considered to be the standard of beauty. People always had something to say about it and now I know why: Black folk’s swag just can’t be ignored, and neither can our melanin! No matter how hard people try to overlook it, they just simply can’t! How can anyone easily forget smooth, silky, sun-kissed skin?!? Or better yet, how could anyone go a lifetime and never learn to love the skin they’re in?
Throughout history, who we are and the color of our skin has been the center of controversy and the reason for our vast experiences dealing with fear, racism, and envy. Unlike other races, we have had perpetual systems in place to keep us pitted against each other, and this is done through racism’s evil twin named colorism. The Oxford Dictionary defines an “ism” as a “distinctive practice, system, or philosophy, typically a political ideology or an artistic movement.” In turn, colorism is a distinctive practice or philosophy of valuing lighter shades of complexion over darker shades. It is a form of discrimination against your own people based on the shade of their skin.
I’ve always had a stronger dislike for colorism than racism because self-hatred, in my opinion, is worse than hatred coming from others. Growing up in the “dirty south”, I’ve felt the effects of both, and I can honestly say that colorism always made me feel worse. This isn’t to downplay racism because projecting hatred and forcing economic oppression onto a specific race of people is abhorrent, but denying my own people and looking at ANY of them as being inferior because of my complexion being lighter…then there’s really a deeper issue going on!
I’ve always wondered if colorists could truly hate racism because, in fact, they are just a microcosm of a larger issue! Racists discriminate against us because of the color of our skin and our features. Colorists discriminate against their own because of the shade of their skin and also the features. The only difference is that one comes from within and the other comes from other groups. So, can a colorist ideally be against racism if they both sip Kool aid from the same cup?
The infamous Willie Lynch proved how damaging colorism is in his public address to the slave masters on the bank of the James River back in 1712. One of his main concepts of building distrust among us and to keep our mind enslaved was by
pointing out our differences. The weapon of choice was our differences in shade/complexion. What is so disturbing about this concept of his is the fact that the disparity in our complexions came as a result of rape, abuse, and dehumanization caused by slave owners such as himself. And then he uses this as weapon to control our minds and instill hatred in us against our own! This proves how sickening and disgusting colorism really is! This is the reason I hate colorism more than racism!
So, before you make comments about your brother or sister being “too dark” or choose to be with someone based on their “light skin”, think about your mindset and what belief systems you’ve allowed to influence your thinking. Think about how your actions or beliefs could be keeping Willie Lynch’s message alive! Some of us deal with racism AND colorism daily and this can have traumatic effects on one’s self-esteem. Having light skin doesn’t mean “you’re in” and it surely doesn’t mean you are the standard for black beauty. Your shade/complexion should not be viewed as your badge of honor or some sort of prize to get you in the door; rather your character should precede you and open the doors for opportunity! Our skin, our melanin has a lot of history behind it and has been one of the many causes of death and oppression for our people. I dare not add to this infectious system of beliefs that will further keep us in bondage! So, let’s embrace and love on each other like we used to! We as a people are worth it!
DID YOU HEAR THE ONE ABOUT...
By Jona Nanette / October 2, 2019
I heard this great story on the internet the other day and decided to share...
There was this girl.
She makes it.
THE BLACK ELEPHANT
By Jona Nanette / September 4, 2019
I literally started this blog because as a dark-skinned black woman in America, I sometimes feel rejected and overlooked. I started following other blogs where beautiful (or not so beautiful) darker women were sharing their stories, blasting colorists and calling out prejudice in society, especially within our own community, but what I found shocked me. A lot of these free thinking, "down with colorism" darker-skinned women of color were sizists. These same women who called out influencers and entertainers for prejudice and discrimination were themselves bashing darker women of color who happen to be bigger. "Big and black" or Fat, black and ugly" are phrases I heard often as I followed these women. Some of them even would go on to say that society actually accepted us (darker-skinned, bigger women) more because they were comfortable with the black, fat and ugly trope. I repeatedly had to hear that black was beautiful, but only if it wasn’t plus size. They constantly use the word fat and unattractive interchangeably, and to my chagrin, I realized the way they felt about plus size females was the exact same way a lot of society also viewed them.
And I know some people reading this will say "why are you asking darker skinned women." I'm not. I'm just calling out the black elephant in the room.
It truly breaks my heart because it just goes back to that old way of thinking that everyone has to feel superior to someone else. It seems that if one group of people get some shine, then others who are not included somehow feels slighted. When darker smaller women see bigger darker women being celebrated, for some reason, they feel someone telling us that we are beautiful is a slap in their face. Say what now? But these are the same women who call out lighter complexion females of all races looking down on black women OR saying defiantly stupid things like "Lupita Nyong'o isn't all that". Ironic isn't it that they can't see they are doing the very same thing and can't even see how hypocritical they are being. And yes I know other races or lighter black people who are still hooked on color like its the 1960s do it, BUT...it hurts more when it comes from someone who can share our make-up.
Now to be fair, it’s not all dark-skinned smaller women, some of my close friends who are smaller and darker-skinned LOOOOVE seeing beautiful plus sized women of all shades. Some of them actually are the ones who got me on to the plus sized/body positivity movement. But there are also those turn their nose up at us as if we are less than. I like to say that they act like they are against colorists, but I have a sneaky suspicion that if they were born with a lighter complexion, all of their social media handles would begin with @REDBONE (fill in the blanks—shout out to my lighter-skinned boos). I feel they want society to see them as beautiful, but they are scared that if society accepts other forms of beauty, then the competition pool would give these other (bigger) women a seat at their table and a chance to compete.
The truth of the matter is "dark-skinned" and "fat" live in the same marginalized community and a house divided against itself will never stand. You cannot honestly expect people to suddenly see your dark skin as something beautiful, but continue to turn your nose up at bigger women. If darker, petite women want to be accepted, then they are going to have to join the body positivity movement and embrace ALL women!
Beautiful is beautiful, no matter the size, shade, or race. If we continue to turn our nose up at each other, nobody wins. So you go to the gym every day...GREAT! It doesn’t give you the right to turn your nose up at anyone. And if you’re just blessed with a higher metabolism, I am literally side eyeing you right now! Do you know how hard it is to find, start and maintain an exercise and nutrition plan that is right for you? Even if I go to the gym right now and turn my plate over for the next few months, I’m going to still be fat for a while. How dare anyone think they are better than me because of my size!
Racism we fight against.
Classism we toil against.
Colorism we fight against.
Sexism we stand against.
SIZISM...where do you stand? Comment below.
"I WANNA MAN!"
By Jona Nanette / August 21, 2019
I want a love like the one I imagined when I was 16. That Bonnie and Clyde type love...if Bonnie was an accountant and Clyde was a lawyer cause see me, I can’t wear the stripes! All jokes aside...I want someone who would not just ride for me, but die to themselves for me. Someone who lives to see me smile. Someone who after an argument will then ask “so what’s for dinner.” Someone with whom I always will know the position that I hold not only in their heart, but in their actual life.
The funny thing is that even though I want all of this, the question that has been circling in my mind lately is “Jai, are YOU all of this?” It’s so easy to look for things in other people and not realize that you are completely jacked up yourself. So many of us boast about having trust issues, or never trusting anyone, but yet we set the bar so high when it comes to our romantic partners. They have to be near perfect when it comes to loving us, and we still keep setting obstacle after obstacle in their way. Then after we have tired them out with all of our foolishness, we start kicking ourselves for being too hard on them. By the time we realize that they actually cared about us, they have moved on to someone who truly appreciates them.
I don’t know about you, but it’s not cute going to bed alone EVERY night due to your own indiscretions, especially when you want companionship. However, a lot of us aren’t going to bed alone. We snuggle and cuddle up to our past traumas and insecurities every night, then wonder why there is no room for anyone else. My challenge to you is this: for the next 30 days BE the person you want to fall in love with (whatever that means to you.) I’m not saying you will magically meet “the one” (however if you do, please let me know lol). What I guarantee though is that you will start living life with more dates and fewer regrets.
"WORK ME OUT"
By Jona Nanette / August 14, 2019
If you’ve been watching my stories on Facebook, you already know that I've got a thing for a new guy at the gym. It’s not just because he is FINE (it actually is JUST because he is fine cause I don’t really know much else about him, but everybody always say that so I just thought I should too.) Well, today we had our first real conversation.
Wait...I should back up and go back to the beginning for those of you who are completely lost right now. I have began going to the gym before I go to work, so I usually get there around 5 A.M. (had to capitalize A.M. so you would know it’s not a game lol). Well, a week ago I did a video while sitting in my car before going in cause for some reason, that morning was a real “push” for me. I basically was like “this is for the birds...I’m tired Sweet Jesus...I want to go home.” Well, Jesus must’ve heard me and knew I needed a push. He also knows what motivates me lol. I went inside and low and behold, this beautiful young man I had never seen before was sitting at the desk. His skin was golden like the sun and he had the face of Trevor Jackson and the body of Channing Tatum. His smile though is what got me. I immediately did another video cause when you’ve been blessed, you MUST testify about it:)
But back to this morning. I've noticed that he has tried to make small talk with me before, but at 5 A.M. my mind isn't alert like it usually is. Anyway, today he finally started a conversation with me AFTER I was through working out and so I was wide awake: I even made him burst out laughing several times, so I think we're off to a good start. Don't know what will happen tomorrow, but today was alright with me.
I think I’m going to take this mindset and use it from here on out. If you’ve been reading my blog for some time now, you know that the last few years hasn’t been that great for me when it comes to love. I’ve had WAAAAY more losses than I have had wins, but today, I’m starting AFRESH! I’m cleansing my spirit from all past relationships and the weight they left on my shoulders. I choose to look forward to what could be and no longer focus on what was. I choose to renew my mind, my body, and my spirit so that I can finally receive what I have been praying for. Will this young man be my dream come true? Who cares? I’m enjoying what he is for me now, and that is hope!
"When Your Ex Goes Viral"
By JONA NANETTE / July 10, 2019
So, um...you ever had one that got away? I mean one of the “good ones” that you SWORE that once you found him, you wouldn’t do anything to push him away? Well yeah, I found him, we dated, and then I did my typical song and dance that makes most leave. I was over it and him pretty quickly tho. He was a good man that I probably could have loved a long time, but for me, once something is over...that’s what it is...OVER!
Fast forward almost 20 years later. Due to the daunting age of social media, I’ve been able to keep my eye on my ex beau on occasion. Every now and then, when the memories of us tickle my mind, I will enter his name into a search bar (or 12) and see what comes up. I found out that he got married, is now a Pastor (yikes...maybe it was God. I don’t know many First Ladies with bikini pics on IG!), and is still in his hometown. I’ve progressed as well and those sporadical walks down memory lane are just that...MEMORIES! I forget him more days than I remember him, and just like everyone else who loses a “good one”, I found out REAL QUICKLY that LIFE GOES ON!!! The past had passed and I’m not one to ever bemoan spilled milk.
Then on last week I received screenshots of this brother letting some disgruntled “my mommy told me I was special and deserved a dime when I only got a nickel” brother HAVE IT on Twitter. His blatant disrespect of “Jerome (first name) Mommy this man hurt my feelings by telling me it’s my own fault that I’m alone (last name)” went viral and HUNTY, let me tell you...me and my friends were HERE FOR IT! I had done virtual hi- fives in my group messages and everything, not knowing that “that guy on Twitter” was the one I had shared ribs with at my momma’s house back in the day but I didn’t notice. Then one night, for some reason, when I went to share it with another friend via Facebook, for the first time, I saw “his” name, and not just his words. Realizing that I “knew him knew him”, I shrieked with delight and quickly tagged all of our mutual friends and we all immediately started celebrating the fact that “our (insert his name here” had gone viral.
Then someone tagged him on the post. #Thisbih
Once while I was getting my hair done at a salon, a lady brought a baby attached to an oxygen tank inside the shop. Everything was fine UNTIL the oxygen tank’s cord wrapped around a chair and came detached from the tank. All you heard for a few moments were hissing sounds as the cord went rogue; people scrambled to attach it back to the tank. The rest of us were stone cold silent, not daring to move in case our movements inadvertently directly (yes I know what I just said) affected the baby.
Well, that’s how I imagined my friends felt when then realized my homegirl had tagged him because like I alluded to before, we didn’t end on the best terms. But, because he is such a great guy, he was a good sport. Even though he never said anything directly to me, he didn’t come on there and be like “keep my name out your mouth” either, so I call that PROGRESS!
It’s funny how life will remind you of yesterday right when you think you’ve blown your today. It’s like God is showing you that the moment you’re in is only temporary. I didn’t know how much I needed my friend’s viral rant. It reminded me of the young girl I used to be when I was in love with him, and it also reminded me that life is full of full circle moments. No matter how miserable or bad your life seems now, cheer up! In about 20 years or so you will go on Twitter and find that your ex has gone viral and that will remind you to check his other social media pages to see if he is still married.
Moral of the story...my ex is no longer married, is still HILARIOUS and has social media swag.
Give me bout 20 years and I will let you know how things turn out;)
By JONA NANETTE / June 3, 2019
If I hear one more story of glorified “struggle love”!
Men have A LOT to unlearn when it comes to dating and relationships; however, so do a lot of women. Women have been taught to preserve their man’s ego at ALL COST and to walk on egg shells cause if she isn’t his peace, he will go somewhere else. But lately, I have started to have a HUGE problem with that! If me honoring you costs me my truth, then I’m dishonoring myself. I think women have been taught for so long that men need respect, and this is true. However a fully mature man would rather be loved by his woman cause then when she respects him it’s not based off of the fear of losing him. Love is freedom without control or ownership. I am starting to realize that even in romantic relationships, you never truly have someone. At best, you just have access to them. Love isn’t about ownership or being a “ride or die”. It’s about fully investing yourself to be willing to learn and yearn a person, even if it takes the rest of your life. Love should be about what I can bring to the table, and not just about what the other person can bring. It should be a journey of happiness, not sorrow. I can't allow being someone else's "peace" steal my joy.
I’m not about to stick around and wait on a man to decide how he feels about me because men know right away who you are to them. If he’s not making you his partner, it’s because he doesn’t see you in that capacity. Women fall into the trap of thinking that men need them to stick around so that the woman can convince the man that she is worthy of
being his “Queen”. They feel like the more they endure the pain their man inflicts, the more he will see that she is his “ride or die” and proceed to wife her up! (Insert eye roll here) Man if you don’t wake up and get out that car and learn to ride
But Jona, couples go through things!
Like family members getting sick, losing loved ones? Sexual Issues? Insecurities/fears? Loss of jobs/income? Depression and Anxiety? Emotional baggage? Children tripping? Having to relocate? Anger issues? Porn and substance addictions? I’ve actually experienced all of these in past relationships. Things that people come into a relationship with, or things/forces coming against us unexpectedly from outside the relationship is one thing.
But emotional and physical abuse (and yes making someone wait on you for years just to settle for them later IS emotional abuse), sexual objectification, multiple affairs, going ghost for periods of time but demanding that the other person stay loyal (manipulation and emotional abuse), violence of any sort, including sexual...are problems created within a relationship. A relationship to me is my safe space so...Nah I’ll pass. These are things that damages you for the next person. Life is hard enough. Challenges will come. I’m just not trying to make love harder. See I’ve been in healthy relationships and I know how a great relationship feels, even if it doesn’t end in happily ever after.
I just want to know when did love become proven by the amount of times you take someone back after they break your heart? Love is all about “what I can get from you, do to you, take from you” now. What happened to “I love you too much to hurt you?” or “I will give up THAT cause I love YOU.” Bring that kind of love back...PLEASE! And learn to love yourself so when someone tries to love you with less than what you deserve, you won’t be desperate enough to take it. And if you are in a struggle love relationship, it’s ok. Not here to judge! That can be your testimony and I will support you. DO# YOU# BOO!
But for me... I’m good on that.
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