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Life

AFFIRM

Rakiya George

 Shot by Joel Serrano

Shot by Joel Serrano

As a young woman, living life seems to be a constant battle of showing proof/proving a point. For whom? I’m honestly not too sure. I guess I can say society, since society has us all figured out. You’re taught to be sweet and kind — “Don’t curse, that isn’t lady-like.” “Don’t show too much emotion, that’s a sign of weakness.” “Don’t say too much, it’s intimidating.” Once you’re out in the world, all on your own, you’re not even sure of who YOU are. This is why I believe they say that your 20’s are for soul searching; you’re so used to the influences you were surrounded by, that you’ve lost the ability to think for yourself.

Living on my own has changed my view on things and that is a result of listening to myself and truly figuring out who I am. Upon moving, I was told that I would learn things about myself that I wasn’t aware of and I agree 100%. I move differently, think differently: I react or choose not to react which is still a reaction in itself. My energy is very precious, but there comes a time where you’re simply fed up with certain things that take place in your life. Once you show that emotion or sensitivity, you’re looked at as being cold or you’re just another “Angry Black Woman”. No, I am the woman that took on a lot of unnecessary stress and gave utmost support regardless. I am the woman who gives and does not receive. I am the woman who asked for nothing at all and was still plagued to unrequited circumstances. This woman is tired. So very tired.

 Shot by Joel Serrano

Shot by Joel Serrano

Like myself, there are millions of women who are tired of doing things that society said was meant for them. We have to deal with toxicity because society doesn’t need another broken black man, but did anyone ever think of the broken black woman? We can give pieces and pieces of ourselves away little by little to wither away and become absolutely nothing to keep someone else lively and spirited. Life isn’t fair, but it is brutally honest, and everything happens for a reason, whether you like it or not. There are so many obstacles in our paths that we have to face, no matter how uncomfortable they may be. However, no matter the situation, it is imperative to find the light in any dark situation. When i find myself lost in my own negative thoughts, or in the process of recovering from something, I make it a priority to understand the positives that are a result of whatever it is I am going through.

Being by yourself allows a lot of room for your thoughts to wander. I’m human, I feel just like everyone else. I strive for positivity and being strong, but just like you, I hurt as well and I go through unwanted situations just like anyone else. When I’m alone dissecting a situation, I always think about the good that’s become of it. What burden has been lifted, what stride has been taken; I also reassure myself of my value. Everyone doesn’t understand your value, nor is it for everyone to receive. Once you begin your journey towards a higher vibrational lifestyle, and let go of all things that are spiritually weighing you down, you’ll start naturally aligning with things/people that are meant for you.

 Shot by Joel Serrano

Shot by Joel Serrano

A daily affirmation that I abide by to heal myself of anything is: “You aren’t going through anything that you can’t handle. You are resilient.”

You are capable of bouncing back from any and everything that is thrown at you. No matter how tired you may be, weak you may feel, understand that it is natural to feel low at times, but picking yourself up is the most beautiful part of it all. Society knows nothing about struggles, and when you’re going through something, I want you to know that feeling every emotion possible is completely normal, and you shouldn’t try to act like these feelings do not exist. Feel, heal, and move on. It’s a natural part of life. What’s a daily affirmation that YOU live by?

Keep Going

Rakiya George

 Captured in Jersey City, Shot by  Chase Whetstone

Captured in Jersey City, Shot by Chase Whetstone

On this day last year, September 24, 2017 at 12:00 PM, I published my very first post for my site. Leading up to that moment, I was very nervous, unsure, and worried of the outcome. I’ve always been known for being the book-smart girl in school, who loved to write, but it was only highlighted in grammar school. In high school, as well as college, I’ve definitely lost myself for the duration of those years; finished on time, and participated in internships here and there, but never really showed off my passion. I never had a voice for my self to show what I am capable of and within the last year, I’ve managed to not only go above and beyond my comfort zone, but to also find happiness from doing something that I absolutely love.

This platform has given me the strength to eventually turn the things that I’m dreaming of into a future accomplishment to add to my list. Starting literally from the bottom, with using the limited resources that I have has been so hard, but I vowed to remain consistent with my site, because I know what I want this platform to produce for me. I have an amazing foundation of close friends and family that have pushed and helped me throughout this last year that I couldn’t have been more grateful for. In those moments of pure weakness and discouragement, I am so happy to say that I have people in my life that have lifted me right back up with their words as well as actions. It’s always needed. Often times, you wouldn’t even know if I was feeling down or in a mood, but God always sends help with the acts of randomness and support from people that I absolutely love; they are ALWAYS on time, and you all know EXACTLY who you are.

 Captured in Jersey City, Shot by  Chase Whetstone

Captured in Jersey City, Shot by Chase Whetstone

Of course, I want to see myself win, but to have people in your corner who are rooting for you means the world to me. I’m creating not only for myself, but for these people who believe in me and are all on their own paths trying to succeed. I surround myself with creatives alike who are nothing but hungry and ready to grow. Being passionate about something is fulfilling, but at the same time it is hard to stay on track. People put their dreams to the side to provide for their current situations, and never fall back into doing what they love. Let’s be realistic here, our economy sucks, so having a normal 9 to 5 is needed if your passion isn’t funding your lifestyle as of yet. My advice is to never lose sight of the bigger picture. You know what you are existing for, so elevate within that.

Adulting is realizing that you can do everything by the book, and not get the expected outcome. In college, I was sure that I would have my cliche media job in NYC by the time I graduated, and I still haven’t even scratched the surface. I’ve lost count of how many jobs have denied me a position, and that has been the biggest pill to swallow, because I know that I am qualified. It makes me feel pretty low at times, but I strongly believe that everything happens for a reason, and I can’t question the timing of my life. I motivate myself everyday to go harder than the last and pave my own way organically. Yes, writing for a renowned publication is the goal, but what about having a renowned publication reach out to you to interview someone for their cover? The need is inferior compared to the want; I aim to be wanted, especially by the places/people that have denied me in the past.

 Captured in Jersey City, Shot by  Chase Whetstone

Captured in Jersey City, Shot by Chase Whetstone

Also, my focus is shifting into more pieces that reflect people of color. When I was in college, I just wanted a job. I didn’t care who I wrote for, what the content was about, I really didn’t know what I wanted besides to get paid. As I’ve had internships, and wrote the same type of stories for different publications, I realized that this wasn’t for me. If it isn’t culturally stimulating, I don’t want to be a part of it. There’s more to life than knowing what’s in your favorite fashion bloggers purse. I want to know the fashion bloggers journey, the actual struggle that it took to get to that current position. I want to create pieces that leave huge impressions on the reader.

I’m so excited for what is yet to come with this platform; this year honestly flew by. It’s my baby, and I’m raising it to be as powerful and insightful as possible. I really appreciate the people that have read my pieces monthly, left comments, and reached out to me personally to talk about what was said. These are the things that keep me going, because I’ve realized there’s a need to be heard. This second year of creating, is the year that I get a lot of shit done. I want to expand and shift the focus of my platform to show the lengths my creativity can go. To my readers that want to create something but are scared to do so, I need you to start your journey now; having something of your own brings peace that you didn’t even know was humanely possible. When I write, I’m happy. When I tell people that I write, I am happy. Transitioning from Blogger to Journalist, and you will see exactly how in this second year of creating. Thank you all for your endless support!

Keep reading. ♥

 Captured in Jersey City, Shot by  Chase Whetstone

Captured in Jersey City, Shot by Chase Whetstone

You're Perfect

Rakiya George

 Captured by  Jesse Williams

Captured by Jesse Williams

The need for self-love has grown over the years and the advocacy that has accompanied it is remarkable. People are overcoming their inner battles everyday, to be the best version of them-selves. Loving yourself is the first step to being confident in any and everything you do. I wake up, take a shower, and I look at myself. I talk to myself, and reassure that I am indeed perfect in my own way. As a black woman, the media was never aimed at portraying our beauty in its true self. Only recently, you see diversity in television ads and campaigns. When I was growing up, there were little to no black people in commercials, and now they spearhead them. I am inclined to embrace, but at the same time, I can see when something is being forced for revenue. I can tell when an advertisement is for the sake of Uncle Tom.

All of the September issues of major magazines for both black and women of all races has had black elegance in every spread. It's beautiful, needed, and about time. Beyonce took over Vogue magazine, and addressed issues that black people are all privy to, which is the lack of black people incorporated in the fashion industry. Lindsay Peoples Wagner gave the entire fashion industry a read on this subject as well, and that piece alone brought me so much joy, because every statement by every professional was true and it stuck with me. There is a bigger picture than what has already been addressed. 

 Captured by  Jesse Williams  

Captured by Jesse Williams 

Let's think about all of the little girls who love to cut photos of people out of magazines and hang them on their walls. (I'm honestly not sure if kids even do this anymore, because this is a very different time that we are living in.) Think about when you used to do this, who was on your wall? Who were you idolizing? When I was in middle school, or possibly younger than that, I had a paper-made mural of black women that I looked up to. Whether it was from their music, or their roles in movies, I adored black success. Seeing these artists/creatives boosted my confidence, because they exuded power and strength. My parents had tons of magazines that I ruined, because I admired black people so strongly; whether they made the cover or not. Print media is not dead, because every month we gag at who's on the cover, and the interviews are more and more personable and honest; I still buy copies, and actually have a collection of some I've saved over the years. Issa Rae, Solange, Amandla, are of many women who are embracing themselves and want others to follow suit. 

 Captured by  Jesse Williams

Captured by Jesse Williams

Circling back to self-love, since there are so many ways for people to express themselves, you are seeing women embrace every aspect of their bodies as well as their inner-beings. Campaigns have women of every color, hair texture, and body shape known to man and it's gorgeous. No matter how many small victories are taken, there will always be people who oppose due to ignorance and self-hate. Just recently, I had an interaction with an ignorant white man on Savage Fenty's Instagram page, because he body-shamed a woman who was posted on their platform. The queen was Jarae L.Holieway, also known as @Blacmagic_woman, and her shot was FIERCE. To me she slayed, is beautiful, and over 10 thousand other people agreed and to this man she was disgusting and not appealing. He actually shamed her and said that I should be on the site because I'm a solid 8 in his book, as if his miniscule opnion mattered. His comments were offending and sad, and had little effect on me, but do you see the type of society we live in? The downplaying of women because they are comfortable with the skin they are in; this is why self-love is needed so desperately. Social media can poison your mind in the blink of an eye, and make you lose sight of your worth. There are people who dig into social media, and people who aren't phased. Which one are you?  

 Captured by  Jesse Williams

Captured by Jesse Williams

I am happy that there are generations of confident women who love to speak up. We all get discouraged, and we all have our days, but once you truly love yourself, those days pass and you wake up more confident than before. I hate seeing viral posts of younger girls being bullied because of a feature that they have and they are struggling to learn how to embrace it. We are living in very cruel times, and I cannot stress the importance of teaching people/kids the beauty of loving them-selves.

Everyone is perfect in their own way; you just have to believe it. Yes there are things that I'd like to improve within myself, but it never discourages or depresses me. As a black woman, you have to remain confident, no matter what and truly understand your worth as this comes into play in all aspects of life. You're Perfect, never forget that. 

Poise

Rakiya George

 Captured by  Jesse Williams

Captured by Jesse Williams

This post is directed towards my fellow people of color, no matter the shade. Have you ever felt discouraged because of the skin you're in? Has society ever influenced how you feel about yourself? Why did this bother you? I believe that we all learn trained habits that are both good and bad. Thinking that your skin has a negative effect on your livelihood is a prime example. Although it isn't spoken about widely enough, there is a population of people who unconsciously hate their skin/them-selves. You don't wake up and feel this way, if it is being repeated in the media, or even subliminally, it becomes a learned trait or thought that you believe over time. As children, we imitate behavior, and carry it on as we get older. 

The media is a very toxic place that can lead anyone astray from understanding their actual beauty. Growing up, straight hair and perms was what every little girl wanted; having sleek and shiny hair is what made you appealing. In reality, the long-term effects of a perm are quite disgusting; I'm glad that this fad has been cancelled and natural women are taking storm. I permed my hair in maybe the fourth grade, and by the fifth grade, I told my mom to take it out. I didn't chop off my hair, just kept it old school and braided it out. I'll never forget the day when I came to class with two struggling afro-puffs with damaged transitioning ends; I felt like myself, I was comfortable. Having a perm was easy to manage, and what little girl doesn't want hair flowing down their back? I told my mother that I didn't want to continue doing this to myself, because I wasn't being me.

Growing up with traditional Caribbean parents, I understood my worth at a very young age. I understood that I wasn't allowed to let anyone ever make me feel inferior and that I wasn't good enough. Even though the world was black and white, and I understood that, I was always proud of my being as well as my surroundings. When I was little and wanted a doll, I always went for a black doll, and I never felt the urge to get a doll that wasn't close to me. I just adore black skin; it's rich, it's beautiful, it's one of a kind. One time, I wanted to go to the Disney store with my mother, and she wouldn't allow me in that moment and ever in the future because back then, they didn't have a princess that looked like me. To my mother, I was a princess, so why get something that didn't have a resemblance to me to make me feel like one? Those were life lessons that occurred in my house hold everyday, and I'm forever grateful for what it has taught me. 

 Captured by  Jesse Williams  

Captured by Jesse Williams 

I went to a predominantly African American elementary and middle school, so I was always surrounded by people that looked like me. Looking back on it, I can tell that some of my peers were trained to think that having dark skin wasn't admirable. I've been called burnt by fellow twelve-year olds because they didn't know any better. I've been told that I wasn't as pretty as the light-skin "red bone" classmate, because like I said before, kids imitate behavior. Speeding up to a more mature age, late teens/early college years, I've encountered men who claimed they refuse to start families with black women. A man that only pursues women outside of his race to make sure that his child is mixed/has certain qualities, is a man that doesn't love his self. They exist. The whole white women let you do what you want act is tired, I know the true meaning behind your ignorance, and at a certain age, you need to wake up and grow out of it. Black men are disrespected just as black women are, and because the media has so much negativity raining down on the average black man, insecurities and ignorance form as a defense mechanism. Systematically,  the world isn't on your side, and that is not the message that I want any black man to comprehend; you need to understand that you are loved. 

 Captured by  Jesse Williams

Captured by Jesse Williams

People of color you are loved. Your skin is dignified and rare. The opposition tries to imitate you daily, and they will never amount to what God has so rightfully created. Do not detest and bring each other down because of shades; we are all one, because once something goes down, the opposition doesn't see a difference in any of us at all, to them we are all the same. Self-love allows you to conquer anything that you want to achieve. There's beauty in everything that you do, and people a person of color, you can execute that effortlessly. 

Poise - Graceful and elegant bearing in a person. 

That is what you are as a person of color, embrace it.  

Know Yourself

Rakiya George

 Captured by  Jesse Williams

Captured by Jesse Williams

I've noticed that the dating pool in our generation is slim to none. From the outside looking in, we find ourselves dubbing people in which we look up to as "goals" and admire lives we know nothing about. I'm human, I stan celebrities, it's in my nature, I LOVE Rihanna and Beyonce, my readers are well aware, but I don't look at their relationships as an example for what my relationship should look like or be.

Falling in love should be organic, not forced. You shouldn't change for the person you are into or try to change that person either. I've been on both sides of this particular field and it obviously didn't work out. I was with someone who was super insecure and wanted me to dress a certain way, and out of respect mixed mainly with confusion, I followed suit. From the other perspective I tried so hard to mold someone to be the person that I wanted to them to be, and that wasn't fair to either of us. People do change for the ones they love, but it's something that is supposed to naturally happen; it shouldn't be dictated or demanded and it shouldn't be a drastic change. Social media and life causes us to think that what we're currently doing isn't enough. I think the problem with our generation, is that we sometimes think we do not have enough time. Don't believe the hype. I'm learning to be such a patient person, because I know everything will fall into place when the time is right. With patience comes battling your insecurities, and molding yourself to be a better you for YOU; no one else. I think it is imperative to be right with yourself before sharing yourself with anyone else. 

 Captured by  Jesse Williams

Captured by Jesse Williams

I recently saw a post that read "Repeating the same bad habit over and over again, is a form of insanity. There comes a point in your life when you know better, and you have to do better. You owe it to your self. It's just simple." This post spoke volumes to me, because I never looked at a bad habit before as insanity; it's pretty deep when you thoroughly think about it. I have a bad habit that I am in the process of getting rid of because I'm realizing that it's one-sided and unhealthy. I'd like to think that I am not a very complex person to understand, I don't play mind games, and I am very direct. So when things aren't making sense anymore, I cut the situation off and move forward. It's hard sometimes, this one in particular is very hard, and in other instances, it's literally a breeze, but once I realize that a change needs to be made, my mind remains made up. The insane part of this instance comes in when I disregard what my gut is telling me and bounce right back into that unhealthy cycle. I'm striving to break the cycle entirely, because I know my worth. 

I'm making trying to date me a process, because the men of this generation are aiming for shortcuts and quite frankly that's corny. (There isn't a better way to say that.) Don't try to take me on a date, and not have a plan. Don't say you'd do something, and then never do it. Don't expect me to think for you. Don't be inconsistent. These are the things that bother me the most, and I try to divert from them in any way possible. Even when I try to go for different types of guys, it seems as though the age range has the same simple-minded thought process which strays me away. 

 Captured by  Jesse Williams  

Captured by Jesse Williams 

If you know me well, you are seeing that I LOVE my space and I'm enjoying this time away from the world. I'm not in a rush for anything or anybody, so I'm not going to waste my time trying to make something out of nothing. Being single is pretty dope, it builds character. It's making it easier for me to say no to game that used to have me smitten a year ago. If there isn't some type of stability or even a hint of intellect, it isn't going to work out. I'm currently open to shooting my shot rather than waiting for people to get their lives together. Being patient and conscious will work out; I really want people to understand the beauty of being patient, to actually grasp what that can do for you. Don't rush any process whether its your passion or if its a relationship, great things take time. Know yourself before committing to anything and I promise you'll be satisfied with the results. 

You Got This

Rakiya George

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
— MLK
 Shirt by by  Nareasha Willis  #BlackVogue taken at  #CurlFest

Shirt by by Nareasha Willis #BlackVogue taken at #CurlFest

Often times, when you've been wronged, the natural reaction is to think or be "dark". Dark is mostly associated with being negative, or pessimistic. I can honestly say that when something has been done to me, and it actually affects me, that is what my mind preps me to do; to become anti-social and angry. It takes a lot for me to be affected by anything, so when I am affected, it takes a toll on me. Being hurt or disappointed is a part of life, but the way in which you cope with your battles, is how you strive past it. I've gotten rid of negative or toxic situations for the sake of my sanity; having a healthy mind can change your perspective on how you think daily.

When I was younger, all of my reactions were based on impulse with minimal to no thinking whatsoever. I could be wrong and still have to react; that's completely changed now. At this age, the amount of energy it takes to argue or prove a pointless point is a lot, and I'd rather not do so. I think about my reaction and say exactly how I feel and then move on; not every situation deserves a reaction though; again why waste your energy? I also don't believe in burning bridges; just always resolve the issue on a positive note; there's no need for bad blood because that allows a dark presence to resound within you no matter how hard you try to not let it in. 

 Shirt by by  Nareasha Willis  #BlackVogue taken at  #CurlFest

Shirt by by Nareasha Willis #BlackVogue taken at #CurlFest

Hating anyone takes a lot of your energy and no matter what a person has done to me, I cannot bring myself to actually hate the person; I just remove myself entirely and focus on the positives that life has to offer. I used to always want to get the last word out, or prove my point, but now I couldn't care less. Kill everyone with kindness and know that karma is real and it works. In the crappiest of situations, I think finding the light within a terrible situation is what makes you whole. Think of anyone that you know personally that has been through a lot, but still manages to smile and find joy in the smallest of things. That is where my mentality is at. I'm human. I get mad and upset, but I move on. I get all of my frustrations out in my head or I vent to a select few and realize why I am better than the situation I am stressing over. I realize why I don't need this instance/person anymore. It's refreshing. I wake up the next day with a better attitude and a clear mind-set. 

Overcoming any wrongdoing takes a lot of strength, because people tend to dwell on what is out of their control. Dwelling is what keeps your mental down and discourages you from accomplishing your goals. My father recently told me that no matter what you're going through, it is imperative to remain focused on your dreams, your passion, and to see the light in every situation. You're better than that. 

Every experience is a lesson. Just learn how to Shine through it. 

 Shirt by by  Nareasha Willis  #BlackVogue taken at  #CurlFest

Shirt by by Nareasha Willis #BlackVogue taken at #CurlFest

Do You

Rakiya George

 Shirt by by  Nareasha Willis  #BlackVogue

Shirt by by Nareasha Willis #BlackVogue

This post is relatable to all of my readers, as I see a pattern that I am not too fond of. Society is plagued by opinions and those opinions are deterring women and as a matter of fact, people in general from being who they are/what they want to be. There have been countless articles blatantly showing disrespect or a practiced injustice and it is mentioned for a day and then forgotten. It's as if these instances happen so often that we've become so used to it; it's an ongoing cycle of being upset and then moving on. Does us not doing more and merely reading or watching make us ignorant? You can comment on a post all day, but in actuality, that is simply complying, and we are all guilty of exercising that. We are guilty of pointing the finger, but not actually doing anything to prevent the issue from occurring again or just taking any type of physical action. 

I've had friends speak to me about ideas that they've had and then quickly told me that they won't go through with it because they were worried about the opposition. They were worried because what they wanted to pursue wasn't in their "lane" and they didn't want to be judged or questioned. Make your own lane, who's stopping you? Surviving and Dreaming are two separate things, and if you want to accomplish something you are dreaming about, you have to get out of your comfort zone and do it. You want to be a poet? Start signing up for open mic sessions at your local coffee shop and let people hear you. You want to start a fashion blog? Get those fits together, and get busy. That one thing that you are hungry for can actually turn into what is allowing you to survive. I hate fear! It clouds your judgement so badly; it's so unhealthy. 

 Shirt by by  Nareasha Willis  #BlackVogue

Shirt by by Nareasha Willis #BlackVogue

I've found myself more and more confident in the path I'm choosing to take. When making a decision, does standing out bother you? Do you second guess yourself? For what? For who? For the longest, I've stopped caring about opinions and this is the most confident I've ever been. I'm content with the flow of my life, and am always trying to improve; that is what you're supposed to do. As you are on your own journey, you are figuring out your calling; some people find it right away, and with others, it takes time. You've got to enjoy your life, no matter what. Money comes and goes, but you've got to eat correct? A lot of things are temporary and you will grow out of certain things, but what is supposed to remain solid, will remain as it should. 

I like to think that the process of growing or evolving gives you that "ahh" factor; it's a sense of security. For example, I woke up one day and realized that I have a lot to say about different motivational topics, and here you are on my platform, reading and commenting on what I said. These small victories, are what's going to make all of this worthwhile. I am a very patient person and I know that greatness takes time as long as you really aim for it. While I am on this journey, I think it is imperative to make statements, the impression is everlasting. Being different doesn't go unnoticed and that is a misconception a lot of people have. Being different is pretty dope; it reels people in and makes them think about you. This is cliche, but the goal really isn't for you to fit in, but its for you to stand out. You have to be confident in what you want and own what it is you're aiming for. The opposition can never hold you back, and I truly respect people that we've seen in the spotlight overcome all negativity and obstacles that life uncontrollably threw at them. Ask yourself where do you want to be in 6 months, and start planning. Make Your Statement and make Yourself Proud. 

 Shirt by by  Nareasha Willis  #BlackVogue

Shirt by by Nareasha Willis #BlackVogue

RESET

Rakiya George

Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.
— Rumi

I took a much needed break and focused on prioritizing my life. I made a major decision and decided to move out and be an actual adult all on my own. The whole process of re-adjusting was surreal at first, but I am still getting in the swing of things. It's a comforting feeling to have a long day at work and then come home to your home. Your morning dishes that you left in the sink, your hairbrush that you left on the counter, your space.

 Captured at  Home.

Captured at Home.

Moving ignited a weird shift in the people that I found myself close with as both ends had a sudden disconnect. That process of understanding why there was a switch up in the first place bothered me for such a long time until I confronted each person one by one. It is imperative to check on those around you, however I believe in matching someone's energy, and if that isn't being reciprocated in return, I am not wasting it. Your energy is valuable, and it cannot be wasted on those that are not genuine or memorable. You have to understand that you cannot hold onto every person that you want to cherish; people outgrow each other as well as situations everyday; it's a part of life. 

 Captured at  Home.

Captured at Home.

This is a period in my life where I am okay with letting certain habits go as well as people. Recurring patterns of disloyalty or trust or whatever you feel isn't right, isn't healthy. People get molded into doormats everyday and I refuse to follow suit. This month of moving has made me realize more intimate details about myself everyday little by little. I do not have the same mind set as I've had before; as many of my readers know, I say this a lot because we as people are forever changing! Life is constantly in motion. I've had a major life change and I've been nothing but appreciative of those who have been around me, supported me, and remained true to who they were to me. 

 Captured at  Home.

Captured at Home.

I'm steadily finding my rhythm and adoring the person I'm becoming. Moving has caused a small reset mentally. I've clearly been spending more time by myself and I'm Loving IT. Upon moving, I was told that I'm going to discover things I didn't know about myself and I am honestly discovering things everyday. Your twenties is a time for self discovery, where you are understanding that you do not need any and everything. I am still pursuing my career, not worrying about things I have no control over, and still cautiously planning my every move. It is empowering to have something to call your own. Think about how you felt when you received your college degree years ago or even recently, or how you felt after getting your first car; it's humbling. To know that you put effort into achieving something is rewarding and negative thoughts/people mean absolutely nothing; those factors can never steal your shine. I'm happy to say that this accomplishment is motivating me to knock more things off of my list for the year and enjoy life the way that I'm supposed to.

More dope pieces to come! 

(( E N E R G Y))

Rakiya George

 Captured in Jersey City, NJ - Shot by  Aaron Culmer

Captured in Jersey City, NJ - Shot by Aaron Culmer

The most dangerous thing a woman can do, is make up her mind; come to a final conclusion. When she comes to that point of "this is it" there is no turning back. Our emotions and our feelings are often taken for granted and I feel like we're always forced to reach our breaking point and get over situations. I believe a lot of women settle, and that is something I am vowing so hard not to do. It's a constant battle to control how you feel, because you don't want to seem sensitive, or you don't want to feel weak. No woman wants to ever feel weak; that was repeated for emphasis. Why? Because we are not weak beings to begin with. We strive to do everything on our own; dependence is minuscule. When you're settling, you're clouded by the thought that you need someone and you can't handle what life throws at you all by yourself. 

I think every woman is determined to show the opposite that they are not the typical stereotype and that she is more than what is perceived. As a black woman, it is a mission to not be the"angry black woman". It's always at the back of our minds; "I don't want to be that person". As soon as you show a sign of emotion about a situation, you're automatically considered mad or you're considered "hurt". First of all, no one has to bend me out of shape for me to feel the way that I feel; I simply love to voice my opinion. I like to talk about things that guys don't want to talk about. I push those buttons. For example, I went on a slight rant about why as women we should not be forced to settle for a cheating reckless man because his childhood wasn't the best. The first guy that reached out to me about my posts asked me who pissed me off; NO ONE DID. This was simply my opinion based on past experiences. Life is all cause and effect, however, just because your mother didn't hug you enough, doesn't mean that I have to settle for an emotionally unstable man that doesn't want to get out of his own way. You have to learn that on your own; you have to grow and heal. For a very long time, I refused to speak up and let situations go unnoticed and that didn't really get me far. I sympathized for what was wrong and didn't see the bigger picture. Growing up allows you to experience the good and the bad to prepare you for the future. I don't need to be triggered or influenced to let anyone know what I feel is right and what I feel is wrong. This goes for life, love, anything, my experiences molded the way I look at things; these situations have guided me to the opinions that I have now. 

 Captured in Jersey City, NJ - Shot by  Aaron Culmer

Captured in Jersey City, NJ - Shot by Aaron Culmer

At this point in my life, I'm aware of what I want, and if that isn't coming my way, I'm still striving for it. Let's dabble into relationships. At age 25, do you honestly think I'm in the mood to settle for what is convenient? I'm still figuring myself out, granted everyone is, but I am not entertaining the idea of a waste of my time. That time is precious, and I cherish it. I'd rather let go respectively than try to drag out a dead end situation. My most recent break up had to be the most adult break up I've ever endured. It was a mutual agreement and I didn't feel terrible or heartbroken, I was pretty much relieved. Everything doesn't have to work out, as that is a part of life, and I'm okay with that. My younger self would've been distraught and a complete wreck, but I don't waste my energy when I don't have to. Even dealing with being single and re-adjusting, I've noticed that I do not have the same energy for a lot of things. Inconsistency is probably the biggest deal-breaker for me. I do not need to speak to anyone everyday, however, I do value a sense of security or want. I'm going to be completely frank, I don't need anyone, it's the want that holds the value, and as of right now, I don't want anyone. I want to excel in my career; everything else will fall into place. 

When you take control of your future, nothing can really get in your way or affect you. My mentality is pretty much set on being positive and strong-minded. There is a current overflow of free-spirited women who are breaking everyday norms and I'm in constant awe of them. Settling isn't an option, being weak isn't a crutch, it's just thinking strongly for yourself without a single worry. I don't react to things that used to get me into my feelings at all. I'm very much in-tune with how I feel in a healthy way that is refreshing and enlightening. I like the pep that's always in my step, and the sparkle that is always in my eyes. Being a woman is such an awesome experience, and when you figure out your worth, it's exhilarating. I'm okay with being by myself and taking on new experiences. Love is a beautiful thing, and it will come when the time is right. For now, I'm focused on what means the most to me and that's growing mentally, spiritually, and financially.

Never settle for less than what you want, always strive for the top tier. 

 Captured in Jersey City, NJ - Shot by  Aaron Culmer

Captured in Jersey City, NJ - Shot by Aaron Culmer

Souled Out

Rakiya George

We are addicted to our thoughts. We cannot change anything if we cannot change our thinking.
 Captured in Jersey City, Shot by  Chase Whetstone  | Shades by  Styling Stingy

Captured in Jersey City, Shot by Chase Whetstone | Shades by Styling Stingy

We are constantly thinking, We are thinking of our futures, times from the past, and thinking in the present as we are constantly making moves. If there was an option to stop thinking would you take it? I honestly daydream unconsciously all of the time. I'm simply hungry for a change; I'm always thinking about doing/being better. Some people prefer to run away from thinking; in a nutshell running away from their issues. I'll be honest, I try to run away from my issues as well, but you have to take them on; face what is right in front of you. 

I appreciate my solitude, it's where I get most of my thinking done. I plan my next post, I plan my next goal, I think of the life I want to have. I'm doing good, but can always do better; I want to be great. Our minds are constantly going, and our thought process is constantly evolving. Thinking of what is yet to come, is exciting, however you need to really appreciate what's going on in your life right now. The present is what prepares you for the future. 

In those moments where I'm staying to myself and finding spiritual peace within, it is simply to get my mind right for whatever is coming my way. You can only think for yourself, and as I look back at times where I tried to think for others, I've realized that I was always unsuccessful. You cannot change a mind that is already made up; it took so many life lessons for that to process in my head. To thoroughly understand that yes, you can have an influence on someone, but you cannot dictate the decisions they choose to make. You've tried your hardest to make someone see what you have to offer, and try to paint a picture for them to look forward to, but they refuse to add color to your picture. That's a person who unbeknownst has had their mind made up already. In situations like that, it is very hard to let go, because your mind already has an idea fixated on how things should be. Just as often as your mind can change, situations can change just as quickly too. 

 Captured in Jersey City, Shot by  Chase Whetstone  | Shades by  Styling Stingy

Captured in Jersey City, Shot by Chase Whetstone | Shades by Styling Stingy

When I'm thinking about something, I'm always thinking of what my soul would react to. I don't put myself in situations where an uncertainty is bound to occur. I try to think as positively as possible, even when the odds aren't in my favor, but I strongly believe that if you have a positive mind-set, positive things will occur. If you're always negative or doubtful, how can you think that anything good will happen for you? No matter what you are going through, I think its best to think positive. There are millions of other people possibly in the same predicament as you, so stressing on what is out of your control, is never needed. 

I've watched people wither away because they refuse to get out of their negative thoughts. It's absolutely draining to think of the worst constantly. Your body reacts to what your mind is processing, thinking so negatively can change your entire demeanor. This change is noticeable to everyone around you. It's literally like a dark cloud is following you everywhere you go. My mind set has gotten like that from time to time, and I've always felt heavy. Heavy with doubt, heavy with uncertainty, and my soul was aching to be relived. 

 Captured in Jersey City, Shot by  Chase Whetstone  | Shades by  Styling Stingy

Captured in Jersey City, Shot by Chase Whetstone | Shades by Styling Stingy

All it takes is a simple positive idea to make your entire body feel alive. At the end of the day, everyone has a vision of where they want to be in life. It is attainable, but you have to greatly appreciate how far you've come and what's going on for you right now in this particular moment. When I used to get in these sad-negative funks, I always thought about what was occurring for me right now, and how thankful I ought to be for being in this particular state. You've got to listen to your soul and your body when it is telling you to make a change. There is always a silver lining in any situation, you just have to think of it.  

Letter of Reflection

Rakiya George

Dear Younger Self, I’m writing to you to let you know that whatever you go through is nothing that you cannot handle. You cannot, shall not, and will not stress over things that are completely out of your control. Life has this amazing way of calming you down in the midst of your current rage or disappointment. Your world is not ending, it is constantly adapting and moving forward. You are a flower constantly blooming, and if there is a drought, or a shortage in rain fall, understand that you will continue to rise. 

 Captured in Jersey City, shot by  V. Aura  of  Aura Studios  

Captured in Jersey City, shot by V. Aura of Aura Studios 

You cannot be stopped; stand your ground. Negativity will try to uproot you and change who you are, change your form. You were perfectly planted to do exactly what you wanted to do, and only you can control that direction. You’re the only person that can stunt your growth from being great. Growth is important, and I want you to please take note of everything that you go through. It’s beautiful to look back and understand the changes that could’ve been made. That only prepares you more for the future.

 Captured in Jersey City, shot by  V. Aura  of  Aura Studios  

Captured in Jersey City, shot by V. Aura of Aura Studios 

Dear Younger Self, I’m writing to you to let you know that your heart is stronger than you think it is. You are going to go through immense pain and think you cannot prevail, but you will. The heart being pulled at is part of life, and you cannot hold onto every person you give it to. You have to limit that amount and know that everyone isn’t for you. Take your time when choosing who you share your heart with; you only have one. It can easily be tainted and change the person that you are destined to be.

You outgrow people, you understand what is meant to be will be. What you may think is broken, is only becoming better. What you think is hurting you, is making you the strongest you could possibly be. These issues pulling and crushing your heart are doing absolutely nothing, because your heart isn’t crushed at all. Sadness is a simple reaction, and you’re far from sad. You’re as strong as they come, and a little mishap shall not ruin your shine. The heart was made to endure pain, and that pain prepares you for whatever life decides to throw at you.

 Captured in Jersey City, shot by  V. Aura  of  Aura Studios  

Captured in Jersey City, shot by V. Aura of Aura Studios 

Dear Younger Self, I need you to take care of yourself. I need you to nourish your body and make sure that you are your own priority. I need you to listen to your body when it speaks. You’re a busy body, but taking breaks is essential. You can do everything all on your own, however, you need to make time to prioritize and plan accordingly.

You're extremely independent, and I adore that, but know when to slow down. This is the only body that you will ever have, and I need you to cherish it. Drink your water, take care of your skin, pray. Meditate and speak on what you’d like to accomplish. Be patient, and know that everything happens for a reason, so do not question your timing. You’re going to do great things, and be a wholesome person. One that exudes with positivity, and loves love.

 Captured in Jersey City, shot by  V. Aura  of  Aura Studios  

Captured in Jersey City, shot by V. Aura of Aura Studios 

Dear Younger Self, your Older Self is still figuring life out. She is learning as she goes and is taking notes. She understands that life is extremely unpredictable, but beautiful all at the same time. She is trusting her path and going in the direction that she feels is right. She is letting go of toxicity in all forms; people, habits, etc. She is tackling adulthood and making moves. Everyday is a blessing and opportunity to do something great, whether it is big or small. She’s inspiring people with her words, and finding out what it means to be happy. She is a work in progress, just like anybody else. She is proud of the woman you will become and a lot of people are proud of you too. You're going places Younger Self, appreciate the journey.

- Rakiya G

Elevate

Rakiya George

When you’re in a dark place, you sometimes tend to think you’ve been buried. Perhaps you’ve been planted. Bloom.
 Captured in Los Angeles, CA - Shot by  Nareasha Willis  

Captured in Los Angeles, CA - Shot by Nareasha Willis 

I adore life, and all it has to offer. It is remarkable to see what it can throw at you, and in cases where it hurts to the point where you're questioning your very existence, I also admire the wake up call it enforces. Life is a healing process, and taking a moment to breathe is extremely essential. In your twenties, I believe that self care should always be a priority. Self care is not simply taking a bath, and listening to uplifting or semi-depressing music, self care is taking your time and deeply thinking about your life decisions. Yes, treat yourself, but having the realization that you can overcome any obstacle and sticking to that realization is what self care is all about. Realizing the difference between "needs" and "wants" is self care as well. Protect Your Energy. 

 Captured in Los Angeles, CA - Shot by  Nareasha Willis  

Captured in Los Angeles, CA - Shot by Nareasha Willis 

I struggle to not stress over things that I cannot control. I've accepted that you cannot change anyone's mind, especially if their mind is already made up, and I'm completely okay with that. However, once you actually care about someone or a situation, and invest your time and your energy, it's hard to let go; it's hard to accept the situation for what it is. But as with everything else that occurs in life, it goes on. You learn to adapt, you realize that what is meant for you will come forward when the time is right. 

The purpose of this piece is to explain just how detrimental stress can be to one's body. I've overwhelmed myself with all of the obstacles life had to throw at me so far for the year. I wasn't eating right, I wasn't sleeping, I felt sick. If everything hadn't already went wrong, I was simply waiting for the next thing to come along. Pessimism took over my body and I became very bitter, cold, and negative. I shied away from my close friends, and ultimately wanted to be alone. Days where I could've been productive, were spent in bed trying to figure out this gloomy puzzle of what my life had become.  

 Captured in Los Angeles, CA - Shot by  Nareasha Willis  

Captured in Los Angeles, CA - Shot by Nareasha Willis 

My healing process includes, sadness, rage, and then detachment. This might be a typical cycle for women; we all have our way with dealing with stress, but this is definitely how I deal with mine. My energy was being consumed by this dark internal cloud, and I needed it to stop. When you no longer care about something that stressed you out immensely, it's extremely euphoric. I'm not 100% sure about how I feel, or if I feel at all; but I can say that I'm focused, and driven on what is important. I've found a light when all I could see was darkness. I'm finding ways to make myself happy, and making the best of it. Life is not perfect. People will let you down. But again... It. Is. Okay. 

It's not healthy to dwell on things you cannot change. Why get upset? Why make yourself sick? A couple months from now, what you've cried over isn't even important anymore. Just let it go. (But, let me say that crying is extremely therapeutic and I say do it as often as you need to.) Switching your mentality from broken and helpless to growing and healing is such a major accomplishment. That is a small victory in itself. I believe that obstacles are created to make you realize what you can actually conquer. God doesn't give you something that you cannot handle; it's a mere challenge, a simple test. So you're in a financial hardship, you just got out of a relationship, you're not sure about your current career; are you going to dwell about these things and not prevail/make a change? 

 Captured in Los Angeles, CA - Shot by  Nareasha Willis  

Captured in Los Angeles, CA - Shot by Nareasha Willis 

Sometimes, you have to take a million steps back to see the bigger picture. It helps you draw the line between what matters and doesn't matter at all. And the more of the picture you see, the more you realize how much energy your'e wasting on unnecessary people and situations. Give your energy to what gives you energy. Save the rest for yourself. Elevate.  

italicized words from Jhene Aiko*

Rakiya G visits GirlsRoomJC: An Ode to Self Love

Rakiya George

"When Women Support Each Other, INCREDIBLE Things happen."

 The ambiance at  Harry's Daughter  is to die for. 

The ambiance at Harry's Daughter is to die for. 

I'm going to constantly stress the need to support one another this year. I support all creatives alike, but when it comes to women, our sisters, they get every inch of my energy. Hard-working women who are getting things done in unique ways will always catch my eye. When you see growth within a collective, you have no choice but to feel for their accomplishments, and give the credit where it's due. 

This past Sunday, I had the pleasure of attending an adorable women's brunch created by the lovely ladies of GirlsRoomJC in partnership with Chilltown Collective. IT. WAS. SO. CUTE. These teams really outdid them-selves from the venue Harry's Daughter, to the menu, to the personalized place cards all with an individual inspirational quote on the back. I thoroughly understood that they took their time to intricately plan an amazing event for women to feel empowered. 

 Great Turnout!

Great Turnout!

This sold-out magical event called for a monochromatic fit which allowed a rainbow of women to dress comfortably and look absolutely gorgeous while doing so. This was a Galentine's family style brunch that allowed you to network with beautiful women and to really see a side of Jersey City that not a lot of people know about. There are so many creative beings in Jersey City, and this event brought forth an entire female force. Could you imagine the photo-shoot for this? Just all bad ass creative women? Girl. There were makeup artists, entrepreneurs, beauty experts; any type of creative you could think of was in attendance, with their highlight GLOWING. 

Vendors included Pepper B of MeetPepperB.com who had her Kiss and Recharge PowerBank Luxe portable charger and super chic Oversized Diamond Makeup Bag for sale. She was also in charge of the complimentary Kiss & Recharge Luxe charging and trinket station. Another vendor who's work was seen throughout the venue was Angelica of @Imperfection_Art. Her pieces depicted the female body in the many natural forms that it comes in. Lastly there was a Self Love Glow Bar brought to you by Bloomsbury Sq, this included demos that highlighted skin care and beauty. 

This event had so much to do, so many people to talk to, and the playlist was super LIT. I applaud these lovely ladies for having such a heartwarming event. Members of GirlsRoomJC include: Stephanie Garced , Arjayla Ortiz, Minorca Sanchez , Lizsandra Padilla, Shanique Sanabria, Carina Hernandez, Lizzette Gonzalez, and Deliana Acosta

 S L A Y . 

S L A Y . 

I am beyond proud of you ladies, and I know that there is so much more to come! For my readers, please check them out, hit that follow button on Instagram and stay in the loop; more dope events will be coming soon! 

Sisters

Rakiya George

I cannot stress the importance of a stable support team. Everyone needs that one particular shoulder, or shoulders to lean on during those times where you feel as though the world is against you. When you feel like you have nothing left to give, and you need to let it all out. I'm a very independent person, and even I understand that I need a person or two to vent to, and express my feelings to. Besides your parents, or your significant other, there are your sisters.

 Women's March LA '18 - Captured by  Kenny Stadelmann  in Downtown Los Angeles, CA | Shirt by  Nareasha Willis

Women's March LA '18 - Captured by Kenny Stadelmann in Downtown Los Angeles, CA | Shirt by Nareasha Willis

For women, actually let me go into detail, for Black Women, there is a forced stereotype that we are either angry and black, or we are cold, successful and black. Either way, there is a negative connotation that is attached to us. I don't quite understand where this perception came from, nor do I take any offense to it anymore, but I do put people in their place when it is absolutely necessary. We are always perceived as angry, or bitter, and it's mind boggling, because I personally believe that Black Women are powerful, magical, effortless beings that are not solely angry. 

giphy (44).gif

I cherish the women that I call my sister's, because they have been there for me during excruciatingly tough times, and I have been present in return. These women that I have found sisterhood in, are my back-bone. It's deeper than a friendship; I consider them family. Biologically, I have a baby sister, who I cherish dearly, but from elementary school, high school, and going away to college, I've obtained unforgettable bonds with strong women. Gaining these friendships have molded me into the woman that I am today because each personality rubs off onto you in a way. You think smarter when you have a fully equipped clique of strong-willed creative women.  

I'm currently in Los Angeles, and it just happened to be the weekend of the Women's March. (I am so clueless when it comes to these things.) I wasn't extremely inspired to go, because although I adore the purpose of the march, I still believe that there is a divide race-wise for women, so every fight is not my fight. I was more inspired to go to the Million Man March back in 2015, because I felt its purpose automatically; hence why I was there and wrote a story on it for a publication I used to work for.

 Women's March LA '18 - Captured by  Kenny Stadelmann  in Downtown Los Angeles, CA |  Crew-neck and shirt by  Nareasha Willis

Women's March LA '18 - Captured by Kenny Stadelmann in Downtown Los Angeles, CA |  Crew-neck and shirt by Nareasha Willis

The Women's March this year was directed towards voting because we have an idiot for our president, and obviously there was a lot of unity and "sisterhood" on the outside. But as I walked past these women of all colors, I couldn't help but wonder if this same warm/kind attitude would be reflected tomorrow if we were to cross paths. I hate to be that person (actually I don't), but I couldn't help but think about race, and think about how Black Women had to fight 10 times harder for rights; we were never originally incorporated into any of the women's rights we read about in our history books. Still exiled, still had to put up a fight, still had to prove our worth. 

So it's the moments like these that I appreciate the most, because I went with one of my sister's Nareasha Willis, founder of Black Vogue and we slayed those LA streets. We wore Black Vogue pieces, turned heads, and created a small buzz of comments. I felt the eyes scolding the term "Black Vogue", and it made me even more proud to be a part of the movement. The racial divide hasn't really left, and we see that day in and day out. Even at the Women's March, I still sensed the divide, so I didn't attend for women as a whole, but for the women that I could relate to. I attended for those women that I call my sister's who have supported me and continue to support me. I attended to show the world that Black Women are fearless and will hold their heads high no matter the opposition. There can be movements within a movement, and that is what I felt marching in LA. 

"Another black woman is my sister, not my competition. The plan is that we both make it."

 Women's March LA '18 - Captured by  Kenny Stadelmann  in Downtown Los Angeles, CA |  Crew-neck and shirt by  Nareasha Willis

Women's March LA '18 - Captured by Kenny Stadelmann in Downtown Los Angeles, CA |  Crew-neck and shirt by Nareasha Willis

Let's Get It

Rakiya George

It's a New Year. More Goals to Accomplish. 

I didn't want to post a cliche "New Year, New Me" post; that's tired. I'm taking on the growth from last year, and simply evolving and learning every step of the way. For once, I can definitely say that I've never been more excited for what this year has to offer. Like, I actually smile at the thought of the things I want to get done. When I hit my milestones, the euphoria that will take over will be simply satisfying.

 My credo. 

My credo. 

Everyone knows that I'm a planner, however, I adore spontaneity. This year. I want to wow myself with my choices, and to go with the flow. If something doesn't work out, it isn't the end of the world; just keep going. Everyday, wake up with a purpose; whether it's big or small. Take in every ounce of opportunity, because you never know where it will lead you. 

I started the year off pretty reserved, I definitely appreciate those of you that were asking when my next post would drop; you guys literally make my heart smile. I'm continuing to trust my process, so if I feel as though a post isn't ready, or if there isn't a message being delivered, I will not update my site. 

Not to say that I was in a funk, but I was extremely busy; I was waiting for the universe to calm itself down before I included myself in anything. Posts moving forward will have insightful messages, but will begin to feature my spontaneous trips, collaborations and new discoveries. I'm as personable as possible, but it's time for more range; I think you guys will really enjoy it. 

 Wake. Up. Girl. 

Wake. Up. Girl. 

Back to my brief funk, for the first week of the year, I woke up everyday questioning my goal. What was getting done? Am I falling off? What the hell am I doing? I just had to take a quick mental break to gather myself together and makes these moves. (Self care at its finest.) I'm a very indecisive person, and me not posting anything didn't stress me out, it just pushed me to get shit done, as time waits for no one, and there are opportunities to reach for. 

I spent the first Saturday of the year in the city, being adventurous with my best friend. We stood in the freezing cold for possibly 45 minutes to view the Volez, Voguez, Voyagez – Louis Vuitton Exhibition. IT. GAVE. ME. LIFE. This fashion thing isn't an issue for me, so learning about it is one of my favorite past times. The journey that this brand has been on is truly inspiring and the entire day, I felt uplifted and proud of how far I've come, because you never know what will happen next. (The future really excites me, it's slightly excessive.)

 Vintage LV Writing Trunk - capture on my outdated 6s 

Vintage LV Writing Trunk - capture on my outdated 6s 

Writing is my first love, and I will continue to do so as long as possible. Venturing off into different things of course is needed, but there is no other love, like your first love and that will never change. The exhibit had a display of a writing trunk, and I was in complete awe; I could stare at it all day and just picture myself using it and creating. The little moments like that are what make me proud of my craft.

Besides the exhibit being absolutely stunning, I got to connect with my best friend as well as vibe with a friend that he brought along. The connection was instant! We all feel like this year is the year to be great; to do something iconic. 

There isn't a worried bone in my body for what is yet to come, and again, I get excited from the thought of it. This opening piece for the New Year was to merely reiterate what I've already been saying on my platform. Trust Your Path and remain confident. Take a break if needed, but never forget about your goal. If you need a reminder, write it down, or set it up on your phone. Have something tangible to remind yourself that at the end of the day, you have something to accomplish.

Let's have a super productive year. Claim it!

 

 Captured by  Al Fuquan Green  on my outdated 6s. Crew-neck by  Nareasha Willis   #BlackVogue    

Captured by Al Fuquan Green on my outdated 6s. Crew-neck by Nareasha Willis #BlackVogue

 

Own It

Rakiya George

"You'll Never Find A Rainbow, If You Are Looking Down" 

Pessimism, doubt, fear, these are all things that hold you back from accomplishing your goals. No matter what you try to achieve, there will always be that underlying feeling of not being successful, and do you know what I say to that? F**k Off; do you!

 Captured in Bayonne, NJ | Shot by  Joel Serrano

Captured in Bayonne, NJ | Shot by Joel Serrano

Everything takes time, and what I've learned in this past year, is that you have to be patient. Spiritually I've grown this past year as well, and I do not speak of it openly, but I'm a firm believer when I say that God doesn't make mistakes. Everything happens for a reason, and everything can get done as long as you stick to it and remain positive. I thoroughly believe that pessimism is a disease created to discourage and distract you; constantly talking yourself out of something is draining. You start to not believe in yourself and that isn't healthy. You have to be your biggest fan before anyone else, but if you're presenting yourself to the world, and you aren't confident, how is anyone supposed to believe you? You have to be real with yourself before anything. Taking a leap of faith is always scary, and unpredictable, but staying confident has to be your number one priority when making any sort of life change. 

 Captured in Bayonne, NJ | Shot by  Joel Serrano

Captured in Bayonne, NJ | Shot by Joel Serrano

I remember when I used to always think negatively about EVERYTHING. A friend would give me an idea, and I would list everything that could possibly go wrong. It. Isn't. Healthy. Just from shooting down every possible idea, I felt heavy with constant doubt and negativity. I wasn't myself anymore, life wasn't fun. Your mind can take you to places that are either really beneficial to you as well as detrimental to you. I personally hate overthinking, but when you're feeling slightly low, or even a tad bit stressed, that's all your mind seems to do.

 Captured in Bayonne, NJ | Shot by  Joel Ser rano

Captured in Bayonne, NJ | Shot by Joel Serrano

The logic that comes from overthinking is somewhat comical. For example, when you overthink about why your significant other didn't text you back for two hours; if you're insecure enough, you automatically think they're doing wrong, but then when you start to overthink, you think of 85 people they could possibly be doing wrong with, send a long ass paragraph of why this person isn't shit, and then when they finally reply with"I was just taking a nap", you calm yourself down immediately and de-escalate. Isn't that insane?! Overthinking is the Devil! It's such a tiring and negative thing to do to yourself.  

For any situation, listing pros and cons is essential, but to completely desert any idea because you only thought of the bad that can come from it, isn't the best way to live your life; it isn't productive. Over time, I've taught myself to not think negatively automatically, because when people come to me for advice or ask me if they should venture off into something, I automatically tell them yes and that they should go for it. I plant that idea in their head, and wish them all the best, so I have to have that same mind-set when it comes to myself. Practice what you preach. I used to give advice all day, but never actually incorporated it into my own life, and it made me feel extremely hypocritical. 

Take baby steps when thinking about your next move. I literally ooze positivity and optimism now; ask my wonderful friends. I basically say "F**k Off" to anything that opposes my goal. Having a strong, positive mind-set can really change your mood around. Instead of walking around with a dark cloud, I am skipping with a ray of sunshine. I can't be stopped, I can't be persuaded otherwise, I'm getting shit done.

There is always a rainbow in my view! 

 Captured in Bayonne, NJ | Shot by  Joel Serrano

Captured in Bayonne, NJ | Shot by Joel Serrano

20 Something...

Rakiya George

It's my 25th birthday. I'm content and I'm here.

 Captured in Bayonne, NJ | Shot by  Joel Serrano

Captured in Bayonne, NJ | Shot by Joel Serrano

This has been a pretty liberating and eye-opening year. When your'e younger, and your'e imagining what being a "grown up" is like, you never think about how real life can get. I thought life would be perfect, I thought that I would have my shit together, I thought I'd have it all. I can't name five people off the top of my head who has their shit together at my age; it's almost nonexistent. For the most part, I don't think anyone really ever has their shit together, regardless of the age, you just take whatever life throws at you and adapt.

 Captured in Bayonne, NJ | Shot by  Joel Serrano

Captured in Bayonne, NJ | Shot by Joel Serrano

This time last year, I was pretty miserable, my job sucked, my social life had holes in it, and I was still out here getting played by people's ugly ass immature ass sons'. When I look back at all of the foolishness that I've been through, I cringe at the mindset that I had back then. I've grown, a lot. For year twenty-five; I only want to keep growing and keep progressing. I can say for a fact, I am not the same person I was a year ago, or ever for that matter. I'm more confident in myself, I'm assertive when I need to be, and I've learned how to forgive. I don't ever want to be a perfect person, but I'm definitely aspiring to be great in all aspects of my life, and to be as stable as possible. 

The woman that I am today is a product of two insanely smart and thoughtful parents. If it wasn't for them, I wouldn't be able to share any of my stories with any of you. I wouldn't want to inspire or want to shed light on other people; I wouldn't have a purpose. So, I'd like to thank Esther and Anthony George for being the gems that they are. I'm not the most affectionate person, but I love the shit out of my parents. I want this platform to take off so that they don't have to work anymore. I want to be able to say that I got this, and mean it. When I turned 21, it was for the sake of the number, and all it entailed. Fast forward to 25, and now the goal is to stay grounded, as well as provide. This year coming is all about securing the bag. 

I planned a lot of things within this year, and I got most of them done. This platform has given me so much joy just from the feedback that I've gotten from all of my readers. People that I didn't even think would read reached out to me saying how much they confided with my words, and that's all that I wanted! Year twenty-five will be planned diligently as I make more and more goals to achieve for myself as well as this platform. I said I wanted to launch in April, and I did in September, I said I was going to travel and take a much needed break, and I did all of that on the West Coast in August. I spoke these things into existence, and I will continue to do this for the next year coming. Please remember that everything takes time, and it is essential not to rush the process. Within this last year, patience has been a deciding factor for many of my choices, and I don't have a single complaint yet; I'm living. 

That fear of not succeeding hits me from time to time, but I'm already here, I'm already putting myself out there, so I have no choice but to keep moving. I get excited by how much I want to accomplish this forthcoming year because I can taste the success. The purpose for twenty-five is to Get Shit Done. Life is a learning process and I take notes every step of the way. I'm about to own twenty-five and do whatever I please, as long as it makes me happy. 

"Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself."

I plan to create so much this year, just wait on it! I appreciate you all!

 Captured in Bayonne, NJ | Shot by  Joel Serrano

Captured in Bayonne, NJ | Shot by Joel Serrano

It Was All Written: Love Yourself First

Rakiya George

Love is a necessary force for any human to survive; to feel, to remain complete. We as mind-evolving people try to figure out what love can do for us daily; but do we understand it? Do we truly know what love is? Have we really experienced it? What is its purpose?

 Captured in Jersey City, NJ | Shot by  Joel Serrano

Captured in Jersey City, NJ | Shot by Joel Serrano

He takes you out and buys you nice things… But how does your heart feel? Have you guys grown together? Have you grown as individuals? What are his aspirations in life? What are yours? When you speak about the future is it ‘we’ or ‘me’? What does he want to accomplish? What do you want to accomplish? Does he pray for you? Do you pray for yourself?

Everyone doesn’t find their love at the age of five in a playground, or at a basketball game in high school, or during homecoming in college. Often time’s people lose themselves in lieu of what they perceive love to be.

I think as we grow older, we endure times where we lose track of what is and isn’t. There’s disconnect between our mind and our actions. We become blind; numb in some cases. When it comes to love, I’ve seen people lose themselves entirely by the idea of someone loving them, when that love wasn’t even present. There is a difference between being loved and being cared about. I can speak from my own experience and say that it isn’t the prettiest picture to paint.

 Captured in Jersey City, NJ | Shot by  Joel Serrano

Captured in Jersey City, NJ | Shot by Joel Serrano

I loved someone, but I was more so fixated on the idea of that person being mine. Claiming me. Leaning on me. I held him down. But we weren’t in love; I hurt him in ways where one shouldn’t have to fathom that type of pain. Then that same pain was reciprocated right back to me; we matched each other’s carelessness and forgot our purpose for being together.

The relationship was over before it started. We said we loved each other, but the journey was a constant battle. More tears of pain than tears of joy. My mind became so cloudy; I didn’t even know what I was involved with anymore. This wasn’t a relationship. We held on because we felt like we needed to. Love isn’t an obligation; it’s something that you should want to do/feel, it’s something you cherish.

 Captured in Jersey City, NJ | Shot by  Joel Serrano

Captured in Jersey City, NJ | Shot by Joel Serrano

I wasn’t happy, but I didn’t want to let go, nor did I want to be alone. Being alone was one of my biggest fears… but when the water ran dry, I had to pick up the pieces and rebuild myself. I felt like I didn’t have anyone and I didn’t know how to accept the pain of being without him.

See, I wasn’t raised to be weak or dependent on anyone; it took time, several months to almost a year to be exact because my heart yearned to be loved. But I realized I was happier without him, I thought differently, I laughed more, and I was content. I started to love myself again. I realized that I’m a gem and I could preserve my worth on my own. 

It’s a process to appreciate one’s solitude because you aimlessly spend time thinking. It’s as if your mind is a blank canvas and all of your thoughts are being thrown in millions of colors and it’s jumbled. You just have to breathe, because baby girl life goes on. Life is actually great and whoever decides to give you their all will bless you the way God intended them to do so. So you may mess up here and there, and your judgement may not always be the best, but when that love comes in all its innocence and purity, you will be the most fulfilled woman in the world. Don’t look for love, let it come to you. Stand your ground and love the hell out of yourself, because if you can’t love yourself, how can you love anybody else? – signed a self-loving black girl

 Captured in Jersey City, NJ | Shot by  Joel Serrano

Captured in Jersey City, NJ | Shot by Joel Serrano

I N S E C U R E

Rakiya George

I've named this piece "Insecure", because it's Hella Relevant. 

There is a great gain in finding yourself; I think that mental growth is truly needed and once you obtain that, anything is humanely possible. For years I've been extremely insecure about myself, and I never really had a legitimate reason as to why. 

 Captured in Hoboken, NJ | Shot by  Joel Serrano

Captured in Hoboken, NJ | Shot by Joel Serrano

Overcoming insecurities are a part of life and this can dive into many aspects. Insecure means that you are not confident or assured; uncertain and anxious. Why do we think like that? Why do we get into moments of uncertainty and talk ourselves out of something; we think low of ourselves as if we are not good enough. For a long time, my biggest insecurity was speaking up; I used to love falling back and being silent and allowing for people to speak for me. I was always worried of judgement, which I think is a main factor for people not living their best life. 

Judgement has got to be the root of all evils and insecurities. Everyone lives life differently and in their own way, so who are you to judge the next person because they tie their shoes differently compared to how you tie yours? When I was younger, I always felt like no matter my decision I would be judged; especially in college. Your name and the way you carry yourself is everything when you see the same people everyday, and that definitely meant a lot to me back then. 

 Captured in Hoboken, NJ | Shot by  Joel Serrano

Captured in Hoboken, NJ | Shot by Joel Serrano

Another insecurity that I faced dealt with my interactions with people I cared about. Whether it is a close friend or a boyfriend at that time; I always felt weird discussing or opening my feelings to a person. If I was dating someone and had an issue, I would never step forward and it would either be pulled out of me, or gone unnoticed. You should never feel the need to hide how you truly feel towards someone whether it's good or bad; just let that shit out. 

Dabbling even further into relationships, I was really insecure in regards to my own boyfriends. That always worried about what they're doing and who they're talking to phase was such a mind controller; it's draining. All of that energy wasted on being worried. I think this is a general problem women face until they learn how to get over it. I can say for myself that I've gone crazy over a person that I was with because of being insecure. That alone can damage a relationship; I get it, trust is a main factor but you need to learn your own value and realize that anyone that has the gall to cross you, doesn't see your true potential. So why worry? Be confident in who you share yourself with. 

I'm Hella Poppin; you outcho mind if you don't want me.

 Captured in Hoboken, NJ | Shot by  Joel Serrano

Captured in Hoboken, NJ | Shot by Joel Serrano

At this particular point in my life, I'm not insecure about anything. Why should I be? Life is precious, and it needs to be lived beautifully. Got a plan? Execute it. Something's on your mind? Speak on it. You love someone? Tell them. Don't. Hold. Back.

I'm pretty forward and open with my feelings; I'm beyond confident in myself. Conquering this unnecessary fear did take some time; over the years I've learned to love being by myself so that naturally helped. When you take time out of your day to figure out who you are, certain things don't really bother you anymore. I walk with a purpose, and I cherish everything life has to offer. I don't hold back and that is why I am here today sharing stories of vulnerability and being as honest as possible, because I know there is someone out there that has been in my shoes before, or is currently at a stand-still now. 

You're Hella Dope, Let The World Know.

 Captured in Hoboken, NJ | Shot by  Joel Serrano

Captured in Hoboken, NJ | Shot by Joel Serrano

 

 

Walk With Me

Rakiya George

Take a moment to close your eyes and breathe. Smell the air, feel the wind caress your face, exhale anything that's holding you back. Now check yourself. 

 Captured in Jersey City, NJ - Shot by  Aaron Culmer  | Sweatshirt by  Black After Party

Captured in Jersey City, NJ - Shot by Aaron Culmer | Sweatshirt by Black After Party

I took my time with creating this platform because I wanted it to be important and meaningful to me. I wanted the pieces on here to resonate in your mind and make you understand that we are all human, and at times think alike. I'm selfish when it comes to something I love, so if something wasn't right, it wasn't being put into existence. I think patience is a virtue that many people overlook, when in actuality it's purpose is to benefit you in the long run; make you a better you. 

On my journey of creating this platform, I was always asked by people "so when is your blog coming out?", and at first I was flattered to see people rooting for me, but I eventually became overwhelmed and actually dreaded the question. "It will be ready, when it's ready", became my answer to most; it came from a bitter, uneasy place because I felt like once I was asked, it was perceived as though I wasn't working. At this point I didn't want to speak on what I was creating. I was also annoyed by the rush of MY project.

 Captured in Jersey City, NJ - Shot by  Aaron Culmer  | Sweatshirt by  Black After Party

Captured in Jersey City, NJ - Shot by Aaron Culmer | Sweatshirt by Black After Party

Everything in life doesn't need to be rushed, and eventually people will understand that. This past summer, I was talking about a close friend and how they were getting shit done, and how proud I am of this person, and in the midst of this conversation, I was asked "So what are you doing with your life? Because clearly everyone's doing something except for you." Not only was I furious with that comment, but I was hurt... I actually ended up crying on the inside because for one the person that made this comment knew nothing about my life, my process, or my goal. That entire moment replayed in my mind and I became very cold for a while, I almost believed the person that said these words to me; I thought I wasn't doing shit.

 Captured in Jersey City, NJ - Shot by  Aaron Culmer  | Sweatshirt by  Black After Party

Captured in Jersey City, NJ - Shot by Aaron Culmer | Sweatshirt by Black After Party

You see, ignorance will never get you anywhere and until you find something that you're passionate about, you cannot speak on something you've never lived for. Like seriously ask yourself "What am I living for?" and if you say something generic or if you are extremely hesitant, then my dear you do not have a passion. I checked myself at this very moment, because in all honesty, I could've went completely out of character and served this person on a shiny gold platter solely with my words.

I gathered myself together and began to really evaluate where I want to go in life, and who did I want to touch with my words. That conversation only made me want to do better, and get more shit done. Before you knew it, I was knocking out articles and photo-shoots; really putting my baby together the way that I wanted to. I think this moment was a reality check for myself and only wanted me to create more and more. 

Do not ever feel discouraged because you are not one to rush things. Past experiences have proven that rushing will only leave an end result that you are not essentially happy with. That's valid in all aspects of life. Take. Your. Time. Check yourself and proceed. I'd rather take a nice, long and thoughtful walk to appreciate the flowers rather than rushing to an end that hasn't fully grown yet, filled with weeds and thorns. Sometimes life calls for harsh moments that wake you up, and at that time you may undergo a whirlwind of emotions, but never be too harsh on yourself.

"What is meant for you, will be for you, and only you."

 Captured in Jersey City, NJ - Shot by  Aaron Culmer  | Sweatshirt by  Black After Party

Captured in Jersey City, NJ - Shot by Aaron Culmer | Sweatshirt by Black After Party