Special Edition: #Blog4Biz A Writer’s Business

Blog4Biz Day 5

Out of Hiatus for a special cause….

 

My friend Shai  has me coming out of my blogging hiatus.  Per my post on my birthday, I am technically on a blogging break, but sometimes we have to make changes for good causes and this is a great cause.

 

What is #Blog4Biz?  I’m glad you asked.  It’s a  blogging challenge for the month of July for business owners created by Shai. It’s a blogging challenge to help you get your business off the ground if you’re a new entrepreneur.  If you’re a seasoned entrepreneur or a ‘serial’ entrepreneur it can help you get focused on the current or the next project.  And who doesn’t want that?  We get a new prompt every day.  Would you like to join us?  Check Shai’s blog daily and join the Facebook group.  We’d love to see you over there.  Tell Shai I sent you so she doesn’t think I’m slacking. 

 

Not only is this challenge to help you blog for your business, it’s to help you flesh out the plans and dreams you have for your business as well as connect with your customers, clients, audience and readers (in my case). It’s like a written business vision board. Sidenote: we love vision boards around here.  For the 31 days of July, there will be a different prompt and the word number increases – yes, the word number increases.  For those that don’t know me and are new here – welcome!  But word count is never an issue for me as a writer.  I’m wordy as hell.

 

My prompt for the day is:

Choose a word that starts with ‘mo’ like momentum, mobility, moving, etc. and write about how that relates to your current business incarnation

Of course, why would I end up with this one?

After pulling up all the words I could think of that started with ‘mo’ I chose the word….

MOXIE

mox·ie  (mks)

n. Slang

1. The ability to face difficulty with spirit and courage.

2. Aggressive energy; initiative:

3. Skill; know-how.

 

I’m writing from the perspective of someone who IS the business.  Basically, my words are my business.  I take them seriously.  If you’re a creative, an artist or someone who provides a service or a product, you’re still part of the business brand.  Many times, you are the brand.  As a writer, people come here to read what I’m writing and they pay attention to what I say – that was a scary thought when the blog took off.  I mean, people really care about what I say or don’t?  Yeah, no pressure. 

 

The reality is it takes a lot of moxie, on a daily, weekly basis to continue – with any business.  Some days are more successful than others.  There will be a number of failures, poor decisions, etc that happen.   There will be a lot of times you want to throw in the towel and quit.  Trust me, I know about this – I have seriously thought of deleting the blog a few times.  I didn’t.  I persevered because I realized what I’m doing right now is important.  To me and my readers.  What’s coming up is important.  But you can’t get to the other side of things if you stop in the middle.

 

The moxie is what carries you through.  Those are the days it becomes extremely important to dig in, tap in and carry on.  For me, it’s the moxie that gives you the momentum.  

 

When I first started blogging, I started just to test the waters.  As a writer I wanted to know was I any good.  I wanted to know how people would respond to my posts.  I wanted to know what people would say first-hand.  Did I have the nerve to publish?  Could I handle the negative comments that sometimes come an author’s way?  Was I ready to face the rejection or someone telling me my ish wasn’t good?

Yes.  Yup.  All day.

I also realized somewhere in there, I didn’t exactly have a concrete plan.  While I’m not posting daily for the challenge, I would like to say my ultimate client is mostly all of you – anyone who reads and finds the blog comforting.  My ultimate goal is to get these stories I’ve been hiding and housing for years, edited and posted into Amazon and then see where it goes from there. In the meantime, there is so much work to actually be done.  Despite the fact I’m a creative and I write, blog, etc., there is always business to handle.  Setting up business entities, handling money, making decisions for next steps, making sure the blog is maintained and handling the editing and the publishing of the book.

If you’re an artist or creative person, don’t ever let anyone let you think it isn’t a legitimate business.  There’s so much work that has to be done and considered on the back end of things – in addition to all of the creative work that has to be done.  Seriously.  It’s like double work.  However, it’s worth it.

What’s your word?  Let me know in the comments section below.

For all of those that normally follow From Rae with Love, I’ve started a new group vlog, called The Stepsisters with my friends Shai, Tanisha and Eva.  We’ve been having an amazing time.  Right now we’re discussing blogging, collaborative blogs and the #Blog4Biz challenge.  However, don’t get it twisted, we talk about EVERYTHING on there.  We tend to roll off on a good tangent every show and that’s when the magic really happens.  Check us out!  Mind you, the show is about an hour every Wednesday at 9pm and we do the show LIVE.  Seriously.  Stay for what happens past the business side of it and you’re guaranteed a good time.  Also, you can follow us here collectively on twitter @StepSistersBlog.

It’s been difficult to stay away from the blog, however, sometimes we have to take a break in order to reset ourselves and refocus on our purpose.  I promise I’m not going anywhere because there is so much more to come.  I have some things in the works and cannot wait to share them with all of you.  You also know you can find me on twitter @fromraewithlove.

Before I go let me give you a few really good books I’ve been read and talk about the business side of the creative field:

The Artist’s Guide: How to Make a Living Doing What You Love by Jackie Battenfield

Blogging for Creatives: How Designers, Artists, crafters and writers can blog to make contacts, win business and build success by Robin Houghton

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life  by Anne Lamott

Choose Yourself: Be Happy, Make Millions, Live the Dream by James Altucher

APE: How to Publish a Book (Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur  by Kawasaki/Welch

 

As with any business it’s about having the moxie to put yourself and your work/product/name/service out there.  More importantly it’s about doing the work.

Would love to hear your comments below!  Please make sure to visit and sign up for the challenge!  Hope to see you all there on the other side of completion and success!!!

Love,

Rae

 

Bazinga! 39 x 39 – Day of Rae, My Blogaversary and An Announcement

Hi Loves!!

How are you?  Today is my birthday aka #Raeday!!!

Bazinga!!!!

Wooooh!  I’m thankful and excited.  I love birthdays.  It’s an honor and a privilege to see them.    *cue “Never Would Have Made It by Marvin Sapp.  It also happens to be my two-year blogaversary!!!  Which I can’t really believe.  From Rae with Love, the Little Blog that Could, is two years old.  It’s been two years!  So much has happened since I first began writing From Rae With Love.   Funny enough, I’ve only shared a handful of the stories with you.

In my very first post this time two years ago, I shared some lessons I’d learned as of my 36th birthday and then I wanted to share a few thoughts I had on turning 37.  This year, I am going to do something a little bit different.  I want to share 39 things I want to do before my 39th birthday.  Not only does the number of years I’ve spent on this earth astound me, it’s also interesting to see how others handle and deal with it as well.  I’ve been watching people who are farther(further? why worry) along on their journey.  Some of them are handling the aging process better than others.   Mostly I think many of us just weren’t mentally prepared for how the time flies.  Not to mention, according to so many others and the rhetorical bullshit that spews out of someone’s mouth, as we approach 40 that’s supposed to mean we’re old? I don’t buy into it.  I never have.  Aging and growing older (and hopefully wiser) is a beautiful process.  From what I can tell, it’s about how we each choose to see it.

I have a who shitload of stuff I want to do over the next year.   They haven’t been listed in any specific order.  Each of them is critical to me and the next year.  Without further adieu, here’s the 39 x 39:

  1. Use the mixer my mother got me last year – more..which means I’ll be baking, or making pasta, or grinding meat.
  2. Create a series of You Tube Videos.
  3. Submit these short stories for publishing in literary journals.
  4. Write the short stories I mentioned in #3.
  5. Relocate.
  6. Take more photos.
  7. Lose 20% of my current bodyweight.
  8. Purchase a DSLR camera.
  9. Create a short film.
  10. Write a script for a show treatment.
  11. Tour DC with my friends and act like a tourist.  [I’m wearing the colored protective visor and Tevas and shorts and shit]
  12. Increase my income by 50% + get a new job.
  13. Eat from 30+ new restaurants (read includes dives, mom & pop stops and food trucks – that’s where the best food is)
  14. Take a series of photos worthy for a gallery exhibit.
  15. Add 1000 new followers on twitter.
  16. Create a new series of blog posts.
  17. Bake from scratch.  [I owe a series of zucchini loaves to a very close friend]
  18. Cook 25 new dishes I’ve never cooked.
  19. Purchase and successfully meal plan around a crock pot.
  20. Journal.
  21. Buy new furniture that meets my actual home-style now.
  22. Build a home theater system.
  23. Create a logo for the website.
  24. Attend a writers workshop.
  25. Research (info, interviews etc), write and publish an article or podcast for a major publication.
  26. Get a tattoo.
  27. Participate in new twitter chats.
  28. Have a conversation with a published author I admire.
  29. Publish a series of stories on Amazon.com.
  30. Be consistently happy.
  31. Be less fearful of trying new things.
  32. Publish one blog post that scares the shit out of me.
  33. Be on a major panel as a guest.
  34. Live. Like really have more to tell you so y’all can be all up in my business.
  35. Be able to achieve certain yoga poses.
  36. Write handwritten letters and notes to my close friends and family.
  37. Sew three (3) new projects and create a few new pieces of jewelry.
  38. Him.  [Redacted No. 38 about Rae’s love life]
  39. Pray more.  Hear more.  See more. Be more. Love more.  [I cheated here but IDC]

Whew!!! There it is – my 39 x 39.  Doable?  Yes.  Now let’s see how much of it I can get done effective immediately.  It’s not just about a mad rush of checking things off of a proverbial list, it’s about living and improving my quality of life.   There are also so many other things I plan to do within this next year – like buy some skates and roll around the city!!  Which brings me to my next announcement…..

I need to take a creative hiatus (aka a creative furlough, a creative retreat).

Relax.  Don’t freak out on me and get crazy.   The blog isn’t going anywhere.  I’m not really going anywhere.  I just won’t be posting for a while.  For the record, I don’t exactly know how long a while means, however, I do know it will be through the summer.

When you have a personal blog, it becomes increasingly difficult to share certain things.  Hills, valleys, good news, life changes and events and whatever else may come along means life tends to take over.  Life has taken over which means, I need to just live.  That’s what’s most important.

I’m still going to be here.  You can still find me on twitter @fromraewithlove.  I’m on twitter daily.  Otherwise, catch me on the Facebook page for the blog or if you really need to get deep, you can email me at fromraewithlove at gmail dot com.  So see, it’s not really that bad.  I can be located.  I just won’t be blogging.

So you’re wondering what am I planning to do with all of the time I don’t spend blogging?  I still plan to write.  I have a number of writing projects I need to complete.  I have new projects that are just taking off, that I can share later this week.  I’m also on the Dr. Vibe show monthly.  A few of my blogging friends and I have started a series of Google Hangouts. In other words,  I’m still here.

I know I’ve slowed down in the last months.  That’s mostly been because I am at a crossroads as a creative, as a writer and as a woman.  I’m not in a space to post everything.   I also have so many other things planned for the blog, for my life.  So basically, it’s time to live and get some things done.  Where else do all of these wonderful posts come from?  LIFE.

As the good 39 x 39 list reflects, I have a lot of work to do, a lot of living[loving] to do and quite a bit to organize, shift and put into motion.

Check in with me.  I still need want to hear from you.  I love emails and tweets.  See info above….

BTW, I’m always watching.  Trust and believe.

Mother loves you,

Rae

Thoughts on Being Single: Be Gentle with Your Single Friends and Family

I am a soon-to-be 38 year old woman.  I’m not married.  I don’t have children.beingsinglequotes

Newsflash: I want to be married and I still hope for children.   I shouldn’t necessarily have to explain all of this, but in today’s times I find myself in what I call “In defense of being alone.”

I am certain many of my married friends, the friends of friends and family members either think I LOVE being single and ergo don’t want to be married with all of the “trappings” or that  something is horribly wrong with me which is why no one has married me.

Seriously.

I don’t deny there are some things wrong with me – stop laughing – lol.   I tend to be moody although I manage better these days.  I’m somewhat set in my ways – but amenable most days.  I like things done a certain way.  I’m not fond of people who snore (although I do) and I like being able to have to have time alone.  I write.  Writers need time alone and time to create.  Time to stare out the window.  Of course this is the short list of what’s wrong with me.  There is the more exhaustive list I’m sure my exes would be all-too-happy to post and discuss.

I’m also weird sometimes.    Very sensitive, highly intuitive, a lover of ‘me’ time and not fond of loud background noise if I cannot control it.  I’m not a neat freak, but my kitchen and bathrooms all have to be really clean (thankfully you can’t see what they look like right now or you’d call me a damn liar).  I will turn around and go back home if I think I’ve left the stove or oven on.  I spend money on cheap wine and good food. There are a whole host of really weird things I love I won’t even go into today.

Some days I don’t want to be married because I understand the work it takes to make things work.  Being single has it’s benefits in I don’t have to be accountable to someone for where I am and what’s going on.  On the contrary, I am the single friend who wants her married and boo’d up friends’ relationships to survive.  I have sat for countless hours (maybe into the 10,000 hour level) of talking with people and counseling on relationships.  My advice is sound, it works and most days I’m on the money and right.  I tell them it’s difficult out here in singledom and unless there’s a gee-golly good reason of misery, abuse and generally irreconcilable differences then my motto is stay and work it out….

Please note, I am not making a case for marriage or singleness.  For having children versus choosing to remain without children.  Depending who I talk to, there are as many drawback as there are benefits to either.  Each of us has to decide what’s really right for our own life.

However, the questions and the looks from friends and family sometimes, when marriage and children come up is difficult and awkward – at best.  I’m also being extremely nice here.   I’ve been cornered, questioned, speculated at and preached to.  Funny thing is it hasn’t come directly from my Mother or Father – thank God.  Although I’m pretty sure they worry about me, especially my Dad (Hi Dad!), there’s been a whole host of people who feel the need to have input on this.   While I’m thankful for the concern, it hasn’t helped me not one damn bit.

I’m an only child.  I’m fiercely independent.  It’s not because I want to be.  It’s because I’ve had to be.  I would love more than anything to hand over these reigns of household management to a trusted man who would be my partner/spouse/lifemate or [insert your word of boo’d up choice].  I am fine with allowing him the ability to make decisions for us and for me to add my input.  I’d like to have a #Him to bounce ideas off of.  Someone who I could depend on when I was tired or call in case of an emergency.  I have surely built a wonderful network of friends over the years who are there.  But the intimacy of this sort of partnership is what I crave.   I don’t like having to show up for events, wedding, vacations, cook outs and house parties alone all of the time.

In the general scheme of things, I want to be with someone who is available to me when I need him, can support me when I push him away, will take over when I keep my mouth shut and generally help me.

No, I’m not broken.  There is nothing wrong with me (mostly).  I’m just single.

And that can be for any host of reasons.  Choice.  Timing.  Poor choice of who I chose to date over the years.  Spending too much time in dead-end relationships.   Trying to revive already dead situations.   I’m not new to this, not new to dating and not new to consideration of things.

I can talk about all of the bad relationship choices I’ve made over the years.  I will take ownership of them.  I made the decision to date these men.  Maybe the time spent has resulted in me being on the second half of life yearning for a family and a spouse.  But it doesn’t mean anything is actually wrong with me.    This time last year I was in the midst of a relationship that makes me thankful to come home to an empty house.  If you’ve ever had one of these kinds of a relationship, then there’s an understanding of what I feel.

The point here is many of us who are single (men and women) don’t often want to be that way.  Despite whatever our dating and prior marital history may have been, I believe many of us have settled into being alone because we don’t want to settle into the wrong relationship.   We’d rather be alone than be miserable with someone just for the sake of saying ‘Yeah, I got a (wo)man.’  Maybe our hearts are too big (in my case) and we can’t bear the idea of having to endure another heartache.  Maybe I don’t want to have to discuss another failed relationship or being publicly embarrassed by the actions of my significant other.  Maybe, just maybe, I want a place where I can go and still find love, comfort and peace.  And maybe there’s no one that’s provided that for me in years on a consistent and committed basis – despite the fact I’ve dated.

I won’t even begin to talk about how many dates I’ve been on and the mayhem and foolishness that’s ensued.  [Note to self: book material].   There are the stories those who read my blog know about.  There are stories I’ve only told my friends and there are stories  I’ve never told anyone and may never share.   There are the stories behind the stories.

The issue is many people feel as if it’s because I wanted it this way.  That’s far from the truth.  I’ve found myself on more than one occasion having to listen to the concerns of others.  I’m thankful for the concern but it seems all of the owness gets placed on me and why I’m not married.  I mean, I could have been – several times over and realized the person wasn’t right for me.  There was once or twice I met someone and I thought they were right – they didn’t think I was right.  Is anyone seeing a pattern here?

But here’s the thing – what if I didn’t want to be married or committed?  Would that make me a bad person?  No, not at all.  For those that fit under that umbrella I support them as well.  The fact remains I DO want to be married or at least in a successful long-term relationship.

I wrote this a while back and have been anxious to post it.  I just ask if you’re in a committed relationship and have a friend or a family member who is single and childless, be nice to them about their situation.  Please stop assuming things.  If you want to know and are close enough with them, then ask – the right way.  The following WRONG statements have been said to me in some form or fashion:

“oh, you like being single.”

“You love your freedom huh?”

“You like doing things alone all the time?”

“I know you don’t want to be tied down or else you’d be married by now.”

“Aren’t you dating?  Why not?”

“Why don’t you have any children yet? Have you considered finding a donor?”

“You know you can just have kids and don’t need to be married/in a relationship right?”

DONT’ say anything that even remotely looks like any of the statements above.  I have plenty of other examples.  I managed to wiggle out of each of these with grace.  I didn’t want to destroy the fabric of the relationship or turn out the family event.  Just be mindful of what you say.  No trapping them at family functions and private events where their singleness or lack of suitable suitors and dates becomes the main topic.  I’ve managed to handle it with grace but the snide remarks need to see their way out of these discussions.

Have you ever thought the person could be going through something they need to handle?  A financial situation?  A health complication?  Maybe they aren’t able to have children or are now having to debate if it’s the right thing to do?

I’m just saying there are countless reasons people remain single and childless.  Please don’t make assumptions.  Even when you love us.  It’s not fair.   Many people only tell you what they are comfortable telling you.  They may not share everything that happens in their life that’s led them to be where they are at the moment you’re speaking to them.

If you have single family members or friends and you’re married, please be nice to them.  Don’t assume they are fully content.  Don’t assume they are miserable either.  If you want to know how they are, then ask.  If you want to know if they’re dating, ask.   If there are more details, then if you know them well enough, find a considerate way to approach the topic.

I’ve come to a point of acceptance that when it happens it happens.   It can’t be forced.  It can’t be planned.   I need others to get on this page too.

Just be gentle with us.  When the time is right, it’s right.
Have you ever been cornered by your family or extended family about your relationship status?  How did you handle it?

The Not-So-Favorite F-Word

“Forgiveness is giving up all hope of having had a better past.”  ~ Anne Lamott

I read the above quote earlier today and was blown away by its meaning.  Mostly because I, Rae, in all of my desire to be nice, appropriate and kind, it makes it even more difficult to forgive someone from time to time.  Anne Lamott, in all of her infinite wisdom also says that “Forgiveness means it finally becomes unimportant that you hit back.”

Honestly, I want to hit back some days.  There are only a few people on that list.  Who even after the time has passed since the offense, actions, deception, etc where I still wouldn’t mind hitting back.  I’m human.  I try and work on it.  I find the less I try to forcefully let go, the better I feel.  In times past, I have forgiven with almost no remembrance of it having been a chore.  Like one day, I’m as angry as Bluto and seeing red and a week or two later, I’m all zen and peace like Mother Teresa.  I’ve written about the importance of forgiving myself and talked about it when I wrote about choosing (or not) to give someone a second chance.

I think the quote mostly hit me like a brick today because I’m coming upon my 38th year of life.  While I can’t be more excited – I really am!  I also often think about how differently things could have been done if I hadn’t dated a certain person (or several), hadn’t moved to certain places, had allowed others to remain out of my life and kicked some out much sooner.  During this month I become very reflective often to the tune of becoming relatively critical of myself.  But seeing that quote this morning made me stop and think about a few things.  It made me realize I need to stop the hope of having had that better past and start realizing now is the time I have, now can create the next moments, the better moments for tomorrow. 

It’s easier said than done.   Like I said, some days, I still want to hit back.  I’ve found the best thing I can do for myself is to let those people out of my life and allow for it to remain as such.

No one really likes to talk about forgiveness.  At least not most people I know.  It [seems] is much easier to hold onto whatever offense someone has committed and hold them responsible.  It seems much easier to continue to think about the past and wonder:  What if I hadn’t ________?  What if I would have ___________? 

Lous Smedes

So this month, one of the things I’ll be working on is abandoning hope of having had a ‘better’ past.  A better past would mean I wouldn’t have met all of you.  It would mean I would possibly miss out on all of the current and future goodness.  There’s no future in spending time on all of the days past.  While it’s good to have some reflection, it’s better to understand where you are and why you’re there.   In honor of that, I’ll be creating a list with items I want and expect to accomplish over the next gifted year of life.

What are your thoughts on the Anne Lamott quote?  Any words of wisdom on the F-word?

Love,

Rae

How to Survive Bad News ……

Having had to deal with a series of unfortunate events, aka The Leminy Snicket in these parts, over the last two years I have somewhat been able to learn how to cope better with the bearing and the bearers of bad news.

It has been rough actually it’s been downright shitty to be perfectly honest.  What we consider ‘bad news’ is one of those things life tends to throw at us or that we tend to throw ourselves into.  In other words, some trouble we cause, others we bring and some [most] of it the peaceful ones haven’t asked for.   It doesn’t seem to matter.   Not to scare you, but if you’re living and living well or like a wretch, the odds of bad news coming to visit you on late nights, early mornings and midday is likely.  This doesn’t mean all the time. It certainly shouldn’t be every month (I’m praying).  But some years are just rougher than others.  Some seasons reign down stronger.

I’m not immune to it.  In the last 12 months alone, I’ve had to face a series of Leminy Snickets.  That ends today.  It has to. I’m calling bullshit and it has to come into order.  It’s been a Job season and it has to be the end of it.

Bloggers Note:  I would just like to say, I believe as a person of faith we go through many different seasons in our lives.  Some look like those of the Ruths, Jacobs and Davids.  Others feel like those of Job, Jesus and countless others.  It’s a journey. 

I was thinking about it today, and I wanted to write a post on a few of the reasons I’ve managed to survive through it – the last 12 months and the last 20 years real talk.

  1. When you find out, get the call, see the email or the deed, hear the words or are given the information through osmosis or the information fairy, don’t do anything stupid.  In other words, no taking permanent action on a situation that cannot be undone.  We’re often tempted to retaliate and do dumb shit when something is out of order or we find ourselves in a tailspin due to something that may not be out fault.  This is of course easier said than done.  But if you can sit down, walk away, leave or run and just think things through, it will be a lot better.  Going ham and ending up in jail only complicates our lives.
  2. Don’t go it alone. How many times have you had something happen or get one of those awful phone calls and then you disappear off the face of the world? I’ve done it countless times.  My recommendation is to call someone who can handle the information and manages to hold you up and support you.  In other words, don’t call someone whose attention you’re trying to get – call the person(s) that are always there to support you and are there to care for you.  I mean this.  Don’t call the person who will send you over the ledge.  We all have these people.  Just know who your emergency team is and treat them well.
  3. Bad news tends to bring out a whole host of other thoughts and processes we aren’t normally expecting to experience. Sometimes it means we need help to cope and deal.  This could mean counseling.  It could mean a sabbatical. It could mean tackling the problems first hand with an expert or professional.  Don’t be afraid to seek help.  It’s one of the best starting points.  Often they can quench our fears and put out those invisible fires we tend to create for ourselves.  Going to therapy, going to an accountant, heading to a doctor or specialist isn’t anything to be ashamed of.
  4. Don’t make drastic decisions and choices during this time unless it’s an emergency.   In other words, that plan to do something crazy or drastic after you get bad news isn’t something to do.  Contemplate it but sit on it for a while.  In other words – this means don’t turn your life inside out because you lost your job.  Another job can be found or created.   This sounds like common sense, but I can’t tell you how many people I’ve had to talk off the ledge in my time.   On occasion I’m the one being talked off the ledge.
  5. Have faith.  I cling to mine.  I’m certainly not a poster child Christian.  Not by any means.  If anything, I use my life as an example of the things not to do when __________ . Feel free to insert whatever really stupid thing you’d think I wouldn’t or haven’t done, something I haven’t experienced and I might surprise you.  I’m digressing as usual.  I have to cling to my faith.  I don’t really know any other way to wake up every day and have a modicum of hope.  In other words, I ALWAYS try to see God in the situation – even when I can’t early on.   Even when I don’t want to.  Even when I would much rather be angry.   I try to see and wonder what God could be up to with what’s happening at that time.  It’s one of the few things I’ve found comforting during trying times.  Even if you can’t possibly find or see anything good in the process, find something to hold on to and ride that wave for dear life.  If you can get through these patches, I promise things get better.They better get better.
  6. Get the right people around you.  I can’t stress this enough, you’re going to need other people.  So, play nice.  Help others.  Love people.  Make friends. Create family.  I have to say this – it may take you years of adding, subtracting and piecing together your network with the right people but it’s worth every bit of it.  Not everyone is going to be there in the long term.  But if you can get the right people around you – the true confidantes? You’re golden.
  7. Take all of the anger/pain/grief and hurt and turn it into something beautiful.  Isaiah 61:3 says that God will “provide for those who grieve in Zion– to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.”  I add this because every.single.time in the last few years I’ve received the bad news, the good, the beauty that has replaced the ashes has replaced the pain and my life has opened up at every turn.  This blog took off at one of those points.  I’ve met some of the people I’m closest with after those moments.  I have fallen in love.  I’ve been able to do some amazing things. That brokenness that comes with the bad news has allowed me to hit next level.  I’m saying that once you get off the floor and pull it together (which sometimes takes a while) then it’s time to get to work.

These aren’t steadfast rules, these are just a few I could think of given the last few months I’ve been having.  Mostly to remind myself that trouble don’t last always, as the old folks used to say and encourage you to hold on even when you don’t want to.

How do you get through?  How do you cope?

I’m thankful for all of you and that you take the time to go on this journey with me…. read, comment and share.  I’m also thankful that I have been able to share so much of what happens.  If you’re not following me on twitter, you can find me @fromraewithlove
My actual life story may not be one of notoriety but it is full of lessons…. stay tuned for the corresponding book.

Hope floats…..

Love,

Rae

Blogging, Blogging Some More, Writing and Running my Mouth

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African-American woman working in Defense plant during WWII. Don’t you love this photo?

Blogging, Blogging Some More, Writing and Running my Mouth.  That’s one way to sum up everything I have been doing over the last month.  I recently started working on fashion boards and posts for The Curvy Fashionista!!  Woooooo!  I am so excited about it.   Before I started blogging for The Curvy Fashionista, I was on the site whenever I needed inspiration for something new or just to see what might be coming down the pike.    Marie Denee, the creator and owner of the blog is an amazing spirit, has great style, wonderful ideas and makes things look effortless.  Lookahere though – I have to say hats off to all of the fashion bloggers because it’s consistent (but fun) work.  You have to be dedicated and on your game every.single.day.  Check out some of the latest posts I’ve been doing for the The Curvy Fashionista.  I’ll be over there weekly talking about different ways for us curvy girls to style ourselves, various trends and other fashion and style-related content.    So far, I’ve talked about peplum, how I’d style myself in my twenties versus my thirties, flower prints and rain gear! Whew!  All sorts of stuff right?  Nothing is off limits.  Are you curvy?  You should be following her on all social media outlets.  Have questions about how to rock a certain item?  See a trend coming? Let me know!  I’m always looking for fun fashion things to discuss on the blog, so hit me up and let me know what you’d like to see!

For those of you who follow the blog, and those of you who are new to the blog (hiiiiii) I was on the Dr. Vibe show last year for an interview.  We were both finalists in the Black Weblog Awards.  Because he is a connector and likes to meet and interview new people, Dr. Vibe reached out to me for an interview.  And just like that, I was live and on the proverbial internet air!!  Since then Vibe decided to create a show where the women took over.  Myself and three other really awesome women (Kenya, Marie and Brandy) would get together ideally, and host a show once a month.   I’ve been running my mouth for good cause (which isn’t a surprise to those who know me well) with them for a couple of shows now and it’s been amazing!!!  We broadcast on the third Thursday of the month from 8:30pm until about 9:50.  This is something we’ll be continuing through the year!  We make it a point to end the show before Scandal – so really, there’s no reason not to listen.  What can I say?  Tune in – we create scandal before Scandal ever comes on.

Along with these updates, there are a few more I’ll be talking about over the course of the year.  Of course, I’m working on my own projects  such as more blog posts and content here, the book that needs to be written and will be written (stop judging me) and various short stories.  I’m also planning a few events with my blogging sisters here in the District.  And this is all just the business end of things.  I haven’t talked about my 9 to 5 or even my personal life right now….. a girl is busy!! It does keep me mostly out of trouble.

So here’s a question, what more would you like to see from the blog?  You can let me know in the comments, or email me at fromraewithlove at gmail dot com or guess what???!! You can answer this nifty little poll right here….. I’m a genius right?

 

Anyway y’all, hope all is well.  Believe it or not, there’s so much more on the horizon for the year.  I can’t wait to continue to share everything with you.

Love,

Rae

The Show Must Go On

Sitting here recapping the last few months’ events to a girlfriend of mine (hey Stacy!!), I basically told her about the last few months and then I said “But the show must go on.”   She then told me I needed to write a blog post about it…. The last few weeks have looked just like this:

No bullshit.  Sitting at the computer at work and at home.  Writing, creating, planning.  I haven’t stopped – working, writing, creating or crying – really.  Just when I think I’ll stop?   Yup – just like the scene.  But you know what?  I thank GOD for the work because it’s saved me in so many ways.

This isn’t how I’d normally handle things.

A few years ago, some of the stuff I’ve seen over the last year alone would have shut me down.  (I know y’all want details but seriously I have to save some of this for the book I’m working on.)  It hasn’t this time around.  In fact, I’ve been working through most of the mayhem.  You know, it’s that sudden realization that you don’t have the luxury or the time amidst what you may consider some major crisis.  In some ways some of the things that have taken place really are about a crisis.  Others seem to be first world problems and are more like annoyances or non-factors.  Others, well, others may not even hit the radar for most people – but I’m not most people.   I’m me.  I’m Rae.

I know there’s talk on the interwebs/nets whatever you want to call it about black women, the strength of black women and how we just keep pushing and we just keep going in the midst of crisis.  Well, I’ve tried to stop and in fact I have stopped a few times in my life.  Sometimes when you stop – it’s too long of a break.  That break that was supposed to be a month turns into six.  Six months turn into a year.  You understand what I mean right?  By the time I’m aware of the amount of time that’s passed, I’ve not only lost the time, but I’m pissed at myself even more.  Or at least this is what I’ve realized.  Me stopping for too long? No bueno.

So despite the fact that some really crazy shit has gone down, I’ve learned that the show must go on.

I’ll also say when something huge is on the horizon, things normally start going a bit haywire.  Ever noticed that?  When you’re right on the fucking brink of something large, something amazing –  a cog flies from the wheel or the tire blows out.  Never happened to you? Keep living.  Funny how it happens.  Just realize it’s not coincidence.  It’s in that moment I’ve realized I need to dig my heels in and figure it all out – find the strength to keep going.  If I don’t have the strength, I’ve learned (read ‘gotten better at’) picking up the phone and asking for help.  Or at least letting my loved ones know how I’m feeling so they can catch me if I start to fall.

Look, I can’t lie and say I didn’t take a day or two off here and there just to get myself together.  That’s fine.  But the proverbial I’m out and off the grid for weeks and months?  No one has heard from me?  Nope – can’t happen.  Then again, I do know, if the time ever needs to come, I can shut the ride down and get off if I have to.  I made a choice to do this (I think…lol).  Even though I want to just throw a match at things and go and serve drinks on an island in a fatkini – yes, I still hold fast to this vision.  Or maybe start my career as a burlesque artist and sing at night – yes, that’s on my bucket list as well but first of all, I have a life.  My family and friends aren’t having it – although they all seem to be gung ho about me moving to the islands or performing in burlesque shows.  What can I say? I have a supportive bunch.  We even have a stage name picked out for me and someone on costume design.  I digress.  Next, I have all of you, the blog and a book that needs to write itself be written.  In addition, I’ve started guest blogging and branching out working on fashion posts here and here.  So basically,

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I realized I’d come too far into things just to sit down and stop.  So – the show goes on and it doesn’t stop.

Before y’all jump me talmbout I need to take care of myself, etc – trust me – I do.  I’m the queen of taking care of myself.  I’m the queen of telling other people to take care of themselves.  When I really need to have an extended seat, I’m quite inclined to do so and I do.

How do you push through hard times?  How do you push through disappointment?  Have you noticed you’ve gotten better at it over the years (in a good way)?

Well, let me leave you with a little something – my first burlesque show may have to look something like this but with a tighter dress and more makeup.  Remember – the show must go on….