Ebony Queen

EBONY
Ebony Queen;
Her Beauty sweet like a summer's eve
Her skin glistens like a starry night
Her soul burns with a passion deep

She stands alone, her back to the world
A taste of wisdom with each word she speaks
Natural power inscribed in her spirit
O how black and beautiful is she

Ebony Queen;
In her eyes you can see a dream
Her motivation, strong and unwavering
The love in her heart sings like a melody

Her head looks toward the sky,
depending on God to guide her way
Solid and confident, she walks with grace
Leaving a path of hope and faith

Ebony Queen;
She carries on her grandmother's honor
Her mother's virtue and sparkling pride
Her ancestor's blood runs through her veins
The whispering voices of the wise

Ebony Queen;
A stature of elegance in God's own image
A momentous portrait of prayer and peace
Ebony, Ebony, beautiful Ebony
The Voice of Victory

-Kayla Skipper





Guest Poet: Frantzline Tingue

In honor of Diamonds and Dreams Poetry Month, check out this amazing poet Frantzline Tingue sharing her poem, I’m Worthy.

Tasting

I’m Worthy

By: Frantzline Tingue

You’re nothing. You’re nobody. You are worthless. The words buzz at my ears and ache at my head. I remember them. They’re sharp and painful. I’m nothing. I’m nobody. I’m worthless. Nothing matters anymore. All I am and all I was is now gone. I sit at the end of the highway bridge. The cars zoom past behind me. Some cars beep. Do they see me? Do they wonder why I’m there? Why is she hanging out on the highway? Will she jump or is she just sitting there? Nah. Nevermind. They’re just there. They just are. And at the same time, they’re not. Just like I am to them. I stand up. I’m nothing. They’re nothing. We have our own lives. We just happen to live in the same world. But it doesn’t matter. 

But wait. If they’re nothing and I’m nothing and life goes on, why am I here? Why am I doing this? I think back. I remember the words again. Yeah. That’s right. I remember. How can I forget? We might all be nothing in the same world but I’m beneath them. So far from nothing. They drive their cars and live their life but I’m just here- sitting at the end of the highway bridge. They don’t beep at me. I have to remember the words. I have to remember who I am. I’m nothing. I’m nobody. I’m worthless.

I take a step and look down. There’s water and large rocks. I take a breath. A deep breath. I can do this. I’m not a wimp. I’m not a punk. I can do this. I take another deep breath. I can hear them laughing. They’ll see. They’ll all see. They’ll regret their words. They’ll hurt so much that they’ll all do the same. I hope they will. I hope they can’t stand themselves. I hope they grab a gun and pull the trigger. Take a knife and jab it in. Take those pills and choke on them. Walk to a bridge and fall. Anyway. Anyhow. I just hope it’s done. I jump.

I’m falling. The wind is blowing in my ears. My hair flying all over the place. My eyes are wide. My face flabbing. My arms whalling. I can’t relax. What have I done? I’m falling. I’m falling to my death. It’s gonna hurt. There will be pain. My heart aches. I let out a scream. I’m screaming. I’m falling.

OH GOD HELP ME! TAKE ME! I DIDN’T THINK THIS THROUGH!
I’M NOT NOTHING! I’M SOMETHING! I’M SOMEBODY! I’M WORTHY! I MATTER! GOD! CAN YOU HEAR ME? SAVE ME!

I shake awake. I’m in my bed. I’m alive. I’m not falling. I’m not hurting. They are tears in my eyes. I remember my words. I’m something. I’m somebody. I’m worthy. I matter. I won’t ever think less or let someone else force me to believe that I’m worthless.

When We Were Children

the orchard experience

When we were children, we were told that success was in finding happiness.

Success was fulfilling our desires, regardless of what they were.

We were told that success was achieving our goals.

When we were children.

Stop telling us that  a 5/6 figure piece of paper is the only way.

Stop telling us that working hard means working like a dog for 40 hours a week.

Stop telling us we’re too “fresh out of college”, even though we’re qualified.

Stop telling us stereotypes never play a part.

When we were children, we were told that we could do anything

We were told to be brave and try even if we were afraid.

We were told that we had the strength, the drive, the power.

When we were children.

Stop telling us what you think our worth should be.

Stop telling us what you think we’re capable of.

Stop telling us there’s a cap on our  potential.

Stop telling us there’s a limit.

When we were children, we were told to love ourselves

Regardless of what the world says.

We were told to be “true to you”.

When we were children.

Stop telling us to stay in society’s box.

Stop telling us to stick to the status quo.

Stop telling us to play it safe.

Stop telling us to conform.

When we were, children we were told to have a dream.

Told to touch the sky and be starry eyed.

We were told to soar high and go far.

When we were children.

Stop telling us it’s risky.

Stop telling us it’s unrealistic.

Stop telling us the odds are against us.

Stop telling us what the statistics say.

Stop telling us it’s not possible.

Stop telling us it’s unlikely.

Stop telling us we’re wasting my time.

Stop telling us it’s too late.

Tell us that we can defy the odds.

Tell us we can step out of the box.

Tell us that it’s possible.

Tell us we can succeed.

Tell us that we are powerful.

Tell us to follow our desires.

To embrace the dreams we have.

Tell us we don’t have to let go.

Tell us we can look back.

To when we were children with starry eyes.

To when it was okay to truly believe.

In endless possibilities.

In fairy tale endings.

In the gift of having a dream.

The Greatest Motivational Speech You Will Ever Read

It’s 7:45 pm. I’ve just got done eating and taking a long, hot shower-I’m tired. I’ve been chasing elementary students all day, my nose is running and I have cramps. In 24 days, I have a personal project due that could possibly make my dreams a reality. I know I should be working on it right now, but I’m wrapped up on my couch with an electric blanket contemplating whether or not I should go to bed.

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Every day, I compete with life and its constant stressors and impediments and for the average person, that’s a competitor we’re not trying to square up with. Whether it be a 30 page paper, a shitty job, societal pressures and expectations, bills, homelessness, fatigue, illness, procrastination,or whatever way it chooses to manifest itself that day, life is just so prominent and overbearing to the point where we can’t even begin to think about our dreams and the things we truly desire. We’re too busy trying to deal with the situations that life throws at us on a daily basis.  How can we focus on losing weight, or starting a business, or whatever our dream may be when we’re tired, stressed, being abused, hate our job,  and just want to do nothing as a result of every day life?  How do we even begin trying to add anything else to that over-filled plate? How do we add pursuing a dream to all of that?

The starting line.

So many of us start off with a dream as a child and as we continue to grow up and experience life, that dream fades away. That dream becomes obsolete to us because life just unloads everything it has and our focus shifts from dreams to trying to manage the daily stresses of life. We look at people who are successfully doing what we desire to do or have what we desire to have,  and we think, “I have that same dream. That’s what I want in life, and that’s what I desire to do and to become. How come they have it and I don’t?”  Then we come up with all the excuses and reasons in the world for why we don’t:

I grew up poor.     I didn’t go to college.

I came from a single family home.    I don’t have a good paying job.

I gotta take care of my kids.      I’m tired.      I’m unmotivated.     I have too much on my plate as it is.

And the list goes on…

We have to fight.

Life is not going to stop, get easier, or not do its thing because we have a dream that we’re trying to pursue. Whether we know it or not, we are constantly shown that life isn’t the race we are running, but the competitor we are running against, and every day there is a challenge to get to the finish line. For some us the finish line is ultimate happiness, fame and fortune, and going to heaven. For others it’s as simple as please let me make it to Friday, let me figure out how to pay this bill this month, let me figure out how to just breathe. We’re always running this race with life and we’re always going to. However,  it’s those of who recognize that we’re running this race and actually gear up to compete who make it. It’s those of us who choose to fight the battle that make it. Those of us who choose to challenge the obstacles that life throws at us that succeed. It’s those of us who compete with life.Our dream dies because we aren’t up for the challenge. Being tired, stressed, sick, unmotivated, or whatever it is that life serves us at that stops us from following our dreams can be defeated.

DREAMS= DESIRE= A DECISION OF DOING.

This formula that I ever so kindly created for you, is the key to success. We got the dream, we got the desire- most of us have that or have had that at one time or another. It’s that second half, that decision of doing that we struggle with, and that’s what separates the winners from the losers. That’s what separates the ones who make it from the ones who miss it. That’s what separates the dreamers from the do-ers.

Life is the biggest competitor that ANY of us will ever have to face.  From abuse, to poverty, to natural disaster, to addiction, to temptation,  life is a strong competitor who can and will throw anything at us to keep us from our dreams – it’s just the nature of the beast. However, we have to make that conscious decision to do. We have to throw it right back at life. When life is telling you you’re tired, stay up! When life is giving you stress, find peace! When life is telling you you’re trapped, find your way out. Life is always gonna be life, no matter how much money you have, or how successful you are- you don’t have any control over it and what it throws at you. However, you do have control over you and what you DECIDE TO DO. There’s a dream that lives in you and a desire that lives in you. Those are things that life can easily tamper with. However, that decision to do, and to  become, and to  have, and to achieve. That’s something that no one can ever take away- not even life itself.

neon

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Being A Woman: The Phenomenal Movement

 

18 women all from different places and situations were asked to share what being a woman meant to them

None of these women knew each other, or why they were asked, but their words came together to create a message of unity and empowerment for all women…

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Being A Woman_ copy

 

 

THESE 18 WOMEN HAVE PAVED THE WAY, NOW IT’S YOUR TURN.

JOIN THE MOVEMENT TODAY! SHARE WHAT BEING A WOMAN MEANS TO YOU  BELOW USING THE HASHTAG #PHENOMENALWOMAN

! LET’S TURN 18 INTO 18 MILLION.

“Although we’re all different, we are all women. Because we’re all women, we are all phenomenal.” -Kayla Skipper

#PHENOMENALWOMAN

 

ashleigh

stephanieemilykianaErickaconnieamyCarolyalliemaria copyshaunadainawhitneytylargloriakarlenetirayaanna

Building A Space for Our Success

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Loretta Devine, Keke, Palmer, and Kerry Washington onstage during the 2016 ABFF Awards.

A few nights ago, I watched the American Black Film Festival Awards on BET. This award show was presented by ABFF in conjunction with BET as a way to celebrate and recognize the diversity and talent within the realms of Black Hollywood. I’m not going to get into the whole “Oscar’s So White” controversy, but as a writer, I’m a major fan of the ABFF and wanted to acknowledge them as well as BET for creating their own lane. When it comes to following our dreams, this is something that many of us want to do, but for many reasons fail to do it.

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When something doesn’t fit into a specific category or space, it is often concluded that this thing whether it be our physical appearance, an opinion , or a dream needs to be modified. There’s this connotation attached to being unique that fosters conformity and change in order to be accepted and successful.  As a result, we feel like we need to change our ideas- we feel like we need to change our dreams.

When we live in a world where ordinary is the expectation and our dream is out of the ordinary, how do we succeed?

When I first started my blog, I knew it was very unconventional, and unique. A lot of the things I’ve done and do are “typical” for bloggers, but a lot of my dreams and goals for my blog are very unconventional. There are times where this has left me feeling like there isn’t a place for my blog, and there isn’t a place for my dreams to come true. However, because I’m so passionate about my dreams, and believe in myself 100%, I decided I wasn’t going to change my dreams but instead create a space for them to come true.

CREATE

If we have a vision, idea, or a dream we are passionate about that doesn’t fit into a space that’s already created within the arenas we’re trying to succeed in, we have to create our own space-we have to create our own success!  Everything that we see as normal, or that we have accepted in life didn’t necessarily start off that way. Some of these things started as someone’s unconventional, crazy, illogical, ideas and dreams! People built their own spaces for their success, and that’s just what we have to do sometimes. If we’re passionate about something, we don’t just stop believing in it or let it die, because society doesn’t believe in it or doesn’t have a space for it. No one should ever tell us to do that!

This week, I challenge us  to create our own space for success if we need it.  No dream should go unfollowed and no passion should die due to the lack of a space to succeed. There’s nothing wrong with doing it ourselves- if we didn’t do it we’d be selling ourselves short.

Remember, you don’t have to average, you can be extraordinary. You don’t have to be a rock, you can be a diamond!

neon

 

Rider or Passenger? Know the Difference

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My love, Caleb and I ❤

Happy Valentine’s Day ❤  For those of us who are celebrating with our special someones today, it is important that we take time to be thankful to have a person who cares about us, loves us, and supports us.  For the past four 1/2 years, I have been dating a wonderful man of God, Caleb who has stood by my side in every season of my life. From good times to bad times, he has been my best friend, partner, and biggest supporter. Last year, we turned our lives upside down to follow our dreams, and to be honest, neither one of us knew what we were getting into. It was a major risk, that we knew could be super amazing or super disastrous to our lives, both individually and collectively. In fact, we made some decisions and endured some situations that some couples would probably break up over, but luckily for us, we were both 100% supportive of each others’ dreams and were willing to take this crazy ride together. I am so blessed to have such a supportive partner who believes in my passion and dedication the same way I believe in his. However, not everyone is fortunate enough to have this mutual support-especially when it comes to following your dreams.

Who’s in your car? A rider or a passenger?

For some of us following our dreams, we are taking a huge risk. We are doing something that a lot of people would consider crazy, unrealistic, and illogical. We are  putting everything on the line to pursue a passion, but at the end of the day, that is why we are doing it- passion. In pursuing it, we look for support from those who are important to us. We are looking for them to support us, to believe in us, and to stick with us through every part of this new journey- we are looking for a rider.

A rider supports your dream, no matter how risky or crazy it may seem. They tell you their honest opinions about your decisions, and vow to support you in any way they can. When the road gets crazy, they stay along for the ride with you because they believe in your passion and believe in your dreams. They don’t secretly envy your success and genuinely hope the best for you. They are patient with you while your are on your journey to success, and don’t walk away when they feel like the process is taking too long. They are not trying to advance their own motives, but are there for you because they genuinely care about you and your desires. A rider is excited for you, and happy to be a part of your journey.

As I said, things are not always going to be cut and dry when you’re following your dreams. There are going to be a lot of crazy situations and hard times, and someone who is not there for the long run is going to disappear at the first sign of this. A passenger is someone who says they’re going to be there through thick and thin, but begin to “thin out”, when things get thick. They don’t really support your dreams, they don’t really believe in you, and they aren’t trying to stay around while you’re in your “building stages”. However, some passengers tend to come looking for a ride once you have made it to your destination, or stick along for the ride so they don’t have to take their own car. In other words, they are there for their own personal gain.

This week, I challenge all of you following your dreams or thinking of following your dreams to see who’s in your car: a rider or a passenger? This journey is not an easy or swift one, and if you have someone along for the ride with you, make sure they support you 100% , will be patient with you,  will endure with you, and will believe with you- make sure you have a rider. Know the difference, today!  Remember, you don’t have to be average, you can be extraordinary. You don’t have to be a rock, you can be diamond.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

neon