Get Your 2023 #SLAYTHEDREAM Wall Calendar

Listennnnnn, our CEO, @TyraShange, had to become real UNBOTHERED to put this affirmation calendar together for us.

It took some sleepless nights + some weary days HEALING from past defeats, imposter syndrome + outdated insecurities.

“…God says she’s capable…”

She had to learn how to affirm herself + remember who God says she’s capable of becoming v. what the world (haters, enemies, liars) said she was.

Choose to #SlayTheDream, too!

What will you focus on becoming in 2023? Unbothered? Healed? Happier? More whole?

…Just remember, the choice is yours! Choose to #SlayTheDream, too!

Subscribe to our new YouTube channel for the latest highlights!

To purchase the #SlayTheDream Wall Calendar, head over to our Shop page or click here.

Please note: We provide a secure + safe experience for each customer. We take handling our customers information seriously! Check our site for the HTTPS. The “S” stands for secure. Don’t believe us?! …Google it!

Oh, and Happy Black Friday! 🖤

—Sincerely, Tyra 👑

P.S. If you enjoyed this blog article, you’ll love our new @SincerelyTyra YouTube channel. Like, comment, subscribe + share to help us get to our first goal of 500 subscribers!

We just posted an unboxing video for a clutch we purchased from the Black-owned, woman-owned small business, The BAGJUNKIShop. If you love the video, go make a purchase at The BAGJUNKIShop + follow them on Instagram.

Unboxing The BAGJUNKIShop’s “Encrusted Lucite Clutch”

It’s on trend now, but we’ve always loved the sparkling of gems + rhinestones over here at SincerelyTyra.com. So, we had to have our CEO, Tyra Shange, do an unboxing video for The BAGJUNKIShop’s “Encrusted Lucite Clutch” when it arrived.

The details are on point + we bought it to pair with the Steve Madden Kenley-R Rhinestones Heels. If you enjoyed this video, like, comment, subscribe + share to help us get to our first goal of 500 subscribers! If you really like this video, go make a purchase at The BAGJUNKIShop + follow them on Instagram.

Watch the full unboxing video on our new YouTube channel @SincerelyTyra!

The BAGJUNKIShop’s Encrusted Lucite Clutch – https://www.thebagjunkishop.com/product-page/encrusted-acrylic-clutch

Steve Madden Kenley-R Rhinestones Heels –
https://wwww.stevemadden.com/products/kenley-r-rhinestoneshttps://www.stevemadden.com/products/kenley-r-rhinestones

For more motivation + business topics and to hear perspectives from our special guests, subscribe to the #WhenQueensLink Podcast on your favorite streaming app today! Or, listen directly from our SincerelyTyra website by clicking the When Queens Link tab.

—Sincerely, Tyra 👑

P.S. We will be posting our Annual Thanksgiving Gratitude List across all platforms tomorrow. Are you subscribed, following, sharing? If not, connect with us on your fave social media apps today! Have a peaceful + blessed Thanksgiving weekend!

Get Rid of Those Distractions

Hey there!

How are you feeling about your dreams lately? You do realize that imposter syndrome, haters, unbelievers + distractions are going to have to take several seats messing with you. This is your weekly reminder: You are built for this! 💕

Go #SlayTheDream today!

…Need a more consistent reminder?

The #SlayTheDream Affirmation Card Set is an instant confidence booster that I wrote for queens working on their dreams. 🤩

To purchase, you can make a secure payment from our Shop page.

I hope you #SlayTheDream today!

—Sincerely, Tyra 🖤

Our 13th Episode Dropped on 11/11! 🥳🎉

Check out When Queens Link – Ep. 13: “Walking in Purpose,” + our interview with Queen Poshlyn Lynette Nicholson (@poshlynlynette) who stopped by in June to talk about her work with children + teens, her talents as a writer + spoken word artist, and her 12-year celibacy journey.

At the end of this episode, we pray over every woman who is navigating a season of singleness + how to continue walking in God’s unique purpose for your life!

Welcome to Season 2 of @whenqueenslinkpod! So much more to come!

—Sincerely, Tyra 🖤

New #GRWM Prayers Added

I wish I could say I wake up flawless every day. But I’m not perfect—not even close to it.

What I can say is that I’m trying to be a better version of myself everyday + that I’m getting ready for day I have to present myself to God, flaws + all.

#GRWM Ad 11-2

Across the Internets, many recognize #GRWM as the popular hashtag used by YouTube channels to signal that they will style a look or beat their face for an outing in the buffering video. The content creator is literally inviting viewers to ‘Get Ready With Me’ and watch their transformation into something better–even if temporary.

Yet, at SincerelyTyra.com, we are getting ourselves prepared for a different type of transformation–the coming of Jesus Christ. So, on this website, you’ll see the hashtag in a post title or in the description as an indicator that a particular article includes a prayer or Biblical commentary and study.

Here are a few prayers that may be helpful to anyone who wants to learn more about getting ready for the return of Jesus and remaining faithful until His marvelous arrival.

Who’s ready?

—Sincerely, Tyra

#GRWM #SlayTheDream

Prayer for Enduring Life ❤️‍🔥

Good + Faithful Heavenly Father, we seek Your presence today. Stand on Your promises to us as we attempt to please You through word + deed. Let’s us hear Your instructions with a clarity that let’s us know You are close to us. Let us in on what makes Your heart smile so we can create more joy + peace, love + kindness in this world. Show us how to thwart every attack of the enemy + defend what You have built.

My worry, dear Lord, is not that the battle is difficult but rather that its long + overwhelming. Increase my stamina + lay a foundation of endurance + patience in my heart, oh God. And while I wait in worship + praise to Your Name, create an unshakable assurance in me, Lord. Bless me with Your divine confidence + wise insight about my next steps. Order my steps + direct my path so that I might live a life that is pleasing + useful to Your plan. And pull me back from the fires of life that resemble Your passion but are really distractions + set ups placed before me. Help me, help us all become more discerning of who You are + how You never change + will fulfill our needs when we aim to participate in Your works.

In Jesus Christ’s Name,
🙌🏾

Today, I’m reading Hebrews 11:5-6 MSG. For more posts like this, try reading prayers on the “#GRWM Prayers” page. It has prayers I’ve prayed for myself, family, friends, and a few people I don’t know but have seen in passing. There are a range of prayer topics + costs me nothing to share them with you if you need/want to read them. Hope this is helpful.

—Sincerely, Tyra 💕

What’s Your Fave Day of the Week?

Thursday is a day that’s so uniquely positioned in the week. I think it may be my favorite day, in fact. Technically, it’s the last workday before the weekend. And, thanks to social media, of course, it’s the day of the week that makes you reminisce on fond memories. (Do you know the history of the hashtag #TBT? See here, for more.)

Here at Sincerely, Tyra, we hope you this Thursday makes you think of a memory that makes you smile. Real big. 😁

My fond memory of the week is in honor of a friends trip I’m getting ready to take this weekend.

The Year: 2022. Yeah, I know, not that far away of a throwback… but stick with me while I set the scene.

The Scene: Brunch vibes at a restuarant If been to before—but was completely impressed by a side of the establishment with a certain je ne sais quoi that I hadn’t noticed previously.

The Queens: Out with friends because it had really been a minute since we’d seen each other + we missed each other’s laughs!

@Machine Engineered Dining + Drinks

Fun Fact: I was originally going to get a nose ring on this day in May instead of July. But it was more fun just riding around with my friends looking for the right shop.

Random selfies

The Secret Dream: Sometimes I wish I could get ALL my friends in one space sharing the same dope energy… One day… coming soon… to a #SlayTheDream event near you.

Pray 🙏🏾 safe travels over us as we move around this weekend. (Yes, I know it’s actually the Hi-five emoji—but it’s our prayer hands on this blog).

—Sincerely, Tyra 💕

P.S. The #SlayTheDream Affirmation Cards Set is an instant confidence booster that I wrote for all my friends + queens working on their dreams. To purchase, you can make a secure payment accessible from our Shop with EbonySun page or following link.

P.S.S. Should @whenqueenslinkpod (IG profile) do a @dinemachine (website) review with the queens? The food was good, drinks were flowing + of course, the company was great! Comment 🍽️ if you’d like us to do a group review!

#WednesdayWord: PATIENCE

The Word of the Day is PATIENCE.

Have more peaceful days by exercising your patience.

PATIENCE is the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.

Here are a few scriptures that help me when I’m lacking patience:

Galatians 6:9 NIV — “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

Hebrews 10:36 NIV — “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.”

2 Peter‬ ‭3‬:‭8‬-‭9‬ ‭NIV‬‬ — “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

Comment 🎯 + bookmark this post if it’s helpful to you. Share it with someone else who may need a quick reminder to on how to carry their peace with them today.

For more motivation, subscribe to the When Queens Link podcast on your fave streaming app or the new Sincerely, Tyra channel on YouTube!

Shoutout to @dearsilas for the sound. 🔊

—Sincerely, Tyra 🖤

What’s Your Middle Name?

So we’ve been seeing this “Post Yours” that encourages social media users to introduce themselves with their middle names.

We’ve decided to follow suit—but with a SincerelyTyra twist, of course.

…Meet Cнαηєℓ…

Tyra flashes that super sweet + playful smile—Cнαηєℓ rarely smiles. Yet, somehow, you still know she’s bringing a good time with her!

Tyra doesn’t have to do much, while Cнαηєℓ… Oh, honey, Cнαηєℓ is going to do the most just because. Original Diva.

Chanel giving vogue vibes.

Tyra grew up struggling with confidence (+ eventually found her voice). Cнαηєℓ is a Glorilla line come to life with a splash of Dr. Naomi.

Would y’all like to see more Cнαηєℓ? Leave a ❤️‍🔥 in the comments, if y’all can handle her! Meanwhile, meet ya fave podcasting self-care Queen, Tyra (+ maybe Cнαηєℓ 🤩 one day soon) over at the @sincerelytyra YouTube channel!

—Sincerely, Cнαηєℓ ❤️‍🔥

PS: If you like this post, you’ll love the blog section of this site and the When Queens Link podcast where we’re giving Queens of all professions #motivation to #SlayTheDream 💕

Need a more consistent reminder? The #SlayTheDream Affirmation Cards Set is an instant confidence booster that I wrote for queens working on their dreams. 🤩 To purchase, you can make a secure payment using the website link in my bio.

PSS: A lot of people think my middle name is Shange. And, while that is a moniker I’ve chosen to identify with (i.e. @tyrashange), it actually isn’t the middle name I was given at birth. Is more of a stage name + was inspired by my time playing @ntozakeshangeofficial’s Lady in Orange in the @denisonbsu + Office of Multicultural Student Affairs reimagining of her stage play, ‘For Colored Girls.’

I DON’T OWN THE RIGHTS TO THIS SONG. No copyright infringement intended.

Binge Watch Our New YouTube Channel

Text thread/friendly encouragement 🥰

It feels so good when someone likes what I write, produce, create, + do within my business.

Are you subscribed to the new SincerelyTyra channel on youtube?

Subscribe to the When Queens Link + YDWW Chicago podcasts for new releases dropping soon, too! 🥰💕

—Sincerely, Tyra 🖤

Happy Birthday #WhenQueensLink!

WQL Podcast Turns 1!

It’s our birthdaaaaayyyyyyy! 🥳🎉

Celebrate with us by sharing your favorite When Queens Link episode with a friend!! 💕📲

You can easily text the link to our website and help them find us on their favorite podcast streaming app!

We are on the “Big Four” podcast apps: Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and Anchor, and a few others!

And if you’re not subscribed… What are you waiting for??!

Subscribe today to hear all our latest interviews and updates!

—Sincerely, Tyra 🖤

Navigating the Highs & Lows of Your Career

Full video on our new YouTube channel

Have you ever felt like you just weren’t progressing quickly enough in your career? In the second episode of #SlayTheDream with SincerelyTyra, I share a four tips for navigating the highs and lows of your career journey.

I’ve been helping adults and teens figure out their career goals since 2011 and in this video, I share motivational tips that I believe can help you, too! You can watch the full video on the new Sincerely, Tyra YouTube channel.

Fun fact: Our new YouTube channel was started in honor of our podcast audience helping us make it through our first year! Your engagement has been so on point, we wanted to give you even more personal + career development content!

For more topics like this and to hear perspectives from our special guests, subscribe to the When Queens Link Podcast on your favorite streaming app today! Or, listen directly from the SincerelyTyra website by clicking here: https://bit.ly/3QujB9O

If this motivates you, share our content with someone you know who may need or who is experiencing a similar situation in their career!

Until next time,

—Sincerely, Tyra 💕

Faith, Church + Life Goals

In the “Faith, Church + Life Goals” Mini Workshop, I shares a brief testimony about my experience growing up in church + a few scriptures to help you stay steadfast in your faith journey. 🏃🏾‍♀️🏃🏾‍♂️

The content was requested by The Bridge Community Church. For more content like this, to read the “#GRWM Prayers” + monthly motivation, subscribe to the SincerelyTyra YouTube channel + to this blog, of course 🤗.

Read: John 10:10 + Habakkuk 2:2-3 MSG.

To learn more about my home church + ministerial leadership, search Quinn AME Chicago or visit: QuinnChicago.org.

To learn more about The Bridge Community Church, visit: TheBridge.Church.

UPDATE: I’ve been practicing how to say Habakkuk! Thanks to my best friend and Jo’s Sew Sweet Bowtique owner, Ja’Vida! This fun fact will make sense once you watch the full video!

—Sincerely, Tyra 💕

Five “Bad Business Behaviors” to Stop in Q4

🗣 This quick video reviews my top five “Bad Business Behaviors” that I want every home-based business owner to STOP doing in the last quarter of this year. And, whatever you do—definitely don’t walk into 2023 still doing them.

Have a few more to add to the list? Get comfy in the comments + let’s learn from each other!

For more motivation + business encouragement, subscribe to WhenQueensLinkPod on your fave podcast streaming app or stream directly from your web browser by clicking here!

To follow more #SlayTheDream content follow us on YouTube, IG + TikTok @SincerelyTyra!

—Sincerely, Tyra 🎯

New Posts @SincerelyTyra on IG + TikTok

Perspective Shift: Accepting Help

We talk about perspective ALOT on the When Queens Link podcast + to be honest, I wrote this little note to myself after I started feeling better + regaining my strength from COVID + the accident.

But, before I wrote it, I felt so bad. Helpless even. I hated not been able to get up out of bed + do things for myself. I hated having a limp in my walk or having to hold on to the wall so I wouldn’t fall trying to get to the bathroom. Talk about a burden: having to need someone to bring you food because you’re physically too weak. Three weeks of wondering: “what if I can’t heal from this this?”

I often think, “if you wouldn’t have made that one mistake…” But, I’m learning to accept help from those that truly love + genuinely care about me. And, realizing that my past mistakes don’t make me less deserving of real help + support. I was sick + putting even more stress + anxiety on myself worrying about receiving much needed help. I’m learning that God brings you the strength you need + relishes when you accept that God can do wonders when you feel your weakest.

Today, DECIDE to be faithful enough to ask God for help in the areas of life where you feel weak. Read: Psalm 121:2. I promise, if you’re consistent with your request, your perspective will start to shift + God will take over from there.

If this felt good to read, share it with someone you know may need a change in perspective today. Have a peaceful day!

—Sincerely, Tyra 💕

A Bit of Ownership Motivation

You may never see everything that a business does or even every product that they sell the way the algorithm is set up….

I was so glad when I saw these family photos in my inbox. Talk about a finished work. As the CEO and Creative Director of EbonySun, I get to create some really dope experiences + workshops, design custom apparel + family photo sets (like these 😊), write poetry + short stories ANNNNDD choose what I want to work on + what doesn’t align with my brand + company goals.

You may never see everything that a business does or even every product that they sell the way the algorithms is set up.

But if you value one aspect of the Ebony Sun brand + the Sincerely Tyra blog, trust + believe there is always more where that came from! I got a drafts folder longer than the NBA, boo. And I cannot wait for what I have to show y’all next!

—Sincerely, Tyra 💕

Affirm Yourself Today 💕

Keys to a Longer Life

Honey, Ms. Annie Mae Belin of Darlington, S.C. (what a cute city name 🥰) became a household name in June of last year from this clip of her reminding us to mind our own business!

Now, our Founder, @SincerelyTyra, has been saying this FOR YEARS.

But since Ms. Belin is the proof and the truth, we’re going to let her say it for the people in the back this time! 🗣 Click on video below to watch her share the sound advice in the WPDE news clip. If you see this, Ms. Belin: HAPPY 103rd!!

Shout out to @black_positivity (2022) + WPDE (2021) for sharing the good news! 💕

*If it motivates you, save this blog post. If it makes you think of someone you want to have longevity or grow old with, share it with them. 💕

**If you’re following us on IG and haven’t like this video breaking down Ms. Belin story, click here. If you’re not following us on Instagram, you should be! ☺️

***If you’re still reading + looking for some extra motivation, purchase a “Mind Your Business(es)” Shirt today! 🤩 You can make a secure payment from the “Shop” page or by using the website link here: https://sincerelytyra.com/product/mind-your-businesses-shirt-2/ 🎉

Ms. Belin Turns 102 + gives us the key to long life!

#EbonySunChi #WhenQueensLink #SlayTheDream

Check out our last blog post!

Sis is Tired!

I want an “off-the-grid” wellness weekend, too. 💕

After work, after running errands across town + back, after recording: I tweeted (and posted to IG) this thought last night.

To be honest, I want an “off-the-grid” wellness weekend, too!

…No, seriously. Anyone else feeling this way lately?

I talk about what it takes to #SlayTheDream often. But this week, I had to stop + contemplate what it meant to not live up to my highest standards + to actually rest in my fatigue (i.e. listen to my body).

What I realized:

  1. I haven’t prioritized adequate sleep this week.
  2. I made little room for self-reflection (or personal growth).
  3. I can ask for help before I “need” it.
    (For example, my brother came over to babysit and cleaned/organized my daughter’s room for her and my kitchen today—without me asking 🥹). This took two things off my to-do list + made me tear up a lil bit.

What are some things you are doing to make your weekend or next week feel less draining? 😩

Get comfy in the comments. 💬 You never know how your routine or new attempts could help someone’s perspective!

**If it motivates you, save this post. If it makes you think of someone you care about, share it with them. 💕

***If you’re still reading + looking for some extra motivation, our #SlayTheDream Affirmation Cards are an instant refresher that I wrote for queens working on their dreams. Go to our shop page or click the link to grab yours: https://bit.ly/3GWQEzihttps://bit.ly/3GWQEzi

—SincerelyTyra 🖤

Joy Over Everything

I wrote this under an Instagram post the other day:

“Made some mistakes in January, but February was up. Lost some loved ones back in March + April. So, May made me value my temple more, practice smiling from my soul + surround myself in laughter + good vibes. Overall, 2022 has been kind to me.”

Instagram.com/SincerelyTyra

In January, I did a lot of declaring + decreeing that this year would be a “Year of Immense Joy.” So, I have to stand on my word.

I’m not gonna lie, I’ve felt the shiver of a wilderness season more than once throughout the first half of the year. There were even a few times when I couldn’t see how good God’s gifts looked on me.

But we have to be mindful of the promises God has placed over our lives.

Focusing on my choice to incorporate joy into my life daily has helped me to realize that we stomp on the devil’s neck every time we choose joy (+ peace) over responding in flesh (i.e. fear, anger, or violence). Before you ask: Yes, I still get angry, frustrated, and sad because I am human.

…we stomp on the devil’s neck every time we choose joy…

In fact, the more you choose joy, the more attacks will come. But, if you’re busy focusing on ways to consistently enjoy life, you’re armed + ready.

So, here I am in June + it’s still joy over everything! I’m remaining faithful to my January declaration and reaping the benefits of actively choosing joy.

Repeat after me:
I’m expectant + excited for the rest of the year.

—Sincerely, Tyra 🖤

P.S. If it motivates you, bookmark this blog post. If it makes you think of someone you care about, share it with them. 💕

P.S.S. Starting your day with your #SlayTheDream Affirmation Cards will make choosing joy easier. Go to our shop page or click the link to grab yours: https://bit.ly/3GWQEzihttps://bit.ly/3GWQEzi

Song: Sunshine – Latto feat. Lil Wayne + Childish Gambino

Talk Nice to Me! 🤭

Dear readers,

It’s been a long winter/spring/not-yet-summer transition. To be honest, I feel myself falling back into that sluggish mood as Chicago embarks on its fourth cloudy day in a row.

Wanna know a secret? 🤫

…I haven’t worked out or walked since Sunday. 🫠

Annnnnddd, my energy is low. When my energy is low, I definitely feel less confident than usual or less prepared to take on the world.

However, I know I’m not alone. According to WebMD, there are “95 conditions associated with fatigue, low self-esteem, restless or irritability and socially withdrawn” (2022). The list seems really long. But after reading it, it kind of makes sense how sleep deprivation, dehydration, depression, hay fever, and some cancers how these conditions can connect an individual’s energy level to their confidence level.

I wonder what would happen though if we chose to push through the fatigue + start our days with some positives self-talk. 🤔

In November 2020—with all the craziness that was the year 2020—I decided to to start my morning routine by looking in the mirror + saying at least 5 nice things to myself before talking to anyone else. (Well, I technically still y’all to God first. But hopefully you get the picture.)

So, I dare you to look in the mirror + say 5 compliments about yourself before you leave the house this morning.

Need an example? Okay, here’s what I said yesterday:

Tyra: It’s Hump Day… the sun is hiding behind a gang of clouds… + the work is piling up…

BUT, 1. you’re fine,

2. you’re fly,

3. time (youth) is on your side,

4. you’re resourceful +

5. you know how to make things happen efficiently!

Bonus: You can handle this day! 💕

Need a more consistent reminder? The #SlayTheDream Affirmation Card Set is an instant confidence booster that I wrote for queens working on their dreams. 🤩

To purchase, you can shop our store or use this link: https://sincerelytyra.com/product/slaythedream-affirmation-card-set/.

Feel free to buy one for you + a friend.

—@sincerelytyra 🖤

New Post + New Challenge! 💕

I’m Speaking at a Mother’s Day Brunch!

This was my one attempt to freestyle a voiceover on top of my reel. I joke about being a rapper but this is difficult. I think I’m done with that tho🤞🏾. My brother likes to explain his battle rap picks to me. Apparently, yesterday was a major kings vs queens show in the culture. Yes, I looked it up @caffeine @urltv on IG! And it’s so amazing to me how freestyle battles work. Like how can I come up with captions off the dome, but can’t actually rap in front of people to save my life?? In fact, thinking about my poems: I have a lot of really dope one liners strung together (like a clothes line🤣)…. Anyway, I really do love rapping as a form of communication tho. 😩

Battle rapping is like the most interesting version of public speaking to. I have think I can appreciate it because I love to talk. For each part of my work, I get to have some of the dopest conversations + experiences with inspiring people. And then, I get to talk about those experiences—and y’all actually listen to my stories. Life is good.

So, I’m curious to hear from my audience. If you’re still reading this, I hope you’ve been captivated by my stories! Whether you’ve been following the SincerelyTyra.com blog, watched my lives on social media, listened to one of the 45+ podcast episodes that I’ve hosted, numerous community events or meetings facilitated, or read my poetry, I wanna hear your favorite TyraShange story! Shoot me a quick comment below to share!

Oh, + if you’re still with me, grab everybody + they mamas because I’m battle rapping next week! Just kidding! But I do have a speaking engagement at the AOT Mother’s Day Brunch on Saturday, May 7th! Get your tickets here: Forever Grateful. We’d love to brunch + kick it with you this time next week! 💕

—Sincerely, Tyra 🖤

Tell the story + #SlayTheDream

Abbott Elem Faves | Read the previous blog, too! 💕

A Four-Page Letter to Black Women Who Work, Teach or Learn in Higher Ed Spaces

Abstract: Don’t work at North Park University without an exit plan. Don’t attend North Park University as a student of color without being prepared to advocate for your needs—often alone.


Please accept this as my letter of resignation from the Assistant Director of Student Success, Careers, and Internships role at North Park University.

If you only read the above summary and commit to learning from that viewpoint—I’ve been vindicated. But if you choose to continue reading why I am leaving NPU, please note that this resignation letter is also an open letter to the students who I had hoped to impact.

As Black women, daughters, mothers, consummate professionals trying not to walk on eggshells in front of ever-present white tears, we are often handed the bare minimum in return for our expertise, hustle and patience.

Bottom of the totem pole and yet still able to be socially branded as resentful, shoulder-chipped, and lazy all at once. How Sway? I’m glad you asked: Partly because representation in spaces where we are othered upon arrival intentionally narrate our stories differently—especially on a campus as white and conservative as North Park. And once we leave, our ability to narrate our experience all but disappears the second we clear out our work space. Well, this Black woman has always had an issue with the hunter being glorified and the lion being shamed in every way. So, not on my watch.

Before I continue, let it be clear that I had to operate an entire department on my own without proper onboarding and often without divisional leadership, and months without access to my department’s funding. Since January, I’ve entered bi-weekly meetings with leadership asking for their vision and strategic plan and how the implementation of career services fit into that vision and plan. Being met with the sound of crickets would’ve been a better response than the amount of actual feedback I received. It was only God’s humor and provision that kept me from feeling surges of anger and sheer disrespect when I found out that this same leadership wanted to hire a Director of Career Services “to work with” me and run a department that I had been operating single-handedly since June. Make it make sense. 🙄

When offered the position of Assistant Director of Student Success, Careers & Internships, I knew there was going to be work to do. I would be directing a department that is generally supported by at least 4-6 staff at other colleges and universities (NACE, 2021) and 8-10 staff on the high end.

But, at North Park, this meant:

I was solely responsible for approving internship eligibility for students; teaching one Career Planning course that would increase from two sections per semester (Fall 2021) to four sections per semester (Spring 2022) without any pay increase and little notice ahead of time (Dec 22, 2022, in fact); planning workshops and large-scale events; conducting registration appointments for incoming students; advising current students; producing content for the department’s social media account; helping COMPASS Peer Mentors find ways to stay connected to their first-year mentees; and motivating students to share information and resources with one another.

My Career Planning 1030 students will tell you that the merging of Career Services and Student Success really meant something to me as a faculty member and administrator. In fact, with 12 years of curriculum and program design, youth development and community organizing experience, it meant the world to me to have the opportunity to conduct research alongside, support and train a student body of 1200 scholars. Of course, I wouldn’t be able to reach all the North Park students by myself and it wasn’t in my budget to hire another full-time staffer. So, I endeavored to do the best I could to impact as many students in the most effective ways I could until my office’s capacity increased.

Here’s a break down of the total number of students I’ve met with:

I accomplished 439 in-person touch points with students over the course of 154 business days. I know this because I used simple sign-in sheets to track nearly every student who walked into my office or who attended any workshop I hosted between August 30, 2021-March 31, 2022. But, 439 does not account for summer hours spent preparing for the arrival of 11 COMPASS Peer Mentors and 43 COMPASS scholars 10 days before classes began. Nor does the number include any of the registration appointments I led with incoming first years and transfer students. Add my virtual touch points (email-only conversations and MS Teams Meetings) with students and that total increases again.

Oh, I can’t forget that I had 76 students enrolled in my Career Planning sections. If I calculated every time each of them attended class, 439 student touch points would increase once more. While I love teaching, the amount of work it took to coordinate my calendar to fit those 439 individual student touch points, often left the Student Engagement Front Desk Team disrespected by impatient students and a little salty with me. Many of those students, however, had no clue that I also had to have meetings with colleagues, started hosting a weekly drop-in resume workshop, planned events, and took time to prepare materials for lectures and class discussions, or grading assignments. In hindsight, I was running myself into the ground trying to maintain a broken system.

Until I started to ask myself: Why would I, as a new staff member, be expected to do this much work without any increase in pay, an adequate promotion, an increase in my budget, or any other viable resources and benefits? Could it be that North Park University’s structural racism trains my colleagues to view me as a “mule of the earth” and deserving of this much work to prove my professional worth? The thought left me aghast and exhausted thinking about the same leadership team that proved favoritism was real within my first 90 days.

Here’s where my experience gets even more covertly racist:

  • My position and decision to implement a standard for collaborating with my office was completely undermined by senior-level leadership’s approval of internships for 9 students when the Dean of their major departments all but harassed cabinet members into compliance. Then, had the gall to conveniently add 4 more students to the original list weeks later. (Here’s a cringe-worthy fact: One of the students added onto the list didn’t even request to be registered for internship credit and only found out when the university added the overload fees to their account.).
  • I have been completely ignored by a key colleague that I am supposed to consistently collaborate with . I’ve emailed this person SIX times since February 28th about student internship registrations for Summer ‘22 students whose selection was erroneously added on their current Spring ‘22 schedules. Six emails with my direct supervisor cc’d and not a peep from either of them about the issue I was raising or a response about how long it would take the Office of the Registrar to correct the issue. Here I am trying to act as an advocate for NPU students and being ignored. Then, this week I was cc’d on an email from the faculty advisor of one of the students registered for the wrong internship semester. In the message the faculty member is informing the Office of the Registrar of the same error that I emailed them about. THE VERY NEXT DAY, the colleague that I’ve already emailed SIX times (with no reply since February 28th) miraculously remembers my email address and forwarded the faculty advisor’s email to me to inquire if said colleague had made a mistake with that student’s registration. *stares in side eye*
  • I was told that my Black daughter (age 7) didn’t need to be on campus while I was assisting a colleague (after working hours at that) coordinate an evening event for his pre-orientation program. (Did I mention this same group of students became my responsibility after he left due to similar piss poor treatment by senior-level leadership in other departments?) despite the fact that it was SUMMER, she was not bothering any students and a white male faculty member and his toddler were kee-keeing in the halls of Johnson’s Student Engagement Center with the University President.
  • I have been gas lit by a gas lighter that’s in denial; had to look racist white devils in their e-thuggish faces and remind them not to talk down to me in these internet streets, and had to teach collaboration to a few colleagues that originally only saw me as competition.

Did I mention that I started this role 10 months ago yet?

Gaining the trust and respect of the student body was my first priority with implementation and enhancement of the internship process following closely behind.

So, to the students who I did not get a chance to say goodbye to: I can only imagine what we could have accomplished if we had the right support on the front end of my time at North Park or at the beginning of your entry point as a student. Please understand my decision to resign has nothing to do with North Park’s student body (even those of you who were a little overbearing sometimes 😊). I highly respect and appreciate the relationships that I was able to develop with students and some of my colleagues. Despite my experience, please don’t mourn for this Black woman because God has blessed me with some great opportunities to look forward to and I’m leaving campus literally smelling the roses thanks to a fine group of coworkers on the southern end of the Student Engagement office.

If you endeavor to attend (or stay at) North Park as a student or to begin a new role at the institution as a staff member, remember these final things:

  1. You don’t have to compromise who you are for the institution and its needs. If you know that you’re a good person, stand in your truth.
  2. Psalms 18:20 and 25!

To the Black women who work, teach, and learn in Higher Ed spaces across the world: we see you, they see you! Your extra effort is visible, but is it healthy? Whatever your answer: Please remember to look in the mirror and love on yourself before you head into the office each day.

Sincerely, Tyra 🖤

Click on #GRWM | Prayers on our menu!

Thank you + thank you!! 🖤

Affirm yourself today, Queen! 💕 #SincerelyTyra

Choosing to Dream More

My sleep patterns have been wayyyy off since the beginning of the year. I mean, I haven’t seen the back of my eyelids for 8 consistent hours in IDK how long.

Between work, family, + service, I interface with at least 15 people/day. That type of constant external energy in your space can wear you down physically, emotionally, + spiritually—if you let it.

Of course, I did this time. My body even had the nerve to let me get sick! But I told myself I’d be all about my joy in 2022 + there’s no joy to be found in baggy eyes + congestion. So, I took some remote work days + increased my sleeping hours each night to get me back to healthy.

But February + being sick ultimately made me realize:

I’m trying to dream more + #SlayTheDream more this month. So, I’m being intentional about: 1) slowing down (meaning: saying no to days packed with multiple meetings/appts), 2) reading more physical books 📚, 3) reading my #SlayTheDream Affirmation cards before bed and 4) taking⏳time to just be by myself in March.

What do you need to leave in February to make sure your health is in tact? Comment below + let us know!

If you’d like to purchase your #SlayTheDream Affirmation Card Set, click the link above or head over to the shop page. 💕 Use it everyday for a week. Then, leave us a comment to share if it helped you dream your best dreams!

—Sincerely, Tyra ✍🏾

Purchase your #SlayTheDream Affirmation Card Set!

Know Your Worth 👑

Saying outta love. 🗣: You can’t add tax before the original value.

I know it’s cute to say “add tax” now. But you gotta remember that before you can add tax, you have to know your actual worth. 👑

Our #SlayTheDream Affirmation Cards are designed to help you level up your self-worth + remind you how dope God created you so you can get back to sharing your dreams. Grab one for you + a friend!

SincerelyTyra 🖤

Prayer for What’s to Come:

God, I trust You. I trust what You’re doing in my life. I know that You have nothing but my best interest at heart. In your hands are the inner workings of so many details. I don’t even need to know them all because I trust that You don’t know how to fail. And so, whatever You do on my behalf: I’m cool with. Do You, Heavenly Father. Reap all the glory off of my life. Bear fruit from my yes + my trust + my acceptance of Your matchless + divine plan.

In Jesus Christ’s Name!
—🖤

Quick Poll

Prayer for Guidance + Insight

Heavenly Father, El Roi, Jehovah Jireh! At the mention of Your Name, we rise up to rejoice! We gain great peace after praising You, Lord because prayer changes our perspective! You keep us in ways that we could never know + a you fight battles in front of us that seem impossible to win. God, You are the God of the Angel Armies + the God of Gideon + the God that shook the earth a thousand times over when Man did not obey Your call to obedience, kindness + freedom. We take pleasure in knowing You love us, God. But we stand in awe of the thought of You desiring more time with us! You, the God that is Creator of all things in every universe + galaxy. You: the God of the Heavens, the earth, the same that formed me in my mother’s womb + transformed her body for me to be delivered into this world. You are our beacon, lighthouse, and way finder in dark times! You are the God of mighty transitions + unexpected blessings! You are a guarantee, a closer, a victorious warrior, and redeemer alike. I thank You for parting the wind, snow + sleet on my behalf. I thank You for protecting + covering my car on the highway. Jesus, You were my eyes when the snow picked up so heavy, it made cars that were right in front of me invisible to a plain eye. Thank You for Your hands covering my hands and Your power resting on my decisions, Holy Spirit. We are blessed to only count the cars + trucks that were turned over this weekend versus being one of them. God, I pray that every passenger connected to one of those vehicles is now safely back home + resting from the tumultuous night. Let them see the light of Your day + know that You were the one that opened their eyes. Let them rise from their beds to give You the praise + honor that You are due! Get the glory out of our testimonies today, Heavenly Father!

Reach out to us again + help our people know that You have not abandoned us, oh God—but only wanted more time with us! The enemy has done a number of our families. He has all but taken our men and boys. Mothers are weary, sisters are afraid + burdened with raising sibling-children. We want to feel Your love, God. But some of us don’t know where or how to begin to accept Your love + tender mercy. The rest of us are simply tired this morning, God. So I say thank You in advance for the way that You will build up our strength + develop our endurance today, God. Grant us a Ruth-like endurance, God. Bring forth a healing of the land for us to be able to eat from it, God. And when it comes, rain down a Tirzah-level of tenacity + help us wipe every weary tear, so we can get back to doing Your work. Help us to strategize versus being reactionary. My life depends on Your vision, God! Grant me the favor of Your insight + discernment. Bear fruit from my yes + my no in this season, Yahweh! Take me + make me everything You need me to be, BUT prune away the very things that would work to keep me seeking Your face. Let no man, woman or situation get in the way of my desire to share Your love, Father! Keep me from being so naïve that people try to use me for their agenda. I need Your help like never before, God. Correct me in the ways that I fall short, uplift me to be able to continue caring for Your people. Protect + guard my heart to stay away from anyone personally or professionally that would only take from me without wishing to restore. Let my real friends show up like stars—bright + unified. Let them outshine anyone who You would see as a distraction, Most High. Fill each of our cups to the brim with love, kindness + Immense Joy! Only You have the power to make our purpose produce fruit. Set our paths straight so that we can grow + flourish in the position in which You desire to water us. + Help me to take my energy back from those that don’t deserve or appreciate it. I have soo much more work to do with You guiding my hands. Thank You for trusting me!
In Jesus Christ’s Name, Amen!

I’m reading: 2 Chronicles 29:11 + Job 26

Them Project Kids | Poetry

Boardroom Babe 👸🏾✨

I used to think I looked presidential here. Maybe I should rename this to “from the PJs to the Presidency” 😂

Anyway, this is the first poem from a book I’m working on called: “Soul Fed.” If you like it, tell me in the comments! If you really like it, buy my first book, “A Smothered Scripture” tagged here. 📚

✍🏾

“Them Project Kids”

Like living in a prison.
Painted cinder blocks,
only insulation between you
and the outside world.
Barred windows, stifled dreams
into believing there was no escape.

But on the other hand:
we lived in a hope
called relationships.
My mom knew all my friends
–while forever reminding me
“You ain’t got no friends.”–
and our neighbors actually borrowed
sugar after telling my grandma every
little thing they saw me do
(out their window)
on my way home from school,
or what they overheard me say to Jonathan
when the elevator door opened,
or whose house I ran to trying
to flee the bullets.
We were a village in a war zone.
We were the natives of a military territory.
We were aliens, the first illegals and refugees:
all trying to break the curse
without knowing how
to get us free; we were damned.

—Sincerely, Tyra 👸🏾

#BHM Moment | Google: Ida B. Wells

Dear Queen: Listen to When Queens Link 🥰

I Don’t Want My Child to Become a Hashtag!

#INDICTVanDyke #J4L

#INDICTVanDyke #J4L

Beloved, you’ve been living in the dark if you think that there’s not an active war on Black bodies across America right now. Laquan’s murderer, ex-CPD vigilante, Jason Van Dyke, is due to be released from his country club prison on February 3rd FOR GOOD BEHAVIOR? What type of asinine, ludicrous, bull …Nevermind, I’m too cute to cuss. But, it does make me hella angry when I look at my brother and his friends, or my students and mentees and wonder:

How many more hashtags before I’m crying over one of them? Or before your family members are left crying over your Black body?

Click the link in my bio to sign and share the #INDICTVanDyke #J4L Change.org petition! We need 100,000 signatures to REMIND our elected officials that they need to push US Atty General Merrick Garland and US Atty John Lausch to press FEDERAL charges against Jason Van Dyke for the 16 bullets he unloaded into the body of 17-year-old, Laquan McDonald. This was a SENSELESS MURDER of a Black boy. Don’t live in the dark thinking it won’t happen again if we stay quiet! SIGN IT AND SHARE IT WITH YOUR FOLLOWERS, FAMILY, AND FRIENDS!

Let’s get #Justice4Laquan #J4L and send the message to his family (black boys his age) that he has not been forgotten about!

IF YOU WANT TO DO MORE, LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW!

Go sign this + share it with your followers!

*No copyright infringement intended! I DO NOT own the rights to this @kanyewest song. 🖤

#policebrutality #blacklivesmatter #laquanmcdonald #blackbodies #blackstudentunion #blackamerica #solidarity #sturggle #freedom #justice #injustice #community #communitywellness #community #publichealth #COVID19 #moneychallenge

All action. No missed shots.

Only moves + vibes. 🎯

The Importance of Memory Lane 💕

Here’s why I like Facebook memories so much:

This picture was taken after I published my first book, A Smothered Scripture, + before I ever started planning recent large-scale events professionally (meaning: I was doing it for free for years for Denison University. What a time! You think I do it all now? …I had soo many dreams + goals back then!).

But there’s a story inside all of us. And, sometimes—when we’re not paying attention—we let the weight of the world make us forget who we are + all that makes us great.

On February 19th, I’ll be back sharing my story + motivating you to find your unique voice… Ya know, just in case you want to tell your story to the world.

Join me on the journey with the The Art of Transparency, Tour! We head to Memphis first, then Phoenix, have multiple Chicago dates, racing to Jamaica in November + more!

—Sincerely, Tyra #SlayTheDream 🖤💕

P.S. Many thanks to elder Harold Lucas for the opportunity + mentorship all these years!

For more information, click here: https://sincerelytyra.com/tyrashange/

To read about the High Rise Stories panel, click here: https://sincerelytyra.com/2020/01/19/slaythedream-a-catalyst-stories/

Choosing Joy, Week 1

2021 showed me that I could be the strong friend. But, 2022 is about me taking the steps to invest back into me. Just owe it to myself. 🥰

So, I started the year off doing more of the things that I love: writing, recording, check industry stats at work (🤓), planning + focusing on joy.

My theme this year is “Immense Joy.”

So I’m being intentional about actually absorbing the moment + filling my space with things that make me happier.

What did you focus on these first 7 days? Share your focus for the year + any theme you want to carry throughout 2022 in the comments!

Praying you have a peaceful, prosperous, + joy-filled year!
—Sincerely, Tyra 👸🏾🖤💕

Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas!

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