Move on, Sis!

Graphics designed by EbonySun, LLC.

Having a conversation with a good friend and she asks me about a guy that I used be involved with wondering about the “end story.”

So I told her we grew apart and let her know that I really believed he didn’t want a committed relationship.

She went on to ask how I knew that he didn’t want one. My response: “If we both wanted the same thing, we would be in a relationship right now.”

I had to explain to my friend that I knew this because he never made a deciding move. Don’t get me wrong now, we’re not on bad terms. We don’t hate each other. We simply aren’t meant to be committed to each other. And ultimately, his actions (or lack thereof) spoke for his desires.

As women, sometimes society wants us to wait around for the man to “get his mind right,” “get his stuff together,” and figure what he wants—or even, lead him into the relationship.

But sis, let me you something: You know what you deserve! Don’t let that man distract you from living the life that you want or sit around waiting for him to pick you.

GO LIVE YOUR LIFE!

The man you’re supposed be with will come along and make his intentions very well known, sis!
—Sincerely, Tyra

You are INSPIRING | #GRWM

Dear Righteous and Holy Father,

I’m sure You heard me say that I would close out this year on “Cloud Nine,” praising You and blessing Your Name for all this goodness that You have done thus far….

I think right as I was saying that the devil asked You if He could try me.

There have been distractions since then; illness and bodily fatigue tried to take me out this week and last; my sense of right and wrong has been challenged; my self-confidence has been tested (and misplaced a few days); changes at work have had people on edge and lacking faith in leadership; I have had to be the example when I lacked encouragement; a few tears were shed over broken relationships; friends have expressed sorrow about situations in their lives; I have had to carry my child in the house on cold and dark nights—alone—wondering whether I’m risking her safety just getting out of the car; and most recently, My Joy’s (and, thus, my own) sleep has been disrupted by nightmares on multiple nights.

But, despite all of this, I know that You are faithful to those who seek You.

So, in this season, You will NOT have to ask me twice to be the person that You have called me to be.

I am not the same person that I was when he tried me the last time. Thankfully, I feel like You have covered me with Your grace, Holy Spirit. You will not be called a lie by the devil on my name, Father God.

My God, You are inspiring!

You are beyond good to me. You have provided and kept us when I turned the corner and found myself on Harm’s Way. You are my rest and my triumphant peace and refuge. Your heart shall not be broken my free will or choices. My stance is to choose You over everything else.

Can I worship You today, Heavenly Father? Would it please You for me to cry the Blood of Jesus over every trial in my life? If You don’t pay me any more attention this year, can I still love You?

My heart longs to be closer to You. Thank You for the touch of mercy You have presented in my life. Thank You for never abandoning me. Your staying power is unmatched.

Thank You for telling me that I am enough—even with my flaws. Your strength has helped me grow in ways I could have never imagined. Thank You for exceeding my expectations of who I can be and what I can accomplish in this earthly realm. Take over me; my spirit belongs to You. Continue making me the person You desire for me to be.

This I ask in Jesus Christ’s Name,

Amen!

This week, I’m listening to: “Incredible God, Incredible Praise.”

Today, I’m reading the book of Job, chapters 32-34.

Go Deeper | #GRWM

“You are in the air I’m breathing in…”

Good morning God, what a beautiful reminder of Your omnipresence; that Your Spirit is meant to reside in me; that I’m enough just the way I am; that You care despite ______; that You are always desiring to get closer to me…

Thank You for coming after me. Thank You for sending Your peace; thank You for sending Your love in ways that I didn’t know I needed. Thank You for breathing on my situation. Your Spirit came in the room and covered it.

“I didn’t know I could have a friend like you.”

Amazing…

Battling every giant on my behalf…

Bold enough to take on all my doubts…

Creator of everything…

Comforter…

Deliverer…

Deliberate…

Friend and Father…

Great listener…

Matchless…

Reviver of the dead and hopeless…

Strong, yet merciful…

You can have everything that’s within me… Keep challenging me… Keep expanding my prayer life… Keep ushering me into the purpose You have for my life… Keep leading me into the full depths of knowing of Your sacrificial love.

In Jesus Christ’s Name,
Amen

Continue reading “Go Deeper | #GRWM”

Living on Cloud Nine

(Left to Right: TyraShange, D. A. Rhodes author of The Day Hate Stood Still, Rose Brooks author of Secrets of an Abused Woman, Dr. Geraldine Johnson, author of Trois a Trois)

I’m on cloud nine and I don’t wanna come down. | Natural high, haters can’t make me calm down. | Hunting for it and I could eat it right now. | These mf’in poems ain’t gon sell theyself na. | 😂…

(Okay, I got it out of my system! I watched the entire season of Rhythm & Flow yesterday after church.)

But, if I’m being honest: That mini verse completely describes how I feel after this weekend. It was such a dope display of village love in terms of celebrations.

On Friday, I got a call from one of our partner organizations asking if I could be a panelist during their final city-wide meeting for the year. Um… yes! (Well is was more like: YAAASSSSSS.)

Then, I participated in a panel showcasing my first book, A Smothered Scripture on Saturday.

It was really cool to hear the stories of the other authors and give advice to some aspiring writers. The overall experience made me realize how little of a platform that I’ve created for myself as someone whose normally coordinating events to showcase other people’s strengths. So, of course, I learned something, too.

But—full disclosure—nothing makes me happier than when someone flips to a random page of my book and completely relates to what they’re reading. At the end of the event, books were selling (and yes, a few given away) and I’m down to my last five when one of the audiences members (with a dope story in her own right), got super geeked reading a specific line on page 31. I even had another woman report that she started reading it when she got home that evening and didn’t stop until she was done. The flutter in my heart still hasn’t left at the sound of her words.

A few of us with the mom-&-dad-to-be.
A few of my faves.

Later I got to see some of my favorite people at my best friend’s baby shower. As soon as we walked in the door, it was all love. She’s an event planner at heart so of course the venue was really cute and full of laughter.

By the time I got home, I was tired but so hyped that I designed my book cover for Soul Fed in one sitting. Now I’m focused on getting the book edited just to see what the cover will look like in real life. I have a lot of work to do. But these past few days made me realize that I need to take more time to celebrate the benchmarks that I have reached.

So my goal for the end of the year is to “leave no accomplishment uncelebrated.” I intend to live on cloud nine for the rest of the year and expect everyone around me to get comfortable up here with the same energy.

Do you have ideas that you are working on or waiting to come to fruition? What’s going to push you to check them off your list before the end of the year?

A few of my mentors and My Joy.

Note to my village: We have a new baby, November and December birthdays and family gatherings to prepare for; we are so blessed! Thank you in advance for riding this wave with me! I love y’all!

—Sincerely, Tyra

#DearSelf

Honestly, I haven’t been feeling like myself lately…

Then, I remembered I’m cut from a different cloth:

I’m a Queen.

I’m genuine and caring.

I have goals achieved and that are making progress.

I’m stronger than I give myself credit for. AND, I know my purpose.

So despite everything, I was born to win.

Women like me simply do not lose.

—Sincerely, Tyra

#DearSelf

Dear Self:

Stop trying to compact

your love in their

tiny box.

It’s too

huge; too vast;

and too much

a thing to be marvelled.

Not at all a fixture

to be hidden or revealed

by decision of

a weak ego needing

to be stroked.

–Sincerely, Tyra

Worth the Work

Writing this post thinking of some of the ways that I have blocked my own blessings in the past:

A. By moving too fast,

B. by trusting too quickly (yes, there’s a difference between trusting people and being naive like I was),

C. by doing my own thing out of pride,

D. and by not being obedient or protecting my God-given purpose.

Now, I find myself in a waiting period—and sometimes it’s difficult.

But anything that has WORTH will require some WORK!

Never let anyone make you forget what you want for yourself.

Sincerely,

Tyra

#SincerelyTyra

#SlayTheDream

#WorthTheWorkWorthTheWait @ South Side, Chicago

Prayed Up | An Excerpt

She is gospel and spoken word all at once. Healing and remedies summonsed at her command. Who would dare stand in doubt about her strength? Or the length of her care? The type you pray that you stay in her prayers.

—Sincerely, Tyra

Comments on Control and Being Still

Bruh, here’s a not-so-secret secret: I struggle with being in control.

If I’m being real, I can paint a picture for you. Give me a second… Okay, so:

A. Sometimes, I roll my eyes at people who I think don’t know what they’re doing instead of helping them.

B. Although I’ll say when I’m wrong, I want things to be my way in relationships because I know best.

C. At work, my patience is only reserved for my teens—because every adult should “know better than” fill-in-the-blank.

I know, I’m highly flawed and I’m sure there are a few more examples that could be added to the list.

And yet, I’m working on it. This life gets difficult and tiresome and people don’t care and, at times, we get frustrated or ready to clap back or move before the next step of our journey has been revealed to us.

But God operates differently than we do. Just when we think we have control over the situation, there’s a turning point with the purpose of our getting closer to Him; remembering He’s the head; and that He requires our TRUST and FAITH and ACKNOWLEDGEMENT that He is in control.

Last week, I was struggling with changes at work. The week before that it was a change within my personal life. Change will always come. That’s literally how the cycle of life works. It dawned on me (mid-complaint) about one of these changes that I sounded foolish and faith-less. I literally had to stop and say to myself: “Fear or faith? You gon pick one or nah?”

In this season, God is reminding me that with our FAITH should come the desire for us to be still and allow God to take control over every situation in our lives.

“For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.”

Philippians 2:13 NLT

Praying that He continues to stretch my heart to match His desires as I wait on the way He wants me to move forward. AND that I have the sense to take each of these that I wish to control to Him in prayer.

Sincerely,

Tyra

Breakthrough Prayer

Dear God, Help me bring everything to You FIRST.

Every dream.

Every concern.

Every responsibility.

Every decision.

Every relationship.

Every battle.

Every opportunity.

Every obstacle.

Every health issue.

Every need for healing.

Every trial.

Every step outside my home.

Every job promotion.

Every difficult conversation.

Every worry.

Every idea.

Every victory.

Every sin.

Everything, God.

I give it all back to You.

I work in Your Name and for the building of Your kingdom, God.

Fear is trying to overcome me, but YOU are my portion.

You are FAITHFUL. So whom shall I fear?

Thank You in advance for FAVORING me! Thank You for Your Friendship.

Thank You for trusting me and knowing me.

Thank You for keeping me and allowing me to come to You in prayer—always.

Praying this in Jesus Christ’s Name,

Amen.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Yo I’m tired now that I’m actually sitting still

—BY MYSELF. Finally.

Hosted an event, facilitated class today, and an hour and a half-long admin meeting.

But God gave me the strength… This is a Gal. 6:9 moment. Just being able to sit still, alone.

Grateful for a day filled with great conversations, but I am really gracious for this moment to:

—just sit.

—reflect.

—breathe.

—collect my bearings.

—center myself.

—rest my mind.

Did I say breathe?

I love building community, but it comes with a price. I had a guy ask me out to drinks this weekend—and I said no. For a few reasons, but mainly because I’m looking forward to recouping from today and this week and the very similarly structured week ahead.

In fact, the thought of not going to church on Sunday crossed my mind, too. Now that I’ve sat in my car one Tasha Cobb song too many, I have to go and get My Joy with a smile on my face and with energy I do not have this evening.

And I wonder: How many more of us are running on fumes?

As we move into Mother’s Day Weekend, I pray that after the celebrating and the gifts that you get a moment to just breathe the sacred air found in solitude. I pray your weekend is a reflection of your actual priorities and passions and not solely those of beloved family members. I pray you get to breathe in the midst of it all.

Have a blessed weekend!

Sincerely,

Tyra

Voice and Freedom

I used to be “the quiet one” in the family.

But my fam knew how to uplift me stoically. Voice is still only revealed or reeled in when necessary—mostly to heighten the sound of another’s. It’s tougher out here for the introverted mind that’s alerted by the time we usually tend to run out of while creatively converted rhymes creep up behind us or before us or however.

||

Never one to waste breath so I guess if I’m in front of a mic it’s my time to shed some light on a situation that needs exposing. I’m supposing the fam could be better if we all poised our voices to be a bit more righteous. We are the only ones who can write us into history. Honestly, who’s words are more powerful than our own? It’s a known fact that no one can tell your story better than you. Remember, they used to call me the quiet one, too.

#SincerelyTyra

#SlayTheDream #representationmatters #poetry #poem #community #excerpt #writing #art #artist #creative #family #introvert #design #podcast #voice #worklife

Eartha-Ntozake Mashup

“From the Desk of Eartha-Ntozake:

Interesting how that works for a woman—brown-braided and radical

like myself. I can be as fragile as flower

and as submissive as a servant. And yet, it’s always been the ones that said

they want a woman

who has something to offer the world

that leave me abandoned.

So they’ll never get to see me

crumbling from the inside out, tear-stained cheek bones, low and regular as they get sometimes.

Their desire to witness that Tyra never outweighs their contempt

for my need to be a free-thinking woman, radically fragile and totally emotionally attached like I get sometimes.”

||

I wrote this on a whim.

After a long day.

Reflecting on my friendships

and past relationships.

Always been intrigued by

the dualities people have

to (by need or want)

pack into their daily lives.

Always considered the

effort it must take to

unpack those complexities

and in front of another person

at that. Can you imagine being

completely and complexly vulnerable

in front of person? I’m aghast

just thinking about it.

What if it’s thrown back in my face?

What if it warrants a lover to surrender his love to me?!

Ready to find out?

Think I could.

Asked for discernment to choose

the right man as options seem scarce

and plentiful all at once. At once, it was meantful… I mean mindful

to want to be the fun,

yet single, holdin’ it down ass mom.

Bet. Been there, done that one.

Found that was unfavorable

or at least that ONE was unfavored

by God Himself.

He crept into my heart

when I had everything and

carried each piece of me away

like a raccoon

rummaging through a dumpster. No wonder, my ravishingly simple personality

is driven by a slight disenchantment of love. I’m Eartha-Ntozake. I am nonchalant

about it all. All the while knowing,

I have been idolized in past and current lives by men who would remain temporary.

How despairing

is it that I am continent’s worth

of Queen’s pride

and nonetheless romantically deprived because it is so?”

||

(Note: It needs cleaning up, but my hand started cramping. And I’m actually not too sensitive about my work, so you can leave comments or suggestions. I’ll either use it or not. Just don’t steal it or not credit me puh-lease.)

–Sincerely, Tyra

#SincerelyTyra #SlayTheDream #poetry #spokenword #playwright #excerpt #love #poem #relationships #excuses #work

Light, Zest, Space | #GRWM

Psalm 27:4 MSG is a complete blessing.

Honestly, this whole chapter is a blessing.

So let’s start from the beginning:

“Light, space, zest!”

This whole idea that is God our light, the creator of every space, and our zest/spice of life is really special.

It’s a simple reminder that God is really everything and with Him, I should have no fears!

I mean in the NIV version it literally says WHO shall I fear? Well, whom actually, but you feel me.

This reminder that if the CREATOR OF EVERY CREATURE, the PRODUCER OF ALL LIFE has my back…

WHO gon stop me if God be for me?!

Like WHO? I’ll wait…

…And of course, there’s a responsibility to be sincere and humble. But listen, it doesn’t matter what’s going on in your life. If you are trying to live right, God is going to have your back.

I had to realize that even in the fight of my life, the battle was never mine. God, was alywad prepared and willing to take over—it was up to me to let go and give up my “control” of the situation.

Verse 2 says “when the wicked (devil’s army) advance against me to devour me” (NIV) they can’t touch me and fall flat on their faces (MSG).

Verse 3… I just need to quote this one from the Message verbatim, because chile it’s deep.

It reads: “When besieged, I’m calm as a baby. When all hell breaks loose, I’m collected and cool.” —Psalm 27:3 MSG

It LITERALLY says: When all hell breaks loose, I’m cool and collected!!! (I can’t wait to go back and start studying how the Hebrew translation reads and it’s meanings, but still…)

Chile, if this ain’t a life hack I don’t know what is.

Lastly, verse four goes on to say how we can remain cool as cucumber by only asking for the Lord’s presence “all the days of my life.”

This means I’m asking for God to stay with me in this life AND the next!

Can you imagine?

…Being able to gaze on the BEAUTY of the Lord?

…And then to see His temple.

…And Jesus!

I honestly can’t even!

The idea that God loves me enough to even want ME with Him after my life down here is over is too much to contemplate!

No, like seriously, me?!

But the the fact that my desire for God could never outweigh or surpass His desire for me is mind blowing and inspiring.

And if I would only trust Him and allow Him the room to live in me, I could be cool and collected and confident enough to sit back and let Him fight each battle for me.

The next few verses talk about the ways He keep us and protects us in the midst of it all. Please read/study at your leisure! But the message is to constantly seek Him and live to worship Him forever—and ever!

Now, that’s some good news!

Update: Since titling this post, I’ve included the hashtag #GRWM. Although many people across the Internet’s will say that means ‘Get Ready With Me’ as if for an outing. Yet, at SincerelyTyra.com, we are getting ourselves prepared for the coming of Jesus. So, you’ll see it as an indicator that a particular post includes a prayer or some form of Biblical commentary and study.

—Sincerely, Tyra

#JustSharing #GRWM #gospel #Bible #Psalm

The Overflowing

Just that quick smh…
But not today Satan.
Be slow to anger, Tyra.
Be the example, Tyra.
Be in this world, Tyra, not of it.
I speak life over the people that wish to test my faith.
I pray happiness over you, beloved. There are people struggling in my midst and you will not serve as a distraction as I work to uplift and empower these reciprocating beings. Today, I am overflowing with love and you—you can get it, too.
—Sincerely, Tyra

A Laying of God’s Hand

I really have to thank God every day that I am not who I used to be on so many levels. Any girls/women in messed up/abusive relationships, I feel for you—mostly because I used to be you….

My Joy and I witnessed a domestic situation between two strangers late last night. And she’s talking about how scared she is… and why this and why that…

Eventually, I had to pull over and tell her to never let anyone talk to her like that and how I would not have let him do anything to her and ask her if she wanted me to pray over her so she wouldn’t be scared (My Joy doesnt like to pray yet, but she said yes lol). But I know from experience and witnessing other people’s experiences that it could have been more tragic.

I tell my youth all the time that “leadership is self-control” and I’m thankful that the fool who rolled up on the side of my car last night trying to get to another woman calmed down and displayed an ounce of self-control when I addressed him and had enough sense to at least apologize to my four year old watching him in a terror thinking he was trying to get to her mother.

I’m reflecting on how my own situation could have looked to my family and friends and strangers. Or how it could have looked to a child like my own. And I can only think about how we have to do better in the way of creating stronger families and villages. We have to do better in the way of how we talk and communicate with one another. We have to do better with controlling our anger and not letting it build and fester.

How do we fix this cycle of broken relationships and heal generational curses?

I’m glad I was able to calm My Joy down… but I’m still torn about a solution…

UPDATE: I named this post “A Laying of God’s Hand,” to pay tribute to the Ntozake Shange monologue of similar name from the choreopoem, “For colored girls who have considered suicide/When the rainbow is enuf.” Not only does this piece of art tackle the generational curse of abuse, but it serves as a timeless-albeit fictional-reminder of the oftentimes fatal damage that can result from toxic relationships. Additionally, it pays homage to all the people who may be in abusive relationships and are searching for a laying of peace-bearing hands. Occasionally, our abusers lay this kind of hand after the abuse. So, in essence, the title is also a soft prayer that if our significant others/abusers are not consistently laying this type of life-giving hand on us physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually that we find the strength to leave them or the vulnerability to ask for help.

Please share the following resources for helping victims of abuse:

The Hotline

Our advocates are available 24/7 at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) in more than 200 languages. All calls are free and confidential. Our advocates offer the same support through our live chat services. Click here for info about the chat or click the “Chat Now” button to start a chat. Your safety is our priority, so all phone calls and chats are completely confidential. Learn more about online privacy and safety.

ChildHelp National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-4-A-CHILD (4453) www.childhelp.org ChildHelp can help connect survivors to counseling; residential treatment services; children’s advocacy centers; therapeutic foster care; group homes; child abuse prevention and education and training.
Image result for suicide hotline

We can all help prevent suicide. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.

Get Out of My Office!

I had the opportunity earlier today to pick the brains of forty Howard University Alt Spr Break students about our work! I can’t lie, it was dope/my job is dope. BUT, their insight, questions, and mere presence makes me wanna do more/create more spaces for these types of opportunities for my teens to serve our communities while they’re in high school. I want them to have multiple meaningful exchanges with BLACK college students across the nation while they’re STILL in high school. I want them to be in programs that provide opportunities to travel the world while they’re STILL in high school. They need to get out my office 😂 …We can’t just keep them to ourselves anymore…

This wasn’t really a blog, just a rant 😂

But hold me accountable just the same!

—Sincerely, Tyra

#JustSharing #Chicago #Youth

#HealitGod: Fear of Love

I read somewhere that God can’t heal what you are unprepared to reveal. This is an interesting concept that requires us to do a bit of work. Mainly, if you are not in the mindset to be self-reflective and confess your flaws and sins to God, they’ll remain thorns in your side.

As my relationship grows stronger with Him, I want to be able bring every flaw to His altar. Prayerfully, my goal is just be a better mom, sister, friend, lover (to my future husband), and person, in general.

Speaking of being a better lover, it takes a certain level of vulnerability to be “in love” and a great partner. But I’m pretty sure my last relationship was ruined by my inability open up to him completely. I was worried of would happen if I became “too in love.” Before my next relationship, I’m praying and carving out time to figure how to overcome this fear.

I used to think vulnerability equaled fear. But I’ve been learning that it’s actually freedom; complete freedom to be all that you are without apology or regret. But because I aligned this concept with fear (and in many ways, weakness), I ended up building walls with someone I really cared about.

So, as God continues to work in and through me, I’ve asked Him to make me more willing to stand in my truth and allow my strength and vulnerability to complement each other. I know it will take some time… and faith… and discernment. I’m re-reading both the New International Version and The Message Bible of 1 Corinthians 13:4-13 to gain more insight.

Is this even an issue or fear within God-centered relationships? Comment below and let me know how you overcame the of fear of loving too deeply.

-Sincerely, Tyra

Free Woman

No one wants a free woman.

They want us to be small and contained,

unopinonated and ashamed

of all our own ideas.

When I say, “Stop that. It hurts me.”

They’d rather recall how strong

I was before and parade

my wounds around like a trophy.

I just want to be a free woman,

full of melodies and melanin.

Let me be all that I am

or walk away if you can’t.

Is there a such thing as a free

woman? My womb and

my mind are empty

according to every man.

“Can I be a freed woman?”

is not a question I ever thought

I’d need to ask.

—Sincerely, Tyra

I can’t lie. When I wrote this last night, I wasn’t thinking of it being “in honor of International Women’s Day.” But God planted this poem in my heart last night in relation to some conversations and experiences that I’ve been having with various men in my life over the past week or so. So I see His timing as perfect and pray that as women we continue to grow and walk in our God-given purpose-especially in the face of men who do not recognize our talents, gifts, or authority. So let me know what you think and hit me with some ideas for a title.

–peace + love, Tyra

Bellies & Babies

Sometimes I look at my stomach and cannot believe there used to be a living, breathing being inside of it…

at least until My Joy decides to randomly pat it and says “I used to be in Mommy’s tummy” or “I wanna be in Mommy’s tummy”

or… the most infamous one of all: “its looks like there’s a baby in there.” 🤦🏾‍♀️😩

I’m not sure if the child really thinks my stomach is a teleportation device, a time machine or if she’s trying to tell me she wants a sibling. Do other toddlers do stuff like this?

I’m so confused and can literally only take suggestions for the teleportation device idea. I rebuke any ideas of siblings in the near future. Two versions of me under the age of five—in the same house PLUS myself? …Yeah, I’ll pass. 😅

—Sincerely, Tyra

#SlayTheDream

My Joy the Mastermind

After tub time, My Joy likes for me to pick her up and stand in the mirror and hug her—like I did when she wasn’t half my size. Last night—

My Joy: Pick me up, please.

Me: I did pick you up (literally sitting on the side of the tub with her wrapped in her towel and in my arms)

My Joy: No, you didn’t because you didn’t stand up.

Me: 🙄 and TF (in my head, of course)

I stand up.

Me: Are you a baby or a big girl?

My Joy: (looks at me in the mirror) I just wanna be ‘Mommy’s baby.’

This is mastermind-style manipulation from a four-year old, bruh. I was about to put her down and apparently she knew, hitting me dead in the heart with that line. I coo-ed and oo-ed and ahhh-ed while holding her heavy butt in my arms for at least another full minute.

#JustSharing

—Sincerely, Tyra

I talked to God in Public.

I think I’ve just now decided to call this what it is. I’m not a preacher, not an evangelist or a even a great intercessor. But I am consistent. And I’ve been consistently praying over us. Yes, even you–who I may not know. But you’re reading this right now–so yes, definitely you, too.

There’s a funny, gif-ed out Twitter thread or stream of consciousness that explains why this prayer in this moment: https://twitter.com/tyrashange/status/1085861255871647744?s=21

If you read it, share a comment down below.

So hear’s today’s prayer:

May we all gain more peace in this year.

May we be vulnerable enough to not allow the chaos of our daily lives disrupt our inner peace.

Sincerely,

Tyra

18 Love Lessons I Learned in 2018

So I took some time to reflect on my relationships from last year. This list represents the love (and sometimes lackluster love) that I experienced in the form of my family ties, friendships, and more intimate relationships. Ultimately, I realized that I should pay special attention to the ones that were blessings and found some important lessons in the rest. Please take what you need.

Dear Self,

1. Sex will not sustain you.

2. A relationship will not complete you either; so be patient and #SlayTheDream

3. The business is better than the boo. Build it. Plan Ahead. Take your time.

4. Be careful. Be discerning. The devil will pray for you, too.

5. Backsliding was never your thing. Don’t start now. Despite his words, there was a reason it didn’t last.

6. Godly love or no love. Create boundaries.

8. Make sure your friends know how to pray for you and with you regularly. Communicate rather than isolate.

9. Are you equally yoked? Has God designed him especially for you?

10. Leadership is having self-control.

11. Let him check on you. If he’s about you, he’ll know that you deserve to be cared for sometimes, too.

12. Don’t forget what you learned.

13. Remember to heed your own advice.

14. Your youth are watching your example.

15. This year has been awesomely designed in your favor. But there is more work to do.

16. Remember God’s grace, mercy, favor rests in your most important relationship.

17. Practice silent confidence; walk the tightrope between humility and humbleness.

18. When you need a break from community organizing, remember this world we live in is not ready for My Joy.

BONUS: Obedience is difficult at times, but will reap more than you can imagine. Believe God.

–Sincerely, Tyra

#SlayTheDream

Not Your Average 4-Year Old

I love when people talk to My Joy likes she’s an actual person. Don’t treat my big girl princess like a four-year old that’s not up on game. She is too smart for that and will let you know as much with her level of conversation.

Honestly, we should make it a practice of treating our children like little scholars and apprentices, but that’s another, much longer post.

—SincerelyTyra

#SlayTheDream

Happy New Year

If you’re reading this, it’s 2019.

Dope things happened for us in 2018.

Don’t let the mishaps, missteps, mistakes, or even the misfortune fool you into to believing that you didn’t make it through gloriously.

It’s time to reflect, be grateful, increase your faith and do even more this year!

—Sincerely, Tyra

#SlayTheDream #ChiPeaceProject

Kujichaguli-whaat?!

Today, I had an important appointment earlier with an associate which ended up in me having to reflect on a few of my past mistakes. I had to remember times when I thought poorly of myself and times when I allowed other’s perception of me to infiltrate my own self-image. In fact, I used to swear that my stomach was huge. I may as well have been because I thought I was a house—especially, in this second photo.

Major props to the person who can figure out in which of these photos I’m a whole FIVE months pregnant. Ultimately, I had become distracted and disconnected from my values—a few of which were not built on a strong foundation since I grew up dealing with low self-esteem. I couldn’t see myself in those early years (I mean that quite literally—my eyesight was so terrible without my glasses that I actually couldn’t see my own image in the mirror and I ALWAYS had the hugest glasses that would further prevent me from seeing my actual face). So by the time most of these photos were taken, I had fallen off a cliff and into a deep valley of trying to determine who I was and wanted to become.

Perception is the reality in which we dwell—and mine was completely chopped and screwed. It took a lot of work since the birth of my daughter to rebuild a positive view of myself in a few areas. My self-determination looks like me standing in the mirror saying “Girl, you fine” or even appreciating my post-toddler girth and laughing at these photos and the audacity of myself thinking I was too big in any area (What’s even crazier is that I really believed I was well-endowed in the chest. Can you say itty-bitty?).

My prayer is that as we come down off the high of the holiday cheer and move forward into this new year, we determine how we want to perceive ourselves and constantly work toward strengthening that self-image.

Happy Day 2 of Kwanzaa!

–Sincerely, Tyra

#SlayTheDream

Excerpt from “Soul Fed”

Dear Self Project

We have ten days left in 2018.

You’ve made it this far despite this year having been a test of of your patience, your strength—and possibly—your sanity. But there is definitely something to look forward to and many more things for which to be thankful. Remember, my words you’ve made it THIS far. Keep going! Figure out how to make next year so great, so inspired, so blessed that you don’t feel like you’re being broken in two by December. And if you can’t do that—at least you can look back and smile knowing you’re so much farther along in your journey than where you used to be. Can’t you see? If you give up; if you allow yourself to become pitiful and self-loathing, you’ll never finish the race you’re in; you’ll lose the war by conceding the battle. And you’re worth so much more than just what you’re feeling about yourself right now for this brief moment. You owe it to yourself to continue marching toward that goal. Take heart, readjust your crown and slay that dream!

This started as me speaking over a loved one, but I ended up speaking life over me, too.

—Sincerely, Tyra

#SincerelyTyra

#SlayTheDream

#dearself

#selflove

The Meaning of Tyra

Someone called me the Goddess of Self-Love. I find this interesting because according to Google the name Tyra in Scandinavian is the feminine variation of Tyr: god of War, Battle.

Most of my life, I’ve been trying to figure out how to reframe that “definition” into a positive one or redefine my name based on the legacy I want to leave. Especially since I have also struggled with believing that I deserve love and all the things opposite of war throughout my childhood and younger years. And–I highly doubt my ancestors were from Scandinavia. So the purpose of this lesser god could not even be accurate when applied to my lineage.

But it made me feel really mushy inside when someone recognized this internal war that I have been battling with for years and saw me winning it.

I’ll hold on to this newly-given moniker for awhile and hope that people see my example and work to love themselves a little more.

—Sincerely, Tyra (The Goddess of Self-Love)

God Promoted Me

On this day last year, I found myself accepting a new job… Since then, everything I’ve touched has been favored and blessed. The only thing I miss are my residents and the dance studio. 😊 Less than a year later, that opportunity shifted from a new position to a new promotion.

This year has been “awesomely designed in my favor.” Don’t get me wrong, I still have had some people try to block my blessings. And I’m thankful for all the people in my corner. Yet, I really don’t think either group understands what they just did… so God, continue to use me.

Today’s intentions:

Breathe in the moment.

Rejoice in the victory.

Then, aim higher.

Just Sharing,

—Sincerely, Tyra

#SlayTheDream

Hold up, WAYAMIN! There’s also a new post on SincerelyTyra.com. Check me out. You know you want to. 🖤

Career Change?

I think that I may have missed my calling… I have been off work for two days and now I’m thinking about becoming a stay-at-home mom/home-maker.

Bruh, I was so productive earlier in the day, started cooking dinner at 4PM, and we have cleaned the kitchen and eaten all before 7PM.

I luhh my job, but what is life now that I’ve experienced this on a weekday???

If I can do her hair and get both of us in the bed by 10PM, you can’t tell me nothing.

Note: At some point, My Joy started wildn’ out and had to have a “timeout” (read: timeout, spanking, nap—in that order). And, in hindsight, I definitely cooked too much food. But, other than that, I would not mind doing this EREDAY.

Pray for me as I crawl back into my work routine tomorrow!

#latenights #earlymornings #outofschooltime #youthdevelopment #SlayTheDream

Just sharing.

—Sincerely, Tyra

A Genuine Invitation

We all know a few people that may not have the best relationships with their family members—and those that may not have the luxury of being able to see their family.

Check on those people today. Invite those friends to the house or at least to pick up a plate. (Or drop it off, if that person is your elder.)

We were not created to be islands. If you’re truly thankful, it won’t hurt or cost you anything this holiday to reach out to them.

Other than that, I hope we all eat ‘til our hearts are content. I hope everyone gets to be around people who care about us. Happy Thanksgiving!

—Sincerely, Tyra

Sameyah Haile

I love conversations with My Joy.

She is so free with her emotions

that I learn something new

about confidence, imagination or love

with each dialogue.

You can’t teach this type of self-love.

It makes me weary wondering how

I can protect her from

the darkness of the world.

So I pray her light never diminishes

and for the power to see

all she that is.

–Sincerely, Tyra

Go VOTE!

Today’s intention is to VOTE:

1. bc my life depends on it.

2. bc Sameyah’s life depends on it.

3. bc someone needs to know that they have the right to vote despite their past mistakes.

4. bc if you’ve been convicted of a felony in Illinois AND served your time, you can register to vote and cast your ballot in the very next election (see state law below).

5. bc number 4 should’ve been posted all year long—daily.

6. bc Sankofa won’t allow me not to.

7. bc “in an era when a black woman voting was a laughable suggestion and a deadly proposition, Harriet voted for freedom with her feet. with her limbs. with her life. –Brittany Packnett

8. bc Ms. Owens would be disappointed if I didn’t.

*Illinois state law 10 ILCS 5/3-5: https://bit.ly/2Pfc3Mu

Just sharing.

—Sincerely, Tyra

So Why Are You Single?

I was asked a couple of weeks ago why I didn’t have a boyfriend (of course, it was man–only men ask that question). While I told the truth, I also should have given the following list of reasons that keep me from “plummeting” into the abyss of love and relationships. (Funny, I used to be a hopeless romantic.) Remember, to be aware is to be alive.

–Sincerely, Tyra

So why is Tyra single?

1. Waiting on someone equally yoked.

2. Waiting on someone strong enough to COMMUNICATE their feelings.

3. But I get stuck in my own feelings and will shut down quick.

4. I cut people off when they’re talking.

5a. I’m easily excited about every day things.

5b. Which means I’m probably a lil annoying 🤔

6. I work crazy hours/too much.

7. I don’t play coy.

8. I’m too grown to play Blues Clues with people’s feelings — wayamin, did I say that already?

9. I don’t cook often (see # 6).

10. I’d rather text or FaceTime than hold the phone to my ear.

11. I’m immensely flawed.

12. I’m equally immensely awesome.

13. Probably need to pick a struggle (In ref to 11-12).

14. I lack patience most days.

15. I am sarcastic asl—smart-mouthed to many.

16. I want too much quality time because I’m really a softie.

17. But there are too many ppl depending on my time/talents for cuddle time honestly.

18. I am a big picture thinker so lil things become complex.

19. I am easily annoyed.

20. I don’t really kno why tho. 🤷🏾‍♀️🤦🏾‍♀️

The Party is Over | Chicago Ideas Week

Y’all. Today, we ended up at an event that we technically weren’t supposed to be attending because of a change in venue…

After a great set of Chicago Ideas Week discussions, I gave Michael Eric Dyson my business card. He basically asks what I do and starts cracking jokes about how I’m too young to be teaching teens.

I turn around to our moderator, Jamil Smith, standing behind me and smacked him on the arm like “bruh, why isn’t your book on the table?” We laughed and he said thanks for lighting the fire under his butt to finish his book proposal.

…Kinda reminds me of the time I met Doug E. Fresh when I was leaving O’Hare, but I digress…

Oh, AND, I got to make essential oils in a trauma training this afternoon.

Somebody cue “Today Was a Good Day” for me, please.

Just sharing.

—Sincerely, Tyra

Fill Your Holes

Now, If That Was A Black Person…

Tonight on “Now, If That Was A Black Person…”

A local dummy tries to open the exit door of an Amtrak train while en route to Chicago. A conductor races from another car like a linebacker in pursuit of a sack, startling passengers and screaming, “Get off the train!”

He yells again, “Get off the train.”

All eyes zoom-in on a tall, flushed face white man with a grey beard. The man is allowed to walk through the car, passed his seat/belongings to the next exit door—conductor still yelling, “No, who told you to open the door?!!” and then, “Go sit down.”

The man walks back to his seat in the middle of the car. The conductor addresses the train on the intercom to make it “undoubtedly clear” that there will not be any stops for smoke breaks.

I know what you’re thinking: All this commotion for a smoke break?

Another conductor of higher rank than the last comes and sits down near the man—who is still red in the face. The conductor asks the man if he is alright. They chat and chuckle more before the conductor tells them man, not to worry about it and gets up back to his other duties.

I wonder how differently this story would’ve played out if this man was Black.

Can you guess the race of the train conductors? Do you think race played a role in the ending?

—Sincerely, Tyra

P.S. Can you tell that I’m salty because they woke me up from some good sleep? 😒

P.S.S. Twenty minutes later the original conductor gets back on the intercom and addresses the passengers: “Ladies and gentlemen, we are going to have a slight delay, so against my better judgement, I’m going to allow people to step off the train for a smoke break.” 😒😒

#ThisIsAmerica

Just Sharing |Newest FBI man hunt for Black community organizers

I don’t have much to say in the way of an introduction to the video. Just watch it and remember:

1. Stay woke.

2. Because THIS is America.

3. This is just one story of many.

4. The broadness of the term “Black Identity Extremists” shows the hypocrisy of White Fear and the willingness to advertise any person who promotes justice for Black lives as a “threat to the community.”

5. VICE keeps me in tune.

https://youtu.be/F1jvAsoa7HA

Just sharing.

–Sincerely, Tyra 🖤

Revolutionary Love, II

Dear Malcolm,

I want a Nat Turner–most days.

A man willing to die

for the causes,

someone who wrestles

with the flaws of justice.

I know that God wants

a shield for all of us.

But you, will always

be safe with me

until your insecurities

find obscurity.

And when that fire

is subdued, use me.

Let me rub your

temples ’til you feel

a tremor in your heart;

soak your needs in my wants,

read the Gospel or Qur’an,

and heed the hieroglyphs

until the Nubian Dynasty

is reborn here in The New World

or at least until the next

Chicago renaissance.

You are safe in my love.

If only you cover me;

I will cover us.

—Betty

(October 3, 2018)

If You Lead, We’ll Follow

“Those who criticize this generation forget who raised us.”

In a conversation about leadership, I shared this photo of Mamie Till. A couple of my middle schoolers had no idea who she was, a few others didn’t understand why she made my list of leaders, and one student even said she was “doing the most.”

So this week, we watched a quick video about her struggle navigating America’s racism and the heinous murder of her son, Emmitt Till—who was very close to them in age.

They had so many questions. We talked about how strong she had to be to endure all of those years reliving this story for interviews. Then, we played a game to help them understand their own strengths in communication/delegation.

We rarely get second chances to change a person’s mind. This time I did simply because they are longing for a connection to the generation before them. They are thirsty for depictions of genuine leadership. They are hungry for more relatable teachers and information that enhances their strengths. My point is, we can’t fault children for not knowing or understanding our history if we aren’t intentionally teaching them the truth and how it connects to their current lives.

Just sharing,

–Sincerely, Tyra 🖤

#SlayTheDream #ChiPeaceProject

https://sincerelytyra.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/img_2782.mov

Your Life’s Purpose

If we’re being honest, the real real reason I go to work and church is to spend time with my youth.* They may not be my own babies and, of course, there are times when they get on my nerves (which I’m sure is a mutual sentiment for them some days, too). Nevertheless, my honest belief is that my life’s purpose is being carried out when I’m around teens and young adults. You may ask why, but in my eyes, it’s simple: I wish that as a teenager someone would have spent more time talking to me about things that I cared about.

I know many youth who are currently wishing someone would talk to them about the things that actually matter to them. I had a very interesting conversation with a group of youth today around everything from suicide to slavery to the most recent series of Chicago shootings. Many of them had close relatives who were victims of homicides or murder within the past two weeks. Although a few of them did not understand why other people commit suicide, I made sure to give them the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and they names of licensed staff members that they could talk to if they or their friends were struggling with suicidal thoughts, depression, or grief.**

Then, we ended up playing a game of Uno with a Twist. My youth at church know that I like to infuse games in our lessons, too. Its probably because I’m still young at heart. I can remember having family game nights with my mom are a close family friend when I was younger. That bonding time with genuine adults was fun, but it stopped in my teenage years–which is unfortunate since those are some of most formative years of our lives.

To fulfill my life’s purpose, I want to continually expose our youth to new experiences and new opportunities that will amplify the small voice in their head that tells them to #SlayTheDream; that they are destined for leadership, greatness, and service to their community. Honestly, I have yet to completely determine how to do that. However, I do know the first step is by showing them that someone cares about their well-being and is concerned with the things that concern them.

What is your life’s purpose? Do we share the same passion for youth development, advocacy, and organizing? Or do you think I am insane? Leave your honest comments in the box below! Remember to connect with me via social media, too!

Feeling blessed and favored…

–Sincerely, Tyra 🖤

*Outside of my responsibility to provide and bring peace to My Joy. Whereas my daughter is my first purpose, youth work is definitely my second purpose in life.*

**Let be clear: I am not a licensed staff member and do not sugar coat my abilities when it comes to talking about these topics. This was an unplanned conversation in which some of my young people gave me discussion questions that they wanted to discuss. My follow-up will be to bring in the qualified staff members to introduce themselves to my youth, just in case they need additional services in the future. If you or a young person is having thoughts of committing suicide, please direct them to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. **

For more:

Facebook: facebook.com/sincerelytyra/

Instagram: @SincerelyTyra; https://instagram.com/p/Bnp7DixF9-Y/

Twitter: @TyTaughYou

Tumblr: @TeachUsSomethin’

 

#SundayFunday

We went on a mission to see Shakespeare in the park and failed up with an extraordinary play date with some new friends, a photo shoot, and ice cream.* We were sharks, zombies, frogs with sharp teeth, and zappers (whatever that is). Oh, and I can’t forget–astronauts discovering new galaxies!

—Sincerely, Tyra 🖤

Sometimes I look at My Joy and think about how much she’s grown up. I tell her all the time that she is not a baby anymore. But when she didn’t want my help to climb the monkey bars, I think my eyes started sweating a little bit.

*Dear Joy Yee Noodle: you need to stop it with this contraption you call ice cream 😅. We had to have some fruit after this behemoth of S’mores goodness!

#SincerelyTyra #SlayTheDream #MyJoy #mine #thelife #wewere #astronauts #zombies #frogswithteeth #sharks #and #zappers 🤔 #whatever #that #is #sundayfunday #mom #momtings #daughter #chronicles #pingtompark #chicago

#ChiPeaceProject

So I’m at the monthly HIVE Meetup and to spark small group conversation, I’ve been asked 1) to share the 5th photo in my phone and 2) how I felt during the moment it was captured.

A1: Clearly, this is a screenshot (which means I stole it, but that’s another post for another day).

A2: I felt rather relieved that it WASN’T a candid shot with my mouth wide open, mid-sentence and that the photographer captured my youth at the height of our learning. We’ve been having really great and complex conversations all week about the ways in which ‘God Wants Us’ and the type of servant leaders we are all called to be. @QuinnChicago

During this morning’s Meetup, one of my colleagues elected me to share out for our group. So I talked about how my motivation for sharing the photos that I post is to combat the hate that we see in the world and promote more love (interpersonal and self-love) and peace.

Maybe I’m an idealist, but I honestly believe this type of intentionality in what we choose to share on our social media platforms could have a major impact on the way people choose to perceive our city, our network, our neighborhoods, and most importantly, Black youth.

We spend so much time capturing important moments on our phones these days. What’s the fifth photo in your photo library? If you share, tag me! I’d love to see your memory!

—SincerelyTyra 🖤

For more dope, peace-motivated content: http://www.SincerelyTyra.com.

#SincerelyTyra #SlayTheDream #ChicagoPeaceProject #ChiPeaceProject

#fivephotosback #hivechicagobuzz #sharing #socialmedia #peace #love #positivevibes

Dear Self | Reminders

Artistry withstands the times long after the artist cannot.

—Sincerely, Tyra

#SincerelyTyra #SlayTheDream #RIP #RIH #Basquiat #design #interiordesign #decor #art #artist #time #forever #past #future #quotes #artwork #writer #poetry #painting #portrait #publishing #entrepreneur #keys #facts #linkinbio

RIP King Basquiat

“Artistry withstands the times long after the artist cannot.”

—Sincerely, Tyra

#SincerelyTyra #SlayTheDream #RIP #RIH #Basquiat #art #artist #time #forever #past #future #quotes #artwork #writer #poetry #painting #portrait #facts

Bargain in Aisle 5

Attention Shoppers!!!

I have been searching Pinterest, Etsy and the likes for awe-inspiring home office decor and wandered upon some brightly-colored Kate Spade nesting storage boxes.

I saw them at a couple of other brick and motor locations being sold separately. The three of these cute and functional decor details would have cost over $30 if I would have purchased them when I originally fell in love with them. So glad I didn’t! I bought these three storage boxes as a set from the Marshall’s on 119th and the Dan Ryan for $13!

Happy hunting!

—Sincerely, Tyra

Happy Book Lovers’ Day!

What are y’all reading on this Book Lovers’ Day ??

—SincerelyTyra.com

#SincerelyTyra #SlayTheDream #published #author #writer #literature #playwright #inspiration #selfhelp #nonfiction #fiction #romance #poetry #collection #anthology #books #love #learning #tbt #ASmotheredScripture #Amazon

Weekend.Remnants | Shange.Sings

Weekend.Remnants | Shange.Sings

Yoooo….

I witnessed so much BlackGirl/BlackBoyJoy at the 15th Annual Silver Room Block Party last weekend! The music was awesome during the main party (ahem… excuse me belting out this… I had to say a quick my bad for not listening to my girl–even though we all know this Montell Jordan joint is/was/always has been my JAM!)

We were still missing a few people by this point but worked it out by the end of the night and even added My Joy to the celebration the next morning for brunch!

I still can’t believe that this event has been going on for 15 years in Hyde Park. It vibes very much like a family barbecue or class reunion. (Random note: I personally think that Hyde Park is the “newest edition” to Bronzeville and that the SRBP should be renamed the Silver Room Black Party… You know you were thinking it!)

In some of the hash-tagged posts on IG, I saw that people had come in from all over the country. It was incredibly DOPE to see such a huge commitment from the Black community in support of Chicagoland’s Black entrepreneurs and performance artists! Honestly, it seemed like all the locally-grown talent was out except for the Obamas (…and Yeezy and Chance, but you feel me. The rest of my faves were there!)

I can’t wait for next year! I’m sure it will even be bigger and better and have even more beautiful, Black, creative, and life-giving surprises in store! If God’s will, I’ll be in the spot, too!

Until next time…

Sincerely,

Tyra

#PartyPartyParty #AllNighters #FeltLike #IG #hashtag #Black #ownership #entrepreneurship #business #friendship #goals #BlackExcellence #BlackWealth #college #Reminders #Weekend #Vibes #BlackJoy #ForTheCulture #SummerTimeChi #SilverRoomBlockParty #chicago #thisishowwedoit @mrjordan1911 —SINCERELYTYRA.COM

#InternationalSelfCareDay

During last week’s Career Day discussions, some my students asked our professional guests whether or not they bring work home. There was a time when I would have said yes.

For example, I could be having the craziest day at work. Somebody else could be working on being messy while everyone else is doing the actual work. Trust, that mess will not come home with me anymore. Recently, I made a commitment to myself to not bring work home anymore or let stressful energy follow me home.

At three years old, My Joy (my daughter) constantly reminds me “ain’t nobody got time for that.” Quite honestly, she has an energy that makes me forget about the negativity (or on some days, an overwhelming amount of work) anyway.

So right now we are over here on my couch watching sign language videos and she is having a ball.

Thankful for work-life balance.

–Sincerely, Tyra