New Quarter = New Goals Accomplished

New Quarter = New Goals Accomplished

You know, I think I’ve always wanted to start a clothing line. I vividly remember sketching designs for our cheerleading uniforms in grammar school and re-designing all the hottest Nikes I couldn’t afford. I was customizing Nike’s before it was ever an option on a website.
So earlier this year when I decided that I would design and make a few t-shirts, I knew I wanted them to be innovative. Like any entrepreneur, I’m pretty particular about what I put my name on. So the excitement that comes with putting the EbonySun logo on these designs is next level.

We* officially debuted two original designs last week at our very FIRST pop-event (pictured below). That means we officially slayed two goals this month! We already had the “Distinguish Yourself” design and the “#ProtectUs” shirt which made its debut on Juneteenth. So releasing the “Don’t Fold” and “Mind Your Business(es)” shirts next felt like a step in the right direction.

Our warehouse is small but mighty.

The catalyst for all of these designs are, of course, centered around personal lessons or and social issues—many of which I’ve written about on the Sincerely, Tyra blog or our social media platforms. So there is an intentional level of brand connectivity happening between the writing that we feature and these designs. Even the EbonySun logo and motto looks like something we would don on the Sincerely, Tyra side of the house. 

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EbonySun logo and motto.

Our next goal is to facilitate a collaborative of women-owned small businesses in the creation of a scholarship fund focused on teen mothers. The “#ProtectUs” shirt (originally titled the Rekia shirt) is a not-for-profit sale item for this very reason. Until the collaborative group is formed, this shirt is our healthy reminder to protect every facet of Black womanhood. This design will likely become the flagship for funding the scholarship fund. If you know of any organizations or small businesses that we should partner with for this endeavor, please email details to info@sincerelytyra.com


Each shirt can be found on our Etsy shop  (https://www.etsy.com/shop/EbonySun) and custom orders can be placed using the following Google Form. Of course, we’d love our subscribers’ feedback on the designs! So hit reply and tell us what you think! Or let us congratulate YOU by sharing any goals you’ve accomplished this year with us!

—Sincerely, Tyra 

*Right now, “we’re” a design team of one (perhaps, one and a half if you count assistance from my five-year old daughter). But prayerfully EbonySun and Sincerely, Tyra will be able to hire an administrative assistant and a design assistant before Quarter 2 of 2021. The best way you can support us with this next goal is through prayer. Thanks in advance!

**We = trusted team members are being spoken into existence. 

Last Sunday’s POP-UP event display.
EbonySun’s Creative Director, TyraShange, wearing the “Mind Your Business(es)” shirt.
Prepping the “Mind Your Business(es)” shirts for the Pop-up event.
The “#ProtectUs” shirt gets a new colorway!
Getting the “Don’t Fold” Shirt prepped for special delivery.

ISSA POP-UP EVENT!

We’re excited to announce that our mother company, EbonySun Chicago, is partnering with this dynamic group of Black-owned businesses next week to offer you all NEW merch (like new NEW… not even on our website… exclusive NEW) and of course, boxes of Sincerely, Tyra-authored books!

Join us and share the good news! Happy Sunday!

—Sincerely, Tyra

EbonySun is a lifestyle brand created to showcase positive images of Black life.

Love: A New Inquiry

Yes, I’m that mom that sings to the babies in their sleep! 🥰 Judge ya mama 😂

So I’ve been listening to a lot of Drake and Anita lately. But somehow in between them, I was able to come across this song, Sacred Space, by India.Arie. Honestly, between her and Anita’s Tidal playlists, I’m rethinking the type of love that I need and want in my life.

There’s a lyric in this song that India sings: “When this life becomes a fight. You are where I put my gloves down.”

…Honey, that hit my spirit in different way. Those lyrics expressed a type of love that exudes peace, comfort, and sanctuary.

Listening to it made me think about whether those things could exist naturally between two people or whether a couple would have to work toward finding and maintaining that type of love.

There are so many ideas and suggestions about love within our culture. An obvious example can be found in love songs. Anita’s and India’s repertoires are even better examples. I’d like to say that Drake might have one or two ideas about love that are actually solid. Maybe…

But it’s difficult to determine what to require from love these days. The dominant theory of our culture doesn’t even seem to value love much. So it’s definitely not effectively teaching us what to REQUIRE from love for it to be long lasting and beautiful.

Are there prerequisites or demands of love for it to be one’s sacred space? What are some things that you require from love for it to feel right and good? Share in the comments! I’m learning! So help me out! 🥰😩

—Sincerely, Tyra

What About Self-Awareness?

What About Self-Awareness?

I want to hide… Literally just want to get under the covers, ball up like a baby and hide. Why? Because of this feeling of rejection—and how I chose to respond to it. Disclaimer: This post is going to share my flawed reactions to a recent male friend’s choice to be in a relationship with someone else. No details about his identity will be revealed because, well, that just wouldn’t be fair.

If you’ve been following the blog for awhile, you probably remember the following quote:

Posted in January of this year, the photo reached just shy of 2,600 individuals and sparked 41 profile visits on Instagram. Cool, right?

Well, it probably would’ve been dope—if I actually would’ve taken my own advice. You see, I entangled myself intimately again (this time, building what I thought was a stronger friendship) with the same man this post was about just three months AFTER I wrote about being content with us not being in a relationship.

Now, let me be honest this time around, I have not really been self-aware these past few months. I thought that I could be intimate with him and not catch feelings. Honey, I had it mapped out so clearly in my head.

…Until, we started acting like real friends toward each other. Because of this new pattern of interactions, my feelings grew exponentially faster than his did. When I realized he had become interested in someone else, again lacking self-awareness, I thought “okay, cool, we can still just be friends.”

Big pause here: Show of hands. How many of you think I was ready for us to just be friends?!

Seriously, what was I thinking?! Deep down, I knew I wanted more from the beginning and should have been honest with myself enough to create boundaries to let him know that as well.

But that wasn’t the choice I made. So when he decided that he did NOT want a relationship with me again—one would likely think: Oh, she knew it could end this way. She’ll be fine.

I did know that it could end this way and yes, because I’m an adult who made the choices I made, I SHOULDA been fine with his decision. But, for the sake of my own personal growth, let me tell you why I wasn’t:

I do not handle rejection well.

…There I said it.

I’m honestly just not used to it. I was one of the top students in school all throughout my life. Got rewarded left and right for my intelligence, work ethic, and ability to help others. I was popular in college and am still very much the person everyone has a good time around. Other guys are vying for my attention. So why wouldn’t he want to be in a relationship with me?

That was the million dollar question that I didn’t realize I was even struggling with this time around. When I say struggle… it took TWO good friends to sit me down on TWO separate occasions over the course of this past week for me to realize that I have been giving this man hell over a choice he FULLY has the right to make. (Note: 🥴🤦🏾‍♀️ is how I feel admitting to this and realizing I’ve been acting like crazy person. I’m supposed to be cooler than this.🙄)

Last Friday, without knowing about my situation, one of my best guy friends was venting to me about a woman he’s been involved with recently. Hearing his feelings about her actions confirmed that I had been irrational with my expectations of the man I was only intimately involved with. So, it was then that I decided that I was over it. At least, that’s what I thought.

Then, yesterday, after sending a text to the man that explained how I felt—about him not choosing me—I called another good friend for validation when he told me I was wrong. How could he say my feelings were wrong? But, because my circle keeps it very real with me: she told me I was DEADASS WRONG for some of the things I said to him. Ultimately, I apologized to him because of that conversation and her ability to help me see a different perspective.

So this morning when I get another like on the Instagram post above, I realized that this feels terrible because I’m not used to feeling “rejected.” I wanted something from him that he didn’t want from me. Hence, the REJECTION.

If I was more self-aware or problem-solving this for one if my own friends, my advice would be that:

1) I could have chosen to not fool around with this man.

2) I could have been real with myself—and chosen to correct my attitude toward our time together.

3) We were just two people making decisions about what we wanted in the heat of each moment.

4) Despite how much you disagree with their choices, you don’t always deserve an apology.

5) Sex and friendship does not equal a relationship.

Everyone has choices to make in life and we’re not always going to like what other people decide. These past few weeks have helped me to become more aware of my own choices and although I still feel bad for how I was treated and how I decided to react toward the man, I’m thankful that this experience has granted me insight. Next time, I know to be more upfront with myself.

How do you know when you’re not acting like yourself? Have you had an experience that caused you to act differently than you normally would act? What lessons did you learn about self-awareness? Full disclosure: I’m still learning and your comments may help me grow!

Sincerely, Tyra

Self-awareness? How do you know when you’re not acting like yourself?

Protecting Us…

Warning: The following video is footage of a memorial that was built to honor Oluwatoyin “Toyin” Salau, a 19-year-old Black Lives Matter activist from Florida who’s body was found dead one week after she went missing.

Chicago, IL

What does it mean to protect the Black woman at all costs??
Physically…
Spiritually…
Emotionally…
Can we finally have a conversation about this? What am I to tell My Joy when she sees Black women’s bodies deteriorate and mangled as consequences of being on the front lines?

I’ve been trying to get active and get rid of this 2020-Stress Body. One particular Saturday morning after My Joy and I are walking/running/playing soccer on the track, I notice a faint crying sound. As we get closer, I realize a tiny little girl is hunched over crying, another (older) is about five feet away standing under a tree (looking lost). So I asked the child crying what was wrong and where her parents were. She pointed to a man who was across the field walking on the opposite side of the track and said he’s walking and said “he’d needs three more (laps) and I’m hot!!”

And homegirl is boohoo-ing, okay! But to her credit, it was like 80 degrees at 10am. So I look to confirm that the man is indeed across the field and tell her everything is going to be okay. Of course MyJoy walks over and gives her a hug (🥰🤗). Then a few mins later she says she’s hot and thirsty, too. So I walk her to the car to get her water, trying to watch the two girls the whole time. I end up asking Sameyah if she wanted to get her ball to play with them.

Ultimately, I don’t know his story, he could have been frustrated, trying to blow off some steam or perhaps clear his mind. (I didn’t ask). And when I spoke to him, he seemed generally nice—even thanked me for letting MyJoy okay and for talking to them. But, when we left the track, I was still disturbed by the entire scene.

That led to a rabbit hole of other questions:

How are we supposed to raise our girls to feel protected and cared for in this climate? What message does it send to these small girls if not even their father can console them when they’re emotionally distressed?

How am I as a woman supposed to be open and honest with the men in my own life if they are constantly battling demons of repressed anger from injustices seen and unseen?

How is it that there is no official number of Black women missing in America? Did you know that there are an estimated 64,000-75,000 Black women and girls who are currently missing in the U.S. Not only is that a huge number of open cases and families in pain, but that’s a huge gap in our estimate as well. It feels… unacceptable.

How do we solve this? I don’t mind saying so don’t have the answers. So I’m looking to this village for some viable solutions.

Leave a reply if you’ve ever had a similar experience or if you have solutions to some of the questions above.

—Sincerely, Tyra

Prayer for Inner Peace

Here’s a question: What does it mean to “match energy?” The other day I was writing and reflecting on a few things and a thought came to me: “Vow to never again reciprocate anyone’s negative energy….”

It’s no secret to the people that know me the best: I don’t “match energy” well. When someone does something or says something offensive to me, I normally ignore the action. It took me awhile. Whew, Chile! Talk about growing pains. But I realized that if you’re not in my personal circle, what you and say and do doesn’t hold much weight with me. 🤷🏾‍♀️

Moreover, trying to match that person’s negativity always makes me feel worse in the end anyway. Quite honestly, my conscience eats me alive when I do lash out at other people, because I know better. I know that I’m supposed to strive to follow Jesus’ example and even He could ask for the forgiveness of the very people who crucified Him. Jesus’ connection with the Father and desire to please clearly overruled His desire to “match energy.” His example is leading me to learn how to practice matching God’s Spirit—despite my flesh.

The word came to me and I’m sure it won’t be easy, but I have to “vow to never again reciprocate anyone’s negative energy.” So to help me with this, I’ve been reading Ephesians 5 and listening to a song called “Bliss” by Jubilee Worship.

Have you ever had to grow in this or a similar area? Share your experience in the comments below. I’d love to hear your story!

—Sincerely, Tyra 🖤

Dear God, today, I say your will, not mine…‬
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Father, take my heart as an offering. Take my mind, my body, my dreams and my thoughts—You can have it all.
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Mold my heart to love You even more. Shape my hands to serve Your people without complaining. Fix my mind to always remember that You are my help. ‬
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‪Wrap us all in Your loving arms so we feel protected wherever we may go. Cover us, Heavenly Father. Mind, body and spirit is Yours for the taking. ‬There are areas in our lives that only You can see what the outcome will be. I extend those as offerings as well. We have been grieving too long for things that are not like You. We commit to letting You be in total control of our situations and our circumstances. Work on our behalf as You have been doing. You can handle it better than we can anyway.
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And while You’re doing that, we will praise Your Name. We will sing of the magnitude of Your presence. We worship You. Reign forever and ever and ever. Capture our attention again with Your Holy Spirit! We invite You to rain down everything that You have for us. As we continue to give You control, grant is the patience to be at peace with this next season, with the people in our midst and with ourselves.


In Jesus Christ’s Name, Amen!

Know Your Worth: A Self-Care Update

So, “The Goddess of Self-Care” looked up and realized I’d been taking care of everyone else’s needs first. I love to help others and am usually the person friends and family run to when they want something done. I also really struggle with saying the N-word, at times. You know, “no” is not as easy to say as it seems.

But I have been experiencing some sleepless nights and feeling a little less focused lately. Of course, feeling depleted and run down all the time is not how I want to live my life. So I knew something had to change.

Yesterday, I went to a family cookout and all I did was laugh out loud, enjoy my family’s company and eat (of course). When I got home and reflected on my day, it made me re-evaluate my own behavior and ultimately understand that I need to start modeling how others treat me by how I treat myself.

—Spending time with family will do that.—

So, in an effort to be accountable to myself, I’m noting three things I want to do more of (for me) to refurbish my self-care practice:

1) Write more. I have been putting it off lately.
2) Be intentional about saying no—sometimes.
3) Dedicate time each week to spend with people who make me feel appreciated and whole.

What are some things you need in this moment in life to invest back into yourself? I’d love to hear your updated self-care plan in the comments below!

Defining Black Womanhood: A Conversation with us, by us, and for us

Defining Black Womanhood: A Conversation with us, by us, and for us

Good morning Family!

I pray that you are all healthy, happy, and adhering to the Shelter-in-Place guidelines in your area. #StayAtHome (as much as possible).

There has been so many movement-building moments happening in the past couple of weeks. I have been participating in marches, reading up on the Black Panthers and Toni Morrison, researching how some of my favorite sociologists would respond to the recent murders of innocent Black people, and praying for justice and peace everyday.

This week, I participated in a dynamic panel discussion produced by Bianca Cotton, founder of Behind the Confident Smile. Today, she will be releasing Defining Black Womanhood: A Conversation with us, by us, and for us. This conversation was inspired by (In)Visible Portraits: A Love Letter to Black Women recently released on Juneteenth! Bianca says: “While I was watching the panel discussion I was so inspired by hearing other black women’s stories across generations and wanted to further the conversation by creating a space to do so.” She’s another example of what it means to take an active stance on the way society views Black women and I am excited to highlight her work! Our conversation left me feeling whole and supported and understood! You can view the conversation on her YouTube channel: biti.ly/btcsyoutube!

You can also help us spread the word by sharing the flyer and the bit.ly/btcsyoutube link.

There will definitely be more of this type of content coming from the SincerelyTyra brand and I hope that you continue to this journey with us!

—Sincerely, Tyra

P.S. If you missed any of the “Wine & Words” Facebook Live Series, click the following link to watch me premiere new poetry and awesome conversations about our culture, poetry, and politics!

Go Vote—with Your Children!

Go Vote—with Your Children!

Listen, sometimes what looks like an obstacle is actually an opportunity!

If you can, take the babies with you to vote today.

It’s a reason they are out of school and we are off work at the same time!

It’s the perfect opportunity for them to see the process and learn something.

My Joy had so many questions.

But don’t get it twisted, we definitely had the Black mom’s “don’t touch nothing… don’t ask for nothing… don’t breathe on nothing” talk before we left out the house.

And I Lysoled (I now declare this a verb… It took auto-correct six tries before it decided to let me be great) all of our outerwear when we came back in.

Then we prayed over mommy’s vote, our health and the health of the seniors that live in the building where my precinct is located (and, of course, 5-year-old-life things like play doh and her crayon colors).

Yeah it sucks that we have to vote (and actually work while we’re at home, might I add) during this period of chaos and confusion… But there is definitely a small bright side.

—Sincerely, Tyra

Promises to My Joy, The Princess

I promise to show you how extremely talented you are.
I promise to listen before I say no.
I promise to hear your point of view.
I promise to make room for your heart’s desires.
I promise to remind you that you are the princess (and yes, I’m The Queen—although it sounds softer when you remind me).
I promise they can’t tell me nothing about you.
I promise not to stay humble when they praise you.
I promise to praise you before they ever do.
I promise, if you ask, to tell as many bedtimes stories as I can imagine.
I promise to only allow healthy people in your presence.
I promise to increase your wealth before you graduate high school.
I promise you will never lack or need to feel less than.
I promise to love you unconditionally until the end of time and then some.
—Sincerely, The Queen