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

Chicago Peace Project Revisited

Chicago Peace Project Revisited

(Politickin: The Chicago Peace Project participants discussing future goals, ancient societies, and their favorite cartoons while creating art in trauma-informed breakout sessions facilitated by the Teen Arts Council members.)

(Drop Me Off at the L: Teen Arts Council members facilitate an icebreaker called Mr. Taxi Driver for The Chicago Peace Project participants.)

Is it still Friday? Cool, this “Flashback Friday” is dedicated to the Chicago Peace Project and our awesome day with local artist Karen Perkins and the Teen Arts Council youth. Chicago Peace Plan is a curriculum that I created to foster meaningful exchanges between teens and youth from different neighborhoods.

As the youth talked about their future career and entrepreneurship goals, ancient civilizations and favorite clothing, I thought about the meaning of trauma-informed care. When Black boys talk about ancient history and Black girls laugh and find happiness in the moment. I kinda feel overjoyed.

Were there experiences like this for you as a young person? Share how you benefitted from it in the comments below!

–Sincerely, Tyra

#SlayTheDream #chicago #peace #project #blackboyjoy #blackgirlmagic #osc #chicagobility #chipeaceproject #art #traumainformedcare

Move on, Sis!

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

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

Worth the Work

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

Happy Mother’s Day!

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

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