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Being VULNERABLE is one of the toughest thing I’ve ever had to do…

Being VULNERABLE is one of the toughest thing I’ve ever had to do…

Every time I go on a trip I learn something new about myself.

This time: Vulnerability.

I know so many of us will not admit our struggles with becoming vulnerable whether it’s for a love interest or even our career.

Especially when blogging you have to be vulnerable, and at times you feel as though I’m not ready to take it to that point of being transparent. Listen, I’ve been there. I’m constantly faced with the issue of over sharing, or not sharing enough. Finding that middle ground can be the hardest journey because you will come to a point in your life again that says, “I’m not ready to share that, or I never will.”

I spent the weekend in North Carolina wrapping up my last class for the Center for Documentary Studies program. I spent hours upon hours of writing with a New York Times bestselling author and I enjoyed every minute of it. We had the option of sharing our pieces with the group after each exercise was over, and allowed time to provide positive feedback after each sample writing assignment. It was liberating, challenging, and enlightening to know where and how my manuscript can go in a different direction.

Can I be honest for a second?

Sitting on the aircraft for my return flight I’m feeling empty. North Carolina was my second home for almost five years and it definitely has a special place in my heart.

I didn’t get a chance to spend as much time with people that I absolutely adore, and after a long weekend of writing I didn’t have time for anything else besides rest.

The feedback that I received in the class allowed me to be open to the possibilities of where my storytelling can actually take me.

I had one thought while in the airport waiting to board.

If I can be vulnerable with my writing, why am I struggling with vulnerability in the love department? I’ve never been one to let it flow in that area. I would rather you tell me what it is up front instead of assuming about the future plans when it comes to “us.”  At the end of the day I realized I was guarded, and that’s no way to let love in.

After this trip I learned to be vulnerable in my delivery of MY STORY both on the blog and love.  It’s the Year of Completion, and I don’t want the lack of vulnerability to keep me from what I truly deserve.

Chat soon!




Day 21: Community #SteeleThankful Challenge

Day 21: Community #SteeleThankful Challenge

I had no idea when I started the Center for Documentary Studies program at Duke University that I would meet so many amazing people.

They are my community. They keep me grounded, motivated, and accountable for my ongoing work. I can remember where I was standing when Rebecca told me that the Final 48 Project will not work without injecting myself in the story.

She was right.

That was exactly what I needed to hear. The mentors, instructors, cohorts, and support system is something I have never experienced before. They are the reason why I keep plugging away at this project, and future projects.

I’m #SteeleThankful for my community at CDS at Duke, they embraced my creative, and often times quirky personality.

What are you #SteeleThankful for?

P.S. Yes, that’s Flat Stanley I am holding.  He was along for the ride that week.

Steele Thankful 2016

Who am I? When hiding gets tough. 

Who am I? When hiding gets tough. 

I’m currently still floating after spending the weekend at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. The four day intensive retreat was jam packed with information, feedback, and an artistic atmosphere. This was my second year attending, I must say I enjoy the feeling of always learning something new!

At the end of the retreat each student is provided five minutes to present their documentary project in front of their classmates, and a panel of experts for feedback. This is the FIRST time I was faced with the skeleton in my closet that I had to deal with. 

I have numerous projects. I have this website where I house my personal journey, historical facts, a snippet of what I do on Periscope with #GriefTalkTuesday and a few links to my other projects (children’s book and grief platform). Why aren’t they housed under the same site? I mean after all it’s me doing all of them. There was a comment during my presentation that stuck with me. Why do I function under a different alias? I have to think about what am I hiding from? Or should I say who am I hiding from?

For most of my life I’ve lived for the approval of others. That’s exhausting. As much as I’ve tried to break the habit it creeps back into my life in another way. The fear of judgment can hover over your life, and that’s an uncomfortable feeling. It’s almost as if your in a locked box, and someone else has the key. 

I’ve always lived a life of seclusion, and in some cases that’s okay. At this time in my life I need to own all of the decisions I’ve made thus far, and make no apologies for them because it’s my journey!

I mean my friends call me “Carmen Sandiego” for goodness sake. I’ve always had a mystery about me. Well, look at my tag line, “the girl behind the lens.” I enjoy being behind the scenes. How can anyone trust me if I’m not willing to let my guard down? I’m living my daily life as Ronnika, but I’m also R.J who writes a children’s book series and creating a platform to talk about grief. On occasion I’m Carmen Sandiego, and to my family I have numerous nicknames which is another post lol. 

My attempt at being transparent is functioning on different sites as an alias. That approach won’t work anymore. This week I will restructure my platforms. No more will I hide from the greatness that is inside of me, nor will I hide behind the platforms that I am creating to make this world a better place. I’ve told you before that this is a journey and I’m continuously learning. I’m learning more about my craft, and especially more about myself. 

Now, I’m not saying I’m eliminating the mystery from my life because that element is important for my writing projects. I’m saying that this is a process to eliminate barriers in order to bring you amazing content that will change the world. I’m owning the hats that I’ve been chosen to wear. 

Hi, my name is Ronnika. I also go by R.J. I’m the Author of a children’s book series called the Adventures of Alleykats.  You can purchase the book by clicking here.

 I’m a Documentarian and I created a platform to talk about grief and it’s titled, “The Final 48 Project.” Last but not least I am a trained Archivist (MLS), and I’m the girl behind the lens on

I welcome you to my world as I continue on this journey of transparency, and entrepreneurship!