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Once Upon A Time…

Once Upon A Time…

ONCE UPON A TIME is usually not how our stories begin. I can remember vividly as a child hearing my father tell my brother never go to these places after dark. You never want to be DRIVING WHILE BLACK across the bridge. I thought that I would never be faced with the same situation until 25 years later when I was pulled over by a police officer for having out of state plates. My offense: driving while black in Michigan. I can only wonder will my black people ever have a happily ever after. It is my choice to wear a pop of color on my nails because the world around me can be so dark. Sadly, I have many stories like the one above that I could tell but this time we hope to see justice at the end of this continuous nightmare.

💅🏾: #OnceUponATime by @essie

Can mountains be moved?

Can mountains be moved?

“She may be quiet but she’s a warrior and her prayers can move mountains.” – Unknown


I flew into San Diego, California this past weekend to be with three of my closest friends and the newest addition to our family.  This trip was well overdue, and after the few weeks I’ve had…I DESERVED IT!


As our flight began to descend Into the San Diego airport I raised the shade on my window (because Erykah Badu told me to get a window seat, Get it?).


My in-flight neighbor leaned over and said “is that snow on the mountains?” Even though it’s possible I wasn’t sure. Simply because I was focused on something else. How God continuously moves mountains.


I thought about my mom, and how much I admire her strength. She constantly reminds me that if you want your situation to be different you are the one to make it happen. That it’s a choice to live the way that you choose to live. She did an awesome job of raising us, and would always say that she wanted more for us than she had for herself.


More than anything she’s taught me that moving mountains are possible. God is able to do exceedingly and abundantly more than we can ask or think.


I work with young people all the time reassuring them that what they’re facing is temporary, and great things require hard work.


I’m inspired by the prayer warriors and individuals that constantly remind me that what you’re going through is only temporary. Release your power to God, and let Him move that mountain.


Real Love and Debt Free by 2018.  





What mountain do you need to be moved? Write it down on a sheet of paper with the date that you want it gone. Tape it to your mirror, and watch God move.


P.S.S. The Annual #SteeleThankful Challenge is coming. Are you ready. November 1st!

I’m Dope…Successful…Educated…FULL OF MELANIN…BUT TOO HUMBLE! HELP!

I’m Dope…Successful…Educated…FULL OF MELANIN…BUT TOO HUMBLE! HELP!

Have you ever thought, “I don’t want to seem brag-uh-do-shus, but I’ve accomplished a lot in my life.”

Yeah…Me Neither… Lol.

Seriously, do you find yourself being too humble because you are trying to accommodate others?


I was on a social network this week talking about this very thing.  I found that I don’t always “BIG UP” myself.  I never talk about my accomplishments! The fear of offending my superiors, or coming off as Ms. Narcissist or Ms. Brag-Different.  There’s ways around it you know?

There is one thing I learned from this conversation.  I am not alone.  My Dean in Grad School told me on numerous occasions that I am too humble when it comes to my strengths.  For goodness sake she was trusting me with editing a grant for our school.  This is someone with a Ph.D from UNC Chapel Hill, and worked for the Library of Congress.  A SISTA! She was trusting me (a grad assistant at the time) with editing a grant!  I still failed at the lesson that I was supposed to learn at that moment.

Don’t dim your light for ANYONE!

As I continue on this journey of working within my community, and rocking with my side hustles I will sometimes put my accomplishments on the back burner.  WHY?  I’ve asked myself that question a time or two.

All of my experiences have made me who I am.  The wins and the lessons learned (I’m not trying to refer to my lessons as losses) have landed me in Huffington Post, U.S. News & World Report, The New York Post, and many others.  Sharing my story has empowered others, so why should I care if I am offending anyone else.

Their weakness or insecurities are NONE of my business.  I’ve dealt with it all my life.  You know what I’m talking about?  “Stay humble, don’t get the big head.”  That statement means do not become arrogant, not  to keep it to yourself and don’t inform anyone of the dope, black, natural, educated sista that you are!

Stop worrying about what others have to say about what God has blessed you with, or blessed you to come out of.  Keep shining, and sharing your story.  Trust me…someone is listening.

Earnest Guide for Decision Making. Yours truly is featured.

Oh yeah…The #SteeleThankful Challenge Countdown begins are you ready?



PUT ME IN COACH! What to do once you’re in the 4th Quarter of the “Game (of Life)?”

PUT ME IN COACH! What to do once you’re in the 4th Quarter of the “Game (of Life)?”

I try to always be honest with you.

Seriously, I spend my time putting together the events of my life or those around me in order to encourage you every week. But…


This fourth quarter has snuck up on your girl.  :-/

I spent the 3rd quarter of 2017 preparing for the most crucial time of the year, and I can’t believe that it’s here.  And the coach of all coaches is saying, “RJ, I need you. Get off the bench, and win this game for us!”

HUH? Excuse me, Lord.  Are you talking about this RJ?

Within the last three months I’ve been asked to speak for a Women’s Empowerment Conference, PechaKucha, and I am scheduled to present the Final 48 Project at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University’s graduation.

Well, if I wasn’t ready, I better get ready right?

Even when we think we are not ready for the blessing(s) that God has for us; we are.  He has equipped us with more than enough to get the task done.  All we have to do is walk in it.

Don’t be afraid.  Easier said than done I know.  I was a bit frightened by all of the opportunities that were before me, but I realize this is what I asked God to do for me.  Continue to use me in the way that is within His will.

My story will continue to impact the lives of others, and don’t forget that your story can/will too!

Put me in COACH.  I’m ready!




Purchase “The Missing President” —–> HERE!


When to say No to others, and YES to SELF…

When to say No to others, and YES to SELF…

“Reclaiming My Time!”

The statement by “Auntie” Rep. Maxine Waters is probably the quote of the year…or shoot the decade if you ask someone else.

Even though the quote was used during a heated political session it can pertain to so many areas of our lives.

If you were around for previous posts I talk about how much I learned from working in Dallas.  The work schedule was rigorous, and let’s be honest it’s hard to find good help.  There were a lot of sacrifices that were made, but some truly beautiful moments came out of it.  I dedicated that year to crushing personal goals (publishing the first book in the Adventures of Alleykats series, and traveling for theFinal 48 Project) that probably wouldn’t have been achieved unless I was placed in such a low and emotional state of mind.

I finally reached the point of saying No to others in that position for the sake of my sanity, and decided to say Yes to everything that I…yes…that I wanted.

I knew going forward in my next career/position that I would start practicing saying Yes to self.  Now, I’m able to identify the signs of being close to being BURNT OUT!

Living in your purpose has the greatest rewards, but sometimes it gets tough.  When we are out of the will of God we can become distracted with others looking for validation in the wrong places.  When I left Dallas, I vowed to NEVER let any employer or anyone rob me of my joy, and require so much of my time. If it doesnʼt aid in the growth of self I ainʼt participating.

If you donʼt enjoy doing it, it will show. Trust me.

I dedicated the last Saturday of September to spending quality time with my mom (in the morning), and one of my best friend’s (evening).


Bestie (Heartbeat) D.B.


I closed out my Saturday night with a wine festival located in St. Joseph, Michigan.  It was just what the doctor ordered.

Tank: BAE (Best Author Ever) IG – @browngirlswhowrite

I’m making more time for the things and people that I truly love and care about.

Reclaiming my time.  Reclaiming my TIME!




Manicure Color: #Flowerista by Essie Polish


What happens when you decide NOT to be the Angry Black Woman?

What happens when you decide NOT to be the Angry Black Woman?

This one is for my sistahs!

If you are working at a 9-5, think about your office dynamic.  When something pops off everyone looks at you to react.  Especially if you are the only brown face in the office.  Let’s see how the “black girl” is going to respond…

I can remember when I was the only black in the office, and I can also remember situations when the brown faces were the majority.  It doesn’t take away from the fact that EVERYONE expects for us to lose our cool when placed in certain situations.

When I know I am on the brink of no return with my attitude I hear my father’s voice very clearly.  As if he’s sitting on my shoulder with wings wearing his work uniform (displaying his name) and glasses.  “Hey, now what did I tell you, never…let…em…see…you…sweat!”

Ah yes dad, you did tell me that.

I was cleaning up my office area over the weekend and came across this folder.


I read the contents of the folder.


Simple.  I wanted to keep the letter that jump started this amazing journey of being transparent.  I completed a children’s book two weeks after receiving the letter.  No lie…

That letter is the reason my story is published in HuffPost, Business Insider, CNBC to name a few.

When I received this letter I was excited.  It spooked my former boss out.  How could I be so calm when my life seemed to be heading for “Shambles Street?”

Honestly, I was planning my exit strategy to submit a letter by August 31, 2015.  My God said Nope…that’s not MY PLAN.  I’m going to release you in July, and you will receive unemployment.

What would flipping out in that office do for me?  Besides being escorted from the premises in hand cuffs.  I wouldn’t have achieved anything that day by acting ugly.  I knew in the end that I was winning.  I was miserable, and they were doing me a huge favor.

Ladies.  I’m convinced that some things are done intentionally to get a rise out of us.  It’s our choice of how we respond to the nonsense.  I am quite proud of my performance that day.  It taught me so much about myself, and how God uses people/situations to get you to where you are supposed to be.  I’m #SteeleThankful for that entire experience.  I have so much material for a One-Woman show, and who knows I may headline at the same venue that laid me off one day.  Anything is possible.


That quote from my dad still works.




Termination/Layoff Letter received July 2015 Manicure – Mojito Madness by Essie Adventures of Alleykats: The Missing President by R.J. Williams (Yours Truly)

I don’t have a bucket list…I have DESIRE moments!

I don’t have a bucket list…I have DESIRE moments!

On my Great-Aunt’s 90th birthday I told her that I wanted to see her before the summer was over.  April 1996 was the last time I saw her, and for years I’d been begging my dad to visit her in California.


I watched plane tickets EVERY WEEK since our conversation in May.  Months ago I vowed not to let any grass grow under my feet.  Then at 5:00 am one morning I saw that the airline ticket price dropped.  I called my sister (startled her might I add) and told her it was time to book our tickets.  My sister is frickin dope, and without hesitation she purchased her ticket.  Cali…Here we come!

We spent the weekend burning up the highway in the Bay Area, and taking in all of the beautiful scenery.  It was one of the hottest weekends of the year, but we didn’t care.  No one could take this moment away from us.

There is one thing I continuously thought about while on that road:

“I made it.”

We spent HOURS talking to my aunt, no seriously over FIVE HOURS (If you want to hear more about what we talked about check out the #GriefTalkTuesday post on the Final 48 Project site tomorrow).

I am still smiling from ear to ear listening to her stories of my beautiful grandmother, and my father.  I giggle the entire time thinking, “yep I do that, yep I do that too.”

I wasn’t worried about any malls, athletic games, or even the vineyards, the memories that she shared are absolutely priceless.

After losing a cousin and great-uncle in the first and second quarter of the year I promised myself that I was devoting more time to enjoying family that I haven’t seen or never met.

I guess you can call them my bucket list items, but I’m just going to call them, “my desire moments.”

What are some things you desire to do before 2017 is over?

Jot them down.  Write them on the wall.

Get it done!

Have a blessed and safe Labor Day! <3



Posing with my dream car! Classic Mustang in Millbrae, California

When you realize that your GIFT can take you places…

When you realize that your GIFT can take you places…

My past is more lit than the SOLAR ECLIPSE.

Well, it’s not exactly “blinding” but I can say I have been exposed to some pretty dope opportunities.

I believe I told you before from time to time I “Google” myself.  I need to know what’s out there, and the narrative that is being shared about yo girl.

I’m going through the images and even though I don’t have a common first name I share it with fellow dope brown girls like myself.  One of them has the same first and last name (Impeccable Faces by Ronnika) and she’s KILLING it.  Check her out!


I’m going through the images, and I come across a picture that I didn’t recognized at first glance.  Has that ever happened to you?  You run across a picture that you don’t remember taking.  The picture was taken three years ago during a research competition.  The platform allowed me to discuss my time as an Archives intern at the Museum of Confederacy, and improve public speaking skills.  I placed 2nd in the competition, and that experience was mind-blowing.  Who knew that learning to transcribe 19th century manuscript, process an archival collection, and speak in front an audience about my findings would lead to a career in archives, or even a children’s book!

I’m continuously amazed by the blessings that can come from following the calling that is on your life.  Even typing the post for today I was reminded that the “art of storytelling” kept me out of a lot of trouble.  As a little girl, to distract the individuals from bullying me I began telling stories about my family to get others around me to laugh.  No, the stories weren’t always funny, but they were true.  I have always loved a good story, but I had no idea that my love for archives/history, and storytelling would lead me to a place of publishing books, documentary projects, or even this platform of #MotivationalMonday on this site.

It’s unbelievable what can happen when you let go, and let God.  The opportunities are endless, if you truly believe that your gift can take you places that you only imagined in your dreams.

I’m owning that my gift is storytelling, and working everyday to perfect that craft.

What gift are you sitting on?  The world is waiting for you to share it. 🙂

Until next time…



The moment you visualize all your dreams coming true…

The moment you visualize all your dreams coming true…

Within the last two months I’ve visited about five theaters across the country.  Scoping out places to screen the documentary that I’m working on and envisioning people in the seats.

When I stood on stage at the Colony Theater in Miami, Florida during the American Black Film Festival this year I saw myself on that stage.  I looked to my right and saw a fellow staff member (main photo) in deep thought.  I didn’t disturb her because I was in the same mode.  In my mind I had arrived.  I was at the door, all I had to do was knock.

I stepped back after taking the picture and thought about this poem that my mom gave me when I was in high school, “Who’s In Your Front Row?”

There will be people that won’t understand your dream.

There will be people that won’t support you.

There will be people that say it can’t happen.

You know what.  That’s okay.

How much do you believe in the vision that God has given you?

Every night I’m dedicated to finishing the logline, and finalizing a traveling schedule for filming the rest of the documentary.  Allowing myself realistic timelines to not overdo it.  I know that this documentary project will be amazing, and I’m excited that you are able to take this journey along with me.  If you aren’t updated with the project or totally lost about it.  Here’s the website —> Final 48 Project

We are currently accepting donations to keep the ball rolling, and looking to launch a crowdfunding page as our way to keep you involved in the process too.  To make a donation to the project please click here —-> Final 48 Project Donations!

What vision has God given you that you are afraid of the outcome?  Embrace it! We can take this ride together.




Setbacks…Comebacks…What do they mean to a 30 something year old?

Setbacks…Comebacks…What do they mean to a 30 something year old?

My mom gave me this book called, “It’s Time For Your Comeback…” by Tim Storey the last year of my 20s.  I was re-enrolling in Grad School after dealing with LIFE (burn accident, surgeries, father’s death).  Let’s just say a sistah was going through some thangs.

This book allowed me to not let my past define where I was going for the future, and necessary steps to keep pushing forward.  After finishing the book I thought to myself man my 30s should be a breeze, right?


  1. I completed grad school at 30, and landed my dream job in Dallas, Texas. (Comeback, Move Forward 2 steps)
  2. Wrote a children’s book while working over 40 hours a week (Comeback, Move Forward 10 steps)
  3. Laid Off from Job (Setback, Move Back 15 steps)
  4. Try Entrepreneurship (Comeback, Move Forward 3 steps)
  5. Revenue from Entrepreneurship (Setback, Move Back 10 steps)
  6. Return to Workforce to pay off debt accrued during the no guidance period of Entrepreneurship (Comeback, Move Forward 5 steps)
  7. Complete classes through Duke, and invest in professional growth (Comeback, 2 steps)

So, let’s just say I’m still crawling out of the Setback stage.

Seven is also my go to number this year; 7 = completion. (Get it, August 7, 7 bullet points, 2017 🙂


I was quite bummed last week when I had to cancel a trip at the last minute.  My sister reassured me that everything would be okay, and that we still had a conference to attend on Saturday, “Act Like a Success Experience” with Doreen Rainey, Patrice Washington, and Paul Carrick Brunson.

My sister and I arrived early and sat in the front row to soak in all of the goodness that these dynamic speakers had to offer.  Their stories of setbacks, comebacks, and planting seeds.

I sat in the front row thinking that my introvert ways keeps me from moving to the next level at times.  You know the feeling of hearing, “No Thanks” can crush a person.  How would I get to a “Yes” if I stopped trying.  During the break I texted one of my closest friends to ask her about time working with Patrice and what question should I ask her during the Q/A session.

Sadly, I couldn’t think of one. :-/  Everything that I wanted to know was answered during the sessions, and quite frankly there was no answer they could give me to deal with self.  I knew my problem and how to correct it.

So, the conference concludes, I walk in the lobby to stand in the line to take a picture with Patrice.  Again, I didn’t have a question, instead I had something to give her.

During her session she touched on the topic of grief.  I decided to share with her the project I’m currently working on, and gave her two wristbands.

I promised to stay in contact to keep her updated on everything that is Final 48 Project.

My sister and I left empowered and learned so much about ourselves.  We met some amazing people that I know we will have a bond with forever because of this one experience.

Setbacks must happen in order for you to appreciate the COMEBACK.  Traveling the journey of being a 30 something success story is challenging, but I have to remember to be committed to the vision and not attached to the way I get there. (Favorite quote from the conference).

Until next time…