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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!

XOXO,

RJ

 

Sorry…Not Sorry

Sorry…Not Sorry

When is the appropriate time to “disconnect” from your social media, and take a break?

Well, after the last week I’ve had the time has come for me to take care of self, and shut off all communication with social media.

I’m not able to put into words my level of exhaustion.  What I do know is that I need to take some time off.  At times I can over exert myself with my 9-5, and the other projects that I have going on.

I can remember when I resided in North Carolina, I would recharge by visiting my hometown (Michigan).

I plan to spend four days relaxing, and reconnecting with my purpose.

I’ll be back next week to share new revelations, and what activities I participated in during my days of disconnect.

Until then, check out this article on Bustle that features yours truly! <3

I’m dedicated to the #NoBlueMondays movement, so it is necessary that I take some time away from it all.

XOXO,

RJ

 

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

Be Prepared for immediate CHANGES! 😱

Be Prepared for immediate CHANGES! 😱

Imagine this…

Headed to the airport shuttle stop on a sunny evening. Your waiting at a red light, and someone slams into the back of your car. You’re in shock, disbelief, and realize the person behind you is clearly inebriated. All of this happens in front of the plaza by the shuttle stop. Thank God there was no serious damage, but I made sure I got that license plate because buddy kept rolling. ✌🏾️🚗💨💨

So, now I’m waiting on the shuttle for the airport. 20 mins, 40 mins, an hour rolls by and after calling numerous times for an update on this late shuttle I realized even if the shuttle arrived by the last time I called for an update I would miss my flight.  So, what do you do?

Well, my concern was having my mom drive back in the dark so late from the airport. That’s a two hour drive by herself that we didn’t prepare for. There were two other strangers waiting for that shuttle but going in two different directions. There was 1 person that was going to the same airport as myself. I decided to ask her if she wanted to ride. She agreed, and we were riding into the sunset. I’ve never been the person to pick up a stranger, but she was no stranger. We were two ladies in distress trying to make our flights. We laughed and exchanged contact information to stay in touch after all this. We parted ways at the terminal, but took this photo before with my book that is now hers for life!


I arrived to North Carolina around 12:30 am on Thursday, and laid down.

Later on that afternoon I wanted to prepare for the interview that I had coming up for the Project. Meanwhile I received an email stating that the class that I was in town for was cancelled. 😳

The class didn’t reach it’s minimum enrollment requirement so as of Thursday it was cancelled. I was bummed for about 30 minutes, but then I thought maybe this is apart of the plan. What’s my next step?

I began reaching out to people to see if they wanted to participate in the project, and I could do as many interviews as I could over the weekend. I received a few yes, and a couple let me think about it. So, all was not lost. Sometimes you have to be prepared for the unexpected, right?!

I laughed, cried, stayed up late with old friends and it felt good to be away. I even gained some new friends too. I had a mentor tell me a long time ago that you have to stay ready in this entrepreneur world. Things change constantly and you have to be prepared. This weekend was a valuable lesson on how to turn lemons 🍋into tasty lemonade. 😋

Xoxo,

R.J.

Yo Birthday Is Not About YOU! When someone special forgets your birthday…

Yo Birthday Is Not About YOU! When someone special forgets your birthday…

**Singing** back down memory lane…

I love old photos and music.  You can catch me at any time snapping pics, and listening (and singing) to music.  The featured photo today is from my 25th birthday.  You know your 25th birthday can go up there with your 18th, 21st, and 30th birthday.  I could rent a car by myself, and my car insurance premium decreased.  #Winning

My birthdays have always been extra special.  I have the gift of remembering others birthdays and being more excited for them than for my own.  Insert **YASSSSS, TURN UP, LET’S GRAB DRINKS & BAR HOP!**  I love celebrating birthdays, because it gives us another opportunity to be great.

What happens when someone special forgets your birthday?  You’re crushed, right?  I know when people used to forget my birthday I would be all in my little feelings.  Who am I kidding, I still feel some type of way when certain people forget.  I used to think well I remembered their birthday, they should remember my birthday!  I was tired of one person forgetting my birthday after I turned eighteen.  So, I decided to speak up about it.  No more calling my sister or mother to remind them that it was my birthday.

I began writing my birthday on my dad’s calendar.  This huge calendar hung in the kitchen, and it also served as his appointment reminders.   I said he’ll remember this year I tell ya!  I’m writing in big purple letters!  HE FORGOT AGAIN!

One day I decided to ask my dad why was it so hard to remember my birthday.  I was born a day after his mother.  It should be the easiest to remember!  In a calm voice I finally received an answer, one that I didn’t expect.  “When granny died, I tried to forget everything that was attached to her, including her birthday.  You never notice that my appointments are heavy in January. ”  I was speechless.  I identified my dad’s way of grieving.  To shield his hurt he became busy.  It made perfect sense.  On holidays such as Mother’s Day or Memorial Day he became unavailable.  Too busy to do anything.  On that day I realized my birthday was no longer about me anymore it was about others.

I adopted the practice of celebrating my birthday alone or with others, either way I was going to celebrate life.  For those that reached out to me on my birthday I always wanted them to know how special I felt for even remembering, and offer some encouragement.  Yes, offer a little love to them on your day.  It’s not that hard!  My birthday is not solely about me.  I had to remember there are some grieving people out there, and it was selfish of me to be upset with anyone about forgetting my birthday.  Especially when there are others waiting to celebrate the gift of life.

Your birthday is a gift from God.  Celebrate the possibility of becoming a better you, and share a little love to others in the process.

Historical Tour Series – Greensboro, NC

Historical Tour Series – Greensboro, NC

I’m R.J. and I love History.  I just wanted to get that out of the way.  So, you aren’t confused at all. Lol. There are many things that I enjoy but I honestly love history more! On Periscope, I present live broadcasts of myself (and sometimes I’m able to drag a friend along) touring the country doing tours at varies historic sites and I call them “Historical Tours w/R.J.”  I like to challenge people with the question of, “What’s in your archives?”  Your personal archives expresses so much about you and helps you focus on your legacy in a more succinct way.  Today is #TBT (Throwback Thursday) right?  Well, I decided to reach into my archives and pull out a photo from my days as an Americorp member, (amazing experience I might add).

The historical tour took place at the International Civil Rights Center and Museum in Greensboro, North Carolina.  The center and museum is housed inside of the former Woolworth & Co store.  College students from a local Historically Black College and University (HBCU) decided on February 1, 1960 to take a stand against segregation at the “whites only” lunch counter.  Their efforts at the “Greensboro sit-ins” would go on to change the course of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States.

To learn more about this amazing place, please check out their website, www.sitmovement.org

I highly recommend this place as your first stop if you’re ever passing through on I-85 in North Carolina or visiting for the weekend.  Don’t forget to tell them that R.J. sent you!

XOXO,

The girl behind the lens…