Current Events · Uncategorized

Rebel With A License: My First Day Trip

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Monday, I made my first “long-distance” drive. My Wingstop friend and I went to Wrightsville Beach in Wilmington, NC. We had to go Monday so that we could beat the storms forecasted for Tuesday and Wednesday. Like most of our outings, this trip became its own adventure.

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I mean, look at that water!!

Wilmington is only 2 hours away from Durham, but it was the longest I’d driven at one time so far. The drive there was AMAZING!! Blue skies and puffy white clouds, awesome tunes, and the open road created perfect conditions for a day trip. Aside from a food break, the drive was pretty much a straight shot.

When we arrived at Wrightsville Beach, I was in awe! I’m from Norfolk, VA and I’m no stranger to beaches, but Wilmington was something special. The water seems to be clearer there. The sky was a different shade of blue. The seashells!! There were seashells EVERYWHERE!!! Not cigarettes or trash, seashells!! I’ve never collected shells before, but I just had to snag those Carolina shells. We strolled the beach for over an hour–sky gazing, watching the surfers, snapping pictures–before we heard thunder and saw a huge storm cloud making its way towards us.

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The storm was a-brewin’…

So much for beating the storm.

All I knew was that I had to get back to the car ASAP–can’t get my starter locks wet–and that we were nowhere near the parking lot. So there we were, shoeless and speed walking to the car. My friend’s feet were killing him, so I told him to stop and wait for me as I took the keys and our destiny into my own hands and RAN. I ran down the street like nobody’s business with these little feet–I don’t even know how many blocks I ran, but shout out to my years of working in a kitchen for giving me my Teflon feet.

We didn’t get soaked or anything, but we did get hit with a few random pockets of rain on the drive back. The puffy white clouds of our initial drive were replaced by those pretty “after the storm” clouds. Combine those clouds with a setting sun and the sky was like a Bob Ross painting. It was the perfect backdrop for the perfect day.

I have no idea where I’ll be going next, but Wilmington was a good first drive. I always felt bad that people here have to drive so far just to get to a beach, but man is the drive worth it. I am officially a fan of Carolina beaches.

Check out more amazing pictures below!

 

 

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Current Events · Life

Black Girl Attitude

If you have 2 eyes and a social media account, I’m sure you’ve seen this meme:

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The caption of the meme reads; “#Mysogynoir: When McKayla Maroney’s disappointment was adorable but Gabby Douglas’ disappointment is attitude”. To sum up my reaction to the meme, let’s just say that I was PISSED. I haven’t kept up with the olympics this year, but I still have not been able to escape the criticisms that Ms. Gabby Douglas has received this year.

I’m not just bothered by the fact that people seem to have forgotten how amazing she was at her first Olympic showing in 2012. Or about the fact that people don’t seem to be able to like both Gabby and Simone Biles because we can’t POSSIBLY celebrate two women from the same sport at the same time. For the sake of this post today, I’m bothered by the fact that this whole “black girl with an attitude” crock is still a thing!! I’ve seen more article about Gabby’s “attitude” than I have about what she’s accomplished at the Olympics. But they’re just gonna let Ryan Lochte and his rowdy swimming crew get a pass because their “just kids” whose accomplishments outweigh their behaviors.

As a black woman, I’ve had to deal with this foolish idea too many times. If I’m assertive and direct, I HAVE AN ATTITUDE. If I’m not walking around with a huge smile to show ALL of my teeth, I HAVE AN ATTITUDE. If I disagree with something, I HAVE AN ATTITUDE. If I BREATHE, I HAVE AN ATTITUDE. Like Gabby, if I’m disapppointed in myself because I haven’t performed to my own high standard, I HAVE AN ATTITUDE.

I’m not sure why in 2016, black women are not allowed to have facial expressions and emotions outside of extreme glee. It’s bad enough that women are generally considered “bitchy” just for speaking like our male counterparts–with authority. Black women have to bear that weight AND the weight of the negative perceptions attached to our emotional range. It’s disappointing. WE ARE WOMEN!!! WE ARE HUMAN!!!

Guess what!! I know this may come as a shock to some, but us black women are capable of expressing every emotion you could possibly imagine. (Woooow!! Right?) On top of those emotions, we have one extra layer–the one where we always feel the need to be conscious of our demeanor and our words for fear that we’ll be mistakenly labeled as that ANGRY BLACK WOMAN.

Welp. Today, I’ll be that ANGRY BLACK WOMAN. I’ll be that intelligent, eccentric, and emotionally complex angry black woman with my angry fro. ANDI’m going to let you know that we black women are finished and we are done with the negative connotations that come with the word “attitude”. There’s nothing wrong with being feisty, sassy, and having some attitude…unless you’re a black woman. I mean, that’s the message I keep getting–unless I’m missing something. Why can’t we be unimpressed like McKayla? Give us more credit and reducing our wealth of emotions to one thing because it’s more comfortable for you. We are not simplistic creatures, so you should learn to digest us as we are.

I could really go on and on about this subject, but I’ll finish with this:

This message isn’t just some angry message directed towards white people–like I said, I’m more complex than that–it’s meant for ANY and EVERY person who thinks it’s cool to reduce us black women this way. Yeah, I’m talking to you black men and women too–you can do much better than that. 

Current Events · Life · Positivity

Rebel WITH A License: Third Time’s The Charm

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Thursday, August 4,2016 will go down as one of the most important days of my life. I accomplished a goal that had been 12 years in the making. I’d overcome all of the failures of the recent past. 

I FINALLY got my Driver’s License!!!!

Sometimes, I feel silly about my excitement about a license. I mean, who actually thinks it should be that big a deal? Hell, you may even be reading this and thinking that I’m hype for nothing. Guess what?

I. DON’T. CARE. [insert victorious laugh]

But seriously, if you’ve read my post “Rebel Without a License: Driver’s Edition”, then you already know about my struggle. I’ve already told you about my DISASTROUS DMV visits, but let me tell you how marvelous my last trip was.

The day threatened to not be so marvelous at first. I went to the DMV of my last failed road test and was met with a bad sign. It was a flashback to the 4 hours of hell I’d experienced the first time: the computers shut down. While everyone else waited, I politely walked out and drove to another DMV location.

BEST. DECISION. EVER!!!!

I had a short wait before being called to wait again. Still, my waiting time was short in terms of DMV time. My examiner was the EXACT one that I needed. He gave pointers without scaring me to death. He was relaxed, and his chill vibe rubbed off on me. I passed that test like nobody’s business. I reacted the way any sensible person would.

I CRIED.

Well, I wasn’t BAWLING or anything, but I definitely teared up a whole lot. A huge weight had been lifted and I had finally accomplished that goal. All of the frustrations were washed away. The one thing that kept me going was the encouragement that I received. I had to really visualize the success. I was going to pass that test because that was the only option. SOOOO many years!!! SOOOO many failures!!! 

SOOOO much success. 

 

blogging · Current Events

Trust The Process: My Second Month of Blogging

I’m nearing month 3 of “Keshia’s Modern Life”and today I’d like to let you guys know what new things I’ve experienced since my last progress report (go ahead and check that out). If I had to choose a theme for this past month, it would be “Trust The Process”. Month 1 was spent getting things off of the ground, but this second month has been about keeping and gaining momentum. Now that I’m off the ground, time to hit the clouds.

Here are 3 things that I’ve learned this month:

NEW DEFINITION OF “CONSISTENCY”

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My posting schedule has changed A LOT. There were days where I would feel so obligated to the schedule that I’d get caught up in writer’s block–NO TIME FOR THAT. During this second month I came to understand this: I needed to be obligated to my blog content, not a schedule. Now, I don’t judge myself based on sticking to a scheduled time of day for posting; I focus more on the consistency of quality. I may not be able to post at 9:00 a.m., but when an inspired post comes to mind at 12:30 p.m., that is what I will write about. I’d rather wait for inspiration than lose the organic feel. I already punch the clock 5 days a week, we’re not doing that over here.

FINDING MY VOICE

“Keshia’s Modern Life” is about me. It’s based on my viewpoints and discoveries while I adult my way through life. If it’s based on me, why do I have to find MY OWN voice? The answer to this is pretty simple. I’ve had to come to the realization that my charm is found in the way I say things. Originally, I was afraid of being too informal because I didn’t want to lose quality. Now, I feel more comfortable in becoming one with the content. I HAVE TO BE MYSELF!!

AUDIENCE BUILDING

fb 100Let’s make one thing clear: I’M NOT WRITING TO MYSELF HERE! The whole point of this thing is to share my awesomeness with you, and to grow from the awesomeness of your prositive vibes! Audience is key to blogging, and this month I have had to dig deep in figuring out who my audience is. This discovery is key for one reason: If I don’t know who I’m speaking to, then how can I give you what you want? The toughest part of this process has been audience engagement. I love interating with people, but it can be hard to get the audience to continue dialogue (usually done via comments). My crew is growing slowly but surely, so hopefully next month’s update will include my breaking that engagement wall.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: BLOGGIN’ AIN’T EASY!!! You’ll spend a lot of time questioning yourself. You’re going to stretch your mind beyond its comfort zone. You’re going to wonder if you’ll ever reach anyone outside of your bedroom. Don’t be discouraged! This is only a part of your story, trust in yourself and trust in the process.

P.S.

If you’re on Facebook, make sure you click here to follow “Keshia’s Modern Life” for even more Keesh goodness not found on my blog! We officially hit the 100 Fans milestone yesterday!!! Let’s Keep Growing!!

Thanks for your continued support, and let’s see where the next month takes us!

Current Events · Life · Positivity

Rebel Without A License: Driver’s Edition

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Hi. My name is Keshia.

(Hi Keshia!)

I’m 28 years old, and I don’t have my Driver’s License.

(Wait. Whaaaa???)

Yes. You read that correctly. I’m knocking on 30’s door, and I have yet to obtain my license to drive. After this morning’s events at the DMV, I think it’s time to let you guys in on my ongoing struggle. Your first question may be, “What’s taken you so long?”. Well. I guess I’ll start from the beginning.

Picture it, Norfolk. 2003. I’m in the 10th grade and I’m learning all about the rules of the road and what it takes to earn a license. I’ve beasted on every written test that was given, and all I need to do is get some road practice. Even though I’m in a low-income household, the school provides a way for me to take a driver’s ed course for free.

I never took the course. 

I was under the impression that if I got my license, it would cause my grandmother’s insurance to go up (something that she couldn’t afford) whether I drove her car or not. So, I decided that I’d just wait and get my license later. Well, later came MUCH later.

Later came in 2010. At this point, I’m 22/23 years old and finally make it a point to get my Learner’s Permit. I have had no consistent practice behind the wheel, but I’m going to get that right? Nope. I won’t get any type of practice/guidance/instruction behind the wheel until 2012/2013. My older sister allows me to take the wheel and get on the road a bit. I don’t get to drive too often, so I’m still not as comfortable as I should be while handling a vehicle. Up until this year, all of my driving experience had just been sprinkled in here and there. I had no car to drive regularly to get the experience I really needed.

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Fast forward to 2016. I’ve had the opportunity to drive my younger sister’s car and I have a knack for this driving thing now. Boom. I’m ready to get my license. I go to the DMV, I wait 3 hours to take the written test (I’m in North Carolina now and must start from scratch). I sit down to take my test–I’m just all kinds of excited–and before I get to the second question, it happens.

THE WHOLE SYSTEM SHUTS DOWN. No internet. No phones. No test.

It’s ok. I’ll just go to the DMV again later and take the written and road tests in the same day. I’ve got this. Right?

Kinda. I decide to go a different DMV location–hoping for less wait time–and I knock the computer test out of the park. I mean, I’m over there just giving you EVERY correct answer. The time has come, and I’m ready for my road test.

I’m nervous as hell. The instructor looks like the instructor from hell–very intimidating. I get inside the car, and I check all of the vehicle functions. I’m ready to hit to hit the road.

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Well, instead of hitting the road, I hit something else. I hit the DO NOT ENTER sign that was directly behind the car as I tried to navigate this one-way parking lot. Man…you should’ve seen it. My DMV audience let out a collective groan as they saw me–a ball of nerves–trying to maneuver the car. Long story short, I failed hard. I never made it out of that parking lot. 

Fast forward to today. I’ve had even more driving practice (I LOVE driving on the highway by the way), and I’m going to OWN this road test this time around. I’m making my way down the road, following my instructor’s directions, and on my way back I have a bad feeling. When I went back inside the DMV office, my instructor told me that I had failed. I made a turn that was too wide, and I went past the 35 mph speed limit while coming downhill. (To my credit, I felt the car’s momentum picking up and was braking to bring the speed down, but this was not enough.)

The second failure REALLY pissed me off because I was just fed up with having had so many trips to the DMV in the first place. I’M ALMOST 30!!! Once I calmed down, I was able to see the positives: at least I’d made it out of the parking lot, and at least I knew what I needed to work on. I’m going out of town for a few days, but when I come back, I’m going to give the test a third try. I’m going to leave the nervousness at home, and I’m going to slay the road test. Next week, I will be giving you LICENSED DRIVER REALNESS.

Third time is the charm.

P.S. HELP A HOMIE OUT:

How long did it take you to earn your license? How many times did the fail (if any)? Let me know, and leave some good vibes for my final test!!

Photos courtesy of Pinterest

 

 

Current Events · Life

Aftershock

I prepare each of my posts the night before. Before I get into the meat of today’s post, I have to give you an idea of what the last 24 hours have been like.

Late Tuesday Night/Early Wednesday Morning

I’d written a draft of my post and have started to type it. Ever the multitasker, I’m casually strolling through my social media feeds when I stumble upon the video of Alton Sterling’s murder. At first, my mind really couldn’t compute what my eyes were seeing, then it hit home. I was torn up for the rest of the night and really had to push myself to finish the post.

Wednesday

My heart and mind are still worn by what I witnessed the night before. I push through a work shift, but not without being further ripped apart after seeing the public breakdown of a 15-year-old boy as he mourns his father after having seen the same video that I saw.

Wednesday Night/Early Thursday Morning

By this point in the day, I am feeling horrible. I figure that I can’t possibly absorb any further suffering. I’ve decided that I would post about my feelings of hopelessness in the justice system, and I try to focus on writing a draft. I refreshed my Facebook feed and am met with the video from a live broadcast of the shooting of Philando Castile.

I just feel so heavy. I feel so hopeless. I can’t get the images out of my head. I can’t watch any coverage without forcing myself to choke back tears. I’ve had the “pleasure” of seeing everyone’s commentary in the demand for change. Some say we need to pray. Some say we need to fight back. I’m no expert on social matters but haven’t we already had the protests and prayers? The only way that there will ever be change is if it is made from within. The system is jacked. There’s no sugarcoating that. Are those power players within the system bothered enough to fix what’s clearly broken?

It was a struggle for me to put these words together, but I needed to express something. I have no inspirational quotes. I see no gleam of hope. My spirit is too busy trying to recover from the aftershock and aftermath.

I’m bracing myself for tomorrow.

Current Events · Life · Positivity · Wellness

Just Let Me Be Cute

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My 28th Birthday. December 2015.

I’ve had enough.

So there’s this “new” makeup free trend that’s been accredited to Alicia Keys. I’m not sure how she became the authority on makeup free living, nor am I willing to concede that this is a new concept. Women have been shouting #nofilter on social media for years now, but suddenly it has become newsworthy. I’m not against natural appearances at all, and I believe in one being comfortable in inch of their skin. What I AM against, is the idea that makeup free women can come for me and my choice to wear a bit of makeup here and there.

This is where I am fed up.

As a woman, you really can’t win. Your weight is an issue. Your style is an issue. Your makeup is an issue. I don’t understand how women can work against their own cause with such vigor. Telling me that makeup is a sign of insecurity–or whatever Doc McStuffins diagnosis you decide to project onto me–is a slap in the face. I’m sick of seeing posts where WOMEN are bothered by perfectly shaped eyebrows or a full face of makeup. With the advancement of makeup gurus on social media outlets, many women are being given that extra confidence in being able to transform themselves into whatever mood they feel that day.

I had no command of makeup before the age of 25–YouTube was my savior. Now that I know how to give you a sickening brow and lip, you really can’t tell me anything. You also can’t get me to side with those who demonize makeup as if it’s regressing the state of women everywhere. UPLIFTING YOURSELF WHILE CHASTISING OTHER WOMEN IS A NO-GO!!! I can’t shout this enough!! You have no idea why that woman is wearing her makeup and it really doesn’t matter because she is free to do whatever she wants!! Don’t get mad at me for flexing my makeup skills–no matter how minor–when you could be doing the same thing. To make matters even worse, you have women bashing another woman because of their natural state–and you wonder why insecurity exists in the first place.

You don’t have to like my perfectly designed eyebrows. I don’t like that I wasn’t given full eyebrows from day one, but still I rise. I refuse to absorb your negative energies. You will gaze upon this beat face, while I continue to not care what you think. YOU WILL DEAL!

Current Events · Life · Positivity

Fathers

My apologies in advance. I’m another one of those people who are touchy about Father’s Day in real life. I take that back. I’m not really touchy about it, since I was raised by my grandmother, my views on Father’s Day and Mother’s Day are a bit weird. I have no idea who my father is, so forgive me if at any point I seem to not care about the holiday–that’s not what I’m going for. This is one of the rare times that it’s hard to talk about something I’ve never experienced.

Father or no father, I am still excited by the fathers who are present. I feel like fathers don’t get enough due. We are in a society where the mother is deserving of all praise and the father is an accessory–at least that’s how it seems from my point of view. Mother’s Day? All about mothers. Father’s Day? The mothers make it about them. To all the fathers out there, I admire you because I know that has to be tough to see. I don’t need any mothers attacking me because of this post–I’m just speaking truth. Don’t believe me? Check out your social media feeds today. Shout out to Facebook for not having a temporary profile pic for Father’s Day too. Mm hmm. I see you.

Not having a father or steady father figure hasn’t made me blind to what makes a great father. Take the time to give props to the fathers in your life, even if they don’t belong to you. Encourage them to push forward in what they do. Ladies, for the love of all that is holy, please don’t taint their day with bitter rants about negligent daddies and how you’re mother and father. I’m sure you’re an amazing mother, but please just don’t.

Let these men enjoy their day–these FATHERS deserve this honor.

Current Events · Life · Positivity

Running Out

I’ve been trying. I’ve been trying REALLY hard. Each day I focus on trying to have the brightest mindset possible in my efforts to ward off negative energy. The past couple of days have made this all but impossible. What do you do when negativity overwhelms you? When everything around you seems to be on the express train to hell? You let it out. At least I do. This blog exists for that very reason. How can I share rainbows of positive without sharing the thoughts that force me to fight for positive?

I’m not overwhelmed by my personal life. Sure I have some things I’d like to be different, but it’s definitely not as bad as it could be. I find myself more overwhelmed by the state of life as we know it. Each day is a resounding reminder that there just may be no solution in sight . It’s all just so sad. Things that are utterly ridiculous seem to have become a new norm. The new norm is scary and almost has us desensitized us in a weird way. We still feel real hurt and real emotions, but it seems to all be forgotten so quickly before any real progress is made. We’re bombarded by the news and social media platforms until the news gets old and another tragedy or scandal occurs.

When another mass shooting happens we shouldn’t be able to say, “Man, another one?!”. THIS IS NOT NORMAL. You shouldn’t feel like you’re choosing between the first or second floor of hell when during a political election. We shouldn’t still be fighting for human rights in 2016. Shouldn’t we know how to treat each other by now? How is it possible to keep even a shred of hope alive when your eyes are open to what’s happening around you? It’s as if we’re in the middle of a movie waiting for the big battle scene as we live out the director’s twisted plot. 

I have more questions than answers of my own and I’m not too keen on trusting the answers that we’ve been given either. I’m running out of any emotion that helps tolerate the madness.