Cheap

Photo by Miguel Bruna on Unsplash

You will not shy away from the sun. Your melanin is a gift, do not fear a darker complexion. You will not tuck your stomach in for pictures. Work it off or show it proudly. You will not hide your smile from laughter. Let the joy crawl its way out of your throat and seep its way from behind your teeth. You will not ignore your gut when it hurricanes its wrath. Listen to it moan of unpleasant vibes and wait for it to prophesy your next steps. Wear discernment like a cape and superwoman/man yourself to the next step. You will turn not a blind eye to boundaries transgressed. Let the world know when it’s in danger of tainting your integrity, of shattering your kindness, of disrespecting your soul. Do what makes you happy without regard to how that happiness looks to others. You are a diamond undiscovered, a masterpiece unknown, a treasure to be dug up and valued. A precious stone. You are a rarity, something to be searched for. Something to be honored. A bumblebee may be the smallest among the fly, but her honey is the sweetest thing. You will be honey. And you will treat others as you are. You will be to others as sweet as honey. A diamond undiscovered, a masterpiece, a treasure. Treat those who love you like treasures and turn away from those who do not. You will not be meat. You will not be snack. You will not be feasted upon by those without palettes and cannot taste. Do not rob yourself by forcing friendships. Do not force connections. Do not smother them into loving you. Love liberates. Love them into freedom. But do not lower the price of your worth. A mountain does not become small for those who refuse to climb. They will climb or they can remain on the ground. You are search-worthy.  Drink humility like water and taste its fruits on your tongue but do not clip your wings. Do not be cheap with yourself.

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Understand Your Strength

the-kind-of-beauty-i-want-most-is-the-hard-to-get-kind-that-comes-from-within-strength-courage-dignity-ruby-dee

The first headline for this article was “Knowing Your Strength”. When I thought about it more, however, I was soon reminded that knowing your strength and understanding it are two different things. To know your strength is to have identified what it is. To understand your strength, however, is not only the ability to identify it but to fully comprehend it and to therefore incorporate it into your daily life. To understand your strength is to understand you.

The constant echo of Indie Author advice can be overwhelming. In addition, there are lots of people who take advantage of the new author’s lack of knowledge in its relation to both writing and publishing. (especially publishing) Everyone swears by their method and technique. The only problem is that what works for one person may not necessarily work for the next and it doesn’t take long for new authors to feel doubtful and overwhelmed. While many of you are professional, skilled, and experienced enough to offer valuable insight, what authors must keep in mind is not just what is right, but what is right for them. Look not just at what works, but for what works for you. And not just what works for you, but also where you’re the strongest.

People talk about weaknesses all the time. It is easy to boast in our weaknesses but we cannot be weak without also being strong. Yes, we all have flaws but we also all have strengths. It is when we embrace who we are and tap into what we should offer others according to who we are that we find ourselves performing better, putting out more valuable content, and making a greater impact on the people around us as opposed to “trying” something that may be a good idea but that does not represent who we are.

Strength can be defined as: the quality or state of being strong; strong: able to withstand great force or pressure.

What Happens if I Don’t Understand My Strength?

You become a carbon copy of someone else or a shadow of your real self. A silhouette of who you think you are supposed to be, an outline with no flesh and bone. In short, you become what you think people want to see and attach your actions and thoughts to that image. When that image is destroyed, so are you and you begin to feel just as worthless and as without substance as the image that you’ve made for yourself.

Understanding your strength does not just help you to begin, it helps you also to endure and this we can apply to every aspect of our lives. This message is not just for writers, but for everyone. Take exercise for example. I know that I am capable of doing no less than a 30min. workout but no more than 1 hour. I get up every morning and dedicate at least 30 minutes to my workout but no less. It takes discipline but because I understand my strength, I push myself to do what I know that I am capable of. By looking forward to the 30minutes, it does not seem overwhelming and I am more excited to get up and perform. At the same time, I do not push myself beyond an hour. I understand my strength is not there yet. It will also be taxing and I will be less likely to look forward to doing it or completing it. I will complain more and pretty much whine myself out of doing it.

While Indie Authors will run into many people trying to take advantage of them, people offering everything from products and services that Indies soon discover they don’t really have to pay for, what keeps me grounded—and what I offer to you with the same hope—is understanding the areas where I am the most strong. Having already a firm foundation in those things, it provides a great leverage on which to build. Instead of starting from scratch, pay most attention to those things that speak to who you already are, that connects with your spirit, and that bonds with you mentally in a way that is most you. Don’t just “do you” but know you and understand your strength.

  • What can you do for the rest of your life whether you got paid or not and actually enjoy doing it?
  • What are you the most skilled at? That thing you’ve always been able to do? That spark?
  • What are you the most passionate about?
  • What is your mission in life? What is your purpose?
  • How can you combine your purpose with your career goals in the most genuine way?

Yecheilyah Ysrayl is a Blogger, Book Reviewer, and the Young Adult, Historical Fiction author of Black American Literature and is currently working on her next book series. “Renaissance: The Nora White Story” (Book One) is due for release July 15-16, 2017 at The Tampa Indie Author Book Convention in Tampa Florida. Originally from Chicago, IL, she now resides in Shreveport, LA with her husband where she writes full time. For updates from EC, be sure to follow this blog and to subscribe to her email list HERE.

To Be Real

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Real isn’t how you are made,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.’

‘Does it hurt?’ asked the Rabbit.

‘Sometimes,’ said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. ‘When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.’

‘Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,’ he asked, ‘or bit by bit?’

‘It doesn’t happen all at once,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.

“The Velveteen Rabbit,” also called “How Toys Become Real,” is a children’s novel written by Margery Williams and illustrated by William Nicholson. First published in 1922, the story was Williams’ first and most popular children’s book. If you’ve never read it before, the story is about the journey of a toy velveteen rabbit learning about love and what it means to become real.”

*******

People talk a lot about realness today, but few people understand what it means to really be real. The phrase “Keep It Real” is prominent, yet many people are not willing to hurt for it.

“He longed to become Real, to know what it felt like; and yet the idea of growing shabby and losing his eyes and whiskers was rather sad. He wished that he could become it without these.”

Why is wisdom measured by old age? I suppose its because by the time your hair is gray and your knees buckle and you can’t walk as far, by then you’ve gone through enough heartache to know real. You see, you’ll never be real without going through the furnace of affliction. Yes, diamonds are beautiful, but they had to go through much pressure to get that way. The truth is that we learn early on to hate ourselves because we learn to fight against disappointment, to buck against pain, and to despise trial. We learn not to rejoice in the bad but to complain about it, never once considering that such pain is reaping strength in our favor. As a result, we end up being fake most of the time because we’re not strong enough to be weak.

“Of what use was it to be loved and lose one’s beauty and become Real if it all ended like this? And a tear, a real tear, trickled down his little shabby velvet nose and fell to the ground.”

This. This most painful, most humbling of a moment. Now, you’re real.

The Velveteen Rabbit

Audacity

Photo Credit: By Ali Arif Soydaş @aliarifsoydas

 

Concrete painted the color of our scars
red for the blood of every gangsta who died
believing that defending a street corner
was keeping it real
for every nigga who wears degradation
like it’s his first name
every rebellion
that hates nothing more than truth but a mirror
prissy pink for every woman
who thought her legs were the railroad tracks to femininity
purple for every woman who wore her hips like monkey bars
and her heart like a welcome mat to trample on
when the hatred is spread so generously across her breast
that she feeds this to every “no good man”
she can’t deny a place between her legs
for every tire streaking soot of alcoholic footprints
leading to 24 hour liquor stores
like “look how easy this money is”
green for all the trees whose winters are too brutal
to change from the boo-boo brown of its community
not when hope still hangs it’s strings in the crack filled streets of Harlem
where faith whispers it’s goodbyes to chains and locked doors
the ones with concrete style floors
and bronze heavens
and every prayer is polluted with “I told you so’s”
for every struggle
just remember
that the sun still has the courage to rise in the mornings
which means that the day still has the audacity
to be beautiful…

Psa 3:5 “…weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning.”