Jewels of the Week (September 2-September 9)

Be Proactive, Not Reactive

“I only allow myself one day to feel sorry for myself. I ask myself, ‘What are you gonna do about it?’ I use the negativity to fuel me into a better me.” - Beyoncé

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Depression has been kicking my ass which is why I briefly stopped blogging, I can’t force myself to write or speak if I’m just not feeling it. But on the flip side, I haven’t exactly been doing what I need to do in order to care for my mental health. So instead of consistently wallowing and acting like there isn’t a thing on earth I can do to make myself feel better, I decided to take a month-long break from Twitter which has been really nice so far. Not subjecting yourself to thousands of random thoughts from other people everyday is very peaceful and absolutely necessary, I’ll probably do this every season from now on for a mental reset.

Being away from Twitter also means that I’m not a part of a crowd of people who have turned a social media platform into a space where negativity, self-deprecation, and complaining about everything under the sun reign supreme. I find that isolating myself when I’m burnt out or depressed is actually very helpful, the last thing I want to do is be around people and hear what they have to say, especially when I haven’t asked and don’t care. Getting grounded and re-centered by basking in my solitude is very important to me and my recovery, and sometimes it can take a very long time. I’ve been in hermit mode literally all year because I am on a journey of rediscovering myself, unlearning old thoughts and habits while learning new ones. I’m literally becoming a new person now and I can’t have any distractions until I feel like I’m finished doing what I need to do for myself internally and externally.

Through the duration of this year I’ve found myself sitting in negative emotions like jealousy, anger, vengefulness, etc. and instead of investigating it further, up until recently I had been just sweeping it away and telling myself to ignore it. But when you ignore your emotions, they always come back. So I’m using this time with myself to explore why I’m feeling these emotions and what I can do to fix it, instead of pretending as if I don’t experience these feelings. For example, a lot of my anxiety and feelings of inadequacy stem from the fact that I feel as though I’m not doing enough and should be further in life. I had to tell myself the truth and realize that:

  1. I’m indeed not doing enough. My consistency could be better when it comes to my writing and social media presence, as well as researching and getting started with my future goals in life. The longer I wait and the less I create, the more stagnant I stay.

  2. Being on social media, especially Twitter, was not helping. Comparison was my thief of joy, which is why I ended up taking a break. I decided I would use this time away to rebuild myself from the inside out so I can return a better and stronger person.

  3. My fear of failure holds me back from even starting anything, which is a result of my anxiety disorder. If I miss one post on my blog for the week I won’t want to post again because then it looks inconsistent, which keeps the cycle going. To combat this, I decided to be real with myself and admit that my anxiety is worse than I thought and that it permeates every area of my life and everything that I do, so my next step is to see a psychiatrist and starting going to therapy. All in all, I have a game plan for ever problem I have so I can keep it pushing.

This process is not fun or pretty, it forces you to unearth truths about yourself that you didn’t think were there or would ever want to admit, but it’s necessary if you want to improve and become a better version of yourself. Be real with yourself and don’t be embarrassed about the things you feel, it’s just you and those 4 walls. Identify your problems and shortcomings, get creative with ways to combat it, and execute your vision.

VSCO App

When it comes to editing pictures, I really think less is more. When I’m using VSCO I mainly tweak the exposure, up the contrast, decrease the temperatures and increase the tint for a cleaner look, add a little saturation for liveliness, sharpen, and add a little grain to make the quality look crisper. Sometimes I add a filter depending on the picture, but the ones that are free are ugly so I usually don’t. My phone is kind of old (iPhone 6s+) and it’s starting to show with the camera quality, I’m leaning more towards a Google Pixel for camera quality so we’ll see, cause Apple be playing.

Grown-ish

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At first I hated this show and thought it was corny but I decided to revisit it like a whole year later. And because I’m a completely different person now, I actually love the show and can’t wait for season 3 to premiere this winter. The fashion and general aesthetics of the show remind me of Zoey 101 and how PCA was the school everyone wanted to attend. Funny enough though, watching Grown-ish has made me realize that I’m really not missing anything when it comes to all the young teenage and college experiences I’ve missed out on like parties, one night stands, FWB relationships, young love, etc. I can still have those fun experiences (free of heartbreak and pain too) at an older age, outside of college. Though partying and casual relationships has lost all appeal to me because I’m definitely grown-ish now.

I consider myself a millennial and I think this show was geared to Generation Z which is why I, and many people in my generation/age group/ thought this show to be corny or poorly handled. After watching every episode twice, I can honestly say that I genuinely like the way they incorporate social and cultural issues as well as current pop culture into each episode as well as ending each episode with a personal lesson, leading to the growth of the show’s characters. They’ve touched on almost every issue you can think of that effects both millennials and Gen Z in a way that’s fun and entertaining but also informative. And the fact that their friend group is a diverse one with differing genders, races, sexualities, life goals, and socioeconomic backgrounds is what makes every episode so great, they literally have group discussions about issues that could otherwise tear them apart. I love how they handle conflict and dialogues on this show, it’s always mature and productive in my opinion. Younger people need more shows like this!

Ryan Destiny is being cast for the next season so hopefully she becomes a series regular because more dark skinned girls are needed on this show if they’re going to keep touching on social/cultural issues and displaying the diversity of college without reflecting it in the cast because I’m tired of seeing dark skinned Black men everywhere but no dark skinned Black women.

Abstract Nail Designs

I’m very much a minimalist when it comes to my nails. My nail inspiration folders on Pinterest and Instagram are filled with nails that are natural looking and neutral colored, or they have some sort of abstract line art on them. I think a good chunk of my IG following list is a plethora of talented ass nail artists that I won’t have access to unless I move to LA or New York, which is not happening unless I start making six figures. So in the mean time I’ll just dream or even attempt to do this on my own nails…

Sage White - Pro MUA

My wife Sage White is one of the most talented makeup artists in the game right now and doesn’t get the recognition she deserves for the skillful way she highlights the beauty of Black women instead of masking it like most makeup artists do. Her signature look entails natural skin with a warm toned, sometimes glossy lid, natural skin, and a nude, glossy lip with orange undertones, but her work and skill as a makeup artist is just as diverse as her talents that include singing and painting as well. She’s worked for BEYONCE. My bitch is legit!

Suspiria (2018)

When this movie first came out I decided not to bother with it because of all the bad reviews and commentary I’d seen and I was generally over the whole remake wave that’s going on in the film industry right now (still am). But since it’s streaming on Amazon Prime and Hulu now I thought why not? I ended up watching it twice in a row because 1) I didn’t know what the fuck was going on and 2) the aesthetics were so beautiful to me. It wasn’t like Neon Demon where everything was fashionable and pretty, as Suspiria was set in 1970s Berlin so it was filled with dim lighting, cold and rainy weather, and neutral, muted tones of the 70s that included burnt orange, brown, burgundy, and olive green.

This movie reminded me of Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan and how consuming ambition can be, though I’m sure there was probably a deeper meaning to it that I haven’t figured out yet, which is why I keep watching. This thriller is definitely a slow build up and there aren’t really any jumpy moments, more so moments where you’re staring at the screen with your head tilted like, “What the fuck?” The older I get, the more I can enjoy and appreciate horror and thriller movies that do a great job of exploring the human psyche and depicting the dark sides of it with creative metaphors and such. Every scary movie doesn’t have to make you jump and give you nightmares, sometimes they make you question everything you know and the world around you, and even yourself. It instills a sort of uncertainty and curiosity that activates our fear of the unknown and new territory.

Makartt Nail Extension Kit

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I recently bought this kit on Amazon after wanting it for months. I’ve tried my hand at doing acrylic but finding the right ratio for powder and monomer is difficult for me so I opted for this polygel instead which is basically a hybrid gel: it has the ease of gel with the strength of acrylic. I’m embarking on a nail journey for real this time and I plan on using this for length and protection for my natural nails so they don’t break while I try to grow them out. I can’t grow my nails out too long because of my job but right now all of my nails are almost down to the nub because they always break off when they get to a certain length.

Using this was fairly easily although there is a learning curve when it comes to using the right amount and shaping the nail. I had to use the nail forms that came in the kit but I would’ve preferred to build and extend the nail on a nail form instead because I don’t like the way the cuticle looks with dual forms and I find that I tend to use a little too much gel because I’m never sure of how thick the nail will be after you press the dual form down. You also need rubbing alcohol to use as a slip solution which they don’t state in the instructions and they don’t provide any sort of slip solution for you so that’s annoying. I didn’t have any alcohol on me so I ended up using plain hand sanitizer which is mostly alcohol anyway, and it worked fine.

After shaping my nails and filing the surface, I applied the base coat that came with it, my OPI Put It In Neutral gel polish, then the top coat that also came with the kit for extra durability and longevity. When I run out of my polygel I’m not sure if I’ll repurchase or not because the tubes are a lot smaller than what they look like and if you’re a beginner or someone who likes to wear long nails, you’ll run out of this quicker. Plus I’m sure by the time I run out of this I’ll have the natural nail length that I want so I won’t need the polygel and can just maintain my nails with gel manicure. Overall I’d give this kit a 3.5/5.

80s Powersuits

I’ve really developed a thing for suits this year because I love the concept of having a personal uniform, a signature outfit to wear every single day that is both comfortable and stylish. I personally think we need to bring powersuits back, if I worked in corporate I would be rocking one every single day. There’s something about remixing traditionally masculine aesthetics and qualities to make it suit women that I love, it always creates a nice balance that emanates the energy of a strong, structured woman.

Something’s Gotta Give (2003)

I initially watched this movie for Keanu and ended up staying for Diane! The plot of this movie was cliche but at the same time it wasn’t. I suspected it would be about an old geezer with unaddressed issues who exclusively dates younger women and gets turned out by a woman his age, but I was pleasantly surprised to see how they addressed the misogyny and double standard when it comes to older men and women dating. Frances McDormand’s character was a women’s studies professor and she acted out what I think is actually my favorite scene in the movie, passionately pointing out how men are celebrated for remaining single well into their middle aged years and how women are pitied for it, and how older men create the cycle of avoiding women in their age group, leading them to become more intelligent/experienced/cultured which further intimidates and scares said men.

When Erica confessed to Harry that she was fine being alone and divorced until he came along and then left, I felt that too strongly. There’s nothing more annoying in this universe than being peaceful by yourself then having men come along and disturb that, leaving you with that emotional disturbance long after they’re gone. I truly would’ve preferred it if Harry would’ve stayed sad and single while Erica married Julian and continued to be a successful playwright, but this is a man’s world so Jack Nicholson just had to win. I still love that movie to pieces though.

Chloe x Halle

After getting into Grown-ish and deciding that Sky and Jazz were my favorite characters, I decided to give their music a listen and fell in love. Separately, they have the most beautiful voices but their voices work even better together to create sonic magic with Chloe’s deeper, more mature voice and Halle’s light, angelic voice. After watching that video, I completely understood why Halle was cast as Ariel, she literally sounds like she belongs in a Disney movie! Chloe x Halle both have an ethereal and regal presence about them that reminds me of why they’re under Beyoncé’s wing. I can’t wait for their next album.

Popeyes Chicken Sandwich

This sandwich is the fucking bomb, even my cats thought so and they haven’t even tasted it. I’m very disappointed and annoyed to see Black people acting holier than thou over a chicken sandwich, shaming people for “free promotion” which is how consumerism in general works, and suggesting bringing chicken sandwiches to voting polls as a way to lure Black people out. 1) That’s goofy and antiblack as fuck. The same people complaining about Black people liking this sandwich are the same ones reinforcing stereotypes by making it seem like Black people are only intelligent, productive beings when there’s chicken present. We can’t enjoy shit these days without being chastised for it. 2) Literally everybody promotes stuff they like for free, whether they know it or not. Remember that time you told your friend to buy this moisturizer cause it made your skin so soft? Or those 5748 times you tweeted about how much you love Henny because it gets you turnt and makes you stop being a scary bitch?

This fiasco only proved to me that Black people are indeed the most powerful consumers and we could be even more powerful if we used this same energy to chastise brands that have exhibited antiblackness as well as promoting Black owned businesses as well. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy a chicken sandwich too. Duality. Multitasking. Get hip, niggas.

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