“You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestation of your own blessings.” – Elizabeth Gilbert
I had a realization somewhere in the last year. I took a pause from asking God for the things I wanted and started asking what (S)He wanted from me. I declared daily, “God, use me for Your highest purpose! Show me how I can use my unique gifts and talents to be of service to the world.” It was at this point that I became uber-aware of the miracles occurring all around me.
In the past, if I had an inkling to say or do something, oftentimes I would ignore it for fear of judgment. After I prayed this prayer, however, I acted on my intuition, knowing that God was answering my prayer. There have been so many instances since that day where God has used me to be a blessing, and has blessed me in return.
One day, I was walking to meet my friend Caitlin to go hiking. I confused the cross street we were meeting at, and ended up sitting and waiting for her on a stone wall outside of a popular plaza. After a few minutes, the parking attendant, an older Indian man, came over and began speaking with me. We made some small talk about his job before he blurted out to me that he didn’t like black people. I was shocked. Why would he think it was okay to say something like that to me? I remembered my prayer and decided that cursing him out would do no good and decided to try another method. I asked him why he disliked black people so much. He told me that all the people that park in his lot are respectful, except black people who often yell at him and try to physically assault him. I told him I was sorry to hear that he had had this experience, but reasoned with him that these were just a few people, and not reflective of the entire race. He wouldn’t listen. He had had so many bad experiences that nothing I could say would change his mind. I explained to him that he was having these experiences because he expected to have them and that my experiences were quite the opposite. I explained that he could change the way he experienced people and events by changing his thinking. I told him verbatim, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” At that moment my friend texted me clarifying the correct street she was on. As I went to get up to leave, a beautiful black family in an SUV slowly pulled into the parking space directly in front of us. The black man looked directly at the Indian man, bowed his head, and put his hands up in the prayer pose, respectfully thanking him for doing his job. The indian man looked at me with the widest eyes I’ve ever seen. Once again, I looked at him and repeated, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change,” and happily walked off.
Another day I was walking down the street when I saw a young boy who was filthy and disheveled. Once again, I felt the intuition to speak to him so I began asking him questions. He told me how long he had been on the streets and admitted that he was addicted to meth. He told me of his paranoia, hallucinations, and his hope to one day be clean. I’ve never done meth, but I’ve done my fair share of experimenting. I was addicted to Adderall for the better part of college, and most stimulants have the same side effects. I related to him on so many levels and shared my own personal experience with him. I told him how I got clean and that it was a personal decision he would have to make when he was ready. I sent him love and prayers and before I left I grabbed his hand. It was so filthy that the conscious part of me never would have done that, but the action stemmed from something greater. I could tell he hadn’t been touched in that way in a long time, and the look in his eyes nearly melted my heart. I walked away filled with love.
On another occasion, I was flying back to the east coast and got the overwhelming feeling to write to Necole Bitchie, one of my favorite bloggers and a woman whom I had been so inspired by. I hadn’t even been on her blog in months, but the urge was so strong, I followed it. I sent her the following email:
As I was flying back to LA after the holidays yesterday, I got this very strong intuition to write to you. I have been reading your blog since a friend introduced to me to it in 2009, back when I lived in ATL. Back then, I read
several blogs, many of which were quite negative. An avid believer in the law of attraction, I slowly stopped reading all the others, but continued to follow you. I remember seeing your posts about Will Smith and his way of thinking, and it made sense why you had become so successful. You knew the way the universe worked, and with hard work, dedication, and most importantly faith, you made your dreams come true.
A while back, I caught the speech you made, speaking about difficulties, legal issues, and your lack of real relationships within the industry. As someone I really look up to and admire, I wanted to share something with you. I too, am a girl from a small town with big dreams of being successful in the music industry. I’ve lived in Miami, NYC, ATL, and LA, so I’ve definitely experienced many of the things you’ve spoken about. I know what it feels like to be in aroom and wonder if I even deserve to be there. I’ve encountered jealousy, hatred, and embarrassment. When you speak of your experiences, I truly feel you.
The reason I felt so compelled to write to you is because I wanted to remind you of how you came to be here in the first place. We are constant creators and YOU (and GOD) did this, YOU created NecoleBitchie.com, YOU became a respected name in the industry, YOU are an urban influencer. I know that at times it seems hard and maybe even hopeless, but I want to remind you of how many lives your work touches. You are not just a blogger, you are an angel for God. You are someone who inspires others every day, someone who definitely inspires me.
When I have had feelings of doubt or negativity, there is something I tell myself that always helps. The dream we have inside of us is of God, it is what we are called to do, our service to the world. When we look at our dream from an
ego perspective, it is easy to become overwhelmed with insecurity and the opinions of others. When you see your dream as fulfilling your God-given purpose, as your expression of Divinity,it is much easier not to be concerned with the opinions of others.
Sometimes I feel myself getting caught up in this world and I remember that the most important thing is to function on the highest vibration possible. Whether it’s singing and dancing in my apartment or buying a meal for a homeless person or even smiling at a stranger, I remember that this emotion is the place I want to be creating from. When I’m feeling down, I remember this message I was given from my grandfather through a medium, “Open your eyes and look at the life you have manifested for yourself!” I encourage you to do the same. Necole, this is just the beginning for you. You truly are an angel for God and He sees what you are doing. You have inspired countless people and I know you have even greater dreams inside of you. Please don’t let the fear of twitter trolls and others stop you from expressing what is inside of you.
Whatever life you can dream of, you can have. There are NO LIMITS to what you can create. I urge you to visualize for 5 minutes a day and truly allow yourself to envision exactly what you would like. You can have it. I promise.
Necole, I want to thank you for inspiring me every day. Let go of the fear, it is not real. Ask God to use you in service for his highest good, and you will start to see opportunities opening up everywhere. I am so grateful to you and
can’t wait to see what 2014 holds in store for you.
‘If you admire somebody, go head n tell em. People never get the flowers while
they can still smell em.’ -Ye
Peace and Blessings,
I completely forgot about writing this until a few weeks later when I was at work and received the following email from Necole:
“All I have to say is ‘Thank you’. When I left LA for Europe last week, my spirit was broken. I wasn’t even sure if I was gonna return to blogging. I cried many times while reading your message as it was right on time and something I needed to hear. Thank you so much for your kind words and having me in your thoughts and prayers! It really means the world to me.”
I was shocked. I went home and told my friend who was staying with me for the night about what had happened. A few hours later, at 3 in the morning, my phone went off. It was a friend of my sister’s from NYC who was stranded for the night and needed a place to stay. I didn’t know him very well, but told him he could stay on my couch. When I woke up the next morning, I checked Necole’s website, and saw the following post:
“Happy New Year!
I hope all is well and that your new year is filled with happiness, love and good health. I wanted to write a quick message because I believe that a few of you guys may have been under the impression that I abandoned my blog or that I quit blogging. I haven’t. I apologize for not leaving a vacation notice, because it was truly accidental. Due to a lack of planning on my part, after booking a trip to Europe, I ended up not having much phone service, spotty wi-fi and one electrical outlet to share between two people and four electronics that needed to be charged. My laptop lost the power battle but the lack of resources really became a blessing from God.
This is my first time logging onto a computer in 7 days. I never thought in a million years I could do that. Especially having a business that is entirely online, however being unplugged from the Matrix really gave me an opportunity to learn a lot about myself. It taught me to be adventurous, to live in my moments and to take a step back and analyze what is important to me.
When I first started blogging I had real PASSION for this. I was going through the most troubling time in my life but although I didn’t have a place to stay, and didn’t know where my next check was coming from, I got great joy out of logging online every day, and blogging my thoughts and then reading what my commenters had to say. I shared a lot about my life in the infant stage. I remember joking that I couldn’t blog about the top reality shows that were on back then because I couldn’t afford cable and damnit, it was a huge celebration when I finally got some cable! [LOL!] A lot of you guys grew with me, you were here when I had nothing, emailed me the first time you heard my blog referenced on the radio, cheered me on when I challenged my fear of public speaking, cried with me when I accepted my first award. A few of you have even seen me on the street and come up to me and said, “I read your personal blog. I am inspired by your story!” and that is a reminder every day of what I do this for. Most of all, when some of you see me straying away from my original vision, or blogging something that’s not the best representation of this site or brand, you tell me, and I appreciate that tough love.
I also appreciate your encouraging emails.
I say all of this to say, I appreciate you. All of you. I don’t know if I say it enough.
Every day, I wake up at 4am, stretch, drink a glass of water, and log on to my computer, and start researching and picking out stories that I hope you guys find entertaining. My day normally ends around midnight and I do it all over again. There really isn’t a such thing as time off when you run a site of this magnitude. Even when you are on a date, having family time, a girl’s night, etc., subconsciously as you scroll through your Twitter timeline or Instagram, you are still working. But when you love what you do, it doesn’t matter how many hours you work because it doesn’t feel like work. It’s when you lose joy and passion for what you do that you start clocking the hours.
This site is still 100% owned by me. I never sold it. I haven’t taken a check to sell off a piece of it yet. I haven’t bought traffic to increase the pageviews, I haven’t advertised, I haven’t engaged in any SEO tricks to get a higher Google ranking, I’ve literally just woke up every day and blogged and it was you guys who helped this site grow, by telling all of your friends and spreading the word. It’s because of you that this site is much bigger than I can barely keep up with. Your loyalty to the brand is why I am here.
It is why we are here.
But I also want to remind you that this is my baby. And when you have a baby, and you nurture it and watch it grow, it’s hard to let go and let someone babysit for you, even if it’s for a few days while you are on vacation. This is why the site hasn’t been updated in 7 days.
In 2014, I hope to learn to stop babying my baby.
That brings me back to my vacation. The greatest thing that I’ve learned from my blogging peers Angel Laws (Concrete Loop) and Fresh (Crunktastical) is that you have to put the same energy in yourself that you are putting into your career. It takes a lot to wake up every day and blog about other people who are living their lives, when you aren’t really living yours to the fullest extent. There has to be some sort of balance and sometimes you do have to take a break to gain some perspective. That’s with any path you choose to follow career-wise.
It all comes down to: Are you living life or are you only watching others live their lives?
Last year, I attempted to launch many projects, some worked, some didn’t but for every success, you’ll have many failures. That’s just the way life works. If I have learned anything in the last few years, it’s that you can’t truly know what it means to win unless you know how it feels to lose. Ordinary can’t possibly be extraordinary without taking risks. You have to learn to be uncomfortable with being comfortable to truly reach your highest potential.
With celeb gossip and entertainment news being such a competitive space, it’s so easy to get caught up in the rat race. I would compare it to a hamster on a wheel, running with the pack, but not quite getting anywhere. It’s all about who gets the story up first whether all the details are there or not, and of course, the integrity is lost. While trying to please everybody, you can get caught up in the numbers game, and suddenly you will find yourself blogging about people and things that bring a lot of hits and comments, and less about stories that are inspirational and that can possibly change someone’s life. That was me, late this year. So in 2014, I have dedicated myself to trying to bring a little more balance to the black blogosphere. A little more positivity. To not lose sight of my overall vision and why I started blogging in the first place. To not lose sight of what my brand represented.
Sidenote: Thank you Beyoncé. Your latest business move really taught me what it means to reclaim your power. Do things on your own terms and not everyone else’s. Sometimes we get so caught up in hits, Facebook and Instagram likes, pageviews, headlines, Twitter followers, chart positions, and “Best of” lists that you can lose your soul and yourself in the process.
Always remember that you can choose what you want your legacy to be, and once you figure that out, whether it’s tomorrow or 10 years from now, you will start to move a little differently and live in your legacy. I always ask myself, “How do you want people to feel about you when you leave the room?” I do care whether or not the site is respected. But in climbing the mountain of my personal journey, I’ve learned it’s not all about the money and advertising dollars either. It’s so much more fulfilling when you are following your heart and reaching the destination is that much more exciting.
In 2005, Kris Kelley (the music director at WJLB Radio Station in Detroit at the time) wrote me a check. I hadn’t eaten in days, and my rent was past due, but I had been in that radio station every day interning hoping that my hard work would be recognized and I would gain employment there. At the time, she told me, “I’m writing this check because I am investing in you. I believe in you. All I ask is that when you get on, you continue to help other young women.”
That taught me that all it takes is for someone to believe in your dream. And even when they don’t, you got to keep pushing until they do. [No one believed that this blog would be marketable or gain a large audience because of the name, but I kept right on pushing.]
Because of her words that day, my greatest accomplishment has been to employ, contract, partner and work with young women who were just like me over the years. Who truly believed in my brand, the vision and the journey. I hope in continuing to blog and update this site, that women will find inspiration in not only my story but also the stories of others –like Beat Face Honey. It is my duty in the New Year to continue to showcase young women and men who are out here doing the damn thing while beating the odds.
In 2014, I hope to build a deeper connection with you guys, but I also want you all to promise me that you’ll do a few things that you’ve never had the courage to do. Go hard for your dreams. Step outside of your comfort zone, leave the Land of Familiar, break down the wall of fear, and most importantly –LIVE. Imagine all of the things you would do if you were not afraid. Now do it! (and email me and tell me about it later!! **smile**)
This world is for the taking.
P.S. I’ll be blogging again soon. I have a little more living and exploring to do before I return home in a few days and right now I don’t have much access to Internet.
P.P.S. I haven’t taken many pictures. It’s hard to truly live in the moment when you are constantly stopping to snap a photo of the moment, but here’s the gist of what I got
Talk to you soon.”
I was shocked. I had no logical reason to send her that email. I hadn’t been on her site in months, but I had learned to follow my intuition and not question it. I excitedly read the post to my friend Dominique who was laying next to me in bed. My sister’s (and now my) friend from NYC who was staying on my couch overheard me and asked, “Did you just say Necole Bitchie?” “Yeah, why?,” I replied. She’s a good friend of mine, I’m texting her right now. My jaw dropped because you couldn’t make this stuff up if you tried. I told him I had a book called “Conversations with God,” that I wanted to give her and he agreed to be the messenger. Later that weekend, we attended a Grammy party together, and low and behold, Necole was there. I spoke with her about the post and about following dreams despite all the industry BS that goes on. She was so unbelievably sweet and thanked me for my words. She expressed again that they had come right on time.
These experiences changed something in me. They restored my faith and solidified my trust in my intuition. I now follow that feeling in my gut, even when it doesn’t make conscious sense. You never know what is going on behind the scenes, but when you pray to be a blessings, you can most certainly believe that you will be used for one. What I’ve found from this shift is that there is no greater blessings on earth than to be used to bless someone else. Whenever I get caught up in my wants and desires, I think back to something I heard Oprah say and recite the same prayer, “As far back as I can recall, my prayer has been the same: ‘Use me, God. Show me how to take who I am, who I want to be, and what I can do, and use it for a purpose greater than myself.'” There’s no greater gift in the world.