Thursday, September 18, 2014

Shut the Cup Up.

Yes. This is another blog/post/rant from a former pageant girl about Miss America and her cup. You knew it was coming, so... You're welcome. And just to make it official, here is the obligatory picture of the red solo know, in case you haven't seen enough of these in the past five days.

Friday, September 12, 2014


She was a strong black woman who worked hard to support her family and herself. She always put others first, even when it meant neglecting her own needs. She had two children- a son who thought she was the coolest mommy ever, and a daughter who thought she was Super Woman. Her children adored her.

And then there was him. He was a has-been, jobless moocher. He didn't deserve her, but he was really good with apologies, had an s-curl and used to get all the ladies back in the day when he was in a singing group, you know, before he ended up in rehab.
Her parents hated him. Even his friends told her that he was no good. He was worthless, but still managed to find women on the side who would give him the time of day, although she was giving him the world.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Still a Gem

Three days. I had three days to take in the great city of Cleveland. And let me tell you- it was a lot to take in. Before arriving in Cleveland, I had no idea what to expect. I had no expectations, only the hopes that I would get to meet new people, eat yummy food and try new things. When I arrived in Cleveland and checked into my hotel, the woman at the front desk asked me where I was from. I told her I was visiting from Kentucky, and she paused, looked at me and grinned. It was the kind of grin that said, "Welcome to my city" and also, "I hope you're ready to have a good time". That was comforting, because again, I had no idea what to expect of this city. About an hour after I checked in, I met up with Ryan, a local Cleveland blogger who would be the Clyde to my Bonnie all weekend. Ryan and I had been paired up by Positively Cleveland, who asked us to support them with their outreach to the LGBTQ community. Fun, right? Right! Shortly after meeting up, Ryan and I were on our way to dinner when Beyonce came on the radio, and an impromptu mini-concert ensued. I'm pretty sure that moment set precedence for the entire weekend. I mean, doesn't every great weekend start off that way?

Thursday, August 14, 2014


If you watch the news or troll social media at all, I'm sure you've seen multiple postings, link shares, pictures, and status updates regarding the recent shooting and killing of black people in America. The most recent trend that has really caught my attention, is the "#IfTheyGunnedMeDown" posts. These posts showcase two or more photos of young black people, asking which photo would the media use if they were gunned down, hence the hashtag. In comparing the pictures, it is interesting to see the difference a simple change of clothes and posing can make in perception. Most of the postings showcased a less formal  picture, in which the poster is wearing casual/street clothes, and the other is a more formal picture in which the poster is wearing a graduation gown, suit, dress or uniform of some sort. I suppose the latter is supposed to showcase a more "respectable" side- the side that we often feel is not publicized enough by the media. But the more I looked at the postings, the more concerned I became. I found myself concerned because the more I saw the pictures, the more I came to realize that the issue of the portrayal of black people in the news is not about the clothes we wear or the pose we choose; it's about the skin we inherit and the associations and societal implications that come with it.

(left) "Wiz Khalifa"- Halloween 2013, (right) Miss Kentucky, Miss America 2011

Thursday, July 31, 2014

What Do You Say to the Girl Who's Not Pretty?

"The photos are nice, I just think they made you look so masculine... You're just so pretty. I wish they would've captured that."
Photographer: Steve Squall, Stylist: Megan Wilde, Set Design: Gunnar Deathrage, Make Up: Isidro Valencia

The afore mentioned comment was made in reference to my photos in STORY Magazine. As the comment was made, everything in me wanted to roll my eyes, puff my chest out and give a piece of my curiously progressive mind. Instead, I took a moment to pause and think...deep breath in and out...and I responded, "The photos are exactly what I wanted."

Thursday, July 24, 2014

My Secret Recipe for Time

Time. We all want more of it right? We try to fit as much as we can into every hour, minute, and second of the day, and it seems that no matter how much squeezing we do, there is always more to be done.

Lately, I've had quite a few people ask me, "How do you do it?" And interestingly enough, I find myself wondering the same thing. So, I figured I'd write out some thing to share! Here we go!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

East End Barbershop Talk

Last week, I went to the barbershop for a haircut, for the first time. I walked in and was greeted by two barbers sitting in the front of the shop, talking and looking out the storefront window, people watching perhaps. Mr. James was the barber I was there to see. I'd attempted to cut my own hair earlier in the week and while I did an okay job, I definitely needed a professional touch to clean it up. Mr. James took me to his chair in the back of the shop and got me all prepped for the cut/clean up that was about to happen. He was great. I showed him pictures of what I was going for and we discussed it a bit. I felt comfortable and I trusted him and his clippers.

Well, if you've ever been to a (black) barbershop, you know there is always a conversation going. These conversations can be about anything, from Beyonce vs. Kelly Rowland to immigration reform. I didn't expect much "barbershop talk" considering it was only me and Mr. James- I was the last client of the day.  I figured we would have the general "Where are you from? What do you do?" type of talk...nothing really substantial enough to carry out a full blown conversation, but at least enough to break an awkward silence and show interest in someone other than yourself and whatever form of social media you may be scrolling through on your phone. The conversation started out that way, with the typical questions and answers, but it did not take long to escalate into something beyond the usual small talk..

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

I Dreamed a Dream

When I was a little girl, going to McDonald's for a happy meal was one of my favorite things. Getting a happy meal was a big deal! It was a meal, especially prepared for me, with a prize/toy inside and happiness included? Oh Mr. Ronald McDonald, you have really outdone yourself sir. How could he have been so genius as to put a smile in a box, in the form of a cheeseburger, french fries, orange hi-c, and miniature figurine or beanie baby (do y'all remember how crazy people got about those?)??? GENIUS, I TELL YOU! GENIUS! At least to me, at the time, it was. Going to McDonald's to get a happy meal was something that I always looked forward to, however, I did not always get the experience I'd hoped for. The experience I hoped for was what I saw advertised, which generally included a smiling, happy-go-lucky McDonald's employee who was glad to put the "happy"  in my happy meal. But often times what I actually got was no eye contact, no smiles, no "happy"...just a meal. This did not sit well with me, at all. I didn't even care about the food. My greatest concern was that the happy people that I saw in the commercials were not the happy people that I met in the drive-thru. I felt decided to do something about. One day, I told my mom, "When I grow up, I am going to work at McDonald's, just so I can smile at every customer that comes through the drive-thru." I don't remember my mom's response, but I'm sure she was praying, "Dear Lord, please let her grow out of that." Well...I didn't. I didn't grow out of it. As a matter of fact, as soon as I was old enough to work, my first job was at McDonald's on Veteran's Parkway in Columbus, Ga. I was excited to have a job and proud to be working at McDonald's. It was time to make my dream come true!

Monday, June 23, 2014

This Morning

When I woke up this morning, I did not feel awesome.
I rolled over and stared into the darkness and allowed my thoughts to flow. My thoughts bounced back and forth between acknowledging anxiety and focusing on the present moment. I felt guilty for feeling anxious because I know that what is most important is what is right in front of me, and if I am experiencing anxiety that means I am focusing/worrying about what's ahead and not what is "right now".  So I laid there, feeling anxious and guilty and a little sticky because I didn't turn my air conditioning down last night, thinking that the breeze from the storm would cool the house down, but it didn't. I closed my eyes and I asked myself, "why? why are you anxious???" I was taken back to a conversation I had over the weekend with a friend. We were discussing tattoos when she said, "I don't understand why people get quotes and sayings as tattoos. Maybe you like that quote today, but ten years down the road, your life may have changed and that will be completely irrelevant to you." Well, being someone who has a script tattoo, I shared the reasoning behind my decision.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

And About That Time I Threw a Surprise Party for Myself...

When I was in the fourth grade, I threw a surprise slumber party for myself.
And the best present I got that year, was an invaluable life lesson.
I know exactly what you're thinking... "Why wasn't I that cool when I was in the fourth grade?!?"  Right? Or... "How is it a surprise if you threw it for yourself?" Well, basically, if I told you how I managed to pull that off, I would be giving away one of my secrets to awesome, so you'll have to buy the book for that :)

Sunday, May 4, 2014

For Today's Graduate...Here's My Two Cents

Today, another round of Berea College students become Berea College Alumni. This one's for you.

1. YEEEEEAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YOU MADE IT!!!
-I know sometimes it can seem like Graduation Day is just an oasis off in the distance that you will never really quite reach, especially if you received any letters or emails from Financial Aid or Academic Services in the last 3-4 weeks. And if you did receive one of those letters, believe me, I know you were probably ready to burn Lincoln Hall down to the ground. I know. But now, look at you- standing tall on your graduation day with no record of arson to follow you across the stage. Congratulations!
2. I am incredibly proud of you. Incredibly.
-You are graduating from college.You're automatically amazing. That's just what happens. You go Glenn CoCo.
3. The world awaits you. Take that with a grain of salt...and a lime.
-Yes, you graduated and that makes you automatically amazing, but sometimes, the world is not prepared for all of the awesome that is about to hit them, and we are not always so prepared for the world's unpreparedness for our awesome. Take that with a grain of salt and a lime, but be careful with that because...

Thursday, April 24, 2014

I Am Perfect

I used to think that I was supposed to embrace my flaws. 
But then I realized that I am perfect.

Calling something a flaw implies that there is something wrong- it is imperfect. But who is to say what is perfect and what is flawed? Why should we subscribe to any opinion or thought other than our own? You never knew you were imperfect until someone told you that you were. You never called it a flaw until someone or something else changed your perception of perfection from who you naturally are to who you should try to be.
That pimple on your cheek- perfect.
The chickenpox scar on your forehead- perfect.
The dry skin in the crevice of your nose- perfect.
The one eyebrow that arches much less than than the other- perfect.
You. Your soul. Your everything. You're beautiful. You're perfect.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Started as a Facebook Rant, Now We Here...

This post started out as a facebook rant, which I don't do often, but as you can is entirely too long for that. So I just copied and pasted it into a blog.
PLEASE BE ADVISED: I used the caps lock button a few times throughout this post. Also, this post is about 92% honesty, curiosity, and hopes of expanding perspectives... and only about 7% sardonic and sarcastic., this is an official facebook rant. (well, it it's a blog post)

Friday, April 11, 2014

Titus and Beyonce and Me...and You.

I remember the first time I heard Beyoncé's "Pretty Hurts". I was offended. And then I watched the visual for the song. I was mad.

For those of you who don't know: I love Beyoncé. And one day, Beyoncé and I will be best friends. I know many people have set this goal in life, but let it be known that I am at the top of Beyoncé's "Future Best Friends" List. She told me. I suppose that is a Beyoncé-lover disclaimer of sorts.
So, back to "Pretty Hurts". I listened to the song and I watched the video and my initial thoughts were as follows: 
"Oh no she didn't! Did Beyoncé just try to come for me and all my pageant ladies??? Oooh, hunty! She triiied it! She really tried it!"
I even called my mom, like "Have you seen/heard this mess?! I'm going to write a blog about it! I have so many things to say!"So here I am, four months later, writing a blog about it, but with much different perspective than I had four months ago.

Thursday, March 27, 2014


I saw a sign or a meme one day that read, "Do you remember who you were before the world told you who you should be?" That's one of those things that definitely makes you go, "Hmmm...". But, how often do we challenge ourselves to go beyond the "hmmm..."? How often do we really think about who we were and who we are...who we wanted to be and who we were told to be...who we try to be and who we try not to be???

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

What's In a Name?

This past weekend, I had two memorable interactions. One was good and the other was, was okay. The crazy thing is, there was just one small thing that made the difference in the way the interactions began and concluded. One. Small. Thing.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Gold Stars for Everyone!

"Turning 'They' Into 'We'", has reached many more than I could have anticipated. So many gold stars!!! When I sat down and committed to writing and sharing that post, I had only three intentions...
1. Self liberation.
2. Inspiration.
3. Awareness.
I have received many posts, messages, tweets, texts, and phone calls from friends and strangers alike, thanking me for my bravery and offering mounds of support.  My heart is warmed from the overwhelmingly positive and encouraging words. In responding to the feedback I have received, I have often struggled with whether or not "thank you" is the appropriate wording for what I wish to convey. While I am very thankful for the love and support, I also stand very aware that I could have never made the decision to share this on my own.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Turning "They" into "We"

For months I have been going back and forth with myself on what to write, how to write it, and when to post it. I'll start writing a post and then about midway through the post, I'll stop or I'll keep writing with absolutely no inspiration which, at that point, I'm better off stopping. I did that today. I started a post and about half way through, I lost inspiration and found myself writing just for the sake of trying to finish what I started, and I hate that. I hate writing without inspiration because it is so easy to recognize the difference between something that is written with passion and something that is written  just to be written. So, I took a break. I took a nap. I made some tea. I checked some emails. And now I am back to writing. And in that little time I took, away from writing, I realized what was going on- why I was losing the inspiration for these posts that I started with such great passion and would fizzle before I could even get out of the first paragraph. My passion was fizzling away because I was purposely trying to make a big deal out of whatever I was writing. When I decided I was going to start this blog, it was not because I wanted to make a big deal about things; it was because I wanted to share my experiences in the hopes of helping or inspiring someone along the way.

So...back to my initial thought. For months, I have been contemplating how I would write this post, how I would position it, when would be the right time to post it. Should I make it funny? Should I make it mysterious? Should I make it serious? Should I pick a special date to do it? Should I build some kind of anticipation around it? Hmmm...ain't nobody got time for that. I have written and re-written and deleted and restarted this post more times than I care to share, and after all of that I have finally realized: "There ain't nothin' to it, but to do it." So, here we go folks...

Monday, February 17, 2014

How I Survived Middle School: An Open Letter to My Valentine

MIDDLE SCHOOL. Need I say more??? If most of us look back or think back on our middle school years, I'm pretty sure what will follow is a sigh of relief. Why relief?? Because... we made it! We made it through middle school! All of the physical and mental changes, ups and downs, and peer pressures of middle school...we survived them. Seriously... I believe that middle school is one of the most challenging times in our lives. Though we still have the joy of being young and having the world ahead of us... there are also some things that happen in middle school that change us or stick with us for the rest of our lives.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

10 Seconds: Undressed, Angered, and Disappointed

Last weekend, I was in the mall when a group of young men walked by me. It was only about a 10 second interactions from the moment I saw them, the moment they saw me, and the time it took for them to actually pass me by. It was only 10 seconds...10 seconds out of the 24 hours of my day...but for me, it was 10 seconds too long- 10 seconds that set me ablaze and caused my soul to anger and my fist to clench.
How could a 10 second interaction shake my spirit so much so that days later, I can still feel the same amount of disgust just as if I was still in the moment?
It was just 10 seconds! 10 SECONDS!!!! 10 seconds out of the 86,400 I had in the day.
I'll tell you how...second by second.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

I'm Selfish. Sue Me.

Sometimes...well, a lot of times, all I can seem to think about is myself. So what? Am I wrong? No, not at all. As a matter of fact, I encourage more people to think more about themselves. What do you want?

For years, I have heard many people talk about the beauty of selflessness. Selflessness is a beautiful thing, no doubt. But let me tell you, you are sadly mistaken if you don't think that every person who has discovered the true beauty of selflessness, is not also selfish . Because the true beauty of selflessness is what? It is understanding the fulfillment that we gain in thinking of, or doing for someone other than ourselves. So... we may not be getting something out of it as far as reciprocation or acknowledgement, but, our souls are nourished, our thoughts are challenged, our views are changed, and our lives are enhanced. We feel fulfilled.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

A Barrel or Three Years?

A little over a month ago, a man named Alex Johnson went missing. From what I have read and hear, he was a pretty stand up guy. No one had any clue why anyone would be out to get him. After weeks and weeks of searching, Alex was found- in a barrel, in the Kentucky River.

About a week ago, I watched the preview for a film called "Dreams of a Life". It is based on the true story of Joyce Vincent, a London socialite, who died alone in her home, wrapping Christmas presents. No one really looked into her missing. No one knew she had died until her body was discovered...THREE YEARS LATER.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

No Reflection February- Join Me!

1. Make-Up Dependent Fiend
2.Calorie Counting Maniac

These are two things that I have a great fear of becoming. 

Have you ever caught yourself making an excuse for your appearance... "Sorry, I look like a bum", "Oh my gosh, my face is a mess, I didn't have time to put on any make up today", or "Sorry my hair is a mess, I need a hair cut"... Have you ever asked yourself, why?

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Is It Wrong to Cry in a Coffee Shop?

 Tonight, I came down to the coffee shop to write a post for my blog...which I felt quite un-enthused about. I couldn't think of anything to write about, I felt tired (well, I still feel tired as I'm writing this), and it felt like I couldn't get anything to slow down- my body was moving fast, and so was my mind. I had to purposely  stop myself from multi-tasking, just so I could slow down for a minute to enjoy the moment that I was breathing in...and as soon as I did that, it happened. Tears.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

7 lessons in 7 months

7 months ago, I heard the words, "Djuan, we're gonna have to let you go." It was a hard pill to swallow, but it was a pill I had been staring at for a long time. I wasn't proactive about it, so I was fired. But...I believe that may have been the best thing that happened to me last year. I've had a lot of time to think and explore and learn, and I'm still thinking and exploring and learning...but for now, here are 7 simple lessons I've learned.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2014 Is Going To Be Like Bird Poop

I usually spend New Year's Eve Eve and New Year's Eve, trying to make sure that everything is just perfect to roll into the new year. I do things like... clean my house from top to bottom, deep clean the bathroom, wash, dry, and fold all laundry, clean out the refrigerator, throw out the half eaten box of girl scout cookies in the cupboard, wash my hair, shave my legs, lotion every square inch of my body, pick out a clean (and sometimes new) outfit, get the car washed and cleaned know, just trying to have everything perfect going into the new year.