An Ode to Finding My Rhythm
“What Oprah didn’t do….
She didn’t concede when her network struggled to find its rhythm its first year.” —Ashley J.H.
Blogging wasn’t hard, consistency was.
I had a three year streak of creating new content and newer ideas. I was on a high from winning my first award, and being featured on various digital & print outlets. I was still soaring from the positive feedback I was receiving from my spoken word showcase and my constantly growing holiday homeless initiative. I was on cloud nine from having launched a podcast and opened a shop.
Everything felt good. Everything felt right.
Then I crashed.
It all became too much to manage. Every time I looked up there was a new hosting fee, a new post drafted but not finished, a new price for increased storage space. I was spending a lot (in both time and energy), but wasn’t making much. I was growing, but I wasn’t fruitful.
Things as simple as posting to social media became taxing. I didn’t want to find the right lighting for my photos. I didn’t want to think of witty captions, or research social media’s ever-changing algorithms. I didn’t want to learn anymore about flat-lays or how to market merchandise. I simply wanted to be.
Blogging was therapy for me at first. It was how I processed, and worked through, my greatest trials. It was how I encouraged myself out of them. It was sometimes how I communicated with God when I didn’t want to speak directly to Him. This space was as much for me, as it was for you.
But I lost it.
The fire I once had for pouring myself out for the sake of women empowerment and spiritual growth dissipated. It wasn’t fun anymore. It wasn’t therapeutic anymore. It became a burden.
I realized that, for the last six months or so, I was attempting to pour from an empty cup. I had stopped listening to what God wanted to me to produce, and started curating content that I thought the internet would want to read. I explored things that were easy to grasp. Things that I could write without needing a glass of wine to get through. Things that no longer felt good, but would at least sustain my readership.
In February, I tried re-imagining my brand. I felt that revitalizing my tagline, or shifting my purpose would help me refocus. I felt that the newness would give me a new feeling of excitement; perhaps it would bring back a rush I hadn’t felt in a while. Instead, it gave me a mouthful of words to regurgitate every time someone asked me what this blog was about.
“Wholeness…and healing…and child, I don’t even know anymore,” my mind rattled off. I didn’t know anymore. I had no idea what I was turning this thing into, and no idea how I’d become so far gone. What started as a way to bring women closer to salvation, ended up being convoluted with fancy ideas of growth and womanhood. After all, complexity was ‘in’.
Not until I finally called it quits. I got tired of trying to force posts. I wrote every once in a while, only when it felt good. I spent the rest of my time manifesting my best life offline. I nurtured friendships, spent time with family, found a new church home, chopped my hair off and went natural, discovered new parts of myself, explored therapy, stopped fighting God’s will, and got stung by a bee.
I felt so bad for so long, though. I didn’t understand how I could be taking such an extended break from a blog that I’d only been running for three years. I didn’t deserve a break, yet. I hadn’t worked hard enough for a break, yet.
But if I didn’t take a break, I would break. Permanently.
For once, this year “living” meant separation. Tassika encouraged me to think of living as part of the work. That in order to keep writing, I must keep living. In order to continue storytelling, I must have stories to tell. I held on to that. I knew that if I ever wanted to put my heart back into this, I had to follow my heart out of it for a while. I was pouring from an empty cup.
I beat myself up all year for not having the same passion for this that I used to. I was burning myself out because I was producing, but not yielding. I did not feel fruitful because I was defining fruit incorrectly. I’d gotten to a place that reaping—to me—was defined by a massive social media following and millions of views on the blog each week. I thought it meant recognition and monetizing. I had wandered so far from God, that this space wasn’t even for Him anymore. It wasn’t for me either—it was for the flesh.
I compared my writing, my wisdom, my influence to so many others, for so long. I tried forcing a livelihood from this work, as if what I produced from this blog validated my existence. As if my worth was tied solely to the words on this page or my ability to make it my full-time job. I thought that by recreating DEAR QUEENS to fit a complex ideology of womanhood and growth, I would some how become this digital influencer. But I didn’t; I wouldn’t. All I did was slap a pretty tagline on a broken system.
In order for me to pour back out to you, I had to allow God to pour into me. I had to stop fighting transformation. I had to stop fighting God’s will. And I had to stop trying to force the things that didn’t feel good. I had to make myself an open vessel again. I had to dedicate myself—and this work—to God, again.
so i did the work.
Both the internal spiritual work, and the physical work of reviving this blog I loved so much — this blog that, before it became a brand, was just a blog. I decided to focus on getting back to my roots: writing. I started asking myself — my freshly restored self — questions that would lead me to a new exploration for what I wanted this new direction to be.
What did I want my words to stir up in you? What would I want women to take away from my side of the internet? What sort of release did I want to offer from this content? In what ways would this go ‘round be different? What am I choosing to firmly stand behind?
I spent months thinking about the answer to these questions. Dissecting what about this outlet makes me happiest, and how I could revive those parts. How I could use my gift to spread a happiness similar to what I felt in 2015, 2016, 2017, and the beginning of 2018. How I could use my art to help others find their own happiness. And how I could shift this brand to implore accountability and intention among my readers and myself.
I think I’ve arrived.
After communing with God and a few attempts at defining what this work would be for me, I found what truly felt good. I found what I truly wanted to write about and the impact I wanted to leave for my readers.
It wasn’t just about salvation and self-love; God and self-discovery; womanhood and purpose—anymore. It was about utilizing all these things to make strategic, healthy decisions for our lives. It was about equipping women with the foundation of these things, so they could be their most intentional selves. It was about affirming women’s power to manifest the life they desire, and getting them closer to that possibility through effective decision-making. This was what the culmination of my work boiled down to; and this was where I wanted to take things.
So at the brink of this new creation, I offer up a commitment to you. One that aligns with my new sense of self—the one I discovered through the various moments of isolation this year provided—and this new focus. A promise to deliver only the best of my work, myself, and my journey to this new space. A vow to perfect my craft, and to deliver it in only the ways I am able to sustain. A commitment to do what’s best for me, while helping you identify what’s best for you. A pledge to not get too ahead of myself, or feel burdened by what this art can bring to the world. An assurance to always be transparent, honest, and genuine. And an oath to riding out this journey, trusting this process, and finally finding my rhythm.
Welcome back, DEAR QUEENS.