Expanding: HubPages

Within the last year, I started two other blogs on WordPress besides this one. Innovative A.R.T.S and PopKultur3. They both have been doing pretty well having only started them a year ago. Innovative A.R.T.S has over 1,000 views and PopKultur3 has over 5,000 views. I’m really surprised and excited about the success for both of them. I never expected to get past maybe a few hundred hits. But I believe that God has ben faithful with my writing.

Any who, I said all that to say PopKultur3 has been doing the best. I’m really amazed at its growth and the growing number  of followers that I’ve gotten even within the last few months alone. For May alone (as of yesterday) I had 985 views! I can’t even get that many views on this page and I’ve had this blog since 2009. ( But I also don’t post as frequently with this blog either) Regardless I’m excited about how well it’s doing. So I decided to expand my writing and actually venture out to try to get paid for it. I created an account with Hubpages.

Hubpages is a different world from WordPress but it’s definitely worth checking out and looking into. The website features awesome writers and all kinds of posts about any and everything.

Below I’ve included the link for my first post (among many more to come)

HubPages post: H&M summer opening in Jacksonville, Fla.

Digital Portfolio: PopKultur3

I recently added a new page to my other blog Pop Kultur3. It’s my digital portfolio. On this page I have complied all the professional  pieces that I’ve written for different publications. (Florida Times Union, EU Jacksonville, Florida Times Union, UNF Spinnaker) I figure this would be a good way to sort of start an online resume. It’s also my way of taking the steps to getting my writing out there for even more people to see. You never know who comes across blogs these days.

Check out the link below: Digital Portfolio: PopKultur3

“Dreamers and Visionaries”

I recently did an interview with a spoken word poet on the rise in Jacksonville and during the interview she said something that really sparked my interest.

The poet’s name is Erica “Serenity” Hansberry and she’s currently working on getting her first book of poems published. I interviewed her for my internship with EU Jacksonville, but to be honest when I interviewed her, I felt that as two creative people we were on the same page. I also share a love for poetry and spoken word. I do a lot of writing in general, it’s a gift and something I fell in love with years ago. I also enjoy working with creative people and being able to share in their passion.

Any who, it was during the interview she said: “I always try to encourage people to be visionaries not just dreamers.” She went on to explain that dreamers simply dream without ever acting upon what they want to do. They never really create a plan to get anything accomplished. Visionaries on the other hand take things a step further and they’re the ones making the plans and putting in the work to see their dreams actually manifest.

Hearing this was a wake-up call for me. As ambitious as I am, I realized that perhaps I wasn’t pushing myself to my full potential. I keep saying I want to move to New York or L.A. and write, but saying it is not enough. I want to travel, meet new people and do some freelance work but again, saying it is not enough. As much as I say these things, I don’t always believe that they can really happen. Sometimes I wonder, what’s the odds of a girl like me making it as a successful writer in New York? I would feel like a small fish in a big pond.

Probably the biggest thing that keeps me from fully developing my potential is fear. A fear of failure, or that I’m dreaming too big. I mean I’m just an average girl from Jacksonville, will my writing make that big of a difference? When speaking with Serenity, she also mentioned that fear was one of the things that keeps people from moving beyond dreaming and pushing towards actually implementing their vision.

Talking with her was inspiring and gave me somewhat of the little push I needed to not be so scared to make moves. A lot of the times, we have to learn how to make moves on faith and trust that God will carry us through. And even if things don’t work out as planned, then we must also have faith that there is something better in store.  I love it when God plants little nuggets of himself in my everyday activities. These are the moments we least expect, but it’s also the moments we take the most from.

A New Journey

So I recently cut my dreads off this past Saturday (May 19th, 2012) and now I’ve begun a new journey. For those who don’t know, I had been growing my dreads for about 1 year and 7 months. I didn’t even make it to 2 years..=( Due to improper maintenance, on top of extra stress these last few months, my dreads were really unhealthy. I had a lot that were thinning and popping off. Not to mention I had a huge patch in the back of my head where dreads were missing….yea I know right. Sounds horrible…it was.

So after trying all I could to save my dreads, I gathered the courage up to cut them off. The new cut is definitely different. I like it, I’ve gotten a lot of compliments on it, but for some reason I’m still adjusting. It’s a weird transition, but the plan is to keep it well maintained and healthy while it grows out.

Will I grow dreads again?

Honestly I’m not sure…If I do, it won’t be for a good while. I want to enjoy my hair in its natural state. I was natural before my dreads, but didn’t really enjoy it. Now that I know how to properly maintain my hair I’m better able to appreciate it being this way. Before I considered my afro to be annoying. But now, I understand the true beauty of it all, and I’m trying to embrace it fully this time around.

Even though there’s part of me still adjusting to this “new journey”, I’m actually excited to see the growth and the different stages. I’ve never been more excited to try out a consistent hair regime and different products that I’m hoping will agree with my hair. Lately, within the last 3 months I’ve actually become a natural hair “fanatic” and I’ve been doing all kinds of research. So, I’m ready to apply the knowledge.

I do want to give a quick shout out to everyone that has been supportive of my haircut. I was on the fence at first and protested cutting my dreads. I LOVED my dreads, but honestly I love healthy hair even more. I also did a post on my other blog “PopKulutr3” and it’s more detailed. I posted my regimen and the products I use. So for anyone interested check it out, I’ll be including the link below, along with a few “before & after” pictures.

Once again, I’m excited for this journey and I hope some other natural girls out there are able to relate  to me!

XOXO

Alex =)

PopKultur3 blog link: Good Hair: Chop! Chop!

BEFORE pics:

Nov. 2011
Feb. 2012

AFTER

The “new” me!
loving my makeup =)

4 Mini-lessons in a healthy self image

I was up late reading through the Bible and as part of my reading I came across Judges 6:14-15. Initially when I read it, I didn’t get how this related to an image of self-worth. However, I read the breakdown by Joyce Meyers in my study Bible and it brought it all home quickly.

This is probably the most moving thing I’ve read in the last few months. (I am still in that dangerous disposition of having the knowledge but not applying it 100% to every part of my life..so allowing the word to fully penetrate has been a little difficult these days. However, this one hit home.)

I will put myself out there and say that I’ve always struggled with my self-image. I grew up for years not thinking I was pretty enough because of the gap I had, I was flat chested for years and I hated my nappy hair. Even with all of that being “fixed” so to speak ( I grew boobs, I got braces, and I’ve embraced my natural hair with locs..)..none of that changed the way I felt inside about who I am.

At 22, it’s gotten a lot better, but I still know certain areas, I still have insecurities. After reading this scripture I’m learning that I must take these insecurities to God. Really we shouldn’t be insecure because God made us all the way we are for a reason. So to be insecure in who you are, is to doubt the person God has made you to be..physically and spiritually speaking.

What I really loved about the breakdown was that Joyce Meyers did a list of “thoughts that reflect a wholesome, God-centered self-image” on her list, 4 of the bullet points stood out to me.

1. “I am going to work with God to overcome my weaknesses, but I realize that I will always have something to deal with; therefore I will not become discouraged when God convicts me of areas in my life that need improvement”

I am guilty of easily getting discouraged because of my weaknesses that I struggle with. But this has shown me that everyday we’ll have to put up a fight for something. We can’t be Christians and want to be passive to the problems around us. They’re not going to o away, but God will help us to better cope with the situation.

2.” I will not be controlled by what people think, say or do. Even if they totally reject me, I will survive. God has promised to never reject me or condemn me as long as I keep believing.”

Man, rejection is tough for me. It’s an area I constantly struggle with. I’m the type of person, who doesn’t like to make enemies. I want everyone to have a positive relationship with me, I want other people to accept me and be part of their life. And the moment, someone rejects me (and it’s more so with men, than people in general) I shut down. I do have a tendency to care what others think of me, because I’m always trying to make sure I’m seen in a positive light, and when I’m not then it’s always an issue. But it’s a work in progress.

3. “No matter how often I fail, I am not a failure unless I quit trying. Therefore I will not give up, because God is with me to strengthen and sustain me. He has promised to never leave me or forsake me.”

This is connected to the point before it,  because once I’ve failed at something multiple times and I don’t see any progress, I shut down. I quit trying. But what I also learned from my Pastor is that God isn’t counting the number of failures that we have, but he’s looking for people who are still willing to try after the fall.  The fact that you’re willing to try again says that there’s a fight God has placed in you. You may not get it right, but you’re willing to keep at it. The trick is that the devil is the one banking on you failing and not recovering. But God is still there despite all our failures and he’s allowing the things we consider “bad” to ultimately work out for the best.

The last one is the one I enjoyed the most.

4. I like myself. I don’t like everything I do, and I want to change— but I refuse to reject myself.

After reading this, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten frustrated to the point I rejected myself. There were plenty of times in my past where I very much disliked who I was and was very unforgiving to myself and all the mistakes I had made.  Even now, there are a lot of things I haven’t fully forgiven myself for. This made me realize how important it is to simply love yourself. Unconditionally. There’s no point in rejecting yourself when God hasn’t rejected you.

Avengers: “The Original A Team” movie Review for EU Jacksonville

I wrote a movie review for the release of Marvel’s super heroe mash-up movie: Avengers. The review got published online for EU Jacksonville. If you haven’t seen this movie yet, then you’re missing out on something great. How often do you see an unlikely team of 6 heroes in one movie? At first I was skeptical because with 6 super heroes, that’s a whole lot of egos in the room. But Avengers doesn’t disappoint by far.  It wouldn’t be hard to believe if Avengers knocks Think Like a Man out of its current spot as the number one movie this weekend. Guess we’ll wait around and see….Until then….I’ve included the link below for the published review

EU Jacksonville Avengers Movie Review

 

Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America, Black Widow,Thor and Hawk Eye are a motely crew assembled together by Nick Fury director of the peacekeeping agency S.H.I.E.L.D. to help fight against a threat of global destruction.