Hey, Thanks Man.

thanks

I seriously can’t say it enough.

You guys are the most wonderful blogfamily a girl could ask for.

This week, I just got, I don’t know.

ball

 

Ballsy.

I don’t really know what came over me,

but I’m glad it did.

The love and support man, It’s been awesome.

I’m sure it is frowned upon to share with the entire world wide web, the less than frilly side of life

But hey,

I feel a lot better.

So, for the honesty, support, and compliments,

I just really thank you.

XOXO

The Validation Oath

You ever have those extra introspective days when you suddenly realize everything that is wrong with you comes from one source? Jealousy, Dependency, Insecurity, Indecisiveness, Fear… it’s all driven by my need for approval.

Even the most seemingly confident, secure, independent people have their moments. I don’t want my Validation Issues to be the driving force in my life any longer. 

The first step is Admittance.

oath

That Model Life

I had such a blast last month modeling for Rocky’s Photography! Let me tell you, I have never had a better time on a photo shoot in my life. Rocky and his wife Serena set me up at the most beautiful park in Knoxville, and we went to town! I have about 3 great sets to share, but today I just wanted to share the blue dress.

Febz_0003 Febz_0004 Febz_0006 Febz_0007 Febz_0008

Which one is your favorite? Honestly, Rocky’s assistant Serena was making me crack up the ENTIRE shoot, so I’m shocked they got some straight smiles. Most of those I had just choked down a total guffaw. It was so much fun!

Rocky was also kind enough to send me a master collage of my Bloopers. Oh Man. All the awkward faced, mid-falling, cross eyed, outfit fails. While I want to maintain my beautiful pretend stats as a legit model, I am SO showing you guys those bloopers sometime this month. They are just too wonderful.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful day. I’m off to go clean out my closet. EEK! #HoarderAlert I have every single Holiday Card and School Achievement Certificate I have ever received in my life. Today’s the day I trash it all. Wish me luck!

xoxo

 

 

 

Finding Sanctuary After Tragedy

Today, I am sharing something a little different.

On this day, I tend to act a little differently. Tragedy will do that to you. If you’re visiting today to read the blog, I am sharing the story of the most impacted day of my life. I’ve told my story so many times in the past 6 years. Sometimes I share as a victim. Sometimes I share as an activist. Sometimes it’s brief. This time, I am sharing from the memory of my 13 year old self. This version was actually prepared for a speech conference back in high school three years ago. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to attend and my story never left my public speaking class. It was the first time I completely dove in and relived the shooting. It’s a little lengthy and being as I was 13, it’s possible more facts have been revealed and my memory may be off. But from my heart, it is true. I appreciate everyone here to read it today. God Bless.

shooting

___

Sanctuary. A place where you find security and love. Safety and warmth. Answers. A place you would think, couldn’t be stolen.

But you’d be surprised how easily it can be done. It can be taken from you, ripped away in a matter of seconds. Count it. One, Open the door. Two, Three. Four, Five. A walk down the hallway. Ten seconds later, you make a left turn. Five more seconds, and you find yourself outside the sanctuary of the church, Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church. Two seconds to set down your guitar case, three seconds to take out your concealed shotgun.

And one second to open fire. Twenty Six Seconds. But it felt like and instant, and that was just the beginning.

It was the beginning so much so, because we were only 16 minutes into our service, our debut for our children’s theater summer camp. We were only one scene into Annie Jr, our small stage adaption of Annie the Musical. I was the stage manager, and I was in charge. In charge of 26 other kids back stage with me. I was only 13 myself. I had them lined up along the outside wall, opposite the stage. We were listening to our amplifier for cue lines, feeding through the stage mics and out of the speakers. All at once.

Deafening. A boom that shook the ground. Not a microphone. Not a fallen prop.  Only the sound of blood draining in the audience’s faces, fear filling eyes, and my sanctuary being stolen.

Of course, still outside, I hadn’t yet realized what had happened. All I knew was that the lines had stopped, the room was silent. When I had the chance to peek through the curtain, all I saw were sheet white faces. The fear had put the entire room in slow motion. I found no answers when I looked into the audience. I never saw a guitar case. I never saw a gun or a puddle of blood. But another floor shaking boom put that moment into fast forward. My thoughts at the time? Run. Run away. What did I do? I ran outside, snatched up two little hands and wrapped the youngest kid around my neck and screamed. And really screamed. Run.

When you have something on Fast Forward, you only catch little clips of what is playing. Little images or bits of sound that stand out while the rest is skipped. My kids, so full of questions I couldn’t answer. The congregation pouring out of the stage exit. Mothers of my actors, shaking me, pleading for their children. Hands being taken and hundreds of prayers being sent to Heaven. Still so many didn’t know what was happening. We were all so lost.

I grew up a lot July 27th, 2008 I had to grow up fast that day, or at least pretend I was grown up enough to do what I needed to do. Maybe that’s what I did. I pretended a lot. I pretended that my mommy and daddy and sister were safe. I never saw them once for three hours. I pretended to be one of the youth directors, leading prayers and kissing the tears off the crying little ones, just like I saw them doing. I pretended to know how to clean up blood splatters of traumatized grownups. I pretended it was just stage make up and that the blood didn’t belong to someone who may, or may not be dead inside my sanctuary.

But my greatest pretend was being a mommy. I was also a mommy that day, for two hours. My child was my little Gwen. She was 5 years old, the youngest, and was to be the dog Sandy in the play. She was the music director’s granddaughter, visiting for the summer. Gwen was with her father outside during the chaos. He approached me, tears in his eyes, and said, “My wife is inside I have to go find her. Will you take care of Gwen.”

Will you take care of Gwen, he said. His precious grandchild, who was otherwise completely alone. He put her life in my hands to go back inside the church to uncertain danger. Because none of us really knew what was happening inside. He kissed her cheek, and handed her to me while I tried to understand how someone could trust me so much. I was thirteen. But I pretended to be a grownup, a mommy, and the best mommy I could be for that little girl. In a few hours, her parents received the news and drove into Knoxville to the church. Her mother found me and her baby safe and sound. She took my hand and if words ever failed, her eyes gave me the most desperate thank you she could give. Then she turned and left with my girl.

Everything about that day breaks my heart. But one of the worst, is knowing Gwen was old enough to remember it all. She will remember that a man came into her Grandma’s church, during her very first play, and shot and killed the man who held the door open for her that morning. Greg McKendry, a long time member of the church, a man who had a loving heart like no one else I’ll ever know, left us that day. He was an Usher, who was just around the corner when the gunman came in. Greg witnessed the last six seconds before our sanctuary was stolen. The guitar case, the gun, the trigger. He tired, he tried to  save our sanctuary. Bur he traded his life for it. HE stepped out before the bullet could strike anyone else. But that was only one of three. The other into the ceiling in the hall. The last, the kind that scatter pellets, found its way into curtains, pews, walls, and other audience members.

The gunman fortunately, stopped to reload, and several men jumped to tackle him down. They wrestled away his power and restrained him until the authorities arrived.

Seven people left in critical condition. Despite the prayers, only six recovered. Linda Kraeger was the second to pass. She was a beloved member of another UU church in town. I never got the privilege to meet her, but I did know she was well loved and respected. And still is.

It has been six years since July 27th, 2008. I am proud of my church which has grown into an even stronger more loving congregation with the inspiring memory of Greg and Linda at it’s foundation. I too, have grown up a lot. Not just as pretend.

I proudly defend the liberal, open minded, open hearted beliefs that TVUUC stands for; the beliefs that so highly upsetted the shooter that he felt the need to lash out. I proudly stand against hate crimes and stand for equality and love. I can see Linda and Greg’s face and smile. And remember the impact their lives made after they died. The outpouring of love and support from the community, and the rest of the United States, was overwhelming. And I can’t help but think we affected the changes sweeping the world, making life safer and easier to be the individual you want to be, and to love. It amazes me. And many of my questions about that day have been answered.

Answers, Security, Love.

I have taken back my sanctuary.

sanctuary

Tweens: Flatter not Fatter

Dear Reader,

Does your (daughter, grand daughter, sister, niece, cousin, child you babysit, student) know what looks flattering on her? Does she know what compliments her body? Does she know that it is possible to flatter and accent every body type, not just the “cool girls” at school?

So what if she puts the flat in flattering right now. She may not have a lick of shape to flatter yet, but does she know that her body is going to develop and change? Well that may be common sense. But does she truly understand that no matter how it changes and what it looks like, it will be all hers forever?

That is a long time to hate your body, especially when you’re starting so young.

According to the Keep It Real campaign (joint effort between Miss Representation, the SPARK Movement, Love Social, Endangered Bodies and I Am That Girl) 80 percent of all 10-year-old girls have, at some point in their lives, gone on at least one diet.

According to the National Eating Disorders Association, between 40 and 60 percent of children ages 6 to 12 are concerned about their weight or becoming too fat, and 70 percent would prefer to be thinner.

The number one wish for girls ages 11-17 is to be thinner.

think

So we can pick-a-little-talk-a-little about what a shame it is that our girls are so consumed with body image. We can shake our fists at the media, blame Barbie, and tell our supermodels not to be so super.

Or we could help solve the problem.

Tell me, when your (daughter, grand daughter, sister, niece, cousin, child you babysit, student) is dawned in their lovely, appropriate, well fitting, goodies covering outfits, what do you say?

Do you say anything? You tell her what looks wrong on her. Do you tell her what looks right?

When she puts on her too tight, too short, too revealing, outfit, what do you say? Probably something that insults her maturity, her idea of beauty, her confidence… you probably say “well you’re not ‘all the other girls’ are you?”

It kills me seeing these tweenyboppers running around in outfits my dad wouldn’t want me, his 19 year old, to wear. Of course the ruffles and bows make it cute and adorable. However, it doesn’t shield the fact that her butt cheeks are just a shoe-tie away from the big reveal. If there were any cleavage to show, it would be hanging out. Those skinny jeans show off every single almost-curve.

It’s cute for now, but those curves will come in and those styles aren’t going to change. Try telling her all of a sudden that what once was adorable, is now unacceptable. She spent her tweenagerhood thinking an outfit like this is perfectly fine, but now she is a tramp. Her clothes are too tight, so she must be fat. But clingy was good. But now clingy is bad. And her body is changing and her style is changing but her rules are changing too…

If at 10 years old, body image matters, all we can do is respect that, and help them learn to love what they have. That means inspiring healthier choices, stand out and be independant, and when she gets caught up in “the look”, reminding her that her body is beautiful and will always be beautiful. But most importantly, teach her that true beauty is within. Although looking and feeling pretty sure do help!

Give a girl a dress, and she’ll feel beautiful today.

Teach a girl how to dress, and she’ll feel beautiful every day. 

beauty

Way To Ruin My Shopping Spree, B*tch.

bitch

I want to apologize for my language, but I probably won’t. Just as I wouldn’t have apologized if I had slapped her across her fake blonde wanna-be-sorority face. I’ll try to keep this short and sweet.

Except without the sweet part. What?! She doesn’t deserve it! Here we go.

So, let’s call it the Best Shop Ever. My favorite shop in all history, The Best Shop Ever, just opened its 2nd shop in Tennessee just a few miles away. I pretty much died when I found out. Thus began my countdown to the opening day. Finally, today I picked up my wonderful friend and we embarked on what was to be the best day of our lives.

No, I’m not exaggerating a lick.

So, we get there right? And we walk up to the entrance. And it’s beautiful. It is simply glowing. And we walk through the threshold.

And there she is. That nasty girl from my math class last year. I have known a lot of mean awful girls. But for some reason, this complete stranger who so happened to be in my community college math class decided she wanted to destroy me. Ask anyone in my class, the tension was ridiculous. I even remember texting my mom asking her if she would be proud or disappointed if I slapped her face off.

slap

I mean, who follows up a perfectly reasonable question with “Excuse me, I don’t think anyone else is confused right now. It’s not that hard. We shouldn’t be wasting our time like this, don’t you think Mrs.Teacher?”

Oh. Plus, don’t call me and my friends cheaters for getting better grades when you are playing on Pinterest ALL CLASS. Please, complain about your grades. Please.  But also, feel free to talk to me like a dog when you think you can “teach” me how to understand the confusing problems. I didn’t ask for your help.

 

please

But don’t forget to insult my friends! Ugh, I was so relieved to get her out of my life.

I think you get the idea. And I think you can only imagine my thrill walking into the Best Store Ever and seeing Blondie right inside the door. How does such a hateful person get such a nice job? I was basically devastated.

Thank goodness I looked Hot. Thank goodness the other shop is within an hour drive.
Do I feel like I’ve let her win? Like I have let her control me?

Not one bit. Because if anything, I am saving her life.

Well, This is Awkward: Generic Quesitons

It has recently been brought to my attention that I am extremely awkward. Newsflash, right? Thank goodness it seems society is embracing it’s inner “awkward”. At one point, being awkward was kind of like a death sentence. You wanted to seem as cucumber cool as possible. Lately however, it seems like everyone is writing, sharing, and coming to terms with the fact that we’re all awkward.
awkwardd

I guess it’s become a tool to connect. You’re awkward. I’m awkward. Let’s be awkward together and share our horrible stories. It makes the “we’ll laugh about this someday” aspect really speed up.

So to celebrate this one large step for mankind, I thought, why not contribute to the collection of awkward moments? Starting with my latest.

awkward

Does anyone else do this?
Don’t get me wrong, I love my peace and quiet. But when I’m with company, I don’t dig awkward silence. I am a talker, and when I run out of subjects to discuss, I kinda panic. I’ve been known to ask “So, How are you doing?” 4-5 times in a row, back to back, spaced out only by a brief “good” or “fine”, followed by a painful pause. It’s not that I wasn’t paying attention! I was simply in subject hunter mode.

I feel like I ask these annoying generic questions over and over because my mind is trying to find a new topic to discuss. I’ll ask “What’s Up?” 3 times. The answer never changes, but maybe if I ask just once more. “What is new with you?” Nothing in the past 10 seconds, how about you? Oh you know, just trying to make small talk.

Wow, it’s painful just reliving it. Does it suck this much just to have a conversation with me? I mean, I learned back in 4th grade not to bring up the weather. You will get. Called. Out. What on Earth do you do then?

I’m really sorry guys. I can be quite the conversationalist when the topics keep coming! I could have a lively conversation with a brick wall and be perfectly content. But once I run out of subject matter,

Well, that’s just Awkward.

silence

 

How Your Kid Might Feel About Interracial Dating

swirl

Interracial Dating

I could go on and on about this subject. Maybe that is because I am the product of an interracial couple. Maybe it is because I was raised in a house that made love and tolerance a priority. Maybe it is because my boyfriend is white and I am not.

I have been mixed my entire life. That posed many challenges in its self especially when it came to self identity, confidence, bullying, family… you know. The works. One of the key struggles was boys. This all became an issue in 4th and 5th grade when we were loosing our cooties and gaining our girlish figure.

See, when you can’t identify what you are, what does that mean as far as how others identify you? Once boys quit having cooties, I was posed with a lot deeper questions than, will he walk me to class? I was thinking along the lines of, well does Joey think of me as white? He is white. If he thinks of me as white, then maybe there’s a better chance of him liking me. Maybe. But what if he thinks of me as black. He doesn’t ever talk to the other black girls

Well, maybe he could still like me. But then what if his friends make fun of him?

What if he does  like black girls? But then, if he doesn’t think of me as a black girl.

I’m sure you can imagine how confusing it must be. Hormones, Identity issues, All my friends were dating but I was too afraid to approach any guy because… well, what does he like? This race or that? Then of course, I went through the phase of… This guy seems to like me, but I know he likes the thuggy-acting Black girls. Well maybe if I act thuggy like them…. He will consider me an option!

It was never about if they were racist. I just assumed that when it came to developing crushes, everyone usually started in their own race. That’s where the dating radar begins. Is that wild for an elementary schooler to think? It’s scary enough to put yourself out there, fresh bosoms and cootie free… we had no idea what we were doing. I guess I was just so afraid of rejection because I thought being mixed took me out of everyone’s radar.  There is so much fear in new dating already. Why complicate things? It’s safer to stay within you race, right?

Wrong. It took some time, and I’m talking most of grade school, but I finally began to learn my place. My first love was a white guy. I threw caution to the wind and went for it. Fortunately, the whole exotic-tall-bronze-and-sexy thing worked for me. Spending time with someone that accepted me for me – that is when I learned the most about myself.

Plus, I enjoy knowing that we tick off the majority of southern conservative Republicans. Did you know there are still human beings who would make interracial marriage Illegal. Illegal. Punishable by law. But that is a story for another day so stick around.

SWIRL ON!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blogging Goals for July/August

 

make shit happen

Hello Friend!

I have about one solid month left until my Sophomore semester begins. I am already regretting not spending enough time growing and developing my blog like I wanted to! You can’t let that free time sneak by because it will! I refuse to neglect my bloggy these last few days before all my free time is gone! 

Blogging Goals For This Month

- Take the Blogmopolition Quiz

- Hold my first Guest Blog post

- Take the “Writing Process” challenge post

- Create some sort of Recipe

- Share results from my Photo Shoot with Rocky’s Photography

- Bump up the Fashion/Style posts

- Reach out to Knoxville Bloggers

- Invite friends to Lovely Lady Bloggers group on Facebook. (comment for details!)

- Send care packages to my Blogger Pen Pals (you can also be one, just comment! :)

- Reach 100 Facebook Likes, been stagnant at 71 for too long! 

What are your goals for this month? Do you set goals and how do you reward yourself when you reach them? Do you have any suggestions for me? Would you like info/details on any of my goals? Just comment, I want all you feedback!

 

 

 

Writing Process

I started this blog after a very uneventful New Year’s Eve. January 1st, I woke up and told myself that I was embarking into a new year and it was going to be the best year ever. So I grabbed my laptop and started chugging away.

I actually had considered blogging before after realizing my career wasn’t going anywhere without some sort of portfolio of my work. Granted, I was a freshman in community college. I won’t have “work” for a portfolio until I transfer to the University of Tennessee.  But I figured, why not go ahead and get started.

Honestly, it is the best decision I have made thus far. I have connected with the most incredible people. So many doors have opened! I use my blog to inspire me to live a more exciting life. It’s made every day my blog puts more beauty, challenges, and opportunities into my life.

A few days ago, Erin from The Modern Notebook tagged me in this “My Writing Process” tour. I thought, what better way to improve my content than review it and share it!

1. What are you working on right now?

Right now, I’m trying to transition into more fashion focused posts. Unfortunately, starting a new job has me very busy and very distracted… I’ve been neglecting my content. I am working on more posts related to advertising (my field), more DIY posts for my creative endeavors(food, health, and pretty things in general, and more style and life posts.

2. How does your work differ from others of its genre?

What I love about blogging is how, within our niche, we all have so much in common. What makes us stand out is out personal stories. I get to give a down home Tennessee twist on what is trending. I get to give an Ad Major point of view. I have a Biracial young woman’s point of view. We all lead different lives and have different passions, but because we share this one, writing, we each get our own voice.

3. Why do you write what you do?

I write thoughts that I know I would read if anyone else had come up with them. Did that make sense? I shoot for enjoyable fun content, even when I am just venting. I love honest, blunt, real life bloggers and I try to write like that.

4. How does your writing process work?

I am so bad… I have no organized system or process. Between you and me, I have about 42 saved “Notes” in my phone of post blurb ideas that interrupt my daily life. Many of them survive the day and land online. The rest are chillin’ waiting or their day in the sun.

I also have a Pinterest board where I collect posts from other bloggers, inspirational quotes and photos, DIYS and Recipes to blog about, and just funny stuff I know my readers would appreciate. I draw a ton of ideas from there. It helps to have a master list when you’ve got writer’s block.

I also have about 20 ideas floating in the black hole that is my memory. All too many times, I come up with something brilliant. Then of course, I have to eat lunch and by the time I’m finished, it’s gone. So brace yourself! When those ideas come back to me, I’m sure I’ll rock this world!

Thanks again for tagging me, Erin!  Now I’m suppose to tag three people. Luckily for me, I have made a huge handful of new blog friends to get to know! So now to pick the brains of  Hilary from cutiecameras, Diana from dianasadventures, and Kate from layeredindulgence  . Let us know if and when you get to talking about your writing process. I’d love to hear about it!

And be sure to visit my wonderful friend Erin from http://www. modernnotebook.com