27 years of life, love, and healing

black blogger, black girl blogger, black woman writer, black writer, healing, inspiration, inspirational blog, life advice, lifestyle, mental health, self care, self help

Today is my 27th birthday and I must say I did not expect to make it this long. Not to be morbid but depression is a mothafucka’ and that mothafucka’ has tried to take me out a couple of times. However, I am also a short, sometimes stubborn Haitian woman. You have gotta’ really push me to my limit before the thought of actually giving up even actualizes in my brain. Granted I have given up on quite a few jobs in my 20s but they were no longer worth my time and time is something we can never get back. So in this piece I want to give you 7 reasons why I never fully gave up on life and why you shouldn’t either. Ready? You sure? Keep up cause I won’t be repeating myself.

1. The Beauty of Breath

There is something so peaceful and fulfilling when you truly take a step back to focus on your breath. Consider all of the functions within your body that ultimately work together to keep you together. Each inhale matched with its subsequent exhale powered by the inner workings of your lungs going in and out bringing oxygen to your brain. Next time you are stressed out, remember this and take a moment to simply breathe for at least 10 seconds.

2. The Beauty of Beat

Now this can apply to your heartbeat and the beat of music. I am a huge music lover so this is something I can talk about for days. The way a beat can be felt physically but also heard is something I will always appreciate and especially for those who may not be able to hear but they can feel. A beat can be felt by those who cannot hear, it can create stories in the ears of those who cannot see. Its sound-waves paints a picture that vibrates within the souls of us all. There is a certain energy associated with feeling the beat that makes you feel wired, energetic and alive. So next time you are feeling down, take a moment to play a song with an amazing beat or melody and just dance.

3. The Beauty of Being

As someone who has dealt with depression since my childhood, I know what it feels like to struggle with merely existing. I understand the pain associated with that thought and how it can tear you up from the inside out. I also understand that even in the pain, there is beauty on the other side of it. When you have struggled for so long but you continue to hold onto the faith that one-day things will improve, you are exercising a muscle that takes a lot of strength. You are so much stronger than you may even imagine but trust me you are. Please, keep going.

4. For the Love of Creating

Last year I started my first official business, JUSO Media Merch and the first product was a t-shirt line that read, “I Create to Live.” I’ve discussed in length what that phrase means but I’ll explain it for those who don’t understand. I have always seen my creative nature as a gift from God to keep my grounded and my soul fulfilled while here on earth. At the tender age of 8 is when I became a writer but I didn’t fully realize that was my true calling until a bit later in life. Either way I am happy to have arrived at that truth. The way that words pour out of me like a healing balm for those who need a word or two of comfort. While my creativity exists outside of writing as well, all of it comes together to bring me peace when I need it most. Creating helps to relax my mind, it puts me in the zone of building something out of nothing and it helps to ground me. Word to Ari Lennox, “You grow when you are grounded.” The last few years I have certainly been growing, healing and learning to genuinely enjoy living. That is what finding your true passion can do for you. So whatever you are passionate, please take heed and try your best to work in that passion daily if possible. Even just a little bit helps.

5. For the Love of Connection

In just a few short weeks I will be moving back in with family. I moved back to my home sate, New Jersey back in 2017. My goal was to practice on my craft, be closer to New York city for access and resources. Although I often feel behind in life when compared to my peers –which I shouldn’t be doing but I am working on it– I can truly say I have accomplished more than I give myself credit for. I started acting classes, applied for graduate school, got in but didn’t go. (Short but long story). I started therapy again and have seen my mental health improve tremendously in the last year and 4 months. I started an inspirational apparel company, started working on my first book, became more active on YouTube and started my own podcast. All in all, I did what needed to be done and I understood the assignment. However, one thing the pandemic has taught me is that I thrive off of connection. While I am naturally an introvert, I still enjoy the connection I have with close friends, family and even colleagues.

Connection is what keeps us in alignment with God’s promises for us. We weren’t created to simply be left alone forever but rather to fellowship with one another while on earth. Create memories, love one another and keep each other up when we cannot do it on our own. Connection is key. Even if you have to create your own family with friends or people online who share similar interests, find yourself a community that you can connect with. But always remember that your connection with self should be the strongest out of all. When you tap into your needs, wants and desires, only then can you provide others with what they may need or want as well. Always keep in mind we cannot fuel anyone else’s tank if ours is left on empty. Fill yourself first.

6. Healing Through Music

I have often attributed my emotional healing to my love for music. It brings me healing in moments when I may not be able to express how I am feeling in that moment. This can apply to other forms of art including dance, paintings, books, and even through photography. Being able to capture a moment, a feeling or a thought that can now remain in museum life for centuries to come is truly something special. That is why art and more specifically music is so essential to my life as a writer and someone who has battled depression. So to you I say, if you are battling depression or harmful thoughts, try to create a personal playlist of good music that brings you hope when you need it most. Here is the one I created that many of my friends enjoy listening to. Check it out.

7. Healing to Breathe

So we have reached our final thought. After being in therapy for a year now, I have realized that I lived most of my life barely breathing. Most of my true self has been submerged into this water like form of what I think everyone expects me to be. Therefore causing me to suppress my own feelings, thoughts and views just so that I am accepted. by those who love me and society. But how does that benefit me? How does benefit any of us to suppress ourselves so that others can be more comfortable around us. If someone can’t be comfortable around you because you are even slightly different then they don’t deserve your presence. Regardless, I am thankfully healing now so I am slowly but surely coming out of my people pleasing phase. Healing to breathe easier is one of my greatest accomplishments in life thus far. I pray that whoever you are and wherever you are reading this, that you too can begin healing to breathe. You deserve to breathe easy.

If you enjoyed this piece, share it with loved one or close friend. Also, make sure to share your thoughts below. Thank you for reading.

Photographer: Melissa J.C./@guyatiannarrative (Instagram)

Makeup: Sarah O./@glam_byher (Instagram)

Model: Sophonie M./@justsophonie (Instagram/YouTube)

your boundaries are law

blog, blog post, new blog post, self care, self love, self love blog, selflationship

Welcome back to another Friday night read with self•lationship. Enjoy!

I’ve been in therapy since February, so in a few months that will make it a year. There are quite a few things in my life right now that I am not accustomed to. For one, this is the longest I’ve stayed at a job, the same home, and with the same therapist for the last few years of my life. With that said, stability has entered the chat and I am certainly grateful for it. Part of that stability has also ushered in a new era for me in my singleness. I am learning the importance of exploring, learning, understanding and applying my boundaries. These boundaries are not just towards others but more importantly for myself.

You see, when you take the time to understand what makes you comfortable or uncomfortable, you are setting the stage for your future self to have less trauma to deal with. Sometimes we allow “small,” slights from other people to slide. Perhaps they didn’t mean it that way. Maybe they just didn’t know how to say something to us and therefore ended up offending us in the long run.

IF YOUR “NO,” TO SOMEONE SOUNDS LIKE A MAYBE TO THEM, THEN YOU SHOULD STEER CLEAR OF THAT PERSON.

Well it is 2020, so enough of trying to excuse people’s bad actions. If someone made you uncomfortable…they made you uncomfortable, period. If you have already expressed to them why or how they disturbed your peace, yet they continue to violate those boundaries put in place, you are free to leave them exactly where they stand.

My therapist and I have been discussing the topic of boundaries for the last few months now. After so much trial and error, I have finally reached a breakthrough where I feel more confident in applying them in my day to day life.

Recently I went out on a date with a guy who was pretty cool, an intellectual, sarcastic, kinda funny and definitely a cutie. But the issue I had was, he clearly had no respect for my boundaries. He asked me a certain question on our first date and throughout the next week or so of us getting to know each other more, he asked the same exact question a total of 3 more times. This made me extremely uneasy.

YOUR BOUNDARIES ARE THERE TO PROTECT YOU. YOUR BOUNDARIES KEEP YOU COMFORTABLE. YOUR BOUNDARIES KEEP YOU SAFE. YOUR BOUNDARIES ARE LAW.

On the second inquiry, I explained why I said “no,” to begin with and on the next few I didn’t care to explain further. Needless to say, we haven’t spoken since because I decided to move forward, without him. The way that someone carries themselves when you first meet is super important. But the way that said person responds to clear boundaries you enforce from the beginning is even more important.

If your “no,” to someone sounds like a maybe to them, then you should steer clear of that person. Your boundaries are law. You are the courthouse, the government and the powers that be when it comes to your life. Whoever wants to enter must arrive with clear respect for who you are as a person. That person must also respect the boundaries you express and enforce. Never allow anyone to make you feel bad for your boundaries.

Your boundaries are there to protect you. Your boundaries keep you comfortable. Your boundaries keep you safe. Your boundaries are law.

Here is a quick example of how you can enforce your boundaries with anyone:

Person: Hey, I got two tickets to a music festival in ATL, wanna come?

You: No thank you, I’m not comfortable travelling with you since we’ve only known each other for 2 weeks.

This is just a quick example but please also remember that “No,” is a complete sentence. You don’t owe anyone an explanation on why you don’t want to participate in a certain activity or why you don’t like them speaking to you a certain way. If you are uneasy with how you are being treated, in any environment, then you are allowed to express that without holding back.

Your boundaries are law. Never forget that.

Your Good Sis,

Sophonie

self-care is self love

self care, self help, self love, self love blog, selflationship

self•lationship: self-care vol.1

Self-care, self love, self this, self that. The last five years of social media and TV has been flooded with this not so new phenomenon but it’s become somewhat of a revolution. To put down everything and center yourself in order to find peace within your life. This is something that many of us, especially as Black Women haven’t been allowed room to do. In fact it goes even further when you are a mother, a wife, caregiver of any sort, or all of the above. Hence why I see it as something that is revolutionary. To stand up and say, “Hey world, I f*ckin love myself too much to allow anyone or anything to disrupt that peace.” It’s a beautiful thing to envision but even more beautiful to experience.

I can’t lie and say I’ve fully reached that moment. However, I am pretty damn close. Today’s post originated in a personal journal entry but it felt more proper to be shared with you all. So I hope that you enjoy!

For your listening pleasure:

A Love Supreme is one of my all time favs by John Coltrane. When considering love, why must we always make it about romance? I wish self-mance was a thing too. Matter of fact it should be. We fight our entire lives to sweep others off their feet or to be swept off of our own. We are on a constant pursuit of happiness for others yet doing so for ourselves hasn’t been fully normalized.

I don’t believe God intended for us to live our lives for other people. If so, we would all be born together and be the same person. Sounds weird right? So is living for others. Today I’m calling on my single, separated and divorced ladies to love on yourself supremely. You deserve it.


Now what does loving yourself supremely even look like? The journey of self love is one that I believe must include lots of healing. Consider the ways in which we are conditioned in society and again especially as women.

Most things we are do are supposed to appease the male gaze or the general masses. Meaning, if you do not fit the standard of beauty for society, then more times than not you are set to the side. Does that mean you are no longer useful? Absolutely not. As Black Women, our beauty and value has often been conflated with what it is that we can provide others.

How can we make a man feel good? How can we make white people feel comfortable around us? How can we change our hair or dialect to fit in to Corporate America?

So many layers of us have been stripped away, only to be stolen time and time again. Our layers are then plastered onto the bodies of others in a more a “acceptable,” way. This is why healing is important especially for my fellow single Black Women.

Simply being single doesn’t single you out from the beauty of life. It also doesn’t mean you are incapable of being happy fully and wholly by yourself.


So what can you do to find self love and ultimately self-care? You can start by finding out what really makes you smile. No, I mean really really makes you smile.

Is it reruns of Living Single all day? (That’s me LOL). Is it how you brew your coffee in the morning? Or is it simple walks in the park taking in all of God’s beautiful artwork aka nature?

Whatever that thing is, search for it, define it and begin to apply it more in your life on the daily. If it’s binge watching shows, try to be careful with that. I don’t want you become addicted to TV.

Anyways, it’s important for us to find those activities and moments that motivate us to be happy every single day.

Then as we start to implement those activities in our lives, we begin to feel lighter, freer and hopefully happier. This isn’t a one size fits all situation.

Some of us need a deeper self-care which brings me to the next thought. There are things that have occurred in our lives, whether to us or those around us that have detrimentally impacted us our entire life. However, we may not even notice it.

Sometimes we are suffering from pain that isn’t even ours to hold. Burdens too broad for our own shoulders. This is why going a step further by seeking therapy, community groups and other similar forms of assistance are essential.

I personally say this all the time, I’ve tried therapy several times and am currently in it now. This is the first year that I have really seen the difference in my life.

I’ve learned about boundaries, giving myself grace and room to grow. Being more patient with life in itself. Understanding how much of a process true healing is. As my therapist always says, “Healing is not linear.”

In other words, it is not a one size fits all process. There layers to it, there are layers to us and layers to finally reaching that place of peace.

So what is self-care?

Self-Care is:

  1. Learning your boundaries

  2. Knowing your boundaries

  3. Accepting your boundaries

  4. Applying your boundaries

  5. Sticking to your boundaries

When I say boundaries, this can apply to a myriad of things in your life. What you will accept from yourself, your partner, people at work, at school, your children and hell even strangers. Self-care is creating a safe environment for yourself to not only survive in but to thrive in. For some of us that can be the simple moments of drinking tea, doing yoga, mediating and praying. Either way, it is what you set out for yourself to indulge in peacefully.


With that said, while self-care can certainly be spa days, movie nights, wine nights, brunch, Netflix binges, mani/pedi trips, eating a tub of ice cream, working out, eating right, not eating right etc. the list goes on. Hell even masturbation is a form of self-care but y’all not ready for me to get that deep on here LOL. If that’s not your thing, keep scrolling.

All in all, it is all about learning what does and does not work for you. Self-care is doing the work which includes all of the things mentioned above. Self-care is self love because you’ve taken the time out to know yourself. To know yourself is to nurture yourself and to do that is show yourself a love supreme.

Your Good Sis,

Sophonie

for the love of self…

blog, love, new blog post, self care, self help, self love, self love blog, selflationship, true love

For your listening pleasure:

It is a common saying that, “Pressure makes diamonds,” but that to me is such a cliche quote. I hate cliches or at least I have grown to hate them. According to all of my Creative Writing professors in college, cliches were stale and need not be used too much in our writing. So I offer you this quote instead, “Pain can create dynamic individuals.” 


While I don’t subscribe to the belief that one must always suffer in order to grow in life or experience some sort of change, it is important to take from your pain what you can. In my case, the pain I have experienced for the last decade revolves around a missing piece of my heart, figuratively speaking. 

As a child love was an uncommon topic in my household. But I was sure love existed somewhere, perhaps between bites of home cooked meals, hugs, kisses, family time around the TV and fellowship at church or in our backyard to enjoy the southern breeze. Either way, I know love was there. It was just never explained nor explored.

Love. A concept that has been plastered on movie screens, in books, and in every nook possible of life. Romantic love to be exact. The idea that there is someone for everyone and if we behave a certain way, look like this or that we too can find it.


So naturally that is what I sought as a child going into my teenage years. Eventually that love was found but a few years before that, the only example of so called “true love,” crumbled in front of my eyes. While that damaged my views on love at the moment, I allowed myself a taste of it for a moment. Once I received it, I was hooked. Since then I haven’t been the same.

Now as I am maturing and getting even older, I am realizing the most essential love was one that hasn’t been nurtured nearly as much as it should be.

This is the reason behind this blog. I can be complicated at times but with this creation, I want to simply continue on my path of healing old love wounds while inspiring others to do the same so that we can march on towards (cliche) the battlefield that is true self-love.

With that said, I bring you self•lationship, a blog making space for your self-care, solitude, and serenity in mind. But most importantly made for your own love of self.

P.S. This was the very fist piece that I wrote for this blog. It was an idea that kept nagging at me and I literally woke up around like 3am to write about it. Initially this was going to be an Instagram blog but I wanted it to be more special than just another social media page. I hope you all are enjoying my newfound passion project.

Sincerely,

Sophonie

self•lationship: solitude vol.1

black blogger, black girl blogger, black woman writer, black writer, healing, self care, self love, selflationship, writing about healing

solitude vol.1

sol·i·tude

/ˈsäləˌt(y)o͞od/

noun

  1. the state or situation of being alone.

For your listening pleasure while reading:

In accordance with the recent events of the world, many of us have found ourselves in a space where we have been forced to be alone. Even if you might live with someone else or others, you are still forced into this new sense of being on your own. No longer is there that constant hustle and bustle we are all so accustomed to. No phones ringing at work, the ding dinging of the cash register you stand behind unless your job is “essential,” and no more commuting. Instead we are now left to try to make sense of this all. All in all, considering what is happening, many of us are stuck in our heads thinking about all of the whats if or how about ifs. 

For me personally, I have been on an emotional roller coaster of reflection simply thinking about all of the what ifs of course but also what this moment of stillness means to me. Why would God allow such a horrific moment of history to repeat itself, some might be wondering. A pandemic? In the year of 2020? It’s quite astounding to say the least. I don’t have the answers to this but I’m sure it’s been a common theme of thought for everyone.

Regardless of the why this, why now and what ifs, one thing’s for sure; for those of us who are single this has pushed us even more into the space of solitude. While being alone does not mean that you are lonely, as someone who’s been single for now going on 8 years, that feeling has certainly reared its ugly head to my mental neighborhood quite a few times in the span of those years.

In fact it’s one of the reasons I decided to start this blog. I need a place to share some of my deepest feelings concerning my singleness but also I wanted to create a space where other Black Women can also feel comfortable doing the same.


The three principles of self•lationship include the following:

  1. solitude

  2. self-care

  3. serenity

For the purpose of this month, we will be focusing on the importance of understanding, “solitude.”

Often times when we hear the words lonely, alone or solitude our minds shift to a negative perspective. But what happens when we allow ourselves to flip that mindset. What about the peace that can be found when you are simply left to your lonesome? No one in your space or talking your ear off.


Solitude in itself isn’t a bad thing, being alone does not make your or anyone incomplete. However, society has a damn good way of making it seem that way. Think of every movie or show ever, the “boy meets girl,” trope is almost always present.

Girl falls head over heels, boy treats her to all of the romantic desires of her heart, boy eventually breaks girl’s heart or in some plot twists, vice versa. Either way, boy and girl eventually get married. They live happily ever after…right?

Who truly knows? What the media usually fails to portray is the in depth turmoil that many of us face individually as humans. In this case it isn’t a Black or white thing, it simply is a thing all human beings face. We all have our inner dialogue taking place


We all have skeletons in our closet rattling away in our brains and those bones most certainly impact us. Movies and TV shows tend to portray falling in love as the end all, be all and band-aid for all of our messiness and pain. When in actuality it can be the beginning of more mess and ultimately more pain in our lives.

Yet according to the TV and movie industry…broken hip? Just fall head over heels in love and you’ll be all good. Depression? Duh, just find random stranger on Tinder and fall in love. It’s simple math.

But on a serious note, it is not that simple. How often do we see solitude portrayed as a true place of peace, happiness, and love? Off the top of my head I can’t think of a movie or show like that. I’m sure it’s out there somewhere and perhaps I’ve seen it but it’s so rare I can’t think of it.

Either way, I say all this to say, as a single Black Woman, there are so many negative stereotypes attached to us as a whole. On one hand we might be over sexualized and expected to simply be a man’s sexual deviant mule. In other cases, we are so called, “Not exotic enough,” so therefore we are unattractive.

So where do we go? Sadly, many women in general have been conditioned to rather be with someone even if it hurts just so that they are not alone. I can speak to that abundantly because I’ve fallen victim to that mindset.

I’ve found myself in extremely questionable predicaments because the need to feel wanted overpowered my better judgement. I can advise you that this is not a good place to be in. But it happens. This is why self-lationship is so vital. I want to introduce the idea to women, Black Women especially that solitude does not mean imprisonment or unhappiness. Have you ever once considered how peaceful and full of love your life can still be even without a partner in the picture?

If not, I urge you to try and picture this. Close your eyes, breathe in and out. Now think of what you could accomplish, enjoy and experience while being single. The pressure of always having to satisfy someone else damn near daily disappears instantly, doesn’t it?

Before we depart for the night, remember one thing. You are worth more than a “just because relationship,” or “connection.” Your life, time and space are extremely valuable. Don’t ever forget it. I love you for real.

Your Good Sis,

Sophonie

introducing self•lationship

self care, self love, selflationship

the birth of self•lationship.

self•lationship is an idea born to me around 3am on a random April night during mandatory Covid-19 quarantine. I have been single for quite some time now and unfortunately I sometimes associate that with negative thoughts. The good thing is, I’m in therapy so trust me I’ve been doing the work to get rid of those negative thoughts and my negative perception towards relationships. Thanks to therapy I have been doing some much needed reflection. In doing so, self•lationship was developed.


We hear so much about how to work on relationships outside of ourselves but what about the one within? Self-care propaganda has stormed the battlefields of Instagram influencers all over the place. But what exactly does it all mean? Is self-care just spa days, mani, pedi, massages, and facials?

No, it is not. Self-care asks one to look all the way within to see what self truly needs. What will make you feel good not only in the moment but can also contribute to more feeling good later on down the line. That my friends, is the true definition of self-care.


self•lationship is that a direct result from my own methods of personal care merged with what I’ve observed from others. self•lationship is the true essence of one’s relationship with themselves.

3am pandemic thoughts.


Selflationship|Selflationship|

Self-lationship is a self-love blog dedicated to uplifting the spirits of single Black Women. This is a blog centered around the love you deserve to give yourself throughout your life, no matter who is or isn’t around. Whether you desire to be in a relationship one day, or not, this a space for you to heal, be real and chill. Cheers to finding a place of solitude, self-care and serenity!