serenity vol. 1: finding your serenity

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self•lationship: serenity volume 1

se·ren·i·ty

/səˈrenədē/

noun

  1. the state of being calm, peaceful, and untroubled.

    “an oasis of serenity amidst the bustling city”


When you see the word SERENITY, what comes to mind? For me, I see and hear the words “serene, peace, calm and focus,” in my mind. I even think of Serena Williams, just cause her name is similar to it LOL and obviously seeing how dope she is brings me peace. Either way, I think of good things, good people, and good spaces.

I see beyond cluttered rooms, homes, cars, kitchens and minds. I simply see clarity. That is one of the reasons I use SERENITY in so much of my branding. By signing off each week on my YouTube videos and in my past blog posts with the phrase, Serenity, Smiles and Positive Vibes,” I am wishing my readers and viewers well. I am speaking a comfort over their lives, even if just for a few minutes to a moment.

Now more specifically, when I speak to my sisters, my friends and anyone close to me, I want them to feel the same love that I have been trying so hard to pour into myself. This has been one heck of a journey for me in terms of healing but I refuse to slow down. As a single Black Woman and just a Black Woman in this world in general, I am not automatically granted peace of mind the way others are in this world. I am not allowed to be simply me.

We are told that we are too rough, too loud, sometimes even labeled masculine for the darkness of our hues or the bellow in some of our voices. We aren’t tiny enough to be considered dainty or extra feminine. Yet, if we are comfortable dressing or presenting/identifying as masculine, we are shut down too. On the flip side, if we are too quiet or present our boundaries with others in a firm manner, we all of a sudden have an “Attitude problem.”



No matter what you do as a Black Woman, you are viewed, consumed and judged. Now pair that with not having a “Knight in Shining Armour,” by your side, you are now considered, “lacking something.”

I am here to remind you that all of these things are severely untrue. You are more than enough even if there are people who may consider you too much. With that in mind, never forget that you are more than enough for yourself too.

Because we aren’t afforded the same levels of privilege in terms of peace, it is important for us to build and foster our own. That is where finding your own serenity comes in. What makes you smile? What kinds of shows have you giggling nonstop? What foods fill your belly with pure satisfaction? What activities bring you joy? Who do you feel the most safe with? Where is your tribe?

By focusing on fostering energies of peace in and around your life, you begin to find your serenity in the smallest ways leading to the bigger ones. Now you are learning and leaning into who you are which helps others to know you more. If we don’t know ourselves, we can’t expect others to.

So I ask you again, where and how do you find your serenity from day to day? Comment below, I would love to know!

In the meantime, my top 5 ways to find serenity include the following:

  1. Coffee shops.

  2. Being a Creative.

  3. Going to the beach.

  4. Devouring Haitian food.

  5. Long talks with people I love.

Recharge Your Battery

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#ThrowbackBlogSeries

DISCLAIMER: The following post is an original post from my first blog She.Is.Splendid. Over the next few months I will be sharing some of my favorite and most impactful pieces with you all. Enjoy! Please make sure to comment and share with someone who makes you smile.

With all this access to information left, right, upside down and right side up, a lot of us can get swept up into the rug of panic at any given moment. Often times before we even consider what it actually going, we freak the f*ck out. Well I am here to tell you…I do the same thing and often. As a person who often battles bouts of depression and anxiety, there are times when this wealth of information before me can cause me to remain in an internal battle all day, every day. Sometimes I think that those who came before me had it easy for a few reasons. For one they weren’t inundated with the access we have now to all the current topics, trends, tweets and such. Regardless, each generation has their cross to carry and burdens to bury. I say all that to say a lot of the current events in the world and in this country has been weighing heavy on my heart adding onto my personal issues.

Regardless, each generation has their cross to carry and burdens to bury.

Thus, as of late I have been feeling a bit hypocritical of my actions. Here I am this individual who feels called to inspire others and be a motivating force but I am stuck in a feeling where I can barely do the same for myself. How does that even work? I sometimes search for hope within myself but all I get back in return is a sheer sense of hopelessness. This is why it is important to surround yourself with individuals who are willing to and capable of uplifting you when you no longer feel the power to uplift yourself. Throughout my life I have served others more than I’ve done so for myself, and sometimes that can get quite draining. It is now in this current personal development phase within my life that I more in tune with the needs of me. I understand the importance of charging my battery before charging the battery of others.

In just one month I will be 23 years old and one of my goals for that age is to live a life more radical than I ever have in the past. But, that will require some work. One part of that works is being consistent with fueling my energy before trying to do so for others. You know when you get on the plane and the flight attendant explains the emergency plan, the first thing they say about the mask is to place onto your face first THEN onto the person you helping. If you are someone who is currently working or planning to work in a field related to human services you’ve go to take that flight attendant approach. If you’re not breathing, how can you help others breathe?


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Another goal is to get rid of major doubts that I’ve had in myself. A lot of us walk around with our heads held low, and our eyes simply staring at the surface. Why are you holding your head down when there is so much beauty around? I remember as a kid there was a phase where I would literally walk with my head down for a while. It’s a strange memory and I can’t recall exactly at what age this would happen but I do remember it vividly. Anyways, when I think about it I’m more than sure it is because my self-esteem was extremely low. Academically I was doing amazing but physically I felt awkward and out of place. So rather than looking at the beauty around or within myself I focused on the surface. But, what I didn’t know was the peace, joy, and gift that existed within me. Those same qualities exist in you as well. You’ve first got to believe it!


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Why are you holding your head down when there is so much beauty around?

While the world is buzzing with craziness all day, every day we can get caught up in the negativity of it all. A lot of us already have that negativity brewing inside of us due to past issues, past pain, and past betrayal. So keeping up with all of the current events can actually be a form of self-harm when it comes to how much of it we take in. If you are reading this, I want you to do yourself a favor: TURN IT OFF! Give yourself a break from it all.

We’re always so worried about our phones dying but so many of us aren’t taking note of our souls dying every day. Our spirit is being weakened day by day from the negativity it is exposed to but we’d rather make sure our very expensive smartphones are constantly plugged up. Well listen up, you need to give yourself that same energy. You are just as valuable as and even more expensive than any piece of electronic. So you owe it to you to recharge.

In the spirit of my former life as a teacher, I want to give you some homework.

Homework

1. Be consistent with fueling your battery/energy

This will look different for everyone. Fueling your battery might be watching mindless TV reruns, binge watching, reading, writing, praying, and watching self-help videos. Whatever it is that helps you to fuel up then that’s what you need to be doing.

2. Hold your head up! (Physically, mentally, and spiritually)

If you feel yourself shrinking to let others feel comfortable when you are around then that’s a major sign of you holding your head down. It is okay to take up space and be you. Find what makes you feel elevated mentally and spiritually. I truly believe the two are intertwined. For me it looks like prayer, meditation, self-help articles, videos and books. I stay plugged into personal development lessons throughout the week so that my head remains high.

3. Take a moment away from electronics, everything and everyone

You know what this means. Yeah put it down, give it a break. Now!

….but before you do that, take a look at this video I found while searching up images for this post. It’s a short but impactful clip from a young motivational speaker named King Nahh

Exit Self Doubt, Enter Self-Belief

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#ThrowbackBlogSeries

DISCLAIMER: The following post is an original post from my first blog She.Is.Splendid. Over the next few months I will be sharing some of my favorite and most impactful pieces with you all. Enjoy! Please make sure to comment and share with someone who makes you smile.

For your listening pleasure:



Today’s #throwbackblogseries post is short and very sweet.

Your journey of success begins only when you believe in yourself & I mean really BELIEVE. Nothing anyone says to you about how good you are will matter or register until you actually take that to heart. Is your heart beating? Do you feel your lungs pumping that oxygen? That means you’ve still got life left in you & time to make moves. We’ve gotta seize the moments that we have & realize each and everyone one of us have potential to excel. We may not excel in the same ways and that’s okay. But we for damn sure gotta give ourselves more credit.

You got this. Now go on and be greater than you were yesterday. Forget trying to receive an applause from the outside world! Especially if you have yet to give yourself that much deserved standing ovation. Clap for YOU. Rejoice for YOU. Believe in YOU. Have faith in the fact that the dreams you desire will prevail but only when you turn that switch on of ultimate belief in self.


Serenity, Smiles & Positive Vibes,

Just Sophonie

Realign Your Mind

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#ThrowbackBlogSeries

DISCLAIMER: The following post is an original post from my first blog She.Is.Splendid. Over the next few months I will be sharing some of my favorite and most impactful pieces with you all. Enjoy! Please make sure to comment and share with someone who makes you smile.

For your listening pleasure:

There are times when negativity seems to be the easiest thing to embrace. Parts of our lives are constantly going in what we believe is the wrong direction. In other words a lot of us may feel like “we are falling apart.”

The reality of this mindset is that we are never actually falling apart. You may be in physical, emotional or mental pain but you are still here. Therefore, something along the line has gone right.

While it may be convenient to be down or sad, it’s not worth it in the long run. A lot of us are used to vibrating on a lower energy and that’s why I say it “may be convenient.” We are not used to good things or good things happening consistently.

So before we even try to embrace the good, we fall into the trap of expecting and even embracing the bad. It’s as if we say to ourselves “well this may hurt but it’s familiar.”

It’s time to realign yourself with positivity. Readjust your focus on the beauty of life and less on the ugly of it. There are splendid moments happening all around us everyday and more days of splendor are on their way. However, you’ve got to be open to these opportunities without a doubt because doubt can shut those doors closed.


Don’t allow your faith to waver or you fear to overcome it. As you begin to readjust your focus and realign your mind with a higher vibration, then you will soon realize that you were never falling apart but in fact pieces of your life were falling right into place.

Serenity, Smiles & Positive Vibes,

Just Sophonie

Your Process is Progress

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#ThrowbackBlogSeries

DISCLAIMER: The following post is an original post from my first blog She.Is.Splendid. Over the next few months I will be sharing some of my favorite and most impactful pieces with you all. Enjoy! Please make sure to comment and share with someone who makes you smile.

For your listening pleasure:

Listen up, all my procrastinators, self-doubters, and anxiety filled folks. You’re afraid that you aren’t progressing because all you see is the current place of your circumstances. Far too often our doubt originates from what we see occurring in the physical and if what is occurring doesn’t look too good, we get shook up. We begin to think that we will never get to where we want to be in life (peep that alliteration y’all) and this mind frame only holds us even further from progressing. We have to get rid of that idea. Simply because you don’t see it yet, doesn’t mean that it isn’t coming. Processing is still progressing. Say it with me, processing is still progressing. So if you are currently going through a process or a struggle that seems never ending, you are in the perfect place. As Frederick Douglass said, “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.”

Think about when you are downloading a file and it starts off at one percent; you suck your teeth in grief, upset that it won’t load faster. You turn to read a book or scroll through twitter then bam, the file is now at 5 percent. Now you’re thinking to yourself, “finally.” Progress has finally manifested in the physical so your flesh is now satisfied. But, you must keep in mind that in order to manifest more of what you want in life, you must train your mind to see what you want as if it has already happened in real time. I know this might sound all hippie dippy (which is basically my personality these days) BUT it’s true.

“Processing is still progressing.”

If you can’t see it or even begin to believe that it is possible, then chances are it won’t happen. You have a better chance of receiving what you desire, if you can at least see a smidgen of that desire actually manifesting into reality. I’ll admit I’m not always the best with this idea of seeing it before it manifests but when I do, man I tell you it is a beautiful site.

 

For example, I recently started a new job which pays within the range I was searching for, has benefits, free meals and a slew of other perks. I’ve always wanted to work at an establishment such as this one and it’s a different environment from where I’ve worked since graduating college. So kudos to growth.

I say all that to say, before getting the job I could envision myself in the building, wearing the uniform, and carrying out my daily duties. I may not have known the exact pay but I figured it would be just right for what I need at the moment. All the googling I did, the numbers didn’t even match with what I was later told I would be paid. Regardless, it took me finally giving myself room to truly believe and see that I was capable of receiving a pay upgrade and job upgrade in order for it to finally take place. Whenever I remain low in my thinking about myself or my situation, circumstances usually remain just the same. So this post is a bit more of a sermon to myself but one that I believe will help a number of you. As always, if this post has helped you in anyway, please let me know in the comments below. Like it and share it with others who think need a More to Life Monday pick me up.  

“If you can’t see it or even begin to believe that it is possible, then chances are it won’t happen.”


 

Serenity, Smiles & Positive Vibes,

 

Just Sophonie

self•lationship: solitude vol.3

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solitude vol.1

sol·i·tude

/ˈsäləˌt(y)o͞od/

noun

  1. the state or situation of being alone.

expectations vs reality

Moving onto volume three of solitude and I am going to be honest, this one might be difficult for me to complete. Today I’m going to take you all on a ride. I will try my best to make it brief. Long story short, I was in love once. Truly, madly, deeply and all the way in that shit. No, seriously LOL. Except when it happened I was only 15 years old. Now many people might say, “that’s just puppy luv.” Well to myself and my ex-boyfriend I don’t believe we saw it as such nor do I think we do even now.

We took each other on quite the roller-coaster of emotions for a good 10 years but were only in an actual relationship for about 3 years. The other 7 years were pure fuckery, stupidity and lust wrapped all in one. Before that happened, we had planned out baby names, swore up and down we’d be married by our mid 20s. That was obviously a reach, neither of us are married nor do we have children.

Isn’t it funny how we as humans think we can plan out everything, knowing damn well it’s ultimately not up to us? It’s wild to see. Either way, that’s what we did. Our classmates and friends would call us Michelle and Obama (not even joking). It was cute to be honest, even when I look back at it now.

I’ll never forget we had this bond over sharing Sun Chips in the cafeteria during lunch. I randomly stumbled across this memory on Facebook earlier this week and it honestly brought me a good laugh. Our bond was made out of early 2000’s teenage rom-com movies.

Isn’t it funny how we as humans think we can plan out everything, knowing damn well it’s ultimately not up to us?

We did the whole thing, had class together, were in similar after school programs, went to prom together and graduated together. It was to me a dream come true. Coming from a once two parent home that then shifted to a one parent home shook me to my core as an adolescent. It is something I am still processing through therapy. Yes, your childhood can be that detrimental.

It wasn’t until my time as a teacher 4 years ago that I realized that my childhood was actually considered as a form of trauma. For a while I thought that only meant those who were abused or abandoned which in some ways I was but that’s a different story.

Regardless, I found myself so enthralled in this relationship that when it ended I didn’t know how to react. He broke it off, I panicked. That was the first time I found myself on a therapist’s couch. I was 18, a freshman in college and confused. Mind you, life was still very much hectic with family and just a few months before that I had been kicked out of my school briefly due to financial reasons.

For your listening pleasure while reading:

So perhaps I thought the therapy was needed for my love wounds but there was much more to it. The reason I gave that story is to paint this picture. Relationships are not the end all, be all for anyone. It shouldn’t make you and it shouldn’t break you either. Can it? Absolutely. Should you allow it to? No.

Had I known just how special my creative spirit was and the moves I could make with my writing at that time, instead of crawling into a corner of sadness I would’ve used that pain to my advantage. Rather than going back and forth with my ex, I would’ve put a final stop to it realizing that you can’t force someone to love you who has stopped.

Now, can I truly get into his mind and figure out if immediately stopped loving me once he broke up with me? No I cannot but the fact of the matter is, our breakup pushed me into the growing pains of healing. I’m not saying he’s the reason for my growth in life because that is solely God’s doing. However, I do believe God used that breakup as a way to push me into the solitude needed to begin refining me into the woman who now stands in front of the world sharing my story.

Solitude can build one’s fortitude in this thing we call life.

Last night, my father sent me a WhatsApp voice note expressing that I shouldn’t tell the world so much of my business. I waited a day to finally see how I would express myself in response to him, I just sent it and feel at ease now. The purpose of my brand, business and I believe my path is in life is all about being fully transparent with others. There are people suffering in the world simply because they can’t or won’t speak up for what they are going through.

Being that I have been afforded those privileges, I only see it fit that I use those tools however I can. So sharing my story while finding innovative ways to do it is simply what I have chosen and will continue to do.

Sharing this story about my ex was hard and weird. But he’s been on my mind lately so I wrote about him. There’s no need to slander him or our breakup. Instead, I found a way to simply express what I have learned from that situation.

Through my honesty, may peace and healing flow to my readers through their phone or computer screens.

My high school sweetheart breakup propelled my life into a forced solitude that I may not have wanted but I’ve learned/grown to love. I also realize that it forced me to not jump into a relationship either. Now that could be due to my emotional walls being up but at the same time it saved me from some extra heartache that I didn’t need to experience.

Solitude can build one’s fortitude in this thing we call life.

So let’s all learn to embrace it a little more.

Your Good Sis,

Sophonie

self•lationship: solitude vol.2

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solitude vol.1

sol·i·tude

/ˈsäləˌt(y)o͞od/

noun

  1. the state or situation of being alone.

For your listening pleasure while reading:

Ladies how y’all doing? Fellas y’all alright? Just checking in real quick. It’s been a week since we’ve last spoken and to be quite honest, I haven’t been in the best mood lately. Last week was such an exhilarating high for me. Starting my business, and truly launching my brand.

But sometimes things simply go out of whack for various reasons. Either way, I’ve mustered up some strength to begin writing this.

Last week we discussed the meaning of solitude and the three principles of self•lationship. While reading over last Friday’s post, this line stood out to me: “Have you ever once considered how peaceful and full of love your life can still be even without a partner in the picture?”

I will explain in a moment why that line in particular stood out to me.

Growing up, my siblings and I were accustomed to attending damn near every single wedding in our neighborhood possible. My mother, the well known baker, cake guru and flower decorator extraordinaire would take all five of us sisters and sometimes our two brothers, to help her with events she was hired for.


One of the countless weddings we helped out at or walked in. Can you spot mini Sophonie?One of the countless weddings we helped out at or walked in. Can you spot mini Sophonie?

One of the countless weddings we helped out at or walked in. Can you spot mini Sophonie?

There I can always recall hearing love ballads from Celine Dion’s, “I’m You’re Lady, (The Power of Love),” to the soul soothing sounds of Kenny G’s saxophone. Haitians loveeed these specific songs and artists for whatever reason LOL. I mean they are great but at every single wedding you could expect to hear one or the other played.

Anyways, growing up in an environment where marriage seemed to be the ultimate societal goal or expectation can create this thirst within oneself to fulfill that. That can be good and very bad. Good because if that is what you desire, awesome. You can now work towards it and hopefully reach that moment.

Very bad because some of us then feel like every relationship has to lead to marriage. I’ve seen memes where people say, “If it we aren’t working towards marriage, then I don’t want it.”

Now I can understand that from the perspective of old me but new me not so much. Every relationship or friendship isn’t going to last. Some things do end even if we don’t want it to.

Putting that pressure on yourself or someone else, especially as women can often lead to some harsh repercussions later on down the line.

I believe that there is lesson to be learned in every connection that we form with other human beings. This is especially true when it comes down to more intimate ones such as with lovers, partners and spouses.


Now going back to the line mentioned earlier: “Have you ever once considered how peaceful and full of love your life can still be even without a partner in the picture?”

Being that so many of us feel pressured to find love to appease some form of loneliness in us or show off to the world, can that really be considered as a true desire for marriage?

Some people don’t even realize they are better off without a relationship or marriage until they are in one.

I say all this to say, finding your own true sense of happiness is important for taking any step in life. This can be applied to your career, social circle, and much more.

Find your inner peace before attempting to seek your outer piece. This is not one of those, “Love yourself first,” moments but rather truly learning to sit with yourself. Learn who you are. Learn what you like. Then go forward.

You may find that a traditional relationship doesn’t even work for you. Perhaps having multiple lovers is your thing or being a poly relationship is your thing. How will you ever know if you simply jump from person to person trying so earnestly to find love in others who may not even love themselves?

Search for peace in you. Work on that self•lationship. You deserve it.

Your Good Sis,

Sophonie

Your Situation Is Not Your Destination

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I am going to keep this sweet, petite and straight to the point. While I do feel like I speak about this topic a lot, I think it is important to do so. Nearly every single week I hear from friends or even strangers online who talk about how they feel stuck in their situation. Hell, even I am one of those friends who feels stuck sometimes.

So, listen up my splendid friends, fam and followers there is no reason why you can’t elevate to the next level. However, there is also no reason to rush it. Life comes in steps, pieces and within the allotted time that it needs to. You have no reason to try to jump from building to building in hopes of leaping to your success immediately. I’ve talk about microwave success before, like in that one post I told you all to take life One Step At a Time

Nonetheless, we must remain guarded from these moments of impatience in life. Yes there are some situations that seem to go on and on forever. Also, there are some situations that I will be honest won’t quite fit with this post in itself. But, for the more minor situations where we feel like we simply aren’t getting what we want or fand never will, this post is perfect. 

“You have no reason to try to jump from building to building in hopes of leaping to your success immediately.”

One of the ways we actually become or remain stuck in life is when we start to believe that things cannot change. Our mindset plays an overwhelmingly large part in how we view our life. With that said, if your perspective is in a dark & gloomy state, chances are that is how things will continue to go. They say that your “Energy flows where your attention goes.” To paint the picture more clear for you, remember how on cartoons when a character was having a terrible day you’d see that dark rain cloud over their head the whole episode. Well, that is basically how our lives can be. When we become so invested in these feelings of negativity, the universe responds to that and I also believe God begins to truly test your faith here (for those who are believers).


Overall, the more we turn our attention to how bad things are, the more those problems are amplified. Of course, the pain may not automatically go away like an on & off switch BUT now you are experiencing these issues on a much deeper scope.

“Our mindset plays an overwhelmingly large part in how we view our life.”

While I understand it is hard to see past the rubble of life when you feel you are buried underneath it but it is worth it to at least try to focus on how you will feel once you are out of the situation. Once you begin to visualize and consider how good that will feel, that is when your faith begins to grow as well. It also helps you to pass the time while you are experiencing hardship.

Things to Remember

1) Don’t rush your situation, there are lessons to be learned even in the darkest of days

2) The more you focus on negative circumstances the more they are amplified

3) Consider how it will feel once you are out if it aka visualize

 

P.S. I know that these steps or words of advice are easier said than done. I’ll admit it is a process but it is also possible. So before you think this can’t or won’t apply to your life, try it first 

 

 

 

 

Serenity, Smiles & Positive Vibes,

blk girl chill vibes playlist

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Happy Sunday ladies!

Last night before I dozed off I decided to create another public music playlist (this is my 6th one this year so far) but this one is extra special. It was created with you all in mind. Often times as Black Women we are constantly working extra hard, doing double time for us personally and for those around us. But sometimes we just need a moment to lay back, get comfortable and enjoy some quality sounds.


So I decided to put together a playlist full of songs that you can play while you’re driving to work, running errands, cooking or getting ready for bed. This playlist is all about you and bringing a little piece of serenity to you throughout your normal day to day routine.

It has music from a range of Black Women artists who simply put my spirit at peace when I hear them and these specific songs. The whole vibe is really laid back, hence the name, “Chill vibes.” I hope you all enjoy!

(Warning: Some songs are explicit so just be aware if you are playing it around your children or other young ones.)

Serenity, Smiles & Positive Vibes,

Sophonie