It has been a full year of us featuring interviews with people in our lives, who we find inspiring and I guess it was bound and only fair to be R1’s turn, especially as it’s her birthday month! #Sagitarriusseason So, this week on the blog, it’s R1’s turn to be under the microscope and take to answering questions. Read along!
“Still I Rise”
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
Q: What is the tone/sound of your alarm clock?
A: Homecoming sound on Samsung.
Q: Morning person or night owl?
A: Morning person, but I do go to bed around midnight.
Q: What’s your fave quote?
A: “Still I Rise”, by Maya Angelou, it’s not so much a quote as a poem, but I love it.
Q: You mentioned that you love Maya Angelou’s work, but why this quote specifically?
A: I think I have to thank my mother for introducing me to her, as it’s one of her favourite authors, but this quote specifically because it speaks of resilience and not giving up. No matter what life throws at you, still I rise. I just love it. I love it so much, it’s the tattoo on my wrist.
Q: Sandals or Sneakers?
A: Neither? LOL, I guess if I had to choose I would say sandals.
Q: Your word for the year?
Q: What’s the last picture you took?
A: I take lots of pics, so it’s ever changing, but as I type this, I have taken a shot of a book for a blog post.
Q: Countryside or beach?
A: Beach for sure, there is something so soothing about the sound of water, although I am partial to a beautiful countryside.
Q: One fun fact about you.
A: Ummm…slugs make me wretch, does that count? Ok, ok, like Jenn G, I have to have the car radio volume on an even number.
Q: Electronic or paper calendar?
A: Paper, I love filling it out and adding stickers. (Yes, I said stickers.)
Q: Fave flower?
A: Hydrangeas, Lilacs and Peonies.
Q: Savoury or sweet?
A: Savoury- I love me some chips (crisps).
Q: Fave musical artists?
A: Lizzo, John Mayer (for life), Leanne La Havas and have recently discovered Hamzaa, but my music vibes depend on how I’m feeling at the time. They range from BonJovi to Marvin Gaye to Celine Dion.
Q: Fave season?
A: Spring or Fall. They are seasons of rebirth and I always feel connected to that feeling of optimism and newness.
Q: Coffee or Tea?
A: Oh, depends on my mood. I would say mostly tea, but when I feel like I need a lift – it’s coffee all the way. A Chai latte is literally the best of both world.
Q: What’s your favourite dessert?
A: Brownies or warm cookies with ice cream…mmm salivating just thinking about it!
Q: How would you describe your fashion style?
A: Oh boy! I’d like to think I am fashionable, I’m a mix between a dressy, relaxed feel- mixed with something fun or quirky. I think?
Q: How would your best friend describe you?
A: Passionate, loyal, selfless, honest….cue the blushing.
Q: What do you do to relax?
A: Blogging, reading or photography.
Q: Of the books, you read this year, which was your favourite and why?
A: Circe by Madeline Miller, I loved the way it was written, but also the journey Circe took to become her own person, it was so easy to relate to and so very inspiring.
Q: Current role model?
A: This changes often. I am very much in awe of Lizzo’s openness and her unapologetic nature, Michelle Obama just being an utter amazing person and Oprah, because well- she’s da bomb. So all in all- Oprah is the G.O.A.T.
Q: What is “home” to you?
A: I would say anywhere my family is, the feeling of being fully accepted and free of judgement that’s home. Simply put, where you’re loved.
Q: What are you most grateful for?
A: To be alive. It sounds so simple, but every day you wake up is in and of itself a miracle and everything after that is a bonus. To be able to tell the people you love that you love them and be able to feel it back. Very grateful for that. Sometimes with being so far away you may feel alone or you may struggle to tap into that, but the past few months have shown me the people who have been there for me and it’s reinforced some truths.
Q: If you could change one event from history, what would it be?
A: I wish I could prevent any of the wars and the slave trade. What would the world be like now if no one group exerted power over another?
Q: What causes you anxiety?
A: Thinking about the future and worrying about things I can’t control, especially when it comes to my daughter. All I want is for her to be well balanced and happy.
Q: If I could grant you one wish, what would it be?
A: To be happy. I suppose everyone is working on that formula, but if I could just flip a switch then I would very much like that.
Q: What 3 things bring you joy?
A: My daughter. Blogging. People who make me laugh or smile.
Q: What steps do you take to ensure you take time out for yourself?
A: I try to take bubble baths, read and have really gotten into doing masks- all help to calm me, and I enjoy putting makeup on. I just enjoy the process and how it makes me feel. Taking as little as 5 mins can really reset you and prepare you to face the world.
Q: When was the last time you meditated/prayed?
A: Sometime this year, I downloaded the Headspace app and tried to focus on the task, but it was very difficult.
Q: Would you say religion is central in your life?
A: It used to be, it isn’t central in my life right now. I respect people who follow a set of rules and I respect the ability to “let go and let God”, whatever God that is to you, because for many it is life changing.
Q: When did that change for you?
A: When I was a teenager, I was asking too many questions and didn’t feel comfortable with what I felt was unequal treatment of women, I wasn’t happy with some of the dated or restricting thought processes that seemed to govern most religions.
Q: Can you recall a pivotal moment when your faith/belief helped you deal with something in your life?
A: I can’t say that it was faith specifically, but I do know that I have had moments when I’ve felt something in my gut and trusted/believed it and it has come to fruition almost exactly as I’d seen it, but I’m not a believer enough to chalk it down to religion.
Q: What would you like your legacy to be?
A: I’d like to think that I made a difference in someone’s life, even in the smallest way. I would love to think that in 50 years, I could have great-grand children proud to have me as part of their lineage.
Q: Describe yourself in one word.
A: Compassionate. I think? I think so much about others and what it’s like to be from another perspective, a lot. And I would like to think that I have a lot of compassion for people and society, but maybe it’s all just me overthinking it all.
Q: If you could meet anyone from the past, who would it be?
A: Nelson Mandela. I would love to have had the opportunity to sit down and talk to him, to find out how he balanced being the man we all know and love and the man he really was when people weren’t watching. How did he remain assured that what he was doing was the right thing when he was imprisoned, what kept him going?
Q: You have blogged about some personal and in-depth conversations about mental health and how it has changed you. What made you so open and honest about your journey?
A: My first intimate experience with mental health floored me and to be honest, it’s something I don’t think I’ll ever fully understand, being open and blogging about it was and is a way for me to sort through my thoughts and to be open and honest about how hard I found it. That’s real life. I feel like we’re too obsessed over the glossy side of mental health or the recovery side or even the “nice” mental illnesses, but we don’t often hear about the daily, the everyday- the times when you’re not so patient or not so understanding. The loneliness or the depth of the loss you feel for the person you have essentially lost and getting to know the new version of them. So, I chose to be that person, and I have gotten flack for it, I’ve doubted whether to press publish on certain posts, but in the interest of speaking and owning MY truth I have stood firm and gone ahead with it and will continue to do so.
Q: What advice would you give anyone regarding their mental wellness?
A: Get the help. It sounds simple, but get the help. You are not your illness, it isn’t all of you and there is no shame in it, so speak about it-get it off your chest. Don’t bottle it up, let the people closest to you know how you’re feeling, explain to them how it feels so they have an insight. Most of all, explore your options, medication isn’t the only way…just be open to testing and trying out options and finding the one that works for you. Fight.
Q: What advice would you give young Rekeisha?
A: Where do I begin? I’d tell her to trust herself more, if it doesn’t feel right- don’t do it, because eventually you’ll lose yourself for the sake of others and that has a much bigger cost. Love yourself enough to walk away.
Q: What advice would you give her about love?
A: Know your boundaries and stick to them, the right person will respect that and won’t make or pressure you to change. It’s OK to say no, but also it’s not a race- take your time in getting to know people and if your “speed” isn’t good for them, then they aren’t right for you. The right person will ALWAYS wait, because you’re worth all of the waiting.
Q: How has motherhood changed you?
A: It actually reset me, after having Neveah I wasn’t sure about a lot of things in my life and myself and having her made me go back to the basics. It made me follow what I wanted to do and be more like the person I wanted to be- driving me to be the best person I can be for her. It made me actually practice what I was preaching.
Q: What do you love most about yourself?
A: I love my eyes, which took some doing because in high school I really didn’t like them. I also like my boobs, even if they do get in my way sometimes. Non-physical, I love my honesty, I know it might come across brutal, but I am not a duplicitous person and I think you get what you see with me…
Q: What advice would you give to anyone who is struggling with loving themselves?
A: Urgh, I don’t know if I’m the right person for this question. You have to work on you for you, it’s literally a life long process and there isn’t a miracle drug. Find one thing you do like and compliment yourself- there is nothing wrong with feeling yourself!
Q: What has being in a relationship taught you about yourself and about love?
A: Know your limit and don’t change who you are for anyone, if they don’t like something about you and are constantly reminding you of it, then they aren’t your person. The right person will love you UNCONDITIONALLY, but will also help you find the right way (as a couple) of dealing with conflict or disagreements. If you’re both on the same page and ultimately working towards the same goal then you both will put in the work to achieve it. It should never be one sided.
Q: What is something you accomplished this year that you are most proud of?
A: I don’t know if it’s a full on accomplishment, but I’m really proud of our blog and the work we’ve put into it, but also the content we create. We’ve remained true to why we started and haven’t sold out or changed despite the pressure to do so and comparing yourself to others. It makes me smile when I look at it. We’ve done good Rae and I!
Q: What was something that was difficult for you at the beginning of the year, but is no longer difficult?
A: Speaking up and vocalizing what I would like, which is odd because I’m such an outspoken person, but sharing my deepest feelings and being honest about how I have been feeling has been tough- I have suppressed some things in order to protect people’s feelings, but it’s done a disservice to myself, so I have been accepting my feelings for what they are and being honest about it.
Q: What was the most challenging thing for you this year? Or in the last few years?
A: Being more patient, with myself and with others. I’m a perfectionist at heart, I like order and structure and planning, it’s not that I can’t roll with the punches, but I feel my best in calm. I’ve been working on letting things go a bit more, not carrying the weight of my frustrations further than it needs to go, but also being kinder to myself when I don’t do just that. I think also accepting that life isn’t perfect, it doesn’t follow a planned out trajectory and being OK with that. It simply is what it is.
Q: What 3 most important things have you learned this year?
A: 1- that my feelings and I matter
2- it’s OK to ask and accept help from others
3- Love people fiercely.
Q: What’s your most important goal for next year?
A: Finding a job where I can be creative again and pushing our blog forward.
Q: How do you plan on achieving it?
A: Actually looking and applying- lol.