“To be YBEW – A Year in Review”

Y’all listen,

🗣 In 2017 I failed and fell HARD, you hear me!? Like, 2K17 had me crying and laying in bed not wanting to get up. Graduate school had me questioning my intelligence💡, and my spot within my cohort 👩🏾‍🏫. My job had me questioning my credibility, abilities, and my qualifications 👩🏾‍💼 – it even made me me think twice about my “professionalism” (whatever that means 🤷🏾‍♀️, that’s a story for a different day though). Lastly, 2017 had me question my worth and who I am a person – a young, Black, educated, God-fearing woman (again, whatever all that means 🤷🏾‍♀️). Haha. This year alone, has brought me to my knees and tears to my eyes more than I would like to admit. Year 23 for me, or 2K17, has brought nothing but confusion 🤔, life lessons 📝, and a few giggles 😅 here and there; so to put it simply, it ain’t been all that great. I have wanted to chronicle more of my experiences and feelings about where I am as a Young, Black, Educated Woman, however, I have struggled to even find the words to express myself (as y’all know, the struggle can be SO real 😓). 

Yet, as 2017 ends there are few things I wanted to say. Although, at certain times I feel as if 2K17 kicked my ass, I also feel as if it blessed me with a few gems 💎. Twenty seventeen taught me how to fight, and I’m not talking about traditional fighting – yelling, cussing, kicking, and screaming. The fight in which you walk away, reflect, strategize, and at times stand still. Rather, the type of fighting that confuses your opponent(s), while simultaneously reenergizing you as a person. There have been a number of battles I have had to reposition myself in (professional, academically, and personally) in order to champion them. This year also revealed one more thing to me (more so StrengthsQuest, same thing though 😂) – my feelings and experiences are valid AF ✊🏾 [see, urban dictionary], like, every single one of them! Beliefs fell into one of my “top 5” strengths this past year. I’ve always known that my values, beliefs, faith systems, and foundational principles were important to me, but at that moment they had taken on a whole new meaning.

During this past year I experienced a lot of loss (friendships, relationships, and preconceived ideologies). For awhile I was unsure why and felt empty, yet it all began to make sense and I felt at ease. I was truly coming into my own, and accepting it. I no longer needed to, feel as if things were alright, have someone around to feel a “void”, or to force my participation or visibility at events or activities to be whole — I was finally learning to just be. To be who I am in a particular moment, in that given time and space. Even more so, just being okay with who I am as a person. 

As I eat 🍪, sleep 😴, or drink 🍾 my way into 2018, I am going in ready to be and committed to staying true to to myself. This doesn’t mean that I am or will be complacent, but it means that I am staying true to all of my intersecting identities and what they mean to me. I am following my desires and wants; I am capitalizing on my skills, talents, and gifts; I am holding on to, and up for my values and principles – if people and things don’t align, I am letting them go; and lastly, I am fully embracing and indulging in all of the moments that may come as result of the behaviors and actions. All in all, 2K17 kicked rocks, but 2018 will be every bit of what I make it ✨. 


— Signed, a YBEW just trying to figure it out



I want to write a happy poem,
You know, a happy poem

I have been thinkin’
About a lot of the things that I have written

Most of which is not happy,
but I want to write a happy poem

A poem about black women,
A poem that makes me smitten –

You know, deep in love,
googley eyed, hopeful, on top, above –

Number one, in the world.
You know happy a poem.

But I run into a barrier, a recurring barrier
I write my realities, my feelings, & my dreams.

I am determined to write a happy poem,
You know a poem that makes life seem a little brighter,
And the burdens of this world a little lighter.

I am determined to write a happy poem

So first,
I must realign my frame of mind, step out of my skin, look past my experiences – never look behind

I know, what I’ll do

I will re envision myself, as a white Woman,
Because I want to write a happy poem.

If I’m going to tell a happy story, one not drenched in the misery of bitterness and anger

Then I must write a poem about a white woman

Because I want to write a happy poem,
For once .

When I think of their perceived prestige,
Their privileged family trees
I think of happiness, bliss, and peace.

So how could I not then, write a happy poem?

I mean,
I’d have no more stories of intersectionalites of race & gender
No, I wouldn’t need no talks from Walker, about womanism
No need to cross colors of purple and lavender on the spectrum

My womanhood would be sacred
They’d never abandon me, or leave me unprotected

I’d have endless love stories and fairytales,
My men would no longer be locked up in jails

I’d be allowed to take those fairytales and dream,
Seeing myself on screen would no longer be a rarity

To be heard I would have to holler,
And maybe at some point I could make more than 60 cent to the White man’s dollar

I’d no longer be petted on the street, or fear being beat –
By Ops, I mean, cops…
All of the bullshit would stop


I would be able to write a happy poem.


— Written by, a [Young, Black, Educated Woman]

*** I know some people may read this and think, “well damn, there are some good things about being a Black woman” – and to be quite I honest I believe that there are actually a lot of amazing things about being Black woman. However, as I was reflecting over a lot of my recent writings, I asked myself why am not writing “happy, feel good” poems and blogs. So, I was forced to have a moment of truth with myself. It’s not because I am necessarily miserable, but because I have, and I am continuous coming into myself as a woman – a black woman to be exact. As I journey through this labyrinth of an identity, I am seeing and experiencing things that I never have before, and to be honest, they have not been the most glamorous experiences. I write where I am, and who I am in any given moment. Although I love and bask in my Blackness, these are the stories that I need to tell and the poems I need to write now. I hope that this poems touches somebody where they are, and helps others remember where they have come from. 



I “I want to Write a Happy Poem”

Little [black] Girl

–Little black Girl–


Little girl, 

Be a little girl as long as you can

Play in the grass, and walk in the sand

Laugh your loudest rambunctious laugh

And dance and sing aloud


Little girl,

Be a little girl as long as you can

Because soon, you will become a little Black girl

A little Black girl that is not seen the same

A little Black girl that must learn to play the game


So, Little Black girl, 

Play with your little black dolls

See yourself and sisters in them, and be sure to love them all

Dress them up as doctors, lawyers, academics, poets

Know that they are all beautiful, strong, and intelligent 


Little Black girl, 

Look in the mirror and smile

Embrace your kinks, curls, and coils, regardless of style

Look at your deeply melanated skin

No matter what they tell you, it is not a sin


Little Black girl, 

Love yourself

Know that God values you, above all else

You are more than what they will tell and show you

Their lies and deception are nothing new


Little Black girl,

Be young, wild, and free

Make sure that you grow up and be who you want to be


Little Black girl, I was once you

Young, innocent, pure, and new

But today I write to tell you, 

That for the first time ever, I have learned to love you. 

—– Signed, a grown Black woman that has finally learned to love the little Black girl within herself 

“The Reminder: An Ode to the Struggling Graduate Student”

I came back to school to get rich.
Now I’m here and my finances are in a pinch.

Trying to wrap my mind around this situation.
Over here struggling to find a good job in this nation.

It’s got my mental so twisted and confused.
The only relief I can find is when I snooze.

They keep saying, “it’ll all be worth it in the end”.
But the way my kind keeps dying, I wonder, “will I even be here by then?”

Day after day I wake up to try again to figure it out.
The tears cloud my eyes, and the pain cuts so deep, so I silently shout.

My heart is heavy, my anxiety high…
So, I take a deep breath, exhale, sigh…

I snap myself back into reality
And I walk out my door, sadly.

My phone buzzes, it’s my reminder…
“Work on your thesis…
Even though your life feels like it’s in pieces..
Even though your brothers and sisters are dying…
This could be the answer to saving lives so keep trying…
Hold yourself together because you’re needed…
You have to do this – get it completed”.

I take a sip of water, turn my music up high.
I step into my destiny and take another try.

I know this soon will pass, because that’s what they said…
I just wish sometimes, I took another path instead.

-Signed, a tired graduate student

“How To: Survive a Departmental Meeting”

Do you dread going to staff meetings? Do you contemplate yelling obscenities and storming out once they have started? Are you just fed up with wasting your time?

–Well if so, I have something for you — 5 easy ways to get through ANY departmental meeting! Here we go!

  • Come well rested. I am suggesting this first and foremost because these meetings can take everything out of you! If there is ever a time that you may fall asleep and be called out for ‘not caring’ or ‘being uninvested’, it is during these very moments. Don’t get caught nodding!


  • Be inconspicuous. At this point in time, it is better to be seen rather than heard. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am all for speaking up and letting your voice be heard. However, if you are like me and you just DO NOT CARE about the nonsense that tends to presents itself during weekly meetings, then this is definitely the way to go. As you slowly become incognito, think of this time as a little dose of ‘me time’. Work on your blog, online shop,  even catch up with an old friend via iMessage (on your Mac of course) or Facebook.


  • Snacks. Always bring snacks. Depending on your co-works, and the levels of pettiness that may occur within your meeting, popcorn may be your best bet. Snacks are necessary because they are multi-purposeful. They can keep you awake and energize you in your time of need. Take precaution though, there is no noisier snack than popcorn, and the smell tends to linger. It could easily be considered a “distraction”, and you don’t want that . Remember it’s best to be inconspicuous during these times


  • Have your receipts ready! I know this may be alarming, but I would be wrong if I didn’t mention this. All I can say is: “Don’t bring a knife to a gun fight”, hunni. These folks do not play fair! It is key to always come correct – with facts and supporting facts. Meetings are when most departmental drama and shade hit the fan. Don’t get caught slippin’ – your name may just get called. Have emails, call logs, and texts on deck and ready to go!


  • Always smile. This tip is more so of a reminder. The best responses, even the ones when filled and drenched in shade and shiesty-ness are best delivered with a pleasant grin or smirk. Ahh yes, kill them with kindness, boo.


– Signed, @ToBeYBEW__

5 Reasons Why People at Work Got Me F@#%ed Up

I’m about to take y’all to church with this blog – the irony, I know. The good Lord knows my heart though! Now, I don’t know about y’all but I am just about tired of the people that I work with on a daily basis.

I don’t know if it’s just me, but for some reason I do not think everyone is fully aware of the reasons as to why I go to work from day to day – a paycheck. I get it, I know there are some people out there who go to work everyday because they are passionate about the work that they do and they believe that they are called to do whatever it is that they are doing. If this is you, kudos to you and be sure to count your blessings. However, that is not my situation. I is tired; I is over-worked; and I is underpaid.

So here we go:

1. Meetings that should’ve been emails:  I am so tired of these pointless a** meetings. I mean seriously, if you just need a moment to socialize or to feel as if you have real friends, then go to a bar. Who knows, you may even get lucky. Regardless, I for one, do not feel the need to waste one to two hours of my life with these dusty people.


2. Fundatory activities: Look, if it ain’t written down in my contract and/or a part of my  job duties and responsibilities – don’t expect to see me. I do not know who these people think I am, but the last thing I want to do is spend my expendable time with them.


3. Thinking that we are friends: There is nothing that I hate more than extra friendly people in the workplace. Courtesy, cordiality, and manners are alway great and they make for a welcoming work environment. However, you expecting me to hangout with you on a weekly basis once the clock strikes 5pm is downright disrespectful. I am not your friend boo, we just work together – there’s a difference. Just let me live and work in peace and all will be well.


4. Shady emails: Let me start off by saying this: If you are feeling so bothered to the point to where you feel the need to CC/BCC my supervisor or anybody else in the department in order to make me look bad or to make a point, I suggest that you also go ahead and “@” my name on Twitter  because your sentiments are just the same. Also, while you’re at it, be mindful not to let your ‘Twitter fingers’ get the best of you and get you embarrassed. I work 8 hours a day, not 24.


5. Contacting me when I’m off the clock: I am fully aware that there are a number of workaholics in the world. However, I feel like it should be clearly stated that I am not one of them. To be completely honest, I don’t even really like y’all. With that being said, y’all really got me f#@%ed up if you think I am going to have a prolonged conversation about work and I am not getting paid for it. Write me a check or get out my face.


If you feel my pain or anything similar, be sure to share, comment, and tag a friend. Also, we wan’t to know  ‘why the people at your job got you f* up’?

– Signed, @ToBeHer__

The Introduction: To be [Young, Black, Woman, and Educated].

Young [yuhng] ; 1. Of, or relating to youth

Black [blak] ; 1. Relating to race, higher levels of melanated skin; 2. Brown skin, 3. Those who have ancestral ties to Africa.

Educated [ed·u·cat·ed] ; 1. Educated  within, or by way of, a formal institution of higher education.

Woman [wom·an] ; 1. The creator of life.

I can hear the trolls now: “Here we go again… does everything have to be about race. This is why racism still exists… and I mean, women act like they just have it soooo bad…”.

Well listen here Susan and Bob, this ain’t your typical blog and I am not the typical “sista”. I am young, Black, educated, and woman. A compilation of identities that make me invincible, irrelevant, uncompromising, and inherently misunderstood.

This blog in not only my story,  but it is a call for help, action, and encouragement for those who need it the most. We are calling out for help from those who are complicit bystanders in our times distress; we are calling for action from those who are in positions of power but choose to actively participate in our demise; and we are seeking to encourage and stand in solidarity with the women who know the blessings and curses of these very identities that we possess all too well.

As a support to those who need us the most, we stand proudly in our truths and in our identities. We will tell the stories that need to be told,  and we illustrate the the images that often ignored.

Being [Young, Black, Educated, and Woman] is not who we are despite our circumstances; Being [Young, Black, Educated, and Woman] is who are in spite of our circumstances.

– Signed, @ToBeYBEW_