Understanding My Car with FIXD

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Admittedly, I am NOT a car girl. Like at all. In fact, I was just getting made fun of at work for not instantly knowing where I would put windshield wiper fluid in. For some reason, it just doesn’t click in my brain. So, I’ve been willing to spend way too much time and money on my car when much easier options were available. I teamed up with FIXD to understand & care for my car in the best way for my wallet and my time!

What is FIXD?

FIXD is technology created by three Georgia Tech Grads in Atlanta, Georgia. It comes with a sensor that plugs right into your OBD2 port. (I had no idea where this was, but the app gives you a step-by-step guide on finding it in your specific vehicle!) It uses bluetooth with an app that you can get from any app store.

There’s thousands of things to learn and do on the app. Its main use, however, is saving you time, energy and worry when it comes to car care. It can’t get better than that!

How does FIXD work?

Once you plug your FIXD sensor in, it’s constantly running diagnostics on your car. It can tell you things like oil health, tire pressure, battery health, and mileage all through the app! Inside the app, you can also see a timeline of services that your car needs throughout ownership. It provides you with information on why you need services, where to get them serviced in your area, and how much you should budget!

There’s literally like 7,000 things that the app can tell you about your car at the touch of a button!

There are so many free features on the FIXD app. At only $5.83 per month (billed annually), you’ll have even more car care information at your fingertips.The premium membership offers things like a mechanic hotline, predictions of future problems to look out for and be aware of, and emissions analysis. FIXD basically gives you your car’s health at your fingertips! The premium membership isn’t necessary, however, to get the benefits of the FIXD sensor and free membership! 

Is it worth it?

Right now, you can get FIXD for $19.99 with free shipping. The stress that FIXD takes away from car care makes the product already worth it – not to mention the opportunity to save money when actual servicing is necessary! I also feel safer in my car when I understand it, something that’s definitely worth the price! I know that my dad feels better with me driving with FIXD as well!  

FIXD can also be used to manage multiple vehicles over and over again. Using the free app, you’re able to track maintenance issues in all the family cars! You can also use FIXD to help determine if everything looks good on a vehicle before buying. It can be a handy tool for any car owner to have on hand.

How do I get one?

You can pick up your FIXD sensor right here. The FIXD is free for download wherever you’re able to download applications to your phone.

You can find more information on the official FIXD website and on their Instagram page!

Do you have a car trouble story? Do you want to learn more about FIXD? Connect with me on any socials below – I’m a car girl now 😉

5 Little Things to Be Thankful for This Year

In a world where working yourself to death is normal and a global pandemic seems never ending, it’s sometimes hard to see the silver lining in an average day. Sure, Thanksgiving comes around and you realize the big things you’re thankful for: family, friends, health, food, and so on. You’ll be able to see the little things in your everyday when you start looking for them more closely. Here are 5 little things to be thankful for that might be getting overlooked this year.

When You Hit a Bunch of Green Lights in a Row

Sometimes, we have days where we have only red lights to stop at on our drive. Others, we hit every green light on a long stretch of road – can you imagine it now? We’re happier that we got somewhere faster, but have you ever just been really thankful that your day ended up that way. It’s tiny, I know, but it’s something that can truly make you think that the Universe is on your side in your day!

Finding a Go-To Sweater for your Closet

I recently found a sweater that I absolutely adore from H&M. It’s a go-to item of clothing for me now. It works with just about anything and it’s so soft I want to cry! Finding clothing that fit you well and makes you feel good isn’t always a given. So, when you find something that really makes you feel good, it’s important to savor that feeling (and buy one of every color).

The go-to sweater from above. Seriously, it’s everything. Bonus point: it’s from their recycled collection so I can feel good about wearing it too!

TV Shows to Binge Watch

If you know me or have seen a dating profile of mine, you know that I’m a huge true crime nerd. I rewatch NCIS and Criminal Minds like three times a year. Some people find a new show to watch as soon as their current one is over, while others stick to the tried and true.

TV and streaming services have really been cranking out some stellar TV options lately. More people have been represented in our everyday media and it shows. Sometimes, having no plans and just your favorite TV show to curl up with is something to be thankful for too!

Homemade Food

Nothing hits has hard as homemade food. There is not a restaurant or chain that can replicate what homemade food makes you feel like. For one, you can be proud that you’re not spending buckets of money. Two, you can really curate exactly what you want. Three, you can feel a level of productivity that you just don’t feel when you’re grabbing something quick through the drive thru.

This year, I ate homemade mashed potatoes twice for Thanksgiving. It seems like a tiny thing to be joyful about, but I never do it for myself! It tastes better and it’s made with much more love, of course.

Photos and Videos to Look Back On

Say what you will about blogging, but running anything on social media will make you really good at being the photographer and videographer of any event. That’s not to say that there are not moments, of course, that you can’t experience behind a phone screen.

We have a tradition of watching National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation each year on Thanksgiving. There’s a part where Clark Griswald, the main character, is looking back on old family videos of Christmas. Social media might be a huge pain, but it’s allowed people to share their moments with others – good, bad, beautiful, and ugly. Maybe pictures are a pain to take now, but you’ll definitely be thankful showing your loved ones when that photo represents a really cool memory or story.

What are you thankful for? It can be big or small. We all have something! Come and tell me on my social media accounts below!

Baby Bell

Getting pregnant with our son was one of the biggest surprises & greatest blessings of 2019. Bryan & I had just gotten engaged in March and three short months later, our sweet boy was on his way. I remember the day we found out I was pregnant I had an inkling that I was & decided to grab a test to take when I got home. The thing about me is, I cannot just patiently wait until the end of the day to find out about something or do something knowing in the back of my mind I know the answer. So I rushed back to work from my lunch break, took the test in the bathroom & BAM! Two VERY clear lines appeared and I immediately burst into tears. I ran back into the office, told my co-worker I was “sick” & needed to excuse myself for the rest of the day. I just could not contain myself.

I got home before my husband & decided to tell him in a cute way. On our back door a white board said “You + Me + Three”. Let me tell you the few hours I had to wait for him to come home were SO nerve-wracking. I remember hearing the garage door open & thinking to myself, “Okay, this is it!” He walked in, looked at me & said “So we’re pregnant?!” I instantly began crying and through the waterworks I mumbled, “You’re not mad??” He cracked the biggest smile and asked why he would ever be mad. I had no idea what his reaction would be, to be completely honest. We had just gotten engaged, I didn’t know if he wanted to get married first before having a family…but I was just so happy that I was carrying our angel & with the man of my dreams.

Waiting until the beginning of my second trimester to tell people was HARD! I so badly wanted everyone to know about our bundle of joy but, knowing the risks of miscarriage in the first trimester, I couldn’t put myself through announcing it too early God forbid anything were to happen. It felt like the first three months went on forever but once everyone knew we were expecting, the remaining two trimesters flew by.

Fast forward to the end of October – I’m almost 20 weeks pregnant & DYING to know the sex of our baby. From day one Bryan & I prayed for a little boy. We would be happy with either as long as they were healthy but, we really wanted a boy. We decided to have a gender reveal & my sister in law was the only one that knew. On October 26th, we had our family & friends over to the reveal. Bryan is into cars like no other so I thought it would be fun to incorporate his Camaro into the reveal. While we stood by, Bryans dad, Jeff did a burnout which would reveal either pink or blue smoke. The few moments prior were the most nervous and excited I think I had ever felt. Finally, BLUE SMOKE. IT WAS A BOY!

My pregnancy with our son was everything I could have hoped for. I had no morning sickness, no food aversions (Thank God), and was able to stay really active all through out. Every doctors appointment we went to he was perfect & growing more and more. The last few weeks I could really feel my body getting ready to prepare for his arrival but still stayed as positive as I could. His nursery was done, my mother hosted a beautiful baby shower for us & now we we’re just waiting on our sweet boy.

By 36 weeks, your OB will have you come in on a weekly basis to check to see how the baby is measuring and make sure there aren’t any complications. My mid-wife began noticing protein in my urine, and my blood pressure was creeping up. Because I didn’t have any severe swelling along with it, she wasn’t terribly worried. At my 39 week appointment, I vividly remember her coming into the room with a sad face on & I immediately said “You can’t walk in here with a sad face, what is going on?” She told me “It’s time to go to the hospital”. Instantly I began to cry uncontrollably and sweating profusely. This was NOT how I wanted things to happen! I wanted to go into labor on my own, hang out at home for as long as I could and then make our way to the hospital. God however had different plans.

To say I was freaked out is an absolute understatement. I had no idea what to expect and was so terrified of what was to come I couldn’t get myself to calm down. My mid-wife, God bless her, was so supportive of my birth plan and told me she truly thought I would go in to labor on my own. I was admitted to the hospital on March 16th, and after a very restless night, she came to break my water at 8:30 AM, March 17th. I was so scared but so ready to meet our son. She quickly broke my water and I thought, man, that was nothing! It just felt like a water balloon had broken between my legs. The thing about having babies is, everyone is different. Not one of us will have the same experience so I tried to not think about the pain or what would happen, I just wanted to deliver our son safely & he be healthy. Soon after, I went from 3CM to 10 in a matter of two hours. I had ZERO transitional labor like most women have. My contractions were so intense I kept yelling at my L&D nurses that I couldn’t do it. Tammy, one of my nurses, laughed & said “Well, you’re already doing it girl”. She was amazing. She rubbed my back and showed Bryan how to help me through each contraction. I had opted out of pain medication…something about a giant needle getting shoved into my back scared the hell out of me and for years I had always imagined I would deliver my baby naturally. I was so serious about it that I didn’t even sign the epidural waiver. Our bodies were made to do this & I knew I could push through the pain.

At 12 PM, my mid-wife returned to check my progress and before I knew it, it was time to push! Honestly, it was the greatest feeling in the world which might sound crazy but I felt relief breathing him down and out of my body. I used a bar across the bed to keep me upright and that helped immensely. 12:27 PM, March 17th, 2020, our son, Carter Jeffrey Bell was born. 7 pounds, 1 ounce & 19 inches of pure perfection.

What I read from other women who had given birth was, as soon as that baby is on your chest, all the pain you just went through is gone. They couldn’t have been more right. As soon as he arrived, everything I had just experienced was gone- I was on a high that I couldn’t even explain. Our son was finally here and our parenting journey began.

Our sweet boy is almost 7 months old as I’m writing this & I cry looking back at these photos because it feels like it was just yesterday we found out we we’re pregnant. Now, I’m planning his 1st birthday (insert crying face here). I couldn’t imagine my life without Carter, or my husband and am so grateful that he chose me to be his mama.

There’s Too Much On My Plate!

If you follow me at all, you know that I’m a busy lady. I’ve been taking photos as a side hustle since 2017. I launched a podcast, then re-launched it, in 2019. This blog is now a year old. I also make money through a survival, service industry job and freelance my PR to start my dream profession! It’s a lot. I love being busy. My “To Do” list is almost never empty – it would drive some people crazy, but it reminds me that I’m becoming successful! However, there’s a fine line between workaholic and breakdown because of stress, right? These days, there are moments where I have to remind myself to slow down and repeat “there’s too much on my plate,” when other things to agree to come up.

A Helping of Work

This weekend was one of the busiest in a while. For my business, the couple days surrounding the end and the beginning of each month are absolutely insane. It’s about getting insights done, contracts written for the upcoming month, and being diligent about the Public Relations changes that we’ve made throughout the month. The transition from September to October of this year was one of the busiest for my business. For that, I am unbelievably blessed. However, I’m also taking on challenges like I don’t have the clientele and following that I do. Sometimes I need to slow down!

Slowing down, however, means pumping the brakes on something that I’ve been working on for so many months now. It also means finding priorities in my days. Some things have to wait until tomorrow. Other things, like the needs of my clients, need to be done quickly and successfully. Yes, it’s a lot. However, it’s something that I’ve been working on for so long. I’m blessed to be busy with my work. Rather than thinking, “Ugh, I wish I wasn’t so busy,” I am going to reframe it as “I’m blessed to call what I love work & if I wasn’t supposed to be doing this, I wouldn’t be.”

A Helping of Birthday

This weekend was my beautiful roommate, Shelby’s, birthday! We celebrated her on Friday with a small group of friends at our house. The pandemic always adds a layer of stress to things that would otherwise go off without a second thought. This year, we hosted the event at our apartment, since we’re not going to go to bars! I’ll say it – I’m an AWESOME hostess. I was happy to put out food, grab a little cake, and clean the house.

It was an amazing day to celebrate a great friend! Entertaining is always high maintenance, but even more so in a pandemic. I wanted to make sure that all of our surfaces were not only clean, but completely disinfected. It was important that everyone had somewhere to sit. By no means was this party imperative, however, my friends mean the world to me. If we can have a night of normalcy to celebrate our girl, that’s a priority to me! I was happy to take it on my plate. So, instead of “I have to clean the house,” it was “I get to see my friends.”

A Helping of Marriage

I had the absolute honor of photographing the wedding of some of my favorite clients. Photography has absolutely taken the back burner to the other aspects of EmyD. I’ve had amazing success with EmyD Photography, but it’s not what I want to do as my full-time job. However, having big shoots like this always lights a fire under my butt to get more creative and inspired with my content.

Someone’s wedding day is the Big Kahuna of photography. As much as I love senior shots, you can always get another beautiful day to retake if necessary. You can’t redo the elements of a wedding that the couple wants to capture forever. There’s moments like the first look, the kiss, and the dances that are so “in the moment” that they become high pressure.

Maybe the reason that I don’t want to be a full-time photographer is because I’m so tense and perfectionistic when it comes to my work. I’ve had lists and Pinterest boards preparing for this wedding for weeks. Emily, the bride, is also a planner which made me feel a little more sane. She was so organized and amazing. Honestly, her preparedness calmed everyone around her down, but I like to walk into my shoots with that same level of confidence and organization! Though it was a mentally exhausting day, it was amazing. I’m so happy to have been a part of it. So, instead of “I have to prepare for this long day of shooting,” it became, “I am blessed to get paid for doing things that make me feel creative, inspired, and motivated.”

Reframing a Full Plate

Yes, I put a lot on my plate. I always have and truthfully, I don’t see that changing any time soon. The way that I look at it, there’s a couple ways to go about being busy in life. You can be resentful that your life is busy or that you didn’t have to get up to go to meetings with clients. You can wish that you didn’t have to post consistently, but that would mean that your following would decrease. 

Or, you can do what I do. I choose to run with it. There are some days where I absolutely just need like 12 hours of sleep which came to me at 8:30pm this Saturday night. However, I wouldn’t trade being busy for being bored. If I didn’t feel pressure to post, it would mean that I was still hustling for a following. If I didn’t feel like I had to prepare content, it would mean that I wasn’t signing clients. photoshoots like weddings are a lot to prepare for, but without them I wouldn’t be able to get creative for a job!

Sometimes, I have to ask for help in carrying my plate. I’ve asked Sullivan to help me at shoots. There’s been moments when my lovely clients are patient with me so that they get the best product. But agreeing to the things that you want to do, loading only what you want onto your agenda, and being your true self will make being busy so much more enjoyable. Yes, there’s too much on my plate… but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

What have you been really busy with? Let me know in my socials below!

New Mama, New Blogger, New ME!

Hi, I’m so happy you’re here. My name is Sarah Bell & I am very new to the blog life so thank you for your love & patience as I get my feet wet.

A little about me – I’m 29 (almost), married to my best friend, Bryan & we had our beautiful son, Carter in March of this year! I’m sure most of you, if not all of you can agree that 2020 has been a whirlwind to say the least. I could go on for days about everything that’s happened to us over the last 9 months but I thought instead, I’d share some positive pieces with you. Thanks to COVID-19, I was laid off in August. Up until now, I have always had a full time job & even when I was pregnant with our son, I told myself I always wanted to have a career AND be a mom. My view point on that quickly changed when I was home with CJ & got to see him roll over for the first time! I immediately burst into tears thinking, OMG, what if I was at work when this happened & I only got to watch it through a video? I know most families don’t have this luxury, so I truly feel blessed to be able to experience being a SAHM, even if it’s only for a little while.

In just a few short weeks, we are moving to our new home & I could not be more excited. My focus for this blog is going to be affordable home décor finds, fashion for every season & A LOT of mama/baby moments. Currently our townhome is an absolute wreck, & that does not vibe well with my OCD tendencies so you can imagine how ready I am for this move to be over & we are all settled.

When I first came up with Being the Bells, I was working full time at an investment firm & didn’t have the opportunity to put the time or energy into it the way I wanted to. Soon it was on the back burner just like every other dream I’d had & quickly disappeared into thin air. Once I was laid off I took a good hard look at what I REALLY wanted to do with my life. What was going to make ME happy? It’s never been just about the money for me. I’ve always wanted to find a career path that I would love & could be profitable from. I knew if I was going to do this again, I needed to really dedicate myself to it & did just that.

This quote really says it all… taking my doubt & fear of failure and turning that into my motivation & determination to be successful in this line of work. Don’t get me wrong, I still have a long way to go & a whole lot of work to do but, I have met some of the SWEETEST women re-starting this journey & they have given me all the confidence in the world to push through and succeed.

Being the Bells is me. It’s my husband. It’s my son. It’s my passion. Anyone with a dream…chase after it. Don’t stop until you’re so in love with your life that everything leading up to that moment was worth the struggle. Everyday I’m at this I hope to learn & grow with each and every one of you. We may not be able to change the last 9 months of this year, but we can certainly go out with a BANG to end it. Thank you all so much for checking me out, I really look forward to sharing more with you!

Stay tuned & God Bless

About Alexis Nevers Ray

Anyone else hate writing about yourself? Yup, me too, hence why I’ve always backed out on starting my own blog. So, when Emy reached out for me to be a resident blogger on her blog, I felt like that was the world telling me I couldn’t say no any longer.

Well I’m here, so lets get into it. I’m a 28 year old Indiana native who moved to Texas 6 years ago for my first real big girl job out of college. I’m a proud dog mom to 2 Boston terriers and I also have a husband.

Because of my background in fashion, I decided to finally take the leap in switching my instagram account into a creator account. Similar to the me ‘wanting to start a blog’ situation, I was also too scared to switch my account. For as long as I can remember my girlfriends always wanted me to help do their hair and makeup as well as borrow my clothes.

I’m a sucker for a good deal, I love trying out new beauty products and like my bio says I’m trying to live that Gucci lifestyle on a target budget. Welcome to the blog if you’re new here and if you’re not, welcome to my perspective.




Behind the Blog: Why I Blog

My sweet friend, Kate, recently sent me a message asking me how I got to where I’m at: how I put myself out there, how I overcome insecurity, and how I don’t worry about what others think. Truth be told, I did all of those things for a long time when I first pressed “Activate” on my own website. There’s still days where it overcomes me. Even if it doesn’t seem like it everyday, there’s a lot that goes on behind the blog. 

Why I Started

As you know, I’ve been writing for a while. I’m a huge advocate for journaling because it’s been one of the only ways I can express my chaotic emotions in a healthy way. Blogging, though, is different. Different in a way that when I finally finished…it was out there. It was on the internet. In a way, sending those words off into cyberspace has almost released the tension from inside my brain.

Along with that release, comes a wave of anxiety about what people will think about what you just wrote. Will they like it? Will it resonate with anyone? Is anyone even going to read this? Truth be told, when you initially post you don’t have any of those answers. If you’re looking for outward gratification in comments, likes, and messages, you’re not going to get it every time. If you’re piece changed one person, though, it was worth it. That includes you. 

When I say that, I don’t mean that every Facebook status is worth posting. In fact, I would like you Baby Boomers to take just one more second before you send that aggressive novel of a status. Instead, I mean that sharing, posting, and relating to others through our own experiences can be hugely beneficial. We can literally make a community behind our blog that makes every post easier. 

Out with the Old

These days, I’ve started to care less and less what old acquaintances think of my blog or what Timmy from church has to say about my way of life. One, because they aren’t paying my bills or contributing to my serotonin levels. Two, because it makes me feel good. So back off, Timmy. 

The motivation behind the blog comes from moments like this… where I’m reminded how beautiful, amazing, and genuine my everyday life is!

Even if this blog had zero views, (which I will brag that it does in fact have more than zero) the fact that I feel more and more comfortable talking about things like addiction, body image, and mental health is worth the price of a website even if no one was reading. It’s worth the time it takes to write. 

In With the New

When you’re on Pinterest, you seem to think there’s two camps of bloggers. There’s the Tumblr blogger that you would only come across in a rabbit hole.Or, there’s the blogger that makes millions of dollars, has all the deals, and has definitely published a book or two. Absolutely not

I was surprised to see just how big the blogging community was. It’s full of people who exclusively post on Instagram in photo blogs. There’s people making a ton of money from their words and definitely will have that book deal we were talking about. There’s also mid-sized bloggers (like EmyD!), specific niche bloggers, and so many others. The coolest thing is that they all support each other. It’s not cut throat and weird like other businesses you could get into.

I was okay with letting go of the hope that everyone from my small Wisconsin hometown was going to read my blog when I saw how many people actually understood me across the world. There were so many people that, like me, just wanted to write, create, and make money while doing it. Suddenly, the dreams that seemed too big for my little town felt too small for the groups I was encountering!

Behind the Blog Today

Thank you Evan MacDougall at E.Mac Photography for this amazing pic!

Everyday there is something different going on behind the blog. One day, I can’t even get a cohesive sentence out. There’s no way a blog is going up. There’s other days were scrolling through Instagram is mentalling exhausting. Yes, I’m fully aware of how unbelievably ridiculous that sounds, but when you work and hustle online you’d want to throw you’re computer out the window somedays too. There’s other days where I literally cannot tell enough people about how cool my job is. 

I consider myself a blogger, an influencer, and a PR strategist. Taking my own life into my hands, I decided that writing and social media was going to be the way that I was going to make my living because it made my heart feel good. 

Are there days where I’m scared? Yes. Do I push the boundaries of my own self confidence to post some things? YES. I mean, for God’s sake I said how much I weigh! But, at the end of the day, would I change a thing? Nope.

Are you thinking of starting a blog? What’s stopping you? Connect with you on any of my social media platforms to learn how YOU can start your own brand and make money online!

Checking My White Privilege

The fact that I’m even writing a blog like this hurts my whole heart. The fact that I’m preparing for it to be met with some hate on my Facebook or Twitter feed makes me lose all hope. For those of you who this blog does not find well, I’m not sorry. I’m not sorry that you’ve chosen to close your eyes and mouth to the clear lines drawn in the sand. I’m not sorry that you’ve chosen to act like your privilege was something you “earned” rather than something you were genetically encoded with when you came into the world with white skin. If this finds you poorly and you want to spit some fire back, go for it. But, I’m not going to be silent about this & passively sit back. 

I’m tired of us killing each other. I’m so tired of us using fear of what we don’t know or refuse to understand as a reason to shoot at, choke, or murder each other in cold blood. And honestly, saying “each other” is doing a disservice. I’m tired of us killing people because they have black skin. It sends a shiver down my spine that we refer to this as “brutality” when it’s only one thing; murder.

Now, I’m not going to sit here and tell you about the experience of a person of color. First, because I can’t even begin to understand that experience; thus, write about it. Second, there are millions of more important narratives you should be reading if you want to truly understand the experience of a person of color. What I am going to do, though, is check my privilege.

Truthfully, there’s never going to be a time when I fully understand my privilege. I try my best to be aware most of the time of my circumstances, but I, like many others, don’t have to walk through life thinking about the color of my skin. I was born into this world with white skin which gives me an unbelievable amount of privilege, that I can acknowledge. But, I don’t think I’ll ever fully understand my privilege, purely because I won’t ever understand the experience of not having it. Does that make sense? Not everyone gets to walk around and not think about the color of their skin all the time like I do. Not everyone gets to walk out of the house worrying only about if your outfit makes you look chubby, rather than drawing implication on who I am as a person. The experience of a person of color is one that I will never have, be able to speak on, or claim to know.

I recently shared a post on Facebook that really made me consider all the things I have the privilege of doing without thinking twice. 

Some of these stuck with me more than others, of course. My younger brother and I have been sitting in our home for 2 months. We’ve never been scared for our lives. Even if a police officer knocked on our door, we wouldn’t be scared of THEM. We’d be scared of the information that they would calmly give us. 

I mean, I’m a blonde, white girl. When I’m in the gas station, I worry about men yelling inappropriate things at me rather than calling the police because they just assume I am shoplifting. When I tell people I’m a first generation college student, they’re genuinely surprised. It’s as if my pale skin indicates that my parents are ultimately together, rich, and successful. However, with my black classmates, struggle has always just been assumed and thus placed upon them. Even if you’re NOT struggling with family or money or foundational stressors, the constant assumption that you are can lead you to a pretty angry and lonely lifestyle. Not to mention that the lack of confidence that the world seems to have that you’re tasked to disprove is like a ladder that just keeps getting taller. 

The REALLY fucked up thing is that these notions are placed upon us before we speak or act. Purely by looking at me, I appear “safer” than women of color. To police in this country, it’s been made obvious that my life is worth more. But, why?

The obvious answer is inherent racism set on us due to years and years of oppression. Institutions that came from trying to punish slaves and maintain Jim Crow laws, such as the modern police force, are still in place – just as the War on Drugs has been unfairly prosecuting people of color since its creation. Reforming institutions that are so clearly based on the foundation of racism is not possible. New and improved models are needed in the 21st century after years of technological, scientific, and academic advances.

I don’t hate police officers. However, I’m not going to sit here and say, “There are a few bad apples just like in everything.” That is diminishing these events. If good officers passively stand by and watch their partners or fellow officers commit murder, they might as well hold the civilian down. If the department puts those officers on “paid leave” until giving them a slap on the wrist, that’s condoning murder in their precinct. Maybe that’s an unpopular opinion. Maybe this paragraph is going to be the one that ruffles the feathers. But, feeling nothing, saying nothing, and DOING NOTHING makes you an instigator, whether you want to be or not. Holding criminal justice as we know it, officers who joined for the right and the wrong reasons, accountable for these actions are the only way that change occurs. 

Photo credit: BlackLivesMatterSchool.com

Truthfully, white people don’t have to worry about protesting… we saw that in the peak of the pandemic. thousands of Americans screamed in the faces of police officers because they felt their Constitutional rights were being infringed when asked to wear a mask. Some were armed, but of course, that is within their Second Amendment right. Oh, and they were white. But, people of color and their active allies take to the streets to protest the blatant murder and they’re called “rioters” rather than protestors. Their right to peacefully assemble, which is covered by the Constitution, is almost always interrupted with tear gas, violence, or more death. 

And you know what, I don’t have to worry about it. I had another blog that could have gone up. I could turn my head and keep going without saying a word. The privilege that I was born with could carry me through this life. OR, I could say something. I could join in on the conversations, not just for the clout of saying something, but for more information from the black community in how to be the best ally. I can be an active part of the protests. I can write to my representatives because their bias to listen to my voice coming from my skin tone can be seen so clearly sometimes. I can check my white privilege every day and then check it again. So, what can you do?

Let’s talk about this. If you have a way to get involved, donate, or advocate, please get into my DMs and let me know! For anyone that reads this post, or any post in the future, you are so welcome here. I am proud of you. You are worthy. I will not stop advocating for OUR freedoms.

Can you be Intelligent AND Emotional?

I  have a habit of crying when I’m going through something. I mean, I’m a blogger. I should be able to use all of the adjectives, nouns, and adverbs to accurately express how I’m feeling before I get that upset, right? Lately, though, I’ve been having these overwhelming moments where it’s hard for me to separate my emotion from my narrative. It’s difficult for me to say what I really mean without adding some tears behind it.

Normally, this would be a journal post. It would just be a couple pages of scribbles before bed that I would sleep on and only think about when I went to therapy a month later. Normally, this wouldn’t make me think twice. But, I am. I’m thinking twice, three, even four times about this. Why is my mind so caught up on separating an emotional thought from an intellectual one? This week, I officially verbalized that my frustration is that I’ve never felt I could be emotional and intellectual at the same time – even though they are huge parts of who I am as a person. So, the question remains, can you really be intelligent and emotional at the same time?

Not to toot my own horn, but I’ve always been a little too smart for my own good. Take that at face value, of course. I didn’t graduate medical school at 14 or invent something to change the world, but I pride myself on being smart. I let everyone around me know from about the time that I could formulate words together.

After confirming with my parents, I would also say that I’m fiercely independent. So much so that I began to subconsciously believe that the things that my parents wanted me to succeed at were things that I did alone – swim, school, theatre. That’s a conversation we had behind closed doors, but we all agreed that I was obsessed with things that I could do all by myself and take all the glory for. I seem like a gem, right?

I didn’t start getting outwardly emotional until I felt it well up inside me and had  nowhere to put it. Part of adolescence is learning how to effectively express your emotion without punching a hole through your wall or slamming your entire body on the floor. I failed in this area. Sure, maybe my behavior wasn’t as visible to the public eye, but my way of dealing with any emotion was to bottle it up, let it fester, and eventually let it come bursting out on whatever family member was closest.

I started using the phrase “I cry because I’m frustrated,” a lot throughout my late teens and very early 20s. I was especially using them in romantic relationships when prodded about why I was getting so upset. Essentially, I was telling my partner, the world, and anyone that would listen that when I’m emotional I’m not able to coherently speak my truth. Damn, did I believe that truth for so long.

Fast forward to a couple years later and my twenty third year of existence, I’m feeling more woke than ever. I feel more in touch with my emotions and my intelligence in ways that I never thought that I would before. There are moments, though, that make me realize there are still wounds from my past that still need a remedy. There are still issues that I need to realize, accept, speak out loud, and move on from. 

Like I said before, I’ve been getting really emotional for reasons that seemingly go over my head. My dad recently said  I’ve been “overreacting” and I reacted as if he called me the worst curse name in the book. I couldn’t understand what triggered me in that scenario to make me SO upset. 

You can look through my blog feed and learn a little bit about a past relationship that shaped who I am as a person today. I feel so strong and healthy that it’s hard to imagine that there’s still realizations for me to make about why I said or did something all those years ago. There are still connections that I can make to help me better understand myself in all of my relationships.

This is right around the time that I completely compartmentalized intelligent thoughts and emotional ones – never allowing the two to meet.

In those formative years, I thought that I had to make a clear distinction between emotion and intelligence. Every time I let a tear escape my water line, my argument suddenly became a little less valid. When conversations needed to be had, it was to be done without tears and without too much emotion behind my words. Twenty year old Emily began to link emotion to weakness and intelligence to strength. I started to hold my tongue when I knew the tears were coming. I started to question my intelligence if I felt anything in my head. Most of all, I started to question who I was as a person. 

Now, my dad never taught me to think like this, nor did he mean any harm in saying that I was overreacting. But, he did unleash a dragon that felt like her intelligence and emotion could not coincide in the same castle – which absolutely destroyed me.

Let’s just get something abundantly clear here; and I’m saying this just as much for you as I am for me. I am a grown-ass, educated woman. I can properly express how I’m feeling because I know the words to do so, I’ve been practicing them since I was way too smart for my own age, remember? I don’t need anyone to write my narrative for me or tell the world how they think  I feel. Got it? That being said, I am a grown-ass, educated woman! So, me crying because I feel bad does not diminish my intelligence level. If I feel the urge to cry, I can cry! If I feel the need to scream, I can scream! Having emotion does not equate to a lower intelligence level, nor does it make your argument weaker.

You know you’ve felt that prickle behind your eyes of tears at exactly the wrong time, but what exactly makes it the wrong time? Tears can help us put up clear boundaries of where our heart and minds want to go, even when society is pushing us to keep going. Tears can help signal to the world that you fucking care! Tears can tell stories that sometimes, even all the words in the dictionary can’t be strung together to tell. You, my beautiful reader, are not less because of the emotion that you let out of your body. It’s what you do with that emotion, how you harness it, and how you put it back into the world that makes or breaks you. Because emotion and intellect together, they are an extremely powerful thing.

Smart & I cry a lot…. I won’t be sorry for that.

So, I’m no scientist. I haven’t looked at the scans of a brain with all the colors to give an official answer. But, if I could put all my money on one argument it would be: Yes, you CAN be intelligent and emotional all at the same time. Furthermore, anyone that’s telling you otherwise is scared of how powerful you are when you are both… I’m just saying.

Have you ever had a problem separating your intellectual thought from your emotional ones? If so, why are you separating them? Get into the DMs of any of the socials below to tell me your story!

Edited by Vanessa Reza. Contact info can be found on the ‘Contact Me’ page.

Rejection From My Dream School was my Saving Grace

At the spunky young age of 19, I applied to the Journalism school of my first college. Having previously gotten every job I interviewed for, accepted into every college I applied to, and received a slew of different awards and scholarships, I was in for a rude awakening when it came to rejection.

Here’s that spunky 19 year old I was talking about circa 2016.

At the time, I was writing remotely for an online company based out of New York City. I had some pretty good contacts that were ready to write a letter of recommendation. There was published content that was doing well across all of social media. The cherry on top of the cake was that two of my best friends were already in the J-School, and they had both put their seal of approval on my application.

I thought it was going to be a piece of cake. Being one of the twenty percent of admitted students wasn’t something I really worried about or lost sleep over because, in my mind, it was already a done deal. Well, I didn’t get in. I got a big fat rejection email.

Sure, it gave me encouragement to apply next semester, but it felt like a hard slap in the face. Rejection feels like that, ya know? It feels like the reality that you’ve bought into about yourself or your life is just crumbling around you. At the time, there was no brightside. While other friends got to pursue classes within the school and take steps forward, I felt like I was stuck in quicksand. 

I’ve come to accept that everything in my life has happened for a reason. You can read a little more about this in my blog “Purpose From Pain.” Part of that is understanding that rejection also has its place among my life lessons. Getting a big, fat rejection from the school that I thought was my dream was a lesson I needed.

Right about the time when I felt like I was going to make something of myself, even though I didn’t get into the J-School a couple years before.

First, it forced me to give a shit about my writing. If you read a couple of my blogs, you’ll find that they’re very much written in a conversational tone. Most of the time, I’m speaking out loud when I’m writing. It’s always just made me connect to what I was saying more. That might have been what the media company in New York was looking for and what the audience of my first BlogSpot blog was looking for, but it wasn’t for everything. 

Having a highly regarded school tell me that I needed some time to keep working made me realize that I didn’t know everything. I wasn’t the perfect writer that I had originally thought and just because my mom was sharing all my stuff on Facebook does NOT mean I’m ready to write a novel. 

Second, being rejected made me start to rethink my plans. Whether or not it was supposed to, the rejection definitely made me question whether or not I was destined to be a writer. I walked into my first college class thinking that I wanted to write for The New York Times. This rejection is what made me start to consider communication. It made me start to realize that people could make money doing the thing that I was skipping class for; social media. 

I had always wanted to minor in Political Science, but being rejected from the Journalism school made me want to pursue that even more. I declared dual-degree student the semester after with majors in Political Science and Communications. A transfer of schools would just turn into two Bachelor of Arts in those fields. I got more education than I ever thought I would because of that initial rejection. 

The time that I proved that I did make something of myself, without the school I once dreamed of. Reject me and beat me down, but don’t ever expect me to stay there. Rejection was the match that lit my fire.

Lastly, rejection eventually made me find the beauty in the imperfections of my work. Like I said before, the lack of admittance might have made me realize that I was not the all-knowing writing prophecy. It also made me take my writing for face value. There are things that I am ridiculously good at when I write – connecting to people, telling a story, and painting a picture for my audience. It made me realize that I was writing to speak, which is definitely something I want my future career to involve. It made me realize that even though I can write 5-paragraph essays and research papers, I don’t think I want to do that for a living. 

The best friends that I talked about earlier are writing in the perfect way for them. My beautiful editor, Vanessa, writes so eloquently and I won’t be surprised in the least when her first book hits the shelves. She saves all of my blogs from having mistakes up the wazoo and offers so many amazing ideas. We’re two VERY different writers, but that rejection made me see the beauty of the craft again. It made me recognize that we’re artists painting  what we find beautiful. 

So, maybe you’re going through a terrible break up, you’ve lost your only source of income, or you’ve just got the rejection email from your dream school, and you’re questioning everything about you. Rejection hurts. Sometimes, it’s life’s way of putting a yield sign right in front of you so you learn to enjoy the drive. Other times, it’s a stop sign that you desperately needed to realize that your navigation was WAY off. 

Being rejected from my dream school was my saving grace in finding my path and my true self. Maybe, just maybe, the pain you’re going through has a purpose too?

Has anything happened in your life that hurt but you’re thankful for now? Tell me your story by getting into the DMs on any of my socials below! I want to hear from you!

Edited by Vanessa Reza. Contact info can be found on the ‘Contact Me’ page.