The Business of Love

thinkpiece July 6, 2018

From the scarcity of my posts, you know that I’m guilty of many things–reclusiveness and drawn-out reflectiveness being the most obvious. I wouldn’t say that my writing lacked purpose before, but now, I write what I feel is most essential; it’s like 11th grade AP English all over again, when concise was the word that haunted my dreams. After months of silence, I return to say that love is more important now than ever. And even more so, giving it in abundance.

Owning a business is the last thing I’d imagined would strengthen my practice of giving unconditional love, but, almost six months into managing my first, I can say that love makes for good business, and being able to express it, makes business better. This isn’t to say that I call my clients up to tell them how much I adore them–as I get to know them, I find that they’re all very dynamic people, but professionalism is of the essence.

So, what does love have to do with business? I consider myself lucky to wake up everyday absolutely loving what I do, whether it’s an easy day or not, but this way of looking at love doesn’t go deeper than the surface. When we think a little more abstract and consider unconditional love, it becomes apparent that love and business go hand in hand because an abundance of one creates an abundance of the other. Here’s how:

At the core, when you treat yourself like an asset with infinite value, you’ll treat your employees and your projects similarly. Stories about founders and CEOs who don’t make self care a priority mortify me because the foundation you set for yourself will determine the foundation of your business; if you create a culture of sleep deprivation, unloading built-up emotions instead of communicating openly, and indulging in crappy foods, guess what? That’s what your employees will emulate.

Do I whine internally as I roll out of bed to head to the gym at 6 or 7 am? Absolutely–especially when there’s (LA) traffic. But, it sets my day on the right track, puts me in a great mood, and quite frankly, keeps me healthy. I promise, I’m not some vegan Crusader, but giving extraaa thought to what I put in my body has put me in a better headspace. If you treat yourself like a trashcan, eventually, you’ll treat your business like one too; if you treat yourself like an herb, for instance, that needs several elements to grow and provide, the sky is the limit.

And this isn’t because you’re the most important person in your business, it’s because the way you treat yourself sets the tone for how your employees treat themselves and each other! Granted, you are the foundation of your business, so everything you think and do will manifest and influence others within your organization; however, you’re merely the foundation. Let’s not forget, the Burj Khalifa has 163 stories built upon its foundation.

So when you set a great foundation for yourself through practicing giving unconditional love, that practice spreads to others–whether they work with you or not, creating a lasting influence on first, your community, then society, then the greater world. Respect, communication, collaboration and love make for a fabulous bedrock, not only because it ensures your organization’s success, but also because it allows for those successes to translate into civic goodness: investments in community centers, offering paid internships to kids whose other option is crime, even, collectively giving blood…the list goes on and on.

Now, the practice won’t be easy–it’ll be hell sometimes, but the reward is infinite. And whether you are a recluse (like me), or you have the visibility of Kim K, this practice will change your life. If you’re already practicing, great, continue, and I promise the reward will be magnified.

“Don’t withhold your love. Somebody needs you and you need them.” –Iyanla Vanzant

 

In my hearth

fashion December 14, 2017

fingers pressed against my kēvo lock, my veil of political correctness and fake smiles lifts as I enter,

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10 pounds lighter,
I trade high heels, or Superga’s for bare toes on a bohemian rug

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the welcoming quiet nudges me into euphoria.

slowly, an inclination builds to scan pages, add some noise

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feet up, on surfaces I insisted on building myself, my second skin sheds into milk and honey

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on days when I torment myself with memory, the bottom of my shower caresses me,

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pushing the tears out, until a right turn of the faucet makes them into magic

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the space I fill with it,

is all mine

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black bodysuit: Zara | white open-back t-shirt: ASOS | pants: ASOS

rug: Bungalow Rose | curvy armchair: Home Loft Concepts | velvet armchair: Willa Arlo

platform bed: Mercury Row

Twenties Junkyard

fashion October 30, 2017

Twenties:
the junkyard of your life,
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trash and treasure find you,
inevitably, you question ‘am I f—king up?’

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you shift through your trash, his treasure, her trash, to find your treasure

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at best, it’s an amalgam
travel light in the era of missing parts, loose screws, erasing plans

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wallow in hope; don’t add difficulty to the life-long task of putting yourself together

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preparation is a raft filled with holes

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misguided predictions on what’s ‘round the corner, a tainted, unfocused vision, coalesces onto a canvas

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Your treasure, indiscernible from your trash, piles up

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Are you f—king up? Or growing?
Don’t stop to find out

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“What if I thought the brake was the gas? What if I crashed? What if these deep thoughts was my last?” –November X Tyler The Creator

Blue Hue

fashion August 8, 2017

For the past six months, lingering uncertainty pushed me into silent observation. It often felt like touching the color blue. Cool and brittle to touch sometimes, other times, a soft porous fabric you yearn to run your fingers through.

More than 168 days ago, I began avidly questioning what I know for certain. Laying under Puerto Rican sun, I shuffled through two-hundred and twenty eight pages written by Oprah, who, began contemplating the same question around the same age. At the end of it, she wrote, “I know for sure that what I think, what I say, what I do – everything will be returned to me. And the same is true for you.”

Yet, the silence permeated.

Sickened by a collective moral depravity within a society that rallied, in part, behind a criminal celebrity zealot, I opted to practice a deep outrospection. At a time when truth became conditional, used merely to serve some notable end, it felt necessary.

At a time when caring about people with whom you live side-by-side, neck-and-neck, seemed too socialist, or too European to be of any use in America – land of hyper-consumerism and ethnic cleansing, frequently failing in its promise to be just and free. Incapable of skating towards a collective good, and away from paranoia perpetuated by myth, our society appeared more likely to be caught in bed nibbling at the neck of its beloved mistress, greed, than at that of its betrothed, justice.

Let’s be real – our collective complacency only facilitated their orgasms, as their lust for more left us more fragile than ever.

This, I learned during twenty-four weeks of rendering myself vulnerable, questioning the things I know to be true. Truths realized while considering the relativity of the human condition were rejected just as quickly as I had accepted them. Twenty-four weeks of becoming comfortable with uncomfortable change, the fluid kind that burned hot just as fast as it did cold.

Living in a hue of blue, this time, the kind that was uncomfortable to touch, reality struck me as pretty grim. In the world of ivory towers, reality may have appeared problematic, but harmless: often lacking an invitation, and arriving embarrassingly late and embarrassingly drunk. In the real world, reality held hands with prejudice, opportunism, and impending ruin instead.

Everything we do is relative and our disregard for one another, like our disregard of the places we occupy will come back to us.

For six months I have vowed acute observation of world realities, the ideals we live by, myself, the people I hold dear, and others whom I don’t – yet the commonality appeared to be our self-sabotaging greed.

So please don’t care more about what I’m wearing than what I’m saying, or doing. Hold me accountable, as I’d hold you: to grow better, more selfless, inquisitive, and unaccepting of the injustices re-enslaving all of us, not just some. Nineteen-thousand seven-hundred and ten days have past since Martin Luther King Jr. wrote from a Birmingham jail, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

The blue, cotton-blend backless blouse from Zara that I’m wearing could quite literally be someone’s blood, sweat, and tears (https://projectjust.com/brand_zara/). Too often, the systemic unethical production of $30 shirts consumed in the first world directly cause death and destruction in the third.

On one of the lesser balmy evenings, a sweatshirt worn hood-up was a death sentence. The label reads, “50% COTTON, 25% POLYESTER, 25% DEATH WISH FOR BROWN SKIN.” But you want to know where it’s from? Take your changes if you must, but remember this Jamaican adage: “dog and puss don’t have the same luck.”

Even then, there is not an us versus them, there is only us. I know this for certain because of you. Even when I only want it to be about the clothes, you see more – a representation of otherness foreign in a blogosphere of “wear this,” “buy that.” Full lips, and plentiful curves in a world that both condemns those attributes when they’re on black bodies, yet claws to possess them when they’re not.

When I started this blog, I didn’t expect people to care. I wanted a space to do something different. Quickly, I learned that bloggers who dress, eat, and travel well don’t flirt with controversy because of optics. Then and now, I aspire to proudly touch upon pressure points instead of merely wanting you to give a damn about what I’m wearing. Don’t get me wrong– that is also a part of this thing, but it is only one of many things that deserve undercovering.

There are so many questions deserving of answers, and problems deserving of our attention. And no, that isn’t my idealism speaking – it’s reality. This is what I’ve learned through introspection, outrospection, and becoming terribly comfortable with change.

The very morbid reality is, we’re living in the hue of blue that is so brittle, it will break us. Our favorite blue, the one we long to cuddle up against on quiet, early mornings, or when we’re near the sea, that blue is also in reach if we do so together.

In addition to you, here are the works that opened to that truth:

Break The Norms, Chandresh Bhardhaj

“Love Thy Neighbor?” http://wapo.st/2vedQWv

“The True Cost” https://truecostmovie.com

“How to see past your own perspective and find truth” http://bit.ly/2vJK0L5

“The Loving Story” – HBO

Animal Farm, George Orwell

“The Science of Your Racist Brain” http://bit.ly/2woVnVC

“Insecure” – HBO

“If Americans Love Mothers, Why Do We Let Them Die?” http://nyti.ms/2vJvtyH

Lookbook 2.17

fashion February 17, 2017

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“Abstraction is a form of decadence”
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“You are responsible for constituting the meaning of things”

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“You get the face you deserve”

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“The most profound things are inexpressible”

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“You don’t know what’s what until you support yourself”

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“Self-awareness can be crippling”

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“You should raise boys and girls in the same way”

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“Sacrificing yourself for a bad cause is not a moral act”

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“It’s crucial to have an active fantasy life”