I Was Lost In The Journey To Becoming My Dream Self
At the forefront of my mind remains the image of my dream self ---the ideal and successful version of me I long to grow into. In the humblest way, my dream self is pretty mind-blowing, or époustouflante , as we say in French. If you take a glance at my vision board, it won't take long for you to define the way I portray her: She has Leticia Gardner's looks and married life, blossoms through her career as beautifully as Necole Kane does , and writes pieces that touch people in such a deep way the world refers to her as "young Oprah".
She's a great leading woman, the kind whose main aspirations are to inspire and make a difference. She dreams of everything fancy and would break any wall that prevents her from
reaching those dreams
. Where some people hear "no", she hears "try harder". She's intelligent, constantly strives for self-accomplishment and fears nothing.
I came across a photo of Leticia Marie Gardener when I took my first trip to Los Angeles. Living up to its reputation, the City of Angels naturally didn't fail to work its magic on me. From visiting famous TV-show sets to grabbing coffee with Devious Maids actress Edy Ganem in Beverly Hills and being offered dinner by Eva Longoria at her restaurant Beso Hollywood, L.A. showed me that all the glitz and glamour I've always fantasized about are possible (because yeah, you can aim to make a difference but still be fancy AF). It showed me that I, too, could have a seat at the table . And by showing me just that, L.A. gifted me with the secret sauce I'd been missing to make something out of my dreams: a vision.
However, after 6 years of pursuing my vision and several spiritual awakenings, I learned that you're never safe from losing sight of who your dream self is. And there are a lot of setbacks and growth to experience before you can become her.
Reflecting on where I stood in my life last year, what comes to mind is "the Ordeal". In what's known as "the Hero's Journey", the Ordeal refers to the moment in the Hero's life where, after approaching "the Inmost Cave", a major crisis occurs. The Hero is therefore led to face his biggest fears and finds himself on the edge of death. His survival depends on whether or not he wins the fight against those fears . What triggered that crisis in my case were two defining decisions that I made a couple of years ago: Give up on a master's degree in mass communications/journalism to settle for a job that wasn't fulfilling but paid well, and move out of my mother's house whereas my goal was to stack enough money to participate in the UCLA Extension Writer's Program.
Although making those decisions seemed to be the right thing to do at the time, all it did was bring serious disorder into my life. It resulted in me turning into a miserable person---depressed, lost and trapped in a reality I never intended to make mine. My dream self and I were dying, and I was the one killing us both.
Last May, when the consequences of my choices became unbearable and I hit rock bottom, I started seeking help wherever I could.
I began seeing a therapist every two weeks, working on my relationship with God, hanging out with friends more often, and doing a lot more of the things that are probably on your usual self-care list. Had you told me that the most efficient help I'd find was going to be in writing a letter to myself, I wouldn't have believed you.
When it comes to writing a letter to ourselves, oftentimes we write about the things we would tell our younger self or the things we'd love to read when we turn a certain age. Either way, the words on paper aren't dedicated to our present self. Yet, what I needed was instant guidance. I needed someone to call me out on my bullsh*t. RIGHT. NOW. Someone who wouldn't give me the traditional "that's life" speech, but more the "you need to get your life together" one. And considering how misunderstood I felt, I knew that the only one who'd be able to get me back on my feet was my dream self. So, I grabbed my favorite pen and a piece of paper, stepped into her shoes, and asked myself: "What would my dream self say if she knew why she's so close to never existing?"
Stop ignoring what the voice within you is trying to tell you.
Within each of us resides a voice that's purpose is to guide us through this thing called life. It's there to make sure that every step we take is in the direction of the life God---the Universe, whatever you want to call it---has uniquely designed for every one of us. She who decides to pay attention and listen to that voice will be provided with all the answers. She who decides to ignore it engages in a deadly fight against herself.
Three years ago, I made two decisions that didn't feel right in my heart but I still chose to ignore because I thought they were necessary. By not listening to what my heart was telling me, I created chaos in my life which, at some point, forced me to take huge steps back so I could save myself. I had to quit my job and move back in with my mom.
Sometimes, the only way for us to reroute toward the right direction is to destroy the foundation that we built around some important life decisions that we made---a foundation we, in most cases, became attached to and which somehow became part of our identity. Going back to square one was a painful way for me to learn that, no matter how aggressive its method, the voice within will always find a way to be heard.
"Your life is a piece of art and art is never finished, only abandoned."
To me, life's art, and human beings are all born artists. Indeed, we might not all be born painters, writers, dancers, or musicians, but we've all been given the ability to create something out of nothing---to create ourselves and our own reality. The beauty of art is that, as Leonardo da Vinci once said, it's never finished. It can always be refined. Colors can always be added, words can always be rewritten and sculptures can always be reshaped. So can life.
Again, going back to square one taught me an important lesson: The artist in me is allowed to create and recreate my current reality until it looks perfectly like the masterpiece I've always imagined my life to be, no matter what it takes.
Wherever you find yourself in life, if it doesn't feel right, then move. You're not stuck. Take a leap of faith and walk into the unknown where thousands of opportunities are waiting for you.
Focus on being the first you instead of the next someone else.
Have you ever admired someone so much that you wished you were that person? And not only did you wish you were that person, but you actually started impersonating her and doing everything like her as though it would lead to living the same life? When people would ask me who I wanted to be when I grew up, I used to answer, "I want to be the next Oprah Winfrey ." Truth be told, if I could've turned into any celebrity I was fangirling over, I definitely would have.
One of the reasons I got so lost in the journey to becoming my dream self was the fact that I was following someone else's path believing that, since we were reaching for the same destination, we could also head in the same direction. Wrong. The world doesn't need another Oprah Winfrey . It needs me and my gift.
As I've mentioned before, there's a path that's been uniquely designed for each and every one of us. It's paved with flowers only you can smell and mountains only you can climb. Its light is the only light that'll ever make you shine. Somewhere down this path is where your treasure is.
It's the only way for you to grow into the person God wants you to be--not the one you wish you could be. Walking down someone else's path will surely lead you to the destination you aim to reach, but it'll always keep you looking for the dream and the magic. Walking down your own path, however, allows the magic to operate. Then, you become the dream.
Every day is a good day to put in the work.
They say that dreams don't work unless you do. And as a pro procrastinator who only puts in the work when I feel like it, taking action tends to be a bit problematic at times, especially when it doesn't provide me with instant gratification. I eventually had to face the fact that becoming my dream self isn't an overnight success but the result of constant and vigorous efforts.
My dream self owes her success as a writer to the hours she spends writing every day, even when inspiration's hiding. She manages to write a bestseller because she won't let the time it would take to write discourage her from doing so. She's as fit as Leticia Gardner because the results she gets from hitting the gym daily are more important than the satisfaction she gets from snacking while binge-watching Netflix .
Accessing your dream life will require hard work and discipline from you. The more you give it your all, the closer you get to your breakthrough. You have to be responsible for how much you get done. Don't be the one standing in your own way. Push yourself to do the work. Every. Single. Day.
Here and now is still good. The journey matters more than the destination.
Human beings are unsatisfied creatures always yearning for more. I can't recall a time where I felt like my reality was enough. My mind has always teemed with all these big dreams and, before this intimate conversation with my dream self, all I was waiting for was the day they'd be fulfilled so I could feel fulfilled myself. The last thing she had to tell me, which is by far one of the most important, is to stop missing out on what's already in front of me by rushing to the next big thing.
No more "I'll be happy when". Bliss might be waiting for you at the finish line, but happiness lies in the here and the now. You just have to be willing to find it.
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The most Gemini woman you'll ever meet. Communications & community enthusiast, I run a media platform centered around spirituality, and I'm always looking to connect with fellow creatives. Follow me on Instagram & Twitter @savannahtaider
This post is in partnership with BET+.
is back for its second season, with even more sermons, songs, and serpents. The series picks up where it left off, with actress
as Rbel caught between the stripper pole and the pulpit. With the first lady of the church working desperately against her, Rbel must find a way to live her dreams and honor her friend while figuring out her faith in the process.
Season one served a collection plate of rivalry, deceit, and revenge –– among many other tribulations. Between the 28-year-old’s acting, conviction, and harmonious voice, here are a few reasons why season two of Kingdom Business is a must-watch.
If the Spirit Doesn’t Move You, Serayah’s Singing Voice Will
Rbel, formally known as Rebecca Belle, is a stripper whose life forcibly takes a turn after suffering a tragedy. Through her quest to find the truth, Rbel finds herself at odds with the head of a local church, First Kingdom’s Denita Jordan, played by the legendary Yolanda Adams . Rbel unknowingly emerges as what a faithful Christian embodies: a perfectly imperfect human who works every day to try their best while leaning on God. Although struggling with her faith, each ballad sung by Rbel can be felt, as the lyrics relate to personal struggles we all endure in different ways. Gospel songs hit differently when your life is in shambles, and chile, Serayah is singing new life into folks.
Serayah is a Formidable Opponent to The Yolanda Adams
As one of the best-selling gospel artists of all time, it’s no easy task to take on the role of a person on the opposing side of greatness. Serayah’s Rbel does an excellent job meeting Jordan at her level while shining through her solos. Throughout season one, Rbel emerges as a top streaming artist, an accomplishment that begets something of a holy war.
Serayah’s Acting Range is Engaging
As a former stripper trying to make a name for herself in the gospel industry, you can imagine the struggles that could come with it. Rbel goes through a range of emotions, all understandable and relatable. Despite several crises of faith, Serayah ensures Rbel delivers a humbling performance that makes the audience root for her redemption.
The Kingdom Business Soundtrack is Everything
Streaming now on Spotify , Tidal , and Apple Music , the Kingdom Business: Season 1 soundtrack is one you’d want to add to your playlist for high and low times. Aside from four soul-soothing songs from Serayah, the soundtrack also features singles from co-star/Hamilton’s Chaundre-Hall Broomfield, gospel artist Chandler Moore, and legend Yolanda Adams.
Serayah’s Rbel Makes You Root For Her
With First Kingdom beginning to crumble under the pressure of lies, infidelity, and deception, Rbel’s window to take that top spot seems wide open; however, the end of season one showed us the Spirit had other plans. Whether you believ e or not, Serayah’s Rbel makes you want to see her win. Who doesn’t love a good underdog with a laid 22” bust down? Whether she seeks Him or not, God is proving to be on Rbel’s side. But is it enough to turn everything around for her? Will Rbel lean on faith or fear?
With secrets coming to light, success within reach, and the devastating conclusion of season one, you don’t want to miss season two––especially with more guest collaborations. Kingdom Business returns to BET+ on Nov 2.
BET+ Original | Kingdom Business | S2 Official Trailer youtu.be
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While I was in a session with a married couple semi-recently, I asked them to share one of the best things about being in a long-term, committed relationship . Believe it or not, it was the wife who quickly provided the answer that serves as inspiration for this article: “You have a locked-in-for-life quickie partner. People don’t realize how wonderful that is!”
Ah, yes, the quickie . It’s one of those things that pretty much all sexually active people have experienced before, and yet, I’m not so sure that quickies actually get all of the props and respect that they truly deserve. I mean, I get why because, since reportedly, a little under three minutes technically counts as one, some people think that they are automatically getting slighted whenever a quickie goes down.
Yet, if you give me a little bit of your time today, my plan is to show you that quickies are, by no means, a consolation prize or something to roll your eyes about. If you choose to take in all of what I’m about to say, you could up and realize that one of the best things about your day could be making sure that you either don’t start or end one without checking a quickie off of your to-do list.
I’m dead serious, too. Check out 12 reasons why the wife was right — quickies are indeed the ultimate short-yet-potent activity.
1. Quickies Can Help You to Get Out of the RIGHT Side of the Bed
I recently read an article that said sleep deprivation can take a real toll on romantic relationships. The method behind the madness is, when you’re not getting enough rest, it can put you in a bad mood, and that can alter how you engage with your significant other (hey, makes perfect sense to me). So, it would seem that being intentional about getting 6-8 hours of sleep would help to alleviate this problem. Okay, but what do you do on the days when you were tossing and turning all night, you had some bad dreams, and/or you’re just not in the best of moods when your alarm clock goes off (even if you don’t know why)? Have a quickie.
Dopamine , endorphins (which are neurotransmitters), oxytocin, and vasopressin (a hormone that helps with your emotional stability and with your circadian rhythms ) are all natural chemicals that are released during sex, especially when you climax. Since all of these can help to put you in a better mood, that’s just one reason why a brief romp before rolling out of bed could get your day off to a great start (no matter how you initially felt when you first woke up).
2. Quickies Can Make Waking Up (and Falling Asleep) a Quicker Process
It’s kind of wild that the same act that can wake you up is the same one that can totally knock you out. Sex does have that super innate ability, though. If you want something better than your alarm, a quickie can get you up and going pretty fast; that’s because, when sex gets your heart racing and your blood pumping, it can get your adrenaline going to — especially if you’re say , riding cowgirl instead of just lying in the missionary position (yes, the more active, the better!).
As far as sleep goes , whenever you have an orgasm from sex, your body releases the hormones oxytocin and prolactin — both of these will help you to feel happy and satisfied. If you add to that the fact that cortisol (your stress hormone) level drops after having an orgasm too…yeah, there’s no cup of warm milk that will put you to sleep faster than a quickie will, chile.
3. Quickie Sex Is More Energizing (and Enjoyable) than a Cup of Coffee
If you always assumed that coffee gives you extra energy , the reality is…it doesn’t. What it does do is stimulate what is known as your adenosine (a system that regulates sleepiness and alertness); that’s the good news. The bad news is, just as quickly as the caffeine in coffee can give you a charge, it can also tank, leaving you to feel exhausted (which is a part of the reason why some people endlessly drink coffee throughout the day).
What’s more reliable than that? Yep — you guessed it. Since sex does everything from de-stressing you, stretching out your muscles and tendons, and increasing your heart rate — it’s an all-natural way to get your body going…without all of the side effects that can sometimes come with coffee consumption.
4. Quickies Give You the Same Health Benefits As Longer Sessions Do
Earlier this year, Men’s Health published an article entitled, “ How Long Should Sex Last, Really? Experts Say Longer Isn't Always Better. ” It actually said that when it comes to penetrative sex between heterosexual couples, the average was (you ready?) 5.4 minutes — yep, basically a quickie. And here’s the thing: whether you go that short or much longer, you’re gonna basically get the same health benefits either way.
Sex is gonna lower your blood pressure. Sex is gonna boost your immunity. Sex is gonna reduce any anxiety you may be feeling. Sex is gonna make you feel better about yourself (yep, it literally helps to boost your self-esteem). Sex is gonna reduce your pain levels. Sex is gonna improve your quality of sleep. The list goes on and on.
In fact, the only health benefit that longer sex probably provides is how many calories you can potentially burn. The reason why I say that is because you need to “engage” for about 30 minutes in order for you to lose 69 calories (“69” — the irony) and your partner (if he’s a man) to lose 101 of ‘em. In every other way? Even quickie sex can do your body a whole lot of good.
5. A Quickie Can Actually Make Sex More Adventurous
Especially as we age, it’s easier to automatically retreat to the bed when we plan on having longer sexual sessions; that’s because the bed is a comfortable place to have it. Okay, but what if you’ve been with your partner for a while, things kind of seem boring and routine , and you’re not really sure what to do about it? In walks the power of a quickie. ‘Cause let’s be real: there is some stuff that you’d probably never do for an hour that you’d be willing to try for 10 minutes.
For instance, if the thought of public sex has always intrigued you while also freaking you out, you might be down if it’s only gonna take five minutes — and the more spontaneous and creative sex is, the more it can breathe new life into any two people’s sex life!
6. Quickie Sex Significantly Reduces Stress Levels
Stress can kill you — yes, quite literally. I make sure to say that as often as I can because it’s the truth. Heart disease . Asthma. Obesity. Depression. Accelerated aging — these are just a few things that are oftentimes directly related to stress. Since it’s been scientifically proven that sex will trigger the neurotransmitters (dopamine) that help to make you feel good as it also decreases your cortisol (your stress hormone ) levels — you are helping your mind, body, and spirit out by having sex…even if they are quickies.
7. Quickies Make Prioritizing Sex Way Easier
I’m gonna be honest — since more and more articles are coming out that sex doesn’t really “need” to be more than 7-13 minutes , I’m not sure the whole “we have no time for sex” thing flies (anymore). If you’ve got time to be on Instagram or TikTok for two hours a day, you’ve got a fraction of that time to get busy with your partner. At the end of the day, it’s all about prioritizing what’s important to you (now, if sex isn’t important, we’ll have to tackle that at another time).
However, if the issue is that one of you likes to “make love all night long” like 90s R&B songs talk about (chile) and the other is cool with sex that is less than half of a 30-minute sitcom, try to schedule “the 90s” in for once a week (or once every other week) while mutually committing to getting some quickies in a couple of times a week. If you haven’t already, I think that by the time this article is over, you’ll see all of the reasons why this can be the greatest — and most fulfilling — compromise that you and your partner have made in a really long time.
8. Having Quickies Can Take the Pressure of Sexual Performance Off
A platform that I used to write for, once upon a time, is Marriage. I kind of chuckled when I read an article that they published earlier this year entitled, “ 15 Signs You’re Bad in Bed and What to Do About It ” because boy…I used to deal with a couple who both believed they were the absolute bomb in bed, even though neither of them agreed. Listen, just because someone from your past may have thought you were “the ultimate” — when it comes to great sex, truly one size DOES NOT fit all. Anyway, some of the reasons that the article listed was poor communication regarding needs and expectations, not having a good emotional connection , and (basically) sucking at foreplay .
That last one? If you and your partner are currently trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t, please don’t forego sex altogether until you figure it out. HAVE. QUICKIES. It can help you both to get the physical release that you need as you work towards achieving the type of sex that you both desire. It’s a practical solution to a layered situation.
9. Quickies Bond You to Your Partner
Every time I see a TikTok post or read someone on Twitter (it’s always gonna be Twitter to me, chile) talk about sex is nothing more than a physical release, the first two things that come to mind are one, we are not animals; we have sex for more reasons than “being in heat” or even to procreate and two, how many people actually never learned about oxytocin in high school-level science class (like really…what in the world?). To be honest, there’s one more thought: don’t you want to see yourself as more than just “casual”? I say it often: casual means things like careless, apathetic, and unintentional. Regardless of what your personal feelings about sex (and who you should have sex with) are, I hope that we all can at least get on the same page that we should see ourselves as more than just… casual .
Back to the oxytocin thing, though — science is never gonna change. There is a hormone (that I’ve already mentioned) that is released during sexual activity (shoot, even just affectionate activities) that literally makes you feel closer to your partner. Oxytocin is its name, and that’s why it has “ the love hormone ” moniker.
Am I saying that quickies will prevent cheating? There are layers to why people are unfaithful , so to give a blanket “yes” or “no” would be irresponsible. What I will say is something that a husband of over 30 years once said to me, “When I’m having consistent sex at home, it’s the difference between seeing an attractive woman and saying, ‘She’s pretty’ vs. not having much sex at home and thinking, ‘I wonder what she’s like.’ Full people typically aren’t hungry…unless they’re just greedy.” All of that will preach. On a billion different levels too.
10. A Quickie Is a Great Sex Compromise (for When You’re Not in the Mood)
Relationships are all about compromise . And when you’re in a long-term committed relationship, it can’t be said enough that sex isn’t just a “perk”; it’s a responsibility (when it comes to marriage, even the Good Book cosigns on that in I Corinthians 7:5). Unfortunately because not enough people give quickies any type of real consideration, they don’t realize that it can be the ultimate “meet in the middle” move when their partner may be in the mood and they’re not totally…there ( or vice versa ). Yes, quickies are a solid way to “scratch the itch” without there being a need for an all-out performance.
Listen, I tell my married clients often that when it comes to being faithful to your vows, it’s pretty ridiculous to expect your partner to only be with you if you are rarely with them. After all, no one signs up for a sexless marriage . Bottom line, quickies can be a happy medium when you want to make sure that your partner is good without you having to…do the most (so to speak).
11. Quickies Can Make Sex…Later…Better
If you want to intensify your orgasms (or your sexual experiences overall), one way to do that is by edging . The best way to explain edging is you and your partner sexually stimulate each other to the brink of climaxing, stop for 30-45 seconds, and then start all over again. Why would anyone want to send themselves through that kind of sexually-induced torture? One reason I already mentioned (it makes the quality of your orgasm better); another is it can actually help your partner to last longer (if that’s something you’re ultimately after).
To me, quickies are a next-level form of edging. The way I see it is, it’s like having an appetizer or snack to hold you over until you can enjoy the meal that you’ve been waiting for all day long. For instance, if your quickie consists of morning sex or an afternoon delight during your lunch break, just think of how much that will consume your mind and build anticipation until you and your partner can get together again (especially if you throw some sexting into the mix!). Five-minute previews now can lead to a full-on main attraction later. Amen?
12. Quickies Can Teach Both of You How to “Push the Right Buttons”
Almost every couple , who’ve been together for over a decade, that I know personally, tells me that sex has only gotten better with time. There are a myriad of reasons why. One of them is because they have really learned each other’s bodies, which means they know what works and…what doesn’t. And when it comes to mastering a quickie, that’s the ultimate cheat code because there are going to be times when your mind wants to, your energy levels or your schedules are on the fence, and so you’ll want to “get what you need” without it taking forever.
And listen, if you let quickies teach you how to know just what to do in record time, this point alone can be a solid reason for why you’ll want to engage in one or more quickies a day — a guaranteed orgasm. DAILY? C’mon now.
Welp. On behalf of quickies, I’ve pleaded my case. If I’ve convinced even a handful of you to at least try to have one a day, I’ve done my part. Again, under seven minutes (give or take a couple of minutes) of pleasure that will give you all of what I just said? WHY NOT HAVE A QUICKIE? Damn.
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