Now, more than ever, it's important to make your space sacred. Since COVID-19 came in like a flood, we have been spending more time in our dope abodes. Our souls need a safe space to shelter from all of the happenings outside of our doorsteps. Home is not only where the heart is but it's also where the peace is. It's the space that allows us to rest and recharge because black rest matters, too.
In resting, we recharge and we also begin to create the life and space we desire.
Journalist and content creator Marsha B. knows exactly what that means after her once comfortable life was shaken up. After seven years in a relationship, she woke up one day and decided she had to put herself first. While the breakup was one of the most amicable separations she has ever experienced, there was still one large blockade keeping her from her new chapter — their huge, two-bedroom apartment in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn.
Marsha's journey to her stylish sanctuary was nothing short of serendipitous. Her relationship ended on good terms so there were no qualms about her residing with her ex but her soul needed to started anew. A few months after the breakup, Marsha moved into a studio in the same neighborhood. It wasn't a deluxe apartment in the sky but it was the first stage in her building the life she wanted. However, her attempt to find solace in solitude quickly became a nightmare.
Reclaiming Her Time and Space
The studio apartment
Photo Courtesy of Marsha B.
"For my ex, it made no sense for me to leave. For me, it was vital to me really exploring what it meant to prioritize myself. I made the decision to find my own place. I moved in the wintertime so the neighborhood was generally quiet," she explained. "Once the weather hit 50 degrees, I realized I lived directly in front of a drug hub in Flatbush. Yes, directly outside of my front window was a trap van with drug dealers and drug addicts, reminiscent of the New Jack City movie."
The soundtrack of her life became fights heard in the middle of the night, undercover officers taking down addicts, and observed transactions as she walked into her building. She knew then that she had to go back to the drawing board in achieving the freedom she desired. She broke her lease. Her apartment complex let her know she'd be responsible for paying the rent through the remainder of her lease term. "I honestly didn't care," she said. "I had the money. I was going to do what I had to do to live comfortably."
Marsha found herself a few steps closer to the sanctuary she envisioned mid-apartment hunting when a broker reached out to her about a huge one-bedroom apartment available nearby. Located just 30 minutes from the studio she was renting, she decided to take a walk there. This time, she wanted to scope the neighborhood and be certain there were no trap vans hidden around the corner. The first thing that caught her attention was the size of the space. The living room alone was the size of the studio she was in the process of moving out of.
Photo Courtesy of Marsha B.
However, though the space was the size she longed for, it'd require a lot of work to truly be the space of her dreams. "This was a diamond in the rough," Marsha stated. "The kitchen had this horrible wallpaper from the 70's. The tiles on the floor were old and dirty. The walls honestly had never been painted since the tenant first moved in, 20 years ago. There were holes in the wall, a roach infestation, broken light fixtures. You name it, they had it. The broker let me know this apartment was being rented 'as is', so all my requests for the apartment to be improved were denied."
"I prayed long and hard about whether or not I should take this place. It was going to be a financial investment and I wasn't fond of spending so much on a place I didn't own. I adjusted to my abundance mindset: 'You have the money. You want to live comfortably. You will live here for as long as the universe will have you here. An investment in this apartment is an investment in you,'" she continued.
"I adjusted to my abundance mindset: 'You have the money. You want to live comfortably. You will live here for as long as the universe will have you here. An investment in this apartment is an investment in you.'"
The Stylish Sanctuary - Before & After:
And an investment it was indeed. Marsha got the keys to her apartment in October 2019 and since then has had her place fumigated and painted. She's retiled the dining room, kitchen and bathroom floors, stripped the wallpaper in the kitchen among other renovations she needed to in order to give her apartment the transformation she deserved. "I had to do everything on a budget because I still had to pay two months rent at my old spot, while paying rent at my new place," Marsha shared. "Then, there were moving costs, first month's rent, security, and broker's fee. And paint. Paint isn't cheap, especially when the apartment is gigantic."
But the hard work, money, and effort paid off and the peace she found afterwards was worth its weight in gold. "I am in love with where I live and I honestly don't ever want to leave!" she rejoiced about her stylish simple sanctuary.
Photo Courtesy of Marsha B.
"It's important to invest in what you want. This apartment was in such horrible shape and if I weren't willing to invest in it, I might've settled for something mediocre. I am filled with pride when I look at my apartment and what it's morphed into."
Photo Courtesy of Marsha B.
"I'd like to think that I manifested this apartment. I wrote down on a piece of paper, 'I will attract the perfect apartment for me. It will be in the perfect location. It will be safe and affordable.' I got exactly what I asked for. If I didn't shift into my abundance mindset, I could've possible lost out on an amazing living space. As far as rent goes, I only pay $55 more than I was paying in my studio. This apartment is four times bigger. No DIY projects, but I will throw this tip out there: Facebook Marketplace is the truth!"
Photo Courtesy of Marsha B.
"My favorite part of my new space is my bedroom. I strategically left it out of my apartment tour because it's such a sacred space for me. If my home were a church, my bedroom would be the confessional. I'm very conscious of the energies I allow in there. I have affirmations written on the walls and I house my altar that keeps me spiritually grounded there. My personal rule is that there are no arguments or disagreements in my bedroom. It is literally a safe space for me."
Keep up with Marsha on her website, Introvert N The City.
Featured image courtesy of Marsha B.
Joce Blake is a womanist who loves fashion, Beyonce and Hot Cheetos. The sophistiratchet enthusiast is based in Brooklyn, NY but has southern belle roots as she was born and raised in Memphis, TN. Keep up with her on Instagram @joce_blake and on Twitter @SaraJessicaBee.
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
There’s nothing quite as humbling as navigating adulthood with no instruction manual. Since the turn of the decade, it seems like everything in our society that could go wrong has, inevitably, gone wrong. From the global pandemic, our crippling student debt problem, the loneliness crisis, layoffs, global warming, recession, and not to mention figuring out what to eat for dinner every night. This constant state of uncertainty has many of us wondering, when are the grown-ups coming to fix all of this?
But the catch is, we are the new grown-ups.
As if it happened without our permission, we became the new adults. We are the members of society who are paying taxes, having children, getting married, and keeping our communities afloat, one iced latte at a time. Still, there’s something about doing all these grown-up duties that feel unnaturally grown-up. Enter the #teenagegirlinher20s.
If there’s one hashtag to give you the state of the next cohort of adults, it’s this one. Of the videos that have garnered over 3.9M views, you’ll find a collection of users who are overwhelmed by life’s pressing existential responsibilities, clung to nostalgia, and reminiscent of the days when their mom and dad took care of their insurance plans.
no like i cant explain to her why i had to buy multiple tank air dupes from aritzia #teenagegirlinher20s #fyp
The concept of being a 20-something or 30-something teenager is linked to the sentiment of not feeling “grown up enough” to do grown-up things while feeling underprepared and even nihilistic about whether that preparation even matters.
It’s our generation’s version of when we ask our grandmothers how old they are and they simply reply with, “I still feel 45,” all while being every bit of 76 years old. In this, we share a warped concept of time while clinging to a desire for infantilization.
Granted, the pandemic did a number on our concept of time. Many of us who started the pandemic in our early or mid-20s missed out on three fundamental years of socialization, career development, and personal milestones that traditionally help to mark our growth.
Our time to figure out and plan our next steps through fumbling yet active participation was put on pause indefinitely and then resumed provisionally. This in turn has left many of us hanging in the balance of uncertainty as we try to make sense of the disconnect between our minds and bodies in this missing gap of time.
Because we’re all still figuring out what the ramifications of being locked away and frozen in time by a global pandemic will have on us as a society, there really is no “right” way of making up for lost time. Feeling unprepared for any new chapter of life is a natural rite of passage, pandemic or not. However, it’s important to not stay stuck in the last age or period of life that made sense to us because self-growth is the truest evidence of personal progress.
So whether you’re leaning on your inner child, teenager, or 20-something for guidance as you fill the gap between your real age and pandemic age, know that it’s okay to grieve the person you thought you would be and the milestones you thought you’d hit before you ever knew what a pandemic was. If there’s anything that the pandemic taught us, it’s that we have the power to reimagine a better world and life for ourselves. And if we tap into our inner teenager as a compass, we can piece together our next chapter with a fresh outlook.
Sure, we’ve lost a couple of years, but there are still some really amazing ones ahead.
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Featured image by Stephen Zeigler/Getty Images