So Hard to Say Goodbye

obamas

Has eight years passed already?!

Not only has the Obama family brought grace and poise to the White House since they entered it in 2008, but we’ve accomplished so many things and made so much progress as a country having them as our nation’s leaders. Strides were made in gaining equal rights for all people, regardless of race, gender, sexuality, or religion. While there are still many things we need to address and fix about our country, President Obama has been pushing us in the right direction for the past eight years. With the events that took place on November 8 (the 2016 election), I can’t  help but feel like we’re moving backwards, erasing all the amazing progress we’ve made so far.

On this Inauguration Day, I’m sad to say goodbye to President Obama and his family but I hope that we can come together to fight for what is right. I hope that as people, we can beat hate, bigotry and negativity with love, acceptance and positivity, and that we continue making progress as a country.

Letting Go and Letting God

So here’s the T,

One of the things that helped me push through the end of 2016, along with a great support system of family and friends, was growing in my faith and spirituality. People have varying degrees of how close their relationship with God is, so I definitely understand that faith isn’t something that everyone can strongly relate to. Some people go to church every single Sunday without fail and have an extremely close relationship with God; others don’t really have any relationship with God at all and some people, like myself, fall somewhere in the middle.

Growing up, I was raised Roman Catholic, following after the example of my mom and her side of my family. My dad isn’t religious and I’m not even sure what his opinions are about faith and believing in God because he doesn’t talk about it much, so all of my experiences with religion as a child were based on Catholic traditions and practices. I went through all the holy sacraments, went to Catholic Sunday school as a kid and I even attended Catholic school from the 5th grade all the way through high school. Despite growing up in a predominantly Catholic environment for most of my life, I just didn’t feel connected to it. I felt like I was going through the motions, believing because I had to. Being the naturally curious person that I was, and still am today, I started to have so many doubts when it came to religion. There were so many questions that didn’t have simple and concrete answers and I had issues with blindly believing in something without being able to fully understand it.

It wasn’t until my sophomore year in college when I decided that I wanted to strengthen my faith in God again. At a time in my life with so much growth and change, there were so many times where I felt lost, and leaning on friends and family wasn’t enough. I started by going to a Catholic church down the road from my dorm and I had the same experience with religion that I’ve always had. I didn’t feel connected to it. I was just going through the motions. It wasn’t until the next year that I went to a Baptist church a few times with some of my friends, that I really felt a strong connection to my faith again. This isn’t to say that one practice is better than the other, but it’s important to try out new things find where you feel the most comfortable and in what types of environment allow you to truly strengthen your relationship with God. Personally, I found that within a Baptist church. I felt like I was finally connecting with my faith and learning something whenever I went.

I’m still growing and still learning more about myself and God, and I like to take everyday as a new opportunity to become closer to God. As a soon to be college graduate, I have a lot of anxiety about graduating and looking for jobs, possibly applying to grad school and I don’t feel ready for any of it. One of my biggest weaknesses is my fear of the unknown and not allowing myself to live in the moment. I’m always trying to plan everything out so that there’s no uncertainty because I’m afraid of what might happen if I don’t. That’s where having faith comes in. God won’t bring you to something if he can’t bring you through it and while it’s not an easy lesson to learn, I think it’s an important one. Being able to trust that God has a plan for me and that I’ll be okay in the long run really helps me to put things in my life into perspective and be brave enough to take more chances without being afraid of what’s to come in my future.

T

A Change That I Embrace

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First things first, Happy Natural Anniversary to me!

It’s been exactly one year since I buzzed off all my hair (again) and started on a natural hair journey. My hair was heat damaged, dry and overall needed some serious help so I decided that I needed a fresh start. I’m honestly surprised at how much my hair has grown since then. There was a period of time around month 5 and 6 where I wondered if my hair would ever make it past the awkward stage.

One thing that I learned helps a lot is having patience with your hair. You can’t expect to look in the mirror one day, and the next day your hair is six inches longer. It takes patience and dedication to truly see growth. Luckily for me, I can’t keep my hair the same way for more than two months or I start getting antsy.

I love to switch things up between my natural hair, braids, straightened hair and I even tried out my first wig this year. I usually maintain the same style for about a month and a half to two months, making sure to cleanse and take care of my real hair underneath. By the time I take the style out, I usually can see a small difference in length, thickness and overall health.

New hairstyles and hair growth are two changes I welcome with open arms and I’m excited to see where my hair will be in another year!

T

Accepting Change and New Beginnings

So here’s the T,

We can all agree that 2016 was terrible for almost everyone. Some good things happened of course, (Frank Ocean finally released his album after a million years and it was definitely worth the wait) but so many bad things happened that seemed to overshadow the good. Yes, Donald Trump actually won the presidential election and yes, we are sadly losing the ability to call Obama our president. So many great artists and legends passed away and it seemed like everyday, something tragic happened. No, it wasn’t all just a really bad dream; it was our reality. Tragic. At least we had some great music to get us through it.

On a more personal note, 2016 actually started off pretty decently for me. I started a tradition two years ago where I would write a personal letter to myself on January 1st, reflecting back on the past year and where I am in that moment. I don’t open or read the letter until December 31st of that year and it’s always interesting to see how much has changed and also, what has stayed the same. By far, last year was the most optimistic I had been since I was young. I felt like I was finally coming into my own, leaving the awkward stages of teenage-hood and blossoming into an adult. I was hopeful for the new beginnings and new chances 2016 would bring. Looking back on last year’s letter, I had so many aspirations and plans to make the year truly great for myself. One problem, God had other plans.

September was the beginning of what would become a very long semester of stress. I’m the type of person who has to know exactly what I’m getting myself into and know each and every detail of something before I get comfortable with it. I like to think I’m super adaptable, but it’s definitely conditional. As long as the change isn’t personal or too close to home, I can handle it. In classes, in a job, I’m great at adapting to new situations. When things start getting uprooted and changed in my own life however, that’s when I start to get stressed. I’m also not very good at letting go and moving on from things that are important to me. This past semester has been the HARDEST time of my life so far. 2016 brought to end a very long-term relationship and took some other opportunities right out of my hands. Most of the things that I was working towards didn’t seem to be working out, I still had no idea what I wanted to do after college, and I truly felt like I had no control over what was happening in my life. By the time December came around, I couldn’t’ wait to go on winter break and hide out for the rest of the year at home and that’s exactly what I did.

The month of December was all about healing and coming to terms with the end of certain chapters in my life. It was definitely not easy, but being at home around my family and having discussions about my future and the goals I have for myself really helped me see things clearly. I’m only 21. I’m still young and though my life isn’t where I thought it would be, that doesn’t mean that I don’t have the chance to have the life I imagined for myself. People will come in and out of your life for a season and a reason. Sometimes, their purpose is to get you to the next point in your journey, and sometimes they are just meant to teach you a lesson. I still have time to figure out what I want to do with my career and make plans for after I graduate. I’m learning how to accept the changes I experience in my life and not allowing my past to negatively affect my future. I can’t go back and change the course of my life so I have to accept where I am now and appreciate how far I’ve come.

 

T

Hey,

I’m Tamara! I’m originally from Long Island, New York and I’ve lived here all my life with my parents, my older brother and my little sister. Most of my extended family lives down South so usually it’s just the five us spending time together, which has made us an extremely close unit. I’m very big on family and they are my favorite people on this Earth, so going away to school was definitely a challenge for me, especially because I went to a school 8 hours away. The past three years have been a wild ride but I am grateful for every experience I’ve had thus far and there are so many lessons I have learned and will take with me after college. I’m currently attending the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania, studying Communications and English Writing with an anticipated graduation date of April 30th (we thank God). Majoring in English Writing was not my first choice but it reminded me of why I’ve always loved to write. Since I was in elementary school, I always kept journals and diaries and loved to write down my thoughts. I also dabbled in writing short fiction stories. I loved to create things, and still do to this day. Writing allowed me a certain level of honesty and transparency that I didn’t yet master in my everyday life and this kind of honesty was compelling to me; it’s what drew me to the idea of making a blog. I’ve always wanted to start a blog since I started using social media. I used to be very active on Tumblr—a website that merges the idea of social media and the blogosphere together. I loved posting selfies and reblogging images of fashion and beauty, and really anything that stood out to me. The one thing that I never had the confidence to do on Tumblr was share personal details about my life. I was one of those people who just reblogged other people’s images onto my page, hoping those images and texts would accurately represent me. With 2016 coming to an end and 2017 just beginning, I want to strive to be more open and honest with myself and with others. At a time where my life is changing so rapidly I think it’s important to stop and reflect on how I feel and what I’m thinking, especially in the moments when I feel lost. The easiest way I know how to do this is to write. After a long family discussion after dinner the other day, I decided to go forward with the idea of this blog, “My Cup of T.” The purpose and goal of my blog is to always spill the “T(ea),” or being honest and open with myself and with anyone who reads my content in hopes that my experience might help someone else going through the same things.

Thank you for checking out my blog!

 

T