Monday, August 24, 2015

A Journey of Womanhood, Writing, & Relativity

I’ve known and have been following Tyece Wilkins of Twenties Unscripted for about a year now. Throughout that time she has been a constant source of inspiration. With her openness and natural ability to write about her life experiences, it’s no wonder she has been able to cultivate a space that so many readers can relate to.

Tyece’s book, released on July 16th, Twenties Unscripted: A Journey of Womanhood, Writing, and Relativity is a gathering of essays from her blog. In addition to some new and previously unpublished pieces. As the title suggests, the book centers on three major aspects of Tyece’s life that many of us women can relate to.

After reading and thoroughly enjoying the book, I decided to take a different approach to this interview. Instead of asking questions about the book, I picked some (just some) of my favorite quotes from Tyece and asked her to either elaborate on them or offer advice on how to handle certain situations.

“So let the world get quiet enough for you to remember that everything else around you is just noise. Let the world get quiet enough for you to remember just how sacred this 
journey of yours is.”

TameeksB: Noise comes at us in different forms (social media, friends, our thoughts). How do you go about shutting the world out and quieting it so you can focus on your path? Is it difficult or have you mastered it?

Tyece: It’s funny you asked that because I am definitely not immune to letting the noise distract me or throw me off course. I have not mastered it at all! Just last night I found myself knee-deep in someone else’s online presence and then started huffing and puffing about how difficult it is for personal bloggers to generate an income stream off of what we do. In short, I listened to the noise. I have learned that it’s not about being immune to the noise, but it’s about knowing how to bring yourself back to a better mental space. In a world where we’re constantly drowning under other people’s chatter, we have to find ways to return to the quiet and fulfilled place.

“I still own memories that are not suitable for public consumption.”

TameeksB: As a writer I often struggle with how much of my life to actually share with the world. You share a lot of your life in your writing and it comes across as though written so effortlessly. Where does that come from? Do you struggle with the topics you write about? If so, what is that internal battle like?

In addition, why do you do it? Why do you share some much of yourself in your writing?             

Tyece: First, thank you for the effortless compliment! That means a lot. It’s tough to pinpoint where my transparency comes from, it’s just always been a part of my writing. As the blog has grown, however, I have found new ways to tap into that confessional writing style without feeling like I’m telling all of my business. For me, writing in second person lessens a lot of the internal battle because when readers digest the work, it reflects their own experiences. It’s more about them and less about me even if it is inspired by or conceived from a personal place.

I share so much of myself in my work because of catharsis and conviction. I believe in healing my own wounds through my writing and I believe it’s a part of my purpose here on Earth–to be a source of reflection, understanding, connection and even healing for someone else. Someone recently told me that “Vulnerability breeds universality” and I hope my work embodies that.

“No one applauds the foundation. They applaud the finished product.”

TameeksB: How do you keep going during those times when no one is applauding the effort you’re putting in toward accomplishing something?

Tyece: I don’t expect applause from putting my head down and doing the work. It becomes easier to keep going when we don’t expect praise for doing what’s required. Most people don’t know when my head is down and I’m doing the work. I worked on the book in silence. I am working on things right now for 2016 that people simply don’t know about and won’t know about until they launch. It’s only important for me to know and appreciate the relentless amount of effort I put into something. People don’t need to throw accolades when I’m shooting in the gym. I want the pat on the back once I win the championship. 

“I have always learned more from my valleys than my peaks. I think that is how it should be, if for no other reason to humble us—to force us to slow down, to wake up, to take better 
care of our fragile, sensitive, oh-so-human selves.”

TameeksB: This idea of shattering or breaking down is often looked at as a bad thing. Society tells us to keep going and never slow down. But in your book you talk about an experience in which shattering was necessary. Valleys, setbacks, letdowns, disappointments; why should one not be discouraged when they happen?

Tyece: I’ve written before that, “The mess is what makes your story one worth telling.” Shattering adds a different depth to our journeys and resilience adds a new dimension to our character. If everything is falling apart, it means that your success story has roots. Success is not built upon success; it’s built upon upon resilience.

“It’s how you embrace tunnel vision, and focus on what you’re doing. It’s how you embody the confidence that sets originality apart from knock-offs and invention apart from imitation… ‘I am the first, the last and the only.’”

TameeksB: Comparison can lead to a person’s biggest downfall. And what you’ve written is a perfect reason as to why one should not compare themselves or their work to the next person. But sometimes that is easier said than done. Do you ever find yourself comparing your work to other writers? If so, what is your process for getting your mind right and embracing tunnel vision?

Tyece: Yes, as I mentioned earlier, I am far from immune to the rabbit hole of comparison, specifically when it comes to seeing the sort of success other bloggers have had. I don’t get into that place with other writers necessarily because I believe in the unique power of my own voice. But, with blogging, it’s easy to say, “How is this person making six figures and living entirely off of her blog? Where did I go wrong?” My remedy for getting stuck in the ditch of comparison is to keep working. 
Keep planning. Keep strategizing. Comparison becomes a detriment when it’s the only thing that can fill your head. When your mind is moving a mile a minute with thoughts of what is next for you and how you are going to keep building your platform, comparison comes and goes. It doesn’t pitch a tent and camp out for too long.

“My dreams did not come to me in the neat package I assumed it would…”

TameeksB: How did you come to realize your dreams? And since it didn’t arrive in a neat package, how did it arrive?

Tyece: That essay (Dreams Do Not Arrive In Neat Packages) tells the story of meeting a young woman who recognized my “Twenties Unscripted” t-shirt while I was out in D.C. That was a very visceral and memorable moment for me in just realizing for the first time that my words were reaching people in a way I had once only dreamed of. I worry that millennials can get very caught up in the overdose of dream propaganda. “Do what you love.” “Rise and grind.” You know, every other expression you read as a quote on someone’s Instagram at 7 a.m. But, we have to be willing to let our dreams have a non-linear path the same way our lives do. I still work a full-time job. I still have to deal with the monotony of bills and grocery shopping. I still am wildly impatient when it comes to the progress Twenties Unscripted has made. But, that dos not mean that I don’t have my dream.

“Do not live by default. Do not let life bulldoze you over.”

TameeksB: Living on purpose and with a purpose is so important. But we all know people who simply go through the motions of life. They aren’t concerned with living the life they were created to live. And being around people like that can be distracting. What advice would you offer someone who is either not living on purpose and/or is surrounded by people not concerned with their own purpose?

Tyece: I’ve said before that your dream deferred will become someone else’s dream done. That isn’t to say that there should be a sense of competition or urgency. But if you choose not to live on purpose and manifest your vision, at some point you’ll see that vision manifested by someone else and in another way. If you are cool with that, then don’t live on purpose. If not, start carving out a path of intentionality.  

In terms of being surrounded by people who are not concerned with their own purpose, I would say give yourself some space from them, but also be patient with those kinds of people. It does not make someone any less because they have not yet chosen to live a life aligned with their purpose; maybe they don’t even know what that purpose is yet. But, for your own sanity and the sanctity of your purpose, you do have to create a healthy distance from those types of people. Understand where they can and can’t fit into your life. Be vigilant about your own goals and don’t give them too much access to the vision.

“Ultimately, you can rent someone else’s vision for your life, or decide to build yours 
from the ground up. Renting is more convenient, but can cost you your sanity 
if you’re not careful.”

TameeksB: A lot of people deal with the issue of their parents pushing their dreams on to them. For example, maybe the parents want their child to be a doctor when said child wants to be a musician. What advice would you offer someone who is having a hard time following their dream because their parents or someone in their life wants them to pursue something different?

Tyece: It would be easy to say, “Ignore your parents and listen to the drumbeat of your own heart.” But, that wouldn’t be fair because the truth is most of us value our parents’ opinions. We want them to be proud of us. But, we also have to reconcile their vision for our future with the conviction we have about our own path. My parents learned about my blog two years ago and even though they both have some qualms with it, I believe they learned to accept it because I was so unwavering in my love for it. So, stand firm in your truth. And be patient with your parents if they don’t understand it at first. But, if you have an unwavering sense of conviction about why you are on this Earth, it will have a ripple effect on everyone in your life.

Tyece Wilkins believes in the power of witty women, wise words and full wine glasses. She is the creator and editor-in-chief of Twenties Unscripted and author of Twenties Unscripted: A Journey of Womanhood, Writing, and Relativity, available for purchase on Amazon now. Visit to read more of her work and connect with her on Twitter @tyunscripted.

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