Ta Ta For Now

visit yourself

It’s been quite a lengthy break in posts. I got too busy living life and didn’t take much time to write about it. I’ve done some guest blogs but haven’t devoted any time to the upkeep of PeculiarPearl. It continues to be on my to-do list and I carry a nagging guilt that I haven’t posted in months. However, I’m letting go of that dark cloud and just admitting that there isn’t a percentage of Krystal available to write at this time.

Follow me over on Instagram @krystalnclark . I still post over there on a daily basis and often contribute what Hilary Rushford calls Instablogs.

I have promised myself that I will begin stepping back from a few things in November to make more room for larger priorities. Certainly, I will blog again but for now, PeculiarPearl needs to focus elsewhere. Visiting myself sounds like a great idea.

See you over on Instagram!

Krystal

The Best and Hardest Gift from God

This picture is the aftermath of 1.5 hours on stage at Delta Zeta’s Norma Minch Andrisek Leadership Conference. I spoke on “Building Resilience” with over 400 sorority women who served as onlookers, learners, participants, and co-educators as we talked about the hard process of “bouncing back” and what it means to “stretch” and not “break”. As Brene Brown and Oprah spewed their wisdom on vulnerability being the cornerstone of confidence the necessity of “daring greatly” and the freedom that comes with brushing your critics off your shoulder. Whew!

aftermath

I literally float on a cloud when I’m giving a talk and then I have to work my way back to earth. Eventually I crash which is the view you see above and YES, I’m watching a 30 For 30 because these documentaries are my “Lifetime Movie”. The U: Part 1 & 2 give me life. As someone who is intrigued by topics like vulnerability, resiliency, and self-authorship–I find the tales of athletes to be riveting. Our athletes are our superheroes and to see all that they go through whether inflicted by self or others is always inspiring.

As I was deflating in this lovely hotel room while wrapped up in comfy hotel bedding thinking about this opportunity that God has given me to do what I feel I’ve been called to do, I got one of those pangs–you know, one of those single woman pangs. That feeling that’s been happening more and more lately that yes, I have a charmed life BUT I’m still missing elements that I thought by 32 would be present. At least, I thought I’d have a partner –perhaps not children, but a partner for certain, someone to share what’s happening in my life. Someone who would be excited for me, proud of me, and would be waiting for me when I got off the plane or would be there with me, in the moment, smiling at me from the audience.

Those pangs HURT. My appendix swelling was pretty painful and single woman pangs are a close second. Both are debilitating.

Wholeheartedly

Luckily, I stashed my Wholeheartedly Devotional in my travel bag before I departed for O-H-I-O. Because God is who He is the next devotional in the serious is called “receive”.

“Only those people who have been given the gift of staying single can accept this teaching. Some people are unable to marry because of birth defects or because of what someone has done to their bodies. Others stay single for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Anyone who can accept this teaching should do so.” Matthew 19:11-12

The words jumped off the page and into my heart and soul. Natalie Matrejean, the author of Wholeheartedly expressed what she learned about being single from this scripture and I desperately needed to hear and understand this Word.

1. Singleness is a gift (let’s hope there’s a gift receipt). Some people are gifted with singleness. If you are one of those people He will help you.

2. Singleness is hard (YEP!). Even some who are called will not be able to accept it.

3. Singleness is better for the kingdom. Jesus is saying to receive and accept singleness  for His Kingdom’s sake if you have been called to it.

In that moment, in the hotel room and in many other moments throughout my life, I have to remember and accept these three things.

My singleness is a GIFT. For some reason He is calling me to it for a season or perhaps for the rest of my life. I often realize that the freedom that comes with being single is a huge gift from God. I have loads of FREEDOM to live and serve. I am blessed to know and understand that I have a God who helps me navigate my solo mission.

It is HARD. A lot of the time it’s hard because of what’s going on around me. It seems that everyone is married and having tons of babies. The world has found its other half and I’m that sock that lost its match in the dryer. It’s also hard because there are times when I just want someone to hug me. I want a partner in life because most things are better when you have a buddy. You know, a built in human support system. I’ve been in love and it feels great. I need some serotonin and oxytocin, you know? It’s hard to play against a team when you’re all alone.

It is BETTER? I don’t know. On a daily basis, my answer is a big resounding, NO!  Sometimes I feel it is  when I see people I love going through incredibly dramatic relationship matters. Divorce, infidelity, unhappy marriages, and difficult conversations. I don’t want those headaches. However, if its BETTER for God then I guess it is BETTER. If he sees fit to use me in a special way to serve Him then perhaps for me, at this time, or until I leave this earth, it is BETTER for me to be single.

In order to gain some peace during this current season of my life, I have to “receive” this message. I have to believe that it is a Gift, it is Hard, and it is Better. If this is my calling, and I receive it, then I shall be blessed by it.

It was also a wake up call to me that because I am ABLE to do more for His kingdom because I’m not occupied by a spouse or any dependents, that I need to do so and if I’m honest with you, I’m not doing enough for God at this moment in my life.

In the same way, a woman who is no longer married or has never been married can be devoted to the Lord and holy in body and in spirit. But a married woman has to think about her earthly responsibilities and how to please her husband. 35 I am saying this for your benefit, not to place restrictions on you. I want you to do whatever will help you serve the Lord best, with as few distractions as possible. 1 Cor. 7:34-35

Delving into this teacher helped the pangs subside and I was able to open myself back up to the happiness that was happening all around me. As I know but as I have to keep reminding myself at every turn, that God is in control. His plan, His timing, my obedience.

My life is too blessed and I’m doing what I said I wanted to do in life. I’m human and I have those valley moments and like I told the sorority women in the audience, we’ve all got to work our way back up from those black holes in our life. My resiliency is a factor of my faith and when I’m feeling those single woman pangs, God is the best at giving me the Word I need to get back to good. My joy comes from the Lord and if this is what He sees fit for me at this point in my life then I can’t let my singleness ruin all of the blessings he’s bestowed upon me. Because what I now understand is that it is too a blessing. Exhale.

Thanks for reading.

Krystal

#Goals

So, I did pretty decent with my May-June goals. I didn’t make it to the zoo or make my recipes. My Peculiar Pearl goals struggled but I did meet with a designer who’s going to do some branding work for me and I secured a blogging spot with mavenly.co for a 3-blog stint. I wasn’t a total slacker.

However, God’s got a fantastic sense of humor and his Day Designer doesn’t sync up with mine. Little did I know that on his goals list for me this month would be an appendectomy. Had some pains on Saturday and was down one organ on the same day.CRAZY!

Ahem! Here’s my new goals list:

#1 REST!

rest

I can’t lift anything over 10lbs and there will be no working out in the next couple of weeks. Now, there will be some reading of the written word,watching of The Netflix, and some writing here and there because that’s what rest looks like for me. I’ll be sitting/laying the whole time–promise!

I guess it was time for some serious forced rest. I thought I’d been doing better in this area of life but joke’s on me friends.

All of this is for a reason and this time of rest if preparing for something else. As per usual, I’m sure I’ll learn a great deal of lessons from God’s detours.

Krystal

May 21-June 21 Goals

Perhaps I should have posted these at the beginning of May but as I think Lara Casey would attest to there is really nothing special about the first of the month. It’s a day that we’ve socially constructed to mean the beginning or starting point but who says you can’t start on the 21st? Throw away nonessential rules!

Nashville Bucket List –My list of things to do in my favorite city this summer. I envy those people who say things like, ” I summer in The Hamptons.” You know folks got bank when seasons become verbs. I haven’t reached baller status so for now #isummerinNashville.

Fruit Name

Update my Retirement Plan–I’m 32 and it’s never too early to get this party started. I have great employer matching benefits and I want to make sure that I’m taking full advantage of every opportunity to save for retirement.

Restaurant Crawl– Dinner at Lockeland Table and I still have 2 reservations to secure for a dinner date and a group brunch. I’m also working on a visit to Biscuit Love.

Sunday Gratitude Time– I have a ton of Thank You Notes and Love Letters to write to special folks in my life. Time to get it started! –Fruitful Summer!

Mail God

Summer Reading List– Diving into Spinster by Kate Bolick and Do Over by Jon Acuff

The Nashville Zoo

The Peach Truck

Fitness Goals

Use my Fit Factory Nashville Groupon. I purchased a months worth of classes. Can’t let that $39.00 go down the drain. IP

Yoga on the Field!

Begin the Barre3 Anywhere Challenge on June 1. The first challenge was the best fitness experience ever for me and I’m looking forward to getting it done again.

– Pick 3 new recipes from Soul Food Love and Oh Gussie! to prepare.

Professional Goals

Present at the National Conference for College Women Student Leadership at my alma mater, University of Maryland, College Park.

Participate in Mid-Level Managers’ Institute taking place right here in Nashville. So thankful to have been selected for this PD experience.

-Hold action oriented meetings for PREVAIL and TEDxVanderbiltUniversity

– Transfer Student Recruitment for EVOLVE

Summer Leadership Challenge! First 3 challenges.

Peculiar Pearl Goals

3 Posts per week

Build instagram following over @peculiar_pearl

Get new business cards

Develop a Business Plan

Email Rachel about training with Liz

– Craft Key messages/services

Orientation at Nashville Entrepreneur Center

Faith Goals

Continue working through the Wholeheartedly Devotional

Attend the Belonging Co.

– Continue seeking and praying about a Bible Study/Small Group

I think that might be enough. I’m excited and tired –is there a word for that?

Krystal

Quiet As It’s Kept…

Mandy Hale

Mandy Hale

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about my perpetual state of being single. I’ve been in wondrous love once and crippling lust once and out of the two I’m praying for the former this next time around.

However, I just don’t do well with this whole thing. People always ask me, “Why are you still single?” That’s like asking saying to someone who’s lost, “Tell me exactly where you are.” If I knew the answer to this question, maybe I wouldn’t be single.

Here’s a few reasons I’ve conjured up or have been told to me by the gaggle of sages that inhabit my life (note the sarcasm):

  1. You’re surrounded by too many women. . You need to hang out in mixed groups.
  2. You should try online dating.
  3. You don’t leave any space in your life for another person. Start making room for that person to be in your life and he shall appear.
  4. You just seem really happy being single. It’s not easy to see that you want another person in your life.
  5. You’re too picky!
  6. Oh, and my favorite–You’re just really intimidating and have it all together. Men don’t really know how to handle that in a woman.

My single status only bothers me every now and then. There are days when I’m beyond the moon grateful that I don’t have a partner and children because of the freedom I have in my life, but then there are those days when I’m not sure that I can wake up AGAIN alone in my bed or go to one more event by myself. At 32, when I see all of these beautiful babies tottering around in the world, I feel like my uterus and heart are going to burst. Living in the South doesn’t help with these feelings.

I constantly ask myself, Why me? Why am I the single educated black woman stereotype? What did I do wrong? Hell, I worked really hard to do as much as I could in the manner I thought was “right”. Why can’t a male see that and want me to be a part of his life? Am I really that awful?

Over the past 32 years, I’ve dealt with confidence issues and  there was certainly a period of my life that rears its ugly head on my worst days, in which I thought that if I just lost weight, had longer hair, made myself less ugly, and dumbed myself down that I would be able to find him. Those days when I thought that if I just relaxed and let him control everything that I would be deemed less intimidating and more attractive. I’m not proud of those days and what I allowed to happen because of those poisonous thoughts. It’s still really difficult when I go out and don’t get any attention from men. It takes me a minute to not let myself fall back into that pit of worthlessness. Luckily, it takes me a shorter amount of time to bounce back then it did when I was 16.

I think this is one the reasons I enjoy social media because I certainly get positive affirmation from others in those areas in which I need it the most. On those days when I feel less than about who I am, a ‘Like’ can make a difference in my day. I know this isn’t healthy, but I think it’s a sickness many of us are dealing with in this world. The source of our approval should never be man and I’m working on that slowly but surely. The Krystal you see on Facebook is a real woman and in those moments, I am happy, but there are other layers to me –layers of sadness and imperfection—layers of wanting more and feeling like less more days than I’d like to admit. Those quotes I post are as much for me as they are for you. If I layer my day with hope, faith, and Beyonce-like motivation, I can get through just about anything.

What I know for sure is that I live a blessed life. The people, the places, my profession, my ability to wear bright colors, my intelligence, my large smile, and fun hair, the ways that I’m able to give back to others, etc. are all gifts. I mean, there are so many blessings on my doorstep that I’m constantly overwhelmed by God’s goodness. I’ve got it so good…I just wonder more and more what it would be like to do my life in partnership with another person.

For the longest time I screamed at the top of my lungs, “I NEVER want to get married and I NEVER want to have kids.” I now know that a lot of that was fear. Fear that my marriage would turn out like my mother’s and fear that this was never in the cards for me. Sandbagging became my chosen defense mechanism. Maybe if I said it long enough, I’d come to believe it.

My conservative side is winning this battle and I want to be married and then have children. I want that good ‘ol nuclear family. I didn’t have this growing up and I’m not going to make the decision to be a single mother. My mother did a kickass job raising two unicorn children BUT that wasn’t her choice and a father is important in a child’s life. No one needs daddy issues. Believe me.

Say it and it shall be so. Well, I’m saying it out loud. I want at least to have the opportunity to have a family of my own. I don’t want this desire to completely consume me but I don’t want it to allude me either.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to hit the discotheques or start hiding out in Whole Foods playing ‘Spot the Wedding Ring’. It also doesn’t mean that I’m going to spend an inordinate amount of time winking, flirting, poking, and swiping folks on a screen. I’m also not going to become Eeyore. I shall be glad. It just means that I’m opening my mind and my heart. I’m going to stop denying what I want out of fear.

“You’re single not because you’re not good enough for one, it’s that you’re too good for the wrong one.”- Chris Burkmenn

God has given me this ever present season for a reason. He’s preparing me for greater. My first love and my crippling lust weren’t the end goal for me. While I’m waiting for His choice, I want to fully embrace this time in my life even more than I already do. I have great things to offer this world. I don’t want to have any regrets and I certainly don’t want to press PAUSE on all the bright sides of life while I twiddle my thumbs hesitating to move forward until my Prince Charming appears. As I’m living and waiting with my heart, I want to cocoon myself in His word. My moments of loneliness and emptiness as I trick myself into believing that I’m not loved need to be filled with Him and His promises.

Wholeheartedly

Luckily, I found Natalie Metrejean and we’re sharing the same struggle. Wholeheartedly: A Devotional For Singles will be my new companion as I work through devotions focused on being a single woman and what God wants for us and from us during this season. Already, I have spent time thinking through lies that need to be confronted, so that I can move forward living based on God’s truth. Clearing out the junk including the negative self-talk that hurts me even more than others do on a daily basis. Follow Natalie Instagram @NATALIEMETREJEAN.

While I’m waiting, hoping, wishing, dreaming, and certainly praying I think the Word is the best player to have on my team.

Pray with me and for me. Whatever God has for me I know is for my good. He hasn’t let me down yet and I know that He won’t start today.

Also, if you know of any bachelors, I’m more than willing to be set up. A girl’s got to eat and I might as well do it with another person ;).

Be Glad

 Thanks for reading.

Krystal

Oh, hey 32.

It’s time for another fantastic voyage around the sun! 32 happened today.

It was grand. It’s Good Friday so there’s way more to be thankful for than my birthday BUT…I certainly celebrated my origin and am thankful others took the time to do so as well.

So, what happens now? Hmm…let’s see…my apartment and car are messy (as per usual), there was a tornado warning, dinner plans were cancelled (totally fine as my spa appointment was running long and I was quite unaware of the mess my hair would be after all of that TLC). I slept in, took a great Barre3 class, and spent from 12:45-almost 6:00 at ESCAPE Day Spa. Now, that was heavenly. Sigh! I also received a litany of the sweetest and most thoughtful messages from family and friends. All in all, it was a perfect day of rest, relaxation, and an increased awareness of all the love I have in my life.

In between spa services, I read Hannah Brencher’s “If You Find This Letter”. I’m not sure how I stumbled upon her but her writing is pure poetry. The depth of feeling is unfathomable which is probably why I began to cry as I read it during my pedicure. My emotions have been pouring out of me like crazy lately…I’m not sure how I feel about that but when you gotta cry, you gotta cry. I’m not sure if the woman working on my feet noticed my tears. If she did, she politely did not mention it and instead made my toes pretty with a polish called “Can’t Be Beet” and brought me a cup of delicious green tea. I think the tears came from a variety of things. Would you like to join me as I psychoanalyze myself?

1. I’m 32 and that’s awesome and scary. On my best day,  I feel 21. I don’t think I’m unique in thinking that I should be further ahead in life than I actually am. Whatever “further ahead” means.

2. It’s a total privilege and I’m overwhelmed by the blessings I have to be able to afford to spend an obnoxious amount of time at a day spa. It wasn’t cheap but was totally worth it. Treat yo’ self 2015!

3. I don’t think that I’ve rested like that in a really long time. I carry a lot around in my head and in my shoulders.  I tucked my phone into my locker and I just relaxed. No work, no family, no Nashville stuff, nothing. Just me, myself, all of these great smells, the sound of water, twinkling stars on the ceiling, fresh cucumber water, and these amazing cookies that look like tree bark but tasted like perfection. No to-do list or goals. Just Krystal and peace.  No striving to get to the next step, no feeling like I’m behind–just sitting, laying, breathing, napping, and praying (all while in a robe). I needed this respite real bad. I needed to not know there was a tornado outside.

cucumber water

4. Hannah’s book is a lot about LOVE. L-O-V-E. Romantic love is illusive in my life. I think I had it once but not since. Having a birthday reminds you of the many types of love that exist in this world and though I don’t have “the one”, I do have many. Many amazing human beings who have love for me in their heart. People who love me for who I am and love me unconditionally. I’m surrounded by love all the time. I can’t discount that love because I don’t have a boyfriend or husband. The love I get from the many is the love that’s kept me going strong for the past 32 years. It’s the love of many that gets me out of bed and is the love that pushes me to be a little bit better today than I was yesterday. It’s the love that makes my smile big and my laughter loud. It’s LOVE and it’s so good. My tears were a mixture of heartache and me simply recognizing again that my time hasn’t come yet for someone to love me in a romantic way and that doesn’t make me less of a person. I’m a whole person. There’s all this magic love around me on a regular basis that makes and keeps my heart full. As my birthday is on Good Friday, I must never forget the ultimate love of Jesus dying on the cross for little ‘ol me. Me not having a boo to take me to the Masquerade Ball can never cause me heartache without my permission because of His  love in my life. It’s hard to understand why I haven’t found the love of my life BUT I can’t let it break me and I can’t let it scar my entry into 32. God’s got a plan. I have a purpose. It’s going to work itself out someday. All of that is worth some tears, right?

So, all in all, it was a strong, beautiful, and cleansing day. My pedi, facial, eye refresher, and massage made it a solid first day of 32 and tomorrow I’m eating brunch and dinner with great folks, trying a new workout class and continuing the celebration into Easter with church, another great workout, and Sam’s Place at Ryman. Then back to the real world…

32 is going to be what I make it. I just want to choose happy and I want to thrive. I want to push fear off a cliff. I want to trust myself more. Ask for what I want and ask again if I don’t get it. I want to keep loving and serving Nashville while loving and serving God. I want to go to concerts and new cities. I want to educate. I want to work out and eat healthy.  I want to grow and I want to make it to 33. I want to make it to 33 with a whole new set of challenges and not the same old mess. I want to change if I need to and hold tight to what makes me the woman I am. I want to believe all of the amazing things others see in me.

All of that can’t possibly be too much to ask, right?

Hope you’ll keep reading as I take on another year of life.

Krystal

Bloom, I Say, Bloom.

I’m in Nashville. Excuse me, I’M IN NASHVILLE!

The thing about being planted is that like most flowers, you can always be uprooted and planted elsewhere. Just like a flower can move (with assistance, of course) into another pot, you can gather your belongings and move to another apartment, city, state, or country. Maybe one day, I can add planet to that list. Mars, anyone?

bloom

Like a flower, we should also bloom where we are planted. I would think that when a flower is plopped into fresh soil and provided with the right amount of water and sunlight, that it works really hard to bloom. It doesn’t just sit there waiting on the next pot. It leans into the sunlight, soaks up the water, cozies into the soil and it goes at it like a champ. Impressive. The goal is to thrive and not to wither and die. It does not have time to wait on another pot to be a beautiful. The time is NOW.

My thought is that we should do the same. Every year when I have to resign my lease, I have a moment on the couch in which I have to ponder whether I want to move. The continuum spans from moving to the other side of the couch to moving to another state. I spent 4 years in my last state and now that I’m coming up on 4 years in Nashville, I  started to check for the itch that’d alert me that it was time to hit the dusty trail. However, the itch wasn’t happening.

I thought about moving apartments and moving closer into the city BUT I don’t want to spend more money. I actually like where I live and I enjoy having extra money to pursue things that bring me joy. I’m in a great place with my community involvements and I’m feeling better and better about my professional situation. People are lovely, music is amazing, airport is close.

Running to another pot wouldn’t guarantee me anything except starting over, but nothing that irritates me about my current place in life will be solved by moving.

Every flower that blooms has to go through a whole lot of dirt to be beautiful.

So for the time being and for at least another year, I am planted in Nashville, TN, and I’ve done a pretty great job of blooming here if I say so myself. So, I’ll just keep up the good work. This is my now and I’m going to embrace it and continue blooming into the beautiful person that I know God has made me to be.

Wherever you are, own your present. Don’t let it pass you by while you wait on something or someone that isn’t guaranteed. When people say things like, “I mean, that sounds fun, but I don’t want to get too involved because I probably won’t be here that long.” OR “When I lose 15 lbs., I’ll totally go on that beach trip.” OR “I can’t wait to find the special one and then my life will be amazing.” These are missed opportunities to BLOOM. Get involved NOW. Go to the beach NOW. Recognize the current state of amazing in your life NOW. BLOOM where you are planted.

If you need me, I’ll just be out in the sunshine blooming and blossoming and being all beautiful and stuff. Join me.

Thanks for reading.