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.

Tina Fey To The Rescue

I was presented with an opportunity on Friday. A fantastic opportunity to throw my hat into the ring for a coveted position and one that in the back of my mind I always wondered if I’d ever have the chance to pursue. I still question whether I’m ready for it but I know that I’m more ready than I believe and I have more time to learn what I need to learn. At the end of the day, most of us are just flying by the seat of their pants and faking it until they make it. Sigh…imposter syndrome is real. I thought about it a lot this weekend and I ran across this golden Tina Fey quote.

Tina Fey Quote

That’s about right. I make the commitment and I’ll figure it out. I say a clear yes and I follow through. I know I want it. I know what it means. I know I can do it. Luckily, I’ll have great people around me who believe in me and who want me to succeed.  On a side note, it takes my breath away that people can believe in you to the point that it drives you to tears.

Alright, no need to over think matters as that will drive one mad. You heard it here first, I said, “YES!”– I said “yes” to a possibility and to do the work needed to rise to the top. It is time to silence all of the little devils on my shoulder.

Does this quote apply to any part of your life? What might you just need to say “yes” to and let go of all of the fear, anxiety, and doubt that immediately unleashes itself on your heart and mind?

Oh, you want to know what “it” is? Stay tuned.

Thanks for reading.

Krystal

Feel Good Things

I’m all about including things in your life that just make you feel good. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned the importance of acquiring a simple indulgence in your life.

Three things have been making me feel super great lately:

1. Green Tea-I started drinking it during the #barre3challenge per the advice of Barre3 Founder, Sadie Lincoln. She advised us to try it instead of coffee and other caffeinated beverages. I was hesitant BUT I have totally forgone coffee since the beginning of the challenge in January. When I need a boost, I make a cup of tea. If I’m fighting snack urges, I dive into a warm and, of course, cute mug. There are all types of Green Tea but I found this kind on the shelf for a great price at my local Kroger and keep a box in my office and in my apartment. Tea makes me feel fancy and mature. Pinkies up!

green tea

2. Beauty Counter- I’ve played it pretty basic with my skincare regimen until my friend and fellow Junior League of Nashville member, Cara introduced me to Beauty Counter. I love that Beauty Counter is not just delicious smelling and effective products that have made my skin incredibly soft but that this company is a movement. This one fact should make you think about what you put on your body everyday.

1938 was the last time Congress passed a law regulating the cosmetics industry.

1938?! This was the last year that there was any type of regulation over products that we utilize every.single.day and that we allow our family to use every.single.day. This is frightening. Cosmetics companies are pretty much running with scissors and using thousands of toxic ingredients that are more harmful than helpful. Our bathroom counters and medicine cabinets are full of products that we think are helping us and our children lead more beautiful lives but in the end could lead to a wide array of medical challenges. Check out beautycounter.com and read more about the products and the movement. I’m in love with the body wash and body lotion. Rinse & Hydrate.

Beautycounter

3. The LovingKind– Mattye Woodcock has the most charming blog and shop on the interwebs. I’m lucky to have met Mattye years ago in North Carolina and her sweet husband Woody through my work in the fraternity & sorority life arena. I’m all about supporting businesswomen and ordering a set of Matty’s sweet cards was a great way to support a small woman owned business but also to make my heart smile as I sent off these lovelies to dear friends for Valentine’s Day. My fave is the Good Pickin’ Card. Since I didn’t have a Valentine, it was all about telling my friends how much I love them. Sending cards creates such a feel good loop. I’ve got a bunch to write and stick in the mail this weekend and I love creating a personal and special message for each individual.

IMG_7655

What are the little things in life that just make you feel good? Never feel bad about grabbing those things up and taking time for them in your day. I hope you look into these products and that they bring a smile to your face.

Thanks for reading.

Krystal

I’m With President Underwood.

” Imagination is its own form of courage.” –President Francis J. Underwood

A. I LOVE House of Cards. I really LOVE Claire Underwood.

B. I don’t live my life according to the show except when it comes to Claire Underwood’s fashion.

C. There are some pearls of wisdom and interesting life strategies that make their way between the instances of murder, adultery, dishonesty, and greed.

The quote above is an example of C.

It has dawned on me this past year that some people don’t feel free enough to dream. There is a brick wall surrounding their ability to be creative and innovative. There is a proverbial stop sign that ceases their ability to tap into the depths of their imagination. To imagine has become a risk.

When did we get to a place in which using your imagination is a privilege and not a right?

Some people have been told “no, that’s impossible.” so many times that the thought of going to the next level is frightening.

Having the courage to take your mind outside the box. To “go there” wherever there might be, to take off the coat of restrictions, to push back assumed artificial boundaries, to strip yourself of f.e.a.r* and to concoct a vision is a part of thriving in this world.

We are often the armed guards who pull ourselves off the cliff even though we have a parachute strapped to our back. “Be realistic.” “That will never happen.” “We don’t have the money for that.” “People like us can’t do that.” “What if no one comes?” “What if no one cares?” “I’m not smart enough or pretty enough or rich enough or [insert adjective] enough.”

Now these could all be valid concerns but before you put yourself in a black hole of  “no.” “never.” “not enough.” and “not me.”–do yourself a favor and muster up the courage to IMAGINE all that could happen. Empower yourself to go beyond your current context. Write down or draw what you see.

Let your mind be free. You become your thoughts. If you’re afraid of your thoughts and you imprison them you’ll never be able to make them come to life.

vision

Children have the best imaginations. The worlds they create are magical, beautiful, intricate,  and full of possibility. They yearn to share it with the tall people walking around who call themselves adults. What if you approached your work in that way? What if you attacked your dream in that manner?

We often tell people to live the “Yes, and…” life when working with others but let’s also remember to do that within ourselves. Lose yourself in your thoughts.

Frank Underwood is onto something with this quote. Give your imagination scissors and let it run free.

Thanks for reading.

Krystal

*false.evidence.appearing.real

Decisions. Decisions. Decisions.

Before you make a big decision, do your best to clear your mind and empty your heart. This might sound nuts but this year has affirmed for me the importance of not making  decisions from a place of temporary emotion. I was incredibly frustrated last year and felt as if I’d been wronged by people that I thought I could trust. I went on a hunt for better–greener pastures. It wasn’t until I allowed myself to take a deep breath, pull out paper and a sharpie, throw on some good music and let myself dig deep into my actions and feelings that I realized I was making decisions from a toxic place. I wasn’t fully aware of my present and I was running away from a station in life that was offering me everything I want but was wrapped in packaging that didn’t meet my level of aesthetics.

decision

I had to let go of what everyone else was telling me, what I’d written on some outdated goal sheet, and get to the facts. The facts revealed that being all up in my feelings wasn’t necessary, warranted, and certainly was not helping me as a professional or person. It also allowed me to grasp what I had the influence to change, what was out of my hands, and the actual–not the imagined impact–those things had on my life. I was going to have to deal with the outcomes of my decisions and not the other people who I was acting towards from a place of spite.

Stepping outside of my feelings provided me with a more realistic view of my present and though there are still things that I’m not 100% content about at this time, I know for sure that if I moved on, there would be many more things that I would be even less happy about in my personal and professional life. I look forward to my days now, now that I’m not trying to run away from them.

Do not make a permanent decision, on a temporary emotion.

My buttons are pushed easily and because I now fully embrace this about myself, I’ve had to alter the way I make decisions. Unless, you’re asking me whether or not I want a cookie–then the answer will always be an enthusiastic, “YES!” It is prudent for me to stop, breathe, and gather all of the stuff that starts swimming in my head and heart before I take action. I strip it all away and think beyond the current moment.  It has saved my life.

What process do you use to make decisions?

Thanks for reading.

Show Me Your Shelf

As you might know I’m a bit of a bookworm. Well, I’m a huge bookworm. Huge is actually an understatement. Though I like to think that I’m tech savvy, there is nothing like owning books. I’m privileged to have full bookshelves in my home and know that this isn’t everyone’s lot. This is why I support Book ‘Em/Reading is Fundamental in Nashville. I have a firm belief that children should own books and we should work to help children enjoy reading. If you enjoy it then you’ll do it as often as you can and that means you’ll become good at it. Our literacy rates need some assistance in Nashville and I want to be a part of progress. Putting books in the hands of children and helping them to discover the joy of reading is a plan I can get behind.

Check out my BOOKS! page.

Here’s what tomes are currently blessing my shelf:

Redefining Realness: My path to womanhood, identity, love & so much more by Janet Mock

So happy to have had the opportunity to meet her at a program sponsored by the Vanderbilt School of Divinity and the Vanderbilt University Office of LGBTQI Life.

Mock

The Best Yes: Making wise decisions in the midst of endless demands by Lysa Terkeurst

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche

Too Blessed to be Stressed by Debora M. Coty

Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor

Books

Winter is just the best time to curl up with a warm beverage, a blanket, and a good book. Read things that bring you joy and that stretch your mind. I love a good Netflix binge but there ain’t nothing like a book in my hands. Hope one of these speaks to you.

Thanks for reading.

Krystal

6 Things You Need to Have in Your Toolkit to Thrive as a YP

Moving to Nashville in 2011 was the beginning of a whole new life for me. The YP Community in this city is strong and the city takes an interest in engaging and developing the 23-40 year old population that eagerly roams around this thriving metropolis. Check out YPNashville .

B Cards

I quickly had to learn the ropes of navigating Music City to accomplish my ever present goal of being a “mover and shaker” as well as the specific goal I set upon my departure from Durham, NC to “attack the city in which I live”. I’m a firm believer in giving back to the place in which you live and work and have fully embraced the life of being a “residential tourist”. Nashville is blessed to be changing everyday and I haven’t gotten bored even once during almost 4 years. I’m a total tourist, like, I go to the Tennessee State Museum to check out the new exhibits type of tourist.

During this adventure, I’ve discovered 6 things that will give you a better chance of thriving in a city like Nashville. A place that networks, has junior boards, numerous fancy dress pay parties, over 20 organizations solely for YP, and a city you think is big until you find that you run into the same people all the time.

1. Resume. I know this sounds obvious but you’d be surprised the number of people who don’t have an updated resume. I update my resume on a weekly basis. For many things that you apply to be a part of in the city whether it’s a leadership development program, an awards program, a member of a board or committee, oh, and if you’re applying for a new job, you will need to submit a resume. People want to know your skillset, where you work, what you do, and how you spend your time. If you have a great conversation with a person at a networking event and they ask you to “send me your resume”, it’ll make life a lot easier if you’ve already got that taken care of on your desktop. Check out the link above to get some tips from Levo League about how to make your resume pop.

2. Business Cards. If you’ve been issued a standard office B-Card that’s totally acceptable and you should applaud yourself for achieving that professional milestone. There’s something sweet about receiving a box of 500 fresh business cards that confirm you’re a part of the team. However, for my life outside of my office, I decided to invest in cards that showed off a bit more personal style. The cards contain my personal contact information and details about my Nashville involvement and official side hustles of speaker/facilitator/presenter/blogger. These don’t have to be expensive. Check out MOO.com or VistaPrint. People react well and always smile when I offer a warmer and more personal version of the stale and often tossed white and sharp edged business card. More tips at the link above.

3. Social Media. Have a presence. Keep it clean. You don’t have to engage on all outlets but pick one or two that you can commit to keeping fresh and representative of who you are or what you aspire to become. People will check. LinkedIn is great for professional networking, Twitter, because I enjoy live tweeting events and it is an efficient way to get speedy personal and professional development nuggets as you move throughout your day. 140 character sound bites always add fodder to a conversation. Facebook is my place to affirm my brand through daily motivational posts and it allows me to keep up with the largest extended network from college until the present. Instagram is the preferred medium of most these days. Love the visuals. You’ll never find me on SnapChat. 

4. Bio. Yes, you’ve got a resume but you’ll often be asked to submit a bio to be used in an event program, to use as a method to introduce you to an audience, or just as a concise way to get to know you. Here’s my bio:

Krystal Clark, M.Ed. is a native of Portsmouth, VA. Her undergraduate degree in Sociology/Psychology was earned at The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, VA and her M.Ed. in College Student Personnel was obtained in 2007 from The University of Maryland, College Park. Upon graduation, she moved to Durham, NC and worked in Fraternity & Sorority Life at Duke University. Krystal came to Nashville, TN in May of 2011 to work as the Associate Director of Greek at Vanderbilt University. In May 2013, she began her adventure as the Associate Director of the newly created Office of Student Leadership Development at Vanderbilt. Krystal is the Vice President of Membership for the Junior League of Nashville, Reader for Book ‘Em/Reading is Fundamental, a member of the Junior Board of Women in Numbers, a volunteer for the YWCA, a former Big Sister for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee, a past member of the Board of Directors for Girls on the Run Nashville, a member of ACPA (College Student Educators International) and currently volunteering for her 10th year College reunion. Clark was a finalist for the Nashville Emerging Leader Award in the field of Education in 2012 and is the 2015 YP Nominee for the Nashville ATHENA Award. When she’s not working at Vanderbilt she serves as a speaker/facilitator at college campuses across the country. In her spare time, Krystal enjoys partaking in the music scene, blogging at peculiarpearl.com, is a Barre3 enthusiast, and strives to be a residential tourist taking in all that Nashville has to offer.

5. A smile. Seriously, when you’re floating around a big-small town you want to be someone that people are happy to see. I moved here without knowing a soul and a smile coupled with a hello got me through a lot of situations and made me some fast friends. A smile and a handshake moved me through my first networking event. A smile and a hug (this is the south) connected me quickly to a cause. A smile and a willingness to help is everything. A smile and a hand raised to ask a good question. A smile and a head nod to signal authentic engagement in a conversation. Smile. It makes you approachable. It makes you interesting. It makes people feel like they already know you. Smile.

6. Headshot. No better way to show off that smile than in a headshot. No more photos with the hand of a cropped out buddy lingering in the background. Most of our senior pictures at this age already look dated. Some companies offer headshots to employees and with the quality of cameras and camera phones these days a skilled friend could make this extremely economical for you. I’ve had three professional headshots taken and they have made all the difference. I feel confident about my appearance, the lighting is great, and a professional photographer knows how to pull the best out of you. Model or not, you can have a beautiful headshot. It just makes your social media and documents look polished. Try not to wear anything that will quickly date the photos. I’m in the market for a new shot due to my ever changing hair. Stay tuned.

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There you go. 6 items that can beef up your journey through the city as a YP. All of these can be done economically or you can certainly splurge if you have the coins. I promise you that all of these items are worthwhile to add to your life toolkit as you’ll come back to them repeatedly.

What did I miss? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks for reading.

Krystal

Exodus 14:14

ice day

“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

As part of #wholehearted 2015, one of my goals is to cultivate calm and stillness. Either I wasn’t doing that great of a job or God is fully on board with living a wholehearted life as he gave me ICE DAY 2015. Today was full of rest, just enough productivity to keep me from not being too behind, good warm food from my kitchen, 2 10-minute Barre3 blasts, and lots of West Wing.

Pottering around in my apartment gives me ample time to think. I’m not often at home and when I am here I’m usually sleeping or making plans to leave. Calmness and stillness makes me go inward and to be honest, I don’t always want to be in my head and I certainly don’t want to be in my heart.

ICE DAY was a good forced reminder of all of the “fights” happening above and below my neck. Negative thoughts that do not serve me. Tugs to control the uncontrollable, unproductive worry and unfounded fears. Hurt that doesn’t deserve me.

As  I looked out of my home office window  and took in the stillness of the day, I couldn’t help but realize that all of these battles being fought in my head and heart have already been won. All I have to do in times like this are remember and believe with all that I am who He is and what He has already done. He needs me to be still so that He can do his work. Every once in a while, I would hear a snow plow come down the street and I imagine that’s one of the many roles that God plays in our minds and hearts. He comes through to clear out all of the excess and those things that make us take our eyes off of Him and His goodness. He protects us from danger even though we might complain during the process; the outcome is always what is needed.

Once I tucked into this word, all of the fights melted away because I’ve got nothing on any of them. However, my squad is taking care of all of my light work. #squadgoals

Being afraid of calmness and stillness does not serve me or my relationship with God. This is the time I can utilize to make meaning of my life through His word. This is the time that I can pray to him in a regular conversation the same as I do with others that I love. I can give all of the “stuff” inside to Him. This is the time to realize that I am not in control. He is God and I am not. He’s fighting for little ‘ol me and for that I am eternally thankful.

Don’t run from stillness. Let Him wrap His arms around you. Stop, turn off all the noise, and just be.

Thanks for reading, y’all.