Inspiration, Motivation, random thoughts, Self Discovery, short stories

Love After Lockdown

This will likely be one of the most transparent pieces that I’ve ever written. Most of you all know that I typically don’t discuss my personal life online- especially my family. But last week there was a major shift with my family dynamics.

Not many people knew that my dad had been incarcerated for the past 18 years of my life. But last week he became a free man. It was powerful. No longer were we limited by the time constraints of “visitation.” No longer were we interrupted with the reminder of “you have sixty seconds remaining” before we were rushed to wrap up our conversation, say our “love yous” and goodbyes. As a family, we were finally free.

Now don’t get me wrong, though he was incarcerated, he wasn’t emotionally, mentally or spiritually absent from my life. He and I have eighteen years worth of phone call and letter exchanges. I have them all. Not only are there letters, there are handmade birthday cards, comic strips, quotes, scriptures and also (one time) a hand braided ankh.

My dad has always strived to make our relationship normal. he has always been a constant reminder of how beautiful, independent and strong I am. And there hasn’t been any wrong that I can do (in his eyes of course). He has allows cheered me on to continue “doing your thing, ” whatever it is at the time. He has fully supported all of my endeavors and constantly reminds me to be treated like nothing less than royalty.

I’d like to say thank you to everyone that has extended their love and support as my dad transitions back into society. SO much has changed since 2001. Technology. Social media. Social norms. So one can understand how overwhelming it can be. He’s learning.

I can’t express how grateful that I am to have my dads physical presence in my life and it is a privilege that I will NEVER take for granted.

In 18 years…..

You’ve never missed a birthday, graduation, Christmas, Valentines Day nor Easter despite your physical absence

For 18 years…..

I have vowed that you would be the only man in my life that I would hold down while he was locked down. I have honored it.

After 18 years…..

Welcome home Dad

Discover, Inspiration, Motivation, Self Discovery

Write the blog sis!

I’ve been slacking. I’ve been challenged. Most importantly I’m making changes for the better.

Slowly but surely I’ve gotten away from myself and more specifically, my writing. It bothers me more than I care to admit. Not only am I letting myself down, but I also feel like I’m letting down my fellow writers and those that depend on me to keep them motivated.

So just in case you needed a mid-week or mid-life friendly reminder…….




The world is waiting

Inspiration, Motivation, random thoughts, Self Discovery

An Open Letter to Assata Shakur

Dear Assata,

I hope that this letter finds you in the comforts of your freedom. I won’t take too much of your time.

One day (about a month or so ago), I visited my favorite herbal apothecary. I picked up a 21 day guided journal and I as gifted a bracelet with “Exist Like Assata” etched into it. I am a firm believer in the intentions of the universe. I took it as a sign that during this current time and space in my life, I was supposed to be learning something from you. Prior to receiving this bracelet, I had no idea who you were, what your impact was or how much you’d change my life. All I knew was that I was being encouraged to “exist” like you….whatever that meant.

Being the bookworm that I am, I decided to begin with your literature. I’ll be honest, I typically finish reading books in about three days. Your autobiography took me over a month to finish.

As I read, I researched. I researched words. I researched locations you mentioned. I researched the Black Liberation Army. Your autobiography was my first introduction to it. In the history of my education, it has NEVER been mentioned and after reading, I fully understand why.

As I read, my blood boiled. I became frustrated. The frustration led to anger. The anger led to feelings of such helplessness that I cried and had to continuously put the book down until I pulled myself together.

Assata, I am in awe of your spirit, strength and the courage that carried you. Thank you for inspiring me to make greater efforts to be an advocate for our people. Most importantly, I thank you for sharing your truth. I wish you continued freedom, light and love.


Discover, Education, Inspiration, Motivation, Self Discovery, short stories, Uncategorized

The Final Assignment

I became their teacher in November. No formal training, education, nada. Most would say that I was at a disadvantage being given seniors. This is the result of simply teaching with what’s in my head and in my heart for my kids.


At the end of the semester, I created a written assignment for my students. A few students complained since it was a math course. A few were eager to write as it was worth a quiz grade replacement.


Ms. Royster’s Final Self-Reflection Assignment

As you all know, I am a writer at heart. I decided to share my love for writing with you all. Luckily for you I will be dropping your lowest quiz grade and replacing it with a completion grade. Below are the requirements for the assignment.


Your Self-Reflection Needs to Be:

Handwritten on college ruled notebook paper (I have plenty!)

Turned in at any time but no later than the last day of class

One page minimum (but you are more than welcome to write as much as you’d like beyond the one page)

Transparent. Be honest.


Please respond to all of the following:

How has this course impacted me? This impact can be positive or negative depending on your experience.


How will the skills that I have acquired in this course assist me with future success?


What other skills may I need to adapt to give me the greatest chance of success in life.


A paragraph has and always will be at least five complete sentences. I’m counting! Don’t cheat yourself.


I made the mistake of reading these self-reflections during class. I had to decide if I would allow my students to see their words tug at my heart-strings or save the tears for the teacher parking lot. I chose the latter. There was one reflection in particular that reassured that I am working within the purpose for my life.


When you first got here I didn’t know what to expect of you and I was relieved that you took Mr. H’s place. Over the quarter that you’ve been here we’ve had our ups and downs and I appreciate you as a teacher and I’ll miss you. What I’ve realized is that you genuinely care about me not only as a student but as a young African American man about to go out into the world. Also, you make me realize that I’ve got all the natural intelligence and understanding I just have to push myself and want better for my own sake. The skills you’ve equipped me with will help me when I’ve got to grocery shop on my own and do things out in the real world. A skill I need to adapt is that of being more open-minded because I’m not always right and should take other people’s thoughts and ideas into consideration. Lastly, I want to say thank you for being so hard on me and never hand feeding me a grade because I got the right answer but instead of doing that you made me work for everything I earned in this class. Without you I’d have never realized my potential and would’ve never started to really take my time and think about my work before claiming I’m done. Truthfully you are the best teacher besides my dad that I’ve ever had. Thank you for coming into my classroom and opening my mind up to new ways of thinking and overall learning.


This is why I teach.

Discover, Entrepreneurship, Motivation, Self Discovery

Book Review: Roadmap: The Get It Together Guide for Figuring Out What to Do with Your Life by Roadtrip Nation

Roadtrip Nation began as just that, a road trip amongst friends- Nathan Gebhard, Brian McAllister and Mike Marriner. In 2001 they set out on a journey to discover the next steps for their lives. Since then, they have traveled the country in a bright green RV interviewing people that have created their lives around their personal interests.

Pretty dope right?

As a matter of fact, their journey was so dope that it turned into a docuseries, books and an online portal for helping others (like myself) figure out how to create a roadmap for their lives.

This is by far one of the best books that I’ve read in 2018 (although the book has been out since 2015). The title couldn’t give away anymore of its purpose.

Broken into three parts- let go, define and become, Roadmap isn’t your typical “figure it out” workbook. I was forced to acknowledge some pretty self limiting habits that I wasn’t even aware of and how much I had been conditioned to believe that working for an unfulfilling job was the norm and that creating a lifestyle based on interests was going to be a struggle to go against the grain. This book is filled with regular degular folks (like myself) giving us the knitty gritty about their fears and obstacles experienced along their roadmaps.

This book has helped me to identify my foundation and core interests. It’s opened my mind to a world of possibilities that I hadn’t considered before and I am looking forward to sharing it with the world.

But you don’t have to believe me. Create your own.


Entrepreneurship, Inspiration, Motivation, Self Discovery

Entrepreneurship aka What the hell am I doing?

Never in a million years did I ever consider entrepreneurship and had full intentions on working for other people for the rest of my life. The first question people ask is (of course) “have you always known?” The answer is no! To be honest, everyday I question myself if I made the right decision. Am I “doing it right?” When the hell do the big checks start rolling in?


I don’t hesitate to admit that this was something that I should have been better prepared for……..but I wasn’t. Luckily all of the bills were paid up. One less headache to worry about.


The entire purpose for me not working was so that I could focus on a writing career. After forever and a day of storing, organizing and uploading poems, I successfully self-published my first book.


This was by far thee happiest moment in my life!


I ordered 100 copies and began selling… my ride or die friends, family and a few strangers. I hosted 2 book signings. The first one was in my hometown. Outside of my supporters that let me know that they couldn’t attend in advance, a majority of the “let me know when you have your first signing” folks were disappearing acts. The only person that showed up to my signing in Charlotte was my favorite cousin.


1st Lesson Learned about Entrepreneurship

Folks don’t rock with you the way they say they do


The book has been available on multiple platforms including Amazon, Kindle, Barnes & Noble and via direct shipping on this site and there are still folks asking how they can get it and if they can get “a hook up.”

When people genuinely WANT to support you, they will. Anything else is bullshit. To me support is support. Promotion is free. Sharing is caring.



2nd Lesson Learned about Entrepreneurship

Although profitable, everything AIN’T for me

I was free from the corporate hamster wheel.

I was a new author.

But I needed another stream of income outside of Uber and Lyft (per the coaching masterclass that I signed up for).

And I needed a coaching business (per the coaching masterclass that I signed up for).

Have I always been the go to friend for advice? Yes

Do I find myself empowering strangers regularly? Yes

Did that mean I needed to start an actual coaching business?


The intentions were pure. But I had to be honest with myself. I enjoy helping people but an actual coaching business was way left field from what my true passion is and that’s writing.

Back to the drawing board I went.

3rd Lesson Learned About Entrepreneurship

It’s going to cost you

And I ain’t just talking money.

Now granted, I do look at the remaining 43 copies of my book like, look at all that money just sitting there.

As I felt myself slowly transitioning into the “starving artist” category, I knew I needed to dig deeper into my creative repertoire for an additional means of income. Whatever it was, I needed it to be genuine. I went to my vision board to see what I could knock off the list. Ah yes. Pretty Dope Right? merchandise.

I’ve never been much of an artist but I’ve always had a knack for creative direction. A few folks in my tribe were using an app for their promotions. One night I downloaded it and created a few designs and it’s been on and popping ever since.

As with most things, I dived in head first without a damn clue.

Wait. I forgot about purchasing the actual t-shirts. Printing costs. Shipping costs. Oh yeah, and the most important piece- setting. price point so that I could make a profit on the shirts. Where the hell was my realistic mind at?

In essence, I have good intentions for a life of entrepreneurship but there is and will continue to be so much more to learn. I’m going to be even more uncomfortable outside of my comfort zone. I’m going to have to sacrifice a few more things. I’m still learning how to function when my body is only on 20%. It sucks on most days. But deep down I wouldn’t have it any other way. I know in my heart that I’m on the right path even though I don’t have a clue as to what the hell I’m doing.