25 Learned Truths at 26


I just celebrated my 26th birthday on Friday, January 10th (YAYYY CAPRICORNS!) and it was so much fun. I went to a lounge for some dancing with my peoples in downtown dc and the dj (who’s name I need to know) was on point! We completely owned the dance floor that night! But then, after the celebration was over, came the reality that I am indeed, inevitably, getting older. Although my aging does not show externally, I often feel the newness of my thinking, my attitude, and really my overall approach to people, things, and life. It’s left me in metacognition many a nights… and mornings. I’m an avid thinker.

Once on a lone train ride (because I absolutely love those) an elderly white woman, somewhat insane, sat next to me and told me her favorite thing to do is contemplate. Of course because I’m a wordsmith this was particularly interesting to me. Also, because I too love deep thought. However, that interaction, that soul, that night on that train, taught me that there are levels to this. Thinking is just one; don’t stay there. Do. I don’t want to be an old woman searching for happiness and comfort because I spent my whole life contemplating it. Naw B.

Anyway, in order to avoid unnecessary hardships, I have compiled a list of things I have learned and adopted as truths in my life. Feel free to adopt them as well. Our only competition should be who we were yesterday.

1. You don’t miss anything when you stay away from social networks for however long. Try it sometime.

2. Only a few people actually care about what you are going through, the rest are just curious.

3. We can learn a lot about ourselves through other people, if only we humble ourselves.

4. When someone hurts you, 9 X out of 10, it has nothing to do with you. *Don’t take things personal*

5. Poetry doesn’t have to rhyme.

6. It is your own job to develop emotional intelligence.

7. Radical expressionism is okay. At all times.

8. There is no crime in needing someone.

9. Don’t expect people to love you more than you love yourself, that’s unfair and unrealistic.

10. Someone else loving you does not rescue from the project of loving yourself.

11. Thoughts have energy.

12. It is imperative to be self-defining and self-affirming.

13. Don’t chase success, chase purpose.

14. Do not let your plans for life become expectations.

15. Your word and your character is all you have. (…and balls if you’re a guy)

16. Don’t let your lonely say “yes” for you. We’ve all been there, right?

17. If you want respect, please please please, stop looking for pity.

18. I’ll probably always take offense to big women slander. (Despite losing 70 pounds circa 2011)

19. Your information is your power.

20. Creating something gives you a voice. Try it.

21.Though invitations often come in unorthodox ways, I always seem to be able to get where I need to be.

22. True education is revolutionary. I suppose mine started in college, in Mr.Shorter’s class. Could never ever forget.

23. The last cry you have for someone you loved too deeply will be life altering.

24. You’ll know when it’s the last.

25. The other night I laid in candle-lit darkness and listened to Bill Withers sing to me that the world keeps going around and around. And it is true.

What I hope to learn this year, at 26, is how to be more careful in how I speak to myself, because I am listening.

I’m interested in seeing you all’s learned truths, please share!

Sankofa Byrd



Living Her Story: Jearlean Taylor

j2I was graced with the opportunity to have a phone conversation with Baltimore native, Jearlean Taylor.

Jearlean is a published author, writer, and owner of a Christian based modeling company. She shared with me that her heart’s desire has always been to make a difference in people’s lives, but there was something internally unstable in her life. Her mind, body, and soul longed for answers. She expressed how she had outer beauty, but was suffering on the inside with low self-esteem, pity, and unhappiness.

At the tender age of two years old Jearlean developed a rare cancer [Rhabdomyosarcoma] that attacked her inner organs leaving her with two ostomy bags and a dose of what she called the “Pretty Girl Blues”.

“My story continues with struggles, insecurities, heartaches, pain, suicidal thoughts, and disappointments, but through it all God was my saving grace. I hope to help those suffering with low-self-esteem by reaching out, encouraging, uplifting up, listening, understanding, and helping those in need. I do not look like what I deal with 24 hours/7 days a week. I AM A DESIGNER ORIGINAL.”

Through a series of questions,  Jaerlean shared how she’s overcome the pretty girl blues to transform her fears into building a successful faith based modeling company, JACCM. Check out HERstory  below:

What inspired you to create JACCM?

Modeling for 16 years, I’ve been in the industry and I’ve seen some things that would cause someone self-esteem to be hurt; not putting it down because I love the world of fashion. Modeling is very rewarding and has lots of opportunities for advancement. I just know that it can be discriminating, if you’re not tall enough, the right size or color. I wanted to prepare people for this industry and the setbacks they may face. Or just be the outlet for them to find themselves. I want them to know they are beautiful from the inside out. Our motto is “We build , train, and develop from the inside out”.

Have you faced any opposition in the industry by running a faith based business?

It is a faith based business but we don’t throw religion on anyone, but I will explain to them my relationship with God is what matters. I’ve been blessed that people know me and our standards therefore they cater to our needs. They know what my company stands for and they adhere to that. It depends on how you treat people that’s how they treat you.

How do you view the current state of the Baltimore fashion industry?

There is so much talent as far as designers and stylists. People don’t see it. Stereotypes about the area are assumed and people don’t give the area a chance. There are a lot of talented designers and models. People have to support them.

What other projects do you have in the works?

I am now an author, my autobiography, “Pretty Girl Blues” , details my life as a cancer survivor and unforeseen circumstances that came along with it. It is a very personal story that is being told to help uplift, bring encouragement, to give people hope and healing. http://www.prettygirlblues.com

Do you plan on going into full time entrepreneurship?

I hope to carry my schedule as it is with my endeavors with my company. I often have a full schedule with my other ministries/projects, so for now having full time entrepreneurship is part-time. Who knows how my future will change with that, but I am happy how it is now.

What is your Street Intell and how do you plan to continue your aim of inspiring young girls, women and men through fashion and faith?

By being myself and letting my “light” shine. Often times, people look at the exterior and can’t believe how I survived a deadly disease. I made it, so I want others to know and love who they are. If you are a good leader people will follow. If I lead by example people will see my “light”. Before I never thought putting my story out there was posible, I was afraid of what people would think. What I thought was a burden was actually a blessing. The story I tried to hide once is now helping and inspiring people. Seeing how far I have come encourages me to keep helping people. Through sharing my story I have touched many people and will continue to spread my “light”.
jarlean t

Living HERstory: Carla Renée

Here at Street Intell we like to spotlight people doing extraordinary things in and around the DMV area. We want to encourage you all to support Mademoiselle Phenomenal as she makes her way to the big screen. She has a tremendous story of overcoming and conquering cancer 3 times and it is refreshing to see how she has made it to this point. Join us as we help her and the rest of the cast members celebrate the release of Carlos Roman’s Sci-fi action thriller, Signals 2. Click the image below to connect with Carla Renée.

Carla Renée

Air force veteran, entrepreneur, teacher, performance poet and actress; a true renaissance woman.

We will see you all this Saturday at the Movie Premiere. Line for tickets forms at 9:30 and the film viewing is at 10:00 am.

Current Vibes: That’s alright

We have fallen in love with another British songstress.

Laura Mvula is giving us big tunes flavored with a delightful accent similar to that of the late high priestess of soul, Ms. Nina Simone. Can you dig the vibe? Well, head over to iTunes and download her album: Sing to the Moon.

Trust us you’ll want to hear more, especially with featured tracks like “green garden”, “diamonds” and “she”.