An Angel Named Grayson

-Happy 27th Birthday Grayson!

It's been a year and a half, and it's taken me that long to even be able to write anything about the young man I called my brother. Yesterday, May 19th would have been his 27th birthday and my heart is so heavy that he isn't here. His birthday, aside from Christmas was his favorite holiday, and YES I mean holiday, he loved celebrating the day that he was born. When I tell you that Grayson, LOVED life, he loved life. He lived full and hard, people used to say that he lived a lot of life in such a short time and he truly did. The most tragic thing about death, to me only further solidifies life as the anthesis of death, because what is magical about life, is all of the possibilities that every life has, every day is an opportunity to change something and make that day better than the day before. The thing that hurts so much about death is that it destroys all possibilities. I won't paint any picture of my brother as a saint, when you live, you make good decisions and you make bad decisions, and in life, all decisions have consequences, even the good ones. But what I can tell you about him is that he had a really really good heart, and those whom he loved, he loved hard and steadily. It hurts me so much to know that I'll never get another goofy call from him, being excited about some super outdated news, or those phone calls where it'd been weeks since I heard from him and he just carried on like we'd spoken recently. But the thing that breaks my heart the most, is that Gracie, his daughter, will never get to know her daddy, and that he never really got to know her! My family and I, see more and more of him in Gracie, everyday. He would be so excited to know her at this time in her life, she is so full of personality, and she's learning so much about the world everyday, it's extremely satisfying to watch. She a loving, wanna be independent, charismatic little character, but most of all she is Grayson's daughter.

-Grayson, I just hope you're pleased and proud of the little human she is blossoming into and satisfied with all the love that people give and have for her. Of course, nothing will ever be able to replace you, but we're doing our best to make the blow a little softer, when she's able to fully understand. I promise you, and I have since day that you left this earth, that I will always protect that little girl, and I will always love her with every inch of my heart. I don't believe that you can protect people from the world, but I'm damn sure going to try and protect her from it, because I know you would. 


Signing Off-

Kyla J


About the Question, "How do you do x, y, and z?!!!!??

For so long that question has plagued my life, and for the longest it made me uncomfortable, it led me to believe that maybe, I was doing something wrong, and that's why I kept getting that question. From adults, from peers, from people who knew people, who knew me, it was just WEIRD! But now, it doesn't weird me out, at all. The answer is...I just wake up everyday and I do it. I remember being like 4 or 5, and telling my dad that I was going to be a firefighter, a dancer, a doctor, and a singer. LOL. But my dad's response was, "Okay Sweetie! You have to come up with a plan and you can do all of those things." Now naturally, as I've gotten older, I definitely had to refine that list to actually come up with the things that are important to me, and focus all of my time, energy, and resources to be really good at those things. The purpose of that little anecdote was to say that "Go Getter," mentality was instilled in me pretty early, and it definitely fuels me to keep pushing. Anyone who knows me, knows that I'm going to do the things I say I'm going to do, I'm very determined about them, and I normally have a pretty rigid plan as to how they are going to occur. I will say, that I've had my fair share of disappointments, because I made too many plans and wouldn't be flexible about them. But at this point, I'm super flexible about my plans, just not my goals. 

So this next part, is related, but I guess, not 100% related. But that's okay because this is my blog(:

It's really awkward for me to talk about myself. You know when you go to relatives homes', and you've been away living your respective life for "x" amount of time, and you're home for a visit, and you overhear a conversation in the other room, and you KNOW, it's about you. That's what I mean about talking about myself. Whenever that happens, and believe me, it happens often, I come up with all kinds of schemes in my head, to not be present, when the "Kyla, come tell so and so about so and so part comes in." I HATE THAT. I hate it because nothing I'm doing feels spectacular. Not that what I'm doing isn't important or meaningful to me, but in my mind everybody around me is grinding for something, our grinds are all just a little different. So I never fully grasp why people want me to talk about what I'm doing, what I really want to say is...Oh I'm just living in Atlanta, school and dancing, that's about it. There's really not that much to it. At least not to me LOL. Okay...rant over.

All of that to say, go out here and be great y'all. Grind for the things that are important to you, be a person of your word, and be as kind as you can to as many people as you can, along the way. At the young age of 23, that's the way I've decided that my life will be the most fulfilled.


Signing Off-

Kyla J


A Quick Review of "We're Going to Need More Wine"

I love reading, not for class, just for me. But we all reach a point, where our lives don't really allow for us to spend as much time doing all of the things that we love. For me that point was undergraduate, and since I'm STILL in school (and still have quite a ways to go), I still just haven't been able to find time to really read for leisure; with the exception of Christmas and Thanksgiving break, I always take it upon myself to read at least one book while I'm away from my normal everyday life. Over Christmas break, I read Gabrielle Union's book, We're Going to Need More Wine," and aside from the fact that I absolutely adore her, the book was amazing! She honestly and authentically gave of herself to the readers. We took a journey through her life, beginning with her childhood, traveling through her adolescent years, traversed the teenage landscape and then we watched her career unfold to where it is today. It wasn't all happy, it wasn't all sad, it reminded me of life, it kind of just ebbed and flowed, I found myself laughing hysterically at points, and I also found that I was in tears reading certain parts. For an author to be able to evoke that range of emotions, with words on pieces of paper, they have truly done their job as an author, and have accomplished more than writing and publishing a book, because they established the human connection with their readers. But even more pleasant that my own experience of reading the book, where I naturally insert my own intonations; was hearing the book read via audiobook in Gabrielle Union's voice. At the end of that, I felt like I knew so much about her and the experience felt personal in a way. I connected on an even deeper level after hearing her tell her own story. The authenticity in her voice, made it feel as though she was actually reliving her own memories, recalling every small detail and taking the time to allow the nuances to set the mood.

I'm discovering that I really appreciate authenticity. I think society throws that word around a lot, but I find myself appreciating the raw, and unedited version of things much more than the watered down, rosy version that people present as an alternative. The chance to let your guard down, and speak your truth is liberating. I'm working on finding that in so many aspects of my life, especially dance; and reading and then listening to the book definitely validated my working towards liberation via authenticity. 

Signing Off-

Kyla J


Approaching First Hell Week

HELL WEEK: They happen for a week, once a month, for every month in the semester. Somehow the universe of academia is against you. SURPRISE!!! You have papers, exams, group assignments all due within hours and days of each other. Followed by a week where you fall behind, because you try to recuperate from having no sleep and working on assignments and preparing for exams. Then the next two weeks are smooth, only for the cycle to start again after those two weeks. 

This is a unique semester for me. I have one class online, one three hour class in person (I struggle to be attentive in a 3 hour programming course, which I will talk more about later in this post!!!), and my thesis project, which essentially is an independent study course. But it's a challenge to manage sometimes.

 So the programming course, the languages being used are Python and SQL (which I haven't used in at least a year. YIKES. ) used inside of a mapping application (ARC GIS) used in many different fields but for the purpose of my course, we are looking at health data. But I really enjoy the challenge of having to figure out how to make something work. It's like building lego's when I was little, like I know I can do it, but figuring out how is the time consuming part frustrating and rewarding all in the same breath. 

So today, I wanted to wake up at 7, and get some reading done before going to Ballet. That didn't happen, I heard the alarm, but was wayyyy too tired to actually get out of the bed, so I let it ride. I went to Ballet this morning, and then came to Octane Coffee Shop in Grant Park, this is a great place to study by the way. I've been here since 12:30 trying to get this map to work, it's 4. 

STATUS UPDATE: I was able to build the map and half of the data works, but the join isn't working because for some reason, my data isn't clean. The application is super sensitive to symbols. But it doesn't have any symbols in it 😩. Soooo I'm taking a break, and I'm going to come back to it with fresh eyes after I finish dancing tonight. 

That's one class, my Minority Health class is pretty interesting, and easy to manage. A lot of group work though, considering that it's an online class. One thing, I've learned through this Master's is that group work is very hit or miss. Sometimes you get a great group and you work well together, but most times, you get a terrible group, where people have no work standards and ummmm for me that just doesn't work because I'm not okay putting my name on trash. But I digress. 

My capstone project, it feels a little bit like my baby. I'm building it from the ground up, which has been a dream of mine since I was pretty little, so although it's exhausting, daunting, and rewarding all in the same breath, the underlying feeling of excitement remains. You all should check out my research tab to see what it's all about. But the idea of taking something that I'm interested in, and developing a hypothesis, and then devising a plan on how to strategically prove my hypothesis, I must say, is freaking AMAZING! 

The whole being attentive thing! Y'all I have the attention span of like a 5 year old kid. BUT I know that about myself, so I know how to hold my own attention, at least most of the time lol. But if you've ever taken a class with me, you will see me taking notes on everything, with about 100 different colored pens on my desk. Taking good attentive notes saves me, but they have to look good, so that why I always have a billion colors. IF they're not organized and neat, the chance that I will ever look at them again is slim to none. But by having good notes, if my attention zones out at some point, which it almost always does, I have my notes laid out that when I look back, it's like I never missed a beat. So there you have it, that's my note takin secret and why I'm so anal about notes, notebooks, colored pens, and stationary lol! It's important to me. 

Alright, I'd love to keep talking about this, but I have some errands to run before dance class, and then an assignment to get back to, so I'd better get to it.


Signing Off-

Kyla J


Dancing Doctor

I can't tell you how often people ask me, so how do you have time to do...

The truth is, I have no clue. I just do it, everyday, I wake up, make a to-do list, look at my calendar (which I LIVE by to be honest, thank God for Google Calendar), and once a week or so, I look at the goals written on Post-It notes behind my bedroom door just to make sure that it's all aligning; and just like that, I keep it going. I often wonder and imagine how much simpler my life would be if I was training exclusively as a dancer or exclusively in school to become a surgeon. The truth is, I don't want my life any other way, I enjoy the grind of doing the two things that I love, and the challenge of constantly combatting all the people that tell me, "I can't do both," because...well here were are, and I'm doing it everyday. All of this isn't to say that I don't have days where I doubt the hell out of myself, and days where I feel like its all in vain, or like everything sucks. I DO! But having a bomb ass support system, keeps me pushing right past all of that.


Signing Off-

Kyla J


Let Get Right Down to Things!

Extreme honesty alert!!!! 

This page is really, for me to be super honest about my life, my goals and the things I'm passionate about. But if something I write, can reach or help someone else; feel free to browse. I will talk about where I purchased items from the looks on the Lookbook page and cheaper alreranatives if the items are on the more expensive side. I will also talk about being a professional dancer and MD/MPH students, it's a unique path, and the journey definitely isn't paved, so feel free to go on this crazy journey with me.

Signing Off-

Kyla J