Twenty Years Old By Ayanna Bates

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Naive, foolish, maybe even a little crazy. Does that sound like us? Maybe a little. But there are so many  other amazing things that we are up to. Some of us are working a hard job that pays, well, decent. Some of us are working towards a degree, to well, hopefully land another job. Some of us are doing both. And let me be frank, that is really hard. Give us some more credit.

Now there are the few gems in the crowd who are up to something big. Like say, starting their own company. Haha, sound familiar?

Yeah you caught me, I am one of those gems. The whole point I am trying to highlight here is that people in their twenties are doing amazing things. We are busting our butts to be the best.

Most of the time, especially from the people close to me, I hear things like, “you don’t know anything.” And it is very damaging for a young person to receive messages like this.

People please, watch what you say to our young people; you may just be talking to the next Michelle Obama.

-Ayanna Bates| Author | Blogger | Poet | Spoken Word Artist

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The Pros and Cons of Plotters and Pantsers

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The Pros and Cons of Plotters and Pantsers

Writing a Novel vs. Writing a Collection of Poetry

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My name is Ayanna Bates. I am 19 years old and I have published my first book. What?! How exciting right?!

I published a collection of poems, around 90 or so; and it took me about a year to write and gather these poems. The book, An Old Teen, is pretty successful at this point and I am proud of it. Now is the time for a new challenge; my first novel. Que the scary music.

As a young author who is full of ideas and countless stories, the concept of writing an entire novel is pretty alarming. Poetry for me is short and sweet. A novel seems long and daunting. What can I say, writing a poem comes naturally to me. Writing a novel seems like it will take years. And in reality, it can. Though, I am so eager to get my work out there.

In my life time, I have written at least 7 unfinished novels. It is completely frustrating. I have the beginning of the book, how I want it to end, but I am missing the huge chunk in the middle. They say to outline your book but I am the type of writer who sits down and goes at the seat of their pants. That’s just me, who else is a pantser?

So if you’re like me, maybe noveling does not come as easily to you as you would hope. Maybe writer’s block is a common theme or you are constantly stuck at a page or editing that paragraph.

Here are a few tips for my pantsers out there pulled from a panster and writer, Joan C. Curtis:

  1. Listen to your characters
  2. Allow new characters to emerge even if it happens on your very last page
  3. When in the middle of a scene, go deep inside yourself to create what might happen
  4. Don’t worry about editing from the beginning

I think these are some awesome tips. Especially for a young author such as myself trying to delve into the world of noveling.

I will always be a poet but I am excited to attempt my first fictional novel and to succeed at that.

-By Ayanna Bates: Author, writer, blogger, motivational speaker from NY

Finding my way Through Recovery

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As a mental health advocate, I love sharing my story; I think being open about your struggles is such a powerful tool and it could save lives. So today I share with you my recovery from disordered eating.
First off, what is disordered eating and how does it differ from a full blown eating disorder? The main difference between an eating disorder and disordered eating is the severity and the frequency of symptoms. Here are some of the symptoms described on psychologytoday.com:

Symptoms of disordered eating may include behavior commonly associated with eating disorders, such as food restriction, binge eating, purging (via self-induced vomiting or excessive exercise, and use of diet pills and/ or laxatives).  However, disordered eating might also include:
  • Self-worth or self-esteem based highly or even exclusively on body shape and weight
  • A disturbance in the way one experiences their body i.e. a person who falls in a healthy weight range but continues to feel that they are overweight
  • Excessive or rigid exercise routine
  • Obsessive calorie counting
  • Anxiety about certain foods or food groups
  • A rigid approach to eating, such as only eating certain foods, inflexible meal times, refusal to eat in restaurants or outside of one’s own home
I started exhibiting symptoms of disordered eating my senior year of high school. It was my self-destructive way of dealing with depression and anxiety. I would restrict all day and every day, avoiding as many meals as possible. I would swallow my dinner quickly because it was the only meal I ate with my family and I did not want them to suspect anything. The hardest part about disordered eating is being able to talk about it. As a black woman struggling with disordered eating, people don’t really want to hear about it. Some people refused to take the time to understand what I was going through.
This made it easier to hide my disordered eating from all of loved ones. It wasn’t until I had a major break down at school, crying my eyes out, mumbling through my tears, “I just don’t want to be here anymore,” that I sought help. In my head, I thought I could just starve myself until I disappeared but in reality I was just killing myself and hurting those who loved me.
I made a choice; I chose recovery. That meant talking about it, seeking out a therapist, a psychiatrist, a nutritionist, and being open with my family and friends. That meant making the decision every day to eat, to fuel my body, to take care of my soul. There is no such thing as “not sick enough.” You can get help now before it turns into something severe. Early prevention is possible. Recovery is possible. I do see being “recovered” as my new reality. I still have a lot of work to do and as of now recovery will remain my friend. But one day I will be able to say that disordered eating is in the past and that is where it will stay.
-By Ayanna Bates: Author, writer, blogger, motivational speaker from NY

You’re Confused, It’s Just a Phase

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“You’re just confused.” “I think you’re just experimenting.”It has to be a phase.”

These are some of the comments I received when I came out as bisexual. It was pretty invalidating and just overall annoying to keep hearing these things said from my loved ones. I know who I am better than anyone and I do not need anyone to dictate to me who they “think ” I am. I know this much, I am bisexual and proud.

What is bisexuality? I think bisexual activist, Robyn Ochs, said it best when she defined bisexuality as “…[acknowledging] that I have in myself the potential to be attracted–romantically and/or sexually–to people of more than one sex, and/or gender, not necessarily at the same time, not necessarily in the same way, and not necessarily to the same degree.”

Being bisexual does not mean you are half attracted to men and half attracted to women. You could say that you are 10% attracted to men and 90% attracted to women, or whatever way you want to define your bisexuality. Being bisexual does not mean you have to be in a relationship, sexual or otherwise, to know whether you are bisexual or not. Bisexuality is not defined by who you have been with. Being bisexual does not mean you are confused or experimenting. Just because you are not gay or straight does not mean you are somehow in the middle, you are simply bisexual and that is okay.

I define my bisexuality as little bursts of happiness, finding and loving myself, loving people for who they are regardless of their gender identity, poems written about beautiful girls, googly eyes at beautiful guys, coming out on my own terms, and being completely proud and sure of who I am.

-By Ayanna Bates: Author, writer, blogger, motivational speaker from NY