Shit happens, so never give up: a Q+A w/ Isabel Dresler

You are a multipotentialite, a Photographer, Videographer, Director, Shameless Smut Peddler of Shameless Smut & Unabashed Sexplorer. Have you always been unabashed about your sexploration? How have you been able to be so transparent?

I have not! I spent too many years in a vicious cycle of shame, self doubt and guilt. As I slowly allowed myself to explore and accept my sexuality, both as a queer and as a gender nonconforming person, my view of myself as both a human with value and an empowered sexual individual improved exponentially.

Nowadays I try to live my life with as little shame as possible, and I work so hard to be as ethical and transparent as I can while I’m at it.

What do we get wrong when talking about consent?

We assume that consent is a cut and dry, black and white concept. Consent, or the lack thereof, is often a messy gray area that requires more negotiation than just a simple “yes” or “no”.  

Sometimes people give consent for things that they aren’t actually fully comfortable consenting to – whether it be because of financial, social, political or any other menagerie of self-induced (or not) pressure. I’ve had a lot of discussions recently about the concept of “Fight, Fight, Flee, or Fawn” – it’s a lot to cover here but definitely worth looking into if you’re up for falling into a rabbit hole of complicated consent politics!

What do we get wrong when talking about sexuality?

That sexuality, like consent, is a cut and dry concept. As someone who is very sexually fluid I definitely am hyper-aware of this concept. Sexuality is a spectrum, and people can fall and fluctuate anywhere on it at any given day.

What do you love about photography?

I love being able to create a tangible example of how I see the world in a way that I can share with others. I love being able to show people how I see things because I’m terrible at explaining it.

What’s something you’re currently working on that’s both super challenging and exciting?

Over the last year I’ve begun directing scenes for a popular gay site, and while I love taking on additional responsibility the pressure to deliver a product that is consistently up to my quality standards is super tough!

I’ve been getting an amazing response from my viewer base though and I love being able to have so much creative control in a setting where I can make content that both me and my models feel good about!

What’s something you wish you could say to your 16 year old self?

When I was sixteen I was struggling with my sexuality and gender identity, as well as self harm and depression issues. If I could tell myself anything, it would be to please keep going because I promise it will get better.

Who do you go to when you’re needing support and guidance?

I am so fortunate to have a close-knit, reliable support system. It took me a long time to assemble, but has been an absolute life saver – especially in the last year. My parents have also been indispensable in my personal growth and success in the last several years, and I owe so much of my success to them.

When was the last time you practiced self-care and why is self-care important to you?

Before I left for the trip I’m on now,  I made sure I took a good day for myself! I’m definitely a creature of habit, so I did what I usually do – a bath in the morning, a trip with my dog to get a healthy snack which we then take to the park and enjoy in the sun, followed by a trip to the pet store to pick up fresh treats, and then we head back to the house to curl up on the couch and binge watch horror movies!

What’s something that’s been bringing you joy lately?

Knowing that the boys I get to work with feel safe, comfortable, empowered and happy with the work we are doing!

What’s something that’s been pissing you off lately?

Constantly feeling like I’m at the whim of a society run by cisgender white men.

What are your unshakable values and when did you become clear on them?

I am committed to being as ethical as I possibly can. I’ve been aware of my ethics for as long as I can remember, and am constantly working hard to be mindful and aware of both my privilege and my ability to use that privilege to enact positive change for everyone.

It’s years in the future. You’re on stage to accept an award for your life’s work.  What’s your five word acceptance speech?

Shit happens. Never give up.

Who are a few amazing people that we should follow and why?

I am constantly in awe of all the amazing babes doing cool ass shit all over the internet.

Here’s a couple of my faves, and their Instagram handles:

Jay Austin – @jasegrimm
Colton James – @coltonjamesart
Noelia Towers – @noeliatowers
Mia Little – @alittleedutainment
Jetti Lewis – @jettilalewis
Tuesday Bassen – @tuesdaybassen

What’s in the space between where you are and were you want to be? So much. But hopefully I’ll be able to overcome all of it if I can stay dedicated, motivated and true to myself.

Learn more about Isabel + connect.

Isabel Dresler is an award winning genderfluid queer director and cameraperson/tortured artist based in Las Vegas. They spend most of their time traversing the west coast creating elevated smut for various gay porn sites and individual performers, and constantly strives to create the most ethical, authentic, unique content they can. When not spelunking into people’s orifices with a camera, Isabel can be found binge watching horror movies with their dog, wallflowering at gay leather bars or getting lost in the wilderness. Instagram. Twitter. Website.

Self-talk can be destructive it you let it: a Q+A w/ Adam Molanado

What do we get wrong when we talk about mental health?

Mostly everyone misses that it is necessary to deal with the world of today. We all could escape the world outside before the trends of social media and the 24/7 reach of others opinions reaching into your pocket with smartphones.

Today people have to deal with the influence of peer pressure from the time they can read and get a phone out of their parents. Mental health needs to be a daily topic we are all comfortable with.

Why did you name your blog Diabetic Cyborg?

I basically just fell into it and it suck. I am a hardcore fan of sci-fi TV and movies. I just know that my Medtronic Minimed 670G is called an artificial pancreas.

I know from TV and movies that people with artificial origins and body parts are called cyborgs, so I by definition are a Diabetic Cyborg.

Why did you choose to be so open about your health on the internet?

Why not be so open? It’s hard to relate and discuss our lives when trying to hide things about our lives. I just tell it like it is and hope to show who I am. I cannot expect everyone to understand or love me if I am hiding things from those I want to like my posts.

I go deep into what is happening and what I a thinking and it is too hard to try to hide things. I honestly see it as dishonest and wrong if I am not totally out there with everything I am. I have a responsibility to my readers. I call them my digital family now.

I don’t lie or hide things from family, digital or real life.

What’s one thing you wish everyone knew about being a diabetic? That diabetes is genetic. You are either diabetic or not diabetic. Your pancreas works, or it does not work. I was Type 2 at first, but that changed in September 2017 when my endocrinologist did blood tests.

She found that my pancreas made no insulin. Eating and living a certain way does not make your pancreas stop working. It can make things worse, but not cause the illness.

Who do you go to when you’re needing support and guidance?

My mother mostly provides all guidance I need from the lessons her mom taught her. I get support from my anyone in my immediate family or digital family. I, also, can talk myself into being optimistic and supportive.

Self-talk can be destructive it you let it, but it can be a great asset if you are in the right state of mind.

When was the last time you practiced self-care and why is self-care important to you?

AI practice self-care daily. I mostly just think about my life and what I overcame to get a master in art in history, and how I fought off the doubts that came with comprehensive exams. That diploma hangs in our hall and I walk by it at least 20 times a day. That is great thing that helps me.

It is important practice it since the time in my life that I undertake high things like diplomas and college classes is over. I focus on the weekly task of blogs and vlogs that need writing and shooting.

I know everyone will say that I can do anything I set my mind to, but I have to be real. I have two chronic illnesses that limit the stress I can deal with, and the physical tasks I can take on.

I gave up driving for safety after all. I loved driving. I drag raced at a local drag strip on weekends in the early 2000’s . I just did not feel safe driving anymore. I did not want to wind up killing someone out of my stubborn belief that I was okay driving still.

What’s something that’s been bringing you joy lately?

Our rescue puppies Lola and Maggie mostly. Lola is a min-pin mixed breed that looks like a yorkie, and Maggie is a terror mix of some kind. They are fun and always make me smile.

I usually can escape into Star Wars, Marvel Cinematic Universe movies or any season of Doctor Who when I need a quick escape from reality.

What’s something that’s been pissing you off lately?

I get more disappointed or let down than angry. I tired to get that emotion out of my system. The constant fear of losing my health care insurance. That is a source anxiety that is always there with the current party in power in DC. My medications average 8,000 to over 10,000 dollars before insurance.

I have the real fear of running for Canada and claiming medical asylum if the affordable care act is totally killed and I am no longer insured. I was once “private pay,” but that was before Type 1 diabetes, and the pump, and relapse and remitting multiple sclerosis. Anxiety is the biggest emotion  I lately.

What’s something you’re currently working on that’s both super challenging and exciting?

The most challenging is maintaining my health and mental health. The most exciting is my weekly blogs and vlogs. I feel that I am actually making people’s lives better with my posts.

I guess their problems seem less challenging. I feel that I accomplish something when someone mentions me in their posts or comments that I help put their lives in perspective.

The feeling of achievement I get when I know I helped someone get through their own struggles with anxiety or stress is amazing.


I believe in being kind as possible and being the best person you can be. Optimism is a frame of mind you fight for.

Adam Molanado

When was a time that self-doubt was at its worst for you while on your career and life journey?

My broken hip in September 2013 was a tough time for my life and career paths. My aid was suspended since I had to drop my first semester of grad school.

My broken hip repair meant I could not ride in a car for 6 weeks.

I questioned if my academic quest for a graduate diploma was foolish at the time. I wound up getting the MA since I was allowed to get aid again that to my advisor fighting for me. I made sure to thank her until I graduated in August 2016.

My career path is really my academic journey. I never worked more than 3 or 4 months for anyone. Last time that was substitute teaching, and that lead to my first MS “spark” of brain lesions. The stress was way more than I can take on now.

Imagine that all your life’s work disappeared and you only had 1 minute to tell the world what you truly believe to be true. What would you say?

I believe in being kind as possible and being the best person you can be. Optimism is a frame of mind you fight for. Life is short in a historical point of view and can be horrible if you let it be.  The world is over 3 billion years old. Humans live to be less than 100 on average. You live for your fellow humans that live in your lifetime. Be as kind and helpful to other cohorts of your lifetime as possible. Do you really think anyone thing you do will be remembered historically? The least you can do is leave a good impression on the people you are living with on the mud ball called Earth.

What’s something you’re working to unlearn?
I believe in being kind as possible and being the best person you can be. Optimism is a frame of mind you fight for.

 Vanity is something I am unlearning. I still care too much about worthless things. Social media and the internet in general have give us all the ability think of ourselves as too important to be who we are.

💎💎💎

Adam personifies hope. In 2017, he was diagnosed with relapse and remitting multiple sclerosis  and Type 1 diabetes. They made for a total new approach to life, and he realize his chronic illnesses are truly a blessing in disguise. Instagram. Twitter. Website.

Why I Chose Homelessness With a Baby On the Way

They smashed my car window the day after Thanksgiving.

When I saw the damage, all I could do was laugh to keep from hitting something. Who does that?

Who throws a giant brick through someone’s passenger side window, consequently crushing the printer that was atop the seat, and getting annoyingly small pieces of glass everywhere — the kind that cuts you because you sat on it after thinking it was all vacuumed up — who does that?

Ugh.

After laughing, cursing, and shouting about it, I check the glove compartment for my passport. That was one of the reasons I flew back from L.A. to Baltimore the night before.

Thank, God. The passport was in tact.

I report the incident to the police, make a failed attempt to get insurance to cover anything, and seek to raise the funds I needed for the window repair because I have $10 to my name.

My pride is pretty much broken at this point, I’ve successfully reached another low, and I’m too tired to even cry.

My life was much different a month earlier:

  • My pregnant wife and I were together in what looked like a healthy, fulfilling marriage
  • We lived in the two story town house that came with my job living rent free with free parking in the city
  • My credit score was a little over 800
  • I had a full time job making almost $50K/yr
  • As far as the world knew, I was a heterosexual Black man who went to a job he loved, and spoke out about mental health stigma and worked with brands to dope stuff. I had made it. I beat the statistics.

All that changed around my 31st birthday, October 20th, when I left my wife, quit my job (consequentially forfeiting our housing), came out to my 12K+ social media followers as Queer, told the world about how depressed and anxious and miserable I actually was, accrued $20k+ in credit card debt in order to travel the world, and basically became a pariah in all of my circles.

I had been drowning.

Having intense panic attacks while on Zoloft.

I wasn’t living my WHY at all.

My job required me to respond to 3am calls for university students who could be throwing up because of alcohol poisoning, showing signs of suicide ideation, or preparing to be kicked out of school because of a marijuana policy violation on any given day.

I wasn’t on call every day, but when you live where you respond to crisis, you take work home. Work is home. And, I failed to manage the extreme stress that comes with working a job where you’re being treated like crap, a relationship where you feel absolutely unfulfilled, and a life where you excel at being everything to everyone but suck at being kind to yourself.

I realize that I wasn’t just drowning. My ankles were chained the ocean floor, there was no light. There was me with only the last breath I took before plunging into something very dangerous.

Behind It All

It’s important to note that I’d been working with one of the world’s kindest, graceful, and amazing therapist up until this point.

My goal for therapy, starting January 2018, was to have the career, relationship, and life of my dreams. To manage my anxiety and depression that came from being molested a few times, growing up with an abusive father, a mother who left, and grandparents who provided basic needs but knew nothing of empathy — this is often the Black story.

And my story could have been me dead, arrested, on drugs. But, for me, my hell was obesity, a broken mind, and self-limiting beliefs that I could never step out and be who I really am.

When I took the leap and left all the things, I had a few commitments that I’d made at the same time. I would be there for our child no matter what. I was dead-set on breaking the cycle of fatherless children.

I’d communicate with my wife every day so she knew where the father of her child was. I’d take care of myself no matter what.

I kept these commitments. I went to the OB/GYN visits. I sent money I didn’t have. I did the best I could.

And still. me leaving all the things, all at once, seemed to trigger people in a really bad way.

I received texts and dms from friends, colleagues, and followers concerned that I was manic. Their official source of my mental health diagnosis: Google + the Twitter profile of Kanye West.

Deep down, I appreciated them trying.

But, mostly, I learned:

  • to always greet a person from a place of inquiry when trying to support them — no matter what they’re going through and no matter what you think you know
  • that because I made it known that I was leaving my pregnant wife, I would automatically be seen as leaving weak feeble woman out in the Siberian tundra (none of which was true and pregnant women are not weak nor feeble)
  • that people’s Egos hate hearing, “I’m happy for your help. But, I need you to ask me about what I’m doing to take care of myself before firing off advice at me.”

What hurt worse were the women (both friends and strangers) who empathized with me until they found out my wife was pregnant.

Then, they’d berate for me for being an irresponsible-deadbeat-of-a-father, and the conversation would continue to take a turn.

This happened no matter where I was. It happened in New Orleans, Orlando, Costa Rica, Los Angeles, D.C., Baltimore, everywhere I found myself these past couple of months.

What hurt was my mom telling me I was going to hell for being queer.

What hurt was people telling me they wouldn’t support me unless I admitted myself or got help.

What hurt was watching an entire network of support burn away.

And, still, I kept my commitments.

When it feels like the world has literally left you in the dust because they think you’re some kind of crazed monster of an erratic loser, you really find yourself.

I found new friends and new support. Solid support. Gracious-I’ve-been-there-before-what-do-you-need support.

I also found myself at a life-changing crossroads. I could either choose drugs, alcohol, tons of food, and enter a brand new co-dependent relationship — these were my vices. Or I could chose God.

I chose God.

I had been a practicing Christian all my life but never really believed in something bigger than me. When I found myself prostrate in the sand of Long Beach, New York, I finally just surrendered to Spirit, God, the Almighty.

I didn’t nor do I know what to even call it these days. But, all I felt was warmth and security in that place.

It was like jumping out of an airplane with no parachute, and realizing there was no airplane nor need for parachute, and right there was the Divine.

photo x e.michaux

That New York awakening happened at the beginning of my unintentional pilgrimage. And as the money began to dwindle and the secure housing did as well, my faith increased.

I realized that I had been so immersed in a life lived for others, that I had lost my intuition, empathy, gentleness, power. I had lost my power.

I was finally getting it back. The person who had always been in relationships he didn’t really want to be in was feeling powerful. The person with the low self-esteem was finally feeling like a 10.

It wasn’t always a high though.

I’d experience excruciating pain at night at least once an evening. It’s the kind of pain you feel when you’re breaking up with the person you thought you’d spend the rest of your life with.

I hear divorced people know this pain.

The kind of pain you feel when you miss your unborn child you used to read Goodnight Moon to.

The kind of pain you feel when you’re tearing away things and people and places and habits that don’t belong anymore.

It’s January 2, 2019 as I pen all this.

I’ve moved back in with my wife and the baby is due any day now. We’re seeing marital counselors. We’re trying.

Our child is the priority.

It’s different though. I’m different. I’ve grown and changed so much. I recently re-branded and relaunched my life coaching services. I’m writing again. I’m hosting events again.

But, it’s not the same when you’re rebuilding.

Still, I’m thankful for the freedom.

I wrote this because I know I’m not the only person who’s gone through it. I know there are ton of people out there feeling misunderstood, abandoned, guilty, full of shame, and needing to know that someone else is clawing for their liberation too.

So if that’s you, keep clawing.

Know that:

  • we don’t (nor can we) do life in a vacuum. Ask for help often. Even when it feels embarrassing and you have to accept food and money to just get you through the day. Pride won’t save your life.
  • you’re not going crazy or off your rocker, but seeing a therapist is super helpful. You gotta get it out. I know I do and it’s so great to have someone hear me out from a non-judgmental and empathetic place. Also, only a licensed therapist or psychiatrist can properly diagnose you.
  • you get to smile and feel joy and breathe even if others around you are hurt by you actions and even if you feel incomplete. Because you will feel incomplete and like less than on many days, and you still get to feel the sun fill you up.
  • you get to take your time with restoring past relationships especially if people are refusing to apologize for how they’ve hurt you. There’s no need to try to repair and rebuild your world all at once. One conversation at a time. You set the pace.
  • you’re gonna do — or have done- some regrettable things on your journey to freedom. That’s okay. So have I. I hope we can find a way to accept it all. It all happened. What’s most important is to avoid being a harm to yourself or others. Have a line. Have integrity. And if you don’t know where that line is, get help. Fast.
  • you’re okay and it’s okay not to feel okay.

Keep clawing.

Keep breathing.

Keep sharing.

And get some rest, because no matter what anyone says or does, this is the only life you have. And, you gotta treat yourself well. Because, as we both know, sometime no one else will.

Sex is as natural as breathing: a Q+A w/ Ashley Cobb

What is something we often get wrong when talking about sex and sexuality?

That’s the thing we dont talk about it enough.

The one thing we get wrong is keeping it a secret, not expressing our wants/desires with our partners. Not talking about it with our friends, without the fear of being judged.

Sex is as natural as breathing, everyone is doing it. We should be talking about it more.

Why do we need adult sexual health education? And what’s different about it than our first introduction into sex ed?

We need adult sexual health education because a lot of adults are CLUELESS about sex. There is a HUGE gap between what we were taught about sex as adolscent in health class and what we learned as adults through experiementation. Adult sex educators are essential to help bridge the gap.

How did you become a sex educator? Were you always comfortable talking about sex?

I always wanted to be health educator, hence why I went to school and got a degree in Health Promotions. However once I gradudated it was extremely hard to find a job at a health department, so I created my own job.

I first started with a sex blog, then I dabbled with a podcast for a bit, then eventually became  a certified Sexuality Coach. I now have a YouTube channel and educate women on various sexual topics.

What’s something you’re currently working on that’s both super challenging and exciting?

I am currently working on opening a cannabis health boutique. This is extremely exciting because the legal weed business is about to be BIG business however it’s also challenging learning the laws and regulations.

What’s something you’re working to unlearn? (about yourself, about the world, about a population of people, etc.)

That life isn’t black and white. It’s ok to live in the GREY!  

Who do you go to when you’re needing support and guidance?

When I need support I go to God (prayer), friends and my therapist LOL.

What’s one challenge you face in your work that you’re still working on navigating?

One my biggest challenges is learning to overcome Imposter Syndrome. There will always be somebody who knows more than you, has more experience etc BUT THERE IS ONLY ONE YOU!!! I’m learning to be more confident in my abilities because I do have something to offer the world.

When was the last time you practiced self-care and why is self-care important to you?

I practice self care weekly. I have to incorporate some form of self care into my week in order to maintain my sanity. I go to the gym twice a week, as well as enjoy a weekly tub bath with a  good book.

When was a time that self-doubt was at its worst for you while on your career and life journey?

ALL OF 2018!!! This whole year has been one of self doubting and testing of my faith. I don’t know how many times I’ve asked myself this year, “God, are you sure this is what I am suppose to be doing?”  But as 2018, I have been reminded that yes I am indeed on the right path.


Sex is as natural as breathing, everyone is doing it. We should be talking about it more.

Ashley Cobb

What is one piece of advice you’d give to someone struggling with self-doubt and feeling like giving up on their dreams?

Journal and Pray regularly. Also TRUST THE MAGIC!

Imagine that all your life’s work disappeared and you only had 1 minute to tell the world what you truly believe to be true. What would you say?

Happily Ever After just doesnt happen, you have to create it! Go get the life you want. Make it happen.

💎💎💎

Ashley is more than a sexpert she  is an certified Sexuality Coach and Sex Educator. She helps women get comfortable discussing SEX out loud and teach them how to effectively communicate their desires and needs without feeling shame. Instagram. Facebook. Website.


What I don’t have, I can’t give: a Q+A w/ Amber Coleman-Mortley

What’s in the space between where you are and where you want to be?

I really believe that God and the universe reward your efforts. So for me, that space is filled with fearless and focused hard work.

You have a blog called Mom of All Capes. What are your favorite capes that you wear?

Being a working mom requires you to have a multitude of capes at your disposal. I’d say my faves for saving people at home are “life coach”, “sports coach”, “super hugger”, and “homework helper”.  The “community builder” and the “cheerleader” are others capes that make frequent appearances.

You frequently use the hashtag #LetsK12Better. What are some ways we can have a better education system?

 I use the #LetsK12Better hashtag to share best practices, ideas and innovative examples of what is possible. Raising a well-rounded, emotionally adjusted 21st century child requires a network of caring adults.

Parents, teachers, principals, social workers, law enforcement, and school board members must collaborate on creative solutions because kids have the most at stake when it comes to school budget deficits and ed-reform policy.

Teamwork from all stakeholders is a critical step toward improving our education system FOR ALL KIDS.

I want to facilitate a dialogue around solutions! Let’s get out of our silos and begin exchanging ideas and experiences that work for our schools and communities, because better K12 education ultimately means better people.

You also have #girlsinstem at the top of your instagram. Yes! What are some ways we can get more girls interested in STEM?

Exposing girls to STEM experiences like making and playing video games; free coding clubs; playing musical instruments; and participating in the school science fair are a few really great avenues that expand interest. But I’ve found that it must be meaningful. You must show transfer- Where’s the connection for her life? How does this tie into her interests? What kind of job does that become?

Ask the girls in your life, “Where are the hidden STEM jobs in our everyday products?” The person that makes up nail polish colors is a chemist. The person who designs your favorite phone app is a coder. The person who designed the seats in your car is an engineer.

You can prepare them to step into futuristic industries as they become available by building up their confidence, and their math and science skills.

Dare them to solve problems and dream big! Keep girls focused on a reality that they have the power to create and empower them to have courage to make their ideas real.  

What’s something we get wrong about motherhood?

Moms are out here trying to balance everything with no networks. How? How can we believe that a woman should go back to work after 6 weeks or even 6 months after having a baby? Moms grow people (in their bodies!!!! Like someone comes in and invades our form and we let them).  

It’s an important, labor intensive task from inception through delivery – and on – to when we release our children into society. We’re acting like it’s easy to do.

As a society, we fail to support mothers as they raise their children and our future workers and citizens.  Children are our best natural resource and their mothers (and fathers) are the vehicle through which they become our next workforce, our next innovators, our next politicians. We shouldn’t shame women into societal submission.

We should support their career ambitions with adequate leave and family planning options. We’re not cultivating a nurturing environment for current and future humans because moms are stretched thin. It’s not sustainable and it’s a detriment to society.

Who do you go to when you’re needing support and guidance?

I go to my mother and my mother in law. These are my wisewomen and I lean on them daily for advice, prayers, and encouragement. They know what to say and they tell me what I need to hear, not what I want to hear. Everyone (even men) need wisewomen – grandmas, moms, aunts, or mentors, that have seen it all before and can help you keep it in perspective.

When was the last time you practiced self-care and why is self-care important to you?

I often practice self-care on the weekends. Our weeks are intense, so I make sure I do something small or large for myself over the weekend. Self-care is an important part of my survival and I want to be a good example for my daughters by prioritizing my mental, physical, and emotional health. When executed consistently, self-care takes surviving one step further- it becomes thriving.


Keep girls focused on a reality that they have the power to create and empower them to have courage to make their ideas real.
 

Amber-Coleman Mortley

When was a time that self-doubt was at its worst for you while on your career and life journey?

I was in graduate school, my husband and I were in a mutual three year separation, and my girls were very small (I had three kids under four). I was working full time and I felt like I was going insane.

In fact, I think I was hanging on by a thread. It was excruciatingly painful, but I’m grateful for every moment. I learned so much about my resilience and my ability to persevere during that time.

Imagine that all your life’s work disappeared and you only had 1 minute to tell the world what you truly believe to be true. What would you say?

Love your kids. Hold them. Discipline them. Teach them. Inspire them. Cultivate their talents. Listen to their stupid little stories.

Laugh at their terrible jokes. Teach them to pray and meditate. Challenge their opinions. They are your greatest contribution to the universe.

What’s something that’s been bringing you joy lately?

Other than my kids, twenty minute naps. I know it sounds lame, but a solid twenty minutes or couple hours of rest does wonders for the mind, body, and spirit.

What’s something you’re working to unlearn?

I’ll start with me… I’m learning that the energy I can give is enough and what I don’t have, I can’t give.

The ‘”I can do it all” attitude is gone. There’s pressure on moms to be these unicorns that work, cook, clean, chauffeur, lead the PTA, stay fit and active, and be a great partner… I mean, I do all these things but I can’t say I execute these with an equal level of proficiency all the time. Knowing my best fluctuates each day is an empowering epiphany.

💎💎💎

Amber Coleman-Mortley is a former teacher and former college athlete, currently working in edtech. Amber is an NBC Parent Toolkit expert. Through her blog MomOfAllCapes, she encourages parents to partner with their child’s teacher to create a community of adults aligned to benefit the growth of each child. Amber holds an M.A. from American University School of Communications in Media Entrepreneurship and a B.A. in African-American Studies from Oberlin College. Instagram. Twitter. Web.



Featured Awesomeness

Played over 69 million times, iCivics provides fun, free and engaging games that empower kids (and adults) with the knowledge of how our democracy works. Players can take on the job of the President, a judge, a member of Congress, a county commissioner, and more at www.iCivics.org/games! (Lesson plans and digital resources available when you sign up for a free teacher account)


I can break the cycle for the next generation: a Q+A w/ Alexis Williams

You  started a nonprofit and a graphic design business. You are also a college student! What are your tools for managing your time?

Sleep!

Most people feel you won’t become successful unless you stay up 24/7 working on your dreams, I don’t knock their hustle but at the same time it’s okay to recharge your brain so you can work your best.

Also, it may sound cliché but, having a planner. You’re going to forget something whether you believe it or not but keeping track of what you have to do by writing it down will save a huge headache and keep you moving in the right direction.

Has being a college student met your expectations? What have you learned about expectations and managing them?

College is better than high school and my professors actually seem like they want to be there so being in class isn’t a drag. Even though I think they forget that most college students have other classes, work, and other obligations.

I learned that it’s best not to expect too much from a person or even a thing because if it falls short you won’t be let down as much.

What are the origins of #CLEgivesback?

I started #CLEgivesback to simply help those in need and to give others the opportunity to help as well because in a mathematical world, 1+1=2 but in a community 1+1=11.

Where do you go when you’re  looking for connection?

Networking events are a great way to meet new people but I’ve learned that there are a lot of people with their own businesses so honestly anywhere.

Have you always wanted to be an entrepreneur? How does it feel now that you are here?

I didn’t even think I had it in me to be one but once I started I never looked back. I love being my own boss, I love that most times I don’t have to answer to anyone. I especially love that I can work when I want with whom I want. There are cons to being an entrepreneur but that’s what make the breakthroughs worth it!

What are the qualities and/or skills that help you the most in owning your own business and running  a non-profit?

Being passionate, determined, listening, and showing no form of judgement are some the key factors I use for both my business and non-profit.

Why is self-love important?

Self love is important to me because when I was younger I really struggled with loving who I was. The inside image of myself was beautiful but I hated the outside image of myself which turned into a “silent depression”.

I was at my all time lowest when I was 14, 15 and again 17 years old. At 17 year old I made a commitment to myself that I would never feel the way I felt again meaning I wouldn’t look down upon myself, I wouldn’t talk negative about myself and most importantly I’m going to love the outside version of myself no matter what.

That’s why I feel my summer program for young girls is extremely important but I can’t take all the credit. I run the sessions with my little cousin Sequarra (Program Assistant) and friend Myiesha (Program Coach)

When was the last time you practiced self-care and why is self-care important to you?

Sundays are my days to myself. I feel that is the day I should focus only on Jesus Christ and my mental health. It’s very important to practice self love because I can get so wrapped up helping others that I don’t make time for myself.

It’s years in the future. You’re on stage to accept an award for your life’s work.  What’s your five word acceptance speech?

“It was all a dream…”

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What’s something you’re working to unlearn? (about yourself, about the world, about a population of people, etc.)

Most times we hear that things are “in the family” or something like “brought down from generation to generation”, that means the good and the bad, but why do we have to deal with the bad?

I’m learning that I can break the cycle for the next generation, a more positive outlook on things. All because it was “in the family” doesn’t mean you have to put up with it too.

What’s one challenge you face in your work that you’re still working on navigating?

Working with unprofessional people. I can get so excited about people wanting to work with me I fail to see how unprofessional they are until it’s time to actually work. I have to stop being so certain that everyone who hit me up is truly down to “work” meaning they just want to be around for the finished project instead of helping along the way.

What’s in the space between where you are and where you want to be?

I’m not going to lie, I have a lot of work to do before I can be where I want to be in life. Most people try to act like they have everything all figured out but i’m not scared to tell the truth, I have to learn to be consistent in feeding nothing but healthy thoughts to myself because what you think is what you live.

💎💎💎

At the age of 16 years old Alexis Williams became an entrepreneur, she’s the Founder and CEO of #CLEgivesback Inc. and Lex Get Graphic LLC. Both of her businesses were designed to helping others; one being in homelessness and gaining self esteem and the other in helping others brand themselves. She is determined in being a positive role model to many as she know “we’re stronger together than apart”. Learn more about Alexis and connect: Twitter + Instagram + Web + Lex Get Graphic