[Creator's Corner] EVITA'S TOPs of 2017

THEME: Status and Expectations. This year personally and professionally has been a set of bumper cars with status and expectations. I've had an organization that I had on my vision board to work within for 10 years, both build me up, then break my heart. Realizing that these 'levels' and the 'status' you attain when you arrive there are made up (in a sense), was like a blow to the gut. In the aftermath of months, I asked myself, why did I give this place and their acceptance of me so much power? It also put me in a position that I will never allow again. The position of giving any bit of my self-worth and the worth of the work I do, over to another person or institution. Truthfully, their 'status' changed for me, after having expectations completely shattered on the back end. 

I even think people perceive me in a way where my status leads to expectations that are 'off', of me,  to say the least. 

This idea of status, as definition, also came up in my personal life. Specifically, in terms of language I use with what I say I'm looking for in a partner. Finally defining 'power couple', a term I CONSTANTLY used, made me realize that I was asking for something that ran contrary to what I needed. Later in the blog you will read the two week brewed personal definition of romantic love that I created. At 33 years old, it's the first time I ever defined the central thing I want. That blew my mind. Presently defining intimacy for 2018. 

I also need to be more gentle with expectations of myself. Full circle.

But yes...this year's theme was status and expectations. Now that that's out the way. 

PEOPLE:

1. William  2. Bheki  3. Glenda  4. Duarte  5. Paul  6. Brittney  7. Jaydeen  8. Vaughn  9. Airis

10. Mom  11. Sarafina  12. Issa  13. Janaye 

BOOKS:

1. 'All About Love' by bell hooks  2.   'In the Company of Women' by Grace Bonney 3. The Negro Motorist Green Book 1940 Edition by Victor Hugo Green 4. 'The Atlas of Beauty' by Mihaela Noroc (I'm in this, pg. 159) 5. 'Think and Grow Rich' by Napoleon Hill  

MOVIES:

1. Lion   

2. I, Tonya   

3. Banking on Bitcoin   

4. Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond   

5. happy   

6. Quest - Documentary

SONGS:

1. Hello by Erykah Badu featuring Andre 3000

2. 'Get You' by Daniel Caesar feat. Kali Uchis

3. F.U.B.U. by Solang

4. Gangsta by Kehlani

5. Treat Me Like Fire by LION BABE

6. Losin Control by Russ

7. Location by Khalid

PLACES:

1. Woodstock, New York    2. TED HQ, NY   3. Johannesburg, South Africa   4. Montreal, Canada  5. Los Angeles, CA

CONVERSATIONS:

1. Keion and I in the biergarten in Norfolk, VA. 

2. Getting pulled into the conversation with Malika, Derrius, and Duarte at TED HQ. 

3. Nikki, Jasmine, and I in the Moroccan nook. The first time I saw Jasmine since her son H passed away. 

4. The most honest phone call I've ever had with William. Tears and all. 

5. Sarafina and I talking about family dynamics and where we fit in them. 

6. Sitting in the hallway talking life and love with Devin & Jermaine. 

7. Talking vulnerably about entrepreneurship with Bheki.

8. Inviting Issa to the whitest bar I knew in NYC, because I feared we wouldn't get a word in edgewise if we were around our people. Love ya'll but time is valuable. 

9. Meeting Zya for lunch at Spice. 

10. One hour phone call with Jillian.

11. Zachary and I at The Coffeehouse. 

12. Kicking it with Kim Coles after we spoke at Happy Black Woman Conference.

13. Every single time William asked how I was feeling. If it wasn't well, following it up with a 'what does support look like for you right now?' This...man.

14. Talking shit at Siobhan's house about our exes after Joe's funeral, and noting how fine Ehi looked. 

15. Negotiating what my dowry would be in South Africa is Bheki and I made it official. 

16. Green carpet moments with Danielle Young at The Root 100. 

17. Meeting and conversation with AIRBNB CEO Brian Chesky. 

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18. Text from Dad after announcing TED Residency. 

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19. Brittney, Jermaine, and I, in my loft while Jase was lighting up our lives. 

20. Finally getting my hands around Dawn Dickson at ESSENCE FEST. 

21. Staying at the AIRBNB staff house at ESSENCE Fest, and allllllllll the conversations that took place while there. 

22. Texting all the fuckery with Issa during the NO LIMIT performance at ESSENCE Fest. It was horrid and humiliating. Master P was a mess. Mumbling words. My lawd. 

23. Texting Issa AGAIN while at Black Girl's Rock, when Tyrese kept forgetting the words DURING THE ROBERTA FLACK DEDICATION... 'Why everytime you sit in the front row, people start forgetting words, Issa?'

25. Having a woman swoop me up after I got off stage in Montreal and sit me next to the women who runs events for James Beard. My texting Airis, realizing it's her dream to cook at James Beard. A week later, having the meeting. Three months later, we in there hosting Thanksgiving Dinner. How you get shit done, for your dreams and others. 

26. All the Art of Convos. 

27. Vaughn while he stayed with me for a few days. We talk so well about so much. 

28. Long phone convos with Ehi that reminded me how much I missed dating creatives.  

29. Telling my ex that I had company one night and watching him completely derail in my text messages. 

30. Candid conversations with Sesalli, while at TED and in random cafes.

31. Going to Raphael's for the first time and staying for 3 hours talking.

32. The straight 'sister-girl' connection I had with Michele Thornton ON SITE after speaking at Rutgers. 

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33. Talking to Brittney, truly, at the end of December.

34. Being really nervous, but still asking Issa to come on not just as a friend and co-creator, but a mentor of mine...and her saying yes. 

35. Jaydeen being vulnerable with me at Taste Venue about how she feels when she's around me. Me internalizing that and making a promise to us both to help build out her wings...because she's worth it. 

36. Creating a safe space at the apartment for the TED Res 4 crew to let it all out.

37. Having Genesis over, and asking her if she sees herself as beautiful as others do....and the questions bringing her to tears. 

38. Facebook Messenger with Alexis, opening up on a day where I wasn't 'ok' and it giving her the green light to share the same with me. 

39. Rooftop with the fellas. 

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40. Heart to heart with Macario in New Orleans. 

41. Sister-girl time over drinks with Radiya in NOLA

42. Crying on the phone with Tricia, while staying at Beth's in Atlanta

43. The three way phone call of realness between Beth, Nikki, and myself days before Beth's Dad passed away

44. All the catch up calls with Paul

45. Crystal Washington being THERE for a sister when it came to learning the ropes of this speaking gig life. 

46. Phone calls with David Bey. Food for the soul.

SAYINGS/WORDS:

1. Fam   2. Triggered   3. Self-Work    4. Bruh  5. Rude

LESSONS:

1. Let folks fade to black as they wish. 

2. Intuitively, I have always known when a guy was worth the fight and when he wasn't. I believe in 2017, I met the first guy who is worth it. All of it. For that reason, I breathe easy in our friendship.

3. I only show my vulnerable side when I feel comfortable. I have observed a number of men, in particular, who talk as though that part of me is something to be freely offered over, rather than a space one must earn access to. They also associate it to femininity. I can't say I buy it. 

4. Intimacy is a multi layered action. There are levels and variations I'm still figuring out for myself. Intimacy is far from just sex, and I think I was one of those people making the mistake of defaulting to that thought process....before him.

5. I let people go faster this year. I appreciate that. 

6. Nearly the entire month of October, I was dealing with depression. I've given myself permission to feel it, and get over it. Not going away after the conference and anniversary party hit my emotional core harder than I realized. 

7. Trump is legit fucking up the world. Like, it's real yall. 

8. Financial retention. Getting paid my first and highest 5 figure keynote speaking payment, and having it go to NOMADNESS expenses really opened my eyes, and frustrated me in a way that money never had before. I really needed that feeling, as it prompted me to make major financial changes that made the last six months of 2017 humbling AF, yet is done for the greater good of the long run. Getting through the murky part. 

9. Money is like water. This year I truly worked on my emotional relationship to money. I did not like now it fluctuated, and then my attitude fluctuated, or my appetite curbed, or my anxiety rose. I wanted emotional control back. Breaking down my emotional relationship to money was a life changer for me this year. 

10. Reestablishing that I definitely want to be a Mom. Yet, again, alternating on if I want a life parter, or a husband. Marriage is always the free radical to me. The more I think about it, the more I think I'm simply indifferent to marriage. Certain on kids. But comfortable either way on marriage. However, I do want a life partner. 

11.  I fux with cryptocurrencies and it has, too, led to my new relationship with the fluidity of money.

12. I can be both happy someone is back in my life, and still honor the hurt they caused prior to their return. 

13. Do less, better. 

14. Do what you want. 

15. Honoring when my mind/body calls for a break. The rebound tends to be my most creative and innovative idea moments. 

16. This year, I dropped the ball more than usual on my follow up/email game. Got my shit together for 2018. 

17. Loyalty is amazing, but it's not a skill set. 

18. The power of language. Lawd, this one. Speaking with certainty, and forcing myself to break down phrases and terms I use frivolously. This year I forced myself to define 'power couple' and realized I was asking for two opposing types of people to be in a relationship with.  'Falling in love' wtf does that even mean, and why does it sound like it may hurt? What is intimacy? What is love.....

19. Taking the time, for the FIRST time, in my 33 years of existence to define for myself what love is. How have I been dating, getting in and out of relationships, aligning so diligently with what I call 'love', yet had never taken the time to actually define it for myself? It took an amazing book (all about love) recommended by a phenomenal man, for me to realize this. So...

20. Evita Turquoise Robinson's definition of love is:  the active decision to facilitate collective growth of self & a partner in the physical, spiritual, and emotional realms. Including the tenants of emotional intelligence, open communication, honesty, trust, safety, freedom, commitment, and intimacy of all levels. That's what's I'm on the lookout for developing with someone. 

21. I still have more self work on defining my personal levels of intimacy, however this year made it abundantly clear that my #1 Love Language has changed to Physical Touch...and I can no longer dumb down the fact that public/private displays of affection and regular physical intimacy is a must in my relationships. I must honor this truth. 

22. I self-sabotaged myself like...2 or 3 key times this past year. No more. Those 2 or 3 things are exactly what I'm starting the year focused on directly. 

23. All establishments aren't what they seem. 

24. #MeToo

25. Never ever relinquishing my power of self-worth and self-acceptance to an institution, no matter how reputable they are. No award or awarded status makes your value...you are your value. 

26. As a friend, I pay attention to how you treat others, not just me. 

27. It took nearly five years for me to truly not care about competitors in my field. Like, truly. When you truly let go and know who you are & what you are...it's freeing because there truly is no threat, only innovation.

28. Expressing the feeling is as important as being able to explain the process.

29. Be gentler with myself. Please.  

30. I have associated my value with my productions. It's just as valuable to just be, Evita. (learned this right after the ball dropping and will be a focus of 2018. Thanks Chris.)

MOMENTS:

1. Watching Tribe come together to fulfill one of H's last wishes before he passed away at 14 years old. 

2. Everything about Woodstock with William. From photos, to tears, to our honesty hanging like curtains. One of the most cherished, most present, weekends I have had with another human being in my life. 

3. Getting the acceptance email into TED Residency after being rejected the first time. 

4. Attending Beautycon with Paul. OMG! 

5. Me letting Bheki in, in a way I had avoided for nearly four years. 

6. The first night we ever spent time together, after dinner. Totally platonic and new. Then William lifted up his shirt to show his rib tattoo, and I immediately began crushing on this man. 

7. Zorro dying. 

8. Grandad dying, and the funeral happening while I was on a flight to Johannesburg. 

9. Giving a TED Talk.

10. Reading Devin and Bryse's Tarot cards. 

11. Misha paying such 'close attention' that he fell and shattered glass all over Farhad and Amber's floor. 

12. Farhad's sound bath. 

13. Smoking weed at Rohan Marley's crib. 

14. Approaching Zachary at Everyday People, after Vaughn pushed me and reminded me I was single. 

15. The sex that was had and very much needed on Bond Street, in a multimillion dollar loft, in someone else's bed, with a photographer...

16. Seeing Siobhan's face for the first time at Joe's funeral. 

17. Impromptu Arlington High School reunion at Kiki's restaurant in the lower east side. 

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18. Shooting for truTV and being a talking head personality for the second time. 

19. Feeling my stomach drop watching the Trump Inaugeration while in Joburg. 

20. Watching Luvvie vent about the publisher fuck up on her NY Times Bestseller sticker, knowing what it feels like to work your ass off and still feel like it isn't properly recognized. 

21. Getting the new kitties, Falcor and Atreyu. 

22. Booking out and bringing the house down at our first International NOMADNESS Event in Johannesburg, with DJ Kenzhero. What a fulfilling moment. Seeing Mandela's grandson walk through and join the festivities meant a lot. 

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23. My first experience 'floating'.

24. United Negro College Fund Gala with Fina, Caesar, Dad, and Uncle Stevie. 

25. Speaking at Harvard Business School.

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26. Launching CompassByEvita lipstick line on my 33rd birthday.

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27. Hoping my closest friends wouldn't kill me after taking them into a haunted hotel real life great escape game for my birthday. 

28. Swimming with dolphins in Bermuda with Vanessa. 

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29. Trip to Los Angeles to sign with my production company, getting John Legend as a boss, and shooting for INSECURE, secretly. 

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30. My cameo premiering on INSECURE. Season 2 Ep. 2. Art gallery flow. Thank you Issa and Melina. 

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31. Airbnb inviting me to the Keepers of the Dream gala...seeing Harry Belafonte, and sitting next to Janaye Ingram...who is my sister for life. 

32. Watching Angela Rye go HAM on Omarosa, live and direct at the NAN Women's Luncheon. Lawdamercy. 

33. Watching Brittney shine in all her social media savvy glory doing a workshop for TED Res 3 at the headquarters. 

34. Speaking at the United Nations for Women's Entrepreneur Day. 

35. TED Residency 3, in totality. 

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36. Last day of our residency at Duarte's and the walk and convos to La Marina. We were unstoppable. Love this crew. 

37. Features in ESSENCE, theGrio, The Root, Black Entreprise, Inc. (which I had wanted)..was another notable year for press. I'm grateful.

38. Attending first ESSENCE Fest and speaking on behalf of AIRBNB. 

39. Asking Common how he's going to bring his whole crew up through this ladies event Google was throwing. The exchange was funny. 

40. Lil' Mama not knowing who I was but thinking I worked in fashion. Like, legit. 

41. Realizing Alesha Renee and I were separated at birth. Travel bae. 

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42. Attending the private Solange led YouTube performance at ESSENCE FEST. Chatting with Melina and Denise there about the premiere of the first episode of season 2 of Insecure. 

43. The phenomenal set up of the NOMADNESS PROM. Venue was astonishing. 

44. Over 500 people coming out to our Tribe Philly BBQ. Had black people rock climbing yall. 

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45. BODYING my 1500 person keynote speech at Destinations International in Montreal. This single event was a game changer professionally!

46. Hosting Thanksgiving Dinner at the James Beard House. 

47. Gifting tickets to Black Girls Rock to a friend who needed to be reminded she's worth the world, and my intern who needed to know she deserved to be in the room. 

48. Getting drunk and dancing my ass off at the BET Afterparty. Finally meeting Anika Noni Rose in person. She's lovely. 

49. Getting my makeup done and shooting with Camara at a time when she just needed her art and her sisters for the pick me up. 

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50.  Shooting with Pete in Soho.

51. Speaking at the mothafu- in' United Nations.

52. Self portrait series I shot of myself in The Standard Hotel LA. 

53. Breathing, walking both into and out of, three major television network development meetings. Networks I dreamed of, starting nearly a decade ago. Sitting in that Uber, headed to TED, after leaving 30 Rock...I damn near cried in Times Square. I kill it in these meetings. 

54. Getting private messages from NOMADNESS members when a competitor sold their company...saying that they don't know if I'm looking to sell, but they really don't want to be in NOMADNESS if I'm not still a part of it's leadership. Definitely unexpected WOW moment when you realize the effect you have on folks. 

55. Speaking at BUZZFEED

56. Seeing myself on FUSION TV during the airing of the Root 100, giving my first ever televised acceptance speech. 

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57. Crying on the phone with Mom on Dec. 31st...letting it all out because it was eating me alive.

58. Doing my first 24 hour speaking gig turn around to speak for The Root in New Orleans. 

59. At NMDN, rescheduling the time format of the conference to make sure EVERYONE heard the 'NOMAD JR.' panel and paid respect to the traveling voices of the generations coming up after us. 

60. Watching my sister, Sarafina, make guacamole in my kitchen as we bring in 2018 together. 

61. All the talks at Glenda's house and how Chris has a way of seeing your soul and helping you approach it.  

62. Losing 15 pounds this year and keeping it off well. Realizing that was phase one. I want to become strong enough to navigate my body weight easily. 

63. Glenda seeing an alarming IG stories of mine in October, a month in which I depressed through its entirety, and setting up an appointment at AIRE bath house in Tribeca. My sister, my friend, seeing my need for someone to extend an arm, and taking the initiative during a time when I was so down I couldn't just ask for it myself. Thank you. 

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