inner > outer: a haiku

pretty skin hair teeth
such a beautiful disguise
trumped by mean spirit

inner > outer ©2017 KBW

week 25|2017: Giving Thanks

Happy fifth birtheversary to my blog! Yes, people. It has been five years since gray suede’s inception. {Click here to laugh at my struggle.} I don’t know where the time went either, but it’s been a fun ride. Also the ride has been bumpy. Deserted. Lonely. I swear I could hear crickets. I would go months without posting or even logging in- ready to say f!$# it (more than once) and throw in the towel. But somehow five years added up and here we are!

I’m going to keep it short + sweet and end it with a big thanks to any and every one who has read my posts. THANK YOU to those that were moved and entertained enough to comment, share and subscribe. I also want to thank all the blog writers who inspire me to share my testimony and teach me new ideas and vocabulary; you are the real MVPs!

Y’all are so beautiful and dope and I’m glad we found each other. Feel free to leave any advice or words of encouragement in the comments! I’m also accepting gifts if you feel so moved 😘

Thank you ❤

Blogger Recognition


Hey hey! By now you know I’m just sliiiightly cool, so, of course, here I am accepting yet another blogger award from a new subscriber/blogger I just acquainted with, LADYHOOD! Thank you, sis! Please take a moment to check her out!

Instead of following the rules and nominating 15 bloggers, I ask my readers to comment with their answers to the questions in bold font below. I know we already feel like we know each other, but I’m nosey and wanna know more! And why not see how much we may have in common?

I encourage you to answer, but I understand if you’d rather keep your private life private and just judge other’s answers while snickering + sipping your tea. That’s what I’ll be doing! Just kidding!

I’ll go first 🙂

When did you start blogging? Can you believe I’m coming up on five years??! I can’t. Look out for the remodel this summer. Why? My lover at the time knew I needed a creative outlet. Plus he thought I always had a lot to say about clothing and style (mostly shit talk about the crappy looks that become super trendy), so he invested in a laptop for me and told me to get to work. It was one time in life when someone had more faith in me than I did myself that actually worked in my favor.

If it’s something other than your name, how’d you come up with your blog title? All of the other domains were taken or too expensive. I wanted to incorporate my favorite color, gray, but GraySuede was like my 8th choice.

Do your friends and family read your blog? Where’s the support? I have one good friend who subscribed but I dunno of any others. I told everyone about it when I started and got crickets. In “real” life, my support has come from newer friends. The rest are strangers turned cyber homies in the blogging community. Thanks, y’all 😉

Who or what inspires you to write? Everything. As an artist, I take inspiration from everything and everywhere. It may be a tragedy, a melody or a cloud formation.

Do you ever think about saying fck it and throwing in the blogger towel? No.

It doesn’t seem like one could ever run out of things to speak on, but we know how that goes. What do you do for inspiration during those creative lulls when nothing seems to come out right?? I ask for inspiration. I text my “friends” -the ones who don’t follow the blog!- and tell them to send me some good vibes and inspiration and voilà! And if there’s no voilà, I welcome the lull and just reblog some awesome posts.

What are some of your favorite topics to speak on? It used to be fashion but now it’s more of a Black-rooted move toward awareness and uplifting my people. I just like talking about cerebral things that interest me and/or make me smile, inspire and provoke thought.

Name your favorite blogger! I honestly take away something from every blogger and blog post I read. That’s the point, right? If you look at my subscriptions, you may sense a slight trend, but I follow a plethora of dynamic writers. Even if they don’t write any of it, these people are sharing the goods. Not everything is heavy or visceral or laced with SAT words. Not everything is lighthearted or sugarcoated or silly. I do like to learn new words and what other people think and stuff, but I also like a to laugh and look at fancy clothes and nod my head to new music sometimes. I hope my own blog reflects that notion. Wait WAIT… could.. could I be my own favorite blogger……??

What are you currently reading or what’s the last book you read? In it’s entirety, I last read The Unhappy Wife. If you have yet to read it, get your life together in 2017! I’m currently double-fisting Conduit, a book of short stories and poetry by my friend Jon Goode (review soon come!) and The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna. I’m not sure why it’s taking me so long to finish this novel because I actually really enjoy it!


And that’s all she wrote. I hope you feel like sharing! I look forward to reading your responses and getting to know you better.




Is Art A Waste Of Time? — Carve & Draw

Short answer? Heck no.

There’s something that haunts me. Something that whispers to me faintly from far off with each day that passes and every time I pick up my pen. I’ve gotta good at ignoring it, so good that I often think it’s gone but every once in a while it’ll catch me off guard and I’ll hear […]

via Is Art A Waste Of Time? — Carve & Draw

The Grand Nidotopian Afro-Power Awards

I’m always humbled when my efforts are recognized by my peers. And to be amongst so many greats??! Wow. THANK YOU!

nidotopianwarrior's Blog

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Shalom and a pleasant welcome to one and all to the first ever Grand Nidotopian Afro-power Awards. As I said in my proclamation, this event is not a competition but a moment to recognize and appreciate all the hard work that you in the Afro-centric blogosphere put in everyday to raise consciousness whether socially, spiritually, economically, artistically or any other form you choose  in the African family home and abroad. Also if you were not selected for an award, it doesn’t mean that I don’t value you or your work. Another note, this event will be an ongoing one and will continue throughout the year at various intervals. Today will be marked as the summer edition of the Awards and the Autumn or fall edition will be in either late September or early October. So that means if you did not get an award now, there will be plenty of…

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The 2016 Liebsters


disclaimer: longest post ever.

The Liebster is an award given to bloggers by bloggers to introduce readers to newer or lesser known blogs and to get to know the person behind the posts by answering a few questions. I was nominated by the lovely + talented Joy Josephs for yet another blogger award and, sheesh, it makes a lady feel gooooood! Joy is an amazing writer. [I’m honored to be recognized and nominated by you, Joy!] If you haven’t already, I insist you take a gander at her blog; I guarantee you will be moved.

As I’ve mentioned, I don’t blog for attention. [I’m more of the reach one, teach one type.] I think it’s damaging to one’s psyche to get caught up in the numbers game, so I don’t play it. Blogging is an essential creative release for me and knowing that amazing individuals like you all -my faithful and part-time readers alike- continuously take away something from my works and the works of others that I share, that is why I do it. That is what makes it so special. So thank you.

Ahem, so to answer your questions, Joy:

1. What inspired you to begin blogging? I needed a creative release. I was working at a job that not only took up all of my time, but also hindered my growth. I was dying! Blogging was my escape. Plus I was really into fashion [which I still am], so blogging was a platform to share my ideas and taste.

2. What was one thing you found difficult to write/blog about that you eventually overcame? Heartache. Heartache from not knowing who I was. Heartache from watching a close friend self-destruct. Who wants to hear about those things, right? Before, I prided my blog on being upbeat, but hindsight shows me that it lacked depth. I mean, really, anyone could write what I was writing. I noticed that when I tapped into those deeper, less tangible layers of myself, more people responded because they could relate. That encouraged me to keep on that path.

3. What advice would you give the 13 year old you? Trust yourself. Be kinder to yourself. It’s good to be different. Don’t give naysayers the power to bring you down to their uninspired level. Follow your heart.

4. If you could be any color, what would you be and why? I love love love and have always loved my shade of brown. I don’t know anything different.

5. If you had to give your life a title, what would it be? To keep it simple, I’ll say Growth. I grow up a little more with each impactful experience, good or bad.

6. What is one aspect of yourself that you would like to change? You’d never know, but I overthink. I find it very difficult to just let certain things go or relinquish control due to overthinking. The first step is recognizing that it’s a problem, right?

7. What is your favorite genre of music? What genre of music do you hate? It’s ever-changing. {DMX used to be my jam if you can believe it.} But I think the sultry side of experimental r+b has most of my heart right now; Abra, Nao, Kelela and The Internet get daily play.

I can’t get into heavy metal or the like. It’s jarring. I like snapping my fingers, two-steppin, bobbing my head and singing along, so metal just doesn’t do it for me.

8. What is one quality you look for in a significant other? This is tough! Listing my must haves would have been much easier, but to give one LONG answer, I’d say self-awareness. Being conscious of who you are breeds confidence and confidence breeds honesty. A man that is self-aware tends to stay in his lane [or create his own] because he has nothing to prove. His self-awareness keeps him open to recognize when improvements are needed. He is unbothered by what others think because he knows himself. From what I’ve seen, men like that tend to be happier and find joy in solitude. They aren’t easily swayed by opposing opinions + don’t hesitate to swim against the current.

9. If there had to be one universal truth, what would it be? Spread love. Love comes in infinite forms: Loving yourself. Loving your people. Sharing knowledge. Constructive criticism. Genuine hugs. Quality time. Being your authentic self. Encouraging others. Being present..

And if we have no forms of love to offer, we should just have a seat and be quiet.

and lastly…

10. Who or what is your favorite poet/poem and why? I’m such a fan of many poets that I can’t name just one, but Maya Angelou has a great way with words, giving you a hefty dose of reality in the sweetest tone. Lauryn Hill is an amazing poetess and storyteller. Warsan Shire also has a mighty collection of masterpieces. Joy, your arsenal is impressive, beautifully worded and always felt. And I love Crystal Valentine‘s voice + delivery.

As of late, I like The Period Poem by Dominique Christina. It’s sad, funny, very relatable, heavy, light-hearted and real.

Again, Joy, thank you for the nomination. I always tell myself that I am really not that interesting, but..but maybe I am..

All these rules:

If you have been nominated for The Liebster Award, and you choose to accept it, write a blog post about the Liebster award in which you:

1. Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog.

2. Display the award on your blog.

3. Answer the questions provided by the person who nominated you.

4. Nominate 5-11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have less than 1000 followers. You can always ask the blog owner this since not all blogs display a widget that let readers know this information.

5. Create a new list of questions for the bloggers to answer.

6. List these rules in your post. Once you have written and published it, you then have to:

7. Inform the people/blogs that you nominated them for The Liebster Award, and provide a link for them to your post so that they can learn about it.

I absolutely love every blog/ger I follow, so don’t feel slighted if you didn’t make the cut this time; my love for you runs deep. I choose to nominate the lovely Spiritchi, the hometown homie Shanice Sade, my gorgeous twin Sachét, the amazing + kindhearted  Nosy Josie, the super creative Soular Lioness and the hilarious Ashlee over at Pink Gumbeaux.

I read something like the nominees must have less than 1,000 followers.. I didn’t really check on all that. And I promise my feelings won’t be hurt if you choose not to participate; some of you have certain context and a specific flow to your blog-I get it. But if you do opt to partake, I’m wondering..

1). When did you start your blog and why?

2). What is one of your big goals that you have met or hope to accomplish?

3). What’s your favorite season/time of year?

4). What’s the last book you read?

5). Name something you love about yourself.

6). What’s on your playlist?

7). What is one thing people are surprised to learn about you?

8). Describe your perfect day.

9). If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

10). What advice would you give your 13 year old self?

Thanks again for the nomination, Joy! This was fun.



I have felt it

when he spoke my name

the earth quaked

and my everything


our eyes locked and

my heart leapt

every time

I knew

I have felt it

when I lost my thought

thinking of his smile

his skin

his breath

his taste

I have felt it

when his arms



were my only solace

I have felt it

when he got loud

and I got louder





pierce with love

only to hold each other






I have felt it

when the thought

just the thought of him

of us

not being

formed rivers

eyes welled


hot tears

burned canyons into my cheeks

for days


I have felt it


when he did leave

and my heart became hard



my soul hollowed

my spirit soiled

my smile


colors faded

mere tints and tones


shadows and blurs

I have felt it




submerged IN it


I have felt it

so I can’t benefit from doubt

unsatisfied with




I have felt it





so I only welcome


untitled| © kelley 2015

I don’t write[like this] often but this came to me this morning and I couldn’t sleep before getting it all out. I hope you felt it.