Today, it is important to speak on the concept of perspective & how having a positive outlook could be one of our most powerful superpowers. Studies have shown that those who work diligently to have a positive mindset thrive in areas of love, stress management, social interactions, work performance & life expectancy. It is the power of our outlook that determines how well we overcome the inevitable obstacles that may deter, disappoint or discourage us from our goals. However, it takes practice to use this power to its maximum ability. Regardless of how much I advocate for a positive perspective, I sometimes require reminders because, lord knows, it is a heck of alot easier to think the world is falling off its axis at the first sign of discomfort.
Well today, as I have said before & will continue to say time & time again, there is power in your mindset & a positive perspective can do more for your well-being than anything negative you may think, feel & manifest. When you think positive with a firm understanding that any & everything will work out in your favor; you have the potential to make mountains crumble in front of you. If you are not careful, a negative outlook can have you looking at some blessings like a curse & harping on situations because they could be better. A few years ago my uncle passed away from stage 4 cancer & although it hurt like hades to have him leave us, I coped with his passing better than I imagined. Why? Because it was one less day that he was suffering, one less day that he was tired, one less day that he had to cope with preparing to leave us & one sure day that he gave himself to God. Because of this, I know where he is & that I will see him again. Now, every time an anniversary of his approaches (sunrise & sunset) I do not wallow in sadness, instead, I rejoice that he found his way home & his life of torment is over. It is this perspective & this reversal of understanding that I try to practice in my day-to-day. I encourage you to do the same.
Life is so much more than being crippled by experiences that have the potential to take us out. We must not let them. It is all a cycle: what we think influences how we feel & how we feel influences what we attest out of our mouths; what we say out our mouths is heard by the unseen. Therefore, even when you feel it is all falling apart around you keeping a positive mindset is the key. The positive mindset, despite how you feel or your circumstance, is a testament to your faith.
If you have been following Nickkie&Co for some time, you know I generally do not discuss politics or riveting current events unless my heart is moved to do so. However, I would be naive to ignore the suffering that has occurred to Americans within the American border. Although we received notification that the government shutdown has ended, the truth of the matter is, the government was still shut down for over a month. This resulted in over 800,000 people effected & a US deficit of 6 billion dollars. Based on conversations I have had, it is evident that regardless of our own individual political views, the concensus amongst us is disgust. Disgust because there was an attempt to prove a point on the backs of Americans. Someone’s hatred/distaste for one group resulted in the oppression of US citizens.
For weeks, government workers have had to struggle with maintaining the livelihood of their families. The shut down not only effected their income, it effected health insurance benefits & the various ways that people have ensured the survival & advancement of their families. There was a political massacre taking place at the expense of the American people. This is utterly unacceptable because regardless, a hardship was deliberately placed amongst us by the very person in place to unify us. Although better days are coming, this does not erase what has occurred to these families & the steps that would need to be taken to pick up the pieces. There will still be a delay in the repayment of their funds & this will always linger over the heads of American people. Therefore, it is now more than ever that I urge you to come together in kindness. Let us exemplify what it is to be united even if our “leader” is attempting to divide us. There was a total disregard for how it effects us as a nation. Therefore, our best bet under these circumstances is to rely on each other because together, we can enforce change.
As a Philanthropic organization, I struggled with ways to assist due to my own lack of knowledge & my inability obtain access to resources that can really help people. Therefore, this time (praying this is the final time) I can offer word of mouth, encourage people to seek resources, & extend my individual hand for assistance. If you are a family effected by this political uproar, I encourage you to reach out to food banks & local churches for food, resources & benevolence packages that can help you get on your feet. This is a time in which you should speak up & watch God place you in the path of people who can help you. Below, I have included a link that directs you to resources in NJ able to provide assistance. Although, some of you may not be located in NJ, if you reach out, I’m sure there is someone who can direct you to your state equivalent in some way. Under these circumstances, do not be discouraged, prideful or embarrassed. Allow us to show you what we can do for you. The best of people comes forward during times of distress. We are here. Obtain the resources created for your utilization & be empowered by faith. ♥️
I am excited to announce that another Guest Inspiration has come forward to share her testimony with us. Ms. Subhana Wrights is a warrior who is surviving, serving & slaying daily with a condition that causes her immune system to attack her own body. She is a shield-maiden that takes her condition, Psoriatic Arthritis, head on while still LIVING! Her condition can leave her susceptible to skin lesions, unwanted stares & comments, joint pain, stiffness. swelling, etc. on a regular basis. Although there is no cure for her condition, she has not allowed herself to be defined by it. In fact, she has done the exact opposite. She has defined what it is to LIVE, SURVIVE & CONQUER despite what challenges may discourage her. She understands the weight of her testimony & has chosen to use this platform to share with others. Please read & share this young woman’s testimony & recognize her for her courageousness. Subhana, You ROCK (allat) girl, thank you simply for being you!
“If you were looking to be accepted from the world and everyone in it, after what you’ve been through, then you were sadly mistaken & the sooner you come to terms with that, the better”
Deciding what to wear or what not to wear, which scares to hide and which scares to show. Finally, I got it! I’ll wear this orange off the shoulder dress. It’s not too revealing but revealing enough and I still feel sexy. I get dressed, lay down my edges, put my faux locks in a high bun and head to my best friends hotel. Ding Dong! I’m outside, ready to have a good time. As I walk in “wow you’ve lost so much weight, are you ok? What are those scars on your body?” Yes I’m ok and I’m stronger than ever. These scars are just symbols of the journey I’ve been through and the strength I have to overcome. These are questions I wasn’t prepared to answer, this was the first time I put on a revealing dress since I’ve been diagnosed.
In October 2017, my body was 80% covered in black and brown lesions from head to toe. My scalp was covered in dandruff which causes build up. For example, if I were to wash my hair, within 6 hours my scalp would be covered in flakes and the itching caused hair loss. Going from having a head full of hair, acne free skin and a blemish free body sent me in a mental spiral. The lesions on my body itched 24/7 and burned at night when I tried to get comfortable enough to sleep. My ankles had become so swollen it hurt at night to walk or to even stand for a long period of time. All in all while going to work day in and day out. A lot of people saw the lesions on my face and thought then said, “OMG! What happened?”, “Did you use a different soap?” All questions I wasn’t able to answer because I didn’t have a diagnosis yet to what was wrong.
In November 2017, I was finally diagnosed with psoriasis/psoriatic arthritis. I finally had an answer but the journey to recovery was like no other. By the time I was diagnosed I already lost 50lbs and my hair was so thin and brittle with two bald spots due to itching and build up. I was told I still had to wait for treatment to see if my health insurance would approve it. Two weeks later I was notified that my insurance was not approving the treatment due to it being too expensive. One injection alone cost 13,000 dollars which was only a piece of the treatment needed to begin my recovery. Soon after, I was notified of the possibility to be eligible for free treatment through a medication program but I would have to apply first.
During the waiting time my condition worsened and depression started to settle in. My ankles and joints became so swollen that the skin around it felt tighter and tighter every step I took. My liver became enlarged which is a common factor patients with psoriasis. Getting out of bed everyday was a struggle for me. I was contemplating the purpose of living with this condition and if I was going to be limited. In my mind this condition was the worst thing that could happen and since it was passed on through genetics, why not kill myself to prevent it from being passed on to future generations. This was my silver lining, suicide and ending it all. I went from being a lifelong athlete to being frozen in life. Everything stood still. Each day went by slower and slower. Every day I woke up waiting for a phone call with an answer and every day I didn’t get it drew me closer to ending it. My outlets in life were always going to the gym or playing sports but when my outlets caused more pain than relief I had to let it go too.
In the process of letting go I had to find something to hold on to, to keep me present. I began to dig deep, past my thoughts and my depression. I had to go beyond myself to save myself. While being frustrated about the problems with my chronic condition and the lack of answers; I began to create hope not only for myself for the others suffering in silence too. I decided I can’t be the only person going through this pain, although it’s not a common condition there are other people out there who share the same pain as I do. This is when I decided to fight. The biggest battle I’ve had to conquer yet, the battle of myself.
Every day I woke up I verbally told myself to get up and fight. One step at a time, sit up, stand up, brush your teeth, and take deep breaths then fight. I decided to put my mind to use on something positive to keep my mind occupied to fight depression. I created a charity called ”Bhana’s Purple Meals on Wheels”. The Purple Heart represents Auto Immune Disease Awareness. The meals provided were home made by me and were sold for no more than $10.00. Proceeds went to research for people suffering from Auto Immune Diseases. I decided to be the voice I couldn’t find, I decided to shine the light I never had, I decided to fight.
Also, while in the process of letting go, I drew closer to my passion for writing which brings me into sharing a piece I wrote while in this journey but first, here’s what writing means to me. Writing is like painting to me. I can’t paint with a literal paint brush but with my words I can create the reality of which I wish to paint only using words. Every word is a stroke, every placement of my words is an accent. Every statement is a stamp. A stamp with the pigments of my imagination attached. Pieces of my mind painted with words that flow as times goes. The more time moves forward the more pieces of the past I paint using my words of color bringing life to my thoughts, experiences, hopes & prayers and words of wisdom. I hope you enjoy and know that you’re all stronger than you think.
If you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts, feel free to email me at : firstname.lastname@example.org
The Process of Being Submerged
The process of being submerged
To reemerge taller, stronger, wiser
Having the darkest of days
Trying to find my way
Questioning my way
Thoughts of ending my way
Forced to choose crush or be crushed
Finding the voice
Emerging the voice
Making a choice
A choice to end the battle with me
A choice to carry this battle with the voice I have seen no one have
The strength to carry mountains
Mountains of silence by the millions carrying this
This voices of those who are currently silent, I choose to carry it
I choose to bring life and strength, and light to darkness
I choose to fight with the power of millions silently behind me
See, through this all I’ve realized none of it is about me at all. I was the strength that was chosen to carry this with my natural fighting spirit
I was chosen to fight, punch, and kick, with the power of them behind me
I’ve always questioned my purpose and why I am the way I am before all of this began and now, now it’s all so clear
Each week I write a memoir in hopes that someone will be able to relate to the topic or knows someone who can. However, today I have been inspired to empower you in a different way by discussing a topic I am certain we can all relate to. While you read this memoir, whether it is something you have experienced before or something you are experiencing now, you will be able to reflect humbly on this period & hopefully feel empowered to get through, consistently- every time. Today, my heart has been moved to speak to someone who may be suffering, who is “undergoing pain, distress or hardship” in their own way. Today, I am shouting to you that regardless of the adversity, circumstance, shortcoming, disappointment, heartache or loss you are experiencing — you are fierce, strong, powerful, able & will overcome. Despite what you feel like today, tomorrow or next week, I can assure you that your suffering is temporary. In the pits of your hell you will triumph. Adverse situations, despite how debilitating they may be, are created in your favor. Like a diamond you morphed under pressure becoming something more valuable to be desired.
As I write this, I am unaware of what you may be experiencing. However, I am a walking testament of someone who has suffered & has watched the people I love suffer all the same. Though our suffering may not look the same & have lasted different periods of time– all suffering, regardless of the cause, is relevant- including yours. As someone who has fought through storms, who has wanted to give up & who has overcome; I encourage you to have faith & keep pushing. I encourage you to find the glimmer of hope that resides in you & push it forward. The promise is your pain will not be permanent. Any obstacle placed before you will not outlive you. It does not have longevity. What you believe to be your strongest battle has & will work in your favor. The magnitude of the pain you feel does not even scratch the surface of the joy that will come your way. Again, I reiterate — you are fierce, strong, powerful & able. What was created to debilitate you will lose momentum. What was created to defeat you will not find victory. What was created to keep you out of the race has put you in first place because anything you will feel on this earth does not have the strength to take you out. You are anointed & protected by the most high. There is no way you can lose.
The day will come in which you would reflect back on this time & though all pain does not go away, your ability to become resilient will manifest. What once seemed to cause havoc on your life will be meek in comparison to what you have become. What almost took you out before will crumble in your presence & what will come of you after this will amaze you. You can not even begin to imagine the force you are about to become once this is over. You have no idea what testimony you will testify or the people you will inspire. You just have to keep pushing. Not for anyone else but for yourself. Your storm is almost over, you must not give up. What will come of your life, what will become of you is depending on it. After all, as God promised, …”when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the clouds; & I will remember my covenant which is between me & you & every living creature of all flesh; the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh” Genesis 9: 14-15.
In sum, there is no storm placed before you strong enough to take you out. You got this!
Happy Sunday beautiful Conglomerates!!! Today, I have a treat to share. Long-time friend, fellow sister in christ, full-time wife & mother has stepped forward as a Guest Inspiration to share her testimony with us. I have watched her growth & admire the woman she has become, despite the obstacles she has overcome. She has evolved past her testimony & is wise beyond her years. To see her now is to understand that her growth has come with great sacrifice. I appreciate her for recognizing that there is substance in her testimony. Together, we pray that what she says will help other women find the strength to step up & speak out against mistreatment- physical, sexual, verbal & mental abuse. Let us welcome her.
My name is Nadia Shannon and I’m a survivor of domestic violence. I believe my story began as a child. I was a witness of abuse between the ages of 3-6 years old. My parents were married and I watched my mother get abused physically, emotionally, mentally & verbally. As a child you really don’t know what’s happening, so at the time it didn’t affect me. Where I was affected, was in the separation and divorce my parents went through; once my mother finally gained enough strength to get out of the horrible relationship. In the years to come, my father was always there for my sister & I. He was and still is an amazing father. Although he didn’t have great characteristics of a husband, my father never separated himself from his children. It wasn’t until my teen years that I started to feel the horrible abuse from my father. Around the age of 14, when I was trying to find myself, entering high school, and showing signs of liking boys is when my father started to become verbally abusive. Many times, as minorities, we write it off as being protective or as if it is acceptable because he’s Spanish but in reality, verbal abuse is never all right. As time went on, I began to grow a dislike for him and started to, in a sense, see what my mother went through. My father still showed his love and affection but when he was angry he was enraged- cursing and very demeaning. I started to hate it so much but somehow I ended up being attracted to that very type of boy.
There was this guy who I knew from middle school and because I moved we lost touch. One day, I went to a high school basketball game with my cousin and we reconnected. We were freshmen in high school and by then he hit his growth spurt. Furthermore, I had developed assets I didn’t have in elementary school. We exchanged numbers and my life changed forever. We were on an off from 9th grade to senior year. It was a long distance relationship but because my father lived in the same town we were able to see each other more than a little bit. The relationship was so rocky that my family warned me it wasn’t healthy. One particular incident I remember was in the summer of my junior year of high school. We got into an argument and he slammed my head into a brick wall. This was the first time he ever put his hands on me. I was in shock. In my mind I tried to reason with myself– “Its no big deal, Nadia.” “Don’t trip, he’s never put his hands on you before.” “You better not cry, it’s not that serious.” But regardless, tears started to fall. He looked at me and said, “Man it wasn’t even that hard, you’ll be alright.” Little did I know, this would open the door to what would become 3 years of hell. Fast-forward 2 years later, I became pregnant with our son. We moved in together and the gates of Hell flew open. He cheated, had women in my home when I was at work, would steal my car, beat me, force me to have sex, break my phone so I had no contact with family and trap me inside our apartment. All the while still telling me he loved me. Somehow, I still believed him.
This was the darkest time of my life. I felt trapped and lost with no way out. I kept holding on to the thought of “I want my son to have what I didn’t. He needs his parents in the same home together.” So somewhere in my immature, 18/19 year-old mind it was all worth the abuse. On one particular night, I found a thong on the passenger floor of my car. I flipped out and had enough. I hid my car keys in the window seal of our bedroom so he couldn’t steal my car. He beat me so badly. He tore my clothes off me and he trashed the entire apartment looking for my keys. The entire time it was like my conscience was talking to me. One minute I was telling myself to just take the beating, that it will be all right and I reminding myself that I cannot tell him where the keys are. The other part of me was telling myself “Nadia it’s not worth it, give him the keys.” The entire time our son was sleep in his room. He finally got in his own car and left. I was naked in the corner of my room soaked with lotion, hair products & powder. In all of his rage, he was pouring these items all over me. When they ran out he would throw the empty bottles at me, etc.
I promise you, while this was happening to me I screaming at the top of my lungs but no one came to save me. He threw my phone in the fish tank so I had no way of calling 911 or my parents. When he left, I got into the shower to clean myself off. He came back into the house, kicked the bathroom door in and intentionally turned the hot water up to burn me. I fell out the shower trying to escape the scorching water. At this point, I was yelling for him to kill me. I didn’t want to be tortured anymore. He took a knife to me but the sound of my son’s cry saved my life. He left the bathroom, took my son out his crib and left. I knew this was my time to escape. I dressed myself as fast as possible and left the house. I hid in a bush because he was circling the block and I stayed there for an hour, terrified. I got in my car and drove to a friend’s house. After that night, I knew it was time to get out of the relationship. I finally made it known to my best friend what I’ve been going through and she helped me take the next steps toward survival. I changed the locks in the apartment, kicked him out and started my independence. Three months after I left, there was one more altercation that landed me in the hospital fighting for the life of my new unborn child. Sadly, it took these life-threatening situations for me to realize LOVE DOES NOT HURT. Love is kind and by the grace of God, I survived. I wanted to share a piece of my story because I believe there are so many young women who currently are afraid to get out. So many young women are believing the words they’re being told by their abuser, just like I did– “You are nothing without me.” “No one will love you like I do.” “No one will ever want you.” I am here to tell you the devil IS A LIE. God took me out of my darkest storms. Beloved he will rescue you as well.
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The epidemic of homelessness dates back to before the implementation of unfavorable policy changes, financial depression, & the decrease of resources. In January 2017, the national estimate of homelessness in the United States was 553,742. Regardless of the political environment, homelessness is a pandemic that is not easily eliminated. Even though, since 2007, 36 states have reported an overall decrease in homelessness, it is still a pervasive issue that plagues the lives of others. Sadly, despite the assistance in place for these individuals, there is not enough supply for the demand. Regardless of the events that have led to their homelessness (drug addiction, abuse, natural disasters, etc.) it appears that the homeless, if not seen regularly or in large quantities, are an easily forgotten population. For instance, we all know that those less fortunate than us exist & we understand that this is an issue; however, many of us hold true to the “out of sight, out of mind” way of processing. We often become so overwhelmed by our own problems that we are oblivious or immune to the struggles of others. Unfortunately, since there are some beliefs (true & untrue) in regards to the lives of homeless people, many of us would rather help “model” people who we believe have “temporarily” fallen down on their luck before helping people who may have contributed to their lives turning out the way they have.
Understanding this, Nickkie&Co. pursued another philanthropic mission to help the homeless, despite their histories, their errors or their shortcomings. Instead, of trying to figure out why they got where they were, Conglomerates & I looked at the individuals & how it would feel to be in their shoes for a day. Though we understand that we cannot fix the problem in one instance, we understand the importance of seeing a warm smile accompanied with a kind gesture. Therefore, together we raised 31 blankets to give to the homeless living in tent city on Lehigh Avenue in Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, there were more homeless people than blankets. However, their appreciation was evident. What surprises me is not just the amount of people living without roofs over their heads but the amount of impoverished people who struggle daily to truly make ends meet. The 2017 Census recognizes that 39.7 million people were living in poverty. So, for a family of 4, the federal poverty level was 24,600. There has been an increase this year, however, these numbers are eye opening.
Since I have started Nickkie&Co. I often hear different stories of people struggling & it baffles me. Some people truly wake up every day wondering how they are going to survive– unsure if they will eat that week or if they will have a warm place to sleep at night. It hurts me. We live in the “land of the free” that thrives off of materialism & self-preservation, however, we have people barely getting by; barely living. So today, I advocate that we begin to acknowledge a problem when we see it, spread awareness to teach others & if we cannot do anything else, we remain empathetic & kind to those in unfortunate situations. But I must say that the first step to making a difference is to acknowledge that a problem exists & that a difference has to be made. We cannot begin to contribute to eradicating a problem if we fail to recognize that it exists. In order to care for each other, we have to be willing to advocate, teach each other & speak up for those who may not be able to. We have to work together in love so that we can lift & build up those in less than ideal situations. Small strides in the community can go a long way because usually it takes one bold person to take a stand & the rest will follow. Advocating & being kind provides that glimmer of hope so many people need. So shine & make a difference. Make your imprint on the world & make it deep enough that it is not covered in dust long after you are gone.
**Statistics from endhomelessness.org, census.gov, peoplekeep.com***
Social media is an experience many of us relish in for entertainment. With the right momentum, social media can significantly propel our dreams into unforeseen heights, spread awareness at extremely quick rates & contribute to movements that link you to other like-minded people. However, as with many things, social media has a nasty side many of us see all too often. Just as social media contributes to positivity it can, in turn, magnify negativity. Social media is an implosive avenue that allows people to put their mental health, emotions & relationships on display. As an aspiring entrepreneur, I am grateful for the opportunities & benefits that social media makes available to our generation. I have been able to watch social media morph the lives of “regular” people into “celebrities” practically overnight. Hashtags & profile layouts have become the new “resume” that aid in propelling an entrepreneur’s popularity on the specific platform they use. Just as one’s success can multiply over night; the nasty, yet private aspects of our lives can do the same. From experience & observation, I have learned that negativity spreads faster than positivity, especially when fueled by pain & aggression.
Therefore, we must be mindful of the areas we share with the world until we are truly ready to share it. Social media is fun but once people are invited into the entertainment of our lives they will likely never leave. This will make it more difficult to heal & move past difficult phases of our lives. I have experienced this first hand with breakups or friendships that have gone south. Giving the world access during these phases of my life simply added more fuel to the fire & has caused more damage than it needed to. Over the years I have learned to be private in my affairs while dealing with my sadness intimately. Instead of sharing it with the rest of the world, I have taken that time to reflect & love into myself in a way I never knew before. As a result, it has done so much more for my self-preservation than I ever could have imagined. In fact, using that time to reflect & grow is why I can share personal testimonies with you every week on this platform.
I often promote sharing testimonies in order to heal & empower others. However, more than anything, I promote putting our health (physical, mental & spiritual) first. Often times, during extreme periods in our lives, we showcase our pain for the world to see without taking into account that it just may be too early for us to process what these periods mean for us. If we are still processing & healing from our trauma’s having the space to process alone without the prying eyes of others can be most beneficial to us. I believe in full transparency (in due time), however broadcasting our lives when we are most vulnerable leaves us susceptible to hurtful retaliation, negative statements, & abrasive actions that are not conducive to our healing. Granted, our profile is our expression & we should never have to filter who we are or how we feel for the likes of other people. But the truth is, it is not about other people. It is about us. There are certain phases of our lives that people should not be privy to on LIVE. Our lives should never be on display for people to tune in to every week. If it does not add to our growth, spread awareness, or propels our mission live updates are not required. Preserving ourselves for a better version of ourselves is most certainly ideal. After all, caterpillars always morph into butterflies in private leaving the world in awe of their beauty.
This past month & a half has been amazing. Nothing over the top happened like a spontaneous road trip, or falling in-love with a stranger at first sight. However, what made them worth talking about was that I took myself away from my hectic life & spent a few hours with my girlfriends. For the first time, in a long time, I did not think about my finances. I left all the things I needed to do on pause until I could deal with them afterwards. Weekly, whether in a memoir or on a post on Instagram, I constantly discuss the importance of having an empowering tribe that are so goal-oriented that you all, in one way or another, can build together.
What I have not discussed, is the importance of turning off life & spending much-needed girl-time with your girlfriends. With all the day-to-day stresses of the world, I did not realize how much I just needed time with my friends until I woke up the next day & felt refreshed. So today, I want you to make conscious decisions to spend time with those who encourage you & push you to be better. These dinner dates & mid-day girl sessions have made me feel so rejuvenated, productive & empowered for the coming workweek. Aside from that, I was able to spend time with people I love so much but hardly ever get to see. Excuse the cliché, but it is so true; life is too short. It is extremely important to take time to make memories with our loved ones while everyone is still around to enjoy it.
I have gotten into the habit of “checking-in” via text messages; however, I realize that in doing this so often, I miss opportunities that allow for conversations that contribute to growth & interpersonal bonds. Bonds that I cannot get behind the blue bubble on the screen of my phone. Sometimes just taking a few hours aside to go visit a friend can be all you need to brainstorm, relieve some stress & be a little carefree. As women, we always let life boggle us down. We make limited time for our loved ones & even less time for ourselves with the expectation that there will be another time. Nevertheless, most times, we need the break right now & we do not realize it until it is too late. Being around friends is a self-care ritual that is therapeutic & empowering. Around the right friends, they will remind you who the *bleep* you are when you feel small, they will encourage you to keep going, they will add wealth to your life & gems to your circumstances. So make time for them. Making time for them is also making time for yourself. We all get busy, unfortunately, that comes with being an adult. However, being an adult does not entail that we neglect ourselves along with the relationships we build with one another. A break away is acceptable & can reap positive results in our lives that can easily become robotic. We are deserving of any time we put aside for ourselves, even if it is just a few hours. In order to inspire & empower others, we need to be able to tap into the minds & energy of those who inspire & empower us. So, make time for your friends. They will be happy to see you & you will be happy you did so later.
“You can’t play with us, you’re too brown.” Those were the words of fair-skinned, 4-year-old, Ashley. I wanted to be friends with her so badly. However, according to her, the shade of my skin did not make me an eligible prospect for her friendship or that of anypretty, light-skinned girl in my kindergarten classroom. Before you get bent out of shape about little Ashley, I want to preface that at 4-years-old, her statements were not a reflection of her. Instead, it is important to recognize that this way of thinking was something she was taught. In my experience, children, unless taught otherwise, are a blank slate & are molded by their experiences, as well as, the behaviors & morals of those who have a hand in raising them. Whether we realize it or not, the adults that have the ability to influence children in this way, have a significant influence on the way we view ourselves; especially during impressionable ages. It was not until a few years ago that I was able to acknowledge that skin, regardless of how light or dark it is, is beautiful; equally.
Nonetheless, before I got here, before I could look in the mirror & find beauty; I unfortunately, allowed statements, like those of Ashley’s, to dictate my life. I let the world tell me I was ugly by what they showed me was beautiful. What I saw as beautiful did not look like me. My skin complexion added to so many insecurities that took me years to get over. Until recently, I believed I was too dark to date anyone lighter than I was. I convinced myself that anyone lighter than I was would never be interested in me based off of my skin complexion alone. I would avoid wearing certain colors that made my complexion look darker or brought too much attention to it. So my brown skin coupled with what I believed to be nappy hair, had me doing everything except loving myself, as I was.
Now, all women, including the brown ones, areComing Out & are showing the world that whetherbig or small, slim or thick, dark or light, tall or short, we are all worthy. Regardless of what we look like, we now acknowledge all these features make us who we are but do not dictate what it is we can offer the world. Now, I say without a shadow of a doubt that I absolutely love my melanin. I am brown, (N)happy & no longer allow myself to believe that certain things are closed off from me because of my skin complexion. I look in the mirror today & acknowledge my beauty. I look at who I am & I see the roots of my ancestors. I see royalty.
The days of being ashamed about it are long behind me & I apologize to myself for ever feeling that who I was took me out of the race. The epiphany of my understanding is important to convey to those who come after us. We can not fail them by not doing so. We have to empower our little girls to realize that regardless of the message portrayed to them, they arebeautiful, smart, strong, fierce, amazing, capable &enough. My hope is that they would never have to learn to love themselves like many of us had to. I hope that we can start to paint their blank slate with so much color it makes them so vibrant that they never feel the need to dull who they are for the likes of someone else. We have to teach them that loving themselves, as they are, is the greatest gift they could ever give themselves; even when the world appears to tell them otherwise. Teach them now that they are perfect as they are & no one will ever be able to dictate who they are in the world.
**I do not own the rights to the song linked to this memoir**
We have been raised up in a society that puts women against each other to later call those very women, conniving, cunning & b*tchy. We see it with celebrities & we see it with regular, degular women like ourselves. For entertainment purposes, we are encouraged to face off. This in turn causes us to question our talents & become intimidated by the talents of another. I have watched people do horrible things to each other & end friendships under the pretense that we can not all win doing the same thing. It is horrible. It is shameful. It is disheartening. It is discouraging to someone who needs the courage to start a new endeavor & most importantly, it sends the wrong message to our little girls. Because truth is, we can all eat together & become full doing so. We can all pull up chairs to the round table & have a feast. When women come together we can feed ourselves & feed the masses.
Every week the memoirs are woven together by the same thread- empowerment, strength & togetherness. I have advocated for team work & working together to contribute to making the world a better place. But in order to work on the world, we need to form a united alliance that signifies cohesion & fellowship. Instead of trying to be better than the next, it would behoove us to raise up one another so that we can reach others. This includes sharing resources, providing advice & sharing experiences in order to ensure that the next woman gets through without the same errors, set backs or shortcomings you have. Instead, many of us do the opposite. This in turn results in unnecessary distractions & deters opportunities that may become available. We have to be nicer to one another & recognize that we are fighting the same fight while trying to figure out what works for us. Ignoring insecurities, being humbly transparent & praying for the next woman’s success can open a plethora of blessings over our lives because a kind heart, is a heart that is rewarded.
We have made efforts to thrive in a world that taught us to be ashamed to tell another woman she has inspired us. Instead, we have become fooled into shaming other women for just trying to get through their existence like the rest of us. Being inspired by another woman is an amazing experience that unites us in unimaginable ways. When we keep these moments to ourselves, we in turn, fail to inspire & empower another woman who can benefit significantly from hearing so. I would be lying if I said I am not inspired by other women when I write my memoirs each week. When I write, I do not just envision my own experiences, emotions & improprieties. I see the faces of others who have shared their own histories & knowledge with me. I keep them in mind. Women are the epitome of love. So to love one another whether we “like” one another is irrelevant. When one woman fails, we need to take it personally. The success of one woman contributes to the success & the shattering of glass ceilings for other women. If we go through the day recognizing that what is for us will not miss us; we will recognize that each encounter we have with someone affords us the opportunity to bless, empower & eradicate how we have been taught to behave to one another. No success in the world is worth sabotaging the “come up” of someone else. If we really work together without allowing our insecurities to show themselves, it will become so much easier to say we got this; with action.