Growing up poor, I was constantly reminded that I wasn’t like the others. I grew up attending a middle-class church where it was instilled in me that being respectable was the gold standard. I often was in a dilemma of being too poor to play in the middle-upper class Black community games and too weird/alien-like for the hood Black community. Being a first-gen, my vision of success was getting my degree and being finally seen as a respectable woman. Somehow the doors of the world would open to me after so many years of constant direct and absorbed messages that I wasn’t enough due to my size, socioeconomic status, and color. The message was loud and clear to be respectable meant I was of value, and coming from my life, it was my fuel to get to where I am.
As I evolved over some 30+ years, it took the pandemic for me to sit with myself and reflect. Is my focus on being seen as a good and respectable Black girl killing my ability to show up authentically? Is my desire for validation and acceptance all a facade to fill some need from long ago? The more I peeled back the mask, the more I saw myself. I don’t like most of what is seen as respectable as it reinforces a dogma that is elitist, colorist, and classist. It perpetuates a notion that I, as a fat dark, skin Black woman, unless I’m overworking to overcompensate for my moral failure of not being fair skin and skinny, I was nothing. My interest has always been in the taboo. I adored wearing items that would show what little I had and loved people who didn’t follow the sheep programming. Being respectable kept me in a straightjacket as depression and other mental illnesses plagued me. To be respectable, I needed to hide all of my suffering in life to be seen as someone that could be tolerated in the circles of respectability.
Over the past four years, I have created content on leveling up or self-evolution where I can see the thread of respectability through it. I never meant to be one of those girls as I don’t even believe in religion or the community; however, when something has been ingrained, there may still be a bit left behind no matter how much you evolve. Respectability will limit your growth as it often hijacks your true self. Wanting to emulate women who have been portrayed as high-class, high-value, desirable women has left me bland and generic. There is nothing wrong with wanting to live life a certain way, but it should be based on a moral code that you have set for yourself vs. what others have pre-written, as it’s often to their advantage and your downfall.
I recently submitted to be a speaker for a group, and I noticed my image was kicked back with the notion it needed to be professional. My picture didn’t look as though it was a poorly lit selfie, but it dawned on me there was a garnish of boob that immediately made me seem unprofessional and uncouth. I felt enraged as it has taken me years to feel comfortable being feminine in the professional sphere of life as the norm is to reduce your feminine appearance as much as possible to be accepted. Over the past two years, I have ridden my wardrobe of stuffy clothing that was like a noose to my creativity and authenticity. This was no easy feat as I had to learn that being full might mean the dream of being a respectable Black woman would never be. I craved owning my beauty and not hiding it as it was cancerous to my soul. I understand different audiences mean possible different aesthetics, but I no longer was so malnourished that I would pretty myself up only for the gaze of respectability.
I feel my voice will finally be my own as I continue my content creation. I have reviewed some of my older work and cringe at the illogical and elitist tone. I understand many adore such and praise those who continue spreading such messages. It’s like any phobia. If you speak the message of the oppressive group, you may be seen in a higher light and be tolerated as you have subscribed to their perspective world view. My message here is that as you evolve, please make sure you do your inner work so that your truth is what fuels your change. You don’t need to alter yourself to be acceptable. I’m all for being at your highest form, but it should be from your own
Self-love has always been a term I didn’t feel at ease in my younger years. People plastered the word various notebooks or feel-good sessions when they were selling things or when people wanted to avoid accountability. Over the past few months, I have begun reading All about Love by the late bell hooks. I was skeptical of the book by title alone but found it resonated with me deeply. Self-love, like self-care, isn’t just a feel-good marketing slogan to promote consumerism. Self-love requires effort and facing one’s deepest self. Self-love requires accountability and honesty. One can’t say they love you and abuse you simultaneously. Many people confuse care for love, an ideal hammered home in bell hook’s book. Many people may provide things to themselves, but that doesn’t equate to love.
Over my 30+ years on the planet, I have experienced many painful things and was shunned for not parroting back—the faux positive sound bites. I am someone who doesn’t enjoy being fake, as suppressing my emotions always makes things worse. Being a Black woman, I found that one needed to appear as never troubled and always sunny is exhausting. I firmly believe that the heaviness often associated with being a Black woman directly correlates to having to keep up appearances. In the same vein, often, we judge those who don’t keep up the facade. Self-love, at its core, is loving self and doing the things to ensure your preservation actively. When you aren’t honest with yourself, you can’t help yourself properly. How can you be satisfied if you are thirsty yet won’t admit it?
When I created my consulting firm, my main objective was to help Black women and WOC achieve the goals they wanted. Many times the goals we are pursuing aren’t of us but in an attempt to make ourselves be someone of importance. The need to be someone important allows us to access safety and privileges. I was so focused on wanting to make a name for myself and climb the corporate ladder throughout my life, but eventually, I had to ask myself why? Is this truly what I desire, or is this still an attempt to be respectable and acceptable? It took a lot of deep reflection to answer that question with honesty. First, you must look deeply and remove anything out of alignment. When you release what no longer aligns, you free yourself to receive what is.
Self-love isn’t just materialist things. It’s also the investment of time and energy to get you to where you want to go. Black women and WOC must learn to put themselves at the top of their to-do list, even if they have children. When you refill your cup, you can give more abundantly. When you give more abundantly, everything around you can bloom. As Black women, we are prone to burn-out, depression, and a host of physical ailments as we are giving our best to others and not receiving that in return. In my chats with women of all colors, statuses, and creeds, there is often hesitation to be adamant about one’s self-care and preservation. We often fear we will look snobbish or bitchy to others as if being a martyr is nobler.
My hope for Black women and WOC is they take control of their lives by loving the best thing in their life: you! Invest in your life at your current station. If you don’t have a lot of money, grab what you can for free and make it the best possible. As you invest in your life, more will come, and as you elevate, continue with investing. Many have become very ugly towards women who invest in themselves, from plastic surgery to hiring coaches or hiring help such as a maid. It often is deeply rooted in not feeling good enough or deserving, so they project this upon others, especially those who look like them. I have had former friends tell me I’m full of myself because I desired to hire movers vs. exhaust myself by doing it myself.
I believe self-love makes the world better because we are made from love as I wrap up. When we don’t allow it to be depleted, we operate from such a fluid place. Self-love brings the best out of you and attracts the best in your life. When I got serious about loving myself it was hard and left me with more questions than answers. However, the deeper I went, the more I noticed my light. Some left my life as it no longer centered around them and allowed me more confidence as I was doing things I truly enjoyed.
I want to leave a few affirmations that I hope will invoke self-love in your life. Words hold power, and words are like spells to me.
My hope for 2022 is that you take complete control of your life and if you need help, book a consult so we can partner together to make your as bright and delightful as possible.
Your fashion makes a statement before you ever speak. When you are running errands, you may throw something on giving that don’t bother me vibe, or you could be dressed in a well-tailored suit that says I have important business to do. Fashion has always been a means of communication throughout the years. Fashion will always be a critical part of one’s overall optics. Updating your style can lead to greater opportunities for career, dating, and your life in general.
Fashion can often be forgotten about or overlooked as we think it’s all about the content of our character. In a perfect world, that would be the case. However, I recently completed an Anti-Racism Accelerator, and a point that stuck out to me was the term normalization and how it plays in our daily lives. When we resign to live and accept that things are just what they are, we cut away at our power, and this also starts to eat away at being fully present in our lives, or as the kids say, being the main character. It’s not lost on me how the daily hurdles of living as a Black woman or WOC can cause us to shrink or not be able to put our best foot forward as we juggle a million things on top of managing the various isms such as racism, sexism to name a few. In my 15 years in different professional arenas, sexism, racism, featurism, and colorism can slowly dim your light on top of the challenges of being brilliant in one’s role.
Revamping your style can feel like a daunting task to undertake. So I wrote a guide that goes over how to revamp your closet. However, in today’s post, I will give some practical advice that you can use immediately to boost your confidence and take over the world or at least that next major Zoom meeting. These tips should help you revamp your style to unlock your main character!
1. Objectively look at each item and ask what’s its purpose
Everything you own should have a purpose. I have fun, flirty dresses for the times I’m trying to boost someone’s internal thermostat and dresses that show my fun side yet professional focus. When you review your closet, ask yourself what does this piece communicate, and does it serves me well? Does the piece make me feel at my Beyonce level, or does it open me to all my insecurities about that one time I ate too many cupcakes? Each piece you own should align with what you want to communicate to the world, and it should fit you impeccably. Confidence and alignment produce brilliance, ladies!
2. Where am I on my life’s path
The fashion you wore in high school shouldn’t be the same that you wear in your mid-level career. Take time to assess where you are in life and ask does my fashion yield to my to the life I desire? If your want to take on more serious roles, be it in your corporate career or even in your private life, your fashion will play a large part. Let’s say you want to go for a promotion. You need to make sure you have fashion that you can jazz yourself up effortlessly at the drop of a dime. You may not be ready if all you have is worn-out t-shirts and ill-fitting jeans. On the flip, you could be wanting to pivot into more creative endeavors, and having a stuffy suit wouldn’t mesh with your path. Analyze everything and keep the notion of being intentional, in your pursuit of being the main character of your life.
3. Wear the clothes
This seems like a straightforward step, but I can confidently say executing your plans is not as easy as it looks. Many ladies I have worked with will take all the notes and make all the vision boards and plans, but sometimes things can prevent them when it comes to launching. When I look at my own life, often, it’s not due to lack of planning but fear. When you move out of a supporting role into the main character, the attention can be frightening. It may make others around you feel unsettled as they were used to you being their crutch in the supporting role.
I hope these things can add peace to your life as you revamp your style to unlock your main character, you! So, if you need help with revamping your fashion, hit the link and book a consult, as you deserve to invest in yourself and enjoy its benefits.
Self-care is vital to reaching your goals and your overall quality of life. Unfortunately, most think of self-care as spa days and expensive skincare rituals. However, pampering yourself allows you to keep showing up to preserve your energy over the long haul. Pampering doesn’t have to be complicated as sometimes just the simple things can help give us a boost. As a woman, no matter your path in life, it’s your job to manage your needs and ask for help. I will share three signs of burnout in this post and create a realistic pamper routine!
Three signs of Burnout
Burn out is a very slow build-up that begins to chip away at your usual vibrancy. It’s like filling a bucket one drop at a time. Eventually, the bucket loads, yet it’s a surprise. This is the same for our bodies and minds with burnout. Women are often groomed to suppress their basic needs for the needs of others, including children, partners, and careers. For Black and POC women, the need to appear like Teflon is to our detriment because we overlook the breaking points until significant damage is caused. This is not an exhaustive list, but here are some signs you’re burning out:
You don’t find joy/passion in the things you use to do.
Maybe you used to love strutting your stuff and looking cute, or perhaps you are someone who lives in the gym. As burnout starts to hit, you lose the joy of things that should please you. In our society of being booked and busy, we wear that as a badge of honor. It’s a great accomplishment to be in demand. However, one can lose touch with their bodies, and the wear and tear of daily life can leave you numb. We are going through a lot in the world, and it’s easy to stuff our feelings, yet not being able to feel isn’t ok. Being numb doesn’t make you strong.
Physically you feel run down.
With the pandemic still going on, it’s never fun to feel sick. Is that tickle in your throat allergies or Miss. Rona? Is this normal fatigue or something more which is alarming. On the other hand, sometimes, we can get good at pushing past our natural indicators of discomfort. For instance, when you are thirsty but working, you may not hydrate all for the sake of productivity. Unfortunately, in a pop-a-pill society, it’s easy to bypass our internal check engine lights because, for some women, we have been groomed to not tend to our needs, and it’s seen as being selfish or bougie.
Your mind is foggy and cloudy
Missed texts, emails, and calls can become commonplace when you’re burned out. Or maybe your find you are missing the mark in your work with what appears to be careless mistakes. When you’re not operating at optimal, your mind will not be as laser-sharp. For many, it can send you into a negative state of mind and become very dangerous because you could be mentally not there when you are behind the wheel or make a costly error on order.
3 ways to create a pamper routine
Now that we know some of the signs of burnout, let’s discuss how you can create a realistic pamper routine. I emphasize realistic because, let’s keep it a buck, some of us don’t have time for a 12 step skin routine when you have babies pulling on your skirt or your also battling mental or physical disabilities. Being practical helps you to be consistent, which is the ultimate way to prevent burnout before it starts. I will also warn that burnout isn’t something you will bounce back from quickly. It will take time to rebuild, and I have noticed in my own life unless you can permanently fix the source of burnout, be it a job or family situation, you will be prone to suffering from burnout again.
Plan your favorite things into your scedule
It’s easy to have a schedule overloaded with everything but your needs. However, I find scheduling my wax appointments, massages, even Netflix and chill days into my routine works wonderfully. It gives you something positive and genuinely self-nourishing to look forward to. In my experimenting, doing something at least 1-2 a week is optimal, and if you can sneak smaller things in like 5 min deep breathing or a quick walk into your day-to-day, you really will be a winner!
Invest in the best items you use daily
I’m a girls girl who loves to rock silk robes when I’m cameras off on Zoom calls and enjoy delicious perfumes daily. Investing in things I use daily gives me a little taste of luxury throughout the day. I used to be someone who bought stuff out of functionality only. However, over the years, I find myself drawn to the things that look amazing along with function. Investing in yourself and life experience is never a wrong choice, and it doesn’t have to be expensive. So buy the nice mug you will use daily, and I promise you it will put a slight smile on your heart.
Check-in with your self often
Even before the pandemic, most people went through the motions of life. Another day at the office, another basic happy hour or brunch and wash repeat. Checking in with yourself as honestly as possible isn’t easy but is vital to pampering or self-care. You can’t correct what you won’t name, baby. I typically journal each morning, and sometimes I write down how I’m feeling and if there is anything I could do to help myself. Being an active person in your thought life always enables you to be on the preventative flow. Our society doesn’t celebrate self-awareness but knowing what you need allows you to help yourself. You deserve to live a life, not just merely exist.
I hope this was helpful in your journey of being your best you. Need coaching on how to implement your best you journey? Hit the link, and let’s talk.