As I write this letter to myself reflecting on my days growing up, I’m sorry I doubted myself. I made up in my mind that I was, indeed, ugly. . . Dear Middle School Me:
Letter to the Ball-Head Dark Skin Girl,
Don’t turn the lights out. They might lose you. No one is going to see you. But when the lights are on, they still don’t see you. Chin up. It’s only words. It doesn’t matter what others say about you because you are beautiful in your skin.
“Ball-head, skally wag, ain’t got no hair in the back.”
Kids are going to be kids. Let them say whatever, as long as they not putting their hands on you, it’s fine. I’m serious, you’re going to be okay. You’ll be going to high school soon and no one will care if you’re dark skinned or not. Middle school kids have nothing else better to do but to talk about people.
“You still ball-head under those micro braids.”
I guess I was wrong. High school was no different. He said he only liked light skin girls. Forget him! There’s somebody else out there for you. Oh, I forgot that he doesn’t date dark skin girls either. Maybe if you start wearing bright colors, they’ll start to notice you. Even your friends will begin to think that you’re beautiful and they’ll stop drawing attention to your dark skin.
“We can have sex but, I couldn’t make you my girl or anything. You not my type.”
You can’t get rid of your skin, girl. Taking extra hot and extra long showers won’t make some of your color come off. Be smarter than that. Okay, this is the last night you’re going to cry about it.
I know it’s hard to get out of bed, but you must go to school. Just don’t look in the mirror while you’re getting ready. You don’t wanna keep looking at yourself. You see the darkness that others see. You feel the darkness inside. But you must get up and go to school. No need to tell anyone how you feel, they don’t care. They’ll just tell you again that what people say doesn’t matter. It does matter, though. You didn’t ask for this skin. You didn’t choose to be dark. You question why God made you this way. That’s when you stopped smiling.
“Nah, she too black"
As I write this letter to myself reflecting on my days growing up, I’m sorry I doubted myself. I made up in my mind that I was, indeed, ugly. I decided that I wasn’t good enough for anyone because I was dark skin and didn’t have much else to show for myself. I’m not sure where I lost my sense of self-worth in the process, but I found it.
I often hear people say that talking about colorism as Black people (especially as Black women) is adding more divide in the Black community. In actuality, continuing to sit in the shadows and insist that it isn’t an issue is the thing that keeps us divided. Rooted in white supremacy, the color complex is no is secret in our culture. From the time we were brought to this country, our oppressor separated us by light and dark and it has followed us through centuries.
Many of the images we see of Black women in leading roles often exclude those who are dark skinned. We live in a society where Zoe Saldana gets to play Nina Simone in a movie and the show grown-ish doesn’t have one leading dark skinned woman. We, as black women, come in many shades and that’s what makes us unique, but let’s not forget that representation matters. It mattered to me when I was growing up trying to stay out of the sun in the summer time with fear that I would get darker. It matters to my 13-year-old niece who is now going through the same emotions about her skin. It matters to the young girls who look up to the Lupidas and the Violas and the Beyoncés.
I remember the girl. I was the girl…and I want that girl to know, she is beautiful in her own skin. - I love you
Tristen is a 28-year-old Black woman working professionally in higher education and finding ways to navigate through life. Adjust Yo’ Crown is a space to be real and open about various aspects of life and what is happening in the world. It is a space where Blackness is celebrated and unfiltered.
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Contributed by: Krystal of Rhea Aligned
A twenty-something wife, mother to one diva child, bonus mom to two amazing children, daughter to the worlds most amazing parents, friends to some, and the list goes on. Bit of an introvert and foodie; against all things cold and has recently tapped into making handmade products. Rhea Aligned is busy; self-care is a must!
What is self-care?
Self-care can be easily defined but hard to practice, especially with a marriage, family and life dedicated to making a difference. I must admit, I often fail at self-care, yet I know I am NOT alone. I fall into being the mom, the wife and the helper, often forgetting "the me". As I type about this topic, I have a little spoiled person in the bed with me that won’t stop talking to me about her dolls and a very loud iPad talking about some toy that she will ask me about on YouTube. Thus saying -- everyone needs time alone, just to do something for themselves. To realign and center their energy!
There are several people who do not have a problem with taking time out for self-care. I wish I were more like them in realizing and understanding that I need time to compose myself. *I am working on it* Doing things for yourself is therapeutic and helps with emotional and physical well-being. The demands of life can make self-care hard to practice but we must make time. If needed, simply schedule "me-time" just like you schedule your hair appointments, meetings or your doctor visits. Make YOURSELF a priority!
How do you get your self-care?
Do you have a set time each week or during the month that you devote to doing something for yourself without any interruptions? Do you have time that you lock yourself in a room and meditate? Does your self-care include you spending money or is it something that is completely free? How you practice self-care may differ from the way I do or the way someone else does, however as long as you are investing in self, you're spot on! Although it may seem like a task to schedule time for yourself, it is a must. Self-care isn’t just for those that are married or those that are super busy, everyone needs a self-care regimen!
Me Time with Me!
I recently went on a much-needed self-care day. I got an opportunity to cash in on my gift card from Mother's Day to a massage at Gould’s Spa. That 60 minutes of relaxation was amazing. I then followed up with a manicure and pedicure at a place here that I will not return for service again. Despite the downfall with their service, it felt good to be able to spend time away from my husband and child and focus on self. I had plans to do so much more, like do some window shopping, get my eyebrows tamed, etc. But laying on that table, I had time to think about some issues that have been on my mind. Being able to listen to what was going on around me and not hear “mommy, mama, ma, babe, Krystal, etc.” and break my concentration. *So Peaceful* Book your personal spa-day soon!
Here's My Two Cents
Please take the time to figure out what makes you happy and do it at least once a month. My husband is an extrovert, he enjoys going out and would every night if possible. To him going out is his "me time" or self-care. I’m the complete opposite, I hate meeting new people and doing things that involve being in crowds. I am an uber-introvert! Give me a spa day or some time to shop in a local boutique or some peace and quiet and I am H-A-P-P-Y!
No matter what it is that you deem "your time", take it. Make self-care an important thing. Add something daily, weekly or monthly that helps you align yourself with yourself! In the words of Representative Maxine Waters, “Reclaiming my Time”! Some of us need to take her advice a little more often. Take care of you!
How do you practice self-care? Is it daily? Weekly? Monthly? When is your scheduled "me time"? Share with us some of your "me time" activities or self-care regimens! Together we can inspire each other to invest in self!
Contributed by: Elliot Nelson
Elliot Nelson is a lifestyle blogger, marketing professional and entrepreneur born and raised in Raleigh, NC.
When the world was first sculpted, there was God, I doubt at this age in life we need a history lesson on the creation of E`arth and the upward evolution of mankind. No matter what your belief is or isn’t, one fact remains true; the first man to ever walk this earth had a purpose, had a job, had something he was responsible for before he was introduced to is wife. (If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m referring to Adam and Eve).
Fast forward a couple thousand years later, a Martin/Fresh Prince era, a highly coveted white tee and jersey dress phenomenon, and an undefeated clique that’s black twitter and we find a common theme amongst Millennials today and that’s the struggle of knowing who we truly are, what our true purpose is in this life, and you guessed it finding the love of our life. Here’s some truth that I never wanted to admit up until two years ago. **Whispers** Women do mature faster than men. Relationships are rather interesting and come “a dime a dozen” these days. If and when you have something “good” society tells you to hold on until that man puts a ring on it or at least “gets it together.” What’s even worse? Trying to help that man get it together by helping him find himself and his purpose.
While fairytales are very fairy figments of our imagination I highly doubt, Princess Tiana would even wait for her prince to get his life together and let alone help him to do so. Which leads to the point of this discourse (and you’re not going like me for this, also if you can’t relate to the point then it’s not for you. Here goes…)
***HELPING MEN FIND PURPOSE IS DANGEROUS***
Call DJ Khaled, he’ll tell you that’s a major key. In all seriousness, a man that doesn’t know who he is nor knows his purpose doesn’t know where he is going and in return will not be able to properly lead you. Even if you don’t believe in men “leading” women, helping a man find it will put you in uncharted territory. Here’s the thing: The moment we as men find out who we are and our purpose in our life, we are going to do a quick examination of everything in our life and see if those things align to what we feel purposed for. You might be everything for us currently, but we will eventually be enlightened and come to the knowledge that you’re not a great fit for what’s next in our life. We then bounce and six months to a year later we are in a serious committed relationship **with someone else**, engaged or hell maybe even married.
Breathe… I know that was a lot to come to terms with and I told you that you wouldn’t like me for that! The HARD FACT is some relationships are meant to make us better for the next person. HOWEVER, you can avoid that by doing this one simple thing. Before getting seriously involved with someone make sure they know where they are going. If they don’t, then find men who do. I guarantee you 9 times out of 10, men who know where they are going will know what they want and will know who you are from the moment you are presented to them. Don’t waste your time on those of us who don’t have it together. It could lead to a dead end and wasted time. Remember before Adam had Eve, he had purpose.
This may not be the read for you, you may not resonate with this. Do you have an opposing view, comment below, share your thoughts and insight! This can get good!
Want to find Elliot and give him a piece of your mind (lol)?
You can follow him on IG and Twitter @ElliotArunah
Contributed By: Nita B
An entertainer, mother, teacher, blogger and wife. Nita B is proof that anything is possible when you put your mind to it. Enjoy this piece highlighting four women who have influenced her life in varying ways.
I'm an entertainer and in this industry women can be very mean to one another. There is more pulling down then there is pulling up. I think we as women just need to take a step back and remember, we once looked up to another woman at some point in life. Today, I am sharing some insight about the four women who have influenced me the most and challenging you to think about your fabulous four as well!
My Grandmother: She is number 1 on my list today. My grandmother is one of the strongest women I know. She lived through segregation and racism and was still able to be the best mom and wife she could be. She is the definition of a hustler. When there was "no way" she found a "way". She raised her children and her grandchildren. Way to go Grandma, we love ya! Do you have a connection with your grandmother? If so, cherish it, so many people wish they had the opportunity to love on their grandmothers!
Carole: Carole is my aunt (mom) and she raised me. She seriously taught me EVERYTHING! I mean from applying lotion on my legs to how to sort the laundry! She was there for my first heart break and the day I graduated college. Anything I needed to know about life she had the answer! She's also, Extremely smart! She graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Computer Science! She ran a household (four daughters and husband btw) and had a full time job as a Computer Engineer! She is definitely a major influence in my life! Do you have your own Aunt Carole? Maybe with a different name but a similar impact! We must love and appreciate these influential women as they play a critical part in our development.
Xavia: Xavia is my older cousin but she played the role as my big sister growing up! I just thought she was the coolest. I loved how she dressed, did her hair, and wore her make up. I just loved everything about her. She showed me what true strength really looked like. She raised two children on her own and still managed to graduate college, buy her own house and car! She makes it all look so easy! Now that I'm an adult and I have a child of my own, I know it was not easy! She too has influenced me a great deal! Who's your Xavia? That one cousin that played a huge role in your life!
I'm an actress soooo, you knew I was gonna have at least one actress on my list...right? lol If you are not familiar with who she is, Taraji P. Henson is a famous American actress. She influences me because of her story of success. She went to California with $700 in her pocket, a toddler, and a dream! Lots of people thought she was crazy and all she heard was tons of negativity. She was told that she was too old to make it as an actress. (26 at the time) She is 47 now and her career is just getting started...that motivates me! She is very talented; that was never the question, she just had to wait for the rest of the world to catch up with her! Although I have never met this woman she influences me as an actress. Who is your industry role model? The woman who you look to and say, if she can, I can!
Those are the top four women that influence(d) me but there are way more! I am a College Graduate, Mother, Teacher, Actress, Model, and Blogger! A fellow blogger once asked me “how do you do it all, what’s your secret?" The answer to that question is simple....I have really good role models! Thank you to all the amazing women who have helped mold me into the woman I am today! #WomenOfInfluence
Tell us about a woman or some women who have positively influenced you. Rather it's grandma, auntie, a sister or a celebrity let's praise her! Last month was Women's History Month however it is critical to highlight, empower and appreciate our women daily. Have you purchased your very own Influential. Woman T-Shirt? What are you waiting on? Get yours today -- Click here to purchase today!