"We are too often told to wait for someone else and only then are we complete, once we are in the worlds of others. My advice? Have a vision for your life. Make your dream real. Create your experience, birth a world in your mind and build it – even if you have to start with the few scraps and pieces that were left to you."*Describe your a-ha moment.
My a-ha moment was when I realized I didn’t always have to be strong. As a woman, a Black woman in particular, we are not always afforded the opportunity or the luxury to be seen as weak. We are constantly required to be strong and super human while carrying other people on our backs and their burdens and baggage in our arms.
While I still do pride myself on being resilient and having the ability to bounce back, I found I was tired. Being tough became less and less of a compliment to me. I wanted moments where I could be soft and delicate and fragile. I discovered that I no longer wanted to be seen as only strong, but to be seen as human. I started writing so that not only others, but also I could understand that I needed to discover, nurture and embrace all the pieces of me.
*What’s your best piece of woman-to-woman advice?
We are too often told to wait for someone else and only then are we complete, once we are in the worlds of others. My advice? Have a vision for your life. Make your dream real. Create your experience, birth a world in your mind and build it – even if you have to start with the few scraps and pieces that were left to you.
*What has been your favorite mistake?
My favorite mistake was staying when I should have walked away. I learned so much about myself in my relationships with other people. I learned to set boundaries but only after being walked over. I learned to love myself but only after the love of others would not quite do.
The thing about relationships [good or bad, platonic or romantic] is that they are not always about us falling in love or creating life long friends. Sometimes, they are simply about learning lessons and our own personal development. They teach us to value, trust and find worth within ourselves; understand our needs, our wants, our preferences and our limits. They always reveal more about us than the person we share the connection with.
I loved him, but I love me more. The most important lesson of them all. I do not regret a moment, it taught me to embrace and appreciate everything about myself, first. The time spent developing a ‘better us’ did not guarantee him to stay, but I was left with a greater me.
* So far, what has been the most challenging aspect of being a woman?
One of the most challenging aspects of being a woman has been learning what it means to be one. Raised by my grandparents, I was only able to grasp and learn certain aspects of being a woman through my grandmother. I knew what it meant to have quiet strength, be sacrificial and care and nurture those around me but never understood creating my identity outside of others. While challenging, it has been rewarding to discover and define womanhood for myself. I am becoming the woman I have always wanted in my life.
*What do you not want us to know?
I eat olives by the jar. Disgusting? Yeah I know, but I love them. Even when I am out at a bar with my friends, I’ll ask the bartender for a cup full. They absolutely hate it. I just laugh and blow my breath in their face as often as I get the chance.
*When do you feel most creative? What inspires you?
I feel creative near bodies of water, under the moon and in the peace of the mornings. I feel most creative when I am in a place of vulnerability. I get crafty when I find myself navigating a space that is cold, dark and uncomfortable. Whenever I feel attacked, criticized, tempted or experience anything that leaves me feeling open; so much pours out. I am inspired in my moments of weakness and feel the greatest urge to build when all seems broken.
*What does it mean to you to be a soulful beauty?
A soulful beauty is a woman connected deeply to herself, recognizing that that is what allows for connection with others. She loves herself completely and is able to offer love in return because of it. She listens, speaks and lives from her heart. She is held, tied and fastened together by faith, hope and other things unseen. She shines in darkness. Her energy is healing, her spirit dances and her mind; a thing of beauty.
*What is your favorite quote, scripture or affirmation?
“Some periods of our growth are so confusing that we don’t even recognize that growth is happening. Those long periods when something inside ourselves seems to be waiting, holding its breath, unsure about what the next step should be, eventually become the periods we wait for, for it is in those periods that we realize that we are being prepared for the next phase of our life and that, in all probability, a new level of the personality is about to be revealed.” – Alice Walker
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