Monday Motivation: The First Time I Realized I Was Black…

Monday Motivation: The First Time I Realized I Was Black…

Hey guys!

A friend of mine posted on her Facebook page a video from CNN.com with the hashtag, #realizediwasblack. This series CNN is loosely based on the works of WEB Du Bois literary book entitled, ” The Souls of Black Folk”. CNN asked celebrities of colour to recount their stories of the first time they realized they were black. I was captivated and this led me to think about my own “discovery” ( for lack of a better word). Here is my story:

As a young black girl, you know the struggle of “wash day”. Wash day was usually on Saturday  when your mom would wash, chiney bump ( aka bantu knot) blow dry, grease and either braid or style your hair for the week. Now as a young black girl, with thick natural hair, this could be a whole day process! Nevertheless, week after week this had to be done, and week after week I would go to school and see my kinky coils and compare them to the silky ringlets of many of my peers( I mean besides me and my cousin, there were no other black girls in our school at the time)  I wanted my hair to flow down my back like theirs did! I never took into consideration that my hair didn’t operate like that.

Now every so often, my mom would use the hot comb and press out my hair ( mostly to make it easier for her to manage and manipulate) and when she did that I felt like a superstar. My hair was “flat” and laying down my back like my friends.

My mom and dad worked the early shift. Which left me on my own to get ready and get myself off to school at a pretty young age ( don’t judge lol this was over 2 decades ago where it was socially acceptable  and much safer for kids to be home alone and  walk to school by themselves) Every morning, I would get up, get ready and meet my cousin at the corner and off to school we would walk together. I  must have been about 7 or 8 years old at the time.

One particular time,  my mom pressed my hair and had just left it in a simple ponytail without the usual frills and ribbons and clips. I saw this as my opportunity to “wear my hair down” . So when I got to school, I had my cousin take out my ponytail and brush out my hair and help me put on a headband.  I strutted like a peacock into that classroom and was met with stares….

Immediately I began to feel funny.. Why was everyone staring at me? and then it happened …One of my  peers looked at me and said, “Eww Sophia! Why does your hair look like that? It looks so weird!” I was confused! I was embarrassed. I ran out of the classroom and straight to the restroom. When I got there to my horror, my “beautiful” silky pressed hair had reverted back to its natural afro by way of humidity! I didn’t yet understand  that my hairs texture was not conditioned to stay in its silky state.  I had never noticed before the immense difference between my hair and the rest of the girls in my class, and the fact that my peers first reaction to my hair was “Eww” really hurt me!

I ran to my cousins class ( she was a few years older than me) and begged her to put my hair back in a ponytail. But we were kids whose moms still did our hair, so we had no idea what we were doing! Needless to say,I didn’t look like a child who’s parents even glanced at them before they walked out the door.

Finally, recess came. Outside we went…. and then something happened that really put the nail in the coffin of this awful day… and probably solidified my understanding that I was different.. and that people are going to judge me because of that.  We were playing races. I was naturally fast , so I easily beat this one boy. I ran and gave my friends high fives and then the boy that I beat turns to me and says, ” You’re so ugly and your hair is ugly. You like poo!” Go back to Africa!

I stared at him and burst into tears and ran into the bathroom and hid. I stayed there for the rest of recess and pondered what he had said. Was I really ugly? Was my hair ugly too? How could I go back to Africa, when I had never been there in the first place?

Naturally, I was glum for the rest of the day. I had completely forgotten about my hair until my mom came home and saw my head and said, “What happened to your hair???!” ( she was not pleased) So I had to tell her my whole days ordeal. She looked at me and said, “Well Sophie, remember you’re black. You’re not like them and every opportunity they get , they are going to remind you of that.” So off to the bathroom we went, where she re-washed and styled my hair and  I never did that again.

When I got older and got my hair relaxed, I enjoyed the easiness of “wash day” but relaxed hair was never really for me. That’s why in 2007 after being a bridesmaid in my god brothers wedding and having my hair gelled up and slicked for an updo, I washed all that gunk out of my hair.. grabbed a pair of scissors… and cut it all off! I called my girl and she hooked me up with some braids, and I never relaxed my hair again! Almost ten years no relaxer! Best decision ever. Now don’t get me wrong, when it comes to hair care I AM LAZY! I hate washing it .I hate taking care of it, so weave and wigs and braids are right up my alley. But don’t get it twisted ! I love my natural hair  that God blessed me with and I don’t think I would ever relax it again!

Now my mom always instilled in me that I was black and that I was to be black and proud! Never let any one of any race or culture make me feel like I was less than!  She always taught me that my black is beautiful and that I am perfect just the way God made me. I wish more young black girls had strong examples in their lives, that encourage them to love the skin they’re in and embrace their melanin! 🙂  Sadly, many young girls live a world where they have been taught ( or forced) to feel less than beautiful… less than powerful.. less than important… less than valuable!

I want every black young lady ( and gentlemen) to know that YOU ARE IMPORTANT!  YOU MATTER! BE PROUD OF WHO YOU ARE!!

Psalms 139:13-14 says: For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. 

God makes no mistakes! You are you for a reason, for a purpose!

You’re fearfully and wonderfully made so be black and be proud!

I think the amazing James brown said it best 🙂  ( take a listen)

Have an amazing Monday!

xoxo

ps check out other stories like mine here:

Black Woman, Did You Know That You’re a Queen…

Black Woman, Did You Know That You’re a Queen…

Hey guys!

Happy Monday! This weekend I was sidelined by a nasty cold that just drained all the energy from me,  so please excuse the lack of activity this past week!( and probably this one too… sorry in advance)! However,  I did mange to get out to the movies to watch “Hidden Figures” and boy am I glad that I did! What an amazing film! I encourage all women ( especially women of colour) to run out and watch this film! So empowering! I also watched the Golden Globes and was honoured to watch great talent like Viola Davis and Tracee Ellis Ross receive accolades for their work in film and television this award season… all of which inspired me to write this piece. Enjoy!

(Side note: All women are queens and are to be honoured and revered. I am a woman of colour and so often we are overlooked and overshadowed! This is just a special reminder to them)

 

Black Woman, did you know that you’re a Queen?
From the kinky coils of your hair  and the melanin in your skin

Skin rich as cocoa or with a caramel hue
Yellow toned beauties and deep tones too

Black Woman did you know that you are strong?
Your strength overpowers all those who have done you wrong.

Like the person who told you, you’d never be enough
Or the ones who did everything to make life rough…

Black Woman did you know that you are smart?
Your  mind is truly an impeccable piece of art!

Your wisdom surpasses them all
You turn the largest problems into nothing at all!!

Black Woman be proud
Hold your head up high

For although they may limit you
Your destiny is reaches far beyond the sky…

Black woman you were born to persevere
Through every adversity every toil, every fear

However, some black women must have forgot
That they were born to wear a crown and not to be a thot

Or a passing thought , a fleeting memory of someone not worthy
Black woman let them marvel at your beauty !

See, a black woman gave birth to a black woman who gave birth to a black woman and that woman is me…

Determined to be everything God intended me to be
A perfect design made in His own image … Black Woman take ownership of your royalty!

Black Woman…. did you know that you’re a  Queen?

Rich
Regal
Royal….

YOU…ARE…A…QUEEN! and don’t ever let anyone tell you different!

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Thanks for taking the time to stop by the blog tonight! Pray my strength so I can get back to regular scheduled posting! Until next time! xoxo
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Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last;
    but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.”

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(I figured this song was appropriate for tonight! 🙂

Disclaimer: The image used  in my featured image,  is an image found on Pinterest. I do not take ownership for the image.) 

Know Your Worth…

Know Your Worth…

Hey guys!

Have you ever looked in the mirror and not liked what was staring back at you? Have you ever been told that you are “too black” or “a little chubby”? Have you ever been told that you weren’t good enough? Have you ever felt that you don’t matter? I know I have and had I not grown up with a strong support system around me, these words could have been extremely damaging to my self-worth.

Everybody has those days where you don’t feel good enough, where you don’t feel that you are important. Today, I want to remind you that, you matter.

Unfortunately,in our society, women ( and I’m speaking as a young black woman) are sometimes only valued by how well they can “twerk” or by how many Instagram likes they can get… this is sad. Gone are the days where a women could be revered for her intelligence. Instead we have replaced that revere with disdain. We as a society in whole, place too much emphasis on the outer person and not enough on the inner person; the part of the person that actually matters.

A thought came  to me awhile ago: If you have a hundred-dollar bill and you crumple it up, is it not still worth one hundred dollars? Of course it is! Just because it doesn’t look like its worth something, doesn’t mean that it isn’t! Don’t judge someone or something by its outward appearance. Some of the best gems are a little damaged.

I read a book ( and subsequently watched the movie) called  “The Help” and in that movie there is a scene where the help Abilene speaks to her mistresses daughter. The daughter is not your quintessential “cute”child and she is well aware of this by the way her mother treats her. Anyway, Abilene empowers the child by telling her (and getting her to repeat ) this phrase: ” You is smart, You is kind, You is important”

(see clip below)

As an educator, I see low self-esteem in children as young as four and that scares me. We live in a society that not even our children are safe from scrutiny and judgement. I adapted the mantra from “The Help” and created my own. Whenever I detect that the class is feeling down, I encourage them to repeat this phrase, “I am special, I am important, I am kind and I matter”. We need to start empowering people when they are young so that when they get older petty things can’t shake them!

As a Christian, one scripture that always brings comfort to me when  I find my self-worth shaky, is Psalms 139:14

I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.

Amen! I take solace in the fact that He created me just the way I am and I’m okay with that! Somebody may say that I’m “too black” or “chubby” or “not good enough” but I know who made me and that He made me this way for a reason! So I’m going to love on me unconditionally and I’m going to give thanks to the one who gave me the opportunity to be me!

So don’t let anyone dull your shine! You matter! 🙂

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My Instagram Post This Morning

India Arie has a great song that is a great anthem about self-esteem. Some of the lyrics read:

I’m not the average girl from your video
And I ain’t built like a supermodel
But I learned to love myself unconditionally,
Because I am a queen!

Have a blessed Monday!!!

xoxo