Am I an Unworthy Black Girl?

–  How Did We Get Here and Stay Here – 

As a child, I was teased a lot because I was light skinned. I was called names by other people of color like half-breed, white dog, white girl, Heinz 57 etc.   I never opened  up to my parents about all the pain it caused.  It cut me like a knife and created wounds so deep I didn’t think they’d ever heal , but I did!   Back then, I thought I just had to suck it up because at that time it was what people had to do. As I aged, I had what I call the  “light skinned epiphany” wherein the light bulb came on in my head that having lighter skin in the black community was somehow looked at as better.  It meant you had “good hair” fair skin, sometimes light eyes and were deemed as cuter than others.  It gave you a pass on a lot of things.  It got me entry into arenas that my darker skinned counterparts may have struggled to get into and even attention from males whether welcomed or not.

Instead of embracing my skin just as it was, I secretly resented it.  I had a sister with pretty skin who was darker than me and I didn’t want to see her mistreated. I had cousins in every shade from the color of night to the color of coffee with a lot of cream who were smart, driven and kindhearted.  All of the attention the “light skinned epiphany” drew to me made me want to be even darker than I was.  To over compensate for my feelings of not being accepted for me as a human with roots from a country so rich with color, I did things like go and try to get a sun tan to show I was black enough to be accepted by my own people.  Since my skin was light, however, I ended up burning which fed even more into the issue I had with being fair-skinned.  Eventually, this led me to only want to date darker skinned guys because it just seemed like I needed to embrace it more and let people know that no matter what the skin tone was, both darker skinned and lighter skinned people were the same. It was really what was inside that mattered but it was hard trying to convince the world of that.

Keeping in mind this personal struggle was my own, I never shared much of it with too many people.  The same struggle would infuriate me when I’d hear black women being accused of having attitudes at work or in school.  To me, it was clear that we were just raised to be strong and assertive because we often had to be the voice for those we loved. Having this issue in the workplace always haunted me when I’d speak up where others did not. This was not (and often is still not) looked upon kindly; yet, people who don’t look like me speak up all the time and they are called courageous, confident, strong or no-nonsense. I and other women like me on the other hand were called things like uncooperative, aggressive, confrontational and even worse the “b” word for exhibiting the exact same behaviors. We were unrelatable.  This spilled over even into the way people reacted to many like myself who preferred to be private about our personal lives.  Being raised in a home where I was taught that work and personal lives are separate, this was a normal way of living for me so to have it frowned upon was foreign. Sadly, keeping the two separate is still not looked upon favorably in many offices.  On the flip side of things, when others who did not look like me were private about their personal business, it came across as jut their personality while I was asked questions about why I had to be so secretive and looked upon as standoffish or not a team player.

When presented with scenarios like those above, it may seem easy for some to make arguments for or against any of the statements.  What is not so easy is for people to put their selves in the shoes of a black girl or black woman to see how this feeds into the self-defeating thoughts that many struggle with feeling that we are somehow  unworthy or flawed. Regardless of intent, it speaks to an implicit bias that continues to plague the world in which we live and work. And no….this is not about pulling the proverbial “race card” as  many like to call it, but instead it is an attempt to help others see the way in which we send messaging to our girls that their own diversity of thought and skin are not welcomed in a world that is naturally diverse.

Recently, my own daughter began to feel the pressure of the treatment many black women have felt.  As we know, teenagers go through a lot of ups and downs and their feelings are all over the place.  Fortunately, my daughter is pretty in touch with her feelings most of the time and knows that sometimes the re-leveling of teenage  hormonal fluctuations play a part in how she feels. She is self-reflective enough to analyze those same feelings when she is in what I’ll call a better mood. One thing that has stuck with her is how some of the boys of color talk about the girls of color. When rebuffed due to undesired advances, some have retorted with things like “that’s why I don’t deal with black girls now” or “black girls always got an attitude.” She has become increasingly more frustrated in recent days asking me why it has to be about black girls instead of just a girl not being interested or the fact that some of the things guys say are rude so they get ignored or instead get a well-deserved clap back from the girl? She also expressed that there are times when some people act as if black girls are not good enough or like something is wrong with them because they stand firm on their beliefs. When she said “it feels like no one wants the black girls because we aren’t easy” the feeling of all  the years of my youth came rushing back. To elaborate, what she meant by easy was we aren’t always easy to walk over and you may have to put in some work or contend with someone who is strong in conviction but still quite pliable with reason.

Though many women want to be respected, acknowledged and given a seat at every table in life;  there are times when many black women I’ve spoken with have felt they are being treated as if we specifically don’t deserve to have a seat even if others do. It was heartbreaking to hear the anguish in my own daughter’s voice that so many of us can identify with. That same anguish has left many saying things like “but what about me?” or “what about us?” And to be clear, the intent is not to bash our boys but instead find better ways to uplift our girls and educate all on the worthiness of one another.

So where is the onus of responsibility in helping our girls feel worthy and our boys realize these young ladies ARE worthy? Who is supposed to teach our males that our females matter and vice versa in every race and not just for people of color? How can we stop this cycle of “if it’s easy,  I”ll go there but if I have to be more and accountable for stepping up my game you can miss me on that?”  Who is teaching our children and our young adults that ALL relationships require work whether they be intimate relationships with a mate, relationships with a friend and even workplace relationships with a co-worker?  Whose job is it to raise kids that love their skin color, love their hair color, love their round bodies , love their thin bodies, embrace their less than flawless face, accept their robust butts, smile at their thick or thing thighs and love everything else about themselves?

It is all of ours! We must stop giving accolade to ads that praise only people who are specific shapes and size. We must realize that there is a hidden bias even in the fears we harbor when walking down the street past people of different skin tones and religions. We must look at our entertainment industry that continues to struggle making darker skinned stars mainstream while doting over lighter ones who may even at times have less talent.  We must see people from the inside out and not the outside in.  We must learn that strong minds and being outspoken while still respectful is an asset and not a liability.  We must learn the difference between assertion and aggression.  We must learn that we were made in an image that is just right as is without question.  And finally, we must teach our girls (and boys) THEY ARE WORTHY!!!!


Photo: Leroy_Skalstead/Pixabay


This Is Why Your Misstep Is Your Best Step

We’ve all heard the familiar phrase “failure is not an option.”  There are those who also say failure is a choice. These cliche’s are meant to get us through life and serve as motivation and confidence builders.  It would be nice if they worked all the time; however, they don’t and if we’re honest we know it. We have become accustomed to saying things without feeling and blindly embracing the meaning behind them to the point they become more ritualistic than realistic.

A recent conversation with a younger woman about failure led me to want to drop some old school knowledge to help her navigate through her 20’s on the way to her  30’s. It’s too bad that more people don’t realize the lessons they’ve learned along the way aren’t things to be ashamed of or forgotten.  Instead they should be shared with generations after us so they become healthier mentally, physically and financially at an earlier age thus continuing to help others.  The gratitude I have for the gift of knowledge many people who are older than me gave me is tremendous. Not only has it helped me through tough times but also prepared me to avoid some things I wouldn’t have thought about had they not gone through them.

With the above-mentioned thoughts in mind, I do believe two things we could do a better job of culturally at an earlier point is to teach younger people resiliency strategies earlier and imparting the concept of flexibility of perception. When I say teach, I’m not talking about just having conversations or lectures. Teaching to me is also about living what you tell younger people. That’s certainly can be done yet generation after generation many still practice “do as I say not as I do” parenting and business leadership. Think of the following timeline for example.  Babies watch to learn as they develop into children who are independent thinkers. Those thinkers  become teenagers trying to make sense of it all and then suddenly they’re thrust into young adulthood to make choices based really on what they’ve seen. What they see isn’t always explained to them in a way their developing mind can understand. We are so busy we forget that. This understanding whether narrow or broad becomes part of the way they interact and communicate as young adults.  It is then no wonder people scratched their heads when many in my age group were younger and why we continue to scratch our heads at some of the choices made by some younger people. Notice I said some because we know not all people are alike nor am I picking on anyone.

Listen up folks, whether they are your newly graduated co-workers, your children or other impressionable people that somehow cross your path, they watch just about everything you do.  They know your mannerisms when you tell the truth and your mannerisms when you lie if they’ve been around you long enough. They know everything from your spending habits to stress habits. They understand your communication style or lack of communication style as well as your conflict resolution style and more. Subsequently, the way you handle what you personally believe to be “failure” has a significant impact on the way they deal with disappointments.  This then gets passed down to the next generation whether they are your children, young employees or people in the community.

To begin to build that resiliency for both yourself and others, a perception change is in order. Perceptions are the lens of beliefs we tie ourselves to and then fight like heck to keep even though they don’t always serve us for eternity thus creating the opposite of resiliency.  Today I leave you with a phrase I used in my daily inspirational videos I post on Instagram.  Wait for it…………. “YOUR MISSTEP IS YOUR BEST STEP IN THE SET UP FOR YOUR COME UP!”  This is one of the many statements we can use to change the way we look things that don’t go the way we expected or wanted them to so we can build a more resilient mindset.   We are all successful; however, it’s up to us to look at it that way. You can not grow unless you have something to grow from and resiliency allows that to happen.

Photo Credit: pixabay/perianjs

7 Real Reasons Why People Need Personal Coaches

How many times have you wondered what a life coach does? Have you asked yourself, why would I pay someone to tell me what I already know about myself? Maybe you don’t know what personal coaches really do or maybe you’ve had a bad experience with one. Here are 7 real reasons why people need a personal coach and they’re not just fluff either:

  1. Investments that Grow – When you put money into a savings account, 401k, the stock market, CDs or other investment vehicles you expect a return on your investment right? You know there is a risk, however you allow yourself to believe that the return will offset the return. You will be able to actually see the fruit of your investment labor when it’s all finished. The same holds true about investing in yourself. Having money in one pot with no growth vehicle keeps it safe (we think) but it’s stuck there sitting stagnant. It never gets any better and if the value of the dollar changes it may get worse. When you don’t invest in yourself you become stuck and stagnant. Things that once fulfilled you often don’t anymore. Things you once dreamed to do sit on the back burner, become half finished or don’t end up with the result that gives you the feeling you thought they would. Investing in yourself helps you grow to heights you sometimes didn’t realize you could reach because of fear, lack of support or unclear paths due to past experiences.
  2. Accountability – How many times have you made a new year resolution or decided you’d do something new and after a few days, a month or more you quit? What’s the excuse…I didn’t really want to do that or I wasn’t that invested? Look! Change is hard!!! Without someone to be there with you who is invested in your success going solo isn’t the easiest thing. Maybe you’ve gone solo in a lot of areas of life but there is usually at least one or two that the solo gig just isn’t working and you need someone there celebrating the baby steps and helping you push through the harder steps.
  3. No Judgments Boo – When we look to people we know personally to help us through change, we often times don’t show our whole selves. The whole self can be scary to face and we usually want to seem like we’re still in control even when life has scared the sh*t out of us. Coaches don’t care to judge you because they are too busy working their butts off to help you make it to your goals. They are invested and if you’ve ever had one who was not, they are not a real coach!
  4. Money and Reputations – Hiring a coach is like hiring another contractor. You expect a certain level of service for what you pay. You expect to get some stuff done without being judged and learn new ways to do things that kept you stuck before. Because you are actually paying a coach, they have a lot to lose if they aren’t really invested in helping you. They will lose not only your money but face the potential for ruining their reputation for not doing their jobs properly. Coaches know bad news travels fast and even faster when you’ve wasted your money on a coach. Good coaches help you spell out your goals early and let you know up front what their style is, how qualified they are and usually have some great valid references.
  5. Experience Matters – When you finally get to the point you realize it’s time for a coach, you don’t want the neighborhood advice giver to be the one to help you out. You want a qualified person who knows their stuff.  Coaches that make coaching their life spend a great deal of time on continuing education to ensure they can help you. They also know enough to know they too can have their own coaches for various areas of what they do because they have to stay on their A game to be the best accountability partner for you.
  6. Happiness is Key – Life is short and we know it. We say it a lot but don’t always subscribe that mindset. To put it into perspective, think of how old you are today. Doesn’t it seem like yesterday you were a kid, teen, new parent, new bride/husband, new employee etc?  Time waits for no one and you can think you’ve got time but why waste the days you have being unhappy, unfulfilled, unsuccessful or simply just searching for more. Life is meant to be lived and to be lived as happily as we can live it. Coaches help you figure out how to reach your goals, dreams and desires so you can live a life you enjoy.
  7. Celebrity Style – Ok, this one is a little vein.  Have you ever seen someone with a personal trainer, personal chef, personal stylist, personal assistant and so on? It seems like a status symbol of sorts when people have people who cater to them personally. Now I know not all people are into status symbols but think of the way a personal coach can be looked at. You hire them because you care enough about your life so that they can personally make sure to help you , listen to you and work with you to make what YOU want happen. They are personally invested in YOU!!!!!! Their whole job is focused on helping your reach the goals you set. You get to set the tone for how things go and they help you do it. Now that’s status and success all wrapped up in one.

Just remember that no one person can do and be everything.  Though we like to think we are superheros, we aren’t.  WE are humans doing the best we can every day. No matter how educated or financially well off we are though, we can all get stuck from time to time. Your coach is your way to get through that if you feel compelled enough to invest in yourself. When your desire for change becomes bigger than your desire to stay in the same rut, you’ll make a decision. Goals change often because life changes often. When goals change, we change and when we change life changes.   That my friend, is why you need a real coach.

Photo: The Digital Artist/Pixabay

Is it Time to Consider Dating Outside Your Race?


It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that many people are having a hard time dating. In the African American community I see a lot of men and women especially complaining about the dating pool. I’m sure my counterparts in other communities will see similar complaints that may not make it onto my radar every day. So what does this mean for dating and marriage? Are we limiting the pool of those we are compatible with simply because many of us just simply have no desire to date outside of our own race?

First let’s explore the reasons many won’t consider crossing the race line when it comes to dating.  In today’s environment racial issues are at a high so that could certainly be one reason people think of this as a taboo. Another reason could be unwritten cultural rules. For instance in many Indian or Asian cultures it may be an issue for people to outside of their race as they may want to preserve cultural traditions and belief systems. The same may hold true in other communities in the far east or Jewish communities where often times religion is at the heart of why families would want their loved ones to preserve their communities by only being with people like them. Do these belief systems hold people back from happiness or do they instead just help support the desire to keep cultures alive?

We all know there has been quite a stir about couples like Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Rapper Eve and her husband Maximillion Cooper or Sabrina Williams and her husband Alexis Ohanian. And recently when Janet Jackson and her husband Wissam Al Mana split up there were a lot of I told you so type comments all over social media. Yet, we all know of couples like Matthew McConaughey and his wife Camila Alives or Wolfgang Puck and Gelila Assefa that have crossed the color lines and are as happy as any other couple. So why do some adamantly decide to color in between the lines that look like them never giving themselves other options? Is it simply preference or is it fear?

In my case I just think black men are super sexy.  I can’t say if the right guy from another race crossed my path I wouldn’t give it a shot but I think I’m so busy looking at men of color that I’d probably miss the opportunity.

At the end of the day, it is really a personal choice when it comes to what type of person people prefer to be with. My only real thought on this is to think about why you are choosing a certain way to date and think on whether or not it’s too narrow for the wrong reasons or if it’s simply certain types of people are the only ones who rock your boat.

Photo: Pixebay/Geralt

Blood Doesn’t Make You Family Love Does


A friend once said blood doesn’t make you family “love does.”  At the time she said it, it was exactly what I needed to hear.  Whether you come from a large family or a small one we all expect certain loyalties and supports to be in place simply because we are related. Often times we learn the hard and painful way that blood does not make you trustworthy or caring!

One of the biggest pitfalls when it comes to dealing with relationships with anyone is our level of expectation.  We EXPECT people to get that they SHOULD do certain things or SHOULD be a certain way. It is when we expect them to do what is right, fair, just, ethical, needed and such and when they don’t we get upset.  Our feelings get hurt and we feel somehow we’ve been trampled upon.  We feel like we got snuck by a sucker shot in a bar fight.

I would venture to ask is it fair to project our expectations on others? Or instead should people have higher expectations for themselves and set a standard by which they strive to live no matter what?   New flash folks – WE ARE ALL HUMAN!  Ok…….yes we know we are human but do we embrace the humanity that within all of us?  The human race is not without fault. It is humanly impossible for us to be perfect and be all things to all people at all times. That, unfortunately is not something we want to hear when someone who we want to count on lets us down again and again!

Family is what we believe is our foundation.  They are our ride of die folks. They are supposed to be there no matter what happens and when they are not, it shakes us at the very core of our existence.  Siblings may have moments of not getting along. Parents may work your nerves but when the rubber meets the road we still EXPECT them to be there!  But happens when they’re not?

* We get angry
* We often get depressed
* We feel isolated & violated
* We feel unloved
* We sometimes retaliate
* We feel like we are rejected
* Many let them treat us poorly and act like its not happening

Our thoughts are then, how could they? Even the most un-emotional person would feel something whether they displayed it or not if they felt abandoned in that way. Combating those feelings is no easy task and we don’t want to act as though it doesn’t matter. Doing so creates hidden resentments that spill over into our other relationships and various parts of our life. Displaced feelings create disjointed new relationships!  So what should we do? Or more likely what could we do?

* Reality check yourself and think of times you’ve let loved ones down
* Ask yourself what’s going on in their life that could have made them act the way they have
* Ask yourself if this is “just their way” and then see if your expectations match who they really are
* Forgive yourself for expecting them to do what YOU believe a person should do
* Move the heck on and don’t fester in the anger, rejection or sadness
* Face reality they just may not be capable or want to be the person they should or could be and move on

I always say, we can’t get mad at people for being who they are.  That’s easier said than done but when looking to people for support whether family support or otherwise LOOK AT THE SOURCE!!!!  Are they usually consistent or dependable? Have you trusted them over and over to do things right and they haven’t? Are they consistently known to be manipulators, purposefully helplessness, catastrophically disorganized etc. and the list goes on?  If they’re not, maybe they are just going through something and need to get it together. If they are, maybe you will need to look at yourself and learn a better way to deal with things without depending on them.  You don’t necessarily need to sever the relationship, but set the terms where you aren’t constantly upset and expecting what you won’t get (or give).

Lastly, just because family has let you down does not mean you have to be in a position to have no one there for you.  Just like in the case of adoption, as I said before blood doesn’t make you family – love does! Find people who value you, you value and who are the same page as you to let into your inner circle. See others for who they are, don’t judge them and keep it moving!!!

5 Tips on Being Heard in Any Circle


Ok, let’s face it, everyone wants to be heard. No matter if you’re an introvert, extrovert or ambivert, at some point in life you will want to be heard. You’ll want to be heard for YOUR contributions to the world not just those that you support. Of course supporting others is great and necessary; however, we all want to feel a personal sense of accomplishment and that starts with being duh, being heard.
So how do you get those to hear you who are in your immediate circle? How to you get those to hear you who are at work or in the space within your field of work? The first thing is to realize that each of those communities mentioned has a different set of ears! Yup, that’s it. What people will hear is based on what they want to hear and what matters to them. Here are a few tips on making sure what you have to say is heard by the masses.

  1. Pick your audience – As I mentioned all audiences are not created the same. What makes your mom tick is not always going to be what makes your co-workers or boss tick. Your kids and even those you sell products to simply need to hear you speak from a place that matters to THEM. Once you figure that out, it’s much easier to speak a language that resonates with them.
  2. Trial and error matter – You know the saying “if you don’t succeed, try tray again? There’s a lot of wisdom in that phrase. Don’t get discouraged early on when you’re trying to be heard. Practice makes perfect is what I say. Always reflect back on the pros and cons when trying to determine why things didn’t go as planned.
  3. Culture and gender matter – I know we live in a world today where many have chosen to identify with gender neutral. That’s perfectly ok; however, I don’t think if I talked about issues with a man’s prostate I’d be heard by many women EXCEPT as it pertains to the men in their lives they love. The same could be said if I spoke on a uniquely women’s issue. Many things are in fact gender neutral but for those that aren’t’ keep in mind what resonates with the group you want to hear you. The same thing goes when thinking on cultural differences
  4. Empower their ear – As great of a speaker as I’d like to think I am, I am not naïve to the fact that everyone wants to hear me speak. That could be the same for you wherever you’re trying to be heard. If in that position, think about how you can empower your listeners to take action or be part of what it is you want them to hear in some way. People like to feel included. Empower them and watch them perk up.
  5. Move on – Unless it’s something life threatening sometimes you have to simply move on to a new audience. That’s not so easy when you’re talking about intimate relationships though, so that’s why I listed more suggestions When not in the love space

Anything you want to work well takes practice. Even if you get it right the first time out of the block, there’s always the next time you may not be able to predict. Keep trying and remember, what you hear in your head isn’t always what they hear in their ears and minds.

Image: Public Domain /Pixabay

The Beginners Guide to Horizontal Networking

All Posts Reprintable with Backlink and Attribution

There has been a lot of talk recently about horizontal networking. Sadly, a good deal of people don’t know what horizontal networking is and  many who do don’t have any interest in participating in it. Without this important type of networking, the percentage of people who able to find success in their craft is drastically reduced even though there is most often room at the proverbial table for far more businesses we see seated there. Our society has become such a vertically minded group of people we often forget even the most successful people must come from somewhere.

For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, here’s a quick definition. The horizon in the sky lends beauty to everyone in it’s line of sight. Stars and thing in outer space (out of reach) have to be looked at by looking straight up and you don’t get the benefit of the beauty around you. That’s the same in networking. We get used to the horizon because we see it every day and sometimes forget about its magnificence. Though there are many successful people who are doing great things we tend to only look up to them for success (beauty) and all the while push them further and further up while others who are also doing great things stay at the horizon level. A friend recently gave an example of how we make celebrities richer and richer supporting all of their new ventures yet when a local person offers the same products that are as good as or even better quality they are ignored instead of us networking horizontally to help each other achieve success together. Here are some tips to help you revamp your networking strategy to build a circle of beautiful horizons so you can all keep bringing each other up to the level of success you desire.

  1. Create a circle filled with people who do different things. If you’re all competing to do the same thing, no one will want to give a bunch of effort to push others before they get to where they want to be when they feel competition.
  2. Form small mastermind groups to strategize on how you can each pool resources to get ahead in whatever industries you are in.
  3. Check your ego at the door. If you are interested in this, you may not have reached the level you’d like to so let you ego go, face where you are and begin building the network you need instead of the network you want.
  4. Quit comparing yourself to celebrities. Stop saying things like I’m going to be the next whomever.  Be the next YOU so others will want to learn how to be successful like you. Make next year the year of being YOU and not being like them! You can achieve the levels you desire but do them as yourself.
  5. Learn from the winners. Take lessons from those who have been successful and improve on them within your own circle of people. Lock arms and rise up together.
  6.  Check your followers.  If you are on social media and all of your followers are people who do what you do, they’re not usually going to buy your product or services. You need people who want or need something you can help them with. You want followers who look at you as a solution to their problem. Your new horizontal network has a network they can connect you with but you have to be willing to do the same.
  7. Give people a break. Stop judging and talking about others. This only brings you down and eventually your circles will know you aren’t in it for the long haul but only to step on other step on others to get what you want. If you’re comfortable with that, so be it; however, remember someone will eventually feel the same about you and do the same to you.
  8. Keep your circle tight. You need a good circle as you develop your work and grow. You need solid people you can rely on because the sharks will come out once you achieve success.

Networking is not as hard as people think but what’s the sense of networking if it is not helping anyone. Horizontal networking is a great tool. Vertical networking is not a bad thing but it shouldn’t be the only type of networking you know how to do. Many use sites like Linked In for vertical networking because they want a job and it pays to get connected with those who can give you one. On the other hand, many others connect with those who can’t employ them but who could potentially help them get clients but they don’t reach out to them other than with a connect request and then they leave it at that. Simply said we have to do the work but it’s how we do the work that matters most.

Photo: Pixabay/Fotographielink

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