I didn’t raise my voice too loud or ask too many questions. I didn’t probe or pry even when my curiosity wanted just a taste of the truth. I was always nurturing. Always ready to fix the broken thing. My flat chest would swell with pride whenever I heard someone refer to me as “the good girl.” I knew it would mean that I was revered. It meant that more effort would be put into the pursuit of me. It meant I was special.
What I didn’t know was that it would be a cage, a trap, and a way for others to not see the full spectrum of me as a woman. Years ago I killed the idea of myself as a “Good Girl,”
and it has been the most freeing decision of my womanhood.
You played yourself
I played into the idea. I wasn’t particularly voluptuous or well-dressed, but I could be good. I could people please until everyone fell prey to my kindness. I tried on the label like makeup, thinking it would enhance me in some way. I found that the act of being a good girl helped to place me on a pedestal in the minds of boys whose attention I was desperate for. It also meant that I would have a longer distance to fall once they realized I wasn’t perfect. I allowed myself to be trapped in the ideas that other people had of me. This meant that cursing was not acceptable; modesty in the way I dressed was expected, and I always needed to be gracious even when wronged.
But ooooooohhh Chile, I got real tired of feeling like a couldn’t stretch the length of my personality, thoughts, dreams, and desires. And I realized that CONGRATULATIONS I had played myself all those years that I performed as the “good girl” because I was so much more than that label. I’ve allowed myself to be defined by a phrase that never captured the truth of who I am.
Peeling back the layers of the mask to reveal my truth underneath it has been shocking for many. I say FUCK now. A word that so clearly captures my mood but one that I just allowed myself to write and speak. I wear clothes many people think of as scandalous and I feel powerful in my sensuality because of it. I am not a “good girl.” I am the best contradiction you could ever hope to experience. Mellow and fierce. Shy and sensual. Soft and powerful. Trap yet contemporary. Introverted but assertive.
Most of all…I am a real ass woman, with real ass needs, wants, dreams, and feelings.
I shed the good girl label like a bad wig because there is no box that could hold the magnitude of my existence.
Take a STAB at it
The first stab came with my assertiveness. The second with my opinions. The third with my self-awareness and actualization. No one likes a mouthy “good girl” who challenges things and knows herself well enough to know that “good” and “girl” don’t come close to describing who she is.
I am a former “Good Girl” who has found power in my fullness.
To all my “Good Girls,” FREE yourself, kill that b****!
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Sometimes it’s just really good to feel yourself *cues Beyonce.*
I never thought I was photogenic. Largely, the idea of me being beautiful was a one-sided opinion made by yours truly. Then slowly, how I saw myself changed more and more for the worse; that is until I began taking photos of myself a few months ago.
In the Beginning
In the beginning there was a skinny, wide-eyed, gap toothed girl with a creative mind.
I always thought I was beautiful. Mind, body, and spirit. It could partly be because my family hyped me up, showering me with random comments about the big browness of my eyes or length of my legs but I always felt it deep down. Even in the rough stages of bullying throughout school I just figured others couldn’t see what beauty I saw in myself. Then slowly the doubt started to creep in, unexpectedly it said “if a tree falls in the forest with no one around to hear it does it make a sound?”
It snuck in when a boyfriend told me I should gain more weight
It seeped into my thoughts when I questioned why another cheated
It stole away my confidence with every situationship
It was a slow drip whenever I was either overlooked or oversexualized because still no one was seeing me the way I saw me
But ultimately what opened the doors wide for doubt was another breakup that felt like yet another rejection of who I am
Maybe if I were prettier…or shorter…or lighter
Maybe if I were different in some way
The maybes were killing my thin threads of confidence and the way I saw myself began to suffer because…
If I felt beautiful but no one else said so was I really Beautiful?
The answer: Bitch, Hell tf yes!!!
Validation doesn’t equal existence
I just needed to hear the truth underneath all the background noise
I’ve had a man tell me I needed braces after rejecting his sexual advances of “you just look like you suck good ****” (I wasn’t as hood back then so he got away with his life) unfortunately, my confidence wasn’t so lucky. I became self conscious and stop smiling in pictures. My imperfect teeth are one of my biggest sources of bruised self esteem. One I’m still struggling to accept and correct.
We often brush words under a rug and try to sweep off the sting by seeming overly confident without ever dealing with the hurt. Years and years of comments like these, emotional abuse, and societal standards of beauty were finally catching up to me in present day. If I was to really love myself I needed to start with accepting my imperfections, beginning with those I could see. My insides were already pretty amazing…
Interpretations of a Beautiful Picture
Pictures taken by other photographers were great examples of being interpreted through the lens of someone else. Isn’t that basically what life is? Often pictures were a source of discomfort for me because I didn’t trust others to see me how I saw myself; I mean they never had before right?…So I never fully relaxed during photo sessions.
Once I began photographing myself I saw that I was more relaxed, powerful even. I was in control. I moved the way I naturally felt inclined to. I wore what made me feel sexiest, or free. I choose makeup or none but the result is always the same. I love how carefree and beautiful my images make me feel because in those moments it’s a true representation of what I’m experiencing. Some I share, most I don’t because I care less about the likes; what’s important is the feeling my image conveys when I look at it: FREEDOM. PEACE. SENSUALITY. GROWTH.
Remember who you are
Taking photos of yourself is not about being conceited or over self indulgent. It is a Mood. The moments I’m photographing I’m at peace in my body and mind. I am in that moment appreciating my life and myself, giving God thanks. That is why they come out great. Plus I always have a dope mix playing for the vibe.
During my little sessions: it’s like in mufusa’s voice I can hear my queen ancestors telling me to “REMEMBER…”
Remember beauty is in the eye of the beholder
Remember it is more than just skin and flesh
Remember who tf you are
My photos are just me; I interpret who I am and want to be without the help of a single soul. I define myself in my photos with what I wear, how I chose to pose, what shade of lipstick fits my mood. Each time I successfully convey my sensuality, strength, humor, and beauty. I am the master of my image. Allowing no one to project opinions of how I should, could, or would onto who I AM.
The beauty I’ve found and have always had is more that just my chocolate skin deep. It is me. It is stepping fully into myself and appreciating every aspect of who I am; from how I look to how I think. This time, it’s not fragile in a way that can be rocked by the words or actions of others. My confidence is real, my image is my own.
I’m not telling you to rush out and buy a camera or bright backdrop; I’m telling you not to be afraid to look at yourself. The curve of your lips to the shape of your toes. Take control of your image. Fall in love with it. Fall in love with yourself. And let no one project another picture onto you. You are already beautiful. You are already enough.
And often, they do but nothing in this world articulates, defines, explains, and clarifies quite like words.
Words, whether spoken or written, are important.
Steamy romance books.
Hearing your crush talk from across the room.
Getting bad news on the telephone.
Words are powerful.
Think about the first time hearing “I love you,” before then you probably already knew how that person felt. The actions of your person probably alluded to love. But to HEAR it was everything. To feel the vibration of the words off the lips of the one you love. That is the power of words, that little skip in your heart or butterfly in your stomach.
Depending on the words, they can be pretty loud, heavy or beautiful.
Your words are how you touch someone even in the distance. It’s how you define the importance of a presence in your life. Words can kiss, caress, or even slap. Words are expressions. Think back to the rush you got from your first “F*** you!”
Words are the meaning behind an action.
I Need Words
I began thinking of this topic when I discovered that feeling loved and hearing it is equally important to me. I need words WITH action. With Physical touch being my primary love language you would think that all I’d need is a warm hug or soft kiss. But words solidify the known and unknown. Behind words are your reasons for your actions.
“Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.” -R. Kipling
Whether we indulge or withhold, words are in and of themselves provocative. So many times we say we want actions to match the words that we hear. He says he loves you then prove it in action. Job says your invaluable then prove it with a raise.
We often say actions are most important but while action is the proof of a thing, words are the acknowledgement of its existence, words are the explanation of a thing. Without words misinterpretations, misunderstandings, and gray areas prevail. I’m at a point in my life when I expect many adults who struggle with communication to say what they show.
Use Your Words
We need to revert back to our childhood when in our excitement or anger our mothers would calmly say “Use your words.” Do you care enough to use your words. Slowing down to take an in depth look at your thoughts and actions to translate what they all mean to another? We’re no longer children who don’t know how to regulate their emotions, though many of us would rather be anger or in love without ever taking the time to SAY so. We expect others to know what our actions in anger or in love mean. These are just two examples but you get my point. SAY SOMETHING!
Yin & Yang
Action and words are like yin and yang; you need both for proper balance. I need words behind the action. For some people words are less important. That depends on your specific situations, love language, and various other factors which determine whether you’re a “hearer” or a “seer”. Ultimately, both make concrete our understanding of the world we live in and the ppl we live with. So yea, he knows you love him but when was the last time you said it? She knows you’re her best friend but when was the last time you told her all the reasons why? We chuck emotions and words up to “Ahhhh they know how I feel” but the secret of words is simply that you care enough to attempt to articulate your thoughts, emotions, and actions for those in your world.
Let’s give a little more thought to our words and the impact they have on our world.
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My greatest moments were born from my greatest discomforts.
I’ve been pushed, pulled, and dragged into situations that I felt ill-prepared for and totally blindsided by; yet it’s those moments where I had to dig deep within myself that I discovered what I was made of. I am a combination of glitter, warmth, creativity, and boss shit.
Having to be uncomfortable, on my own, in situations that required me to perform has been some of the best life lessons I’ve experienced.
Many people prefer comfort. Hell, even I love a good, solid routine that doesn’t kick up the dust of my anxiety. Needing discomfort is a real thing though. It is a necessity that doesn’t feel so great in the moment but does the most good for our growth.
Growing in a hard place allows you to rely on your natural abilities unlike a comfortable place. With comfort comes resources and assistance. With discomfort comes self awareness and reliance. Being pushed to know what your capabilities are, your strengths, your skills, your weaknesses are all lessons learned through discomfort. Reflecting inward to discover your internal resources is a gift that will continue to benefit you across all environments.
There’s so much growth in your discomfort. You learn yourself more when you’re not settled into a comfortable routine that encourages stagnation.
Discomfort can be growth.
Discomfort of nonconformity
As a natural outlier, discomfort is a part of my day to day life. The same is true for many of you. This discomfort of never quite fitting in or being what others expect has led to the revelation that I often seek acceptance as a people pleaser. I want to be liked. I want to belong. The topic question:
“What have your greatest discomforts taught you about yourself?”
Allowed me to dig deep into other people’s brains and discover even more ways that discomfort has been a teacher in my own life. One response centered on nonconformity. Naturally having a personality that can seem too much or too little for the majority. You make attempts to dull yourself down to make who you are palatable. We want acceptance.
Yet, how can we form true friendships and relationships if like an iceberg we’re only revealing 20% of ourselves. I understand the need to stuff down parts of you not meant to be shared with the group but it’s a fine line to walk. Hiding who you are in advoidance of others being uncomfortable just means you aren’t accepting who you are just as they aren’t . If my laughter makes you uncomfortable, that’s a problem you have to deal with. If my independence makes you uncomfortable then I suggest you figure out why. If me just simply being me without disrespecting you makes you feel a way; then you’re just going to always be uncomfortable. I hate to say it. *in my KeKe Palmer voice* Don’t allow others to encourage being uncomfortable with yourself.
Know that acceptance starts with you. Some people will simply not be equipped to perform that level of acceptance and that’s another great lesson the discomfort of nonconformity can teach: F*** what other people think.
Seeing a direct correlation between my self-acceptance and the discomfort of others with that acceptance is no consequence. Some people will be uncomfortable with the level of freedom you showcase in your self acceptance; again not your problem. The people pleaser in me after many seasons of discomfort is now focused on pleasing only one person.
Fear of vulnerability
Now that I sit in rooms where decisions are made that effect large groups of people I realize that I’m never truly comfortable. Speaking up and out draws attention in a way I still haven’t grown completely fond of. It’s in those moments that I am pushed into the spotlight that I have to work with my discomfort to keep me humble while my assertiveness keeps me goal oriented. “I’m not ready” was my mental mantra when I thought about being placed in positions or environments I thought were too massive for me to handle. Projects that seemed enormous compared to my experience and tasks that laughed in the face of my novice approach. How many times have you let discomfort sike you out of an opportunity?
Moments when I buckled down, and pushed my fear of failure aside have sparked creativity, originality, assertiveness, and decisiveness in me in a way nothing else could.
The experience of performing while uncomfortable forced me to get to know myself internally so that I could focus my energy in the right direction externally. Discomfort has been my greatest teacher. I was uncomfortable when I decided to leave home and go to college; first generation 4-year student in my family. I earned friends, knowledge, and a degree from that experience. I was uncomfortable when I got off the bus at basic training knowing that I had to rely on my mental strength to keep me resilient for the next 5 months. That experience showed me my own strength, independence, and it was one of the first true glances I saw of my quiet leadership style. There’s a job right now that you’re afraid to take because the change of routine would be uncomfortable for you. There’s someone right now wanting to spend time but the thought of getting close to anyone make you squirm a little, it makes you uncomfortable.
See, discomfort doesn’t just happen on the job or workforce. It happens in our homes, in our beds, in our hearts.
Our disdain for discomfortspans into the relationships of our lives even intimate ones. Allowing others to come as close and dig as deep as we’re “comfortable” with. This surface level love is the reason why we don’t feel fulfilled in our engagements with others because how could someone truly know us if we don’t show them? How can we expect others to love us as deeply as we desire when we’ve locked certain places off to them because the thought of sharing those hidden skeletons is too uncomfortable. Noticing that discomfort and allowing it to make you aware is necessary; pushing pass it to reveal what lies underneath is also necessary.
Discomfort throughout my life has propelled my ambition to get to a comfortable place whether that happens through acceptance, hard work, or a change of scenery. Discomfort usually means I’m in a transitional period of life. If I successfully make it through I will find the comfort I’ve been longing for on the other side but if I allow the discomfort to distract or deter me; I’ll never get the lesson and growth meant for me.
Discomfort is the teacher that calls on you even when your hand wasn’t raised. It’s the friend that tells you to pay attention. Discomfort can be a red flag or caution light. My greatest moments were born from my greatest discomforts. Progressing through my moments of discomfort has allowed me to get to greener grass. The start of a new job, the conversation you were afraid to have, the boundaries that were uncomfortable to set. Think about it.
Discomfort is not only the feeling but the spotlight being drawn to a place that requires your focus. Why are you uncomfortable? Where does that discomfort lead? Asking ourselves these questions can help us to build the best lessons even from our discomforts. Isn’t that what life is all about?
Hey Builders! What have your discomforts taught you most about yourself?
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In the DRY Season, I went through a drought in the dating world which allowed me to focus on my healing and creativity in a way that was more beneficial than harmful. Though it was a choice I started to long for the touch-n-go flirtations, cute dates, and nighttime phone conversations that make a girl feel all tingly on the inside.
In the drought, my phone stayed charged.
In the WET Season, it’s raining men and I am here for every drop. Well…not every drop. There’s something truly powerful about being able to flex my feminine energy over the salacious attempts of men. Returning into the dating world or even returning a mildly interesting DM slide is a new venture for me. At age 28 I’m just learning how to date.
The Sunken Place of Dating
I started to get the “sO WhEn ArE yOu GoNa StArt DaTiNG Again?” questions that still make me wanna break out in hives purposely just to physically display my discomfort with the mere thought. However, the question did cause me to reflect on a very unique truth: I had never really learned how to date. Through various entanglements of relationships, situationships, and WhatTheFuckIsThisBullshitShips I sort of rolled like a tumbleweed from one person to eventually the next. Good chemistry and humor were more than enough for me to settle and set up shop for a while.
That’s just not the case now and so I am forced to partake in the dating scene that I’ve avoided like a Jehovah’s witness ever since my first major breakup at age 20. As a grown woman, it takes more than mere likable traits to get me to glance; it takes a whole person.
A healed person.
Though I still think of the dating world as “the sunken place,” I find myself enjoying not wanting to belong to one person for the first time in my life. I’ve been a hopeless romantic searching for my soulmate since age 11; it’s nice to finally give my heart a much-needed break.
Hot Girl Fall
The third quarter of the year is when I truly shine. While everyone was screaming Hot Girl Summer I was waiting for what I knew would be a hot, steamy fall. During the third quarter of the year, the universe is like the best friend that hypes me up. The energy that surrounds me during the fall season is like a natural pheromone that lures potential mates to me. It’s an indescribable oneness that allows me to celebrate myself with others hoping to win me over. This is not meant to sound selfish but instead, it is empowering to know you’re the shit and then to have others pursue you based on this truth. As a perpetual outlier it’s nice to once again be the center of attention; if even for a season.
This WET Season spills over into my worldview. As I allow others to slightly enter my space, I bring in those new experiences that help to keep me on my creative toes. I thought the idea of having to date again seemed like rain on an already sad parade at first. Having to sift through the DMs, rando text messages, awkward introductions, and infuriating small talk was not how I wanted to spend any seconds of my life.
Now I realize that because I focused on healing in the Dry Season I’m able to enter this new season of adventures with a fresh understanding of who I am, what I want, and more importantly…what I deserve. I am able to appreciate what new people bring to the table and learn from interactions that I would’ve never opened up myself to otherwise. Plus, there’s a magic that feeds into a new first kiss, sexy second dates, or fresh late-night talks about childhood experiences that’s actually quite lovely.
The WET Season isn’t about forcing myself to find love. It isn’t about pushing past my still swollen scars to bed the cutie with the deep voice. This season is about exploration. It’s about allowing myself to discover myself as a woman in every way I feel comfortable. It’s about challenging my boundaries and allowing others to attempt to get an inch or two closer. In this season I am selfish, focusing on my enjoyment, my laughter, my comfort, my heart.
I am drippin’ with confidence.
Letting nothing ever take me back to a place where I’m begging for attention or love like a drop of water in a drought. I make my own rain.
and watch myself bloom.
Hey Builders! Have you ever had a WET Season? What about a DRY Season? Comment below and Let’s talk about it!
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