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Life

Filtering by Tag: Self Love

AFFIRM

Rakiya George

Shot by Joel Serrano

Shot by Joel Serrano

As a young woman, living life seems to be a constant battle of showing proof/proving a point. For whom? I’m honestly not too sure. I guess I can say society, since society has us all figured out. You’re taught to be sweet and kind — “Don’t curse, that isn’t lady-like.” “Don’t show too much emotion, that’s a sign of weakness.” “Don’t say too much, it’s intimidating.” Once you’re out in the world, all on your own, you’re not even sure of who YOU are. This is why I believe they say that your 20’s are for soul searching; you’re so used to the influences you were surrounded by, that you’ve lost the ability to think for yourself.

Living on my own has changed my view on things and that is a result of listening to myself and truly figuring out who I am. Upon moving, I was told that I would learn things about myself that I wasn’t aware of and I agree 100%. I move differently, think differently: I react or choose not to react which is still a reaction in itself. My energy is very precious, but there comes a time where you’re simply fed up with certain things that take place in your life. Once you show that emotion or sensitivity, you’re looked at as being cold or you’re just another “Angry Black Woman”. No, I am the woman that took on a lot of unnecessary stress and gave utmost support regardless. I am the woman who gives and does not receive. I am the woman who asked for nothing at all and was still plagued to unrequited circumstances. This woman is tired. So very tired.

Shot by Joel Serrano

Shot by Joel Serrano

Like myself, there are millions of women who are tired of doing things that society said was meant for them. We have to deal with toxicity because society doesn’t need another broken black man, but did anyone ever think of the broken black woman? We can give pieces and pieces of ourselves away little by little to wither away and become absolutely nothing to keep someone else lively and spirited. Life isn’t fair, but it is brutally honest, and everything happens for a reason, whether you like it or not. There are so many obstacles in our paths that we have to face, no matter how uncomfortable they may be. However, no matter the situation, it is imperative to find the light in any dark situation. When i find myself lost in my own negative thoughts, or in the process of recovering from something, I make it a priority to understand the positives that are a result of whatever it is I am going through.

Being by yourself allows a lot of room for your thoughts to wander. I’m human, I feel just like everyone else. I strive for positivity and being strong, but just like you, I hurt as well and I go through unwanted situations just like anyone else. When I’m alone dissecting a situation, I always think about the good that’s become of it. What burden has been lifted, what stride has been taken; I also reassure myself of my value. Everyone doesn’t understand your value, nor is it for everyone to receive. Once you begin your journey towards a higher vibrational lifestyle, and let go of all things that are spiritually weighing you down, you’ll start naturally aligning with things/people that are meant for you.

Shot by Joel Serrano

Shot by Joel Serrano

A daily affirmation that I abide by to heal myself of anything is: “You aren’t going through anything that you can’t handle. You are resilient.”

You are capable of bouncing back from any and everything that is thrown at you. No matter how tired you may be, weak you may feel, understand that it is natural to feel low at times, but picking yourself up is the most beautiful part of it all. Society knows nothing about struggles, and when you’re going through something, I want you to know that feeling every emotion possible is completely normal, and you shouldn’t try to act like these feelings do not exist. Feel, heal, and move on. It’s a natural part of life. What’s a daily affirmation that YOU live by?

Keep Going

Rakiya George

Captured in Jersey City, Shot by  Chase Whetstone

Captured in Jersey City, Shot by Chase Whetstone

On this day last year, September 24, 2017 at 12:00 PM, I published my very first post for my site. Leading up to that moment, I was very nervous, unsure, and worried of the outcome. I’ve always been known for being the book-smart girl in school, who loved to write, but it was only highlighted in grammar school. In high school, as well as college, I’ve definitely lost myself for the duration of those years; finished on time, and participated in internships here and there, but never really showed off my passion. I never had a voice for my self to show what I am capable of and within the last year, I’ve managed to not only go above and beyond my comfort zone, but to also find happiness from doing something that I absolutely love.

This platform has given me the strength to eventually turn the things that I’m dreaming of into a future accomplishment to add to my list. Starting literally from the bottom, with using the limited resources that I have has been so hard, but I vowed to remain consistent with my site, because I know what I want this platform to produce for me. I have an amazing foundation of close friends and family that have pushed and helped me throughout this last year that I couldn’t have been more grateful for. In those moments of pure weakness and discouragement, I am so happy to say that I have people in my life that have lifted me right back up with their words as well as actions. It’s always needed. Often times, you wouldn’t even know if I was feeling down or in a mood, but God always sends help with the acts of randomness and support from people that I absolutely love; they are ALWAYS on time, and you all know EXACTLY who you are.

Captured in Jersey City, Shot by  Chase Whetstone

Captured in Jersey City, Shot by Chase Whetstone

Of course, I want to see myself win, but to have people in your corner who are rooting for you means the world to me. I’m creating not only for myself, but for these people who believe in me and are all on their own paths trying to succeed. I surround myself with creatives alike who are nothing but hungry and ready to grow. Being passionate about something is fulfilling, but at the same time it is hard to stay on track. People put their dreams to the side to provide for their current situations, and never fall back into doing what they love. Let’s be realistic here, our economy sucks, so having a normal 9 to 5 is needed if your passion isn’t funding your lifestyle as of yet. My advice is to never lose sight of the bigger picture. You know what you are existing for, so elevate within that.

Adulting is realizing that you can do everything by the book, and not get the expected outcome. In college, I was sure that I would have my cliche media job in NYC by the time I graduated, and I still haven’t even scratched the surface. I’ve lost count of how many jobs have denied me a position, and that has been the biggest pill to swallow, because I know that I am qualified. It makes me feel pretty low at times, but I strongly believe that everything happens for a reason, and I can’t question the timing of my life. I motivate myself everyday to go harder than the last and pave my own way organically. Yes, writing for a renowned publication is the goal, but what about having a renowned publication reach out to you to interview someone for their cover? The need is inferior compared to the want; I aim to be wanted, especially by the places/people that have denied me in the past.

Captured in Jersey City, Shot by  Chase Whetstone

Captured in Jersey City, Shot by Chase Whetstone

Also, my focus is shifting into more pieces that reflect people of color. When I was in college, I just wanted a job. I didn’t care who I wrote for, what the content was about, I really didn’t know what I wanted besides to get paid. As I’ve had internships, and wrote the same type of stories for different publications, I realized that this wasn’t for me. If it isn’t culturally stimulating, I don’t want to be a part of it. There’s more to life than knowing what’s in your favorite fashion bloggers purse. I want to know the fashion bloggers journey, the actual struggle that it took to get to that current position. I want to create pieces that leave huge impressions on the reader.

I’m so excited for what is yet to come with this platform; this year honestly flew by. It’s my baby, and I’m raising it to be as powerful and insightful as possible. I really appreciate the people that have read my pieces monthly, left comments, and reached out to me personally to talk about what was said. These are the things that keep me going, because I’ve realized there’s a need to be heard. This second year of creating, is the year that I get a lot of shit done. I want to expand and shift the focus of my platform to show the lengths my creativity can go. To my readers that want to create something but are scared to do so, I need you to start your journey now; having something of your own brings peace that you didn’t even know was humanely possible. When I write, I’m happy. When I tell people that I write, I am happy. Transitioning from Blogger to Journalist, and you will see exactly how in this second year of creating. Thank you all for your endless support!

Keep reading. ♥

Captured in Jersey City, Shot by  Chase Whetstone

Captured in Jersey City, Shot by Chase Whetstone

You're Perfect

Rakiya George

Captured by  Jesse Williams

Captured by Jesse Williams

The need for self-love has grown over the years and the advocacy that has accompanied it is remarkable. People are overcoming their inner battles everyday, to be the best version of them-selves. Loving yourself is the first step to being confident in any and everything you do. I wake up, take a shower, and I look at myself. I talk to myself, and reassure that I am indeed perfect in my own way. As a black woman, the media was never aimed at portraying our beauty in its true self. Only recently, you see diversity in television ads and campaigns. When I was growing up, there were little to no black people in commercials, and now they spearhead them. I am inclined to embrace, but at the same time, I can see when something is being forced for revenue. I can tell when an advertisement is for the sake of Uncle Tom.

All of the September issues of major magazines for both black and women of all races has had black elegance in every spread. It's beautiful, needed, and about time. Beyonce took over Vogue magazine, and addressed issues that black people are all privy to, which is the lack of black people incorporated in the fashion industry. Lindsay Peoples Wagner gave the entire fashion industry a read on this subject as well, and that piece alone brought me so much joy, because every statement by every professional was true and it stuck with me. There is a bigger picture than what has already been addressed. 

Captured by  Jesse Williams  

Captured by Jesse Williams 

Let's think about all of the little girls who love to cut photos of people out of magazines and hang them on their walls. (I'm honestly not sure if kids even do this anymore, because this is a very different time that we are living in.) Think about when you used to do this, who was on your wall? Who were you idolizing? When I was in middle school, or possibly younger than that, I had a paper-made mural of black women that I looked up to. Whether it was from their music, or their roles in movies, I adored black success. Seeing these artists/creatives boosted my confidence, because they exuded power and strength. My parents had tons of magazines that I ruined, because I admired black people so strongly; whether they made the cover or not. Print media is not dead, because every month we gag at who's on the cover, and the interviews are more and more personable and honest; I still buy copies, and actually have a collection of some I've saved over the years. Issa Rae, Solange, Amandla, are of many women who are embracing themselves and want others to follow suit. 

Captured by  Jesse Williams

Captured by Jesse Williams

Circling back to self-love, since there are so many ways for people to express themselves, you are seeing women embrace every aspect of their bodies as well as their inner-beings. Campaigns have women of every color, hair texture, and body shape known to man and it's gorgeous. No matter how many small victories are taken, there will always be people who oppose due to ignorance and self-hate. Just recently, I had an interaction with an ignorant white man on Savage Fenty's Instagram page, because he body-shamed a woman who was posted on their platform. The queen was Jarae L.Holieway, also known as @Blacmagic_woman, and her shot was FIERCE. To me she slayed, is beautiful, and over 10 thousand other people agreed and to this man she was disgusting and not appealing. He actually shamed her and said that I should be on the site because I'm a solid 8 in his book, as if his miniscule opnion mattered. His comments were offending and sad, and had little effect on me, but do you see the type of society we live in? The downplaying of women because they are comfortable with the skin they are in; this is why self-love is needed so desperately. Social media can poison your mind in the blink of an eye, and make you lose sight of your worth. There are people who dig into social media, and people who aren't phased. Which one are you?  

Captured by  Jesse Williams

Captured by Jesse Williams

I am happy that there are generations of confident women who love to speak up. We all get discouraged, and we all have our days, but once you truly love yourself, those days pass and you wake up more confident than before. I hate seeing viral posts of younger girls being bullied because of a feature that they have and they are struggling to learn how to embrace it. We are living in very cruel times, and I cannot stress the importance of teaching people/kids the beauty of loving them-selves.

Everyone is perfect in their own way; you just have to believe it. Yes there are things that I'd like to improve within myself, but it never discourages or depresses me. As a black woman, you have to remain confident, no matter what and truly understand your worth as this comes into play in all aspects of life. You're Perfect, never forget that. 

Poise

Rakiya George

Captured by  Jesse Williams

Captured by Jesse Williams

This post is directed towards my fellow people of color, no matter the shade. Have you ever felt discouraged because of the skin you're in? Has society ever influenced how you feel about yourself? Why did this bother you? I believe that we all learn trained habits that are both good and bad. Thinking that your skin has a negative effect on your livelihood is a prime example. Although it isn't spoken about widely enough, there is a population of people who unconsciously hate their skin/them-selves. You don't wake up and feel this way, if it is being repeated in the media, or even subliminally, it becomes a learned trait or thought that you believe over time. As children, we imitate behavior, and carry it on as we get older. 

The media is a very toxic place that can lead anyone astray from understanding their actual beauty. Growing up, straight hair and perms was what every little girl wanted; having sleek and shiny hair is what made you appealing. In reality, the long-term effects of a perm are quite disgusting; I'm glad that this fad has been cancelled and natural women are taking storm. I permed my hair in maybe the fourth grade, and by the fifth grade, I told my mom to take it out. I didn't chop off my hair, just kept it old school and braided it out. I'll never forget the day when I came to class with two struggling afro-puffs with damaged transitioning ends; I felt like myself, I was comfortable. Having a perm was easy to manage, and what little girl doesn't want hair flowing down their back? I told my mother that I didn't want to continue doing this to myself, because I wasn't being me.

Growing up with traditional Caribbean parents, I understood my worth at a very young age. I understood that I wasn't allowed to let anyone ever make me feel inferior and that I wasn't good enough. Even though the world was black and white, and I understood that, I was always proud of my being as well as my surroundings. When I was little and wanted a doll, I always went for a black doll, and I never felt the urge to get a doll that wasn't close to me. I just adore black skin; it's rich, it's beautiful, it's one of a kind. One time, I wanted to go to the Disney store with my mother, and she wouldn't allow me in that moment and ever in the future because back then, they didn't have a princess that looked like me. To my mother, I was a princess, so why get something that didn't have a resemblance to me to make me feel like one? Those were life lessons that occurred in my house hold everyday, and I'm forever grateful for what it has taught me. 

Captured by  Jesse Williams  

Captured by Jesse Williams 

I went to a predominantly African American elementary and middle school, so I was always surrounded by people that looked like me. Looking back on it, I can tell that some of my peers were trained to think that having dark skin wasn't admirable. I've been called burnt by fellow twelve-year olds because they didn't know any better. I've been told that I wasn't as pretty as the light-skin "red bone" classmate, because like I said before, kids imitate behavior. Speeding up to a more mature age, late teens/early college years, I've encountered men who claimed they refuse to start families with black women. A man that only pursues women outside of his race to make sure that his child is mixed/has certain qualities, is a man that doesn't love his self. They exist. The whole white women let you do what you want act is tired, I know the true meaning behind your ignorance, and at a certain age, you need to wake up and grow out of it. Black men are disrespected just as black women are, and because the media has so much negativity raining down on the average black man, insecurities and ignorance form as a defense mechanism. Systematically,  the world isn't on your side, and that is not the message that I want any black man to comprehend; you need to understand that you are loved. 

Captured by  Jesse Williams

Captured by Jesse Williams

People of color you are loved. Your skin is dignified and rare. The opposition tries to imitate you daily, and they will never amount to what God has so rightfully created. Do not detest and bring each other down because of shades; we are all one, because once something goes down, the opposition doesn't see a difference in any of us at all, to them we are all the same. Self-love allows you to conquer anything that you want to achieve. There's beauty in everything that you do, and people a person of color, you can execute that effortlessly. 

Poise - Graceful and elegant bearing in a person. 

That is what you are as a person of color, embrace it.  

Letter of Reflection

Rakiya George

Dear Younger Self, I’m writing to you to let you know that whatever you go through is nothing that you cannot handle. You cannot, shall not, and will not stress over things that are completely out of your control. Life has this amazing way of calming you down in the midst of your current rage or disappointment. Your world is not ending, it is constantly adapting and moving forward. You are a flower constantly blooming, and if there is a drought, or a shortage in rain fall, understand that you will continue to rise. 

Captured in Jersey City, shot by  V. Aura  of  Aura Studios  

Captured in Jersey City, shot by V. Aura of Aura Studios 

You cannot be stopped; stand your ground. Negativity will try to uproot you and change who you are, change your form. You were perfectly planted to do exactly what you wanted to do, and only you can control that direction. You’re the only person that can stunt your growth from being great. Growth is important, and I want you to please take note of everything that you go through. It’s beautiful to look back and understand the changes that could’ve been made. That only prepares you more for the future.

Captured in Jersey City, shot by  V. Aura  of  Aura Studios  

Captured in Jersey City, shot by V. Aura of Aura Studios 

Dear Younger Self, I’m writing to you to let you know that your heart is stronger than you think it is. You are going to go through immense pain and think you cannot prevail, but you will. The heart being pulled at is part of life, and you cannot hold onto every person you give it to. You have to limit that amount and know that everyone isn’t for you. Take your time when choosing who you share your heart with; you only have one. It can easily be tainted and change the person that you are destined to be.

You outgrow people, you understand what is meant to be will be. What you may think is broken, is only becoming better. What you think is hurting you, is making you the strongest you could possibly be. These issues pulling and crushing your heart are doing absolutely nothing, because your heart isn’t crushed at all. Sadness is a simple reaction, and you’re far from sad. You’re as strong as they come, and a little mishap shall not ruin your shine. The heart was made to endure pain, and that pain prepares you for whatever life decides to throw at you.

Captured in Jersey City, shot by  V. Aura  of  Aura Studios  

Captured in Jersey City, shot by V. Aura of Aura Studios 

Dear Younger Self, I need you to take care of yourself. I need you to nourish your body and make sure that you are your own priority. I need you to listen to your body when it speaks. You’re a busy body, but taking breaks is essential. You can do everything all on your own, however, you need to make time to prioritize and plan accordingly.

You're extremely independent, and I adore that, but know when to slow down. This is the only body that you will ever have, and I need you to cherish it. Drink your water, take care of your skin, pray. Meditate and speak on what you’d like to accomplish. Be patient, and know that everything happens for a reason, so do not question your timing. You’re going to do great things, and be a wholesome person. One that exudes with positivity, and loves love.

Captured in Jersey City, shot by  V. Aura  of  Aura Studios  

Captured in Jersey City, shot by V. Aura of Aura Studios 

Dear Younger Self, your Older Self is still figuring life out. She is learning as she goes and is taking notes. She understands that life is extremely unpredictable, but beautiful all at the same time. She is trusting her path and going in the direction that she feels is right. She is letting go of toxicity in all forms; people, habits, etc. She is tackling adulthood and making moves. Everyday is a blessing and opportunity to do something great, whether it is big or small. She’s inspiring people with her words, and finding out what it means to be happy. She is a work in progress, just like anybody else. She is proud of the woman you will become and a lot of people are proud of you too. You're going places Younger Self, appreciate the journey.

- Rakiya G