All Articles Tagged "life lessons"
Beauty is, quite literally, pain as I discovered growing up as a Black female with natural 4B/4C hair. I’ve suffered the pain of sitting in salon chairs for countless hours getting my hair braided. I’ve gritted my teeth as I’ve gingerly laid my head of fresh micros onto my pillow, and anxiously awaited the painkillers to kick in. I’ve had super tight cornrows that pulled my face up so much that the mere act of blinking would shoot pain up my temples. I even once had an allergic reaction to the hair dye in my weave which incited an angry red rash and unrelenting itch all over my scalp.
Enough was enough! I finally took mercy on myself and shaved off my hair – all of it. But apparently, even a shaved head was too high maintenance for me. You see, I’m so lazy that a trip to the beauty shop every two weeks to get a trim was a far too burdensome task. So, in search of a long-term solution for low cost and low maintenance hair, I decided to lock my hair in August 2012. What I thought then was just another hairstyle I was trying out, turned out to be an amazing (and sometimes trying) journey full of unexpected life lessons. It’s only fair that I share some of these lessons with you.
Lesson #1: Patience is a Practice
Admittedly, I jumped into locking my hair without doing much research beforehand. I naively thought that I’d have mature locks after four months and that my hair would grow at an exponential rate. I hadn’t even heard about the budding stage which is arguably the worst stage of the journey because the buds are not particularly visually appealing. During this stage it wasn’t uncommon for non-dread-heads, especially, to give me unsolicited advice on how often I should re-twist my hair to “get rid of the bumps.” “No, the bumps are good!” I’d try to explain with no success. Those months were rough. Fortunately, my ignorance kept me on course because I was convinced that I was just a month or two away from mature locs.
By month six, my locs at the front still hadn’t completely locked and it was around that time that I resigned to the fact that there was no amount of salt water spray that was going to give me the quick result I’d been hoping for. I just had to wait. The act of surrendering myself to the process and patiently observing my hair transform over the subsequent months brought me to a new level of awareness in my everyday life. I became progressively in tune with my internal patience levels and how to check them.
I used to think that people were either innately patient or impatient, but I’ve since come to realize that patience is a skill that we practice over time. The front of my hair finally locked after a year and today I continue to practice patience as I wait for my hair to pass shoulder length.
Lesson #2: Embrace Change
Over the three years that I’ve had my locs, the texture of my hair has changed, the size of my locs has changed, the length of my locs has the change, the color of my locs has changed… The loc journey is a constant evolution. Each month my hair looks different and I discover new things that I can do with it. On the flipside, change also means that I lose the ability to do certain things with my hair that I used to do.
My loc journey serves as a reminder that nothing in life is permanent. Over the last three years I’ve become more optimistic in challenging times because I know that change is inevitable. My loc journey also inspires me to maximize my enjoyment of the present and to be more appreciative of what I currently have because who knows what next month will bring.
Lesson #3: Freedom
Initially when I locked my hair I was obsessed with ensuring that my parts were perfectly spaced boxes, but what I found was that the more I tried to manipulate my hair, the more I weakened my roots. I remember being up late one night researching how to fix weak locs when I honestly asked myself why I was fighting with my hair. If my hair wants to tangle, let it tangle! And so it was then that I started to semi-freeform and haven’t looked back since. My hair is at its healthiest, edges are on fleek, and finally I am free from being a slave to my hair! I no longer live in fear of pool parties and unanticipated thunderstorms, and I blissfully swim in the ocean unencumbered.
My locs are my outward expression of my desire to live a free and authentic life. When I look in the mirror, my locs challenge me to uphold my integrity in my intentions, decisions and actions. I love my locs.
by Barbara Verneus
This year my daughter Glorious-Zoelle Shaddai turned one on June 17, and I threw us a celebration—that’s right, us!
I had so many mixed emotions about becoming a mother, but I celebrated making it through my first year. I celebrated that I did not lose my mind. I celebrated that I was blessed with an amazing being of a daughter. I celebrated being blessed enough to be surrounded by a community of people who love and support my daughter and I. And most of all, I celebrated how the Lord was with us every step of the way.
In 2013, when I first learned I was pregnant, I became extremely depressed, lost my job, and had an ugly dispute with her father, who was not present for the entire pregnancy and who wanted nothing to do with us. I was totally miserable and saw nothing to be optimistic about in my situation; I went from being a lively, carefree spirit to a confused and suicidal shell of that person. As my due date approached, I wondered if I should keep her or give her up for adoption.
But once I saw her, my life and perspective were turned upside down. It felt surreal: I was a mother to this tiny person with such a giant spirit. I couldn’t believe it. I was still overwhelmed with emotions and feelings of inadequacy, but I was a mom. Glorious-Zoelle has balanced me in ways I never thought she would, and she’s taught me so many life lessons in the last year:
My daughter exposed the reality of my mortality. I now know that life is nothing but a snap of the finger, and because of that I choose to live a fulfilling life by any means necessary.
I’ve learned that every action I take affects the future of my daughter. I’m working on finishing my masters in counseling to become a licensed professional counselor. I want to provide a financial foundation for my daughter’s future and so I can spend more time with her at home. I’m creating an environment where she never has to question her identity, her dreams, her visions, wants or future.
After becoming a mom, my shortcomings have come to the surface—and I have no other choice but to deal with them head on. Glorious is always watching me and her pure heart and innocence demands it from me.
Glorious-Zoelle has redefined my ideas of revolution. We live in a world filled with hate, inequality, racism, misogyny, and so many other indecencies and sufferings. It’s a world that wants to corrupt her innocence and power. If I can help her realize that she is powerful, then she will not let anyone or anything limit her. And as I fight to do this for her, I will also fight for those very souls I come across through the various work I do.
My daughter has taught me you can still have joy and happiness in your season of grief and hardship. She has encouraged me to realize the magnitude of my strength and she has taught me that I am more powerful than I think.
She has helped me let go of what I can’t control and helped me assess what is important enough to keep in my life. I’ve learned to let go of what is not worth our time because time is one of the most valuable assets we have.
My daughter has given me a focus that makes the possibilities for us endless. I am confident and assured in the things I am now pursuing; there is not one bone of self-doubt in my body. If I fail, I just learn from it, reassess, and readjust because success is inevitable.
She has revised my view of my own beauty. She is my reflection and I AM BEAUTIFUL.
She has taught me how to be patient, kind, and understanding in ways I wasn’t before. I am learning to forgive more, including myself.
I am able to cherish my time and my space. When I’m with my daughter, I’m able to stop and enjoy that very moment with her because every moment with her is precious.
She has renewed my relationship with my first love: Christ, who is also teaching me to trust and hope in love again, guided by wisdom and discernment.
And because of all that she has taught me, I will fight to protect her, teach her, and love her as long as I am allowed to. She is my sunshine.
Barbara Verneus is a doula, family health advocate, and mother of one based in Philadelphia. She’s in the process of completing her masters in counseling with a concentration in marriage and family.
When you become a mom, everything is new. You have the pressure of “getting it right” (whatever that may mean), and it can all be very stressful and overwhelming.
In the beginning, I was consumed with how-to books and gabbing it up with my mama friends to get insight and outlooks. I’ve since let some of that go. I’ve found that it’s easy to get wrapped in the hustle and bustle of mommyhood – going through the motions. I keep reminding myself that my toddler will be a teen before I know it and I have to cherish all that comes with him and his energetic personality right now, at this very moment. And let’s not negate the fact that having a toddler is really like having a teen anyways, from the growth spurts to the random outbursts and moodiness. It starts to all look and feel the same.
We’ve all heard the warning that motherhood changes you, and indeed, it does. Those little people were purposely planted in our lives to teach us and mold us into who we’re destined to become, as we are to them. My son, Harlem, has not only taught me so much about myself but also how to see the world differently. Most importantly, so far, has taught me some life-changing things. Here are nine lessons learned from my toddler.
Take life as it comes. Don’t worry about yesterday or tomorrow. Be here. Now. Right now.
It’s okay to cry. And cry hard. Cry it out for a couple of minutes but don’t dwell on it. And if feelings are still hurt, eat something sweet and forget all about it.
Walking slow is ok. Get distracted by the sway of the blades of grass or fallen sticks on the ground. Get lost in your surroundings. Take every bit of it in. You’ll get to your destination eventually.
When the beat drops, dance.
If you don’t like something, be vocal. Let somebody know. Don’t let it slide. Your feelings are important.
Tight, nail-clawing hugs and wet, sloppy kisses never hurt anybody. Be vulnerable. Be expressive regardless of how it may look to anyone else.
Smiling makes everything better no matter how many teeth you have. When you’re in the mood, and even when you’re not, smile.
Who needs roses when you have leaves? Take some time to jumping in a pile of fallen leaves. Go all out and jump all in.
Don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself. Laugh a loud, shoulder-bopping, tear-rolling, stomach-cramping laugh.
Harlem, keeps me grounded. He keeps me in check, forcing me to stop, appreciate and enjoy the little things. He reminds me that life is special. Sometimes as moms we lose sight of the fun of motherhood. It was intended to be simpler than we make it.
Life is a journey filled with twists, turns, triumphs and trials, but nonetheless, it’s a course we all must travel. While we experience many things on this road, whether we want to our not, they all happen for distinct reasons. Those reasons are for us to learn, grow and help someone else who may have gone through or happen to be going through the same things. On my trip through life, I’ve learned so many lessons from people directly and indirectly involved in it. But I must say that the greatest lessons have come about by observing other women, and taking their advice about life, love, career, and faith to heart. I believe these gems will be valuable to some of you.
They say that life begins at the end of your comfort zone, and this is even more true when you graduate from high school. Whether you go to college, join the armed forces, or get a full time job, there are things that life will teach you that you didn’t have to know in high school.
Here’s a list of these things and if you feel like you have any other information to add, let’s share this wealth of knowledge with the younger generation in the comment section.
As an entrepreneur who’s WERKing toward wealth, I’m completely in awe of Kevin Hart right now! He’s probably the biggest star in Hollywood at the moment, releasing new movies every other month and touring the world in the meantime. One thing for sure, he’s leaving lots of success secrets along the way!
Like most successful entrepreneurs, Kevin had a humble start. He was raised by his mother and his father was in and out of his life and on and off drugs since he was a child. Instead of letting his circumstances break him, he used them to build his career.
So, what can we learn from Kevin Hart and his major success? Here are 6 ways to kill it like Kevin:
Success doesn’t happen overnight. With every success story comes a struggle story and Kevin definitely has one of his own. Before landing his breakout role in Soul Plane, Kevin toured tiny comedy clubs under the title “Kevin the Bastard” in hopes of getting his big chance. He admits that he struggled so much in his early days because he was all over the place, trying to be everybody instead of being himself. Once he developed himself and confidently stepped into his career, it finally took off.
The lesson: You’ll never be successful while you’re imitating someone else. Their success is theirs and yours has to be yours. Focus on your own God given gifts and talents, they’re the tools you’ll need to really take off.
The critics and our community called Soul Plane one of the worst movies of all time. Although Kevin still gets criticism for his starring role, it was exactly what he needed to break into Hollywood once and for all. Instead of letting the poor reviews get to him, he used it as ammunition to launch his comedic career and never looked back.
The lesson: Your biggest disappointment could very well be your biggest blessing. No matter what obstacles you’re met with along your journey, let persistence push you toward greatness. Never ever ever give up.
Be ok with outgrowing people
Kevin experienced a very public (and slightly messy) divorce with his wife Torrei. Personal opinions aside, we’re human and sometimes we outgrow people and that’s a part of life. The people who are meant to be in your life will remain, the others will be removed.
The lesson: It’s ok to outgrow the people who are not meant to be in your life. As your career and success grow bigger, your circle will undoubtedly grow smaller. That’s life.
Diversity your portfolio
Kevin went from an all black cast on Soul Plane to his most recent movie with Will Farrell. He is surely diversifying his career. He’s toured all around the world and told jokes in countries whose first language isn’t even English. Instead of being satisfied with leading Black Hollywood, he wanted to be one of the hottest men in ALL of Hollywood and he’s done just that.
The lesson: For limitless success, it’s important to open yourself up to diverse opportunities. Don’t put yourself or your business in a box, instead create a brand that will be easily adaptable to all cultures.
Ignore the haters
When Mike Epps came from Kevin, he handled it so well! Instead of responding to the hate with hate, Kevin took the high road and recognized that hate comes with the territory. In fact, he was such the bigger man that Epps ended up looking foolish and had to publicly apologize.
The lesson: When you’re doing something great, haters gonna hate. It’s a part of life and it comes with the territory, so learn to expect it. Instead of fighting fire with fire, use that fire to fuel your future.
Work your ass off
There’s no way Kevin could possibly be so successful without a mean work ethic. Day in and day out, he’s dedicated to his dream and he’s grinding toward his goal. He has yet to become complacent. Instead, he’s seen what he’s capable of and maximized his potential to create positive results!
The lesson: Wealth takes WERK! Anything worth having is worth working for and your dream will always be a dream until you wake up and make it happen!
Back in the 1980s, New York City had a real homelessness epidemic. Whether it was a Saturday afternoon spent in downtown Brooklyn or a trip into Manhattan for school clothes, I would tear up in my grade school years, tugging at my mother’s hand. “Ma, he said he’s hungry,” I’d state, pleading with my already harried mother as we rushed by. “Maybe we could give him some change, Mommy. Do you have some?” At times, she obliged.
Sometimes though, she either didn’t have the change available or she wrinkled her slim brown face into a frown. “Nadine,” she sighed once in her Jamaican lilt. “Everyone out here in the street doesn’t want money to buy food.” I pushed on, “What then? What do they need the money for then, Ma?”
As I got older, I learned for myself. I was able to differentiate between someone that was hungry from someone whose high was wearing down. I learned quickly as there were times when I would keep my mother’s pace, rushing along 34th Street, never breaking our stride, even as we were cursed for not dropping a few coins into the hands of someone sitting in the crevice of the adjoining buildings.
I started taking the train to school in the ninth grade. It was a long trip from East New York, buried deep in Brooklyn almost to the Brooklyn-Queens line and transferring trains all the way to Coney Island in South Brooklyn. I left the house at 6:30 am daily and ran into quite a few homeless people before making it to first period. Some were drunk and asleep in their urine soaked clothes, others were loud and intimidating, even to my teenage self — who believed I was tough enough to ‘handle whatever.’ I had been told by a number of adults by that point — the Vietnam War had stolen the lives of many folks on the street, although they were still breathing and moving around. Others had a rough life, demons to deal with, addictions… “Show compassion,” they said. “But be careful.”
I had flashes of my youth in my mind. I was the same little girl whose eyes pooled whenever me and my ma walked by someone on the street or in the train station, alone and destitute. Two weeks ago, I saw it again in my oldest daughter, all the way in her hometown, miles and miles away from my own. And felt my heart melt.
Atlanta is like NYC in the 1980s with homelessness. Same exact situation — if not worse. As an early Valentine’s Day gift I decided to treat my girls to an evening of fun and junk food at the circus. We gorged ourselves on popcorn and cotton candy for three hours. We laughed, danced and took selfies. On the way to the car, parked a block away, I told them both to put their hoods on. It was below 30 degrees that night. An older man, wrapped in a blanket, crossed our path. “I’m sorry ladies,” he started. “But would you happen to have any food left over? Anything? I’m hungry out here.” I quickly responded, “I’m so sorry. We don’t have any food at all.” “Aw,” he said. “That’s alright. Y’all have a good night.”
Within moments, I was warming up the car and scolding the older one for being absentminded and dropping her wallet while we were at the circus. “I don’t understand why you have to stuff that little purse full of stuff you don’t need every time we leave the house,” I shook my head. “What if that man that found your wallet wasn’t as honest as was? Hmm?” I looked at her for a response. She wasn’t facing me and I heard a sniffle.
Then I was worried. “What’s the matter?” The younger one looked completely bemused.
“That man…,” she turned, only partially though. I could see her face wet with tears.
“What? The homeless guy?”
“Yes,” she dragged it out, near sobs now. “He was hungry Mommy. And it’s cold outside.”
“I know baby,” I said, voice softening. “We didn’t have any food though.”
“I had this little bit of popcorn left though,” she lamented, full-on crying now. “I could’ve given this to him.”
“That’s not food though honey. That wouldn’t have done much, if he was hungry.”
I couldn’t believe it. Already, my kid — my first baby — is at that point of recognizing that everyone doesn’t have the blessings we may view as being simple in life. A full stomach, a warm bed when we’re sleepy. She’s compassionate, willing and somewhat able to feel for someone else’s misfortune. She cried for about 10 or 15 minutes, face straightening, then crumpling up all over again at the thought of the homeless man, I presume.
“It’s important to do what you can for those less fortunate, when you can babe,” I offered. “I think you’re old enough to volunteer now though, on the weekends. Lend a helping hand. What do you think?”
It was the only thing I could’ve said to get her to stop crying. “I think that’s good idea Mommy.” Then she drifted off for the rest of the ride home, still wearing a worrisome frown in her sleep.
When I was a little girl, I was so enamored with anything that had to do with Batman. I watched any and all shows and movies about him, read the comic books and ate the Batman cereal like it held the answers to all of my questions.
Even now, as I’m in the twilight of my twenties, I’m still very much a fan of anything Bruce Wayne (or Terry McGinnis, for all of my “Batman Beyond” brothers and sisters). But after a friend and I had a conversation about why he appealed to me more than Superman, I realized how much the DC detective shaped how I see modern life.
Now, I don’t have anything against Jor-El‘s son, but… Batman is just better! From the villains, setting, and the mythology, Batman was just superior to me.
But it was more than just those things. There was a tangible trait to Batman that always made him stand out for me. I couldn’t relate to someone who was impervious to all of the normal world’s ills, but only having one major weakness, some piece of crap mineral that very few people had access to.
Batman, on the other hand, was human. There was an inherent danger to his life, from his parents being murdered right in front of him and him using that pain to create an alter ego that would try its best to prevent other people from feeling that pain. The possibility for him to be murdered was real each time he put on his costume, and on top of that, he wasn’t doing it for the fame. Bruce Wayne was the one indulging in glitz and glamour, whereas Batman hid in the shadows, helping the Gotham police, and this is what this article all boils down to…
In today’s world there seems to be more excuses and less culpability, more fame, and less talent, more over sharing and less privacy, and frankly, I’m annoyed by it. Looking back on it, I feel like that’s the basis of my Batman fascination and why it has persisted throughout the years.
Through the filters and screens, there seems to be a population of people who are trying to prove that they are impervious to the struggles of being just regular human beings. People are elevating themselves to a position where they are above us mere mortals, and our sad existences, while we struggle in our daily tasks. In actuality, I feel like those are the things that make us easy to relate to, timeless and gives us strength.
Flaws shouldn’t be things that are ignored or filtered through. Tragedy shouldn’t be something that is an excuse for poor behavior. Though those things can feel like they have destroyed our foundation, they should be used as building blocks to become stronger, wiser, and rise above our circumstances.
There is honor in learning from mistakes, instead of constantly perpetuating them, and that’s what always stuck with me about Batman.
Plus, I bet all of the “crusading”/property damage that Superman did was probably raising the taxes of Metropolis anyway.
There’s an adage that says: “Once a man, twice a child.” I took that as an illustration that your second “childhood” happens when you’re old in age. However, I must be going through my Benjamin Button Effect a little prematurely, because there are certain things that my daughter is currently going through that I feel like I can relate to.
My daughter and I are finally rounding the final base of potty training. Through this, I realized that there was a correlation between the struggle of getting one to use “the pot” to getting a person to a goal that they have in life, and I’m gonna share it with you.
First: Stop Comparing Your Journey With Others
I am an avid reader of all things “parenting,” so when I read a blog post about a mother who potty trained her 15 month old, I decided that I would do the same thing. However, it didn’t happen, and I increasingly felt like a failure each time I put my daughter on her potty, nothing happened, and then the moment I pulled her pants up she began to pee.
The truth of the matter is, success (any type of success that you’re going for) is not going to happen at the same time that someone else’s. It might happen before others, or after others. The most important thing for you to do is to focus on your own path, instead of feeling discouraged by how everyone else is doing.
Second: You’re Gonna Have a Lot of False Starts
I remember when my daughter was one, she went a week using the potty consistently, and then… she just stopped.
Success is like that. There are times you are going to be in your zone, and you’re winning; or you feel like you’re about to win, and then… something impedes your momentum. Maybe you get passed over for that raise that you were working so hard for, or you didn’t get the job that you seemed destined to get.
Along with success, failure is going to be inevitable at some point.
Third: It’s Gonna Be Extremely Messy Sometimes.
In order to get to what you want to be, or where you want to be, you’re going to have to clean up some mess in your life. It’s going to be hard. It might seem like a foul odor to your soul, and might make you want to vomit. However, shifting through the B.S. is something that happens.
The most important thing to do is to try to clean up your situation as best as you can, until you get to the point that you no longer need someone else to do it for you. Gain your independence! Wipe your own nether regions!
Fourth: Find Happiness In the Little Successes
One thing that warmed my heart was the excitement every single time my daughter successfully used the pot. She would begin to beam, clap and congratulate herself for doing a great job.
This led to her being more consistent with it.
This is the same thing for you. If you don’t acknowledge those tiny successes that come your way when you’re pursing a goal or a dream, then you’ll lose your motivation to continue. No matter how small the success is, it still means that you’re on the path you should be on.
Finally: It’ll Come, As Long As You Don’t Give Up
If I could tell you how many times I checked my budget to think: Forget it! I’ll just keep on buying diapers! What? I can’t afford it? CRAP!
Success, along with potty training, all comes with consistency. It’s going to be hard, you’re going to want to quit, and you’re going to doubt yourself. However, if this is something that you think you’re meant to do, and you’re improving each time you attempt to go forward, then it’ll eventually come.
Don’t let your hard work go down the toilet!
Kendra Koger can think of about 50 potty jokes right now; share yours @kkoger.
“I Grew Up With A Lot of Conflict And Trauma” Beyoncé Shares Life Lessons In New Video “Yours And Mine”
Beyoncé is showing us all types of facets of her personality these days. In lieu of press tours and interviews, she’s sharing more and more of herself through her actual art work. This time though she’s not singing. In celebration of the one year anniversary of her self-titled visual album, in one of her standard video diary confessional type reflections, Beyoncé talks about the lessons she’s learned, giving us a sneak peek into her perspective on the world. Her are some quotes from the 11 min video below.
I sometimes wish I could be anonymous and walk down the street like everyone else. Before I was famous, I was the girl on the hill with the guitar. I was the girl who just wanted a beautiful view of the beach. And now that I’m famous, it’s really really difficult to do really, really simple things. I think it’s the hardest thing to give up. But my mother always taught me to be strong and to never be a victim. Never make excuses. Never expect anyone else to provide for me, things I know I can provide for myself. I have dreams and I feel like I have a power to actually make those dreams actually become a reality.
When you’re famous no one looks at you as a human anymore. You become the property of the public. There’s nothing real about it. You can’t put your finger on who I am. I can’t put my finger on who I am.
I grew up with a lot of conflict and traumas and I’ve been through a lot, just like everyone else. My escape was always music and I’m so lucky that that’s my job.
I was brought up seeing my mother try to please and make everyone comfortable. And always felt like it was my job to fix the problem…people pleaser. But I’m no longer afraid of conflict. And I don’t think conflict is a bad thing cuz I know that when you grow up, when you learn a few things you’re no longer afraid of letting go. You’re no longer afraid of the unknown.
If I hadn’t gone through some of the painful experiences in my life, I would not be me.
But if I accomplished all of these things and had no one to share with, it would be worth nothing. You know, you need something real in order for any of this stuff to matter. You have to have something that is forever, something that’s invisible.
People feel like they lose something when they get married. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There’s nothing more exciting than having a witness to your life.
I feel like my body is borrowed and this life is very temporary.
I watched my friend’s body deteriorate. And to watch someone pass on so gracefully put everything into perspective. We do not value ourselves enough. Especially young people don’t appreciate how brilliant our bodies are. I’ve always been very very specific and very choosey…very choosey about what I do with my body and who I want to share that with.
I always consider myself a feminist although I was always afraid of that word because people put so much on it. When honestly it’s very simple, it’s just a person that believes in equality for men and women. Men and women balance each other out and we have to get to a point where we are comfortable with appreciating each other.
I have a lot of empathy for men and the pressures that they go through and the cultures that have been created, especially for African American men. I have the same empathy for women and the pressures we go through. A woman has to provide so many things for their children. I consider myself a humanist.
And her final thought:
One thing that’s for sure, the love I have for music, for my husband, for my child is something that will last far beyond my life.
She also speaks about depending on other people, happiness and other life observations in the video below. Take a look below and let us know what you think