You are a woman. A mama. A fran. A sister. A daughter. A dope chic. - You are resilient and beautiful. Your story is one of perseverance and strength. You should be proud of the person who have become. Two little humans call you mama and you have managed to turn your dreams into reality. God is not done with you. Go look into the mirror and affirm your beauty and greatness, both inside and out often.
I am so proud of you for not giving up on yourself when your back was against the wall and when you fell to your lowest. I am so proud of you for being honest with yourself when you needed to do and be better. Strength doesn't come from doing it alone- it comes from asking for help.
Im glad you figured out how to moisturize your skin, cause being ashy ain't cute lol. I know you made jokes about not being ashy but I realize that was just a way to remind yourself that self care is important. Never stop taking care of yourself...because mama or not if you are not good you are no good for your children.
You took a lot risks leading up to this day...but take more. Stop over thinking and live in the present. You can't change the past and the future hasn't happened yet...LIVE!!!!
Realize you are NOT superwoman. While you do some amazing things- realize and accept that some stuff simply wont get done- and it's ok! You are still going to be a dope chic and a great person. NO is a complete sentence.
Love with out conditions. Expect nothing. If its genuine in nature the universe will repay you. Just be you, unapologetically.
Remember that life happens outside the comfort zone- so try and step out there more often.
I know that you nervous, scared and even uneasy about what 30 years old will look like. But I need you to remember...You got this. You have all the skills to be great. Like ya sistafran always says...God be knowing.
Trust his timing. Trust HIS plan.
30 looks good on you.
"The paradox of parenting is that it moves in both fast speed and slow motion"
My mama will tell you that she remembers the day i was born like it was yesterday. She can spit my weight and length - i wouldn't be surprised if she knew the time of birth too.
Every year I love to sit and listen to my mama tell me stories about my birth. I feel like with every year i find out something new. I know that my mama drove herself to the hospital and labored with me naturally. Once I was born my birth made the newspaper becuse I was the only baby born in the hospital on a cold Monday in February (29th). I was born on a leap year which meant i wouldn't get another calendar birth date for another 4 years.
Once i made earthside i tons of family waiting to greet me..my dad being the proudest. So proud that we name Symphony.
fast forward a few days and I will approaching 30 years young, Im floored at how fast that went. I vividly remember many elementary, middle and high school experiences like it was yesterday and I've been out of high school 12 years....omg!!!
My mama will officially have a 30 year old child. Im not old.. she is. lol
As I reflect I continue to think about my journey of raising two little humans. I can't help but think how fast will the next 30 years go?!!
I'm blessed. I can say my parents never missed beat when it came to being present in my life. For that, Thank you!
"Mamahood: The days are long but the years are short"
I get it now.
#melanatedmama #mamablogger #mamasworld
"As you become more clear about who you really are, you'll be better able to decide whats best for you- the first time around" Oprah Winfrey.
Things I love about myself:
My legs, 100m hurdle, track star, looking good in heels
My weird fashion sense, I dress in what makes me happy
My ability to piece together a bomb ass outfit from goodwill
The why my minds visualizes possibilities ( I'm a visionary)
My heart, its ability to love again and again and again
My mind, always open for more
My Lips, big and bold. Especially when they are covered in red.
my art and hows its transformed through time
my views on failure, its a learning tool for greatness
Today is Valentine's day and just like yesterday on #blackloveday I am choosing to indulge in self love. Im celebrating me. No I don't have a partner, a bae or boo... No I don't have an elaborate date planned ( with a man) INSTEAD Im choosing to love on my village.. my crew- my girls.
Im dressing up, hooking up my make-up and loving on the people who love on me consistently.
If social media will serve as a trigger for you, stay off. Write a list of what makes up happy and do it.
Love yourself extra hard today.
"aint no body gone love you if you don't love you" my mama.
"Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare" Audre Lorde.
Today is #blackloveday!
I had the honor of meeting the creator, Ayo Handy Kendi, a couple of years ago while celebrating a born day in DC. It was amazing to hear her talk about why this day was so important.
#blackloveDay or BLD is the 3rd nationally, commemorated African American holiday wholyday.
It is an observance of atonement, reconciliation, celebration and 24 hour demonstration of Black love, showing 5 Tenets (specific acts). They are love towards the Creator, for Self, for the Family, within the Black Community and for the Black Race.
Today, for me, is ALL about self love. I don't think I began to fully understand what Self- Love was until about 1year ago. I have always been a outspoken individual who did what I wanted- but that doesn't mean that behind closed doors I struggled.
I exisited in a head space that centered my self-care on the needs of others... particularly men.
Until i decided to (fearfully) stand in front of the mirror and approach myself.
#myjourneyto30 I now understand that I am the only person worthy of approval. If anything disrupts my peace - I chuck you the Peace sign.
I had to learn to love myself, without conditions.
I had to learn to love myself even with my crooked smile, the acne scars, my short fingers, my large lips, the stretch marks...
I had to learn to carve time for me and to be unapologetic about it. Even if that mean getting a baby sitter. I learned that one can pour from an empty vessel.
It took for me to become a mama, before I started taking the act of self care seriously... mind body and soul.
It was hard work facing that mirror, but oh so worth it.
The work is not over, how I approach the selfceare work has changed for the better.
" I am deliberate and afraid of nothing." Andre Lorde.
"The way you speak to yourself matters."
For years I used my words to fight my battles. I was never a fighter so my spitfire word game was perfected. My ability to take a shortcoming and use it to make someone feel low was perfected. My new life as a (career working) single mama made me very angry and depressed. My dreams and expectations of a fairy tale life women are forced into believing is "the way" was off to horrible start. See, I had graduated college, met a guy whom i thought was amazing ( but wasn't cause I had on my "he's got potential frames"), got pregnant and thought next was the wedding and happily ever after. Blah blah blah, cause geese I was wrong.
Because my expectations were not met, I slumped into a 3 or so year pit of depression. I was a wreck. I could not understand why anyone could pass all this up.. and by this i mean the dopeness that is me!
Anyway, my life changed- and I resented my children's father ( and every other man). My body changed, which resulted in a constant love hate relationship, AND I was now responsible for a little human whose whole existence relied on my ability to care for them.
I was angry.
But Black Women saved my life.
It took me to be intentional about my healing before i started to see and feel change. There were(are) high days and for sure low ones.
Fast forward some 4.5 years Im a different woman. I look at my reflection and see beauty, strength, love and a few stretch marks that serve as reminders of my journey. I don't look at myself and speak negativity. nope. I know that those words have power. I instead look at my reflection and speak life.
Im the original #dopechic ( well 3rd generation cause Big Ma and My mama are super dope).
My journey wasn't meant for everyone. I am everything i am because of it. Im dope because I SAID I AM. I no l longer care about the opinions of others. If it (meaning men, events, friends, family, jobs, etc) doesn't protect my peace.... ha, I'm chucking you the peace sign!!! lbvs.
I am beautiful.
I am confident.
I am enough.
Speak life to yourself.
Puma, The MelanatedMama
I will not be another flower, picked for my beauty and left to die. I will be wild, difficult to find, and impossible to forget." Erin van Vuren
"Deep breaths are like little love notes to your self. "
Saturday. Probably my favorite self care day of the week especially when it involves a grown up girl's night!!! Every other day is filled with pre-filled work, community service, art and mama duties. The one day where i don't need an alarm clock is SATURDAY.
As I prepare for 30, Im especially excited about TODAY!
I vowed that this would be the year that I conquer my own fears, no matter how big or small. I made a list of 30 things/experiences that i avoided because of fear.
Today, is Speed Dating. ( insert dramatic music).
Let my homegirls tell it... I have a a "type" of man I gravitate to.
Im trying broaden my horizons, so putting myself out there for a Speed dating event is my way of conquering this fear of getting back into the dating scene.
Im beyond nervous but excited to putting myself back out there, again.
my turn up is natural, no wine or other bubbly drank needed.
Any moment, without my children, where I get to dress up is WIN for me. So if you see me in these streets just know - Im happy AF- don't kill my vibe.
So, tonight I'm preparing to do my hair, mositurize my skin (#teamnoashyin2018), hook up my make-up, marvel at my fully put together outfit in the full body mirror and sashay out the door.
Watch me work.
Do you see these legs?!
"I told myself that i was going to live the rest of my life as if it were Saturday" Chip Gaines.
"Children have never been good at listening to their elders. But they have never failed to imitate them."
Today was tough in mamahood. My daughter made some poor choices at school that i took personally.
Listen, taking care of little humans did not come with a personalized handbook. There are some days when I absolutely feel like I'm failing as a parent, and others when I feel like the single mama superwoman who undoubtedly "got this!"
Early in my journey of mamahood I believed that my daughter was my remix, I had a long list of things I wanted her to do, I had an idea of what I wanted her personality to be like, her style.. her vibe etc. But as we grew to learn about one another I realized, she's her own little person. That was a hard pill to swallow.
Everyday is a lesson. Everyday I'm faced with a new task to overcome. Every day she reminds me that I aint always got this!- the a ha moment is to remember that its ok!
I beat myself up often because I feel like i suck as a mama. But I have to remember Im doing the best i can. There are days when my daughter doesn't listen, she ignores me and completely behaves in a way that goes against all i've tried to instill in her. There are some days I literally want to scream, pull my hair out and hide in the closet away from my children.
But my daughter is watching. My son is watching. No matter how tired, defeated, frustrated, worn out, happy, joyful (insert any other emotion here) I can't forget... I have 2 sets of eyes watching.
The journey ain't easy. And I'm reminded by my mama that I'm getting all that I gave her. ha!
Mama's, its ok to say you are drained. Or that you are tired of mama-ing - yes i made up that word! Our children need to see that we are taking care of ourselves.
Take a moment to deep breath, self care and come back. Guide them, love them. It will all work it self out in the end.
"What you help a child love can be more important than what you help her to learn." African Proverb.
Puma, The MelanatedMama.
Look at this picture.. Its absolutely stunning right?!. There is a sense of vulnerability here that I have not allowed myself to feel in years. The pregnancy of my son gave me the feeling of strength and beauty (something else I had not felt in years) and the courage to take this photo.
I feared being this open and free especially coming from a place of hurt. I feared rejection and judgment, To cope with what would soon become my new reality ( a single mother of 2) I knew i had to begin working on myself... and harder than I had ever done before. I begun to connect to the earth and realize that everything i needed to do this job was already given to me... this was no mistake.
The making of this photo took lots of reflection and planning on the back end. I approached my soror and her husband with an idea for a maternity photo shoot. Within that conversation I expressed my nervousness about becoming a new mom again and wanted to express myself and my journey through photography. She heard me and styled three looks for the shoot. Her and her husband took my vision and created this masterpiece of a photo you see here- which is one of many. I was surely nervous and everything about this process took me out of my comfort zone.
I also begin to fully understand the phrase... Energy can not be created nor destroyed, its simply transferred.
This pregnancy taught me a lot about myself. I learned how to forgive.I learned how to not entertain negative energy and only acknowledge energy that made me feel good. I didn't always get it right and its still surely a learning process. However, I also learned how to open myself up for loving me again. With everything else going on in my life I realized that I was not the same woman... and that that was okay!
Becoming pregnant with my son, my #wholebaby, was a surprise and totally unplanned. However, the universe knew I needed him to push along my healing journey. For three years there was a mixture of denial and acceptance of my broken heart and single motherhood journey, For three years I allowed another individual to dictate my happiness. I allowed this individual to transfer negative energy onto my life... So much so that I lost who I was.
When I was pregnant I felt in overwhelming sense of peace. The reality of becoming a mom of 2 (on my own) gave me the courage to confront myself and to essentially say, "Girl, your deepest fear is not that YOU are inadequate. Your deepest fear is that you are POWERFUL beyond measure. It is YOUR light, not your darkness that frightens YOU. Ask yourself Who are you to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually who are you NOT to be? You are a child of GOD. Your playing small doesn't service the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people wont feel insecure around you!"
My life has not gone the way I planned...but surely I am blessed none the less. I have 2 beautiful children and tribe/village that loves and supports me. My inner G is glowing and I am stronger and more powerful than I have ever felt.. I am beautiful. Im going into 2017 affirming all of the above.
I am moving into the new year knowing that I am enough. whether you see it or not.
I am worthy.
I am dope.
Peace out 2016.... whaddup 2017!
2016 in review
1. BlankSpace taught me a lot about business, collective economics and who is really on my team.
2. I had a wholebaby - my surprise baby. Kingston Ase
3. My style as an artist changed ... I can dig it!
4. My tribe(plus more) rode with me through the storm
5. My mother and daughter bond has never been stronger. She continues to teach me everyday. I love being a mama
6. I got my master's degree!!!!!!!! Phd coming soon
7. My daughter turned another year older, started school and just passing through these milestones- what a joy!
8. I invested in myself. Purchased a camera and expanded how I express my art
9. I had a #wholebaby it still amazes me that I didn't find out I was pregnant until I was 5 months this photo also marked the journey of @_tukam Traveling the world!" For a year
10. My daughters 3rd birthday reminded me that being a superhero is the bomb!!! Live freely without any care of judgment!!!
11. #creatingmemories with my children as we tackled the pumpkin farm!!! I have to get better at this!!
12. All in all this year had many highs and many lows... this tattoo is a constant reflection of how I plan use the past as the foundation for preparing for the future.The future is bright!!!!
I have come along way since September 26, 2012.
When I met this man i instantly fell in love. He carried this energy and reflected this sort of light that I had never seen or felt before in a man. His smile lit up a room and turned everything into gold. At at that time in my life he was perfection personified.
But then I noticed his flaws and thought I could change him.
We have had our share of ups and downs especially with trying to figure out this co/parenting relationship. The idea of raising young children while probably still harboring some type of feelings toward one another has proven most difficult. After having my daughter my expectations of family were not met. My dreams of creating children within a loving devoted relationship fell short to the reality of raising a daughter as a single parent.
My expectations of what type of father I envisioned for my daughter (and now children) have not been met. I wanted us to work. I wanted us to be family. It wasn't until I decided to accept look in the mirror and have that hard conversation with myself. Working to repair my heart I have spent the last year moving toward a head and heart space that allows me to love him regardless of his short comings. Im not all the way there but I'm further along today than I was 3 years ago. I want to be able to sit in the same room and not argue.
Repairing my heart has not been the easiest job.
I have built a strong network of other mamas who have called me out on my expectations of what a father/child relationships looks like. I received lots of advice on creating a clear channel of communication and through it all I have learned that at the end of the day the children and their well being come absolutely first. not how we feel as man and woman toward one another. I am learning that I have to allow their relationship to develop on his terms- I can not make him the dad i want him to be... no matter how hard I try. Which means that I must step aside and leave the door open for him to be thier dad....
What worries me often and keeps me hovering over with a watchful eye is the let down from disappointment. Through it all I have to be mindful and protect my daughter's heart.... even from her own father.
The end goal is loving without conditions.
The goal as co/parents includes cultivating a relationship between my children's father that exemplies love in its purest form... the love we must transfer to one another must be void of that romantic stuff and exist to only show our children they come first.
Love prevails. And for me that is direction I am channeling my energy.
My children need a father and I don't want to get in the way of that,
love prevails. Love prevails. Love prevails.
pray for my co/parenting strength.
Im the mama of Marli Amor and Kingston Ase.