Why is Black Girl Magic Necessary?

We can have careers, healthy marriages, & thriving children.
We can cultivate dreams and nurture friendships.
We can do whatever it is that we put our minds to.
We can and we will. #BlackGirlMagic

***This post was originally drafted during Women’s History Month

Rosie the Riveter, was a campaign to recruit more women into the workforce during World War II. At the time, women were homemakers and relied on their breadwinner husbands for income. When a large portion of the men deployed, America needed the support of women to fill those job vacancies left behind. There was one problem with Rosie. She only represented one type of woman. The propaganda was directed towards recruiting middle class White women into the workforce. However, hidden in the shadows were Black women, often discriminated against and forgotten.

Raising her to embrace #BGM

There were 600,000 Black women that entered the workforce during WWII. Those women had to fight for equal pay, because they sat at the bottom of an unspoken hiring racial hierarchy. Not much has changed in the workforce today. Going back to the campaign. Perhaps, a Black woman wasn’t as beautiful as the woman pictured on the posters. Rosie, with fair skin and cherry cheeks did not represent women of all walks of life. Tough stance, but subtle gaze with the words “WE CAN DO IT” failed to mention that “we” was actually quite exclusive. We did not include me. Every time I see those posters circulating around the web in celebration of Women’s History Month, all I can think is what about us?

While at a children’s birthday party this weekend, I instantly thought of Rosie after seeing a jumbo inflatable boxing glove. The funny thing is, my six year old daughter picked it up first. [sidebar]: Not too keen on gender roles and norms, I will never be the mom that tells her she can’t do something because she’s a girl.  In fact, it made me proud that she wanted to play with the boys and was not afraid nor too prissy to get down and dirty in the grass. [end sidebar] Here’s to knocking out the status quo and shattering all stereotypes that society has placed on us. Here’s to teaching our daughters that they can be self sufficient and independent while still loving and honoring a man. Here’s to raising educated women that do not solely rely on their body to gain popularity or riches. Here’s to juggling a million things and succeeding at them all.

The back story to why I was moved to write on this topic: A kitchen is what Blacks refer to as the hair on the nape of the neck. I used to be embarrassed by my “kitchen.” So, I cut it off every time it grew. I religiously straightened my curls because that’s what made my hair appear longer. Whenever I saw a beautiful woman in the media, she had long hair. If it was not naturally long, extensions were added.  I, like many of my sisters, ran away from the rain or any water that threatened to revert my stretched locs to a curly fro.

I also grew up hiding my pronounced derriere because it seemed like it just did not fit my body. I hated the way I spoke. You see, I’m not one of the Black girls that speaks very well or articulates the right way-the proper way. In fact, I used to wonder if I should take speech therapy classes. The more I mispronounced words, the more silent I became. Without a confident voice, I searched for ways to
present myself as more valuable than a roll in the sack. I did everything I could to avoid becoming a
baby mama and still found myself raising a black boy alone. I tried so hard not to become the stereotypical black woman until I started to learn more about her essence. What does being a Black Woman mean? Why spend my entire life being ashamed of who I am?

In general, Black women are no longer hiding in the shadows. We are busting through the doors once closed and announcing that we have arrived. We are very well aware of all that we bring to the table at home, our workplace, heck even our country of residence. What would America have been without Michelle Obama in office the last eight years? I asked a few of my Instagram followers why Black Girl Magic is necessary and they responded as follows:
@raaaaaaeeeee “For the simple reason, we aren’t shown as black women ENOUGH that there is more to us than our bodies; mass media loves to show us in the Love and Hip Hop outlets, but lack showing the doctors, the activists, entrepreneurs, and businesswomen. To give an avenue to show black girls that they are awesome in a society that doesn’t like to tell them that.”
@jessd83 I think it’s necessary, because what distinguishes Black Girls is minimized, if even acknowledged (like boxer braids). Now, more than ever with a lot of negative images available, I think these two hashtags highlighting some of the [good] things we do is refreshing and great.”
@1thought.nyc BlackGirlMagic is necessary and needed because it is the strength and power of the Black woman that has kept our people alive, giving them the strength and power to continue on. It heals the warriors. It elevates boys to men and turns men into gods. It is needed because it is the life force of the universe, if it wasn’t for the love of the black woman, society would not exist.
@thedanifaust Why is someone even asking the question? SMH

To me, Black Girl Magic, like Black Lives Matter, is not about superiority or even exclusion. It has nothing to do with placing black girls on a pedestal while demeaning others. It has NOTHING to do with any other race. I believe Black Girl Magic has everything to do with finally loving who we are. I struggled with self love for so long because of the inadequacy that I used to feel as a Black woman. I once dated a guy who told me that I was the only black woman he would ever consider marrying. That was the breaking point for me. Was I supposed to take that as a compliment? Things like that had me questioning if I was good enough throughout my twenties. Nowadays, it’s heartbreaking to see so many women that are ashamed of their unique shapes and complexions. I wish we as a people can eventually get away from the mindset of “good hair and lighter skin tones” equating the better genetic variation. People talked about the rapper, Lil Kim, but I went through the same thing she experienced-not to that degree, but it still hurt. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, right?

Moving beyond physical appearance, Black Girl Magic is an ongoing celebration of the strides we
have made and continue to make. It’s a reminder that we are special and don’t need to be like or look like anyone else. It’s more about celebrating OUR plight after so many years of being denied equality. Despite the struggle, our perseverance has consistently set us apart to save an entire nation of people. Generations can have better lives because of the things our sisters endured. Children are promised a brighter future because of the labor pains and the gifts that so many mothers gave birth to. Strength and honor flows through our veins and each curve holds the secrets to our heart. Our men are able to go out each day to face the cruelty of this world knowing they can come back to our warm embrace and tender kiss. The angels taught us how to praise continually and forgive always. It’s a reminder that when God created the Black Woman, He simply created a masterpiece. Every woman unique and different in her own right. Every canvas receiving the same amount of love, attention and dedication yet each one telling a different story. We are all interconnected.

The next time you are feeling down and discouraged, sprinkle a little bit of Black Girl Magic on your face as you stare that sister in the mirror while affirming greatness. Walk boldly and confidently down the path God has called you to take. Safe travels on your journey to healing, self discovery and self love. The more in tune you become with yourself, the more you should raise your head up a little higher. Your stride should be that of a model on a catwalk. Your eyes should be set on the finish line of your goals with no looking back. You should exude confidence and regality as the Queen that you are.

May you never forget that Black Girls Rock.


Double Portion
She wears the color of royalty, because she is a Queen
The sway of her hips is like a love scene
The cadence of her feet and pep in her step creates a melody
She is a Black Woman that defines beauty.
Always uplifting others and offering encouragement
Teaching of love and peace-she must be heaven sent.
She is strength all wrapped up in smooth, ebony skin
If I had a choice, I would ask God to create her again.

I thought I wanted to be a Stay at Home Mom

So, I thought I wanted to be a stay at home mom. Until, my husband granted my wish and I was trying to get back to work after two weeks.

I became a mom at 19 years old, a little over a year after enlisting in the Marine Corps. I got out after serving four years and did not have any significant work experience. However, being a veteran did give me a lot of preference over other applicants when I applied for various positions.
I had to work two jobs to make ends meet for a few years. Eventually, I landed a position with great pay, but it kept me away from my then three year old because of mandatory double shifts. I decided to take a pay cut to switch careers.
After twelve years of working hard, (the last few spent working while going to school) I threw in the towel. I got tired of hurriedly running in and out of daycare to drop off my daughter, speeding around the drop-off circle at my sons’ school only to see the SAHM sashay without a care in the world. She would either be well put together as if she was fresh off the runway or she was still wearing her pajamas. She appeared to be fit because of all the time she seemed to have that must have been spent at the gym.  She would drive a brand new luxury vehicle or a messy minivan. Jealous, much? Yes, I was.
I wanted a piece of that homemaker pie.
I hated that the PTA only met during business hours. School events were even during business hours. It’s like they did not care about the working mom. Matter of fact, they looked down on you if you had to go to work and could not read to the class every week.
So, in August 2014, my job ticked me off one last time and I submitted my resignation letter like a boss. Okay, what actually happened is I became overwhelmed with all the slave labor work without breaks and I called my husband in tears. I felt unappreciated, overworked and underpaid. I told him I just wished I could quit and he cut me off, sharply responding “Do it!”
I stopped crying…huh?! Did I hear him correctly?
He said, “Yeah, I’ve been waiting for you to leave that place. You’ve been unhappy for a while but I figured you must know what you’re doing and why you’re there.” That was all the push I needed. The same week I quit I received several job offers for a promotion. So, I called them to schedule interviews. Ya know, just in case.

I lasted three months as a SAHM, To my surprise, I was more busy than when I was working. At first, I took pride in rising early to cook a hot breakfast for my husband before work and pack his lunch. Then, I would do the same for the kids: Pack their lunches and drop all three off at school. I was making hot breakfast every day, lunches that rivaled all others in the breakroom and school cafeteria.

My husband thought he could pile up honey-do lists on me since I had all this so-called free time. *Remember, I’m still enrolled in college full time! One of my courses is accelerated which means way too much work to complete every other day. Housework never ended. And all the cooking breakfast, packing lunches and making dinner all before noon? Oh, that got old really quickly. I never made it to the gym. Or running first thing in the morning. All I wanted to do was hit snooze on the alarm clock a few times. Never got a chance to sleep in like I thought I would until the kids went on Thanksgiving Break. I really became a round the clock taxi/chef/nurse/maid/secretary/etc. There was nothing glamorous about it lol.

I would like to publicly apologize to all the SAHMs that I’ve ever criticized and went so far as saying they are good for doing nothing more than watching soap operas and shopping all day. I’m sorry for thinking that taking care of the house is easy. I’m sorry to have judged you when I saw you stressed out thinking that you don’t do anything all day and should therefore be happy. Yep, I was pretty shallow. Not taking into consideration that we get breaks in corporate America as opposed to working 24/7 at home. You all made it look so easy. I signed up to chill and quickly learned that I was bamboozled.

I thought the grass was greener on the other side. It turns out, that some people water theirs more than others and make it look greener. But just because something looks better does not mean it actually is better. Other people plant fake grass, smile and wave.

The next time another woman feels the need to speak down on you for choosing to be a homemaker, just smile and wave girls, smile and wave. As for me? I’m gonna make due with what I’ve got and mind my own business from now on. Ha!

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Mommy Duty

Us mommies have super powers. They are given to us during pregnancy allowing us to grow and nurture a human for months. But when our kids are sick, we have to bring out the big guns and channel some assistance.
Last night, my daughter tossed and turned for a few hours crying intermittently because of an earache and cold. I am still sick as a dog from her cooties being transmitted to me the day prior. Hubby is sound asleep after a long day at work that began at 2am, so he occasionally rolls over and rubs her back.
“Don’t fret,” I tell myself.” You’re a pro, you’ve been doing this for over a decade… you got this.” I tried to close my eyes hoping that she would eventually fall asleep but I just couldn’t rest with her being in pain. Mama bear doesn’t like feeling helpless.
I tried giving her Tylenol and she refused. I confirmed what was hurting and called on the great physician. [Jesus on the main line, tell Him what you want]. “I can’t do this without you. I need you to take this pain & sickness away from my baby that seems to be getting worse. Let my hands be soothing to her and send down your healing virtue through my touch…Amen.”
After receiving my supernatural powers, I picked her up and rocked her to sleep praying the whole time. Shortly after, she was out in a flash. Her congestion started to clear, she began breathing deeply right away and I could feel her body sinking into relaxation. All she needed was for me to rock her to sleep?! Kind of like when we just need God to wrap His arms around us, huh?
Sidebar: I thought of when my mom and I were both sick when I was ten years old. I had the flu and gauze in both nostrils from a broken blood vessel (horrible nose bleeds as a child). She had pneumonia, but since I had to sleep upright and breathe out of my mouth, she stayed up with me all night. Kind of funny how moms forget about their own “owies” when tending to their kid’s.  
 
Of all the times I’ve felt like I was failing or at least not doing a very good job at parenting, I am extremely grateful for growth. I’m not saying I’m perfect or even the best woman to ever do this but what I am saying is that in their eyes I am, and that means the world to me.
I’m a superhero that fights off bullies and monsters under the bed. I am the hour nurse advice line diagnosing and caring for babies since 2003. I make fun arts and crafts. I’m not too prissy to get on the floor to play. I am a storyteller and bedtime tucker-inner. I am a negotiator or dictator depending on the day. I’m a stylist and hairdresser. A chef and dessert extraordinaire. I mold future leaders and lift self-esteem. I’m an encourager and motivator. I’m sweet but also stern when necessary. I’m the boss, I just let daddy think he is. I’m a protector and provider and most importantly, I’m a mother.
It’s not for show or some ulterior motive. I don’t do things for my kids just to look cool on social networking. I do things from the bottom of my heart to leave an imprint on their hearts when I’m long gone. You can’t put a price on what I do. It’s hard to itemize doing things that’s second nature. Much like breathing, being a mom is essential to my life because it has molded me into a woman. Motherhood is certainly not a 9-5 or seasonal job. The benefits are priceless and it’s the best position I’ve ever held. Of all the things I’ve been called in my life, Mommy, has to be the most rewarding. 

~Forever grateful for my blessings <3