Tag Archives: self-love

Time Out

Today I decided to stop making excuses and take a Time Out for me.

 

Over the past year I became a wife, then a mom. Naturally, my priorities shifted and the needs of my husband and daughter kinda pushed mine a little further back.

My blogging assistant with me after a run.

My blogging assistant with me after a run.

I haven’t been feeling quite like my old self and that’s to be expected; I’m not her anymore. This Chanell 2.0 has different wants and needs and as the years add up, I’m realizing what’s most important.

Outside of my relationship with God, being a new wife (one year in) and an even newer mom, I must take care of myself.

With a new job that holds lots of responsibilities, I have little time for anything besides family. But the excuses stop here. I will make time for me and all that being me entails (writing, blogging, getting out more, thrifting, cooking, laughing, enjoying the little moments).

Celebrating BK's 1/2 Birthday.

Celebrating BK’s 1/2 Birthday.

Today, during my Time Out, I took time to run again. Thanks to the Couch to 5k app on my phone (and the urging from an article I’d read in Essence magazine) I reluctantly put on my running shoes again. Jesus be some muscle/endurance memory! While my goal is to be able to run a 5k at some point this  year, I want to be healthier.

Last week, before I left the house, my husband prayed, jokingly, “Lord, please give us what we need to lose this weight so we can run each other down the street when we get mad.”

He and I have both put on a few pounds since venturing into marriage and parenthood and I know that by putting these words down I’m holding myself (and him) accountable.

In high school, I was a distance sprinter. I could run a quarter mile in under a minute and a half mile in… well, less than four minutes (I hated the 800 meter run). While I’d love to get back to that speed, that’s not my aim. I’d like to be able to run – at a nice, steady pace – for an hour without fainting. Sure, it’s a hefty goal – one that seemed so far-fetched today during my 15 minute walk-run – but if I take a few more Time Outs I’ll be there in no time.

 

Slow and steady wins the race.

Until next time, Be Blessed and Live Well.

Chanell Nicole♥

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Uh, Thanks?

One day after school, I was bopping through the aisles of Wal-mart with way too much in my basket, y’know, grocery shopping, when a young lady came up to me and said, “I’m not a lesbian, but you are a really beautiful woman.” Okay, one, this caught me completely off guard as I was kinda sorta bummy but pulled together. Two, I said, “thanks?” Three, why the disclaimer?

On another occasion, last week, a facebook friend’s status was : I feel beautiful. (or something similar)

Another friend (female, of course) commented: you are beautiful #nohomo

Is it necessary for you to be “homo” in order to give another woman praise for her outer beauty?  Like, seriously, can I call a woman pretty, beautiful, gorgeous, super hot, and not be a lesbian?

Not sure if this thought is germane to the minority (read: black) community but we, as a people, often have a hard time praising one another.

In a recent article on Essence.com, Jamilah Lemieux sounded off on why sisters need to start giving props where they are due. Lemieux, (a.k.a. Sister Toldja) one of my fave femme bloggers, and creator of  The Beautiful Struggler, wants the phrase “she think she cute” to be buried right along with the other negative stereotypes we create and perpetuate in our community.  I agree. 

It’s so much easier for us to stop tearing one another down.

That being said, there’s nothing “homo” about telling a sister she looks nice. I’ve always done it and it seems to brighten a person’s day.

Now, I’m the first to tell you I don’t get dressed for the compliments. I’m secure in my quirky, thrifty, all-my-own style. If a sister gives me a nod of agreement or even a look of  “What was she thinking?” it doesn’t swayme in any certain direction. I get dressed for me and I’m comfortable in my “get up”.

Somewhere being Sepia

 

Is it that some women don’t feel comfortable enough in their own skin? I mean, if you feel great about you and just happen to find something intriguing or fashion forward about the next woman’s appearance, does it hurt to tell her?

We have been so accustomed to “one-upping” one another that compliments seem to be a thing of the past. Let’s be ladies and shower one another with love and adoration. If you see a sister who’s “doin’ it” let her know.

No disclaimer is needed to pay a compliment. It’s free. You never know, you might just gain a friend.

Thoughts?

Sepia

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Pretty No Chaser

 

The above video has gone viral on my twitter and facebook timelines. It’s a teaser for an upcoming docu-film on skin color issues within the black community.

Are we still dealing with this? Like, really? It’s 2011.

I’m sure there are arguments on personal preference, upbringing or whatever, but the root of the problem is self-hate.

Growing up, I was aware of the difference between my skin and that of my mother and sister. God painted  them a reddish light brown color; while I was dipped in semi-sweet chocolate. My skin tone varied depending on the season but since I resided in Miami, Florida, where it’s summer 85% of the time, I was always dark brown.

One Christmas, my mother took us to visit our cousins. My sister and I, being less than a year apart, were often dressed alike. That day, I wore a tan and black short set. My sister wore the exact same one in red and black. While playing, a little girl said, “They’re twins. One is red. One is black.”  My mom, being the woman she is quickly corrected the child. “What do you mean? We’re all black. Just because one is lighter than the other doesn’t mean they’re any different.” I love my mom for that.

I’m not sure why I recall that day so vividly, but it has made me aware of the way I describe my people.

 

She had to give me a reminder of my beautiful black skin a few years following that incident when, at 11, I asked her for a light skinned Kenya doll. (Who remembers the Kenya doll?)

 

The doll I wanted.

All my friends, who were mostly dark like me, had light skinned Kenya dolls with light hair and light eyes. I slid my mom my Christmas list and at the top of my list was Kenya doll with light skinned in parentheses. Why did I want the light doll? Maybe it was because that’s the doll my friends had. Or I had been taught through the media that lighter was better. Either way, on Christmas day, I unwrapped a Kenya doll with the darkest shade available. I loved that doll and I thank my mom to this day for that lesson.

 

The doll I received.

 

Along with that incident, I continued to be reminded of my skin color within my community. Not that I didn’t own a mirror or see any pictures of myself growing up.

The most prevalent comment in regards to my skin color has been the infamous,

“You’re so pretty… For a dark-skinned girl.” 

 

 

Just like the women in the video, I’ve heard that comment thousands of times. As a child, it made me realize that my people equated being darker in hue with ugliness. My walk in life has taught me that beauty is inside and beams outward. There are ugly people whose skin range from alabaster to tar black. Ugly in spirit and in heart.

I don’t subscribe to the notion of being Pretty even though I’m dark. I’m pretty. Period. No chaser!

 

Sepia. Pretty. No Chaser.

 

Don’t automatically put a disclaimer on my beauty because you didn’t give it to me!

Beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Redefine what it means to you and look around you and see His beauty in everything!

Here are a few of my favorite beauties. They, too, are pretty, no chaser.

 

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Sepia

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A Letter to Young Sepia

Hindsight is 20/20

If I knew then what I know now

If I could turn back the hands of time

Ever wanted to go back in time?

I have experienced tremendous growth as a woman this year. Through it all, I am realizing that I am a woman of resilience. I bounce back quicker and emerge stronger. I love and forgive and I am learning that God made me to be different and I LOVE IT!

 It  wasn’t always so easy for me. If I could go back and tell Young Sepia a few words, here’s what I would say:

Dearest Young Sepia,

You are a beautiful creation. Love the dark skin that you are in.

Sepia in grade 3.

 Your worth lies in your heart and not between your legs. The boys you like may not like you back but don’t let their lack of vision lessen your value. One day, you will get it right. In the meantime, nourish the friendships you have. Embrace all that makes you unique. Take pride in your intellect; wave it like a banner. Being smart is in fact the sexiest thing you can be right now. Don’t beg for attention. Write down your feelings and tell others of your hurt but don’t be too vulnerable.

Despite what you hear everyone’s not doing it. If they are you don’t need to. You are special and worth the wait. Love does not hurt or lie or cheat or steal. It won’t make you do anything you don’t want to. Form your own opinions. Speak up for yourself. Be proud to be you.

A very skinny Sepia. Circa 2000. The last week of Senior Year in High School.

In a few years, none of this will matter. There will come a day when you realize who your friends are. Some of them you don’t even know yet.

You will move to New York. Yes, New York! Just wait and see.

Subway smiles. 2009. NYC

Sepia, remember to always tell the truth even if it hurts. Be respectful and confident. You can be wrong sometimes, too.

One day, you won’t worry about designer bags or name brand clothes or matching your shoes to your shirts. You will learn to run in high heels and love it!

Though you will give your heart away many times only a select few will know what to do with it. Only One will truly love you back. He’s been there all along but at twenty-two, you’ll finally hear His call.

Sepia, when you lift the veil of fear you will finally see real success. Trust your gut. Be different. Be a lady; seen and not heard. Let your light shine. Stand up for your beliefs even if that means standing alone.

Love you before you love anyone else.  Don’t cry so much.

You are stronger than you give yourself credit for. Trust me. You will get over Mike, David and Maurice. The seven years following college will shape you more than you know. Hold on. It will be a rollercoaster ride.

Young Sepia, as I close this letter, I want you to know:

1. Everyone can’t handle your dreams; share them sparingly.

2. God will become your closest friend.

3. Grandma was right about a lot. Listen closely.

Can’t wait to see what you become.

I Love You.

Sepia in Sepia. 2009

 

Sepia N. Brown

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