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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Cute to be so black...

Growing up I would occasionally hear that I was "cute to be so black". I wasn't cute, but considering how dark I was, I was an OK looking little girl. Though this was always intended to be complimentary, even as a little girl I understood that embedded in this statement was an insult of sorts. Over the years, this statement combined with many others resulted in serious struggles with self esteem. "Cute to be so black" means that the darkness of my skin should automatically cast me into the ugly category, but somehow I manage to overcome my blackness to emerge with some degree of cute.
What and who defines beauty? Too many people, especially women, struggle with their identify and self esteem because what is seen in the mirror does not fit what society says is attractive. And why do we give so much power to other people, allowing the masses to decide if our clothes, hair, shoes, dress size, etc. merit ranking on the beauty scale? For all of us who have suffered back-handed compliments or merely struggle to fit into a cookie cutter standard of beauty, let's make a pact to shed other people's negative assessments and instead embrace self-love. No matter how tall, short, fat, skinny, light, dark or whatever we are, we will commit to providing ourselves with positive affirmation.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Nothing makes a mom reflect on parenting more than having her child go off to college. Suddenly 18 years flash before you, and you wonder if you have really done your job. Or you lament because you know you haven't done it well.

It's the eve of my second child's departure for college, and I have a myriad of emotions. Joy, sadness, the full gamut. I am painfully aware that once she leaves this house, our relationship will forever be altered. Never again will I have the same degree of influence in her life (though with her strong will, I never had the total control I wanted. She once scoffingly referred to me in a diary entry as "she who must be obeyed"). I'm overwhelmed with sadness for all the things I intended to do yet never did. I am not sure if she really understands the deep love that I have for her.

Yet I am joyous also. Isn't this what we, as parents, shoot for? We spend 18 years preparing them for the day when they can spread their wings and fly. And I know for sure that my daughter has the ability to soar higher than my dreams can take her. So for any parent who, like me, is releasing their child to the adventures of the collegiate world, let me offer these words of encouragement:
1. Remember that they really do hear the things we tell them. They know right from wrong, and will choose right more often than not.
2. We love them, but God loves them more; entrust them to His care.
3. Even if there are issues between you and your child, their entrance to adulthood offers
new opportunities to form rich ties.
4. Accept your mistakes but also be gentle; we do the best we can with what we have, and
somehow our children survive.

Hope this helps. Happy launching!