Alexandra Zagbayou: Sisterhood of Suffering

It’s March! That means we are now in the third month of this new year, already! Among many resolutions, some of us made health goals. Whether your desire is to lose weight, get in shape, be more active, or just have better eating habits, we’d like to help with that journey! As you may know, Black women rank high in most categories for health risks such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and obesity. Each of these categories can tie in directly to diet. A healthy diet can dramatically decrease the chances of suffering from these diseases and their effects. As with anything, transitioning from one way of life into another can be tough to maintain. But baby steps, and accountability can lead to a successful shift. Check out this video, from the lovely ladies at Food Heaven Made Easy, on how to healthfully and successfully transition to vegetarianism, a diet listed as the second most healthy lifestyle diet. If vegetarianism is not for you, perhaps some of the tips given in this video will prove helpful for any type of healthy lifestyle you may want to pursue. Whatever you choose, please take care of you. We need you!

This week, we bring you a new #dearblackgirl letter by Dr. Sonja Brown Givens that is full with great nuggets of wisdom. We are grateful for Dr. Givens for sharing her words and taking up her pen!

Dear Black Girl,

I want you to know that life doesn’t begin with your best moments, or end with your worst. Life, in fact, is the delicate balance between treating yourself and others with love and respect – even if that love and respect isn’t returned. This part is hard: it requires you to master being vocal, and silent. It requires you to move forward from situations and people that hurt you, even while you’re still reeling from the pain. It requires you to look in the mirror and see beauty, even if you’ve never been told it’s there. It requires you to stand up for the person you choose to be, not the one someone told you that you are. It also requires you to be brave, even when you’re afraid of the consequences of doing so.

You, my dear, are a gift. Not just to others, but to yourself. You owe it to the young woman you’re evolving into to be exactly who you are, no matter what others say. They will catch up – or not—and that’s ok too. Making the right choices in life is difficult – even for adults — so don’t be too hard on yourself when you make a bad choice. Just don’t make the same bad choice more than once. Have you ever had to choose between your two favorite desserts? How do you decide? There’s no answer that will satisfy all situations. You just have to choose the dessert that will make YOU happy, and sometimes you’ll have to ask yourself if you really WANT dessert at all. Sometimes we regret a choice we’ve made. That usually happens when we’ve made a choice that someone else wanted us to make, rather than the choice we held in our heart. Always, even if you’re afraid, make the choice that lies in your heart. That’s the only way to be who you were born to be – who you truly are.

You should know that there are millions of former Black Girls in this world who love you. We see your Black Girl magic from afar, and want you to be everything you’re destined to be in this world. In order to do that you must love you too. Love yourself enough to love and respect others, and you’ll be just fine. You were uniquely made to be YOURSELF – not Beyoncé, not Nicki Minaj – no one else but you. You will be just as great at being you as they are at being them, I promise.

Signed,

A Former Black Girl

Post #9- SBGDr. Sonja Brown Givens is 41  years old, from Buffalo NY, and is Associate Vice-President for Academic Affairs at Medaille College. 

It’s a new week, which means we are back with a new #dearblackgirl letter for you! We hope these letters are blessing you and the young women in your life. Feel free to visit previous letters as well. Today’s letter is by Tanya Hicks who hails from Brooklyn, NY. We’re grateful for Tanya for sharing her words of wisdom and taking up her pen. Enjoy!

Dear Black Girl,

I greet you in the beauty of respect, love, honor, and grace.  Let me start by saying, I am so thankful for this opportunity to talk to you.  I wish someone had done the same for me.

Beloved, one day you will become a grown woman and find yourself dancing through countless journeys of your life without apology.  It will be great; however, don’t rush to get there because you could possibly miss out on your childhood and teenage years.  So, slow down and take one day at a time and enjoy every chapter of your life as it unfolds.  Pay close attention to the things that make you happy, joyful and inspire you the most.  Be brave but at the same time have grace.  Remember to treat others as you wish to be treated.  Also, pay attention in school, study and don’t ever be afraid to raise your hand when you don’t understand something.  There are no stupid questions.  If you ever get stuck and find yourself dealing with challenging things and people, always remember what others say about you really doesn’t matter, because you are smart, courageous, brave, kind, and beautiful and there isn’t anything anyone can do about it.  Oh, don’t forget to plan for college. Yes, start now, don’t wait until high school.  Start asking your parents about colleges that feed your passions. I promise college will afford you opportunities beyond your wildest dreams.

Let me share something else with you, you may not resemble any of the models in the magazines or any of your favorite celebrities or musicians and that is okay.  YOU DON’T HAVE TO!  Beauty comes from within.  You are unique and beautifully and wonderfully made by GOD.  Your shape, size, color or hair type will never determine your beauty.   What you possess on the inside is what will shine through on the outside.

As a woman, I have learned that I teach people how to treat me by what I allow, what I show and what I reinforce.  I want you to think about that and carry that with you on your journey.  I think it will keep you grounded.  It certainly has done so for me.  And, never ever take anyone for granted, because they may turn out to be someone you may need tomorrow.  It’s important that you are always mindful of how you treat people and how they treat you. Now, be blessed, create a life for yourself that is positive, contagious and a blueprint for others to follow.  “Shine bright like a diamond!”  Illuminate the world with your grace and encourage other girls that look like you to do the same.

P.S. don’t entertain drama, it ages you.

Love,

Tanya Hicks

Post #5-Tanya Hicks_Profile pic 2015Tanya Hicks is 41 years old, and Office Coordinator, and lives in Brooklyn, NY. 

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Photo & Video Credit: Ted Talks Channel on YouTube