Category Archives: Beauty

Is She or Isn’t She!

This is difficult to write simply because the very existence of this post goes against my innate private nature. There are very few people who I feel comfortable enough with to discuss something so personal.

This blog has been my space of  release and reflection, insight and introspection; as I have endeavored to be transparent with my journey through life. For the first time ever, I have decided to address an issue that has seemed to follow me from Texas to Georgia, and back again.

First, let me share a little background information with you. For as long as I can remember, I have been two things: an introvert and a tomboy. Although I didn’t learn the word introvert until I was older, it accurately describes my personality, my response to people, and my aversion for large social gatherings. Being a tomboy was something that I can remember being called since I was a little girl. This idea that I was more prone to “masculine” attributes and activities than to “feminine” ones was always very clear to me. If giving the choice of a basketball or a baby doll, I would choose the ball every time. Even now, although I love a good pair of heels and nice skirts, I am more likely to wear jeans or slacks to skirts and dresses.

As this was comfortable and innate for me, I never viewed this as being a problem. It was not until I was preparing to move to Atlanta in 2006, that I first encountered this lingering question, Is she or Isn’t she?

The first time, I ever remember encountering the question was when a fellow seminarian asked me blatantly; I was so blown away that I laughed. In retrospect, I respect this man who had the audacity to ask, because he was the first and only person to ever ask me directly. While this encounter was the first time I heard the question, it has not been the last. It has manifested itself in gossip conversations, secret suspicions, and anonymous inbox messages.

I am from a small town where everybody knows everybody’s business, and gossip/mess is spread as quickly as germs. Every private conversation that was about me always managed to get back to me. All of those secret conversations had a recurring theme. Is she? What’s her deal? Stay away from her, you know she’s. I think she is!!! So why am i addressing this now? Two reasons, the first is simply because I’m weary!!! I’m tired of having to explain myself to people who don’t even like me. Secondly, it’s because I’m determined to live an authentic life, and I have no reason to hide or feel shame.

So here goes….am I a lesbian? The answer is No. I want to love and be loved and spend my life with a God-fearing, loving man. I want to have children and grow old loving one man. That’s what I’ve wanted since I was a little girl playing basketball (lol, not dolls).

I don’t answer this because I’m afraid of people’s beliefs concerning homosexuality; I personally don’t care about who other people choose to love. I’m more interested in introducing them to the transformative power of Christ’s love. If you want to argue theologically, send me a message, but I can promise that my answer will be the same as Jesus’ when confronted with the woman who was caught in adultery. “Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?””No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,”Jesus declared.” (John 8:10-11 NIV).

Everybody won’t like this or agree with me, but I’m okay with that. I’m tired of being placed in a box because of so called established gender roles. I’m the same person in jeans and loafers as I am in a cute circle skirt and 6 inch heels. I’m Free now from people’s questions, opinions, accusations, speculations, gossip, mess and all of the negativity that goes along with that. I am who I am!!! Fully and completely, totally Diandra!!!

gossip

Make it plain!!!

Advertisements

I Am Not My Hair!

Today is my birthday!!! I’m excited about being a year older, and infinitely wiser.

As usual, my birthday has led to great moments of introspection. This led to me reflecting on my hair journey, and my own voyage into self-awareness and fulfillment.

My issues with self-esteem have already been talked about in a previous post! Yet that struggle was tied to my struggle with my hair. I was never a girl who cared about my physical appearance, mostly because I didn’t think I was beautiful. I couldn’t put on makeup, couldn’t do my hair, and honestly, didn’t care to do either. I was more comfortable playing basketball or reading a book.

IMG_0462

I would often tell my Mom, as early as high school, that I would love to cut all my hair off! I never felt comfortable in my own skin, or with my hair.

IMG_0459

The struggle continued from high school, all the way through undergrad. When I first moved to Atlanta to pursue my Masters degree, I saw all these beautiful Black women embracing their natural hair. I was inspired to do the same, as I was embracing my own inner beauty. So I did the BIG CHOP, and begin the natural hair journey!!

IMG_0465

IMG_0464

IMG_0461

While I was more free, there was still the part of me that didn’t see myself as attractive or beautiful. I was too!! Too black, too fat, too quiet, too boyish; just too!!! I discovered that no matter how I chose to wear my hair, until I dealt with the internal dialogue I would never see the real me.

It didn’t happen overnight, matter of fact it took a long time. It happened gradually, day by day I begin to change my language. I was beautiful, I was pretty, I was smart, I was created in the image of God! My language changed, my mind changed, what I saw in the mirror changed.

Eventually, I reached the point where I kept saying I want to cut my hair, and so with the encouragement of my twin and my BFFF taking me to the salon, I cut my hair again. In the chair that day, I finally made the decision that I had wanted to make way back in high school.

IMG_0463
This decision was not a rebellion, instead it was the final embracing of who I’ve always wanted to be. A woman free of the stereotypical standards of beauty. My hair doesn’t define me, instead it’s a reflection of my freedom to be my true myself. As I finally decided to free myself of my hair, I freed myself of negative thinking.

I encourage everyone to be free to be who God created you to be. I am, and I’m loving it!! I am free, Praise the Lord, I’m free!!!

India.Arie said it best, “I am not my hair, I am not this skin, I am not your expectations. I am not my hair, I am not this skin, I am a soul that lives within.

Happy Birthday to me!!!

IMG_0453

Big Girls Don’t Cry

I have been away from this space too long. This period of my life led to a long, severe bout of writer’s block that has made it nearly impossible to even think about blogging. I have attempted several times to share my experiences in this format, but every time I attempted to do so, I would find myself just staring at the computer screen. I had so much to say, but did not have the words to say what was in my heart and mind. I have previously discussed how important and therapeutic Writing is for me, and to not be able to do so has been very troubling. The last few months have been like riding on the most exhilarating and frightening roller coaster; filled with ups and downs, highs and lows. Let me start at the beginning…

I’ve indicated before that I am not overly emotional, nor am I one known to easily cry! To be more specific I viewed my tears as a form of weakness. I was always okay with the tears and emotions of others, but at some point I stopped allowing myself the same luxury. I am comfortable being a listening ear for people, and helping them to deal with life’s triumphs and trials; yet, it is not easy for me to allow people to help me process when I’m “going through.” Starting in April I begin to really struggle mentally and emotionally. H-Town sung, “Emotions make you cry sometimes!” My emotions made me not want to have any emotions. I reached a point where it hurt too much to feel, so I tried my best not to feel anything at all. I was pretty good at hiding my feelings from even those closest to me; I appeared to be so strong but on the inside I was weak.  I didn’t want to confide in my family, and I felt that my friends could not understand. I felt very alone!!!!

Life felt unfair! I had tried to live a life according to God’s will and commandments, yet it seemed very much in vain! What had living for Christ really brought me; what had I gained from doing it “RIGHT!?” Perpetually single and lonely, unfulfilled in ministry, jobless, hopeless, and unhappy; I was at my wit’s end! I was a minister who needed someone to minister to me; a counselor who needed someone to counsel me. I had been there for everyone else, and in my most desperate hour, I was seemingly ALONE! Where were the words of wisdom I had given, where was the person on the other end of the phone willing to listen to me vent! Countless hours spent being a beacon of light for other people, and now I was lost at sea! Lost in despair! Lost in failure! LOST! People implored me to just release it in tears, but that was not easy for me to do.

From April to early June, I secretly struggled! I pretended that everything was okay, but I was slowly losing myself. The breaking point was something that happened with my best friend. In retrospect, the situation seems small and not deserving of what happened. I won’t describe the whole situation because I would like to keep somethings personal and private. However, in the midst of our disagreement I felt that what I thought and felt did not matter to a person whom I thought should care. These feelings, added to what I had been going through, led to me ending our friendship and completely isolating myself.  The next few weeks were the hardest weeks of my life, as my life seemingly unraveled. Over the next 14 days, I cried 12 of them; I just couldn’t seem to make the tears stop. I felt that God was punishing me, I felt that my friends were punishing me, and most importantly I felt that I was punishing myself for not being perfect.

I wanted to give up on everything: church, ministry, relationships, and even life. I was not suicidal, but I was at the point where if death was near I was ready! I wanted to be free of this world, and its stress; and to finally be at peace with God! I strongly considered having myself committed to a mental institution, where I knew I could receive the help that I felt that I needed.

The lowest point also became the turning point for me! I went to a service one night and heard the worship team sing “He’s Able” by Voices of Unity! I sat in the audience, and it took everything within me not to scream! My heart and most of my head knew and believed that God was indeed able; but there was a small part of my brain that kept saying if God is able why am I still dealing with what I am dealing with. I didn’t have a response to that question…my seminary training and holy ghost sought to give explanations, yet that did not change the thoughts! I left service before the preacher got up to preach. As I traveled home, I asked myself ” What did I do to deserve this?” All I ever tried to do was to be myself, and be the best daughter, sister, friend, servant I could be! Yet those efforts seemed to be for naught. I was so TIRED! I didn’t know what else to say or do; I was done!

I decided to listen to Pastor Jason Nelson’s, “Place of Worship!” The song “I Shall Live,” started to play. As Pastor Nelson declared that he would live in spite of adversity and trouble, tears begin to fall from my eyes, and hope begin to bloom in my heart! There was no immediate change to my situation, instead each day was better. The tears stopped, and I was able to smile again. I was able to laugh and feel joy and peace. I promised myself that I would set clear boundaries in all relationships to ensure that I never reached this place again. Thankfully, after some time I was able to talk things through with my best friend, and we were able to begin to rebuild our relationship.

This situation was both a challenge and a learning experience for me. It challenged my faith, my beliefs about myself, and my mental and emotional fortitude. I learned to really take the time to care for myself, and that it is okay to do so. I also learned that real friends will tell you when you are wrong, and also forgive you when you make mistakes. Most importantly this lesson showed me that my tears do not suggest weakness. Instead, I learned that there is strength in being able to release these emotions in tears. Big Girls know that not only do they cry, but they embrace this ability because those who sow in tears, really do reap in Joy!

I want to thank: my parents; my twin sister, Deandra; my BFFF, Maranda; my friend and brother, Jamil; and my sister-friends, Cordelia and Renata. These people listened to me, prayed for me, corrected me, and showed me the meaning of real family and friends. Things are looking up in my life, and I’m grateful to know that God really is able!

I’m enjoying the journey and always striving to Make It Plain!

I’m Beautiful D***it

Don’t be thrown off by the title, I won’t be lacing this blog with harsh profanity! Those who know me are aware that I don’t use profane language in my everyday vocabulary. This title is actually taken from a song that I was recently introduced to by my bfff ! The song is one of self-affirmation that encourages all people to recognize the beauty that lies within us. Check it out!

I’m using this song to shine a light on the evolution of my self-image. When I was younger I never felt comfortable in my skin. I was more likely to be playing basketball with my brothers rather than playing dolls with my sister. My daddy is an avid fisherman, and we would take family fishing trips on the weekend. During these family trips I was most often found inside the truck reading a book; preferring the escape of fiction to actually fishing! I have a twin sister, and although we are not identical, people have always found it difficult to know who was who. My sister and I are different in many ways, most specifically in our body type. Thus, people deemed it easy to call her the skinny twin, which made me the FAT twin! While I know that there were no malicious motives behind this distinction, it worked to destroy my personal esteem.

I was not a part of the “in-crowd” in school, preferring the close circle of friends. We were all Band geeks and we loved being different. Yet, even with my circle I was still different because I was not interested in losing the big V, and instead of parties, we would most likely be found in church. I didn’t consider myself one of the pretty girls, and never thought I would be noticed by any of the guys whom I found attractive. I was not happy with any part of myself; my glasses were too big, I was too dark, and yes, even FAT!

There was no epiphany moment in which I recognized my worth; instead it was a slow progression into self-awareness. This self-awareness grew into self-knowledge which ultimately led to self-fulfillment. The more comfortable I became in my skin, the more my self-esteem grew. Truthfully, I have reached the point in life where I am so Happy Being Me! I love ME, even the things that I seek to improve upon. When people tried to question my femininity because I chose to wear my hair faded; it was cool because I was happy. I may not ever be supermodel thin, but I am so comfortable in my skin that it no longer matters. So whether other people recognize it or not, “I’M BEAUTIFUL DAMNIT!”

Make It Plain