What Makes You BE-YOU-TIFUL

BE YOU.

i write this for those who cant yet see their beauty, and for me.

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so, i just looked up the word BEAUTIFUL and i dunno – something feels fishy with what the dictionary has decided this word should uphold.

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most of this definition feels superficial.  THIS is why it is so difficult for us to know how to truly process our [internal and external] beauty, don’t you agree?!

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I find myself more on the wavelength of Cristina Yang (from Grey’s Anatomy, duh).  I think that who we are on the outside is only made better and more prominent by who we are on the inside.  i am learning to acknowledge and honor my internal and external beauty more and more every day, then intentionally growing into my beauty as a part of my daily self love practices.  growing into our beauty?!  – i know, weird.

what I mean is:

  1. i accept who i am and love myself, no matter what.

  2. i am open to receiving love, not hate, and will give love back to the universe.

  3. i am made of all things beautiful, and I AM WORTHY.

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have you ever had a day where you just felt ugly? you felt of less value than others, and less appealing to the world around you.  I HAVE.  and on some level, i bet you have too.  i have felt triggered by things that people have said to me, by attention that i haven’t received (or have received when i didn’t want it, in some cases).  I have felt antagonized when my intelligence has been challenged publicly, my view points have been negated, or even when my height and weight come into question.  i have felt ugly when someone asks if i am sick, simply because i am not wearing makeup.  or when they look me up and down, then ask if I played basketball in school because of my size and skin color. * major eye roll *  I could go on for days, and so could you, i bet.

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and you know, it’s easy to get sucked into “the ugly place” (as i’ll call it).

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when we start to believe the negative things that people say about us, it truly messes with the trajectory of who we have the potential to become as individuals.  think about our childhoods – on the playground – a kid says something about you at random, and it sticks.  you believe it, and for years you go on with a stigma that was ignited by a kid who doesn’t even matter to you.

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that bad energy will have you stuck in “the ugly place”.  sometimes for years.

but now, let’s talk about how to get out of “the ugly place”.  let’s discuss the word BEAUTIFUL.  I like to break it down into BE-YOU-TIFUL, because that is the only way to stay out of “the ugly place” – to BE YOU.

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one day, after a major pity party, i decided it was time to buck up and get out of my own way.  i decided that my kind of beautiful was the only kind i need.  i made a conscious effort to block my mind / heart / soul from entering “the ugly place”, and to only allow in things that make me feel BE-YOU-TIFULI decided that I AM ENOUGH – I AM WORTHY.  I stopped seeking validation from people around me, and started purposely surrounding myself with people and things that made me feel both authentic and BEAUTIFUL.  and most importantly, i focused on growing my beauty from the inside out!

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it takes courage to be BEAUTIFUL.

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it takes courage to love yourself despite weird moments in life, despite things that make us obviously different than everyone else, despite the choices we do or don’t make.

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and it takes a solid foundation of internal beauty to fuel this thing we call life.

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it takes courage.  you are courageous.

a tribe of powerful contributors answered our latest survey, which is all about the word BEAUTIFUL.  Here is what they had to say:

So…what’s on your mind?

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what makes you feel BEAUTIFUL?

My smile, the sun, moisturizing my skin, my family, my friends. I wish I did a better job of consistently believing I am beautiful.

Being truly loved by someone

Covering my skin in coconut oil after a shower, wearing red lipstick, winged eyeliner, dresses that hug my curves.

Looking at my daughter. Just the mere fact that my body was able to grow another human being is amazingly beautiful to me.

Smiling. Not because of my smile itself, but because of what it signifies.

tell a story of a time you felt BEAUTIFUL on the inside.

I kept trying to answer this question. It’s weird because people will compliment my spirit and my heart all the time, and they say really kind things about the beauty and energy that’s happily bursting out of me and that I radiate light. I think they would be shocked at how much I don’t see myself like that. Logically, it must be true for so many people to see me like that, but I see so much gray area and room for improvement when I look inside of me. I come up lacking, wanting in my eyes. They see a beautiful spirit, I’m just eternally grateful I trust my people and their vision, their insights, and I hope to one day consistently and truly see beauty in myself without overthinking, and to trust what I sense in myself.

I had to really think hard about this one, and for a few hours. I don’t think about myself and self love too often. Some days it could be I had a good makeup day and I get compliments at the grocery store, other times it could be instant gratification at work after helping someone in need. But, the one time my heart truly felt beautiful was when I got done with a relationship and I realized my worth. I drove 5 hours back home to be with family and my closest friends and I realized my heart is full of love and it is strong. The power of the love I have is extraordinary. I am worth it, I am enough and I am beautiful.

Bringing it back to smiles, when I say/do something that makes another smile or laugh is when I truly FEEL beautiful. Knowing that my actions brought positivity & happiness to another, even if fleeting, is the ultimate beauty.

When I pay compliments to others, mostly women and girls of all ages and ethnicities I feel beautiful. Seeing their faces light up makes my heart so happy and makes me feel beautiful.

I’ve felt most beautiful when I was able to serve others. Whether it be providing food or just supporting someone in their time of need. Being a blessing to others is when I’ve felt most beautiful on the inside.

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i mean, come on!  CAN I GET AN AMEN?!

Contributors, whoever you are, THANK YOU.  You nailed it, each and every one of you. Your truth is my truth – it’s all of ours.  The things you said with such openness are the inner most thoughts that most of us avoid admitting to.

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I urge you to practice growing your beauty, friends.  put real effort into discovering how truly amazing you are right now in this very moment.

take a minute and look in the mirror – think about all of the things you’ve made it through and all of what is to come in your life.  think about the times you made someone’s day by simply saying hello, or giving a smile of approval to another queen or king you see in passing.  think about the times you didn’t do ‘that’ thing, or you got the courage to do that other thing you were afraid of.  you are amazing. believe it.

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YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL.

i will always end our #powerpact sessions by saying that i see you, i love you, and i am on your side.  let’s grow.

Comment below to add to this flow of thought.

catch me on the ‘gram if you want at @THEPOWERPACT

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Presence: The Gift That Gives Back

guilty as charged. i write this with myself in mind.

PRESENCE: when you are completely, utterly, fully existing.

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ok – so let’s just start this off by keeping it real.  social media and the iPhone ruined it for us all by turning life into a video game.  this crazy, loco new age world we live in has trained our minds to crave constant stimulation – from the moment we wake up until we close our eyes at night.  it’s messing with our ability to be PRESENT, and breeds a vibe of constant FOMO (fear of missing out – for the old heads) that we just cant shake.

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the world we currently live in has basically turned into the show Black Mirror – we are constantly seeking validation and approval from those around us.  technology has jedi mind tricked us into thinking that ‘likes’ and ‘engagement’ make us better people, and now we seek approval digitally just as much as we do through IRL human interaction. (IRL = in real life, oldies).

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it’s making us sacrifice who we are at the core; it’s causing these micro-spikes in our esteem and altering the way we navigate the world.  it’s effing with our true, at-the-core PRESENCE. ugh! something has got to change, and i believe that the change is already living inside of each of us.  we’ve just got to tap into it (no double tap necessary).  we are all true, real-life gifts to this earth and we must protect ourselves by constantly seeking ways to be[come] holistically ever-PRESENT.

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it’s a new year, friends.  and everyone typically creates these super-lofty goals and resolutions.  we make all of these internal promises to be “better” than we were the year before.  “better”, yes with quotes.  i struggle with that word, because better semi-implies a…i don’t know what it implies but it makes me feel weird inside.

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okay, well the dictionary proved me wrong.  the word BETTER is back on the table. i just don’t like it because it implies competition in some ways.  and there is no need to compete against your former self – it’s more about EVOLVING, being PRESENT in the moment, having a stronger PRESENCE in the world, and setting INTENTIONS to make your goals come to fruition.

Even if 2017 was all:

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it’s about coming into the new year feeling like:

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there are a few simple, practical, easy-to-implement things that i have added to my life’s routine that help me remain PRESENT and cut through the FOMO. i want to share them in hopes that it sparks something within YOU.  bible – sticking to these simple practices have helped me maintain balance and truly helped cut through the madness so that i can appreciate the life around me.

let me get my Erykah Badu on for a second:

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  1. Find your rituals – mine are: drinking a glass of water before i leave the house every day, saging my house and watering my plants every saturday morning, and using aromatherapy to keep my emotions in check.
  2. Do something for ME – every pay day, i do something small for myself.  i buy a new book, or some crystals / rocks,  or a shirt i’ve been eyeing.  nothing life changing, but just a little “good job” from me, to me. (oh, and i usually buy myself a donut somewhere in there too!)
  3. GIVE – i regularly make it a point to treat someone to coffee, donate clothes and money, surprise someone with something, offer a listening ear to a friend, support local artists and causes, or give genuine compliments to people who cross my path.  it makes me feel good inside and really makes me feel really PRESENT / in the moment to do something, even if it is small, for someone other than myself.

i asked a few anonymous friends to answer a survey about PRESENCE and to share their truths.  here’s what they had to say:

where did you focus your energy the most this week?

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what is the BEST gift you’ve ever received?

Motherhood. I was young and it accelerated my evolution. I’ve experienced nothing as challenging nor as rewarding as keeping separate, independent pieces of my heart alive outside of my own body.

Honestly? The adversity I’ve faced because it’s molded my self-identity and my perseverance. Gotta thank life for that one.

Nothing particular out weighs anything, anytime I’m shown compassion I’m sincerely greatful

When I really started getting into putting on make up my friend bought me a set of pink make up brushes (pink is my favorite color)

discuss a time when you were SELFLESS.

2017. for every 1 day of self pity, I would hustle 10 days for others.

Provided an entire thanksgiving dinner (fully cooked along with extra food for the month) for a single mother that also takes care of her family.

Selflessness is less of an instance of time and more a daily intention.

I typically would describe myself as such so this Q is particularly a difficult one for me. I think the best example I can give is that I said goodbye to someone I loved because I knew we weren’t a good fit and I wanted him to have everything he deserved, everything that made him happy — and I knew that was a life beyond me.

in life, when do you feel most PRESENT?  what are you doing, who is around?

Every time I get on a plane.

I’m most present when I’m one on one with someone who wants to learn or teach. I’m most present when I’m engaged in intimate, passionate conversation where walls are broken down and there’s a yearn to understand or to be understood.

When I am alone. Any other time I am struggling to find the right words

When I have volunteered in my daughter’s classroom. I am engaging with her and her classmates. I am observing the skills of the teachers. I am grading papers and sorting finished work into the individual folders. I’m fixing broken classroom books.

PRESENCE.

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PRESENCE is what keeps the volume turned down on the voices in our head.  it’s also how we know when to turn that volume back up and listen to ourselves – it’s how we know when to trust our gut.

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it’s knowing when to put the phone down, when to stop giving your energy to a situation that is not likely to improve.  it’s not being afraid to focus on yourself, for once.  it’s saying no and sticking to it.  being PRESENT is deciding not to apologize arbitrarily. PRESENCE is listening to and truly learning yourself. it’s doing things that make you feel like a whole person. it’s staying connected.

it is what you (and i) deserve.

actual footage of the new, more PRESENT version of ourselves:

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CREW – YOU ARE A GIFT.  NOW, BE PRESENT.

i will always end our #powerpact sessions by saying that i see you, i love you, and i am on your side.  let’s grow.

Comment below to add to this flow of thought.

catch me on the ‘gram if you want at @CALLMEKYLA

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I’VE GOT THE POWER.

i write this with a friend or two in mind. 

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POWER IS POWER, right?  or is it?

from time to time i need to reeeeaally feel like i’ve got the POWER.  don’t you? i need it to be mine – no like, actually mine. I need to see it / feel it / taste it  and like, have my auras dancing to it and all that. truth bomb: sometimes i need crazy, ridiculous, OMG  moments in my life that render me 100% POWERED up, that get my blood flowing – times that make me feel like this:

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….not always, but i need to stack up enough of those moments over my lifetime to keep me motivated and moving forward.  i also need small, tender moments of POWER.  choices. decisions. intentions gone right.  you know? i just need to be able to do this from time to time:

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don’t you?

as a new year comes upon us, i find myself doing a lot of necessary reflecting in preparation for setting my intentions and determining who i want to become in the upcoming year. and y’all, it’s official: I AM TAKING MY POWER TO THE NEXT LEVEL.  but like, what does that even mean, you ask.  and actually, your guess is as good as mine.  i know it involves asserting myself more, not apologizing unless i’m truly sorry, never hitting ‘reply all’ on corporate emails unless i mean to aka slowing down & paying attention (so far so good on that one), and being more mindful about the choices i make. what does it mean to you?

i asked a few friends to reflect & share their truth. (but i don’t know who, because my surveys are anonymous).  here are the results:

so…how are you?

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name a few things in your life that make you feel POWERFUL

The love I share with my spouse, Money (I know, I know), a really good smoothie in the morning works miracles and also, time – it makes me feel like the world’s most powerful person when time is on my side.

My never-ending drive to only let positivity into my life & to share love whenever I’m able.

God The Sun Makeup Trees Words Music Hugs Eye contact Vision

tell a story about a POWERFUL moment in your life. what was so dope about it?

It’s mostly little moments. Whenever I do something for someone else that involves “sacrificing” something, whether it’s knowing when to stay silent or simply doing something that’s only a mere inconvenience to me but kind of a deal for the other person. These things happen almost daily.

April 11, 2016, 6:00pm (phone rings) “he’s dead.” “How do you know?”, “tell me he’s dead.”, “he’s dead.” I prayed for God to take him away everyday for 10+ years; I couldn’t help but feel the power. There was nothing left to fear. His death afforded me courage in the absence of the fear he placed and if nothing else I have that nice thing to say about him to my son. That’s pretty dope.

The day we got married; the stars aligned and all was right. Everything was perfect, even though perfect doesn’t exist. It was still perfect and that made me feel invincible. I cried when I least expected to cry and laughed when I wasn’t supposed to. We were told the only way you would remember your wedding night was to go stand in the corner for 5 mins and just… watch. Take it all in and remember everything that was happening. We did it and that’s one of best feelings ever.

POWER.

POWER is what has inspired me to write this message – it is also what has prompted me to solicit the truths and stories of my friends. (thank you to those who contributed to this post – know that your openness is planting seeds for others.)

ok so, here is what i do know: i know that i want to use what POWER i have to emPOWER those around me.  i want to support friends, strangers, queens & kings alike.  that is the pact i have made to myself, and it is what i want to gift to you – little moments of mindfulness that help you remember / refine your ability to trust yourself, to recognize your growth, to harness your talent, and to take back YOUR POWER.  all while i do the same for ME.

https://img.huffingtonpost.com/asset/5a46c8b71c0000220068dc84.png?ops=1910_10002018 SHOULD FEEL LIKE THIS (and by ‘this’, i mean it should feel jaw-dropping, beautiful, diverse, at the top of the game, and extremely confident).  Each person in this photo represents a piece of you and and a piece of me – they represent the ideas we should pursue, the conversations we should spark, the self care we should invest in.

this level of power is already inside of us, it’s just waiting to be activated. 

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squad, let’s get active.

i will always end our #powerpact sessions by saying that i see you, i love you, and i am on your side.  let’s grow.

Comment below to add to this flow of thought.

catch me on the ‘gram if you want at @CALLMEKYLA