Bold Love: A Letter to My Young Sisters is a love letter full of personal experiences, science and deliberate encouragement to help one move through the challenges related to self-esteem, absent relationships and racial challenges. This body of work is written through the eyes of the writer as if she were her younger self. Bold Love speaks to young ladies and women that may not understand the pathology of their behaviors. Bold Love uses poetry and anonymous testimony to normalize any reader that may feel like their problem is one that only they have faced. Bold Love creates a platform to encourage self-reflection and makes a plea for one to accept their reality and not live in fantasy by holding on to what one believes should have been. The love letter is to encourage a young generation to learn who they are and where they come from and to not allow unfavorable circumstances stunt the promise that was put on their lives.
Excerpt from Bold Love, A Letter To My Young Sisters
Dear Black Girl,
My journey is worth journaling and one that I believe can help someone else. Learning to love myself is a continuous process, and I humbly welcome the growth that has taken place. Humbled because there was a time when I thought that to look at me was to see a fat, unhappy, girl with two birth defects on her face, also known as dimples. Humbled because I did not let the taunts about my weight or the fullness of my lips tear me down to the point of no return. Humbled that despite what seemed to be a life story chronicling dejection and self-hatred, I am a survivor of my own mind. I made the choice to release the negative thoughts that had plagued the mind and soul of a young woman who was yearning to feel normal. My journey is one that I was too shy and embarrassed to discuss: I have come from the absence of a parent, sexual abuse, being talked about, wondering why the boys did not like me, and hopelessly gazing at my friends and others that I felt had better lives than mine.
But God… I am thankful for a God who thought enough of me to intentionally show me my worth, beauty, and purpose. There is a song by CeCe Winans that simply says, “Mercy said no.” Mercy decided my life was worth more than the pain, and shame that I carried with me. Mercy is that by which my life is saved daily and refuses to let me go. Grace and Mercy saved my life and provided new experiences. Mercy decided that I am worthy. Mercy decided I get another chance, and Mercy said “Release your fears! And oh, but what about Grace? Grace, the precious gift that keeps on giving teaches me humility and gratitude for all things. Mercy: not receiving the punishment I deserve. Grace: unmerited favor. Because God, my higher power (yours may be something else), decided I was worthy and because I listened, I am here, a brand new me to share some words of wisdom with my young sisters of color.
Growing up as a black female carries a weight greater than most can understand. History tells a story of the woman being the rock of families. The woman is hard-working, provides for her family, is submissive yet strong– the Proverbs 31 woman. As society has evolved, our image of the woman has changed. The woman has worked in the civil rights movement, been a flower child, learned the latest dance steps. She has justified why she has been seen in compromising positions on social media, has been depicted as backbiting her friends, accepting disrespect from men, and has been degraded by a commerce that profits from portraying embarrassing trends. So how can growing up as a black girl be an easy or even understandable task? Who are we supposed to be? The girl who accepts a man who blatantly disrespects his responsibilities (Know that being a girl who disrespects the black man and fails to uphold her responsibilities is shameful too), or the girl who upholds a moral standard and is therefore viewed as lame?
Deciding the type of black girl you want to be is all up to you, just as it is up to me regarding who I want to be. No one else can make the decision of how we choose to leave our mark on this planet. Sure, our families, friends, society, and environment are influential, but the choice is yours and mine.
Through this body of writing, sage for my black sisters, my hope is to encourage the ability to view oneself as worthy of love, worthy of success, worthy of accepting how we were created, and worthy of life. The following is written for encouragement and normalcy. Included are quotations from women about their experiences with self-love, poems, and a first-person narrative. This letter is intended to be a teaching tool.
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