Embrace Your Imperfections
Dear Badass Black Girl,
Honey, you’re not perfect. I’m sure you know it. But embrace it. You have weaknesses—like everyone else. You’ll make mistakes—like everyone else. You’ll have a shitty attitude sometimes and say or do the wrong thing. You’ll hurt people around you. On some days, you’ll even look like crap, and you’ll find it difficult to love yourself. You’ll feel shame.
And you know what? That’s okay. Be happy to be alive, to be able to read this book, to have a conversation about it, to feel a ray of sunlight on your skin, to listen to the breeze move through the leaves of a tree.
While it’s not going to help you to focus on your flaws too much, it does help to do a little self-examination and see what you can improve, so you can feel better about yourself when you do screw up (as we all do). Self-compassion boosts self-confidence.
Don’t hide from your flaws and pretend you only have positive qualities and talents. Otherwise, how do you expect to evolve? Ask yourself: Are my shortcomings getting in the way of my talents? If the answer is yes, well…do something about it! American writer, feminist, womanist, librarian, and civil rights activist Audre Lorde wrote, “Only by learning to live in harmony with your contradictions can you keep it all afloat.”
Take the time to list your flaws in a notebook. If you have trouble, think about people around you and what they often blame you for (but I’m pretty sure you can create this list on your own more easily than your list of positive qualities!).
What area did your self-evaluation point at?
Now, ask yourself: How could you minimize these flaws—for the sake of allowing your talents to flourish? For example, maybe you’re part of a solid group of friends who want to become the new Spice Girls, but you cannot seem to earn above a D on your school report cards unless you spend extra hours on homework and miss singing practice. What can you do to remedy the situation? What can you do differently to catch up with schoolwork? Maybe instead of painting your nails during study hall as you usually do, you could find a study partner and buckle down. Then, you can make practices AND keep your grades up.
A healthy self-esteem allows us to put our troubles into perspective. When you love yourself, you recognize your struggles and accept them. This doesn’t mean you accept failure as the only outcome. It means looking at yourself without judgment and finding ways to work around your challenges. It means finding ways to grow into the person you want to become instead of giving up and going home because some things are a little harder for you.
Use your flaws as a springboard for change. Everything “modifiable” can be transformed into something beautiful. It will become a goal to achieve. For example: “I can’t keep up with my jogging partner” becomes “I’m going to exercise more and learn to eat well.” If you’re not happy with your limited French vocabulary, take a class. Thrive on obstacles. If people say something can’t be done, then push harder.
A Black girl with healthy self-esteem understands the difference between the judgment she makes on herself, and the assessment of her skills. For example, you may have a fairly good self-esteem and aware that your grammar skills are atrocious. A healthy self-esteem allows for a more complex (and fairer) vision of yourself. It allows you to embrace your imperfections. Close your eyes. Feel the difference between the two words accept and embrace. An embrace is kinder. It’s the hug you give yourself when you say, “It’s okay. No one is perfect.”
Have you ever noticed we put up with much more from our friends than with ourselves? We make excuses for our friends—we forgive their flaws, and we cheer them up when they feel like failures. But God forbid we’re faced with our own limitations: we feel worthless and often ashamed of ourselves. Celebrate the person you are today: Give yourself permission to come as you are. No change, no masks, no role, no excuses. Value both your strengths and weaknesses.
Embrace your imperfection as you would an old friend.
-- A creator of safe spaces, and an initiator of difficult conversations, M.J. Fievre, B.S. Ed, spent much time building up her Black students, helping them feel comfortable in their skin, and affirming their identities. Her close relationships with parents and students led her to look more closely at how we can balance protecting our child’s innocence with preparing them for the realities of Black life. When―and how―do you approach racism with your children? How do you protect their physical and mental health while also preparing them for a country full of systemic racism? She began to research the issue and speak to school counselors and psychologists to find (and apply!) strategies parents and teachers can use with their children to broach uncomfortable but necessary topics.
M.J. is the author of Badass Black Girl, a daily dose of affirmations for Black Girls
“You'll come away from Badass Black Girl feeling as if you've known the author your entire life, and it's a rare feat for any writer.” ―“Mike, the Poet,” author of Dear Woman and The Boyfriend Book
#1 Gift Idea in Teen & Young Adult Cultural Heritage Biographies, Publishers Weekly Select Title for Young Readers
Affirmations for strong, fearless Black girls. Wisdom from Badass Black female trailblazers who accomplished remarkable things in literature, entertainment, education, STEM, business, military and government services, politics and law, activism, sports, spirituality, and more.
Explore the many facets of your identity through hundreds of big and small questions. In this journal designed for teenage Black girls, MJ Fievre tackles topics such as family and friends, school and careers, body image, and stereotypes. By reflecting on these topics, you will confront the issues that can hold you back from living your best life and discovering your Black girl bliss.
Embrace authenticity and celebrate who you are. Finding the courage to live as you are is not easy, so here’s a journal designed to help you nurture creativity, positive self-awareness and Black girl bliss. This journal honors the strength and spirit of Black girls.
Change the way you view the world. This journal provides words of encouragement that seek to inspire and ignite discussion. You are growing up in a world that tries to tell you how to look and act. MJ Fievre encourages you to fight the flow and determine for yourself who you want to be.
Badass Black Girl helps you to:
Build and boost your self-esteem with powerful affirmations
Learn more about yourself through insightful journaling
Become comfortable and confident in your authentic self