Reconnect with Your Inner Beauty
“I am not my hair, I am not this skin, I am the soul that lives within.”
“Melanin is an incomparable beauty. From the lightest to the darkest skin tone, Black women are exquisite beauty in every shade. Yes, Black females have that special something that just can’t be ignored. We are melanin queens, beautifully created! respect the complexion.”
In a world that tells you the way you look is all that matters, it can be very difficult to focus on your inner beauty. Black girls are more subject to bullying about their looks than most others because of the society we live in, and chances are if you’ve been bullied or picked on for your looks, you may have internalized some of the harsh things that have been said to you. You should know that none of those things were true. You are as beautiful as anyone else, both inside and outside. Where beauty really counts is in the things you do and in who you are, regardless of how you look to the rest of the world. But there are many things you can do to remain radiant with beauty. So I wanted to give you a few tips to reconnect with your inner beauty.
A badass Black girl changes her focus. Cut yourself some slack. How often are you mean to yourself? “I’m fat,” “I suck,” “I’m ugly.” Would you say those things to your best friend? Then why are you beating yourself up? Since you were a kid, you’ve heard it: “Your looks don’t make you pretty, it’s the person inside who makes you pretty!” You’ve been taught to see inner beauty in others. It’s time to make a commitment to see the beauty that exists within yourself. It’s time to say: I accept myself and I love myself as I am. I accept my mistakes. I give myself permission to be vulnerable because I understand that it’s the key to increasing harmony in body and mind and reconnecting with my inner beauty. Once you learn to show yourself some compassion, you open your heart to finding what you truly care about, what makes you you, and there is nothing more beautiful than to be aligned with your values. Don’t wait for other people to acknowledge how badass you are—tell yourself every day. Give yourself the recognition you deserve by changing your focus. Often, we tend to focus on our weaknesses. Focusing on your strengths is the key to being aligned with your inner beauty and being in harmony with yourself.
A badass Black girl laughs often. Show your sense of humor and add a little sparkle to your everyday life, without resorting to sarcasm or cruelty. Humor loosens tensions, makes sad and pathetic events more bearable, and helps improve friendships and other relationships. Laughing can also reduce your risk of a heart attack by up to 40 percent (that’s a huge number) and helps your body metabolize blood sugar better. Look on the bright side…and you’ll live longer! You don’t have to be a comedian to spread this fabulous fun. Your sense of humor, as unique as your fingerprints, enriches the world. Think of a sense of humor as a muscle that needs training every now and then. Laugh and tune in to happiness. Maybe you felt it once before—during an afternoon stroll on the beach or while listening to good music. Time stopped, and the rest of the world seemed to fade away. You became fully present and felt fully alive. You felt happy—deeply satisfied. Even for a moment, happiness transforms us for the better. You can’t define it or measure it, but you recognize it when it’s present, and, surprisingly, without your saying a word, others know it too. We can all feel it. Start noticing what makes you happy and remember to have fun!
A badass Black girl stands up straight and dresses the part. Posture is important. It’s not about being stiff as a stake but about having a flexible, relaxed body position that keeps your spine healthy, your feet firmly planted on the ground, and your knees barely bent. Tuck in your stomach, relax your shoulders, and keep your head and neck in line with your shoulders. Allow your spine to assume a natural position with elegant curves. Instantly, you will be taller and more confident. In addition to mastering your posture, you may also want to dress the part. You can use your clothes and your outward appearance to make peace with yourself, but make no mistake: being at peace with your external image does not mean being fashionable and following trends. It means you’ve found your own style—the one that makes you feel like you. Clothes have superpowers—they can help you project a better image of yourself by bringing out your personality and what’s unique about you. Your clothes don’t have to be expensive and trendy. Just be mindful that, just as showing off your style may boost your confidence, some clothes—stained, damaged, misshapen—have the power to undermine your morale, highlighting all your physical “flaws” or making you invisible…to the world and to yourself. They may convince you that you are not good enough. You deserve so much better!
A badass Black girl is authentic. Authenticity is about balance: you can do what is important to you, while respecting others and treating them as equals. It involves knowing and respecting yourself enough to make choices that reflect your priorities while at the same time finding ways, kindly and tactfully, to tell the truth. To become skilled at this, of course, takes a lifetime—you don’t become authentic overnight. Start by looking at the areas of your life that are relevant to your values, and step away from activities that have nothing to do with who you want to be. Standing up for yourself while showing empathy to others: that’s the most authentic form of beauty.
A badass Black girl shows gratitude. Hopefully, you came from an environment that values good manners and you’ve been taught to say thank you. But gratitude is not just about good manners. Science shows that being grateful increases your own sense of well-being, and doing so spreads positive vibes around the world. Feeling grateful increases optimism, decreases pain and fatigue, and improves performance in school and work. It makes you more vigilant, more enthusiastic, more determined, and more attentive. As a result, gratitude can be a booster shot for your life, bringing you closer to others—it pushes you to help a friend, coworker, neighbor, or family member struggling with a personal issue. It is about emphasizing the good done around you with kind words. Not only does this type of gratitude uplift your spirits, but it lifts the spirits of others as well. Learn to focus on the positive things, to have gratitude for the little things, to appreciate the gifts and the obstacles in life that are essential to your growth. Once you’ve recognized the gifts that life has bestowed upon you, then you can share them and be generous. Volunteer to babysit a younger sibling. Donate part of your allowance to a good cause. Enjoy the satisfaction that comes from helping others. It’s interesting to note that helping others activates areas of the brain that are crucial for planning and organizing daily life. It might even extend your life! In one study, volunteers showed a 60 percent lower mortality rate. Whether you volunteer at the local pet shelter or join with friends to help Habitat for Humanity, there are benefits in letting your inner beauty shine.
“The kind of beauty I want most is the hard-to-get kind that comes from within—strength, courage, dignity.”
“And my mother again would say to me, ‘you can’t eat beauty, it doesn’t feed you.’ And these words plagued and bothered me. I didn’t really understand them until finally I realized that beauty was not a thing that I could acquire or consume, it was something that I just had to be.”
“I always felt like my value was much more in my intellect than it was in my appearance.”
“As Black women, we’re always given these seemingly devastating experiences—experiences that could absolutely break us. But what the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls the butterfly. What we do as Black women is take the worst situations and create from that point.”
“Whatever is bringing you down, get rid of it. Because you’ll find that when you’re free…your true self comes out.”
“You are your best thing.”
-- 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