You are what you decide you are
Dear Badass Black Girl, Don’t allow yourself to overthink and dwell on problems you can’t act on right now.
I used to take the bus every morning from Miramar to Miami, Florida, where I worked as a court interpreter. While in transit, I often noticed that most people cannot start their day without reading the latest news on their phones or tablets. Wars, famine, political chaos—those are very real, and the fact that these problems pull at your heartstrings says a lot about your kindness. But much of what people see in the media is sensationalized to draw attention, and it can create a lot of anxiety that doesn’t solve the problem and isn’t healthy for you.
Do what you can: If you want to help the victims of famine, and can afford to do so, make a regular donation to Action Against Hunger. If you can’t afford to gift your money, gift your time. Volunteer at a local soup kitchen, animal shelter, or hospital. Those are both actions that can make a difference.
But remember that you cannot always intervene and, even if you could, you couldn’t possibly solve all the world’s problems. If you already donate to or volunteer for a good cause regularly, take a break from bad news and the misery of the world—or select only information that is useful to you. Use that time to read a good book or magazine, listen to your favorite music, look out the window, and focus on your surroundings. Look for joy, an emotion you can create or find even in some of the unhappiest circumstances. It can be anywhere: in the beauty of the sky, in a Beyoncé song, or a conversation with the quiet girl on the bus.
At any moment, you can choose whether you are going to be optimistic or stress out, whether you are going to be relaxed or disturbed, whether you are going to act or convince yourself it’s hopeless. The choice belongs to you—all the time. I invite you to take two or three minutes to breathe calmly. Close your eyes, relax your shoulders, and remind yourself that every day is the right day to create joy and embrace gratitude. Your determination to create joy, whatever the circumstances, will lead you to freedom: If you want to be sad, no one in the world can bring you joy. And if you decide to be joyful, nothing and no one on Earth can take away that joy.
-- 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
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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