A Beautiful Mine…

In my early 20’s my definition of beauty was greatly influenced by the commercial images that saturated magazine covers and television. I was a slave to society’s definition of beauty; so much so that it altered my perception of my own beauty.     

I remember standing in line at the grocery store staring into the faces of people who looked NOTHING like me. The hue of their skin was either white or light, their hair, long and straight and their bodies fit and lean. Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Time, People, Ebony or even my beloved Essence Magazine didn’t believe women that looked like ME were beautiful enough to grace their covers. 

The BEAUTY of aging is the wisdom of the life you’ve already lived; and the lessons you’ve gathered along the journey. I realize now that the absence of ME and women baring my resemblance, forced me to look inside mySELF and take note of the BEAUTY that dwelled within ME. It also made me appreciate the simplicity of life and find JOY in the BEAUTY of things that are often overlooked and taken for granted.

This month in O Magazine, Lady O poses the question,

“What’s BEAUTIFUL to YOU?” 

My initial thought, “O Magazine is about to redefine Beauty as we know it. An all inclusive celebration, encompassing women from all walks of life in different shapes, sizes and hues. A celebration of REAL women.”

I was elated as I thumbed through the pages looking for the featured article. I reached page 94, paused, and then flipped back to the front cover…

“What’s Beautiful to YOU?”

How To Find The Lovely In Every Day…

Instead of the Superficial celebration of  external Beauty I expected, I found an insightful exploration into the simple joy of LIFE. Eight enchanting stories about discovering the BEAUTY of the unexpected. From sugary treats to snail trails, these first-person narratives fed my soul and led me to reflect upon my own definition of Beautiful.

A Beautiful Mine… 

I was about 12 when I fell in love with WORDS. I was mesmerized by the captivating  beauty of a well written story. The alluring love affair of nouns, adjectives and properly placed punctuation would send my heart racing.  I was a bookworm and WORDS were my EVERYTHING.

Books and the artistry of brilliant authors were the gateway to my awakening. The works of Hughes, Angelou and Hurston slowly changed my perception of BEAUTY and the ESSENCE of being a full-figured,  black woman in America.    

The POWER of WORDS

WORDS are Transformative. WORDS changed ME. They continue to change ME.

The inspirational WORDS written on post-it notes that frame my bathroom mirror motivate ME. The reassuring WORDS of loved ones and friends lift ME and give ME strength and the Life affirming WORD of GOD repairs and restores ME. Words are my EVERYTHING.

It is the power of WORDS that empower ME and reassure ME that I am enough. My narrative is constantly evolving and as my story changes, so do the illustrations that accompany it. The young girl who once shied away from the camera, has become the Selfie Queen. A woman that fully embraces her brown skin, chubby cheeks, large thighs and ample bosom.

I will always be a work in progress, making self improvements and tweaks along the way but the improvements are by choice, not force. I’ve reached that part of the journey where I can Unapologetically say, “F@#K Society’s Beauty Standards!”          

BE BOLD

BE BRILLIANT

BE BEAUTIFUL

BE YOU, UNAPOLOGETICALLY

 

 

 

 

 

TCFStyle Expo 2018

Ignite ~ Engage ~ Empower

When you hear the words “Style Expo”,  you automatically think Fashion. And for the most part, The TCF Style Expo is just that. Two days of plus size fashion, workshops and runway shows to embrace women and their curves. A weekend of fun and laughter celebrating women of substance and women with purpose, women like me. Unapologetically Big, Beautiful, Bold women like me. Bloggers, models, brands and everyday women with at least one common thread, a love of all things FASHION gather together to Network and Glow. 

That being said, this year’s TCF Style Expo was so much more than Fashion for me. Several times during the weekend, surrounded by women who shared many of the same Hopes, Dreams and Desires that I hold in my heart, I felt enamored with myself and the possibilities of ME. In the days that followed, once I was home and settled; I was able to reflect and truly appreciate the event for what it was. I took time to take in the experience as a whole and ask myself the questions of Why I felt the need to be included in “This Tribe Called Plus”.

Why was I there? What value did I gain from the experience and more importantly what was my contribution to the community?

The answers come in waves. Aha! Moments that lend clarity and direction to a woman standing at a fork in the road, ready to make decisions and move forward.

The Mastermind Class was the Spark that IGNITED the fire in me that is still blazing today. Unapologetically Lisa, my blog and my baby that I’ve neglected for far too long, NEEDS my attention. Either, I’m going to nurture it or let it go. Give it LIFE or let it DIE.

The introduction of the Mastermind Class was ingenious and a welcomed addition to the TCF weekend. Marie’s, “Hey Girl Hey”, playfulness that we’ve all grown to love was replaced by Ms. Leggette’s seriousness and MBA that we’ve all learned to respect. I met women that were serious about the Business of Blogging. Women that were open and anxious to SHARE the struggles and triumphs of their journey to becoming successful Bloggers and Media Influencers.

Thus, allowing me to ENGAGE. I interacted and ENGAGED with women I would not normally be drawn to. I opened myself to the possibility that there were bonds to be formulated and collaborations to be explored outside the circumference of my “Sista Circle”.  My conviction that Successful women promote and encourage Success in other women was solidified. 

Which leads me down the road of truly acknowledging my niche and owning my purpose within the Blogging community.

I am not a Fashion Blogger.

Don’t get me wrong. I love pretty clothes and the allure of capturing the perfect picture, but these things are not the core of who I AM and therefore I find it difficult to be consistent. I blog for a while, do a few Instagram post and then slowly lose momentum. Why?

I AM NOT A FASHION BLOGGER!

Instead I want to create a platform with content that EMPOWERS others to Live their Best Lives. I want to tell the story of my journey from a disempowered woman afraid to FLY, to the very determined, EMPOWERED woman I am today. A woman ready to BE herself and live her TRUTH ,Unapologetically.

Who would have thought a Style Expo would influence such an awakening. I wonder if the woman behind the brand knows the depth of her REACH. That her influence has exceeded the pretty faces and fashion of the plus size community. That she is a curator of Confidence and an Inspiration to many.

I believe The TCF Style Expo is evolving and Marie Denee Leggette is transcending beyond the boundaries of the Plus Size Community. I’m anxious to see what tricks Ms. Marie has up her sleeve for Twenty Nineteen. Only 350 PLUS days to go! 

 

 

 

 

 

Middle of the Road

IMG_1938-1How do you do what you LOVE, while doing what you MUST?


 

                I’ve come to a fork in the road. I’ve been here before but this time is different. I finally have direction and I am very clear about my destination. Now all I have to do is figure out how to keep moving forward.  I’m finding it difficult to cram everything I NEED to do and everything I WANT to do in my 24 hour day, 7 day week. Yeah, Yeah I know I have the same 24 hours that Beyoncé has….whatever. She has several personal assistants, managers, drivers, chefs and a slew of Minions to keep her in FORMATION. I am practically a one woman show. It’s me and one Good, Good Girlfriend. So how do I keep the momentum going without having a mental breakdown and CRASHING? IMG_1931-1

           I need MapQuest… I need that Navigation Chick to chime in throughout my day and talk to me. “In 45 minutes post a picture on Instagram. In 3 feet, turn right, sit down at your desk and blog.”  Wouldn’t that be perfect? For me it would be ideal! BUT… since this is NOT about to happen any time soon, I am taking steps to figure it out on my own. To Thy Own Self be True….. Lisa Needs a written plan. I thrive off ‘TO DO LISTS’ and ‘SCHEDULES’. So I went out and purchased a HANDY DANDY NOTEBOOK and devised a Master Plan.

The First 5 Steps

Scheduling for Success and Planning for Progress

  1. Pray Daily, reconnect with Myself and God. Ask for His direction.
  2. Devise an hour by hour schedule that will help develop a routine that incorporates work obligations, writing/blogging, exercise and relaxation.
  3. Eliminate distractions and activities that are not productive.
  4. Eliminate the people and situations that are weighing me down.
  5. DO!!! Put steps 1 through 4 into ACTION! Open the doors that Lead to Success and Get Moving! IMG_1906-1 IMG_1923-1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To Thy Own Selfie Be True

It seems like just yesterday that the mere presence of a camera would have me running for the hills. I refused to pose for pictures, let alone take any of myself. And the thought of anyone posting pictures of me on any type of Social Media site would send me into a cussing frenzy. How dare you give the world proof of my state of being. I was Morbidly Obese, therefore I had to remain an invisible enigma. Standing in the shadows….out of SITE.

Oh but I had a DREAM….

I remember spending hours perusing the blogs of my favorite Blogger Baes. The Natural Fashionista, Marie Denee, Ms. Grown and Curvy and Chasity Garner were all Blogger Goddesses to me. I adored the images that adorned their pages. They seemed so confident, so sure of themselves. I wanted to be a part of their Plus Size Revolution. I wanted to Live and Thrive in their community. But in my eyes my size alone would keep them from rolling out the WELCOME mat on my behalf.  And despite the countless number of Supersized Bloggers that boldly flaunted their size confidence, I felt I wasn’t good enough. So I weighted. I weighted until I felt I was picture perfect. I weighted until I was confident in my SELFie.

 

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Knock, Knock…. I’s HERE!

Blogger Life and the Social Media Scene are all about capturing the Perfect Picture. A Sensational Selfie is all a sista needs to be LIKED. The right pose at just the right angle can stop a person in mid scroll and have them tapping away to show you Insta Love. I for one have been swept away by the trappings and thrills that come along with having a picture LIKED by complete strangers. BUT do all those little thumbs and hearts come at a cost? Have we lost our sense of Self in the pursuit of the perfect Selfie?

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE a good selfie, I really do. I’ve been late for events standing in the mirror snapping picture after picture. Smile, no smile, head tilted, shoulders back and stomach held in….all in an effort to capture a pic worthy of posting. Which is all fine and dandy within reason, especially if it leads people to my blog. I will Unapologetically abide by the rules and pay dues in the community I want to live in. What I will not do is compromise the contents of my HOME or my character to FIT in. What is IN my heart is far more important to me than the number of hearts on my Instagram posts. A picture may be worth a thousand words but a strong sense of SELF is priceless.

If you are a part of my Facebook family you know that I have recently started a Selfie Challenge. Being the perfectionist that I am, I want to work on taking a better picture. I love the arts and photography; so I would love to be able to capture pictures and moments that are visually stimulating. BUT I also want to Influence my Rubees to capture the beauty that lies within. The beauty that will truly elevate you to a higher level of understanding and loving yourSELF. So YES I do SELFies. I AM a Self-Educated, Self-Employed woman who has the Self-Confidence needed to know her Self-Worth. I am nothing without a full sense of SELF. Self-Love, Self-Respect, Self-Confidence, Self-Awareness…

Until you find yourSELF and embrace the parts of your inner being that really matter, you will be lost and broken and there is no amount of LIKES that can fix that.

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To thy own SELFie be TRUE, Rubees!

Lisa