After an hour dance class, my hair is dripping wet with sweat. After about twenty minutes of running my mouth with my friends in the lobby, I notice that my hair starts to dry. A lady walks up to me and says, “Oh wow! What do you put in your hair to get it to do that curl pattern?” As straight forward as I am and as tired as I can be of this question I answered bluntly, “Sweat!” She laughed, not immediately catching my sarcasm, and asked again, “No seriously, how do you get your hair to curl this way, I mean you’re obviously black… so how do you get “good” hair?” So offended by her assumption and ignorance I just walked away leaving her with my friend to go put on my shoes and leave. I overheard her say to my friend, “She doesn’t have to lie to me, and I just know there is NO dark skin girls who have a curl pattern like that who don’t put something in their hair.” Normally this kind of debate would anger me. However, I’m starting to see that there is a serious disconnect among black women when it comes to natural hair and I’m confused.
I thought natural hair what was naturally coming out of your scalp. Pardon me for thinking that it didn’t matter what products you put in your hair, but your natural hair was whatever state your hair was in without any enhancements, curling puddings or soufflé’s, or any treatments, etc. With all the natural hair modifications that some women purchase to get that perfect curl pattern, is it really considered natural? I long for the days in the 70’s, 80’s, and even the early 90’s when nappy was awesome. It wasn’t about some shining curl pattern, black women were proud to wear afro’s that may or may not have frizz. Nowadays, some of these natural sisters throwing shade on other naturals for being too kinky and too nappy and not enough body and shine. GTFOH!
I know currently the natural hair community is a money making business, profiting off some women who want to feel included in the club and seeking knowledge about it. I get it. However, for me going natural wasn’t only about accepting myself for who I am, but also for convenience. If I have to shell out $10 for curling products, $10 for ant-frizz, $10 for curl refreshers, $10 for twisting gels or oils, and more money on other crap, then I might as well go and get that $5 box of relaxer because the natural hair community is stressing me the hell out.
I literally don’t have the best curl pattern in my hair and with a lot of manipulation my hair gets frizzy and nappy just like other people. However, I have never had to shell out a lot of money to achieve the best wash & go for my hair. I don’t see myself getting that involved in the community because I choose not to spend a whole lot of money, to be something that is already natural to me. Many of my friends feel the exact same way. Like how could the industry mess yet another awesome thing up as black women accepting themselves for who they are? Going natural is hard enough, then to have your fellow sisters judging you and telling you the best style for your God-given head, the way to achieve the perfect curl according to the majority. Why would black women approach me and say they can’t go natural because their hair will not come out like mine? Who is feeding them this garbage? I think a bunch of insecure naturals are gathering trash tips and making other insecure naturals feel bad about their naturals. Some black women are delivering a message of self-hate in a community that is supposed to be just the opposite.
My hair is an accessory, my beauty is from within. Therefore whether I’m natural on Monday, weaved –up on Tuesday, and flat-ironed on the weekend, it doesn’t take away from who I am and what I believe. God made me just the way He intended me to be, no amount of products and enhancements will change who I really am. Don’t allow people to make the simple things that we enjoy so damn complicated. You can always tell the insecure from the confident, because the confident could give a damn if they were like everyone else or not, they walk to the sounds of their own music and live without looking back… naturally.
For more of the Baddest Creative Motivation, follow me on Twitter @GaptoothDiva
It’s so refreshing when you see an artist with a message; it’s even more refreshing when that message is in conjunction with exactly how you feel. Lately, I have been having this hunger for the word and for change. I noticed that everything related to life, struggles and blessings are mentioned in the bible one way or another. All my life I felt as if I was being pulled into two different directions, as if I was in a game of tug and war with me being the rope. As strong as I am, as I feel God has made me, it’s apparent that my gifts and talents far exceed whatever expectations I have or understand, and my enemy know that. It’s a fight, as I mentioned before in It’s a War Happening Right Now! Using Faith As My Armor: A Letter from The Battle Field.
So thankfully, I see inspirational videos come my way, or by way of my husband, and I’m excited. I really want you to check out this video and support this couple. T-Rock and Priceless have been rapping for over 11 years. They also have been married to each other for 6 years. They currently reside in Richmond, Virginia with their 4-year-old daughter and 9 month old twin boys. T-Rock and Priceless are passionate about Jesus and greatly desire to see our present world have a life altering, authentic encounter with the only true and living God. They believe our generation is no longer satisfied with church as usual. There is a desperation and hunger for the presence of God and real change. These two have decided that they can no longer sit idly by as the enemy destroys families and attempts to completely mar any trace of the image of God in our society. T-Rock and Priceless are relentless about Biblical truth and seek to relay the Gospel in a relevant way through rap. However, it doesn’t stop there. They want to present Jesus in a tangible way as they serve their community and local church. Through their dynamic testimonies, T-Rock and Priceless want others to see how God has transformed their lives for His Glory. Moreover, in doing so, they hope to respond to the cry of the people and bring glory to God.
Through their lives, they both have endured struggles, trials, and tribulations, and their lives currently are great examples of how merciful God is and how awesome God has been. Avoiding circumstances that could have ultimately made them statistics, they both relied on prayer and service to see them through, and through their work they are aiming to inspire others to do the same.
Check out “The City” by T-Rock and Priceless….
Email them for more information: email@example.com
It’s impossible to think that with any ounce of beauty, talent, or self-respect that everyone is going to love you and adore you everyday. There are people out there that hate their circumstances so bad, hate what you represent, and compete so hard that they will go out of their way to step on any ounce of respect you may have for yourself. Truthfully, you can say you don’t care, but deep down inside that’s false. You care and it bothers you. Why can’t people shine without getting some shade by some people around them? Why is it difficult to make moves in your life without the obstacles of haters, negative comments, and gossip/rumors? If I go to the bible, it’s clear that even the most perfect individual, Jesus Christ dealt with haters and naysayers, so what makes you so different? However, let me break down how to overcome the responsibility of being great and doing great things. Because with every step of glory there will be groans and moans of envious, jealous, and hateful people. How you deal with it makes all the difference for yourself and your life.
This is a hard task, please believe me. I often want to spazz out, snap, go off, and start hitting below the belt when folks talk to me or about me sideways. In fact, I used to go all out to destroy people verbally and even physically at times, frustrated that they had the audacity to come against me. However, I remember that my purpose is greater than that. I’m a mature woman with values and goals that don’t include petty people who aren’t happy with themselves. It’s not easy to be nice all the time or kill them with kindness, but that’s how you are supposed to live. Vengeful/vindictive behavior is just a vicious cycle that will never end. Treat them with kindness regardless of the hate and shade thrown at you. You don’t have to be fake and buddy up with them, but cordial doesn’t cost a thing and swallowing your pride is fat free.
People are going to talk about you… and badly, too. They are going to gossip about you, insinuate things, and assume that you are something that you might not be. It doesn’t matter. When you are called to a purpose and you are driven and focused, it doesn’t matter what people say. You don’t have to address every hateful comment or every rumor that comes back to you. God can handle it. If you ask Him to deal with the small stuff, so that you can keep working, God will have your back. Don’t respond to the foolishness; don’t give your haters the luxury of pulling you down with them. Let them reach; let them talk, because they have the time. You only answer to divine descriptions of yourself, you answer to greatness.
Don’t you ever, ever, ever dumb yourself down, ugly yourself up, or limit your possibilities for the sake of other people. You may not want to step on people’s toes, but don’t starve yourself and your glory. Be the best person you can be, be the awesome individual God created. Don’t worry about people talking about you or hating on you. They will do this regardless if you fail or if you win, so stay focused. If they can’t take your shine, then inform them where they can get some sunshades or tell them don’t look straight at you. I’m going to shine despite what they say, what they do, and if my shine makes them uncomfortable, they better back up and give me some room… it’s about to get hot! That should be your attitude, don’t feel like you have to limit your abilities for the sake of someone else, because they’ll either stifle you or despise you, both of which is not your concern. Shine bright!
Life has a way of throwing obstacles in your way. Bills, illness, loss, setbacks are all apart of the system. However, don’t worry about what people can see and what they might find out. You belong to someone greater and more divine than any of us, you answer to Him. He knows your heart. Your life should be pleasing to God, not people. Therefore, so what if you have to downgrade your house, car, or your style, God is going to bring you back when you are ready. We aren’t in a race with other people; we are on a journey with God on our own. Through all the obstacles and circumstances, find something to be grateful for and praise God. Find things in your life that you know are blessings and thank God despite the pitfalls. God wants to know that you know how to keep your light shining through it all.
It kills me when people talk about how awesome they are, and how blessed they are with talents, materialistic things, etc. However, despite being blessed in one way or another, they spend most of their time trying to prove… “I’m the best”! So much energy goes into getting people back, proving people wrong, hurting those who have wronged them, and vindicating themselves, that they don’t even realize that they’re going in circles. God doesn’t bless you so that you can beat it upside someone else’s head and make them feel inferior. God blesses you, so that you in return can be a blessing for someone else. Therefore, if you haven’t fully dealt with your own insecurities and trials, you will lose ultimately in the end. Spend your energy on your purpose and fulfill that. You don’t need to prove that you are untouchable, unstoppable, and the best at what you do with words of grandeur and idle threats to no one in particular, your actions and good will speak volumes to the people. Spend your energy on being pleasing to your Creator and not on the people throwing you shade or shade that you created for yourself. Spend it being awesome and blessed with your acts, not your boastful tongue.
I want to see people be the best that they can possibly be, I know it’s difficult… but it is possible. I used to think limiting things myself, but I’ve learned that if we are truly honest with ourselves and we deal with our insecurities within, we can overcome anything with His glory. I’m excited to see what happens next. God bless and have an awesome Easter Weekend.
Love and Awesomeness,
For more of the baddest creative motivation follow me on Twitter @GaptoothDiva
Last year my husband had the awesome privilege of attending the Camp Diva Date with Dad Dinner and Dance, and came home talking about how amazing the whole event was. Naturally, we discussed all the beautiful dresses the girls wore and the fathers who compassionately accompanied their daughters to this event, which celebrated love and the bond between father and daughter. At the time my relationships with my own father was strained and virtually in limbo, so I felt my heart tug when my husband joyfully described the love and affection shown to each girl by her father. It was the pictures that depicted fun, excitement, and grandeur, which made me want to attend the event this year on my own. However, it was my husband’s powerful testimony that enticed me to make the decision to repair the relationship with my father and bring him along, with my two sisters as well.
I knew from the very beginning that God had his hand in this situation. As I was preparing to talk with my Dad about attending, my sisters had already caught wind of the event through social media, as I was tweeting and posting it to Facebook. Immediately when I suggested that we should all go, they both squealed in delight. “This will absolutely bring us all together!” they exclaimed. It was just a matter of asking my Father. When I arrived at my father’s house to ask him, I must admit I was nervous. In my late twenties, I have never embarked on something as wonderful as a father/daughter dance. I would have never imagined inviting my father to an event like this, or even him attending one with me. We just were never that type of father/daughter team. Neither my sisters nor I knew what was going to happen, but I stepped out in faith and invited my Dad anyway. My Dad immediately said “yes!” I was ecstatic. He said it sounded like a great idea and he too wanted to start spending more time with us and create a stronger bond with his daughters. This was going to be an experience I never wanted to forget.
I prayed on it the whole way through. Most of us were struggling financially, trying to make ends meet and pay bills. Just barely keeping our heads above water, I faced the challenge of paying for all four of us to attend the event. With tickets costing $25 each, I knew I wanted to contribute to the event and deliver an awesome experience to my sisters and father at the same time. I had to get to work. The Date with Dad was my priority. Most of the people I talked to were difficult to close on the idea that they too should contribute to this monumental occasion, some even suggested that it might not be worth it. Here I am trying to help and create a wonderful memory for not only me, but other girls and their fathers too, and obstacles were coming from left and right. I pressed on, I sold clothes, I contracted work, and saved pennies just so that I could attend with my family and give them the night I promised. I could only imagine the work that the women of Camp Diva have to put into what they do. They are truly an inspiration. The ability to keep explaining your vision, your dream, and your purpose to people, in the hopes that they too buy into it and can contribute a small iota of assistance to see it flourish… it monumental. Those women are amazing!
I finally got the money together and I paid for my ticket, Glory to God! We scheduled a date to help my Dad find a suit, which for some reason was rescheduled three to four times due to scheduling conflicts. However, when we finally got together, it was an awesome Saturday afternoon. We laughed, we cracked jokes, and we talked. Something we rarely get to do with him on our own. It’s that nervous feeling around him, as if you’re meeting someone for the first time. We ask ourselves constantly, “Does he know this” or “Have I told him this”. This event was going to be the catalyst to jump start a relationship with our father. This was going to be the marriage of a father/daughter bond that we never experienced. We wore variations of white and gold, because we were solidifying a solid bond with this man, who we have lived with our entire lives, but know rarely anything about. Our Dad, who has always provided for us, but never really tried to get too close. This was our chance to change what history has tainted, and I couldn’t have been more excited if I tried.
The night was beautiful! In gown and dresses, my sisters and I stepped out with our father in a spectacular way. I walked in a saw all these beautiful little girls and gorgeous women, all adorned in pretty dresses and incredible smiles. My Dad was dapper in his suit and tie, looking nervous but excited himself. He cleans up well, and we were so proud to have him on our arm. As we ate and drank punch at the table, marveled by the beautiful families around us, we laughed and joked the whole night. I am not going to lie and say that we weren’t at the table waiting and ready to get “turnt up”. I wanted to dance and watch everyone else get his or her party on as well. So right after the celebration of the Real Father Award Winners: Congratulations to Harold Coles Jr., Scott Randall, Thomas Nixon, Anson Owen, and Nelson B. Farrar and the Father/Daughter game with Actor Chad Coleman (Miss Evers Boys/The Wire), Juan Conde (Anchor with TV 8) led us into the dance portion of the evening.
My Dad was a straight crazy man on the dance floor and I loved it. We laughed at his silliness and delighted in his ability to just let go and be free. It’s times like this when I realize that time is never promised to us, and if I could make that moment in time last forever, I would. Nevertheless, I soaked in every minute of it, and enjoyed every second. He talked with Juan Conde and shared stories about us when we were little, listening to him on the radio when Juan was with Power 92. He was so excited. He ran and took pictures everywhere and profiled in his suit, something he doesn’t get to wear often enough. I was proud to have him with me that evening. My sisters looked beautiful and my Dad was so excited, the evening turned out better than I could have ever imagined.
When I think about what Angela Patton and everyone with Camp Diva are doing, have done, and are attempting to do with these young girls in Richmond, I kind of wish I was a little girl again. I wish I had this when I was younger, because we wouldn’t be trying to begin a relationship with my Dad as adults, we would be celebrating what already was in place. I wish that some more people out there were diligent in trying to institute something so precious as that bond, like Camp Diva is doing. Nevertheless, my mission was to prove that it is never too late. As a grown woman with children of my own I’m making it my business to make something happen between my sisters, my dad, and I. Life is too short and I don’t have the time for “should’ve, could’ve, and would’ve”, I want to take advantage of these opportunities when they come. I didn’t know if I was going to even be able to afford to do it, but my trust that God was going to see me through, and it did, it saw me through that hotel, with two beautiful sisters and my handsome father in tow. So just when you think it’s not important for you to strive for life has a funny way of showing you, everything is worth it and more. Our experience is one for the books, a lifetime memory and a whole lot of love was in that room at the Marriot. Camp Diva did an awesome job in putting that together and creating a chance for fathers to make their daughters feel special. I can’t wait to attend next year; I hope that I see you at the table beside us.
Shout out to Melody Short (Artisan Café), Craig Watson (Lyric Ave), Rob (Peace Clothing) who I saw and spoke to that evening. A huge shout out to Angela Patton, Ayana, Lisa, and all the beautiful women of Camp Diva (Camp Diva).
Please follow and support Camp Diva www.CampDiva.org
To see more photos go to my Facebook Fan Page at www.Facebook.com/GaptoothDivaonline
She was my Spanish teacher in High School, a time that probably was the most confusing in my life. I didn’t really know who I was or what I wanted to do, all I knew that I needed to get out of my house. Everyday, I would come into her class with some crazy drama after another, most of the time taking attention away from the day’s lesson. She would shake her head at me, laughing behind her chic framed glasses, saying, “I’esha, you’re a trip!” I loved her, probably one of my favorite teachers ever. She was young, fun, and just the coolest person ever. I admired her so much. Her style, her confidence, her short hair, and her spunk, was something I wanted for myself when I reached her age. She held a sense of freedom and laughter that most of the teachers at that school seemed to have lost down the road. Her youthful spirit and her love for the kids that she taught made her standout among the other staff, which made her our favorite. Although she was great at her job, she didn’t hold back from being real either. She talked to us like the young adults we were and never pretended to be perfect. That characteristic alone made me realize the kind of person I wanted to be growing up.
Little did I know that she suffered from Multiple Sclerosis (MS). She mentioned it briefly back then, but as a kid, I couldn’t even imagine researching it, let alone already knowing what it was. According to WebMd.com (http://www.webmd.com/multiple-sclerosis/default.htm), “Multiple Sclerosis affects the brain and spinal cord. Early symptoms of multiple sclerosis include weakness, tingling, numbness, and blurred vision. Other possible warning signs are muscle stiffness, thinking problems, and urinary problems. A multiple sclerosis diagnosis is made by the history of symptoms and a neurological exam, often with the help of tests such as an MRI or a spinal tap. No one’s sure what causes multiple sclerosis, but it may be hereditary. There’s no cure for multiple sclerosis, but treatment can relieve worsening of symptoms.”
I didn’t see any signs of it back in 2003. She appeared fine to me. She danced in class, she play fought with us, she jumped up, laughed, and had a ball every period we were sent there to learn the Spanish language. Fast forward to present day, many years have past, two marriages between us, and my two little boys in the living room watching us converse. She is limited physically, her body not moving as frequently and youthfully as it once did. Her speech is different, but her smile remains. Only in her thirties and this disease is trying to make her appear older than what she is, what I know her heart feels.
I think about my life and the lives of all the people that I know. To lie and say that we don’t complain would be foolish. To pretend that we don’t get frustrated with our day to day, with the hustle and the grind, is blasphemy. While Joy, my beautiful friend and former Spanish teacher is confined to her home most days due to this illness, we have the ability to go outside and to be mobile. While she struggles to walk and often depends on her loving husband to assist her, we can do whatever our hearts desire. How shameful am I to have ever complained! God still manages to put a smile on her face, no tears or pity saturate her eyes and she often lacks the very thing that most of us take advantage of daily. The ability to move and be free.
When I think about how hard life is, and the struggle that even my own people seem to want to put me through, I have no choice but to fight. While she inspired me as a child, she still inspires me this very day. I think about how something we don’t even think about like MS can take the small things away from her like that, and how it could happen to anyone of us. Despite losing basic freedoms like wearing heels and going out, driving to the beach and having fun, running around with the children, she still smiles and still laughs. She still loves with all her heart and still cares. I tell myself everyday…
I must because Joy can’t
I must get up, I must keep going, I must not stop, I must not fall, I must love every minute of this struggle and enjoy the abilities that I have. I must because she can’t.
She is my inspiration. I saw her when she was different, I knew her before MS took over and I love her. I love her today, because when most of us would’ve been too in pain, to hurt, and too embarrassed to smile and laugh and reach out to friends. She keeps going. She keeps striving. When even the strongest of us would’ve given in to this disease and used it as a crutch, she is a fighter. Joy proves to me that if she can, I better! I had better strive, I had better fight, and I had better win… for JOY!
More than 400,000 people in the United States have MS.
An estimated 2,500,000 around the world have MS.
About 45 percent of the people with MS are not severely affected by the disease.
Diagnosis of MS is usually between 20 and 40 years of age.
MS affects more women than men, with a ratio of 2:1.
About 85 percent of those who are newly diagnosed have the relapsing-remitting form of MS.
Without disease-modifying therapy, about 50 percent of those diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS will become progressive at 10 years.
Without disease-modifying therapy, about one-third of those diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS will be using a wheelchair at 20 years.
MS does not significantly affect life span.
The course of the disease is unpredictable and no two people will experience the same set of symptoms.
There are four types of MS: relapsing-remitting, secondary-progressive, primary progressive and progressive relapsing.
Among young adults, MS is the most common disease of the central nervous system.
Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of MS.
MS is not contagious.
MS is a progressive disease for which there is not yet a cure.
Increased understanding of MS has led to the development of many new treatments that target both the disease process and its many symptoms.
In countries further from the equator, the incidence of MS increases.
Sclerosis is a Greek word meaning hardening of tissue or scars.
MS is not inherited or genetically transmitted, although there does seem to be some genetic susceptibility to the disease.
This weekend, March 16th at A2, TAG (The Alliance Group) will be holding a day party and charity event to benefit MS. They have collaborated with Jamia Thomas Crockett, an advocate for MS who travels the country sharing her story on life with MS and inspiring many. Check out Jamia’s story here: (http://main.nationalmssociety.org/goto/myMSheels). Although Joy and I can’t attend I encourage you all to be there and support. The details are here on their Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/578271065518182/
You might have been laid off, or struggling with a job situation. You may have been given a notice that the rent is seriously overdue or the lights are going off. You may have seen a shift in your relationships with certain people, and you’re wondering what in the world in going on. It may just seem like you are being attacked for one reason or another, and you just can’t get up.
I know the feeling. Many people know the feeling. The insurmountable agony of trying to overcome one obstacle and another, all without catching your breath sometimes can wear you out. I wouldn’t dare lie to you and say, it doesn’t get hard sometimes. I lose it. I cry. I vented to people that I probably shouldn’t have, knowing all the time… all I needed to do was pray. Therefore, don’t feel bad… just have faith.
It’s struggle trying to be a better human being. Life is full of temptations, easy routes, and shortcuts that look so good to you. You’re trying to make things happen, you want a blessing or two, and everything around you is saying if you only do this, it’ll come to pass. It’s easier to succumb to negative ways; it’s easier to rely on negative people, its so darn easy to just talk about it, rather than be about it. Pretending the struggle isn’t there doesn’t make it go away. Pretending that you can hustle your way out isn’t going to make the struggle less painful. This is something I’ve learned the hard way.
My husband, children and I were just in a car accident, I never said a word. My health started to take toil on me; I kept smiling the whole way. I kept getting offers to do things that the “old I’esha” would’ve jump at for the chance to make some money, but I turned them down. Why did the “weed lady” from six years ago call my number, asking me if I wanted to cop? I sent that woman straight to voicemail and deleted the message. Another individual broke my heart, and I still extended love and respect. I’m in a war at this very moment, as even as I write this I’m battling. It would be so easy for me to revert to old ways and old behavior, because back then when I was “that” chick, life didn’t seem to attack me. Back when I was not praying, not reading, and not being anything close to a virtuous woman, life was gravy.
That’s how I know… I’m doing well. I know I’m walking right, because the enemy doesn’t attack someone who isn’t a threat. I know I’m pleasing God, because the dumbest things will happen to try to push you into being that awful person, that negative thinking individual, but I kept saying “Thank you God!”
In the accident, I said, “Thank God we’re still here and the car still works”. As my health started to affect me, I said, “Thank God I can still move and I have my life”. After the drug dealer called, I said, “Thank God, I’m able to handle my issues without smoking”. When my heart was broke, I said, “Thank God for the time spent and the lessons learned”. When the bills piled up and temptation came with opportunities for money, I said, “Thank you Lord for confirmation that my work is being recognized”, despite the fact I said no.
I’m in a war! They want me for something, but they can’t have me, because I belong to something greater. I can’t go back now.
Through all this fighting, I had to tell you just how awesome He is. I had to share that I am being blessed beyond measure, with more than I deserve. It’s a fight though, but I’m staying prayed up. I just hope that you are as well.
What’s for you is yours. However, no matter your circumstances, believe that it’s just preparing you for something awesome down the road. We’re in training for greater things. Say “Thank You Lord” for all things, big and little, in times of hurt and of plenty. It’s amazing the moves He makes, when we just believe. I wasn’t supposed to update today, but I needed to get this off my heart and into yours. God has something so spectacular for you… just wait.
With Love and Awesomeness,
This time last year I was confined to my queen size bed, legs elevated, hating everything about life. I was pregnant, but I was sick, hurting, and too emotional to be around the public. It was sad. The year before that I was preparing to get wasted out of my mind. Planning a party in my loft for any and everybody who saw the Facebook post, I bought liquor, food, and some other things wanting to give people I barely even knew the time of their life. It’s so funny, how two separate years, showed me two very different people. There was the excessive party girl who would go so hard that she couldn’t keep her eyes open. She was so reckless and so ready to give up most of the time, on one hand. On the other hand, just last year I was forced to sit back and focus on what was truly important, my children, my husband, my life. It’s not until I was FORCED to sit my tail down, did I see… how much my life was really worth. I pray that nobody ever gets to the point of being forced, but if they do, I hope that they take the time not to wish they were somewhere different, but to capture the lesson being put on them at that very moment. Glory! Because most of you don’t even realize, don’t even know… I wasn’t even supposed to be here. Therefore, I’m thanking God everyday that I could see today.
I’m celebrating my birthday and I want you to celebrate with me. This Saturday, I’m having a very chic and fabulous Day Party in Richmond, Virginia’s Shockoe Bottom. We will be at Island Bistro (1726 East Main Street) from 5pm to 9pm. This is a Networking style party dedicated to celebrating all of us making major moves in the New Year and collaborating with each other. Mingle and mix with a diverse crowd of individuals who value, love, life, art, and family. I’m giving my celebration to you. It would be nice not to work an event for a change, but to sit down and talk candidly with the people I’m inspired and motivated by.
Island Bistro (Shockoe Bottom)
1726 East Main Street Richmond, VA 23219
February 23rd, 2013 5pm -9pm
Network, Mingle, Party, and Chat w/ I’esha GaptoothDiva
Brought to you by the Queen of Marketing, Mareesa Dawn @1marketingqueen
DashA’veri Vintage and Thrifted Redesigns is having a sale! I’m giving all my supporters and friends 35% off on all items until Saturday. Despite the fact that everything is already low priced, because who doesn’t want style for practically nothing, I’m giving you a b-day gift from me. So get your daughter something, your cousin, your friend, or yourself, it’s all on sale. DashA’veri also offers delivery and pickup for those of you located in the Richmond Virginia area, so don’t worry. We will get it to you! Check out the site and buy whatever you want. New stuff every month, but this sale only last for a limited time.
I’m so excited to be 25 years old for the 3rd time. Don’t worry about the math on that, just celebrate with me. I hope to see you this weekend, but if not we have all year long to shake things up. It’s our time!
I feel funny writing this, because as off the chain as I can be at times, people don’t realize that I do strive daily to be a better woman, servant, wife, and mother. It’s hard when you have people provoke you, you allow yourself to be stressed and fazed, or you feel overwhelmed. It’s easier to go crazy, to snap, to drink or smoke, and to lose sight of why you’re here in the first place. However, lately I’m finding that my only sense of peace comes from knowing that I diligently pursued happiness by any means necessary. I’m only content when I believe in my heart that I pleased my Creator in some way by being the best person I could be to the people around me. I keep saying that I’m not perfect; I do have my “ratchet” ways at times, please don’t make me mad. Lol. Nevertheless, growth and progress comes from knowing that as you go all-out to be a better woman on a daily basis, similar to exercise, you will see that “ratchetness” occur in your life less often. I think that’s all God wants anyway, for us to at least try, not judge, but try to be better people individually. So, while we attempt to improve our own lives, hopefully people can be inspired by that and make every effort in their own lives as well.
Earlier I came across 31 Status (http://www.31status.com/) a movement created to show women how to live a Proverbs 31 kind of lifestyle. I found this to be one of the most inspiring things I ever seen. These women collectively decided to motivate other women, to be better women. It’s not a race, a competition, or a battle; it’s a unified pursuit to improve each other. I want something like this in Richmond, Virginia. It seems everyone is hustling to get that business started, trying to blow up, attempting to be the next big thing out of RVA. However, if we collaborate to improve what’s internal, I know for a fact that everything on the outside and all around us, will undoubtedly become better. I’m living proof. Talk to anybody who knew me prior to last year. They’ll say I was off the chain, but as I read more, got closer to God, and I started to value my time and myself, I’m not that woman anymore. Proverbs 31 teaches us to become better individuals. I don’t want to preach to you, because you can read it for yourself. However, you have no idea how much faith plays a big part on the blessings we receive.
1. Faith - A Virtuous Woman serves God with all of her heart, mind, and soul. She seeks His will for her life and follows His ways. (Proverbs 31: 26, Proverbs 31: 29 – 31, Matthew 22: 37, John 14: 15, Psalm 119: 15
2. Marriage – A Virtuous Woman respects her husband. She does him good all the days of her life. She is trustworthy and a helpmeet. (Proverbs 31: 11- 12, Proverbs 31: 23, Proverbs 31: 28, 1 Peter 3, Ephesians 5, Genesis2: 18)
3. Mothering - A Virtuous Woman teaches her children the ways of her Father in heaven. She nurtures her children with the love of Christ, disciplines them with care and wisdom, and trains them in the way they should go. (Proverbs 31: 28, Proverbs 31: 26, Proverbs 22: 6, Deuteronomy 6, Luke 18: 16)
4. Health – A Virtuous Woman cares for her body. She prepares healthy food for her family. (Proverbs 31: 14 – 15, Proverbs 31: 17, 1 Corinthians 6: 19, Genesis 1: 29, Daniel 1, Leviticus 11)
5. Service - A Virtuous Woman serves her husband, her family, her friends, and her neighbors with a gentle and loving spirit. She is charitable. (Proverbs 31: 12, Proverbs 31: 15, Proverbs 31: 20, 1 Corinthians 13: 13)
6. Finances - A Virtuous Woman seeks her husband’s approval before making purchases and spends money wisely. She is careful to purchase quality items which her family needs. (Proverbs 31: 14, Proverbs 31: 16, Proverbs 31: 18, 1 Timothy 6: 10, Ephesians 5: 23, Deuteronomy 14: 22, Numbers 18: 26)
7. Industry – A Virtuous Woman works willingly with her hands. She sings praises to God and does not grumble while completing her tasks. (Proverbs 31: 13, Proverbs 31: 16, Proverbs 31: 24, Proverbs 31: 31, Philippians 2: 14)
8. Homemaking – A Virtuous Woman is a homemaker. She creates an inviting atmosphere of warmth and love for her family and guests. She uses hospitality to minister to those around her. (Proverbs 31: 15, Proverbs 31: 20 – 22, Proverbs 31: 27, Titus 2: 5, 1 Peter 4: 9, Hebrews 13: 2)
9. Time - A Virtuous Woman uses her time wisely. She works diligently to complete her daily tasks. She does not spend time dwelling on those things that do not please the Lord. (Proverbs 31: 13, Proverbs 31: 19, Proverbs 31: 27, Ecclesiastes 3, Proverbs 16: 9, Philippians 4:8 )
10. Beauty – A Virtuous Woman is a woman of worth and beauty. She has the inner beauty that only comes from Christ. She uses her creativity and sense of style to create beauty in her life and the lives of her loved ones. (Proverbs 31: 10Proverbs 31: 21 – 22, Proverbs 31: 24 -25, Isaiah 61: 10, 1 Timothy 2: 9, 1 Peter 3: 1 – 6)
Now which one of you wouldn’t want to be this type of woman?
Exactly! I’m working on trying to inspire myself and other women to be more of an example for other women. People will get angry and say we’re stuck up and bourgeois (bougey) but we know whom we are. Inspiration can come in all forms, so as people talk crazy about for living as if we are worth more and we’re blessed, they’ll eventually start to conform and see that blessings are coming our way. Therefore, they will begin to convert in the Proverbs 31 type of woman as well.
I’m excited to go on this journey and allow you to rock with me. No judgement! We are imperfect human beings, but our love and desire to please God is unyielding.
Love and Awesomeness,
I’esha GaptoothDiva Hornes
For more of The Baddest Creative Motivation, follow me @GaptoothDiva
I take pride in what I do. I’m not perfect by any means, but I know I go hard and I get it in. I started this process with the intention of it being a business, so with all do respect to the hobby bloggers out there, I’m working. I enjoy going to events and mingling like the next person. Nevertheless, when I get home, a mission is in front of me that must be completed. I set my deadlines, I make my contacts, I take my photos, I edit my videos, I travel, I network, I run the GaptoothDiva show. I am not made out of a team of besties that love the limelight. I am one woman, one camera, and a plethora of words thoughts and ideas. I put sweat into this. I grind until carpel tunnel seems close to arriving in my wrist and I’ll walk five miles in heels, if it meant an inspiring story. Team no sleep, was my life years before twitter. I do this!
Therefore, when basic women attempt to make assumptions about me, as if I’m thirsty for their attention… it’s a little more than disrespectful. I’m polite, I’m courteous, and I’m considerate. I never put people on blast, despite many of you needing it. I never acknowledge nor promote negativity or scandal, although I’ve been provoked a time or two. I’m altering my lifestyle to accept more positive in my life for my family, and myself but right now, I feel the need to explain that. So why would people assume that I’m anything but that type of person, is beyond me. The tattoos, the hair color, and the outfits are all extensions of my personality but they do not define the type of woman or entrepreneur I am. I will not allow someone to tell me what my brand is to him or her, when his or her brand is just a carbon copy of someone else’s. I’m original and my works speaks for itself. Period.
Now, the truth is I love natural hair. I appreciate the styles, the beauty, and the confidence held by so many women who wear it. I relish in the intricate details it possesses and the cultural significance behind it. I think all types of hair are beautiful, not just curly large afros on women with light complexions. I think nappy TWA are gorgeous, I love a kinky Mohawk or a barely there fade or baldy. I love natural hair! Because of its extreme popularity as of late, it’s easier for me to express that and myself, to say I don’t want a weave anymore. It’s not a trend for me; it was a certified lifestyle change. Therefore, when a woman asked me on Saturday, how I got this curl pattern, I said bluntly, “God gave it to me!” I’m no product junkie. If my hair does a weird kinky curl, that’s what I consider natural hair. I’m not going crazy for the latest Miss Jackie, Miss Jessie, and Curly gel/mouse/pomade, whatever. I wash and go. That’s who I am.
I understand the need to venture on a business that is hot right now. I get making money on the latest trends and promoting the popular thing. What I don’t agree with is making something positive, into a clique. I won’t stand behind someone who will literally ostracize people that they can’t profit off of or make into a minion who is thirsty to be included.
My kids can’t eat your natural hair product samples. I can’t feed my family your FREE swag bags. I can’t pay my electric, gas, or rent with free tickets to your events. My work should be compensated. Unless, I indicated otherwise.
If you charge X amount of dollars for an event, then enlist ten people to market and promote your event (bloggers) to their audience of, let’s say one hundred people. That is ten times one hundred people (1,000 people) that you are marketing to with little to no effort, on a regular basis. Now let’s say that you charge $15 to get into your event. Now because of your bloggers (online marketers), 1,000 people show up to your event. That’s a total of $15, 000 made at the door. That doesn’t include the free stuff from sponsors, the rate you charge for vendors to sell at your event, which ranges from $100 to $500 a table. That also doesn’t include advertisers’ on your programs, etc. So out of $15, 000 made off of your online marketers, you only offer a swag bag (which everyone gets by paying the admission fee and attending anyway) and a discount on tickets to your bloggers/vloggers? Can somebody help me make sense of this? How can these individuals write a thorough review, without attending the event? Are you suggesting that your media, SEO, and marketing providers pay to go to work? I’m not suggesting that they all are paid, some people may be doing it as a hobby and just enjoy being among the people. Nevertheless, there are people who are doing it as a business. Therefore, cannot be compensated for their time energy, videos, blogs, articles, pictures, etc. in the form of shampoo and olive oil.
Now let’s pretend that you offered your bloggers/vloggers a stipend of $25. That’s 10 people being paid, which a mere $250 is coming out of $15, 000. Where I come from, that’s not a dent at all in your profits. It just goes to show that people will pay you in free stuff before they pay you for real. The free tickets and the swag bag are necessary for an adequate review, but the gas spent to get there, the batteries on your laptop, camera, and cell phone, the software used to edit, blog, and market, they are all business expenses that isn’t covered by free curly soufflé and Shea butter. I’m just being honest. Therefore, although it’s cool to be among the community of natural hair enthusiast and people who want to support and promote natural beauty, if it comes down to me being hustled. I rather not, thank you very much.
I will continue to promote positive things in the community and support beauty, fashion and culture in my own way. However, what you will see more of will be me advocating for the rights of people that may not fully understand that no matter where you are in the process, get all the facts. You may want to make a name for yourself and build up your credibility. You may just want to go to events and support on your own dime, I still do every now and then. Nonetheless, you shouldn’t just accept everything that is told to you and you should always value your time and efforts. People will claim to build you up and give you opportunities, but just like they are reading this post right now (thinking of ways to counteract the truth), do your own research. Don’t get paid in hair products. You’re worth more than that.
Love and awesomeness,
I’esha GaptoothDiva Hornes
The plan on Sunday was for me to attend the 5th Annual Date w/ Dad event conducted by Camp Diva (www.campdiva.org); I had my dress laid out and was very ready to go. I knew how extraordinary this event was expected to be and I didn’t want to miss a minute of it.
However, Divine intervention stepped in and decided not only to make the new baby kick my behind a little more than usual, but to also give my 4-year old the idea to jump off the couch and hit his little head on our glass coffee table. As I sat in the E.R, worried about my first-born, I couldn’t help but feel awful at the notion that I might not make it to this highly anticipated event with Camp Diva. I have always been amazed at the work they were doing with young women, and want so desperately to get involved myself and help make even an iota of a difference.
While watching A’veri get those stitches, and how emotional I was getting (blame the pregnancy), even my husband knew that likelihood of me leaving him that day was slim to none. So in slides, Superman Hornes, offering to go in place of me. He had been working with me off and on with GaptoothDiva.com, doing the scheduling for our internet radio show and sometimes attending events with me and taking pictures. I trusted him completely to represent us and catch the dynamic of the event, while I catered to our aspiring stunt-double of a son. He took on the responsibility with no problem.
Apparently, by going to this event it stirred up some feelings and ideas about fatherhood. Being a young man, whose father was absent in his life, he said that he was moved by the amount of men that took pride in raising their daughters. He basked in the idea that only a few days ago, he would have been one of these men, dancing and laughing with his little girl, if only God didn’t see fit to grace us with another boy. He mentioned that even though, he was going to be a father to his two boys, it meant so much to him that he BE THERE, not just financially but emotionally, spiritually, and physically. He wanted to take the mission of Camp Diva and apply it to how he raised his own children. He was touched, and you could see how affected he was when at 2:00 am; he was still talking about the various conversations he had with the different fathers and what he learned.
I was so proud of him. Being a woman whose father was always in the home, but never quite there, I could almost relate to the absent father theory. Although I appreciate my father never taking off and leaving my mother to do it alone, it almost felt like he might as well left us. He paid the bills, but never really tried to know us personally, he was absent emotionally and spiritually. Therefore, when my husband said that he talked to fathers who knew their kids’ friends name, their favorite movies, songs, and colors, I was seriously blown away. Some mothers claim to be too busy to know this kind of information, let alone the fathers. My husband said he wanted to be the father that the kids felt comfortable talking with no matter what, that he didn’t want to appear to just be the “provider”, someone they were lucky to have. Seeing that type of passion in my Husband about the way we plan to raise our children, I knew that the event did what it was intended to do.
He talked about the games, especially the “Would You Do Anything for Your Daughter” game, which had us laughing for a while. He also talked about how happy every little girl there seemed, watching them show off their fathers as if they were brand new dolls straight off the assembly line. Looking through the photos, he lighted up. While he dodged and dodged the idea of having a girl for months, this event made him realize that it wouldn’t have been so scary after all. I can’t help but laugh, because it’s obviously too late, and we are not even going to discuss having another one any time soon (sigh). He said he truly had a great time and suggested that we invite the whole family next year, not because of the father daughter theme, but because this event represented family…. At it’s finest.
I thank my Husband for standing in for me, doing what only a best friend would do. I especially thank Camp Diva for inviting us and being so gracious to him while he was there. Organizations like this are exactly what we need to start paying more attention to. When they affect people from all lifestyles and all backgrounds, when they inspire grown men to be better fathers and grown women to be better mothers, we know we have something special.
Check out Camp Diva and get involved - www.campdiva.org
For more of the Baddest Creative Motivation – www.GaptoothDiva.com
A year ago, I decided to make some drastic changes in my life. A super expensive party turned epiphany made me realize that everyone that smiles in your face, attends your events, and “likes” your comments on Facebook, may not really “like” you. I was bitter for a while, but I got over it. I got over the idea that I may have been a people pleaser. My desire to make everyone around me feel comfortable, feel at ease, and feel like they’re having fun, made me into my own worst enemy. I stayed in relationships with friends that didn’t have my best interest at heart. I dealt with family members that were even worst. I tolerated those conditions, with the fear that I would ostracize myself and end up alone. Needless to say, I was stupid!
After discovering I was pregnant with our second child, I finally saw what I’ve been overlooking. True happiness isn’t manifested through your false friendships and relationships for the sake of being alone. True happiness is those connections that you have where you don’t ever have to worry about being alone. Yes, I have friends online, but those relationships aren’t guaranteed to be personal or everlasting. Most often, I’m just a number to someone. That’s the truth that many people don’t realize themselves. Did it hurt to know that some of the people I actually considered friends; were just online profiles and nothing more? Of course, it did. However, now that I’m not clouded by the idea that I have a larger circle than what I did, I can now rest in the notion; I don’t have many people to please.
I’m more honest with myself, which in turn has made me more honest with everyone else. I’ve indicated my relationship expectations and my plans and goals for the future, and it gave me so much optimism in these past few months. Those people who couldn’t handle my honesty and straightforward ideals have eventually fell by the wayside. I only make decisions that I’m one hundred percent comfortable with, rather than constantly compromising for others without any regard to myself. I once feared being seen as boring and too mature. Nevertheless, at a certain point in your life, you have to let go of that misconception, and hold on to what you believe in. I’ve lost friends, but I gained new ones that I have never even thought were possible. I always believed that your friends were the people you could do/say anything with, at any time, good or bad. However, most of the people that fit in that category in my life didn’t care to whom those bad things were done… even to me. Real friends can handle when you say you’re not comfortable with something they did or said, and family should too. Relationships shouldn’t be destroyed when you speak up for yourself, they should get stronger.
Being in this vulnerable place in my life and carrying around a new baby that was definitely a surprise to us, has indeed made me emotional. Although scientifically those emotions are rampant, I’m thinking with a clear head. I’m another year older and bringing another life into this world. The most important things to me today are totally opposite than what they were before. I’m blessed to have a wonderful husband and a fantastic son. This is my family. My business is to inspire and motivate, not party and be wasted with my “friends”. My friendships are valuable to me; therefore, I can’t afford to allow anyone to hold up a spot that they don’t sincerely want. The family I was born into isn’t the family I have to tolerate. Even if I love someone, it doesn’t mean I should let them hurt me, emotionally, physically, or anyway else. By putting my integrity first, my faith foremost, and my foot down, I’ve found peace in a completely new way.
Yes, my circle is indeed smaller. There is no list of people knocking on my door weekly anymore. My phone doesn’t ring half as much as it used to. Nonetheless, God has shown me that I have more than so many other people, often more than what I need. I’m less stressed out and more focused on what’s important. I’ve taken in some moments of life that I didn’t realize I had. I’ve learned new skills and I’m excited to learn more. Most importantly, I’m not keeping myself up at night worrying if “such-and-such” is happy/satisfied/content/or appreciative of my decisions. I’m finally so happy!
Therefore, when you think all your friends have turned their back on you. When you believe that, your family is gone. When it seems like no one is going through what you are, and somehow you are all alone… thank God! It’s a blessing.
So for the past couple of weeks, I’ve been slowly trying to change the format of the website and what we discuss on the GaptoothDiva Radio and GaptoothDiva TV. Although, I love all of my guest and our features, I started to feel like my goals and intentions were fading into the background and I wasn’t happy with most of my finished work. I’m secretly a perfectionist, so if you heard this already… it’s because I said it already. LOL.
Anyway, I started to get sick. A feeling that most of my close friends are familiar with, considering how much I push myself above and beyond. I should have been born a Virgo, the way I grind. When I couldn’t keep up with Prince A’veri (my son), when I couldn’t go a whole day without some type of mid-day nap, and when everything seemed to taste like shit, everyone stunk up my nostrils, and my weight loss resulted in my stomach expanding even further, I immediately knew something was wrong.
My silly ass didn’t think it through all the way when my period was severely late, nor did I notice that I couldn’t move as fast as I used to. Because of my health (especially in the winter), I just assumed I needed to slow down before I had a seizure. Something I have been avoiding since the late summer months and doing well with, by the way.
On Thanksgiving, I wore this super fitted cheetah print dress that I thrifted and was so excited to wear. I had been losing weight, so I was thrilled to finally show off my shape. However, once I put the dress on my stomach was sticking out so bad, I didn’t even want to leave the house. Boonie suggested I throw some spanx on. I usually only do this when I’m bloated, so I suddenly thought “I must be coming on my cycle soon”. Maybe all that stress, tiredness, and fatigue will go away once my menstrual appears. I put on three pairs of spanx just to be on the safe side, needless to say that was the most excruciating evening I can remember. On Black Friday, I woke up feeling like I could vomit any minute. Boonie had sprayed household cleaner in the kitchen and the smell creeped into my nose. I was beyond angry with the symptoms I was experiencing because I hate when anything slows me down. Still not thinking the obvious, I walked around miserably all day thinking I was going to catch the flu. I wasn’t until that night it hit me…. Could I be pregnant?
Many people don’t know that I’m a avid family woman. I have a beautiful son and a wonderful husband/best friend that I’ve been with since I was a kid. My business doesn’t really put a lot of focus on my personal life and I don’t really talk about it outside of my close friends. I don’t like assumptions, and I don’t like being put in a box, so the idea of being pregnant never really crossed my mind, until everything started to fall apart. Freaking out, Saturday morning we decided to buy two test just to be sure. Just like life is so ironic, here I was pregnant! I’ve been pregnant for a couple of months and didn’t know it. I hadn’t planned on it at all, as I did the birth of my son, A’veri. This was an unexpected situation that I not only didn’t consider but didn’t think would ever happen. It’s been 4 and a half years since I gave birth to my first born, I wasn’t even sure if I was up to the challenge.
My life became very different since then. I’m a totally not the same person and I was scared out of my mind. I’m working on my dreams at the moment, I’m creating a better life for my family, I’m making contacts, and operating a business, where does a pregnancy and new baby fit into that?
Since I discovered that I’m pregnant, I’ve been having some extremely vivid dreams. These dreams are an indication that very little will change. I had a thought that made me cry about losing my fan base, about losing my hard work due to the demands of a sensitive pregnancy. However after a little prayer and a lot of faith, I realized that if people truly supported me, nothing would change. I’ve never been the type to live my life for others, what you eat doesn’t make me shit, nor is anyone offering to pay my bills, or cook my dinner. Honestly at first, the word blessing did not come to mind. I work in an environment where glamour and partying is a priority to everyone around me. A life of freedom and fun pursuing your dreams is most important versus family. I want to live my dreams as well, but it means more if my son can witness my grind, so he understands that nothing of substance comes without any hard work.
I’m excited and anxious. Not only am I bringing this new person into our world, but I have a new network of people to share this experience with. Am I the average pregnant woman? Hell to the Naw! You already know that. I’m off the chain, no amount of morning sickness or tender breast is going to change that. I’m still working and I’m still the GaptoothDiva. This blessing has made me see that my reality is just as fantastic as any other, just more honest and more upfront. So I’m asking all of my friends, fans, and supporters to pray that I’m having a girl. I’m tired of being the only girl in this house and it would be nice to not have to get dolled up by myself.
I appreciate all of your support and to those that feel my pregnancy is too… down to earth for them. I’m sorry you feel that way, and peace out. I can’t live for you. I’m excited., this is a blessing, and God never gave me anything I couldn’t handle. My family is growing which according to the word means, more abundance is coming. Congrats to Boonyevilla for planting that seed. Now it’s time to torture him for the next seven months. Let’s go.
Follow me on Twitter at @GaptoothDiva
It’s true everyone in this industry wants to be famous. Anyone telling you they don’t want to be famous is lying either to you or to himself or herself. Fame brings more opportunities, more money, and more attention. Who in the world is making music, writing, modeling, acting, or whatever and not seeking those things. Exactly!
However, more and more I see people taking the time to research what other’s are doing and taking the plunge to do it themselves. When asked about why they are doing this, their answers are trite, revealing no evidence of any pre-disposed ideas or aspirations. They simply sound like followers. Now, I interview people all the time (most of the time asking the same questions) and I somehow don’t get the impression that many of the people I talk to know why they are pursuing a dream that, so many have tried and failed at. When asked what inspires you, it’s always someone who is doing what they want to do, but that someone is famous. Seriously, are they really trying to reach another person’s goal?
GaptoothDiva started because I started to believe in myself more. I discovered what it meant to feel as if I possessed nothing worth sharing, and turning it around and discovering my own God-given talents. After almost losing my life, I realized that I rather live doing what brings me happiness and gives me purpose, rather than what I was expected to do. In turn, I wanted to inspire other people to do the same. Do what makes you happy; what you’re good at, what you would do free if money were no factor. That’s living. However, so many people look at another person’s success and think, “I should do that, too!” Alternatively, if this person is gaining attention from it, then maybe I should do what they are doing. It’s sad… and pathetic, but the reality is they were inspired. If they were asked why they decided to go down this road and become whatever dream they are embarking on, they can only mention the basics, or the people who statuses they admire, or the perks to doing they’re job. No key indications that this is a heart felt journey that they take very seriously, no sign that this was their dream.
If you lack a valid purpose for your dream, is it really worth achieving? Maybe you like the idea of how Artist use words and beats to convey a point; maybe you enjoy their stage presence and their brand. However, you skills don’t equate to a successful artist by today’s standards. Have you considered being a Spoken Word Artist? On the other hand, maybe you should be a Ghost Writer. Considering an alternative doesn’t mean you failed, it just means that you are going after your goal with a different approach. If the work involved makes you cringe, and you are constantly making up for loss time, following behind other people, watching what everyone else is saying, thinking, and doing with your work, and lacking constant inspiration because this wasn’t the original plan, you really need to sit down and evaluate what you REALLY want.
I’ve inspired many people in the past year, a fact that I’m truly proud of. I’ve even inspired many people to inspire others, which is great as well. However, I’m honest enough to say, I see the difference between a copycat and an inspiration. With an inspiration, you make it your own, you take a small piece of something and you remix it to reflect who you are and what you are about. A copycat just watches everything you do and attempts to do it the same way, not realizing that everyone is an individual and although you may have a similar concept and approach, no one can really do anything exactly like another.
When is the last time you asked yourself, what was are the real reasons why you are doing what you do? Is it truthfully because of all the unpopular answers that in reality would make you look bad, is it because you just want to be rich and famous, or did you see someone else do it and you think you could do better? There is no wrong answer, and you don’t have to share. Nevertheless, if you seriously think about it, you may be able to discover why you are here and not “there” already.
They say in church all the time, God knows your heart. How many of us take that beyond the pews and into everyday life. If your intentions are less that admirable, maybe this is why we aren’t successful, popular, or rich. People blame their haters all the time, but often is it the haters that see past the façade and can detect a swagger hacker trying to make a name for themselves? You can get mad at them, but not all of them “hate” for no reason.
Your purpose sets you apart. Your mission makes you different from the crowd. I recently noticed a severe infestation of artist and promoters over the years. I say infestation because a lot of them are rats, feeding off the hard work and money of the masses just trying to be popular and semi-relevant. I still ask the same question, “Why?” Their answers are limited to my homeboy asked me to do it; to I liked it the first time I did it. Which is fine, because we push people to do what they like, but to call it a career? I’m not sure many of them fit the bill. Mareesa Dawn taught a class recently about your “Why”, and she said if it doesn’t evoke emotion, move you and others, then it is not worth pursuing. I couldn’t agree more. What is your purpose? What should your fans, friends, followers, and customers say when they hear your name and you’re not in the room? How should your name and presence make people feel?
When you discover the answer, let me know… I want to interview those kinds of people.
For inspiration and motivation, follow me on Twitter @GaptoothDiva
Cool, gorgeous, focused, and stylish were all the words that came to my mind when I modeled along side Dominique. Her presence on the runway would leave an insecure woman in shame, but her warm personality let’s you know she is not intimidating but inspiring. She accepts her size and her beauty as her own, which is exactly why I’m featuring her on my site. I feel with her testimony, not only will more Full figured women see a martyr that they can relate to, but find some of the characteristics that should have within themselves.
I first met Domonique at the Curves at Full Throttle Fashion show in 2010; she was promoting her lingerie line, Empress Lingerie. I credit her as being the first person who made me walk out in public in a lingerie ensemble, one of the most exhilarating experiences in my life. Back then, I had no idea she modeled but I could tell that she appreciated her curves and wanted to ensure that the girls wearing her clothes did too. I wasn’t scheduled to walk in her set that day, but after seeing me during rehearsal, she kindly asked me to try on one of her pieces and of course, I agreed. It was amazing, but not half as amazing as her contribution to this year’s Tropical Diva Fashion show. In this show, she wasn’t the designer but the fierce runway vixen, strutting down the catwalk with her God-given voluptuous frame, advocating for the “above-average” woman in us all. A breath-taking and inspiring experience, I couldn’t wait to feature this week’s beauty for some bona-fide motivation.
I asked Domonique what inspired her to start Empress Lingerie and what can Full Figured women gain from shopping there? She answered, “As a “real size” model, I was inspired to start Empress Lingerie for woman like me, the above average woman! As full-figured women, many times we find ourselves searching high and low for that perfect piece of garment, particularly lingerie that makes us feel sexy inside and out. We have what you are looking for! Never again will you have to ask, “Does this make me look fat?” When purchasing from Empress Lingerie, our mission and goal is to provide you with pieces that are flattering and add that extra pizzazz, to your sleepwear/costume collection! We are also currently working on swimsuit line, that too promising to please and caress each and every curve of a woman’s physique.”
The message she wants people to gain from her testimony and her online store, Empress Lingerie is simple. She wants people to “Give their Curves the Royal Treatment”. Embrace who they are and never settle for anything but the best. Shoot for the moon and should you miss, the least you will do will find yourself amongst the stars. Dream big!
Now of course, with any positive endeavor, there is always someone or something trying to stop you on your road to success. However, a vibrant personality like Domonique won’t allow obstacles to deter her. When asked what obstacles she had to face and how she overcame them, she answered “There have been obstacles at every turn of my journey; People telling me that I was not good enough, too big to be a model, that I “just didn’t have the look.” My strength came in not believing those lies. I used all those negative comments as fuel to propel me to the next level. Yes, you are not going to be what everyone is looking for and will experience quite a few doors close and people that say “No”, but the reality is that all you need is one “Yes” to catapult you/your career to the next level.”
So what are some of the greatest accomplishments about what she does? Domonique says, “Every opportunity, appearance, interview has been a great one! One to network, gain exposure and let the creative juices flow. Recently, I have had the opportunity to be apart of FFFweek (NY), Tropical Divas (VA), 17…Days of Fashion (PA), The Philadelphia Fashion Collection (PA), as well as, working with esteemed plus models and organizations, such as Terri Murray, Nicole Zepeda, Anthony Henderson and 4H4 Awareness.
The lessons I’ve learned have been to be present in the moment. Sometimes you must go out of your “comfort zone” and push yourself to the limit, while also standing your ground and not compromising your beliefs, morals and values. Also, ask questions, exchange emails and phone numbers, knowing that advice, opinions and opportunities are abundant and sometimes it’s all about who you know, as well as, being in the right place at the right time.”
I am so proud to have the opportunity to feature such a dynamic personality. Her attitude and her perseverance is the reason why much success is coming her way now and in the future. So what advice can she give for other up and coming Full Figured Models and Entrepreneurs? Humbly she states, “My advice would be to create your own path and destiny. Modeling and owning a business is hard work, but you have to set your self apart from others, creating a competitive advantage. Know that there is room for everyone and you should focus on your goals and what you set out to do. What is meant for you will be.”
So what’s in your destiny?
With Empress Lingerie, your journey begins here… Treat your spirit, mind and body to a complete and extraordinary reviving, experience with sexy, luxurious lingerie from Empress Lingerie. Whether you’re looking for a gift for the special person in your life or just something to slip into after a hard day at work, we have something for everyone. At Empress Lingerie, every woman is a queen.
Check it out today www.EmpressLingerie.com
Also, check out her modeling site http://www.wix.com/domoniqu4/empressdnique#!
For more inspiration and motivation follow me on Twitter @GaptoothDiva
How many times have you ever doubted yourself and your ability to convey your desired message? How often have you ever asked yourself in secret, whether what you were doing, was worth the effort? Most of you won’t admit to self-doubt or insecurity. It’s not in us to share those intimate moments we have to ourselves, when we question our ability to be successful in our endeavors. Most of us wouldn’t admit that we second-guess our own “swag”, that’s not politically correct.
A few months back, when I was in the cross roads of deciding whether I want to do this media project full time, I came across my answer. A person on my timeline stated that if you couldn’t go a day without thinking about something you do, then that is what your focus should be on. They also said that when you are truly dedicated to something, you would steal time to do that particular thing. Well, it wouldn’t be the first time I admitted to doing my side hustle on the full time clock. I was getting closer to making my decision, when something even bigger happened. I received my first piece of official hate mail in my email account.
Here is the message:
“Name: w. nightmare Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Comment: you are the worst performer I have ever had the displeasure of listening to. I search the internet for performers for a living, and do rather well I may add, and I would be doing you and anyone that may have to listen to you in the future a disservice if I didn’t tell you to hang it up.
I’m Interested In: GaptoothDiva.com
Time: Friday April 1, 2011 at 6:10 pm IP Address: 18.104.22.168”
Now this message hit me in two ways. Of course, initially I was mad. I was livid, it hurt my feelings and it made me question every step I took up until that point. Second, I was feeling defensive. Who is this? Why in the f*ck would someone come at me like that?
I looked for this person online by the email address and I couldn’t find anything. I even looked him up on my social media platforms, worked that resulted in nothing at all. I was determined to hunt this commentator down and tell him what he could do with his opinion. Then I had to step back, and look at myself. Although I don’t condone giving people a straight negative comment without so much of a positive solution, I absorbed the message.
Have I been giving it my all each time? Was I taking the time to get my point across and being myself? I couldn’t say yes to those questions. There were obstacles that I placed in front of myself and some that I couldn’t avoid. Either way, if I was going to be truly serious about this – this message was the catapult that I needed.
I re-evaluated myself and how I conduct business. I was holding back on saying many things for the sake of wanting to build a following. I wasn’t putting out the truth, fearing that my “real self” was too much for people to handle. Apparently, it wasn’t getting me anywhere. Now granted, this message came from one person, so its value isn’t that high. Nevertheless, when you have doubts about what you’re doing, that’s a sign that things aren’t fitting right. I was uncomfortable with how I was working because I wasn’t being ME. I didn’t come with everything I had, holding shit back and biting my tongue. I believed my people deserve more. I was motivated by hate. The hate that this person spewed to me, stating that I was awful and should hang it up, motivated me to go even harder.
Was my critic, right? It doesn’t matter. Nevertheless, if he was wrong, I still choose to use that negativity to propel me to new heights. That’s what everyone should do. Don’t take critiques as gospel, don’t take it personally, use that fuel either to re-master your craft or to understand your audience. If you are happy with what you’re doing than continue to do it the way you’re doing it. However, when there is voice in the back of your mind telling you something is not right, listen to it. On the other hand, you can just wait for some hating ass dude to tell you, it worked for me.
People won’t always come to you as this “gentleman” did. Sometimes they will talk amongst themselves, leaving you on the outskirts of your reputation. Keep your ear to the streets, always stay informed about your brand and your name, and pay attention to commentary. Don’t live by it – just pay attention. They say there are haters and critics everywhere, and you shouldn’t listen to them. However, sometimes you have to see that if more than one person is saying the same exact thing, most likely it isn’t just hate. Take that and use it as a foundation, to either move above it or transform. Either road you decide on, just focus on that little voice in your mind that tells you which way to go.
We all should be motivated by hate.
My first thought when I walked past the table was “Ooh, I hope I get to wear these someway – somehow”. I was standing near Zulane’s table of one of kind extra funky earrings at one of the rehearsals for Tropical Diva. It was a table congested with colorful and urban ear accessories; beautiful creations that any stylista would love and appreciate. I grabbed her card and made a promise to myself I would hit her up soon.
Little did I know, a simple runway walk was what brought us face to face with one another. When asked to rehearse my walk at the hotel the day before the show, Ms. Tanisha Edghill also known as Zulane My Zuniverse was in the audience preparing for the show. She was a vendor and a designer displaying her work. Apparently, she loved the way I walked and decided to add me to her set. Being totally freaking excited, I immediately decided that not only was I going to walk in her scene but I was also going to feature her work on my site. Her exclusive and one of kind creations made me want to walk even harder down the runway, so I know you readers will love it. It reminds me of back home in Queens, back when women weren’t afraid to be super eccentric with their jewelry and style. Since I’m bald now, earrings and jewelry have to play my weave, so they have to be unique and creative. I believe Zulane has all that and more and I know you will too. I was so excited to feature her, I kind-of pulled out my “hood” side on another model for a pair of Zulane’s creations that I was planning to go home with. It was in the name of fashion, so please forgive me.
Zulane says she makes her jewelry for the bold trendsetter not afraid to be different. Her jewelry making was initially a personal passion, her way of setting herself apart from other people. Tired of seeing women walking around in the same mundane and severely commercialized fashions that the mainstream forced upon us, she became a beacon. She is creating wearable art in the form of earrings, necklaces, and so much more. To just now find out this Mother Theresa of funky-fied plus size wonderfulness is right in my own backyard… makes me want to slap my momma! Where has she been all our lives? Thank God, she has finally decided to share her work with the world, because from small children to grown women, we all deserve this much creativity.
On a side note: When I walked down the runway with these earrings on I felt ultra fierce. No negative offense to the other designers in the fashion show. I liked them all. However, easily… she was my best scene ever. Wearing just a pair of earrings made me feel powerful and in charge, and that is no joke. It was amazing how quickly I forgot I had no hair. People were stopping for the next three days (yes, I wore them the next three days… hush) about these earrings and asking me who made them. I couldn’t wait anymore; the review was scheduled to go up on Friday. I wanted to share with you just how fantastic she is. Check her out and tell me what you think.
I love her tag line also, very empowering: “Welcome 2 my Zuniverse.. Accessory designer of a different kind…not saying I’m the best, but I’m the best.”
Check out her TrendyIndie Store – http://Zulane.trendyindie.com