My Shine: Finding the Beauty Inside Myself

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Akilah from Execumama and Kahran from Creative Soul Photography have issued the “See Me Shine” Challenge, asking readers to look within and write five things that they love about themselves. I love the spirit of the challenge, but I admit this doesn’t come easy to me.

Self-love is one of the things I constantly struggle with, and I’ve learned that this struggle makes it hard for me to accept it from anyone else. My husband will tell you how hard it is for me to take a compliment, and self-deprecating humor is a tried-and-true part of my limited social repertoire. This is pretty much the way it’s always been, but not the way it always has to be. I’m working to change it, and this exercise feels like the perfect place to begin. So here goes nothing:

My natural hair.

It feels strange that one of my newest features would be the one I most easily look upon with love. I lived with relaxed hair for nearly 20 years, and have only been living with my natural curls and free of chemicals since October of last year. And yet, even on days when it is being unruly or feels a little more dry than I’d like, I love my hair. I love the freedom from relaxers and the constant struggle to keep my new growth in check. I love being able to wake up in the morning and walk out the door after only a fluff and a spritz of water. But most importantly, I love looking in the mirror and seeing my head the way God intended. So even though the journey was frustrating, going natural was one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself.

My heritage.

I am from the Virgin Islands, and I will never forget it. I love my lilting accent, even if it only comes out when I’m talking to family or other Caribbean folks — or when I’m really pissed off. I love that I grew up swimming in the ocean, playing steel pan, listening to calypso and reggae and eating foods that many people consider to be “exotic.”

My creativity.

I have always been surrounded by creative pursuits. I fell in love with music and dance when I was little, and as I grew in age and sophistication, that love expanded to art, design and more. I went to college thinking I’d leave as a social worker. I wound up earning a degree in journalism and now make my living as a graphic designer, blogger and aspiring interior designer — and I married a musician. I love being able to express myself through my work, and knowing that there’s no such thing as a “wrong” answer.

My focus.

Once I make up in my mind that I’m going to do something, it gets done. Period. The only area of my life that this particular trait has skipped is my diet/health. But when it comes to work, parenting, and pretty much everything else, I have piercing focus. I’m not completely immune to distractions, but as a general rule, I won’t quit until I finish what I start.

My ability to see the bigger picture.

In most situations, I’m slow to react, preferring to take the time to ponder the possibilities. I consider the what ifs — and their consequences — before taking a step. And while that generally means I’ll take a little longer to make a lasting decision, it also generally means I’m more comfortable with that decision once it has been made.

It took me  three days to write this post, but I’ m glad I did it. A lot of the days, I spend so much time focusing on my family and the things that need to get done, that I forget to just love on me. That mental shift will take some getting used to, but I’m pretty sure it’ll be worth the effort.

So now it’s your turn. What do you do to show yourself love, and can you teach me how to do it? 🙂

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8 responses
  • Denene@MyBrownBaby June 3, 2010, 6:04 am

    Beautiful, baby! I LOVE THIS—and I absolutely adore you… your hair is FIRE, I love your accent, too (it’s just so pretty!), your creativity is sheer genius and, above all else, I appreciate your spirit. I’m so glad you wrote this, and I’m so happy to be counted as a friend… Keep shining!
    .-= Denene@MyBrownBaby´s last blog ..{Digging In the MBB Crates} Shining: What I Love About Me =-.

    Reply
    • jennae June 3, 2010, 7:36 am

      Denene, you know the feeling is mutual! I love you too, and you constantly inspire me with your wisdom and talent. I love having women like you around me, even if it’s only “virtual” most of the time!

      Reply
  • Akilah June 3, 2010, 6:33 am

    Jennae, you are so fly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    This is a brilliant example of why we need to remember to celebrate ourselves! Your last reason “ability to see the bigger picture” moved me in an incredible way. Jennae, that can be so difficult for some of us (myself in particular), and reading your simple wisdom about that is something I’ll keep in my arsenal for when those types of decisions need to be made.

    I’m so glad you entered the contest, my fellow Island Woman!!!
    .-= Akilah´s last blog ..Yoga for Weight Loss =-.

    Reply
  • Sandra Hicks June 3, 2010, 7:31 pm

    This is a great post, very candid and sincere. Thank you for taking up the challenge an sharing it with me. Self love is absolutely beautiful!

    Reply
  • Janelle August 16, 2010, 6:21 pm

    I know I am late with this. I am so happy for you overcoming your fears and continuing with your aspirations. You have inspired me and I do believe you are a phenomenal woman.

    Reply
  • diana September 2, 2010, 2:57 am

    I love your hair!

    Reply
  • Opal March 8, 2011, 12:32 pm

    Hello Jennae! I just stumbled upon your blog(s) and I am trying to soak it all up! Yes, you are one creative soul indeed. I am a New Yorker (born and spent my early childhood in Jamaica) so Caribbean too! Now living in Paris. Rocking my natural too! I loved this post expecially! Keep doing your thang!

    Reply

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