Monday, May 27, 2013

Triple Decade Musings

Oh, hi... it's a guest appearance by 'yours truly'!  ^_^  It's been an 'interesting' time in my life, lately--not because 'interesting' stuff is actually happening, but because I've chosen to view things through my "lens of 30s wisdom" (yeah, I know that was wack but flow with me for a sec).

Well, since my last post here, I've done some thangs: development in personal, professional and mental arenas.  Spiritual shoulda been at the top of the list, but y'all just keep praying for a sista... SMH Anyways, in all the 'progress' I've been making, it's been tinged with the things I've learned since entering the dirty 30s [insert mean mug here].  I know that there are lists out there of all the things that [especially] women should have/know by the time they're 30 but I'm observing that many of us are missing the memo.  So here's my 2 cents on the matter (in no particular order):

be secure in your insecurities
Ask any woman for a list of her flaws, and she could tell you in breakneck speed. Be they physical, spiritual, emotional, mental or otherwise, we know ALL too well what is 'wrong' with us, and dwelling on the negatives leaves us subconsciously vulnerable in those areas. Here's my thing: you know your shortcomings--now own them and make them your *ahem* "tricks".  It's a slightly more sophisticated application of reverse psychology (kinda like if you do something embarrassing in public, laugh the first and the loudest to deflate the reactions of strangers).  I'm not saying to go around throwing your weaknesses in everyone's faces ad nauseam, but simply embrace that there are some things that you can not change and make the best of them; OR identify the negative aspects of yourself that you CAN change and slowly but surely make progress towards improvement.  The sooner you mentally master the things that make you insecure about yourself, the less likely it will be for you or anyone else to use them against you as ammunition.

embrace your body type/figure and dress to accentuate the positive
This is an intentional segue from my first point because I know all too well how poor body image makes women's lives miserable!  I can't count the number of one-way screaming fits I've thrown at God for not giving me the "standard" Black feminine figure.  Short of plastic surgery, NO amount of working out is going to transform my body into Megan Good's, or Lisa Raye's, or Taraji Henson's, or... you get the point. No 'body' is perfect (even though some come REALLY close) but every woman has SOME positive features.  It is our service to ourselves to know what they are and use the right clothes and accessories to highlight them instead of wasting our lives sulking about the bodies we wish we had. 

On the flip side, TOO many women are actually dressing for the bodies they wish they had. #travesty  Right now, I'ma be the sister, friend, mirror and inner voice of reason that you ignored before leaving your house wearing that--because a style or trend looks good does not mean that it looks good on YOU!  Yes, I said it because I learned it for myself after wanting to cry because I had to leave outfits on store mannequins because I couldn't do them (or myself) justice.  This isn't about fat vs. skinny but about understanding what accentuates the natural contours of your body.  Like in the image here, the same dress looks very different on each shape below...

image credit:
For example, if you have an apple shape (you carry more weight around your waist than in your hips/thighs), a peplum top or fitted skirt are NOT your friends. Opt for a top/dress with an empire waist that drapes over your mid-section instead of drawing attention to it. Or if you have great legs but narrow hips, wear skirts with pleats/gathered fabric through the waist/hip area--the extra fabric will give the illusion of fullness in the hip area. If these terms sound unfamiliar, here are some links that may help:;; The take-home lesson is to know your body, know what makes it look good and build your personal style on that foundation.  When you look good, you feel great!

take the time to learn from others
By the time you've reached your 30s, chances are good that you're "set in your ways". You're grown and have been doing certain things a certain way for quite a while, but that doesn't mean that you can't stand to learn a new thing or two.  This is especially true when it comes to the elders in your life--until they die, they will always have that 'life edge' up on you so listen up.  King Solomon was keepin' in real when he said, way back when, that there's NOTHING new under the sun.  Granted, the Internet wasn't around in his time but the concept of networking and information sharing was still alive and well; same concept but different methods of transmission. 

Also, treat yourself to cross-cultural exposure!  I can not over-emphasize how travel and studying other cultures will expand your mind! Yes, traveling alone as a woman is somewhat risky but the Internet is the next best thing to going. Pick a random country/culture and look it up online--better yet, talk to people from different places.  You'd be surprised at how learning about life in other places around the world can help you step outside of the self-containing bubble that you're in right now. In fact, here's the link to Imported Chocolate - the travel blog of a Black woman who encourages other sisters to do the same.

This is clearly not an exhaustive list and I'm sure I'll come across more while I continue my journey into "30-ness".  But I figured I'd share the things that stuck out the most to me.  After all, what good is knowledge if you keep it to yourself?

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