Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Loving Your Self Better!

By Kenyetta Chinwe

One day I woke up and I was the largest I had ever been in my life. I remember thinking how did I get here? How did this happen? A lot had transpired in the 10 years of my life that took me from a healthy and active 175 lbs to a tired lethargic 286 lbs. I had lost my father, fell in love, fell out of love, and fell back in love again. I had been signed to a record deal and then the company went broke. I had lost confidence and struggled to get it back. And through it all I had eaten to make myself feel better. Which usually only made me feel worse.

Now don’t get me wrong, I was never super model skinny. And I know I never will be. Body type and genetics are a reality that I came to grips with a long time ago. However, I could be and had been a health weight that allowed me the energy to do all the things I really liked to do. I no longer was. It was then that I realized that I had to take charge of what was happening in my life in order to take charge of what was happening in my body.

I got organized. I became more consistent with daily meditation and affirmations. I set goals and worked toward achieving them. And probably one of the most important of the things I did; I truly accepted my daddy was gone. I grieved the way I should have 8 years before. And by doing so I was able to heal to the point of moving forward from the point I had been stuck in since he died.

Making these changes really allowed me to embrace myself with the love I had once had. This self love encouraged me to do something about my weight. I knew that if I didn’t do something I was making myself more susceptible to the family healthy history that had taken my father from me too soon.

I have lost 40 lbs since deciding to change my situation. I still have more that I want to lose. My personal quest is more about health and self-care than vanity. But I must admit it feels good fitting into sizes I hadn’t been able to even look at in years. I feel younger. I have more energy. I feel sexier. I feel so much more like myself again.

Like I said before I know I will always be classified as a BBW (Big Beautiful Woman). But now I am feeling more like the middle B and happy about it.

Kenyetta Chinwe is the Founder & Owner of Phem Soul Arts. For more on her work visit

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Loving Your Self Better!
My 1st Love

By Xina Sy

Everyone that knows me, knows that I love being in LOVE! In my circle of sista-friends, I am the Love Queen! I am a hopeless romantic; caught up on all things mushy--walks in the park, public displays of affection, laying in bed all day on a Sunday with the right someBODY! I love all aspects of positive lovin' & after a long stint of singleness, am ready to love someBODY better...starting with my Self!

This past Valentine's Day I pulled my Self out of a self-imposed slumber & decided to write my Self a letter; just a brief reminder of how much I matter to ME! Self absorbed? Probably. But sometimes selfish is a good thing. And, anytime we take the time to fully love & value our Selves, then it is time well spent. So, tap...tap...tap went the pen on the paper & I had a brief moment of thinking maybe this concept was one best developed on my wi-fi book in a coffee shop in the middle of the West End of Atlanta--but I thought better of it & decided that pen to paper was the most romantic approach. Then, of course, writer's block set in & I wasn't quite sure what to say to my Self! Really.

There was this blank stationary staring up at me from the table top, mocking my inability to romance my Self. I sighed & waited for inspiration, but for the longest time...none came. This, I thought, needed to be meaningful. After all, it was to ME! I am a "writer." I am "creative!" I can do this! Thoughts became shouts & I started to feel like I should have just bought my Self one of those red-heart-boxes of candy & some sweet tarts & called it a day!

Then it happened! As easily & gently as the idea had come, I picked up the pen & wrote the words that my Self most needed to read: You Are Beautiful. & just like that...I was finished. That was enough. Those three words filled my heart with a warm glow of knowing & I was complete.

Everyday as women, we take care of everyBODY else often forgetting the most important of bodies...our Selves. Days, months, even years pass by & before we know it, we have become some unfinished project; pushing our own agendas to the very back burners, diminishing our own Self worth, & minimizing our own value & greatness. Slowly over time, the opinions of others drown out our own small, intuitive voice, until our own inner guidance is but a whisper barely to be heard. And, with this, we begin to second guess even the most obvious of idiocracy simply because we can no longer trust our Highest Selves.

It is imparative that we take the time out; just  few minutes a day, & remind our Selves of who we really are! It is wonderful to hear it from others, especially on holidays & anniversaries & Mother's Day & birthdays---but it is most valuable when it comes from the deepest, most respectful place within our Selves. And, yes, we can take selfish liberties & tell our Selves how beautiful & smart & sexy & funny & intelligent & creative & gifted & remarkable we are even when no one else does, because it truly means the most coming from our Self! Live BIG!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Loving Your Self Better!
Confessions of a Bald Headed Diva

By Tonya K. Freeman

It happened a few years ago. I had four years of locs, cascading down onto my shoulders. Beautiful, strong locs that were decorated with precious stones to keep the energy as clear as possible. I was happy with my locs. It was a cultural recognition that I enjoyed to the utmost.
Then one day, I decided to shave my head. You see, there was a brother whom I had dated for awhile who locked my hair for me and when we parted ways, whenever we did see one another, the energy was completely off center. I had been told many years before that one must be careful who they have work on their hair. So, I figured, if I shaved my head, the energy that was not in harmony with my true nature would be dispelled.
It was off to the beauty parlor I went. I'll never forget the look on the beautician's face when I told him I wanted to shave my head bald. He said to me, “I put hair in, not take it off!” So I headed across the street to the barber shop and had my locs shaved there. It felt good to be bald. I felt free, powerful, sexy and sassy all at the same time. To coin a phrase, “I am not my hair!”

One of the women who had a business in the marketplace along with me, asked me why I had shaved my head. I responded, “I was running through the forest and didn't want to get my locs tangled in the branches of the trees.” She then asked, “Were you running or moving swiftly?” I thought for a moment and then said, “I was moving swiftly.”
Oh, I almost forgot to tell you, after I shaved my head, I never saw my ex lover again. Talk about removing energy.
 The reaction of people that saw me that day was quite interesting. Men seemed to be impressed that I would do such a thing and stated that I must be a powerful woman to choose a bald look for myself. One young man even asked to rub my head. I laughed and let him. Hey, he was bald too, so rub for rub. I kept my locs. It never occurred to me to leave them laying on the floor of the barber shop. I took them home, smudged them clean and put them away. I had no idea that one day I would be guided to make a doll stuffed with my locs – well, not all of them. This type of doll is called a Mirror Doll. I sewed some of the locs to her head as well. She sits on my altar and when I am moved to do healing work on myself and cannot reach a particular area, I work with my doll. Sometimes, I meditate with her in my lap, other times I talk to her and share things that are on my heart that I don't want to share with anyone else. I read about the Mirror Doll in Luisah Teisch's book Jambalaya.
It was not for anyone except myself that I wanted this freedom, to free my dome. I didn't care what anyone thought and I still don't. Some people have asked me if I had chemo. No is the answer to that question. I let them know, I am a Bald Headed Diva by choice and I love it! I shave with a Gillette razor every two days and afterward, I rub either alcohol or a mixture of lavender and chamomile essential oil blended with sesame oil on my head. I much prefer the essential oil blend because it is more natural and doesn't burn yet acts as an antiseptic to protect my head and heal any cuts that I might get. Sometimes I do nick myself.
My husband of ten years has seen me with locs, bald, wigs, a short fro and now bald again and he has loved every look that I chose for myself at the time. His statement, “Never tell a woman what to do with her hair.” It has been four years now that I have been bald. There is no desire to grow my hair back again. I am happy with who I am, as I am, in the skin I'm in.
Yes, I am a Bald Headed Diva by choice and I love it!

Tonya K. Freeman is a visionary, motivational speaker, bliss activist, & media personality. For more info on her work-- make a shift to bliss at:

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

11 Ways 2 Love Your Self Better in 2011

By Margarita Tartakovsky, MS
Instead of talking about my own 11 things that my life doesn’t need in 2011, I wanted to talk about the things that I wish every reader could get rid of, or more accurately, work to get rid of:

  1. Frowning when you look in the mirror. Just smile, and be happy to be you, in all your beautiful glory.
  2. Exercising to work off the “extra” calories or weight. Exercise because you love the movement. Because you feel free. Because your anxiety is alleviated. Because your mood is boosted. Exercise because your body is a kick-ass machine that keeps your heart pumping.
  3. Relying on others for validation about your body, beauty or brain. Yes, it’s exciting to get a compliment from others on a job well done, on a pretty outfit or on your sexy blue eyes. But we don’t need to rely on others. We can cultivate a secure and confident sense of self all on our own. The compliments? They’re just a bonus.
  4. Weighing yourself. The scale is akin to shackles. Remember Scrooge’s friend Jacob Marley in A Christmas Carol? He carried a set of huge, long chains around after his death for being such a miser. Every time you want to give the scale too much weight, like affecting your mood or self-worth, just picture poor old Marley. If nothing else, it might make you laugh – and step away from the scale.
  5. Letting clothing sizes determine your value. I love clothes. I have tons of fun dressing up for any occasion. But, years ago, I used to get so upset if a certain size didn’t fit me. I felt like I had to fit into a garment, not the other way around. Inevitably, this would make or break my mood and my worth. But don’t let arbitrary sizes become your shackles either. Have fun with style and clothes, whatever your shape, size or weight. Celebrate the beauty of your body with clothes that make you feel good.
  6. Keeping the bad or good stuff in. Write your heart out. Like I wrote yesterday, consider taking up journaling purely for yourself, to process life, to be grateful, to reflect on your body image, to doodle, to get creative, whatever.
  7. Keeping quiet. Part of having a positive body image and self-image is knowing your boundaries and letting people know when they’ve crossed them. This is a concept I desperately wish I would’ve learned years ago. Everyone has a voice, and you deserve to be heard. You deserve to speak up when something doesn’t feel right.
  8. Being stuck in a struggle. If you’re struggling with disordered eating, an eating disorder, negative body image or anything else, strive to work through these issues in 2011. Commit to healing yourself, whatever you may be going through. This may include therapy, support groups, self-help books, reaching out to loved ones or something else. Remember that you’re not alone, and hope is always there, even in the worst of times.
  9. Practicing the diet mentality. I still grapple with this. Surprised? Yea, me too! But there are times when I lie in bed and go over the day’s food intake or when I worry that I’m gaining weight after days of eating richer foods. There are times I wonder about a food’s calories. These days are fairly few, especially in comparison to my college years. If you’re in a similar place, I hope that you acknowledge that. Because once we can name our struggles, we can work to overcome them, step by step.
  10. Being a perfectionist. Perfectionism is all-or-nothing thinking. Either we diet, or we binge. Either we love our bodies conditionally, or we loathe them. Either we have the perfect arms or tummy, or we’re hideous. Whenever we apply perfectionistic thinking to anything – whether that’s building a better body image or nitpicking at our bodies – the result is unhealthy all around. Instead, strive for flexibility and patience and compassion with yourself.
  11. Letting the negative rule. Life is hard. That’s definitely a fact, but we can’t let that fact consume us. I hope in 2011 that you take more opportunities to just be. To enjoy your own company. To bask in the beauty of your loved ones. And to find the little things amazing.
Margarita Tartakovsky is a freelance writer who specializes in mental health. For more on her work, visit This article is a re-post from her blog Weightless.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Loving Your Self Better!

Never stop dancin'!
By Imani Evans

February is the LOVE month! & what better way to celebrate it than to begin to Love Your Self Better!?! This month at the BBB Blog we will be featuring stories from women about how they have learned to love their Selves better two-fold: in a more gentle & graceful way & in a way that moves them towards better health!

This first account is from a very dear friend of mine, Imani Evans; a counselor, speaker, teacher, healer, & activist!  Imani is the Founder & CEO of Women Healing Women, Inc-- a nonprofit organization serving survivors of sexual & domestic violence. When I asked her to recount, in her own words, what she shared with me in my driveway one night---she did not hesitate...knowing her story would help another woman...she writes:

Herstory: When I first learned that the excruciating pain shooting down the backs of my knees was stage-three osteoarthritis, I was most certainly in denial. I was convinced that it was a pulled muscle and that my Sports Medicine Doctor, with 25 years in the field, was surely mistaken despite the two x-rays to confirm otherwise. By the third visit and after a very direct tongue-lashing from the doctor, I could no longer pretend not to know that I had to face this degenerative condition. Soon after the diagnosis, I began taking a series of anti-inflammatory pain medications that simply ceased working after short periods of use. My primary care physician reminded me that I was overweight (as if it was big secret that I was keeping from her) and that the excess pounds were exacerbating the pain in my knees. With the threat of a double knee replacement on my horizon and days of pain that never seem to dissipate, I have decided to fight for my mobility. The way forward and out of daily pain begins with my new found mission to TAKE BACK MY BODY! This begins with acknowledging the fact that I do not deserve to suffer and that chronic pain is not my punishment for being overweight. I have a divine right to live pain-free. My body is the tool by which I fulfill my life’s purpose, and I do not serve a God who desires my suffering. Armed with this belief, I am researching and exploring natural remedies for arthritis and pain relief. Many have been successful and others have not. However, I keep moving at all cost. I hold tight to a vision of my life wherein my body, mind, and soul are aligned for my highest good and in service to my life’s calling.

Imani's Tips 4 Loving Your Self Better!
  •  Take time to embrace the truth of your being. We can do this by getting in touch with our unique calling to this beautiful life. Ask yourself, what is it that I am called to do and how can I be more present with that truth?
  • Find ways to turn the barriers into bridges. What are the experiences, which show up as barriers, trying to tell you? For me, arthritis is calling me to pay closer attention to my body and my stability. It is an opportunity to slow down and realign my body, mind, and spirit.
  • Make every action an intentional movement. Another gift of arthritis is how intentional it makes my movement choices. To that end, I only do what is truly purposeful for me and my Spirit.
We would love to interact & hear from you! Please join the BBB as a follower! Share this posting in your social network, &/or post a comment below! & Remember to continue to...Live BIG!