This one is from the heart…
In an instant—everything changed.
Before the end of 2020 leading up to the beginning of 2021, I’ve been a bit M.I.A, trying to reconnect with what makes sense, what feels authentic, and more importantly reconnecting with why I started all of this in the first place. As we start out the month of March, Women’s History Month, and today, being International Women’s Day, I felt compelled to share my truth with you, to take evaluation over my life, loving myself, my choices, and all of the power I possess inside of me.
I shared this on the Posh and Popular Instagram page back in February after taking a brief hiatus from social media, but also felt this was something that I needed to share with my community on a deeper level. So, you’re getting this open letter from me, today, on the most befitting day, International Women’s Day. It’s so easy for us as black women or women in general to support others and root for another woman’s success, but what about our own? Why is it so hard for us to see that for ourselves? As I took time to reflect, I’ve spent the last 5 years of my brand celebrating other amazing women in fashion, beauty, and media, but never felt like I was even worthy of that same kind of love. Almost feeling invisible to others if I wasn’t celebrating someone else. And for a while, I harbored a lot of resentment. Resentment of myself for not going after my dreams fully, with only myself in mind. I mean, I wanted to see everyone else win, but felt like no one really wanted the same for me. It felt like everyone wanted to compete against me, rather than help me build.
Have you been there before? I almost started to feel hyper vigilant in a sense. I didn’t trust anyone, and I felt like everyone had a motive. You name it, I experience it. From people copying my complete concepts, to stealing information from my sponsorship decks to “create” their own. I’ve had people talk about how “expensive” my events were behind my back, but turn around and beg me to “volunteer” for my summit staff, only to connect with someone for their own personal gain, behind my back, without any acknowledgement or gratitude for the opportunity I had given them. I’ve contracted beauty professionals for paid opportunities, that other large scale brands and companies have provided me with, only for them to show up late for my clients and not seem to care that my business and the integrity of my brand was on the line in the process. I’ve had “friends” that have never supported me, showing support for other brands that were doing things that were similar to what my brand has done for years. I’ve had “friends” whom I’ve included in my brand activities and shared my platform with, that have never asked me how they could assist me or help me take Posh and Popular to another level, but they had no problems helping serve on another persons board or committee. I’ve given people opportunities to connect with people I’ve brought to town, only for them to disrespect me, use my name to get in the door, but give me absolutely no recognition for what they were able to accomplish through my personal connections. I could go on, and on, and on. But through all of this, I kept creating, posting, sharing, supporting, and helping other women in anyway I could. Even though I was hurting deeply.
After a while and experiencing so much hurt, or what felt like betrayal in some cases, I started to consider being more focused on myself, but then that didn’t feel authentic, because nothing about me is selfish or self-seeking. It felt like I was only as valuable as what I could do for someone. But what about me? Like, hey, I need love and support too. I have a brand that needs to continue to grow as well! I have products for sale, I have content that needs to be shared, too. What about me? I truly wanted people to see me and to see my heart. Then you top all of this off with a pandemic… Talk about pivoting. Everything I was used to doing had to change. No more events, just me, my family, God, and Instagram Live! During this season, that time away from the events and all of the noise, was probably the best thing that could have ever happened to me, because for the first time in almost 6 years, I finally had time to focus solely on what I wanted to do next. I really had time to focus on what mattered to me, which was growing my brand.
Because for almost 6 years of my life I had dedicated my life to helping other women connect to grow their brands and businesses, I felt like I was only valuable to those I could help put in position, promote, or highlight, but when it came time for reciprocity, they were nowhere to be found. For 7 years I was doing what not a lot of people were doing at the time. In 2013 the words blogger and influencer seemed like fluff. Nobody took what I was doing seriously until they saw me monetizing my passion consistently. Until they started to really see the impact “influencers” could have on the people and communities around them. Now all of a sudden everyone wanted in on the action, and I started to feel stuck, unseen, and just plain old tired.
But one day, something finally just clicked. I remember having a conversation with God during my quiet time, and He said to me as clear as day, “Stop expecting YOU, from people”. And in that moment there was a sense of relief and calmness that came over me. I have such a genuine heart for people that I expected everyone to have the same heart for women as I did, and the reality is, everyone does not. The reality is, expecting YOU, from other people will have you stressed depressed, and overwhelmed. In that moment all expectations went out the window, and I realized that it was time for me to pull back from all the giving and pouring I was doing into others, and truly start focusing on my own personal happiness and success. After that, it seemed like everything shifted for me and everything started to fall into place. I started receiving recognition in my hometown Detroit, being honored with the Michigan Chronicle 40 under 40 award, and slowly feeling like all of my hard work had in fact, not been in vain, and that this was just the beginning of where my gifts and talents would take me.
The moral of the story is this… It doesn’t matter how much you’re attempting to give if you feel like you’re always pouring from an empty cup. I decided that 2021 was my year to fill my cup completely and to only allow others access to my overflow. Nothing more and nothing less. As women, it is important that we remember this. Giving your last doesn’t make you a saint, it makes you broke and resentful.
I had to take a hard look in the mirror and say you know what, this is all on you. Everything that you kept allowing and experiencing is all on you. You control how others view you, treat you, and value you, based on what you present and how you show up in the world. And for the first time, I had to really be ok with not trying to please others, really making the decision that putting myself first was perfectly ok. I also had to come to the realization that, this new approach doesn’t make me selfish, it makes me smart and self-preservation is a necessity. Really taking the time to truly believe in myself, what I bring to the table, and what I have to offer as an influencer, marketer, writer, business woman, and entrepreneur is essential. I shared all of this to say, know your value, know your worth, and act like it.
I know I am not alone in my experiences, and I want to encourage those that are struggling with self love, self doubt, and imposter syndrome to get out of your own way. As women it is extremely important for us to know our value, and act accordingly. It’s ok to choose you, even if it upsets others. Trust me, the people in your life that truly love you, and value your gifts and what you bring to the table as a creative and as a business owner will be proud you did! Love yourself first! You deserve it!
I hope my transparency on this International Women’s Day inspires you to walk in your truth, and not turn back! You owe it to yourself and the people who truly support you to go after everything God has for you! Let today be the beginning of something special! It’s never to late to start! Now go be great!