Happy to be back with you! Hope that you all are doing well. Right now, most of us are completely shocked and utterly devastated by the passing of the talented actor, Chadwick Boseman. In reviewing the commentary from his peers and fans, Chadwick, without question, was a remarkable person who was extremely and sincerely passionate about utilizing his gift in a dignified way. He lived life fully and breathed life into his dreams by making them his reality. His dream and artistic style has left an increible mark on this world and on the black community. When the end comes, your legacy is how people remember you. More importantly, your legacy is the foundation for the generations that will follow you. What will my legacy be? What do I want my legacy to be? These are questions that have held me captive during this Covid- 19 induced quarantine.
When I started Lipstick, Thighs, and Plussize Life (the original name of this blog) in 2014, my desire was to represent plus size women who look like me. I wanted to vocalize my perspective as a young, plus size black woman learining how to embrace my beauty and size and also to discuss navigaing corporate america while trying to build an empire. Earlier posts detail my dressing room chornicles as I searched for plus size friendly professional wear to dawn in the corporate space. As I entered the corporate space, I stuck out like a sore thumb. Many of my peers were older than me, had viewpoints on life that completly differed from mine, and looked way different than me. At my first job, I recall a higher up telling me that I would make a great line backer, a weight joke he assumed I should find funny. My first job was my introduction to the emotional burden that black people carry while working in corporate america. Racism, sexism, and ageism rule the corporate world. Navigating corporate politics, while a task that I do well, is a skill that I am still polishing. Yet, I am tired of code switching, tired of playing the game, and tired of proving my worth to organizations that do not view me as anything other than a producer. As I have maneuvered up the ladder, I thought that, by proving my worth and value to an organization, I would be able to build the life that I desperately want. I thought that I would be fulfilled. Yet, I found myself trapped in a plantation- esque abyss.
Firstly, I would like to say, I am extremely appreciative of the skills that I have gained and also the gift of employment. Please understand that I am aware that many are unemployed, so I want to be clear about my appreciation of employment during these trying times. My understanding of what is needed for success has changed. Burn out is a plague and it has overcome me. Corporate politics, the framework and hierarchy have worn me out. My body literally CAN NOT with the corporate world anymore.
I realized that entrepreneurship is the path to my happiness. The joy that I get from creating fashion videos, discussing my journey to womanhood, and empowering other women supersedes any corporate goals that I have achieved. Getting up, and working myself to death to build someone else’s dream does not satisfy me. The never-ending game of appeasing operations and the C-suite does not excite me in they way that singing does, or even the way that writing this blog post does. While the pandemic has been devestating, the isolation encouraged me to evalaute my needs in the absence of pressure from society, family and friends. The silence forced me to listen to the voice of my inner self. My life is just that, mine. My life would be a complete waste, if I satisfied everyone else at my own expense. This quarantine has allowed me to make peace with my desire to breakup with corporate america.
Whatever is it that God has placed on your heart to do, DO it. Life is short. Make sure that you spend your life doing what makes you happy. What do you want your legacy to be? How do you achieve your dreams? If the path that you are on does not direct you to your goals and dreams, do not be afraid to pivot. Trust that God will order your steps toward the calling that he has placed on your life.
Taking these photos last week helped me recognize just how much I love my side hustle.
Top: Ashley Stewart (26)
Jeans: Lane Bryant (22)
Denim Jacket: Rainbow Shops (3x)
Mask: Clifton and Leopold (see prior post for links)
In a 2018 commencement speech to Howard University’s graduating class, Boseman eloquently discussed the challenges of maintaining his dignity as a black actor in Hollywood. He told a story of losing a soap opera role that he thought could be his big break because he challenged the producers’ overly misguided and stereotypical portrayal of black life. Chadwick, a Howard graduate, emphasized the importance of purpose, dignity, and legacy. Several of his points underscored my desire to redirect my career path. The “path to his destiny”, as Chadwich described, formed when he choose to brave the harder road, the road less traveled. He found pride and purpose in potraying roles that uplifted the black community. In doing so, he made a tremendous impact on the film industry via his representation and also left a powerful legacy for the genrations to come.
You would rather find purpose than a job or a career. Purpose crosses diciplines. Purpose is an essential element of you. Purpose is the reason you are on the planet at this particular time in history. Your very existence is wrapped up in the thing you are here to fulfill. The struggles along the way are only meant to shape you for your purpose.
“I don’t know what your future is, but if you’re willing to take the harder way, the more complicated one, the one with more failures at first than successes, the one that is ultimaltely proven to have more meaning, more victory, more glory . . . then you will not regret it.”Chadwick Boseman
I am “Young, Gifted, and Black,” as Boseman would say. Being an entrepreneur, owning my own business, schedule, and time, matters so much to me. This quarantine has stripped my identity and my understanding of myself but the rebuilding process is something that I look forward to. I am the generation curse breaker in my family. The weight of my ancestors’ transgressions is on my back. In my process of building my empire, I recognize now that my victory and success includes breaking the chains and curses over my lineage so that my decendants can thrive. I want to build something that they can continue to build. I desire to build a brand and a business that makes money while I sleep. Also, I want to maintain a space that encourages people to live confidently, to be bold, and to be present in their lives in what ever capacity that entails. I want to encourage others to use their gifts to make the world a better place. If I’m going to put in crazy hours, it needs to be for my own business. This is a harder road but I am up for the challenge. The burnout that I am experiencing is because my purpose is being wasted. My calling is being unanswered. My spirit knows that. As for now, my next steps are uncertain, but I am extremely proud of the work that I have done so far and I’m hopeful about my future.
Here are a few questions to ponder:
If money was not an issue, what would you do full-time?
What would you want your legacy to be?
Are you currently in a position where you are working toward your dream? If not, what needs to change so that you can get on the right path?
Feel free to answer the questions in the comment section.
Until next time,