Story Time: “I’ve Never Been With A (Insert Race Here) Girl Before”

Bonjour à tous!

It’s official. I’m an owner of a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism. I haven’t been this excited and fulfilled in my entire life. I’ve jumped many hurdles in life, but this amazing accomplishment is, by far, the biggest. Now, it’s time for grad school to accomplish another huge goal; receiving my master’s degree.

Post-graduation, I’ve decided to take advantage of things that I’m unable to do during my the school semester like watching Netflix with a glass of wine, going out and meeting up with friends, and just having a great headstart into the summertime.

While having some drinks in Downtown Manhattan with a friend that I met in France last summer, I got to meet some new people, including one interesting guy that got me thinking about a statement that he had made while attempting to flirt with me (very poorly I might add) over a glass of rosé. Let’s call this guy ‘Alex.’ After the “you’re gorgeous” statements and standard “tell-me-about-yourself” questions, Alex slightly giggles and says, “I’ve never dated a black girl before.”

How did I respond? I didn’t. If I did, I’d instantly become the “angry black woman.” I turned my back to him as if we’d never met.

Let’s talk for a moment.

It’s completely okay to have never dated outside your race or outside of your normal dating preference, but it is absolutely not okay to blurt out that fact when you first meet someone. Regardless of your intentions, it’s offensive and it only tells us one thing.

Now, let me explain thoroughly.

Let’s start with the stereotypes put upon women of color (par example). Latinas are sometimes stereotyped in society to be fiery and sassy while black women are said to be loud and/or (wait for it) “exotic.” If the first thing that you point out to a woman of color when meeting her for a date or talking to her for the first time is her race, then this is a form of objectification. It expresses that you see her as nothing more than an object; one more “to-do” to kick off your bucket list or a great story to tell your pals about that ‘one time with a [insert race here] girl.’

As a young woman of color who has experienced such events, I’ll tell you honestly that statements like these are not funny or cute in the slightest.

They’re actually quite ignorant.

When I meet people for the first time, contrary to popular belief, their race is not the very first thing that comes to my mind. So excuse my astonishment that my race, along with racist stereotypes (yes I said it,  because, let’s face it, stereotypes are racist) are almost absolutely the first thing that comes to mind when I converse with the opposite sex of a different race apart from my own.

It doesn’t keep me up at night but it’s definitely a conversation starter. What are your thoughts?

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À la prochaine,

A.

Story Time: Your Greatest Flaw May Be Your Strongest Attribute

Bonjour à tous!

I just took my last final exam of my undergraduate career yesterday and I honestly cannot believe that it’s all over.

It’s 4:00 in the morning in New York right now and I haven’t slept all night. I’ve been lying in my bed reflecting on how I’ve gotten this far and the reason is simple, yet not so simple: I’m stubborn.

Now, bear with me. This is a post that has been about six years in the making. I am about to let you into some of my life’s deepest experiences in 700 words.


As a young woman growing up in a traditional impoverished Caribbean household on the island of Dominica, asking constant questions or having a piqued sense of curiosity was considered obscene, rude, and seen as a form of blatant disrespect. After years of battling anxiety and innumerable obstacles under a family who never appreciated my hunger and devotion for knowledge, writing was the only way that I could speak without being silenced; my escape from the deceptive shackles that bound my free speech and intelligence. “Stubborn” is a word that I’ve been called many times growing up. As a child, I was called stubborn because I wanted to be one of the boys. I did not desire the anatomy or the attire of the boys. I desired their freedom. I desired to play without being told that I must “play like a young lady,” I desired to eat without being told to “sit like a lady,” and I desired to ask questions without being told that as a young lady, I must “speak only when I am spoken to.”

Being a child who challenged the beliefs of those around me played a large part in the journey to find myself. My curiosity and defiance towards many of my family’s traditional norms was the beginning of a new-found courage that paved the way for many opportunities to become available to me. Because I have objected to, or rebuffed certain rules that I felt prevented me from discovering myself, I have created possibilities that would have otherwise not existed. Today, as a young adult on the edge of receiving my baccalaureate degree in Journalism, I look back and realize that my childhood obstinacy has gotten me farther in life than any other characteristic used to describe me.

I strongly believe that every person is unique, but life’s obstacles and society’s definition of “normal” can cause us to conform to the beliefs, habits, and ways of life as the people who are amongst us. Hence, preventing us from finding our place in the world without social interference. Jotting down short stories about my life and the world around me, which were usually just a series of anecdotes, was my only sense of peace. These small descriptive pieces of writing in a soft-covered black and white composition notebook made me discover my passion for telling compelling, impactful stories which sparked curiosity in others who may feel silenced in the world as well.

Through this curiosity, the freedom that I so desperately craved came about. Intellectual curiosity and seeing the world through other people’s eyes has shown me that absolutely everyone has a story. But many of their stories go untold and are buried with them. This is why I have decided to dedicate myself to giving others who have been silenced a chance to tell their stories. Stories of the downtrodden, the misunderstood, and the forgotten; I wanted to give a voice to the voiceless.

As a young woman of color, whose parents come from an underprivileged country, it is no secret that I have to work twice as hard as many other people. But I am okay with that. Because of the many obstacles and misfortunates that life has thrown my way, I have acquired a gift for caring for others and seeing people in ways that the world does not, which is evident in my writing. My stubborn desire to answer unanswered questions and my passion for others has always been my strongest attributes, despite being taught at a young age that women should learn how to “stay in their lane.”

My own journeys have led me to write stories of people who have felt left behind or who have found that small beam of light in their world full of darkness; similar to my life in the past. Through possibilities abound, like many stubborn people, I have goals that I’d like to accomplish and I refuse to rest until I get there. The world of journalism can never have too many fashion-loving advocate journalists trying to raise awareness or attempt to influence others one nut graph at a time.

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Fun fact: The majority of the information in this story was told in my Ivy League college essay. Being stubborn got me into one of the best schools in the United States and all I did was turn my worst flaw into my strongest attribute. And so can you.

 

Thanks for tuning in! Look out for more posts every Thursday!

À la prochaine!,

A.

Nevertheless, She Persisted! …And Then Got Scolded For It

.Bonjour à tous!

Have you ever achieved something in your life, but received negative comments or feedback from others despite your success? I have. Especially last week, when I found out that I was one out of 19 percent of applicants to be accepted to attend one of the top journalism graduate schools in the U.S. What’s surprising is that a lot of these negative comments did not come from men, they came from women.

In this age of widespread feminism, I cannot understand why women still bring each other down rather than uplift each other.

I’m a feminist who watches the patriarchy of many different societies tear down women every single day, but no one talks about how women do the same to other women. Feminism often bases its platform on equality between women and men. This includes a woman’s right to succeed as well as any man. But shouldn’t women, especially those who call themselves “feminists,” applaud other women when they succeed in a male-dominated world?

 The answer is, “without question.”

If you are a woman or you call yourself a feminist, live up to it. We fight against hate, not become it. On that note, here’s to smashing the patriarchy!

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Celebrate your sisters as they should celebrate you.

Stay strong and kick a** together.

Photos by photographer, Dina Raketa (Instagram: @dinarocket)

Merci for tuning in this week!

À la prochaine,

A.

Body Acceptance: Self-Love

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FTLF supports self-love!

 

Bonjour!

As a teenager, I went through a lot of self-hate issues when it came to my body. I was fit because of sports, but I always saw my hard-earned muscle  and natural curves as “fat.” When constantly told that there is only one “ideal” body type, it takes a toll on your self-confidence and the way you look at yourself in the mirror. I was determined to change large parts of my body to fit what mass society deemed “acceptable.” This week has been a chance to demolish some of these body ideologies by celebrating self-love with ‘Body Acceptance Week.’

Though, I do support people who change certain things about their bodies because they desire to do so, whether it be body modifications or plastic surgery, I do not support people who modify their bodies to please the personal views of others.

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Cat-Eye Glasses : Sunglass Hut; Pants: Fashion Nova

As a full-time student, it sucks to only have 24 hours in a day. With 20 hours of classes per week, college professors make sure that your “free” time outside of the classroom is completely occupied with work, even if you only receive four hours of sleep each night. Sadly, I am living proof of this. This week, I’ve probably received only three hours of sleep or less because it’s Body Acceptance Week.

I’m all for anything feminist-related and LGBTQ pride-related, especially when it comes to self-love.

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It’s your life. Would you rather live it  hating your body because you do not fit society’s “ideal” body type or would you rather be happy with what you see when you look in the mirror everyday?

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Until next week!

À la prochaine,

A.

Skincare For The Confused Weather

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My nightly skincare routine consists of a variety of my favorite skincare brands such as Clinique, Forever Flawless, Proactiv, La Mer and Ponds. I also take GNC’s Hair, Skin, and Nails vitamins to keep my skin supple and glowing.

Bonjour à tous!

Whether you’re single or taken, I hope you enjoyed Valentine’s Day. I’ve never been a fan of this holiday (mostly because the ‘Kay Jeweler’s’ commercials are everywhere like a plague), but hey, I don’t discriminate against free chocolate on a Tuesday afternoon!

I’ve cut down on sugar quite a bit due to my sensitive skin, but like I said, it’s chocolate, so a few pieces didn’t hurt. My skin is prone to breakouts in absolutely any circumstance. The cause of my breakouts is my oily skin and large pores. Like many other women, my skin tends to flake up in certain areas during the winter months due to the dry air and makeup can sometimes make this skin problem worse.

After 15 years of spending money of a variety of skin care products, I’ve become very skilled on products and brand that work or do not work for specific skin types.

One of my favorite products that I often use is ‘Ponds’ Dark Spot Correcting Cream. I have some minor acne marks and this product helps them fade within 6 to 8 weeks. Not only does is fade dark marks, but it is a great moisturizer before bed. I usually thoroughly moisturize my face with this cream before applying my makeup and it keeps my skin soft and supple throughout the day.

Other brands to consider if you have dry, oily, or in between skin, or if you’re skin is heavily being affected by the cold weather, is ‘La Mer’ face moisturizers, ‘Forever Flawless’ (especially the infused face peeling gels), and Clinique. If you have extremely oily skin, Clinique’s  Pore Refining Solutions moisturizer is best for you. It applies on matte and prevents oily skin for up to seven hours.

I have way too many skincare products that I adore, but these are my all time favorite simply because they work really well with different types of skin.

Merci for tuning in this week!

À la prochaine,

A.

College Tips: “I Hate What I’m Studying”

I can’t think of anything worse than having a job that you’re unhappy with except spending thousands of dollars in college to study towards a career path that you are not passionate about. We go to college to get better jobs and build great careers through our earned degrees. But is that piece of paper worth all the blood, sweat, tears, and money if you’re not happy about what’s written on it?

Here’s a scenario:

If you’re studying Business Administration and have absolutely no passion for it, but realized in your junior year of college that you have a passion and love Biochemistry, would you continue studying Business Administration because you’re almost finished with school? Or would you switch your major to Biochemistry? In other words, would you continue your misery until graduation day or would you take the plunge to pursue what you love despite the extra three or four semesters added on to your college attendance?

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Photo Credit | HerCampus.com

Most college students, though they probably wouldn’t say it out loud to others, would continue their misery in a major that they do not love until the day of graduation, which will most likely lead to them hating their career paths. Why? There are many reasons why, but these are the two main problematic reasons:

  1. You feel like you’re half way there, so you might as well finish and get it over with.

Education is not a race. College is a time to find yourself. Switch majors that you may be interested in, join clubs, study abroad, volunteer, join a sports team, etc. If you’re unhappy, eliminate the things in your life that are causing your unhappiness.

      2.  You feel like the clock is ticking and you’re getting “too old for college.”

Yes! You are getting older and so is everyone else. Stop letting age be a dealbreaker when attempting to go for your dreams. Being 25 years old, 37 years old, or even 54 years old while graduating with a bachelor’s is not a failure. If you get that degree, you have accomplished more than many people who will never have the opportunity to do so.

Yes, college is a chance to further our education to get better jobs/careers and salaries in the future, but why go to college to avoid jobs that you hate to earn a degree in a field that lands you another job that you hate? Is it worth it?

Take it from a young woman who spent three years studying English Literature and realized that she didn’t want to read fictional stories, but wanted to tell real stories about real people. I realized my passion for Journalism very “late” in my college career, but I went for it anyway. After six years of college and traveling to places I thought I’d only dream about, I found myself and what I love to do.

Always remember that it’s never too late for anything. If you feel that taking a semester off to study abroad and discover new things is best for you, do it! If you feel that studying two different majors and a minor will help your decision-making for which degree you prefer, do it!  If you keep working hard and never stop fighting for what you love and what you want, you can not fail! Those who never give up, never fail.

À la prochaine,

A.