The Mysterious Black Girl’s guide to feeling beautiful

For my Fab Bats who prefer night over day, befriend the monster under the bed and in the dark look like mysterious figures gliding in the shadows, make yourself at home and have a cup of tea. Sometimes you might feel depleted and discouraged when the world tries to strip you of your magic. If you doubt your powers or feel rejected by all, follow these steps every day:

“Bloody Mary! I look good.”

When you look at yourself in the mirror you don’t always like what you see. Speak to your body! Say what’s on your mind (tell the truth). Burying your emotions 6 feet under by forcing yourself to stay positive will only make them rise from the grave eventually. When you speak to yourself about what you feel uncomfortable with, don’t hold back.

When you’re ready, here are some mantras for you to repeat:

  • Bloody Mary, check this out.
  • By the looks of this, I shall bewitch many a mortal today.
  • I could wear anything today and still look like the world’s next diabolical overlord.
  • I am a personified dessert.

If there is anything to take away from Disney villains, it is that they are very confident in their evil plans. So should you be.

Oh, my Hair

You’ve heard this before. Your hair – or lack thereof – is to be embraced for a reason. As an avid collector of shrunken, severed heads (should I be admitting this?), I have learned that the cranium is a defining factor in your identity. You likely know by now that just about every black woman has, at some point in her life, been judged because of her hair. This is an unfortunate reality. Since you don’t see your hair often in movies or described in books (ugh, I always hate imagining a character in my head only to later hear them being described as “porcelain skinned with beautiful flowing hair”) you might feel alienate.

How often has this happened?

No matter the pattern of your curls, the venus fly trap atop your cranium is a force to be reckoned with: touch my hair, if you dare. Many have spoken out on the deep historical roots of treating black women’s hair as a possession, but how are you supposed to react when it happens? Here are a few tips.

If someone grabs your hair in public

Anger is a natural reaction and you shouldn’t have to hold back. Just avoid violence, especially if you are outside alone and don’t have blackup in case things get heated. People usually take “no” as an offense. However, physical violence will be damaging not only to your body, but also your psyche. Now, I am not one to go against expressing anger. You have the right to snap back. If you’re one of those lucky girls that thinks quick during a confrontation, say something witty or sarcastic. Despite hitting or tackling someone not being the best idea, this does not mean you shouldn’t fight back. Just do it with words.

“Can I touch your hair…please?”

Just because they ask doesn’t mean it’s okay. Let’s drive this point home. Just because they ask doesn’t mean it’s okay. You have every right to say “Hell. No.” Period. It doesn’t matter how offended the person is. The same rule applies to a friend just as it does a stranger. Even if the person asking is a family member, you don’t have to yes. It’s your body and people need to respect it.

If someone grabs your hair in private

The same rules apply here. Sometimes people take advantage if you are alone to ask flippant questions about your hair or even grab at it. Have you heard the excuse “Oh, I thought it was a wig” yet? There is something uncomfortable and maybe even scary about it. If you are alone in a room with such a person, you might want to simply leave the situation. This would help your mental health by just letting yourself cool down a bit. If you decide to confront the person, that’s fine, but if you’re not in the mood to fight, that’s okay too.

On the other hand, if you feel threatened, leave the situation or slip out of the space to call someone you trust. It is extremely important that you listen to your gut feeling. Some things to consider: Is this person significantly older than you or are they in a position of power (such as your boss, a professor…)? Do they speak differently to you than they do to others? Do they have a history of harassment that you know about? If you have answered yes to any of these, then you might want to consider leaving the situation. Let us know in the comments if this has happened to you before and how you handled it. Your story could help others!

Essentially, whether you’ve shaved your hair, rock a TWA or let it loose, just do you. Think of all the other black girls thriving and shining. Know that you are always surrounded and are so loved!

Practice your magic

My dear batty black girls, you all have a bit of magic within you. Why not use it? By magic, I am referring to the otherworldly energy that resonates within you.

You too can fly!

There is such a wide range of ways you can put a little magic into your day. The first one is to document your enchanting accomplishments. I have yet to practice this, but even just looking at checks on a checklist to see the progress you’ve made is so rewarding. We are told to be grateful for the beautiful things in our life, but sometimes when the world feels cloudy and we’re drowning in a pit of darkness (so annoying), asking us to be grateful can be a bit…trivial. Instead, let’s focus on you. What things are you grateful for about yourself? What milestones have you made so far in your life? This is where you will find your magic. Don’t be too hard on yourself. You have probably been through a lot in your life and often forget to be proud of the fact that you’re still surviving. That’s huge! Please, learn to forgive yourself for mistakes and treat yourself with kindness. After all, you’re the fearless village sorceress. Better not get on your bad side…

That’s all fine Dana, but how do I treat myself with kindness?

It is always easier said than done. As a cartoon character, I have to tell you that the best thing that worked for me is fiction. Imagine yourself as a magical girl that could bewitch anyone she comes across. Who do you see yourself as? Get to know yourself through your imagination. Often we let go of the way we used to “pretend” as little kids. It was a way to escape the harsh world we live in. See yourself as enchanted royalty living among us mortals. You have so much power, now use it!

Feed your body with Love

People say you should “eat to live and not live to eat”. Personally, I can’t imagine a life without sweets. The key is moderation. Unfortunately, we live in a very “all or nothing society”, especially with large American chains popping up more and more around the world. Too often, in searching for healthy meals, have I heard of terms such as “danger food” (Seriously? They were talking about almonds, by the way. You go figure…), “toxic”, “bad”, “to be avoided”. Food has become our enemy. Don’t jump on that bandwagon! This is another concept I am working on myself. My beautiful black girls, there is nothing better than a spoonful of white chocolate peanut butter (YES, that is a real thing and it is wonderful). We need to view food as both necessary and pleasure.

Yum!

When you remove the guilt you feel after eating, your life will change completely. Nonetheless, this is much easier said than done. There are hidden ingredients (notoriously sugar) in just about every packaged food which can make it especially difficult to “eat healthy”. But do not despair, it is easy to minimize your consumption of packaged goods (let’s be real, most of us don’t have time to cut them out completely) and incorporate more grains, vegetables, fruits and legumes to balance out processed food. For example, if you are used to eating two slices of pizza, maybe go for one slice and a side of grilled veggies? There is no need to ban an entire food group from your diet if you don’t have medical issues or follow a vegan/vegetarian lifestyle.

Always treat yourself! Believe it or not, it’s totally fine to eat dessert every day. If you keep the portions small, it will both satisfy your cravings and teach you to savor food. Stay away from labeling ingredients as “guilt free”. Why on earth should food make you guilty? This will often lead to binges and an unhealthy relationship with food.

This part is especially important: with the popularity of fitness/wellness gurus on Instagram, it is easy to compare your lifestyle to their often unrealistic healthy brand. When this comparison goes to the extreme it can lead to disordered eating, and possibly an eating disorder. If you know of or are someone who has a negative outlook on food, restricting (not eating certain foods at all and obsessing over portions), purging (throwing up after meals, abusing laxatives) or constantly overeating (the often overlooked binge eating disorder where a person eats uncontrollably) please reach out to someone you trust or call a hotline in your country.

That being said, it takes time to repair and maintain your relationship with food. Take it day by day…or night by night, for our fanged friends that feed off of mortal blood.

Dress the way you want!

Lastly, the way you present yourself to the world reflects the way you feel about yourself. Now, not everyone has the luxury to dress freely according to their own perceptions of beauty, so “dress” will designate how you carry yourself. The manner in which you speak to yourself is how you expect to be treated. Always:

  • Stand with your head tall. Be proud, own your magic.
  • Let people know who you are by the way you walk into a room. You know the feeling when you see someone enter a space and instantly, you feel this powerful energy. You are that person!
  • Speak with confidence without trying to overpower anyone else’s words. There is nothing more powerful than a person who is secure with sharing the floor.
  • Be a good listener.
  • Stay humble. There is no need to brag when you are confident with your essence.
  • Respect yourself and people will respect you!

Has this guide helped you? What experiences made you grow as a mysterious black girl? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Liked it? Support Dana on Patreon!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *