About Young BW Determined to Live Well

After being a faithful reader of various blogs dedicated to positively influencing black women, I recognized quite a few young black women in their teens, 20's, and 30's who were touched by the message as much as myself. This blog is my attempt to reach out and connect with young black women on issues we may be facing at a very transitional time in our lives. I encourage all, irrespective of age, class, origin, etc. to participate in the discussions and brainstorming sessions we have. I look forward to the potential of this blog and hope to hear from Young Black Women Determined to Live Well like myself!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Go Where You Can Be Seen!

Hello my Lovely and Elegant Young Black Butterflies Determined to Live Well! I hope you all are taking the time to enjoy the Holiday Season! I sometimes frequent other blogs and find little pieces of information that reinforce what we advocate at this blog. The information can be used in ways to help many of us continue to strive for a Living Well life, so I felt compelled to share it with you all. While visiting the following blog, I read this useful post:

The Rules Revisited

I was once again reminded how important it is to consider how the area you live and the place you work can help or hinder your social life. This includes being able to get out there and meet both men and women. DO WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO my darlings! Get out there and let yourself be seen. This also applies to where you choose to be seated in any social setting. How many men are able to see you if you choose the seat way in the back or in the corner. Try sitting in the front or middle of the establishment where there is very little to block the line of sight of  people entering the building. It may seem uncomfortable at first, but doing this a few times will help. Slow things down a bit as well. Rushing to check your phone every so often, wearing headphones, etc. make you seem unapproachable for potential friends or romantic interests.

This part of the post forced me to evaluate my own habits that could use slight improvement:

"If you spend an hour a day on your laptop at home rather than in a coffee shop or some other public place because none are convenient to you - force yourself out of the house."

Now, how many of us are guilty of being on the laptop for longer than an hour at home? I know I am. I plan on frequenting a few different coffee houses in the near future to maximize my potential for meeting new people as well. Check out this blog when you get the chance. Though it is not geared toward a readership of predominantly young bw, there are a few gems of advice any woman can use as well. Take special care of yourselves Lovelies and stay the Angelic Young BW Determined to Live Well that you are! Ciao!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Listen to your feelings, it may be time to step outside of the Safe Zone.

Greetings to the ever Angelic Young BW Determined to Live Well! I thought about something this evening and wanted to share:

As I am sure many of you can agree with, the circles in which many black women spend their time are generally all black. If you observe close enough, the girlfriends tend to be all black as well. I don't find anything wrong with this as it takes time to develop a friendship. Dismissing what many have found to be a solid support system of friends is very risky. All people need support from friends in life. Without it, we would lose the spark and desire to keep going. However, for some young bw determined to live well, their group of girlfriends may not be interested in socializing in a way that allows her to meet different people, or different men (wink* Wink*).

Things usually look like this:

While she secretly feels like this: "Hmmm...there are so many cute guys here I could be getting to know right now...but if I leave the group it is going to be obvious...and if they realize who I'm checking out (the cute non-bm over there), they would most certainly have 'something to say' about it..."

Meanwhile she wishes her public outings looked like this:

Maybe you want a more diverse group of people in your sphere, or you want an even distribution of men to women in your outings. The primary difference in these images are the inclusion of men in social circles, and people from different backgrounds or ethnic groups than yourself . I think you will also notice that when people of other racial/ethnic groups go out, there is a mix of men and women. If not, a conscious effort is made to mingle with members of the opposite sex by all groups. This seems to have grown very rare with the groups of black women I have seen while out.

Dropping your girlfriends and going it alone is quite unthinkable to many. Fear plays a large part in things remaining as they are. However, if you have ever spent time with a group of girlfriends in a public setting of many eligible men in the room, some of whom are a different race than yourself, and felt uneasy about getting up to mingle . . . or if you've ever spent the entire night in the same area of ________ (insert any establishment with a large concentration of single men and women), speaking only to your girlfriends, simply to end the night without having met one new person . . .  or if you went home thinking you dressed up for what could have easily been a girls night at home, you need to listen to what your feelings are telling you. Step outside of the safe zone, and seek out women who share similar desires as yourself. They are out there. Finding them takes a little more work, primarily because of the racio-political dynamic that exists in the country concerning Black women who have interests that "black people/ black women are not supposed to do." BUT!  It is indeed possible and just one more step that could bring you closer to living well. Remember to believe in yourselves ladies. You can do it!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Power in the Pretty

Black women should wear makeup that flatters their features a majority of the time. Black women should also maintain a great skincare regimen that has demonstrated excellent results within the first month of continuous application. Black women should take the time to find and recreate hair styles that flatter their facial features. In many ways, I am preaching to the choir in this post. I have encountered many excuses reasons given by black women for not wearing makeup, and not daring to spend a little more on a quality skincare line formulated for their needs. Styling of our hair can take many forms. However, I have witnessed both natural and relaxed women who clearly are not willing to put effort in finding the right style to fit their face rather than the latest "trendy" styles. Some of which, come off as harsh when balanced against the woman's complexion and features. In response to the reasons I hear for not making a real effort, I can only continue to advocate that every single black woman is different in her own way. Black women are not a monolith in any sense of the word. However, I do believe collective image of a group can help or hinder you as an individual who is categorized within that group. Doing the above mentioned things don't hinder most women who are living in the Western world. So...by deliberately opting out of these practices, I feel confident in concluding, it further hinders the ascension of Black Women's collective image. 

If you are in any way conflicted by what i have just said, I encourage you to read the blog: "The Sojourner's Passport" and pay special attention to the "Beauty as a Weapon" category. Beauty as a Weapon

Beauty as a weapon in the figurative sense is where I would like to focus. While reading the blog, Black & Femme, I had the pleasure of watching this video. The young woman in the film decided to test the claims of a study on how women who wear makeup and dress femininely are received by men, compared to women who do not wear makeup and dress with little care for how clothes fit their body. The results are quite telling.

In addition, there is a three part series on the Psychology Today website, that touches on the importance of attire in commanding power. In  Part 1 , Part 2 , and Part 3 , the author explains topics like choosing the right color, fabric, fit, hairstyle, accessory, etc. to help with commanding respect and power in the corporate world. The examples and images used are of caucasian individuals. However, the same can be said about black women of various skin tones, sizes, and shapes. For example, one of the major things I practice is wearing colors that are complementary to my skin color. I stay away from dark, somber colors like black, gun metal gray, navy blue, or dark brown because in general, they do not complement my complexion as well as lighter, brighter, or jewel tone colors. If I must wear something dark in color, like a skirt suit, the blouse worn underneath the blazer is going to be in a complementary color to my skin color. The same method can be used when purchasing a scarf for the fall and winter seasons. A black scarf may be just as warm as a pink or ivory scarf, but the pink and ivory scarf are going to do more for my skin color and enhance my beauty.

As an example I am going to use Kelly Rowland to show a comparison of how certain colors complement or do nothing at all for brown skin. The first images are of Kelly wearing darker somber colors:

As always, her makeup and hair look beautiful. The silhouette of the longer grey dress is very flattering to her shape. However, take a look at images of Kelly when wearing a bright pearl necklace while still wearing black:
A little better than opting to go without a necklace like the first set of images. The pearl necklace brings the focus directly to Kelly's face and create a pleasant contrast. The same strategy of bringing attention to the face can be attempted through scarfs of pretty pastel and jewel toned colors.  Now, look at images of Kelly wearing colors that flatter her skin color:

With the addition of a complimentary color, Kelly's skin color comes alive!  Also, it is important to note the shades of yellow, orange, pink, white, and red that work with her brown skin. For instance, certain shades of purple may not flatter her as well as other shades. See the example below:

I would say the 2nd purple dress flatters Kelly more than the deep wine colored dress. Both dresses are pretty, but the coloring of the fabric closest to the face can make her stand out or get lost in the background. What are some of the steps you take as young bw determined to live well, to enhance your  unique beauty?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A Word of Warning for YoungBW Determined to Live Well

Hello Lovely Ladies! I know it has been a long time since I last posted, but I do hope some of you still take advantage of previous posts, and frequent the blogs listed  to the left. There are so many wonderful and insightful postings coming from talented black women bloggers! Reading them has certainly inspired and encouraged me to keep at my goals of Living Well. I am currently pursuing a graduate degree and have encountered new and interesting people that also attend the school. Some of these new and interesting people are young black women. At some point, the conversation between myself and a group of black women came to the topic of out of wedlock children. I had expressed the belief that children born in a healthy marriage generally do better than children who are born out of wedlock. Well, it apparently touched a nerve with almost all the ladies that were there. One of those ladies was a current single mother in her 20's, another was the product of a single parent home in which her mother was the sole provider and caretaker. Needless to say, many of them went on the defensive because of my comment and tried to provide a number of examples in which children born in a single parent home do just fine, citing high rates of divorce, and homes with parents that are not in a healthy relationship negatively affecting a child; you name it. Long story short, I simply tried to conclude the "discussion" as gracefully as possible by stating my comment was a reflection of the views and values I was raised with, and whatever views they may have that differ from my own are okay too (BUT, clearly those views are NOT okay in my school of thought). I felt a little drained from that experience as it was deeply disheartening to hear some of their rhetoric about women taking care of themselves without the help of a man.  Moreover, this is not the first time I have encountered a defensive response from black women about out-of-wedlock births. Ladies, I am declaring today that I will not bring up the subject of marriage, children, relationships, or anything along those lines with these women. I will even go as far as saying, it is not in our best interest as black women desiring to live well, to bring up these topics with the vast majority of African-American/Black women. These topics are largely shaped by the values we possess. If we don't share the same values, then our views will differ significantly. As a woman with the views I hold, I feel confident in concluding that the majority of black women I encounter do not share my values or views on marriage, children, and relationships. I was thankful for that experience. It reminded me that the circumstances surrounding the African-American community in general are quite distorted compared to the views of several other groups in this country, and it is my responsibility to seek out likeminded individuals with whom I can associate. I will continue to be cordial and polite in my dealings with these women (they are after all my colleagues), but certainly will not be including them in my inner circle of friends. They revealed a lot about themselves through their comments, and I am sure I made an impact on whatever previous image they had constructed about me initially. Keep your views or goals on certain topics like the ones I mentioned, safely to yourself. ONLY share with individuals you have thoroughly vetted. You have a right to believe in the importance of marriage, relationships, and having children within a healthy and happy two parent family. This is a key component to the Living Well Life I seek to create for myself and I would rather remain single and childless than compromise my beliefs. Keep moving forward on your goals each day, each week, each month, whatever works for you. Just be consistent! A little each time, goes toward getting you closer to Living Well! I wish you all lots of love as we continue on our respective journeys! Stay beautiful Butterflies! Ciao!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Doing My Part!

Hello lovelies! I hope that all is well with you and you are doing something each day that contributes toward your goal of Living Well! I saw this video and had to post it on the blog. It very much falls in line with a number of the things we advocate at Young BW Determined to Live Well. Enjoy and feel free to pass along.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Google: Young Black Women, and what do I see?

While doing a random google search of three words in this order: young black women, I discovered a handful of other websites preceding this blog. The first website was the Young Black Women’s Society Inc. The next few were about a report on HPV infection lasting longer in young black women compared to other women (code for white), followed by an article titled “Michelle Obama gives hope to young black women” and finally, our beloved YoungBW Determined to Live Well blog. I sincerely feel that there has been a sliver of improvement if the first few websites on young black women did not immediately display a plethora of negative statistics. However, HPV is of particular concern to me as I am all too aware of just how it (including other STDs) flies under the radar when it comes to black women’s health. AIDS is a big concern, though I would vouch we do not hear enough about this, but HPV is subliminally deemed less important because, low and behold, there is a vaccine that proposes immunity to the virus if taken at an early stage of adolescence, and the perception that annual pap smears are a sufficient form of preventative care for cervical cancer, which originates from HPV.
I am not aware of any changes regarding the vaccination being covered by a majority of insurance providers. I do know when I first heard about Gardisil, it was extremely expensive to take one out of the three required shots to complete the vaccination. Though I will not advocate against taking the vaccination (to each their own), I will encourage young black women to research as much as possible before introducing anything into their bodies. I say this not out of distrust for modern day medicine, but instead, a desire to see women of all ages taking an active interest in what happens to their bodies. This means, what we expose our bodies to, is of great significance as it could very well determine our prospects for a long and productive life in the future. Ask as many questions as possible regarding ingredients, research studies done to test the vaccine and their duration as well as the primary demographic from which the results of testing arose. What are the side effects and are there any that seem to affect black women on a more or less frequent basis? What are the effects of taking the vaccine if one is already infected with the virus and is their a preliminary test done to determine whether a patient has HPV before encouraging the vaccine being taken. There are many more things one could do to increase their knowledge about chemicals advertised to prevent prevalent viruses. Some of these questions I have asked gynecologists, and have been unpleasantly surprised to find out they don’t have answers. Again, this is not about scaring anyone. It is about self empowerment through the active acquisition of knowledge. 
In keeping with our theme of taking care of our bodies, let us once again discuss the importance of taking extra precaution with our delicate flowers down south. Hey, as young black women, when you truly face the facts, no one is willing to take care of us better than ourselves ( and the QLL men and/or women in our lives already). Who we choose (and if you are not choosing, you may want to call that something else because it certainly is not intimacy, lovemaking, or what sex has the great potential to be) to have sex with is a decision that should be made after a substantial amount of vetting has taken place. Vetting, in my world, is inclusive of both a committed relationship involving exclusivity between myself and my partner, and knowing the most updated status on whether the individual has or had an STD. Who have you slept with in the past? Did you know their status before you slept with them? Were you comfortable enough to ask them to get tested before having sex with them? What was their response? Were they on the defensive about your inquiry? Would they twist your questions into an accusation of distrust? Think about it, a response to any of the former questions could be the answer to whether or not this person is even worth another nanosecond of your time. 
Getting back to the findings of that study, I do wonder what could be the cause of young black women taking longer for the body to clear an HPV infection compared to white women? Could it be a result of having sex while infected with the virus, and being introduced to different strains? Though Gardisil covers 4 different strains of HPV, there are more identified strains of the virus that the vaccine does not protect against. A lack of knowledge about how the virus is transferred from partner to partner (HPV can be transferred by skin to skin contact with or without a condom and bodily fluids like semen and vaginal lubrication)? Could it have anything to do with the lifestyles of those women regarding the types of foods they consume, their frequency in exercising, their general self-esteem, their families and surroundings? A simple search on many diseases and infections for STDs and the like, do say that a healthy diet and lifestyle only serve to strengthen the body’s immune system. So many questions can be  derived from this one finding alone. What do you think may be to blame for these results? I am not quick to believe it is just a biological thing though. Too many studies are quick to take this route and I am not having the usual okey-doke played on me with that one. This is however, my opinion and mine alone. Each of you are welcome to draw your own conclusions. What say you?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Sending Love Your Way!

Hello to all of the Exquisite and Lovely Young Black Women Determined to Live Well! I hope each and every one of you are busy taking the steps necessary to bring your hopes and dreams to fruition! While reading a recent posting from one of my favorite bloggers, another blogger was mentioned regarding young black women and issues they may face from being upwardly mobile in the global village. Please take the time to read postings (I read them all!) from this site, and find a way to apply the information to your own journey to living well! The Black Girl's Guide to Everything