Yellow

Yellow by Olivia Weeden

A poem by Olivia Weeden

You are yellow to me.
Sunny, happy, bright.
But sometimes,
A little too bright.
A little piercing.
A little blinding.
Yellow speaks of caution,
To slow down.
But sometimes,
We see a yellow light
And go even faster.
A little too fast.
In the right shades,
In the right amounts,
In the right places,
You are calming.
Reminding me of how real
And vibrant everything is.
Keeping me grounded
In yellow.
Yellow is beautiful.
In the right light,
You are golden,
You are soft.
In the right light,
You are harsh,
You are reflective
Of everything I don't want to see
In myself.
You are a highlighter.
Pointing out the information
I need most.
But sometimes 
I get a bit carried away
With my highlighter.
Sometimes I look down,
And an entire page is yellow.
You are overwhelming and
Underwhelming and not
A single bit 
Too yellow. Not
A single bit
Too much.
Because you are you.
You are yellow.
And you are wonderful,
And scary,
And bright,
And soft,
And perfect.
And I love you,
And I thank you,
For being yellow.
<strong>Olivia Weeden</strong>
Olivia Weeden

I’m from Saratoga Springs NY and am a student at Saratoga Springs High School. I love to read and write, and music is also something I’m very passionate about. I love to play cello and am in a quartet and a youth symphony in addition to being a part of my school’s chamber orchestra.

I have also worked part time at a flower farm for the past two years. Writing is something I’ve loved for as long as I can remember, and I am often inspired by the people and places I hold dear. Although it is only a hobby for me at the moment, I hope I can use writing in a much greater capacity in my future.

My Instagram is @olivia_weeden.

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In Another Life

In another life

By Nikki C Mercer

In another life 
we walk the streets in daylight 
side by side holding hands

In another life
we celebrate our love
every waking moment we can

In another life
I am your woman
you are my man 

In another life
<strong>Nikki C Mercer</strong>
Nikki C Mercer

Nikki C Mercer is a wordsmith residing in Adelaide Australia. She manages a family, a financial career and a passion for creative writing.

Nikki’s pursuits include endurance running, eating way too much sugar and experiencing the depth of life.  Nikki is co-author of The Thing Between Us and is published in a number of anthologies worldwide.
 Connect with Nikki on Instagram by searching for handle: ImagineExploreCreate

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She was Manifesting.

She was Manifesting.

Poetry by Shantae Gray

She walked right passed him.
He who was a King.
It hadn’t been intentional.
And as he straightened his crown; flexing his pectorals.
Hoping that the sun’s rays would hit his kingly.
That this woman would see him.
That she would fall to his feet.
For he needed her to be his Queen.
She might have been if he had come months sooner.
 
For in her a sea of intensity had raged.
A hurricane of hunger surged through her.
Its lightning and thunder awakened her.
She could only see the very being she was striving to be.
She was manifesting.
 
Dimensions she hadn’t seen.
Dreams she hadn’t dreamt.
She was inspired.
She was ready to defy.
She was ready to fly.
She was manifesting.
Her being had been rebooted.
Schooled by knowledge that had been so empowering.
She was manifesting.
 
She didn’t dress like a queen.
Her hair was pulled back in a messy ponytail; sweat running down her face.
In her denim jeans were patches of dirt.
That represented the business she was building.
The degree she was completing
The integrity she held on to.
The book she was writing.
She was manifesting.
 
There, etched into her black skin were jewels of her hard work.
All the things her sweat, blood and tears had achieved.
She was manifesting.
The king went in search of her.
Resting his crown.
Putting on his boots.
Running towards her
Trying to catch traces of the beauty that lingered in the wind; gracing time and changing lives.
She was manifesting
<strong>Shantae Gray</strong>
Shantae Gray

My name is Shantae Gray. A proud Jamaican and a graduate of The Caribbean Maritime University. I enjoy long hours at the beach, reading and singing.

I can’t say that writing is just a hobby. For me, it is far more than that. It has become a way of life.  A God given talent that I appreciate each day.

It’s funny how my emotions and feelings are tied to my writing. If I can feel it, I can write it. I love that about my craft. It is my feelings and emotions on paper.

I am working on my first book of poetry and aspire to be a renowned self-published author.
 
You can follow me on Instagram @taestruth

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. For more information, see my disclosures here.

So Much More

So Much More

By Riley Bader

We are all so much more than our statuses,
our faces or our anxieties.

We are caring and kind,
but beyond that,
we are not always fine.

And that is okay.

We are deeper than our smiles,
our cries, and our laughs.
We are human.
Our emotions are so much more vast.

And we will be stronger.

The quietest person in the room
fights off the loudest thoughts.
Actually, scratch that,
anyone can be plagued with
mental exhaust.
The person who seems to have everything
all figured out, really,
has never felt more lost.

And that is okay.

Because we are beautiful
and we are bold.
and we are different and
have untold
futures awaiting all of us.

So we will change the world.
<strong>Riley Bader</strong>
Riley Bader

Hi, my name is Riley Bader and I am currently a high school student. Writing has always been one of my passions so I decided to create an account for my poetry! But, aside from writing, I also love swimming and playing or listening to music. 
My poetry account’s username is @whitestorm_poetry. All of the support I have there means the world to me! 

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Love Floats, a poem

Love Floats a poem

A poem by Deanna M Ramirez

Love floats in the air⠀
like a dandelion seed⠀
Spread love ⠀
through this dark world ⠀
of desperate greed⠀
Greed feeds on the ⠀
helpless, destroying ⠀
the heart⠀
Let love fly and take root ⠀
wherever you are

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Joyed

Joyed

A poem by Deanna Ramirez

She hops out of her bed
like a butterfly emerging from
from it's chrysalis

Wipes the crystals
from her tire eyes

Mornings
No surprise
her despise
of mornings

Coffee sips
her lips
feel the kiss
of sun beaming
through the window pane

She soaks it up
her cup
spills over
joyed

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Five Things to Stop Saying to Girls

Five Things to Stop Saying to Girls

I often find myself reflecting on things I need to change about myself. These “things” are typically mindset issues. Years and years of childhood lessons that contradict how I need to think in order to be successful. As I go through this personal life dilemma, I catch myself saying things to my daughters that cause me to stop in my own tracks and ask the question, ‘Why am I saying this?’.

I want to pass on wisdom to my daughters, as it is my job as their mother to nurture them and prepare them for their future. However, I am undergoing a retraining of sorts. Throwing out old files from my brain that I deem ‘no longer valid’. Removing the spam files maliciously filed under the educational category, ‘things said to girls but never said to boys’. I am approaching my daughters with a refreshing perspective that I hope will be useful to other parents.

If you feel bogged down with files of spam in your brain, downloaded by generations of skewed parenting advise, this post if for you.

1. “The only thing that matters is what’s on the inside.”

Although I agree with the sentiment behind this statement, young girls internalize this in ways that can be unhelpful. Also, it’s not true. For many people in this world, it is not the only thing that matters. Blanket statements like this one leave big, confusing gaps left open to interpretation.

If my daughter comes to me discouraged, if she is feeling self-conscious and down about her looks or how she is perceived, I aim to provide her with concise feedback. I first ask questions to draw out her “why’s”. I then use statements that are TRUE about her character, talent, AND looks.

“Let’s talk about what is true about you: you are a talented dancer. You work so hard and practice every day.” “I see how you’ve improved on your turns.” “You are compassionate and think about others [insert specific instance of compassion]”. “You balance school, dance, and friendships so well, I’m so proud of your ability to handle these things with such care.”

The truth is that the things that matter are defined by each individual person. We can do our best to impose our values on our children, but they are exposed to a whole world mixed up with differing worldviews. Unless you keep your daughter in a bubble, and trust me, I wish I could do that too, you need to address the fact that people do value what’s on the outside too.

Our daughter’s do not benefit from using blanket statements or lies. They do benefit from honest discussion.

The law of attraction becomes a relevant topic earlier than us parents want to believe. I never wanted to shave my legs nor did I worry about the fact that I had hairy legs until a classmate of mine declared, ‘ewwww, you need to shave your legs!’ during a round of kickball when I was in the 6th grade. I remember exactly where I was standing, where he was crouched down, the heat moving up my face, and the conversation I had immediately when I got home from school that day. My exterior mattered that day. Luckily, I had a parent that valued my emotions and decided I was old enough to learn how to shave my legs.

I believe in the importance of teaching our daughters to value inner beauty above outer beauty.  I make a point to draw the correlation between inner beauty and how this trait will attract good, healthy people into your life.  The conversation doesn’t stop there. I also teach them how to properly care for their bodies: good hygiene, how to apply make up, skin care tips, hair care tips, the importance of exercise and staying active, eating healthy, drink enough water, and most importantly: I am their biggest advocate and fan.

2. “Don’t be full of yourself.”

I can hear it now. Well-meaning adult women in my life, making this, and other similar statements, in hopes that I would not grow up to be a self-absorbed diva. The biggest issue with this particular statement, is that it is almost never followed by statements that empower little girls.

Generations of adults have cycled a concept that little girls should be the most humble, proper little beings. Smile for the camera, but don’t think your all that and a bag of chips. Wear this cute little dress, but don’t show off.

I recall an instance of two adult women talking when I was a teenager. These women were discussing a female cousin of mine; retelling a story from when she was a toddler. The toddler approached the two women and declared, “I’m cute!”. They both looked at her, and one recalls the other women stating, “No you’re not!”.  The women giggled as they shared this story, but it made me sad and confused as a teenager. I thought of my little cousin, all dressed up, feeling pretty, and it made a connection for me between that story, and what I knew then of her low self-esteem. A misguided attempt to keep a little girl from being too full of herself. Words that made wound, that would later become a woman’s scar and inner obstacle.

Why do we value young boys acting and speaking with certainty and confidence when talking about themselves, yet discourage it with girls?

If we focus on building up strong, confident girls; we will get strong, confident women. Let’s focus on BUILDING. Let’s stop breaking girls down.

3. “Don’t act vain/cocky.”

Of the items on my list, this ranks at the top of the list for things we do not systemically say to boys, yet say to girls. I find myself struggling to navigate this with my own teenage daughter.

This topic overlaps a bit with statement #2. The distinction is that this statement is more about performance and less about looks or physical identity.

As a mother of three, I have observed different approaches to motivating good performance. Some coaches use fear. Some use strict rules and guidelines. Some use only positive reinforcement. Regardless of the approach to mentor, coach, teach; please stop saying things like, “Don’t be cocky, just because we won the competition last week, does not mean we will win this week.” “Do not get out there and be over-confident, just focus and do your best.” I have heard so many “Just because … doesn’t mean..” statements lately, that it was a key motivator to write this.

These statements do NOTHING to prepare a young girl for battle. If she is stepping out into a field, arena, or onto a stage, the LAST thing she needs to hear is, “Don’t be over-confident”. How many movies include this statement as part of a motivational speech? Could you imagine Denzel saying, ‘Don’t be too cocky!” before his football team entered the arena for the playoff game? What if instead Braveheart shouted, “Just because we won the battle last week, does not mean we shall win today!!”, then shows scene of bloody battle? You simply do not hear men saying these types of statements to other men.

I have heard these statements by coaches and team captains. I have heard them said right before a performance at a dance competition. And guess what? The results suck.

If you are trying to discourage your girls, or get in their heads to screw them up, then by all means, keep using that technique. Or maybe, just MAYBE, you try something new.

Let’s try doing the opposite. “Okay girls, I want you to visualize success. You WILL win, you will perform each move to perfection”. “You ARE the talented dancers and have worked so hard for this very day, get out there and show them what champions look like.” “Be confident! Be cocky!” I believe their ability to visualize success may actually be a success.

You can teach girls to be confident without it being at the expense of others. You can build them up to be champions and good sports. They have a better chance of success if you hype them up once you’ve given them the training they need, and they put in the hard work required to succeed. Give girls permission to be GREAT. This is not a gender-specific concept. Everyone should be inspired to greatness if they are willing to do the work, and practice, practice, practice. Oh, and there is the talent thing too. Not everyone was born to be an opera singer. So, refer to #1, and speak honestly with your girl about her talents.

4. “You don’t need a man to be happy.”

While women do not require a significant other, they may want, or even yearn for love and companionship one day.

Humans, from infancy, need touch and nurturing. The very touch of a mother has a direct correlation to an infant’s growth and development. It’s an innate need, love.

Instead of harping on girls to be strong, independent women who don’t need a man. Let’s first raise them and build them up as strong, self-aware girls. Engage in open communication with our strong, young girls to discuss the types of things they value in a partner. Model healthy relationships and give them something to aspire to.

Whether we (parents) like it or not, our girls will eventually discover “love”. We cannot swipe it away with a blanket statement that undervalues human connection. Wanting a life partner does not make you weak. Opening your heart to love is characteristic of one who has strength and courage. I want my daughters to know themselves, value themselves, and in doing so, find the person in this world that values exactly that.

I’ve been through divorce. It was the worst experience, and I would not wish it on my worst enemy.  I worried, and still worry, about the impacts of the divorce on my children. I’ve witnessed the fallout. It’s been many years now, so most of it is behind us. My children had a front-row seat to ‘what happens when love goes bad’.

Through open communication and years of healing, I’m happy to say they all have a healthy perspective on love. I have witnessed evidence of that in each of them. I spent years as a single mother. I felt a pull and need to have companionship and love, but I did not rush into another marriage. When I did get re-married, it was done thoughtfully, and my children were just as happy and excited for the new chapter as I was. Now my children can observe a healthy marriage, and I am so grateful.

Let us not make the desire for companionship or love, a weakness.

Our girls can have it all.

5. “You need to learn how to love yourself” (too little, too late)

How exactly do I do that? All I have heard throughout my entire life is that I need to be humble, quiet, kind, meek, not cocky, not full of myself, not too loud, don’t laugh like that, don’t stand like this, don’t talk about that, and the list goes on.

Pop culture teaches girls the reverse of this statement. Marketing campaigns splash ideal images of women absolutely everywhere. You cannot go anywhere without seeing a magazine, billboard, poster, or screen of any sort with the image of an airbrushed model sporting the ‘look of the week’. Young girls see, “look at this, buy this, copy that, this is the look you must aspire to, but don’t worry, next week it will be different, and you’ll never catch up.”

Then there are the fad diets. A new diet craze pops up every month.  Young girls are filled with junk, processed foods made readily available at a bargain price, and then brainwashed on the latest and greatest way to lose 10 lbs.

And then after all of that, the life coaches and gurus come out of the woodwork. “Self love, y’all!” “All you need do is love… yourself!”. They are feeding off the abundance of unhappiness and discontent that our culture perpetuates.

It is a symptom of a broken world, with a select elite calling the shots and making the rules. We adults need to re-program our minds in order to prepare our girls for this crazy world. We need to stop uttering words and statements thoughtlessly. Let us be mindful about each thing we teach our girls. If we do this, they will never need to be trained to love themselves, they will do so naturally.

We can all take part in breaking the cycle. This blog post barely scratches the surface on a much greater problem. Women are systematically undervalued in most of the world. They are marginalized, objectified, and abused. The statistics are out there: do your research, and please be sure to check your sources. You can help by starting in your home. Keep open communication; initiate conversations and ask her questions. And those things that your mother told you? Take five to reflect before you regurgitate those same words to your young.  It is not a perfect process, and we will still make those parental blunders we will pay for later. The fact that you are trying is that thing that makes a different. It will take us that much closer to empowering young girls in the same manner we empower our young boys.

Please subscribe to follow my blog! Please also share in the comments: What are statements you received as a children that stuck with you? Have you said something that stopped you in your tracks, and forced you to reflect? I would love to hear from you!

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