Things I Would Tell My Younger Self

Hey, hunayys! So last week on IG, I asked y’all a question that really had me thinking: “If you could give your 13 year old self advice, what would it be?!” And your responses were literally giving me life because even though we’ve all come from different backgrounds, so many of us went through similar struggles.

Middle school, man… a crazy awkward time that I think most of us would rather forget, HA! T’was brutal AF but also def the experience that changed me forever. When I say brutal, I mean, there were days where I would think to myself, “how life would be easier if I just had a different name, different identity…”

Mother nature hit me in 5th grade, so by the time I entered middle school, ya girl had hips and breasts, thicc thighs, the whole nine. At first I was excited because I was becoming a woman!! But my eager ass was surely surprised when I arrived to school feeling like a freak, why was I the only who hit puberty?! This is when what felt like a living hell, ensued. Rumors spread quickly that I lost it, where at and with who. These stories were elaborate y’all. I was even “pregnant” a few times according to these people, at freaking age 11 because of my wider hips! LIKE WHAT?! At first, I just tried to keep my head down and try not to let it get to me. But over time, I was cornered at my locker, followed home, pranked called non-stop, and called out for my clothing choices on a daily basis! I remember one day specifically, I was wearing a skirt that my mom and I went shopping together for and as I sat down in the cafeteria, this girl stood up and yelled at me, “so you think you can just walk around here with those big ass hips, wearing that skirt? You must really think you’re hot shit. Come here and show us all how “hot” you really are!” And obviously humiliation ensued. I felt so damn small. Like these hips were out of my control, like I get it, they developed outta the woodworks HAHA but like leave Britney alone!! As shook as I was in that moment, I had to wonder? When will this hell end? I fucking hated it here. I hated my body for doing this to me! Why couldn’t it just stay the same as it was before. It was bringing so much unwanted attention, ugh! If I tried to dress modest, I got sh*t! If I dressed just like the other girls in my classes, I was then somehow promiscuous. Like I could never win!! There were so many days I would eat lunch in a teacher’s classroom, or the bathroom just to limit the amount of walking around campus. In desperation,

I finally decided to ask my parents, “why do I look so different than all of the other girls in school?” With much disappointment, they advised that I only had one option here: embrace my body, period. And I remember thinking, “but how can I, when literally it has been the cause of all this bullshit I’m going through?!” But before I could even verbalize that, they continued…

Because if I didn’t, I would spend my entire life, hating a body that did absolutely nothing wrong to me. And in fact, where I went wrong, was allowing all this time to go by without standing my ground. After a real “aha” moment with myself, I finally made the decision to take my power back. I WILL flaunt what I was given, like how dare I ever hide all that I was to make others comfortable? 

That conversation forever changed my life.

I realized that if I did not accept, own, and defend who I really was, then I’d be leaving room for other’s to make that decision for me.

I may have continued to be picked apart because of my appearance, my extra ass personality, and everything in between but what guess? I no longer shamed myself for any of it!  I would occasionally still eat lunch alone, but honestly, that didn’t bother me much; my lonely ass would happily eat my food in peace. But the thing I noticed about these people, is that they were bothered that I was no longer cracking.

And that was the sweetest victory. Self-love is taking your power back! For the years following, I always made sure to remind myself about that 7th grade conversation. From 8th grade on, I was untouchable! The human spirit in strong AF! I truly believe if you learn how to be secure in who you are, no rumor, no shitty person, no event will shake you!

I am so thankful for those people, b/c of them, I discovered the necessity of self-love and hellllurrr, they paved the way for a body posi queen! Now, as I’m inching closer to my 30’s, holy sh*t, I am so damn proud of the woman I have become. I love my “big ass hips,” I love my curves, and I love my cellulite, b/c you know what? That’s what makes Jasmin, Jasmin.

Looking back, I cry for my 11-13 year-old self. I cry for the girl who looked at her curves with tears in her eyes and desperately prayed for another body. The girl who felt like a freak.

If only I could tell her, that all this BS is temporary. You will freaking flourish to a woman so sure of herself that no one can break! Just hold on a little longer boo, because your time will come! Just note, these people will always find something to talk about, hate does not discriminate! So, have freaking grit, and always remember that beauty shines from within. If you learn to love yourself now, you will live a powerful f*cking life!

So much love to all my girls who went through some ish to get to where we are now! What I’ve learned is that these trolls, these mean girls, these bitter souls will always be around, for the rest of our lives… BUT if we remember who TF we are, we will always win! Xo

How Baring my Soul on Social Media Encouraged me to Seek Help

As we all know, social media has the ability to highlight only the good in life. Often times we look up to our fave influencers and fellow bloggers and ask, “how is their life so seemingly perfect?” Well, obviously, the answer is: it’s not; just people are selective with what they share. Even before taking social media seriously, I’ve always tended to be an oversharer with the friends who followed me; the good, the bad, and the ugly.

But this year, as I noticed my following beginning to grow, I made that same vow with my new followers. And as I remained transparent, I think I was able to build trust within the community I was striving to grow. As time went on, I noticed an increasing amount of messages re life struggles: anything from work, to relationships, social media, confidence, mental health etc. I’m talking anywhere from 15 messages to 125 a day! With every response, I try to use my own experiences as reference. But as the inquiries rolled in, the more they made me evaluate my own life.

The past two months, have felt really heavy for me. Nothing in my life was really making sense. So many random injuries, health issues, career concerns, and just what seemed like an endless laundry list of unfortunate events came at me all at once. I felt completely lost and as though everything was spiring out of my control. I did not feel optimal anymore. I was down and out, y’all! So, with everything going on, I was presented the opportunity of mindfulness classes aka a form of therapy. I was told that with the heavy demands of the 9-5, my social media, my family, and just the usual adulting responsibilities, I had not made myself a priority anymore.

And let me tell y’all, I was conflicted. One side of me, thought, “Ugh, I don’t have the energy to set aside for this.” And the other side, had a self-realization. In order for me to be truly authentic to myself and thus my followers, I had to hit the pause button and really dive deep into the chaos. I had to love myself enough by taking that time to explore all of these new emotions and most importantly, care after my mental health. For so long, I was doing and not sitting still to simply be. I felt like a machine conditioned to just produce, yet I did not take the time to check in with myself, especially among the uncertainty.

These classes have been SUCH a blessing. I was able to really tap into myself: my thoughts, my feelings, my actions, and learn little by little how to live in my breath, live in the moment, vs tackling of all the issues presented at once. I went in as a ball of anxiety, but I truly feel things have come full circle for me and I’ve found clarity in a sense. I also learned how to successfully meditate and relax my body, which is HUGE for me! And the most rewarding thing of it all is that these classes gave me courage to speak up on my truth and encourage others to get the extra TLC they need!

So in short, through connecting with so many of y’all and giving daily advice, I realized I was not practicing what I was preaching. Homegirl, was given a reality check! I was sharing my struggles, but not doing much about them! So, in order for me to be this “authentic” voice on social media, I had to be honest with myself in that ya girl, needed some extra loving! And remember, in order for you to be a voice for others, you must be that voice for yourself! There ain’t nothing wrong in asking for help or dedicating more time for yourself, okurrrt!

I leave y’all with these two quotes:

“I am allowed to be BOTH a work in progress AND help others grow at the same time”

& my fave….

“If you have time to feel like sh*t, complain and check social media, then you have time to meditate, write in your journal, create a list of goals, make a list of things you are grateful for and better yourself” !!! AMEN, hallelujerrr.  XO

Personal Growth > Social Media Growth

The number one question I receive on social media is : “How do you suggest I best grow my following?” And there is not one simple answer to this. For me, It’s actually taken a lot of PERSONAL growth to even see a dent in my social media growth.

As many of y’all know, blogging and maintaining a social media presence…is basically a full-time job. We are expected to create quality content time and time again, which I LOVE! BUT! We all know the occasional struggle of when we pour our heart into a post, yet it does not do as well as we thought it would! It can be really, really, really discouraging at times. But then theres the other side of that too! When my content compels people to reach out to me, it is in those moments where I feel the most fulfilled. It’s like “whoa, I’m actually making some sort of impact here!” So all this to say, this industry can be an emotional rollercoaster!

And of course, as an individual trying to navigate my way through this space, my own  psyche is affected by it all. I’ve had to learn or am still learning how to be inspired by others’ content rather than intimated. I’ve had to learn how to be vulnerable with all of my followers, rather than just showing the surface level of who I am. I’ve had to shake off and/or learn from any negative comments or criticism I get on posts. And most importantly, I’ve had to gain the patience and understanding that this journey of becoming an “influencer” TAKES TIME! And the most important part of the journey (at least for me) is learning how to accept and grow as a person from all of the ebbs and flows that come our way. Back in February, right before I started to take this platform seriously, I was still very weary and unsure of my content. The numbers meant everything to me and I was heartbroken when they were not up to par. I would compare my humble ass beginnings to one of an influencer with millions of followers! But thank God as time has past, I’ve grown so much as a person and hence, that wisdom and maturity has poured over into my creative realm.

I think the most common sentiment I receive from people asking this question, is discouragement. “Why is my account not growing?! UGHH!” That question alone has the ability to make you second guess yourself and even your potential of making it on this platform. But what has helped me is shifting that question of “how do I grow my followers?” to “what do I need to do to grow as a person so that my content reflects that?”

As an example, I share with y’all these two photos.

The bottom was a girl who was shy and thus a bit uncomfortable with her photographer. I was self-conscious of what the people around me were thinking and you can see that in my pose!

pg1.jpeg

Over time, I worked through those personal flaws. You now see (in the featured photo) a confident, DFAG gal, living her best posing life. Of course there was a line of people staring at me, but oh well! In addition, you also see the strong connection and trust, I’ve built with my photographer. My personal growth blossomed and in turn, so did my creative juices.

Sooooo, if we only shift our thinking and look inwards for growth, that growth can be multiplied in our content and reach so many more people than even imagined!

I found this quote online and thought it was pretty magical:

“Dream big, develop yourself, unleash your potential, play well with others, play to your strengths, enjoy the process, share your unique gifts with the world, and grow your greatness by testing yourself, expanding yourself, learning and improving.” – Unknown