Two months ago I was so graciously asked to be the keynote speaker at a university in Charlotte. At first I was a little hesitant because I feared that I was grossly underqualified, then I became nervous because I feared that I would be critiqued harshly, but then my emotions shifted to honor because someone thought so highly of me that they would even ask. The real issue though was why did I believe that I did not deserve it? More specifically, why didn't I believe in myself?
As I prepared my speech, I went back and forth about what I would say. How theoretical and analytical I would be or how motivational and educational my speech would seem. It was not until the morning of the event that I finally decided to write from the heart. These students did not want to hear the same lectures about college survival and how to get a job after graduation. They wanted and deserved more. So I kept it basic. I reverted back to what I knew and to what motivates me daily. Here's a few excerpts from my speech:
"BELIEVE! I'm not talking about delusions of grandeur or unfounded folds of denial, I'm addressing the core belief that you are amazing and because you are amazing you can achieve anything you believe you can. This unwavering belief in your abilities doesn't always happen overnight and I have three very unconventional steps to help you get to that point. Of course, that's who I am, I'm unconventional not by force but by choice. So these are MY steps, MY suggestions to you: (1) Be Fierce; (2) Be Fabulous; and (3) Be Flawless.
Fierce is defined as being menacingly wild, savage, or hostile. A little extreme isn't it? Being 'wild' doesn't have to mean being out of control but can mean living with force, strength, and tenacity. To be fierce is an attitude. It is a demeanor, it is a poise. It is a way of living your life with little reservation. No need to apologize for who you are. Be strong in your presence but learn to walk that line between overly aggressive and assertive. "
After defining the first step, a female student raised her hand to ask a question. The fact that she raised her hand didn't surprise me but what she said did. She asked, "how did you find someone that could handle you?" Before I could answer she went on to tell a story about her and every guy she tries to date that tell her she's too strong and too independent. She even said that she has been told that she wants to achieve too much! Ludacris I know! At first I was taken aback but then after looking around the room at the faces of all of the young women, I realized they all wanted to know the answer. Was I supposed to be meek and mild or devalue my accomplishments or what I can achieve? Instead of answering her immediately, I told her to let me finish and I promise I would answer your question before I leave. So I continued:
"Fabulous means almost impossible to believe; incredible. To be fabulous is the combination of your outward appearance and your inner spirit. Take pride in how you appear to others. As a leader you will always be prejudged and far too often you will not get a second chance to make a great impression. Put your best foot forward. Invest in yourself by putting yourself first. I'm not talking about not caring for others but in order to truly lead others you must know how to lead your own life. To truly be incredible is to believe you are! Make yourself a priority and your presentation be the best you have any given day."
With no interruptions this time, I continued: " We have all heard the word flawless in the context of women especially for those Beyoncé fans. Flawless is having no defects or faults, especially none that diminish the value of something. To be flawless is to love yourself unconditionally flaws and all. To understand that you are imperfectly perfect and that it's not your responsibility to conform to society but to find your niche. My greatest lesson in my life was learning how truly valuable I am. It was an eye opening experience. Realizing my strength, discovering my abilities, and uncovering how powerful I am. I am unstoppable and so are you!"
After finishing with my final step, I was sure that I had answered her question. However, she still stared at me patiently waiting for my answer. You would think she was the first to ask me that question, unfortunately she was not. However, she has been the first so boldly to address my presence. I have a very dominant presence and many would think that because of that my husband is a weak man. Contrary to popular belief he is not! He is an Alpha Male and I am an Alpha Female. He found me! Not because of my beauty (I'm sure it helped) but because I didn't need him to define me. I knew exactly who I was and I wasn't afraid to show it. She said "that's so me, ok there's hope for me too!" We all shared in a quick laugh but the notion that a woman could not be like me and find someone to love her was disheartening. I encouraged her that to be believe in yourself and your abilities is not arrogance or some flaw that drives men away. It is a blessing to be cherished and sowed to guarantee your future harvest!
I will never stop believing in myself and I swiftly hit the autocorrect when I doubted my value when I was asked to deliver the speech.
To answer the question whether to be or not to be fierce, fabulous and flawless...I choose TO BE! On any day, in any situation, I choose to be...Forever Fierce, Fabulous and Flawless!
Why Now? Interesting but abstract title I know. It can honestly mean absolutely anything. It's so unclear just by the title what I'm referring to or attempting to address but I like it nonetheless.
Why Now? Well "why now" simply refers to the reasoning behind why I decided to write again. I have been saying for years that I will write my book. The skeleton outline resting in my iPhone strategically backed up in my iCloud and in the email sent folder, has been just that, a skelton for over 5 years. Each time I pick up my iPad to tackle a point that most certainly must be included in the text, I begin to type and then I'm permanently distracted by some random aspect of life. This is a disappointment. I never quit! I always finish what I start and if it's not perfect I start all over again. So you see why it bothered me daily about quitting on my book.
In high school,I loathed English specifically reading and writing. I loved poetry but anything outside of those lovely bars was too much. Poetry was not my first love, that was a role saved for numbers. Despite this fact I was really good at writing. I was dissatisfied with my stance against writing and decided that I would conquer my weakness. It was a mind thing. I had the power to control what I liked and didn't like so I did. Instead of running from writing I ran to it by making creative writing my second major. So I began to write initially just for the grades and to learn the appropriate techniques but then I quickly realized that writing was my release. As I wrote poetry, short stories and narratives I could hear myself telling me the story. I narrated each tale as if I was sitting in a meadow under a tree listening to tall tales of yester-year! I fell in love with writing. A piece of me was left on every page. Corny but true. After undergrad, writing didn't seem as fun until law school. I didn't fuss over the thesis or rule but the heart of the analysis is where I laid my hat. Yet still it wasn't filling that void of creative expression. So I began to write statuses on Facebook that were lyrical in nature and inspirational in context. These satisfied my hunger briefly but after years of posts it stopped. Somehow I had become so busy with life that I couldn't do what I loved so much. I didn't have my release.
Writing is important to me. Honestly, important for my sanity. Often times I will write down how I feel about the wrongs people have inflicted on me and it calms my soul. When I'm really upset I can end up with a "four page letter" delivered on time but not sealed with a kiss.
Why Now? Because I need it! I love to share my stories of strength, weaknesses, positivity and faith in hopes of helping others. I've learned when God speaks to you...LISTEN! So I'm listening. I pray that my posts will inspire at least one person to choose happiness!
Until next time I'll be living forever fierce, fabulous & flawless!