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Christina Bright On Being A 420 Mom & The Importance Of Living Your Own Best Life

Motherhood

xoNecole's Moms Who Inspire series highlights modern day moms mastering all the tasks on their plate, from day to day responsibilities to ensuring their children are kind, educated and well-rounded human beings. Each mother describes their inspiration, what motherhood means to them, and how they maintain their sense of selves while being the superwoman we all know and love.

Christina Bright was in the end of her junior year when she found out she was pregnant with her son.


She was in her college dorm room, it was right before her 21st birthday, and she was gearing up for a study abroad semester in Costa Rica. It was the last thing she thought would happen, but she was thrilled to be pregnant and bring a new life into this world. It was one of the easiest decisions she ever made. "My parents were teenagers when they had me, and they gave me a chance at life," she shared with xoNecole. "I felt like I owed it to my child, even if it meant sacrificing everything… or whispers on campus and being the 'pregnant girl.' I was and still am very proud of my decision."

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She finished her degree and began life in the corporate world almost immediately. But it didn't take her long to realize that corporate life wasn't for her. These days, Christina is a self-described "Free-form Creative" (or as she also likes to say, she does "dope sh*t" for a living). For the last five years, the creative entrepreneur has been involved in modeling, acting, designing, shooting, creative directing, and writing. She does so all while sharing the whirlwind journey on social media, inspiring her followers that seem to grow by the day with her sunniness, her tell it like it is realness, and her wit.

Christina shares what makes her a Mom Who Inspires below:

On how she chose her career:

I was really unhappy living the corporate life I was programmed to believe would fulfill me. At 24, I knew for sure that that life was not for me.

I knew the most important thing was that my son deserved a happy mother.

So I went on a quest to learn about who I am… and what brings my life meaning. That answer is creating and sharing. My favorite part about being a creative entrepreneur is the freedom and the flexibility. I love transparently showing my journey on social media because I can see and feel the transformation of people who know they can because I am doing "it."

On her battles with depression and self-doubt:

I dealt with depression over this period of my life. There were moments where I was really uninspired and those moments made me question if the decisions I was making were right. They also made me have to dig within myself and find who I am, find what moves me, and acknowledge my fears and insecurities. I learned to ask for help. I learned to be accountable. I learned that therapy in a necessity not a luxury! All in all, I've accepted that at each moment - even in the darkness - I am where I am supposed to be. Surrendering to that fact has made everything so much more enjoyable.

On what motherhood means to her:

To me, motherhood means being in a constant evaluation of yourself. I question myself a lot. Not in a wavering sense, but in the sense of making certain that I'm sure about my beliefs.

I'm always cognizant that I am molding the mind and heart of an innocent human being.

It's a huge responsibility. It's my responsibility to be the best self that my consciousness permits.

On her happiest memory as a first-time parent:

One time, I was really low on cash. I probably had about $15 to my name. My son was riding in the backseat of my car in his car seat and we reached a red light. There was a homeless man asking for change. I usually always give them money. This time, I hesitated (I may have had like 2 or 3 singles on me). At the last minute, I rolled my window down and gave the man the $3. When I pulled off, my son Justin said, "That's the mommy I love." He was maybe 5. I literally burst into tears.

It showed me that he pays attention, that I'm molding him to be selfless, and as bad as I felt before that moment, that I was actually doing something right.

On one of the scariest things about being a parent:

Raising a black boy in America is scary.

As he gets older, and taller, and more mature, I fear sometimes the things he will have to go through. I talk to him, he understands America, and the type of culture we live in. Just making him understand how to work through his temper, and communicate helps me….but it's just a scary position to be in.

On the mantra she tells her son:

You can be whatever you want to be in life. I say this to him all the time.

On the unexpected lesson her son is teaching her:

My son is teaching me how to be less abrasive with my tone! He's really sensitive, especially when it comes to me. There are times when I say something, and he'll stop and look at me with his big glassy "Puss in Boots" eyes and say something like, "You didn't have to say it like that Mommy." In those moments, I apologize and repeat myself in a nicer tone. He's teaching me to be patient but also to apologize when I'm wrong. Just because I am "Mom" doesn't mean I'm always right.

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On the three words that represent her approach to motherhood:

Fun, Affectionate, and Empathetic. Having fun is important, and the ability to find fun/joy in everything is a superpower. It's a perspective that allows you to be free no matter what the circumstance, so it's important that we live that way. Affection is so important. Showing him that having feelings is normal and wanting to express them what makes us human. I never want him to suppress his feelings or feel guilty for expressing them. In my house, we hug and talk A LOT. As a child, there were times I felt like I wasn't allowed to feel certain things because I was just "a child." But I try to be empathetic to what his experience is as an 8-year-old little black boy in America, who is being co-parented, and who is just trying to figure out who he is.

On how she lets her hair down when her son's not around:

I'm a 420 mom. So on the weekends when he's with his dad...I roll a joint and partake FREELY around the house! For self-care I write. I take baths. I go to the gym. I eat well (most times). I allow myself to simply BE. Everyday looks different. But I make sure I'm in touch with my feelings and how they dictate I should move.

On preserving the characteristics of the woman she was before becoming a mom:

I was a baby when I had him, so I've grown into womanhood while being a mom. I think it's about understanding that I don't have to sacrifice who I am to be a good mom. It's about finding balance: taking care of my responsibilities but also making time for SELF.

I think sacrificing your happiness is the biggest mistake we can make. We can have it all.

On who inspires her to be a better mother:

One of my mentors Qiyamah [inspires me]. I love her sense of individuality. She's from where I'm from: Newark, NJ. Her kids are older, and she's living her best life: part-time on a boat in the Bahamas while building a bed and breakfast with her husband. She is humble, and beautiful, and fly as ever. She's an example that you can still live YOUR life, be an individual, and be a loving mother. She inspires me to build the life I want to see for myself.

For more of Christina, check her out on Instagram.

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“Purity culture,” as Benbow referenced, is a culture that teaches primarily girls and women that their value is to be found in their ability to stay chaste and “pure”–as in, non-sexual–for both God and their future husbands.

I grew up in an explicitly evangelical house and church, where I was taught virginity was the best gift a girl can hold on to until she got married. I fortunately never wore a purity ring or had a ceremony where I promised my father I wouldn’t have pre-marital sex. I certainly never even thought of having my hymen examined and the certificate handed over to my father on my wedding day as “proof” that I kept my promise. But the culture was always present. A few years after that chocolate-flavored indoctrination, I was introduced to the fabled car anecdote. “Boys don’t like girls who have been test-driven,” as it goes.

And I believed it for a long time. That to be loved and to be desired by men, it was only right for me to deny myself my own basic human desires, in the hopes of one day meeting a man that would fill all of my fantasies — romantically and sexually. Even if it meant denying my queerness, or even if it meant ignoring how being the only Black and fat girl in a predominantly white Christian space often had me watch all the white girls have their first boyfriends while I didn’t. Something they don’t tell you about purity culture – and that it took me years to learn and unlearn myself – is that there are bodies that are deemed inherently sinful and vulgar. That purity is about the desire to see girls and women shrink themselves, make themselves meek for men.

Purity culture isn’t unlike rape culture which tells young girls in so many ways that their worth can only be found through their bodies. Whether it be through promiscuity or chastity, young girls are instructed on what to do with their bodies before they’ve had time to figure themselves out, separate from a patriarchal lens. That their needs are secondary to that of the men and boys in their lives.

It took me a while —after leaving the church and unlearning the toxic ideals around purity culture rooted in anti-Blackness, fatphobia, heteropatriarchy, and queerphobia — to embrace my body, my sexuality, and my queerness as something that was not only not sinful or dirty, but actually in line with the vision God has over my life. Our bodies don't stop being our temples depending on who we do or who we don’t let in, and our worth isn’t dependent on the width of our legs at any given point.

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