Dear Queen is a series dedicated to letters from women written for themselves and other women. Have a "Dear Queen" letter? We want to read it! E-mail your letters to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject: Dear Queen.
To the woman who struggles to celebrate herself:
I see you.
Although you may feel as though the crown you wear is chipped, oversized, and at times too heavy to carry, you and your accomplishments still matter. Your successes and accomplishments are still valid no matter the size, journey or criticized judgment from others around you.
At times, you allow your anxiety to trump your creativity and your own happiness. I am writing to you because I want to share a message: what you accomplish, create and work toward is larger than that defeat. It may be tough, letting the vibes of anxiety and weariness pass a frequency to you that presses you down, making you believe that your self-celebrations do not matter.
Last week, my fellow Queen had to pass a gentle reminder to myself, celebrating yourself is the first step to self-care. If you do not celebrate you first, how can you allow others to celebrate and support you?
Playing Superwoman is in your nature. It is ingrained in you to help, heal and listen to others but who is your Superwoman?
It can be you, if you allow it to be. You can give yourself the surprise dinners, positive affirmations and pats on the back for accomplishing a milestone, no matter the weight.
No matter how small the accomplishment or how large the failure, the first step is recognizing that you put in the effort to go toward something you wanted.
It can be easy to swim into a sea of regret or trip on our words but what matters most is that you tried.
Struggling with perfectionism is something that has caused blockage in my own journey to celebrating myself; so I am writing this letter to share that there is beauty in imperfection. Although it may be hard to see, there is someone else who finds your courage, strength and compassion motivating, so don't dim your own light.
You cannot always expect others to be excited about what God is doing in your life, but what you can work toward is more self-celebration. Your accomplishments are not measured by how many applauds you receive, how many "likes" or comments are posted and your accomplishments are truly not defined by how much someone else accepts them.
You eagerly wait for the "we regret to inform you..." rejection or you expect the worst when submitting your best work. You consistently put your best foot forward but forget to allow yourself grace in the process. At times, your charisma and laughter can light up a room but behind closed doors, you secretly hide the fact that you are battling between being proud of your current accomplishments and being too hard on yourself, your own worst enemy saying "you need to go a little harder."
As stated above, allow yourself grace.
You often silence yourself and your accomplishments due to fear of outshining someone else or being criticized for having the motivation and courage to go toward something they may actually want but are too afraid themselves; GO FOR IT.
Do not allow yourself to be a victim of self-sabotage, celebrate your joy and the need to want to see your accomplishments come to fruition.
There is value in reflecting on how far you have come. To see yourself and the growth you have made over the years is something within itself to celebrate. The habits you have broken, the relationships you have ended, the toxicity that you have wiped clean out of your life has helped you elevate to new heights, and it deserves a celebration.
So when you pick up your pen to create art, when you book a solo trip, when you apply for that job or institution, most importantly when you overall do something that you want to do that allows all your courage, strength and self-belief, celebrate yourself and the accomplishment.
Celebrate yourself more in 2019 and beyond! Acknowledge even the small accomplishments.
To the woman who struggles to celebrate herself,
I see you.
A black woman working toward celebrating herself, her crown and all the failures that make the successes worth it!
*Originally published on Heather Jhene
Heather J. Macon is a writer, published author, blogger residing in Georgia. As a self-care advocate, Heather enjoys blogging and writing poetry on the topics of self-care, self-love and journeying as a young adult. She is a self-published author of "Watering her Roots," a collection of poetry, prose and letters.
Featured image by Getty Images
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
The first big leap was moving to a new city and getting settled into my new home. The next big leap? Was finding community and belonging. Moving to a new city excited me! I looked forward to having my own apartment, decorating it, and exploring what the city had to offer. I also found excitement in the thought of meeting new people and expanding my connections. When it actually came down to it, I felt nervous. I heard that making new friends as an adult can be hard because we all have different responsibilities and schedules that may not align. I knew in order for me to really feel at home in my new city, I had to create community.
Having a community of people who I can share memories with, lean on in times of need, and inspire each other is something I always valued. I took a moment to truly center in on what I desired from the new friends I would make. Then I realized it all would have to start with me. I had to be centered and confident in who I was to attract who I desired to be aligned with. As someone who moved to a new city and established quality friendships, I gathered these six tips that helped me feel grounded and create community in hopes that it will help you, too.
6 tips to start building community and making new friends in a new city:
Sean Anthony Eddy/ Getty Images
Be true to yourself
Do you know who you are? If someone asked you to describe yourself in three words, what words would you use? In order to develop deep friendships, you must be a friend to yourself first. Know what refuels you and what zaps your energy. Self-study your habits and why you do the things you do. All this will be important to keep in mind when looking to create bonds with others. Every day there’s all kinds of people telling you who you should be, how you should act, or what you should wear. At the end of the day, the only opinion about yourself that truly matters is your own. Spend some alone time with yourself indoors or out at an event you like to truly discover who you are in this season of your life.
Pray about it
Before you step out into the world and cross paths with all kinds of people, it’s important to pray about building your community. God outlines what true friendship looks like in numerous Bible verses such as "Iron sharpens iron." - Proverbs 27:17 and “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.” - Ecclesiastes 4:9-12. If you desire friendships that last, pray about what you seek in friendship. I remember praying for mentally stable, happy, and whole women who moved through life with abundance mindsets. Take a moment to journal about the community you want to build and then pray on it.
Go to fun events to meet people who share your interests
Most metropolitan cities like Washington, D.C., New York City, and Atlanta are known to have strong young professional communities and events where you can connect with others. I highly encourage you to attend events in or near your community to see what the city is like and meet people. It’s likely that the people at the event have the same interests as you, which is a great way to start a conversation. You can start by searching for events on Eventbrite or following Instagram pages that highlight events happening in your city.
Carlos Barquero/ Getty Images
Accept that you won’t be compatible with everyone you meet
While living in your new city, it’s likely you’ll meet a variety of people. Please know that everyone you meet will not bud into lasting friendships, and that’s okay! You are uniquely created and not made for everyone. Then you’ll meet people who are good for only surface-level connections, and then you’ll have your girls who you can get deep with. I think sometimes people can look down on surface-level friendships, but not everyone needs to fully know you. That’s a privilege to have and to accept within yourself. Continue to check in with yourself and be real about who you crave to spend more time with and who is nice to see for a monthly or quarterly catch-up.
Join Facebook groups & GroupMe chats
If you haven’t used Facebook in a couple of years, it’s time to dust your profile off. Facebook Groups is a great place to join online communities for people who just moved to a new city like you. Typically, you have to agree to the group’s guidelines, and then you can join. For example, you can search for groups in the Facebook app by using keywords like women, Black girl, or [the name of your city] foodies. With the GroupMe app, you’ll have to be invited to join an already existing group. While you’re out and about networking, don’t hesitate to ask if they’re in any online groups/communities they recommend you join too.
Be friendly to folks in your neighborhood
When I first moved to my new apartment, I spent the first week walking around the complex and working in the community spaces to get a better feel of it. I was able to meet people in my neighborhood, enjoy small talk, and learn more about what the community has to offer. Step outside of your comfort zone and work in your apartment’s community space or a local coffee shop to connect with others.
Overall, you may feel alone in your new city, but I guarantee you’re not. There are other people experiencing living in a new city too, and all you need to do is find each other. I hope these tips help ease the nervous feelings you have about building a new community and inspire you to make a new friend today!
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