An almost 30-year-old, soon to be divorced mom of two, going on an unpaid internship would be laughable to most. And most of my peers did (and still do) laugh at me when I tell them about what I'm doing. I realized that what anyone else thought or deemed acceptable by society's standards did not concern me. It would only stand in the way of me walking confidently in my path. So I ignored the nagging voice telling me to "get real" and give up my dreams, like so many times before, and pushed ahead to pursue a social media internship for the Curly Girl Collective, more specifically, for CurlFest, the world's largest natural beauty festival!
I first heard about CurlFest in the summer of 2016. As a new natural hair blogger eagerly doing research, I found several photos that women were posting on the 'gram under the hashtag #CURLFEST. All I remember was seeing big curly hair and bold festival style outfits on gorgeous black women of all shades with a lush green backdrop that I later would discover was Prospect Park in Brooklyn, NY. I was obsessed! I knew it was an event I wanted to attend, but I had no idea that two years later, I would be a part of it!
My original goal was to attend the festival in the summer of 2017, but life got in the way and I didn't even think to plan for it. Later in the year, life happened again but in a way that made me decide to take control and stop allowing life to keep happening to me and start allowing to happen for me. So when the Curly Girl Collective posted about needing social media interns, it felt like a no-brainer to put my name in the hat. I was not going to struggle or miss out on any more opportunities because of self-sabotage. I was going to bet on myself at every chance I got, and my first chance turned out to be a winner!
When I found out I got selected to be an intern, I was elated, but then the financial reality set in. How the hell was I going to pay for this? Or justify taking a trip to NY when I was barely covering my bills each month? I would have to secure my plane ticket, housing, and anything else I would need in NY.
On the surface, it felt irrational. But I knew that I had to do it in order to push myself to the next level.
So, I coordinated things with a friend of mine who was also going to CurlFest and was able to get an amazing deal on a plane ticket. She also found an Airbnb for a reasonable price. I knew things would be tight, but I was going to make it! At this point on my journey to CurlFest, I was confident and felt unshakable. I was determined to suppress that little nagging voice in my head telling me all the reasons why this was not going to work out, and I kept pushing ahead towards Brooklyn.
My entire CurlFest experience was a blur of excitement, stress, and lots and lots of walking. Our social media team jumped in and helped volunteers with preparing goodie bags and excitedly reflected on how our hard work was paying off! Our campaigns were creating buzz and one of the girls (shoutout to Amber) cracked the infamous IG algorithm, which played a huge part in us hitting goals we had to grow the social media presence of the Curly Girl Collective over the weekend.
The biggest hurdles I had to overcome in my time working with the CGC were self-doubt and a serious case of Impostor Syndrome. I've always questioned my abilities, despite countless examples of why I should not. As I've forced myself to reflect on this during meditation and writing, I realized that it wasn't so much that I am afraid of my abilities, but I am afraid of winning. I am afraid of walking in my greatness because it's so much easier to be small.
I remember hanging out with a girlfriend and repeating how much I could not believe that I was selected to work for the CGC. She laughed the first time, but the next time I said it, she called me out. She told me to quit questioning the opportunity that I was given and focus on showing and proving that they made the right choice. In that moment, it was clear that I was the only thing preventing me from moving to the next level in my career, regardless of the industry.
From then on, I did self-checks every time I gushed about how much I could not believe that I had gotten an opportunity. I appreciated the fact that I worked hard for the opportunities that I landed, they were not handouts. When I did this, my ideas began to flow more freely. I submitted work to the rest of the team and the CGC founder we primarily correspond with, and consistently got positive feedback.
I made the decision to embrace my gifts and blessings instead of questioning them and everything blossomed from there.
For years, I allowed negative self-talk and fear of failure to hold me back; so much so that self-doubt almost stopped me from pursuing the opportunity to work with CGC. This time though, I forced myself to focus on positive self-talk and anticipating success! It was scary, but I finally decided that I was going to start taking more chances on me. Period. I never saw myself actually making a living as a content creator, but now I do. Since returning from CurlFest, I have been sending out pitches, doing photoshoots, asking for help when I need it so that I can focus on my work, etc.
I finally started taking myself and my dreams seriously and in turn, I see God blessing my efforts. My road to Curlfest served as a catalyst to me walking in God's purpose for my life. It helped me to learn to trust myself, my decision-making process, and to quit doubting my gifts.
Most importantly, I finally gave myself permission to affirm my dopeness while still showing gratitude to the source.
After spending the last 28 years operating from a space of timidity, my decision to go to NY for the Curly Girl Collective/CurlFest internship was a bold move that provided the exact confidence boost I needed.
I'm starting my life over as a single mother of two, pursuing a creative career, and killing it! Naysayers had me convinced that I couldn't hold things down on my own and that my dreams would have to be put on hold. But I know that motherhood gave me a reason to go harder for my dreams, not an excuse to forget them. CurlFest confirmed that for me and I was both humbled and emboldened by the experience.
Featured image by Shutterstock
Keisha Marie is a twenty-something writer and digital content creator from Denver, Co. She is a mother of two sour patch kids and an OG naturalista who is obsessed with connections, collaboration, and creativity. You can find her on Instagram @keishamarieco sharing gems about motherhood, life after separation, and more!
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.
There are moments on our health journey when our bodies are bugging us to hit the reset button.
With life, we can start to see slips in our diet, irregular exercising, and inconsistent sleep schedules, and our mental health can suffer because of it. But what many people come to find is that with just a few adjustments — as opposed to restrictions — being made to their food intake, we can see a focus more on eating “the right” calories and less on being on a restrictive diet.
"Raw Till 4" is a dietary concept and lifestyle associated with the raw vegan and high-carb, low-fat vegan (HCLF) movements. Created by Australian blogger and YouTube star known as 'Freelee the Banana Girl', the method suggests eating raw, uncooked plant-based foods until 4 p.m. each day and then having a cooked, vegan meal in the evening.
The Raw Till 4 lifestyle follows the guidelines of vegan and rawist eating and involves consuming fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and sprouted grains in an uncooked, natural state until the designated time of 4 p.m. or around one’s typical dinner time. After 4 p.m., a cooked vegan meal is consumed, which may include foods like steamed vegetables, grains, legumes, and plant-based sources of protein like tofu or tempeh.
On TikTok, creator Adina Yaffa is repopularizing the trend, sharing how it’s helped to improve digestion, boost energy levels, and support weight loss.
Replying to @🌜kat🌛 here is what I eat in a day on a raw till 4 lifestyle. I eat with the sun and according to the circadian rhythm that out bodies follow on a typical day. Where i drink liquids during the first 8 hours, then juicy fruits, then smoothies, more dense building fats, proteins and veggies! #snatchedwaist #bellyfat #bellybloat #smallwaist #hourglass #rawtill4
“During the hours of 4 a.m. and 8 a.m., your body is in an elimination phase and needs all the help it can get,” Yaffa says in the clip. “So what you’re going to do is drink coconut water, citrus juices, and green juices during this time, and around 8 a.m., you can break your fast with some fruit. I suggest juicing fruits, and then after that, I suggest having a smoothie or a bowl with berries and granola so you can get your fats and healthy proteins in.”
Raw till 4 has so many benefits including better digestion, nutrients, belly fat and bloat elimination, snatched waist, more energy and so much more! #snatchedwaist #bellyfat #bellybloat #smallwaist #hourglass
On the official Raw Till 4 website, Freelee the Banana Girl shares tips on how to get the best outcomes of this lifestyle change, which include:
- “Stay hydrated! You should pee about 8-12 times per day, and your urine should be clear. Drink 1 liter of water when you wake up in the morning, and 1 liter of water about 30 minutes before each meal for optimal results.”
- “Fragmented sodium (salt) should be kept to a minimum. Use herbs, lemon juice, etc. wherever possible in place of salt.”
- “Eat unlimited calories at every meal, no restriction. The majority of your calories each day should come from fruit. Don’t under-eat on fruit during the day or 'save up' your calories for dinner time. RT4 is about abundance at every meal.”
- “Move your body daily. Find an activity you love and make it your playful exercise.”
- “Make sure to get lots of rest, relaxation, and good sleep. Learning to incorporate good rest, early nights, and regular sleeping patterns into your life will greatly improve your overall health.”
- “Practice gratitude and peaceful emotions at mealtime, and get a vision book started! Be sure to enjoy this journey. Focus on long-term health instead of short-term results.”
Critics argue that it can be challenging to get all the necessary nutrients from a raw vegan diet and that it may not be suitable for everyone, especially over the long term.
As with any diet, it's important to consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian before making significant dietary changes to ensure that it meets your individual nutritional needs and health goals.
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