Month: November 2014

Redefining Closure

One thing life has taught me is that not all relationships continue to flourish. Recognizing that and being able to move on from toxic relationships, or those that don’t contribute to your growth or well-being, is a very brave thing. The question that often lingers in our minds after we learn to accept this is How do I accomplish this when formal closure isn’t always an option?”. It’s a fair question, and not being able to answer it right away can be terribly frustrating. It is not, by any stretch of the imagination, weird to feel the need for closure; I believe its a necessary part of the relationship cycle. But the issue many of us have isn’t with closure per se, but more about redefining what it is in an attempt to move forward.

Certain things come to mind when we think of closure. Perhaps an image of two people sitting down and talking, laughing, crying, or arguing in order to get to a place where everyone can come to accept the end or shift of a relationship. Maybe it ends with a hug or one last kiss, maybe it doesn’t. It may still hurt, but at least both people can accept that its the end. Its always hard to create new beginnings when we are preoccupied with old endings. That’s why, no matter how much it hurts, they realize its necessary to the healing process and it must be done.

Life (always) does its thing, and sometimes closure isn’t in plain sight. But, equipped with a new outlook, we often are able to achieve some aspects of it that we may have never even been aware of. Closure isn’t some grand gesture or conversation. It could be something as simple as setting new boundaries, or saying “no” when you’re a serial people pleaser. It could be going through the belongings of a friend or loved one who’s life was cut short unexpectedly. Or sharing a few nice words through a Facebook message to a friend you haven’t spoken to in years due to a pointless feud.

I was in a relationship, for a short time, with someone who I cared for dearly. It ended just as soon as it started because of one main thing, infidelity. He cheated on me, with more than a few women, contracted an STD, and tried to give it to me out of spite because he was upset I broke up with him. Craziest thing I’ve ever experienced in my entire life. And to top it all off, one of the women he was cheating with was pregnant with his child. He got her pregnant while he was begging me to take him back.

Classic.

He was a flight attendant for a popular airline, and he explained to me (once I dumped his ass) that every time he flew to a different city he’d stay with a different woman. And they’d have sex. Unprotected. And, because we were in a committed relationship, he’d come home and have sex with me as well. I was so hurt someone I loved had betrayed me in such an awful way, I’d never felt pain like that in my life. And I was disgusted that he could be so careless as to put the health of myself, his, and these other women at risk. I was absolutely floored that he would go so far as to attempt to give me a disease, out of spite, because I was tired of dealing with his shit and left him. Against my better judgement, I kept communicating with him in hopes of receiving some sort of apology. He gave me some brisk  “I’m sorry”, but there was no empathy behind it. It was more of a “I’m sorry I got caught, and it made you upset. And for calling you all those terrible names. And for getting one of my side chicks pregnant. Oh, and trying to blame you for this burning sensation when I pee, even though I know I didn’t get this from you. Can we move past this?” rather than a “Shaniece, I am so sorry I put you at risk, for squandering your trust,  and hurting you so bad. Can you please forgive me?”.

I had to come to terms with the fact that I may never get that apology. For so long I was plagued with the idea that him doing that, admitting to his faults because he was wrong and meaning it, was the only way I could begin to rebuild myself. But that wasn’t true at all. It hurt, and it sucked, but I began to move past it. I made a conscious decision that this one bad experience was not going to define me as a person. I wasn’t going to hold onto that hurt, the anger I had towards him, or let bitterness change who I am. And I definitely wasn’t about to let it stop me from finding a healthy and meaningful relationship. I kept telling myself that I’d be fine, and not too long afterwards I began to believe it.

I haven’t stopped dating, and I really don’t see a reason to. As cliche as it sounds, everything happens for a reason. You just have to trust that God has your best interest in mind. I didn’t exactly get the closure that I thought I deserved, but the end result was the same. I got past it and I’m a happier me. I’m actually glad things didn’t go how I initially wanted them to. Because, if I’m honest, the grand apology I was wishing for wouldn’t have made me feel better. Nor would it have changed anything. I’d still be hurt, and mad as hell. And he’d still be a lying, cheating, no good bastard. Everything that was supposed to happen did.

The road to closure very rarely is an easy or clear-cut one, but I’d admonish you to look at it through new eyes. As you start or continue your journey through it, remember not to be so hard on yourself. Don’t overlook your successes, no matter how big or small they are. Everyday is a victory. Meditate on the truth that you possess the ability to find closure, on your own, and in ways that go beyond your wildest dreams. Revel in the fact that you are in control of this and no one else. And when you are successful in achieving this closure, always remember that you are the one who made it a reality.

Stay beautiful loves ❤

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Helpful Hints: Makeup Tips for Cocoa Buttered Beauties

Being a woman of color and shopping for makeup has to be one of the most frustrating experiences ever. The big name brand cosmetics companies often forget about those of us who have darker toned skin, and it often times makes us feel like we don’t matter. And if, by some stroke of luck, you do find a brand that carries a darker shade it almost never matches your complexion and that only adds to your frustration. Why is it that, in an industry that publicly claims to celebrate the beauty in each and every race, black and brown girls worldwide have issues finding cosmetics that cater to their needs? Worry not my loves, I’ve rounded up some tips straight from industry professionals that will put your beauty bummers to rest once and for all. So without further adieu, here are some helpful tips for you black and brown bombshells:

1. FACE

Flawless.

       

Avoid makeup that is too light, as it can make your skin look chalky. Yellow-based foundations work best for women with darker skin, you don’t want a color that is too cool (or warm) for the undertones you have. How do you figure out your undertone? Glad you asked! Cool toned women have pink, red, or blueish undertones. While warm toned ladies have yellow, peachy, or golden undertones. And neutral toned lassies have a mix of warm and cool tones. I know this may feel like you’re reading a car manual in Chinese so here’s a cheat sheet:

CoolToneWarmTonechart

There’s a really good method that makes figuring this out a cinch, but I’ll share it in another post. With foundation, the goal is to see the makeup disappear after applying it on your skin with no visible boundary between. Always test foundation colors in natural light, fluorescent lights like the ones in your bathroom can be a little iffy sometimes. Seeing it in natural light will also let you know how it’ll look when you’re out and about. If you have trouble finding the right color, try mixing two shades (one darker than your natural color and one lighter). I always do this when I’m low on my favorite color concealer, it works like a charm. Now as far as bronzer, the pros all say this: brown and copper compliment black and brown skin tones perfectly, and a touch of shimmer highlights cheekbones wonderfully. Blush is always a fun tool to work with, I love experimenting with different shades. Pink always seems to be the shade I go for. The great thing about pink is that it compliments all skin tones, so play around with different hues to see which one works best for you.

The gorgeous Aishwarya Rai

2. LIPS

If you’re looking to glam up your kisser then go for lips colors in earth tones, neutrals, pinks, and dark burgundies. And choose a lip liner that is close to the shade of lipstick you’re wearing. If you aren’t feeling as dramatic that’s cool too, a dab of lip gloss will give you a more natural and laid back look. The same lip liner rule applies to gloss too, sticking to a shade closer to what’s on your lips will help avoid a dark outline. No one likes chalk outline lips.

Yes ma'am!

3. EYES

dramatic metallic

Shimmery and metallic eyeshadows look amazing on black and brown skin tones. Feeling a little daring? Then try mixing two complimentary colors, like purple and gold (Lakers?), to intensify the drama. One huge point that many women of color don’t know is this: the darker your skin, the brighter the colors you can pull off. One of my dearest and most beloved older cousins is a woman who has a deep dark chocolate complexion. Absolutely flawless! The things she’s able to do with colors are amazing.

Sooo pretty!

I remember this one time in particular I was at her house while she was getting ready for a night out with her husband. Her foundation was set, lashes were all in place, and all she needed was a little blush to polish it all off. She pulled out her cute little compact and flipped it open nonchalantly. My mouth dropped in shock, it was orange! And not some rinky dink kinda sorta orange, like bright Orange is the New Black orange. As she lifted the brush to her cheeks, I watched in horror, trying my best to stifle the urge to smack it out of her hand. But my fears fizzled out when I saw how absolutely gorgeous it was. And then I got jealous.

To all my dark skinned divas I’d admonish you to not fear bright colors, they are your friends.

chanel iman

Accentuate your eyes with brown or black eyeliner. Brown liner is a great choice for a more natural look, and black always adds an element of drama. The same goes with mascara. I love using black mascara to make my lashes stand out, and when I’m going for a softer look I use brown. And if you feel like channeling your inner Hollywood it girl, false lashes are always a must. I have small hooded eyes, thanks to my granny (she’s Korean and Jamaican), so I use falsies to give me the appearance of a bigger and brighter eye.

A gorgeous neutral eye.

Falsies are forever <3

Despite the limited selection of brands that cater to women of color, there are some that are doing it right. In 1994 fashion superstar Iman Mohamed Abdulmajid, professionally known as Iman, launched IMAN Cosmetics. The brand holds on to the truth that women of color represent many races, cultures, and ethnicities. Her line of cosmetics, skincare, and fragrances are designed for African American, Asian, Latina, and multi-cultural women with skin tones in a host of different shades. Her products are sold throughout the world including the US, Canada, the UK, France, Brazil, Africa, and the Caribbean. Other noteworthy lines include the Cover Girl Queen Collection, M.A.C., Black Radiance, and Fashion Fair

 

The beauty industry may not be hip on how awesome women of color are, but that isn’t a reflection of how we view ourselves. All skin tones are beautiful and unique in their own right. Embrace your melanin, it’s what makes you you. Zoe Saldana said it best: “Glamour is about feeling good in your own skin”. Nothing is more true than that. You are fearfully and wonderfully made! Every freckle, stretch mark, and hair on your head is there for a reason, learn to love them. There is so much beauty in imperfections, being perfect is for losers. Be comfortable in your skin and revel in the fact that no one in the world can pull it off better than you. Stay beautiful loves ❤