Phenomenal Woman: Maisha

I’ve known this wonderful woman for several years now, I consider her a bestfriend. Someone that I can just rap with about whatever and never hesitate that she’s IMG_8408going to give me truth-filled feedback. But our friendship isn’t the only reason why she was selected for this featured series. As any of her other friends can tell you she’s truly a one of a kind person, with a beautiful story/insight that should be shared with the world. My only goal is to be an outlet for her words and thoughts, through it you will relate, understand, and be inspired. I introduce you to a Phenomenal Woman, Maisha!

For you, describe what it means to be beautiful? The perseverance of black women defines beauty. When you’re given little to no opportunity and you still go above and beyond to prove that you too are a forced to be reckoned with, that’s beautiful to me. We excel and take flight when we weren’t blessed with wings to fly. We defy all odds. When you’re told your body isn’t good enough but when decompartmentalized and placed on other races it’s “pretty,” but you still appreciate your features, curves or lack thereof, that’s beautiful to me. I just love being a black woman and I consider that to be beautiful. 

Tell us about a struggle you’ve had in life, how have you overcome, and what has overcoming meant to you? I was molested by a man who raised me since I was 5. It’s my truth and it has made me into the person I am today. It has affected the way I trust men so in turn the relationships I have with men have a deeper meaning. I am very selective with which men I choose as friends and lovers. No matter the form of relations I just won’t let everyone in. I find that in my childhood household secrets were to be untold; they had to be kept within the household, so it was a struggle to bear knowing what was happening and choosing not to share it. It became an art to smile on the outside while crying out for help on the inside. Strangely, going through this has taught me how to love wholeheartedly. It’s taught me how to wear my emotions on my sleeves and speak up for myself. I know how to forgive and I also know when to ask for help. Therapy, which is shunned in the black and/or Jamaican community, was my saving grace. I also hope this has taught me to be a great mother as well. 

Ultimately, what is your one dream/goal you want to accomplish for your life? I want to be immersed in happiness in all facets of my life. I’m still working on what that looks like for me. I’m blessed to have a career and a great education. Love recently found me but life evolves. It’s ever changing. At all points of my life no matter where I am I just want to be genuinely happy.

If you were leaving the world with one fact about yourself, what would it be? I cared for others deeply. So deeply that sometimes I forget to care for myself (which is something I’m working on). In all that I do I make sure I leave an imprint of love in the lives of others. I try not to do anything with just half my heart. I put my all into my friendships, relationships, career, etc. 

Who would you say are some phenomenal women of the past? My mother is my phenomenal woman of the past and present. It might sound cheesy but she raised me into a woman of class (and sass). She’s made her mistakes trust me she has, but she was a child when she had me. She was 15 but she never gave up on achieving her life goals. She took the help she got from her family and she keep striving to be great. She graduated high school then college. She went to graduate school. She’s now the director of the accounting department of a large public institution of the city of New York. She’s a great mother of 4 kids. She’s still working on what being a great mother means to her and what that should look like but I’m helping her while she’s on that journey. She’s a home owner and a woman of God. She’s amazing! 

What do you think makes a phenomenal woman?  A phenomenal woman is one who is willing to learn from her mistakes and the mistakes of others. A phenomenal woman is a woman who knows when to ask for help. A phenomenal woman is humble about her accomplishments and isn’t ashamed of her struggle. A phenomenal woman knows it is her duty to give back to her community. 

While we’re still bound to make them, they make us very human, so what are three mistakes you’ve made thus far in life, what have you learned and how have they made you a better woman today?

1. Trying to find love from men who probably didn’t mean me any good. I know how to love a man but I had to learn how to love myself first. I’m still getting to know me as a woman. 

2. Blaming my mother for what happened to me as a child. My mother isn’t all bad. I’ll never truly know how my molestation truly affected her, but I don’t need to know in order to forgive her. In order for me to live my life in the way I want to I need to forgive her. 

3. Getting credit cards at a young age. I‘m learning how to be financially responsible and live within my means.

If you were writing a letter to your younger self, based on all that you know now, what would you say? I would say live your life for you. Don’t try to make anyone else happy. I know you’re a people pleaser and you’ll always have something to prove to someone but that doesn’t mean anything if you’re not happy with yourself. Who gives a flying fuck if what you do isn’t suitable enough for your mom, dad, or boyfriend. The question should always come down to this, is Maisha truly happy? As long as you’re not hurting someone else you’re fine. Oh and you’re beautiful just the way you are. Your nose gives you character. Stop thinking about plastic surgery. 

What is your favorite quote and what does it mean to you and your growth as a woman? “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” – Maya Angelou

I think this quote is self explanatory. I will always aim to use my struggle to build strength and character. 

If you were writing a letter to a little girl other than yourself, what would you say? You are a work of art. Some people will appreciate you and some won’t. That doesn’t mean you have to change anything about you. You’re good enough. Sometimes you just need to change the people you’re surrounded by. Baby girl learn to love yourself. It’s hard because as a girl you’re taught to cater to others but you need to make sure you’re good first and foremost. Trust me, life gets easier. Just be wise in who you choose to be in your support system. 

P.S. Please enjoy your childhood. Don’t rush being grown because being an adult comes with adult responsibilities and you’re not ready for that, not right now at least. There’s a time and place for everything. Boys, partying, and alcohol comes in abundance in college. Right now just enjoy what makes you a child. 

What inspires you? Children inspire me. They’re so pure and truthful. They can call bullshit from a mile away.

What’s one silly thing about you? I can’t just name one.  I can throw down in Uno and wine up my body like I’m in a passa passa video. I watch Sponge Bob and rap. I’m just a big kid with adult responsibilities. I’m just a silly person in general.

What’s next for you, where are you going from here, this current place in your life? I don’t know. I’m planning on going back to school eventually. I want to start my own family. I want to travel the world. I want it all! 

What is one simple thing that makes you smile? Young babies trying to walk, elderly couples, and seeing my plate of food from across the restaurant coming my way all make me smile. 

I hope the goal has been achieved. I hope that you can now relate, understand, and feel inspired. And if not in the words of Maisha, who gives a flying fuck lmao….no in all seriousness I hope the messaged has been received! IMG_4402

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