I recently met a young grocery store cashier who exuded so much light it was blinding. As she checked my groceries, I noticed her smiling eyes and pippy long stocking braids. Slowly, “Heather” (not real name) started to talk after I complimented her choice of multiple earrings on each ear. She explained her intention behind the design placements and then began to share her desire to get a small tattoo of a butterfly. All of this was amusing to me because her innocence, excitement and confidence were infectious. What followed next is why I am writing this blog post today.
Heather, my new grocery store protégé, proceeded to tell me how she didn’t always feel good about herself. She didn’t think she was smart or beautiful because something bad had happened to her when she was young. Heather made the statement without any fear or shame. I didn’t ask any probing questions nor were the details of her story necessary in this first encounter. In that moment, I completely melted in my heart space recognizing the common pain that so often resonates and plagues many young black girls too. Of course, I told her just how amazing she was not only on the outside but inside. Her honesty, bravery and authenticity were undeniable. Heather simply radiated light from within. She told me that her Dad told her that beauty is in the eye of the beholder – – a common colloquialism we’ve all heard before. She also shared her personal mantra – – “it’s not what happens to you that matters, it’s what you do afterwards” – – that proved her wisdom way beyond her years.
Perhaps this meeting was divinely orchestrated because I was reminded (thinking about my own thinking …METAcognition) that the journey for self worth – or the lack of it – is a universal story resonating for all girls and women regardless of race, class, country etc. So today, I salute Heather for her courage and hard&black trUthfulness. From one soul to another, we shared our common experience and journey in the universal lesson of self respect and unconditional self love that most of us unconsciously seek for a lifetime.