I have the best time blogging for Dove.com and Parenting.com's The Parenting Post—rewarding gigs that afford me the opportunity to stretch and bend as a writer. I have a genuine interest in delving deep into issues on self-esteem, beauty images, race, feminism, relationships, and the everyday bread-and-butter topics that round out our lives as moms, especially when the writings make me look inward—force me to ponder how my childhood informed who I am today, and the kind of mother I am to my children. It's cathartic, really—my therapy played out on screens around the world.
Today, I invite my MyBrownBaby readers to check out my work on both sites; I'm proud of the pieces I wrote on each of them—so much so that I wanted to personally share them with you. Witness:
On Dove.com's Connections, I was asked this month to describe who I was and what really mattered to me when I was between ages five and 15, and specifically how I can recapture the wonder of my childhood perspective, even as I retain the wisdom and experience I've gained as an adult. It was a tough assignment for me, simply because my childhood experience wasn't exactly the height of adventure and fun. Quite the opposite, as I wrote on Dove.com:
The thing is, I wasn’t one of those kids whose world was filled with wonder and magic and rainbows—by any stretch. I wasn’t abused or the victim of something sinister or anything like that. It’s just that I was ridiculously shy. And my parents were too busy working opposite shifts at tiresome factory gigs to arrange play dates or walk my brother and me to the park or sit down to a raucous game of Monopoly—you know, do fun kid stuff. But I don’t try to steal my daughters' joy. They look over at me—always looking—searching my eyes for proof that mommy is pleased that they’re having fun. I just watch them from afar and shake my head and giggle, and wonder if I would have been a different, more fun mommy if I had parents who spent a few minutes or so enjoying the backyard they’d worked so hard to have—you know, stopped to smell the proverbial roses.
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Over on The Parenting Post, a piece I meant to be a light-hearted celebration of The Princess and the Frog, Disney's first romp into African American princess territory, turned into a raucous debate on beauty images, self-esteem, and whether or not black moms are doing their daughters a disservice by "harping" on the color of their children's dolls, toys, books, TV shows and movies. Let's just say that the comment section is stacking up to be way more interesting than what I actually in the post—an ongoing debate that shows how far we've come in discussing things openly, but how much further we have to go toward truly understanding one another. This, from anonymous commenter #3:
Ok. So I have had no princesses that look like me. ever. I don't have blue eyes, blonde hair, black hair, dark skin, (except for when I tan) anything. Nothing that looks remotely like me at all. BUT I think that the bigger lesson here is that we all need to look past what we LOOK like and focus on WHO WE ARE. And you're right I don't know what it's like to be a person of color or anything else. I only know to be me, that's what my parents taught me. I NEVER watched Disney movies and thought "Gee... I wish I looked like her" I though "Wow... She had the courage to speak her mind, or had a crappy life and still did THAT." You know, the lessons we were REALLY supposed to get out of those movies. We're only preoccupied with what we know, with what we are taught to know. I hope that all little girls know that they can be whoever and whatever they want to be, no matter what they look like. We need to teach them that. I love that your little girl wanted to be Snow White, it shows that she is colorblind.
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Please, if you are so moved, leave a comment voicing your opinion on the subjects at hand. It'll be much appreciated around these parts!