How To Stay Optimistic Through The Struggle

I’m at a weird space in my life. I call it that crossroad between your childhood ending and your adult hood beginning because well, that’s just how life is.

I’m 20 and I just moved out of the dorms. I decided to stay in my college town and work and take summer classes because I didn’t feel like going back home to Chicago.

The thought of paying RENT and other bills instead of going shopping is depressing, to say the least.

My personal life is a mix of one struggle after another, with some triumph mixed in too. I try to stay optimistic though, because if I don’t, I will begin to feel sorry for myself, and that is one thing I just can’t have. So if you’re going through a struggle right now, I decided to not let you feel sorry for yourself either.

Here’s three ways to shake that funk you may be in, and conquer each day with a smile:

1) Yes you’re struggling, but so is everyone else in the world. GET OVER IT. 

Seriously. As Michael Jackson once sang, “you are not alone.” and you AREN’T. Of course, most people won’t list their problems on a T-shirt, but that doesn’t mean that you get to sulk around and cry about how much you’re going through. Learn that struggle is a part of life and learn how to thrive in it. It’s not that deep.

2) Find better things to do other than feel sorry for yourself.

We all have our depressed days, especially when your money ain’t right, the rent is due, or you’re stuck working a job you hate. But you can’t feel sorry for yourself. In my head, feeling sorry for yourself is equivalent to procrastinating, which is equivalent to not doing anything to better your situation. Acknowledge your struggle, but don’t let it consume you.

3) Check your blessings.

One tactic that I stay optimistic is that I always remind myself of my blessings. First off, I’m blessed to be living and breathing each day, which is a luxury that so many people my age don’t get to experience unfortunately. For those that think that blessings come in material forms, you have to think of things this way: Your rent may be too high, but at least you have a place to lay your head. Your job may suck, but at least you are employed. You may not have money to buy the latest fashions, but at least you have enough clothes in your closet to mix and match. My point is, be appreciative of what you do have instead of dwelling on what you don’t.

So now that I’ve shared my tactics of staying optimistic through the struggle, I want to know some of yours. Comment below or Tweet me @KweenKia__ (two underscores)

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Black Women Take Over Airwaves: For Better or Worse? by Diona Humes-Jamison

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This year, women of color were allowed to take a breath of fresh air when they turned on their televisions to catch up on their favorite weekly shows because they were seeing more and more representations of themselves. Hit television series like ABC’s Scandal and BET’s Being Mary Jane and The Game hit the airwaves showing black women in a more successful light and, this time, with lead roles.
Photo courtesy of People.com

Scandal features Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope, a successful “fixer” and political crisis manager in the nation’s Capitol. Although Pope is very good at what she does, her job on the show is not what she is most recognized for by viewers. Those who tune in every week and, even those who don’t, only remember Pope for the biggest ongoing scandal within the show: her affair with the president.
Photo courtesy of theatlantic.com

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On BET, viewers finally had a chance to watch the long-awaited premiere season of Being Mary Jane, starring Gabrielle Union as single and successful news anchor, Mary Jane. The 2-hour pilot for this series premiered back in July of 2013, leaving viewers confused and anxious to keep up with main character, Mary Jane, in a series that wouldn’t show up again until January 2014. Mary Jane, once again, was not to be remembered for her superb broadcast journalism skills, but for her personal life as well. Union’s character received lots of backlash for her affair with a married man, despite her ability, or assumed ability, to get and keep a man of her own.
Photo courtesy of bet.com

BET’s other hit drama series, The Game, features fictional exploits about the lives of professional football players and their families. This show has been airing since 2006 and fans were excited to see the new developments in season 7, which aired back in March of 2014. Although The Game does depict some aspects of black success stories, one of the main stories that caught my attention was that of Wendy Raquel Robinson’s character, Tasha Mack, single mother of pro-football player, Malik Wright. Tasha Mack is also a successful businesswoman but, yet again, it is her rollercoaster of a love life that has been the focus of her character’s story. Are you catching the pattern here?

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All of these characters have three commonalities: success, singleness, and inability to get married, for whatever respective reason. These women are all depicted as educated and successful black women, yes, but only successful in the professional sense. Aside from their work, every other aspect of their personal lives seems to be falling apart bit by bit; they all represent that stereotypical black woman who, no matter what, can’t get or keep a man.

Millions of people tune in each week throughout the seasons to see these fictional women who are, according to journalist, Teresa Wiltz, “strong yet conflicted, [and] filled with both save-the-day bravado and hide-under-the-covers neuroses.” But what happened to the shows that would uplift the black woman and encourage the idea of the positive black family? What happened to A Different World? What happened to The Cosby Show? Why is this how black women are shown in television now? Because this stereotype is how America sees black women in real life. Although these shows are written by black women, they are made to cater to a diverse audience; an audience that believes these stereotypes to be true for most black people.

America has painted a portrait of the black woman that displays anger, independence, insensitivity, and loneliness. This widespread image has overpowered the positive facts about women of color that come from databases like the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Census which state, respectively, that one-third of black women now work in management or other professional jobs and that black women now make up more than 900,000 business owners in America; and let’s not forget that black women currently make up the highest percentage of college enrollment by race and gender, according to the U.S. Census.

Despite these facts and statistics, it’s still so funny that America and the media choose to highlight the less appealing aspects of the black woman. No one cares about the fact that Scandal’s lead character, Olivia Pope, was inspired by a real life crisis manager in D.C., Judy Smith, who is a happily married mother of two, the complete opposite of Pope.No one has chosen to focus on the fact that Wendy Raquel Robinson, aka Tasha Mack, has been happily married for over 10 years now or that Gabrielle Union recently snagged NBA superstar, Dwyane Wade. Instead we choose to feed into these overwhelmingly misconstrued and unspecified stats and stereotypes about a plague of “lonely” and “bitter” black women in America.

Of course you can get into how black women marry at a later age due to their personal career and educational goals but, for now, the focus is on these black shows that are written and created by black people [women] yet catered to the non-black American population. Why is it that every time a woman of color finally sees herself on the big screen, the character has the same repeatedly tragic love life? Viewers are still waiting for the day where they are shown more realistically happily ever after black love and family stories like those of Cliff and Clair Huxtable in The Cosby Show or Phil and Vivian Banks in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Hopefully there is something more refreshing in store for viewers who would like to see a positive change of pace in the 2014-2015 television season.

Diona Humes-Jamison, native of Chicago and resident of Virginia, is a sophomore, Public Relations major and Photography minor attending Howard University. Active within her major and her community, Diona has a passion for passion. Catch her in the future working within the entertainment and nonprofit sectors of PR.

Twitter and Instagram: @_TellMeAnything

Black Hair Myths Busted by: Diona Humes-Jamison

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Whether your hair journey has been natural or relaxed, everyone’s heard rumors and myths about what they should and shouldn’t do in order to maintain a healthy head of hair and it’s time to set those rumors straight.

Myth #1: Relaxers Make Your Hair Grow
Plenty of black females decide to ditch their natural curls and go for a relaxer or “perm” because they are rumored to promote hair growth. Relaxers permanently straighten and stretch curls that would have otherwise been tight and shrunken, giving the appearance of substantial growth. Although it is very possible to maintain long and healthy hair while relaxed, it is not the relaxer, itself, that makes the hair grow.
Myth #2: Cutting Hair Promotes Hair Growth
Although you might get your hair done in a salon every two weeks, you don’t necessarily need to get it cut every time you go to visit your hairdresser. Trimming your ends gets rid of the damaged and split ends, yes, but it doesn’t make your hair grow since your hair grows from the root and not the end. You should get a trim every 6 to 8 weeks, if necessary, to avoid split ends that can possibly split further up the shaft and cause substantial damage.

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Myth #3: Black Women Can’t Grow Long Hair
Every person is different so everyone’s hair will grow as long as their body lets it. There are vitamins and products on the market that help to accelerate hair growth and length retention but hair length cannot be determined by your ethnicity.

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Myth #4: Black Hair Needs More Conditioning That Shampooing
Conditioners and moisturizers are necessary for healthy and hydrated hair but the amount that is needed varies by hair type and texture. Black hair tends to need more moisturizing than many other ethnicities because chemical alteration causes it to be brittle, however, there is a such thing as over-conditioning. Too much of anything can be bad for you. It’s up to you to assess your hair needs and learn how much and how often you need to condition to keep your hair bouncing and blowing in the wind.

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Myth #5: Black Hair Is Not Versatile
This has to be one of the biggest black hair myths. #TeamNatural has become the trend over the past few years but many black women are scared to rock their natural kinks because they think that an afro is the only way to go. There are plenty of natural styles and products out there that can help manipulate and maintain a gorgeous curly mane. Some styles include: bantu knots, braid-outs, twist-outs, locs, braids/twists, and many more. When it comes to styling your natural hair, YouTube will become your best friend as there are endless tutorials from naturalista vloggers.
These are only some of the many myths about black hair that have been floating around salons and schools and forums. When it comes to hair rumors, you have to use your better judgment to decide what will work for you, personally, whether your decision come from research or trial-and-error.

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Diona Humes-Jamison, native of Chicago and resident of Virginia, is a sophomore, Public Relations major and Photography minor attending Howard University. Active within her major and her community, Diona has a passion for passion. Catch her in the future working within the entertainment and nonprofit sectors of PR.

Twitter and Instagram: @_TellMeAnything

146th Commencement Speaker: Peeve or Perk? by: Diona Humes-Jamison

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If you haven’t heard by now, it’s true. Sean “Diddy” Combs, entrepreneur, philanthropist and entertainment mogul, will be this year’s commencement speaker at Howard University, receiving an honorary doctorate in humanities from the university on Saturday, May 10, 2014.

Since the morning that President Wayne Frederick sent this announcement email, social media sites and classrooms have been buzzing with debates and disagreements about the situation. It seems as though Howard’s students have come to a split decision on whether or not this was a good move for the university.

Many students and faculty support President Frederick’s choice of speaker because of the simple fact that, although Combs attended Howard in the late 1980s and left before graduating, he still managed to launch a very successful entrepreneurial career which, according to Forbes magazine, has earned him a net worth of $700 million.
On the other side of the issue, that piece of paper makes all the difference.

Plenty of students, especially graduating seniors, think that it was an unfair and undeserving choice. Perhaps they would prefer that a Steve Madden or a Mark Zuckerburg give the address.

While those students are entitled to feel the way that they do, nothing terrifyingly horrible can come of this situation. Combs went out into the world on his own, with no degree, and managed to accomplish everything that most college graduates couldn’t have dreamed of doing and then some. Despite the fact that his career track and business statistics speak to his credibility as an entrepreneur whose work has contributed to the advancement of his field, Combs is also said to be one of the highest individual donors to the university. In the book “Sean “Diddy” Combs: A Biography of a Music Mogul”, he is said to have given $500,000 in scholarship money to Howard in order to support students pursuing careers in entertainment.

Much of Howard’s population that is looking at this situation negatively, is also looking at it selfishly. There is nothing wrong with inviting a diverse quality of commencement speakers to address Howard students each year. This provides students with a more relatable and current graduation experience while, at the same time, bridges part of the gap between Howard and its alumni; yes, alumni.

Photo courtesy of: May 31, 2008 – Source: Charley Gallay/Getty Images North America

Diona Humes-Jamison, native of Chicago and resident of Virginia, is a sophomore, Public Relations major and Photography minor attending Howard University. Active within her major and her community, Diona has a passion for passion. Catch her in the future working within the entertainment and nonprofit sectors of PR.

Twitter and Instagram: @_TellMeAnything