Take your own stand…or have a seat…

So I have discovered a love of Podcasts on Podcast One and ITunes (it’s like talk radio without the interruptions of music!) And I was even more excited to see that Tia Mowry has a podcast titled, “Mostly Mom with Tia Mowry”. I decided to subscribe and add this to my podcast playlist along with about 10 others including LadyGang (funny girls) and Mo’Nique & Sidney’s Open Relationship (yup…THAT Mo’Nique, I’ll save my commentary for another blog post…she is still hilarious!) Anyway, I excitedly listened to the podcast intro which says this is a show about empowerment (and some other stuff too). And here we are at episode 1. Tia begins the podcast by speaking out about being cyber bullied and how she posted the following on Instagram, “In a world that’s obsessed with perfection, I am taking a stand and will not be retouching my photos. I want all of us women and men to embrace, love and accept our real bodies at whatever stage we are in life. We all have different shapes and sizes, lets encourage and uplift.” She went on to speak about being fat shamed 2 days later after she posted an unretouched photo of herself. After which her first guest, her husband, Cory Hardict came on. Who side note, seems like a real, funny easy going dude.
As I slide into episode 2, Tia comes on and thanks everyone for listening (you’re welcome Tia) and mentions (again in this episode) how she has come to a personal decision to stop photo shopping her Instagram pictures. She said she truly feels that this photo shopping and trying to look perfect has become an epidemic. She then posed the question to her listeners, “Why can’t we just love ourselves, our true authentic selves.” She continued on by saying there are a lot of women now contouring their faces and chests and their legs and wanted to know why are we doing this to ourselves. She wanted to know why we can’t just embrace our flaws and love who we are. Why do we have to be so obsessed with being perfect. Tia then informs all of us listeners that we need to just be ourselves and be who we are and embrace our flaws. This message sounded annoyingly familiar, like I was either having a de’javu moment or perhaps having repeated Groundhog days. I say this because while I did hear it on Tia’s podcast, I have also been seeing the same type of message on various social media and blog sites from other women who are saying the same thing in different variations. They are saying, “It’s time to take off your makeup, and be you”, “Take off your weaves and be true to you, stop trying to be European”, “ladies embrace your natural self.” And it annoys me…Why does it annoy me you ask (and if you didn’t I will tell you anyway).
I am a woman who although has never photo shopped my pictures, I have worn/wears a weave and braids. I also love my Nars highlighter in Albatross and when I wear it I see rainbows and flowers and unicorns (they DO exist) and I glow. I also love me a good tinted moisturizing BB Cream (cover girl in the color bronze…I feel like a goddess.) Does this mean I don’t love my “true, authentic self?” Does it mean I don’t “embrace my flaws” because I like to enhance my cheeks with a little blush every now and then? I’ll answer the questions myself…NO! It doesn’t mean that! What it means is that I am a woman who loves myself completely, even the parts of me that want to change other parts of myself. I love me and accept me…even the parts of me that have a hard time accepting other parts of me. Does that sound confusing? Ok, here is the breakdown of what I said. I am a woman who loves myself and accepts myself. In loving and accepting myself, I acknowledge the fact that there are some things that I do want to change about myself be it physically or mentally, and that is ok because I have decided to let ME empower ME to be ok with ME whether I have makeup/no makeup, contoured/not contoured, weaved/not weaved etc… I am sure you get the picture.
And about that word EMPOWER that is used so much. First, let’s start with the definition. Merriam-Webster defines the word empower used in the verb form as: to give power to (someone), to give official authority or legal power to (someone). Merriam-Webster also goes on to define the word empower when used as a transitive verb (a verb that can take a direct object): to promote the self-actualization or influence of. Interesting right? So when we say we want to empower someone to love themselves or to be comfortable with who they are, what we are really saying is that we want to give someone the power or authority to love themselves, the power and authority to love who they are…but only once they take off and remove the external things about themselves that they may actually love and accept, and THEN it’s ok to love yourself. For instance, women are telling other women, take out your weave and take off your wigs and love who you really are. But have these same women ever stopped to consider that this women may have an actual medical issue that leaves her unable to grow hair in certain areas of her head and although she loves and accepts herself, she feels like the world doesn’t have to see her bald spots, so she covers them. There are also women telling other women to take off their makeup and be ok with being natural, but this woman who wears the makeup may have skin that has been disfigured or scarred and while she accepts that about herself, she may feel that the world doesn’t have to see all of her scars. We as women need to see that sometimes, it is not all about other women trying to get attention or to attain perfection…sometimes it is simply that yes we do accept our flaws and imperfections, however, some things we just don’t want the world to see…and that is ok. We also need to understand that our own personal epiphany’s are not always going to become public movements.
Tia Mowry thank you for your podcast. I find you to be smart, beautiful, entertaining and funny and I applaud you for deciding to take your stand. However, please understand that taking a stand and empowering others is not just inclusive of talking about the stand you have taken and telling those same others that they should follow suit. This is your stand and your journey. You have however, inspired me to take a stand also. I have decided to live in my power, to live my life in a way that honors and reflects who I am in whatever stage of life I am in. I will live more powerfully, laugh more powerfully and love more powerfully and maybe, just maybe someone who is watching will be inspired by my actions and realize that they too have the authority to live in their power…
Love you guys and thank you so much for reading!

1 John 3 vs. 8 KJV

“My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.”

45 thoughts on “Take your own stand…or have a seat…

  1. Tammey Holley says:

    Your words are profound, thought provoking and enlightening!
    My favorite part of your blog is when you said, “…please understand that taking a stand and empowering others is not just inclusive of talking about the stand you have taken and telling those same others that they should follow suit. This is your stand and your journey”.
    Our journey should not need justification or acceptance from others. Love it!

  2. Cassandra Della Rocca says:

    Loved this post and how you defined what it means to empower. The greatest strength and “power” we accept is to lead by example. Maybe some of those women that Tia refers to are dealing with insecurities and using makeup and various weaves to seek and find self-worth. I believe for that reason she may be a benefit to them. We all should be on a mission to be our true authentic selves inside and out and who we inspire is who we inspire. We were all made unique with our own voice to inspire and encourage, but it is still our own journey. Thank you for sharing this post. It is a conversation starter and a podcast debate waiting to happen πŸ˜‰

    • Taria Shondell says:

      Hey CassyRu!! Thank you! You are absolutely right. She also talked about surgeries but I didn’t address that…yetπŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
      Actually, she mainly talked about surgery’s….The podcast debate…would probably be you and IπŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

  3. Anonymous says:

    Thanks Taria, profound as usual! You have a terrific insight to seeing things in a different light, and showing us all what something said means to you!!

  4. Kerisha Deans says:

    OMG I love this, and I love that thought that went into this. I wear makeup, and I love it. I’ve also reached the point where I go without makeup frequently and I still feel beautiful (thank God I feel this way). However, we can’t punish women for enhancing their looks in a world that judges women by their looks. We can’t punish women for makeup and weave because we haven’t walked their path. I’ve suffered with skin issues since I was 16 years old, and my skin is now worse than ever, but I am happy I am where I am today. Great overall message!

  5. Anonymous says:

    I really truly love this blog. This is why I started Youniquely Made. My desire is to actually help women and men to love themselves again enough to pick up that dream they put down because of insecurities, set backs, or low self-esteem. Too many times people focus on the outward appearance, but forget that person is more than what they look like on the outside. The inside is what I want to beautify. I used to belong to a group where all they were concerned about was the outside and could not discern what was going on on the inside of me. If we can just stop controlling people from our standards and actually look past what they see on the outside and actually have compassion enough to see the person for who they really are, so many peoples lives could be changed. Yes, it is true, you can’t judge a book by it’s cover. But sometimes, that cover is hiding a whole lot of hurt, pain, insecurity, and low self-esteem. So the next time you see someone you think is wearing too much makeup, taking too many selfies, wearing something you deem is too inappropriate, or wears too many weaves in your opinion; stop and think before you speak and just pray for them and ask for wisdom and discernment. Lastly, a smile, a kind word, and even a hug can brighten anyone’s day.

    Please check out my blog as well thanks http://www.iamyouniquelymade.com/#!blog/c23mc

    • Taria Shondell says:

      Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! Your comment truly touched the inner most parts of me….I love how you said a smile, a kind word and a hug will brighten someone’s day… Because sometimes that is all I need!
      I love you, “Someone” πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ and will be checking out your blog ASAP!

  6. mwcdeb8r99@aol.com says:

    agree. I don’t photoshop pictures of myself though I have photoshopped a goose egg out of pics of my daughter from Easter which is a completely different matter. If I choose to wear makeup, I don’t find it covering up as much as trying to accentuate these days. Having a little one has really changed my perspective on makeup as I want to send the best possible empowering message to her.

    • Taria Shondell says:

      Hi! First, thank you for reading! I definitely understand about the message you want to convey to your daughter, that is really true and something to think about and be more aware of as I have two daughters. That is a really good point.
      Thank you!

  7. alison says:

    This was great! Sometimes I feel like people take a stand and have to go all the way to the end to make a point. But I like how you agreed but also said it is okay to still do things that make you happy at the same time.

  8. Beth Shankle Anderson says:

    I love how you seek to empower others through your writing. Not many people want to do that. So many people want to tear down others like life’s some sort of game. Good for you for rising above it all!

  9. Raya Cordova says:

    Wow you certainly have a way with words- so profound and inspiring! Girl you just need to PREACH this post and make it go trending so everyone can finally understand this!

    • Taria Shondell says:

      Hi Raya!! Wow! Thank you so much!!! As you can maybe tell by my post, I am really passionate about people letting people love themselves for who they are, women especially… And it is a reminder to me that I need to do the same!

  10. lastchance3 says:

    First off, I love podcasts! I follow so many and put them on rotation. I haven’t heard Tia’s podcast, but I love her and Tamara. We all do some incredible things through insecurity, whether it be contouring, plastic surgery, etc. Before we can empower, we need to learn to accept. I’d love to hear how she came to accept herself for who she is and be able to push aside society, critics and trolls that she needs to deal with on a daily basis. It can’t have been easy.

    • Taria Shondell says:

      Hi! You are right! It is hard to force yourself to not listen to the critics and trolls. I was just talking about this to my kids yesterday.
      You should check out her podcast! It is really good! It is on iTunes and Playit.com

  11. Amy says:

    I LOVE this Taria! I think shaming has reached a whole new level where now when we wear cosmetics it’s because society makes us rather than the fact that some of us WANT to. Or as you said people may have medical reasons for covering up things to make them feel pretty again. Before we had to feel bad for the media and society making us be one way? Now are to be ashamed of beautifying ourselves. We should focus more on self improvement than mass generalization of crap.

  12. Beth Shankle Anderson says:

    Thank you for sharing this long article. I like your message of empowerment. It’s certainly one from which everyone can benefit.

  13. Lyndsey says:

    Taria, this was so beautiful and eloquently written! I love how empowering you are, as women we need to stand together and build each other up in a world that seems to always try to tear us down! Taria, the world would truly be a better place with more amazing women like you!

    I’ve always wanted to get into Podcasts but have found it difficult to find any that I would really like; I will say that I LOVE Mo’Nique and everything that she does, I will definitely be looking into that one!

    Keep doing what you doing and I look forward to future posts

    • Taria Shondell says:

      Hi Lyndsey! First… I am not even sure what to say… Your response is absolutely beautiful and has TRULY TRULY TRULY encouraged me! Again, thank you so much for that!
      As for the PodCasts, go to Play it.com and browse the categories and see which ones catch your interest. And then if you have an iPhone go to the podcasts app and type the name of the show and it will give you all of them!
      Please let me know what you think about Monique’s!

  14. royaltyinreality says:

    I am such a Tia Mowry fan! I love the point that she is making and totally agree that some people go over board in an attempt to change their appearance. However, like you mentioned, I don’t think loving ourselves means having to forego makeup, weave, etc. I for one looooooove me some weave, but I’ve also come to love my hair without it (sometimes). I make the decision to not wear make up daily (cuz I’m too lazy to do that in the AM), but also love having my face beat to the gawds. At the end of the day, I feel like people she do what makes them happy and not be worried about what the next woman is doing.

    • Taria Shondell says:

      Hi Royaltyinreality! Yeeessss!!! You are so right!!!! I want to go to a BEAT brunch because most times…I’m not! Lol
      I agree…we should all do what makes ourselves happy! And then encourage each other to do the same!

  15. Valerie Robinson says:

    Wonderful post and it resonated so much with me! I love Tia and recently Alicia Keys took a similar stand. I love that women are soeaking up about what is important to THEM with ought feeling guilty about it. Kudos for an awesome discussion

  16. The Trophy WifeStyle says:

    Yes!!! Honestly I’m a makeup junkie and makeup is like an art to me. I hate that people think just because I’m wearing makeup, I must be insecure etc… It’s quite the opposite. Makes me feel good about myself because it’s something I love.

  17. Stephanie says:

    Wow, this is such a great and insightful post. It is important for us ladies to feel good and to empower ourselves. xo, Steph

  18. Jenna says:

    I really enjoyed this- I feel like you nailed some of the complexity that comes with being a woman today. When we’re busy trying to stand up for our own choices, it can be easy to forget to lift up the choices of others as well.

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