Category: Reader Picks

On Feeling Intimidated By My Own Dreams

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf


Quote by Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, First Female President of Liberia (read her Harvard ’11 speech here) | Images via YoutubeKateOGroup – Etsy

It seems I’ve been surrounded by achievements lately. The Forbes 30 under 30 list came out; Issa Rae (creator of Awkward Black Girl and Insecure) was nominated for a Golden Globe Award. Instagram and Youtube are full of people who are living seemingly glamorous lives by pursuing their passions, like Shirley B. Eniang, Shameless Maya, and Patricia Bright. My favourite bloggers, like Style Domination, are blowing up. I love to see them all. Seeing people accomplishing their dreams makes me happy and leaves me feeling inspired.

Sometimes, fortunately or unfortunately, I’m also prompted to feel that I need to hurry up with achieving my own dreams. As I approach being two years out of undergrad, my 24th birthday, and not being where I want to be yet, I’ve been wondering lately whether I’m wasting time.

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On Standing Out & Dressing Well: Less Can Be More

An outfit laid out on the floor and taken overhead. The outfit contains an orange cocktail dress, nude ankle strap heels, a beige clutch bag, a gold bangle, a pair of gold and crystal stud earrings, and a bottle of Burberry London perfume.

orange lace dress cropped light

Dress: Design Lab (old) | Shoes: Zara (old) | Clutch: The Shoe Company (old) | Bracelet: ASOS | Earrings: Amazon | Perfume (travel size): Burberry

This journey of wearing no makeup for a year has had some unexpected consequences. My appreciation for simplicity is spilling over into what it means for me to stand out.

I have learned to value standing out from a young age. As a child, I stood out with my puffy braids and tall height. As a teenager, I valued standing out as a way of creative expression. As a student, I value standing out academically. In employment, I value standing out due to hard work. I’m used to obvious ways of standing out–things that are hard to miss.

However, what I have been learning as I go through my days without makeup is that it is not necessary to be loud and noticeable to make a statement. Sometimes, letting things speak for themselves is enough.

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