OITNB’s Danielle Brooks Pens Inspirational Letter to Her 15-Year-Old Self

Orange is the New Black’s Danielle Brooks writes a powerful letter to her 15-year-old self with some pretty great life lessons learned!

I’m really in love with Orange is the New Black‘s Danielle Brooks (who plays Taystee on the show). From the first time I saw her, I immediately connected to her. One, she was dark chocolate and cornbread fed like me, and seemed so confident in herself and what she had to offer. That inspired me to do the same. Two, she’s so incredibly talented, not only as an actress but a singer too! Three, she stands up for various causes, and encourages other women to love themselves.

But Danielle, like all of us, didn’t always have it so together. We all went through our rough teen years, and would go back and tell our younger selves so much if we could! Danielle penned a letter to her 15-year-old self for Refinery 29, explaining some of the things she wish she knew back then.

Check out some highlights from the letter below!

Why Danielle wished she had journaled throughout her life:

“You don’t know this yet, but one day you will write a book. The writing will be so much easier because you took a little extra time out of your day to journal. And when you get older, you’ll laugh at how boy-crazy you were and how many times you threatened to run away from home.

Danielle Brooks
Danielle Brooks / Refinery 29

On doing what you want to do regardless of other people’s opinions:

You really quit cheerleading because of how you felt you looked in your skirt? Okay! Never quit anything again because you’re scared of what others might think of you — unless you become a stripper, only exception. But even then, quit because you want to.

To never shy away from who you are:

“You are different, Danielle. You are not an ordinary 15 year old, and that is okay. That doesn’t make you better or less than anyone. But what you must not do is dim your light. You have a lot of love to give and believe it or not, it is not as easily accessible for others to give the same. People have a lot of hang ups that will make them guarded, but continue to operate out of love. It will always win.”

To cherish your family while you still can:

Keep up with your family. Pick up the phone as much as you can. Reach out as much as you can. They will be the only people that will consistently love you and be there through the good and the bad. Never stop praying for them.

Danielle ends the letter with one final good piece of advice. “One last thing, follow this mantra until your final year: Stay fearless and keep swimming,” she wrote.
I needed to read some of this right NOW!

Words of Wisdom: “Failure is the Mother of All Success”-Pitbull

Pitbull shares powerful words of wisdom on how failure ultimately leads to success!

Pitbull, Mr. Worldwide himself, had some very wise words regarding failure. In the short motivational video below,  he shared how failure truly is the mother of all success, citing popular figures like Michael Jordan and Walt Disney, who saw heartbreaking failure before becoming who they are known as today. He even spoke on his own experience as an artist, being told that he didn’t have hit records. Look at him now!

I watched this video and it definitely helped to push me through some recent rejection of my own. I really used to fear failure and rejection. So much so, that I wouldn’t even risk going after new things or networking with people to grow my career. Nobody likes failure, but failure is necessary in life. We might hate to hear it, but it’s true. Failure shows you where you still have room for improvement. Failure, if you have the right mindset, pushes you to keep going until you succeed. Failure ultimately gives you a greater appreciation for the wins that come later!

Check out Pitbull’s powerful words below!

#MondayMotivation

I believe my best days are not behind me, but ahead of me, and I’m living and moving accordingly

It’s Monday, and I’m actually in a pretty good mood this morning! Tired as ever, but I’m good. Hope y’all are too! If not, here’s some #MondayMotivation to help shake off those blues a little bit! 

This was a major one for me, because I’ve been just going through the motions over the past few years. Every day is pretty much the same, especially when it comes to my 9-5. Because of all I have going on, I get tired REAL quick and shut myself in the house to decompress. I’ve spent more time with Netflix and Hulu rather than some of my actual friends, sad to say. Don’t get me wrong. I need that time alone to re-energize. I believe we all do. But often we get so caught up in our regular routines that we forget to actually enjoy the lives we have!

In 2017, I was determined that, for me, that would end. I would make more time to spend with family and friends, or do simple things for myself. I decided that I would get out of my house more and away from typing behind a computer screen, and make the most out of each day! I went to LA earlier in the year, and have quite a few more travel plans this year, and more events to go to. I’ve been picking up new skills. I’ve been trying to meet and connect with more people, and it’s all to get out of this “same old, same old” routine. It’s truly a choice to make the rest of your life great. I believe my best days are not behind me, but ahead of me, and I’m living and moving accordingly. I hope you do the same!

Your Delay Is Not a Denial

Finally learning to trust in the timing of life!

“Everything that you’re going through is preparing you for what you asked for.”

Today marks five years since I graduated from Loyola University Maryland. Facebook had all the pictures and videos waiting for me in “On This Day.” Definitely one of the proudest moments of my life. However, my high expectations that day in regards to my career and life were no where near what I got.

A part of what I’ve been through during these past five years, and am still going through, are seasons of delay. I mean, SERIOUS delays, or at least, I think so. There are so many things I want to accomplish and have been working at for quite a while, personally and professionally. After I graduated, I was unemployed for almost a year. When I got a job, it had nothing to do with media. It was literally taken out of desperation. The fact that I’m not writing full time yet still bothers me. I’m grateful for my accomplishments so far, but I still have a ways to go, and would be lying if I said I didn’t get discouraged. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t compare myself to people I went to school with, the opportunities they’ve received versus my own (Sidenote: comparison is the devil ugh. That’s another post coming soon). These periods of delay have had me questioning a lot, like if I’m truly meant to be a writer, or if I’m supposed to have and do other things.

You might be experiencing this too. You don’t understand why your blog hasn’t blown up, or why you haven’t been able to snag another job that fits what you’re passionate about. You might still be living at home while you see people buying houses and all that jazz (serious

So what’s probably the reason behind all these delays? You’re not ready.  That might be a hard pill to swallow, but it’s true. That’s what I’ve found. Case in point, my freelance writing. I’m blessed to at least have writing as a side hustle now, with quite a few websites under my belt.  But that’s now at 26. There’s no way I would’ve been able to manage all that I do at 21 when I first left Loyola. Why? I wasn’t disciplined enough. I wasn’t productive enough. I wasn’t hungry enough. I thought I was, but, looking back, mentally I wasn’t ready. I would’ve let stuff fall to the wayside. It wasn’t until I went without writing jobs for a while and couldn’t find other good opportunities, that I went for my goal even harder. Now that I have other opportunities, I make sure I work my tail off to keep them!

me 21
Me in my dorm about to go out for my 21st birthday…before selfie sticks

Another delay? My starting Imperfectly B. See, I tried my hand at this on the side when I was younger, while I was running my entertainment site, The Spotlight. I called myself attempting to give life lessons, but I hadn’t truly experienced life (good and bad) yet. I wasn’t disciplined and consistent enough with posting. I still had to become a stronger writer and more confident in my voice. If I had started this site instead of Spotlight when I was 18 or even 21, I KNOW I would’ve failed at it. Well, let me not be so negative. I don’t think I would’ve done as well. In fact, I tried my hand at writing a few personal blog posts for my portfolio website, and had to say, “Brittany girl, let’s not.” I wasn’t ready.

Let’s be real. For those who’ve experienced successes or new chances, whether it be at work, in love, or whatever, can you say that you would have done well at it a few years back? Were you ready then? Are you really ready now for all that you want? A lot of times, these delays are to help you grow and learn some hard lessons. That way when you do receive what you’re asking for, you’re actually ready to handle it! That way, you maybe even appreciate it more!

I know that now. I have learned to truly trust in the timing of my life. Your delay is not a denial. Your current circumstance is not your forever circumstance. Not if you don’t make it so with your own negativity! So, until the time comes for your purpose to be fulfilled, be comforted and stand strong in the fact, that all that you’re going through is simply to prepare you for what you wanted in the first place. Keep grinding!

Imperfectly,

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Photographer Offers Free Pics for High School Grads Who Can’t Afford Them

A Philly photographer uses his passion of photography to take free graduation pics for kids who can’t afford them!

Last year around this time, Philly photographer Richard Wah saw a few high school graduates on the bus, rocking their caps and gowns. Even though it was their special day,  no one else was around to support them.

It sparked an idea for Richard: he would take free graduation photos for any student in Philly that couldn’t afford them. Last year, only two took him up on his offer. However, a Facebook post the photographer shared about the offer just this Monday has gotten over 16,000 shares and close to 20,000 likes. Now, he has 12 kids lined up for free pics this year! 

 

Richard even has a team of four barbers and three makeup artists to have the kids looking amazing for the photos! “They’re memories; they’re priceless,” he said to Philly Voice. For Richard, not being able to afford pictures to celebrate this special day is something he knows all too well. He didn’t have graduation pics himself because of it. Now that he’s made a career out of photography, he’s able to give back to the youth of his city using his gift! “I don’t know who they are or what their stories are. I just want them to know somebody’s there,” Richard added.

So, if you’re in Philadelphia, the photo session for 2017 grads will take place June 17. For details, contact Richard Wah Photography at 215-800-3529 or by email at rwahphoto@yahoo.com.

Richard is also accepting clothing donations for graduates to get their pictures taken in.

Graduation pics can definitely hit your pockets hard, but it’s nice for families to have those memories to look back on. Glad that he is using his talent to help these kids who wouldn’t otherwise be able to swing it!

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