Life Lessons, Lupita Nyong’o and Dancing In The Rain (Inspirational Links! )

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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Actress Lupita Nyong’o accepts the Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role award for ’12 Years a Slave’. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Last night when the news broke about Lupita Nyong’o’s Oscar win, I nearly cried. As she spoke, I thought of all those mahogany hued sisters rendered nearly invisible by white supremacy, colorism and our own collective self hatred.

Those simple yet profound words of hope resonate so deeply with me:
“When I look down at this golden statue, may it remind me and every little child that no matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid. Thank you.” Oh what a way to begin the week!

There is so much dynamic writing and music online about empowerment (our inspirational word of the month), awareness, life lessons and dancing in the rain. I hope you’ll enjoy reading these pieces, too!

On Changing Dreams

Re-Learning to Dance In The Rain

Fear is the Root of Your Problems

What’s Wrong With Telling A Little Girl She’s Pretty?

Pictures of people who mock me

Live In Color! – Emelda

Live In Color Blog Nominated for Liebster Award

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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liebster-award

 

We’re on cloud 9, dancing in stilettos and timberland boots, y’all! Why you ask – especially on a chilly Monday? Well, Live In Color blog was nominated for the Liebster Award by a cool blog we follow, Monday Morning Motivation (part of I am Worth The Effort Initiative) which features posts about relationships, faith and bringing awareness to human trafficking.  Thank you so much for nominating us, L. Dwain Boswell!

Okay, I know, your next question is so what the heck is the Liebster Award? Bloggers nominate other bloggers (many of which are new to the blogosphere); it encourages us to keep pounding away on that keyboard (or in my case iPhone) and creating content.

So, here are the rules of the award, according to our fellow blogger L. Dwain Boswell at Monday Morning Motivation (part of I am Worth The Effort Initiative):

1. Post acceptance post and include a thank you to the blogger who nominated you.

2. Choose at least 10 bloggers you wish to nominate with links to their blogs.

3. Answer 10 questions your nominator sent to you.

4. Include 10 questions for your nominees  to answer.

Questions for us, and our answers:

1.  Why did you  start blogging? We wanted to inspire, empower and encourage other women to live life fully and in color. We also love sharing our stories, along with posts about style, inspiration and culture.

2. What is your best blogging tip?  Write only about what you love, what moves you immensely.

3.  What is your favorite time of the year? Summer!

4.  What is your favorite movie and why? Hmm… This is tough question!! I would say the deeply moving film by Mira Nair, Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love; it introduces us to a woman who defines herself for herself in a time and place (India) when this was nearly impossible.

5.  Your earliest memory goes back to what age? Wow. I would say the age of 4.

6.  If you had to teach something what would you teach? Probably a hybrid arts course of style, literature and contemporary independent film.

7.  Would you rather have more time or money? Definitely money, it helps to provide so much autonomy.

8.  What makes you smile? Oh so much! Beauty and love (my husband and baby daughter, my family), faith in God, stilettos, cupcakes, Sex and the City (movie, every season), poetry, martinis, Kate Spade purses, great conversations with friends, discovering new music from artists like Ayo and Cody ChestnuTT. I could go on and on.

9. If you were not scared, what would you do? Move to Bali.

10. What do you do for fun? Dance in stilettos, visit art galleries and museums, read vicariously (fashion magazines, books, blogs and articles), watch great indie films like The Sapphires, write poetry, travel, yoga / meditate and hang with friends.

Here are the blogs we nominated:

Mind of Malaka

A Creative Reality

Ruffles Ribbons N’ Bows

Olivia A. Cole

The Happsters 

Mental Fitness 

Monday Morning Motivation (I am Worth the Effort)

Woman, Live!

The Better Man Projects 

Questions for our nominees to answer:

1. What inspires your blog posts / content?

2. What do you enjoy most about blogging?

3. Were you surprised we nominated your blog?

4. Name one thing that is on your bucket list.

5. What’s your favorite art form – music, fashion, film, literature, etc.? Why?

6. What dreams keep you up at night? Are you pursuing them?

7. What country would you like to visit and why?

8.  Is there anything, or anyone you cannot live without? Why?

9. How do you begin your day?

10. What does the phrase “live in color” mean to you?

Live In Color! – Emelda, Valencia, Shannon and Bonita

I’m Not Sorry for Being an Overcomer

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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Valencia Pearl, beauty/ style editor for Live In Color blog
Photo Credit: Keston De Coteau, Keystone Productions

“We all make mistakes, have struggles, and even regret things in our past. But you are not your mistakes, you are not your struggles, and you are here NOW with the power to shape your day and your future.”― Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience

My morning was uneventful; the day was going as planned. My 4 youngest children were on their way to school. I was dressed, beauty kit packed and ready to go. Before I left, I logged on to Facebook. It was mostly more of the same from my friends, but I noticed a simple photograph published by eight-time GRAMMY-nominated singer Ledisi.

Singer Ledisi  Photo credit: RTY Photograpahy courtesy of Instagram
Singer Ledisi
Photo credit: RTY Photography courtesy of Instagram

Her weight loss was remarkable; she looked like a different person. Her brown and blonde streaked locs were curled and hanging beyond her shoulders, her pearly-white teeth gleamed through crimson-stained lips. The baseball shirt stated simply:”I’m not sorry.” The caption read: “I’m not sorry for evolving.” My response? “I’m not sorry either, girl” in agreement.

A friendship just ended in my life, and I was ok with it, too. We were not good for each other. I did not care about what my former friend thought; I did not care about the feelings our separation caused either. She helped me to legitimize the fact that I put my life, and future ahead of theirs, and that was perfect (it’s OK to be selfish).

I felt better emotionally, physically, and my soul was partially healed. A 10 pound weight airlifted from my heart.  Immediately I began thinking of more things I should not apologize for such as:

1. I’m not sorry for having children without a husband.

2. I’m not sorry for having gigantic dreams!

3. I’m not sorry for being happy.

4. I’m not sorry for believing in myself!

5. I’m not sorry for being opinionated.

6. I’m not sorry for being glamorous.

7. I’m not sorry for not giving a fuck.

8. I’m not sorry for not caring if you judge me for cursing above in #7.

9. I’m not sorry for being 100% real!

10. Last, but not least, I’m not sorry for being an overcomer!

Releasing the Weight!
That felt good, and trust me the list could go into the hundreds. I released myself from responsibility for things that I should not have responsibility for in the first place. Your parents, friends, family, boss, spouse, children, and the world hands you things they cannot conceptualize, then judges and scolds. If you don’t change, they may even turn their backs on you, too.

I should never have to apologize for being happy, but some people are so full of hatred, they cannot understand the source of your joy. If I could pick one thing that meant the most to me at this moment it is this: I’m not sorry for being an overcomer!

Photo Credit: Keston  De Coteau  Keystone Productions
Photo Credit: Keston
De Coteau
Keystone Productions

We all have a past life; we all make mistakes. We all have done things, or had things done to us we wish never happened. I remember growing up in Baltimore’s neighborhood of Northwood on a tree-lined street, raised by a single mother and older sister.

We rode roller skates, played with a neighborhood dog named Max, and climbed a small tree in the front yard. My childhood was uneventful, and by American standards normal. There were no Daddy issues. I didn’t witness dosmestic violence. I was not sexually molested, and my Mother nurtured and uplifted me.

Falling In Love Young & Birthing Babies
Yet for some reason I fell in love young. I became pregnant at fifteen, gave birth at sixteen, and carried another baby soon after. Twenty days before turning seventeen, I gave birth again. While I’m not releasing myself from responsibility for reckless behavior, at 34 years old, I’m not apologizing for being a teenage Mom.

I loved, nurtured, and supported them enough to become successful young adults. They are in college, working towards providing a life for themselves. No. Those babies are adults now, and how exactly did your children turn out again?

But yes, that happened, 2 children before the age of seventeen, and their father was arrested for murder 2 months into my son’s life, 1 month after we conceived my daughter. Ouch. You do the math. Pampers, wipes and bottles bombarded me.

Grown Woman Determination
Still, I was too busy for devastation. I pulled my grown woman panties all the way up, finished high school and attended college. For I am an overcomer, and not sorry for it. The story does not end here.

By the time I turned 21, I brought another child into the world, this time a baby boy. I called him Zion. My life a Pete Rock and CL Smooth song, who knew? Yup, I did that again. My mother died 13 months later after battling heart disease and complications from diabetes. Eight months passed, and I birthed twin girls. All the drama that ensued nearly cost me my mind. But remember “I’m not sorry” I became a baby-making machine. I spit out 3 babies in twenty months.

I was not a whore. I am not a whore. I did not sleep with whomever requested. Yes, loved lived within my heart in several instances. I cannot say thoughts of an abortion never entered the mind. In fact, I lay on the table when the doctor almost ended my daughter’s life. God weighed down on my conscience. I spared her life, defied my Mother and continued with the pregnancy.

Walking In Victory
I’m so glad I listened to Christ. My daughter completes me, and brings such pride and joy. She’s a high school senior at one of the most prestigious all-girl private schools in the country, awaiting her college acceptance letters from schools like Hofstra University, St. John’s University, and Spelman College. She overcame in my womb. She definitely is not sorry! My last, the final chapter, is the baby, my angel, Bentley. So, that’s 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 fatherless children.

Pause, go and get a drink of water. I’m not sorry for not caring what you think about me.

I have always provided a life for my children, and a very good one. My family is normal by all definitions. They travel, attend summer camp, and the best schools in Baltimore City. My oldest recently graduated from Baltimore City College high school, and is a freshman at Coppin State University. The eldest daughter graduates from The Bryn Mawr School next June.

They have turned out to be dynamic young adults. Raising my children is the greatest achievement of my life, and “I’m not Sorry” about that!

My son with his City College high school ring and diploma
My son with his City College high school ring and diploma
Photo Credit: Panache Photography


Moving Into My Destiny
I moved from raising my children to working and providing a life for them on my own. I battled depression and now inspire greatness in others. I went from hating men to having flowers delivered.

I lost love and healed this heart enough to love again. In 5 months I lost 50 pounds, and became a Zumba instructor. I gained the weight back, and have a plan to lose it again.

I abandoned a conventional job at Head Start to pursue my lifelong passion of beauty and style, and am currently in beauty school. I moved from average to overachiever.

I no longer choose what I think you want me to do. I define my own life. Recently, I took on another role, Beauty / Style Editor of Live In Color blog. Pause! Praise break!

Photo Credit:  Keston De Coteau Keystone Productions
Photo Credit:
Keston De Coteau
Keystone Productions

I am set free by his stripes. God told me yes. No one on earth can tell me no! Hold your judgment, your opinions about my past do not matter to me. I am living fearlessly and without apology! I’m not sorry!

Live In Color! – Valencia
Edited by Emelda De Coteau

Talk Back
Tell us what you are not sorry about!