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LOOKING IN THE MIRROR

Every morning I rise…

“How did you sleep?” he asks, in his amazing southern accent. He flashes me the crooked smile that never quite touches his beautiful brown eyes.

I look intently into the mirror to see what this quality black man sees in me. Peering at my light brown eyes, I  stare into my soul with one gaze, cutting away at my very fibre, the mirror shatters to pieces.

THE REFLECTION

Deep into the abyss… She looks back at me. Curly brown hair that never seems to stay in place, too short for “da” fun styles but too long to try. Coiled coils, not the “good hair – the reason why I stand in front of the mirror daily for 30 mins only to give up and go for the poof. Saggy boobs and a stretch marked pudgy belly, rolls and folds, and thighs that need some lipo. Cellulites, varicose veins, mismatched eyebrows. UGLY!!! Average… a little less than… ALMOST average.

I look at the bed, my beautiful king lies there… looking at me.

LOOKING AT ME

Mornings are my favorite. Waking up to a goddess is the highlight of each day. I rise before her, I stare at my wife and mother of my child. The sun catches and reflects off her chiseled golden skin, is this what it means to have God’s face shine upon us? She opens her eyes and those honeyed pair looks intently at me, full of fire and enthusiasm, the gaze that caught glimpse of my soul and gave me love when I needed it the most. She unmans me.

“How did you sleep?”…

She kisses me briefly and replies “good” and rushes to the bathroom. I sit in bed and watch her. 10 years later and I never get accustom to her poised movements. How adeptly and with care she moves. Her butt has always been my greatest attraction. Seeing her run to the bathroom gives me the best view every morning. Thick thighs that wraps around me and delights my heart. Soft, succulent lips that speak life into me and kisses my lesser impulses away.

She fixes Her crown, the one she inherited from her ancestors. A natural Goddess.

WHAT SHE SEES

I  stare into the mirror and I see a phony. Boasting 5 ft 3 of hypocrisy. Why didn’t I get the “soft hair”, the dougla type???

“Goddd I need to lose weight, my clothes don’t fit anymore! I’m such a fat pig!”

I look over to the bed and see him sitting upright looking at me. I feel small. “I don’t deserve the love this man gives to me”

Undeserving!”

My mornings are overrun with negativity. Self doubt, Pain. Pity, Sorrow, anguish. I do not deserve this life. I should suffer like my mother, like my ancestors. The barrage of self doubt lines my temple, clouding my already shattered view.

As a result, I continue my lie, two twirls I check out my ass and Waltz back into the bedroom.

Big bright smile, I kiss him and walk through the door.

IF THE MIRROR COULD TALK

Every morning you rise…

You stare at me  and I see the disgust in your eyes. You feel worn and you’re tired of living a life of lies.  I see the pain you endure daily. Walking around as though everything fits perfectly. I wish you could see yourself from my eyes.

Expecting to change the color of your skin, the texture of your hair, the 5 pounds you’ve gained, the cellulites you wish to erase. You feel empty, hollow, like you lack purpose and direction.

I mirror you in all that you do, but If I could, i’d lift your head up. I’d take my left hand and wipe your tears away. I’d take my right hand place it upon your forehead and kiss my eternal love there.

I’d look into the mirror and repeat “YOU are good enough!”

But most importantly, “You are doing great!”

” YOU are Fearfully and wonderfully made, my ethereal queen!”

“YOU are worthy of the blessings you’ve received because to whom much is given, much will be given.”

” YOU are wise enough.

“YOU  are selfless!

Even more so, YOU deserve this!

Above all, YOU can do this!

Keep your head up queen, Lest your crown fall off.

If I could, I would! But I can’t… and so, YOU must!

 

Author: La-Shauna Yatali

Photographer: Ronald Mendoza

Queen: Sasha Romano

 

 

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TRUE NUDE PROJECT- A GAME OF CRICKET.

 

A GAME OF CRICKET

I recently spoke with an amazing young lady, who motivated and prompted this blog. Life can throw you curved balls that you aren’t skill enough to maneuver but you need to still attempt to hit the ball. Experience comes with trying, and you will never become a skilled batsman if you never lift the bat.

ROOKIE

This is a story of a 27 year old, enthusiastic about life, love and FAMILY. She believes in family as her ancestors and relatives taught her too. She believed in her husband and the strength that family brings. She trusted in her husband, like all Indian women are taught too. She leaved the family she was born into and cleaved to the family she created.

AN UNFAIR OVER

As time passed on she realized she had misplaced her trust. Her husband had failed her terribly. He delivered blows to her face and to her self esteem.  This bled over unto her daughter and the little princess had sunken to a shadow of her former self, all her sunlight sucked away. When she looked in the mirror , ultimately, she saw what HE saw, FAT, UGLY, LIAR, UNDESERVING, UNLOVED, UNAPPRECIATED, HORRIBLE MOM, HORRIBLE WIFE and the list goes on and on.

SIX

Walking away can be the single most difficult thing to do in life. We are not hard wired to walk away, because every fibre of our makeup is as a result of bonding together/ coming together. Sometimes in life we need to hit that ball straight over the stadium where no one can find it and have a new ball come into play. And so  she did, she trusted in HERSELF, her FAITH and her undying LOVE for her daughter.

PLAYING THE GAME BY YOUR RULES

She looked into the mirror every morning- every single morning- her daughter and her would look into the mirror and say their affirmations.  She saw what SHE saw, she hadn’t gained a pound, she has amazing skin and beautiful eyes, she is brilliant and held her family together for years never once complaining, she is honest, kind, reliable, respectful, but above all she is an amazing mom. She looked in the mirror and realized that her love for self was evident, and that people have the uncanny ability to shift your perspective so that when you look in the mirror you see what they want you to see.

CAREER BEST 

This post isn’t about manifesting but instead it’s about seeing. Seeing the beauty we hold inside and manifesting on the outside.  She and her daughter began to see their worth. Their new found love for SELF was clear in their actions and manifested into her personal life. Knowing and understanding one’s worth is amazing but always be cognizant of the fact that a rarity is worth more!

Lift the veil of self hatred and start to see the world through your eyes.

PRACTICE

Look into the mirror every single morning and say the following affirmations aloud.

I WILL LIFT THE BAT!!!

CURVED BALLS AND ALL, I WILL SWING!!

I WON’T BE RUN OUT!!

I DESERVE THIS POSITION!!!

I AM WORTHY!!

I AM RESILIENT!!

I AM A SUCCESS!

Author – La-Shauna Yatali

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TRUE NUDE PROJECT- IS COLOURISM ALIVE IN TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO?

COLOURISM as defined by the Merriam Webster dictionary is “prejudice or discrimination especially within a racial or ethnic group favoring people with lighter skin over those with darker skin”. Colourism has given way to many toxic social mindsets, including #lightSkinPrivilege , ” You’re soo pretty  for a black girl”, ” gimme Ah reds any Day!” and the list goes on and on.

My question is one! Is colorism alive in Trinidad and Tobago?

I can safely say YES! It is alive, but we’re in a much better place than alot of alyuh think. With the recent influx of Venezuelan migrants, we expected to further compound colorism and its effects locally, however, more and more we’re seeing our men saying no to “Pink skin” and picking up love for the darkies.

No longer are we using the “you’re too pretty for a black girl” , instead its been replaced with “ayeeee Ah see one sweetttt darkie eh!” Men are openly acknowledging their affections for darkies. Favouring ” Smoothe Darkie” and “she black an she smooth!”, “blacker d berry, D sweater d juice”. Women are now openly declaring their love for their chocolate man, and expressing how good dark chocolate tastes.

Is Colourism alive??? yes it is! but we can find solace knowing that where a few are gathered, thousands share the view in silence. The colorism stories are real but the Anti- colourism exists and #blackSkinPrivilege is a movement. Dark hues are making their way in all walks of life and are being afforded opportunities their ancestors prayed for.

Say no to discrimination!

Continue to see the beauty in darker hues!

Make black skin privilege stay!

Love your black brothers and sisters!

Shinaka Cadogan X La Toya Walker
Blacker D berry, D sweeter D juice

 

Photographer: Ronald Mendoza

Queens: Shinaka Cadogan & La Toya Walker

Makeup: Leah Armstrong X Nikesha George

Swimwear: Caribbean Artisan by HER

 

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TRUE NUDE PROJECT-Self Love

TRUE NUDE PROJECT- SELF LOVE

The True Nude Project is an expression of self.

Originally designed as a project that would allow women to have a space, to dominate without prejudice, shame, lack of confidence and limitations.

Women of different body types, complexions, social -economic, religious and political views came under one banner; self love!

The self love journey can be a difficult one for  many. Because self love can be easily mistaken for vanity, or over confidence or even narcissism. Self love is important! In Trinidad and Tobago we have a local sayin’ “if yuh doh luv yuhself, who goh luv yuh gyul!”

It’s important to teach our daughters, sons and more importantly society, Self love. While at a spoken word event, I heard a poet say; “self love is not vanity, it is sanity”- Kenson Laudat, and this line resonated with me.

Are we insane for not loving ourselves? Are we vain if we love ourselves too much?? What is loving ourselves too much?? Why is loving ourselves too much a bad thing?

loving ourselves is good, loving ourselves too much is good! When we love ourselves too much and don’t know love for anyone else is where vanity comes in, it’s ultimately where self destruct comes in also.  It’s ok to love yourself and to love others.
It’s ok to love yourself “too” much!

self love is not selfish, it’s self preservation. Too many of us have lost our most natural and innate of instinct known, survival. Willingness to live. Self love solidifies this! Self love makes depression look small, suicide will never cross our minds, self care will be practiced more often and we will see more well kept bodies. Self love makes us love God, it makes us love family, spirituality and the earthly experiences we have under the moon.

The Self love journey may be hard, but we are here to go through it with you. The TRUE NUDE PROJECT is live.

Rest easy Royalty

 

Nikesha George X Makisa Thompson

 

Photographer: Ronald Mendoza

Makeup: Leah Armstrong X Nikesha George

Swimwear: Caribbean Artisan by HER

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TRUE NUDE PROJECT

“True Nude Project”

You dare not say that we don’t possess beauty,
Wipe off that smug grin off your face,
My girls dominate every space.
Queens surely royalty, most of all deities.

We bare our souls to the world using our bodies,
We shine a light that you haters can never diminish,
We stop you dead in your tracks not a sentence you can finish.
This is our livelihood, our habit not a passing hobby.

Bigotry just ignites a fire in our spirit,
We are sunflowers dancing in the wind,
We have you breathless every negative stereotype you will rescind.
We are here to dominate, empower and to uplift.

True nude project starts with some but turns into many,
We are a force to be reckoned with so stand back,
Our potency, our effect oh no never slacks.
To sit with us will cost you a pretty penny.

by Jeanne Marie Thompson

TRUE NUDE PROJECT- Ebony and Ivory
beautiful black queens.

Shinaka Cadogan

Sasha Romano

Ariann Atwater

La Toya Walker

Photographer: Ronald Mendoza Photography

Swimwear: Caribbean Artisan by HER

Makeup: Leah Armstrong X Nikesha George