Quotes and Inspiration

WHAT DEFINES ME

“Author, mother, volunteer, advocate and army wife.” That’s what they say when I am introduced before speaking. The only thing I hear is silence. What defines me? Is it the things I do for others? I’m Marla, a woman whose life’s focus has been taking care of those around me. As a young girl who spent my early years in Watts, California, then to Denver, Colorado, my life hasn’t been without its struggles. I lost both biological parents at a very young age, faced bouts of abuse throughout my childhood and barely finished high school. I was a product of my environment. Yes, I know it sounds so cliché, but it’s true. Girls like me didn’t end up living successful lives; they ended up pregnant, in jail, or worse…dead. I was the exception, but not without my own trials and tribulation...

RAISED RACIST AS A POC

I was raised to be racist. It’s funny when people see me––a darker-skinned person of color––and I let them know I was raised in a racist household. I was adopted when I was a day old by a white couple. My dad never showed any signs of discrimination to others when I was around, but he and my mother divorced when I was two. His influence disappeared when I was seven—he passed away from cancer. My mother, on the other hand, had a distinct opinion of people of different races that I carried with me up until the last couple of years. I was raised to fear my own people. Though more prone to letting me explore the Korean side of my ethnicity, my mother was uncomfortable with me reaching out to any black people we may have been around. My best friend in first grade was another mixed girl—she was ...

YOU

Today was one of those nights when I wish I was lying next to you, You have a way to put me at ease And incredibly it’s just with your words. Tonight is one of those nights I wish I could wake up at 3 a.m. and roll into you… Having your hair in my face but my arms wrapped around your body Tomorrow is one of those mornings I wish I could wake you up with a gentle kiss and hold you close and start my day off where I want to be… with you.     Author: Ravina Miles Email: rdmiles01@gmail.com Author Bio: Science geek by day and amateur writer by night. Inspired by love. That is all.

WOMEN THAT ROCK + HARNESS MAG – DECEMBER ARTIST FEATURES

Heather Mae: Ready for a dose of serious grrrl #goals? Meet your new favorite idol, Heather Mae. The Washington D.C.-based artist has been dubbed “the queer Adele,” writing music for the light seekers and the good troublemakers. She’s a social justice songwriter, powerhouse performer and earthshaking vocalist, with music described as cinematic alt-pop. And hers is not your mother’s social justice music—it’s not flower-in-your-hair, solo acoustic singer-songwriter music. Heather’s is an empowering, on-fire musical experience that bursts in the chest of every audience member, driven by her passion and message of self-love. Mae writes: “I’m a social-justice songwriter and mental health activist on a mission to make the world a more inclusive place. I’m fat,...

HOW TO SET GOALS THAT INSPIRE YOU ALL YEAR

Sometimes you have to look back to remember where you are going.  I remember it like it was yesterday.  I was a college graduate in 2011 who could not find a job.  Similar to any person in that position I took the first opportunity that panned out.  For me, that was working as a full-time nanny for two years. In 2014, I was creating international education programs for the U.S. Department of State.  What propelled me from watching kids to creating and managing multi-million dollar programs for the top foreign affairs agency in the world? The introspective work I did before creating clear-cut goals.    Get To Know Yourself Again We all have an itch to pursue a certain thing.  If we aren‘t careful, life can quickly get in the way causing us to forget what that is. I learned that my goals had...

UNFRIENDING SOCIAL MEDIA

A few minutes of scrolling through a blur of babies, parties, weddings, promotions and quotes for the lonely—a routine we fulfill before our eyes shut and as soon as they open. Social media connects you with friends, family, favorite brands, interests and the world at large. Ideal right? However, what happens when social media appears less like a land of opportunity and more of your own monitoring device to see who has trumped you in all milestones of life?  I use social media frequently. Recently, while indulging in my scroll marathons, I started to feel internal pressure. It sounds ridiculous, but hear me out. As a woman in her mid-thirties, I have achieved enough at this point in my life to be more than satisfied with where I am—but that feeling is there, regardless of how often I talk ...

THE COMPLICATED RELATIONSHIP WITH WOMEN & AGEISM TIMELINE

The complicated relationship women have with ageism timelines is infamous, with no expiration date in sight. There is something innate within us that makes us feel that by a certain age, we need to have experienced various achievements. We need to have an amazing career by 25, be married by 28 (which is usually the biggest one we feel pressure to achieve early), start a family by 30 and travel to different countries by 40. These types of ageism timelines can cause such mental toil in our minds. Then, we become enormously hard on ourselves when our ageism timelines don’t add up to what our current life looks like. Why is this? Why do we as women structure ourselves and our lives in such an intense way? Our ageism timelines start to take effect at a very early age. From the actors on TV show...

UN/ABLE

Light shines through wooden shutters covering our back door. A little pocket of bright sunshine casts shadows on the floor, making patterns and rows on the carpet. Outside the breeze rustles the branches and shakes the leaves. The air is warm and ever-changing. Fluid. The light dances through. Soft tawny fur covers my shirt and blanket, but the heat from a sweet dog warms my hands as I rub his belly. He’s heavy, comforting and doesn’t move unless I do. The house isn’t silent. I hear cars and trucks moving outside on the road. A fan is on overhead. The air conditioning is running in the other room, but all is calm. All is well. I sit just like this for days on end. Unable. Unable to get up. Unable to start the day. Unable to move. Why can’t I just move? Heaviness weighs me down. Deeply root...

4 STEPS TO REINVENTION & GROWTH: HAWAII STYLE

I recently spent a glorious two weeks in Hawaii and experienced the beauty of Oahu and the Hawaiian Islands. For the two weeks that I was there, I was in constant admiration of the view, the water, the trees and a permanent smile lit up my face…. I’m sure the few Mai Tais also helped. Even on the last day, I was still happy snapping the view and sunsets, saying to my husband and friends “can you believe how gorgeous it is?” Not even Hurricane Lane threatening to hit our island during our first week could dampen the holiday. We prepared ourselves as best we could, stayed calm, and made the most of every day, having a hurricane party in our room during lockdown while the kids created their own Britain’s Got Talent show.   Now I’m not going to lie, there have been a few of our overseas ...

TRIBE, LOVE, COURAGE: LEADERSHIP IN A HASHTAG

On my birthday this year, I received an invitation to speak at the #LeadLikeAGirl Conference. Little did I know that this invitation would be the start of something much bigger. As I prepared for the conference and for my words of wisdom, I started thinking about the message I wanted to share with the aspiring young girls and women I would be in the room with. I began reflecting on the things and people who helped me on my own journey of growth, specifically as a woman in STEM. What became clear were three things: the tribe of people who supported me, the love that I have for my passions, and the courage I grew to persevere.   Tribe. Love. Courage. These three words, though simple, are the foundation for growing into a leader. It is the basis for a mutually beneficial community that one bo...

WHY HAVING PINK HAIR MAKES ME A BADASS

You would think making my hair cotton candy pink would make me feel soft, feminine, weak. I, too, thought it would make me feel girly.   And I mean girly in that derogatory way that most people mean it. And, by the way, it must stop. “Girly” was something people said with the word, “ew”, in front. As in, “Ew, that’s so girly!” I remember high school being a minefield of such judgments.   The above sentence was met with one of two responses. Either, favorable, as in, “Oh I know,” with a giggle. Picture that girl, we all knew one. No judgment on life choices, you do you, but to play into the negative connotations of the term bothered me, and bothers me still.   The other response was unfavorable and defensive. “No, I’m not”, met with a snarl, “You don’t know me.” Often this was f...

YOU CAN HAVE IT ALL, JUST NOT ALL AT ONCE…WRONG

I heard a saying a few years ago that really resonated, and I latched onto it: “you can have it all, just not all at once.” I was wrong!  The statement was made in relation that not all of your life can be all that you want it to be at once. There will always be something that is sacrificed while other areas are peaking, and that’s ok. It pretty much nails the definition of sacrifice: give up (something valued) for the sake of other considerations.  Just accept it knowing other areas are doing great and you can’t have everything.  I latched onto this at the time because it was what I needed to hear. It made it ‘ok’ in my mind to sacrifice happiness in some areas and it gave me an excuse. I created that belief. It wasn’t a belief that I was happy with those areas or that I’d accepted it for...

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