Why Everyone Can’t Go Natural (The Secret to Being Natural)

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“I could never go natural” is what I hear more often than none. I’ve met numerous women that proclaim they cannot go natural because of the following reasons:

  1. My hair is too “Nappy”
  2. It’s not long enough
  3. It looks better straight
  4. It only looks good on other people and not me
  5. It’s too much to handle and upkeep

Now I’ve thought a lot about these responses and my first instinct was to jump up, shake them and yell, ‘you can do it!! You’re lying to yourself!”. But then I quickly realized that, I once had some of these thoughts and opinions as well.

So unfortunately, I’m going to take it there and start by saying  yes, black women straightening their natural hair is historically from blacks wanting to be like white women who naturally have straight hair.

Just, think about it. How the media portrays the perfect woman. Skinny, perfect eyes, nice sexual features and of course, straight hair. At first I thought this idea was ridiculous. I never said I wanted to be white and straight hair just looks better, right? Wrong. It has been engraved in us to believe that straight hair is better, cleaner, more appealing.

Still don’t agree? Well, think it about it this way. Your natural hair is what you were born to look like. If you are natural, you weren’t naturally born with straight hair. Why say you could never be the way you were born? Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not saying straight hair is bad but realize this, natural hair is unique. Everyone can make their hair straight with a flat-iron, but not everyone can make their hair kinky, coily, curly, etc.

See, the reasons above for not being able to go natural is simply just fear.

  1. Nappy is a word that whites used to describe blacks hair in history because it wasn’t smooth like theirs.
  2. With the right care you can make your hair healthy and it will grow the length you want it to.
  3. With YouTube you can put any straight hairstyle to shame.
  4. Everyone is different. You have to learn the right styles that work with you. Don’t be afraid of trial and error.
  5. Actually, natural hair is a lot easier to deal with than straight hair because one style can last days, weeks even. With the right tools and practice, natural hair is the easiest hairstyle for me.

But you’re right. Not everyone can go natural. Because natural hair takes more than just the big chop, amazing products or numerous YouTube videos. Being natural takes confidence within yourself. That’s why I gawk over so many natural people, not because it is just amazingly gorgeous, but because they exude confidence in themselves. When you believe good things about yourself, others will too.

No, everyone does not have this confidence. But you can get it for yourself. You can learn how to obtain it step by step. You can begin to embrace how God made you. How you were born to look. All of us naturals all have our bad hair days, but learn to love what has been given to you, whether that is short, long, big, kinky, curly, coily, puffy, etc.

To go natural, all you need is the confidence and if you have that, embrace it because not everyone can.

Danyelle

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The Art of Cooking in College

I finally have conquered the art of living alone and cooking! As this is my third year being in an apartment and learning how to fend for myself, I have mastered the art of buying groceries under budget, making it last me a month and actually enjoying what I made if I do say so myself. So, I’ve decided to share it with you since I’ve come into contact with so many lost college students! (That used to be me).
I’ve listed here a pretty vague recipe/grocery list. It’s vague because they aren’t specific instructions on what to do but that’s what Google is for, right?
People wonder how I spend $150 on groceries that last me the entire month! Keep in mind that I am one person-but really the trick is Aldi’s grocery store! I smile every time I am at the end of the line while secretly trying to guess how much everything will be and as always, I’m never right.
Most of these items can be indeed purchased at Aldi, but those products that I purchase at Walmart are noted with an asterisk *.
Tacos
Taco sauce*
beef
garlic seasoning
taco seasoning
taco shells (Dorito’s locos if preferred)*
lettuce
tomato

Chili
Green pepper
Kidney beans or chili beans
Can of Diced tomatoes
chili seasoning
sour cream
shredded cheese
ranch or tortilla chips

Burgers and Fries
beef
ketchup
mustard
lettuce
tomato
seasoning
garlic seasoning
frozen fries
canola oil
red onion

Chicken quesadillas 
Chicken breast
Red and green pepper
shredded cheese
salsa
sour cream
salt
pepper
garlic seasoning
soft tortillas

Chicken Alfredo
Chicken breast
Penne Pasta Noodles
lemon
lemon and pepper seasoning*
garlic seasoning
Bertolli Alfredo sauce *
Diced Tomato’s (If desired)

Spaghetti
Beef
Spaghetti Sauce
spaghetti noodles
Garlic Bread
Sugar

Shrimp Dinner
Instant mashed potatoes
milk
butter
sour cream
shredded cheese
broccoli
minced garlic
butter
parsley
lemon

Salad
Romaine lettuce heart
Ranch
Garlic croutons
shredded cheese
cucumber
grape tomato’s
red onion

Italian Deli sub
Deli bread
Cheese
Pepperoni
Salami
Salt
pepper
Turkey or Ham
*Pair with Chips and Fruit snacks for lunch

Jambalaya 
Zatarans Jambalaya rice*
Sausage
Shrimp
Chicken
Hot sauce

Chicken Philly
Swiss cheese
Chicken
Mayo or ranch
Deli sub
Frozen fries

Fried Fish dinner
Fish
Flour
Egg wash
Seasoning
Canola or Vegetable oil

Homemade Pizza
Pizza sauce*
Pepperoni
Red onion
Mozzarella cheese
Mushroom
Pizza crust*
Tomato’s
*any other toppings you would like to add

Lemon Chicken 
Chicken
lemon
lemon and pepper seasoning*
salt
frozen perogies
green beans

Baked Fish Dinner
garlic
butter
garlic seasoning
onion powder
lemon and pepper seasoning
baked potato
sour cream
cheese
Brussel sprouts

Meatloaf
Thyme
salt
pepper
ketchup
Instant gravy*
brown sugar
garlic seasoning
bread crumbs*
egg
Worcestershire sauce *

For fast Meals
Frozen Dinners *
Ravioli *
Pizza Rolls*
Chicken Nuggets
*Pretty much anything in the frozen dinner Isle.
Happy cooking!
Danyelle

Your Rights as an American and Why You Should Know Them if You’re Black

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While the summer hours has permitted me to read my favorite newspaper- The New York Times, lately I have been seeing a lot of news about guns and violence. While this saddens me, it also frightens me as well. Not only because I have fear of people around me, but also fear of law enforcement, etc. Not every police officer is corrupted, but regardless of whether you have a strong negative opinion or you’re an enthusiast for them, we should all know our rights as Americans.

I urge blacks to know them more than the average American though, because whether people like to admit it or not racism still exits in America and it always will. That being said, the more knowledge we have the better we can do.

Side note: Every police officer is required to read you your rights before or during arresting you.

  1. You have the right to remain silent–You really do. You do not have to tell them anything. If they ask you about drugs, have you been drinking, etc legally you don’t have to answer. Now in some situations it may ease the tension to answer their questions politely and go on about your day. But this is important to remember especially if you are being arrested.
  2. You do not have to get out of your vehicle. If they ask you to step out of the vehicle you legally have the right to say no. Unless they have probable cause of you hurting them or they suspect you of a crime committed like if they see a visible weapon, drugs, etc.
  3. You can refuse them to search your vehicle. If they want to search your car they need a warrant to do so, unless like mentioned above, they can visibly see something like a weapon, drugs, etc.
  4. Never touch a law enforcement officer and don’t resist arrest. This is mistake that sometimes people make the give police leverage over someone. If they arrest you, you have a right to ask what charges you are being arrested for. But don’t resist arrest, because they gives them more reason to bring weapons into play and that’s something we want to avoid. They can only hold you up to 72 hours and when you get to the station everything can be worked out there.
  5. You have the right to know why you are being pulled over. Enforcement can just pull you over just because. They have to have probable cause, whether that being speeding, broken tail light, etc. You can ask on what account are you being pulled over for?
  6. Make sure to ask to reach for documents, things etc. Don’t just reach and grab for something. Then they can suspect you may be pulling a weapon on them.
  7. You can ask to leave. “Am I able to go?” asks the officer especially if there are no charges or counts against you. This was you won’t be charged for any small offenses, etc.
  8. Be as polite as you can. This will come in your best interest. Don’t intentionally upset the officer. This will maker the situation better for you and the officer. Although you have the freedom of speech, everything you say can be counted against you.

The more you know the better decisions you can make in this world. It is my hope that we as blacks educate ourselves to the best of our ability and work to succeed and reach our highest potential to leave a better world for blacks behind us.

Danyelle

Comparison Rehab

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I’ve decided to put myself in rehab; to reflect upon my thoughts and look over and reevaluate them. I’ve decided to accept the truth and embrace my flaw. I need to accept that I have a problem and I need help.

I’m addicted. To the thoughts, the anger. It follows me wherever I turn. But it only follows me because I keep asking for more. I always want more from it. It never stops it never ends. So with that being said, “hi, my name is Danyelle and I am a comparison addict.”

I’m not sure how long it’s been like this, but it dawned upon me when I started wishing I was a completely different person. I realized I compare myself to anyone whom I feel is better than me. Which can be quite a bit seeing as though every person is better at something else than another person. But unfortunately, that’s not how I tend to think. I’m at the point where I compare myself to others without thinking, it just comes naturally.

When I’m on Instagram and I see how happy someone is, I tend to think “I wish my life was like theirs, they seem to always be going out and having fun”. When I am at event, and pretty women with tight dresses, nice legs and a nice body are getting a lot of attention I think, “I wish I was pretty like them, then everyone would want to be around me more”. When I see a girl with many friends, I wish that I could have a group of friends such as her’s. I compare my car to others, my home, my hair, my body, my technology, material items, women, men, all of the above.

Not only do I compare, I envy others. I want what they have and I think that my life will be much better if I had it. I believe that people will be drawn to me more if I had more material things or if my appearance was more appealing to them.

Today, in this world, I don’t believe I am the only one with this issue, especially in America. Many both men and women compare themselves to each other. Women especially compare their body images and shapes. “Bigger butt than her, bigger boobs than her.” “My hair is straighter, longer, fuller”, etc. It’s so hard not to compare yourself especially when you’re on social media so much. Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, are full of people purposefully posting pictures from their lives so that people can be jealous or they can give them many compliments. Some of us, like me compare without thinking we are comparing. We compare relationships, social status, materials (cars, homes, etc). 

If I cannot speak for you, I can surely say for myself that I often want the lives of others. But with all this comparison, where is the thankfulness? See there’s no room to be thankful for what you have or who you are if you’re always so unsatisfied with what you have and the status you’re in currently. So what’s the solution? How can we fix this… Well, for one we need to accept that we have a problem with this, then can start being thankful for what we have already. But not just that, realizing that we can be in a worse state that we’re currently in already. Everyone has flaws and problems and no one is perfect. We each have our own unique lives and abilities and that’s what makes life interesting.

Comparison never stops. Once you get stared, like any other thing someone can get addicted to, it’s hard to stop. You will always feel as though something different than what you have now will make life better. You will never be satisfied. I don’t know about you but I can’t live like this anymore. My thoughts make me feel like I am never enough. I am enough. God made me this way for a reason. Of course there is always room for opportunity to grow and become better, but wishing I had the life of someone else won’t get me there. So I will start slow, because this isn’t something I can change overnight, but it’s something I’m committed to working on and if you’re in the same boat I’m in hopefully you will be too.

Danyelle Shelton

Cheers to being unique.

Why I’m Selfish and You May Be Too

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Boy has God been showing me some things while being single. Things I didn’t see before when I was in an unhealthy relationship. Things I wasn’t seeing when I was in any relationship.

The other day I was reading how Paul was indeed chosen. You know how Paul decided to be single for the rest of his life because he believed he’d been chosen by God?

“But The Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.” Acts 9:15-16

Truth is, Paul wasn’t exactly crazy when he chose to be single for the rest of his life. He had cooked up an idea that people didn’t necessarily want to hear. Being in a relationship is distracting. Heck, it’s even hard enough being single and not getting distracted. He knew that in order to serve the kingdom of God well, he couldn’t be selfish…

“Danyelle, you’re wrong. I balance my relationship and my time with others just fine.”

Okay, okay, just ask yourself this; have you really been putting the needs of others before yourself? I’m not saying that spending time with your significant other isn’t okay. Someday, God-willing I will be married, but the honest truth is that it is indeed a distraction from paying attention to the need of others.

When I was in a relationship, that’s pretty much all I cared about. The relationship. I surely wasn’t very interested in seeing where I could help and pray for others. It was all about me. My relationship issues, my life problems, financial issues, family issues and all of the above. I get it, we all have our own problems. But for some reason the problems tend to look bigger when the focus is just on me. I especially did this in my relationships as well. “What can you do for me?” “You need to change” and I didn’t nearly appreciate what they’d do for me as much as I should have.

My cousin surely helped me notice my selfishness. When my brother was in the hospital, I kept complaining about everything that was wrong with me. “I’m cold”, “I’m hungry”, then she ever-so-loving-screamed “this isn’t about you!”. Wake-up call much? But she was right. This wasn’t about me. I should have been trying to see what I could have done for my brother, who was sitting in the hospital bed, while I was complaining.

Single or not humans are naturally selfish. We want what we want when we want it. We just want to be happy. While its a must that you must indeed love yourself before you can love others, us humans can take selfish to another level.

The Merriam-Webster definition of Selfish is this; “having or showing concern only for yourself and not for the needs or feelings of other people.”

Ouch! Honestly, that stung when I read it. That was, is me! Scripture of course speaks of this very thing.

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.” -Philippians 2:3 (NIV) When I first began to read this, I though, “I definitely put others before myself!” Then, I decided to pay very close attention to myself, the small things. When Someone asked me to share something, such as a cookie, chips, etc. I always gave them the smaller portion and me the bigger one. Better yet, I didn’t want to share with them in the first place. I would grumble and complain, then vigorously throw whatever I was trying to “share” at them. “Danyelle, how petty and small that is! That doesn’t mean you’re selfish!” Oh, but it indeed does. I was only thinking about what was better for me and what I only wanted. “I didn’t eat all day” “This is mine, you can’t go get your own?” Boy, does God have some work to do on me!

See a person who’s self-less LOOKS for opportunities where they can make someone’s life better or easier. They think of how the other person might feel first. They listen to what the other person has to say about their day first before they speak, rant and complain. They serve diligently and willfully.  They’re not too focused on the problems in their own lives because their thoughts are filled with thoughts of how to help others. And they most definitely, without any thought give someone else the bigger portion.

The reason that I said in the beginning that a relationship is distracting is because it’s so very very easy to get so wrapped up in your relationship that it’s all you think about, and they’re the only person you want to spend time with. Been there, lived it multiple times! I couldn’t even see that I was selfish until after the relationship. When some of us get into relationships we can often become blind to the outside world. We can walk by people who are sitting by themselves, because we’re racing to go sit with our significant other.

But it doesn’t have to be this way… I met a woman named Beth at a bible study I started attending at school. Man does she have a passion for Jesus and a heart for people… She is married and has children, but she’s one of the most self-less woman I’ve met that is married. She takes time to call, meet up with me and pray for my needs and others as best as she can. Of course she must give her attention to her family, but it is well-balanced. I believe what allows Beth to be so self-less is her heart for Jesus. She understands that her family is important, but she also realizes that Jesus is a number one priority in her life, and he has chosen her to have a heart for his people as well.

Sometimes we cannot change our selfishness on our own. The best way you can have a heart for people and for the needs of others is to first have a heart for Jesus. Naturally he will change and mold you into how he wants you to act, and you will have no issues trying to balance your love.

I’m not asking you to become radical and go start reading the whole bible so that you may become self-less, but, I would like you this week and the days to come to just pay close attention to yourself. Watch when you tend to act in a selfish way. Whether that not be considerate of someone’s feelings, walking past someone when they’re in need of help, or even giving them the smaller portion…

Danyelle

Why I’m Making Pain My Best Friend

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I once swore that I would just be single forever, because I couldn’t take the pain of another breakup. Another season of trying to forget that person and cutting myself from talking to them cold turkey. I’m done with pain! It’s too much and I can’t take it anymore. It makes me anxious, it makes me cry, it causes me to get deep into my feelings and thoughts, and my heart is weary…

While I was explaining my frustration of pain to someone, and my radical thoughts of how I vowed to be single forever, he told me this;

“Danyelle, you cannot escape pain. You cannot run from it or outrun it. You will experience it if you’re single or with someone. It will come if you’re ready or not. Everyone goes through it. Pain doesn’t care who or how old you are. You have to learn how to deal with it.”

This only made me angry at first. I replied saying “I didn’t really want to deal with it at all. I want nothing to do with it. If I get into a relationship, I’m risking my heart and practically inviting someone to hurt me.”

“Yes, you are risking your heart, but the pain of a breakup is not the only pain you will experience. There’s the pain of losing a loved one. There’s the pain of being in debt in feeling like your stuck. There’s the pain of not being happy with yourself or your life. My point is; there are all types of pain. Pain will never go away. You maybe able to not feel it temporarily, but it will always come back.”

I heard his point loud and clear. Got it. Pain will always be. But I honestly just didn’t want to accept this. If only we’d never have to experience this! If only… But then I realized something. Every time I experienced great pain, I ran to God. Isn’t that what some people do? We go to God when we’re hurting and leave him in the dust when things are okay. When someone close to us is dieing, then we decide to pray for the first time in years. Well, because God loves unconditionally, he still hears our prayers whether we treat him great or not. But realizing that every time pain came, I ran to my Savior, made me consider that maybe pain isn’t as bad as maybe I thought.

My heart was and is still broken, and I couldn’t pretend to God that it isn’t. But the healing began when I started filling my thoughts with thoughts of him and using the wisdom he gave me in decision making in my life and actually guarding my heart. So, I took that pain and started placing it into the hands of God. I’ve been filling my life with scripture, spending my time with those who love him, praying for healing constantly, and I actually began feeling healing…

It’s not that the pain was gone, I still felt it. But it was a better side to the feeling of the pain. I knew that I was using this pain to actually grow.

I believe that there’s multiple types of pain, two of them being; the pain of change and the pain of staying the same. With the pain of staying the same, I could have just believed all the lies of Satan and carry on in depression and sadness. My life would be broken and I’d see no hope or optimism. Or, I could have listened to myself and have vowed to be single for the rest of my life and I could have missed out on who God actually has for me. Or I could have chosen to masque my pain in more pain. I could have ran into another relationship to try and heal me. I could have chosen to drink or do drugs so the pain would leave temporarily. But none of this would make my life better.

The pain of change provides me with growth. It pushes me more towards the life God has for me. It gives me a deeper relationship with my Savior. It teaches me how to deal with pain well and still allows me to have joy during the pain. It helps me accept that pain will never leave, It helps me not to run from it. It makes my life better. It advances me. It changes how I treat people. It makes me a better person as a whole.

Remember that this still requires pain. It requires pain to change things in your life, to keep yourself from not talking to someone. To lose people in your life. To change your scenery, which is uncomfortable. Pain will come, remember we cannot escape it, but one gives you a much better result than the other.

I’m not sure what pain you’re experiencing now. Whether its an end to a relationship, a breakup, if you’ve lost someone, if you cannot find a job, if you don’t know what you’re doing with life or even if it’s pain that has no specific reason. Don’t run from it. Use it. Take advantage of every opportunity that it gives. Using pain to better your life with simply do just that, better your life.

It strengthens and grows you. It makes you wiser. You will soon learn how not to continue to make the same mistakes that cause specific pain. You will learn how to trust God better. You will embrace pain. It won’t steal your joy. It may hurt but you’ll know how to use it wisely. You no longer have to run from it, in fact make it your best friend…

Danyelle

To All The Girls With Broken Hearts

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My heart wishes. Wishes she could see her worth. See how much good she brings to people’s lives. See that somewhere out there is a man of God who’s on his knees for someone like her.

She shouldn’t cry over him you know. He isn’t worth her tears. I listen to her weep. The tears won’t stop. She feels cold and stiff. She tells me how she wants him back. How she loves him and he’s the best thing that’s ever happened to her. After how bad he treated her. After how much he showed her he really didn’t love or want her. After how much he used her.

Maybe she’s used to this pain now. She got so used to it when she continued to inflict it upon herself. Telling herself that she wasn’t beautiful. Lowering her standards for men because she believed for herself she couldn’t get any better. Falling for the first guy who gave her the attention she oh-so-desired to have. So she fell in love with the first thing that came. The first one who made her feel better than she could make herself feel. She fell hard, and fast. But little did she know she could have saved that love for someone who would actually loved her back.

But they came quickly to her anyway. The men worth waiting for didn’t come fast enough. He wasn’t there when she was alone in her room with no one to hold her and tell her she’s beautiful. He wasn’t there when she was cold and she had to search for a jacket of her own. Where was he when she felt pain in her heart and needed a warm embrace?

She has so much to learn. She has so much to open her eyes to. Men don’t respect her because she allows them not to. She doesn’t respect herself so she sees no point in others doing it. So they abuse her. They don’t care about her feelings. Her well being is not their priority. They do what they please with whom they please.

I wish she could see. That she has so much potential. She can be an amazing woman for an amazing man. She doesn’t have to weep like this you know. But she chooses to, because she stays with the man who she loves dearly, but doesn’t love her. She chooses the pauper over the prince, all because she cannot be alone. She cannot face herself. She cannot allow herself to think. Because thinking reminds her that she’s alone. Thinking brings memories. Fantasy memories of the pauper. Memories that are mixed in with her dreams of the man she really wants. Memories that are made up because if she dwells on reality, she just might see herself as better than what she’s settling for now, but that may mean being alone again, and she can’t chance it.

If she’d just hold on a little longer… Her prince is around the corner. I see him coming near… But she cannot wait on waiting. There’s no time for waiting. Loneliness doesn’t hold off on waiting. It’s only enhances.

She knows she can be happier. She’s quite tired of this pain. She hates herself for loving someone like this. Someone who treats her this bad. She knows she deserves better, but she won’t do better, because doing better means the pain might go away, and she’s addicted to the pain.

Maybe it feels good to her when she can’t sleep at night. Maybe it feels good to her to worry and stress over the activities of her so called “love of her life”. Maybe it feels good to love someone who you know doesn’t really love you. It must feel good. She keeps going back to it. She won’t let go of it.

But what she doesn’t see is that both roads are painful. But one road leads her to continuous weeping and heartbreak, and the other leads to healing and a man who will be beyond her wildest dreams.

She means well. She just wants to express all this love that she has inside her. But of all people. All the hurting people who are in desperate need of love. All the children who cry out for good role models. All these homeless people that need food to survive. All the people who need to hear of Gods adoration for them, she chooses to give all this love, to a man who doesn’t love her. All this time. All this energy. All this emotion. Just to end up hurt again.

Funny thing is, she has such hope when she knows the ending. She sees the end, where she’s weeping and hurt, trying to sew up her broken heart. But with everything in her, she still hopes, one day, that she can have a happily ever after with her pauper. And maybe, just maybe, he can pretend to be her prince.

But she must realize, that a simple step and a short season of loneliness and pain can bring her Prince. Although, the season of pain and loneliness is short for a reason. It starts that way at first, but then an even more amazing man steps in until her prince comes. A King. A man who will treat her like no other. A man that will make her life so happy and filled with joy that she’ll want to tell everyone about it. She can finally feel safe when putting her heart in his hands. She can express her love freely to him without getting hurt. He’ll never leave her for anyone else. He’ll never take back his love for her. He’ll never confuse her to play with her heart. He will provide for her and take care of her. Better yet he will give her the desires of her heart. He will always answer and she never has to wonder where he’s at. She can take him with her wherever she goes because he’s never busy. She can tell him anything, she can trust him and come to him when she’s broken.

My dear, why weep over someone who is foolish enough to hurt your heart and not care? They are not worth your tears. They do not deserve your strong love. They don’t deserve your heart.

Because your heart, well, your heart is fragile… So fragile that the slightest bumps can bruise it very easily… And well, it’s only meant for a King to handle anyway…

To Danyelle, the girl that weeps over her pauper, and to all the other girls that weep along with her…

Danyelle