Tag Archives: confidence

I Overcame Bullying

1391619_720377891343742_2918921522263846905_nFor some time now, I’ve wanted to address bullying. As I host workshops, I always meet students/children, who are being bullied and teased, and it makes me feel that I must do something to add to awareness. In my girls’ mentoring workshops, I teach young ladies how their words affect each other and teach them how to communicate in healthy and effective ways. Today, in honor of World Day of Bullying Prevention, I am sharing the story of an amazing young lady, who was bullied and has overcome it. In her story, you will hear how teasing—what some call “just kids being kids”—can have lasting and potentially dangerous effects.

stephanie Hi my name is Stephanie, I am 18 years old and currently working at Meijer. Yes, I have unfortunately been bullied before. It happened all through junior high and slowly ended in high school. This always happened at school, either in class or at lunch in the café. I still to this day do not know why I was the bully target. I was the sweetest girl ever. I was very shy. Just for some reason the kids decided to target me.

Overcoming this was very difficult for me. My family was always there for me, though. I would also seek help from counseling services. I would tell my teachers and principal all the time, and their reply to that was “oh they are just being kids.”

 “people will not always be nice. They do not always care about you or the situation you are going through.” 
I have overcome it all for the most part now. I still worry about people bullying me to this day to be honest. I did learn that people will not always be nice. They do not always care about you or the situation you are going through. My mom always told me when people are mean to you then that means it makes them feel good about themselves. I find it so wrong!
I feel this has made me better as a person because not only did I live with being bullied, I can also talk to others who get bullied and give them advice. If only they knew how bad my feelings hurt. if only they knew every day after school I would go home and just cry… Cutting and crying seemed to ease the pain and words away. They had no clue how bad words hurt. The mean words I was called about cost me my life.
 “bullying is so painful, but you can be strong enough to not let it get you down.”
I want other kids who are being bullied/parents of kids being bullied to know you have to stay strong. Think about the bright future ahead of you. Please do not ever try to commit suicide. Think about all of those who love you. Yes, bullying is so painful, but you can be strong enough to not let it get you down.
Update: Stephanie was being bullied when she was 12 and 13 years old. When I asked about how she is doing now, this was her response.
“I just graduated high school and I go to college, and would like to be a nurse. I am doing great! Every now and then I get low self esteem because the words “fat”, “ugly”, and “stupid” will always be in my mind…. But I do my best to keep my chin held high and keep my beautiful smile on my face.”
 ________________________________________________________
Thank you Stephanie for sharing your story. So many people don’t realize how hurtful teasing can be, nor the lasting effects. I hope through your story and others, parents and children will learn that bullying is not a laughing matter.

Amazon Review of I’m Proud to Be Natural Me!

“This book is great for children of ANY color whose parents/teachers dare to teach them the beauty in diversity. My daughter is 3 and already aware of words/concepts such as ‘hair’ and ‘princess’ and what makes someone “pretty” and worthy of praise and acceptance. This book was right on time as I divert her attention beyond what is seen on television and in books that feature girls who rarely look like her. It is soooo important for books like this to exist to illustrate non-traditional, yet very real and true messages. Too often African-American girls are taught they have “bad” hair and their goal in life has to be to at least LOOK like they have “good” hair if they weren’t born with a certain texture. Rarely are they presented with the truth that all hair is good and that includes every texture. I imagine this issue crosses color lines and this book could also lend itself to promoting the beauty in being born brunette, blonde, red, curly, straight, etc. Applause, applause to the author Marlene Dillon for having the courage and dedication to write and illustrate this book!”

                                  — T. Battle

Giving Back

I’m Proud to Be Natural Me! author Marlene Dillon, is looking to host empowerment workshops in schools, community, and religious institutions.

Last year, I did a workshop at a public school in Chicago. It was my first time doing one of that sort and honestly I was very nervous. I sat in my car all the way “down to the wire” contemplating never booking myself to “do something like this ever again.” Truth is, I have one of these panic moments before every single event I do, whether it’s vending, a workshop, book signing, or even just a networking event. The terror of wondering if I am prepared enough and the unknown of what the experience will honestly look like is unnerving for me. The thing that gets me out my car is my purpose and the belief that this is bigger than me—the knowledge that there is some young person, or parent, that I am to touch… and they are inside waiting for me.

Order this tee today at www.zazzle.com/naturalme

I’m Proud to Be Natural Me! teaches that we are ALL beautiful as is.

Last night I watched a video on Facebook that touched my life. It was so powerful to see these girls tell their stories of how close they came to giving up, and how many times they tried, and how they now believe in themselves and found something to live for. I thought about the fourth grade girls I spoke to and how their beliefs changed in that room, in that short time I was with them. They learned the power of their words and how it is our duty to uplift our sisters and not tear them down. They learned that they are beautiful, each and every one of them. They learned how to build their self-confidence and to love themselves… lessons many of us still don’t have fully in adulthood. I saw my impact as the girls began to apologize to each other voluntarily, one after the other. “I’m sorry I called you ‘black'” and “I’m sorry I didn’t sit with you at lunch.” It was so powerful.

Honestly, I had NO IDEA that it would turn into that. I just wanted to teach them a little bit about self-esteem, but hearing them one after another speak on what they felt was beautiful about themselves was so awesome. I always recall the powerful moment at the end of my workshop when this beautiful dark chocolate girl said, “I used to believe I was ugly, but now I know I am beautiful.” It hit me in the car, it hit me weeks later, it hit me all over again right now, in this moment, I have a voice to give these girls a voice. I want to touch more lives in this way. It is my purpose, and greatest desire, to impact lives for positive change on a grand scale. There is no greater satisfaction than knowing that my words, my time, my effort helped to change the course of a child’s life in some small or large way.

I am reaching out to you because I would like more opportunities to speak in a similar manner at schools and community organizations. This is part of my purpose—a VERY large part. If you would like to host a workshop at your institution, please contact me at improudtobenaturalme@yahoo.com.

Thank you.

Give What You’ve Got

I recently had the awesome opportunity to speak to a group of girls on Chicago’s Southside. This is amazing group of young ladies is so full of promise, talent, and light. It was inspiring working with them, and I’m grateful to my dear friend Michelle Pechter and Aspire to Greatness for granting me the opportunity to “pour into” these young ladies for a few minutes. I walked into the event thinking of how great it would be to take the minutes allotted to speak a word of truth into their hearts—to tell them something that could change the course of their lives for the better.

So what did I tell these girls? What nugget of truth did I feel was the one thing that I could leave with them and feel I had fulfilled my purpose? I told them the one thing that I know now that would have accelerated the course of my life had I heard it earlier. I told them the truth, that it is more than okay to be yourself.

Special thanks to Getty Images!

It’s okay to be your awesome, unique self.

I told them that they are great as is. What does that mean? Well, in short, that the gifts, passions, and interests within them—their unique characteristics—are an amazing part of them that they should embrace and cultivate, rather than hide and alter to fit in. I told them that it is okay to want to be a doctor, if that’s what’s in you, and that it’s also perfectly okay to design doll clothes, if that’s who you are. I mean, think about it, while others scoff at the idea, somebody is getting paid top dollar by Mattel to design clothes for their dolls. It’s about not thinking small of who we are. We are great—each and every one of us.

I had to tell them the truth. Why? Because no one ever told me that, or at least not in a way that I could receive. I was already 30 when I began to halfway view myself as an artist, and I just started calling myself  an author.  I want children to know that it is okay to accept the gifts that are in them, to cultivate and celebrate those gifts.  I mean, I’ve spent at least 20 years trying to deny the creator I was meant to be—regardless of what evidence was all around me—and now, I know better. There’s no stopping me. I’ve been through some of roughest times of my life these past few years but I guarantee you, now that I know who I am, I won’t let anything stop me. It doesn’t matter what “setbacks” I’ve experienced, or what obstacles I’ve had to overcome. I know who I am now and she will not be denied. 🙂

Naturally Confident—A Movement of Self-love

I am sooo excited that my book is FINALLY out! 😀  The reality is that I can hardly contain my joy because I realize that for once, I had a really big task in front of me—not a go pick up the dry cleaning task, but a lives will be affected if you do this (and lives will be affected if you don’t) kinda task—and I overcame every possible obstacle and got it done! I am so excited because I am walking in my purpose, finally. I love my blog, but this is something different. The manner, the reach, the opportunity to shift a child’s life from mediocre (or less than) to walking in their greatness (as they were created to be) is something totally different.

I know that sounds like a tall order for a picture book, but I see the bigger picture. This book starts the conversation that so many parents overlook. What I realize now, as I raise my little girl, is that you can teach a child to be confident. It’s actually something you instill in them. They don’t just pick it up at school. It’s not just their natural way or personality. The words that we speak to a child, the way that we address them, how we react to their mistakes, and whether or not we celebrate their successes all work together to fill their head with “I am enough” versus “I’ll never measure up.”

A beautiful story of self-acceptance for our little ones.

I am excited about I’m Proud to Be Natural Me!—that many think is about hair care tips for kids, or about race, or that it in some way excludes one race or another (or even members of the same race). The truth of the matter is, even I had the wrong idea when I first started writing it. It was a book “for little brown girls” when I first started “fleshing it out,” but somewhere in the process of writing it, I said to myself, “this message is universal.” I realized that an alabaster-skinned, freckle-faced redhead deals with the same struggles of “fitting in” that a little brown girl with tight curls does. Maybe it’s not the same in depth and history and indoctrination, but the pain of not being accepted is the same. The pain, and joy, and all the other emotions that are core to humanity, connect us all. We all can relate to wondering if our differences make us less, or unworthy, or deserving of isolation. I want children to learn early that our differences and similarities are all beautiful and worthy of celebration—in short, that we are ALL beautiful as is. It is a simple message, but a hugely important one. If we teach our children in preschool that they are amazing, we don’t have to convince them in high school that they are significant.

This is my proactive effort toward eliminating low self-esteem. If you agree with this message, please share this post, and if you are able, purchase a copy of I’m Proud to Be Natural Me! for the little one’s in your life. It’s now available on Amazon! 🙂

I’m Proud to Be Natural Me! is now on Amazon!

Why I’m Proud to Be Natural Me!?

NOW ON AMAZON! Order today!

It’s time to teach our children,
we are ALL beautiful as is.

On Christmas morning, I was inspired to write my second children’s book, I’m Proud to Be Natural Me. It is a story about a little girl who learns to embrace her beauty after being teased by other children because of the texture of her hair. Through a tender conversation with her mother, she realizes that her hair is a part of her identity, and is celebrating that truth by the end of the story.

This book is very important to me as I am raising a beautiful little girl with natural hair. With a master’s in counseling, I know how urgent it is to give her a strong sense of self, especially at this early age. A child’s self-esteem begins to erode very early in life so it is essential to give our children a firm foundation from the start. I’m Proud to Be Natural Me is more than just a children’s story, it is a tool of empowerment for our children. It is an opportunity to teach our kids a lesson that our generation seems to have missed, that we are ALL beautiful as is.

Will you please help me share this message? Please choose one of the links below to “Share” this post with as many people as you can. Purchase this amazing children’s book for your little ones, and loved ones. And proudly wear I’m Proud to Be Natural Me! products, which are available in my online store.  

Thank you so much for your support. Together we can heal our world by empowering ourselves and our children. Please don’t forget to click the “Share” buttons below.

Yours Truly,

Marlene Dillon

*Click here to order I’m Proud to Be Natural Me!

What Is I’m Proud to Be Natural Me?

I’m Proud to Be Natural Me! is a movement of self-love created by author and designer Marlene Dillon. It’s bigger than a hairstyle or hair texture; it’s about the beliefs that run deep beneath the surface.

I’m Proud to Be Natural Me! is not about condemning those who choose to weave, press, “perm” (relax), or flat iron their curls away. Nor is it about deifying those of us who chose to rock our curly locs for life.

I’m Proud to Be Natural Me! is about recognizing and accepting that our hair is a part of our identity. It’s about learning to love and appreciate our hair in it’s natural state. 

I’m Proud to Be Natural Me! is about loving our hair no matter what state it’s in and teaching our children to do the same. It’s about internalizing that no matter how we choose to style, straighten, or color our hair, at the root we are beautiful as is.

NOW AVAILABLE ON AMAZON.COM! ORDER TODAY!