Tag Archives: natural

I Believe in My Book

“I want to spend the rest of my life loving my daughter and inspiring others. That is what I was created to do.” —Marlene Dillon

 If I see a sad cashier at Target, I’m in her line trying to encourage her. If I see a little girl with curly hair, I have to stop and give her a book. Empowering others is not just what I do, it’s who I am. I wrote I’m Proud to Be Natural Me! to give children an opportunity to learn that they are beautiful as is. Many parents don’t think to teach their children to be confident in themselves. It doesn’t happen automatically. My book is an amazing tool for starting that conversation.

I am very proud of the work I’ve done with little to no money, and I know I could have a much greater impact, if I had the resources. I wrote, illustrated and self-published I’m Proud to Be Natural Me! with no money in my pocket and my little girl sleeping across my lap. I am recently separated, sleeping in my parents’ basement, but the message is so necessary, and there’s no more time to waste—children need to know who they are and parents need to know how what we say and do impacts their self-worth. My book has provided me an awesome platform to hold workshops at public libraries, speak in schools and meet the most amazing people at networking events. Thanks to my current job as a teacher’s assistant, I have been able to purchase books (25 or so at a time) to present at fairs and various events. Although, the lack of funds has caused me to turn down numerous opportunities to share my message, I continue to share, network, and speak where I can.
I believe in my book. For all the children who require their parents to read I’m Proud to Be Natural Me! to them every night, for the little 4th grade girl I spoke to in a classroom who said, “I used to believe I was ugly, but now I know I’m beautiful,” for the child who’s likely never seen someone who looks like her on the cover of one of her books, and for the countless times parents have come up to me at events thanking me for writing it, I know it is necessary. I know it is a message that needs to be shared. And I know I cannot do it by myself.  As I sit here with tear-filled eyes desiring so desperately for the resources to reach more children, to visit other states,speak and hold workshops, and even to continue to give books to those who can’t afford it, I ask how you will you help me accomplish my dream? You can share, you can give, you can ask others who you know have the resources and would love to support what I’m doing to read this for themselves. However you can help, I ask you to because this is bigger than me. This is bigger than a single mom who wants to give her daughter her own room and a puppy. This is about the lives I was created to affect for positive change. I cannot do it without your help. Will you please give a $5 donation to my FundRazr and tell others of the work I’m doing? Please give and share, there is a link below.

Thank you for your time and thank you in advance for your support.

With much love and inspiration,

Marlene

Here’s the link to my FundRazr: http://fnd.us/c/2MCJ3/sh/6waf0

Next Event: Children’s Empowerment Workshop, Saturday, Dec. 21, 11—2, Woodson Regional Library (Chicago)

Check out my new promo video and please share below!

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!

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!