"The most challenging aspect of being a woman has been loving and accepting myself. Men have fallen in love with me in a shorter timeframe than what it took for me to fall in love with myself. That can be powerful - and dangerous - for a woman."
*Describe your a-ha moment.
One of my greatest “a-ha!” moments came in late spring. I was nearing the end of my AmeriCorps service term (1 year) and was trying to figure out what I was going to do next. Throughout the entire year of my AmeriCorps term, and a few months before it as well, I had been working to build up SincerelySyreeta.com. By the time my service year was ending, I just couldn’t envision myself working for someone else—it just didn’t feel right. I spent a lot of my early twenties struggling and working like a mule—if I was going to struggle and work like a mule, then I’d rather do it for myself trying to build my own business. By that point I was confident in my skills, talents and knowledge so I didn’t question my capabilities; it was simply a matter of figuring out what I really wanted, and whether I was willing to take a risk for it. I’m so glad I took it.
*What’s your best piece of woman-to-woman advice?
You have to teach people how to treat you. Otherwise, they’ll treat you whatever way is most natural and comfortable for them—and that may not be right or fair to you.
*What has been your favorite mistake?
I never consider my children a mistake but I know that tends to be common thought/belief [whether conscious or not] about children born out of wedlock. So in that instance, I would have to say becoming a teen parent. While it isn’t anything that I promote or encourage, it is a part of my journey. Getting pregnant at 16 years old changed the course of my life drastically…and I’m happy to be able to say that I see the purpose in everything that I went through.
We all have a struggle or cross to bear…mine allowed me to be able to help young women that most people have given up on or “written off”. I can talk to them and let them know that I’ve been there and that they don’t have to stay stuck there…and they can look at me and know that I’m telling the truth. They can look at me and see hope—living proof that their dreams are still worth something. So if getting pregnant at 16 was my cross to bear in order to be able to experience this life—this blessing—then so be it. I don’t live with regrets.
*So far, what has been the most challenging aspect of being a woman?
Loving and accepting myself. Men have fallen in love with me in a shorter timeframe than what it took for me to fall in love with myself. That can be powerful - and dangerous - for a woman.
*What do you not want us to know?
I will sing anywhere, anytime—usually at the most unexpected and/or awkward times. I love singing. A song will just randomly come to mind and the next thing I know, I’m singing it. I make up a lot of songs too…like all the time. I’ll make up a song off the top of my head and be singing it for days as if it were on the radio. Melodies too—I tend to hum or do runs a lot.
*When do you feel most creative? What inspires you?
I feel most creative when I’m either by myself, in nature or slightly intoxicated. I’m just being honest.
I’m inspired by a lot. I took my daughter to the park today and as she played, I sat on a bench near this huge, beautiful tree. I got to staring at that tree, and thinking and thinking, and the next thing I knew I had come up with a blog post that could either be about how important it is to be careful of the “ground” that you “root” or “plant” yourself in, or the realization that you are a “branch” and life is all about discovering what the hell you’re truly rooted in: good or evil. I just think too much sometimes, haha!
*What does it mean to you to be a soulful beauty?
A soulful beauty is one who is conscious of her power as a human being with free will. A soulful beauty is a person who has been through some things, seen some things and overcome some things…and still manages to be able to genuinely smile while helping others find their inner beauty too. That’s a soulful beauty to me. A person whose eyes you can get lost in just as quickly as you can their love.
*What is your favorite quote, scripture or affirmation?
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. | Jeremiah 29:11
This scripture has followed me throughout my life.
Syreeta “Sincerely Syreeta” Martin
EBONY.com; search: Syreeta Martin
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