Black Hair Magic

[This story is taken from a book I’m self-publishing called ‘Impossible Things.’ The genre is magical realism. Thanks for reading! Full book coming soon. ❤ ]

A short story

By: Ashley Tiara Lilly

Black Hair Magic

It was a hot summer day but the air conditioning was cool. Abigail sat on her bed, flipping through a copy of her favorite magazine while eating from a pack of peach-flavored mints. She was wearing a new pair of denim shorts with her favorite white top that was decorated with lace.

She paused when she saw a picture of her favorite popstar, Daphne Moon, and circled it with a blue pen. Daphne wore red lipstick, a golden, glittery dress, and her smile was bright. What really stood out, though, was her hair, slicked back but still showing off her beautiful curls. Abigail snapped a picture with her smart phone and sent it to her best friend, Jayla, typing,

“Ugh she’s so perfect. Why can’t my hair look like that????”

There was a knock on the door and her mother walked in, carrying a brown box. She shook the box to get her attention, its contents rattling inside. As soon as Abigail heard it, she knew exactly what it was. She hopped out of bed and took the box in her hands, holding it to her chest like a long lost treasure.

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Like this story? Read the rest of it here 🙂

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Gender Equality and Inclusion

Feminism has always been a complex movement. When women first fought for the right to vote in the UK and the U.S., it was noble, but it wasn’t all inclusive. This right to vote was intended for a specific demographic, namely white women. It didn’t include women of color, or any person of color for that matter. That’s not to say that what these women did wasn’t admirable, because even as a woman of color, I look up to the suffragettes. I don’t think people necessarily mean to forget about marginalized populations, but it happens none the less, even in the 21rst century.

Even in our culture that is probably more accepting than it has ever been, our feminism tends to lack inclusion. We can’t have a feminism that only pays attention to the needs of white, cisgender women. Women of color, trans women, gender nonconforming individuals, people who are differently abled, people with learning differences, and LGBTQ women face challenges that are unique to them. But when marginalized groups are not actively represented in feminist movements, their challenges and needs are not being addressed. They are not being given a voice for the discrimination they face.

I think that we have the potential to undergo an amazing cultural shift. Inclusion and acceptance of people of all genders, giving everyone the opportunities they need to be safe and productive in society, this can only lead to a more open-minded and compassionate world. Compassion seems like a simple concept, but our society makes it complicated. This virtue needs to be at the heart of what we do. Words matter. Ideas matter. The way we treat each other matters. Striving for a gender equality that is inclusive, while acknowledging the needs of specific demographics, can be one of the most important things our society does as a whole.

I Believe

we-can-do-it_pixabay

Source: Pixabay.com

 

I believe women should have access to all their healthcare needs

I believe that love is love is love is love is love

I believe we need to make room at the table for people of all genders

I believe equality is not a pipe dream, but a necessity

.

We are stronger when we stand together

We have clarity when we work toward what we want

There is goodness and kindness and light inside each of us

I believe that those who believe they can make the world better, will.

 

15 Product-Based Small Businesses You Can Start From Home

cupcakes_pixabay1

Pixabay.com

There’s a lot of articles out there about service-oriented small businesses you can start from home, such as pet sitting or landscaping. But not everyone who starts a business is service-oriented. Some of us like to make things! So, I wanted to compile a list of product-based small businesses.

Before I dive into it, I just want to offer a full disclaimer to say that I’m not an expert in any of this. If you’re going to start a business of any kind, it’s always a good idea to consult a lawyer and an accountant to make sure you’re protected, prepared and certified in all your practices.

Without further ado, here is my list:

A Cookie Company

Got a passion for baking? You may enjoy turning it into a business. I had a friend in high school who used to sell his yummy foods to fellow classmates. He eventually became a professional chef. You never know where a small biz can take you.

Books

Self publishing is easier than ever before. If you have a passion for telling stories, sharing poems, or educating others through nonfiction, publishing books may be just the thing for you. You can use a self-publishing service, or you can make hand-made chapbooks. The self-pubbed world can also extend to music and audio books.

Toys

Maybe you have an idea for a paper airplane that actually flies, or maybe you have an adorable design for a stuffed bear. This is an especially neat option for people who know how to crochet. Embrace your inner child and the possibilities are endless.

Greeting Cards

When it comes to greeting cards, I think there will always be room in the marketplace for things that are hand-made with a personal touch. In this digital age, people have an appreciation for things that feel authentic. If you have a flair for design and can create heart-warming messages, buy yourself some card stock and ribbons and get creating.

Organic Soap

Admittedly I don’t know much about this industry. But there are people who are interested in finding more organic, vegan, or ethical products. If you know anything about making organic soaps or moisturizers, this could be a fun little business to start.

Reselling books, vinyls, cassettes, sheet music and more

Okay, this doesn’t qualify as making something. But there are a lot of people out there who are into vinyls and of course print books. Does anyone still buy or collect cassette tapes? Who knows. Get thee on Etsy and find out. (Fun fact: my high school chorus teacher used to give us cassette tapes with our piano accompaniments on them.)

Scarves, Sweaters, and Hats

If you enjoy knitting or crocheting, this is a charming way to make money. Not only do these things make you feel warm and cozy, but something about a crocheted scarf makes me feel like it was made with love.

Jewelry

This is a big one. I follow so many creative jewelry makers on Instagram. Whether someone is making beaded bracelets or wire wrapping crystals, I’m always impressed by the fun, quirky, and awesome things people can come up with.

Art

From art prints, to sculptures, to unique found art pieces, selling your art online or in person is a good idea for any artist who wants to get their work out there. You can sell your designs on merch through sites such as Redbubble. Or you can sell hand-made items.

Blogs, Web Shows, and Apps

Ah, good old technology. I think we’re still at a point where it’s difficult to define the monetary value of a blog or YouTube channel. Even though it’s not a tangible product that consumers can own, I still see it as being a thing that’s being created and offered to the world. An app feels more tangible since it can actually be purchased or downloaded. If you have a knack for technology and creativity, what are you waiting for? Get off my blog and get back to your own 😉  (Kidding, you’re more than welcome here).

Crystals, Candles, and Herbs

Another good reselling business, this could be a lovely option for someone who’s into contemporary witchcraft, meditation, or spirituality. This is an especially good option for someone who has knowledge of spells or crystal healing, because people may look to you for knowledge and guidance.

Garden Fresh Vegetables

If you enjoy growing your own vegetables in your backyard, you may consider selling them on occasion. You could also sell recipe books or how-to guides for anyone interested in starting their own garden. This can be a good way to share your passion with others.

Patches, Pins, or Stickers

I’ve seen people sell some pretty cool embroidery designs or pins made with different fabrics. This seems especially effective if your work has social messages, like things supporting feminism, Black Lives Matters, or the LGBTQ+ community. People like wearing things that help share their message, tell their stories, or simply to express themselves.

Coins, Trading Cards, and Other Collectibles

I imagine there’s a pretty interesting community around coin collecting, and anything else people enjoy trading. Get involved in buying and selling something neat. Who knows, you may learn something new, make new friends, and discover something that may be worth something someday.

Duct Tape Wallets

If you know a unique yet functional way to make an everyday item, other people might find it cool, too. You may enjoy selling them or even giving them as gifts.

Well, there you go. Fifteen product-based businesses for my creative darlings out there. Even if these businesses don’t make a ton of money, they’re worth starting if you want to. You can sell things in person, at events, or on sites like Etsy, Big Cartel, or your own website. It teaches you a lot, and more importantly, it allows you to share your gifts with the world.

Why I Need Feminism

It’s no secret that feminists are often trolled on the internet. If someone discusses women’s issues, there will be an unhappy person in the comments section equipped with insults and bigotry. There are entire blogs dedicated to disliking those who speak up for gender equality, and I just always think, don’t you have anything better to do? We each have the capacity to add something good to this world, whether it’s advanced technology or a silly drawing. A voice is special, it’s a gift, it should be used well.

Not everything I post or say or share is sunshine and rainbows, but come on people. Who has time to put so much energy into being negative?! Anywayz, I wanted to make this post because I’ve seen people post comments on other sites that basically suggest they think women’s issues aren’t real or that they basically shouldn’t be talked about, or they just say mean things to vloggers or bloggers who usually want to make the world better.

I’m not the first person to make a list like this, and I certainly won’t be the last. It’s not original, but talking about these things still matters. Here’s why I need feminism:

  1. Because every time I walk down the street I have to be aware of the fact that my gender alone makes me vulnerable to potentially dangerous people.
  2. Because several of my female friends in college carried protective items around campus, such as a self-defense flashlight or rape whistle. And those were considered normal, if not necessary precautions to take.
  3. Because victims of rape are still asked what they were wearing
  4. Because many women dislike being catcalled, feel uncomfortable and even unsafe because of it, and that dislike is pretty much always ignored
  5. Because women in other parts of the world, who I may never meet, are not safe in their own homes, communities, or countries.
  6. Because sexism still exists in STEM fields, and there are still people who say discouraging things to girls who are interested in science and tech
  7. Because trans women are given a hard time for wanting to use the restroom (seriously, can we move past this already?)
  8. Because trans women of color experience high rates of discrimination, violence and murder.
  9. Because television and magazines are filled with ads that sexualize the female body in order to sell anything from perfume to candy.
  10. Because if I ever have a son, and if he wants to play with dolls, I’m going to let him. And I’m going to be judged for it.
  11. Because women who don’t want to marry or have children are judged for it.
  12. Because having a vagina puts a variety of social pressures on me, from wearing “girly” clothes, to shaving my legs, to being told to smile, to a variety of things that have nothing to do with having a vagina.

The list goes on. People are often criticized for being vocal about women’s issues. But I also think that if you’re being criticized, especially when it is accompanied by ignorance and bigotry, you are probably doing something right.

There’s a lot of negativity out there. I hope you add something good to the world today. Because you have gifts to share with others, and you matter.

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#MyThoughts

Don’t Give Your Girls Baby Dolls

Don’t give your girls baby dolls

Give them chemistry sets and

Story books. Give them history

Books about successful people who

Looked like them. Tell them that they

Can solve equations, that they can

See a problem in front of them and they

Can solve it with grace and tenacity

Teach them that they are beautiful on

The inside and that they don’t have to

Hide or be ashamed of the messy parts

Of themselves. Teach them that those

Are beautiful, too. Before you give your

Girls mirrors and toy vacuums and easy

Bake ovens, teach them that they can

Leave the world more beautiful than

They found it. Teach them that they

Can invent recipes and fix skateboards

And create stories. Teach them that they

Can venture into the world and blaze

A trail. Then, if she asks for a baby doll,

Make sure she knows that being a

Mother is a beautiful thing, and that

Family is the most wonderful thing in

The world. And tell her that she can be

A mother, but she can also be a chemist

Or an inventor or a historian. She can

Be a mathematician or a banker or

A designer. But more than that, teach

Her that she can be herself, beautiful

And messy, smart and silly, scared and

Confident, unsure and strong-minded.

Don’t give your girls baby dolls

Without making sure they know that

They are capable of so much. That they

Are problem solvers, they are kind, and

Their paths are theirs to create.

 

The Truth About Modern Racism

Some people believe that racism

No longer exists

Because they themselves don’t practice hate

They have friends who are minorities, and therefore don’t discriminate

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They look around at their brothers and sisters

Who share their privilege

And see that they are not racists

So, in their eyes, there is no racism here

.

And yes, perspectives have changed

As police brutality has been brought to light

As new news to the media, but old news to us

This is the worst, and yet our issues go further

.

As a person of color

I know that if I had been born a few generations earlier

I would have been a slave

That fact rests in your subconscious from a very early age

.

I know in the back of my mind

That in the present, the ripples from our history remain

And I know that I am less likely to get the job

And I am less likely get accepted in my school of choice

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The same way I know that as a woman

I am less likely to get the higher paycheck

And I am less likely to get the job as a CEO

These facts do not hinder, but still they remain

.

And because movements for equality

Such as feminism and LGBT Pride

Often leaves people of color off to the side

By failing to give them representation

.

This is not a placement of blame or an accusation

I just know I’ve read that trans women of color

Suffer too much violence and discrimination

Yet their voices are not heard more often

.

I can enjoy the most popular movies and YA novels

And be part of a passionate fandom

While knowing the heroes and heroines I admire so much

Will probably not look like me

.

And it may seem trivial to complain about a movie

But we live in a world of so much diversity

It’s a shame we don’t see more of the diverse beauty

That exists in varying degrees of cultural identity

.

No person of color is unaware

Of the fact that we don’t have true equality

I am aware that I have been blessed with opportunity

But this is not true for everyone in my community

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The truth is, there is a struggle for every minority

We know that we do not yet have true equality

The point is not to draw a line that divides you and me

But for everyone to become aware of this reality

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Minorities are not meant to be tolerated

This world is not merely the property of the majority

This world was made for all of us, we all belong here

To live in harmony, to have equality, and to live without fear.

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#Poetry