Sometimes when I’m just sitting down, minding my own business, I feel something in the room shift. It’s unexplainable. I lift my head to locate the cause of the disturbance, and that’s when I see her.
I try to put my finger on what about her commands attention. She’s beautiful, but there are many beautiful women in this room. She has a nice voice, but I only know that because I’m nearly falling out of my chair to hear her words.
As I try to both understand what I’m witnessing and simmer down (quit embarrassing yo’self girl), I realize that I’ve had these feeling before with a woman I’ve never seen in person: Mia from Okaaythen
Mia has been running her lifestyle blog since September 2012. Some of my favorite posts from Okaaythen include:
It’s hard to display fierceness in person, so I’m amazed by how Mia does it with words. I will never forget the time she told me specifically (in a public post),
That piece of sage wisdom has stuck with me. In times of insecurity, I try to summon my inner tiger but still I have a long way to go.
To help me unlock the mysteries of fierceness, I thought it best to seek help from an expert. I don’t normally do Q and A style blog posts, but I didn’t know how to convey this message any other way. If you know what’s best for you, you will read her answers thoroughly. So here is my Interview with Mia.
S.Y.: To me, being fierce is grabbing life by the horns and making the most of it; you to embody that. How do you bravely approach new obstacles?
Mia: I am most definitely a bigger picture kind of girl. Whenever I face any kind of obstacle, I always use my mental touchstones as a reminder to suck it up and keep on keepin’ on. For me, there are two; one is a dream of my life. I like to have loose plans so that I always have something to work towards and something to fall back on.
However, some of the biggest obstacles in life are emotional and for that my touchstone is something different; my aunt Janet – a woman that I idolise probably way too much. At this point, I guess she’s less a person than the personification of all my ideals because, to me, that woman is the embodiment of what I consider perfection. Elegance, kindness, intelligence, humour, beauty, grace, creativity, passion . . .
If there is a God out there and I got a chance to meet him, other than being very confused, the first thing I would say is “thank you for blessing me with such an amazing family”. Because as I get older I see how my friends behave, what they aspire to be like – and I am so grateful that’s not me. So, if I ever have obstacles, I picture Janet and all the things I want to be – and I picture myself being that person for someone else. It’s an image that pushes me to better myself and face that obstacle, because I owe all I am to the amazing rolemodels in my life and I want to be able to look at myself and say – yeah; I’m a brilliant person for others to look up to.
S.Y.: What Is being fierce to you?
Mia: Okay, so first off I loved your description. To me, the word fierce is always one I associated with my sassy black women. Not that being fierce is limited to by race; my first experience of fierce women came first and foremost from my family. As I come from a Caribbean family, I have always been around strong black women. Women who wear dreads in their hair even though the they’ve lived/live in a world where people try to push their own beauty ideals on them – which, let’s face it, generally aren’t ethnic. Women who will happily sing and dance, even in places where everyone will look down on their music.
My first taste of real fierce women was from the ones that I believe represent and own the word because, in a world that’s constantly trying to minoritise and change them in ways that I haven’t even been around long enough to see, they still shine bright and shine true to who they are. They don’t back down, they don’t conform and they don’t apologise. And by that description you may think they’re outspoken or brash – but you couldn’t be more wrong. Most of them are artists or musicians, the most easy-going and relaxed people you’ll ever meet. They’re fun and individual, but welcoming and loving. They aren’t the annoying people in pubs or bars that you want to roll your eyes at, they’re the ones that will move out of your way before you open your mouth to ask and buy you a round if you look down.
The women in my family embody elegance and intelligence, creativity and free thought, true beauty and tenacity – but they’re the ones that will happily divorce their husbands and live on their own as a pose to tolerating disrespect or unhappiness. Who will take no shit – and make damn sure that people don’t lay it on you too. They are the reason I don’t base my worth on what’s in the mirror, that I don’t let people treat me in any way other than I deserve to be treated and they are the reason that I do not ever feel the need to hide behind a fake mask of myself. Women like this – these amazing, strong, beautiful women that I have been blessed to be surrounded with – women like this are the reason that I am “fierce”. They are the reason that when I look in the mirror I see somebody I am proud of, not because of my face but because of my values and my mindset, because of the things that they taught me.
To me, being fierce is being true, it’s accepting and loving everything about what makes you you and allowing it to show. Being fierce is being real, it’s being beautiful in the most sacred meaning of the word, embracing and shrugging off your flaws because perfection isn’t something to strive for – happiness is. To me, being fierce is being happy, being free, being everything you want to be.
S.Y.: I believe that owning your style takes bravery. It’s easy to simply follow trends. Does conformity hinder fierceness?
Mia: I really think that depends; while fashion can be a way to express yourself (I know it is for me!) it’s not a be all-end all; some people simply don’t care enough about clothes to bother with things off the basic styles – and that’s cool. I think fashion is a brilliant way to show your creativity and your identity, but that everyone shows their fierceness differently. I think conformity that steals individuality hinders fierceness because it holds back any sense of self, but I wouldn’t say that going with the flow makes you any less fierce. Some people like to be trendy.
S.Y.: Some things that have stopped me from being fierce a are 1) worrying about what others think and 2) feeling vulnerable. Do these things ever cross your mind? If so, how did you overcome them?
Mia: All the time! But then I remember that it’s people that voted Hitler into power; people that commit mass genocide; people are swayed by the media to change what they consider “beautiful” every decade or so; people that somehow find superiority in brands and sizes – and then I realise that worrying about “people” and their opinions is a massive waste of fucking time and I live my life in a way that makes me feel good about what I’m doing.
This post was written in collaboration with Mia at Okaaythen. Consider yourself lucky to have read it because it probably would have been one of the many literary pieces Hitler burnt.
For more existential crises, check her out here: