What do you like most about yourself? What are your best qualities?

In 1997, I was gifted “I Like Me” a children’s book published by Essence.

As a six-year-old girl, I read this book and saw myself. This is a perfect example of how much representation matters.

All throughout “I Like Me” the main character, “Nia Natasha” displays all of the positive things that make her “Nia Natasha.” She ”likes” herself and along with the encouragement of her family she’s destined to do great things when she grows up.

This was one of my first introductions to self-awareness with lessons on self-love. I received so many books but this one managed to stay in my possession for almost 20 years.

That six-year-old girl is long gone but this book is still here.

With all of the changes in my life, getting older and maturing (most importantly) I forgot one of the first lessons I’ve learned but then I found this book again and it sparked something in me.

Instead of tossing the book away I decided to update it and I made it better. I took five magazines and clipped them to pieces, vision board style, and made a current “I Like Me” book to reflect Maya instead of Nia.

I like me.

I like the way I create:

I made the book over to express myself. One of my best qualities is my creativity. I love that I am creative and my ideas come to life through my art, creative writing, and ultimately this blog Young Loud Proud; trying to uplift my people and dismember negative stereotypes.

I made a vision board, I’m writing a book, I used my vision board as the cover art for my book.

Instead of sitting around, I want to do. I like my motivation, Although it seems like its taking forever, I am branding myself and becoming a writer; the truly creative person I am.

I like that I’m a dreamer and I always have hope/faith. I like my personality, I’m very kind and smart, but I am not a doormat, I can be “mean” whatever that means. I like that I am able to mingle with different crowds but not lose myself in trying to be someone else or trying too hard to fit in.

I like that I am creating my own lane. I never settle for social norms “we’ve always done it this way so this is how it’s going to be” I don’t settle.

I know my worth. I don’t waste my time on people who don’t deserve it (anymore). I see growth and positive progression every year of my life.

I like the relationship I have with my mom, my best friend. I like that I can grasp the concept of love although I haven’t felt it too often.

I like that I believe that “not every man is the same” and I believe in black boy joy and black girl magic. I like the fact that I recognize “we ain’t black tho” and I’m open-minded and open to learning from others.

I like my determination, I am a go-getter, and have always been. I like the mystic nature of myself.

I like me.

(warning: below is a mood)