You Are Your Best Thing

August 17, 2021

Olu Ogunlade (she/her/hers) is a full-time student majoring in politics, economics, + law and minoring in African American studies. She is the co-founder of Black Girls Advocate and is heavily involved on her campus. Olu enjoys writing poetry, public speaking, and advocacy. She hopes to serve as someone who is passionate and in the habit of making good trouble in the name of peace.

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“You Are Your Best Thing” is a book written by over 20 inspirational people who saw the need to share a piece of their life stories. The book claims to be an anthology that commences with tones of vulnerability, shame, resilience, and the Black experience. The two editors are Tanya Burke and Brene Brown – an activist from Bronx, NG and an American professor – who came together to perfect quite the collection of imperfect stories. The collection summarizes this: You are your best thing when you look at life from a perspective that is not all that common.

One of the many contributors that stood out to me is Tanya Denise Fields with her chapter being titled, “Dirty Business: The Messy Affair of Rejecting Shame.” Tanya goes on to discuss all the places in life she’s messed up in, but she doesn’t touch much on what she could’ve done better; instead, she expresses the direction in which she will move going forward, which I think is a virtue many of us need to hone in on.

What can we learn from this book?
❖ I believe that this book conveys several messages and I, as many others, believe them to be true. There is not one person who is perfect to everyone, but if you take the time to figure things out, you can become perfect to the person who matters the most in your life, and that is you.

❖ Constantly seeking outside validation doesn’t always come from a healthy place, so strive to get your standard of beauty and your style of confidence from within.

❖ Your past is already your past and there’s nothing definite you can do to cancel, clean, up and/or create in your past; therefore the next best thing is to work toward a future that you are independently much more satisfied with.

❖ Of all the possible things to take from this book and apply to our lives, I believe the single and arguably most important message is that life can be difficult, challenging, and hard in general so we as both an individual and collective people need to make an active effort by showing up in our best selves. To clarify; showing up in our best selves does not mean being the epitome of societal “perfection” all of the time – your best looks different every day. One day, it may be looking beautiful from head to toe and being excited about what’s to come; another day, it may be throwing on some sweats and a hat and lacking the ability to socialize as you usually would. The point is, you showed up with your best. May your authenticity be honored in all ways starting with you.

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