Folks stay talking about The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Once in awhile, we take a different approach and highlight the fascinating array of happy black girls and guys (hbg’s) we know and love. Sometimes we feature those we admire from afar as well. It’s our humble attempt at sharing the wealth of information that comes our way about great people.
Today we have the pleasure of introducing you to a lovely young woman who will make you smile before you even realize it. Yes, her light is just that infectious! I’m not kidding. Don’t believe me? Read on and Get to Know An HBG named BEE!
::GET TO KNOW AN HBG (HAPPY BLACK GIRL) ::
1. Welcome to the HBG! Please tell our readers your name, where you’re from originally & where you currently dwell. My name is Brandelyn Castine, I am from California and I currently live in Washington, D.C.
2. Do you wake up happy? Honestly, it usually takes me a while to wake up. Once I am fully awake, I am typically pretty happy about it. I am happier now that I started practicing meditation. I usually wake up excited about it!
3. Do you have a morning routine, ritual, trick etc.… that contributes to you having a good day? Yes, meditation for sure. There is something about starting the day really examining yourself, your needs, your dreams and getting extremely quiet. It really helps with putting everything into perspective. I also love having Beyonce concerts in my bathroom as I’m getting dressed. By the time I leave the house, no one can tell me anything!
4. I once had an employer who felt like my good morning greeting and smile was just too much. Some folks can’t handle the light. Tell us, what’s your first call to action when someone unexpectedly tries to hi-jack your happy? I typically say a quick prayer for them and then remove myself from their presence, or the situation immediately. That way I can turn my thoughts to who I truly am, what I am truly about, and continue to shine. Stopping and breathing is always the first step!
5. Survival is essential. There are a few things I like to keep at the ready just in case. I guess that makes me a bag lady, but I’m cool with that. Tell us, what are 5 things you keep in your mental and or physical “I’m gone be alright HBG Survival Kit” ?
- 1. Kind reminders from loved ones, those always keep me going.
- 2. Walks. I love taking walks by myself when I need to collect myself.
- 3. My smile. i read somewhere that the act of smiling can change your mood, is contagious and relives stress. It also does great things for your immune system, so you can typically find me smiling.
- 4. Lipstick. I love lipstick and wearing it reminds me of my grown woman flyness.
- 5. Laughter. i love to laugh and credit it as the reason why I look so young for my age. Laughter is definitely my medicine
6. Share something you think the 12 year old HBG version of yourself would appreciate about you now. She would be shocked at my confidence. Growing up and being teased about my weight, my 12 year old self would love seeing her adult self so strong and self assured. She would also would appreciate our hair. We had a love hate relationship in our teenage years, but now we have figured out how to love Delilah (my hair) and she would also appreciate our sense of fashion. It took a while to figure it out, but we have it down now.
7. If you feel like it, tell us a little about what you do to keep the lights on? (Meaning what you do for a living). I have a job and I have a career. For the career portion I am a professional writer, having published 2 novels and 2 volumes of poetry. I also recently started a small business called “love by bee care packages and gifts” where I create customized care packages and literally get to pour love in a box for people I don’t know. It’s really amazing.
As for my job I work at a high school doing after school programs. I love working with students and being able to be a positive influence for them. I recently started a sisterhood called HBG* and I wish I could explain the positive impact this has had on my girls. HBG has literally changed some of their lives and gotten them off of the path of failing classes and constantly getting detentions to being on the honor roll and gaining positive attention from teachers and staff. It is amazing.
8. Has anyone ever given you the side eye because they didn’t get you? Or just plain wasn’t ready for you? Details… Details! I’ve mostly had people who couldn’t understand my positivity and light. I often have colleagues at work who are stressed and fed up and negative. When people want to come to me and complain, my natural inclination is to find the bright side. That is not always immediately appreciated. I have learned that you sometimes people just want to be unhappy and there is nothing I can do to change that. What I can do is prevent the negativity from affecting me and dragging me down with it.
9. I know that you have various commas after your name (author, educator, dope package preparer) can you share a little about your life as an hbg with many skills and how you go about balancing them all? I have given up sleep. Hahahaah! The truth is, I have sacrificed a lot socially. Because i am in deep construction of my dreams, there have been numerous times when I have had to bow out of various activities because I simply did not have time. I always make sure to take care of myself physically and mentally first, prioritize my goals for the day, week, month and then, put my head down and get to work. It takes a lot for me stop working to go party, but I realize that it is important to come up for air every once in a while.
10. Any upcoming events, projects, business endeavors, etc. …that you’re involved in that you’d like to share with our readers? I am currently working to build my care package business, “love by bee.” I am working now to build the website and spread the word. Business has been booming and i am very excited about that! Also, feel free to check out my writing at my website www.beencee.com and buy the books!!!! You won’t be disappointed!
11. Last but hardly least, do you have any final comments and or shout outs? Self love is a revolution. When my time on earth is up, my prayer is that I leave behind a legacy of helping people love and appreciate themselves as they are right now. We all have our “issues” but at the end of the day, no one is going to remember your size, or your outfit, or how many designer bags you had. They are going to remember your character, how you treated people, how you loved. So while I am definitely still a work in progress, my goal is to continue being a ray of light, embracing my flaws and celebrating successes. All we have is love, and we should absolutely learn to apply it to ourselves and the people who surround us every day.
Devoya Mayo is Co-Creator of The Happy Black Girl
Get To Know An HBG is her favorite column to write.
You can contact her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org