Remember the hilarious internet affirmation, "Carry yourself with the confidence of a mediocre white man"? That was my mantra last year. And it worked alright. But it was never authentic, because realistically, I could never really pretend to be white or male. Nor did I want to. I got the message, though — I found the strength to ask some hard questions and have courageous conversations. I demanded my worth. I cut out toxic people without apology.

But for 2018, I have a new inspiration. 

I met Morgan earlier this year. She's the 7-year-old chocolate drop daughter of a coworker. What she lacks in age she makes up for in spunk and spirit. She reminds me a lot of what I want to when I turn 30 years old: Energetic, funny, confident in body and mind, brutally honest and kind, with a smile that won’t quit. She is clear and definitive about her desires, and will not settle for less. At seven, she gets it. I would like to think I had it too, but some where along the way, I lost it in the process of adulting. 

So as I reflect on what has happened and what is yet to come this year, I have come to reflect on Morgan and all the little black girls like her. I am changing my mantra to carry yourself with the confidence of a seven year old black girl. Here are my notes on the things these unicorns do without thinking:

  1. 1. Be first in line. 

  2. I remember when we used to fight to be first in line; now, we wait for permission. No more. Ruby Bridges was seven years old when she integrated New Orleans public schools. That is how we roll. 
  3. 2. Sing the loudest. 

  4. In church, did you ever notice the little babies singing their hearts out? Not a care in the world about a key or a note, just happy to be there and let everyone know that they are present. That is how we black women should appear in spaces in 2018. Loud. Wear your hair and your clothes. And like a grandmother on Youth Sunday, be encouraged.
  5. 3. Finish all the food on your plate and theirs. 

  6. This statement is a metaphor for consuming what you have been blessed with, and then turning around to ask for more. Complacency is so 2017. In 2018, we are asking "Can I have some?" or just taking it! 
  7. 4. Be active. 

  8. Climb trees, walk to places you usually drive to, be like Morgan and say hello to everyone along your path. You may even pass out a few hugs.
  9. 5. Be excited, not afraid of, new experiences. 

  10. Have you ever said, "Oh, I don’t do that," about something that you have never tried, and sat on the sidelines while everyone had fun without you? Dead that this year. When you were younger, novel experiences were an exciting thing. Get back to that.
  11. 6. Wear what you want to wear. 

  12. Tutus, velvet, fur, glitter — now is the time for seven year old fashions. Get into it. 
  13. 7. Say what you mean, and don’t apologize for it. 

  14. One of the things that I love about young people is their ability to speak honestly and freely. To call it like they see it, free of apologies. I do not suggest that you speak without concern for feelings but feel free to "call a thing a thing."
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