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First Born Daughter = Third Parent in Immigrant Household

Let me preface this by saying I will always be grateful to my parents for everything they’ve done for me. They uprooted their lives, left their parents and siblings so that my siblings and I could have a better life.

Leaving behind everything they knew to come to a country where they had to start all over again with three young kids was scary and difficult to say the least. In the words of Tupac Amaru Shakur, ‘there’s no way I can pay you back/but the plan is to show you that I understand/you are appreciated.’

That being said, there’s a unifying feeling I share with my fellow immigrant sisters who are either like me, the first born, or they’re the first born daughter. When we get together we share similar stories and experiences that are unique to us. It’s shaped and strengthened us. Sometimes it’s a strength we wish we acquired on our own and didn’t have to learn it so young. But we look around and wonder, ‘who else feels this way? who understands this?’

It’s the feeling of being the third parent in the family. That fine line when your parents need you to grow up for a few minutes/hours so you can help them but will without hesitation remind you that you’re the child, so don’t get comfortable.

Those moments when you’ve become the interpreter during the first social services meetings when you just arrive here. Or the facilitator at your school during Parent – Teacher interviews. Or a plethora of times when dealing with superintendents, store clerks, bus drivers, etc. My parents speak English, but the nuance of dealing with new systems overwhelm them. And after years of dealing with service providers that cop an attitude whenever they hear a slight ting of an accent, my parents have nuzzled themselves into the safety of ‘can you just handle this?’

I know to some of you this may sound like I’m an ungrateful daughter, but trust me I’m not. Daily I pray for them and go above and beyond for them. I’m just venting that there’s this odd place that first born daughters navigate where we constantly switch hats from being our parents’ lawyer/translator/financial advisor/chauffeur/assistant to being their child.

The silver lining is that it prepares us for our independence and our own families one day. It creates a strong bond between us. It instills humility and compassion for my parents who have overcome so much to give me a better life. It’s afforded me a tool that has made me a leader at school and the workplace.

But I’m still human and I share this borderless place of parent/child with so many of my friends. Sisters who are like me, first born daughters, that carry heavy burdens silently while managing it all fearlessly. To them I say, you are appreciated.


New Natural Skincare – Bahi Cosmetics

Ever since I could remember, I have had acne. Most people experience it as a teenager but I remember hating my 5th grade class photos because of pimples on my face. In junior high I was visiting different dermatologists who all prescribed creams that itched and made my skin peel.

By high school I was growing used to it and just hid behind bangs and my books as much as I could. All the drugstores cleansers and spot treatments couldn’t help. But maybe because every girl around me was also dealing with acne, I felt safe in those numbers. My self esteem took a bigger hit as pimples and dark spots continued to plague me well into adulthood. Here I was in my 30s and still dealing with horrible skin.

2 years ago & the texture on my face is bumpy from pimples above and under the skin.

I tried countless different serums, lotions and chemicals. I even made dietary changes. Once I turned 30, dairy turned against me. I became lactose intolerant so I had to reduce cheese and ice cream out of my diet drastically. I rarely had milk but whenever I did indulge in pizza, lasagna and/or ice cream my skin would flare up. And because I’m Black, any and all pimples left dark spots, aka hyper-pigmentation, that were stubborn to get rid of. As if getting pimples wasn’t bad enough but getting these memorable souvenirs of dark spots all over my face just left me putting on concealer and makeup that much more.

Last year in Jan, as I indulged in gelato fully aware my skin was going to be pissed at me later.

But about a year ago I came across some pictures on Twitter of customers raving about Bahi Cosmetics. A natural skincare line created by Danielle Bahi from her bedroom. Each product hand made and paraben free, I was drawn by the ingredient lists. Simple items such as jojoba oil, safflower oil, raw honey, lavender and more. The reviews by Black women who, like me, were dealing with cystic acne and hyper-pigmentation convinced me to try out the Sunflower Sweets Serum first. That appeared to be their most popular item and I needed to introduce something into my routine that could reduce the inflammation.

Soon after Bahi Cosmetics added more items to their line up and started producing newsletters that detailed the new items and what areas of the skin they each targeted. Doing more research, I decided to get the Garden’s Galore lotion next. This lotion goes well with the serum. The serum at this point had reduced my acne and helped smooth out my skin’s texture. But the dark spots were still there. Galore’s Garden was promoted as helping reduce the signs of dark spots. I’m on my second bottle of the lotion, which is so light weight and smells great, and I love the results.

Another item I got soon after was the Toner Spray. Previously I was using a witch hazel type of toner that always made my face feel tight. I’d always heard that rose water as a toner does wonders for the skin and helps keep it looking young and supple. So gave their Toner Spray a try and it keeps my skin feeling so soft all day.

My newest additions are the Grapefruit Astringent which came out early December and is effective for oily skin as well as the Sweet Suburban Soap. After seeing the results from my previous purchases, I thought it’s time I used Bahi Cosmetics from beginning to end: from cleansing, to toner, to serum right to moisturizer to lock it all in.

This summer with just minimum eye makeup. Even toned, smooth texture and glowy thanks to Bahi!

Finally, I’m happy to go bare face to work and out with friends. Just a bit of mascara and eyeliner and I feel confident. Now makeup is a fun choice to put on whenever I WANT, not because I felt like I need it.

Let me know which if any skin concerns you have and what you’ve tried to help it. If you’re using Bahi Cosmetics, would love to hear which products you’ve got.

Buzzfeed Vortex – 27 Texts You’d Only Get From Your Best Friend

Alright so sometimes I don’t want to read something mentally stimulating. I just want pure hilarity and/or random silliness. It can’t be all work all the time.

In comes Buzzfeed to save the day. Countless late nights where I can’t fall asleep have been saved by Buzzfeed quizzes confirming I’m meant to live in Paris and I am a board game bully. But should you get sucked into their vortex of quizzes and random articles listing most memorable quotes from favourite characters on Golden Girls and Friends while at work, don’t expect to be productive at all that day.

A girlfriend of mine sent me this amazingly hilarious article the other day from Buzzfeed that had me howling with tears streaming down my face, 27 Texts You’d Only Get From Your Best Friend.

Ok what had me laughing so hard? Because not only did these texts sound ridiculous, I can relate to them way too well. I’m blessed to have a handful of best friends – a group of really awesome honest women who aren’t afraid to laugh at themselves. So necessary to maintain a level of sanity in this crazy world.

Honourable mention to these following texts from the article that had me rolling.