As one woman, I am more than adamant to share with the world the impact that a number of other women have left me with. When they say "it takes a village to raise a child," I think it goes far beyond just teaching them right from wrong. Being raised in a family in which women out number men played a large role in the way I was brought up. My grandmothers, aunts and cousins have embodied wisdom, grace, strength, and optimism. Even watching how they would handle situations and grow from them was a blueprint in itself for me to follow when the time came. Although they are all so different, they are the backbones of my family. Plus, they are a rainbow in which they blend together so beautifully (even on the rainy days). Seeing women in my family who were nothing but nurses, teachers, and lawyers around me was only confirmation that everything I do must be done to perfection, because I watched them do their jobs every day. My mom would often tell me that as one of seven children, my grandmother and grandfather made the decision to create their own shop and opening that business is what led them to push my aunts and uncles through school. Sacrifice is a constant theme in this family of mine. Just the thought of my mom and her siblings coming from the sweet, small island of Jamaica and creating a beautiful life for my two older brothers and I spoke volumes. I'm grateful for my dad as well, but hey. This one is for the women! Allow me to proceed. This very same family taught me how to love and how to dream without ceasing. When I grew into myself I found my love for the arts. I grew up with a heart for singing, writing, and acting. I had days when I thought they'd feel disappointed because over time I wanted to go through life and sing about it, or perform spoken word pieces about it rather than graduating from Harvard with a BA in Nursing. I felt like there was someone else they'd rather me be, because that's who they were, but I was wrong (for the most part) I still get the, "You don't want to go back and do nursing?" but I know it's all out of love. I'm happy as an English major though. As long as my parents are happy about it as well, then I am too. The same support she showed me along my journey of becoming who I am today is what will inspire me to be the same kind of mother to my future child. The powerful women in my family reminded me that they'll be right behind me as I follow every goal I've set until I reach the pinnacle of my success. They carried traits that reminded me that I am so much more than just a girl and that I am the embodiment of a vital spirit. They still remind me of how I am capable to do anything I want to do in the amount of time that has been granted to me on this earth. My grandmother's prayers have carried over even into today for me to live my life to the fullest even on my not-so-good days. I think the best part of this all is that they've taught me to never prove myself to anybody. I remember every day that I came into this world alone, and that is the same way in which I will be leaving it. I can always depend on them because whenever I am hurting over being mistreated or heartbroken, they remind me that it is okay to feel. It’s not normal to repudiate my emotions and no matter how much the world tries to turn my heart into stone, I carry this with me. They remind me to live my life in harmony with truth and honesty. They emphasize for me to stay focused and to always have a keen eye. Being raised with such care has reminded me of my purpose for walking this Earth. Two forms of the many arts that I adore (music and writing) have presented icons who I look up to, Lauryn Hill and Sista Souljah. I love everything about the spirit of Ms. Hill. She carries herself with so much grace and natural beauty that forces me to just be real with myself and with everyone around me. Her talent is unbelievable and she has a voice that makes me feel like dancing in the middle of a storm. I don't know where the world of music would be without her as one woman. Sista Souljah has taken the boring feel out of reading for me. I loved to write growing up, but I dreaded reading. I became a bookworm after being introduced to The Coldest Winter Ever and A Deeper Love Inside. I think Black urban literature is a significant part of Black culture and those two novels have changed my life, truthfully. They even inspired me to create my own novel which I completed and published earlier this year. I think if the world continues to see through the eyes of the black youth (young black womanhood at that) it would understand us a lot better. She really puts her finest efforts into the pages and I feel every bit of emotion as I read, and re-read, and re-read again. I want to make sure that the young brown girl I bring up is aware of all the things I've learned and experienced from all of these lovely women and then some.