Welcome you lovely guys and gals to the very first Positively Optimistic and Powerful Woman feature. Today’s popped woman is the very warm, smart, and beautiful Shahidah Ali of the Properly Improper blog. If you haven’t checked out her blog already, I’m sure the glimpse of this woman that you get from her interview today will make you want to follow her with the utmost quickness. She has one of my favorite blogs and she’s also been one of my biggest fellow blogger supporters as I get my feet wet in the blogging world and I’m forever grateful. I’m blessed to have her as the very first P.O.P. Woman on the Popped Black Woman Blog. Please check out her interview below:
The Lovely Ms. Ali
Popped Black Woman Blog: Thank you for taking the time to connect with the Popped Black Woman Blog Community Shahidah! Let’s open up with you telling us what you are passionate about. I’ve always liked that question better than “what do you do?”
Shahidah Ali: I am passionate about empowering women especially women who are in the position to do their life ‘over’
PBWB: That’s awesome. When did you become positively optimistic and powerful yourself?
SA: Hmmm, I don’t know if I would describe myself as positively optimistic or powerful. I know that I have a certain strength and I do admire that about myself. I try to live with optimism because it is too hard not to. I’m too lazy to be negative all the time. I truly believe life is simple but we overcomplicate it. I want to be happy and I want to believe that things will work out so its how I choose to be.
PBWB: I certainly strive to do the same. What particular challenges have you overcome?
SA: I think right now I’m in the middle or maybe the beginning of my biggest challenge. For the past eleven years I’ve been reasonably successful. Divorced and raised three children on my own, provided them their own home and stability. I’m very proud of those accomplishments, the proof is in their happy laughs and constructive contribution to society, but as much as I did for them I didn’t do things for myself. I used them as an excuse to not pursue my goals of stepping out on faith. It is easy to go to work everyday for someone else, to be a part of a team etc…but for me the hardest thing is striking out on my own. Doing what I have dreamed I’d be doing all my life. If I still have this dream then shouldn’t I try to live it. Right now that is my challenge and I think it is my biggest…setting myself up to live the life I want. To go to bed at night feeling truly accomplished.
Shahidah describes this pic as “my daughter and me right before I entered the world of grandmotherhood via my oldest son”
PBWB: It certainly is hard to step out on faith and pursue our true passions. We certainly wish you all the best on your journey. Give us an idea of where you would like to be in the next 5-10 years.
SA: In less than a year I want to be doing work I love. I am currently working on a business plan that is in its very early stages, still figuring out the mission statement. I also plan that in less than five years I will be an established well-paid author and book publisher. There was a time I wanted to be famous but I don’t need that I just need to be satisfied and proud of my work and also be able to survive off of it.
PBWB: Very nice. What would then be your ultimate goals?
SA: To do work that makes me proud. To support others in their goals. To be the anchor for my children. To be stronger than I am today.
PBWB: Those are all great goals. To get a bit more general, what do you see as some of the biggest challenges facing young women and women today?
SA: I think women are in a unique position, especially black women. There are more women entrepreneurs, more college graduates and in general very successful women in the world. I think the biggest challenge for women is not letting society dictate who and what we should be. Its sad to see women we admire and love to see suffering from insecurities thrust on us by society…a male dominated society. I believe we can get and achieve external goals if we just try but the biggest challenge is facing and dealing with the internal blocks we set up for ourselves-self-acceptance, fear, and desire to the women we see on television etc…
PBWB: Please tell us what woman past or present do you look up to the most? Why?
SA: I often say I am a lover of women but I’m not a lesbian. Women are phenomenal…I am always in awe of the things we can do and what we can overcome. I feel very privileged to be a woman, as flawed as I am. There are so many women I admire and look up too but for this I’m going to with my daughter, Mia. What I love most about her is she lives without fear. She says she wants to do something and she sets it in motion and does it. She has been my best cheerleader in talking me into going after my dreams. I hope she never lets the world talk her into a place of not living the way she wants to live…
What Shahidah enjoys doing in her free time:
Oh I hate to admit this but in my free time I love being a grandma. I have one grandchild Autumn is 4mos and one I call my bonus grandchild Darius is three. I love taking them places, baking, making them things, spoiling them. Its so different having grandchildren because you are not in charge of raising them but you can give them so much.
What Shahidah wish she knew when she was twenty…
That being safe is not always the best option.
Shahidah’s Favorite Book Right Now:
Alice Walker’s first book, The Third Life of Copeland Grange
What she’s saying about it?
The characters are ugly but there is redemption and change.
Many infinite thanks to Shahidah for stopping by the PBWB to share a bit of herself with us. We will take all the wisdom and insight she has shared with us on our own journeys. For even more Shahidah Ali, connect with her on her blog Properly Improper and tweet her on Twitter @sali1368 where she says, “I am still amazed by Twitter. I wake up at 5am and people I follow are already knee deep in conversations…that can’t be a good thing, can it?” That sounds like a great thing to us. Let’s keep those positively optimistic and powerful convos going. Share any comments regarding the interview below or on our Facebook page. Stay poppin’ folks 😉