We Could All Use a Little Bit More Light: A Guest Post by India Franklin

I met India when she decided to consign some jewelry with us. She dropped off some of her beautiful pieces at the end of February right before COVID hit. Obviously, we didn’t sell a lot of her fun jewelry, but hopefully, she will sell more at her pop-up in our driveway during the sidewalk sale this coming weekend!

In one of my recent articles, Time for Action, I promised to host and partner with businesses owned by women of color. India is kicking off our first event with her jewelry, Lenai Designs!

We have a schedule of designers lined up for our series, Driveway Designers. Weather permitting, these ladies will pop up in our driveway to ensure social distancing inside the store. Stay tuned for other designers and entrepreneurs. 



When I was asked to be a guest writer for Stylebook, I felt a few conflicting emotions – first off, I was excited because writing a blog is something I’ve always wanted to do. But then I started feeling anxious. When it comes to writing fiction – be it fantasy, poetry, or romance – the ideas flow through my veins and pour onto the page effortlessly, but to share my own story? It’s not something I’ve ever done. The thought made me uncomfortable, made me doubt myself and my abilities. Especially since it was pitched to me as a way for Celeste to support women of color. Initially, I didn’t feel like I was worthy of the task since my story doesn’t necessarily shine a light on blatant racism or focus on the inspirational theme of how I overcame obstacles despite the color of my skin.

For some reason, I’ve been wired to believe that being part of the black community means I need to have the same common experiences to have a voice in the fight. Perhaps it stems from my childhood; there were several occasions where my peers’ comments made me feel like I was “too light” or “acting too white” to be black – as an awkward-looking kid with braces whose pants were always a little too high, I felt like I constantly had to prove myself. I tried too hard, overcompensated, created different versions of myself for different groups of people. I was so desperate to fit in that I abandoned staying true to myself and completely lost sight of who I was.



Some pieces from India’s jewelry line, Lenai Designs


The hardships in my life didn’t stem from hatred-spewing men and women of a different race – my demons came from within. Fear, anger, self-loathing, anxiety, depression, shame, lack of self-love and self-worth, the constant need for acceptance…they drained my very essence. Kept me from stepping outside of the box or straying too far from the norm. I didn’t want to draw attention to myself and be ridiculed for my actions or the way I looked. For so many years, I felt like I was trapped inside myself, drowning in my own muck. I tried to keep a smile on my face because I didn’t want anyone to know that I was suffocating. But the more time that passed, the harder it became to keep up the façade.

Fast forward to 2017 – I lost my grandma in May that year; she meant the world to me, and it hit me harder than I ever could’ve imagined. Unbeknownst to me at the time, her passing prompted me to make some life-altering choices. Long story short, the Universe broke me all the way down to rebuild me piece by piece. I had to learn to love myself and stop searching for acceptance from outside sources. It hasn’t been an easy road, but everything I’ve experienced – good and bad – has been necessary for me to grow and understand what’s truly important in my life: self-love, inner peace, divine timing, personal growth, understanding of self, authenticity, open-mindedness. The focus has finally shifted inward, and I’m proud to say that I’m happier because of it. Though I’m still unsure of where life is taking me, I’m embracing the unknown and whatever opportunities may arise.



I’ll leave you with this – at the end of the day, despite our similar shades or shared experiences, our stories won’t always be the same. Our perceptions, priorities, and realities are all different and that’s okay. But one thing is true – each and every one of us are battling our own monsters and while the visible ones may seem more prevalent in the media, the invisible entities can be more destructive. That being said, let’s all try to have a bit more compassion and empathy for one another. In a world that seems to glorify darkness, open up your heart, and stay true to yourself. Allow your magical, inner glow to shine bright and ignite a spark within someone else because we could all use a little bit more light. ~ Much Love



  • The latest from Celeste

Looking for a killer cocktail number for the latest party? Shoes for running around town? Eye-catching separates for lunch at Cheesetique? Kiskadee has you covered. A favorite destination in the heart of Del Ray, shopping this boutique is akin to browsing your friend's lust-worthy closet. Kiskadee is fun, flirty and full of original designers,a ll presented to you with a focus on personal service. You will always be welcomed by a friendly face, eager to assist!


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  1. Avatar Chidi Uche says:

    Your writing is so lovely! Thanks for sharing part of your story. 🙂

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