#Flawless12 (Day 2): A Round Of Applause For the Stuff I Got Right

If I want to fail at something, all I have to do is make it a New Year’s resolution. For real: if I say I’m going to exercise, stop eating sugary stuff and give up cursing, guaranteed by, like, January 20th or so, I’ve found fiftyleven reasons not to go to the gym, practically inserted a gummy bear and chocolate chip cookie IV into my arm and morphed every one of my conversations into a Sam muthaeffin’ Jackson scene.

Minnie don’t burn chicken. Denene doesn’t do resolutions.

Which is why I’m so intrigued by today’s #Flawless12 prompt. Christie at Chatterbox Christie wants us to list a few “non-goals” for 2012—a list of personal “attagirls” for things we’ve been doing well lately, plus some words of encouragement to help ourselves keep up the good work.

Of course, this requires me to say nice things about myself—to give myself a pat on the back for things that I’ve done right. Which makes this exercise quite the challenge because, A) I’ve never been one to pat myself on the back and, B) I feel like I’ve screwed up a whole lot of things over the past year and really, there’s no room for congrats considering how monumental my screw ups were.

When I mentioned this to Nick last night, he gave me the dead fish eyes and then said, slowly, methodically, “So, you don’t think there’s anything you did well in 2011? Not one thing?” I giggled a little. He was right. There are some things that I’ve gotten right. Still, bragging about them just feels… weird. And the bad does such an awesome job of laying over the good—burying it so deep under the muck of sadness and regret that it’s hard to remember there is beauty and light.

So today, I dig. And stretch toward the light.

1. You’re a helluva mom, Denene. Creating those little girls was fine work, but mothering them with love, thought and intention is nothing short of a miracle. Keep that up—they’re going to be awesome women and when you’re old and gray, you’ll be grateful you had a hand in that.

2. You’re quite the hustler. The economy is a beast and it’s hammered you in a way that you’ve never known, but somehow, like so many of the ancestors before you, you managed. Making a dollar out of 15 cents isn’t easy, but 2011 even made making the 15 cents a Herculean task. Still, you do it. You did. And I know you can do it again.

3. You’ve done an incredible job with MyBrownBaby. What all-too-many around you dismissed as a passion project and monumental time suck has turned into a viable business—one that helps you and a bunch of parents just like you be better parents, puts the joys, worries and fears of African American moms and dads on a national stage, and earns your family a bit of cash in the process. Never mind the naysayers and the businesses that devalue your space and dismiss your hard work as nothing but a “mommy blog.” They’ll never get it. But thank God, you do. Be like Puffy. Can’t stop, won’t stop.

4. You’ve been awfully creative, lately. You’ve finally recognized that thinking outside the box isn’t enough—that the box doesn’t even exist anymore. Knowing this has made you think and stretch and grow in immeasurable ways. Keep that up. Something is going to stick—I can feel it.

5. You’ve been doing a good job of being honest about your feelings. I know this hasn’t been easy; the fear of hurting other people’s feelings has, for far too long, made you bury your own truth. Doesn’t it feel good to get it out? It didn’t destroy you, did it? Indeed, it’s just making a lot of things in your life stronger. And that’s a good thing. Don’t turn back now.

6. Opening up your heart to God and listening to Him again was a smart, smart move. You know where you come from—what Bettye taught you about Him. You know He transforms. Keep seeking Him. Focus on listening to his whispers and have faith that He won’t steer you wrong. Ever.

Join Christie in the #Flawless12 project! You can answer the prompts in any way that moves you—pictures, blog posts, videos, tweets, status updates, pins on Pinterest, whatever. Answer them publicly, answer them privately—answer all of them or one of them. It’s your choice. All about YOU. For more information, check out the #Flawless12 project here.

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Denene Millner

Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.


  1. Im so glad Christie is doing this. Girl I can’t believe you couldn’t tHink of things that make Yo pat yourself on the back. Can I just say how amazing I think u are? Um the book u helped write???? Keep patting yourself on the back.

  2. I love you list Denene. I identified with your entire post. Your words spoke directly to me, and I was able to give my self a pat. Keep up the good work.

  3. What we put our focus on EXPANDS, so good for you!

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