The following was written by Naturi Naughton, who stars as Tasha St. Patrick on the hit Starz TV show “Power”:
At the end of the day, I made a choice to survive. Where I come from, no one gave me anything. In the rough streets of Queens, N.Y., I learned that if I wanted to eat, I had to fix my own plate. I knew that anything I wanted, I had to work for, hustle to get it, and sacrifice to maintain it. And that’s how I navigated through my life.
Of course, I would always ride for the people I love, but I had to ensure my safety first. If I’m drowning, how can I help someone else stay afloat? So, I used various tools to keep my head above water (and I still do). I used my intellect and gift of persuasion to get ahead; I could talk myself in and out of many situations.
Being smart and pretty will have people stuttering; if only I had known that, from the age of 17, I had a banging body and dudes always thought I was sexy. Sometimes it was simply the way I walked into a room that got me what I wanted, or the sultry way I’d lick my lips made it hard for many to deny my requests. I always kept my respect and integrity, but I knew that the strategic placement of a wink or a smile could change the game.
Growing up, my father was hardly ever around, and my mother was struggling to make it every day. My mother, Estelle, chose bitterness, however I chose action. I believed that I could escape this life and, one day when I got something better, I would make sure to never go back. Even when things went wrong or when I went through difficult times, I wasn’t ready to give up or roll over. My mind would start racing about how I could put the pieces back together again. I would use what I knew—whatever I learned in a book, coupled with what I learned from the streets helped me get through.
I made a choice to grab life by the throat and squeeze as tight as I could—and I’m not letting go until I have nothing left in me to give!
Here Are My 5 Lessons for Being a Powerful Woman:
- Learn who you are by yourself. What you like, the way you like to dress, style your hair, and so on. You must define YOU first, before someone else tries to come in and do it for you!
- Don’t manipulate another man or use him to fill the void your feeling at home. It doesn’t work. Some way, some how, someone will get hurt.
- Protect your husband, even when he doesn’t deserve to be protected. Protect your family at all costs even when it hurts your ego.
- Remember to keep a little something for yourself. Put money aside to protect your future.
- Don’t beg a man to stay. If he wants to leave, let him go!