What does it mean to be confident? 
To be confident means to have an undeniable trust in your abilities, in who you are as a person. Regardless of what other people think.
What comes to mind when you think of the word “joy”?  
When I think of the word joy, I automatically associate it with the word strength. I also think about the fact that it is an emotion that is scare for most people. There is a difference between having joy and having happiness. Most people are happy because of the material things that they possess, the people who are in their lives, the job/careers that they have, the opinions that people have of them, and the list can go on and on. When something bad happens in one of these areas, the happiness goes out the window and it causes sadness or even depression. It is understandable that these life issues will impact happiness and make people feel sad. BUT!!! When you have a deeper form of happiness like joy; it’s something that is not based on how things are going in your life. You may have chaos happening all around you, but you still wear a smile, you still have feelings of elation about life.  I would say that joy gives you the strength to see the brighter side of life and be happy again.
I’ve encountered several hardships in my life, some of which I am still navigating.  They’ve made me sad, made me cry, you name it, however, I am able to stand because joy keeps me going. One of my favorite scriptures is “The joy of the Lord is my strength.” Joy gives you strength to live in spite of, so I would encourage people to seek joy, once you have it, it’s yours.
Can you identify the time in your life when you began to totally accept yourself and all of your flaws?
OMG!! This question is loaded. To be honest, there has not been set time, it has been a constant acceptance throughout the years.
Flaws: I grew up having a lot of insecurities. I am the 4th of 5 sisters, so I had a lot to compare myself to. Why am I the darkest one out of all of my sisters, why do I have the shortest and hardest hair texture?
I was bullied as a child like some of us were. Kids can be mean; they make sure you know your flaws in case you haven’t noticed. They told me that my butt was flat, my lips were thin, I talked like a white person, I didn’t know how to dress, my face was too flat, etc.
I grew up in a single parent home without a father, which made me develop feelings of rejection that I internalized. So with all of that throughout elementary, middle, and some high school I struggled with feeling like I was not good enough, because I allowed myself to listen to people who did not matter.
After high school, into my twenties: I decided to accept me and all my flaws. Moreover, I’ve come to realize that some of the things I thought were flaws were never flaws to begin with – they are … me! They are how and who God made me, and I’m pretty happy with that. Yes, I look different from my sisters, yes my lips are still thin (having thin lips has actually saved me a lot of money on buying lipsticks, so winning!!!) my face is still the same shape, but it’s my face J
I stopped listening to the people who didn’t matter and evicted the voices in my head. Today I am in my thirties and I am now just FULLY accepting of myself.  If I don’t accept me, I can’t expect anyone else to.
What do you admire most about yourself?
I admire the fact that I am loving. I sincerely love people and I always try to see the best in others. I do not hold grudges.
Fill in the blank: I am….strong>
How has your faith contributed to who you are today?
Faith is a big part of who Carlene is! If it were not for my faith in God, I would be lost. I have a firm confidence in God which keeps me grounded, in the words of Marshawn Evans “Godfidence.”
I would compare faith to the glue that holds the painting on the wall. It holds me together. I have had several ups and downs in my life dating back to my childhood, with the struggles of being in a single parent home. Faith has helped me to believe during the rough times and has given me hope for the good times. I grew up learning that faith is the key to please God. I am still learning to have mustard seed faith though, the lessons are real and they come frequently. Lol.
My faith is like my security blanket. Some kids are afraid of the dark and noises in the night, but if they have their security blanket, it makes everything alright. In my life, there are things that I dread, but having faith in God makes everything all alright. Sometimes people see me and they may think, she has it all together and she is always happy. Well! It’s far from the truth. I have a trailer load of issues and I’m not always happy. I have joy though, and I have faith in God who is writing my story….he is a bestselling author, so…
In twenty words or less, what would you tell your younger self or someone who has yet to discover her worth? 
God made you special and unique. Don’t let anyone or anything that happens to you in life make you feel worthless. Don’t compromise your true self for someone else’s gain.


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