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EXCLUSIVE Interview With Earlene Buggs on Women's History Month

The first lady of ibüümerang, Mrs. Earlene Buggs shares her experiences, stories, and the lessons she learned as a woman leader.

What is your favorite thing about being a woman?

"My favorite thing about being a woman is that we have the ability to multi-task. We can juggle many things at once and wear so many different hats in life. I think the feminine energy is life-giving, it allows us to birth many amazing things in different areas of life in addition to giving life to our children.”

To celebrate Women’s History Month, who is your female role model, and how does she inspire you?

"At the moment, I would say Meghan Markle. I was doing some research online about the interview she and Prince Harry had with Oprah, and I am in awe of her courage to speak out about racism as it relates to the political institution in England and her personal struggles with mental health as a result of her life and role within the royal family. It took extreme courage to speak up and discuss her unfavorable and traumatic experiences, as a black woman, within an institution that has been around for hundreds of years."

"Like Meghan, I think many women feel trapped in the roles they play in the lives of others and struggle with the idea that for us women to be considered "good people,” we have to be completely self-sacrificial. This is what I call “The Big Lie.” The truth is that when we sacrifice everything that we are and all that we aspire to be, we are left with nothing to give to anyone else. That's why we must learn how to self-preserve and how to gain satisfaction from taking care of ourselves."

The Screens Do Not Mirror Reality

"Another thing I like about Meghan Markle is how she opened the doors to her life and let people know that what they see in the media or on social platforms is not necessarily true. The challenge we face in modern-day society is that a picture doesn’t always tell the full story. Because Meghan is a princess in real life, she is seen smiling in numerous photos and appears to be living a glamorous and happy life, we assume that everything is just perfect for her just like in a fairy-tale. While in reality, she is dying inside and contemplating suicide because of the inhumane treatment she’s receiving. I think that proves the proverb that says, "not all that glitters is gold." We have to be extremely careful about comparing ourselves to other people — regardless of who they are —because we have no idea what their real life is like when the cameras aren’t rolling."

"The other thing that is worth mentioning is the huge sacrifice it takes to be a working member of a royal family and the emotional toll it can take on someone who is ill-prepared for that role. Oftentimes, we envy the accomplishments and accolades of others not understanding the full extent of the sacrifice that is required to walk in their shoes. It is proof that we need to be much more kind and compassionate and far less judgmental of others."

What qualities do you think make a strong woman?

Setting the Foundation

"More so than anything, our foundation has to be strong. In my opinion, the foundation always starts with being spiritually grounded and believing that there is a force within the universe that is much bigger than all of us. In addition, confidence is the best accessory and resilience is vital. The ability to bounce-back relatively quickly when things don’t go as planned is a super-power!”

The Power of Vulnerability

"Also, at this point in my life, I believe in the power of vulnerability. For most of my life, I believed that vulnerability was a weakness. But now I know that vulnerability is one of the most powerful characteristics of a strong person. The ability to show up, allow your true self to be seen, even when you can’t control the outcome is vulnerability. It’s emotional exposure. It takes a lot of courage to say "I don't know,” "I'm scared," “You hurt me,” or "I need help." Now I feel that vulnerability and spirituality are the things that make a woman the strongest."

How can women develop a long-term plan for their future, professionally & personally?

"Personal growth, association, and mentorship. Personal growth is the most essential part. Consider the things that you need to improve about yourself and put a plan in place to make those changes. Start small. Reading for 20-30 minutes daily is a perfect way to start. The second thing is association. When you want a better life and when you want to develop a better plan, you must surround yourself with people who either have what you want or are in the process of becoming the kind of person you want to be.”

“It is also extremely important to understand how energy attracts but also repels. When you want to improve your life and associate better, you have to have good energy. People like to be around those who make them feel good.”

Finally, what’s one piece of advice would you like to give to all women?

"Become an expert at taking care of yourself. Self-care is the best thing you can do for yourself when you really want to be a blessing to other people. You can only give what you have. When you are not taking care of yourself or making yourself a priority, you are giving from a deficit. When we haven’t learned to receive with a whole heart, we are also not giving with a whole heart.

“Once I learned that self-care was how I expressed self-love, everything changed for me. Self-care is not about money, it’s about intention. I have a ritual that I do each morning for myself. I practice Ziva Mediation. I meditate for 15 minutes twice daily, I read for 30-60 minutes daily, I walk 3 miles daily and I fast for 16-20 hours daily. I’m the happiest I’ve ever been.”

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