What it's Like Being a Single, Christian, Modern Brown Girl Millennial
I subscribe to receive a Spanish word of the day to my email and today’s word is “asomar,” which means “to stick out.” I thought it fitting for the topic at hand. I’ll be honest and say that I started to rationalize how being a brown, Christian, single, millennial doesn’t make me any different than anyone else. Because I have highs and lows, experience love and hate and face fears, struggles, insecurities, heartbreaks and failures, just like everyone else. I wanted to rationalize how I’m really just like everyone else but the truth is, those are not “facts.” I am different.
This word that is painfully overused lumps me into a generation that has been generalized and ostracized because we have the courage to go against the grain and do the opposite of the generations that came before us. I used to dislike the fact that I fell into the “millennial” category because of all the misconceptions and stereotypes that came along with it. An article by thecollegeinvestor.com does a good job of painting the picture, “There are so many opinions about millennials and how they are either shaping or destroying our economy,” Robert Farrington writes. I would venture to say the conversation also circulates around how they are shaping or destroying our world. But what I love the most about my generation is our altruism and unrelenting spirit to pursue a genuine and authentic life full of meaning. If I’m not impacting someone else’s life for the better, I won’t do it. Sadly, my parents and grandparent’s generations didn’t have the luxury, option, inspiration, or dare I say bravery to do the same. Though some might argue that keeping the same job for the entirety of your life just to provide for your family is pretty brave. Nonetheless, I feel blessed to be born for such a time as this, surrounded by a think tank of innovators and world changers like myself.
(Modern) Brown (Girl)
At a time when race relations and cultural views are paramount, there has never been a more powerful time to be a modern brown girl. I will admit, I didn’t always used to be proud to be brown. But the more brown girls rise up and recognize their power and place in this world, the more I can too, and the more those who look to me and those that follow will be able to too. #MeToo. I’ve never felt more proud to be brown in my life because now more than ever I feel an undeniable sense of unity that will only continue to burn brighter and captivate this world. Our voices are finally being heard. Our beauty is finally being recognized. And our presence can no longer be ignored. #ImBrownAndImProud
This means that I have the courage to love myself first before I make the choice to love another. And that’s not selfish, that’s self-love. We could all use a little more of that. Moment of truth: Being a young single woman in the church can feel quite stigmatizing. The pity consolations I receive for being 30 and “still” single is enough to make anyone question if something is wrong with them. But I am a woman who happens to be single and there’s nothing wrong with that. There’s nothing wrong with knowing exactly who I am and knowing what I want and not settling simply because I find myself “still” single. I appreciate that I, along with my millennial counterparts, are more focused on making a difference in this world than why we’re not married yet. Although, those thoughts do cross my mind from time to time because I’m human, authenticity is what I’m after, and that can never be rushed.
Perhaps the most differentiating factor of them all, being a Christian means I will inevitably stand out, or rather, that I should stand out. We live in a generation where spirituality has become the new religion. But being a Christian means having the courage to outwardly and openly follow Jesus above all, despite what the latest fad deems acceptable. As a Christian, I do look at the world differently and I do relate to the world differently and I do get questions and comments based on that. I welcome it because it opens opportunities for me to share why I choose a life that might seem strange to some. It gives me the opportunity to share Christ. I like how Manny Pacquiao put it, “Being a Christian means accepting Christ as your savior, your God. That’s why you are called a Christian. If you remove Christ, there’s only “ian” and that means, I am nothing.”
At the end of the day, these are all labels and while we shouldn’t be subjected or defined by labels that others put on us, or even ones we put on ourselves, labels can also have power. These certainly all have power to me and encompass the very essence of who I am. And let me tell you, I am one proud, brown, Christian, single, millennial!
Copy by: Judith Ruiz-Branch
A Chicago native, Judith Ruiz-Branch is a passionate and driven media connoisseur. She graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Latino Studies. Judith has extensive news, media and public speaking abilities and has gained experience at various outlets in Chicago including Crain’s Chicago Business, CLTV, WGN-TV, and Rivet Radio. Judith also co-founded a non-for-profit, the Angel Gabriel Foundation, in memory of her Uncle who passed away from cancer. The foundation’s mission is to offer essential support for the fight against cancer and beyond.
Combining her media experience, philanthropic spirit and passion for empowering people, she now proudly serves as the Public Relations and Community Outreach Coordinator for the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. Judith would love to continue gaining experience in all mediums of media as she establishes herself as an influential force in the world of public relations and journalism, and philanthropy and media. Judith doesn't like to limit herself in any area of her life. She feels the sky is not the limit, but merely a glass ceiling which she intends to shatter.
"For I know the plans for you," says the Lord. "I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you. I have plans to give you a future filled with hope." -Jeremiah 29:11