The art of being yourself | Caroline McHugh | TEDxMiltonKeynesWomen


What Happened When One Poet Embraced Radical ‘Self-Love’ ~ Taryn Finley

If time travel were possible, poet Caira Lee would visit her 15-year-old self. 

Lee would commend her on her courage and honesty. She would tell her to how remarkable she was, maybe even throwing a cheesy pick-up line or two to assure her that she knows her worth.  

“Did you read Dr. Suess as a kid? Because green eggs and DAYUM,” she would tell her adolescent self in recognition. 

 Because Lee realized what so many of us fail to recognize as teens: the importance of radical self-love. 

“When you do not act on your self-esteem, you aren’t loving yourself and when you aren’t loving yourself, you are failing at life,” she said in a recent TEDx Talk in Shaker Heights, Ohio. 

The 21-year-old  Baltimore-native stresses the importance of embracing your true self despite what negative things others have to say about body image, race or sexual orientation.

“It’s looking in the mirror and saying, ‘I am the most important person in the world to me. I accept that person. I admire that person and I will do everything in my power to see that person’s dreams come true,’” she says.

Reciting the words to the hook of Kendrick Lamar song “i” with the audience, in which the rapper declares “I love myself” several times, Lee explains that the outside forces of the world working against them are no match for their self-love. 

But how exactly does one practice radical self-love and how do its practitioners gain from it?

Lee offers four points of practicing and reaping the benefits of radical self-love. 

 1. “Find that thing that you can do for hours and lose yourself in that.”

Lee urges her audience to find the skill that makes them feel “cool, productive, important, challenged.” Come alive, she says, because that’s what the world needs.

2. “If you’re black, know your history.”

There is no one way of living in this world despite society’s expectations of black people, according to Lee, and knowing your history will reveal that. She says that one’s “blackness is at the top of the list of things that the United States has that will continue to use and misconstrue in order to get you to dislike yourself.” Don’t let it.

3. “Police the people in your head.”

Many of the negative things we think about ourselves come from other people, she says, and most of it isn’t true. “We let it infest us,” she says. Lee polices the doubtful people in her head by writing positive affirmations like “you are good enough” and posts them on the walls of her dorm room. 

4. “Give self-love to others.”  

The fourth step is hard to do but IS the most important, Lee says. She urges audience members to stop other’s self-deprecation when they hear or witness it. “Dedication to radical self-love is not just about ourselves, it’s about not letting weakness in your circle at any time.”

TED Talk Tuesday – John Hodgman: Design, explained.

Comedian, Daily Show regular, and all around expert John Hodgman keeps it funny and light in today’s TED Talk. In his brief presentation, Hodgman discusses three iconic designs and their odd place in modern society. His greatest insight comes at the end, as always saving the best for last. Happy April and Enjoy!


“It is easy to forget the gasp-inducement that occurred in 2007 when you first touched this thing because it became so quickly pervasive and because of how instantly we adopted these gestures and made it an extension of our life. Unlike the Theme Building, this is not alien technology. Or I should say, what it did was it took technology which, unlike people in this room, to many other people in the world, still feels very alien, and made it immediately and instantly feel familiar and intimate.”

And unlike the juicy salif, it does not threaten to attach itself to your brain, rather, it simply attaches itself to your brain. And you didn’t even notice it happened.”

TED Talk Tuesday – Manu Prakash: A 50-cent Microscope that Folds like Origami

When I first saw this in my inbox I thought, “yeah, okay this is a joke.” When I saw it a second time I thought, “I should probably take a look at this.” And I am glad I did. I am very comfortable saying that this idea is brilliant. A folding, paper based, field proof microscope that could potentially save the lives of millions of people….I’m in love. This is a quick talk that is sure to leave you in awe of the capabilities of the human mind. Enjoy!

TED Talk Tuesday – The Brush Master: Clayton Cameron

Music is the theme of the day, so here is a great TED jam session. A dynamic and expert drummer, Cameron has redefined percussion music. He has performed with the likes of Sammy Davis Jr., Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, Billie Joel, Sting, Mariah Carey, Brandy, the Back Street Boys, James Taylor, K.D. Lang, Elvis Costello, and Ricky Martin, just to name a few. In this upbeat talk, Cameron provides a brief history of the art of drumming and the inspirations for his music. This talk only gets more interesting as it progresses and Cameron’s talent is ridiculous. Enjoy!


TED Talk Tuesday – Lessons from the Mental Hospital: Glennon Doyle Melton

Such an amazing talk that took so much courage and vulnerability to give. We all struggle with connection and compassion. We all struggle to find belonging and a sense of peace. Sometimes those struggles are to weighty. Glennon Doyle Melton, a recovering “number” (she used alcohol, food, and drugs to numb her pain) talks about her journey from cape-laden pretender to fully present human being. This talk is heartwarming and encouraging. Enjoy!


“Everyone was worthy simply because she existed.”

Salubrious Saturday – Your Brain On Sugar

Ohhhh Sweets!!! Mmmmm… I could go for a cheesecake. You know one that’s really fresh, made from scratch, and just waiting to be eaten. Until someone can create a vegetable that tastes like that, I’m not giving up cheesecake. But I digress. Let’s get to the point of this week’s health video, “How Sugar Affects The Brain.” Well, it’s no surprise that sugar acts like an addictive substance, just see me on Valentine’s day. But how bad is it? According to the brains at TED-Ed, it’s not good at all. But what’s a person supposed to do. Enjoy!

36D, Bra Not Necessary – On Acceptance By Giovannah Philippeaux

Yes, I am a 36 D which means I am pretty well endowed (which I am grateful for), but it also means that I am little chubby. News flash rubenesque women have rubenesque body parts; think Christina Hendricks, Adele, Queen Latifah. Sorry we all can’t be Sofia Vergara (tiny and curvy, still love her though don’t get me wrong).

I often feel like the world (and by that I really mean the media) likes to pick and choose the parts of me it likes and the parts of me it doesn’t. So big chest, YES!! Big body, NO!!!!! Thick lips, YES!!! Dark skin, NO!!!! Speaks English, YES!!!! With accent, NO!!! Long hair, YES!!!! Kinky hair, NO!!!!! And this could go on. But here’s the thing, I am a whole package; I can’t divvy up my parts for your liking. And I am not the only one with this story.

You’re a tall gorgeous blue-eyed blond…..with your body covered in tattoos and piercings

You’re a typical Abercrombie and Fitch male…..with depression and bipolar disorder

You’re a top black male athlete in your sport…..who’s openly gay

And there are many other people like this, whose true stories don’t match what the media tells us it should be and it’s crushing. It’s crushing to the people who can’t find a place to belong, who feel alone, scared, and bullied. It’s been crushing to me, being bullied by friends, teachers, and family, just because I was a little different they couldn’t understand. This is what happens when you, when we, have a single story.

Well NEWS FLASH WORLD….We’re not buffet tables. You can’t just pick and choose the parts of us you like and the parts of us you don’t. It’s all or nothing. And as we are here to stay it’s going to have to be all.

TED Talk Tuesday – Bryan Stevenson: We Need To Talk About An Injustice

There is no single quote that I can pull that fully embodies the magnitude of this talk. The situations that Bryan Stevenson, lawyer, activist, and founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, discuss are heartbreaking and eye-opening. It is a broken system that we live in, yet complacency is the norm. What I struggle the most with is trying to comprehend how people do not understand that our survival as a species is dependent upon our entire survival as a species. In other words, we are only people because of other people and when one of us suffers we all suffer. There is a massive disconnect among people, a lack of reverence for our innate humanity, and its power to destroy us and what we hold dear is frightening. ” We need to find ways to embrace these challenges, these problems, the suffering. Because ultimately, our humanity depends on everyone’s humanity.” ~ Bryan Stevenson 

Ultimately, you judge the character of a society, not by how they treat their rich and the powerful and the privileged, but by how they treat the poor, the condemned, the incarcerated. Because it’s in that nexus that we actually begin to understand truly profound things about who we are.

Well I believe that our identity is at risk. That when we actually don’t care about these difficult things, the positive and wonderful things are nonetheless implicated. We love innovation. We love technology. We love creativity. We love entertainment. But ultimately,those realities are shadowed by suffering, abuse, degradation, marginalization. And for me, it becomes necessary to integrate the two. Because ultimately we are talking about a need to be more hopeful, more committed, more dedicated to the basic challenges of living in a complex world. And for me that means spending time thinking and talking about the poor, the disadvantaged, those who will never get to TED. But thinking about them in a way that is integrated in our own lives.

Well that orientation of the spirit is very much at the core of what I believe even TED communities have to be engaged in. There is no disconnect around technology and designthat will allow us to be fully human until we pay attention to suffering, to poverty, to exclusion, to unfairness, to injustice.