Michelle E. Williams Discusses Colorism, Self-Love & Life With New Book “The Color of Pretty”
Hailing from the Charm City known as Baltimore, MD; Michelle E. Williams was always a natural-born leader. She led an exciting and adventurous childhood that was also filled with complicated memories and loneliness. Michelle persevered and earned a B.S. in Business and Healthcare Administration at Sojourner Douglass College. She went on to complete her graduate education at Towson University with an earned dual Masters in Human Resource Management and Public Administration.
With 24+ years of experience in human resources, Michelle is seen as a leader in her industry. She has a passion for providing creative solutions that produce big results in the higher education, government, and healthcare sectors. Michelle is also an adjunct professor at several higher education institutions where she teaches human resource courses. Michelle had even started her own consulting firm known as HR Innovations 3000. She also enjoys volunteering, teaching, public speaking, and helping others in need. The Color of Pretty is her first published novel as an author. She currently resides in Baltimore and is enjoying life as an empty nester.
We Empower Magazine got an exclusive interview with Michelle Williams.
What inspired you to become an author?
Michelle Williams: I was inspired to be an author spiritually actually, I kept saying God what is that you would have me do? What is my purpose? There is something you want me to do? I remember after my divorce in 2011 feeling so discouraged, insecure, broken, battered, betrayed, and so on. When I went to Therapy about 2 years later, I was able to really unpack some childhood trauma that I had suppressed, feelings of not being good enough, looking good enough, lack of confidence that absolutely played a part in my relationships as an adult that eventually went into my relationships and marriage when you don’t feel good enough, you look for love in all the wrong places, you become a people pleaser. I was a people pleaser who felt comfortable with that.
About 3 years ago, I kept saying to myself, I have a story to tell, I want to help women with their CONFIDENCE, I want to share my story, I know it will help women. But is anyone really interested in my story, but maybe it can help the young girl or the older woman struggling with finding themselves. The feeling would not go away, around the middle of 2019, I started journaling and writing thoughts but would always try to talk myself out of it, which I did.
It wasn’t until 2020 the year of the Pandemic, I had I of time alone with my thoughts, oh boy were they loud and would not go away, so here I am telling my story with the expectation that will encourage, motivate, guide women to do the work within, deal with past hurt, heal from it, get up and NOT get stuck in those feelings
Please tell us about your new novel The Color of Pretty?
Michelle Williams: The Color of Pretty is a fictional novel that touches on colorism, insecurity, lack of confidence, and self-esteem. The book synopsis: Faced with life challenges of not feeling loved, being bullied, and never feeling good enough; Lola decided to take her life into her own hands. Despite her struggles, she chose happiness over self-doubt. She began reflecting as she embarked on her journey of healing. But will she leave her past traumas behind? Discover how her melanin guided her to realize that the color of pretty was instilled inside of her all along.
What impact do you intend to make with the book?
Michelle Williams: After reading this novel, I want people to walk away feeling empowered, I want people to know that it is ok to seek help, dig deep find out where or when did the feelings start, it may be hard, tough, and painful but you have to do the work, Confidence is like a game, to gain your confidence, you need to take more action.
The future belongs to those who don’t lose hope and forget the beauty of their dream. Confidence and perseverance work together. You can’t obtain your goals without one of those. “The most beautiful thing you can wear is confidence.” You have to do the work, don’t get stuck, help others, encourage and build others up. Trust yourself, believe in yourself. When insecurities come and they will, take out your toolbox and do the work and don’t sit in your stuff with the woe is me, somebody help me, everybody is against me attitude.
Coming out of this pandemic, this book will be more crucial than ever, many have fallen back into old patterns of not good enough, less than, struggling with emotions and how to deal with them. This project will serve as a re-ordering of things in your life, we all have had to pause, redo, reorder, STOP and some keep going in the world of new normal. I want to help people manage their emotions, reach back into the toolbox, and do the work, over the last year we have had to be creative, think outside the box, get in touch with our emotions, understand that it is absolutely OK to not be OK but knowing I am coming out this thing better, braver, bolder and more confident than ever.
Keep in mind that you are human and part of being human can sometimes be challenging. Embrace challenges that come your way and take control of them bit by bit. Step outside your comfort zone, do things differently. One thing we have learned from this pandemic is business as usual or going back to normal will NOT happen. Learn what your new normal will be. Be Resilient, Be Brave, Be Ready. You can do all things through Christ who Strengthens YOU..
What is it about colorism that sparked your passion to share your views with the world?
Michelle Williams: Colorism is the practice of favoring lighter skin over darker skin. The preference for lighter skin can be seen within any racial or ethnic background. This is what I experience as a child, adolescent, teenager. I was mistreated by family, friends, and in the workplace because of my skin tone.
It is important that you take the necessary steps to learn about colorism so that you can properly address it when you notice that someone is being treated differently because of their skin tone or if it’s happening to you. An understanding of colorism will allow you to have more informed and effective conversations about race and skin color.
What other projects or endeavors are you currently working on or involved in
Michelle Williams: I am hosting the 1st annual “Confidence Looks Good on You” Conference for women on July 24, 2021.
Conference Theme: When it comes to confidence, EVERY woman needs it to be successful. That’s why I am devoting a day to help women build confidence in a transformational way. It’s time for us to take charge of our careers, relationships, minds, bodies and promote the right image for success and go after our dreams. The Confidence Looks Good on YOU Woman Conference is designed to unlock your potential. I am also looking to embark on a book tour this coming summer/fall to also include some speaking engagements.
How would you define self-love?
Self-love for me is also self-care, making you a priority, self-love for me is being confident in who I am as a woman. Loving myself, being happy with me and who I am today.
Self-love requires you to be honest about your choices and thought patterns and undertake new practices that reflect self-worth.
Self-love is giving our body the nurturing, rest, exercise, and comfort, it needs to the best of our ability.
Self-love is wearing clothes that make us feel good and fit our personality instead of wearing clothes that are in fashion that we use to impress others.
Self-love is building a life that we love while we are single instead of waiting for our prince/princess to show up to explore life and to be happy.
Self-love is accepting ourselves with the good, the bad, the ugly, the sexy, and the smelly, all of it and appreciating ourselves as whole people.
When you think of women’s empowerment, what comes to mind?
CONFIDENCE! Confidence looks differently to a lot of people. I’ve met some of the most beautiful women in the world who are completely lacking in real confidence, even though you’d never know it from the front they put on. I encourage you to focus on building your true confidence up. Your self-worth is so crucial to your happiness. If you don’t feel good about YOU, it’s nearly impossible to feel good about anything else.
Women’s Empowerment means giving someone the ability to improve her lifestyle and outlook economically, socially, educationally, culturally, and politically. This results in that person being able to improve her family life, the immediate society, and the world at large.
The ability to leave women with the feeling that they are capable of doing whatever they want to do, and then resiliently do it! Then to support others to do what they are capable of.
What would you like your legacy to look like as a writer?
Michelle Williams: Knowing the legacy, I want to leave behind helps me stay focused on what I’m doing in the present so that my goals are in line with that legacy. It offers a solid sense of purpose in choosing what I am giving my energy to.
And the whole concept of legacy can be a deeply powerful way of connecting with others. Looking at your roots, blood family, cultural, spiritual, or whatever avenue you choose to explore, connects you to those who have gone before you.
Planning this legacy connects you to those whose lives you touch, and that you touched for generations to come.
I encourage people women and men to take some time and really look at the things you carry on from past generations. See what you need to leave behind, as well as, what you want to carry forward. It also includes more books, more conversations on empowering self and others. Who knows what God has in store for this chocolate girl, my legacy is still in the making.
Keep up-to-date by connecting on Instagram @michelledivastyles