New Year, New Outlook feat. My Youngblood

Happy New Year everyone!

I’m kicking off the first post of the new year with a little something different and bringing on my first feature here at T9A. Many of us have family members who we adore and look up to and mine are no different. I often find myself telling others my favorite people are literally my family and more often than not, I like them just as much as I love them. Now love and like are two completely different concepts, you can love your family, but you don’t actually have to like them, something I’m sure we’ve all learned in one way or another, lol. For those who know of my family and tend to give them the highest praises, my little brother is no exception. 

For those who don’t know this is my Youngblood. As for the name, if you’re wondering why I call him that, your guess is probably as good as mine, lol. I started referring to him as ‘Youngblood’ some years back and for whatever reason it just stuck. That’s typically how our relationship is, if it’s cool and we’re comfortable, we kinda just roll with it, lol.

For those who don’t know, maybe even him included, my little brother was my first introduction to self-love and value. Like many of us, I’ve had my own struggles with self-esteem and seeing my own personal value, but my brother was actually the one who put things into perspective for me and casted a bit of light on the darkness I constantly found myself in. 

He is such an amazing and intuitive human being, I almost feel like he should’ve been the older sibling since half the time I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing, lol. Unlike me, as long as I can remember he’s always known himself better than anyone else. He’s never needed much, never asked for much, never said too much and was always kinda just chillin’ to put it simply. He knew himself way before most people even do and was incredibly confident and steadfast in his beliefs. If he didn’t want to do it, he wasn’t doing it and if he didn’t like you, he wasn’t talking to you, regardless of what it was or how others felt about it, lol. He never seemed to feel any pressure around being his authentic self and always managed to find his way even from an early age. 

A few years back while I was still in Grad school, I was having a conversation with him about love and relationships. While I can’t remember a majority of the conversation, I can remember what he said that changed my life and the way I looked at myself going forward. He was talking about a few of his friends and some of the ridiculous situations they had gotten themselves into. He told me, "I tell people, I'd never treat a woman like that, for what? It doesn't benefit me. I've always wondered how guys think hurting someone benefits them. I have a sister, my sister has been treated badly and I've seen her hurt. I'd never want to hurt someone the way some people have hurt my sister, you know? I love her... I say she deserves better, you deserve better..." And for the first time in my life he made me see myself in a completely different light. By simply being who he is and caring about me, he got me to see the value in myself. 

In spite of having a few more run ins with some not-so-deserving people, I can honestly say that conversation with him was the first step on my journey towards loving myself. My brother taught me that a part of loving ourselves was doing the work to see ourselves the way those who truly value us do. Now this is completely different from having a heavy reliance on the outside opinion of random people to lift ourselves up. It’s taking the time out to understand and value what those closest to us see. My brother valued me enough that it impacted his decision making in his own relationships, and having learned that forced me to reevaluate how I saw and valued myself. We all have people in our lives that value us, whether it’s your sibling, friend, parent or significant other, and these are the people that may have some of the best insight into your value as a person. Listen to those people, and be sure to return the value that they pour into you.

Also a special shoutout to my Youngblood’s first degree! As of December 2016, the Bilal Family has two college graduates under their belt… #BESHOOK2017

I hope this new year brings you blessings, prosperity, a new level of self-awareness, and as always an abundance of self-love. Start the year off right, and make sure you’re valuing and taking care of yourself. :)

Until next time,



Dij: Hat/5 Pillars   Scarf/Gap   Turtleneck/Gap   Coat/F21 Men   Jeans/TopShop   Boots/ZARA

Youngblood: Hat/American Needle   Coat/Banana Republic   Jeans/Gap   Chelsea Boots/Banana Republic