What does beauty mean to you?
To me there is no set definition of beauty. I believe that if we search hard enough or if we are patient enough, we can find beauty in any subject matter. It is fluid- and it comes in all shapes and sizes.
Beauty comes in different colors and hues and it shows itself in different textures and concepts. Sometimes it is simple and other times it appears to be very detailed or complex- yet I’ve found that every time I see or experience beauty I also experience peace.
When do you feel most beautiful?
I personally feel most beautiful when I am “all glammed up”… pretty dresses and makeup that accentuates rather than recreates! There is something about a pretty dress and fabulous shoes that makes me feel beautiful!
What does being a woman mean to you?
To me, being a woman is synonymous with being a superhero. As women we often wear so many different hats: daughter, sister, mother, wife, entrepreneur, CEO, etc., that sometimes we forget about ourselves.
We go about our days, putting out fires, handling business, saving and creating lives- adorned daily with invisible capes and “S”s on our chests. It is our nature to nurture… and in every situation we encounter, we do just that.
What do you love about yourself?
Physically- I love my eyes. They are the windows to my soul. I have learned (and have been known) to fake a smile from time, but my eyes always reveal my truth.
Tell me your story.
I am the girl who must have been born to stand out because I never quite fit in.
A black girl who grew up in a predominantly white area, I obviously was never white enough to be white and somehow I wasn’t black enough to be black either. So silently I struggled with understanding who I was and who I wanted to be. In my head I wanted to be like Lisa Turtle, from Saved by the Bell, but in reality I felt a lot more like the female version of Screech.
I struggled with accepting that I was beautiful just the way that I was. I struggled with understanding that my opportunities and privileges would eventually make me who I was supposed to become. And if I was totally honest, I struggled with wondering if I would ever truly be “enough”.
Naturally smart, I pursued higher education and graduated, twice. With a Bachelors in Communications and a Master’s Degree in Social Work. And somehow that still wasn’t “enough” for me. I have gone on in life to become a wife, and a mother of 2 amazing little boys, and while being a wife and mom is great, there are still some days where I wonder if all of my t’s are crossed and my i’s are dotted.
Even at 33 years old, I am still learning- and sometimes struggling, with why I don’t, can’t or won’t always fit in. It is in those moments where I must remind myself that it is because I was born to stand out.
What do you think was the biggest turning point in your life?
In August 2016, I lost my grandfather to Cancer. (In actuality, he didn’t lose his battle- he won his wings.) But either way, I lost my grandfather. My grandfather was my first love- he was the man who taught me I was beautiful. He showed me what love was. He provided for me and he protected me. He made me feel that even my imperfections were perfect. He believed enough in me to make me believe in myself.
Every goal I had, he encouraged me to reach it. Every obstacle I faced, he coached me to overcome it. And every success I achieved, he was there to be my greatest support. When he passed away he took a piece of me with him. He took a piece of my self-esteem. He took a piece of my faith. And even more devastating, when he passed away, I lost my friend.
My healing and grieving process left me in a dark place… until one day I realized that he would want me to live. He would want me to continue to succeed. He would want me to use my voice. He would want me to heal. Through my healing process, I am relearning how to love myself, all by myself.
Please finish the statement- I am a person who…
I believe that love always prevails. I believe that hurt can be healed. I believe that every woman is a Queen. I believe that every dream can come true. Even in the face of adversity, I always believe.
Tell me about a goal you are working on.
I am currently in the process of launching my own… movement- Moments with Miranda. I call it a movement because I don’t want to limit what it could grow to be. Moments with Miranda started off as morning inspirational videos on Facebook live, yet it is turning into so much more than quick inspirational segments. It is linking with foundations to raise awareness on health issues, it is impacting college bound girls through mentoring, and it is helping both women and men to heal and address everyday life issues.
My goal is to make this movement KNOWN to the world… to be a friend to those who need one, a voice to those who feel silenced, and an intercessor for those who need prayer… even if it only happens for a “moment”.
Toma Houston Photography is a member of Professional Photographers of America (PPA). Specializing in children’s and portrait photography, serving the Greater Chicagoland area. You can view more of Toma Houston Photography’s portfolio here.