About Me

I’m Shirley Hubbard.

Destroyer of superwoman capes and masks

I was going to use this space to give you a buttoned up, stuffy, and professional version of me (complete with a fancy title), but in the interest of KEEPING IT 100.
and just because I don’t want to…
See that girl in the photo to the right? Yeah! That’s ME!
I’m a super goofy, put the fun in dysFUNctional, brutally honest (but I say it in love), GIRLS JUST WANNA HAVE FUN kind of girl who loves a random selfie photo shoot. And I LIVE for a pair of distressed jeans and some super cute heels. So, if you see a sale somewhere, hit your girl up.

I’m usually hanging around on happy to be free boulevard, located at the intersection of awesome and bomb digity!

That’s where I’ve taken up residence since saying a BIG OL FAT yes to taking back my freedom, peace, and happiness aka Dancing To The Beat Of My Own Strong.

Sis, I am not out here in these streets trying to pretend like I always have my ish together. I know from years of observing the ‘strong’ Black women in my life, I will never thrive that way. So, I’m out here keeping it all the way 100.

But I wasn’t always living at this address and dancing this freely. I haven’t always been this big bundle of AWESOMENESS you see before you.

It wasn’t that long ago that my life was in shambles.

I was carrying around so much STUFF — bitterness, anger, guilt, shame, and it was all wreaking havoc on my life.
In hindsight, it was such a miserable existence — loneliness, unhappiness and so much unrest.

But no one knew that because I made it my life’s mission to keep all of the chaos hidden so that those on the outside looking in would only see the perfect life I wanted them to see.

Needless to say, all of that perfection added an even thicker and more complicated layer of havoc to my life.

Things had gotten so bad in 2017 that my head was constantly swarming with suicidal thoughts — so much so that I wrote a suicide note apologizing and asking for forgiveness for a decision that I was about to make – a decision that would leave my children devastated and broken – a decision that it would take them countless years to recover from.

I was overwhelmed with fear each morning when my alarm sounded, afraid to open my eyes because I didn’t know if that day would be the day that I would find the courage to end it all.

Then there came a day, when I just couldn’t take it anymore. I was emotionally and spiritually drained and had lost the will to fight.

At that point, I knew I was in trouble; and I knew that I couldn’t reside in that space.

Being there terrified me because I have children, grand children and family and friends who love me and need me.

So, that night instead of Googling ways to take my life like I had done on so many nights before, I climbed in bed, pulled my covers over my head, and I CRIED!

And I’m not talking about that pretty girl cry you see in the movies.

I’m talking about that ugly cry that would make Pookie from New Jack City look handsome.

The tears just started flowing.  I couldn’t pretend anymore.  I had been holding those tears in for YEARS.

I cried for the eight year old girl who had her heart broken by her dad.

I cried for the sixteen-year-old girl who found herself pregnant and experiencing extreme bouts of hopelessness.

I cried for the sexual assaults, the bad choices, the broken relationships.

I cried for the everyday challenges of not being able to adequately provide for my children, the unexpected deaths, the loss of jobs.

I cried for every time somebody said, “You gotta be strong for…”

I cried for every time somebody said, “All things work together for the good…”

I cried for every time somebody said, “You can’t fall apart..”

I cried like I had never cried before…
and I felt horrible. And yet it had never felt so good.

That breakdown changed my life. Not immediately, but inevitably.

Second by second, minute by minute, hour by hour of every day, I’m learning and living what it means to dance to the beat of my own STRONG, to show up for myself and for those around me, VULNERABLE and UNASHAMED.

It is now my life’s mission to make space for other Black women to free themselves from the burden of letting family, friends, society, and religion tell them what strength is.

This is what Shades of Strong is about – making that space because I see her, I see YOU, and deep down you and I both know this mask can’t last much longer.

It has to come off, if you’re ever going to live free, healed, and happy, it MUST come off.

And because I know how difficult it is, I want to create a space where you can find the courage to do it.

So, if you’ve been a strong Black woman or you ARE a strong Black woman, I invite you to join the movement, join me on this journey.

Let us define strength on our own terms.

Let us be the Black women who pass down healing, unashamed wholeness, happiness and true strength to our children and their children as an inheritance for generations to come.

Let us dance to the beat of OUR own STRONG.

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