If you haven't perused the beauty aisles of your local Ulta Beauty and Whole Foods stores for some castor oil, or caught a glimpse of Kreyòl Essence's feature on Shark Tank lately, you might have missed their multifaceted social entrepreneur, founder and CEO, Yve-Car Momperousse. Sparing a few minutes out of her busy schedule puttin' Haiti and 'Girl Boss' on the map, she recently drop' in to reflect on our Dwelling in Other story and shared what the piece got her thinkin' about:
What is your fondest childhood memory about where you grew up?
One of my fondest memories growing up was spending summer days with my Tati Chantal in Haiti. She adorned my hair in a way I approved, always had an activity planned for me and my sister, and most importantly let me run wild at the beach. I think those days come to mind because she consciously or subconsciously - let me be me. This yearning “to be authentically me” has been a gnawing feeling for as long as I can remember.
What sounds, smells, colors remind you of home?
I define home as anywhere I feel extreme peace and joy vs where I grew up. The sounds of the waves at the beach remind me of being home in Haiti. The smell of the NYC Subway, and the sounds of people laughing remind me of home in Brooklyn. And, I love bright saturated vibrant colors in nature as it reminds me to live life to the fullest, and that the most important place to feel at home is within. True happiness is liking who you are when you are by yourself.
I usually find my tribe, but the discomfort of being other is a familiar bedfellow.
Have you ever felt ‘other’ where you grew up?
This has been a constant in my life. I was constantly asked why I speak like a “white girl” in school. I removed my relaxer, stopped wearing pants, and was extremely spiritual for the first two years in high school. Which meant I was also the “church girl”. In Haiti, in certain circles, I am too American in my mannerism and thinking. In the U.S., there are times I am too Haitian. I am a female entrepreneur with male energy who goes from a fitted dress to sweats, and this brings up all sorts of questions about my femininity and challenges gender roles. I am a black woman in a white male dominated industry- yes beauty, agriculture, export, and manufacturing are all male dominated. Quite frankly, feeling like the “other” is my norm. I am thankful for being an “other” growing up as its taught me how to stand firm despite the ideals of others. I usually find my tribe, but the discomfort of being other is a familiar bedfellow.
What does being ‘privileged’ mean to you?
It is my core belief that: to whom much is given, much is expected. Privilege comes with a price and responsibility to me as a child of immigrants, and as one who considers myself a global citizen. As Muhammad Ali aptly stated: service is the rent one pays for room on this earth. Being born in America, Ivy education, travel, and health, are all privileges for me as I know many aren't as fortunate to have what we would call basic rights.
What does ‘belonging’ mean to you?
Belonging is a transient feeling for me. When I feel it, I hold on to it tight and cherish it as I know it’s not meant to be forever. Perhaps, it’s what keeps me moving, growing, and somewhat nomadic in my thinking. I belong so many places and with so many people, but not forever.I think just being grateful for those moments or years of belonging gives me peace that when I lose it, I will find it again – except it will be somewhere else or a different tribe of people that I most need and compliment during that time. I agree with Sally Boardman, a psychologist, that “a sense of belonging is crucial to our life satisfaction, happiness, mental and physical health and even longevity. It gives us a sense of purpose and meaning. ... Humans have an instinctive need to belong”. However, belonging is a moving target for me. Most likely it is because I keep changing and searching for more in life.