We spoke with Mattie James, content creator, lifestyle influencer, and a mother of three, about social media’s impact on self-worth, the difference between happiness and joy, and her debut book, Everyday MAGIC: The Joy of Not Being Everything and Still Being More Than Enough (Worthy, Aug. 2022). MAGIC is an acronym for meaningful, aesthetically pleasing, goal oriented, intentional, and consistent—the key components of “mindset changes that can change your life,” James says.

How did the idea for Everyday MAGIC come about?

About six years ago, a close friend of mine was looking at my blog, and a coworker asked, “Who is that?” My friend explained that I write about style, beauty, family, and all sorts of stuff. They were two Black women, like myself, and the coworker was excited to check out my blog. The next day, the coworker says: “I don’t get it, she’s just a regular Black girl.” But that’s the point. I am a minority, in race and in gender, and we live in a time and society where people, especially Black women, LGBTQ people, and other minorities, have to be elevated to be revered. You are only valued if you are the first, the best, or the only. Photoshopped images and filtered videos make you think you’re not doing enough, but that has nothing to do with worth. I am a regular Black girl, and every day, I take care of myself and my family—that is magic. I want others to understand how valuable regularness is. It was really important to me to write a book celebrating that.

Why is this an important message now?

Studies lately on young girls—not even women my age, who I know it absolutely affects, but young girls—are showing how Facebook and Instagram are negatively affecting their mindsets. I think it’s really important for people, especially kids and teenagers, to walk in their individuality, and know they are valuable even though their life doesn’t look like someone else’s.

What role did your faith play in writing the book?

Such a huge part. One thing my faith has helped me do is look at myself like God looks at me. I am not an inconvenience. Who am I to look at myself like that? I use my faith to shift my perspective and renew my mind. No, I’m not a burden or a mistake, even if I make a mistake.

What do you hope readers take away from it?

One thing I express in the book is that you deserve a good life, but you’re not entitled to it. You have to put in the work. The conversations I want to have are around the idea of a good life being a hard one, and making that okay—it’s allowed to be hard, as long as it’s good. God always promised us life was good. My husband tells me I have a joyful disposition in everything I do—not happy, because happiness is fleeting, but joy, a default of pleased, that you get to live the life you love every day. I want to say: this is how I found my magic, here’s how you can find yours.