By J.B. Hyppolite
Christina Blackburn, 38, of West Mt. Airy, is the author of “Bella Journalista,” a handmade pink fluffy journal, diary and planner that seeks to aid women from all walks of life. The nature of the book invites its readers to open themselves up spiritually, emotionally and physically.
“This book uplifts you, gives you different things that you can work through on your own every day,” said Christina, who is “happily divorced and dating” and passionate about helping and empowering females all around the world.
Christina’s mission in “Bella (‘beauty’ in Italian) Journalista” is clear — to stop the cycle of domestic abuse, to empower, identify whatever the problem may be, then find a solution for it. Because of this goal, for every copy of “Bella Journalista” that’s sold, another one is donated to a women’s shelter or women’s assistance program in the U.S. or abroad.
Other subjects that “Bella Journalista” delves into include horoscopes, inspiration and even a mood tracker. “I really feel like women are the nurturers of the home, and a lot of women are single mothers right now, so the burden of everything is on them: to perform at work, to perform at home, to be a great mother; even if they are married, they still have that burden,” said Christina, who believes that healing the heart of a woman who’s experienced a lot of turmoil is key in benefiting the family.
The self-help hybrid extends itself to the internet with BellaJournalista.com. On June 12 the blog portion of the site contained a quote that preached love of humanity from Malcolm X’s autobiography and numerous examples of interracial marriage. It was “Loving Day,” a day that celebrates the 1967 United States Supreme Court decision of “Loving vs. Virginia,” which invalidated the remaining anti-miscegenation laws throughout 16 states. On another random day there was a post that featured “83 things to make you happy.” Blackburn seeks to give information to inspire, even going as far as to post fun facts and photos about other countries in the process.
“It might inspire someone to visit there, like, ‘Hey, where can I go this summer or next summer, what can we start planning to do? I try to give (other women) information about different places they might not know much about,” said Christina, who also believes that “Bella Journalista” can help depressed women eventually rely less on anti-depressants.
Christina mentioned that while women may be more critical of themselves when facing hard times, men tend to lash out at those closest to them, which can create a hostile cycle. “With this economy a lot of people are down on themselves, they don’t feel like they have any hope. I tried to pull together different things I found that can inspire them; simple things you can do right now to find a little joy in your day,” said Christina, concerned about increased cases of abuse against women and children worldwide.
Christina, who unfortunately experienced domestic abuse in her past, had no difficulty in the development of “Bella Journalista.” “….You know what? It was very easy for me because I had all of these feelings inside of me for so long…Believe it or not, while I was writing it was helping me in my own life to be more positive…Remind myself that there are things everyday to be grateful for,” said Christina, who believes that regardless of how bad or good the day is, writing a short list of things one is grateful for is very helpful.
While “Bella Journalista” is most certainly aimed at women, some men have also approached Christina, saying that her book could help men better understand how women think. “I’ve even had a couple say, ‘You should write one for men as well.’”
“Bella Journalista” made its debut in 2011, authored by Blackburn and designed by Fatos Gjakova. The origin of the book is Christina’s past with a friend suffering from depression. Christina, who lived in Philly at the time, reached out to her friend who lived in her hometown of Fort Wayne, Indiana. She uplifted her friend, telling her how beautiful she was along with all of the good she’s done in life. However, Christina’s friend would return to being sad every time she left town.
Christina decided to write down everything she’s learned through her psychology books combined with what she’s learned specifically from her friend’s situation. This is what became “Bella Journalista.” Christina eventually wants to start a campaign against abuse of all kinds and believes her book is the first phase of that goal. She has a B.S. degree in Public Health from Indiana University and an M.S. from Indiana Wesleyan University in Management, along with studying Psychology and Philosophy. She currently does Marketing and PR events management for the Bynum Brothers, who own four restaurants in Philadelphia including Relish in West Oak Lane and Heirloom in Chestnut Hill.
Those interested in purchasing “Bella Journalista” should call it up on Amazon.com or Etsy.com (keyword, Bella Journalista) or visit bellajournalista.com for more information.