More or Less

Human compassion is at an all time high at the moment. While I am happy to see people focusing on positive change, being better, and continuing a legacy of greatness; I wonder how much of that is transcending into kindness, care, and love for ourselves? We were created imperfect and lacking so that we may find and build connects to create a sense of wholeness in our community. We were not created to be all-in-one beings. One cannot be everything in all ways and serve as the source for self. We spend our whole lives trying to possess people and that includes ourselves. We cannot control the outcome of what and who we experience. There are so many times we have been shown who we really are rather than the person we would like to be. There are sets of circumstances that unveil the many facets of who you are. Nothing about us can be without flaw, we did not create ourselves so we cannot see the image in which we were designed. Instead, we have to learn to rely and to use all our other senses to gain understandings of the image we were created in. Its all about taking the time to connect to the world around you because the message is everywhere in everything. We were created with compassion, designed divinely, with a label of love. The closest we get to comprehending the creation of life is conception within the womb. The miracle of two complimentary halves creating a whole being is an awesome responsibility that will be filled with many failures and regrets. Yet another reminder that we lack the ability to fully comprehend and transcend human limitations to be the source for not only ourselves but the example to guide the innocent.

Times are ever changing, what once was is no longer and what will be will not last forever. So, history is a reflection of progression of the humanity that we attempt to suppress. The same event stuck on repeat because we rarely ever learn lessons or acquire knowledge for the sake of wisdom and being aware. Rather it is easier to deny the shortcomings within yourself and try to force the same habits and behaviors to create better experiences. The misconception of self-care states that the process of “loving” yourself is without pain. However, you will soon realize that getting to know, accept, and finally love yourself requires a community of connection that can walk with you while you go through depths of the unknowns: unbearable, undesirable, unlovable…

Today, if not any other day or any other time, extend some compassion and kindness to yourself for the you that has survived every trauma. For every hurtful situation that has altered the better version of you into a bitter version. Know that “normal” is the secret self no one shows. It is perfectly within your blessing as a living being to make mistakes. For some, it flows through our blood from our ancestors that had to refashion a destiny of death for life…that is our magic. For others, its being humbled enough to know that no matter how alone and abandoned not matter how high and accomplished the same echos haunt us.

Character Flaws

It is no secret that there are two equal parts that make up who I am: my blackness and my womanhood. Often, these halves can feel like the double negative that everyone else is happy to have escaped. It has taken time to grow into who I am and feel comfortable enough to navigate through this world in harmonious duality. It feels good that little black girls today are growing up in a world where blackness is becoming more promoted and celebrated. I see more black female leads in movies and TV shows without the alterations, just authentic black female bosses.

Now, don’t think I always get the balance. Sometimes, I feel like I’m too on one side. If I’m too pro black I forget to stick up for my plight as a woman, if I get caught up playing my part in women’s equality I push aside the black man I hold dear to my heart. I know life is all about the daily challenges that need to be overcome, but 24 years is a long time to endure the same struggle, inflicted from society and myself. Imagine spending that long being unhappy and confused about all things you. The lack of representation never registered to me, and I certainly didn’t realize I was internalizing hatred and believing that everything would be better if only I could change into something else. If I could fix this or that everything would fall into place, but I was really just waiting on external praises, affirmation, and appreciation of my worth. Every decision I made came from an empty place or places filled with misrepresentations both inside and outside my home.

Now that Black history month has passed, this is the first time I reflect on the sense of pride it brings me abroad. I have always centralized my focus on blacks in American forgetting the rest of Africa and her diaspora. Taking the time to understand the black experience all around the world is something I wish I could give to every child. We are one people, yes there are differences in culture that separate us: language, food, values. One thing remains, we live in places where our race is not readily explored or the issues candidly expressed. I have to hold onto that feeling I get during Black history month and remain educated rather than normalize and become desensitized to the degradation, shame, and overall racism.

I also indulged in international women’s day via social media, reading the stories and seeing the support and empowerment coming from all outlets, I couldn’t help but be inspired. I often forget to seek inspiration to build strength within myself on a daily basis. I remember the shame of being a woman started around middle school, the time when most girls get their first period and have to change in the girl’s locker room for the first time…ah the nostalgia. Although we were all girls I was still ashamed to be on my period, I was consciously and subconsciously comparing myself and searching for the inadequacies. The only standard I had was what someone else was doing and receiving. I was so young and trying to shave every crevice of my body with a spec of hair because you know anything natural on a woman is disgusting dare I say even unhygienic. It was disgusting and shameful to have desires and experiences. To be a woman was to be perfect, always an unachievable standard.

As you age and go through the trials of life, you realize who I am is who I create myself to be. You never needed anyone or anything to confirm that. I write my blogs sometimes feeling good about my content sometimes feeling like just another face in the crowd. I can check the stats for my blog and equate the numbers to my worth; I can get frustrated with not having the money or materials to create the content I’ve been sitting on for what seems like years. But the question still remains, if I could do everything I wanted right at this moment would I be happy? Would I be fulfilled or would I still be in search of that one more thing to “have it all”? I do not want to define my success for something outside of myself but rather because of who I am. I need to find the glue to hold together the many facets of me.

All things external will not fill the emptiness or replace the self-love and acceptance I needed from myself. I need to be happy and fully satisfied with my thoughts, path, and experiences. No matter what life is feeling like or looking like, no matter what I am feeling like or looking like, I had to know that all I needed resided within me. When everything else fades and changes with time: who, where, and what will I have become?

Feature Artist

Anyone who knows me knows It’s A Different World is one of my all time favorite TV shows. In light of the recent events in my life, I have realized my toxic attachments to ideas of what a healthy relationships love really is. Like so many, I never had a positive example of love, what should it look like or what should it feel like? I turned to Hollywood for my examples, to give me the “feels” I didn’t have in real life. It’s A Different World changed the game for me, it was a show with people who looked like me, I could related I could see myself. Although I must admit I am more of a Freddie or Denise, I too romanticized the Dwayne and Whitley love story. The article linked below captures my current mindset when it comes to love:

Why choose to go through hell alone when heaven is holding your hand?

Live and Let Live

Breathe in and out, just as the tides rise and fall…just as the present becomes the past. At this moment, I see the full circle in my life…again. I know I am here at the start because of ignoring my inner voice, the guiding light to my destiny. I have felt her energy on many occasions, even creeping into my dreams giving me visions of life. Still, I am here back at the start. Only this time I sit in the dark silence of my solitude. My hearing aged by lies and empty promises, the voice is foreign to me now. My vision etched by the sting of tears, I cannot clearly see the light anymore. I just have pieces of memory stitched together to make the full story again.

I’m so over the “why me”, been there done that. I’ve been the girl putting all my hopes into the promises of a forever and next time. Now I ask myself what is forever, what does that mean in reality? Forever isn’t as limitless and void of pain as I once thought. Instead, it’s filled with many goodbyes and “see you later” that you know will never come true. It’s full of the good memories we choose to hold onto in spite of the pain. It’s the lessons learned along the way. For in the end, nothing lasts forever. It’s the beauty you must learn to see and accept to maintain healthy balance.

A very dear friend once told me she didn’t believe in forevers for any kind of love. Now, I understand in the physical sense, no one can live forever. Nevertheless, I believe in love so deep, so true, and so pure it penetrates the soul and finds itself in every lifetime. Call me a sucker, but I feel it. Even when no one is around, in my loneliest hour, love surrounds me and fills me. I always thought forevers were rare and romanticized them.  It was something you were reminded of and cherished at the recollection. The love of my grandmother, mother, sister, and friends will transcend time and be passed along until the end of time. I feel my ancestors, the passion, pride, and pain running through me. However, I have never felt this love with any romantic relationship. Not tangibly, I have felt their spirit come to me but it has always seemed a…dream.

“If you think things are not forever, it allows you to make the most of what you have when you have it…Assuming relationships are not forever, might make them last forever”. If you hear it from a Brazilian, better believe it. Imagine loving everyone and everything with the intensity as if this were the only moment. I cannot express how beautiful and fulfilling this expression and affirmation would be. I have seen and experienced so much from the emptiness of love that genuine love and affection cannot be matched. Unfortunately, so many will die never having been in presence of true love. Mainly because we lack the courage to cross over, we believe that it is better to stay in misery and live unhappy and unfulfilled lives together than to face the unhappiness we think we may feel apart.

It’s inevitable that you will be reminded of the past: the pain, the bad blood, the things you lost, the things you can’t get back, the good times, the good feelings, the good people it’s all there. Each time you are reminded, every time you feel do so and let it go. Your forvers exist in everything and everyone, nothing greater or less than before or after. What you do not learn will be repeated, what you do welcomes the next lesson from life.

Live and let live, enjoy the greatness of now.

Walking the Footsteps of a Stranger

When I look back over my 24 years of life, I realize I have been more blessed and fortunate than I have given my life credit. Being at the precipice of losing all that I believed would be my blessings, climbing out the pit of self-pity, I understand now. I have lived my life with fear being my closes most protected companion. Given the opportunity to travel outside of my home country was one of the best things that has happened to me. I never saw a life outside of the U.S. as a possibility for someone who looked like me. I thought I would spend my life working hard and saving pennies to treat myself to one trip….some day. I saw one example of a life for myself and accepted it without a question asked. I found solace in the redundancy of retreating to my dreams for my picture perfect happiness, after all happiness is only a dream…right? So, here I am in the turning tides of the cycle I never wanted to continue.

 

I have decided to believe in every word I have ever spoken and written in fantasy and in truth. I will walk the footsteps of the stranger love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness…all the beautiful fruits of the Spirit of life. Walking the footsteps of a stranger, you learn things you never knew you never knew, but Disney taught us that already. I am so far from everyone and everything familiar, I am able to live in a way that I experience my authentic life, free from the influence and traps of toxicity. I am not referencing a life of luxury material possessions; rather I am talking about the raw unedited struggles of pealing back the layers of my flesh, flesh that is contaminated with the blood of deceit, abuse, and abandonment of those before me. I want to unveil my soul that I may connect on a purer level. Connections should be to the soul instead of the flesh of another. Relationships of any kind cannot flourish and grow something beautiful out of the emptiness of self-serving and destructive patterns of behavior that we have not seriously made the commitment and required actions to stop repeating.

 

Moving forward is not as easy as having the will to do so. I do not believe anyone innately desires to live in poverty or misery. I do not believe anyone innately wants the worse when there is an option for the best. It is the lack of knowledge and the representation of ourselves in relationships and situations where we are protected from, provided for, able to perform, and pleased. Take back the narrative of your life; it is not about rewriting what has already been written, it is about finally starting to write your own stories. You have all you need to live the reality of dreams…you. This time we are taking the better versions of ourselves to live better lives. It’s everyday, one day at a time, to build a lasting legacy that we can pass to the next generation.

 

There is no better day than today, no better time than now to take the walk.

 

Feature Artist

This Feature Artist is more of a presentation of a parenting style that I think is a good way of thinking to apply for all human interactions. These ideas could be something that may take sometime to digest but I hope the challenge to your existing ideology proves beneficial in your relationships throughout life. If you are already familiar, then I hope that this is a refreshing perspective and a new YouTube channel to support. You can also follow this Feature Artist on Instagram @themellowmama

 

Feature Artist

When I first started my blog, I was captivated by this fellow blogger’s use of language. I still am impressed with the consistency and content over a year later. I knew I could not over consume this work because I wanted to develop a signature style. It was important to me when people read my work they would know that I was the author. The time has finally come to share what should have been one of my original feature artist; I hope you enjoy the read as much as I do.

I am totally down with the new Nike ad campaign that features former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, even if I’m not sold on the feng shui of this union just yet. Let’s chill with this idea that Kaepernick is this generation’s Muhammad Ali. This, ain’t that. I’m not talking about what each man risked in […]

via There’s a time for kneeling, and a time for standing up — sorryless

Forgotten Faces in Lost Places

 

The fourth Thursday in November is finally here, also known as Thanksgiving in the U.S. Living abroad and being away from close friends and family, I struggled with deciding what I should do to celebrate this year. Since I have the opportunity to reflect on what the holiday represents, I can correct the ways in which I previously passively participated that propagated lies and celebrated the degradation of a group of people. While Thanksgiving does bring people together through good food and shared thankfulness for the year passing and the one to come, I decided that instead of going the traditional route I wanted to bring awareness to the Indigenous people.

Native Americans and their history has been so watered down people are starting to believe that they are immigrants. This was just the wakeup call I needed to understand my role in promoting the misinformation on multiculturalism. Contrary to the popular belief, Europeans did not discover nor did they found the land so called the United States of America, the Native people were here thriving for thousands of years. While the history is not as innocent and peaceful as you may have been taught to believe, there are ways to do something today that contribute to making the changes the Native people want in their communities.

I encourage everyone to put the ideas of feasting on turkey aside and read Struggle for the land: Indigenous resistance to genocide, ecocide, and expropriation in contemporary North America for more information on the history. Instead of preparing a feast and having and excusable reason to unleash my inner greed, I did some much needed research and supported foundations in my local areas in the U.S that supported the needs of Native Americans. I suggest doing your own research to find and support what resonates with you. I focus my love for food and family by creating new traditions and ways of celebration. There is no one time to do good or commit to acts of service, so make this holiday season the start of conscious living.

All She Wrote

By now I think it is clear that I am for the empowerment of women, specifically my fellow black women. Yet, I still have not been in a space where this empowerment touches on the parts of me that are soft, gentle, and fragile…the essence of my womanhood. No, my feminine and what it means to me is not the same as the next woman’s. I am not here to be the voice of all women or give some universal definition as to what that means. What I will always be here for is to use my voice and sense of expression to humanize issues that have seemed to be uncoupled from the people suffering.  I will always be here as a supporter of those using their voices to bring more awareness and change for any people, group, issue, disadvantage and the like.

Being multifaceted encompasses so much that I’m not sure people have the capacity to understand the many layers of human existence. Too many times we are forced to be defined and subscribe to certain guidelines. We force ourselves to fit into the confines of abstract ideas, when we were gifted the ability to choose and define ourselves. Can you remember how easy it was to walk in your truth when you were younger and filled with innocence? It was like the blueprint was already written in our hearts and we naturally gravitated to things that would allow us to exercise our gifts and talents. There was a passion and zest for life that has disappeared; I don’t recognize it in the upcoming generations. I remember in high school making my own clothes, discovering veganism in middle school and trying to implement the lifestyle, in elementary school I used to be so eager to be picked to read my story to class (complete with illustrations too). Now as an adult, I have rediscovered what used to be natural for me and cultivated each layer. From the beginning and throughout life we are stripped of almost every aspect of who we are until we are so far disconnected from self-thought we die never living our life.What will happen when you can’t fulfill every expectation?

As a woman, there is a pre-defined role and from birth. You are pushed to be a “good girl” what that looks like and feels like depends largely on a variety of factors: culture, social groups, family, friends, religion, region etc. After so much correction and criticism, I started to realize I wasn’t a “good girl” I was a real human. I am authentically and uniquely my own version of womanhood. I have real feelings and emotions I refuse to suppress. I cannot find my purpose and meaning for life in only being a mother and wife. There is so much more to me than that. I cannot live life anymore based on fears, fears that are not even my own. Fear has been instilled in me as means of control. What happens when you let go of all the ideas of you have been forced, manipulated, guilt tripped, and conditioned to apply to your life whether it be the way you behave, raise your children, or treat fellow humans? What will you uncover about you?

I wanted so desperately to find my space and sense of community that I lacked the clarity to understand that I could create the space I want to live in for myself and others like me. I wanted to be free to think and to change at will. I wanted to explore my wild ideas and demonstrate my inner spirit however I felt when I woke up that morning. There is so much weight lifted and a better happier life ahead of you when you live as the free being you were created to be. Let’s not get confused when I mention freedom: hate and intolerance are not an excuse for not understanding or identifying with another way to live life. No one has the power to determine what is wrong with wanting or living any particular lifestyle…what is wrong is this notion that to live a “good” life has to cost you everything that is you.

Whether my ideas or esthetic are mainstream or off the beaten path, the response from others I no longer adopt as my personal interpretation. I take every moment to learn, realize more about myself and life, and grow. You are allowed to change. With all the trendy things to do, conscious living can seem like a wave to ride for the time. As someone who has always been connected to myself, I am glad so many others are taking the step of faith to begin living for the first time. I believe we each have a gift to share with the world and only that specific individual can do so. How much more effective if we all contributed by focusing on improving what we have to give rather than trying to create boxes and boundaries for others to live in.

Feature Artist

This Feature Artist represents the 843 a.k.a Charleston, SC. He write all his lyrics personally and his music encompasses a variety of styles and Topics. Enjoy this small representation of his talent by listening to the two linked songs below and if your intersted in hearing more or collaborating check out his Instagram @ijustdoit17. I hope this is just the beginning of bigger and better projects.

Where The Wild Things Are

Sometimes I feel like we are all somewhere lost in the wilderness. When you lose the way, it can be hard to stop and wait. Waiting requires you find solace in the silence. You must come to terms with the understanding that you do not know and hand over the controls of navigation. I can’t grasp why I ever found security hiding in my blanket of shame, if only I had the strength to be transparent. I was anxious not being sure of where I was and where I was going, somehow I believed that pretending and substituting finding myself for what society presented to me as a representation of myself was going to smooth over the reality I was in.

Separating self and society is becoming increasingly difficult. As a black woman, I can feel the divide within trying not to allow the views, attitudes, and treatments of myself and my people to harden my heart. I try not to subscribe to the mentality of doing unto others as has been done unto me. I have found myself internalizing the prejudice, racism, and classism of the “majority” as though I am less than and undeserving of being viewed as human. I refuse to promote this skewed view of who I am and what I’m worth. I don’t expect anyone to understand or have compassion for the suffering of my people and those like us, I can only express on behalf of other black and brown people who are tired of the mistreatment, tired of the tears, tired of the heartbreak, tired of trying to love themselves under the pressure of self-hatred, and exhausted from the fight for the right to live. I’m not here aiming to educate on the struggles of melanated people, a simple Google search in this age of information can enlighten you. I can assure you that we are not the monsters and savages we have been made out to be. I can assure you that the mistreatment and manipulations of my people is not justified.

Sadly, there are so many who do not know that they are lost. I will never understand how the ideas were developed about my people, and believed so strongly that we would be killed. How can anyone see a living breathing being and allow color, language, and class to determine their worth? I will never understand looking in the eyes of an innocent child so full of purity and love and teaching them hate. I will never understand the levels of dehumanization that one must undergo in order to do the same to others. For all the hate I see and have experienced, I will not allow myself to adopt the same prejudice and racism. I will stand up and uphold my people in spite of how we are currently received. I cannot accept the place the world has positioned me, I am more…we are more.

Am I deeper in the wilderness or closer to the Promised Land, I’m still unsure. What I have discovered: keeping God close to me and first in all aspects remind me and keep me focused to love, to forgive, to reach outside of myself for the strength to do so and keep going another day. Only then am I able to understand the purpose of being directed through the wilderness…only then am I found.

Like a Version

In this new age fueled by modern technology it can seem that you have all the facts at your disposal. However, the “truths” derived from meshing together stories and histories from said facts are often misleading. The truth requires insight and discernment of the presented facts. Often hurt and pain, the essential players in the blame game of life, are the basis of perception and interpretation. Understanding that without such pitfalls, we would never extend understanding, compassion, empathy, sympathy…the better parts of our nature. Rather than consuming ourselves with past hurts and actively making ourselves the victim, we could unveil the truth that is being presented in our lives. Seeing the areas where there was a lack of control over your choices, accepting that you willingly participated in the various scenarios stuck on repeat, and that you can always at any time choose and do better.

Ask yourself, has the way you have let certain situations define you served you any good so far… when you realize the answer is no…why keep repeating the same behaviors? The choices we have made can all work together for our good. We have the experiences that serve as lessons learned of our worth, that which we do and don’t want to be, the personalities and baggage we have taken on to be ourselves, and where we want to go from where we currently are. There is no need to waste time thinking of how things could have been, it has already happened.

When moving into the future, remind yourself to enjoy the moments you are gifted. The pressure of forever is so limiting, it confines us only to the now. There is so much more growth and levels to reach. There is so much that each season brings and takes away. There is always a new upgrade to the version of life you are in. While it may take time to download, update, and process you can see the changes, given time they will become improvements. I can say from my journey of losses and gains, the span of time I’ve been in any given situation passes quickly. I have accepted the beauty, adventure, and gift of being alive. Each version of who I am, who I was, and who I will be was all designed and destined. I know that the end of each season brings the beginning of another. It is when we stay too long refusing to move to the next phase that we miss the lessons and welcome hurt, frustration, and confusion.
The version of yourself that has passed deserves the respect of acceptance but the version of yourself that exists in this moment deserves for you to let the past go and to be loved and appreciated just as you are now. The version of you that is coming deserves to be nurtured and protected so that you can be upgraded to it.

Just think, if you were to be given everything right now: the healing, the love, the finances, the material, the manifestation of your dreams…are you the correct version to receive it?

I will leave you with my focus for the week: Self Acceptance, Wholeness, and Honesty

Mirror Mirror

With all of the focus I’ve seen circulating around romantic relationships…I can’t help but ask myself how healthy are we in any given relationship we have? Why are the relationships with significant others the peak of existence? Do we only strive to be loved and in company of lovers? The pressure of one relationship serving as the source for all your needs is unfair to burden one individual. Think of how hard it is to be everything to someone. You simply cannot do and be everything; you cannot fill every need and desire. Each of us is uniquely created to serve purpose in someone’s life; there are many roles to serve in this lifetime. There is a certain position for everyone and everything… one cannot substitute the other. Neither friend nor lover can replace or make up for any of my family’s love, neither my family nor friends can ignite the fire of a lover, neither a lover, family, or friend can replace the perfect love of God.

No, this is not a pass to all the cheaters seeking sexual pleasures from many partners; No this is not for all the people looking for something in everyone they meet. Relationship is paralleled to experiencing the many facets and extensions of you. Every relationship is designed to bring the best of you forward. Unfortunately, we do not deal with the thorn that is our human nature summed by our past, traumas, hurts, insecurities, shame, pride, ego and so much more that weighs down the better half. Instead, we often find ourselves in cycles of denial and stunting our growth by reducing our behaviors and coping mechanisms to who we are. There is so much more that we could be experiencing in this life, so much deeper our connections could be if we were willing to open up and allow ourselves to face our mirrors in people.

Take time, change the mantra of your relationships…start over and press the reset button. It’s okay to stop and change your direction. Relationships are not to be a juggling act, the right people will fit and flow with the direction of your life. One should not take away from the other, love adds and multiplies. Be present in the moments, as the years pass we progress and sometimes that means discovering that the old no longer serves us in our next phase of existence. But, you will never know if you’re always consuming and seeing the flaws from the outside. The one thing that connects all your relationships is you. If one or more are weak, breaking, damaged…what part of you is that relationship reflecting? Be authentic in what you feel and how you express it, listen deeper than your ears, and forgive yourself and others.

I’ll leave you with this: life guarantees so many hardships why do we make the one pure thing, love, another one? Always honor your true self, in the end you will be thankful you didn’t give up on you.

The Butterfly Effect

The beginning and ending are essential halves of the whole. There cannot only be a story filled with beginnings as there cannot be just one filled with endings. So, why do we spend so much time searching for new beginnings year after year? Why are so many living in fear of the ending? There was a time when people held within the knowledge that the responsibility of the course of life is up to you. Throughout your time here there has always been a divine course set for your life. However, you are gifted with ability to choose. This ability often outreaches our capacity to handle consequence, nevertheless each day this precious gift of choice is given. Every series of choices we make have impact. We often do not allow ourselves the time for recognition of what is going on around us or the responsibility we are charged with to stay focused on course. Nothing just happens; nothing just falls apart; nothing is just put together. You have been groomed and designed, combined with what you decided and inevitably ignored, have all done an inner work that has resulted in where you are now.

I often found myself fantasizing about what I wanted, both professionally and personally, and how I saw the scenario playing differently depending on what I was going through. I would make the smallest efforts towards what I saw repeated day after day. Yet, I would allow my energy to be drained in areas outside of my vision. Months would pass and the visions would start to creep back up in my thoughts, conversations, and dreams. I was consciously being reminded and called back to where I should be. Taking the responsibility of the risk required took time. It was a process and something I do not speak on lightly. I know firsthand the choices we make can plant seeds that turn into deep roots of regret and shame. The depths of the consequences are so deep it becomes impossible to separate yourself from the pain. We take on extra layers of identity and begin living lives filled with 40+ hour work weeks, overrun with stress and emptiness. There is an echo in the void that once housed what we hoped for, what used to bring us pleasures, and where we were living in purpose.

Depending on the individual, it may take more or less time to find yourself in the full circle moment. Sometimes things can become clouded by where you are or the people around you. Understanding the importance of community, a place in people where you find yourself supported and encouraged along the way. Do not go the journey alone, we were not designed to be alone. Face your pain, speak it to release it, get yourself held accountable to stay on your course. It takes a village to raise a child; it takes a community for healing.

In The Ravens Eye

Expectancy, defined as the feeling or hope that something exciting, interesting, or good is about to happen. How long can we live motivated by expectancy? It is easy to underestimate the perseverance required for patience. The advertisement of adversity is often understated; the pressure placed on the most intimate areas of life will either produce diamond gems able to weather the storms of the years or stones that will be weathered away and forgotten. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” once you realize it is only you who gets to decide whether you hold the stone or the diamond. One would think it would be easy to separate the stones from the diamonds…instead it is like recognizing the blessings of abundance in the mist of lack, the fullness of being whole while broken.

Being in the eye of the storm offers a unique perspective, there is no other calm comparable. When it seems Murphy’s Law is in full effect, there is the time to become re-centered. While the chaos is happening, it is easy to see where the pieces fit into the puzzle. Although attachments are being uprooted, you will find that you can live without. The weight was keeping you satisfied in your stationary state since it was harder to move forward than it was to stay. While it may feel like your breaking being pushed to the bottom, you’re merely bending…being molded into a new form of being that better suits the new experiences that you have been dreaming, manifesting, expecting.

So here I find myself, in the season of expectancy, the feeling or hope that something exciting, interesting, or good is about to happen. Not because life is going so well or because I am where I thought I would be. Not because I have seen anything to tell me so. It is simply because I remind myself daily: I’ve come too far in my life’s journey to stop here; I’ve given and grown in love too much to sit in hate; God has been too good to me and come through too many times to not have the faith that it will be done again. Every dead end was the beginning of a new journey, never allow yourself to become blinded to the truth. If you become the type of person that allows situations to override what has been proven…you will continuously chase whatever the new thing is. It’s about time to live out life in your truth. It’s about time to start getting comfortable with all things you. If you don’t know what that is, it’s never too late to start the process of discovery. Make the commitment to yourself today to start living free and true. Give yourself the time to heal and permission to live a new life.

The duality of expecting anything is that it happens when you least expect it. It just sort of sneaks up on you, taking you by surprise, making you look back on all you’ve been through and realizing each step brought you to where you are. Who will I be when that moment comes, where will I be in life, and how it will all come together…I leave all that to the mystery of life. There does not always have to be a concrete answer or assurance to take the leap of faith required…you may even be surprised that what was expected has been yours all along.

What’s Love Got to Do with It?

Dear Love,

My soul craves you, I can often feel you lingering in the atmosphere, I don’t have to ever meet you again, I may never get to know you again, but you were created as part of me since the beginning. In some form I have always had you. In my darkest of hours I have clung to you to spare me some life, just enough to keep going. I want to save your sweet nectars to cover my rotting flesh and cleanse me from the demons that try to consume me whole. I may cast you aside often in the guise that I am fine without you but you know that because of you my heart beats. I need you.
I will keep you close to me as my sole companion. With you, I have the power to create new forms of you and transfer your kindness to others just like me. You have given me such strength and confidence I can’t imagine how fragile I would be without you. When you picked me up and held me so close I finally knew comfort and peace. When you told me that you were always there watching and protecting me, I knew I could trust in you.
My new home is not the same without your company. In this new place, where I feel so alone, I can’t seem to find where I last left you. I miss you. If this letter reaches you before its too late and you’re not too busy, let’s hang out like we used to. You can come over and stay the night, we can share in laughs and a warm meal. Bring with you good company that will stay with me too. I know love is patient love is kind love does not envy love does not boast love is not proud love does not dishonor others love is not self-seeking love is not easily angered love keeps no records of wrongs and I need someone just like you to stay with me always. This time I won’t be the one to leave, this time I won’t be scared to let you heal me. Oh love, won’t you be mine again?
As I continue to search for my place in this world, it will always be you who I have been searching for. I’m older now and not quite the same as before, but I know the bond we have is forever. I can, and I will have you once more, this time it will be better than before. I promise. This time I know to wait for you, because in patience you grow. This time I know there is no substitute equivalent. Oh love of mine, please come to me again in this lifetime. Before you come to me again, let The Spirit leave the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Let me outgrow the pains of discipline and savor the taste. Until then, I’ll live in the visions of our new life. Keep in touch, don’t let too much time pass before we contact again.

Walking Without Sight

Have you ever found yourself in the midst of reality and your dreams? I have always had big dreams and expected those dreams, that I turned to goals, to become a reality. Now that I am living parts of my dream, I know the next steps are not too far away. The feelings I have often overwhelm me, I never thought I would experience this kind of joy and gratitude for life. All my hopes are now being realized and it feels so good have the hard work and faith show its worth. But it was not too long ago I was experiencing sorrows and heartbreak, so much so those moments left me filled with doubt and uncertainty. I was allowing myself to mentally re-write my dreams, and that could have easily changed the course of my life. More so, it could have robbed me of some of the best gifts of life…Even now as I write this blog reflecting and processing my emotional rollercoasters, I know that I am more prepared to climb out of the lows and humbled enough to enjoy the view while at the highs.
It is in the hard times we must recall that it is the journey that justifies the destination. How else could we be prepared for anything except we experience? Life is the best teacher because it is human nature to only be able to understand from your perspective. We must be humbled to a level where our perspectives can reach outside ourselves. It doesn’t take much to remind us of the nature of our beings, whether it be good or bad. Remember that both live within and one does not subtract or add to the other. Rather these halves are to remain in balance like left and right, life and death.
Often, I find myself caught in a crossroads that I have overworked myself into creating out of nothing. I want only the good forsaking the need for bad, I want to go only right without ever thinking about left, I want to live without ever having to face death. I choose to throw off the balance, by avoiding what isn’t so pleasant I choose to not learn the lesson… I choose to stop my growth. Then, I find myself in a cycle of living my life for the moment and not living for purpose. I have to stop and remind myself, for everything that went wrong, for every no, for every tear shed, just around the corner there was my opposite: everything falling into place, a bigger better yes, stomach aching laughs and good times. I easily forget how far God has brought me, and more importantly that God has yet to leave me and never will. The best fruit is not forbidden just disguised as difficult times, hard work, sacrifice, the impossible.
The journey is not easy, finding the strength to carry on another day is not always easy, but we must find it to continue to walk even though we cannot always see where we are being lead. We must have faith in the unseen. Transcend the senses to discover what it’s like on the other side.

Sister Soldiers

Strong woman…what does that mean? What kind of woman is that and why should I aspire to be her? Is it supposed to be a kind of compliment? What exactly makes her strong…do I embody her strength, and should I want to? The strength results from enduring every and any kind of pain. Being a survivor of years of emotional torture is something like a rite of passage into womanhood. Serving and submitting to everyone else and becoming their desires and living to meet their needs doesn’t appeal to me as a life worth living. I can’t help but ask myself…are we strong women or is the world somehow infatuated with our brokenness? I know for myself, it has taken years to pull of the layers and truly be fulfilled in the woman I am. First, I had to discover who I really was and learn to let everything that is me be enough even if I was somehow lacking to anyone else. I’ve always been known to be quite good at all things professional and business related. I know how to be serious, strict, and sophisticated… but those methods to “success” were not so successful outside of that world. I couldn’t be a boss with love, I wasn’t in charge of emotions and feelings that were largely non-existent in the professional world. I was largely out of touch with my softness and beauty that made me, not in a meek helpless sense but in the true power of the female image. I had learned and been hardened into outwardly appearing as a woman but adopting all the charge of a man. Frankly, not many men in my life have ever lived up to any standard of manhood, so why not just assume yet another responsibility… after all boys will only be boys while girls will go on to grow into women who will be scrutinized and condemned.
Letting go of control can be hard, society would have you think that it’s just men who suffer in silence or are made to deal with both self-inflicted and societal pressures, but it’s the same for women as well. Not recognizing the equality that both sexes have struggles: hidden, realized, and unknown is a disservice to the balance of nature. Sometimes we can ALL feel like you have no control over who you are. Emotions can run wild; all the while traumas are being triggered at any given time fueling the energy of our current state. But the reality is that no woman completely fits the cookie cutter of the perfect wife, mother, sister, daughter etc., each is unique with her own essence of beauty, yet the world is not any closer to understanding, loving, and appreciating women in the most basic sense of being a woman. Relationships cannot validate you…children cannot replace the void of missing love… conformity will not comfort you…until being uniquely you is enough for you how can it ever be enough for anyone else?
Often times, I can’t help but feel I am only as good as body. I mean that in the superficial sense for society. I mean that in the most intimate sense for my husband. I mean that in the natural sense for my children. I have internalized that I only measure up to whatever look is on trend, how desirable my body curves, the softness of my skin, the sweetness of my scent, the tenderness in my voice, the muteness of my voice, how much burden I can bare without bending or breaking. In the end, I was only left alone bathing in my tears that had gotten so polluted they could not longer cleanse me.

Feature Artist

The new Instagram feature has brought back one of my all time favorite creatives… Jade! If you like the video, download IGTV and check her out @lipstickncurls.

 

 

Feature Artist

I hope the message from this series blesses you by giving you a revelation about yourself and hopefully some encouragement.

Water Falls…Wells Break

There is a discipline required to enjoy life, providing an order and protection. There is only one truth that encompasses all, but there is not one path for everyone through the journey of life. It takes alone time, stillness, and self-recollections to gain clarity and vision for your life. For so long, maybe too long for some, we have been programmed to just go with the flow not realizing that we can command the direction of the flow. We don’t think we have the power to demand the promises of life granted to ALL. Instead, every media outlet pacifies you with depictions of what you should want summed as hashtag goals. Disconnect for as long as it takes to root so deeply in YOUR desires. Discover the love your soul is truly craving, discover the passion that will afford your lifestyle, discover the diet that nourishes your body, discover the path that is uniquely you. Let go of the weights that make the journey too difficult, contrary what you may think, the weight won’t make you stronger rather it will hinder and unnecessarily slow you down.

Oftentimes, the weights come in the form of a person or other addictions. I have had my fair share of disappointments and let downs. I have had the one great love that left me empty and heartbroken. I have put my everything: health, wealth, happiness, security, into a person. The failing relationship was not enough to shake me to my core, apart of me believed that things would get better, that if I loved hard enough and stayed true enough, somehow I would get what I deserved. Somehow, I could love out what hurt me the most. In the end I never felt I or my love would ever be enough, the course of my life would not turn around and the pain would not become a distant memory of the past. I had to learn that failures were apart of life and not to take them too personal. A bit of Karma mixed with the programmed life lessons were pushing me to my greatest understanding.

It took me some time to realize that I could physically write out the course of my life. I was given permission from the beginning to have my hearts desires. Now, having taken the time to understand myself and what I want to consider my life full, everything that I wrote down and was asking for is coming to pass. No, it didn’t happen immediately but in its proper time. My harvest is so full of sweet good fruit I feel I must share the seeds. I finally have peace and can rest knowing that all is and will be well, not because it always looks or feels that way but because I have decided to firmly plant my life, and everything aspect of it, in God. I understand that there are those that may call God as different names (the universe, inner voice, supernatural, etc.) and may still not agree with the connectedness of it all. Whatever the path, the name, the religion, the place… once an understanding resonates, settle there and allow it to guide you in your truth.

Life is not as mystical or complicated as I used to make it. Yes, bad things happen and we go through difficult times, but it doesn’t take away the gift of today and the bright rewarding future. Holding on to the worries and negativity shouldn’t be the driving force for protection any longer. No I don’t have the perfect relationship or love, no I don’t have all the riches in the world, no my family is not harmonious…but I learned that those do not make me who I am. Situations cannot take me any further than my attitude, because I should know that through ANYthing I will be okay and it will work out for my good. Of course hindsight is 20/20, but know in the now with 20/20 certainty that everything is working in divine order: the relationship, the friendship, the career, the family, the grief, the loss, the gains….trust that the overflow is purposeful preparation.

Feature Artist

 

I have stumbled upon The Bible Project and really enjoy their presentation style. Watch all short but effective videos in the 3 part series for a perspective on wisdom and the good life. Stay tuned for my next blog post touching on some aspects of this mini series with a personal touch, Enjoy!

Tell Me You Love Me

As a sucker for romance, I like a good love story. Whether it’s a movie, a mushy book, or my everyday life I will always love, LOVE. From your own life experiences, you may know that love comes in many forms: family, friends, partners. Love is expressed and received as unique as the individual source. Sometimes it’s the words spoken other times it’s the actions shown that we need to carry us through. Although the world can seemingly harden you to this richly rewarding core of life, we are born craving love, such as we must catch each breath, to sustain our existence. Whenever I am challenged with other, not so beautiful, side of love, I have to ask myself…what happens when your conception was not the result of the beauty of love? What happens when all around you is a misrepresentation and manipulation of the truest and purest parts of being? There becomes a child, growing and rooting into adulthood, believing that they will be everything they need, and somehow it will be enough. For what is a life filled with hurt, pain, abandonment, rejection, inadequacy, and emptiness? After all you would never hurt yourself or leave. Everything you would ever need and want, you could provide for yourself…right? Funny thing is, even you aren’t as reliable and stable as you need yourself to be.

I often messed up the purest and happiest moments of my life because I was afraid of an impending let down. I thought happiness was something to always be longed for. I thought it was something everyone else got to have but for some reason I would never have it. I could console myself with endless daydreams of my perfect life. These dreams were filled with every hope that was denied to me, but more importantly these dreams were the parts of me that were rejected, the parts of me I was afraid to let be known, the thoughts I could never speak else they became reality. I never liked the idea that you needed someone to complete you. I never liked promises or hope, they always left me more empty and lower than I was before. I was comforted living in cynicism, at least this way my hopes and belief never got high enough to be let down or leave an opportunity to be hurt. I was so scared to be hurt, I couldn’t live. I forbid myself to be human for any reason. These forbidden parts were made up of my feelings, thoughts, and desires that could all be credited to the fact that I never really had anyone to be there for me no matter what the circumstance. Still, there is something inside me that always thinks “protect yourself, they can’t ever know you 100%…human love just doesn’t work that way”.

Years later, I realized I wasn’t protecting myself from anything, instead I had denied myself the very love I wanted…and later learned I needed. Any chance I had to give love, I avoided because it was denied to me. Any chance I had to receive love I rejected, it was easier to never know it and never lose it. I had finally understood what love really was. Although love doesn’t ensure only positive experiences, it can help guide you in understanding and healing. No matter what losses you take, remember life comes in circles and cycles. For every up there is down. For every loss there is gain. The catch is to never forget to equally value love: from yourself, family, friends, and the great loves we encounter. The minute you discredit any part of the love foundation, you will throw off your balance.

Love is not easy because we as humans are not perfect. We must first be shown love to properly give it and so many of us are hurting and broken, instead of searching externally we must pull from depths inside where love and compassion innately exist. Clear out the noise from society to hear your soul speaking what you need to move past the past into your loving future.

          With Love,

            Freetalk 09

Black Card Revoked

I was given my black card on August 17, 1994…my birthday. The day I entered this world through my mother’s portal of life. They say that you choose your parents or maybe it’s you choose your mother. Whatever the case, I’m glad I was grown and birthed by a black woman. There is a certain essence of life that exists when you’re a black woman, a greater appreciation for love and beauty. There is a unique way that you are made to see light in the darkness. Maybe it’s the acquired strength that comes from being last picked, forcing you to pick up and carry layers in addition to your already heavy load.

The darkness creates an environment where anything can be unleashed, the parts that you’re too ashamed for everyone to see. The darkness is the place where you can be free to be exactly who you want to be. Never having to be ashamed of you are, because there, in the darkness, you are hidden. The burden is we, the black women, can see what you have hidden within us. We are left pregnant with your secret sicknesses, birthing within ourselves self-hate mixed with pieces of the deepest hurts from love.  

Popular culture depicts a perfect, albeit harmonious picture of blackness as an appreciated culture and history. Well the reality is quite different than a viral Instagram photo or hypersexualized idolization of our black bodies. There is an overwhelming emulation of the stereotypes of a nigger. What’s worse to me is the welcoming of these absurdities from my own people. Too many times have I witness, and even been assigned to, the “not black enough” black group, while black cards are freely handed out to those who can afford to adorn themselves with the latest urban trends in street wear. We can protest for equal treatment on all available platforms, rally together to fight injustices, and bring awareness to what it is to be black in America. But somehow, we lack the ability to stop passing out free black cards! I don’t understand why they are placed on a pedestal above and paraded as better, the standard.

To those who are deemed worthy of the pass, who feel so entitled to speak on the black struggle, hear me the black woman: don’t take our circumstance and your passive observations to equal up to our lives. There are so much to my people that words cannot give it justice. Simply put, there are so many of us that do not have the strength to bear the burden, it is so heavy that it kills us daily but is given names like: addicts, drug dealers, thugs and the list could drag on. I’m so sick of my blackness, being reduced to pieces of a person and aspects of life.

We are more than, even though we have been conditioned to accept less than.

Feature Artist

I am happy to feature transformation church again, this message is one that should be shared to the masses. My hope is after watching this video you will be encouraged to pursue that dream, to complete that project, and start walking in your purpose. I know that for at least one person, this is what you need in order to start living the life you were always meant to. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

Sick as Your Secrets

It’s always the bad days we try to keep a under wraps, the failed relationships, financial crisis, loneliness, the depression that creeps from the depths choking out the bit of light at the end of the tunnel. We are fragile creatures afraid of one more heartbreak, one more let down, one more thing to fall apart. There is an underlying fear of not knowing just how close the next one is. In each “thing” that we keep protected in secrets is the sickness of our humanity. We will never be revealed to be healed from ourselves, so long as we keep secrets. We must admit a lot of who we really are is hidden in the depths of our secrets. In those secret places are the pieces of ourselves we have abandoned for one reason or another. We re-visit these forbidden places to reconnect to authentic pieces of reality. Not everything that was left to be devoured by the darkness is evil in its nature. Often, we allow the purest things in life to get twisted with perversion. We have all been through so much during our walk of life, and it is all to be used for a purpose.

I can remember each pivotal moment in my life. Each sentiment saved in dates, times, moments, feelings…memories. The realness of the past coupled with all of the woes of the now, can make suffering through the combination unbearable. But you are only as sick as your secrets. The reasons you hold on so desperately to protect them could be weights you need to release yourself from the holds. Finally, there could be glimpses of each stumbling block turning into building blocks. There could be realizations for reasons for each season thus far in life. Let go of the control and maintenance of the dark, let the light reveal your sickness. Let in the unforeseen cure for the secret disease. What you desire, you will receive once you become and build the character to take care of it. What has broken you, will build you once you are no longer afraid to admit and allow healing.  

 I know that although I have made it so far and through so much, there is more to come. I take time to embrace my moments alone. In the silence, I let my secrets whisper to me. I let the pain flow through my soul. I remind myself that the tears are the life-giving water for the situation.   My experiences have yet to finish. I am still building my personal perception. I know that how I view myself should be built on the basis of confidence and revelations from the lessons of life. I am no longer afraid to admit that sometimes, more often than not, I am lost. Situations flip so fast, and there, in the calm, as the tables are turning, I find the peace.  

Remember there is always a blogger behind the blog, a musician behind the music, singer behind the song, who is living and battling life. One day, when we stop keeping secrets and protecting false images we will unveil the community in which we seek, the soulmates we long to connect with, the freedom in happiness and peace. Until then we remain, slaves to the sickness of the secrets we keep.

 

His Story

February was the moth of reverence for my people in America. I took the time to reflect on the stories that made it to history and learned more about influential and exceptional African Americans. At the same time, I realized I am creating my own story. With each passing day, I am living what will be my history. I am making memories and leaving marks that live on past my existence.

Being Black in America is riddled with essentially the same strife as when Africans were forced into slavery. There tends to be two major classes of attitudes: those who are grateful and making the best of what is presented and those who demand to even the scales of justice. I tend to fall in the latter category. I demand acknowledgement of the long suffering and consequence of survival in the face of death, racisms, rape, humiliation, dehumanization… I demand restitution. Who really feels the depths of melanin more than my people? Who really hears our heart cry for equality in every land in every tongue? Who really cares that we have to choose for our children give up their lives or their minds…

I am also challenged to spend the month of march reflecting on the accomplishments of women. The double minority it is to be a Black woman, is not fully encompassed in many platforms. I can easily become overwhelmed and discouraged. Sometimes I have to ask myself “should I post this blog about that?” “Is anyone out there going to understand?” “Is my voice on this subject needed?” ABSOULUTELY!!!! I had to get myself out of my funk and focus on what I have the power to control. I focus on what I am faced with daily…building my family. Building up my loved ones and planting the seeds in them to know that they are someone and they are value. Even if it’s their value is seen only by me, even if their life just inspires me, that’s enough and they are more than enough.

Some days, I must give this encouragement to myself.  I wake up filled with energy and excitement for what is ahead. I can be so full of promise and expectancy nothing can bring me down. I am reminded of this on the days I can’t seem to shake the sleepiness and get the day started. I try to hold on to this energy and promise for those days I dread before they arrive. I refuse to allow emotions, passions, and feelings to be the fuel for life. I have done so in the past believing that these were true and pure in nature. However, the results are a rollercoaster cycling of life. For a short while we are on a steady climb. Soon, we will hit a roll where things are going well but coming too fast. Then, comes the downfall. As suddenly as the plummet came, our feelings, emotions, and passions change. Consequently, our actions reflect that change. Now we are no longer living our history, we are living in moments dictated by the good and bad. You start to create time capsules that hold energy not meant to be resurrected but will erupt and repeat in our history as a legacy.   

Learning to accept that life isn’t static; as much as the change can bring pain, it can bring waves of opportunity and love. Still, we are to remain who and what we were created to be. We were not meant to be carried by the wind otherwise we would be enabled to fly. Our stories may never become a part of history, nevertheless the essence of your life will live on. Let it be a spirit that will be released in the universe as an aid to promote life. So many from the past have set the foundation, a foundation that has supported so many generations. However, the foundation can only withstand a limited amount of abuse. There is a present need for re-presentation of humanity, strength, and love. There is a present need for a re-creation of a foundation that will support the future generations that are different than the old. They have additional challenges from society that need incorporation and representation.

Although there have been some advancements towards progress, there is a lot going on in society to circumvent and make ways for the same patterns of repetition that has made history, that has crept their ways into our minds, and into our families. The cycles have only taken us further down a dark hole. Of course the change we want to see begins within, but don’t forget to extend your roots to. Bring nourishment to others as well. It’s not about making history or herstory, is about making ourstory.

Man Made

There is such a push in society to do things the “right” way. However, there has been little questioning regarding this seemingly simple ideology. Upon further reflection, selfish self-centered thinking is uncovered. The man-made way of life seems to be comprised of everything anyone could ever want. Yet we forget that man, so full of mistakes and misfortune, is flawed. Even so, man has become so full of self. More is better and the faster the better has become apart of who we are. In the end, we are exhausted and drained of life. There is still an emptiness and hunger on the inside of us, pulling us closer to the pace of life we are supposed to be living.

Unfortunately, there is no cookie cutter way of doing anything. Everything is unique to each one of us and in that there is so much to celebrate. For some reason, we would rather live life in a competition. Thinking that somehow the goodness in someone else’s life is the absence of good in our lives.  Forgetting that we were all created equal NOT the same. Take the time to see the beauty in the path for each of us, and knowing my path was not paved over yours. So, there is room for us both on this journey…at our own pace.

Understand that the actual journey is also designed specifically for you. So, don’t think that just because we go through life at a different pace that we are supposed to do the same things at different times. Focus on finding yourself, freeing your mind of what you have been made to believe, freeing yourself what you have been made to do. We have been so far removed from ourselves we can no longer identify with what aligns with us. What we feel is not true as feelings are based on a contoured reality, our emotions are misguiding, our minds are corrupted. And so, we let comparison set the standard. We fall victim to not living our own life. Our accomplishments are based on how fast milestones are reached, how much money is made, how much better we are than our neighbor. 

There are those who would disagree that there is a need for a higher being, something outside of ourselves. But I suggest because we are not birthed from ourselves there is an innate desire for connection. We hope that people and things can be enough. We hope that by being busy and the constant motion complied with exhaustion, means we are progressing. Invite stillness into your life. There, I believe you will find yourself and the true meaning of your life. Consequently, you will attract appropriate connections, whether it be for this season or a lifetime.   

Stay tuned for updates as I too walk away from man-made living to divine, purposeful, intentional living. I am fulfilled and enjoy my life more so now because it is not about holding up the standards and withstanding the pressures of my grandparents, parents, siblings, friends, and career.

Pieces 2 Peace

Being broken is not usually thought of as a stepping stone to becoming whole. That was until I intentionally broke myself down piece by piece until I restored peace to my life. Although my journey is not over, I can finally start to see the progress. It has been worth the hiatus from writing and music, where I could easily escape facing my real issues. Having the discipline to stay committed was a gradual process. I wasn’t in a rush to make some magical transformation, I wanted a life change.

Interested in the process? Start by addressing where you are in life now, then identify where you want to be. Shift your focus to how you want to feel, how you want to see yourself, how you want your life to be. Really take the time to grasp what it is you want to change in your life and in you. Why are you having certain feelings, or feel a pull to certain situations/people/places?

Each day, pick a piece of yourself and take the time to understand it. Allow yourself to feel whatever feelings are associated. Do this until you gain clarity on that piece. For instance, you will know whether to keep it, mend it, or discard it. You have every right to the fullness of life. You have the power to experience the best of life, if only you decide to.

“Playing it safe” will keep you in a box you were never meant to live in. “This is just the way it is” isn’t how your life was purposed to be. “This is the way I am” doesn’t have to define you anymore. No, this won’t be something that will be a comfortable and easy process. Challenging is a lighthearted way to put it. Refrain from people and activities that subtract from your focus. There tends to be so much noise and confusion. Focus on your inner voice, God speaking to you. Do so with purpose, listening and applying, until that voice overpowers the noise and clears the confusion. Until that voice becomes distinct and recognizable in your life.

This doesn’t mean that you will start becoming a pious person. In fact, quite the opposite is true. This isn’t about putting yourself on a pedestal. This isn’t about becoming better than anyone else. It’s about unwrapping yourself. It’s about no longer living a life filled with potential. It’s about activating and using what you are equipped with.  You are carrying many seeds, some for you some for others. Taking the seeds planted within you since the time of your conception, will require time. In the form of investing in you. This could mean taking the time to develop your gifts. This could mean taking the time to heal physically, mentally, emotionally. Because so often we live life according to what we think, how we feel, or what we and others have been through. I know for me, this hasn’t always led to making the best decisions for myself. So instead, I focus on building my spirit. The fruit of the spirit that lives in you is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Things I want to have become my nature and manifest in my life.

Whatever areas in your life that need a change will require a natural effort from you and the supernatural (whatever the means to you, God, the universe, ancestors etc) will fill the gap. Nothing about this is a 2018 journey. Nothing about this is an easy quick fix to a problem. What this is about, is urging you to take your pieces to build your body and life of peace.

Feature Artist

I have been taking some time to work on myself. I have just finished watching and reflecting on a series that I discovered through social media. This has helped me to progress and see things in a new light in areas of my life I have found struggle and desired growth. I hope that you too will find something that will speak new life into your current state.

Feature Artist

Many of you may already be familiar with Jade as Lipstickncurls and follow her on social media. I’ve had the opportunity to meet her once during my time at WSSU through my roommate at the time. Although I’m sure she doesn’t remember that meeting, when I saw her on YouTube I connected with her content outside of beauty. She has started a new YouTube channel Jade Chronicles that I am excited to see grow. If you haven’t already been affected by the realness, please check out more from this artist.

Instagram: @lipstickncurls

Snapchat: itsjadekendle

YouTube: Lipstickncurls or Jade Chronicles

Shoot Your Shot

We have been living off the benefits of our ancestors for far too long. The roots are starting to run dry. There has been nothing to water the soil as a source for the roots. I know many have heard that it all starts with a mind change. No one ever talks about the struggle, making it seem as though the mind change changes everything. If only it were really that simple. We have started the mind change. But the change of the mind takes time before it takes root in your roots.

The heart is your root. Too often the mind and the heart are disconnected. One of the greatest internal conflicts. It can be as simple as not wanting to wake up but knowing that you must for responsibility sake. To as complex as knowing that moving forward requires letting go of the promising future and taking a few steps back to the past, where you left your promises for the future.

Our ancestors did the hard part, the part we can’t seem to come back to. They laid the foundation for a better life for us all. And what have we done with it? What do we have to show for the prayers and sacrifice except being alive? We have waisted opportunities laying at our feet. We are more concerned with how things will benefit self, when our ancestors fought for our rights with the idea that one day we would exist, and we would have needs.

It’s the sacrifice and sticking through the process until the end parts that are the most difficult. I know every day is not easy to maintain. Moods, emotions, and situations change making you question yourself. But remember, once the seed is planted it must be nurtured and then the sprout appears. The life of the sprout relies heavily on the roots. Don’t sleep on the preparation phase. The days of instant gratification have made us so ungrateful. Have made us mistake the bad for good. Have made us settle because we have no time to wait.

I say us because it is a collective issue. Thinking we have come so far because of our own merit when there is an unseen work in our lives. Providing all good things regardless if we deserve them. That’s the nature of the Spirit, providing life and uplifting us all. It is not dependent on us but what came before us. So what foundation have laid? What have we given back to the Spirit, or have we only used it for our benefits?   

Can you hear the unborn crying out for their needs? Can’t you see they too will be lost? Does their pain not affect you? We are no longer children. We must face the past, learn the lessons, retain our growth, to move forward in who we were created to be. There is an urgency for you. A space that only you can fill. The present and future need you to be who you really are. Today is a new day, the day you can decide to step into your divinity.

A Friend in Need

Realizing that you need you more than anyone else is not the same as hopping on this new age train of allowing hurt to make you forsake love, friendship, and relationships overall. Sometimes realizing you need you more than anyone else is because you can no longer recognize who or what you are. You wake up in a daze of confusion where the days start to blur together. Where the background noise and responsibility drown out your inner self screaming for your attention.

See there are so many situations that will turn your heart cold to love and any kind of relationship. If you’re one of the lucky few who don’t get hardened, or who get escape the harsh realities of human nature, you’ll learn how to navigate in this world missing pieces of yourself. What I mean is, there is no amount of being picky that will help you pick the right type of people. We don’t choose our families yet somehow everyone is placed and taken out of our lives for a reason. Just as those mistakes, situationships, heartbreaks happened so that a mirror may be held to our lives. We can only see ourselves through reflections, so what is your life and decisions reflecting about your mind?

How many times have you found yourself reading, watching tv, seeing a movie and wishing that was your life? How many times has a new year started and your filled with such high hopes that fade with each rising sun? In the end your back to being reduced to think that perfect situations only exist in fiction and our imagination. There is NO way I can have everything I want, I must have to sacrifice something right? You’ll just have to simply settle for your top choices and live comfortably with that. Even if you don’t get those you should learn to be grateful, I mean only the small things count, right?

While there are small reminders daily to help us remember the good in life, there are equally important reminders of when you need to take time alone to recharge. You are no good to yourself or others without being replenished. I’ve learned to take the time and slow down. I wake up and dedicated the first of my day to enhancing my spiritual and mental state. I make a cup of coffee read and write to myself and God. Some days, I’ll take a walk to my destination, feeling the breeze, soaking up the sun, and really seeing the trees. I may decide to treat myself by cooking up a delicious meal. Sometimes, I write this blog to preserve a passion.

I see so much sadness and emptiness in people. Getting to know so many people, having so many experiences, getting to live years of their life never knowing, experiencing the most important person: SELF. Never forget that you are the cake of your life and everything else is the icing. So, let the cake be your favorite and let the icing enhance the taste. I know this is the start of a new beginning for many of us and we have so many places we will see, things we will do, and so many feelings we will have in the greatness to come.

Here is to never forgetting or replacing the relationship with ourselves.

Feature Artist

This feature artist is a fellow blogger and WSSU alumni. Although we weren’t particularly close in college, I have grown to respect April through her blog http://www.apriljoyelle.com there you can find pieces on a variety of topics that will inspire thought and offer new perspectives. I have linked a few of my favorite posts below, but PLEASE visit her site and read others.

https://www.apriljoyelle.com/2017/07/06/patriotism-through-my-eyes/

https://www.apriljoyelle.com/2017/06/09/lets-be-the-ones-racial-reconciliation/

https://www.apriljoyelle.com/2017/03/13/why-we-left-how-the-church-can-help/

https://www.apriljoyelle.com/2017/03/25/why-we-left-making-our-way-back-home/

Broken Vows

As the new year approaches, it’s easy to fall on either side of resolution making. Some look forward to creating a laundry list of betterments that will only last short term. Others will resolve to stay the same. Whatever your approach to the new year, be true to you. Only you know the changes that need to be made and changes that need to stay. Instead, I offer this idea that has been simmering inside me. An idea that is not new, but just now resonating in my depths:

Learning yourself is something that is not readily done.  Loving yourself is something that very few achieve before leaving this realm. I have decided that I will dedicate to studying myself and listening to what my body is communicating to me. This is not something mysterious that takes some special gift. It simply means slowing down and taking time in the morning, midday, and evening to refocus yourself and adjust accordingly. We’ve all experienced that not quite right feeling, but what have we ever done about understanding it? We’ve all had flash backs of the past, but why is it calling back to you? What is unresolved? What have you neglected to feel that has stunted your growth? This is just a glimpse of what I am consciously focusing on daily.

Taking the steps to accepting and loving myself requires a bit more work. Doing so requires you to let go of who you are now. It requires you to build yourself new in the natural. Remove the falsehoods and subscriptions. Every day do what feels right to you. Will I do my hair, maybe?  Is that outfit okay, absolutely! How awesome would it be to be loved for EXACTLY who you are? For whatever and wherever you are, wouldn’t it be nice to just feel free in yourself. It would feel so much better to know those around you are gravitating to the real you. Knowing that you don’t have to keep secrets because you have accepted and presented what is.

I am slowly learning to accept myself first. All of my flaws I want to own each and everyone of them. Starting with my acne. I’ve spent years covering up, dieting, and buying proactiv faithfully (yes it really worked for me). However, my back has never been clear of the scars. So many times, I have put the cute dress back. So many times, I couldn’t wear the perfect shirt because I was exposed. So many comments taken to heart because I didn’t walk in confidence. I thought I needed others to accept me to feel like I was beautiful despite my imperfections. As the years went on, there were more and more things I learned to hate about myself. Situations I’ve put myself in that still bring me shame. In reality, we are all hiding and suffering in silence. We are made to believe that we are the only ones afflicted with pain, a past, insecurities, mistakes, regrets, passions, desires, darkness.

I choose to never walk in shame again. For those who cannot accept the woman I am, oh well. For those who can look past my imperfections, may we meet and never loose our connection. I will not allow myself to be reduced to tears and retreat in shame. Because deep down I didn’t love me. Deep down I didn’t accept my shortcomings. Deep down I didn’t accept the consequences of my actions. Deep down I didn’t accept that I am imperfect and that is perfectly okay. Now the deep down has risen to the surface. At the cusp of the new year, I really need a new me.

From Yin to Yang

As a woman I know very little of the struggles and pressures men face. I have no idea what it’s like to transition from boy to man. All I know is the unanswered cry from this woman to men. I’ve laughed along countless times about a father not being ready for his little girl to grow up. The shot gun he’ll keep to protect her. All the boys he’ll run off. But I’ve never understood how a man could not want his little girl to experience love. I don’t see how men have missed their connection in the perceptions women have of them.

How is it that men can want their mothers, daughters, sisters, cousins, nieces, friends etc. to stay clear of men, encourage them that they deserve much better than their options, when you as a man desire the love from a woman? Could it be that you do not want to be found out as inadequate? Could it be that you know your darkest of hearts while she looks at you as the picture of perfection she’ll never find? Can you not imagine her being beaten, raped, lied to, betrayed, heartbroken, diseased, manipulated, and degraded in the ways in which you have done so many innocent just like her? Is she somehow better than the others, not deserving of what they deserved? Tell me how you can see yourself as a good man and not think that she can find someone for the example you have shown? Or is it that you have not been that example? Is it that you do not know a good man, including yourself? Is it that you have been preaching one thing and doing other things in the shadows you didn’t know had light?

If only men could take the first steps to be the type of man they want to be, instead of making excuses for what they do and how they treat women. Maybe if men would take the time to understand rape culture, they would know harmless isn’t so harmless. Then maybe, just maybe, you would see in yourself the warnings you give to your daughters, sisters, mothers, nieces, cousins, friends, etc.

From a woman to men,

I will always love with a real and gentle love. I will always be there to support you. I will always be there with the softness and strength only a woman can provide. I will always come running to your arms of protection. I will release my tears so that they may provide the water to soften the soil of your heart. May you become great men, may you produce even greater men. May you become the love you expect. The pain has been real but my faith in you is so even more.

 

Holiday Series

Finding ways to give back to those who have made the trials of life so much easier is important. Whether that time comes at the end of the year or sooner, it can be a hassle knowing they deserve so much more than your budget allows. Avoiding the “going for broke” cycle is easier than I thought.

The key for the holidays is to pay attention. If you listen or keep an eye out, you can pick up on small affordable items people need/want. The goal is to keep track of these items and pick them up to add as stocking stuffers. A series of these meaningful trinkets won’t break the bank and still make you look thoughtful. These stocking stuffers work well as last minute gifts that can add some extra.

Each stocking costs me no more than $30-40 total (gifts included). I buy the stockings and glitter pens from the dollar store. I personalize each stocking to reflect the taste of the receiver. If you’re not a crafty person, then you can also purchase templated designs or spend a little more on pre-designed stockings.

If your loved ones are anything like me, they don’t want or need much for Christmas. I’m a sentimental person to say the least, I prefer gifts that represent the giver. Especially things I can hold onto and cherish forever. The good news is its not hard or expensive to please these types of people. In fact, you can give these gifts throughout the holiday season. Taking some time off and helping out with errands, cleaning, and/or anything to make life a litter easier and less stressful. Don’t be afraid to create new traditions that are rooted in bringing family together and creating memories of happiness (that is what the holiday is about right?). Putting together a photo album of the past year with captions, making a family recipe book to pass down, and time capsule letters are just some of things I have done to make for a good time during gift unwrapping.

Buying gifts for all your family and friends this holiday season can start to add up. Trying to avoid the extra cost is something I’m going to make a reality this Christmas. I have found a few ways to escape the ever-growing costs of presents by giving with a purpose and everything is unique to the individual. Take the time to think about what you can give/do that will make a difference in their life. Materialistic people = material items. Pay for experiences that are priceless. Make the choice and commitment this holiday to start and expand on something that means so much more…if only for this time.

 

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!!

 

Surrogate Seeds

Too often the images of our future are spotted with stains of pressures, values, and goals that are blurring our pictured future. Often, events can seem to be causing confusion and messing up the path to our picture-perfect world. As the “mess” begins to fade away, we find that it was the disillusionment of the previous pressures, values. What seemed as messiness in your life was there for the purpose of cleaning up and providing clarity for what was hidden underneath. All along there was a purpose and passion reflected in your life. Whether you take the time to listen and find yourself in your journey of life depends on you taking the time for self-care.

Find purpose in every stage of your walk of life. This way you can gather the seeds from the fruits along the way to your purpose. Seeds that will grow into new life and knowledge. Once I took the time to question even the smallest things about myself and beliefs, I found the majority of what I wanted and how I saw myself were the reflections of my family and society. I had very little input on my own thoughts. It took so long to find what I liked and what I wanted. It seemed there would always be nothing to answer my questions of myself.

I had moments where I thought I found my passion. Whether it was debating on a topic or just speaking of the issues of society, there was a fire building inside me. Now, I have never been one to just aimlessly follow along. I’ve always had to find some truth to abide by the rules. As I was slowly challenging every belief I had, I was making my own rules and truths. I began to realize the importance of the knowledge of self as greater than knowledge of the world. I’ve heard: “…your cup runneth over…” but it wasn’t brought to my conscious mind until recently that what comes out of the cup is meant for everyone else. It is what is inside the cup that is meant for you. What’s in my cup? Am I giving away myself in hopes that its for you? What is left for me and my nourishment? That was the key. There was not an overflow in my life. I am filling my cup, fixing the cracks, and preparing for the overflow.

I say all this as a message that, you may stumble upon your purpose and passion when you discover your true self. You may not get to the final point in the way you had once imagined. While you are on this journey of life, ensure that you are paving the path to your purpose. Be renewed in knowing that it’s okay to make the choices that hurt you. It’s okay to not know. It’s okay to be healing. Rest assured that your nurtured seeds will grow into a bounty.  

Moving forward is not always easy when its out of your comforts. Finding ourselves outside of pain. Living our life outside the walls of protection we have built. We are living beings. Our existence is a multifaceted experience. Embrace it all.

 

Two Faces

Never quite black enough, will never be white. Everything is not as it seems. There is a duality in me.  Some can only see the white on me. What ever happened to the black woman living inside me? The same kind that birthed me. So easy to forget the value in me when no one else can see. Why should I be made to battle the two sides of me, why can’t they live in duality? If only they took the time to see, the same parts of me, make up Us in totality. You may say, that the way the sun kisses my skin, producing a golden hue different from my kin, makes me somehow different. A difference that is not celebrated within. Instead, it is celebrated by the outside with the purpose to divide. 

Little do they know, I have never known the other side. The other part of me, I cannot see in me. It was not a privilege granted to me. An identity unknown. A culture embedded in my genes, only to be seen by those who can see the unseen. Seeing a reflection of a face that is unlike the likeness of you, as you that consciously seeks connection. Not understanding the nuances of your nature. I have become a woman in the image of mystery. The unknown welcomes me as a familiar family. Secrets secure me providing the space for serenity.

I have often wanted to change the parts of me that do not reflect the blackness I desire to be the complete me.  It took growth and time to realize that in all things I am a black woman. It does not change whether others see this in me. My blackness does not come from my language, clothes, or music. It is my birth right, it is mine from birth. Nothing I do can make me more or less than what I am. Taking back my identity instead of shaping myself around pressuring views of who I was supposed to be, equipped me for my bloom.

Then, I did not know I was gathering the resources to fuel my growth. Accepting myself enabled me to have THE turning point in my journey. The fuel to continue was my building passion and courage. It all came to a moment that pushed me out of my box of comforts and normality. I wanted to establish myself as the me I wanted to be. I committed everything I had to invest in myself. Now where there once lived two faces, there is only one…me.

Realizing that humanity is more than a skin color. More than just localized culture. Maybe then we could all understand the pressure we are inflicting by biasing humanity based on the confines of our minds. Perceptions of people we have pushed to accept. Never pushed to think deeper about existence. Never questioned our separation to find our togetherness. There is a cry of people trying to “find their place” when it should be everywhere. The land is no respecter of person, place, or thing. It welcomes whosoever walks, takes space, resides to live.

In this journey of self-discovery, getting back to the basics is important. Take off the veils limiting your view: Republican-Democrat, White-Black, Old-Young etc. To find something you have been missing. A heart for the heartless, a love for the loveless, a friend for the lonely, a family for the orphan, a home for humanity.

Holiday Series

If your anything like me, then you’ve been waiting for this time of year. It is my absolute favorite. All of the friends, family, feelings, and food. I live for the pumpkin, peppermint, pecans, spices, and….GINGERBREAD!!! I especially like the Starbucks twist on this classic holiday flavor. But with all that comes with the holiday season it can get a little pricey to indulge. I have found that making my own gingerbread creations are just as satisfying. Try some of my favorite gingerbread recipes this holiday season:

Homemade Old-Fashioned Gingerbread

Gingerbread mixes are a great option when your short on time. As a grad student, I need all the quick fixes I can get without compromising the quality taste I desire.

Using the Betty Crocker gingerbread cake and cookie mix is a great starting point. Substitute the oil for real butter*, water for milk**, add an extra egg***. I recommend adding an additional tablespoon of cinnamon, a pinch of nutmeg, a splash of molasses for your taste is optional, and about a cup of sugar.

*Butter substitutes: applesauce is one of my favorite butter substitutes, especially for cake-like recipes. It creates a denser moister bread.

**Milk substitutes: I typically use coconut milk, but any non-dairy milk alternative will do just the same.

***Egg substitutes: I like to use bananas in place of eggs (¼ of a banana = 1 egg). However, this can cause a slight banana taste in whatever your making so account for that if not desired when adding flavoring.

Homemade Gingerbread Coffee Creamer

1 can of coconut milk

1 tablespoon molasses

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 pinch of nutmeg

¼ teaspoon ground clove

1 pinch ground allspice

Mix all ingredients and heat in a saucepan over medium heat, slowly whisking to allow all spices to combine. Store left-over creamer in refrigerator for about a week.  Add sugar to taste for each cup of coffee.

 

–          Enjoy these gingerbread treats to kick off the holiday season!

Impossible Possibility

Imagine your perfect world. Can could you see it, feel it, reproduce it? What would it take for you to have it today, tomorrow, in a year?

Now imagine someone cannot do this because their mind has been silenced. There is no thought outside what they have been programmed to think. This is the reality for many, succumbed to complacency and robbed of their promises. These promises are largely unknown because we have been made to believe that everyone can make it, so long as you try hard. We act accordingly by trying to find the escape. Trying to “get money”. Hoping that the propaganda will propagate happiness in our lives.

Instead we are left with the emptiness of a false reality. Leaving our souls searching for our lost identity. An identity stolen from our ancestors long ago. Diluted throughout history. Now it is unrecognizable to those who find it. We have assimilated the stereotypes to become our truths. The labels as the estimation of our worth. Our hair as the degree of the depth of our African roots. Our complexion as the consequence of superiority.

How sad to think that the fallacy runs so deep that this is speaking about only the black sleep. That somehow, WE are different, dare I say, better than THEM. We lack the savagery and ignorance THEY show. Our homes are NOT the same as their ghettos. WE are like THOSE. Those who have been painted to be better. Those that once oppressed. Those that set you free. Those that still hold the key to the bondage of We.  Rather this is a proposition of thought to make what is presented as impossible, a possibility. The possibility that we are all one. We are all birthed from the same blood. Making up unique parts of a whole. What lives in THEM lives in YOU.

The destruction of our nature and truth has made man the impossible possibility. To my people, all people, what you see is not what get. You decide whether to take what is given as is or to make something more. A superficial nature no longer will serve as substance. Our narrow views have made us lose sight of the number of our errors. Gradually becoming immune to the systematic destruction.  

Take the challenge: allow your mind to speak to you. Unveil your thoughts. Be guided by a sound mind and purified heart. Revisit your perfect world and find that you already are living in it.

 

I was always the brain before the beauty. My beauty never made me feel beautiful. It was only superficial: light skin and long hair. I knew there were so many who would kill for the privilege I had going for me. But still, it made no difference. I always wanted to first be seen, to be known as human, as feminine. I was only ever an idea to those around me. No one really getting to know me, the girl, Anissa. No one knowing that the brain was gifted to me. A gift it took too long to learn to appreciate. Those who saw the beauty, the girl, rarely ever got to know Anissa. It wasn’t until college I learned to let go of these holds. I decided to define my beauty and my womanhood.

I have been charged to think about the existence of a woman. What does it look like for a woman to find herself? There is this air of misconception that a woman is already whole. Equipped to handle all that men and society put on her. That women were created to fix, nurture, build, and support a broken boy into a man.  All while juggling personal and professional. A woman’s happiness is the happiness of her man/children.

Somehow, that’s how it’s supposed to be. What about the inside of the woman screaming: my brokenness, my healing, my emotions, my journey to me! I found myself feeling inadequate because boys didn’t want me the way they wanted other girls. It was first copy the math homework, write a paper, then slowly progressing into a secret desire. As the middle school days transitioned to high school, there was shift to the days of “cool guys” being interested. It was too late, I knew all too well how shallow people were. It was solidified at this time of my life.

But I still fell. I gave into the peer pressure, to the scam of being wanted. I allowed myself to be used. I allowed myself to be lied to. I allowed myself to be the second option. I allowed myself to be caught up and whisked away in an artificial reality. I started to believe that everything would either be temporary or I would have to accept what was given to me.

There never seemed to be a case where are the men were patiently and faithfully waiting on a woman to find herself. Why can’t he be whole while I am half? Where are the men who can bounce back from cheating? Where are the men forgiving a woman bringing a baby into the middle of the relationship? Where are the “just one more chance” chances for the women? Why are these scenarios rare for men but routine for a woman?

When and why have women fallen into whatever role society has placed her in? Whether it be beneath or beside a man, why can she not be her independently? Why can she not be her authentically? Regardless if men or society will ever change, I have found in my self-discovery, it all starts with you. Coming to terms with what you look like. Coming to terms with whatever type of woman you want to be (from the Lisa Bonet’s and Erykah Badu’s to the Kim K’s). Come to terms with your passions. Step into your purpose. No longer be pressured to fit into place. No longer stifle self-expression for the comfort of others.

Instead, offer you: past, present, and future. The past to remind and remain understanding of the lessons learned. The present, to prepare the foundation for the future. Sowing the seeds to start up the roots to the riches of life. To the future…I’ll let your mind write those words for you.

Tis The Season

I know there are so many mixed emotions about the holidays. Whether the meaning and history should be celebrated. I find myself caught in the same web wondering if I should support these holidays. The truth is, this is my favorite time of year. No, it is not about capitalizing on material gains. In fact, it’s all about the way this time of year makes me feel. It’s about when I’m snuggling up in a warm cozy space, amidst the unforgiving bite of the winter cold. It’s about the flavors and spices of the season. It’s about being inspired to contribute to something outside of self, if just for this one time. It’s the joy that comes from giving and seeing happiness in all forms being spread. Better yet, this time of year brings my family (and the memory of those pasted) together. Because of these, I cannot pretend that the reason for the season is anything else.

Be whisked away in the spirit of the holidays. Take the time each day to think of others. Actually put the important things in your life first. Dedicate each day to a family member, friend, or that special someone. The holidays don’t have to be about the glitz and glamour. To know and understand the history of Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween etc., is to know these have roots as sacred, religious, and cultural holiday’s as well as a worldwide commercial phenomenon’s. These times are observed with both spiritual and secular approaches. Regardless of your take, the celebration of positivity is not in poor taste.

 Don’t let a little insight, make you rob yourself of culture. For blacks, this is a culture we have appropriated to our own. The roots of many of these “traditions” are celebrated differently in the Black home, because of our segregation. The meanings for us have deeper roots that google can’t provide. Not supporting capitalism and ending materialism to enable the growth of our culture, does not come from stopping the spread of love and celebration of our family’s togetherness.

Take the time this season to ask yourself, are there ways I am supporting racism, slave history, unhealthy relationships, and misrepresentations of my people. Why are we so quick to discard without a second thought? Emphasis should always be on giving happiness, joy, peace, and love. While our day to day can consume our minds and actions, take this time to bring to the forefront of your focus: healing, family, unity.

 

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!

 

In the Belly of the Beast

It is fortunate to be alive in this information age, where everything you could ever want to know is just a google search away. However, many are not equipped to analyze and understand science. For every believe there seems to be some scientific study to prove it, and a population of people to believe it. There is a wealth of studies stating that evolution is impossible, global warming is a myth, and milk does the body good. However, it is important to criticize scientific studies and ask is it peer reviewed, what is the design of the study (double-blind, controlled, etc.), what sample size is used, what is the duration of study. Consider the journal of publication, replication of results, and funding sources.

It can seem like too much just to find an answer to a simple curiosity. However, in the case of understanding whether to jump on board the veganism train, these things should be considered when doing your searches. Veganism is gaining a lot of buzz as a way life meant for all humanity. There is a lot of debate on whether we should be eating meat as more than just a question of moral and ethical standards. The vegan diet is supported by science in that you can survive without consuming animal products. A healthy individual can synthesize their own cholesterol and ingest an adequate amount of protein by consuming a variety of plants daily. However, a vegan diet often results in vitamin B12 deficiency. B12 is a product of microorganisms, some animals (i.e. cows and sheep) absorb B12 from bacteria in their gut. Hence, why it is less likely for meat eaters to suffer from B12 deficiency. It is found to a lesser extent in soil and plants. So unless you are keen on eating your fruits and veggies straight from the ground, supplements of B12 will be required following a strict vegan diet.

The documentary on Netflix What the Health and The New York Times bestseller Eat Right for Your Type by Dr. Peter J. D’Adamo are popular sources that have shed different lights on this subject. Both have their criticisms, being debunked in one way or another.  The film and the book have a lot of facts, opinions, anecdotes, unsubstantiated claims, misleading statements, a few falsehoods. Remember that an MD or PhD after someone’s name does not guarantee that everything they say is reliable.

I encourage you to check out both sources for yourself as well as see what the critiques have to say. You may be surprised what you uncover about your own misconceptions about healthy dietary practices. There is also a disconnect between industry and government, pharmaceutical and health organizations. It is best to focus on trying to understand what your body is telling YOU. Health and what that looks like is unique to the individual. Learn how to accurately read the signs, your body is telling you when and what it needs or if it cannot tolerate something. While making the best dietary decisions for you, incorporating fresh foods that are grown as organically as possible is always one of the best options for yourself.

Fun Facts

Is it possible for scientists to bridge the gap between doubt and evidence? Is there any hope for truth to overcome belief? This is the dilemma of researchers and pediatricians alike regarding the decline in vaccination of children. Despite reports of measles, mumps, and whooping cough returning as well as a few cases of meningitis on the rise. About 1 in 4 Americans believe that vaccines cause autism. This popular belief has seemed to outweigh the control and elimination of numerous endemic infectious diseases.

It is not the sole responsibility of the public to try to grasp the adverse effects immunizations can bring. Rather the efforts of the scientific community strengthening the relationship with the public to increase awareness of falsified, manipulated, and poor science. It requires effective communication of methods of vaccine science. Successful responses to the myths that seem to pervade the public mind is essential to unveiling the contradictions to reality.

Incorporating scientific literacy should become a mainstream message as early as grade school. As well as greater efforts to target the importance of the scientific method so it is commonly understood. This way the public could understand and accept why the 1998 study published in The Lancet (which many of these false beliefs are based and used to support) was retracted. If scientist could see that it took until 2010 (12 years) for said study to be retracted, why the public perceives science as an elaborate fraud. If scientists could be doped into publishing Andrew Wakefield’s, M.D., work as a representation of sound science and research practice, how soon do we expect the public to jump back on board?

Feature Artist

It has been long overdue for me to feature Lac on my blog. I don’t know much about this artist personally or otherwise. Nonetheless, he is an artist with exceptional talent. I first discovered this artist from someone. The songs instantly resonated with me. I have attached a few of his many songs for your enjoyment as well two music videos. You can find a few of these songs on iTunes. I look forward to this artist getting mainstream recognition.

 

Lesson 101

As the end of the semester nears, I self-reflect on my second year teaching introductory biology lab courses. I’ve taught a variety of lab courses, and it makes no difference whether the students are majors or not. Neither does it matter the caliber of the student at the beginning of the semester. There is something empowering about seeing the growth in your students. Something in seeing the light in their eyes when they have achieved understanding. But what is more, these moments are rare. Instead, you are often left with heartbreak in seeing a failed system as students file into a college level lab without ever being taught to think.

Week after week, worksheets half complete and answers half composed. Little do they know; their future is not secured just because they are enrolled in a university. The promise of a degree at the end of these four years, is contingent on their ability to rise above the statistics. Some students have the benefit of privilege working in their favor. While the rest are under the delusion that the same privilege will be granted to them. They lack the understanding that the world is harder for them. More so when they are uneducated and lack skills. The skills and education acquired by these students must be much more than their peers.

I have heard too many times my black students say, “I could never go to an HBCU!” I only imagine how these exclamations would change if they were to be in an environment where they are celebrated instead of tolerated. To feel the love and appreciation for YOUR culture not an appropriation or a fetish. Yes, I work to see change in ALL my students. A change from doe eyes eager to be told what to think towards thinking on their own. However, I know the struggles for my black students. Especially, the black women.

To inspire thought and spark that first initiation into understanding the whys and hows has been the most difficult part.  Every semester I start the cycle over again. Tired and drained, I cannot give up and abandon the future. I hold my hopes high that there will be a time when students won’t need the “scared straight” wake up call. Each semester I aim to connect with my students. I want them to focus on finding themselves. Flourish in the security of knowing that they CAN be and they CAN do whatever they WILL to do. If only the will could be nurtured, not concerning whether it is mainstream, whether it aligns with the teaching, or whether it aligns with the teacher. Every day I embrace the challenge to correct the shortcomings of K-12.

As this semester ends, I prepare to be better to inspire better. When my teaching time comes to an end, I want to look back and know that I was able to fulfill my role. I want my students to remember me, remember their biology lab, and remember they CAN because they WILL. 

2 in 1

There is an emptiness. So many things used to fill the space. Holding on to the false promise that there is something other than what is needed. These pieces that fit the spaces are guised in the shape of peace. This peace presents itself as the overflow to the empty spaces. The guide for the misguided. The love for the unloved. The affirmation from the Africans for the woke. But these pieces of peace must be justified by our carnal nature to appease the appetite of death. 

The two opposing natures becoming one is not a fusion that is meant to mend. These two becoming one magnifies the shortcomings and weaknesses. Oppression to the demons of damnation is the objective. Knowing that every tie made cannot be forsaken. The energy is carried and deposited into another form, or being, but does not release its hold. The hold becomes so strong it has become confused as you. Pieces of wanton peace left for the keeping.  Finding your soul connection brings the cosmos together, allowing for the revelation to bring the revolution of reality. We are not perfect. Finding our wholeness before connections is completion.

Becoming complete is not the external connection rather the internal healing.  Facing the pains of the past. It is not easy to endure the pain. The sources are not readily removed from our lives. Therefore, it is easier to forgo the healing than to initiate all the unresolved feelings to bring an end to our own cycles. Take root in the sorrows, reap the fruit of those seeds. This way you can sew new seeds in the fruit of love and healing. That you may find what your spirit seeks in the seasons ahead. The key for dissemination of new life will come with the restoration of your life. 

The new fight for togetherness is essential in the maintaining of our people. However, this battle will not be won without an understanding and dealing with self. Understanding the transgressions of the past to better direct the future, secures a future that is truly ours. Made in the image of our people. The divine purpose of the people.  Not the manipulations of truth. We the people need to find out truth so that we can form more perfect unions.

Unions that were destined to bring forth life. A marriage that impregnates the womb spilling out life. A life that cannot be contained, instead it is nurtured to do the same. For the unborn generation and for the ancestor’s dead we are urged to move ahead and find the treasures trove. See there is a story that is untold. I’m trying to find me to find you. Focusing on what we were made for will create the culture. Expedite the existence of excellence we were made to execute.  

What’s The Use

Use as a noun describes something that is employed for some purpose. Use as a verb describes an action that is done repeatedly or to take hold/deploy something as a means of accomplishing a purpose. The use of an object does not reveal much about its purpose. When looking only at how something is used we can miss the intention and purpose. For example, a chair can be used to sit in or to prop a door open. Both are uses of a chair however only one fits the purpose and intention of the design. The other is merely a happening from convenience. Are we being used from our design or from others convenience? Are we using from design or our own convenience? How have we come to abuse and misuse from use? Men as boys, Women as girls, Children as adults. People as objects devoid of soul. We are all here for a purpose outside ourselves. Our being is not just a haphazard happening. Rather each individual being was designed that it may be used in its divine purpose.

Take what is: people, groups, institutions and not allow them to be contoured as constructs of the system. Make use of what is for the purpose in which it was intended. Take back the intention and design of what it means to be black, woman, conscious, college educated, strong.

Blacks are the powerful ancient thinkers of the pyramids, astrology, math, medicine, navigation and much more. Why we are still USED as slaves. We are still USED and played as niggers. We are still USED as models of violence and ignorance, racism and classism. Our neighborhoods, women, and children USED in the business of taking life rather than sourcing it. Our men USED to alter the image of manhood by degrading theirs.

To be conscious is to know self. Understanding who are YOU. What aligns within YOU. Consciousness has been USED to get the masses to seek facts rather than self. USED to manipulate the meaning of the past. USED to promote the ego and pride. USED to enslave the mind. The conscious already existed so that it could be USED by the being of its possession. USED to manifest healing, synergy, life.

Misusing consciousness is not solely a problem of the mainstream, a college education has many of us twisted. College was designed for USE by white males to achieve “higher learning” i.e. enlightenment. It has been USED as the best “get rich quick scheme” we have fallen for yet. The promise of a better financially stable life. The place where you can achieve your dreams. Take the opportunity to attend an institution to gain knowledge, something that cannot be taken away from you. Learn to THINK and always ask WHY and understand HOW. Knowing that from that does not stem financial stability or dreams becoming reality. Rather you are already equipped for the success destined in your life.

Taking heed and applying each day the proper USE is the first step in ending misuse. Do NOT diminish circumstance to a hashtag #Blacklivesmatter #Metoo.

In the end, what the use?