Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Great Do-Over: It's My Birthday!

Most of my acquaintances know that last year I somehow got all mixed up and thought that I was turning 36 when I was in fact turning 35.  Finding out that I was wrong was a true blessing because the first 35th year was a hard one and therefore I vowed to make the most out of this second chance at 35. 
This year presented its challenges but they all led me to personal growth and development.  The themes that were reoccurring were:  LETTING GO, SAYING GOODBYE, and BEING FREE. This year was a true process of elimination.  I asked God to remove things that were no longer beneficial. I asked God to show me the "busy" things vs the "purposed" things and to help me adjust accordingly.  Let me tell you...don't ask for what you are not prepared to accept because He will answer.  I learned several things this year.  I learned that a strength in love is the ability to walk away from something or someone when you're no longer benefitting it or them. I learned not to be a distraction to progress, even if I don't agree with the direction of the progress. I learned that there is in fact power in saying goodbye because although it may hurt, there is significant peace on the other side. 

This year I began to recognize the seasons that had ended in my life that I was still dwelling in.  Even when God has Purposed you in a place the situation can be hard.  But I found that He covers you from the brunt of the attacks, hurts, and challenges so that you can accomplish His will as long as His will is for you to be there.  However,  when He says move you gotta move because He has already moved to the next place that He has prepared and taken that shield with Him.  If you stay you will feel the impact of all of the things that He was covering you from and IT HURTS.  So I learned to just be obedient. 

This year...just recently...I said that it seems that doing good and wanting to do what is right seems to always lose because some people are willing to do anything to "win"...but God said, "Don't be weary in well doing for you shall reap a harvest if you don't give up." So I immediately thought it meant that I could continue in a situation that I loved..and He said uh...no!  (She tried it!) So I'm letting go, being obedient, and trusting Him totally.  The amazing thing is that I feel free and I'm at peace about every decision..even if some made me sad. 

This year taught me that trusting in God means that I won't always have a plan... I won't always understand what's happening...and I won't always agree with the process...BUT obedience is rewarded every time.

Those who know the changes that I have gone through are probably a little nervous for me.  You may be looking at my journey and saying that this has been a hard year for me. I get it..things have been stripped from me that have been apart of who I am to the point that I really don't know who I am without them. But start rejoicing because this journey was about me becoming the girl God has ordained me to be and I can't wait to get to know her!

 So I don't know what God has in store for me in this 36th year but after all of the pruning, stripping, and deleting that has occurred this year...I have PLENTY of room for it! HELLO  36...Let's Get It!! 

Friday, December 5, 2014

But what did I do THIS time, Father?!

Often times we get in the way of our own blessings and breakthroughs. We often try to figure out how we can have our hearts desires and still be in God's will. This morning I woke up to "So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth." This seemed a little harsh at first but like any good parent, God explained to me why I was being chastised. I'm not a hypocrite...sometimes I'm too real about my journey, but I have not released everything to God. I still try to hold on to things that could lead to destruction, I still watch and glorify some things that are not pleasing to Him, and I still engage in some things that don't give Him any glory. So while He spoke to me, He cautioned me to pray that "His will be my will and that anything that grieves Him become adverse to my desire." Whew...really God? Then just when I was feeling dejected He reminded me of my favorite scripture Jeremiah 29:11 and gave me a task. He showed me that I have too much work to do to get side tracked by small things or distracted by temporary pleasures. He showed me that some of my decisions (although not bad, malicious, or intentionally sinful) can create extra bumps and hurdles in carrying out His plan for me. Well...thank you, Father because I surely don't want EXTRA difficulties! 
So today I walk in obedience and submission because I understand that God knows my future and He's clearing the path towards it. I may not understand it all the time but I also don't want to hurt my greater that is coming. I'm not trying to risk my favor or my covering by engaging in things that are not pleasing to Him. It's just not worth it. Sometimes we see things of the present harmless but God sees into the future and knows better. This life can be tricky so I rather take guidance from someone who has infinite insight into my days. 
Today I encourage you to seek God's face in all that you do. Make sure that you are led and that He has purposed "it" for you! 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Is kinky vs curly the new darkskin vs lightskin

When I decided to make a transition to natural versus relaxed hair it wasn't about a deep philosophical journey. I wasn't trying to create self confidence, self pride, or self acceptance. It was simple: I wanted curly hair like my daughter so she wouldn't want straight hair like mine.  As a parent I make special effort to be present with my kids. When I pick up on a reoccurring theme, I try to address it. I didn't feel comfortable telling my daughter that she was perfect with her curls...I wanted to show her.

So this was a very personal journey for me. I transitioned for nine months and then got a relaxer for a wedding. Well after the wedding I did not want to start over and decided on the big chop. I've had mixed feelings at each stage as I grew to love  the hair that was showing up on my head on some days and simply appreciate it on others. But I never considered that others were sitting watching to see WHAT showed up on my head as well.

What began to shock me were the comments that are made to me on social media and even face to face about my curls and how they excluded me from really understanding the FULL journey of being natural. "At least it's curly...at least it grows fast...at least you don't  have thiiisss texture" and then it hit me. These comments are very similar in spirit to the ones I would get concerning being a light skin black person. These comments were made to me as if my experience being black is somehow different because of my lighter skin. This was too similar! And quite frankly...I didn't come for this.

This is seemingly another thing that some  of us are using to create division and pit us again each other. I don't want to take sides...I don't want to rep my set. If I'm going to be #teamnatural then that's it... I don't want to have to pick #teamkinkycurls or #teamspringycurls AND I SHOULDNT HAVE TO!!! 
( Here is an example of some of the viewpoints out there http://actsoffaithblog.com/for-the-uninformed-this-is-what-natural-hair-looked-like-before-the-curly-infiltration-aka-new-black-took-over )

For years we have allowed ourselves to be shifted into subgroups that further stereotype us and create tensions.

As I walk around my sorority's international conference, my heart swells with pride as I see 15,000 women walking around being who they are...old, young, skinny, full figured, light, dark, natural, and relaxed. They are all walking around with their heads up high with a confidence that comes from belonging to something powerful. It's amazing because we are ALL different but we are members of a great movement and that gives our esteem an extra boost. We don't have to point out each other's differences because our collective differences only increase our strength.
Yes, I am lightskin and I also have curly hair but I don't want to be placed in the awkward position of defending my black or the struggles of my natural hair journey. When I'm with a group of white people they don't acknowledge my color or my curl...I'm just that black girl who is then responsible for singularly representing every other black woman in the world...yes all of you. Everything I do during that interaction with them causes them to identify that behavior with every other black woman. Why? I don't know... But my point is...everyone else sees us as BLACK WOMEN! Can we start doing the same? Can we stop labeling, discriminating against each other, and assuming things about each other based on these labels? If we stop drawing these lines in the sand, we will recognize how strong we are as a whole. We have a formidable group that could change the world if we start focusing on our own love, our own journey, our own destiny. I'm not on this journey to compare and contrast. My personal journey does not validate or reduce the next girl's journey. Whatever goals I have are based on my personal desires. When I compete with myself I make myself better but if I compete with the next girl, I will become bitter. What you have is not meant for me...that's why it's yours; and it's yours because God equipped you to handle it! So embrace your journey and encourage.  the next girl on hers!


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

I'm going to treat you how I want God to treat me..

Do unto others...as you would have God do unto you!

I had the craziest dream... I was facilitating a workshop on influence and a lady who is definitely not on my favorites list was attending the workshop. Now listen..in real life she would NEVER be purposely caught alive in something I was facilitating.

But anyway...let me set the scene: She's probably about 50 years older than me. But in my dream she came to the workshop to heckle me. So when I asked the group to take a form and pass the stack down, she yelled NOOOOOO. When I asked her to calm down, she yelled NOOOO. It became really intense when I began to actually teach the class. She started shouting lies out to the class about me.  These particular statements,  that if were true,  contradicted what I was teaching and made me appear hypocritical. (See I'm a firm believer that you must be the evidence of anything that you teach. For example: broke people shouldn't be financial advisors, depressed people shouldn't be motivational speakers and so on...) So once again she flustered me and I shot back an insult which mildly disregarded her senior citizenship. Immediately my dream flashed to me no longer being at the front of the room as a facilitator but sitting in the audience on the row with her. I was reduced in that instance because of my response to her. And I knew it too.

As I lay in my bed awake and perturbed, I realize that this was a revelation for me.
See in real life, this woman gets underneath my skin constantly.  I have used up so much energy focusing on her and what my dream was really telling me is that this issue I have REALLY HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH HER.  She has no authority over me.  She has no power over me.  She does not have the ability to dictate my future or limit my blessings...but I do. 

So, I'm not sure when our next confrontation will be, but I'm sure this dream was a reminder to me that I need to remain in my position mentally and emotionally. I note that the entire time she was heckling me in this dream and I maintained my composure, I also maintained my position. As soon as I responded...I demoted myself.

It goes to the point that others have very little influence on where we are or what we will have in life until we respond.

Bottom line is that our blessings are not contingent upon how others treat us but they are all WRAPPED up in how we treat others.

Letting Go...

Letting Go.... (A little Rambling for the people)

My first memory of being weighed was when I was a senior in high school.  I remember my weight being 109 pounds.  All the way through college I weighed between 109-118 pounds and I’m sure that I had a lot to do with walking to class, climbing the steps instead of taking elevators, and dancing 5 hours straight 3 days a week.  So my eating habits did not have time to catch up with me.

Well, when I graduated I started a desk job and although I worked a part-time job in the evening, I constantly ate and drank to stay alert. Needless to say, my 109-118 expanded to 120-128.  I remember going to pull my size 2 Lerner (aka NY & CO) jeans on and they stopped at my thighs.  I was horrified.  My size 2 days were finished.  The sad thing is that those jeans (and other size 2 items) remained in my closet for almost a year after that moment because I would not accept that I had grown past that stage in my life.

The truth is that I liked how I looked and felt with the extra weight.  I was finally developing into a young lady BUT... I had a great attachment to my wardrobe.  I mean, I spent years building it.  I knew what was comfortable, which pieces fit perfectly, and all of my boyfriend’s favorite pieces.  So it was hard to accept that I was not going to fit into those clothing again.

The other day I put up a quote (one of my own) that I used when talking to a young lady about "letting go" being a requirement of growth.  I thought about my Lerner jeans because they were the items I missed the most from my wardrobe.  They were comfortable and reliable.  It's funny because I thought about how this is so similar to life.  We outgrow things all of the time:  jobs, homes, places and PEOPLE.  But we do not want to let them go because of all the same reasons I didn’t want to let go of my jeans:  comfort, familiarity, and the investment.  But holding onto things that no longer fit only causes pain and discomfort for us.  If we think about that day when I REALIZED that those jeans were too small and I still wore them…worst feeling ever.  Nothing I did that day was completed without the resoundingly breathtaking reminder that those jeans didn’t fit.

Now I’ve said all of that to say:
Growing is a natural part of living.  It should be constant.  Sometimes when we grow, we will find that we are also outgrowing things we are accustomed to and it no longer fits our new mindset, attitude, or lifestyle.  Trying to hold onto those things only creates tension and makes us uncomfortable. The point is that we have to be willing to embrace our current state and truly evaluate the things around us to see if they fit.

For years, I held onto an organization that I loved being a part of, but there was always a push back when I tried to contribute my ideas.  I kept holding onto “how things used to be” thinking (or rather hoping) things would go back to the way they were when I really enjoyed being a part.  I prayed that God would make things better for me in that group. I also prayed that He would order my steps and lead me to what I SHOULD be doing.  Instead of improving the situation, I began to feel even more suffocated and other things began to happen in my life that would prevent me from being  involved as often as I would prefer. At first I struggled to do it all and then I slowly began to accept that I had other things to do that did not directly include this organization. I also began to see that I had outgrown that place in my life and the spot where this organization filled was quickly being filled with other things that were easier to accomplish and more satisfying. I remember leaving my first meeting for a new project and texting a friend saying, "I didn't know it could be that easy." There were no ugly looks, no arguing, or belittling comments...just a group of people working together on a common goal to improve the community.  Once you experience that kind of peace, there is no going back. 

The truth is that I should've walked away a long time ago but I was being stubborn and determined that I was going to make it fit and because of this, I suffered a lot longer than I had to.
I know it can be hard to let go...especially of people that we love; but when it becomes clear that these things/people are creating more discomfort (drama) in our lives than producing positive things, it's likely time to let go.
The truth of the matter is that it's only causing you pain and quite frankly it's also unfair to the things and people  we hold onto, because neither can grow to full potential in places that do not fit.

Final Thought: Many times we stay in dead situations too long bc we don't want to "give up" or "quit" on what we love. But when you give your energy to something and it's returning void bc of a lack of reciprocation...walking away is not a fail. It's moving forward. It's easy to stay in dead spaces but lets be courageous! We deserve LIFE! ‪#‎assertiveliving‬

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

So I'm here or whatever...

I have "talked" about starting a blog for years.  I am a procrastinator.  I mean a full-fledged member of the club of people who absolutely will put off for tomorrow what SHOULD be done today.  However, I also believe in timing.  I believe that this is the best season and time for me to begin sharing my thoughts and ideas with the world…(ok, too much?) well with the internet and all the places this will go.

I am by no means a skilled writer and correct grammar ruins how I like to convey my message most of the time (I’m an “ain’t no” type of girl).  But I promise, broken verbs and all, that if you read this blog with a tone of sarcasm, raging hilarity and a country slang you will hear me.  My opinions are just that…MY OPINIONS.  But I promise that I am all about growing.  So my opinions may change as I learn and grow.  And to be honest…that’s really what I would love to happen.  So prayerfully I won’t decide to run for political office in the future because I am sure with all of my randomness my opponent will have plenty of material to use against me.  I can imagine it now (giggles)… Oh well, I’m here!