I Need to Cry

Life can be so overwhelming. Being a person of faith does not eliminate that. You can believe and be overwhelmed. I didn’t know that. For years, I thought projecting an attitude of, “all is well,” was what I was supposed to do. However, all I did was mask my trauma and hide myself from the world.

No, I do not recommend wearing your feelings on your sleeve. But, there is safety in accepting who you are and what you are feeling—-in the moment (or at least there should be). I was taught, indirectly so, by life and leaders that crying was a sign of weakness. Although I wanted to cry and release some of the hurt, I also wanted to be seen as the obedient congregant who was obeying all of their teachings.

So, for DECADES, I didn’t cry. Then, I decided that my feelings were not valid enough to express the truth in situations. I knew people had lied on me, but I never confronted it. I knew my “friends” were only clients who didn’t get charged, but I never complained. I knew that if I didn’t call, text, or reach out that I would never hear from most of the people that I considered friends, but I never dealt with it. I thought that that was my plight.

I became numb to my own feelings: I did things that I didn’t want to do. I laughed when haters teased me for being talented and I took my gifts and ran off the hill and into a dark room. How I felt about me was a direct reflection of how people treated me.

But I kept going.

Where was I going? I didn’t know. I had desires that were backed by gifts, but I saw no worth in them, and when I finally did, I reasoned that it was too late. I often questioned, why did all of these things happen to me? The collection of trauma was a load that was causing me to break.

Then one day, faced with mountainous debt, despair, AND depression, I cried. It was an ugly, violent, throaty, gut punching, cleansing, healing, demon killing cry! I felt like each tear was aimed at some part of my history that I needed resolved.

I feel the need to cry, now.

In the midst of this pandemic and civil unrest and all of this death—-I need to cry. In the midst of this political foolishness and the pawning of this world’s humanity for followers and likes—- I need to cry. In the midst of the unveiling revelation that at the center of this despair will be motherless and fatherless children born out of boredom and desolation—-I need to cry.

I need to break up some this soil that has hardened in my heart from a little bit too much information and too little transformation. Besides, what good does it profit us to gain access to information and lose our opportunity to become transformed? Changed. Enlightened. Restored and then restarted.

I don’t know about you, but I need to desperately cry.

Life Interrupted and Started Again…

Life after the virus has been a daily re-introduction to my new self. Most days, I do not feel like interacting with people. I tire easily. I also find myself not being able to maintain my steady disposition. Although I am not ill anymore, the residue and brain fog is a whole ‘notha set of issues that people need to be prepared for.

Let’s go back. I had no clue that I was sick, at first. All I was was a momma bear that worried about her sick child. Some of this may be tmi, but I will risk that possibility in an effort to open a window for someone who may need the information. Remember, I am a life coach, not a doctor. If you are sick, go to your doctor and follow the instructions that YOU are given. My goal is to share how my life was interrupted.

All of the symptoms that I have identified were done so in hindsight. To be clear, I knew that something was off, but I didn’t look at the symptoms as parts to a whole but regretfully minor inconveniences. The first symptom that I can remember is intense emotional responses to normal life. I am a pretty even tempered person (my kiddo’s friends used to tease them about how calm I was). Seldom do I allow the things in life to rock me, but that week I was “on a permanent 10!” I had anger bouts and crying spells. To be transparent it was the week of my daughter’s death, but I had long surpassed the emotional train wreck that used to follow it. However, this year, the 15th anniversary of her death was pushing me to inconsolable tears. I reasoned that I was being “extra” because of the pandemic and the protests and left the moment unnoticed.

The strange thing was back pain and diarrhea (here comes the tmi). I made constant treks back and forth to the bathroom passing only my son during the trips. My back sometimes hurts when I am having a flare up, so I paid it no attention. However the bathroom adventures seemed to just be a consequence to the fruit haul that I do in the summer. I should mention that it has never happened before, but that is what I decided it was.

Then a more noticeable discomfort appeared. My left arm became inflamed and I was in excruciating pain—so much so that I was unable to use it. The pain couldn’t be subsided with pain meds or muscle rubs or tears. I could not sleep and wanted very much for someone to rip my arm off. But I kept teaching and coaching (from a distance) and I reasoned that I must’ve had had gluten.

As if that was not enough, there came additional symptoms that I quite frankly, blew off. I ended up with a tooth infection. That pain consumed my whole being. It was almost enough to make me to forget my arm. My poor family didn’t know what to do. I am a strong person and I handle pain very well, so when the saw me crying and screaming, they knew something wasn’t right.

At this point, we are about three weeks in. This is when all things changed. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t stay awake. I had chills and I was burning up—-so much so that you would have assumed that someone had poured water on my bed. I showered, vixed, took flu medicine, and nothing helped. The fever kept rising. I started missing days.

Then something strange happened.

I started craving watermelon. Like desperately craving it. My sons and husband couldn’t get enough for me to eat before I started begging for more. It seemed to me that I was getting better with each bite (I know that that is not true). The only thing that troubled me was that I couldn’t taste any of it. Perhaps that is why I wanted it so bad. It was mentally troubling to see yourself eat something, know that you put it in your mouth but you can place the joy in your memory.

Now that the fog has lifted, the fog has settled. The week following, I couldn’t complete a full sentence. I shied away from phone conversations with people because I sounded like a blundering idiot. No disrespect; it was just an intense time to not be able to do that which you are lauded for doing so well—wielding words. It was torment, but I survived.

And, even though I survived, I would not wish this affliction on any soul living or transcended. It lingers. It reduces and yes, it belittles, but we are stronger together when we stay apart.

The Choice is Yours

Life is full of choices. I recently told a client that from the time we wake up in the morning, we are inundated with the task of deciding. Some will argue that they don’t make any choices but trust me, you do.

The last five weeks have been replete with absolute acts of terror that has, collectively, attempted to make me give up. This sycophant crept into my home wrapped around my eldest son and then came for me. You know the one, the fake one. The one you can only get if you have 5G. The one that is trying to stop everyone from having “fun.” The one that was so bad that it stopped the whole world, but that is also so insignificant that schools should open fully—-besides only children and teachers will die.

I started having symptoms before I knew that they were symptoms. I was markedly more fatigued, irritable, and suffered from brain fog. Then two weeks ago, I lost the use of my right arm! My body was burning from the inside out and I, a person who is not know for her emotions, cried, screamed, yelled, and finally whimpered. I kept working during the day.

Then the throat pain came. The burning of my saliva was like lava! I originally thought that a tooth that had been giving me some problems was acting up but in reality it was the nerve that extended from my jaw down. Again, I was reduced to vocal tears because unlike most of my battles, I couldn’t do it alone.

So I made a choice.

I took to social media and let my followers know what I was going through. They trust me. They know that I would be honest about this thing and my experience. The outpouring of prayers and kind words were just what this lover of words needed. It was medicine to my soul.

Then there was a knock at the door. My son enters and hands me a beautiful bouquet of flowers! A friend sent them to me with a note of love attached. I loved the flowers, but for me it was the words that pierced my countenance.

Honestly, I never expected anyone to reach out to me. I never expected it, so I don’t know that I would have ever been cognizant enough to know if it had happened before. When your sole purpose is to help others, it is so easy to forget about yourself. And I do. And I teach others to forget about me, too. I don’t do it intentionally and perhaps others just follow suit. But it is important for the people that we love and need to hear or see our feelings for them—-before they die.

As much as I tout being independent, can you imagine how difficult it has been for my husband and sons! I can be a tiny terror if left alone with sharp objects! HA! Needing help and refusing to ask and then watching me knock over everything——a hot mess! But each, in his own way, waited to help me. My husband almost never leaves my side. I’m on week three now (first two was my son) and I still feel like cookie dough, but I choose to be thankful for the love that is healing me more than this virus is hurting me.

Ugly

Most of my days begin with a cup of coffee, my Bible, prayer, and reflection. I don’t like to do a lot of talking in the morning because, for me, it is a time to listen. I listen with my heart, my eyes, my spirit, and sometimes with my ears.

This morning, as I am in awe of the plants that are growing like crazy (see my last post), I am listening to the wind—-on the high note are the birds and buzz of the bees. However, the most formidable of the sounds is a combination of the wind rustling through the tree leaves. When I close my eyes, it sounds like water gently caressing the rocks on a beach—-very subtle.

Then, without notice or provocation, there is an almost deafening silence. I opened my eyes and looked at the tree that is next to my balcony.

That is when I saw it.

Right in in the middle of this jaggedly bent branch of what appears to be an aged tree was a brand new branch. I’m certain that it had not been there before. But here was this tender, strong branchling pointing boldly towards the sky adorned in the most vivid—-almost glowing, hue of green.

All of this potential was growing out of the ugliest knot. The knot looked like nothing could ever come out of it. To be honest, if I was tasked with making this tree more aesthetically appealing, I would have probably cut it out, but God decided to take that ugly spot and create something new and beautiful.

Right there.

I don’t know how long the ugly spot had been there but it didn’t look like it could produce anything. It looked like something to be cut off or covered up but the Master gardener saw it as the perfect place to make something beautiful.

I wonder how many times we try to cover up our missteps and failures with fig leaves thinking that we are fixing it? When in reality, it is that very spot that God will use—-and wants to use.

Everything that the tree was ever going to be was in the seed. Perhaps it was those weak places that allowed God to break through and show himself strong.

Today is filled with a lot of ugly that is not so ugly that something beautiful can’t grow.

It Will Sprout If You Don’t Doubt!

I feel safe in saying that most of the blogs and social media posts are about either the pandemic or something related to it. How could they not be? This virus has infiltrated our lives and seems to be staying as long as it is fed: division feeds it.

When the virus first hit America, I contracted it. This was well before we were told of its existence (this was noted in a few posts and definitely in a few podcast shows). It wasn’t until late March that I could “see” my way from under that heaviness. During one of my morning meditations, I heard the Spirit say to buy seeds.

I took that spiritually and literally! Once I had made several masks, I snuck out of the house and hit every store that I thought might have seeds. To my surprise and dismay, there were few seed packages left. In the past, I would have just said, “oh well,” and moved on to the next thing, but this wouldn’t let me go!

I started noticing that several of my social media friends were doing the same thing. They didn’t accept the once look and keep it pushing, so I decided to keep looking. I finally found a place that had some seeds. I bought a lot—some flowers, some vegetables and some herbs. I came home EXCITED and thought this would be a great family adventure. So that evening we all piled out onto our small balcony and planted seeds.

If you knew me personally, you would see the irony in my participation (as it has been a long running joke that I kill fake plants (rude), but I helped. We planted. We watered. We waited.

And nothing grew.

Rationalizing that we couldn’t stop, I bought better soil and more seeds then I walked away from the project. My husband and sons took over and I be gosh dern it if them there seeds didn’t begin to sprout! Even the old seeds were coming up. And, before long, our empty pots were filled with plants!

These dern things are growing so fast that we have already had to replant some. Now, we could see this as a message that I should stay away from gardening, but this morning God took me a little deeper.

He only gave me the vision and the means to buy the seeds. Like in I Corinthians 3:6, some plant, some water, but God gives the increase!

Just when I needed a reminder of my purpose, He gave me a visual—-it is to help others find out what is on the inside of them. Much like those pots, each of you have had some dry places and you have worked without seeing any signs of growth. However, when watered, you would be amazed at what will sprout. Purpose has a way of not only making sense of what was already in the dirt but using it to make a beautiful flower.

Don’t let this season pass you by without finding out not who you are but who you are meant to be. Let me help you water that seed and watch God give the increase!

What Now?

It is amazing that anyone can identify any specific area of concern. There is so much going on—-so much sensory going on that it would be a sincere feat to find ANYONE that is not experiencing some form of trauma.

There is so much to be focused on: civil rights, marital woes, parental angst, and medical anomalies. However there is a lurking in the background that needs to be addressed because it cannot be ignored—-what now?

Systemic racism, although it has been identified, it hasn’t been eradicated. The global pandemic is spiking and life as we know it, is no more. Everything that could have been touched has not only been touched it has been “ridden hard and put down wet!”

But what now?

Last year’s “low-lifes” are this year’s essential workers and we have come to find out that all lives can’t matter until black lives matter. The church that we took for granted is closed. The home that you paid for is your work and play space and your spouse—-well, that is another issue indeed. The perfect children that were bragged about deserve every detention and call home that you ignored. There is not one space in your life that hasn’t been TOUCHED!

But now what?

Perhaps, you have been teaching for years and now, you don’t “wanna.” Perhaps you have helped every friend and passerby find his or her place in this world, but can’t seem to find your own. Perhaps, the one you vowed to spend this life with, left earlier than either of you planned and now you have to figure this thing out. Perhaps you have realized that not only are you an essential worker you feel in your heart that you are a BOSS! Perhaps, when everyone else is asleep, you strategically and quietly soak pillowcases because, well “this ain’t it boo!”

I get it. I have been there. Trust me, look over to the left, my name is written on the wall! I was looking for something that I didn’t even know that I had lost—my purpose. This is not to be confused with talent. I needed to find out why God put His hands on me; why He breathed His Spirit into me; and why He stopped eternity to invest me into the earth!

Funny thing is, I was walking in my purpose and didn’t even know it. Over two decades of walking in it. My purpose is simple—-to help you find your purpose! It may not seem like much, but there is where I find my joy and peace because when you win, we all win.

I had to endure ups and downs and winding roads to be able to connect with you! You have a story and I promise that your purpose is in it!

Let’s talk. Inbox me and let’s get this thing going. The whole world is waiting for you to get into YOUR destined place.

I Don’t Trust My Husband

It’s four months into the pandemic. Couples have had to spend an unprecedented amount of time with each other and it is reasonable that they have run out of things to say.

Or have they?

Stress has a way of making issues and insecurities rise to the top and if the marriage is not built on a solid foundation, it will crumble.

I cannot count how many calls and texts that I have gotten from clients about spouses and partners. One, in particular, is worthy of mention.

The couple has been together for a while but only recently decided to marry. To save for the ceremony, they have decided to cohabitate. While this seems financially beneficial, it has also revealed some internal struggles that neither of them anticipated.

“I don’t trust my husband.”

“Ok. Why?”

“He moves like a cheater.”

“What does that mean?”

“Well, he does things that he thinks that I don’t see.”

“What type of things?”

“He hides what he is doing on his phone. If I come in the room or wake up quickly, he changes his screen and puts down his phone.”

“Have you communicated your thoughts to him?”

“What do you mean?”

“Have you shared your concerns with him?”

“NO!”

“Why?”

This question led to a long silence and an unearthing of some dry ground that did not easily want to be tilled.

“I don’t want to have wasted another ten years with another cheater.”

Being wrong is not the end of the world, but sometimes it can feel that way. Loving someone honestly and wholly is a strength not a weakness; however, not being able to identify the obstacles that consistently blocked success IS SOMETHING to deal with.

I won’t share the rest of the conversation, but I thought that it was a good message to share with you—-

This pandemic can be a great time to get ready for what is coming next and the way to do that is by identifying what things are stopping you from walking out your purpose.

I want to help you get there. The WORLD needs you there and you can get there. Ask me how…

Black Girl

After watching the season opener of Greenleaf the other night, I watched a documentary called, Dark Girls. It was the second in the series. As we are all trying to understand the complexities of how systemic racism has created vacuums of covert and overt hate, let us also look to how these mindsets have infected people within the same groups.

I have said frequently to my husband how I wish that I could have grown up during a time when the stage was filled with all of these beautiful hues—-

Nonetheless, colorism is a nasty truth: a weight of its own that needs to be lifted. Now, do I really need to post about the weight of being fair skinned, too? Or, can we just have this conversation about being dark? It reeks of “all lives matter.”

Interestingly enough, colorism seems to be overt within and covert from other groups. Being pretty for a dark girl is just as toxic as being pretty for a black girl.

There hasn’t been a time when, for one attribute or another, my heritage has been questioned—-and I am (or was) considered dark. If you have lighter eyes and curly/wavy hair, smaller lips AND you are educated, you can be given a pass into a room that seems friendly but leads to constant exposure to reminders that you are not like “them.” (them being dark skinned big-lipped, undereducated blacks) These rooms test your loyalty to your new place by exposing you to jokes about “them” and your acceptance will be predicated on your ability to laugh and be silent. Your silence is then bought with the coins of having your own segregate you because of the room, so you begin to believe—-even if you don’t know that you do.

Dare not any of you say to me, “see, they hate each other.” That reeks of, “what about black on black crime.” The distaste for dark skin is actually quite the myth: mulattoes were made—-well you know how. African Americans are not the only ones affected by colorism; every place that was colonized was left with this unique and quite perplexing challenge. Skin bleaching is running rampant in Asian and African countries. Can you imagine being so detrimental to a people that when you leave your influence causes massive self-hate? How horrible to look into a mirror and see nothing but rejection! An interesting twist to the conversation: a white friend of mind recently shared with me that she is often ridiculed by other white women because her skin is fair and she cannot tan. Go figure!

I am encouraged by the conversations that are happening—-in the room to which the are occurring! No, we never needed validation; we did; however, need the space to yell our truth and begin to heal.

Heal, black girl, heal.

Colorblind

It’s Friday, June 19, 2020. For the first time in a few weeks, I woke up at my usual 4 am. I probably woke up earlier; my mind seems to be rushing with fluctuations of anxiety and anticipation. For weeks, the news and social media outlets have been inundated with the killings of African-American men at the hands of those who were sworn to “serve and protect.” In addition, I have watched this country, quite literally, burn with the hopes of finally identifying, addressing and eradicating the systemic racism that made America a world power. As much as I am filled with anger, I cannot ignore that I spend a good part of my day looking at my husband and my sons. Without rhyme or reason, my mind runs through scenarios of protection and escape should I find myself in a situation that was devised by the narrow minds of hate.

Like most mothers, I have hopes for my sons’ future: good careers, great marriages, beautiful children, and lives of abundant faith. I trust that their purpose will overshadow the plot of the enemy to snuff them out before they are given a chance to journey. I trust that they will have a time to tell their grandchildren about “how they made it over.” But, as a melanated mother…in America…the screams of my hopes and prayers are sometimes drowned out by desire for them to just be able to live.

Like most wives, I have hopes to see my husband walk in the vision and plan of success for his life. I wake up earlier praying and asking for direction about how to be a part of that plan. My mind’s heart beams with joy and pride when I see him transitioning from faith to faith and to glory to glory. I sometimes sit silently and marvel at how he has grown as a person, a man, a professional, a husband but most importantly as someone who is desperately trying to walk out his purpose. But, as a melanated wife…in America…the screams of my hopes and prayers are often times drowned out by my desire for him to just be able to come home from the grocery store.

Like most women, I have dreams. I know the purpose for my life and I am actively walking it out every chance that I get. I have made peace with my missteps on this journey and I secure with the woman that those missteps have created. I no longer need to be perfect, to be productive. I no longer need the permission of a pseudo-father figure to validate my purpose. I look in the mirror and see a good work. I take pride in the gifts that have been bestowed upon me to do what I invested in the Earth to do. But as a melanated woman…in America…the cheers to my hopes and dreams being made manifest are often times drowned out by my desire to feel comfortable enough to take a walk in my neighborhood and make it back home.

I fully intended on penning a note about the need for everyone to celebrate Juneteenth. I fully intended on sharing with my audience how I cried–at a point of exhausted mental overflow—when a racist woman, during a phone conversation yesterday, decided to dismiss me and speak only to my white counterpart and no one knew how broken I was about it. I fully intended on writing this elaborate piece about the division in this country, the protests, the impact of the insensitive, racially charged political propaganda, and the loss of some very fine people from my life who only liked me because I was one of the good ones.

But I couldn’t.

BLOGS

Honey-Flavored

December 23, 2019

It was the second week that I was sick. I had tried almost every medication imaginable to try to speed up the healing process. I hate being sick. This was the fourth cold since I moved to another state and my immune system was in a twister-twirl! Besides, life doesn’t stop: there are still hungry kids, laundry, dinners, events, and obligations so how dare this cold try to break up my flawless routine!

So, in the only way a stubborn, type-A woman can do, I pressed on. Smiling at clients, listening to the woes of people who called or came by and even found the time to send some encouraging words to a friend or two. I pressed on doing me…

And, I got sicker. Once the tasks of the day had had their way with me, I fell into the bed with a fever, a cough that tried to escape, and a blanket wrapped around me so that I could “sweat it out.” But, I could not shake this thing. My mind began to ramble through mental google searches of all the deadly things that I could have and I envisioned the faces of all of the “they will be sorry people” when I succumbed to this mysterious life-threatening disease. I had a cold, y’all.

In the midst of this drama, I also had a birthday. It was a big one. It wasn’t “the” big one, but it was the “hey, get me off this thing,” one. My husband wanted to do something big, but I just wanted to sleep. However, I am old enough to know that you NEVER stop a man from doing something for you, so I dressed up, put on some make-up, and smiled through dinner and small-talk while secretly planning his untimely demise should ANYONE burst out of the shadows singing “Happy Birthday.” It was amazing that I managed to eat while holding my breath. Well, I made it through dinner in spite of the beads of sweat that was rushing from my forehead.

When I got home, I followed the routine: took off the birthday suit, got in the shower, and crawled into the bed. The next day was much of the same and the next, no different than the one before. Then it happened. I took a day off. I promised myself that I would leave my bed only to make sure that I didn’t pee in the bed (or worse).

On this “off” day, I just couldn’t shake the routine and quite frankly, I have trained my family to believe that I AM WONDERWOMAN insert cape and theme music
Well, I do Wonder…

I often wonder what am I missing.
I often wonder when I will die.
I often wonder will the sacrifices that I have made be enough.
I often wonder do I have what it takes to make it to the next level.
I often wonder if the people that have hurt me ever feel bad about it….

These thoughts of unpeace pop up from time to time and I am left having to decide if I am going to stay in them or push through. As those thoughts were rambling through my head, my throat started to hurt again, so I decided to make ANOTHER cup of tea. Following the usual steps, I was putting the final touches to my tea. I picked up the bottle of honey and something grasped my attention: the label said, “Honey Flavored.” I thought to myself, “how in the heck do you make fake honey and what is in it?” I mean, honey is about as natural as they come, right?

Then it dawned on me. How many things in our lives look real, maybe even tastes real, but when you take a closer look, it is not what you thought it was supposed to be. Honey-flavored doesn’t give you the natural healing benefits that real honey does. It just looks the part.

What is in your life that looks the part, but carries no healthy benefits? Is it the one-sided friendship? Is it an unhealthy relationship? Is it that toxic job? Whatever it is, at the end of the day it can only do what it said it would do—nothing….AND that will probably leave a bad taste in your life.

#SIPPtea