Sunday Morning Coffee Musings: Closed Off and Boxed In

“Maybe if you weren’t so closed off and boxed in, you could just enjoy the moment.” He said.

I won’t tell you what proceeded this statement because it may not be embarrassing to the person but, it is definitely embarrassing to me. I got over the embarrassment quickly because the words “closed off and boxed in” is what cut me deep. Why? I am glad you asked.

I was very shy growing up. I also grew up in a home that was more reserved based on Christianity and simply being taught manners that went beyond “Yes ma’am and No sir.” We were taught how to conduct ourselves in public to the best of my parents ability. And there were certain things I learned on my own and through others throughout my life in certain settings and culturally. Some things I learned by error and embarrassment. There are things I had to “unlearn” but also continue to do. In some countries, eating with your hands in considered a loving thing to do. It’s connecting with food. For the African American, the colonizers deemed many of our practices “uncivilized” instead of simply different culturally. Funny how this thought pattern continues to foster in American thinking.

Back to “closed off and boxed in” and why it deeply hurt my feelings. Growing up in a diverse neighborhood (different financial statuses and classes of people) and going to different schools outside of my neighborhood, often got me labeled as, “stuck up” and later relabeled as “bougie”. My natural shyness and quietness didn’t help. I never was a wild child in the sense of being adventurous like skipping school, doing drugs, or fighting. I never cared for loudness as it was often too loud in my home with complaints and arguing. BUT it was also loud with laughter and sibling shenanigans. I also grew up in a loving, protective, and caring neighborhood.

But many times in school and in other neighborhoods, in other family dynamics (cousins), I was often told I was too shy. Too quiet. Too stuck up. Too bougie. I must think I am all that. I must think I am better than everyone else. I often wondered “What did I do?” “What did I do wrong?” I could never understand what was so wrong about being who I was. Let me tell you as I am sure you must know, it’s still the same way in adulthood. A few years ago I was told by a classmate, “I was too quiet for her.” Well guess what? “She’s too loud for me” but, I never said that to her because I allow her to be who she is. I just want the same respect. Some people are loud. Some people are quiet. It is who they are. They did nothing wrong.

But when you start to tell me that poor manners, lack of respect for others feelings and space, being obnoxiously loud and rude, that not caring about people’s property, or not having self respect for yourself and others is being “closed off and boxed in”, bougie, stuck up, well I vehemently disagree. If you tell me that because I am unwilling to bungie jump, I am not adventurous enough, then screw you. It’s more about my level of adventure and risk. I have been told I am not spontaneous because I didn’t want to take the road less traveled into some dark deep woods. I am spontaneous. Just not venture off into “don’t go there because it’s not safe for Americans” spontaneous.

It hurt my feelings because it made me feel as if something was wrong with me. Weird because you try new foods and cultures. Weird. Because you’re a black girl that paints abstract art. Weird because you want to attend things other than movies and chain restaurants. Weird. You’re black and you enjoy…history. Weird. You only have ONE child. It hurt my feelings because I felt rejected.

I really had to work at NOT feeling so hurt about what was said to me and my “sensitive ass” as that has also been said to me. I guess they never considered they may be an “insensitive ass”.

You are weird = You are unique. One of a kind.

You are closed off and boxed in = You are sophisticated.

You are too quiet = I am too quiet for you. I am me. I like quiet.

You are not adventurous/spontaneous enough = “to you”. You for got to add, to you.

You are bougie = Yes. I am “hood” and “classy”. Yes. I have been exposed to things, places, cultures, outside of my immediate neighborhood. Yes. I like the finer things in life. Yes, I like a fried bologna sandwich and I also enjoy an upscale fancy smancy restaurant overlooking the city. Yes I may go to war and pray afterwards. You’re welcome.

You are stuck up = Yes. I am sometimes prim and proper. I know how to conduct myself in many circles. I am diverse. I eat with silverware. I’ll eat with my hands in cultures where that is the norm. I don’t pile my plate up at buffets because it’s a buffet and I can always go back and get more. I don’t do loud and public drunkenness (okay maybe in Vegas lol). I think about my attire and if it’s appropriate for the occasion. Yes. I am stuck up.

I don’t think I am better than anyone else. They probably just “think” that I “think” I am better than others based on their own feelings of inadequacies or perceived thoughts about me because I do things different. Perception of yourself and how a few see you doesn’t matter if their perception contradicts who you are. Am I friendly? By enlarge, yes. Am I loving? By enlarge, yes. Am helpful? By enlarge, yes. So, DON’T forgive me if I am sensitive to the needs and feelings of others, don’t get loud in quiet settings, don’t pick my teeth at the table with a straw, slaps bones (play dominoes) at the cookout but, will try croquet at Martha’s Vineyard, drink sweet tea from a mason jar and turn my pinky finger up with tea and tea cakes. Please, DON’T forgive me if I try my best to do right and improve myself. I love me some me.

~Closed Off and Boxed In

Nature Walks and Thoughts

There is provision on the journey, on the path of life. It may not seem like it but, it is. There are wide open spaces to make mistakes, to play, to explore. There are narrow paths that squeezes things into you and squeezes things out of you. There are places to rest and recoup. (The benches along this path).

There are hills. The challenges are not the hills. The challenges are the doubts and fears in you. Challenge them and win.

There is water (saw a fountain) on the journey. Oh water is sooooooooo good. Water is wisdom. Water is encouragement and enlightenment. Water helps cleanse your body and nourishes your soul. Water is on the journey. You can find water in books, in church, in a mosque, among friends, and with spiritual leaders. Did you know you are 70% water? It’s in you!

There is a playground. Oh yes. On the journey you are suppose to have fun. Play. Laugh. Make friends. Find friends. On the journey, you are to play!

~Nikki

Monday Morning Gratitude

Thank you for the sun. Thank you for the moon. Thank you for the trees. Thank you for the rain. Thank you for fresh fruits and veggies. Thank you for a sound mind. Thank you for the ability to see, talk, walk, feel, and taste. Thank you for breath. Thank you for this life. Thank you for my blessings.

~Nikki

Sunday Morning Coffee Musings: Ankle Deep In New Beginnings

Now that I have made the final decision to break away from my home church until further notice, the process of that breaking away continues. I say continue because the process started a year ago with thoughts and some actions. The pandemic really saved me from having to go but, this year it’s been a mostly not there to a “need be basis”. This morning I felt guilt for not going but, why did I feel such guilt? I know it’s because that is what the church has used to pull in people and to keep people. By enlarge. It’s not wrong for me to want to be fed good, wholesome, prepared spiritual food and not to settle for anything less. It is good to know that I am in a position to feed myself and others. I am growing my own garden. I have been all along. It’s also good to know there are others that are qualified spiritual chefs and cooks I can get a plate or meal from.

This “ministry”, if you can call it that, I am creating is different than the traditional brick and mortar, fire and brimstone. Although, I have a Christian background and foundation, I am built from spirituality, research, wisdom, and life experiences. I am not ridged in my thinking but, I am not flimsy either. There have been many pioneers before me that have branched out into the “light” and some were cut off from the very religion that launched them.

No one can do what you do, how you do it. No one has your personality or experiences. No one has your energy. No one has your thought process or habits. I know that I am dragging my feet. I know that I am scared out of my wits and I should embrace that with a bear hug. I joined TikTok as @nikkisconfettilife to get use to hearing my voice and creating short snaps of video with positive content. I must say I like it. I am yet to follow instructions on my YouTube channel because I don’t like the quality of video from my camera and I really am not comfortable watching myself. The two excuses that do not hold water.

One thing I was obedient about was taking a class this week on Creative Teaching through the association of my old denomination. It was a really good class with information and ideas I can apply to what I am embarking on. It also reminded me that I DO have a gift and a passion for teaching. Teaching Sunday School and teaching the congregation was my favorite thing to do. The entire process of studying and gathering, verifying information was something I enjoyed. It was the helping people to understand, be encouraged, or enlightened that meant the most. Basically, you understood what I was trying to convey or you got something helpful from it. That is my only aim with the YouTube channel. To help someone.

~Nikki

Orange Beach Vacation Photos

Orange Margaritas photo from my cousin and her husband’s date night in OB

Here are some photos from Orange Bach 2021 with Family.

We stayed in a 4 bedroom, five bathroom beach condo. It was lovely!

Views from the condo. We saw schools of STINGRAYS everyday and even saw some jump out of the water. We saw dolphins each day and early in the mornings they really showed out jumping out of the water. Magical. Breathtaking. Beautiful.

Above: A Night in White and Blue: Dinner at Cobalt was exceptional.

Above: This was the Tiki Boat Tour and it was like a mini party on the water.

I definitely caught some breathtaking sunrises and sunsets.

Favorite photo captured of my cousin and me.

Certainly, we will return next year as this vacation is our wind down vacation. We had meals at the condo, movie night, and plenty of down time. My favorite times were in the morning catching the sunrise, meeting the other early risers in the kitchen and onto the balcony to soak in tranquility.

~Nikki

October’s Energy

The 6 energy: Nurturing. Healing. Family and Home. Garden and Nature. Responsibility. Marriage and Divorce. Birth and Death. Worry, Doubt, guilt, martydom, doormat. Service but not servitude.

KNOW WHO YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR. YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOURSELF.

MAKE THE CHANGES YOU NEED TO MAKE NOW FOR NEXT YEAR.

HEAL AND REBALANCE. DEEP HEAL.

KNOW WHERE HOME IS. HOME IS THE HEART.

THE SHIFT FROM DARK TO LIGHT IS HAPPENING. THE TRUTH WILL BE REVEALED.

COMMUNITY, TRIBES, HUMANITY WILL COME TOGETHER. SEEK AND YOU WILL FIND YOUR PEOPLE. JUST BE AND YOUR PEOPLE WILL FIND YOU.

REMIND YOURSELF HOW WONDERFUL, UNIQUE, POWERFUL, BEAUTIFUL, STRONG YOU ARE. LOVE TALK TO YOURSELF. PEP TALK YOURSELF.

SELF CRITICISM COMES UP: ACCEPT YOURSELF WHERE YOU ARE. TAKE RESPONSIBLITY AND THINGS CAN CHANGE.

STOP FOLLOWING AND START LEADING. LEAD YOURSELF.

DON’T SERVE THOSE THAT DON’T RESPECT YOU. GIVE RESPONSIBILITY BACK TO THOSE THAT CAN DO FOR THEMSELVES.

MARRY YOUR HIGHER SELF. DIVORCE CERTAIN IDEAS AND IDEALS.

HOME. FIX UP, DECORATE. CULTIVATE FAMILY.

A Little Monday Motivation: CAPE-able

Baby, you’ve got it. You’ve got what it takes to become the best version of yourself and to achieve your goals and dreams. Stop looking at other people’s journey and bank accounts. Focus on the gifts inside of you and stop trying to emulate someone else! Become bold and do the work to find your authentic self and gather the courage to live out your dreams. You are capable! Now cape up!

~Nikki

Sunday Morning Coffee Musings: Anxiety Talks Trash

Before the fly decided to take a swim…it didn’t make it.

The other night I had anxiety which led to me being up later than usual. After I took something for anxiety, I listened to a guided meditation and then I drifted off to sleep. I recall right before I drifted off to sleep, I began to silently TALK BACK to anxiety. To the thoughts in my mind. “It’s alright, Nicole. Everything will work out for your good. Anxiety is such a liar. You are so blessed. You actually manifested this home and it was a grueling process but, you made it. You can even dream of another home. You will find love and love will find you. Does it really matter when it shows up? It will show up. Anxiety knows nothing but negativity. Money is not a problem. Books will become best sellers. You can do it. If they can write books back to back you can, too. The right people will read your books. You are loved. God loves you and cares about your wants, desires, needs.”

And somewhere afterwards I feel asleep. The next few days I thought about how anxiety talks a lot of trash. You know like athletes do when they are in a game. You do not want to hear some of the things they say. Growing up with a few athletic siblings, the things you hear courtside is not for the “saints”. Some of the things football players say on the field…

Well, that is how anxiety is. It’s talks TRASH. It gets you riled up and sometimes it gets you to become overwhelmed or afraid. Some of us go into shut down mode and some of us become agitated. But, once it was brought to my attention that anxiety talks trash, I thought about how the other player usually talks trash back. I didn’t want to talk trash so I decided to call it “Talking TRUTH and FACTS” back. I call it talking HOPE.

The next time anxiety begins to talk trash, talk truth, facts, and hope.

It’s a fact I am 40 something and I haven’t found love. It’s also a fact that I can still find love.

I don’t know how it’s going to work out but, God always works it out. Let me tell you about some times it worked out for me…

And so on and so forth. This is just one method I am learning to use when anxiety wants to talk to me. I hope it helps someone else.

~Nikki

September’s Gifts

Orange Beach

Every month I will be sharing my lessons, reminders, and observations of the previous month. So it’s October and here is what I have gained or gleamed from September.

  1. You can accept people as they are BUT, you DO NOT have to accept them into your physical space or your heart space.
  2. You don’t have to always choose the hard way to learn or to love.
  3. There is a time for everything. There is a time not to trust your logic or heart (emotions) but, to trust your intuition. This is the time to trust your intuition. Solar plexus. Quiet the heart and logic through prayer and meditation. Through exercise. Your intuition, the Holy Spirit, your holy spirit, will speak. This is ONE way to GAIN CLARITY. (I was desperate for clarity!)
  4. Another way to CLARITY is to catch a hawks point of view. My daughter and I saw a Cooper’s Hawk at eyelevel which is rare. Rise above your feelings and thoughts and observe what you see. Above the confusion, above the chaos, is a view that allows you to sort things out QUIETLY and to gain…CLARITY. Be calm like the hawk. Be reserved. Be in control of YOU, your actions and reactions.
  5. From a friend of mine, “There is a difference between an Alpha male and a Neanderthal.” If your definition of an alpha male is one that is one that is the leader of the pack, dominant, controlling, bossy, rude, pushy…I am not the one for you. I am in the market for a team player. Side by side. Go play golf.
  6. I learned that I can manufacture confidence on the spot.
  7. Let love come to me in it’s own time and in it’s own way. Anything I ever had too soon or too much of only made me ill.
  8. Reminder: When you FEEL like you need to pray but, don’t know what to say, ask Spirit to pray for you and just be quiet. Be still. Just feel. Spirit will pray and you will receive what it is you cannot put into words.

~Nikki

Manufacturing Confidence On the Spot

Let’s start at the beginning. I booked this tour/adventure for my family and thought nothing about it until the date drew closer. I begin to become afraid of getting on the water in a tiki boat because I can not swim. I have been on three cruises. I still have some fear and I rationalized that as normal. Ok. No problem. I am still getting on the boat I tell myself.

I get on the boat and immediately, fear rises and changes into anxiety. I am now gripping the bar and I am having second, third, fourth, thousands of thoughts. I feel like I can’t breathe. I tell my fiend. I am scared! He says, “It’s ok. Just breathe. Nothing is going to happen.” I am thinking, “How many people have thought or said that and something happened.” I laid my head on the bar. The Captain wanted to know who all could swim and I was the only one that couldn’t. I looked at my friend and he said, “I am not going to let anything happen to you. I gotcha. Try to relax and enjoy.” The Captain saw my fear and begin to tell me his credentials and then he started to explain the physics of how this type of boat works. With the combination of trust in my friend and the captain, trust in God, the logic of how this boat floats, and comforting words (Oh yeah and downing a glass of pineapple sangria!) I started to relax.

I begin to talk to myself silently, “All is well. IF something happens you will not die. All of these people can swim and they will help you. The coastguard is literally in the water. It’s not your time. This is not how you will go and you know this. God is not going to let anything happen to you. Breathe. Look at the beautiful water all around you. Look at the clear blue skies. Feel the breeze. Soak up the sun and moment of this experience. And have a shot of vodka. :-D! ” Hey, my wine was all gone. After this photo was snapped, I thought about if I should post it. I look so confident but, I didn’t start out that way. I also thought about HOW I LOOKED IN THIS PHOTO. I am not a slim chic. I am who I am and I do love myself and my body. (I worked hard to get there) But most of us, even men, have some body insecurities. I saw the double chin. I saw the big boobs. I saw the mid section. I saw the lack of “junk in the trunk”. All of the things that cross between “WHITE AMERICAN BEAUTY” and “MY CULTURE’S DEFINITION” of beauty. This only lasted a split second because I was like, “The hell away with people. I love me!” Pic posted!

For some confidence is a given and for others we have to work at it. Confidence is built through experience. There are times you get to whip out your confidence on the spot and then there are times it has to be manufactured on the spot. The tools I was searching for in that moment seem to escape me. My fear of drowning swallowed up my confidence. TRUST is what I was searching for. LOGIC is what I was searching for. A PLAN for SAFETY is what I was searching for. When those things were presented to me I had to accept those tools. Then I had to use those tools to dig my way out of anxiety and an impeding anxiety attack. I did just that. It was difficult and it had to be done quickly.

I enjoyed the tour. I partied. I learned a few things about the area. I made memories with family. I did something new. I conquered a fear and silenced anxiety that day. Victory.

~Nikki