I wanted to start this paragraph by saying “when giants fall” but, Justice Ginsburg didn’t fall, she laid down her life. I think when “giants” and icons or heroes/heroines die, they are such fighters they simply have made a decision to lay down their lives. They have not only truly fought the GOOD FIGHT, they have fought the RIGHT fights. I imagine it not to be an easy choice. Anyone who loves fighting for justice or the rights of others ENJOYS a good fight as much as they do victory. I know I do. I enjoy fighting for good change no matter the level it is on or how small it may seem. I am a right is right type a girl with an understanding there are gray areas.
She was fierce in her fight for equality. She was fierce in her fight for women’s rights. Who will ever fill that enormous void? No one fights for a woman like another woman that knows the what it is like to be a woman. Plus, one that is not bound by her own party or religion. She was like a David in modern times. Small in stature BIG in FIGHT. The understanding that not everything should be based on one group of people’s religious rules but, that it should be based on an individuals rights. I think because I understand that my religion is not other people’s choice and they don’t have to live their lives by my religious standards. I choose not to judge them in that manor.
I like it that she fought fair. She fought with the law and did not manipulate it to be in her favor or a particular party’s favor. So much can be said about the current administration and their hell bent ways to skew everything in their favor and to outright do injustices and look the other way. The American people will pay another heavy price as they are now paying a heavy price for their unchecked checkered past. Our children, grandchildren, and great-grand children will pay for generations to come.
These historic icons, in all segments of life from Kobe Bryant to Ruth Bader Ginsburg is speaking to us with the volume up way past 10. It is now a choice to cover your ears and to pretend as if you do not hear it. Oh, there are other legends in the making. Who will step in to the shoes left behind? Someone will.
Women belong in ALL places where decisions are being made. -Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
2020 is such a mixed bag of things. One thing I feel the most is this year seems to catapult you into “something”. 2020 could be dubbed “The Year of the Catalyst”. I wrote that in my journal. I knew it would be more than the obvious 20/20 vision. I knew it because I FELT it. The heavy gray cloud filled with rain right before all hell breaks loose. You know what the “hell” was breaking loose? Chains. From the GLOBE, to each continent, to each country, to every state, to every city, down to every citizen. I never knew there were so many things that I needed to be FREED from. It is like I said last week…so many layers to freedom. You are going to see everything clearly. Including yourself. You can deny it to the rest of us and yourself but, you still know it. That is your 20/20 vision. IT TAKES COURAGE if you want to be FREE. That is why people ignore the truth. They do not have the courage to face it and to do something about it. I am people. You are people.
You are going to be catapulted in some form or fashion and you have to land somewhere. Covid 19. Need I say more? The light at the beginning of this tunnel ahead is; you can decide where you want to land and how you want to land. Being thrown is not an option. Choices are being handing to us daily. Options are being handed to us throughout the day. Some small. Some that are in your face. If you choose to ignore the changes or adjustments in your life that NEED to be made, you will only set yourself back. This is not the time for pretending things are okay in this country or in this world or in your life.
I have been guilty of trying to do it all. Trying to do it all for a family member. Trying to do it all for the church and preserve a legacy that is not even mine. Trying to do it all with my business and feeling the pressure of success of others swirling all around me. Trying to hurry up and get it all done. Trying to hurry and break free. All the time I am on the brink of breaking. I thought I was about to break down but, turns out my spirit is trying to break free. You see sometimes the process of breaking free can feel like the stress of breaking down. The noise I hear are the chains rattling. 27 years worth of chains breaking but, the cuffs are still on. My spirit wants out of those cuffs. She does not want to ACT like she is okay because all the other family members are acting like they are okay. She does not want to NOT say anything or much or sit down in the presence of wrong-doing and accept it as NORMAL. She does not want to do what she does not want to do. She wants to do, what she wants to do and what she was created to do.
As the year continues to pick up and catapult our lives, I want to at least CHOOSE where I am going to land and where I want to land. I aim it for a safe and prosperous landing. I aim to come out on top and healed. 2020 has put us in the hot seat. Examine yourself. Confess your faults to friends. Look at your life. Is it the life you imagined years ago? If not, you can imagine something better. Are you who you imagined yourself to be? If not, you can imagine and ACT on a better you. Where do you want to land after all of this is over? You can choose. Position yourself for the land.
P.S. Age is nothing but a number. It’s never too late to live dreams or create new dreams!
I’ve wrapped my head around the idea that I have more work to do on myself as far as releasing the painful past of childhood. What I did not know was that there were layers to freedom. I got this thought from my own spirit as I was in conversation, meditation, or prayer with God (whatever you choose to call it is fine with me). I was venting that I just want to be free to enjoy and live out my full potential from here on out. I vented “I thought I was free! Who knew that there were so many layers to freedom!!!” And it hit me, “layers to freedom.” Like and onion.
Onions are just fine sitting in the produce section piled up on top of each other. But once you get them home and peel back a layer, you open up the strong smell that creates watery eyes without your consent or control. And so it is, with opening up old wounds that have never healed. Layers and layers of years have gone by. Years and years of masking the uncomfortable that manifest in mood swings, meanness, sadness, arrogance, nonchalant-ness and irritability for no apparent reason. Layers of hurt, embarrassment, inadequate feelings, and shame concealed by one thin layer.
When you have experienced some sort of trauma or continued drama, the emancipation of your soul may take a very long time. I don’t know if it can be sped up. I think maybe it can and I am going to find out if that is true. All week long the spiritual things from my daily devotions to meditation and wisdom from spiritual leaders have centered around freedom. Coincidence? No. I am calling this freedom in and that is why it is showing up. Even in numbers.
Sandhguru said, “Freedom requires courage.” I listened to one of his talks this week. It does require courage and I have taken some courageous steps in peeling back the layers. But, this step, requires “a whole heap” (as my Granny would say) of courage. I feel like I have to muster it up. Get up the nerve. Face it. Deal with it. Defeat it. I feel as if this will be the last barrier to my own freedom. I am tired. I am weary. I am ready. So maybe the speeding up the process is to DEAL with it HEAD ON knowing it’s going to get messy, become tiring, and hurt. But…I need my freedom. I need to live my FULL, UNCHAINED LIFE. I am ready to peel back every layer, chop the onions up and use them to flavor my life. God is my help, my strength, my source, and I feel as if I have not only God, but angels, my angel, and my ancestors on my side. I need all the help I can get. I need all the love I can receive. I may need many shoulders to cry on. But victory…victory is mine.
We must grow up in our thinking and reasoning. All through the Bible, God is constantly talking about our thoughts and our minds. Why? Because our thoughts determine our moods, our actions, and the words that come out of our mouth. Our thoughts determine how we deal with each other. In Philippians 2: 1-8, Paul says let this mind be in you. What mind is he talking about? The mind of CHRIST. He says to ALLOW this mind to be in you. Once again, we are faced with a choice. It’s our choice to change, it’s our choice to grow up in mentally and spiritually. It is our choice to allow the mind of Christ to be in us and to work through us. Purging out all of the negative thoughts. Purging out all of the pain we have been through so that we can become Better Women, instead of Bitter Women, and essentially becoming BETTER CHRISTIAN women.
If we are going to do anything in the body of Christ, if we are going to serve, if we are going to serve our purpose in life, if we are going to go to work and tell folks we are a Christian, we must actually do the work to become CHRIST LIKE. If you are determined not going to work in the body of Christ, not to participate in anything, then you especially, need the mind of Christ because Christ was all about doing the father’s business. In case you missed the memo, none of us are exempt from our Christian duties and responsibilities. There is plenty of work for you to do! The harvest is plenty, but the laborers are sleep in the bed and the pews. As women, saved women, sisters in Christ, it is high noon and high time we wake up and get to work!
I must admit. I like to change my hairstyle every chance I get. I don’t mind trying new things from wigs to weaves and to rocking my natural hair. It’s fun to do but, it has also been expensive at times and very taxing on my ability to do these styles on my own or just the maintenance. I will tell you, if it were in my budget to have my hair done professionally every two weeks or to let someone else do the crochets and weaves, I would!
Making a decision on what to do with “my” hair has never been easy. However, I am use to going against the grain and when I went natural it was such an emotional, spiritual, and cultural experience I figure this new thing won’t be much different. Let’s talk about people.
People have opinions about other people’s hair. Your family, friends, and society are the “people” I am talking about. I’ve discovered that none or not very many of these people are willing to pay for what they think is best for you. My personal hair experience has been mostly negative until I began to accept and denounce opinions and societal guidelines of beauty. I was praised and awed at for having naturally red hair and being African American (because that’s not often seen on a daily basis). I was also told early on by my mother and beauticians as a child that my hair was “nappy” (said with disdain) and thick and hard to do because it tangled easily. Sidebar: My mom seem to have a problem with the styles I chose once I was old enough to decide what I wanted. I can’t remember anything she liked. It was always pointed out that it was “ugly” or not cute. It was met with a scrunched up face and an “ew” no matter what I did. It was and is course. It needed to be straightened by a press or perm to make it easier to deal with first. Secondly, having “straight” hair would be deemed more acceptable by society (jobs, white people that were doing the hiring, black people that were employed by white people that were doing the hiring). Having straight hair would make you cuter and boys would like you. Then I found out that having long hair was needed on top of your hair being straight. The only time you didn’t need straight hair is if you had “good” hair. You know, curly or wavy.
Believe it or not, things like this impact my race psychologically. It makes you “think” twice about choosing a style that YOU want based on what society will accept or a biased job. African Americans in this country are sick of others controlling the narrative on what we should and should not do to our hair. I hate to say it but, it goes back to slavery and what was “ok” as far as what we did, how we did it, when we did it, what we looked liked as far women covering up their curves, and their “exotic” hair and features. I don’t have to look like you to be accepted. I don’t have to dress like you to be accepted. It really runs deep in the psyche of a predominately white society. Look like US. Act like US. Speak like US. Even in Christianity, worship like US. I want to ask, who are you? WE are AMERICA. All of us that are born and live here.
Should jobs have restrictions on hair? Yes. Should they be biased and slick geared towards the discrimination of African Americans? No. We know you don’t like braids, natural hair, and locs. It’s not “professional” and it’s a way to keep African Americans from being employed at your business. Do companies have a right to decide on how they want employees to dress and represent their company? YES. But once again, you have to take into consideration culture and people that do not LOOK like what you deem acceptable based on biases. Honestly, who gives a damn about what you like about someone’s hair? Go beyond that and see what they bring to the table. VALUE our hard work and intellect. Do yourself that favor.
And why I am at, we don’t prefer the touching of our hair as our ancestors were often touched and felt over and picked like fruit by those who wanted to buy us. Our hair and bodies were touched and we could not say NO. STOP. GET YOUR HANDS OFF OF ME. RESPECT MY BOUNDARIES. I AM NOT SOME OBJECT TO BE GAWKED AT. There is a difference from being marveled at, curious (Because it’s different, it’s fascinating, and you want to see if the things/lies you’ve been told are true about black hair. You want to know how did you do that with your hair?). That, I don’t mind. I am here to inform you but, I must warn you, many of my people are on the offense about things pertaining to their blackness or culture. I think it comes from defending, explaining, fighting to be accepted, etc.
Well, as I take a deep breath, without further delay, I have decided to loc my hair for the sake of my hair. The constant breakage and damage and the inability to maintain it regularly. And who knew, it would become another personal journey. I can tell you right now, most in my family HATE IT or mildly put, DON’T LIKE IT. As expected. I just focus on those that are neutral, like it, love it, and support it. My hair doesn’t change my love, my intellect, my creativity, my compassion and passion, etc. Did you know that with natural hair, braids, or locs people can still gain knowledge and perform their job duties? They can run businesses, own businesses, and corporations. They can even, brace yourself, change the world. Mind blowing or blown?
1 Corinthians 13:11, NIV, says: When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man (woman, an adult), I put the ways of childhood behind me.
Becoming a better woman, requires us to not simply be grown in body and age, but it requires us to become mature spiritually. Paul said that when he was a child, he talked like a child. This means his conversations were childlike. Uh oh! We have to grow up our conversations. “He said, she said. Did you see, Girrrllllll call me after rehearsal (The Zoom Meeting). I have something to tell you. ” Grow up your conversation!
Paul said he thought like a child. “Mines!!! That’s my job. That’s my spot. It’s all about me! What about me?” Paul said he reasoned like a child. “Mmm hmm. I see you left my name off the program again! You just wait until I’m over The Garden for Churches Program. I won’t ask you to help!” Sons and daughters of the Most High God, that is childish reasoning!
Let’s jump right in! Here is my new Thursday series that is based on a “lecture” I “taught” one Sunday morning. Although I am primarily speaking to a group of Christian women, if you are truly spiritual you can connect with this series and get something out of it. The original was titled “Becoming a Better Woman with the Christ Mind.” But for this series I decided to define the word Christ which is a title that means “the anointed one.” It was not Jesus’s last name. It was and is a title, but has become a name synonymous with Jesus.
Becoming a Better Woman, with the Anointed (-Consecrated, Sacred, Christ) Mind
Philippians 2:1- 8
1 Corinthians 13:11
To become better sisters to each other within these four walls, in our friendships, on our jobs, and as we interact with other women in our daily comings and goings, we must first become BETTER WOMEN. It is difficult, to strengthen and encourage each other, if we are selfish, complacent, full of criticism and complaints, malicious, keeping up mess or sowing seeds of discord, on an ego trip that we never seem to come back from, goals of selfish ambitions, and throwing fits of rage. Basically, we are too tired, too broken down, too busy and knee deep in flesh, to encourage and strengthen each other. If we are going to reach across the aisles and become better sisters in church and in the community, we need to become better women. And we can start by becoming better Christians (women, men, children, young adult, human beings!).
Now, can God use a broken vessel? Of course, he can! Can you use a broken cup or bowl? Of course, you can. But it’s going to be messy. It’s going to leak. It’s going to possibly cut you in the process. That is what it’s like for women and men who are broken and trying to do the work of God, without transforming and renewing their minds. We are saved, but we can be messy because we are broken. We are saved, but we are hurting each other, because we are broken. It’s the potter’s job to put you back together again, but it’s your job and your choice, and therefore your responsibility to get on the wheel.
Side Note: We need to be broken so that that which is not light in us can run out and that which is good can remain.
Imagine having a misunderstanding about your appointment and being dropped by your therapist via email. It happened to me Thursday. Monday, there was drama. Tuesday, there was drama. Wednesday, there was drama. And Thursday I opened up my email to a response by my now ex-therapist, that my time slot was no longer available. Well, I imagine not if I’d been trying to contact you via phone and messages since April and your office is open with no response.
I won’t go into details because it’s not necessary to make the best of this situation. I will say I was stunned. I will say I cried. I will say he was an EXCELLENT therapist and I progressed in leaps and bounds and I was READY to keep going. After sitting at the table I went to my room and journaled. I had my cry. I felt abandoned. I felt misunderstood. I felt sad. I felt angry. It felt some of my relationships, the end was out the blue. I felt like, “I didn’t even do anything. All I did was misunderstand the conversation, was ignorant that therapist offices were still open during the quarantine and they were considered essential.” I had no idea. Seems like to me, this could have been cleared up with a conversation. I realized I had left messages saying I needed some help and he didn’t respond. I was concerned about his safety. Hell, I thought maybe he had Covid because surely I would have heard back by now. I prayed he didn’t. This is when I became angry. I called. I left messages. And he didn’t respond. I sent an email and I got a response.
Talking to a therapist friend, I was given great advice and pushed to move on. I mean, I had no choice. And when I look back, when I got still, I knew this was coming. I had thoughts that “This was going to end.” Although, I couldn’t understand why God was putting this in my spirit. I thought it was just me thinking this because things seem to happen when things are going so well. I told myself I was just being negative. But the thought or message would float to me from time to time and I would shut it down as nonsense. I was wrong.
Well, Thursday evening I had accepted that this was reality. I definitely was not going to plead my case. I sent an email thanking him for his help during my journey. I started looking for a new therapist. I left emails with several therapists Thursday night. I got responses the next morning, but it was one that stood out. I made an appointment on line to go into the office. Her reviews were good as all of the ones I chose were. So, looks like I have a new therapist, a new journey, and instead of looking at things as if I have to start all over, I decided to look at it as, I continue. It’s a new leg of the journey and my ex-therapist, as great as he is, was not equipped for this next journey. I mean, this is 2020 and the 4 energy is on it’s high. It’s a 1 energy in June. Yes, I am talking numerology, energy, and Bible. It’s in there.
I also “shopped” for a new doctor. I’ve always wanted a new doctor, but was reluctant to change. My Primary Care Physician is good. We just don’t connect. He’s very text book, very mechanical, like a robot? He is void of emotion. Also, he is now looking for patients and I suspect this is one of the reasons why. I have now learned that for me, it’s not enough for a doctor to be good, it’s important I have a connection with the doctor. We should be invested in each other to some degree.
This week has been one for the books. I survived this week. As things crumbled and my relationship with my therapist ended, I remember my mantra for this year, “FOCUS, AND FEAR NOT.” Also, what came to me was, CHANGE, AND FEAR NOT.
Friday I celebrated Juneteenth. I grilled. I haven’t grilled in about 5 years and before that attempt, it was 2011 when I stopped because of Rheumatoid. I had a great time with my daughter at home Friday. Saturday, I spent time with my parents, one of my brothers, and my sister. We gave Dad his Father’s Day gift, a bench for the patio. He was surprised and pleased. My baby brother and I chatted as we headed to Home Depot to pick up the bench, look for material, pick out molding for his “man cave” he’s having built onto his house. We picked up dinner for Dad. Then as the evening began to wind down, my daughter and I hung out a little late last night. We’ve been spending more time outside in the evenings. All is well with my soul. It’s the calm of the storm.
On the menu for Juneteenth: Grilled jerk wings with a jerk seasoning I made. Crab cakes, with aioli sauce, sweet corn, chopped salad with avocado ranch dressing, and a homemade lemonade I have decided to name, Freedom Lemonade.
Self-love is reflecting on your behavior and modifying it. This means you must think about why you did what you did, said what you said, and allow what you allow. You might have to get some help from a therapist to help you to help yourself. Yep. Self-love is hard work.
Self-love is about being HONEST with yourself about yourself, and about others. You may have to admit that you are selfish, petty to the 10th power, maybe you do let people walk all over you, maybe you do think you are better than others, maybe you are lonely, maybe you do have insecurities. MAYBE they don’t love you or respect you. Maybe it is just about sex. Maybe you never wanted to be a physical therapist, nurse, warehouse worker and you really wanted to open a bakery. You may have to admit that you were wrong and that you hurt someone. The truth will set you free but only if you tell the truth to yourself and others. It is hard work.
~Nikki, from the Heart Epiphany Lecture March 2020