Whatever Wednesday: You Can Sit With Us, The Black People’s Edition

You know the scenario, the new kid walks into the lunch room looking for a familiar face or a place to sit only to choose a table and hear the words, “You can’t sit with us.” It’s the mean girls slogan for newcomers and it’s transferred over in so many cultures and into the work place. Why? Because mean people and childish adults exist in every culture, race, and they exist in institutions and corporations. EVEN CHURCHES!

In my race and culture I have found the same exclusivity in almost every situation imagined. I’ve been in churches where it wasn’t said but dutifully noted, “You can’t sit with us.” I have been on a job, walked into the breakroom, looking for my people and got the eyes of, “Un uh. Who are you? You can’t sit with us.” I was in my 20’s working at a well known corporate office and into the cafeteria walks the new black girl with her tray. She looks around nervously for a place to sit and I wave my hand like , “Here, over here!” She didn’t work in my department but, I saw her as she was given the tour. She came to the table and said, “Oh, thank you so much!” Eventually, she found her people in her department but, we kept friendly the entire time I was there. I’ve done this, make room and space, numerous times in settings where black men or women find themselves in a room full of us or not, with no idea how to navigate that socially awkward moment. I’ve done it for ANYONE.

I’ve been asked, “Why did you invite “HER” to our table?” or “Do you know them?” I invited her because she was black, a woman, a minority. I invited them because I have been them not because I know them and it wouldn’t hurt to get to know them. It’s okay to hold space until people find their place. It’s the nice, polite, kind thing to do.

Sunday, I attended the wedding of a friend. He was the groom. When I walked into the backyard of his cousin’s home, decorated beautifully, I didn’t know anyone that was there. I navigated towards a table that had a couple sitting at it. I spoke and sat down. I did the unthinkable and started with “small talk”. Before you knew it, we were talking and laughing. We were joined by two more of their family members and just as easily as the conversation started with the couple, so it was with the two additional family members. The people I was sitting with actually ended up being family of the bride. The conversation and laughs blossomed into the things we had in common, life, food, travel, an on the spot order of my chocolate covered strawberries, a remedy for bad knees (lol) and I now have “new” cousins and an additional auntie.

It doesn’t hurt us to be friendly, warm, and inviting to that unfamiliar yet familiar face. In society, we are often considered the outsider. The unequal. The not good enough. We should always, always welcome our own when given the opportunity. Especially, in our own social circles and environments.

~Nikki

Sunday Morning Coffee Musings: The Energy of May

I know we are 16 days into May but, this may help you to make it through the rest of the month. There is nothing like understanding the “season” we are in or the signs of the times. Why? Some may say. Well, it’s because knowledge is power and you can govern your actions and responses accordingly.

The “energy of May” brings us independence, confidence, and new beginnings through the number 1. Biblically, it represents God. God is self sufficient, needing nothing to do what needs to be done except energy. We, being like gods in the earth, are self sufficient. We need nothing but energy to thrive. It’s the whole “We lack nothing. Everything we need to succeed is within” thingy. 1 is motivating. 1 is the number of the pioneer. It’s time to break new ground. Take a different path. Start a new project. Do something you have not done before. That type of energy is in the air.

This is not the time for drama, chaos, or confusion. If this is anywhere near you, get away from it. Shut it down and do not be pulled into conflict. You do not have time for it. The 1 energy is focused! It is ready to take control of it’s future. It’s ready to create or to embrace new beginnings.

The 1 energy is confident and independent. It will not wait for the approval of others. In fact, it is not concerned about who is for it or against it. The 1 energy will ride alone. 1 has a plan and is ready to execute it. If it fails, it learns. If it succeed, it learns. This it the mindset of the 1 energy.

Goals are being achieved with this energy. Advances are being made. It is self motivated and has self determination. There are no excuses and innovation is used to overcome obstacles.

What’s your passion? What’s your purpose? Begin the great work! You’ve written the vision, you’ve made it plain, and now it’s time to take action. Do your part and let the CREATOR take care of the logistics. A positive attitude and optimism is required in this season. Total faith and trust in yourself and in God, the Creator, the Universe, or whatever you call the Higher Power is how you move in this season.

Godspeed,

~Nikki

Whatever Wednesday: April’s Lessons

  1. Remember your worth. No matter what is going on, the situation, the relationship, you are worthy. Walk in your worth. Rest in your worth. Walk in your worth means to walk in the confidence or certainty, that you are worthy. You say it. You claim it. When you feel unworthy is the time to OWN IT. Rest in it. After you leave the job, situation, when you get home, in the quiet moments…REST in your worthiness. No matter what happens…YOU ARE STILL WORTHY.
  2. You are worthy to be a priority. People make time for who and what they want. They do not make time for you because they do not want to. If they can shift and move and impromptu everything else…they can do the same for you IF they wanted to.
  3. Some things in life won’t go away in a few days or a few weeks. It won’t be lifted immediately after prayer or meditation. You won’t feel better after exercise. Some things will not be lifted with routine because it’s design for strength training and it’s the opportunity to for you to USE all of your skills, wisdom, experience, and knowledge you have gained. It’s show time, baby.
  4. You get over some things faster because you have grown.
  5. Move from desires to intent and let God, the Creator work out the logistics. Desires are great for visualization. Desires are great for making a list and writing the vision but, INTENT breeds action. Your part is action. My part is writing this blog. God’s part is the logistics. My part is to share it and tag it and boost it. What happens after that is God’s part. The logistics. Logistics- the DETAILED coordination of a COMPLEX operation involving PEOPLE, FACILITIES, or SUPPLIES.

~Nikki

Sunday Morning Coffee Musings: Carrying False Guilt

Voluntary Transparency: This morning I had to deal with some FALSE GUILT. I didn’t know it was false guilt at first, I was just feeling really bad about it. But I thank God for the tools in my toolbox. Some put there before birth. Some put there by life experiences. Some put there by spirituality and religion. Some put there by education. Some put there by a therapist. Why do I feel so bad about this? It must be wrong because I feel so bad about it. Why do I feel so bad about it? Man, I don’t feel like doing this. I have to make myself do this. No, no, I am not. I cannot. Ugg. Just do it anyway. Why do I feel so guilty for not wanting to do this??? This is so negative. “It’s bad Nicole. You are not a good Christian if you keep doing this. People can’t believe you have a problem doing “that”! Shame on you!” This is the dialogue I have with myself. Take the clothes out. Put the clothes up. Take the clothes out, look at the clock, put the clothes back.

Why do I feel so guilty? Wait. WHY DO I? WHERE IS THIS COMING FROM? This morning I received a text to come to church to so that I could help. I ignored it because I did not want to tell the person I did not want to come. I really wanted to tell them to stop asking me because it is not a pleasurable experience for me when it comes to a certain part of the service. I literally must prepare myself to go mentally, and I often lament over it the night before and the hours before. Pushing and dragging myself. Sitting through that segment of service is torture for me so why did I feel so guilty this morning for not responding and not going?

I listened to a TedTalk about authenticity. That helped a little bit. Then I turned to affirming myself: “I am not going to HELL for not attending church. It is okay not to support something or someone that I don’t believe is right. I can still love them but, not support them in wrongdoing. It does not mean that I do not believe in God. It means I have a strong dislike and distaste for falsehood and fakeness. It is a part of me no matter what or who perpetuates hypocrisy. I don’t expect perfection, I do expect truthfulness, honesty, and one that is truly trying to live the life they portray.” 

I was trying to resist the guilt. The bad feeling. Until I remembered to listen to it. To explore it. To sit with it. To really think about why I was feeling it. I needed the source or sources. Guilt is a negative emotion or sad emotion. I came across this video that really confirmed what I was trying to do.

  1. Why do I feel so guilty? I feel guilting because people say you should support your love one NO MATTER WHAT. EVEN if they are WRONG.
  • Where is this guilt coming from? We are taught not to tell people that we love they are wrong. We give them a pass because of their roles in our lives and we suffer under their continuation of wrongdoing. Yet, as Christians, we have scripture and an obligation to tell the ones we love when they are wrong regardless of their roles in our lives. We the freedom to not support something that we don’t like or believe in.
  • Should I feel guilty? Did I do something wrong? I should not feel guilty for something I have not done, or for someone or something I cannot control. I am not responsible for the actions of others. This is FALSE GUILT. I have not done anything wrong by not supporting this person in that area of their lives as it will compromise staying true to who I am and my beliefs.
  • What is it that I really feel bad about? I feel bad that they don’t love themselves enough to be okay with who they really are. I feel sad that they don’t know who they are, and they have to put on this cloak of falsehood. I feel embarrassed that they do not know that people are talking about them and that people can see straight through them. I feel bad that they have some people fooled. It is okay to feel sorry for that person, feel bad for them, but to also go on with my day, life, mission, and journey. Their life is not my life and it is between them and the Creator.

It is one thing to feel bad or sorry about a situation or a person but, it is another thing to carry false guilt! It’s an unnecessary weight we place on ourselves. It is a spirit that comes to us because we’ve been told how to feel about certain situations and things. We’ve been taught not to be loyal to the world and others that don’t look or think or feel or serve the same God we serve but, we have been taught to close our eyes to leaders that are not true, to parents that are doing wrong, to older siblings and family members even when what they say and do harm us and others.

It is okay to draw a line and to stand by it. It is okay if you stand alone. We can still meet at the dinner table. We can still spend time together. We can still live, laugh, and be merry but when it comes to that line it is one, I cannot cross. I cannot compromise my authenticity, my moral compass, to support something or someone I believe is wrong.

~Nikki

Sunday Morning Coffee Musings: What’s Calling Me

What’s calling me isn’t church pews this morning or a Sunday morning “preach at” or struggle sermon. What is calling me is meditation, coffee, nature, the beach, fresh strawberries, and some way to express my thoughts and emotions. A good soul message is calling me. One that I can resonate with. Some yoga is calling me to the mat. Water is calling me.

The heart is yearning for a twin flame and soul mate wrapped into one but, spirit is saying patience. And by patience it could be days, months, and more years. Exactly how to be at peace with that is a challenge. You have to move forward with dreams and goals and life moves forward with or without you. This is fairly easy for some and not so easy for us lovers and romantics but, it is what it is. The heart is calling and the spirit is waiting.

Goals and dreams are calling to be written and carried out. The next step is blinking like a cursor on a blank page. It feels like a demand. The hows and whys for a person like me with anxiety and depression floating around make it very challenging to get it done or to do it in spite of feelings. I have to work around or press on and believe me that is tiring. I wish I had some help other than Spirit. I mean I wish I had support in the form of a mate. I am just doing what I do when I say that. I am sharing the private thoughts of some of us single people. Please, don’t try to correct us or redirect us. Not today. It’s our honesty that needs to be expressed and examined by us.

I don’t know where I am going today but, I do know where I am not going and what I am not doing. I do have to do a better job at communicating this to others who are making demands on a life and time that do not belong to them.

~Nikki

Sunday Morning Coffee Musings: Notorious RBG

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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.

~Nikki

Women belong in ALL places where decisions are being made. -Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Catalyst

Photo by Nicole Jackson Rooftop the Hu Hotel. Memphis, Tn. Mississippi River

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.

~Nikki

P.S. Age is nothing but a number. It’s never too late to live dreams or create new dreams!

Sunday Morning Coffee Musings: Layers To Freedom

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.

~Nikki

Becoming Better Women (With the Anointed Mind) Pt. 3

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!

Part 1 and 2 are available.

~Nikki

Flashback Fast Forward A New Journey: The Many Hairstyles of Nikki (Hair Talk…May Be Offensive to Some)

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?

~Nikki