What can I say? It’s been a hectic few weeks with all the negative effects associated with the Corona virus & the sudden, yet mandatory, need to be socially distant. Despite the unfortunate circumstances surrounding this pandemic; in this time, I have become acutely aware of the blessing in being still, spending time with family & being home.
This quarantine has given me the ability to put the rest of the world on pause & hit the play button on what was most important– ME. Gratefully, this quarantine, although not always regarded to fondly, has turned off all the noise. It has brought a new & welcomed silence that has allowed me to reflect on my own behavior, my need for constant healing, our ability to be resilient & the wonders of God –even in all the chaos.
You see, this chaos is different, though. This chaos is fueled with fear & uncertainty. It is not the chaos we have grown accustom to. You know, the chaos that requires constant movement, over exertion, limited time for our families, limitations on our ability to self reflect & spiritually align ourselves. Right now, we are not required to run off limited energy. Instead we are required to remember what it is like to go back to the basics so that we can exude gratitude when things are back in motion.
I am not oblivious to how difficult this virus & quarantine has made people’s lives. I also understand that people will need time to recover financially, physically & emotionally. However, I am not blind to the opportunities this has afforded us & the overwhelming peace I have in knowing that God is with us in this; as he promised.
I pray that in this you are able to reflect on what this quarantine means to you & that you use this opportunity to better yourself through rest, peace & love. Because as I always say — this time is no different– all things made to derail you will be flipped for your glory.
Today, I woke up in such a grateful state of mind; it is refreshing. The past couple weeks have been quite difficult for me professionally & spiritually. However, I am amazed at my ability to not allow what is going on around me to warp my perspective. I look at my life & am eternally grateful for how far I have come despite the challenges- my health, the love that surrounds me & all the opportunities that encourage me to be a better person.
Circumstances can easily make us forget the grace & favor placed on our lives. Because of that, it is amazing that the realization of how protected I am hits me harder as I get older. Of course times get difficult & I find myself in less than ideal situations but I am breathing & still have the ability to love & be loved. My heart tells me that nothing I am facing now will last forever & that alone is something to be appreciative about.
So today, my goal is to encourage you to think of 3 things you are thankful for. If you can change your perspective even for a brief moment & pin point the specific things that make your life whole this memoir has done it’s job. I challenge you to do this every day. Every day write down or mentally note 3 different things that fill you with gratitude & keep it at the forefront of your mind as you navigate through the day. Eventually, the chaos going on around you will seem insignificant in comparison to the things that give you joy- genuine, unprecedented joy.
Unfortunately, in order to become who we are meant to be, pain is apart of the process. That being the case, I have had my share of pain that has been inflicted by rejection, abandonment & disappointment. As time progressed, I learned how to not allow what hurt me to cripple me from advancement & that beauty is morphed from my pain.
I was born a fatherless child to a young single mother who harbored her own pain. Although I did not know it then, I carried that pain for a long time & used his abandonment as an excuse to distrust & dislike people. I chose not to live my life or engage with new people out of fear of becoming a familiar friend to abandonment & rejection, yet again. I had a personable personality, but put the people who loved me through hell to ensure their intent was genuine. As time progressed & I loosened the reigns, I began to trust the wrong people. People who were less than worthy of my time. People who reminded me of what it felt like to be that little girl who was rejected by her father. People who took advantage of my vulnerability & my new attempt to forgive & disguised it as love. People who made it difficult to trust when amazing people who are worthy step in.
As I pursue new adventures with new people, I hold certain lesson extremely close to my heart. For instance, putting people under strict confines, not only made me a sh*tty person, it is asking for people to screw up. There is a clear difference between bad people & people who make a mistake & just because someone makes a mistake, does not make them a bad person. Being anti-social does not hurt the people that hurt me, but instead limits me from reaching my potential & engaging with people that can offer enjoyable experiences & lasting relationships. Some people are not supposed to be around forever. Sometimes their season is to serve a purpose & to go on their way. However, I learned to appreciate the people who stuck around even when I was not worth sticking around for. Although I still work through my trauma, I am healed enough to know that it is important to take ownership of my pain, regain my power & live my life.
The aftermath of my pain has given me the ability to empathize with those that are hurting & has allowed me to speak life into those who need it. I encourage you to do the same. People need your testimony. Your pain alone gives you a story to tell. A story of a journey consistent with perseverance & healing. Pain, although the effects can be long lasting, was never meant to be around forever. It’s purpose is to make a bad situation a positive transformation. What we gain from the experience, we are to help pour into others. We should never get it mixed up – pain is temporary. YOU are FOREVER.
Ladies, the older I get the more I can identify with the mindset that minding my own business allows me all the opportunities to literally, mind my own business. Unfortunately, we have been conditioned to engulf ourselves in the lives of others. So much so, that we can barely embrace the effects of what is going on in our own lives. We allow other people’s circumstances to spark a flame in our lives instead of fueling a fire that allow us to become & remain inspired in a way that benefits us. We become inspired by other people’s misery & wonder why our lives are not where we want them to be, why our goals have not be obtained & why we are always in some form of mess/drama. Well, say hello to the side effects of not minding your own business.
In order to tackle obstacles & make our dreams a reality, we have to literally take the time we spend checking on the lives of others & apply it to our own. Because the truth is, none of us are in a place where we should be comfortable knowing & searching for all the scoop on someone’s else’s life knowing we can always be in a better place than where we are now. There is nothing on this earth worth inhibiting us from striving to be our best selves. How interesting it is, is irrelevant. It serves as a distraction. A distraction from finding our ideal job, going back to school, tending to our families or opening our own businesses. So it is imperative that we strive to actively mind our own business. If it is not self-productive, it is not business to be tended to.
So before we entertain the action in someone else’s life, we need to think about the time we are sacrificing & how we can apply it to something else; something more productive. We are big girls & life, as I always say, is too short. Too short to strive for anything other than someone better than we are today. Remember that.
I am a firm believer that we have been put on this earth with the appropriate resources that ensures our survival. I believe that everything that we need to survive our experiences has been placed within us or on this earth to ensure we live our lives to its maximum potential. In being properly equipped, we have been gifted with the “ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning.” This gift is our intuition, often referred to as the “women’s intuitions”, our “gut instinct” or our “gift of discernment.” I can not tell you how many times I have been severely disappointed when I have ignored that uneasy feeling in circumstances that I should not have. Therefore, today, I advocate that we take the time to listen to our gut – always; because I am a true example of what happens if we choose to ignore or embrace our ability to tap into it.
The worst & best thing I have ever done was to listen &/or ignore what my intuition was telling me. After many heartbreaks & bad decisions, finally, after 30 years of life; I learned to embrace all of its glorious wonders. It has taught me to be a better decision maker for myself & for my loved ones, to use my discernment when meeting new people or receiving new information & it has increased my creativity, significantly. As I continue to embrace this ability, it comes more naturally & the confidence I have built in my willingness to make difficult decisions has increased. In believing in myself & paying attention to my instincts I have been able to make sound decisions that I have not regretted after making them. I have learned to become more patient with decisions & understand the importance of sitting back, processing the circumstances & returning with a well thought out solution that will work in my favor.
Therefore, I want to encourage you to do the same. Listen to your gut & embrace what it is telling you. If you feel uneasy, if something does not seem right, sit on it, pray about it & act accordingly. We spend so much of our time negating what we already know & forcing what we want to happen by ignoring this small but enormous gift that was afforded to us. Trusting ourselves enough to allow what is natural to us to protect us, is the best thing that we can do for ourselves. The only person that has anything to lose in not trusting ourselves, is ourselves. So, check in with yourself. Stop ignoring yourself under the pretense that you’re “doing too much” or you’re “being extra”; you owe no one else the benefit of the doubt but yourself. You will take better care of you than anyone else can, so believe in YOU when YOU nudges YOU.
Although women are coming forward encouraging & advocating for themselves in ways that have not always been so prevelant before, it has always been important. For a long time, women have been an oppressed population. From employment opportunities, to policy changes put in place to hinder & dictate our actions – the oppressive intent is evident. As a result, we must be up in arms, always. At this point, if you hurt one, limit & restrict one; you have hurt, limit & restrict us all. Because women empowerment is more than empowering & encouraging women. It is about empathy, relation, understanding, encouragement & awareness, etc. Women empowerment is love. However, many times, the things that are occurring to us & around us encompass everything but the ability to empower women.
To get to the point that policy change happens based on the true necessities & demands of women, we can start small so that we can move bigger. We want better treatment but fail to exhibit better treatment amongst ourselves. Therefore, we can empower & encourage all women, whether we know them or not, consistently, with the intent to spread healing amongst other women. We walk by many women on a regular basis; however, we are more inclined to judge her before telling her she is bomb. We are less likely to empathize with a woman who is having a rough day without knowing her story first & we look at women individually instead of as a contribution to what they are to us as a group.
Each woman represents something for us individually & as a whole- the ability to grow, overcome adversity, create & maintain life (whether from their flesh or not), & the ability to survive & thrive. We need to begin to treat each other as valued treasure before we can expect anyone else to see us the same way. We need to stop comparing ourselves to other women to determine the traits we have that makes us a better woman. We need to look for opportunities to heal each other so we can sustain each other. Women fight many battles but it should never be a battle that we are fighting amongst ourselves. Regardless of the story of the person who receives these messages, it is important that we remind them in various & creative ways that we all are loved, capable & not alone.
We have all had our own fair share of pain. We have also had experiences that were set up to take us out. Although pain from person to person is not comparable; it is extremely important that we recognize when we have given it too much of our energy. We must identify when we have allowed that to force us to have a victim mindset instead of the mindset of a survivor. In a day & age where women are constantly undergoing scrutiny when it comes to our bodies, our rights, our perspectives & our choices; it is imperative that we maintain the will to keep fighting & do not adopt a victim mentality that will use up all our fuel that will propel us to success.
There is perseverance that comes from affliction, victory from suffering & persistence from exertion. But in order to endure, we must have the right mindset to overcome such hardships. If we sit back, idle & unable to move past what hurt us, we will remain there; stuck. That is not the intent for our lives. We were created to live fruitful, victorious & prosperous lives. There are not enough negative experiences or bad encounters that are deserving of taking from us what is rightfully ours. We have to take the flames of our hell & mold our resilience. This is war, love. We need to fight like hades for our victory; for our sanity. It may seem hard, but there is nothing, on this earth that can truly take us out- if we mold our mindset in our favor. If we fail to do so, we will stay chained to our oppression & will fail to see the light at the end of the tunnel– once that happens, we have already lost. But the victory is here. We are no longer victims, we are the victors! Justice will always be victorious.
Being brave is the ability to endure unpleasant conditions or behavior without succumbing to fear. Unfortunately, with all that is going on around us, it is extremely important that we recognize the times in which we need to stand up & go against the grain; even if it is not always the most popular opinion. It is no secret that there are many injustices that happen on a regular basis. Thankfully, technology & social media has helped significantly with the exposure of unjust, inequitable & preferential treatment; so much so, that the things that use to be swept under the rug are now the red kool-aid stain on your white rug & extremely hard to ignore.
When we see these actions, we instantly ban up together, express our distaste for a few weeks & allow our hashtags to take the social media world by storm. However, human nature does better at talking about the issues when there is a group of people around us with the same mindset. But in the event we are alone & witness the foul treatment of someone else, can we all truly say that we will remain fueled the same way? It is easy say ‘yes’ now, but as life would have it, under the right circumstances & situations our ‘yes’ can easily turn into a ‘no’. Shock & fear can bring out characteristics in us that are far from what we portray ourselves to be. That is ok, it is actually quite normal. Besides, you are not required to be anything more than human. However, the trick is to do what’s right in non-adverse & adverse situations; regardless of the fear that tells us to remain dormant & to do nothing.
We have to attempt to be brave- always. All situations are not always extreme but they do matter. We should never be dissuaded from standing up, with & next to what we believe in. Our ability to define ourselves & our integrity is rooted in that. Therefore, be brave when pursuing all your goals, be brave for your loved ones & strangers when they can not be. Be brave enough to speak out against injustices, be brave enough to love even when you are hurt. Be brave in the face of adversity. Be brave enough to implement change for the generations after you & be brave enough to make those before you proud. Be brave & break generational curses. Be brave enough to fight the fight others are too tired to fight. Shed light on what is hidden in the dark & be brave enough to admit vulnerability. Be brave enough to pray & to cry. Be brave to laugh when it is hard. Be brave to combat mental illness & brave enough to seek help when you need it. Be creative in your bravery & tie your bravery to your integrity.
With audaciousness there is nothing you cannot do. There is no giant you cannot slay.