Snip, Snip: Courage to Let Go

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Somewhere, muddled in the mess of your life and the blurriness of your tears is a remnant of the tenacity you formerly bore.

Shuffling beyond the chaos, emotional upheaval and transient disorientation is a token of tangible proof that you were once a Badass who didn’t take anyone’s excrement.

What happened? Where did you lose it? You know. Retrospection of that moment caves your chest and your spirit grieves it’s little death. It was insidious, very subtle. Your bravery was chipped away, bit-by-bit with Insult’s ice pick; convoyed by the ignorance of ignoring your intuition.

Whatever your moment, you must dig your hands into the depth of your soul and claw out the courage to love yourself enough to discontinue serving something or someone that does not best serve you!

I’m not speaking on relationships in rough patches or tough seasons. I am casting to the ground abusive and destructive relationships that do not honor God nor edify His children. I firmly believe that God’s first concern is the sanctity of your soul, not your institution. Am I telling you to pack up and leave your spouse? Not all of you but if the shoe fits…hello, Cinderella!

I recently listened to a church elder share a horrific story that he dubbed a successful testimony. His mother endured physical and psychological abuse at the hands of his father until their old age. He recounted her being held over the kitchen sink with a knife to her throat. He remembered on several occasions the cold metal of a gun pressed upon her head and many, many extramarital affairs. Then, he had the audacity to brand his mother a ‘strong woman’ for staying in a life-threatening, abusive, marriage. He professed that she would not have a great testimony of resiliency –now in their elder years — if she had not trusted God and stuck it out with his dad.

I listened, mortified at this “testimony” and terrified for the men and women who may have been victims of abuse and accepted his story as an endorsement. I conjecture that his mother would have had a remarkable, more fulfilling life in a loving relationship with someone who would honor, cherish and adore her.

I am so thankful to God for speaking firm and concise when He told me to leave. For revealing all things that needed to be seen. For proving that He honors my wholeness more than a covenant that I did not break. Abuse victims are often made to feel guilty for initiating a divorce AND simultaneously held responsible for repairing the marriage. Instead, the offending partner should be held accountable for the obliteration of the covenant.

Darling, your wholeness is more important. Look yourself in the mirror. Could you respect yourself if you stayed? If not, then your partner/enemy can’t either.

Snip, Snip. Dig out the courage. It’s there.

It’s wrapped around your beautiful soul, your fascinating future and your promising, abundant life.

 

 

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Love Don’t Live Here Anymore

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Love Don’t Live Here Anymore

I lived in a Fantasy, an altered state of Reality. Wherein behaviors were overlooked, downplayed and denied. On this day, one year ago, I gently pushed open the door of my home office and sat with my husband. He was on the computer typing away, with the beautiful bright sun light permeating through the paned window. Seated across from him in my favorite chevron Parson chair, I sputtered out,  “I want a divorce”.

Yes, I wanted to end our marriage. With pre-filled dissolution documents in my hand, I asked him to sign and make this less difficult than the decision had already been on my heart. He stated that he didn’t understand why.

For years (yes, years), I communicated our disconnect. I implored, begged, pleaded, wrote letters, cried, changed behaviors, and to no avail the marriage died. There’s only so much that one person can do when the other person is no longer present.

He didn’t understand because I had learned to be content; though I was lonely, questioning my own worth and sanity, and utterly dead on the inside.

He didn’t understand because he was happy as a jay bird bathing in my servitude and basking in his royal position.

He didn’t understand until one by one, like a deck of cards, I placed on the desk over a dozen photos of text messages to several women in which he was having affairs.

I didn’t understand either, but soon—on another sunny day–I overstood everything.

Love don’t live here anymore, for him. But it is a permanent resident for Me. I have not experienced such overwhelming peace, prosperity and happiness in the last decade as I feel, have and am right…now.

Thank you, subscribers, for sticking with me through my absence. I can’t wait to share what I’ve learned (and still learning) throughout this extraordinary journey!

Love,
Empress

The Revelation of a Grieving Parent: Chapter 3

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Stop Praying

The easiest consolation prize to bestow after any tragedy is, “I’m praying for you.” It is loosely thrown and carelessly offered as if it’s words and well wishes are tangible.

Please, don’t pray for me.

I pray for myself. My husband prays over me at 5:00 am EVERY morning. My mother fasts and prays for me without fail EVERY week. My daughter even prays with mommy twice a day.

Stop saying you’re praying for me and become an answered prayer for me.

Not just for me but make this an application exercise for every person you are tempted to vicariously spew that weightless benevolence.

What are you praying for that person? Peace? Joy? God’s Love? Blessings? Well, put your money where your mouth is and become an agent of Peace, a bringer of Joy, a bearer of God’s Love and bounty of Blessings.

Stop talking about it and be about it.

These past four years, people have run to me, even bowed and cried at my feet, all before saying, “I’m praying for you.” What they really meant was, “I’m sorry for you.” Honestly, that would have felt better because it expresses empathy. It shows that you are hurt by my hurt.

The next time someone you know experiences loss or tragedy, compliment your faith with works. If you can’t, gracefully bow out and allow someone else with more courage to meet their needs. Your ineffective presence may cause others to believe he or she is receiving help, when in reality there is a lack of resources.

Many have assumed that because I know celebrities or associate with certain groups of people, that our opportunities and finances are identical. This can not be further from the truth. So, seek to be and do good, rather than only speaking of such.

The Revelation of a Grieving Parent: Chapter 2

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Not Ok

This week, I was speaking with a friend who attended our (Forever Jaiden Foundation) most recent event, a Dia de los Muertos Fiesta. She remarked that our presentation stirred her soul to activism and she now feels called to serve others who have experienced her misfortune. My friend’s misfortune is that her loving, doting husband was killed in a car accident a few years ago. Though the nature of our losses are different, the emptiness is still present and the irritations are the same.

Irritation Numero Uno: Asking a grieving or bereaved person, “Are you Okay?”

NO! I am NOT okay! I am so far away from OKAY, that we’re on separate planets!

When someone who is absolutely integral to the completion, personal atonement and satisfaction of your life is ripped away by death, you are not okay. The only way that you would be “okay” again is for them to return, safe and healthy.

Last week, my friend’s mother died. She is not okay. While she may have nurturing women in her life, only one woman gave birth to her. That relationship is irreplaceable and incomparable.

Be sensitive and do not ask your family and friends this question. Instead, ask them, “what can I do for you?”

The Revelation of A Grieving Parent: Chapter One

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MG Empress and her Warrior Princess

MG Empress and her Warrior Princess, Jaiden Tamyah. Forever Jaiden.

This is my gospel. This is my news. This is what I know, intimately, because I have felt, thought, been and am, so many of these Revelations. These are my proclamations, my absolute authentic truth, in raw form. Shared to help you realize that if you are a grieving parent, grandparent or sibling, you are not alone in your darkest, most cynical pondering. I am a very positive person. But I am an injured Soul. We are not “either” “or”. We are complex and capable of exercising tension in our lives. This is also aimed at those who interact with us. To help you realize when you are being insanely ridiculous with your expectations of us. And when you–like I– choose to speak when silence is found more profitable. I would be gravely remiss if I ignored this portion of my life because it is indeed, mine and Me.

1. I can’t BELIEVE this is my life!
What. The. Hell. Of all the people in the world…why Jaiden? Why me? Why us?!  I loved Jaiden. I STILL love Jaiden. She was my First Everything Right. At what point in the book of my life’s story was her death necessary? Wow! Really, God?

2. God, I don’t like going to CHURCH anymore.
And He isn’t the problem. It’s the secrecy and avoidance in sermons that healings do not always occur. That our levels of faith aren’t the prescriptions for our diseases. The insistence on prevailing through positive affirmations while denying that I’m drowning in depression. The scrutiny that if I openly admit my pain and disappointment, I am no longer a spiritual victor. Even warriors need reprieve! The empty promises that are proof-texted from another culture, another time period, that leave us wondering if the same God even exists…or if He’s impotent or unconcerned. This is the incubator for apostasy!
The empty “declarations” that are scathing to my soul! I can say it and believe it and it does not manifest. Yes, I believe it with ALL of my heart. No, I am not wallowing in sin nor a covert operative of iniquity. Just tell the truth. “I don’t know” is an acceptable answer. Please don’t ruin the solace by chasing it with euphemisms and platitudes. Identify with us. More so, identify, not gratify. Because hopes unrealized never satisfy.

3. Why couldn’t I KEEP my child?
There are countless parents who do not want their children. They mentally, sexually, physically and emotionally abuse them. Some even murder their precious heirs. Yet, I cherished my child and she was taken.

4. I have not LOST my child.
Jaiden has not been misplaced. I know where she lies. Matter of fact, for months, I wanted to sneak out there in the middle of the night and dig up the casket just to hold her. She is not lost. I have not misplaced her. But Jaiden is gone…

5. My child has not PASSED.
Passed what? From whence has she matriculated? Her life on Earth has ended. I do not consider that “passing”, it is failure. Failure of the medications, the protocols, our attempts at a healthy lifestyle. Failing to save her.

6. My child did not WIN the battle against cancer.
There was no victory. I AM HURT! She suffered unjustly. It is demoralizing to blatantly lie by proclaiming that she won. Did the millions of survivors “lose”? If death denotes victory, why medicate to prolong survival? Why “race” for a cure?

7. My child was not HEALED in Heaven.
I didn’t know that cancer and other diseases were taken to heaven and healed upon arrival–marked sarcasm. Saying, “she’s healed now”, is no consolation. Healing is needed on earth, where infirmities are seemingly infinite.

8. My child is not an ANGEL.
Angels are ministering spirits (Hebrews 1:14) created by God to protect, give messages and serve however He sees fit. Never have I read in the Holy Bible that humans become angels and are assigned to surveil their grieving loved ones. Especially for children. Western Christianity has exchanged the biblical veracity of cherubim and replaced it with the Renaissance period’s depiction of innocent souls. In addition, God did not need another angel or flower, therefore He took my child. God needs nothing. And if He did, He is the creator of the Heavens and the Earth, and can speak anything into existence. He could’ve spoken a replica “angel” or “flower” just like my Girl.

9. I don’t care that your story has a happy ending…YET
Two years ago, I attended a bereavement meeting. It was proven the best balm for my dry, cracked soul. The facilitator was a therapist who’s child also died from cancer. He shared that for the first few years, he was bitter and even jealous of the families whose children survived. His admission freed me! The therapist encouraged us to own our feelings and not avoid them. They were not permanent, IF we addressed and move through them. Not devised a plan to avoid them. I’m just not there with people for whom I carry no affections. I must say, I am not happy when a child dies from cancer. I receive no satisfaction from that cataclysmic, devastation. Yet, I see stories of success and wonder, “why not Jaiden?”. I can’t help the acidic feeling of jealousy in my chest. I can’t help feeling re-injured. Stab. Stab. Stab.

10. ANXIETY is suffocating!
There are days that I am not sure if I will make it. That my heart will not implode and I will not survive this agony. My heart rhythm becomes erratic. My respirations increase. My mind is incarcerated by the memories of her demise. I try to remember her long, black, thick curly hair. But all I see is a bald head. I try to recount her laughter, but all I hear is her whimpers. Her faint calls for, “Mommy”. Before I know it, I’m hyperventilating, weeping profusely and praying to not lose my mind within the next 60 seconds.

11. I can’t breathe because I’m missing my LUNG.
Jaiden was my right lung. Jana is my left lung. I am suffocating because an essential part of me is gone. I am an amputee of the soul.

**This series of articles is dedicated to the many parents I unfortunately know because of our families convergences with pediatric cancer. This is for you and our glorious children, whom the world was not fit to contain.

In high esteem of:
The brazen, warrior Patty Wimmer and her “Bubbles”, formally known as Luke “Lukers” Johnson. An affectionately loving, brilliant mind, with the humor and wit of a 71 year old man, though 17 were his years.

The humble, perseverant Heather Williams and her “LiLi”, formally known as Aaliyah Miranda Mitchell. A true miracle and blessing to the inhabitants of this earth. A loving, compassionate, and steadfast  princess who reigned for 10 years.

The legendary, vivacious Leslie Singleton and her charming, charismatic Christoper Damien Singleton, Jr, affectionately known as “Junior”. Nine year old Junior remains known for his unprecedented benevolence, tender expressions of love and his inviting smile. 

The resplendent, champion Yolanda Hightower and her dazzling dancing diva, Jernee’ Janice “Na-Na” Fagin. Her contagious smile and tenacious spirit fuels her mother in stem cell transplant awareness and advocacy.

The loving and equally lovely, Leslie Filion and my nephew, Roger Harrison Filion. Though Roger did not have cancer, his departure from this realm at 8.5 months changed my forever friend, Leslie and colored her character with unparalleled empathy.

The dignified, righteous queen Ra’anaa and her “King” of a son, Kevon Jenkins. Stunning, ambitious, and intransigent in his faith. For 16 years he loved his family unequivocally. 

Why My Husband is NOT the “World’s Greatest Dad”

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World's Best Dad? HA!

What makes your father the World’s Best Dad? The dude in this picture has it all figured out! 

Today is Father’s Day and many people will proclaim:

  • My Dad is the BEST!
  • My Dad is #1!
  • My Dad is the World’s Greatest Dad!

Well, my husband is NOT! To wave that title belt in the air, a person must be the embodiment of perfection. So, stop your delusions. Your dad isn’t the best either. LOL! Here is why my husband isn’t the World’s Greatest Dad:

  • When he cooks, our daughter instantly feels spiritual and starts fasting.
  • If his looks of disapproval could kill, he’d be an assassin.
  • He rushes the Child…though, he is the Tyrant of Tardiness.

This list could become a scroll that extends from California to Japan. My husband is the BEST at meaningful attempts; just like you, and positively, like myself. What makes us the “greatest” at any thing is:

  • Consistency
  • Humility
  • Love and it’s components (Read 1 Corinthians 13:4-8)

My husband is consistent in his involvement with our daughter’s academic and socio-cultural progression. He is humble and apologizes when he makes mistakes in judgement or behavior. In praise and discipline, his love for our daughter exhibits great patience and kindness. He has tremendous hopes for her, refuses to keep a record of wrongs and his love never fails.

As parents, our minds can become cesspools of inferior thinking. Comparing ourselves to others. Remembering the blunders of early parenting. Carrying the burden of guilt. The point of this article is to share that my husband is not the perfect daddy, but he is good. His fathering is reminiscent of a construction zone: tons of heavy equipment, uneven bumpy roads, exhausted and overheated workers, and changing directional signs. He is a work-in-progress. Aren’t you and I the same? Let us be accommodating, understanding, and merciful with one another as we are blossoming alongside our children.

Being the epitome of a position leaves no room for growth. Because I desire for our family’s Leader to expand his consciousness and eliminate all boundaries for his endeavors, I will not deem him the “greatest” of anything. There is far too much more to Become…and he will.

Pushing Through the Pain of Empty Seat Syndrome

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Jaiden's Empty Seat

Tuesday night, my little Nubian Princess stayed with YaYa (my mother). Which means the Emperor & Empress had some sweet “communion” on a weekday. Praise God!

Afterwards, we visited Jaiden’s favorite pizzeria for a late date-night dinner. We sat adjacent to her favorite window spot, imagining her there; bright smile and chocolate skin illuminated by the moonlight. Jaiden used to devour mounds of pasta and plates of pizza at this quaint, inviting place. Their buffet was often her reward for enduring a painful procedure or a pleasing update. Sometimes, this pizzeria was our hiding place to cuddle, talk and be best friends.

This was not our first visit since Jaiden’s departure. Eating here does not trigger anxiety or grief because it was our Happy Place.

But tonight was excruciating.

We sat peering at Jaiden’s spot and the door chime rang. Penetrating the threshold of our Happy Place was a reel of film from my not-so-distant past: a small framed, thin little girl, wearing a yellow medical mask and knit pastel colored beanie cap to cover her bald head. Her father held the door open, as she was frail, slightly bent over as a little old lady. Accompanied by her mother, clutching an emesis basin, just in case, the sick little girl had to vomit.

My appetite instantly evaporated. Seeing pass her tiny little body was Jaiden. I saw my daughter when I looked at her. I think the Emperor and I both felt as if someone punched us below the belts and left us gasping for air. I thought to myself, “Please don’t sit near us, little family. I will not make it through this night without exploding into an emotional catastrophe.” Lucky for me, they didn’t sit anywhere in our view.

On this night, I realized why operating The Forever Jaiden Foundation, Inc. has become easier on my heart. I think it’s because all of our current families have or had male children with cancer. No families with little girls have entered my bosom for support and service. I now recognize this feat in advance and am praying for courage to be vulnerable and strong when the next cancer warrior princess comes along.

Jaiden’s empty seat at the restaurant reminds me of her empty chair at home. At each meal, the four of us would kiss around the table. Jaiden would start by planting the first kiss on her sister’s cheek. My little Nubian would kiss me. Then I’d pass it to Daddy. Last, he would kiss Jaiden and scruff his facial hair on her face. She’d laugh and say, “Euw, Daddy! That tickles!” Often times, she’d warn him and gleefully flinch, saying, “Don’t you even think about it!” 

Now, our compass is incomplete, as we can not pass the kiss around an enclosed circle. It hurts when we stretch beyond Jaiden’s seat or get up to bypass it all together.

Our late date-night became an evening flooded with my Ninja Tears— the ones that sneak up and attack without warning.

Planting Seed in Fertile Souls

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Seed Time and HarvestThe principle of Seed Time and Harvest sequentially illustrates the process of labor and reward.

First, as a Gardener, you accept your role as the progenitor of life; possessing the future of a generation of crops within your hands.

Second, you choose the appropriate seed to produce the fruit that you desire. As Gardener, you will clean the land, break ground to make the “soul” impregnable, nourish it properly and test it’s loam (contents of it’s character).

Third, you will plant your prime, superior seeds into the lush “soul”, confident of a substantial return on investment.

Entrusting your labor to the Son and [His] reign, your seeds will expel through their protective shells, burst from their dirt ceilings and bathe in the warmth of their new enlarged territory. Gusts of winds will disperse their seedlings beyond your reach, carrying your initial blessing to the homes of exponential families.

Consider each step of this process and the role you play as the Gardener.

We are all Gardeners in the lives of those we love, causes we support and places in which we invest our time and money.

Are you planting your seeds in fertile souls? Or are you squandering your energy, efforts, and productivity in places and on people who are incapable of reaping a plentiful harvest?

Have you ever considered being a blessing to a person who is already blessed? Instead of issuing hand-outs to habitual offenders? Stop granting subsidies on your loyalty!

This year, I am committed to investing and planting seeds into souls who are prepared to increase. Ready for an impartation of wisdom and faith, fueled by ambition with hearts of humility. I will no longer cast my pearls to swine and I encourage you to do the same!

I am not instructing you to ignore the needy. I implore you to seek the disadvantaged and disenfranchised. To mentor, disciple and plant seeds into such as these. Then teach them how to garden!

But absolutely start at step one and realize you are the steward of your resources. Someone’s future is connected to your discernment and decision making.

Follow the second step and choose carefully, cheerfully and not impulsively or emotionally, how and what you will invest. Then assess the prospective soil, get into it’s business and clean it. Break through barriers of doubt with prayer and nourish your mind with the wisdom of God’s Word. Now, you are prepared (in the power of the Holy Spirit) to test the character of the soul in which you seek to plant seeds.

Third, if the prospective soul is fertile and ready to receive, sow and watch them grow to God’s glory and the world’s benefit. You can not help anyone or anything grow that does not first realize the infertility of their circumstance and barrenness of their land. Be, seek, choose and plant wisely.

What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each.  I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.  So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.  He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.— 1 Corinthians 3:5-9 (ESV)

Living My BEST Life!

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Whew! It’s been a while. Last year around this time, I broke the bombshell of my divorce. Earlier this year, after hearing a sermon akin to Stockholm Syndrome, I encouraged you to abort mission on abusive and destructive relationships.

I have been so busy living my absolute BEST life that I haven’t made time for blogging. So, what’s new?

Three weeks after my last article—literally twenty-one days later—I found a home site and contracted to purchase on my Princess’ birthday, March 1st. The following two months of negotiations, disappointments, victories, setbacks and a waterfall of tears, felt like Donte’s Inferno! Homebuying will bring the gangster out of you! I think that’s when my vernacular changed to the profane…LOL!

The same month, was Spring Break and that leads to this photo…

I’m Ella Mae ‘Boo’d Up’!

For the first time in my short, expansive life, I am experiencing a healthy, loving, mutually gainful romantic relationship/partnership that spawn from a life-long friendship.

This photo is from Spring Break. My Love surprised our kids (my daughter, his son) with a week of adventure! Princess had NO clue! We simply woke her up, headed to the airport and boarded a flight. The bigger surprise was who we were visiting: his son, her buddy. The joy on the kids faces, the constant laughter and adolescent jokes, just for a week, soothed the void of two children’s voices that my heart really misses.

I am working within my profession—hey, a girl’s gotta pay these bills! Excelling at work and absolutely loving the servant-leadership and empowerment I provide to patients and their families.

Empress has raised her hand waaaaaay back to 2007 and slammed it down on the reset button of my life! I had the greatest opportunity to stand back and evaluate my conditions: emotionally, financially, spiritually, relationally and professionally. I chose to make a dramatic change in course that has blessed my life exponentially.

Living my best life means:

  1. Caring for myself in the manners that I need, before I care for anyone else.
  2. Striving to be a mother of excellence, not a mother of perfection.
  3. Receiving all the foreign love my beau lavishes, because I realize I’m worthy.
  4. Pleasing my God by serving His creation during their final moments on this side of eternity.

I may not write as much, because I’m living. I hope you’ll do the same…

It Gets Better: Life After Loss

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It Gets Better: Life After Loss

Five years ago was the last Thanksgiving meal that I shared with my beloved daughter
Jaiden. It was the last year in which I felt truly “thankful” and complete as a family. As expected, each year since her death, I have had wrestled with numerous forms, levels and intensities of grief and have matriculated into bereavement.

The first holiday season, I was numb…in utter disbelief and shock. The second season that her presence was intangible, I only felt immense, excruciating, soul-scathing pain. The third season, I had a sense of purpose because we started Forever Jaiden Foundation. Serving families like our own became a healing balm. The fourth season, I was lost but optimistic. With an impending divorce and surety of a bright future, I was hopeful. This fifth season, I have unbelievable clarity and an abundance of love to share.

November 2012, my entire world imploded: from the melting explosion of rationalizations in my mind (how could this happen to Jaiden?) to the subduing paralysis of defeat for not being able to save her.

Yet, through it all, here I am: five years later, living free, fortunate and full of joy.

Life can get better after a loss so great as the death of your child. Her absence remains in my mind daily. The pain and longing are always present. No longer acute, but a chronic manageable disease.

Life can get better but it’s not time that heals wounds. It’s the quality activity of the time elapsed. Make. It. Count.

Therapy. Charity. Spirituality. Clarity.

It Gets Better: Life After…

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It Gets Better: Life After…

I remember drawing in my journal, a depiction of how I felt during the first two months of my divorce process: a gray soulless caricature, dark celestial silhouette that had been sawed into two.

Even when we leave for the brightest outcomes and most justifiable reasons, divorce still remains a violent tearing of a one soul, one spirit union; IF your soul and spirit was committed to the marriage and to your spouse. Committed to your commitment that you pledged before God and witnesses.

I remember weeping over the drawing asking, “When will this get better? When will it not hurt?”. It did get better. It stopped hurting. Much sooner than I ever imagined.

How? I thought you’d never ask!

I spent that time investing into myself. Performing an autopsy on my mind, thought patterns, heart, motives, hurts and found healing. I went to therapy. I read books that utterly transformed my life. I served the time of my sentence and it served my soul well!

I came to be thankful for the experience as the betrayal uncovered wounds that I did not know existed. Wounds that were infected with years of emotional bacteria that proliferated into an infestation of relational parasites. Wounds that are now cleaned and healed.

Life improved as I mustered the courage to identify my losses and grieve them. Then, I became everything to myself that I thought I had lost. And you know what? I did a much better job at loving me than my ex ever did.

It got better when I began to love myself. It stopped hurting when I created the life of my dreams. Subsequently, I attracted the energy I felt. My familial relationships and friendships grew more intimate and sacred in nature. Love simply overflowed and exploded.

I am living my best life, in my higher self and this has been my favorite year so far. There is unquantifiable peace, potential and pleasure beyond the womb of pain. But you must push and labor to reach it! Fight for yourself! Deliver the life you’ve always wanted!

I am living proof that it gets better. When? Once you decide to do the hard, painful work of excavating your mind and soul. Once you dig deep to find the bravery to blossom.

 

You Can

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One of my Facebook friends just posted a meme asking what advice you would share with your younger self in two words. Among the replies were: You’re Enough, Experience More, Study More, etc.

If I could look 15 year-old, naive, insecure, broken little princess (not quite an Empress) square into the eyes, I would tell my younger self, “You Can.”

You Can:

  • Love yourself before you even consider loving anyone else.
  • Wear the boots and clothes that others ridicule you for: you’re 2 years before their time.
  • Create your own ideal of a real body image.
  • Find validation in your character, not a guy’s approval.
  • You can heal the painful wounds of your childhood…or they’ll remain, become infected and disable you as an adult.
  • Stop tormenting yourself with life-changing decisions of the “NOW”. You can wait…
  • You can wait. For the right college, the best friends, the smartest career move and the (im)perfect man.
  • You can BE and not simply DO.
  • You can find happiness, joy and contentment in the crown that rests slanted upon your head and the growing, radiating self-love within your heart.

Acceptance or Authenticity?

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I am sitting on the edge of my bed feeling the cool crisp chill emission from my ceiling fan. The dark of midnight with a slither of alluring moonlight invites me to the cloud-soft mattress.

I am ready for sleep but my mind is not able to rest. I ponder:
Have I reconciled this year with my debts? My goals? My Self?

Did I sacrifice my solidarity for the preeminence of someone else?

Did I sell-out for acceptance and approval in lieu of authenticity?

In the non-profit industry, I have been encouraged by many successful people to follow the status-quo and render an appearance of sainthood. I have been taught the formula for success by those who have degrees and salaries to prove their expertise. Yet, I do not believe their definition of success correlates with mine.

One must understand that when Everything (Jaiden and our previous life as a family) was violently snatched from me, I could no longer be hurt any worse, deeper, nor in severity to this level of traumatization.

Therefore, grappling for the acceptance of others is laughable and an insult to the weight of my worth, height of my aspirations and sanctity of my sanity.

I will live my Truth. Live YOUR truth. Not your parents. Not your spouses. Not your professional industry’s. Not the one you have created based upon someone else’s life on social media that is an illusion. Live your truth BUT make sure that it is aligned with the truth of God’s Word. While living your personal truth, be conformed to the Truth.

We can not live authentically without awareness. With awareness of your beliefs and identification of lies, you are forced to make a decision: live in bondage or live in authenticity.

Authenticity is premier and from it flows freedom. Get ya some!

When DeadBeat Dads Become DeadBeat Granddads

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My childhood was satisfactory sweetened by the overwhelming involvement of my two GRAND-Fathers. They truly were GRAND men and I love them with every quantifiable measurement of my energy.

My maternal grandfather, Clarence, was a machismo, tough, bad-ass, cussing, fighting, protective, provider with the sincerest, softest heart that became putty, upon the birth of his first grandchild–Me. He was my dad in the willful absence of my father. My best friend, my compadre, my heart. From my conception until the dreadful day that he died, we did everything together. Toy shopping, car repair, pranking, church…everything! His death detrimentally changed my life. I became insecure and depressed at the age of 12 years old and remained that way for 7 years.

My biological paternal grandfather died before I was born. His son, my dad, exited my life before I could remember that he ever existed. My mother remarried and my new grandfather, Rufus, was the refined, eloquent version of my rough-neck maternal grandfather. He was hilarious, witty, loving, extremely smart and taught me how to be a responsible adult during my adolescence. He taught me about mortgages, credit, bank accounts, budgets, bills, relationships, men, diet, etc. School was always in session with him and I loved it!

My little Nubian Princess is not afforded the glorious luxury that I relished as a child. My Two Dads are still absent. Yes, we talk on the phone–briefly–but there is no sense of familial responsibility or relationship. Quintessentially, we’re just relatives. My husband’s father? Psst! I’m better off asking the Milkman.

What’s that?
Milk service is discontinued?
My sentiments exactly…

A few nights ago, my Baby said, “Mommy, I wish I had a grandpa. I have good Nanas but no grandpas.” 

In our situation, it seems that our forefathers have not realized their error nor calculated the effects of their absence from their children’s lives. Now, decades later, history repeats itself through the lens of my daughter’s eyes. Instead of amending their ways and redeeming themselves from the folly of the childhoods of my brother and me, deadbeat dads have become deadbeat granddads. There is nothing grand about that.