Author: hrladson

About hrladson

In high pursuit of expanding what one considers the comfort zone.

Is You Woke?

Without community service, we would not have a strong quality of life. It’s important to the person who serves as well as the recipient. It’s the way in which we ourselves grow and develop.   -Dorothy Height

For the past 5+ years, the Black Lives Matter movement has graced the lips of politicians, community activists, and millennials across the United States. With protests, signs and videos of unarmed men and women being brutally assaulted by cops plaguing television and social media threads, one would think that black lives truly matter. Yet, a question lingers….

When does a black life truly matter?

Does a black life matter more when it is taken by police brutality or a non-melanated dapperson? When does a black life begin to have value?

I ask that you consider the following:

It’s Friday night and I am excited about gathering together with my musician friends for our monthly Jazz & Poetry showcase. Although I love the discipline of my musical friends (they practice), I refuse to practice outside of my shower time. When it is my turn to approach the mic, I am graciously accompanied by the drummer, who gives my lyrics a wonderful groove. With his rhythmic precision, the other band members join in and we rock the house!

Following the performance, the drummer meekly approaches me and tells me that he truly enjoyed my presentation. Honored, I accept his compliment and in turn tell him how delighted I was to have him join in with me. We talked about how long he had been playing the drums and also about his aspirations of becoming a rap artist. I told him that I looked forward to hearing his work at the next event and working with him in the near future.

Sunday evening, I received a phone call from a close friend asking if I knew about a family that was murdered in a triple homicide a couple of blocks away from my childhood home. I immediately said that I didn’t know anything about the incident and brushed it off as another drug deal gone awry in my neighborhood.

Monday morning, I was in shock to discover that I did know one of the victims in the crime- the drummer from Friday’s performance. The feeling reverberated once I discovered that the young man and his grandparents were law abiding citizens that had lived in the community for years. They were not petty thugs or Colombian drug lords, they were God-fearing community servants that adamantly gave to the sodality without question or complaint.

wakeThis discovery brought me to tears and anger.

This senseless death has my city crying out for questions, yet silence has shrouded the community, leaving an eerie feeling of hopelessness and rage. Although this incident took place on one of the most busiest blocks in town, no one knows anything.

How can our community make Capital Hill realize that Black Lives Matter when the same said life has no value in its own community?

Although there has been an influx of urban citizens wearing dashekis, listening to Minister Lois Farrakhan and watching slave movies; there is so much more to being “woke” than these surface scratching phenoms. Our communities need more than trendy hashtags, viral videos and debates to exhibit our greatness.

So many times, the urban community goes outside of itself by soliciting help from people who know nothing about the plight of the indigenous citizens. It’s as if the faction goes out of its way to show others how wonderful it is to be black, only to disparage the intellectuals that reside within its borders.

Once the community begins to acknowledge and embrace the precept that “charity starts at home” all things will begin to work for the inhabitants. When we begin to ask ourselves: “What can I do for my community?” and actually follow through with our answers- true and lasting change will take place.

It’s all good to be woke, but nothing can happen if we remain in bed.

*Images found on http://www.google.com

 

 

 

Oh No She Didn’t

“Time to heal our women, be real to our women. And if we don’t we’ll have a race of babies that will hate the ladies that make the babies.” – Tupac Shakur

One of my favorite songs is “Bag Lady” by Erykah Badu. It is a song that behooves women (young and old) to release the mental and emotional baggage that they have acquired throughout life. With the simple vamp of: “Let it go. Let it go. Let it go. Let it go.” the tune is a declaration of the freedom that comes with releasing old life luggage.

downloadThough I absolutely enjoy the song- I have come to personally overstand that not all bags are easy to let go, but it is much needed. Experiences such as molestation or sexual assault can leave one with a plethora of feelings ranging from hate to little or no self-worth. Most women, especially those in the black community, are taught to keep such sordid things in the closet and move on. From my own personal experiences I have found that what’s not dealt with ( be it emotionally or physically) can and will leave one paralyzed in pain.

Damaged women do destructive things.

Although women are trailblazers in the business world and have made great strides in the scientific and political community, they are still subject to being seen as merely sexual objects. Little girls are still molested, raped or sold into sex trafficking rings. In many countries women are not allowed to attend school or practice the right to vote. Yet, when it is all said and done, these aforementioned girls and women are told to get over traumatic experiences, raise babies and have dinner on the table ( because we all know that that is what women were placed on this planet to do, right?)

Yet, I ponder, what happens to the little girl who is molested and/or raped? What type of woman does she grow up to be? Will she grow to hate the male species? Will she become promiscuous? Will she even make it to womanhood or end up committing suicide?

“A nation can rise no higher than its woman.” – The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan

Although we are taught much differently, a woman is a powerful source of influence in bag ladythe home, her community and the world abroad. As soon as a woman is impregnated, she becomes the world to the life force developing within her. What the woman eats, thinks and feels has a major impact on her child before it takes its first breath of oxygen. Once the baby is born, he/she is nursed, pampered and cared for by the mother. The mother teaches the child the skills needed in life. The mother comforts the child when they are hurt. But, these things are negated if the mother cannot move beyond the hurts that were inflicted upon her in her formative or adult stages. Instead of pouring into the child with love, temperance, joy and peace, the mother gives the child hate, fear limitations and defeat. The latter fills the child with the poison of life instead of a passion for life, causing the child to go into the world ready to destroy and defile- and the cycle continues.

It is time out for the “Get over it.” rhetoric. It is time that we take the time to examine our wounds and realize that even if it didn’t happen to you personally there is someone close to you that has. Once we begin to not only talk about our pain but listen to another person’s agony- we will effectuate that pain can be triumphed by love.

Let us begin to open our ears, hearts and minds to one another instead of disregarding or overlooking them because of one’s outward appearance. When this is done, we will be to declare: “I’m not only my sister’s keeper, I AM my sister.”

Images found on http://www.google.com

i would die 4 u

I’m not your lover. I’m not your friend. I’m something that you’ll never comprehend.” – Prince Rogers Nelson

Disclaimer: Jonesitis is a terrible disease. In most cases, people  suffer from envy, low self-esteem, comparing themselves to others and procrastination. Many people are troubled from this ailment daily, but have been undiagnosed for many years. The only known cure for Jonesitis is to become more self-aware of the individual beauty that one possess. 

purple rainThere is a sadness that comes with acknowledging that I am created in the likeness of God- meaning there is a piece of God  within me that makes me a god. Stepping into the knowledge that I can think a certain  way and be able to connect with my immediate environment and change the climate is quite heavy. With this knowledge I have the power to feel a certain way.

Jealousy can be an ugly thing when you crave attention. Low self-esteem can cause you to feel unworthy of the love and acceptance that we desperately seek.

Dig if you will the picture:

You have a lover that stays three states away. He/She visits sporadically and you also talk on the phone sporadically. During all of these spasms of warm fluffy feelings you have gentlemen/ladies more than willing to pacify your affinity for attention…. You, suffering from Jonesitis, have a chance to not give into your cravings but actually try to ween yourself off of your temporary high of feeling loved…..

What’s a dinosaur to do when there are kids on the ice? on ice

I reckon this angst is how the Supreme Creators feel when we become negligent towards Them. It seems as if everything is more important- work,money, fashion, friends, lovers, children, pets, jabberwockies. We are constantly texting, blogging, Facebook-ing, picking our noses that we tend to forget to say “Thank you”.

Thank you for another day of life. Thank you for a nose to pick. Thank you for the strength to carry on now that Prince is dead. Thank you for the ability to write.

Jealousy is unoccupied time. It is never too late to depend on the God who created us to acknowledge the god within us. Taking time to acknowledge this Presence may cause us to make choices out of necessity instead of disparity. The longing for love is the Supreme Creators’ way of telling the creators in us that They are with us and around us and They  need to be acknowledged.

We cannot control how others will divvy out their love towards us but we can rest assured that Supreme Love will never end.

Better

I think that the world would be a lot better off if more people were to define themselves in terms of their own standards and values and not what other people said or thought about them. -Hillary Clinton

In my neighborhood sits a  50-year old school that almost everyone in my town has attended. The school started as a junior high school then evolved into an elementary school in which I attended in the early 90’s. During my time as a student there, the school was awarded as a school of excellence and to me was a magical land of education. When I was younger, I imagined my children attending this educational institution so that they could experience the same joys that I once felt, but over the years the school’s reputation had taken a dramatic decline.

Nevertheless, I had the privilege to do so and I also became involved with the school’s PTA better-lifeand School Council, until recently when I discovered that my 3rd grade daughter was close to being retained. Though I had many conferences with her teachers and kept her in tutoring programs, my daughter’s grade continued to take a dive.

After talking to my mother who had been an educator for more than 25 years, we decided that my daughter needed an ‘better’ environment and enrolled her into the school that my mother worked. I talked to the principal- who had been my mentor for years; and I relayed to him how much I didn’t want to send my daughter to another school.

“You have to do what’s best for your child Ms. Ladson.” was his only response.

In fact, every  time I open up about this situation, I’m met with this same expression.

“You have to do what’s best for your child Ms. Ladson.”

What could be better than walking my daughter to school every morning? Or talking with her teachers face to face? Or being able to enjoy eating lunch with her and her friends? What could be better than my daughter taking pride in her school that is right in her community?

To these questions- I continue to draw a blank.

In my opinion, the school isn’t a bad school because of it’s location. The school is a bad tomorrowschool because of the bad thoughts that people think towards the facility and the inhabitants of the community. The neighborhood is bad because the residents think of it as a trash can or a ghetto.

There is no better place than where we are right now. There is no better school than the schools in our neighborhoods. There is no one better to clean up our communities than us. There is no love better that the love we have for ourselves.

 

Gettin’ Kinda Heavy

 

How many times have we walked by a piece of trash on the ground or knew that something was out-of-place and we had the time to stop and fix it but decided not to? How many times have we said that “something needs to be done” but have never taken the time to do that something?

I recall a summer’s day on my porch…….

Music was in the air and the sweet aroma of BBQ filled my lungs. My daughter and I sat on the porch enjoying one another and the entertainment of the neighborhood children. As we sat, a group of young missionaries walked past the porch talking amongst themselves when one of the missionaries kicked a piece of trash that was in the middle of the sidewalk. Another missionary noticed that the missionary didn’t bend down to pick up the trash and made a remark about what had just transpired.

“Everyone else walked by it.” The chastised missionary said in her defense and kept on walking.

That response totally licked the red off of my apple! Even though it was true- which was probably hoodthe real reason for my reaction- I got up and picked up the piece of trash and said loudly: “Well, let me be the first to pick it up!”

I mean really! Can you believe the nerve of some people? Isn’t that what missionaries are trained to do? Aren’t they supposed to go out of their way to pick up or fix the things that are broken in this world?

I fumed for about an hour, wondering how could someone be so blatantly disrespectful. Then I realized that I should only be mad at myself.

Then the LORD turned to him and said, “Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!” Judges 6:14

Not only did I see the piece of trash, I had witnessed children and adults alike kick, throw, Heavyride over and even play with the trash that was ignored by the missionaries. I was more responsible for that missionary’s view of trash than anyone else. It was true that I had not said anything to anyone about the trash until an outsider came into my neighborhood and decided not to do what I had deemed as their responsibility.

When we pass on the responsibility of our neighborhoods to someone else we forfeit our right to say anything. Until we say – “This is my community! I learn here. I play here. I grow here. I deserve a place to thrive and be happy.” – we have to look forward to being disappointed by the people we ‘think’ should fix us.

 

 

Imitation of Life (Three Little Girls)

There are  three little girls- one is dark-skinned, one is light-skinned, and the other is cameo skinned. All are equally beautiful in their own rights- but they are also marred with the burden of unworthiness……..

The dark-skinned girl has thick kinky hair that she constantly straightens. She uses skin bleachers and make-up foundation that is two tones too light for her natural complexion. When she looks in the mirror, she imagines that her hair flows down her back and she has cameo skin.

The light-skinned girl lies about her true ethnicity. She wears blonde hair extensions and steers clear from the rays of the sun. She picks on the dark-skinned girl- calling her names like tar baby and Count Blackula. She considers herself amongst the blessed ones that can fit into any culture or ethnicity and prefers to be called a non-ghetto name.

toned

The cameo skinned girl admires the dark-skinned girl and surrounds herself with darker toned people. She wears her hair in corn rows and listens to rap music. She dates boys of darker complexions to learn of their culture. She considers her ethnicity to be a disgrace and bask in the rays of the sun to attain a nice even tan.

All three girls are unhappy with their current situations. They each think that their lives would be “better” if they were someone else and not who they were created to be. They pluck, tweeze, darken, lighten, inject, and enhance their already beautiful adornments. They all want to be more than what they have been called to be. They imitate each other but hate each other at the same time.

The dark-skinned girl hates the light-skinned and cameo girl because of their complexions and their ability to attain any man that they want.

The light-skinned girl hates the cameo girl because she doesn’t have to pretend to be who she really is or what she has.

The cameo girl hates the dark-skinned and light-skinned girl because they come from generations of dark toned people.

Each girl, equally beautiful and wonderfully made, carries a disdain for the reality of their lives. They lose themselves in the battle of what society deems beautiful. Looking for love and acceptance they step on each others egos with slurs of perpetual hate. They are saturated with the indecisiveness of who they were incredibly made to be. They are unaware of the greatness that lies within each one of their beings.

Sweet and precious. Lovely and amazing. They cannot fathom the true beauty of their essence. They are beaten with words of hate. They are broken from the lack of self-love. Their wings are clipped and they have become caged by this imitation of life.

Oh, The Beautiful Gates

“Yes, know thyself: in great concerns or small. Be this thy care, for this, my friend, is all.” –Juvenal

In the fourth grade,  my teacher had a conference with my mom that I was forced to sit in on because of my behavior in class. As I listened in my teacher went on a rant about how social I had been because I didn’t know the material and was not able to pay attention in class. She said that my grades were slipping because I wasn’t intelligent enough to succeed in her class and my mother had to understand that I was not Honor student material.

megamindThat year, I made A-B Honor Roll both semesters.

I beam every time I tell that story because my mother was so proud of me that year. I had overcome something all by myself and I was a big girl becoming a little lady. The joy overflowed in my mother’s heart and I could feel it through her hugs and kisses. This memory helps me realize a power  that drives me:

The Power Of Can’t

If you want me to do something, tell me that I can’t do it. It’s the rebel in me. I received a lot of butt whippings for it, but boy has it brought me thus far. The Power Of Can’t makes me want to do it just because I’m not suppose to do it- a thrill that is the equivalent of biting into a York peppermint patty (for some). There is something about the word “can’t”  that  causes me to ponder-

Why the heck not?

Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour. And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple: Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms. And Peter fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us. And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them. Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. And he took him by the the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.  Acts 3: 1-7 KJV

The lame man was told for years that he couldn’t go into the temple and he began to believe it. He had grown accustomed to being a beggar and getting by on the compassion of others, he never questioned why he could not walk- it was just the way his life went.

Behind every can’t is a can!

According to our upbringing, we all have experienced moments that made our abilities feel limited. Some of us have been told since birth all of the reasons why we cannot achieve the goals that we have imagined for ourselves. These restrictions that are placed upon us leaves us mentally crippled causing us to believe that we are not worthy enough to accomplish our cant stopdreams. We sit like the lame man waiting for someone to give us a piece of their success instead of going for the gusto of our own triumphs. Most of the time we allow the word “can’t” to have dominion over our actions leaving us stagnant.

We no longer have to be crippled by the negative and limited thoughts of others or ourselves! When we allow the word “can’t” to propel us to the next level, we begin to see the word as a friend instead of a foe. If my 4th grade teacher had not told me that I couldn’t be an Honor student, I would not have put as much energy into my studies as I did that year. I wanted so badly to prove her wrong that I studied diligently.

Let us refrain from sitting on the sidelines of life waiting for others to drop the crumbs of success at our feet. Let us begin to rise up and walk into our brilliant destinies. We all possess the power to be great!

* Images found on http://www.google.com

Silver & Gold

” Winners forget that they are in a race, they just love to run.”  – Fortune Cookie

Disclaimer: Jonesitis is a terrible disease. In most cases, people  suffer from envy, low self-esteem, comparing themselves to others and procrastination. Many people are troubled from this ailment daily, but have been undiagnosed for many years. The only known cure for Jonesitis is to become more self-aware of the individual beauty that one possess. 

My former employer was a community based organization that was always involved in different outings. One of my favorite ventures was a big cookout that featured local bands. The goal of the cookout was to raise money and donate it to trackthe organization that would come out and sell raffle tickets during the event. It was like the Woodstock for non-profit organizations and I loved the scene.

One year, the Executive Director and I had this crazy notion that we would make tie-dye shirts ( but that’s another story for another day).

The following year, we decided that it would be best to pick a color that everyone could wear orange. I was sent to the Goodwill to find shirts for everyone. As I scanned the racks, I found what seemed to be a baseball jersey with the number 2 on it- I fell in love with it. Since I was the Administrative Assistant, I had the advantage of claiming ‘ grabbies’ when our company received clothing donations- and I used this perk every chance I got.  Like this memory, I still have this shirt and I wear it often.

“There are years that ask questions and years that answer.” – Zora Neale Hurston

The year I picked this shirt I had an answer for why I initially became smitten with the 2nd hand jersey that bore the number 2. I said that aiming for 2nd place was easier than going for the gold and I was perfectly fine with being known as the other girl. I even posed the question: If the number 2 pencil was the most commonly used pencil, why was it number 2?

Though I seemed perfectly fine with being 2nd best, I was not perfectly fine with being 2nd best- and my actions and reactions resounded louder than my words. I needed the praise and admiration of my peers and I was willing to gain it by any means necessary. I constantly  found myself competing with not only others, but myself as well- always trying to ricky bobbyprove my relevance  to the company.  This struggle spilled over into my social media profiles with many rants about how intellectually superior I am compared to others and the blocking of anyone who disagreed. I was an attention tyrant who could not be stopped…

Then, I found myself unemployed.

I was lower than number 2, I wasn’t even in the race. For two years, I had considered myself one of the pillars of an establishment but now found myself alone in a desolate place. I was forced to examine the thoughts, actions and deeds that had gotten me to this place. I began with the jersey situation.

Why was I trying to convince myself that I was willing to be overlooked?

Was I really okay with playing second fiddle?

These questions plagued my thoughts causing me to take an inventory of myself.  My tyrannical reign did not begin at my former employer, it began when I became an older sister-I willingly confess that I do suffer from Middle Child Syndrome. The birth of my sister evoked my need for competition. For about three years I was the only girl and had the adoration of my family. It was not hard for me to claim the spotlight because I was the center of the universe-or so it seemed. Then one morning, my brother and I were riding in the back of a truck that had a U-Haul connected to it. I fell asleep talking with my brother. I woke up and had a baby sister.

To my understanding, there were other instances that had transpired but I can only remember these glimpses of the past.

Overnight, I went from being the adorable little baby to the older sister- a position that I was unready to fill at the time. I being-mary-jane-speechwent from tea parties with my brother to coloring by myself in my room. I immediately started to act out for my well deserved attention, but unfortunately those attempts did not turn out so well for myself (or my rear-end). After a while, I had gotten immune to the whippings and punishments,  I began to do more life altering things. I had a daughter at the age of 14; barely graduated high school; married and divorced by 21 – the list goes on. I was willing to pay a high price for my attention fix and no one was going to come between me and my high.

Since the birth of my sister I made destructive decisions to prove my worth among both my family and other peers. This behavior has brought a strain between me and my sister, but throughout this tumultuous time, she has been my voice of reason and best friend throughout my life. She has taught me the power of self-discipline and determination and has always been proud to call me big sister. Her birth was only placing me in second by birth order, not in my worth.

Competition forces us to compare ourselves to others. When we decide to compare ourselves, we lose out on the opportunity to learn a new trait or gain a different perspective of life.

Society teaches us that there is only room for one winner so we fight our way to the top. We do whatever it takes to be number one. We do things, most times unconsciously, that could detour our fellow-man from reaching their goals and dreams. When we realize that everyone that enters our lives  helps us to grow as individuals, we begin to see people for what they are- Divine teachers.

* All images found on http://www.google.com

She’s A Lady

‘Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are.’ Nicolo Machiavelli

My daughter has one of the best imaginations. I can send her to her room for a “punishment” but no matter how or why I send her up there, she always ends up having a blast. One of her favorite things she likes to pretend to be is a teacher or a secretary- two of the career choices that she has seen me perform. She likes it better when I play along with her, but she can have the time of her life without my presence just the same.

Yesterday was such a great day that we decided to play a new game- investigation.  Let me tell ya, this girl could put Horatio out of business, she really looks for all of the details. I was to play someone who was getting investigated. So, my first character was a mild mannered woman who had never been investigated and she was absolutely terrified of being around an investigator. During the theatrics, I had to step away for a moment, but when I returned, my daughter the director was ready for me to change my character’s position.

“Mommy, I know I’m a kid, but I need you to woman up for me.” she declared.

“I am playing a woman.” I respond.

“No mama, I need you to woman up. Don’t be afraid. You know how kids tell other kids- be a woman about it.” she responded.

I was taken aback by my daughter’s orders, how would she or any child ever know about being a woman at such a young work_at_home_momsage?

Then it hit me- I thought the same thing when I was her age. Growing up in a single parent home taught me a lot about the roles I would soon play in life. Though my mother worked hard to take care of my siblings and I, she also felt like her home was incomplete without a father figure.This made me view my mother as a weakling. By the time I was in the third grade, I was learning about how women could do anything that they wanted and here was my mother sitting around crying over a man not being present.

Television also made a huge impact on my views of womanhood. Many of the images that I saw were of middle class European women who were in control of themselves and big corporations as well. They made the bacon and also cooked it without shedding a single tear or murmuring a complaint. The images of  African- American women were of either strong, and driven women or highly paid prostitutes.

These many  images became the seasonings that created my contorted jambalaya of what womanhood should have been and my mother was not holding up that standard. She was the urban version of June Cleaver- nurturing, loving and repulsively submissive. It was like she was stuck in a 1950’s musical and  I was a 90’s hiphop video. I knew that I was going to be the leader of the pack and no man was going to out do me. I would never allow a man to tell me when to come and go and most definitely not tell me  to cook him supper. I was a material girl living in a material world and I wanted to know what have you done for me lately.

“It’s so disappointing to see some of these young girls that will never know what it’s like to be a woman. Not in age but in actions.” – Maurice Johnson

My perception of my mother changed when I became a mother and it continues to change daily with the many women I come into contact with.  With each passing day I become more and more aware of how my actions impact my daughter’s frotasticdaily interactions and I begin to change my patterns slowly but surely.

One of my biggest patterns is pretending to be strong when I am faced with adversity. This thought has been the driving force of my life. I must be tough and show the world that I can make it without anyone’s help- especially a man’s help. I don’t have to depend on a man to pull me through my hardest times, I have the power within to make my life complete.This thought I have found to be true to a certain extent: Though I believe that women can do anything that they put their minds to, I cannot deny the fact that men are needed in this world. No matter how liberal one may feel, babies cannot be produced without egg and sperm- point blank.

As I have grown I have learned that being submissive is not being weak, it is actually strength. It takes a lot to keep calm and cool when someone is getting on your last nerve or seems to be barking orders at you. Though my mother chose to be humble it did not subtract from her inner strength that rose to each and every occasion that presented itself. My mother worked hard to ensure that her three children attained a quality education and that they became productive citizens.

Strength is not being able to win every fight it is being able to decipher when to fight.

Let us not underestimate the “plain Jane” women who choose to devote their lives to raising their families with humility. Not every woman is fist fighting or breaking dishes at the dinner table. There are women who honor their husbands  and find it not strange to ask for their guidance. These women are also hard workers and some are even business owners. They are not primitive nor are they weak. They are my mentors, teachers, aunts, and mother. Their Divine wisdom illuminates my ever growing path.

 If you like this or any other posts on this blog and would like to read more please check out our magazine edition: Find A Way The Print Magazine http://madmagz.com/magazine/full/446229/kdwha

 

* Images found on http://www.google.com

Love Bizaare

“Lord, what fools these mortals be.” -William Shakespeare

For many years, I depended on the radio and movies to tell me what love was truly supposed to be like.  I thought that love was flowers, candy and someone standing outside holding up a radio playing my favorite song. I believed that I would wake up to breakfast in bed every morning and candle lit dinners every evening. Love would provide a nice house, car and shoes to make sure that I was happy and satisfied. Love would call me every half hour to inform me of the passion

say-anything3that burned inside and only my presence would quench the inferno that blazed. Love would relinquish all of my fears of unworthiness and would glorify me as the queen that I was. I decided that love was about perfecting the moment and the only arguments that should take place was about who loved who the most.

These images were my rubric that I based my relationships upon and anyone who did not meet my criteria would quickly be removed from my life. Valentine’s Day was always the way that I could determine if someone truly cared about me, the more extravagant it was regulated the person’s affection for me. This one day became a magic wand that made any other problems vanish. At one point in my life, I would overlook lies and two-timing just to receive something on Valentine’s. I  would also forget the verbal and physical abuse that I had allowed in my life because I needed someone to be involved with by February 14th. Unfortunately, I did not realize until many failed relationships later that love was more than material possessions and love songs.

After a while, I began to give up on love- thinking that it was made only for certain people. I began to ruminate on the unsuccessful liaisons that had taken place in my life. I began to think that I was unworthy of love and began to settle for being a part-time lover to those who would sneak away for a couple of moments of pleasure. I would unscrupulously involve myself with guys who were unable to give or receive love, forcing myself to believe that that was the only way to get the love and attention that I deserved.

“We all want the stuff that’s found in our wildest dreams.” – Sheila Escovedo

love-is-you-love-30949107-960-854As I have grown I have discovered that love begins within ourselves. Love reaches deep inside and provides a compass of how we want others to treat us. Love encourages us to be patient  with ourselves and one another. Love produces a light that cannot be blown out by the lack of material trappings and refuses to leave us in a state of pain. Love is being able to accept our human  imperfections and meet each other at the soul level.  Love is given to everyone and it is our duty to nurture and cultivate it.

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