Inspiration

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.

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.

 

 

So What? The Badonsky Method

“Approval is overrated. Approval and disapproval alike satisfy those who deliver it more than those who receive it.”  – Gregory Maguire

So I was on Facebook and my gentleman friend posted a picture of me at a New Year’s birthday bash that we attended with the caption: My WCW (Woman Crush Wednesday)No one  that I’ve dated has ever paraded me around like a beauty queen and it caught me by surprise when he posted. I was so flattered that I was the first to like the picture. Although I was excited, it was a short lived high because  my Jonesitis went into overdrive with questions such as:

2015 sexy

Ringing in the New Year

What if no one likes my picture?

What if I get no likes at all?

Now, I don’t profess to be a supermodel or even a regular model, but I did rock the dress that I wore that evening and I really wanted others to agree. I began to think about taking the picture down to save me from the embarrassment of having no likes at all. I began to think about all of the other beautiful ladies that I was friends with on Facebook and how they could post a picture of a thumbnail and get close to 200 likes- I couldn’t compete with them and now that this post was on Facebook I was free game.

Then, like a mighty wind one phrase changed my attitude: So what?

I learned the power of this sediment about a year ago at a Creativity Seminar hosted by author and artist Jill Badonsky. At this seminar Ms. Badonsky spoke on the things that blocked our creativity and personal power. One of the biggest blocks was worrying about what people thought of us as individuals, informing the seminar attendants that this hindrance paralyzed us from moving forward.

jill

Thank you Jill Badonsky

After educating the attendants on the many blocks that are presented throughout the day, Ms. Badonsky offered the remedy of so what. She encouraged us all to use this power phrase when we were bombarded with negative thoughts of not being good enough  as artists or individuals. She prompted us to keep this expression when we felt like we were being sucked into the abyss of opposition and when it began to get too ugly to bear, to say it with an even uglier face.

This utterance pulled me out of the vortex of self doubt and defeat by allowing me to see what was really important.

So what if no one else liked the picture, I liked it and so did my guy. I rocked the dress that I had on and that evening I danced all night in 6 inch heels!  So what if I only received one other like, I brought the New Year in with a man that thinks I’m simply gorgeous  and no one else had my dress on (which would have been a tragedy in itself).

When we get tied up in what others think of us, let us take a deep breath, exhale and say: SO WHAT?

 

What I Saw ( A Poem)

I saw her

sitting in McDonald’s

without a care

Just sitting there

saying a prayer

Everyone else

was ordering

and taking orders

She sat

eyes closed tightlytranquil

Secretly calling on

His name

Praying

maybe asking

that her steps be ordered

Praying

Believing

Hoping

Knowing

Something had to change

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

Reflection ( A Poem)

You look too much like me

for me to hate you

With a smile like that

you don’t need eyes

I take pride

That you are my relative

And that we can relate on things

that others find

Commonreflection

But the ground that we stand on

Is oh so familiar

Rolled up in

Zigzags

or Swisher Sweets

Illuminated

exuberance

Aroma

released

Let us cease to be extinguished

Allow clouds to leave a trail

of humanity

Forming an environment

that brings

Clarity

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

These Crows Ain’t Loyal

“The battle you are going through is not fueled by the words or actions of others; it is fueled by the mind that gives it importance.”  ― Shannon L. Alder

 

One of my favorite movies is The Wiz, an adaptation of the 1974 stage play written by Charlie Smalls and William F. Brown, that is a soulful rendition of the book The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. One of my most favorite scenes takes place in the corn field where the Scarecrow, played by  Michael Jackson, resides. Though he is supposed to scare the crows away, the Scarecrow befriends the crows and allows them to eat his corn with the hopes that the crows will help him down off his pole so he can walk around his garden.

crowsThough the Scarecrow is holding up his end of the bargain by permitting the crows to indulge, the crows have yet to take into consideration the wishes of the Scarecrow. Every  time the Scarecrow asked for assistance the crows tell him all of the reasons that he can’t get down and enjoy the garden. They remind him that he is only a scarecrow and a bad one at that, how could he possibly succeed in walking around. They remind him that he is made of trash and that even if he did get down it would not be worth his time and effort.

Since Scarecrow views the crows as his friends he believes their thoughts towards him. He allows the crows way of thinking to become the rules that he lived by daily and even pledges allegiance to those rules by singing The Crow Anthem:

You can’t win

You can’t break even

and you can’t get out of the game.

After singing this song, Scarecrow decides to stay on his post feeling defeated and hopeless, asking would anyone help him down off of his pedestal.  He is offered assistance by Dorothy, played by Diana Ross, and falls flat on his face. He is laughed at  and mocked by the crows,  which makes him believe that their thoughts of him being a failure were true.

Dorothy reassures the Scarecrow that he is not a failure, but  just a product of negative thinking. She takes the initiative to shoo away the crows, helps the Scarecrow practice walking and encourages him  to come with her to find the Wizard of Oz.

In past experiences I have ignored my desires and dreams because of negative things that people have said to me. I have changed the way that I dressed, acted and even whom I’ve dated because of the opinions of others. What others thought of me took precedence over  how I viewed myself and my abilities,  that I would be too fearful to truly be myself among my peers.  As others were out living their lives to the fullest, I found myself trapped inside the boxes that I had allowed others to place me in.

Our minds are the gardens of our souls, if we are not mindful of who we allow to frolic in our fields,  our minds  can become a landfill of trash and rotten fruit. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions but that doesn’t mean that their opinions are bricksfacts. We cannot let negative comments keep us from fulfilling our goals and dreams. When we believe the cynical remarks of others we limit ourselves and begin to embody their pessimistic view of life. It is ultimately our beliefs that will push us towards greatness or usher us into defeat.

Though there may be times

that you wish you wasn’t born

and you rose one morning 

just to find your hope is gone

Just know that feeling only lasts  a little while

You just stick with us and we’ll show you how to smile

C’mon and ease on down the road!

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

14 Lessons 2014 Taught Me

This year has been a year of surprises for me. Though I am still growing in grace, I would like to share some of the  lessons that I have learned and a couple of the lessons that I continue to re-take. In prior years, I have spent most of my time focusing on what I would do better in the year to come, that I would make resolutions only to forget them by March. This year I would like to take time to focus on what I’ve learned that has helped to make my next year better.

 

1. R.E.E.B.O.K- Read Each and Every Book Of Knowledge. At the closing of 2013 I was encouraged to read, The Happiness Project by Mrs. Gretchen Rubin, this book paved the way to me reading other books such as- Successful Maria BWomen Think Differently by Mrs. Valorie Burton and The Ten Laws of Enduring Success by Mrs. Maria Bartiromo. Reading these books helped to prepare me for what I considered failure, and assisted me in looking at many situations differently. The books that we read can impact us is so many ways, but many times it is months after we finish them.

2. People treat you how you allow them to treat you. I am learning that if I do not tell someone the first time that  they may have  ticked  me off, I had better get prepared to be ticked off a lot. Though I may have twisted my face into knots, unless I have told them that they have licked the red off of my apple, they will continue to keep licking.

3. Some people enjoy pushing your buttons. Some folks are into the shock value of things. They will make comments about your posts, they will talk about you, they will even reject you just to see how you will react. It’s not the situation that matters,  its how I react to the situation .

4. Finger pointing ain’t cute. It’s kinda like #3 but it goes a little deeper. Instead of comparing how others are acting to how I am, I could just be the example of how to conduct myself. Not everyone has the same upbringing as I did, what I deem proper is what I have been taught, it doesn’t make it law.

5. Never quit your job without a plan, cause you are gone be praying and crying every other month. After crying for the first month of my unemployment, I quickly realized that ordering your day will help you to not spiral into too deep of a depression. Saving money wouldn’t hurt either.

6.  Music can change any situation.  If you don’t believe me, put in Holla Back Girl by Gwen Stefani after a bad day and see what happens. That shit is really B-A-N-A-N-A-S!bananas

7. The number seven is really a Divine number. I view it as the ending of one book in a trilogy and beginning another one.

8. Death is sad, but it brings new life. Though the ending of something brings pain, it can also awaken new strengths that we never knew that we had. The deaths that took place in 2014 helped me to view my life, my choices  and the direction that I wanted to take.

9. Labels are limits. We want to be apart of something to make us feel like we are not alone in this world, so we join clubs, churches or organizations. Some of these labels restrict us from learning information because of religion, race and culture that may be essential to the betterment of our communities. I’m learning that the messenger doesn’t matter, it is the message that is given and how it applies to my current situation.

10. Just do it. If I am going to nick pick about how someone fulfills a task that was mine in the beginning, I was asking to get teed off. If I did it myself I would not have to calm myself after a temper tantrum.

11. The right way is only the right way for you. A piggyback of #4.

12. Don’t talk about it. Be about it. Just because I say that #blacklivesmatter, it doesn’t mean anything if I am not gentrifyputting my time and positive energy into other members of my community. Being  active in my community has helped me to see that words without action is gentrification and death.

13. I am ever evolving, so be nice. I have to stop beating myself up about my past and focus on the things that are positive in my life. A positive and secure environment helps stimulate growth and development ( in my Alex Trebek voice).

14. Write something every day. You don’t have to be published or go to school to be a writer; writing makes you a writer. How good you are depends on the reader.

Let the countdown begin to a New Year! Blessings to all and remember….

Friends don’t let friends twerk.

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

Subject to Change

“If you look for perfection, you’ll never be content.” ― Leo Tolstoy

There are a lot of opportunities  that I have missed out on  because things were not perfect. I missed out on truly changeembracing motherhood because I was single and too young to be a “good” parent. I ignored my zeal of writing because I would never be considered one of the “greats” because of my lack of formal education.  I eliminated myself from being a successful person because of my sordid past. I counted my self out for true happiness because that never  happened to black girls like me.

Perfection is the second cousin to procrastination. If we wait until something is perfect to make an action, we would never get anything done because our situations are constantly changing.

Just last year, I was getting ready for Christmas with a smile on my face because my mentor decided to sponsor my family’s Christmas. She not only took me shopping, but she made a loaf of pumpkin bread from scratch and equipped me with a gingerbread house kit. My children and I gathered at my mother’s house and decorated the gingerbread house while eating most of the candy in the process. It was a great Christmas and a very promising New Year.

Then, the seasons changed…..

Since June of this year I have been unemployed after being ‘separated’ from my former employer. As months passed, I dedicated myself to helping at my daughter’s school, blogging and my newest venture- I.N.S.P.I.R.E .Though these embraceactivities bring me joy, they are not very lucrative as of now and I had no clue of how I was going to keep my light bill paid to even think about Christmas.

Things are far from perfect for me at this moment in my life right now, but I have never been more joyful. 

Now, don’t get me wrong, just last month I was bugging out about the aforementioned  things and more. But, this month has been a grand experience of the joys of love and family for me;  there are so many things that I can and will be thankful for. If I wait for things to get better or be perfect, I will miss  some of the most wonderful things that are taking place right now for myself as well as my loved ones.

In her Tedtalk, The Power of Believing that You Can Improve, Professor Carol Dweck motivates us all to relish in The Power of Yet– where we are in a growth mindset instead of a fixed mindset.  She encourages us to stand firm in the face of adversity and to put more effort in the things that we do.  She persuades us to engage with our errors so that we learn from them and correct them. She rallies us all to praise the process of improvement instead of allowing ourselves to be beaten down by life’s circumstances.

banksyThough last year was better for me economically, I seem to be so much happier with the direction that my life is taking. Yes, I miss being able to indulge in some yummy pumpkin bread and build a gingerbread house,  but I would not trade my freedom to create and be myself at all times for anything in this world.  Though I have less financial independence, I am not excluded from being productive in my household and community. My separation empowered me to breathe life into situations that I did not have time to nurture because I worked. I have the ability to be more involved in my daughter’s life and the luxury of writing all day if I so desired. I have been presented with the best opportunities to bring change in my neighborhood, and honey I am seizing each and every moment.

Basing our happiness on temporal things will always keep us in a rut. When we decide to be content no matter our situations we thrive! Shine on urbanites! 

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

 

 

 

Before She Leaves Series: Nikki Giovanni

“I really don’t think life is about the I-could-have-beens. Life is only about the I-tried-to-do. I don’t mind the failure but I can’t imagine that I’d forgive myself if I didn’t try.” -Nikki Giovanni

I know how to throw a pity party. On my worse days, I can sit around and think of all of the reasons why I am not who I want to be. For a while, these parties were my time to place blame on others for my current situations that had led me nikki gdown the path of failure. I played the victim role as if I was auditioning for an episode of CSI: Miami and Horatio was going to find my assailant within the next 45-minutes so I could move on with the life that was intended for me.

If someone asked me why hadn’t I reached my goals that I had set for myself, I could rattle a long list of excuses of why I hadn’t attained the things that I wanted out of life. I could justify every one of my short comings with so much ease and conviction that people would begin to actually feel sorry for me and pardon my actions.  I was worse than the captured bad guys on Scooby-Doo- “My life would have been better if it wasn’t for those meddling people.”

Playing victim only gets us so far in life. After a while, people are looking for us to overcome these obstacles and actually do something with our lives.

One of my favorite excuses was that I couldn’t be a writer because I was a single parent trying to make ends meet. Another was that I was just a black girl from a small town and that no one could possibly relate to me. I used these excuses to somehow protect me from failure and embarrassment.

Though writing was something that I loved to do, I couldn’t imagine being anything more than what I was at that moment in time. It was not until I began to read The Collected Poetry of Nikki Giovanni that I began to realize that my nikki bookexcuses, not my conditions,  were the only things keeping me from success.

Ms. Giovanni was a black girl from a small town that became a single mother at the age of 26 years old. Though odds were against her, Ms. Giovanni decided to follow her passion of writing and decided to speak out on inequality and injustice. She refused to allow  her circumstances to hold her back from helping others  and following her vision of success. She took those things that may have been valid excuses and turned them into beautiful poems and words of encouragement to inspire others that faced similar situations.

Before she leaves this world, I am taking this time to thank her for being a beacon of hope and inspiration to myself and other writers.

Thank you Ms. Giovanni for making it safe to make fudge and pick my nose. Thank you for showing me that my situations will only remain the same if I allow them to. Thank you for all of your many works of poetry and prose that cause me to not only think, but to act upon my dreams and goals. Thank you for being a true muse of encouragement and creativity.

When we begin to view our failures  as objects to cultivate our growth, we realize that we have the ability to improve and transform into something wonderful.

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

The Green Grass Grew All Around

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
Anaïs Nin

There are so many beautiful trees in my neighborhood. Big beautiful oak trees line the side walks giving homes to various birds and squirrels that run through the shrubbery and yards. When you are nice and still,you are serenaded with the sweet sound of oakrustling  leaves,as the wind creates a lovely symphony.

If you sit long enough, you tend to forget that you are living in public housing.

For the 10 years that I have lived in my neighborhood, I spent the first 7 trying to hustle and get out of this place. I knew that my life would be so much better after I moved away,that I began to judge myself on my progress. I would compare myself to others success, striving hard to match what they were doing, that I lost sight of what really meant the most to me.  The lust to please others impaired my sight to be an individual, I felt that my environment was more important than the development of my character.

It is not where you live, it is how you live.

Our disparities are merely rocks in our lives. In his  book, Grow the Tree You Got,  Mr. Tom Sturges says that though rocks present a hindrance in a tree’s life, it also serves as  a great source of  growth:

tree“Despite the enormity of the challenge, rocks are key to a tree’s ultimate survival because they retain moisture and water with greater efficiency than the soil. Without them, the tree would have less of a chance to grow and thrive. By overcoming them, the tree makes itself that much stronger.” -Tom Sturges 

When the trees in my neighborhood were planted, I am sure that they didn’t expect to live some of their most glorious years unappreciated and taken for granted. Though they are in the midst of a seemingly hopeless situation,they have not stopped being trees and providing clean oxygen and cool shade. They stand tall  in the face of adversity and used those rocks as a positive source. They overcome the litter and pollution and courageously give us a source of inspiration.

In the past three years I have begun to take pride in the community that I am currently a resident of. There will be  threats in any community that I belong to and I will be forced to make a choice of whether I am going to be a part or not.  A better community will not mean a better me-that is determined by the choices that I continue to make that lead to the betterment of myself.

Where we live and what we have have little to do with who we truly are. We do not have to be  millionaires to help our communities, all we must do is lend our talents and strengths to make our neighborhoods better. We can no longer wait for the perfect conditions to make better choices, with each positive decision we make a move forward into our positive life. Let us embrace our imperfections and use them to begin a dialogue that can help others and most importantly, ourselves.