Tuesday, May 1, 2018

2018 Reentry...Fighting My Way Back

Dear 2018, I didn't greet you with vision and strength.  My resolutions barely full words, only letters tethered together out of obligation to other's expectation.  I was barely holding on to myself at that time, let alone ideas of a self I was supposed to resolve to work toward. All I knew was that I needed to get up for the sake of my son.  I had to get up to make sure he was getting everything he needed and that I supported his life...When he wasn't present, I was no where near present for my life.  I actively stopped showing up for myself.  The latter part of last year and much of this year is when my disappearance started to become noticeable.  I lost friends and what feels like a multitude of opportunities.   It was quite difficult to face folks anymore.  How was I supposed to explain myself when my words were stifled by pain & shame. 

As much as I tried to be present for my son, he unfortunately felt my vacancy...Every time I left my being in desperation to disconnect from pain & shame, I didn't realize not all of me was coming back.  I was becoming a shell of myself.  I didn't realize how much my son was witnessing & feeling my continuous spiral into an abyss of utter dispair.  I didn't realize how steeped into my sadness he was until he was inspired to write a poem about it... A poem he performed on a stage with so much love and power...It took me a moment to process the words he was saying.  It took me a moment to truly get that he was entrenched in my pain...It took me a moment to realize he was throwing me a life-preserver.  He was me through his eyes.  I'm still reeling from his words.  It was my wake up call to presence myself and get to living. Get back to my purpose.  I love him and thank him for seeing me and reminding me who I am...I''m also grateful for the friends that have patiently loved me and held me up and caught my tears and continually shared their highest most powerful and beautiful visions of me until I could start visioning myself in that same way.

So today, May 1, 2018 I'm vowing to be present to my life.  I'm vowing to not judge my faltering moments, because I will have many, but vow to show up nonetheless.  Today, May 1st i'm picking up my highest vision for myself and not seeing it as weight to crumble under but a foundation to step up and into my destiny. 

Today I vow to not shut the world out but reach out for help & support.  Isolation is a scary, lonely and deceptive place to be.  I vow to be unapologetic with my pain because I know its a process and check my shame because I no longer want to let shame be the leading emotion in my head and my being.  I vow to see 2018 through smiling eyes, a fed spirit encased in a fallible but yet resilient human experience.  So 2018, i'm grateful for your grace with me...no you haven't been gentle for the most part, but you've been graceful. 

So with grace and gratitude I am fully present and accounted for. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


Jessica Hampton Mother - Daughter - WOMAN 
She was on the Red Line train in the middle of the day this past June.  25 year old young woman Jessica Hampton, whom I read was working incredibly hard to get her life together.  She was learning to love herself again. She stopped drinking and was probably thinking of what her next steps to living her best life with & for her daughter who she has left behind...a six year old daughter. Jessica Hampton was loved by many.  She was on her way somewhere and she shook her head no to him and he stabbed her multiple times.  No one stepped in to help her.  People screamed and ran in the opposite direction.  People videotaped her death and took in her demise through a lens and did not step in to stop it.

Like many women, she found herself with a man whose intentions for her ended up being violence at all costs.  This individual has gone to jail for this crime against a woman who simply said no to him and yes to herself.  Jessica's daughter is now a secondary survivor of violence because she could have easily been part of this tragedy.  We could have been reading and watching her demise on youtube, but thank God that was not the case.  I pray she never witnessed her mother and/or any other woman experience physical violence. I pray that she never will have to see it, but I think that is a very big prayer.  I pray that she never will have to personally experience violence.  I pray that her experience with violence ends with her mother.

Violence against women is becoming so normalized...violence against women of color is already a "normal" daily occurrence.  With the help of media and the history of violence against women of color in America, a black woman can sit on a train in the middle of the day and repeatedly get stabbed without one finger being lifted to assist her because it is normal...her pleas for help fell on deaf ears.  She died because it was normal to see the destruction of her body.  She deserved to be heard.  Black women's lives matter!

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  Minimizing and ultimately ending violence against women and girls.  There are many organizations around the country whose mission is just this.  One organization, based in Chicago is called A Long Walk Home.  http://www.alongwalkhome.org/
They will be one of the groups organizing a Freedom From Violence March this Thursday honoring Jessica Hampton's life.

#sayhername #blacklivesmatter #blackwomenslivesmatter

Monday, October 10, 2016

#FreeBresha..But Can Her Mom Get Free Too

I woke up this morning with Bresha Meadows on my heart.  I was wondering what she was going through right now.  What it took for her to be pushed to her breaking point.  At the tender age of 14, she gathered everything inside of her to pick up her father's gun...the same tool her father handily used to terrorize Bresha, her sisters and her mother, and shoot her father.  Her 14 years of unrest, trauma and horrific home-life gave her all that she needed to stop the destruction the man she was supposed to look to for love and protection caused. She loved, served and protected her family in their time of need...So the question so many are asking, where was her mother?  Why couldn't she be the one to stop the violence?  Why couldn't she remove her family from the hell that her husband cause?  I know I initially asked these questions.  I wondered why, as a mother, she could allow ANYONE to hurt her children.  As I cried over her daughter's plight, my questioning Brandi's absence during this time had me wondering how much she must be questioning herself.  How much guilt she must be feeling during this time as her daughter is locked up and on suicide watch.

Brandi spent 22 years of her life be broken down.  Her last moment with her husband was him asleep on the couch and her on the floor next to him.  He owned her life and her daughter was the only one that was able to set her free.  22 years, she tried to fight and was broken.   In those 22 years she had three babies...all girls.  Not much is said about the youngest girls, but Bresha is a vibrant young lady with a vision for life.  A great student and friend...All this to say, mom was seemingly doing her best to give her daughters some hope.  Mom seemingly was trying to show up at least for her girls in the world outside.  She just struggled desperately to show up for them at home...where it was truly dangerous.

My heart goes out to this family...Yes, my heart is heaviest for Bresha, but I am definitely weighted down with the guilt and anguish this mother is feeling.  The reality is, she has to find her strength and her footing and build herself back up.  She needs to see her worth again as a woman, as a mother as a being so that she can fully and properly support her daughter(s).  She needs to create a safe place for her daughter to come home to.  What does her support system look like?  I pray there is a psychiatrist, teacher, preacher, sister, friend and family around that can support Brandi is rebuilding herself.  I pray for her strength that she realizes that she has it.  I pray that Brandi stops being a victim and finds a way to be her own hero.  Right now, Bresha is wanting out of this life because home is no longer home anymore.  Brandi needs to create that space for her. I pray that Brandi embraces the ultimate gift/sacrifice her daughter made for her and her family and releases herself from her proverbial prison so that in turn Bresha could find her way home to freedom.

Free Bresha...But Brandi, free yourself first so you be strong enough to help your babies act of heroism not be in vain.

For more about the story, here is a link to one of many articles written.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Mirror Mirror

Here I am stumbling through the process of learning to love myself…
Yup, I’m challenged, but pushing forward because I can’t look back, I don’t want to look back.  This my friends, is so important.  This is my chance to finally get through the fear and bust through the ribbon at the finish line, only to train for yet another journey.  It ain’t over till it’s over!  Loosing my mother has taken away a part of me that was unconditional love for me.  The day she passed, that void of feeling loved purely and unconditionally without question of worthiness felt so vast and empty.  Nothing could fill it up.  I've hated how awful and lonely that has been/had been making me feel.  So I've decided to do something about it.  I decided to find a way to fill that empty space with self love.  Face to void and fill it!

So let me tell you about my last couple of days of loving myself.  I started out my Sunday morning spending time with my snooze button.  My tired body was in a tumultuous battle with my hungry spirit and sadly, the body won.   Yes, that disappointment that just laid itself on my heart and stayed present with me even after a very long and thorough shower.  As I applied lotion to myself and put on my intimates; I stopped and stared into that space between void and feelings convincing myself not to step deep into the void but embrace my feelings, my pain, my joy, my pride, my sense of accomplishment, my feelings...I thought back to the day before when I promised to love myself blindly, unconditionally and without self Judgment.  I sat in judgement of myself and found myself entrenched in the void.  

I told myself that I was ok, but without skipping a beat, the  “you’ve messed up again - It’s not in you -you aren’t worthy  -"so typical of you" recording started playing in my head.  I listened to this mantra and allowed it to disrupt the flow of good energy I was feeling from my five minutes of prayer and meditation from the day before. 
But the interesting thing this time is the self depricating self talk pissed me off enough for me to want to face myself.  I reluctantly approached my mirror.  I fought myself extremely hard to catch my own gaze.  I discovered many new lines on my face, counted fading freckles and experimented with new hairstyle options all to avoid my own gaze.  Why was it so damn hard?  Why was this such a challenge to face me?  It was a strategically placed freckle in the corner of my left eye that forced my eyes to catch themselves in the mirror...my own big brown anxious, yet disarming eyes.  Now that I had my own attention, what would I finally tell myself?  What would I finally embrace?  I guess simply that I was going to be just fine.  Maybe even stare long enough to admire how much I loved how deep and penetrating my eyes were.  Even to have the courage to look into my own eyes and say I…L..LO..I….I LOVE YOU!  It totally felt silly for not having done that sooner, but I promised no judgment. 

Monday morning, I started with the same tumultuous battle of tired body and hungry spirit, but this time spirit was a bit stronger and triumphed.  I woke up with no judgment, just resolve. Pray – Mediate – Exercise – Love yourself and Repeat... pushing toward the next phase of this journey.  The deeper, more realized part of my journey.

Tuesday will be another new day and on this new day, I will look in the mirror again and remind myself of my journey thus far, say something kind to myself and keep it moving...forward.

I love me...even in those moments when the words are merely words...I will continue you to say it until the words are the truth in that moment.

Mirror Mirror On The Wall Who is The Most Present One Of All...me

Nourish  Nurture  Sustain  Build - Mother Milk


Sunday, July 17, 2016

July 7th, 2016 - Rest In Peace Mom

It's been one week and a few days since my mother transitioned.  My heart is both broken and relieved. Broken because I can no longer hold her hand, hear her laugh, see her smile, look into her kind eyes, lay my weary head on her lap, listen to her voice...Relieved because her body and mind can no longer cause her pain and torment.  She suffered for so many years.  This life had given the chance to see & experience so much of the world, explore her boundaries, realize her strength and unfortunately feel emotional and physical pain deeper and more profound than most people could bear.  It was to much...She held on through pain until she felt my son and I were going to be okay...supported & loved through this life...This is what I shared at her memorial...

July 27th 1942 - July 7th 2016

My mother really didn’t want any fuss “when the time came”.  I believe part of it was her not wanting to inconvenience anyone and the other part was her not realizing what a brilliant woman she was. 

From as far back as I can remember, my mother worked so incredibly hard at every task she put her mind to.  She would not stop until something was done just right…She was just under five feet tall, but you would never know that from way she boldly lived her life.  She was in a country far from all of her family except for her child.  What makes her even more amazing was that for all of my life, my mother battled with mental illness.  We all struggle with our negative self-talk or “demons”, but a quick talking to with friends, family therapist and a prayer usually did the trick.  Her demons felt very real to her and were very loud.    My mother was diagnosed with Schizophrenia.  I went back and forth about weather I should even talk about this, but I realized how important it was to talk about the miracle her life was despite this horrible disease. 

So when I say my mother raised me for most of my life as a single mother; she went to school to further her education; she landed her dream job, she made sure I was fed, loved as best she could, safe and looked after.  She kept her disease at bay in front of the outside world for many years.  The hospital she worked at had no clue, because she was meticulous about her work and usually worked nights where her interactions with coworkers although sincere, was very routine and practiced.  She wanted to care for people and make sure they kept their dignity intact. 

At home we definitely had our challenging times, but whatever demon she was battling still didn’t stop her from making me clean my room nor did it stop her from throwing me birthday parties or making sure all my needs were met.  I wanted for nothing. 

My mother was kind.  Up until the day she passed, people always were drawn in by her kindness and loving heart.  She would give of her time neighbors who needed help to coworkers or church friends just needed prayer.  She was the one to make it happen. 

My mother was completely head over heels in love with her grandson.  She would give her last breath if it meant he would okay or better or fed.   The moment he showed up in the world, her life was full.  At times I felt like I was a surrogate.  They have so much love for each other…they made each other better in so many ways. 

My mother was my friend.  The latter part of her life was so HARD!  Age made it harder to keep her disease in check.  Her final few years were at a nursing home.  It was the first time she was able to be regulated with medication and started coming to terms with this disease.  I’m so glad she was able to not recall much of what her life was off of her medication, so instead we would just talk about everything.  These were the years I finally convinced her to get her first manicure and eyebrows done and King Spa.  She loved them all.  I felt like we got to bond over our woman-ness together.  I felt like she shared her vulnerable underbelly with me like she would a girlfriend.  I cherish those moments. 

My mother is both my son’s & my angel.  She has left this physical space and transitioned into her heavenly form.  She is free of physical and mental pain.  She is our watcher our guide and our protector in death as she was in life.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Mother's Sixth Sense

Life is what you make it.  I've learned that through so many lessons and in so many ways over the years.  Most of those lessons i've learned have been from the women in my life.  Some have been my ride or die homies who have mothered me through whatever emotional or physical trauma I was experiencing to the random momma stranger on the street who's momma .  It was these moments that made me understand the importance of my circle of women.  

I'm so thankful for the many times I was emotionally rescued by these surrogate mothers in my life also known as my friends, my sisters, my aunties, my co-workers, my son's friend's moms, my friend's moms, and at the top of that list...my mom .  Women who had no obligation to my healing.  They simply were expressing their mother-nature, an extremely challenging emotion to avoid.  It's like an impulse...much like child birth when it comes time for a woman to push, it is an impulse that women cannot stop themselves.  It just happens.  There are no questions of weather she wants to push, she just needs to...impulse.  The impulse to mother weather a woman has physically given birth or not is simply an additional sense...touch, smell, taste, hear, see, nurture...I believe it is the sense that makes a woman.  

So imagine that extra sense in action when a woman does become a mother.  When the universe bestows on her a child(ren).  The sense of nurture becomes the dominant sense to the fives senses which are now tools used to strengthen or sharpen the nurturing of a child.  Making sure that all spaces the child comes in contact with is safe to touch, smell, taste, hear and see...making sure to keep the child away from anything that could adversely affect the "sub-senses".   

In my space of thankfulness...I acknowledge myself for showing up when it was super challenging but knowing that my heart was full of love and nurture for my son.  I chose not to stop.  I chose to nurture and him and shield him from the negativity that he has touched, smelled, tasted, heard and seen.  I, his mother, chose to be just that...his mother and boy am I blessed because although it has been 16 plus years, I am still amazed that I was the one chosen to raise him, I was the one chosen to guide him, I was the one chosen to love him, I was the one chosen to be his mother.    In that acknowledgement, I also know that in choosing to mother him, I must also remember to allow myself to be mothered...to allow someone else to use their sixth sense to help me heal and be my strongest self so that I can be the best mom to my boy.

Ashe...Happy Mother's Day!

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Monday, May 2, 2016

Denying Thy Self

Who are you?  As we embark on the journey of motherhood so many of us find ourselves merging our childhood, teenage, young adult dreams with the dreams that we now have for the being that we've birthed from our loins.  This representation of all things beautiful, free, innocent and right about you.  So your focus, ok, my focus is now place squarely on this gift releasing any dream distracting you from the gift.  

Funny thing is, that gift i've fallen on the sword for...that gift I've selflessly starved my desires and dreams for...that gift that was born of me...specifically chose me, which means releasing my wishes and desires...the same desires and passions that helped form this gift is actually you denying the gift...this representation of all things beautiful, free, innocent and right about you is denied the opportunity to meet their maker...really know their maker...be affirmed by their maker.Moral of the story mother...don't give up who you are by letting go of those dreams and desires that  inspired this gift to be birthed through you.  Motherhood is not only about nourishing and nurturing the lives you've been charged with raising...Motherhood is about nourishing and nurturing self not denying self.