Monthly Archives: October 2015

#DearBlackGirl…a letter to my younger self

 

Dear Black girl-

I have been watching your growth and contentment in the last few years and wanted to share with you, just how far you have come and the obstacles you leapt, with such faith in your almost five decades on earth.  You see, you were born in a time and place where girls were not encouraged to be seen or heard and from your earliest memories, you bucked that trend to the detriment of your behind. You remained respectful but steadfast in a culture that expected you to grow up, learn all the social graces like ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ so that you could get a decent job and marry a good man.

You instinctively knew that while you desired a good mate and wanted to be a mother, your desire to activate change for others was an ever present feeling you carried. And so, you did just that- spoke up, helped where you could and declared to your father at the age of nine, that you would do great things with your life.

If only you knew the journey it would take for you to get there and I still believe, you would not have changed a thing.

Do you remember the time when a boy told you that you were too opinionated and that you needed to have a man who would beat you and keep you barefoot and pregnant?  Do you remember your sassy response to him? Today, he looks at you in awe as he got what he desired; the woman who would do whatever he said, even to her own detriment. You knew you deserved better by someone who would love you wholly, just as you were.

And so as a young adult, after confounding everyone around you, you struck out on a journey of self discovery and learned the hard way, that even the ones who said they loved you, had no idea what to do with all the energy you brought to the table. so you married and divorced. You had two beautiful babies and instinctively knew, raising them well, would be the best thing you could do for them  and society at large.

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You were told a thousand times what you could NOT and should not do; each time, you followed your gut instincts and moved ahead in prayer. the end results have been nothing but astounding. You understood that ‘belly- aching’ about a problem solved nothing and you also learned that everything happens for a reason and extracted the lessons you learned from each mishap in your life.

You learned beautifully, that building authentic relationships with others is the doorway to getting things done. You learned that doing things on your own was counterproductive. You learned the language and code words people used when they were scared of your presence and energy that floated into a room behind you.

You learned not to be naïve. You learned to have a vision and then work towards it. Vision boards are your friend.

That is you below after learning how to pit a race car and in the cockpit of an F-16 fighter jet about to take the ride of your dreams!!  Who would have ever thought that?  You have taught others not to ever limit themselves.

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You learned to say NO when others said yes andYES, when most said no.  You learned that the path less travelled, while much more difficult to traverse, lead to greater rewards.  Doors have been opened for you on a national scale and you have been in the presence of those who have made huge strides for human kind. You have mentored and have been a mentee.  You learned you do NOT have a poker face and it is okay.

 

 

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You understood the value of having siblings who while they love you, would hold you accountable and honest in your actions and you knew they were blessings..

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You embraced your health and well being by exercising regularly and because you love good food, that is a good thing. In that process, it became clear that you are not just mentally strong but physically and that too confounded many.  You can flip 300 lb. tires, lift barns, push half a ton and the list goes on. you embraced climbing trees and haven’t found one that was too much of a challenge. You even climbed in flip flops!!

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You understood the value in the wisdom of our elders and embrace them lovingly..You even got into serious trouble as a child, climbing trees to pick coconuts and using a machete to open it, all for the elderly man who had a heart condition. You gave YOUR own father a heart condition once he learned about THAT!

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You learned that great friendships are like a balm to the soul and that laughter keeps you young at heart. You embraced being almost 6 ft. tall with zero apologies

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You learned to accept people where they are and move on in love which meant holding no grudges. You are tenacious in ways that has been liberating because you understood that failure did not mean the end and kept going. You learned that without a strong knowledge of your culture and ethnicity, you were bound to accept other peoples definition of you and so you are not only steeped in your own, you are a voracious reader of others and embrace the differences we bring to the table.

 

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when you got tired of fighting with hair, you made a declaration,cut that sucker off and remain blissfully natural, all the happier for it. You are no longer a slave to spending ten hours in a hair salon.  Being black is no joke out here. And after all of that, the love you so needed, shows up and did everything in his power to convince you that marrying him would be an awesome thing.  Took him several years but here you are and honey, you are glowing!  The failed relationships taught you what you didn’t want, what you needed and that you had to always be your own work in progress so that you could take ownership of your own flaws.

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I could go on and on but it all comes simply down to this-  I am so proud of you and want to acknowledge your journey thus far.

rock on #blackgirl- rock on.

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#Dearmommy….Thank you….with loads of love

Today is my momma’s birthday and so with much gusto, I picked up the phone to call her early knowing that she would already be on her zillion mile walk. when she answered the phone, the strangest thing happened- my eyes began to well with tears as I jovially wished her a happy birthday. You see, my mother is in her 70’s and like most elderly parents, faces health challenges that she continues to tackle but I had a reality check that punched me in the gut, that my mother can not and will not live forever.

This lady though…

Best grandmother ever.  you better not say a thing about her and let her grandchildren hear.  my own two sons could light the earth’s hemisphere from the sheer joy on their faces when they see her. No matter how many times I have seen it happen, it still amazes me.  look at my oldest son’s face as he dances with her this past June at our wedding..he is absolutely peaceful around her..

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Without thinking too hard about it as I spoke with her, I began sharing my gratitude for her love for us all, how she guided and protected us from all kinds of things- how I channel her every time I step outside my door dressed like a lady and woman who knows my worth, how I think about her as I raised my sons and that I owed my success as a parent and adult to her because she is a stellar role model.

I shared the things I didn’t understand in the moment, became crystal clear to me as an adult and that I would continue to honor her in word and deed through my own actions while knowing she is not expecting perfection.

I couldn’t thank her enough.

I was a difficult child to raise. For my parents anyway. I was respectful, learned all the societal norms easily but had a social justice mind-set that was not to be rivalled with. And yes, I was also an average child who pushed the boundaries of what could and should be done.

I flew out of her womb it seems, with a mind of my own and as early as anyone can remember, I spoke up about the things that seemed slanted and unfair.  No amount of spankings could deter me either. It finally dawned on my parents that I wasn’t just being wilfully disobedient, but that I truly believed in the choices I made.  It was August of 2014 when I flew in to visit them, that they sat me own and both said I confounded them as a child and adult because if I deemed  something worthy of doing, nothing stopped me. My jumping in an F-16 with the US AIRFORCE  Thunderbirds made them throw their hands up in the air in shock and amazement that the child they raised with strong convictions, became the adult who never strayed from that path.

My poor mother all at once tried to remove me from earth and protect me from myself.. and I thanked her profusely for it all. I love my mother more than life itself and told her I needed her to understand that before she leaves this earth. I could not have asked for a better role model and I know all the tools I have in my arsenal of life, comes from her, the giver of MY life.

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My siblings and I forces of nature after being raised by this little woman who could invoke the fear of God in you with a stare and she still does it too, just not to her beloved grandchildren who walks on clouds of love always. it makes us shake our heads but I am thrilled those 4 young people feels daily, the joy of having the love of a grandmother.

Happy birthday mommy- I am half the woman you have been to so many and each day we are graced with you on earth, is one of grace and I am eternally grateful..

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