Friday, November 26, 2010

Thankful to be counted amongst the living!

I am a worry-wart.

I always have been and probably will remain so until the day I take my final breath. It is what it is. Ironically, I don't worry that I am a worrywart. Possessing that title has its rich rewards. For one, I'm always on my "A" game---making sure I cross all my t's and dot all my i's. There is always a Plan B in place, just in case Plan A doesn't work out.

So. . . the spill-off or residue from being a worrywart is that I'm super organized and highly efficient in most all I do. I try to retain control in all I do, as much to the degree that is possible. You guys read between the lines. Okay, I admit it, I can be picky, a control freak and a perfectionist to a fault.

Over the quickly fleeing years that pass by in the blink of an eye, as my spiritual level and maturity has grown, I have come to realize that I should always come with my "A" game, but also realize that with God all around me---guiding, leading, directing and instructing my footsteps---I can eagerly give up my title, confident in the knowledge that I'll be alright. In fact, I'll be better than alright, I will be safe, sound, happy and secure with my place in this world. He always makes a way, even during our darkest moments. When you think you can't take another step, he'll do one better and carry you.

As we move towards holidays, I pause to reflect on all the wonderful family and friends that I have in my life. I have a loving husband, children that I am very proud of, people who love and care for me with a passion, just as I am. They accept me with faults, imperfections and even when I'm in worrywart mode. Plus, I'm living my dream each and every day. I'm creating the reality of my dreams and that in itself is magic. Magic surrounds me and I bask in its glory. I have my health and my strength and my sanity. What more could I possibly ask for or need in my life?

No, my life hasn't been without struggle and hardship. I've lost so many people over the years to death in my immediate family, but I'm still standing, solid as a live oak; I've never had anything simply handed to me on a platter, I've worked hard for everything I've achieved and appreciated it even more; I've had moments of doubt and uncertainty only to be given crystal-clear clarity; I've looked at the "other side" and thought the grass was greener only to discover it wasn't, it wasn't even green, more of an imitation shade; I've asked the question, many times, "why me, Lord?" only to receive the answer, "Why not you, my child?"

In the past, I've been hurt by men because I love deeply and they didn't appreciate my true worth; hell, I've been hurt by my family, blood; even hurt by my so called best friends forever, but I still rise; I've been down, down, down, but I've also been up, so high I could almost reach the sky; I've been disillusioned to the point of despair, but I've also been inspired by the goodness of people who care; I've cried buckets of tears, but I've also rejoiced in splendor at the beauty of the human spirit.

The green-eyed monster of jealousy has visited me a few times and I've fought him off tooth and sword because I learned a long time ago to truly be happy for other's good fortune; God has your back and your day is coming. What's meant for you is truly meant for you and no one, no thing, no situation can take that away from you. I've had my moments when I took to my bed, in a state of depression, sleep as my refuge, but I always got back up stronger and resilient with a fire burning deep within my soul. I've been to the mountaintop and it is a beautiful thing, but I've also been in the valley a day short and a dollar late.

All this to say: Life can be hard. Life is full of strive and struggle. But you know what? I'm so thankful! Thankful to be counted amongst the living. I'm thankful! Thankful to have a voice, thankful to make a difference, thankful to have a platform to speak, thankful to know all I have to do is see it and believe it for it to happen.

I'm so thankful that my reality doesn't have to be my destiny. I'm so thankful that I have a fire that burns deep within. I'm so thankful that all I have to do is listen and he will speak. I'm so thankful that all I have to do is ask and then I will receive. I'm thankful God moves through me which enables me to move people.


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Monday, November 08, 2010

Become Yourself

“Ordinary, brown braided woman with big legs and full lips, become yourself.”

Wow! The first time I heard Phylicia Rashad’s character speak those words with her gravely, powerful voice that demands attention, speaking straight, no chaser, from her soul. . . from a place of knowing, from a spiritual realm in the For Colored Girls trailer. . . I literally experienced chills up and down my spine as if they were saying, pay attention. This is a lesson in life. I was speechless, mesmerized and empowered to action. Two little words.

Become yourself.

I have been trying to accomplish that task my entire life. You hear me, my whole life. That has become my subconscious quest and divine mission. Only in recent years has it become my mantra, repeating it over, again and again in my head. I embrace it with a depth and passion as my own.

I desire to be the best mother, wife, sister, daughter, aunt, friend. . . person. . . that I can be. I owe it to myself and I owe it to those around me, the ones I touch with my spirit on my path to discovery and wisdom.

Become yourself.

Something supernatural screams directly to my soul, with a mind of its own, challenging me to make a difference. A positive difference. Life is too precious to live and pass through in the blink of any eye, and nothing has changed. That is simply not acceptable. You were simply a blink when you should have been a bang. The world should be a better place simply because you were here.

Words, especially robust, passionate ones spoken from a place of wisdom, a place of knowing. . . words that speak to strength and coming into one’s rightful self. . . they wrap me cocoon-like in colorful, vibrant silks as they caress my mental palette and stroke my very soul with the possibilities. Something primal, from generations after generations gone by, remembers who I am suppose to be. And I embrace it because I recognize its power.

Become yourself.

I want to embrace my essence, live up to my fullest potential and beyond. Each year of my life, I’m changing, growing, and evolving. That’s a good thing. I’ve come to realize there is power in my words. They touch people. They make people feel. My words incite emotion. A higher power has lovingly bestowed that gift upon me and I gladly accept it and all the responsibilities that go with it. Find yourself so that you can become.

Become yourself.

What a beautiful world we would live in if we all did as much. We could create a world of miracles and harmony. A utopia. Yes, such simple words, but oh, how powerful upon closer examination, scrutiny and understanding.

I have a glorious destiny to live out, so do you. Become the beautiful spirit you were meant to be. . . you don’t have to be extraordinary, you can be ordinary, brown-braided. . . simply look within.

Become yourself.

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A Lost Generation?

Headline: 4 Teenage Boys Stomp and Kill a 5th teenager at Party

I literally felt sick to my stomach, bile rose to my throat and tears immediately flooded my eyes after reading that headline and the horrific details that followed.

A promising eighteen-year-old life was senselessly taken at a metro Atlanta party Saturday night. The young man was enjoying his carefree youth, attending a house party, didn’t even know the perpetrators and his life was crudely snatched away by a pack of thuggish, rogue, ignorant savages. Who raises this type of person? How does this type of person come into existence?

One of the young men (and I use that term very loosely) was quoted as saying, “I’m going to hit the next person I see.” Unfortunately it ended up being a helpless, 5 feet six inch, 125 pound young man who was minding his own business. The four young men proceeded to stomp and kick this young man to death, at a party, in front of partygoers. No one helped him. Totally disgusting.

This scene has played out over and again, in cities and states all across America, just change the names, but the color remains the same. Remember Chicago? It makes me so angry and so very sad! It breaks my heart. Wake up! Wake the hell up! Can’t you see the self-destruction you are leaving in your midst? Do you hate yourself that much that you have to destroy your own image? Black on black crime is destroying our communities.

We have lost a generation of young men who have fallen by the wayside. And personally, I don’t think they will ever recover and stand up like the tall oak they were meant to be. However, I pray that they will. They have no respect for themselves, no respect for women, no respect for the children they carelessly bring into the world and discard. . . bottom line, a human life means nothing to them.

This is validated time and time again when they act out in this destructive way, emulate and idolize rappers, murders and thieves, wear their pants below their waists and show not an ounce of respect for their elders. They would rather rob, maul and steal than make a way for themselves in this world, but instead stand behind the rallying cry of “the man owes them.” Nobody owes you shit. Stand and make a way for yourself the same way everyone else does.

I pity them. I despite them. And mostly I fear them.

I never thought I would see the day when I would be afraid to walk past a group of young men assembled in the streets. It shouldn’t be this way. I hate with everything in me that it is this way. Don’t they know they are the descendants of kings from Africa? They should walk, head held high, in greatness and pride.

I never thought I would see the day when I would bow my head in shame at a young man exposing his underwear and ass in a public arena. My heart splits in two. Why would you want to emulate a dress code worn by prisoners, gay prisoners as a means of identifying you will have sex with another man? Don’t you see the images on the evening news and know what the nation, the world, thinks of you? Rise up and destroy those images.

Free T.I. Free Gucci Mane. Free Bobby Brown. Remember those cries? When did it become cool to glorify bad behavior? When did it become cool to have street cred? Hell, they committed the crime, so their asses needed to stay right where they were. In jail. I hate that. . . free such and such. . . for what? You commit the crime, you do the time baby. These are grown ass men who have been given extraordinary opportunities to succeed. For every action there is a reaction and a consequence. Why should they get a pass?

I have a son, a teenage son, and I worry about him---not because he is a bad child, because he is most definitely not. In fact, he is my hope for the future. . . a hope that others like him (the future Obamas) will show the world their true strength, intelligent and integrity towards family, their communities and their God.

On the contrary, I worry about him because of who and the kind of toxic element he encounters and is exposed to on a daily basis. That is my fear, that he will be at the right place at the wrong time surrounded by one of them.

The gang of boys that killed that poor child and destroyed his family in the process, in my opinion they are trash, meant to be spit upon. They have no moral upbringing and are a bunch of savage predators who prey on the weak. They are vacant vessels simply existing in our world with empty minds and even emptier hearts and souls. I'm sure if you looked within their eyes, the gateway to the soul, they would be dead. They are a pack of cowards who deserve every punishment they receive and even then, that still will not be enough.

I am sooooo angry! And more of us need to become angry. Where were the men in their lives? I challenge our real men to rise up and lead. Reach one, teach one. A woman cannot turn a boy into a man. Real men take back your families and restore them to greatness.

I am worried about the state of our families for generations to come when this is what our future protectors, providers, head of households, etc. will teach a new generation of young men. Lord be with us. Be with them. I fear for the future of our society when this is the world my children will become adults in.

And an even sadder dilemma is that I don’t have an answer on how to solve it. Do you?

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