A year ago, after a difficult summer, I made the choice to center my voice, myself, and not stay in the shadow of networks that stifled life and creativity.
I inhaled deeply, said, "I will be a collector of me, and put meat on my soul." And loosed the chokehold.
Once free, I discovered and reclaimed my pens.
I pulled up on my intellectual and scholarly work.
Ministry focus changed from one state to another to embrace this particular calling
My health truly became my wealth and justice
The youngest daughter had the fullness of me and not the silenced stressed me with my eyes glossed over from the blue light scream of a screen
Creativity sparked a new literary conversation across lines of being
Suitcases were packed and cars on roads went to new places and met new people and ate new foods
And in it all, I found some things about myself
That I am worth my ask
That I am one of 100 WOC making change but honestly, I am one of a kind being me
That being an empath is a strength and being observant is a gift but being unapologetically willing to speak up for others is a treasure
That ideas flow like the oceans surrounding me when their current is uninhibited
That there are multiple ways of being and pressing in the stressing just to say one is relevant is not a way to live
That there are really truly so many more
That ethics and. morals mean something
That we ate anyway
That he bought me a house anyway
That we did life anyway
In the time since and in the space between asking myself why I cared so much for spaces that cared so little, I decided to not chasten myself but to remind myself that my loyalty, my giving, my presence was just misplaced, not where it was appreciated, and to take the lessons from it
So my lessons are that I can always trust my gut, that staying silent isn't worth it, that advocacy will cost you but it is so worth it and in the end, what my father taught me still holds - do good and good will come to you and to cast my bread upon the waters, anyway.
In new phases and new intentions and new beings
I still cherish and affirm and recognize that woman who dared to lift her voice.