Wednesday, September 7, 2022

In the Time Since

 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.

Friday, September 2, 2022

Reaching for the Wind

 I woke up this beautiful first day of September with my daughters on my mind.

Not surprising since I am learning to navigate my life without their schedules being the guide for the day.

They are amazing women.

My eyes closed and I tried to imagine their day, what they were planning to do, who was speaking to them. Not in a way of creeping into their lives, I raised them to be a independent, but in a "wow" kinda way.

The youngest is the bubbliest one, she was always ready to see the world and as an extrovert, always had a crew of friends. She is running for Senate as a freshman.

Her older sister is probably more like me, a bit reserved, definitely an introvert, but with her heart on her sleeve and a bit of stubborn determination, is fiercely independent and focused. She is a junior trying to figure out how to celebrate her upcoming milestone birthday and help out in the water crisis in Jackson.

What captured my thoughts this morning is that I accomplished my goal when I had them. After having son after son, I never thought I would have daughters or even have the capacity for the enormous responsibility of guiding these human beings to adulthood in a world that did not see them.

But I made sure they saw themselves and knew that their reflection held promise and hope, inspiration and intention, that they were beyond brilliant, beautiful, and bold. I wanted them to know that they know that they were wanted, loved, affirmed, and supported.

My husband's career enabled me to wrap my career around the girls, to be wholly accessible to them, to be hybrid long before the pandemic made it possible. Yes, there are parts of me that I gave up so that they could have all the parts of themselves, but what I learned through it all was that I needed to be precisely where I was during the time they were coming of age.

The shift from my very demanding brand and product marketing career to being a consultant, writer, and activist/minister, was not as hard as one may think. It was a natural fit for me and piggybacked off the volunteer work I did on the weekends when I was in that very demanding brand and product marketing life. I think all my roads led to me being a GirlMom by the time these young women came into my life.

So to be on the cusp of one of them becoming a legal adult, I just turned around, looked back in time and wondered about all that we accomplished.

They experienced their share of micro-aggression growing up in a predominately white suburb. We workshopped the situation, I kept them in opportunities to learn more about themselves and their history, my home was a library of Black excellence. They gained understanding and decidedly walked in their brilliance. Both of them were honor students.

When they chose HBCUs as their next stop on the way to life, I was overjoyed. 

They would be in an environment were they were just themselves, as part of the global majority, they could just be iron-sharpening-iron without the weight of the yt gaze or curiosity. And they are thriving, even the freshman who proudly had a mini United Nations friend group, has exhaled deeply in the two weeks she has been on campus.

I am content. Happy that I had a tiny part in forming them.