Young. Black. And Safety.

This morning as I rode the NJ Transit in a (black, male) conductor whom I had seen before stopped in front of me to process my ticket. At least that is all I thought he intended. I saw his lips moving so I removed an earbud to better hear what he was saying to me. Without any arrogance I will sum it up as “the usual” – complimentary, interest-evident rhetoric. I politely smiled, devoid of any come-hither-business and the mini conversation soon concluded. But, this is not about that. What was most notable for me in the entire encounter was the leave-taking. Devoid of the action of reciprocity, we both engaged in the simultaneous salutation, “Be safe”.

Because this is the clime we live in. A time when the proof of our mortality stares us in the face every minute of every twenty-four. A time when, if you believe as I do, that pre-destination is a very real thing.

As I listened to the reports of the train crash yesterday and the (thus far) one fatality – a woman, a mother who had just dropped her one year old at daycare – a woman who was not on the train, was not even struck by the train, but by debris while standing on the platform waiting on (that) train, I cannot help but to sadly recognize that, “it was her ‘time’”. I truly believe that. I believe I have said it here before, but if not here is what I believe: God decides when. How we live decides how.

But even as that is my belief, I join our nation and our world in grief and outrage at what has been transpiring around us, seemingly every day. I do not cease praying for the good health and protection for those I love. I too cry for strangers. Because even as I believe in pre-destination, I also believe that God has given us free-will. He has, sometimes I believe erroneously, entrusted us with the ability to encounter, think, rationalize, determine, decide and act. He has given us dominion over how we live our lives. Sadly for many of us, life – theirs or ours – is not considered sacred.

So in a brief interaction with a black man this morning, I would have been remiss if I didn’t offer my wish to the Universe for his safety. Clearly he thought the same for me. The body count that keeps on stacking up demands no less. No telephone number, offer of a date or any other gesture of flirtation or interest could have meant more, or carried more sincerity than, “Be safe”.

The truth is, from the moment we are born, we begin to die. Our shock and anger stem in part from the “how” and the seemingly unending proof of this reality. Death is something most of us would prefer to ignore and hope to God it goes away. Our world today is flaunting its derision at this notion. Daily we are being forced to confront and accept the circle and cycle of life.

This morning as I watched the news about the riots in California after the shooting of yet another black man by police, I couldn’t help but to recognize that what we once considered the three most important words in any language, “I love you” have been usurped by (at least for blacks everywhere), ‘Unarmed black man…” But as quickly as this thought entered my consciousness, took hold and evoked strong emotion, was it followed by this thought: ‘That is what we get. This is what we get for not understanding and appreciating those three words, “I love you”. This is what happens when we treat others carelessly. When we negate the power of those words.’

Let’s address this. We need to get back to the place where we respect each other. Where we celebrate and applaud differences. Where we understand that my success does not threaten yours; there’s enough for both. When we are not afraid or ashamed to demonstrate care, admiration, desire, happiness… love. When we allow our children’s example to teach us the way; and not corrupt them with ours. When we choose honor in all our actions.

“I love you” – there are no conditions, there is no, “but” or “so”. I love you. With that I offer you your freedom – to love me back or not, to be happy, to buy your drum and march to the beat you create. I am dedicated to reinstating those three words as the most important words in any language. I do not like the others.

I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. Wrongfully prosecuted. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. Domestic abuse survivor. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. Lesbian. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. Muslim. I love you. I love you. I love you. Murder victim. I love you. I love you. I love you. Poor. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. Black Man. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. Domestic abuse victim. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. Afflicted. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. Unemployed. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. Cancer survivor. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. Black Woman. I love you. I love you. I love you. Mentally challenged. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. Jewish. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. Homosexual. I love you. I love you. Single mother. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. Heartbroken. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. Nappy-headed little girl. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. Over-weight child. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. Unappreciated father.I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. White woman. I love you. I love you. I love you. Struggling with addiction. Confused.  I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. Hopeless. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. Profiled. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. Bullied. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. White man. I love you. I love you. I love you. Homeless. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. Transgender. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. Maligned. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you.

 

 

Rite On!

On Sunday, I was fortunate to be able to witness a Rites of Passage ceremony at church. My first. It truly was humbling to watch the fresh hopeful faces of those six beautiful young ladies. I couldn’t help feeling proud of, hopeful and scared for them. I remember praying that, with the help of the mentors that stood for each, they get to actualize all their tender hearts can now dream of… and because we can dream so much bigger than they, a whole hell of a lot more.

Today’s post is dedicated to those young girls and the young ladies and women inside of them. To the others I have never met. And to the young girls still inside us all. Love.

It seems from the moment we are born, someone, somewhere has expectations of us. And, not simply expectations of who they think we should be and what in their great esteem we should achieve; but some go so far as to have expectations of what we should think of ourselves. And, oftentimes their opinions lack any true insight into who we truly are; instead, burdening us with their issues – their dashed dreams, failed relationships, delusions of grandeur.

It seems from the moment we are born, someone, somewhere is shirking their responsibility for the legacy they will invariably leave in and on our lives; stomping their way through our soul – wringing, writhing and writing our insides with their messes. Someone, somewhere calling us our name today, his name tomorrow, their name the next, bitch and bastard after that. Indelibly searing filth onto our souls… yet still expecting much. Then, there’re those that expect nothing… and tell us so. They yell their frustrations into our realities attempting to convince us we are the failed reflections of themselves they see in the mirror.

But listen. I know from the moment we are born, someone, somewhere, Jesus is walking behind that parent, that sibling, aunt, uncle, that supposed care-giver with the biggest eraser and Sharpie ever. The one – to erase the pencil-strokes of destruction with which they sought to create precedence. The other, to permanently re-write the history, to take those lines that seemed pointed in one direction toward failure, resized_20160925_100218despondence, destruction and hopelessness, curving them just so.

There is a quote that says, “In order for the light to shine so brightly, the darkness must be present…” It’s the truth. The reality of the value in an opposite cannot be denied. Listen for many of us, it seems from the moment we are born, someone, somewhere introduced us to both God… and the devil. We live in a world where there is constant dialogue about white and black. Straight or gay. Rich or poor. Republican or Democrat (but, I repeat myself). But here is what I need you to always remember – the God we serve, is only interested in right or wrong.

“In order for the light to shine so brightly, the darkness must be present…” Perspective. Just like the color of our skin, “darkness” has always carried a negative connotation. But, I encourage you to look beyond the obvious, look past what they would like you to see and with God’s help, re-write the manuscript. In darkness, some of the best dreams are hatched. Relationships are formed and promises made. Some of most beautiful art and music erupt from some who live in perpetual darkness… but have more insight than those of us with vision. Secrets are shared. Love is made. Babies are created. Roads are built. Jesus is sought out and honored.

It seems from the moment we are born, someone, somewhere has expectations of us. And, He should. His name is Jesus. He is the one, the only one who knows our true name… and never calls us by anything else. He has one plan for us… it is greatness. One wish… happiness. One command… obedience. He not only walks behind us erasing others’ messes and our mistakes, but through his magnanimous gift of free will, He allows us to self-correct, continue or start over. Knowing Him and speaking His name, Jesus, can drown out the voices of all who seek to stand in your way or block your greatness.

A man tried to kill me. His weapon, once his words failed was his hands. He closed them around my neck and ordered me to say “Goodbye” to my life. At first I struggled – for air, for life. Then, I understood. God said, “Not yet” so I closed my eyes, stopped my fight and relaxed my body. I left my body in my abuser’s hands, but placed my life in God’s. God won. “In order for the light to shine so brightly, the darkness must be present…”

It seems from the moment we are born… so is God.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Advice? Date Someone Already In A Relationship.

If we’re brave and honest enough to articulate, so many of our conversations may begin with, “I am so bored!” and sadly, this will be in response to the question, “How are you and your partner/husband/wife doing/’

It is documented that finances (or the lack thereof) is the biggest contributor to today’s divorce rate; I will not be so arrogant as to argue with statistics. But as I grant that financial struggles may adversely affect the rate of divorce, can we agree that boredom or the waning lack of excitement bear the responsibility for the high rate of infidelity? You see, the government and church are concerned with and get involved in the finality of our unions; the one worried about the possible drain on its financial resources, the other the effect on our souls.

What we all will be well advised to focus on however is that at-first tiny niggling feeling that enters oftentimes unnoticed. That ‘thing’ that appears on any arbitrary Sunday and fools us into thinking it is just that Sunday. Come on… we’ve all had that Sunday – the one where you do nothing but roam from room to room, take a nap (or two), flick through the channels hoping something catches your attention, decide to do laundry… ‘cause, why not? That Sunday. But here’s the thing – all this while in the house, apartment, bed with your partner; missing the reality that not even he/she is catching your attention.

Boredom. The death-knell to many relationships worldwide. But the good news is, even if it has already crept into your home, it can be reversed. If you’re fortunate and it has not yet entered, it can be prevented.

Date.

Date each other. Even when married. Shit! Especially when married! Never get so damned complacent that you begin to neglect the touches, caresses, words, nuances, looks that got you to this point. And for Heaven’s sake… continue to fuck each other like you’re single! Seriously. Instead of labeling your current relationship “dead” and going out to seek a replacement, start treating your partner as if they are that someone new you are trying to pick up. “Put it on them” like you would the new chick you’re trying to impress. ‘Wine. Dine” and make them remember, ‘You’re mine.” Remember how you got there and continue to be that person.

People, it is not difficult to remain in love and excited… even after a few years. Well that is, if you’re committed to that. I get that “life” has this annoying habit of getting in the way of excitement sometimes/often. But, all that means is that we’re challenged to become more imaginative. Commitment. I swear the next time I say my vows, I will promise to continue to be the woman they fell in love with. In truth, I think that sums up anything else I could have detailed.

Listen, if your relationship is important, become imaginative. Date. Recreate evenings/occasions/moments you shared while you were still getting to know each other – the things that made her smile/giggle or whisper to her friends. The ones that made him boast to his friends. Wear the clothes that make his dick hard and made her grab on to your arm even tighter with pride. Whisper, nibble, stroke, wink. Those seemingly aimless Sundays? Have a picnic in the living room… nude, if you can. Big enough house or apartment? Get dressed in different rooms and “pick” her up by knocking on her bedroom door. Instead of going through pockets searching for trouble, write a naughty note, put it in there and start your own 😉

Here we go. Choose what you would like from your union. Be dedicated to it. Committed. Work around what life throws at you. Shit! Use what life throws at you. Raining all weekend? Open the windows, go out in it… get wet. Sun too hot? Take off your clothes. Snow? Build a fire. Just see what happens when you stop missing the forest for the trees. The difference between success and failure is truly perspective. Imagination. Willingness. Dedication. Commitment.

Date. Never stop. Love like you want to be married. Fuck like you’re single.

 

A Sistermatic Reign Of Terror.

I have been very quiet… here.

I have spent the summer months planning for my future and laying the groundwork to ensure things roll out ahead of me as close to just-the-way-I-would-like-it-to as possible. Aside from that, much of my time has been spent looking back; because well, it is close to impossible (or at the very least inadvisable) to make plans to move ahead without understanding and reckoning with (some of) what has happened in the past.

I have written a post about legacies; the reality of the foot and finger prints we invariably leave on lives. Especially those that share our DNA. Even without my posting I know you know. So today, I will not take up the precious moments you fling my way in reading this by regurgitating old news; instead I will lay bare and memorialize some of the realities of my own familial life. As always, I do this in the hope that my “mess” does a few things: (1) makes you smile knowing that either you are not the only one experiencing something similar or, brings comfort knowing someone else’s shit is just a tad more fucked up than yours. Or, possibly, hopefully some word or string of words line up and resonate just so, allowing for clarification, illumination or resolution.

It’s good to be back. So, let’s address this.

I have shared with you also the abusive demon I have had to face; the man I married who subsequently tried to kill me. The man I (publicly) thanked for his actions; because but for his, I would not now be resized_20160904_135610experiencing mine. So, we’re done with him… for now. Another demon I have decided to confront however does not have stranger-dna; this one is so very much closer to home. And thus, more dangerous.

Now, before she pats herself on the back thinking she is badder than me or stronger than me because I referred to her as “dangerous” let me make it clear to both you and her – the ONLY thing she is, is more evil than me. So today I would like to start the conversation of, “What do we do when the place – home- where one is supposed to feel the safest, is chronically compromised? Truly. What do you do when you lock your doors at night and know that you have just locked the devil in?”

This goes against everything we have been taught to depend on; to believe in. Most of us bought and believed in the fable that the ‘boogie-man’ is out there; from some no-name place and with a face that is yet to become familiar. In none of our nursery rhymes or fables did anyone tell us that danger or evil could look so much like you, sound so very much like you, sleep in the bed next to you. That you would never have to struggle to remember what they looked like.

 So what do we do? Well first, pray. Seriously. Ask God for not only protection for yourself and the other innocents, but be sure to ask Him for protection and mercy for those that may opt to try to “come for you”. You see, God, my God is the personification of the protective parent – He loathes when someone messes with His children! After you have done that, some may say, ‘Well, you have “given it to God” so leave it there and walk away.” Sound advice. And, in most times I would absofuckinglutely agree. But sometimes… sometimes you, okay I, just need people to know. You see, abusive/manipulative/vile/destructive behavior gets its fuel and gains momentum from fear or silence. I am neither afraid or will be silent.

I am always personal when I take the time to write; why write if not to share one’s honesty? Sometimes, like today, it is necessary to dig even a bit deeper; please forgive me. Sometimes the grit needs to come out and like Alicia Keys, we need to step out unmasked. My family is riddled with imperfections; that I can handle. What I reject wholeheartedly is behavior that manifests from a thoroughly rotten core.

Praying for all the innocents as well as the victimizers. May God have mercy on your soul.

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