Seeds

I recently participated in Vision + Verse where I went to the local art museum and selected a piece that spoke to me, then write about it and present it to the group. I chose this piece called “Vignette- Wishing Well” by Kerry James Marshall

Oh and I made my own shirt just for tonight!

Title of my poem: seeds

In the midst of darkness, you may see lack, but I show my faith, for I’ve thrown seeds behind my back.

For what looks like a forest with desolate trees, looks like opportunity to me. To plant flowers that bloom where it is dark, watered by the faith that’s stored in my heart.

For out of the darkness shines a little light and while you see a shadow, that’s my cheerleader on the right. Someone silent and strong and willing to be. Supportive while I explore the dark areas in me.

Who is the man that’s down in the shadows, he’s whispering thoughts that only I know.

You see, He came from a battle of my past and serves as a memory that hard times won’t last.

Hey Tina, remember from whence you came, make your mark, plant your seed, make them remember your name.

What was meant to hold me down has tested my faith because good things come to those who wait.

There’s a lot of black in this space. It reminds me of the beauty of a Nubian face. While you attempt to describe black as a creepy night. I actually glow because I absorb the glorious light.

Coupled with pink makes me think of life in its many layers. I stand firm and throw hearts to all of the haters.

Moment captured is just a period of time. I praise God for the mountains I’ve had to climb.

Above the wishing well is a cliff, a reminder of Gods precious gift. Because just when I’m about to give up, my God is faithful to interrupt.

And just when I think I’m shouting alone, someone with a paintbrush comes along. He watches me!

Up and down, high or low,

There’s no place the love of God won’t go.

Rocks and wells, cliffs and trees, I’m surrounded by love that comes to find me.

I release and I receive whatever it is

for my life is not my own, it is His.

See the full performance in the YouTube link below!

https://youtu.be/y8xAk1X2KXM

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Friends

Who needs friends when you can have followers, pets, books, or solitude?
Well, we ALL do. Friends are the people we choose and who chose us, devoid the comfort of genetic connection. Yes, familial relationships are great, but isn’t it wonderful to form a meaningful relationship with someone who has the option to connect with you, and chooses to do so? Friends are the people that we purposely explore, the people we make conscious choices to interact with, the people we share experiences with, the people we are vulnerable with, the people we grow with.
So who’s a friend?
 
It’s easy to label others as friends.
Growing up, we called those that we played with, or the neighbor children, children we saw on a daily basis, or other children we just spent lots of time with friends. As we grow older, we tend to group off and choose friends we have things in common with or those we share activities with. Then once we reach adulthood, we are thrown into a world with people who come from different places, have had different experiences, live different lives form us, and think differently from us. This is when we begin to evaluate friendship differently. 
Whether we are starting anew or have been blessed with friends that have grown with us from childhood through all these stages, our relationships change as we grow and we learn to value one another on an ever-evolving level.
Get you a diverse group of friends.
We should always have more than one friend, and it is wise to have a diverse group. Diversity challenges individuality and gives you the opportunity to mature into who you were destined to be. How do you know who you really are if not challenged or exposed to a different way of thought? How can we grow if everyone is the same and always agree with us? How can we grow if we are surrounded only by those who have a genetically emotional connection?
While working in corporate America, I have blue collar friends- they keep me humble.
Married friends help me understand sacrifice in relationship.
Single friends remind me to enjoy myself.
Friends from the hood teach me ways to creatively manage my resources.
Friends of wealth teach me how to be financially aware.
Friends younger than me help me think outside the box.
Friends older than me are wise and help guide me through the current stage of my life. (They’ve been there, survived that).
Serious friends help me focus.
Silly friends help me laugh.
Friends who come from where I come from teaches me empathy.
Friends from the other side of the tracks teaches me humility; to know that there is a completely different way of life.
There’s the praying friend that teaches me faith.
The patient friend that holds my hand and teaches me to ease up on myself.
The supportive friend that always have my back.
You see, the world is wrong when we are told that you don’t need friends or that “followers” are the same as friends. Friends add to our journey and friendship requires work. You don’t always have to agree. You don’t have to like the same things or go the same places. You don’t even have to talk all the time!
A great friend is one that you can be raw with and accept from them the same. Someone you value for who they truly are. Someone you don’t try to change, but you change alongside one another.  After all, the older you get, you will realize it is absolutely impossible to stay the same. Neither will they.  No matter how hard you fight, you WILL eventually change.
And why not?
 
I don’t think, talk, move the same as when I was younger. The friends I had in my youth, my 20s or even in my 30s, if we remained the same, we’d lost decades of growth. I have some of the same friends grow with me and some new. I can now sit with my friends and laugh about things we used to do “back in the day” or things we’ve overcome and learned. 
No matter the quantity or “status” of friends, no matter the specifics, all of your friends should have one thing in common: unconditional love and growth.
Mosaic
Make Life be good to you!
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Literally practical

Sometimes, I think we take things so literally that we lose practical understanding.

Let’s take religious text, for example. If I quote words of wisdom, I’m likely to get several reactions. Two of those are one who will take the words verbatim, and another who automatically reject every word, merely because it came from a particular source. But have you ever taken out the time to understand?

Let’s explore a few stories:

The tree of good and evil. 

Whether an apple tree or some other fruit, whether Adam could have aided in prevention, have you considered this:

What if the tree is a metaphor for anything that may tempt you and either harm or stray you away from your purpose? What if the tree is a person, or drugs, a destination or even a tv show or song?

Before they ate from the tree, they were naked and knew no shame. Afterward, for the rest of their lives, they have to worry about nakedness. Even today, we obsess over clothing so much, that some of us will sacrifice things we need in order to obtain the specific clothing and some will even kill for certain brand names. And now, our perspective on nakedness has been so corrupted that we have a fetish with and laws against nudity.

Do you remember the days of your youth or the youth of your child, and as soon as the diaper comes off, they take off running happily until you catch and clothe them? That’s because they have not yet eaten of that fruit of knowledge of shame. They still have the innocence of happy nakedness. Now that our eyes have been opened, we train each generation that nakedness is shameful and should be covered. We, all being like Eve, feed them that fruit, and the children, like Adam, partake. What if God was just trying to protect our purity to enjoy the way we were created, but because we were exposed to and explored a different perspective, that innocence is gone and we now see things differently?

Think of the tree as cigarettes. You become addicted and now have a lifelong battle to fight. Same goes for drugs and alcohol and other consumables. What if the tree is a person? You wanted a relationship with this person so bad, and rather than listening to the warnings to stay away from them, you wanted to find out for yourself. You get involved with them and the relationship takes a negative turn. Now, you have a cynical outlook on relationships. What if the tree was a child exposed to a genre of explicit entertainment? Once their mind is open to a mature thought, you cannot close it again.

Then when Eve ate the fruit, she took some to Adam and he also ate, then both their eyes were opened. Think of your first addiction and who exposed you to it. Many of us are introduced to addictive things by someone we care about. Although both had to suffer consequences, neither will completely understand the extent of the suffering of the other.  So it’s not just the punishment of pain and work. Now, rather then the unison of pure thought, we suffer mental division. That, coupled with the fact that the innocence of natural thought is now tainted by doubt, was the beginning of overshadowing the voice of God.

Think also of the serpent as a cunning stranger. When thoughts are presented to us in a new way, and we accept, we are further divided. It’s interesting how the serpent did its job to sow discord then went about its way, leaving humankind to suffer. What if the serpent was merely representative of curiosity and temptation? His ONLY job is to distract you. What if God knew that the temptation would harm you because once you see, you can’t unsee, your innocence is no longer protected and you’ll forever fight the distractions and curiosity of “knowledge”?

Anything in our life can be that tree. Anyone can be that serpent. After all, not everyone is tempted by apples and not everyone is afraid of snakes…

In the belly of the whale

Was this a whale or just a large fish? How could he breathe? How is it that he wasn’t digested? How is it possible that he stayed alive?

What if the fish represents a place of wilderness and isolation? What if the story is that of a person that runs so far from their calling, living a life that’s not meant for you, endangering the innocents among you, taking dangerous risks, just to be thrown into isolation and given time to humble yourself and return unharmed, yet matured to fulfill your destiny?

Sometimes we have to be taken away from everyone and everything in order to hear clearly the voice of God and accept what he wants from us. And sometimes it takes an attention-getting experience in order for that to take place.

What if the story of creation is a message to us that we need to get everything in order before we start a family?

What if the story of the flood represented letting everything go and only taking with you what’s strategically chosen. The dove letting you know you’ve finally reached a place of peace where you can begin again.

And then there’s you. What if you are the interpretation of what the world has told you that you should be, eating from every tree that looks good, trying to blend in amongst people, running from your own life,  but God is pulling you into the wilderness to tell you to let you know that he has protected you and has made provisions for you and all you need to do is simply let all of the former things you knew go and walk with all power into the newness of your destiny.

 

Martina Alford

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Apology From my Mother

I keep seeing the meme that says some parents owe their children an apology and here’s my 💎

I held resentment against my mother for decades. I was upset at what she should have done, what she did decide to do, what she didn’t teach me, what I lacked, and a list of violations…. finally when I turned 40, we had “the conversation”. I told her how I felt and she responded with 2 phrases that completely changed my life.

1. “Tina, stop wallowing in the mud”. This one pissed me off at first cause I was like how’s that wallowing if I’m expressing my true feelings, trying to clear the air? But the truth is, after some time, you are merely complaining. There’s nothing that nobody on this planet can do to change what had happened. At some point you must choose to move on Regardless of the receipt or neglect of acknowledgement or apology.

2. “Tina, I’m a person too”. And I stood there at 40 years old talking to “my mama” neglecting to respect the fact that besides what I feel that she owe me, she is a human being with her own identity and her own struggles and have given up a good portion of her “good years” taking care of children the best way she knew how. Regardless of parental choices or mistakes she made, I’m fully grown now and no longer her responsibility. She has full right to reclaim her own life and live it as she please.

Those 2 things caused me to accept the apology that I may never get and understand that it’s deeper than that. What if they did their best? What if they didn’t know better? What if they had to make decisions they dare not share? What if their “bad choice” was actually the best choice? Will an apology “fix things”?

To my children I will say that I’ve done my very best with all that God has put within me, made great sacrifices and done things that only God knows in order to give y’all a top notch life. I’ve taught you. I’ve connected you. I’ve made provisions for you. I’ve encouraged you. Should you still find fault in my imperfection, then forgive me because I’m only human and have put my personal battles on hold fighting for you, the best way I knew how.

I decided that rather than expecting my mother to apologize for anything, I will just make the best decisions for myself, and my own children. And you know what. I guarantee, at least one of them will still find complaint…. 🤷🏾‍♀️🤦🏾‍♀️

#ILoveYouStill

#Mosaic

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PTSD

PTSD is not just something that is particular to those that have attended military/war. It applies to anyone who has been subjected to a traumatically stressful situation and are still alive to try and live after the dust clears.

We were a closely-knit family. I’m the second oldest, first daughter of 5 children. Growing up, our lives consisted of school, church, family and playing with neighborhood children. Most of the houses on our street were single family homes with yards, two parents with multiple children.  Dad made sure we were moderately dressed and in a “controlled” environment, always together, rarely apart. I don’t think we knew what an apartment was and we had no clue what blended family was. Suburban life is what we had. Even the things that we went without, we made it work, and even though things went on around us, we were shielded.

But at the age of 5, I was molested by family member. I never understood why he would want to touch little girls (I later found out that I wasn’t the only one). Just the mention of his name makes me remember his nasty voice and see his vulture face then deal with the reality that no legal action was ever taken against him. He even went on to marry multiple times and have multiple children. I don’t remember how my family found out, but I remember my parents being upset. I have no idea how they handled it, but he never touched us again. And I don’t remember being around him very much after that.

But he is still around. And I was hushed and told to not talk about it. I was just told to get over it and move on with my life. “Don’t wallow in the mud”. I’m encouraged to speak on happy things and treated with a watchful eye to see if Ima one day spill the beans. It’s funny how people are more worried about protecting a  predator’s “name” and making excuses for him than they are healing a (troublemaker) damaged child.

This man has gone on to do the same to countless others, all cases unpunished, leaving a trail of tears, while he praises the name of the lord. I received no therapy for this. So I tried to process it all the best way I knew how, by becoming secluded and protected. I stayed to myself a lot. I chose a way of life that I thought made me “disappear”. I wanted to be as unappealing as possible so that I am not a target to anything like that happening again. But how is that possible? How can you disappear from neck to feet pajamas and touches while you were asleep? But where there’s a fetish, there’s a way so he did it anyway. And there was nothing I could do to stop it.

“He ONLY touched you, it’s not like he ACTUALLY did anything else” is the sentiment. “He was a teenager and didn’t mean anything by it” was the excuse.  “That was a long time ago, get over it”, as if time makes the violation go away.

I became cynical and overprotective. I became a very light sleeper. I don’t like anyone to touch me unsolicited, especially if I don’t know you. I can’t sleep with my back to a door nor a window. I don’t like closed doors. I don’t like elevators nor tiny bathroom stalls, anything that makes me feel closed in or trapped. I don’t like entitlement syndrome like, just because you have a particular position or title gives you full access.

I’ve been a mother over 22 years and only a handful of people have ever watched my children for short periods of time. And I’m quick to fight for and stand up for my children. I wouldn’t allow many to change my children’s diapers and all my children were taught, as soon as they could walk, how to clean themselves, potty training and bathing so they wouldn’t have to rely on anyone else to do those things. I taught them defensive and safety skills early, and I did not speak to them with baby talk. I needed them to be able to communicate clearly, as soon as possible.

For years I struggled with the lack of consequence. He stole my innocence and changed my perspective. I thought I had pushed past them. I thought I had suppressed those feelings, but recently, I’ve struggled with those negative feelings resurfacing because here my dad, a good man, has passed, but you are still alive!? I know it’s unfair to wish death upon anyone but I don’t understand this. But then again, I’m not ready for him to die, cause these last few decades, he is the reason that I KNOW that Karma is true! I’ve watched Karma kick his ass, and karma is the reason I forgive you. Then I’ll move out of the way and let karma finish it’s job.

Unhealed trauma…

A NEW LIFE

When I was in middle school, our parents separated, and although this is now common, in the 1980-90s where we came from, was unheard of. And we had no prior indication. We were children of the same two parents, rarely spent any day apart, went everywhere together, did everything together. We came home one day, and was literally split and taken to a new life. It was a complete shock! I still remember the day they separated and the emotional confusion I had. This caused me to become skeptical. How can everything be fine one day then the bottom fall out the next? We never went to counseling, no conversation was had about it, just move on with your life. So I tried to process it the best way I knew how. I went through life expecting a storm on a sunny day. Smiling at the good times yet peeking around the corner. Accepting blessings with a side eye. In my adulthood, I decided that I would be very verbal and call things as they were. I became unapologetically straightforward. My motto became “You can’t say you weren’t warned”.

Unhealed trauma…

REALITY CHECK

As I got older, I realized that adults go through things that you can’t always explain, especially 5 children with 5 different levels of understanding. So I released the feeling that my parents turned “my” world upside down. I realized that they had a whole entire world they were trying to manage themselves from a perspective foreign to me. And even if they could explain, does that mean they have to? My parents did not owe it to anyone to explain their decisions. They only needed to make a decision then yes, it is up to us to adjust.  Right or wrong, good or bad, their life was their decision to make.

I don’t know what kind of counseling would have helped at that time. Counseling does not make your wishes come true. It couldn’t glue everything back together and make the separation not have even happened. And if it did, would that be “fixing” things? Would that have made things right? Do I get make the decision what’s right? Do I get to choose that what’s right for me = right for them?  I don’t even know what those “things” were, and as their child, that’s not my place. Their separation made me have a negative outlook on marriage. It made me say well, if people can be married one day then abruptly separate the next, what’s the point of marriage? So I began to treat relationships as temporary so I wouldn’t be hurt WHEN they ended. Yet I longed for that steady relationship which I did not even believe existed.

Counseling can give you a platform to process what’s going on inside of you in a healthy way.

GROWING PAINS

I moved with my mother and got my first job at 15 through a summer program. My mother informed me that it was now my responsibility to buy my own clothes and shoes, etc. And I did. What I bought was mine and I no longer relied on either parent to clothe me, nor did I spend all I had and I didn’t expect anyone to supplement. But my mother and I did not get along. Looking back, maybe it was just a difference in personality (we still have those differences now), or maybe we were separately going through things and neither knew how to deal with the other, but you don’t think of those things at the time and even so, don’t know how to handle them, so guess I rebelled. I’m sure I had a smart mouth and an attitude and some defiance. All I knew was my frustration with her. I didn’t even think to consider hers with me.

I ended up moving in with my father, and although we are more kindred spirits, after finishing that year of school there, he allowed me to move in with his sister to be around more female influence. I learned a lot from her. From cooking to doing hair (relaxers, weaves, braids) to caring for the house, I was miss independent. I stayed with her for a short while then, an abortion later, ended up on my own and I was okay with that. I won’t elaborate on the abortion other than to say that you may be able to “get rid of the baby” but the spirit lives within you forever.

MISS INDEPENDENT

While in high school, I was emancipated. And I didn’t really understand what that meant. I just remember thinking, aha, y’all need your parent permission but I can sign for my OWN self!  At that point I was attending a school where I was 1 of 3 black people in my entire graduating class, the opposite of everything I had known until this point in life (talk about a culture shock!). And I lived over 100 miles away from the nearest parent. But I got up every day and went to class and social events.

By the age of 17, I signed my own lease in my own apartment. I thought I was real grown. Emancipated, own apartment and I was dating a man 12 years older than me! He was the reason I got into that apartment. His brother owned a complex and let me live in one of the units. To cover my rent, I cleaned the vacant places and did light touch up paint, etc. as needed. I was responsible for my own utilities so I washed dishes at a local diner. I didn’t stay there long, but that opened the door for me to start a rental history then eventually move into another place. The boyfriend would shower me with attention and gifts, bought me a nice car and gave me money whenever I wanted, so you couldn’t tell me nothing!

A CHANGE OF MIND

I graduated from high school with my CNA license while going to school full time and working TWO jobs, a car and apartment of my own. But something wasn’t right. I woke up one day and decided this is not the life for me. And this is not the relationship for me. Besides him being 12 years older than me, there are a list of reasons why we should have never been together in the first place. I had no plans and no particular dreams, but I knew that I couldn’t continue life this way.

I sold my car, shipped my belongings to my mother’s place (she had moved south by then) and bought me a one way train ticket to Atlanta. Then came the phone call. “ I see that everything you care about is gone, you’re not coming back are you”? “No”, I stated. “I figured”, he said, but he understood. Little did I know just 3 weeks later I would find out that I was pregnant. Ready for a change and almost 700 miles away, I called and told him I was pregnant and we decided that since I was going to keep the baby, he wasn’t going to move where I was and I wasn’t coming back, so I’d do this alone. At age 19 I gave birth to my first son.

SO FRESH AND SO CLEAN

I gave that baby the best life I knew how. I kept a journal from the first day I took the pregnancy to the dr visits to potential names to first kicks and you name it! That journal continued until well after he was born! I always kept a job, welfare never crossed my mind. He stayed safe and cared for, healthy and fly. I bought a new car and we would drive down the highway singing Outkast “So Fresh and so Clean”. He was my preppy baby. Always in polo style shirts and since I worked in a shoe store, he kept fresh kicks!

I was around family again. And although they helped me with him, if you saw me, you saw him. Whether pulling out in that car, which was eventually stolen, or carrying him down the street to the bus stop, there we were, Tina and Choo. I even would sometimes take him to work with me. One day, while working at a pawn shop, someone came in and stood there, gun pointed in my face and robbed us! As I looked at the spot behind the counter where I usually put my son up to play, and for once, was so glad he wasn’t with me. My first thought was to run. But instead, I carefully unlocked the register and all of the jewelry cases then got out of his way. When the robber left, I got up, locked the door, cried and chain smoked my last pack of menthol cigarettes, then the next day walked into the local college, ready to stop working and start a career.

A FRESH START

Me: I would like to enroll in Auto mechanics (you see, hanging around the men in my family, I knew about cars and I loved them so what better career?)

DeVry: We don’t have that here

Me: Well what do you have?

DeVry: We have Electronics and Computer Technology

Me: Well sign me up!

College was great! I was older than most of the students. Most of them were fresh out of high school. There were also some career changing students so we had a nice blend of ages in our class. I had a great group of friends, we studied together, ate together, hung out, they helped me care for my son (I was the only one with a child). The professors let me take him into class with me. He would mostly sit in a desk and color quietly. Then, at the age of 25, with my college sweetheart, after a devastating miscarriage, I gave birth to my second son. I missed only one semester. I moved back in with my mother briefly. I stayed on the dean’s list. I GRADUATED from college that I Financed 100%, while working and caring for 2 children.

A NEW WORLD

2 months after graduation, I was offered and accepted a job in a new state where I knew ZERO people. Then began the next phase of my life. I left my boys with my mother for the summer and moved to Tennessee, staying in a hotel until I saved enough money to get an apartment. Then, at the start of the school year, as my oldest was about to start 1st grade, I brought them to our new place. I began to establish a life for myself and sons, joined a church, met friends, and got involved in activities.

Then, at the age of 30, just 9 months after meeting a new friend, we got married. We blended our families, his 1, my 2 and we had a daughter together that year. We bought a house, was active in church and traded in my sedan for a SUV. But by the age of 35 that SUV was totaled. I got t-boned T-Boned by a police officer on his way to back up someone on a call. He ran through a red light at full speed and no sirens. Talk about trauma! I still cringe when I pass that intersection to this day!

I put my firstborn through PRIVATE SCHOOL costing more than my mortgage. I had very little support with that but I made the sacrifice. And you know what, he GRADUATED from that school! Then went off to college. Can you believe that? Single parent Tina from ESL IL gave birth to this child, withstood all those challenges and have the audacity to have a son that graduated from a world renowned school! Amazing! He was the first one in this family to do so! I was so proud! Private school isn’t easy! And especially a world renowned one that has kids from all over the planet boarding just to get into school here. What a blessing!

Not only did my son have the educational backing, he has such a likeable personality that he has made lifelong connections and earned his own name! Just wow! He did that! But I did that too! I’ve had to learn to give myself credit for my choices as his mother that paved the way for him to establish himself! I’ve supported his entrepreneurial endeavors, buying him a camera cause he wanted to be a photographer, a t-shirt press to support that dream, bought him an airbrush machine and drawing tools to enhance his creativity, and partnered with him in the fashion creation business.

BEGIN AGAIN

By the age of 40 I filed for divorce. After almost 10 years of putting on public façade, I had enough. I was having anxiety attacks, going to a cardiologist, seeing a counselor and was battling depression. There is no way that I can live in a dysfunctional home and continue to fake a smile. NOW I understand what my parents could have possibly faced! I’m not saying that was their story, because neither of them talked much about the separation.  But it’s easy to make a marriage look good, when in reality, if it’s not working, it’s just not working, and you do more damage than good when you try to fake it. When I spoke to the kids about my divorce, one of them told me “I was wondering why it took so long”. I was heartbroken. Here I was thinking I was protecting them by hanging in there, doing my best, but the truth is, kids see the things we try to hide, and we damage them more by lying to them. Their only concern is “How will our life change”. ” I don’t know”. I told them but we will figure it all out together.

Yes, we did individual and couples counseling, yes we did classes, yes prayer, yes books, yes, yes. Bottom line, if 2 people are growing in opposite directions, there is no counselor alive that can make that work. And honestly, I had gotten to the point that I didn’t want to. Once the voices outside your home hold a stronger influence than those inside your home, your decision has already been made. I’m no longer going to fight against that. I was done. it was hard for me to tell my dad. “no, no, no, Tina” he said. I can still hear the disappointment in his voice. Daddy believed that God only gives you the one wife you are supposed to have period. I, like my parents talked to no one about what was going on in our home, except our clergy and counselors, but once the divorce was final, there was an unexplainable peace that filled our home. I kept the house, and we had so much inside that he was able to take a place full of furniture and we lacked nothing.

AS TIME GOES ON

My youngest son completed 2 years at that same private school as my oldest then requested to be transferred to a school that’s a better fit for him. When he came to me about transferring, I was skeptical. I didn’t want him making a decision motivated to protect me. I needed to know why he was doing it and be assured that he wasn’t making assumptions about my coins or struggling with anything personal.  I made him write me an essay explaining his decision, and a paper outlining the pros and cons of being at both schools before I allow the transfer. He gave me a thoroughly written explanation within hours. He knew what he wanted and I supported that. When he transferred, they put him in honors classes. If he had the capacity to perform top notch at the private school, nothing less is expected now.

Later that year, after his transfer back into the public schooling system, I broke my leg in 2 places, needing a permanent rod and 5 screws followed by a hysterectomy ONE WEEK after that, leaving me off work with 6 weeks limited mobility. It turned out to be a blessing! Since he was now at a tuition free school, it gave us the financial availability to survive!

It was a challenging time for me mentally. Being limited in mobility, physically recovering, learning to maneuver again. Realigning my budget, running a household, trying to maintain some sense of normalcy, I opted not to take pain pills. I took one when I first got home and passed out from it and that was a deal breaker for me. As I mentioned in the beginning, I am a light sleeper and anything that interferes with that, I will not partake, so muscle relaxers it was! So I chose to tough out the pain of a broken leg and hysterectomy for 6 weeks with no medication. But  I did it.

UNEXPECTED 

Then my dad died. My dad, the first person I talk to each day. My kindred spirit. The person that knows all my darkness, yet looks at me with light. The person who will speak to me with both reality and encouragement. The one that taught me that life is not a fairy tale and you don’t get to sit and complain about it. You have to get up and work for it. He’s gone. Died right in my hands. Right before my eyes. Gone. Forever. And left us with his legacy to decipher and fulfill.

There is so much more that I haven’t even mentioned, cause like I said, I’m not new to this, I’m true to this! Every challenge, I’ve learned from. Every obstacle, I’ve overcome. Every fear, I’ve conquered. I have triumphed, I’ve developed, and even on my bad days, my foundation is so stable that I quickly recover.

In the midst of all that:

I lost 3 grandparents

Paying off TWO student loans

Paying off a car that I co-signed and got repossessed so the bank sued me

I’ve helped my youngest son get connected on catering events to support his dream of becoming a chef

I’ve helped my daughter start TWO businesses beginning at age 7

Survived bankruptcy

Let my goddaughter come stay with me

I started a mother daughter mentoring group

Converted my basement into a studio/workspace

Started renovations on the rest of my house

WROTE AN ENTIRE BOOK

Created my own website

Celebrated 16 year anniversary at the SAME EMPLOYER, working in my FIFTH position

Spoken word artist

motivational speaker

Volunteer endeavors:

Team mom for ALL children sports

3-D Modeling Troop

TNAchieves mentor

And have made many relationships, whom stepped up at various times through all of these to help when we needed.

 

 

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Not just another day

Today, was rough. I wanted something to numb me. But I had nothing.

I walked the halls and did not know how I got from the car to the cubicle and back.

I do not know if I had breakfast.

I do not know if I spoke to people passing by.

I still have work to do so I started to write but couldn’t find the words.

But I got through the day. It doesn’t seem like I sat in that cubicle 8 hours.

I found my way home and started looking for busy work to do but couldn’t finish anything I started.

I went to window shopping but didn’t see anything I liked.

Then my daughter reminded me that it was time for TaeKwondo . So off we go. And I’m going to sit here and watch her and listen to the kids and giggles and muffled sounds.

And while I’m sitting here,

The only thing I know to, do for this one moment in time, is to sit here and block out everything and think about absolutely nothing but my daughter. In TaeKwondo. Smiling and learning something new. Being proud of herself. Earning her blue belt. And just being alive.

Otherwise, I will think of nothing….

Absolutely

Nothing

………….

Help me God!

This unfortunately is also part of my Mosaic……

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Perfection Obsession

Why are we SO obsessed with perfection?

And WHO have we given the power to set that standard?

We live in a world where there’s a perfection checklist and we obsess with whichever box we can mark. EVERY ONE of us checks at least one box daily! Many are in a constant competition to check as many boxes as possible. (#Goals).

We obsess over physical appearance. Weather it be facial features (if not accepting of natural born, we seek surgeon altered and rely on the vision in our minds to be sculpted on our facial canvas). **Side note** DO you know that regardless of your DNA, your body, especially your face is genuinely sculpted by your atmosphere and your personality? The very facial expressions that make you YOU, are the ones that exercise the muscles and tone in your face. The more you exercise those muscles, the more specific your face gets. A surgeon cannot duplicate facial personality. However, they can create a visualization based on your description.

We obsess over skin (color, texture), and we use that as categorization and status. Those born darker are viewed as lesser species than those born lighter. However, those born lighter yet can “choose” darkness (tan) are viewed as more appealing. We want the facial wrinkles gone but neglect the natural progression of human skin. Then we cover it with makeup and potions. We want blemish free, smooth, hairless skin.

We obsess over hair (length, color, volume, texture). Even to the point that we have actually pass LAWS telling other people how they may not wear their hair! We actually obsess over the follicles growing out of someone else’s head, while ignoring the fact that many cannot even grow hair or have lost majority of their own hair. And we approve of the illusion of “approved” hair. Then there’s the eyebrow obsession!!! Two patches of hair stuck near the top of your face and we obsess over perfecting them!!!!  It’s HAIR… It’s….. HAIR….. HAIRRRRRR!

We obsess over height, weight. It is desirable to be taller, but when asked my cousin about life at 6’8″, he would just look at you and duck as he enters a room. Just imaging spending your whole life dodging doorways, going to specific shop that sell your size. We obsess over a weight chart that tells us what should be a desirable weight. Two people of the same height can weigh the same but the use of their body has the weight distributed differently, yet we have been conditioned to judge ourselves one against the other to determine which body is “closest to perfect”.

We obsess over behaviors like how we walk. How many times have you walked into a room and thought, I must walk up right, don’t lean, don’t “walk funny”? I have been told that I prance when I walk. I can see that. But that prance comes from concentrating on getting where I am going without stumbling. And from being elated to walk again after breaking my leg and having to re-learn to use that leg. After the accident, I was on a walker, then a boot, then a limp then a slow walk and have progressed into a “gait” as some call it and I can wear heels again!!!! While You watch the WAY I walk, I am just glad to be ABLE to walk again. I dated a man who said he had a limp when he walked. I knew he had been in an accident and I knew it did some damage to his body but in all the years I knew him, I never saw a limp. I always liked his walk. It was in my eyes a confident swag and I found it attractive. The things we obsess about, others view differently…

We obsess over the way we talk, the language we use, not acknowledging that every physical tongue is different. Everyone’s brain process things differently. The way we hear, process and repeat sounds are different.  If I write read and read, same word is pronounced two different ways. Why cannot dialect be accepted the same? If you close your eyes and listen to babies, you will begin to differentiate between them. They may have different tones, different rhythms, but they are singing the same song. They can communicate what they want without changing to mimic that of the other baby. All that baby knows is how to use HIS voice to communicate HIS need. Until he is older and conditioned to communicate differently.

We obsess the job we choose, often choosing a job of status rather than a profession of fulfilment. WE obsess over the possessions we acquire, Reaching for name brands or flashy, catchy items then we obsess over “protecting them”.

We obsess over the “name” we are given. Our…. NAME….. Name…. the title that we are given at birth, the compilation of letters and sounds that we answer to when we identify that someone is addressing us specifically. Our….. Name… we obsess over a Name and what we consider acceptable to call and be called… a Name!!!!! We don’t care that edibles are called Kumquat or Cucumber, Pickle or Turmeric. We don’t care that you call it a sedan or a limousine, a bike or a rollerblade… all these are funny sounding words to me! We accept all of that, but we obsess over someone named Jaquesha or Ladarion, Quintesha, or Ubunfu**. It is perfectly acceptable to name a girl Violet or Rose like the flowers but frowned upon to name a child Mercedees after a vehicle… Why do we make ourselves council over what is an acceptable…. NAME…. a complication of sounds and syllables that you chose to respond to… a…. NAME. I personally would love to have named my child after a musical note. I believe music is the love language. But it’s much too difficult to translate a musical note into language.

We obsess over where we were raised, where we were educated. As if we had a choice and as if that makes us more important.

What kind of car we drive, what garments we choose, what type devices we have.…. (The label of another person/entity draping us as if we made them ourselves, wearing our OWN names). And the list goes on and on…

My question is this: After you’ve checked off your list of perfection, When you close your eyes, When you feel your breath, When you lay awake, Are you happy now? Are…. You…. PERFECT?

~”In pursuit of a perfect society, what’s being lost along the way?”

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