I’m Enough

I am enough. That was one of the hardest things that I had to tell myself. As someone who is extremely self-confident, I seemed to lose it when I got married. He became bigger than me. Not because he wanted too or even asked me to. It was me. My choice. I thought that’s what you do when you get married. You sacrifice yourself for the greater good of the marriage.

But, I was wrong. Marriage is much more than that. How can one be expected to have a healthy and functioning relationship when you’re jacked up mentally? If you lose a piece of yourself in the process of attaching yourself to someone else, how can you be expected to know that you’re enough?  Truth is…you can’t.

I couldn’t. I didn’t. Because I was broken. Broken people can’t seem to realize that their enough. Life and storms knock you out and you feel as though you are drowning. You can’t swim. Why did this have to happen to you? Why not? This was the question that I truly had to answer. Was I above trials and tribulations? I knew from church and prayer that the road wouldn’t be easy, but dang. I couldn’t drive over those spikes without getting a flat.

Until I realized that at least I have the ability and tools in my car to fix and repair that flat. I didn’t have to drive on that flat tire, damaging the rim. I could pull over and keep repairing the tire or use the spare. You see it right? The Aha Moment…I could do it. My attitude towards my situation and life’s circumstances had to change just like that tire or my soul would be damaged.

I realized that I deserve to be forgiven and I deserve to forgive because I’m enough. Knowing and believing that you are enough in the midst of difficult situations can impact your self-esteem in a major way. You doubt the little things. You act out because you feel like you’re not enough.  But, balance is what I’ve learned. Faith renewed. Spiritual growth. They happen when you stop acting out and expecting everyone to fix or understand the messed up you.

Once you start to grow and walk with the confidence you truly have, it shows. People can see the light in your eyes when you genuinely laugh. They notice your change in hair color or clothes. They notice that effervescent smile plastered all over your face. They want to know what it is it about you. You were broken and messed up last time they saw you. What changed? You know what you tell them?

“I realized I’m more than enough”.

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Truth: Success is Possible

“I’m a success today because I had a friend who believed in me and I didn’t have the heart to let him down.”

― Abraham Lincoln

I love this quote. I think it sort of captures how I feel. I am afraid of success. Not failure. I think the possibility of disappointing those that love and believe in me sort of keeps me from stretching beyond my comfort zone. I’ve heard for years, how I’m good at this or good at that, but what if my friends are just being overly generous because of their love for me? Would I be a disappointment if I actually was a success? Think about all the one hit wonders and how they thought they would become a multi-million dollar franchise only to flop on their next album.

It’s pressure to be on top and more pressure to stay on top. So, what do you do? If you’re me, you stall, drag your feet and believe that maybe you shouldn’t do what your heart, voice and spirit are telling you to do. You delay yourself in the “what if” stage. Who’s guilty of that? Me! I am so guilty of thinking what if. What if I’m really not as good as my friends think? What if no one likes my stuff? What if I can’t pull off that big presentation? What if I stumble over my words and fumble the entire speech? What if…

What if’s hold you back from understanding your true potential because instead of pushing forward to your destiny and utilizing the best you, YOU get caught up in a trap of your own disbelief. You question whether or not what is happening is real or should it be real. You question whether or not you can actually change your environment or get out of your own way because so many people have tried and failed to do so. You actually hold up and hold hostage your gift out of fear.

Sound familiar? It’s my story. I’m not alone though. Hollywood has made many movies where people actually do the same thing and then have a moment of clarity and want to change. Think “Baby Boy – 2001”. Wasn’t Jody a grown man who was in essence a baby boy? Fear of growing up had stalled his ability to be a man and take care of his responsibilities. How about my all time favorite movie “Purple Rain – 1984”? Wasn’t the Kid’s whole issue was fear of failing because his dad never got his “big break” and his family life was jacked up? Let’s not forget the movie, “Cocktail – 1988” which is where I fell in love with Tom Cruise. The main character, Brian, had high aspirations, but gets sidetracked in foolery and then hesitates to believe that he can actually accomplish his goals. The main underlying theme in all these films is simple: Fear.

Fear of success, failure, standing out, etc. They feared something. We all do. We fear being happy so we sabotage our relationships. We fear abandonment, so we don’t form close bonds with anyone out of fear that they will leave. We fear love, so we block ourselves off from people and become guarded so no one can break down that wall. We fear success because standing out in a crowd and having people shower accolades on you is scary.

My fear is your fear. It’s hard because I have faith and faith and fear can’t coexist right? You have to choose. So, I’m choosing my faith. I’m remembering like it says in Hebrews 11:6 (NRSV) “And without faith it is impossible to please God, for whoever would approach him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” I believe. Faith of a mustard seed right? I need to remember that. From this day forward I am taking my life back and claiming this…I will not fear my own strength or success because I have faith. Faith that God will have my back.

Still not convinced how God can do it? Well, how about this powerful quote from Marianne Williamson.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles”

Be blessed and remember this my loves…

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Open Letter to a Friend

There are many titles that describe me:

Woman, Mother, Feminist, Womanist, Career Oriented, Ambitious, God fearing, Black.

Too many more to name, but I wear many hats daily. Life is not simple. History teaches us that if we don’t know our history we are doomed to repeat it. That is a fundamental fact. God is in everything we do and breathe, but that doesn’t mean that because I love God I can’t love my race and want us to be better. Race separates us and Gender separates us. That is the point that I’ve always tried to make. You can’t speak about being a woman just because you love God and treat everyone the same. You are a man. You will never know what it is like to give birth, have breasts or a cycle every month. Doesn’t mean you can’t empathize with me about these things, but you can’t speak on them from experience because you haven’t experienced them for yourself. And I can’t speak on being a man. I can’t speak on being Jewish. I can’t speak on being gay. I am none of those things. But, I can empathize with injustices that are done to each and every group. Because I am human. However, I can speak on being black and being a woman because I am both.

I’ve spent most of my life knowing that I had two strikes against me: the color of my skin (black) and my gender (a woman). I have always told you that the difference between me and the next person is that I wanted it bad enough. Doesn’t make me better than someone else. It just shows that I am ambitious with a fighting spirit. I get discouraged at disappointments. I get heartbroken, but I keep pushing forward. I love and respect everyone, but I will always want my people, black people, to do better. I don’t blame the “man” for anything, nor do I believe that every person who is not black is against me. That is not true.

Belief. What do I believe? I believe that we are still fighting in some areas to be heard and to be treated equally and fairly as black people and as women. I believe that there are many myths that black women are trying to change, avoid and defunct on a regular basis. These include being ghetto, angry, a chicken head and promiscuous. I don’t believe that everything is equal and that racism doesn’t exist. We are better than yesterday and I pray that we continue to get better. But, alas we are human. I know you may say that I seem to have a great career and make decent money, but I had to fight and prove my worth in everything. Nothing was ever given to me. I earned it, but I believe that Affirmative Action is part of the reason and wonder where I would be had there been no Affirmative Action?

I wish the success of everyone, but as a black woman raising a black man, I will never let him believe that racism doesn’t exist. But, I want him to know that his attitude towards it and his people will play a part in his future. He can’t sit idle and watch his brothers take the wrong path without speaking up. He can’t be discriminated against in school without speaking up. He can’t go to medical school or travel the world without knowing that he is somebody divinely created by God, but that the color of his skin will always matter to some people. Martin Luther King Jr. said it best in his “I Have a Dream Speech.” He said, that “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

That day has still not come as long as there is racism in this nation. We have made significant strides as African Americans but there is still work to do. I will always fight for equal pay, equal education and benefits for those that don’t have them. We may not agree on what is important in this world, but I as a human being, a black woman can’t sit by and do nothing. I don’t ever want you to treat people differently as a supervisor. Hire and fire based on your company’s policy and not bias.

I want you to know that I support your ministry and you deserve to reach the masses from the pulpit. I will try to continue the footwork and knowing that in order for our churches to be successful, we as a people have to be successful. Not a black thing or white thing, a human thing. I just need you to understand and accept me as I am. A black woman fighting for her people and for God.

OLYMPICS BLACK POWER SALUTE

Rantings on Domestic Violence

Daul Kim: Boyfriend Believed to Have Had Hand in Death by Jessica Conatser – News – StyleCaster

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I found this article regarding a model found hanging and police looked to her boyfriend as a suspect because she was a victim of domestic violence. Please note that her “murder” was in fact listed as a suicide and the boyfriend was not charged. However, this got me to thinking about domestic violence as a whole. Domestic violence and abuse can happen to anyone, yet the problem is often overlooked, excused, or denied. This is especially true when the abuse is psychological, rather than physical. Emotional abuse is often minimized, yet it can leave deep and lasting scars.

No one should live in fear of the person they love. In today’s economic times, many people are staying in abusive relationships out of money. This should never be the case. I told my girlfriend one time, “I wish you loved you as much as I love you”. Psychological or verbal abuse destroys your self-esteem. When you love the abuser more than yourself, you don’t value your self-worth. You don’t believe that you are worthy for a better life, a better future or a better right now. Remember to surround yourself with people who love you, because they will support you when you need them. Signs that you are in an abusive relationship:

Does your partner:
humiliate or yell at you?
criticize you and put you down?
treat you so badly that you’re embarrassed for your friends or family to see?
ignore or put down your opinions or accomplishments?
blame you for his own abusive behavior?
see you as property or a sex object, rather than as a person?

Remember that our bodies are temples and once we respect the temple, few people can enter and destroy the temple. Love yourselves first. Oh, and my friend: left her spouse for a better life.