04 Jan

I knew that I didn’t look like what I’d been through over the last 90 days.  I intentionally picked an outfit that edged all of that out. A chocolate brown leather slip dress, topped with a tan hoodie that read “black, bold, and bougie” in chocolate letters.  Stripped socks peaked atop my thick soled Ugg-look-a-like tan boots.  Topped with Juvia's red "Afrik" lips. Always red lips.  I don’t leave home without it. 

But there I was.  I was asked to read a passage from my novel, “Magnolias Bloom in May”. I decided to vend a few of my Queen of Healing journals. On top of that, I was seated beside my elder god Sister, which was an extra treat. It was win, win, and win. But if people really knew what I’d gone through, there would be raised eyebrows and embarrassing pity.  I don’t do well with either. On that day, it was my birthday. Though things were shit-astic, there was an edge of gratitude that kept raising its head, that I could not help but acknowledge. When looking closely, things could’ve gone other ways. But they had not, and I had to really thank God and all my Guides that had led me to that point. 

For previous birthdays, they were always an emotional scab-picking of how far I was from where I should be.  And because my birthday is close to the new year, there were journal lists of promises of increasing my prayer and meditation time, calling my family more, being a better priest, making sure that I engaged people more, scheduling stringent workout and diet regimes.  This year I just couldn’t even pull myself into that realm of thinking because…dammit I’d made it!  From 2020 to 2023 I’d made it without being admitted into a psych ward- and trust I do not say this in jest. With all that I’d been through in the last three years, and especially in the last 90, I was still able to wake up, exercise, laugh, and hope.  For this birthday, the following realizations came to me, that I encourage you to bring into your birthdays going forward as you embrace each phase of growth:

  • Acknowledge: You’ve done great: With social media and mofo’s staying “booked, busy, and blessed” it is easy to feel like you are behind in some way, shape, and form. I have personally stopped following influencers that give off this persona that they are forever on point in their lives. The truth is things happen, and sometimes the things that happen linger for some time.  BUT when you take an honest inventory of where you were and where you are now, you have done a great job.  You have healed.  You have grown.  You have thrived.  You have set a personal precedence that has helped you to derive to where you are currently.  Before you go into a tailspin of what you should do, take the time to recognize yourself and the amazing progress you have made thus far.
  • Review what you have done that works: I am learning that I have enough life experience behind me where there are proven strategies, techniques, and systems that simply work for me.  For instance, in this last year I have learned that starting a new page in my sparkly sequin notebook and writing lists simply works to manage my running and anxious brain. I don’t care if I am going to the store, if a thought keeps pulsating in my brain space, flipping to a new page to manage the recurring thought works wonders to quiet my anxiety and provides me with a plan of attack to get that particular task done.  This is a system that works for me on an emotional and mental level.  Take the time and reflect on the strategies that have proven to work for you and practice them to the point that they become an ingrained way of life.
  • Capitalize on the good around you that you enjoy: Before my birthday I actually dreaded being around the community that captured my heart when I first set foot on the scene in Chicago twenty plus years ago.  It had changed over the years and there was this feeling, in the voice of Sophia from The Color Purple: “I don’t know ya’ll no more.” In addition, I had to shed opinions of other friends that had grown distant and mistrustful of the community atmosphere. Yet, I spent my birthday in that same community that blessed me tremendously. The familiarity, watching young women and men that I'd watch grow up, and also seeing the elders that I’d grown under, delighted my soul. Getting hugs and sharing space with this community for two days straight fed me in a way that helped to open up this turn around the sun, confirming, in fact, that I still enjoy this. And not only did I enjoy this, I needed to ask Spirit for “more of this please” in my coming new year.  I encourage you to be honest and rediscover what you enjoy and seek to infuse more of that in your daily life.
  • Stop making resolutions:  In times past, I used to sit down and pour over pages on pages in my journal, describing these impossible ass plans that I was going to impose on myself to “be better”.  I was going to go on a 40 day all juice and water fast to draw closer to God, lose weight, be more love and light…a waste of time.  Now, don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with making resolutions.  But knowing me, these resolutions came from a place of me not feeling enough in any area of my life.  It came from a space of lack of confidence in myself.  They were habits that I wanted to practice because I literally felt like I’d failed God and people’s expectations of me.  Examine to see where your resolutions are coming from. You may find that it’s not another resolution you need to make.  It may simply mean you should strengthen what you are already doing.
  • Open more and more to yourself:  There is so much of you to discover that you have set limits on because of one reason or the other. Money issues, lack of time or exposure, work or other people-imposed responsibilities. Have you always wanted to learn watercolor painting or pottery? Do you have a desire to learn a new language or want to visit another city or country?  If it is drawing you, there is something in it for you to discover anew about yourself.  For me, I’ve been wanting to learn Adobe Acrobat in a way that allows me to create novel cover art and to open another stream of income as a book cover artist.  I have no clue as to where this will take me, but the interest is strong enough for me to explore.  Allow yourself to indulge your interests. What snatches your eye and attention when you are out in the world?  Don’t keep turning a blind eye to these things.  They are promptings from the Universe that there is more of you yet to discover, and it is yours for the find and taking!

Love You Real Good,


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