Tuesday, July 28, 2020

First Time for Firsts

Life is so full of first. First steps. First Home. First Car. First Love. First Day of School. I know I haven’t been blogging as much. I have been so busy with life that sitting down and doing what I love has not been a priority like it should have been. However, there have been some significant changes in my life over the past 90 days (more to come on those). So many firsts! First steps in new directions. I won’t go into a lot of details just yet, as I am still drafting this part of my life that I have neglected. 


The irony is that all the firsts in life have been lessons learned, both sweet and sour. But what I find most fascinating about this is as I talk to people about my life, I actually see that they project their own fears onto me. Statements like “you’re so brave,” or “I could never do that,” or “isn't that scary?” But let’s be honest first are not scary. They’re terrifying. I once read a quote that I loved: “feel the fear and do it anyway.” When I read this quote, I was in a very safe place. It is so easy for me to take heed of those antidotal sayings when you’re not in that state of mind. But when a decision must be made, and there is fear about the possible outcomes. How do you react?

 

I am not asking anyone to be on my journey of life. But I have found relative success in firsts (and framing it as an opportunity). I have found that in my life, I have taken the chance. It is kind of build into who I am. I always knew that with any real reward, this there risks. And the two, risk and reward, walk side-by-side, dancing a decisive dance around you, waiting to see how you react. I have made some decisions in the past several months, like 10 months, that have led to this very moment in time when I am still learning to accept the fear and embrace the first. The fear of moving me and my girls to North Little Rock. The fear of putting myself out there to meet new people. The fear of new roles and responsibilities as I grow in my career. The fear of leaving an employer of 8 years to see what else the world has to offer. The fear of falling in love again.

 

Feel the fear and do it anyway – they say… I cannot make anyone take the first step in a new direction. Or to travel the path less taken, but I can say from my own experience that with every step and with every first, it gets a bit easier. I am not saying that the steps get less “scary,” but I have learned to feel the fear and do it anyway. We all know that we have to take risks to receive the reward. If I frame this in a biblical context, faith, in and of itself is a risk – but what do you have to lose? Nothing really. But you do have the whole world to gain. I must say, these past few months have not been easy, but the feelings I am feeling are very real. For the first time in life, I am learning at a deeper level. I am allowing myself to let go, and live by faith and firsts, one day at a time. To let go of control and live first. To choose the necessary good of peace over unease and stress. But to feel the fear that comes with all those firsts and do it anyway.

 

Thank you for rocking with me – always!


Monday, June 8, 2020

All Men Are Created Equal - 1776

Many people have reached out to me asking to write on the topic of current events and issues. I was a bit taken back because that is not necessarily the tone of my traditional blog post, but it is a platform. I am a black female. I am disappointed beyond comprehension. As I was thinking through how to make this both logical thought and convey sincere emotions, I decided to start at the beginning—the start of this country. 
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." The Declaration of Independence – written and sent to King George in 1776. 

Yes, sure are, we are all created equally by our God. However, we are not all treated equally by our fellow man. It is a tale as old as time, however my focus on this country. Let us call a spade a spade. We are all endowed with unalienable Rights, but many of us have never really had genuine access to said unalienable Rights. Life. Liberty. And/or The Pursuit of Happiness. 

Unalienable Rights - unable to be taken away from or given away by the possessor (Yet black Americans have not had the same level of access to those rights, ever in this country.)

Then post declaration was the articles of the confederation leading into the constitution. The constitution, carefully and intentionally crafted, brought about the three-fifths clause (Article I, Section 2, of the U.S. Constitution of 1787). In this section of the constitution, it was declared that for purposes of representation in Congress, enslaved blacks in a state would be counted as three-fifths of the number of white inhabitants of that state. Let me reiterate, 3/5 of a human being for all black people (slaves - but people in mind, my ancestors) in the United States. 

Right now, given the current state of the country, many people are wondering why so many of us are frustrated, why so many black Americans are angry, and why so many blacks are hurting. Because we as a country know better than this, yet never did better than this. Let us re-read that statement - "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." What?! Were we created by a different Creator that made blacks 3/5 of a person? 

The declaration was never written for the black Americans that were in the country in 1776, and even now, but we hold this document in such high esteem due to its cultural significance. We take the words and apply them to today. Yet many of us have never seen progress in our ability to attain Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. Unfortunately, this is nothing new for this country. During the next few weeks, I will walk you through the build from slavery for black Americans into Jim Crow, the Civil Rights Movement, up to the events of the past couple of years. 

Life: (Definition - the existence of an individual human being) 
An existence of being stolen and/or sold from our homes, dying of disease in unlivable conditions on slave ships with no regard, sold as property, forced to reproduce like livestock, and beaten or killed if there was an attempt to run away.
Liberty: (Definition - the state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one's way of life, behavior, or political views.)
Generation, after generation, of slaves. "Living" without any form of due process, choosing the course and direction of our lives, and opportunity for a better life. Beaten and killed into submission is not liberty nor life.
The Pursuit of Happiness: (Definition - feeling or showing pleasure or contentment)
How can one attempt to drive towards any level of happiness when children are taken from their mothers' arms, many never to be seen again. Living an existence to make America great on the backs of hours of labor in conditions (mental, emotional, physical), many of us would find unbearable to pursue happiness. 

Please tell me how this doesn't break your heart and kill your spirit – yet we survive.

So I can't help but beg the question, if our Declaration of Independence holds these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness - why were and are black Americans so different? I find any answer almost laughable except the truth - we are created equally but not treated equally. Because the declaration is nothing short of just words on paper.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Why Do I Write?


I recently had someone ask me why I write? Why do I write this blog, and have been for about 7 years? Why do all of this work, but I do not get paid for it? Well, my answer is to follow. See, I was on Instagram a couple of weeks ago, and I follow a group called the ChristianGirlBlog. They posted the following bible verse, and at that moment, I had a spark of insight. 


"In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven."
Matthew 5:16

As the ChristianGirlBlogs paraphrases this statement, "Be generous with your loves. By opening up to others, you'll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven." Amazing! It really sums up why I write, how I write, and what I write. I wrote a blog a few years ago based on the song Little Drummer Boy and Dr. Martin Luther King's Speech - Street Sweeper. Now I will just disclose my gift is not necessarily the writing. By this, I mean the blog and the actual writing is not my gift per se. But instead, the thought process behind everything that I eventually put on "paper." It's not just thinking but tying concepts together to try to make more sense of this thing called life. You know it's the whole concept of all things working together for good. (*Smiles*

I guess the better question is, "why do I CONTINUE to write?" Well, the above is the answer to why. Because writing forces me to keep thinking and tying things together. Because when I think I gain clarity, understanding, and peace. Because when I put it out there for the world, I can only hope someone else gains more clarity, understanding, and peace. So here is it letting your light shine - so someone else's light can shine as well.