Giving Thanks To My Grandmothers

Pulling Together

 

For Maggie, Sarah, Callie, Emma, and Esther

Great Great Great Grandma Maggie Thank you for your life and your sacrifice. For you I promise to let no man own me. In me you live free.

Great Great Grandma Sarah, Thank you for your life and your sacrifice. For you I wear my college education like a badge of honor, speak uncompromising truth no matter the consequence.In me you live free.

Great Grandma Callie, Thank you for your life and your sacrifice. For you I buy land instead of liabilities, vote in every election, and dispel darkness with the flick of my wrist. Your intellect is the ink in my veins. In me you live free.

Grandma Emma, Thank you for your prayers, your prophetic voice, and the life you created. For you, I love my children every day with every fiber of my being, I kiss them for everyone cancer stole from you, I embrace as I know you longed to hold my mother. I am everything you didn’t get to be. For you I raise your grandchildren like warriors, teach them how to fight in the spirit. You are the terror and authority in my war cry. In me you live free.

Grandma Esther, Thank you for being my sanctuary, teaching me how to love the seemingly unlovable, how to forgive and the meaning of “Peace be still”. For you, I say “No” loud, clear, often, with no remorse,when too much is asked of me. Love without judgement. I choose my friends based on character and not color lines. I am leaving this city, state, country and carrying your heart in my heart every step of the way.I am taking you everywhere you should have gone. In me you breathe free.

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Still Standing

Being 33 in a courtroom full of strangers trying to justify why I get to choose by whom, how, and when I am touched and my right to fight to the death to keep me safe just gutted me.

Today  was 1993 all over again being fourteen in a cold room full of nurses, doctors and extras trying to justify why I didn’t fight “hard enough”, tell sooner, grab something as a weapon. When I was 14 violated and pregnant by a rapist I had to defend why I didnt fight hard enough. At 33 I protect myself, Icey and China.We walk away unharmed and my attacker gets carried away in an ambulance. Now our broken court system wants to say I fought “too hard.”

Our schizophrenic court system needs a serious overhaul. Thank you to everyone who has stood with the children and I through this ordeal. I have a lot of work to get done so I cant really stop to process all that has happened yet. I just ask that you continue to stand with us, send love, light, and if you are able to help tear down the mountain of legal expenses you can still contribute to paypal ceo@onlyconfidence.com.

Ever Forward,

Confidence

Forgiveness for Graduates

   Learned a gut wrenching lesson in forgiveness today. Often the hell you would box your transgressor up and ship them to has nothing on the hell they are living in. Today I got a glimpse of the suffering , guilt, shame, and torture of the person in this life that caused me irreparable harm.The pain they have inflicted on themselves pales in comparison to any retribution I could have imagined. I only know mercy.When I said I forgive you this time I felt like I lost 50 pounds instantly. Sooo liberated!!! It resonated like that moment in The Fifth Element when Leeloo went nuclear.

 

Today forgiveness beat back the darkness. Love wins again. Ipod cues Pink’s Fuckin’ Perfect. Victorious the heroine hops a cab to Starbucks for her much needed Grande Caramel Macchiato with whip cream and  light dusting of cocoa powder. Don’t judge me…

Only Confidence

When Will My RUHCUS Resume???

Technical Difficulties

Until further notice my internet access is limited to my Android and intermittent WIFI access.  This  makes it very hard to post a daily blog. I am somewhere between astigmatism and naked mole rat blind which makes it beyond frustrating to type an entire blog on the swype  keyboard on my phone. Thank you for those who followed. I will be compiling my daily blogs and posting several days at a time over the next three weeks until we reach the end of this journey.

Only Confidence

RUHCUS Day Three: If Loving Me Is Wrong I Dont Want to Be Right

 

The End of an Error

I was talking to my friend Jake today about my sudden inability to hate myself. When I started this project I believed that all the hate, negativity, and abuse that I hammered into my spirit was toxic and it had to stop. Well it’s been three days since I directed an insult at myself, berated myself internally for old mistakes, or had a conniption fit about my body. I feel like Ive spent enough time bashing myself over the head to last a life time. After spending quality time with several close friends this week I can see quite clearly that the ridiculous minutia that I obsess over is irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. Up until three days ago I woke up most days feeling worthless, inadequate, and tempting tornadoes to sweep me off my feet. I have made an art form out of self deprecation for so many years that it feels surreal not having any insults to hurl at myself.

I wish there was a how to guide on loving yourself. There isn’t. So this week I played it by ear. Step one for me was to stop over thinking how I show up in the world and just show up. I no longer have the time or inclination to sand my spirit into something less edgy, less spitfire, or more submissive.  I am over shrinking into small corners so as  to appear slimmer, non existent, less threatening. Somewhere along the way I bought into the lie that I needed to edit every single interaction I had to prevent myself from looking foolish. I learned first hand this weekend that some of the most magical moments in life our lives happen when you throw caution, insecurities, and your Spanx to the wind and let the chips fall where they may.

Wrap Up

Dear Confidence,

You tore up all kinds of stuff. You made bad decisions that you and your children are still paying for. You chose men that the Detroit Lions wouldnt recruit. You took every ounce of hurt or pain you experienced and hoarded in dark corners of your mind until it infected your soul. You ate your way through every trauma, and smoked away significant amounts of life to cope with stress. You have done more unwise shit in the name of love than I care to recall. Having pointed all this out. I want you to know I forgive you. There are some things you couldn’t have predicted, and even more that you couldn’t have prevented. Let it go. If it weren’t for you we wouldn’t have survived. I want you to focus on what you have accomplished in spite  of all the setbacks. Remember that your six year old can recite Zora Neale Hurston effortlessly, the snow ball fight you had after the blizzard, the night you taught your son to slow dance,  remember you have had a 4.0 and four children, remember your grind is unparallelled and so are your children, remember that you are loved by world changers because you are one, and finally remember that your body has not betrayed you ,you have nothing to be ashamed of, you are beautiful from belly to bone. I want you to forget who is at fault. Laugh out loud, sing off key, dance off beat, and  speak  from your heart with no more regrets. I want you to forgive yourself, because everyone else has.

Yours Truly…

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RUHCUS II: Day Two Ain’t Nobody Dead So I’m Winning

Still Spinning

Today has not been a swirling vortex of disappointment and regret. Instead of courting lung cancer all night, I read the entire book When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost by Joan Morgan. Sister brought it to my door step on the myth of the STRONGBLACKWOMAN. I approached the day with a resolve to keep moving forward even if it isnt at my normal lightning speed. I refuse to let depression or anxiety render me unproductive. Seven monkeys don’t stop no show. I acknowledge that Im sad and angry. Ill give myself time to process but I have to get on with living. I  was sad when I met a client and acquired a new contract today. She didn’t need to know and these bills still gotta get paid. I was still sad when I drove the kids to the library to pick up their prizes for the summer reading program but I kept moving. As I was taking them home my daughters prize, a coupon book flew out of the car window in five ‘o clock traffic. The normal reaction for a child is to sulk and I could tell she was fighting back tears as all the other children made plans to use their coupons for the fair,aquarium, etc. but she didn’t cry. I realized she was doing what she had seen me do a million times. Fight back tears, suck it up , and move on without expressing unnecessary emotion. I told her it would be all right and we would find another way to bless her. She was a mirror image of me, choking back tears. I knew that for the rest of the summer every time the other kids used one of those coupons she would beat herself up silently for something that was out of her control.

Sometimes on your path to healing you will see just what the cost of your brokenness has been. I had to arm that baby with new coping skills quick. I was late for a meeting. I had enough gas to get to the office and back and I was trying to avoid going against traffic to go back where it flew away. I told her it would be okay. Accidents happen that aren’t anyone’s fault and no one had to take the blame. She went in the house still kicking herself internally. I am all too familiar with the dialogue going through her head. If she couldn’t fix it. She wouldn’t forgive herself. The wind was blowing hard enough to roll the trash cans down the block and it had been thirty minutes but I drove back to the point near the highway where the wind snatched her coupon book. I parked my car on the side of the road and walked about a block until I came to a fence. There it was caught in the wire. I couldn’t believe I found it.

I didn’t tell her I was going to look for it because I didn’t think I would find it. I drove straight home. I let her lay her head on my chest and I told her that holding in pain, and beating herself up would do more harm than good. I explained that I didn’t need her to be strong all the time. I told her about wounds untreated becoming infected and the power and healing in tears. I told her I was really sad, and that my heart hurt for every thing I had lost, the cruelty I had seen, the people we loved that had died and that I was just going to cry for a while. I would be just fine but I needed to let my soul process all the collateral damage. She began to cry. She explained how long it took her to read 25 books, and how many nights she stayed up to get that coupon book, and that she was going to be left out all summer every time her brothers and sisters went somewhere.  I pulled her coupon book out of my purse and put it in her lap. Let me pause the story to say if I have nothing else in the world the look on her face, and the tangible shift in her spirit was priceless. I pointed out that sometimes when the situation seems hopeless, and you are crying it all out the universe has already solved your problem.

It’s funny that everything that I said to her rang true for me. There was so much healing for me in all that transpired today. I knew what I had to do next.I imagined me at eight years old on rickety wooden play bridge at O’Brien Park smiling and rocking it from side to side. This is what I would say to her if I could go back there.

Every bad thing that happens to you is not your fault. Crying doesn’t mean they won or you’re weak. It means you are still alive.Cry when you need to and then keep moving forward. I love you.

So that’s it for Day Two no homicides or hospitalization. I know what challenges lie ahead, and I don’t know how they will work out but they will work out.  Funny I never realized that I had been punishing myself for things I had no control over for a very long time. Love covers a multitude of mistakes.There are a few things I genuinely love about me, and I will build from that base. In this moment I only believe we deserve good.  I welcome all the love, light, and luxury the universe can dish up. The problem with pretending you dont need anyone or anything is that eventually people will believe you. The next time a guy who cares me asks if I’m ok, and Im really not. Im going to put down my armor and  explain what I really need. It’s okay if he cannot meet them, but from here on out we live by a new golden rule…Closed hearts don’t get fed.

What I really need right now is a bubble bath, a bag of Lindt chocolate truffles and some serious TLC.

Only Confidence

 

P.S. RUHCUS is an acronym for “Radically Unapologetic Healing Challenge for Us”. For directions on starting your own  RUHCUS watch the video by the birth mother of this movement, Sonya Renee Taylor.

 

RUHCUS II: Day One I Chose Life, Now How Do I Live with That???

I have been postponing doing my second RUHCUS for a year. The first one was successful but as all of you who have participated know, it often makes you feel naked in front of the world. I have said before and still whole heartedly believe in the power of healing in community, but that knowledge doesnt make this process any easier for me.

It’s so much easier for my ego if I cry, break down, and struggle through  difficult seasons alone.

HOW NOT TO COPE

1.You never put your business out in the street. Keep your struggles a secret.

2. If you are depressed put on flawless makeup and the baddest outfit in your wardrobe.Focus on being prettier that will solve everything, right??o_O

3. Bake random sweets things with butter, brown sugar, rum, flaky crusts and feast on them until you grow a new ass on top of the old one.

4. When you run out of the energy to paint a smile on, avoid everyone.No one likes a Debbie Downer.

5. Sit up all night trying to solve problems that you have no control over. Sleep is for the idle.

6. Start chain smoking cigarettes. Let the assurance that each inhale is bringing you closer to death sit up with you at night.

7. Take back your crazy ex. You may lose some teeth, an eye and every ounce of self respect but the bills will get paid.

8. Become a Dominatrix. In Oklahoma its easier to get people to pay for punishment than poetry.True story

I feel like turning off my phone. Abandoning all social media. Locking myself in my room. Sleeping through the kids calling,friends calling, doorbell ringing, the lights, water, and gas going off, the eventual eviction, and letting them carry me to a quiet room where I can stare out of windows writing poems in a semi-catatonic state until my starvation diet kills me.

If it were just me that would be Plan A, but its not just me. There are four people counting on me to get up every day and keep their world spinning. This world  fueled by misery and heartache. If it weren’t for my children I would have been dead fourteen years ago. The focus of my RUHCUS for us is to find a way to make peace with the life I created. I spent all of my soul work forgiving other people for the things they did to me. I’m spending this one forgiving me. I can honestly say the only person I hate or hold anything against is myself. I will work on what ceremony I can do in honor of forgiving self but step one is acknowledging that I hate me for every bad decision and some of the good decisions that cost me dearly. Forgiving me seems almost impossible. I made so many mistakes, but Ill do it or die trying.

Dying to Live,

Only Confidence