Love Affair

 

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 “We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.” 

 - Anais Nin

At first, it seems like nothing more than a notebook. It only appears as paper bound together used to jot down ideas, collect thoughts and record memories before their fade. But, it was deeper.

I discovered the deep love for my journal. I was antsy for our nightly encounters. The insides are dirtied with my favorite midnight snacks and stained with tears from the days I thought would never end. The pages full of deep breaths and exhales, lined with the bowels of my very being.

Writing as a means to self discovery was not as easy as I presumed. I took for granted that every session would be peaceful, a moment of calm and tranquility. Writing became the purge that was the result of every emotional binge. And just like any lover, we quarreled, as I would wage war and partake in the discomfort associated with confronting myself head on. It is a battleground – a place for old wounds to resurface, newfound discoveries and love to be made… to myself. It is a place of worship, as on every new page I can fall at the altar of myself. When, without external praise, in this space is where I can extend my arms and wrap them around the woman who needs to be embraced the most. It is there I learn to love myself when the love of others will not quite do.

A space for my unrested mind to roam; it is in the pages of my journal, where I can see, think and dream in bright new colors. A time capsule – that captures the past, embraces the moment and attempts to predict the future.

It is a place of journeying.

With each communal moment, I discover that journaling is for women who write from their core in an effort to pour their inner most being onto the pages of their tattered notebooks.

It is a constant revealing of myself to myself. A mutual understanding, because my journal knows and is always awake. Always open. Always ready to receive an outpour – just listening.

It is where I drown in my feelings and come up for air all in the same entry. It is where I am still. It is where I mend my broken wings and battle wounds. It’s a sacred space that reflects my mind and reveals my heart. It is where I innovate the understanding of who I am. It is in the pages of my journal where I again become whole.

 

Proportion to Courage

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“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”

- Anais Nin

 

The last few weeks, hell, even months, have resembled wilderness. There has been a feeling of wanderment, without certainty of a destination, I have been using the only thing I have left to guide me – my heart. At some moments, it has been impossible to tell if life is coming together or falling apart. It was hard to distinguish the difference between the shrinking and expanding, but I was aware that life was indeed changing. Little did I know, the wandering was the creation of a path in disguise.

“On that path, she searched inside herself

 and discovered a hole – black and abysmal.

She looked down at her fingers,

stained in all she yearned to be freed from.”

I was unhappy. My soul ached and craved expression. I longed to be more in touch with the woman I really am, rather than living in the expectations and dreams of others. I had a deep desire to let go of the things that did not allow me to live in my brightest light. I made a demand on myself to take my creativity seriously and inject passion back into my life.

That involved changing my inclination to gravitate toward darkness, and start finding a way to look instead for the light. It meant fighting the voice of contradiction and making a decision to see myself the way I see others – lovable, deserving and worthy. It was my understanding that while it was safe to have a plan, fulfillment would come from jumping, unsure of where I might land.

…but, I was fearful.

And I asked myself, “Where is your faith?”

So, two days ago, I quit.

My job that is.

After nearly being driven off of the road and involved in an accident that could have taken my life two weeks ago, I turned in my resignation. I left a job that provided stability in exchange for the adventure of living life the way it was intended. The sacrifice of comfort for vision; the forfeit of convenience for a dream.

My faith lied in my decision to finally choose courage. While fear had made mountains of out my  worries, courage dwindled them into anthills. Rooted in gratitude for all I had received, I welcomed clarity, knowing there was so much more. I understood that new seasons often require the changing of old rules. Courage gave me permission to be unafraid to experience myself.

My life says, Here I am.

I don’t know what will happen

but I’m showing up for it. - GG Renee

I am nervous. Terrified, even. Although, the closer I get, the more sure I become. Even in the midst of transition, shift and uncertainties, I am more grounded than ever. Planted seeds are starting to take root and I realize that the return on faith will be greater than I ever imagined. Simply, because I choose courage.

Thirteen Things I Would Say to My 13 Year-Old-Self

Originally written for Amoureaux Inc, I wanted to share here on my blog as well. I am often inspired by the thoughts of some the absolutely beautiful spirits I follow and interact with on Twitter. Last week, the conversation “What Would You Say to Your 13 Year Old Self?” sparked by Alex Elle, led me to think about what I would say to the gap-toothed, scrawny and painfully awkward 13 year old Shefon. After much reflection and what seemed like a book worth’s of advice for the wandering girl that existed 12 years ago, I narrowed it down…

Thirteen Year Old Me

Thirteen Things I Would Say to My 13 Year Old Self
1. Your moments of transformation will feel like brokenness, but you are always whole, always complete; even when it feels like you have fallen to pieces.
2. Birth a world in your mind. Build it with the scraps that have been left to you.
3. Your mother is not struggling to love you; she is learning to love herself.
4. Others will see your greatness before you realize it yourself. They will believe in you before you find yourself capable. There will even be a few who love you
before you find yourself worthy.
5. Be bold and uncompromising.
6. Find refuge in the women who have chosen to support and love you. You do not have to endure pain and suffering alone.
7. Get out of your head and live from your heart.
8. Find your voice, therein lies your power. Show your scars, therein lies your story.
9. Legacy starts with you.
10. Be courageous enough to receive the things you ask for.
11. Embrace life. Find beauty. Speak truth. Experience freedom.
12. Your wings cannot fail you.
13. You will become the woman you have always wanted in your life

Dear 2013, Thank You.

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the year of liberation
of vision and creation and
power.
of imperfections, contradictions
and uncomfortable truths.
the year I chose boldness
the year of unconventional and uncharted territory
…of vulnerability and healing
and exhale and release.
the year of pains – growing, freeing, birthing pain.
the year my heart broke…open
the year I thought I lost you, but really found me.
the year I chased down and fought fear; then let it go.
the year I whispered peace and power in the same breath
the year I became an acquired taste
sweet to some, bitter on the tongues of others.
…of rejected loneliness and cherished solitude.
the year of, not answers, but the right questions.
the year of sunflowers and skies full of stars;
of electricity and rebellion.
the year I worshiped at the altar of myself
and became my own daughter, mother and lover.
the year I went out on a limb and danced on it.
the year I held my own hand
the year I fell in love….
and stayed.
and left pieces of myself everywhere.

On Healing.

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Healing has been a recurring theme in my life this year. 2013 has been one of extreme external and internal transformation. We are all on a healing journey of some sort – whether it is physical, spiritual or emotional, I like to believe we want to experience the feeling of being revived, whole and complete. We all desire to heal from wounds caused by others and even more importantly, the scars we have ourselves inflicted. I found that healing was this dynamic and complex process that required trust, patience and a deep self-love. For me, it was also about my ability to stop making excuses, to no longer hide behind my wounds and be courageous enough to choose to heal.

Healing became this practice of reconciling myself with myself. Healing inspired freedom as it required me to put myself first but also served as a lesson in self-acceptance as some uncomfortable truths were revealed as well. It moved from dabbling here and there in the idea of recovery to a ritual of showing up every day and being an active participant in my own completion.  I made a promise to myself that I would strive to be whole.

What does whole look like? Well, to me healing looks like balance restored.  Healing is bringing out of the darkness all of which was encountered with my shadow self.  Healing is softening the calloused, hardened parts so that new pain and old wounds transform into these tender, magical spaces of love and beauty. Healing is a purge of all of that which we have ingested that is toxic. This means we may have to again taste our sour and bitter pasts so that we can create more space in every aspect of our lives to allow goodness to flow freely. Healing is cracking open the places that won’t let love in and uncovering the places that will not let your light out. Healing is messy; but discovering that messy is sometimes where you find yourself. Healing means to run your fingers over those renewed places you thought would never stop bleeding and remember and feel what it means to be alive again. Healing is the discovery of peace, despite the chaos I became so willing to embrace. Healing is an unveiling of who you truly are.

I affirmed to myself that I was what healing, restoration and rebirth looked like. I learned that healing may not always be about becoming new, but without all the wounds, seeing how beautiful I have been all along. What heals you? Move toward that.

For the Love of Dorothy…

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So, I kinda love Dorothy Dandridge. I became a huge fan of her after the first time I saw the musical Carmen Jones. (If you have not seen and are a Netflix subscriber, go watch it! Now.) I was inspired when I started doing musical theater in junior high school and grew increasingly curious about who she was, not only as singer, actress and performer but also as an activist and a woman.

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(Dorothy on the set of Carmen Jones)

There has always been lots of talk and adoration for Marilyn Monroe (no shade) but I think it is important that women of color to know, love and recognize Dorothy Dandridge for her beauty, accomplishment and sacrifice. She was the first African American woman to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress, the first Black woman to grace the cover of LIFE magazine and has made a number of contributions to the role of Blacks in film. This post was mostly inspired due to the fact that today would have been Dorothy’s 91st birthday. Not very different than many actresses of today, she was often undervalued and under appreciated simply because of the color of her skin. I have always been of the belief that she does not receive enough recognition for her greatness.

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If I were white, I could capture the world – Dorothy Dandridge

Speaking of which, Janelle Monae, on her recently released Electric Lady album has a song entitled “Dorothy Dandridge Eyes“. Here Janelle discusses the the lyrics of Dorothy Dandridge Eyes on the Arsenio Hall Show – and being so amazing. Gah.

Dorothy Dandridge just exudes this grace, beauty, elegance and resplendence that is admirable. While there is so much more to be known about her, I wanted to take this moment to acknowledge her and remind how important it is for us to maintain the legacies of those who inspire, impact and continue to live in our hearts long after their leaving.

Happy Birthday, Dorothy.

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The Dance Pt. 1

The Dance Pt. 1

 

She loved to watch, but only from a distance. On tip toes, she would follow stealthily after. When it turned around, she disappeared behind the walls she herself had carefully constructed; slowing down in moments where the gap in between them narrowed and they became too close. Only from across the room could she admire intimacy as it swayed under the lights with those around her.

They did not dare join hands. She loathed the co dependency of the dance. She could not buy into the idea of being led, being light and letting go. The notion of surrendering to the decisions and the timing of another made her dizzy. She rejected the back and forth, the circles, the connectedness; knowing it would only be a matter of time before separation would again occur. The movement made her nauseous. Even when firmly rooted in her own balance, she would stumble in an attempt to execute each move gracefully. She was afraid to fall from her center. She did not trust her ability to come back to the middle.

Every once in a while she would extend her hand out too far and not yank back in enough time before intimacy pulled at the tips of her fingers and moved her feet from just beyond the edges of the dance floor. They danced and she was asked how long was she going to run away? How long before she stopped intentionally choosing unhappiness? How long before she opened her hand to be held, her heart to be loved and her self to be seen? How long would it be before she allowed all of the good to be good to her…

“You are crazy. I am busy and I do not dance.” she responded under her breath behind clenched teeth.  “I have dreams. I have a vision. I have songs to sing. I have a thing and oh on that day…another… thing. There is no time for dancing.”

She thought of a thousand more reasons to rationalize her fear as she escorted herself from the dance floor. She would rather viciously rip herself away from those who dare have the audacity to love her instead of staying, and allowing the rhythm to wrap around her heart and melt into the arms of intimacy.

Yet, everyone knew she so badly wanted to. She would show up, needing to be recognized and dreading being seen. Her head following along to the music, dressed in that which bared her soul, saturated in the scent of her own vulnerability. 

She craved that which she feared.

She rejected what she prayed for.

She ran from who she chased.

…and despised what she longed.

In a corner, she twirled in desire and wobbled in uncertainty, dancing in her own contradiction. She decided she was safer as a soloist. She fooled no one, but herself.

Just as she felt she might have been ready, the lights came up, the music stopped and she left that night like she always did – alone.