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M is for Moxie

M is for Moxie

Who could we be by accepting that the world needs and craves our largeness?

There are moments when I am fearful of my own greatness. It had been shared over and over just how much was housed inside of me and I spent too much time in denial of those truths.

I was unsure of what greatness was. What did it wear? What did it read? Would I recognize greatness if it walked into the same room in which I was standing? I decided that because I had no example of greatness, because I could not understand it – it was unobtainable for Shefon.

I could not escape the boxes I built around myself. I decided in my mind that I would never be great. My mind, became its own carefully constructed prison – and there I kept myself; chained, shackled, bound and uninspired by the idea of freedom. There I remained – content with the creation of my own limits.

Over and over again I wanted to experience courage, but it would not present itself. Again and again, I wanted to be brave, but was hesitant at the belief of the immensity of my spirit. I wanted to make myself small. I didn’t want my shine to dim the light of others. Have you ever felt that? Have you denied or betrayed brightness of your light? The power of your presence? Your intensity? Your enormity?

I realized I was making it all much more difficult than it had to be. I simply chose. I chose moxie.

mox-ie [mok-see]

noun // force of character, determination or nerve

Moxie was more than courage. Moxie is acting in spite of fear, following your heart and facing your most painful moments with faith.

Moxie is choosing to remake your mind and changing your world; shifting your thoughts to transform your life.

Moxie is the refusal to whisper even in the midst of your roar being misunderstood.

Moxie is living a life that is bold and uncompromising. It is an eagerness, an energy. It is the audacity in reminding ourselves that we are bold and brilliant and magical – and will defy any law that anyone, including ourselves, have written that says otherwise.

My biggest accomplishment has been accepting that I am not the woman I thought I was or the woman everyone wanted me to be.

I know, recognizing our power is terrifying but it is time to show up for the demand on your greatness. Accept you fill the empty spaces and warm the hearts of others. It is your obligation to light the world on fire, send it up in flames, set it all ablaze.

Get you some moxie, girl.

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 This post is part of The Layers of Self-Discovery Tour created by GG Renee of All the Many Layers. Follow the tour through the blogs of 26 women exploring the complexities of womanhood and self-discovery from A to Z.  Click here to keep up with each post and enter to win a giveaway package full of goodies for your mind, body and soul. #LayersAtoZTour

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Day 22 .:. Metaphor

It’s Day 22 of the #30Layers30Days Challenge

“Decide on a visual image to be a symbol of your peace and success.  When you see this symbol, let it be a reminder of how far you have come, how grateful you are presently and the infinite possibilities to come.  What is the meaning of this symbol for you and how does it represent your journey?”

Life seems a constant shift at times. If you would have asked me some time ago, I might have compared my life to that of a confused caterpillar in a spinning cocoon who had no idea of what her life was about to become. Cold, grey and uncertain, the caterpillar in her cocoon felt the walls closing in on her, with no plan of escape. She only knew she was tired of her old existence; exhausted with shuffling the earth on her belly.

I will always appreciate the caterpillar, for only she knows what it truly means to fly. I am grateful for the caterpillar, as the butterfly will always stay grounded. I love the caterpillar for not resisting and trusting that she would fly before she had even grown wings.

I know she will have wings the brightest of colors, land on the most beautiful of flowers and soar higher than she could have ever imagined.

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The F Word

I have recently been tweeting out (pretty inconsistently, might I add) GG Renee’s #30Layers30Days Challenge. Day 18 hit me a little harder, so I decided to bring it here. The F Word prompt asks:

 What do you need to forgive yourself for?  Write yourself a note or letter to forgive yourself and release all the guilt you feel for every bridge you’ve burned, every bad decision you think you’ve made — any and everything.  This is a time to be unconditional with yourself.  Forgive. Love. Move forward with more compassion for yourself and others.

Dear Self,

Please forgive me for being a disruption to your life, a threat to your own happiness.

Forgive me for not holding you close and whispering in your ear how beautifully you have grown.

Forgive me for believing every lie that’s ever been told about you.

…for not letting go, for not holding on.

…and for not finding you worthy of fighting for.

Forgive me for not letting you dance your dance and sing your song.

… for not allowing the poetry inside of you escape

Forgive me for silencing your voice.

Please don’t hate me for not putting you first.

In moments, I have stripped you of your power, doubted your brilliance and rejected your magic

I have cursed you and betrayed you

I come to you asking for forgiveness for not waking up every day and loving you deeply, violently, wildly.

Forgive me for thinking you are only deserving of the life your mother has lived.

Forgive me for tying your feet to rocks, not letting you fly and … for not setting you free

Please.

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Flower in the Wild.

I thought about what it meant to me to be a flower in the wild. How she also embodied me. The wild flower and her rejection of perfection, she was a beautiful contradiction.

Grounded at the roots while the rest of her swayed uncontrollably at the mercy of the unpredictable winds of life. Questioning her growth without ever looking down to notice how she has pushed herself through the dirt.

She sprouts in unexpected places where she does not belong; unintentionally brightening up the world around her, refusing to succumb or get lost to the surroundings. She struggles to feel beautiful some days in her wanting to be seen as more; but to be significant, to be remembered and felt.

She has flaws and her being is comprised of imperfections. She is insecure and complex and fragile and sensitive. She spends her life delicate and gentle but also free and unkempt. She is gathered; but in shambles. She pulls herself together and then falls to pieces. She is peace and order but chaos and disorganization. She is depthless yet shallow. She is courageous yet fearful. She is loud yet unheard. She is so beautiful yet so offensive.

She remains frustrated at how her life seems to be a perpetual state of death and rebirth, a constant changing of the seasons. In awe of her rising – every single time.

Growing in the wild meant being an acquired taste; sweet to some and bitter on the tip of tongues of others. It meant being bold enough to grow where other flowers wouldn’t dare to bIoom. It meant to live unbounded and shoot in whichever direction she pleases.

How others may have to get up close, turn their head to a-ha and spot her beauty.

It meant being a beautiful thing untamed. Untouched. Sometimes unseen. Growing and existing contrary to what is expected.
Even in moments of loneliness, she is certain there are others just like her; growing wildly refusing to be tamed, managed or handled. She finally accepts that she is not others’ idea of her. She just exists.

Unruly. Undefined. Unrefined.
Free. Unapologetic
Oh the joy in being half wild, half flower.

 

         (originally shared on fromawildflower.com)

 

For the Love of Black Women…

 

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“She craves men but women are her most abiding lovers. Her friends are her soul mates, all the love without the consumption of sex and romance, a different kind of intimacy. Women make love by admiring each other, studying and envying each other and mixing it all up in a pot of devotion.” 

GG Renee Hill

It was the Spring of 2011. I sat and realized I was the woman who I vowed never to become. The woman who held on to a love that hurt. The woman who stayed for the sake of staying. The one who only knew how to love in dysfunction. Intuitively, I knew I deserved better but was hesitant in choosing so. In a desperate Google search for some clarity and affirmation, I stumbled upon Happy Black Woman, followed by a list of Rosetta’s favorite bloggers. I clicked on a few that I thought were appealing, but none that spoke to me. Not one that I felt. I decided to hover over a few more hyperlinks and was directed to The Write Curl Diary (currently All The Many Layers).

“The Alienation of Affection” by GG Renee was the first blog post I had ever read. This woman, had found the words that translated my experience. I read on and on and on until I was overwhelmed at the emotional algebraic equations embedded in every sentence of every post – afraid to read on because the woman inside of me was face to face, confronting the girl who hid from her worthiness. Those words brought me life and gave permission to access the bigger, brand new version of Shefon. I was then inspired and encouraged to share my own thoughts through the newly published themoxiemodus.com. It was that one woman who shared her story, that affirmed the need to share my own. The woman who did not hesitate to say that not only my, but our voices, experiences and stories must be told.

Four years later, I found myself sitting next to the woman who invoked fearlessness in my heart and planted seeds of thoughts of worthiness in my head. She saw, understood and was reflective of who I was at the core.

‘What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life?

The world would split open”

- Muriel Rukeyser 

 

There is sometimes this lingering myth that Black women do not know how to co-exist. We are incapable of loving each other, supporting each other and caring for one another.

I love being around women. In particularly, Black women. I have been fortunate enough to be surrounded by a number of women who are excellence, strength and love personified.

My grandmother, my aunts, cousins and friends act as a light in the dark and a safe place to land. I am grateful for their presence which keeps my heart and mind light. I am appreciative of the beautiful souls that find their way into my life. I am moved by those who speak their truth to me in love. They are constant teachers and unafraid to correct or challenge me in what become moments of growth and personal development. They see me beyond my current circumstances. They are invested in my greatness. They are my reflection. They are the reason my soul grows. These women offer a constant reminder of: Yes, Brown girl. Go get it.

I live for those moments of embrace, encouragement and edification from other women. Simply put, women fucking rock. Unintentional or intentional, digital space or physical space, those are always times of sustainment, healing and renewal. Always.

My friends dispel the myth that women do not encourage, support and inspire other women in their visions, dreams and endeavors. I truly appreciate and am sustained in your energizing and creative spirits.

To any woman who has changed my life through your warm words, hugs or smiles – thank you.

Exhale.

 

Shefon

 “For far too long we have been seduced into walking a path that did not lead us to ourselves. For far too long we have said yes when we wanted to say no. And for far too long we have said no when we desperately wanted to say yes…”

- Tempest Terry Williams

 

 

On that day I awoke unsure of what it was exactly that I was feeling.

I looked in the mirror at the woman who stood on the other side and questioned the last time she had felt…deeply. When was the last time she had been moved?

She had spent so much of her existence being strong, that she never explored her own humanity. So much time surviving, she never enjoyed the experience of living.

While seldom afforded the opportunity or luxury to be seen as weak, life constantly required that she remain strong and super human, while carrying others on her back and their burdens and baggage in her arms.

With the constant kicking of ass and leaping tall buildings with a single bound – her superhero strength often left her depleted. As much as she valued her resilience, strength is no longer a compliment to her.  She was taught, better yet, forced to put smiles on the faces of others, while content in her frown. She held herself completely together as she took on the world, only to fall to pieces in solitude. She despised the expectation, to always plow through it all without feeling – to be numb to experience, and impermissible in feeling pain. But it was she who chose strength –  the mask of perfection and control that led to path of her own destruction.

She longed for moments of softness and fragility, fearful that she would be seen as wallowing in her victimhood or looking for sympathy. In that moment, she decided that she could not be everywhere and be everything to everyone. It was then that she chose not to be seen for and defined by her strength, but to spend some moments as simply … human.

She felt her shoulders drop …

“I want tenderness and delicacy in my life.”

She took a deep breath in …

“I am worthy enough to be handled with care. It is okay to ask for help.”

“I want to experience vulnerability and not be defined by my strength.”

“I am not concrete. I am not impenetrable. My back gets tired and my arms get heavy. It is okay to rest. It is my reminder that I am human. It is okay to care for others as long as I am first loving on me…”

The small whispering chant evolved into a soft prayer and then roared into a declaration. The tears that began to stream her face, for the first time cleansed the impurities of her own soul and were not used in the washing of others.

…on that last exhale she opened her eyes and saw the world as not a child or a victim, but a woman who embraced her entire being.

She desired a deep appreciation of her journey and not resent it because it had the potential to leave her tattered.

This was a new chapter. One that not only others, but also she could understand the need to discover, embrace and nurture all the pieces of herself. It was there in her vulnerability that she began to discover pieces of her freedom. The only space to find refuge and allow the moments of softness and fragility she so desperately sought. It was there her strength was unwelcome.

She felt herself move towards the woman she was created to be and away from who she was conditioned to become.

For the first time in a long time, she had chosen herself. It was an amazing and momentous day.

 

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.