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.

 

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.

Fon Light Tint_Lucas

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.