A New-ish Day

Happy 2021 to you! I pray that you and your loved ones are healthy and safe.

Whew! Am I glad I took a few weeks off to process 2020, because it was starting to look like 2021 was coming through with some of that “hold my coat” energy! The Georgia Dream followed immediately by the Capitol Conundrum were so disorienting that it made this amazing artist turn her songwriting gift to a plea for the extraterrestrials to do a fly-by and take her away from this planet that we are destroying 

You have to admit, it is a catchy tune.

Processing the Destruction

After a number of social media posts, and conversations with friends, families and colleagues processing the insurrection, I began to resist the urge to blame Time for the chaos we humans have created. Yes, people are responsible for the decisions that have led to the destructive, chaotic, psychotic, oppressive conditions we are living in. The Earth and Time are not responsible for the lies we tell ourselves and others to create systems of mental, physical, spiritual, and economic destruction. We all have played a part in the destruction we are seeing–and yes, some of us are much more responsible for the destruction than others.

I am not going to delve into the destruction of January 6th. There has been and continues to be enough commentary and indoctrination that the news cycles are carefully disseminating. Plus, as someone who intimately understands the inverse relationship of Black joy to White rage/disenchantment that exists in dysfunctional relationships, I made a conscious decision to stay firmly planted in the joy of celebrating the wins in Georgia and preparing for the Inauguration. 

“She Leads, She Inspires, She Slays” Meredith Koop, Stylist for Forever First Lady Michelle Obama

Maybe you have seen this inverse relationship play out at work, in the community or even in families: Whenever one person is living their best life, the other person seems to be on the brink of ruin? Yes, that is one of the dynamics that play out in dysfunctional/delusional dependent relationships. We had a chance to watch it play out while a group of adults worked towards their Spider-Man club badges scaling up the side of the nation’s Capitol, while others were finding ways to hold virtual galas.

Leading Ourselves In Order to Dismantle Delusion

As I reflect on these events, I have been focusing on how, or in what ways leadership can play a part in moving our country forward, specifically Conscious Leadership, Self-Leadership and Transformational Leadership.

I had the pleasure of being a part of a podcast discussion recently (Available on Apple podcast and Spotify) where I talked about…well, everything. However I mostly elucidated on some of what I meant in my last post around reclamation resistance. I also talked about how white supremacist delusion is antithetical (or at least it should be) to conscious leadership.

If we are truly focused on being spiritual and spirited leaders, we cannot concurrently champion those ways of being and doing that are spiritually destructive. Essentially what I am saying is if we are going to be followers of [insert a spiritual Teacher, or practice], then we cannot be followers and agents of oppression.  Said another way: If we are clear that the flesh is temporal and the spirit is eternal, then divesting from systems of oppression would be an active part of our practice. 

The Battle (Fatigue) is Real

As far those who are knowingly or unknowingly (with a wink) contributing to racial/oppression battle fatigue, they need to focus on cultivating authentic and meaningful relationships and stop making “The Work” they need to be doing so transactional. An example I gave is when you are in an intimate, loving, nurturing and mutual relationship (so reciprocity has to be actualized in the relationship), you care about how that person is doing. You are tuned into their needs AND what they have in their reserve. You have a sense of when they are depleted and that depletion matters to you and vice versa. Again, that is when you are tuned in. 

Part of the problem is The Work has become traumatically transactional. Those of the dominant culture are not tuned in and have allowed themselves to be tuned out for more than 400. Now that white sisters and brothers are seeing that their survival is dependent on those people forced into the margins, they want a Cliff Notes-like summary on the experiences of marginalized communities. They give the perception that they are only working to understand others and their experiences to earn their “Certificate of Wokeness” and they want to earn it now, “chop-chop!

Sorry, it doesn’t work that way.

So please, don’t engage with others with your transactional need to know about what it is like to be a Black Woman from the ‘hood, when you already know the atrocities Black people have faced in this world. If you come to me with your NEED to know in order to check off your Woke Box, I’m going to quote blessed brother James Baldwin and tell you quite simply “I am not your negro” and finish sipping on my homemade Decaf Vanilla Chai. I am not at your service. I am here to serve my Creator and love on others and receive love in return. Periodt.

Oppressed people do not have to ask about what it is like to be part of the dominant culture. Our study of whiteness came and comes as part of our survival of the traumatically interdependent nature of our relationship(s)…and of course colonization. I recommend reading any of the works by Psychoanalyst and Political Philosopher, Frantz Fanon to gain a better understanding of these dynamics. 

Analogy: Power and Abuse

To use an analogy that may illustrate the sociopolitical dynamics, I have heard the relationship of the dominant culture and exploited communities being likened to that of the abuser-abused. I think it is important to think critically about that comparison for its applicability. For instance, those who have been abused learn to anticipate the ways of their abuser, because forecasting the ways of the abuser is a trauma response and doing so keeps them safe (or safe-ish). Sounds familiar?

Considering the abuser, in order for them to end their dependence on the power gained from abusing others, they will need to live through some disorienting dilemmas. They will need to realize they are not alone in their identity as an abuser, critically examine the identity built (and awarded) for abusing others, and so on. If what I am listing sounds a bit like the work done in Alcoholics Anonymous, great. That connection is intentional. I am also directly connecting the journey towards becoming more aware, more humane and more just (what I believe the real Work should be) to what we in the adult learning and leadership community refer to as Transformative Learning theory developed by the late scholar, Jack Mezirow. Along with the video I have shared with you, here are Mezirow’s 10 Phases of Perspective Transformation:

  1. Disorienting dilemma
  2. Self Examination
  3. Critical assessment of role assumptions
  4. Recognizing that you are not alone
  5. Exploring options for new ways of acting
  6. Building competency in new role(s)
  7. Planning a course of action
  8. Acquiring knowledge and skills for new role
  9. Trying out new roles and assessing feedback
  10. Reintegration

Take some time when you can to research Transformative Learning theory online. It is a pragmatic theory and may prove useful as you are navigating the various realities you are experiencing.

Back to the lecture at hand…” (To quote the misogynoir of “Ain’t Nuthin’ But a G Thang” by Snoop and Dr. Dre)

Back to dismantling white supremacist delusion…

Bernie and those mittens have shown up everywhere!

If we are going to move forward as a nation, The Work needs to be done to dismantle our relationship, dependency and identities formed through white supremacist delusion as well as:

  • oppression of women birthed from delusion 
  • oppression based on SES birthed from delusion 
  • oppression of those persons with disabilities birthed from delusion 
  • oppression of people in the LGBTQIA+ community birthed from delusion 
  • oppression of people who are gender nonconforming/gender expansive birthed from delusion 
  • oppression based on religion birthed from delusion 
  • oppression based on language birthed from delusion 
  • oppression based on immigration status birthed from delusion 

You get the picture. Add any group of people who have been oppressed as a way to sustain the destructive, delusional dependence of the superiority narrative to maintain power. 

Opportunity Knocks Hard

We have an opportunity for transformative learning of epic proportion in this country. January 20, 2021 is proof of that opportunity:

As I took this time of rest to reflect and prepare for the road ahead, I am inspired by the possibilities and the power that is bubbling up around the country. I am not naive or ignoring the undercurrent of rage and fear that exists. To the contrary, what I am choosing is to not go into caretaking or placating mode, thus hindering this opportunity for a transformative learning experience.  

Plus, I have canceled my subscription to enable destructive behaviors in others. I am not your enabler, nor am I your “Lives of the Oppressed” tour guide. Like Vanessa Williams sang, we all have “work to do” (slurps tea unapologetically). Mmmmm, tastes like joy!

Love, Justice and Liberation (With extra caramel)!

Goodbye, 2020…Please be Gentle, 2021!

For those who celebrate Christmas, I hope you found a creative and safe way to celebrate the holiday with your loved ones! Although this year required some strategy, we have amazing ways of figuring out how to make celebrations happen no matter the circumstances. Yes, we can make the miraculous happen when we set our minds to it.

Revisiting Miracles

Speaking of “the miraculous,” there are times I am led to write about issues and ideas that may not immediately resonate with me. Last week’s post was one of those times. Writing about Miracles during a dual pandemic and when my daughter is 3,000 miles away on holiday with her father, doth not make for a miraculous morn. Quite frankly, my mood and what I was inspired to write last week were at odds. However what I learned in real time is that when it comes to our spiritual responsibilities, our feelings have little bearing on what already exists (regardless of whether we can see it with our physical eyes or not). Shortly after I finished writing last week’s post, I received two testimonies of actual miracles in the lives of people I know. One was a friend whose entire family came down with COVID, with her husband battling for his life due to underlying health conditions.

Her story of being told that her husband “had a 50% chance of surviving” then being informed that she should do her best to take care of him at home due to the volume of patients at the hospital, was unbearable. However, she did it and not only fought for his life with some cultural remedies from her family, she fought with all of the love she had in her. You see, both their wedding anniversary and his birthday were quickly approaching and even though her feelings questioned whether he would see either of those significant dates, her spirit focused beyond the virus. With oxygen levels once down in the low 50’s, he now has oxygen levels in the low to mid 90’s (out of 100). This is not a story to shame any person or family that lost their loved one(s) by saying all they needed to do in order to save them from this horrible virus was to get their “Care Bear Stare” on. Not hardly. I am sharing this story as a reminder that even in the face of oppressive circumstances, miracles still happen and that love and miracles go hand-in-hand.

The other story came from a friend who unexpectedly dropped by to leave Christmas gifts for me and my daughter. She came by only moments after I finished ugly crying with my friend who told me about her husband’s health. I apologized for looking like a boiling hot mess and shared with her how my pity party was interrupted by a love story. She told me she completely understood and went on to share with me about how her elderly father, who had been on the waiting list for a kidney transplant, finally had the life-saving surgery. She spoke about the impact the wait and the uncertainty had on their family’s wellbeing and how she is thankful that his body is accepting the new organ with no complications.

So instead of a toast, we cried to that.

Kecia, these stories are moving AND at the same time are kind of depressing. We know folks have had a helluva year. Sis, 2020 has royally sucked! BTW, I still can’t stand you for that post from earlier this year talking about 2020 “is an amazing year” and it is here to teach us and bring out the best in us! GTFOHWTS! You better have something good on the inspiration tip to make up for it…you know the whole peace, love, Soul Train vibe!

Redefine. Reclaim. Resist. 

What I am talking about is, yes, we need to dismantle oppression. Period (or “Periodt” depending on your spelling/pronunciation preference). If we take a critical eye to the stories I shared, we can have a whole discussion focused on oppression’s ugly hold given the disproportionate impact coronavirus is having in the Black, Brown and Indigenous communities, disparate care based on race and socioeconomic status, our overworked essential workers, the superwoman complex that calls for Women of Color to take care of sick loved ones as they are attempting to navigate their own wellness and wellbeing (oft times neglecting themselves in the process), etc. Oh yes, we can problematize everything I shared here today. We can also examine and learn from the good. Let me take that back…not just examine it, relish in it, just for a moment. 

No matter what hell was unleashed or elucidated in our lives this year (some of us were navigating some hefty life lessons prior to 2020), we can still reclaim what is innately ours…our humanity through love.

As we prepare/brace ourselves for 2021, I encourage you to explore reclamation resistance. I borrow this way of being from my Black and Indigenous family. Reclamation resistance is a way to regain ‘“psychic equilibrium’ created by invisibility and misrepresentation,” as academician A. Rafik Mohamed states in his book Black Men on the Blacktop: Basketball & the Politics of Race. Oppression and chaos diminishes us. However, what happens when we reclaim our full personhood through love? Personally, I have been engaging in my own reclamation by way of my 3-years (and counting) celibacy journey.

Sis, T.M.I.! T. M.I.! Your readers don’t need to know your business like that!!! Oh Lord! Thank God your mother doesn’t have internet access!

Look, I am an almost 50-years old divorcee, who had a child some 10 years ago…and it was NOT the Immaculate Conception. My ex-husband was not named Joseph and the closest I get to “Mary” is my mother’s middle name “Marie.” Plus, I am a poet and a die-hard Prince fan. Uh duh.

In a time when young Women of Color are asserting and fully embracing their sexuality (W.A.P. anyone?), I honor myself by also reclaiming my being through love. Loving ourselves, seeing ourselves, defining ourselves, and relishing in the power of our own being (and ownership of our “Yeses’ and “No’s”) are forms of resistance, freedom, and self-love that we can declare in a world that is actively trying to silence and erase us.

If you haven’t caught on yet, there will ALWAYS be a Black woman in the center of my posts.

Since this will be my last post for a few weeks, I want to leave you with 7 questions as you consider the possibilities to come in 2021:

  1. Whose definition of me do I hold as true and why?
  2. What ways of being have I adopted in order to make others feel comfortable and why?
  3. How, or in what ways have I used silence to dishonor myself or those I love, if at all?
  4. Outside of society’s definition of who they think I am, who am I, really?
  5. What do I love about myself? Like, really, REALLY love?
  6. Which parts of myself/my humanity do I need to reclaim?
  7. Given everything I have witnessed in 2020, how will I re-member (put together again) and recommit to loving myself, loved ones, and communities I hold dear?

Thank you all for being a part of my learning experience this past year! Please feel free to email me or visit my blog and post your comments. In addition, feel free to forward this post to anyone who may find it useful.

Peace, Love and Liberation!

Out of Mayhem, Miracles

In this season when those of us who seek to follow the teachings of Jesus are symbolically celebrating the miracle of his birth (Yes, I already know scholars have proven that Jesus was not born in December–don’t come for me), I would like to have you ponder with me about our receptivity to Miracles.

I always thought the duet by Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey was called “There Can be Miracles.” Oops. Source: YouTube.

Not simply acknowledging the miracles that exist in our respective lives, but how, or in what ways we are in tune with ourselves, our community, the God/universe in order to be vehicles for miracles to travel throughout the world around us.

Kecia, you might be making some folks uncomfortable with this talk about “Miracles.”  Hurry up and tell them what you mean before they unsubscribe (angry eye roll inserted here)! 

My Internal Critic is not only harsh, but she’s incredibly impatient. 

That is why I have learned to have words of affirmation at the ready to help me regain my emotional and spiritual equilibrium. Today, I share with you the wisdom of the miraculous and regal Cicely Tyson who celebrated her 96th birthday on December 19th (2 videos-click arrow on right to advance):

Ms. Cicely Tyson: 96-years young and still the epitome of elegance! Source: Netflix on Instagram – @Strongblacklead

In lieu of my usual reflection prompts, I will leave us with 7 descriptions of miracles that I selected from the book A Course in Miracles recorded by Drs. Helen Schuchman and Bill Thetford . Please note: There are far more than 7 descriptions/principles in the chapter, The Meaning of Miracles. I chose these 7 as they thematically resonated with me given our transformative learning journey together (Yes, you all are “journeying” with me):  

  1. Miracles occur naturally as expressions of love. The real miracle is the love that inspires them. In this sense everything that comes from love is a miracle (T-1.I.3) .
  1. Prayer is the medium of miracles. It is a means of communication of the created with the Creator. Through prayer love is received, and through miracles love is expressed (T-1.I.11).
  1. Miracles are natural signs of forgiveness. Through miracles you accept God’s forgiveness by extending it to others (T-1.I.21).
  1. Miracles honor you because you are lovable. They dispel illusions about yourself and perceive the light in you. They thus atone for your errors by freeing you from your nightmares. By releasing your mind from the imprisonment of your illusions, they restore your sanity (T-1.I.33).
  1. A major contribution of miracles is their strength in releasing you from your false sense of isolation, deprivation and lack (T-1.I.42).
  1. Miracles are healing because they supply a lack; they are performed by those who temporarily have more for those who temporarily have less (T-1.I.8).
  1. A miracle is never lost. It may touch many people you have not even met, and produce undreamed of changes in situations of which you are not even aware (T-1.I.45).

Even with 2020 being the longest 93-month known to humanity (Seriously, 2019 & 2020 have been the longest years of my life),  I still believe, have witnessed, and am grateful for miracles. We. Are. Miracles! Always remember: There is someone waiting to experience you in a miraculous way. Allow it.

May you and your loved ones, no matter how near or far they may be, bask in miracles this holiday season.

Peace, Love and Lberation,

Permission Granted

The past couple of weeks have been filled with moments of permission granting for me, which led up to a virtual event that I attended yesterday that  provided new insights on liberation. The event was called “The Permission to Reimagine Radical Love and Pleasure.” This was not a conversation that centered white supremacy, racism or the other forms of hate and destruction structured against those communities that have been marginalized. No. This conversation was focused on what it means to love ourselves and to re-imagine joy in all of its forms.  

At this time of doomscrolling (which happened to be the word of the day on Dictionary.com last Thursday), our minds aren’t allowed to venture off into places where we can imagine anything lifegiving–where we can laugh, where we can create. However, it is critical to our wellbeing and for the wellbeing of those around us to engage in those things that remind us of our humanity. I did exactly that the past few weeks:

Thanksgiving Makeover 2.0

For Thanksgiving, I broke from the traditional turkey dinner again this year and cooked the foods that reminded me of my heritage, childhood or times in my life when I experienced great joy. So instead of an oppression adjacent turkey (shout out to my Black Indigenous fam), I baked chicken and slow cooked gumbo and oxtail stew, macaroni and cheese, collard greens, baked cornbread and fresh sweet potatoes. 

I enjoyed that meal with my daughter. I found such pleasure watching her enjoy bowls of gumbo, her new favorite. 

I took great pleasure in prepping the food the day before. I played some of my favorite songs nice and loud while I chopped, danced and sang. It was fun watching my daughter and her friends bake cookies that Wednesday (Don’t worry. Each child had their own baking kit and all the other COVID regulations were in play. Plus, I had the kids take their germ filled cookies to their own home to be enjoyed by their respective families).

One of the statement tees from my online store. Reads: Your Misogynoir Will Not Destroy Me.”

Hearing Me, Learning Me

Something else that I gave myself permission to do was to tell my story. One of my clients asked to do an informational interview with me and I agreed. It was cathartic to share my journey as I am still making sense of it: The good, the bad, the ugly twists and turns into how I have come to do the work I am currently. I also provided a few words of advice based on reflections from my past.  

Making Space for Friends

Allowing myself ample time to have a conversation with a college friend over the phone was another form of pleasure I allowed space for last week. For those who know me, I’m not a huge fan of phone calls. I try to make them as quick as possible. because it always seems like when I am on the phone, I am discussing business, so I’m just trying to get to the facts. It has been a while since I just enjoyed a leisurely conversation with a friend just to catch up. This surprise call was definitely a Liberation call. A dear friend of mine came out to me after we’ve been friends for almost 30 years. I could sense this person’s relief in knowing that who they love did not change the foundation of our friendship at all. We continued to talk as if we were sitting in the lounge of our res hall, eating take-out food while watching the show “A Different World.” 

Makkie’s Liberation Day

Another place where liberation showed up was with my daughter and her schedule. For those of you who have children who are experiencing distance learning given this pandemic, you know that right now our kids are navigating schedules that are rigid and fluid at the same time. And while there is a lot of content being covered, it is a challenge to support our Young Learners in a sustained understanding of the content given the added stressors.  That said, my daughter was over it. Her entire week is scheduled from the time she wakes up to the time she goes to bed. And because of this she asked if she could have a day where she had full control. 

Sis, did you ACTUALLY say yes?!? Girl, how long was it before the fire department showed up?

No, Makkie did not set the apartment on fire. From start to finish, Saturday (and a portion of today) have been Liberation Day. I paused to think about what she was asking and it was such an innocent but profound request. So yesterday she enjoyed a virtual sleepover with her sisterfriends and ate junk food (can’t blame her…I already had it in the pantry). She did not make her bed, but she danced, sang, played her video games until the wee hours of the night. She was free to do and be whatever she wanted. She escaped the matrix for the entire day. 

Freedom. Liberation. The freedom to not have to play a part in what we did not create and the liberation to create what is uniquely ours: love, joy, peace, pleasure, hope.

If you are interested in engaging in this re-imagining process, here are a few guiding questions for us to contemplate this week and beyond:

  • When was the last time I experienced extreme joy? Who was present and who was not present?
  • What brings me pleasure? What foods, songs, smells, sensations, etc. re-ignite a sense of aliveness in me? 
  • Some of us have stories of doing the ugly cry a few times during this pandemic. Yet, when was the last time I ugly laughed: Where I snorted, coughed, drooled, fell over, gasped for breath, with tears rolling down my face because I couldn’t control myself? 
  • When was the last time I felt loved? What does love feel like, sound like, look like to me now given what I have experienced during this pandemic? 
  • What are some of the ways that I am now re-imagining how love is displayed amongst my friends, significant others, members of my family? 
  • Given my responses to the questions above, what do I want to re-assemble this week and the weeks to come that will center the beautiful parts of myself and support the same reassembly in those around me? 

This week, give yourself permission to re-imagine wellness and wellbeing. For some of us, that means giving ourselves and the people around us space to say “No.” For others, that may mean giving ourselves and those around us space to say “Yes.” Whatever your situation may be, know that your Creator, your ancestors, and those of us who love and support you encourage you to give yourself permission to do and be All. That. You. Are.  

Love, Justice and Liberation!

Onions And Resentment

I have been trying to stay away from consuming too much news post-election (are we “post-election” yet) and I am just proud that I know which day of the week it is!

Thursday, right?

CELEBRATION TIME

This past week I celebrated a major milestone as an author. My children’s book, “The Love of 10,000” is gaining sales outside of the U.S.! I was thrilled and so grateful to receive a message from a new friend and colleague informing me that she received a copy of the book in Brazil. We now have readers in the UK as well. In addition to the book being well received in other countries, we just published the 2nd edition of both the Spanish and English versions.

TIME FOR A MAKEOVER

Revamping one of the pages of the ancestors from my daughter’s lineage was important for this second edition.

At the time of our first publication, it was early in my separation from my estranged husband and my mind was all over the place. It had not registered that the image that our wonderful illustrator designed could be viewed as…let’s say “colonizer-esque” when the intention was to show my ancestry depicted by women and her father’s ancestry represented by men. Of course, intent versus impact being what it is, I wanted to make sure that the second edition sends an empowering message to young girls. I am including the new page here simply because I love it:

That’s nice, Sis. But what does any of this have to do with onions and resentment???

Nothing and that’s the beauty of my entire rant. Resentment cannot gain a foothold when you are living in your purpose, not abandoning yourself to please others, or racked with anxiety, anger, disgust and constant low grade fear.

So I suppose this is where I will pontificate about knowing a little something about the layers of resentment.

Scene from the animated film “Shrek.” Donkey is right…who doesn’t like parfait?!?

RESENTMENT HAS LAYERS, TOO

In Dan Mager’s article 8 Strategies to Work Through Anger and Resentment, Resentment is defined as “negative feelings, basically ill will, toward someone or something that emanates from the past. Resentment is the re-experiencing of past injustices — real or perceived — and the old feelings of anger connected to them.” We can feel resentment towards our partners, family members, coworkers/supervisors/organizations, institutions and their representatives, other racial/cultural groups…and ourselves. The latter is what I feel complicates resentment because it is the dirty little secret that we do not discuss. It is easy to focus on the other people and the unfair treatment they are subjecting us to or have subjected us to in the past. What I see as a hurdle (at least it has been for me) is acknowledging my part in the unfair experiences in the first place.

MY STORY

My marriage was built on a foundation of resentment that we never healed. We tried to address it as best as two traumatized social justice activists could given the tools, emotional bandwidth and destructive tendencies we both carried/carry. Our resentment also brought company: familial obligations, financial woes, competing societal gender norms & responsibilities and yes…race. And all of this was before we even got married!

The layers were intricately wound around us and strangled any compassion, vulnerability and love out of our relationship. My “cousin” on my dad’s side (hey, history is complicated), Brené Brown talks about another phenomenon that was very common to us, foreboding joy:

Oprah interviewing Brené on Super Soul Sunday back in 2013.

In relationships where resentment is a constant, destruction is commonplace. You may be familiar with the song It Takes Two by Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock (there was an 80’s song too that I can’t remember the artist…)? Well, I know for certain that it takes two parties to keep resentment in tact.

IT’S THE HEALING FOR ME

As I am actively making sense of and working through the layers of resentment that kept me from living my truth and acknowledging that of my ex, I have been reflecting and journaling on the following questions (hopefully these questions will be useful to you if you are dealing with resentment in your relationships or your organizations):

  • What was the injustice/s or the grievance/s that occurred and to whom?
  • When did the resentment/s begin? Who started it…and who really started it?
  • What insecurities helped keep the resentment alive in me and the other party?
  • Would I still see the issue the same way if the roles were reverse? Why or why not?
  • If I could go back to the very first offense, what would I say now knowing all that I know from my experiences?
  • Moving forward, how do I plan on addressing issues of distrust (a lack of trust based upon experience) so that resentment cannot take root?
  • How and what am I putting into practice so that I communicate anger or injustice in a way that I hear myself first, then can be heard by others?
  • What lessons would I want my daughter to learn in order for her to live a life free of resentment?

Whew Lord! Folx, this is a BIG one for me!

I would love to hear from you. Feel free to add your comments below or email me your thoughts/comments/questions. Also, please feel free to share this post with anyone who may find it useful.

Love, Justice and Liberation!

Breathe Again

President-elect Joe Biden, his wife Jill Biden, and members of the Biden family, along with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, her husband Doug Emhoff stand on stage Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

WE MADE HISTORY!!!

Presenting: Madam Vice President-elect, Kamala D. Harris and President-elect Joseph R. Biden! Kamala Harris is the first Black, Indian-American and female person to EVER to be elected VP. Joe Biden is the first presidential candidate to receive more than 74 million votes. He is also the oldest president-elect at the age of 77.

It is evident that not everyone is celebrating this historic win. For some in our country (and abroad) this leadership shift is traumatic, painful and possibly met with suspicion. I appreciate what my cousin (in my head) Dave Chappelle said during his monologue last night on Saturday Night Live about “being a humble winner.”  Dave also painted a picture of what white folk, police officers and those who may feel disenfranchised by the election results may be dealing with and provided some advice in a way that only Dave Chappelle can get away with:

“…Here’s the difference between me and you: You guys hate each other for that [feelings of anguish, pain, like no one cares, ingratitude, etc.] , and I don’t hate anybody; I just hate that feeling. That’s what I fight through. That’s what I suggest you fight through. You got to find a way to live your life. You got to find a way to forgive each other. You got to find a way to find joy in your existence in spite of that feeling, and if you can’t do that…[a special Dave Chappelle invitation for some “lessons.” Said another way, you need to learn from Black Folk how to survive and thrive in the face of oppression].”

There is just so much that can be said about the 2020 election cycle…I am not going to do that now. We have experienced enough. Instead, I am going to share my reflections that I posted yesterday on Instagram. As usual, I have about 5000 questions for us to ponder as we think about how to move forward. Take some time with the questions and I welcome you to share other reflective prompts with me that you feel might help us to begin to address the external and internal barriers to liberation.

BTW, if you happen to find my musings useful or just plain witty, feel free to forward this email accordingly!

Here’s to Love, Justice and Liberation!

Love, tho.

Just 4 days before Election Day. This image is my last reminder/plea to you to vote [Image reads: VOTE! We Died for This]. Please be safe in all the ways you must enact safety during this election season.

Given everything going on in our world, I thought I would make a slight departure in this week’s post. I want to examine some of the positive things that still exist in our COVID-world. So today, I am going to examine Love.

How are you going to go from telling people to be safe during an election that is riddled with white supremacist, zenophobic, hate-filled rhetoric AND practices, to wanting to talk about Love, Sis? HOW?!?

I am going to focus on Love because as a Poet, it is a bonafide job requirement. So sit back on this Halloween-eve, pause from all your Zoom-ing and explore with me.


A former student and a dear friend of mine got married last Saturday. She and her partner have been together for 18 years and have seen each other through countless life experiences, including surviving breast cancer. She called me the Friday before her wedding as she was rounding the corner into Bridezilla-mode.  She hadn’t quite gotten there yet, but you could hear in her voice that if pressures continued to mount, we would have a full on Bridezilla moment on our hands.

I was glad she called me when she did. I was in a really good place in my mindspirit because I just had a great call with one of my clients only moments prior. In addition, I was still celebrating my talk for the University of San Diego’s virtual Homecoming event. The panel discussion was entitled, “Living Beyond the Limits: Stories of Success and Opportunities.”

“Beyond the Limits: Stories of Success & Opportunity.” Video courtesy of the University of San Diego’s Office of Alumni Relations. The 3rd speaker is my favorite!

All four panelists told stories of not only resilience, but also times when we have had to stand against conventional ways of operating to make change for the better in our own lives and in the lives of those around us. This way of rejecting old societal scripts of relationships and building anew was also the case for my dear friend who was preparing for her wedding. 

During our call, I asked her to talk about what works well in her relationship as a way to have her refocus her energy away from the wedding dress issue she was attempting to fix (trying to solve any problem when you are highly frustrated is rarely optimal). Something my friend said made me very curious. She began reflecting on a number of experiences and said that her relationship with her partner has never been hard. She mentioned how she would often hear those around her say that relationships are hard/hard work. She pushed back on that idea and said that her relationship with her mate has been one of the least challenging areas in her life.  She began to talk about who he was to her, how he was with her and how they worked as a couple. Then she dropped this gem on me  “Kecia, he answers the call I never have to make.”  

“You said what now?” was the thought that ran through my head when she said that statement. Instead of asking the question in that way, I asked her to give me  an example of what that statement looked like in their relationship. She told me a beautiful story about how the words she chose to describe her relationship was a literal description.

She told me about a time when she was battling cancer and had grown violently ill as she was driving alone during a trip for work and had to be rushed to the hospital.A time when she was battling the cancer in her body and had grown violently ill as she was driving alone during a trip for work and had to be rushed to the hospital. Without anyone notifying her partner or the use of cell phone tracking, he met her at the hospital because “he felt something wasn’t right, he knew where I was heading, he knew what I was dealing with and when he didn’t hear from me he got worried. The doctors came to me and said, ‘Miss, there is a man here to see you.’’’ At that point she turned to find it was her partner! Wow! Talk about a bond!

While I could tell she had mentally and spiritually gone back to that moment when he showed up at the hospital for her without her having to call him,  I told her to step away from her wedding dress and to sit in gratitude for what they had. I told her that I appreciated what she shared about how relationships don’t have to be hard because life already was challenging enough. Even when you are in a good place in your life, have a partner where nurturing each others wellbeing is a thing, are in the right role in your life and you’re doing what feeds your soul, challenges still occur. Yet your energy and ways of coping are very different when your internal world is in alignment. Unfortunately, some of us have been encouraged by well-meaning (and not so well-meaning) people in our lives to live completely out of alignment and create Trauma Bonds that impersonate Love.    

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#truelove vs #trauma

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Wait! That’s what you’re supposed to do as an adult: Work hard, have hard relationships, handle hard problems and eat hard food (ok that last one is optional, but you understand where I am going here). Said another way, we have resigned to the societal and generational toxicity that work, relationships, life in general is supposed to be traumatic and oppressive. 

As we are in the process of re-imagining and redesigning our society, and we are blessed to have a generation around us that is not only questioning EV-ERY-THING, they are also working towards dismantling structures that are antiquated, destructive and downright unhealthy; I would love for you to ponder with me about the messages we have received about Love and Happiness (Not the Al Green song, though). 

I say this often and will continue to do so; I am in no way shape or form discounting the very real forms of oppression that exist around and within us. In spite and despite all of the hate, and man-made barriers to health, wealth and liberation, what would happen if we were committed to re-imagining everything…especially our loving relationships with others?

Why must suffering be the litmus test to so many parts of our lives? I know from my own religious upbringing in Christianity, that Jesus’ suffering on the cross is a critical part of our doctrine. Thankfully, I have a mother who could rival any religious scholar and she often points out that most people only focus on the suffering that occurred on our behalf. However, there was a point where the suffering ended and the REAL miracle, what Christians call The Resurrection–the transformation that came after the suffering was done and the Promise was fulfilled. 

Do you feel like you are fulfilling your promise in your life and in your relationships? Here are a few more questions for us to consider as we head into the weekend:

  • (Since tomorrow is Halloween) What, if anything, scares me about Love?
  • What are some of the trauma scripts that I have been taught related to Love?
  • Am I able to identify when I am acting from trauma that is masking as Love? 
  • How or in what ways am I committed to disrupting and dismantling trauma bonds in myself and/or supporting that work in others around me?
  • Have I found ways to show genuine love at work, at home and in my community during 2020? 
  • What am I committed to doing in 2021 to bring love more fully into my interactions with myself and others?

This lesson is a BIG one for me and one I am still working through, especially as a mother who wants her daughter to live a far more liberated life filled with love and far less trauma connected to it. I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas. Feel free to comment on this post or email me and tell me your thoughts about this Love thang.

Congratulations, Tiffany! BTW, thank you for letting me help you create a playlist for your special day! I love you and wish you and your beloved a love so powerful that its force rivals any waterfall (inside joke). 

Love, Justice & Liberation

Justice First

Recapping everything that has occurred since my last post seems futile. It almost feels as if the character Thanos from the Avengers is snapping his fingers, however his fingers are wet so he just keeps snapping because he’s not getting the full effect. We’re not seeing a loss of half of humanity. Yet, with every inaudible snap there is more loss and more injustice to dismantle. 

Supreme Court Justice and voice for justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, died on September 18th. Five days later, Attorney General Daniel Cameron in Louisville, Kentucky delivered another blow to justice: Not one of the 3 officers responsible for the death of Breonna Taylor would be charged with her murder. Breonnna Taylor was a First Responder who was asleep in her home when officers tore through her home shooting, looking for someone they already had in custody. One officer was indicted on first-degree wanton endangerment charges; he was accused of blindly firing shots that went through Breonna Taylor’s home and penetrated the walls of a neighbor’s apartment.

If the walls could talk, they would say Breonna deserves justice. They would manage just fine with some stucco and a good paint job.

Devastation, heartbreak, hopelessness and betrayal encapsulate only a few of the feelings of grief expressed as Daniel Cameron, a Black man by birth, regurgitated the decision for the world to hear. Calls for his resignation and cancellation were swift, given his affiliation with those who have a proven record of activating injustice against the Black community specifically and communities of color in general. Personally, I was grappling with how I was going to explain this decision to my 10-year old daughter who had just returned home from being with her father on the East Coast for a month. In a world that has been abundantly clear what “they” think about us (that Black Lives do not Matter and are detested, defiled and are expendable); I, like so many grown-ups are trying to turn the Truth Narrative volume up even louder in order to drown out all that hate noise. Black Lives Matter. They always have and they always will.

Something else I was wrestling with is how I too have unintentionally caused harm to my own community in the form of seeking solidarity as a form of justice. Or working to have Black Folx included in organizations and institutions that I know full well are so toxic that you can feel your humanity draining from you when you step through the door. No, I have never done a D. Cameron. However, I have inadvertently done damage.

Sis, you actually gon’ put that in writing for people to read? Are you trying not to work again or…?

I have always intended for my blog to be about love and liberation. Part of that goal is realized by excavating how and what we learn, challenging unhealthy thoughts and actions, while leading ourselves and others out of oppression and into liberation, both personally and professionally. You know, the stuff our Ancestors fought and died for and want for their descendants. So yes, this requires me being honest with you AFTER I have been honest with myself, because we know that substantive healing happens in community with others. 

So yeah, I messed up during what I will call my “Emergence from the Sunken Place:” 1 Part leaving a toxic relationship and 1 Part re-learning that Justice, true Justice is the foundation of DEI work.

Justice first.

Once, I thought I was being useful by trying to help bring Black and Brown students to work together in solidarity to combat White Supremacist Delusions (see @sonyareneetaylor on IG for her brilliant views on W.S.D.). I was a part of solidarity work during my time at USD where we conducted these educative, cathartic and life changing experiences with a diverse group of student leaders called Human Relations Workshops (HRWs). They were dope! Surely bringing these students leaders together after a botched student election to re-imagine leadership and liberation on this campus would be just what the institution needed, right? 

Crash and burn. I learned that before solidarity can ever be truly realized, there must be…

Justice first.

The 2nd time came when I was asked to support a department-wide conversation examining the impact of Anti-Black racism perpetuated by the department and the institution at-large. Due to my strong familiarity with the institution (my way of qualifying that I intimately know the pain caused to Black minds, bodies and spirits by said institution), I was slow to re-injure Black community members on that campus by talking with them first about their pain. “I know their pain and I know it is valid. Let’s get to work so we can make sure they are heard and give the organization their marching orders. The department needs to get busy in order to transform the experiences of Black community members, which will also make a better living/learning/working experience for everyone else.”  

Yes, I said that *bleep* out loud.

Add to my decision to not talk with members of the Black community being a single mom and being strapped for time, you can imagine the reception during the community discussion. 

Sidebar: Something I tell all of my emerging and seasoned leaders to make time for are Listening Tours. “Listening tours are not about you” I say. “They are all about you making space for those who have been voiceless, they must be heard and seen.” Listening, seeing, and loving on others is a form of…

Justice first.

Yes you guessed it, that discussion was cringe. Luckily, the Associate I had working with me was so amazing that she was able to create a brave space for the community that was in real pain, while I was able to observe the leadership to provide next steps to lead the department into the new millennium.

Breonna, your life and dreams were stolen from you. You would have been an amazing nurse, Sis. We will continue to fight for what was rightfully yours. #JusticeforBreonnaTaylor #JusticeFirst. | Image: Family of Breonna Taylor, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Back in my early 30’s, I remember being reprimanded for providing too much support to Black students on a university campus (I kid you not) and not providing enough support to our Asian/Asian American students. My supervisor at the time was someone who identified as a woman of Asian/Pacific Islander heritage. She led an office that was designed to support students from various cultural backgrounds. I recall a particularly contentious meeting where she informed me that there were “places for people like me” whose primary focus was supporting Black students.

“Word?” I thought. “There’s a place for people like you who have a problem with people like me. It is very, very, VERY hot there. Let me help you pack a sack lunch for the ride.”

I eventually quit that job.

We all have our biases. And, if our biases get in the way of justice for those who experience the most extreme forms of injustice, then we have to rethink our relationship to social justice, possibly time for a new line of work. As The Notorious B.I.G. astutely pointed out “UPS is hiring.” Go do that; don’t call yourself a social justice activist if you are not about…

Justice first.

To be clear, my goal in this post is not to try and garner sympathy. I have sown enough good seed in my community during the past 3+ decades that I haven’t been cancelled. Maybe I was on a “Cultural Time Out.” Nonetheless, my goal is to have you, the reader, think critically and honestly about ways that you may have unintentionally and/or intentionally worked against justice: Justice within your own family, community, places of worship, work environments, the gas station…wherever. A few questions you may consider asking yourself:

  • Do I know what justice is for myself? My community? Those communities different than my own?
  • Do I know what injustice looks like for the various communities around me?
  • What is hindering me from being able to actively hear, understand, appreciate and bridge the Justice Gap for those who may not be empowered or privileged in areas where I have power and privilege?
  • What stories have I been taught about what might happen if a particular group receives justice?
  • Am I doing true justice work, or am I engaging in covert-oppression exercises for those who have historically been in power?
  • If I am really about that Justice Life, am I learning and doing more to support the work that needs to be done?

One of my favorite quotes by Dr. Cornel West (that I often transpose) is “Justice is what love looks like in public.” Justice is still calling out too many names of loved ones whose lives have been taken, unjustly. #JusticeforBreonnaTaylor #JusticeforGeorgeFloyd #JusticeforTooManytoName #JusticeforReal #JusticeFirst.

Voting Resources: 

  • Check your state and local election sites for registration deadlines and voting details. 
  • There are a number of states that offer ballot tracking technology

The Journey Back to Me

First, giving honor to God and all of the Ancestors of years past and those who have recently made the journey home (Civil Rights Activist and U.S. Representative John Robert Lewis and Minister C. T. Vivian).

I am going to keep this post nice and short (ha!) because today’s post is actually a visual poem. The piece chronicles my experience with Impostor Syndrome after the death of my sister in 2002, which had me gravitate to toxic environments and relationships (both personal and professional).

Shout out to Shawndra Cox-Diaz, Owner of Out of Proportion Studios and Simplicitee Complex for putting some sauce on this video. Black Women Business Owners…we kinda stick together.

For those who are unfamiliar with Impostor Syndrome, it is a psychological phenomenon where you feel like you are a fraud and that anything that you have accomplished is due to luck. I personally view Impostor Syndrome as a form of internalized oppression that is a direct byproduct of the systems of oppression that exist in society.

Since I had the nerve to be speaking on the topic of “Living a Limitless Life During a Time of Extreme Limitations” during a virtual group meeting last week, I thought it was important (Read: Critical) for me to talk about my internal limiting thoughts and ways of being. I also have 6 Tips that are helping me rally back from almost 20 years of living a life that was damaging me mentally, spiritually and physically:

6 PERSONAL LESSONS ON LIVING OUT MY LIBERATION/LIVING A LIMITLESS LIFE

1. Examine limiting narratives (Society, Community, Family, Self).

2. [Do Not] “Fake it ‘’til you make it!” Figure out how to make it!

3. End “Entanglements” with people pleasing (if you are so entangled).

4. Surround yourself with Limit Pushers.

5. Define and acknowledge Liberation in your life daily.

6. Remember your connection to Greater.

I am going to write a post later this week that provides more detail for each of these six points. For now, I would just like to share a bit of my journey with you.

I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences as you continue to do what you can to live a Limitless Life (Not to be confused with Sheila E.’s Glamorous Life) during these unprecedented times.

Peace & Blessings,

Lies Told. Lies We Uphold.

We have a complicated relationship with the truth. Whether it is speaking our truth, believing the truth, or telling the truth, something that should be the norm just is not. It has been force fed to us for centuries that it is more advantageous for us to lie and uphold lies that destroy us than to fight against them. We’re not buying the bs anymore. Tear down the lies because they have choked the life out of us for far too damn long! Rest in Power: Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd. ~KCB journal entry

I have been putting off writing this post for weeks now. Technically, I began writing this post before my Mother’s Day post. However, like so many other people, my heart has been beyond heavy with all of the racial injustice, murders/lynchings of Black Women and Men and the stoking of hatred we are seeing politically (Please vote on November 3rd)

 In two words: I’m angry. In four words: I’m afraid and angry. Psychologically, I am using my anger as fuel in order to function beyond my fear.

I had a whole set up for this post on Lies. There’s this cute vignette I had about my daughter, Christmas, and the Elf on the Shelf. A quick aside: Our elf is still here freeloading…and it’s June. One day there will be a proper time to talk about the cycle of  lying -> telling the truth -> lying -> final truth.  That story will be told at another time.

No, today I simply implore you to look at the lies told, the lies we uphold, and examine the ways that we have intentionally and unintentionally caused harm. I will serve as a model for the work I’m recommending:

Black Community

I want to  acknowledge the pain I have caused within my own community as I dwelt in the Sunken Place of the Most Toxic. Being married to a white man, no matter how “aware” and freedom fighting his views, still sent a message of self-loathing and cultural betrayal.  In addition, I made major missteps when trying to fight for us because I was unable to fight for myself (and was “crazier than a Betsy Bug” as we say in my family). Now that I am free (Honey,  I’m free), I am very clear about who I am and what the Creator is requiring of me during this time of Revival. 

First Nations People/Muscogee Community

You are family, too. I see my great-great grandmother’s BIA number and wonder what she would say about everything we are seeing now. I believe she would say that Black Lives Mattered before we were brought here in chains. 

I thank you for seeing and speaking out against the injustices perpetrated against Black and Brown bodies, especially given the historical scars of White Supremacy on Indigenous Peoples. The lies you endured that set the stage for the genocide of the First Keepers of this land need to be addressed in a more substantial way than a few casinos here and there. Hopefully, many of you will live to see that change come.

People of Color

You have been lied to as well. That is the calculation of systemic racism, its sleight of hand moves quickly and it can be hard to recognize when People of Color use the lenses of the oppressor on one another. We uphold the lies without even questioning them (Colorism being one of the lies we have been told and continue to uphold). We need each other. Our kids need a better world. We have to work together in dismantling the lies AND building new structures for the generations to come.

Lizzo said what she said.

White Adults

[Deep sigh] I have insider knowledge that White Supremacy is spread by small lies that uphold the larger structural lie: White skin makes you better than everyone on this planet. Which is simply not true and you know it. You needn’t go any further than your own families to see that some of your own family members did not get the memo about being supreme beings. Part of the issue is the Culture of Silence that exists. “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” has been a part of white family systems long before the military revamped the meaning to address (not address?) sexual orientation within their ranks.

Look. Tell the truth. Tell the whole truth and ask God to help you, not your Black colleagues or that one kinda-sorta Black friend that seems to be brought up when racism is mentioned. If you can figure out how to use ever-changing technology, I want to assume your commitment to lifelong learning as an adult has not completely disappeared. 

In essence, I’m telling you that you cannot call Tyrone to ask him how to dismantle racism. He has turned off his phone and so have I.

. . .

I could go on, but I will not. I want to encourage each of us to do whatever is necessary to dismantle what is killing all of us, figuratively and literally. Let’s continue to ask ourselves:

  • What are the lies I tell (inadvertently or as the current system mandates) and who do they benefit? Who do they harm/destroy?
  • How or in what ways am I upholding the lies that reinforce White Supremacy, White Privilege and Anti-Blackness?
  • What does being an “Anti-Racist” mean in my world and…what will it cost me to become an anti-racist?
  • What resources will I need to engage and who will hold me accountable during my anti-racist skill development?
  • What will I do to sustain myself when I meet opposition?

Rest up. We have a lot of work to do.