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!