Reflections from Episode 13: Love and Liberation Beyond the Vortex

I hope my post finds you and your loved ones healthy and safe.

Last week had many emotional moving parts for us to feel and learn from as we move forward on our love, liberation and thriving journey. Here are my reflections along with my beloved 7 Questions (and by “beloved” I mean loved by me). Please be aware that all of the headings today are a nod to songs by the late great artist Prince Rogers Nelson (June 7, 1958 – April 21, 2016):


Colonized Mind

I believe it was Prince who supposedly said that “Hate is an upset love.” If that is true, we are surely seeing an inordinate amount of “upset love” being displayed around us. As I contemplate what is going on nationally and internationally; I am reflecting on how acts of hate and abuse hit closer to home. While using this time of hyper-awareness of State violence against my community and other oppressed communities, I am also actively interrogating the abuser within. I know I/we did not start out this way. Neither did the people I love, both past and presently. 

Abuse is about power, especially for those who have felt powerless in some area(s) of their life. Whether we are talking about family and community members who are causing harm, or power craving colleagues in the workplace. When we are taught/indoctrinated in the rhetoric of exclusion and dehumanization (via white supremacy) and told the only way to have power is to steal, destroy, and exact harm on those we feel hold less power and “matter less” than we do; we end up with a growing list of dead Black people under the age of 50. If we step out of the convenience of othering, the growing list of murdered Black Women, Femmes, Men, Children, Gender Non-Binary, Gender Non-Conforming and Trans Folx at the hands of police officers would have us all screaming in horror and fighting for change, not just a subset of us.

Something in the Water (Does Not Compute)

As I have been engaged in selfwork related to Dr. Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz’s work Archaeology of the Self, I have been actively interrogating the abused and abuser in me. Whether unpacking some of the generational messages from well-intentioned, loving, disenfranchised, oppressed loved ones in my family (see the coexistence of love and destruction?) or “Know your place messages” within the workplace. Along the same lines as the previous messages are degrading messages in the form of emotional abuse from lovers who see themselves as powerless in a world that hate them for any of the identities they hold/claim. I am in a place of heightened awareness that those messages and behaviors have been well-recorded and live in my mind and body. My work, and I choose to accept it, is to examine and exorcize these ways of thinking and acting to disrupt the systems of white violence in my life and in the lives of those I love.

Fury

Those who know me well, know that I am a big fan of DC/Marvel movies. However, what those same folx don’t know is that I spend the entire movie identifying with both the heroes and villains (that’s what happens when you have a degree in Psychology). One of my favorite characters in The Avenger films is the Hulk (She-Hulk is supposed to be coming out on Disney+! Wait for it!). 

One of my favorite scenes that I identified with right away was in The Avengers when Captain America turned to Dr. Bruce Banner/Hulk out of desperation for help in order to fight off the ugliness that surrounded them and quickly coming towards them. You hear Captain say “Dr. Banner, now might be a really good time for you to get angry.”  To which Dr. Banner replies, “That’s my secret Captain, I’m always angry.” Then, in cinematic brilliance, he transforms instantaneously into the Hulk:

TRIGGER WARNING: VIOLENT CONTENT. View Timestamp 1:10-2:03 only.

As epic as this scene is, there is a painful familiarity I have as it is indicative of my experience as a Black woman. 

Black Sweat

As a Black woman existing in a number of intersecting identities I, like my green friend the Hulk, am always angry. What is even more infuriating is when people who do not share my identities try to rob me of the very natural emotion of anger by calling me angry, as if to question the legitimacy of my anger (or my mental wellbeing or both). Because of my past propensity for people-pleasing, I would lie (knowing good and well I was lying) and say I was not angry to put them at ease. Meanwhile, my inner Hulk was serving me internal body blows.

So, here it is. I am angry. I am pissed off to the highest levels of pisstivity. 

https://www.instagram.com/p/CN6clpPjRle/?igshid=1c8i6sbt1x5i6

I am enraged by social injustice we have collectively experienced, as well as those intimate experiences that have caused and taught me to harm. I am particularly aware of this latter point as I am transforming my relationship with my daughter. Since my ex-husband and I have not quite learned how to be “People” to one another, becoming “Co-Parents” is taking a bit more time. It’s almost like we are operating in similar forms of destruction, but in different franchises: He is Lex Luthor and I am operating more like Erik Killmonger. We have realized once again that the anger, resentment, and toxicity we exact on each other is having a direct effect on the one person that matters the most to us: Our daughter. This realization has forced us to stop everything in the midst of all the anger we both feel about the world around us and the world we created together.

I Feel For You 

As I reflect on the world I am creating for myself and my daughter, I am having to be compassionately honest versus brutally honest (there’s enough brutality in this world) about ways my “Harm Training” has/is showing up. While listening to my sisterfriend, Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz talk in our upcoming More Than Metaphors episode “Love & Liberation Beyond the Vortex,” I recall what she says about how to liberate ourselves from the ways of pain and trauma we have been taught:

Clip from the upcoming More Than Metaphors Ep. 13: “Love & Liberation Beyond the Vortex” with Dr. Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz

The Question of You

As I continue my critical self-reflection and engaging in new practices towards being a more conscious and compassionate parent to a Black/Biracial Girl, while dislodging all of the destructive messages and behaviors hurled at us Black/Brown Women and Girls, AND simultaneously embracing my rage around the murder of a Black Girl: Ma’Khia Bryant, 16 #sayhername; my selfwork consists of these 7 Questions (and many more):

7 QUESTIONS

  1. What historic and/or personal traumas am I carrying and/or find myself passing on to my daughter or other Black Women/ Women of Color in my life?
  2. In addition to therapy, what nurturing practices can I engage in to interrupt the passing on of historic and/or personal trauma to my daughter or other Black Women/ Women of Color in my life?
  3. How or in what ways can I understand, value and embrace my anger, while harnessing that angry energy towards constructive work?
  4. How will I disrupt and dismantle internalized white supremacist notions in myself and in those I care about, with a focus on addressing misogynoir in the Men of Color I love in my life?
  5. What are some of the cultural scripts I need to revise and act out differently that better fit with the Love and Liberation I crave to embody for myself, my daughter, and my work?
  6. How will I go about developing boundaries that are compassion-centered vs. boundaries rooted from a “This is what you’re not gonna do” stance, which is born from a place of self-preservation stemming from fear of a loss of self?
  7. How will I utilize the collective wisdom, imagination, power and spirituality of my ancestors to focus my gaze and actions towards what Robin D.G. Kelley writes about in Freedom Dreams into my home, work, community, and in the world (both the external and my internal world)?

While we are fighting for substantive change in the world, we cannot forget what I am constantly saying to myself and people around me: Justice starts at home. Let’s continue creating/re-creating environments where we feel loved, liberated and where we can continue to thrive. Looking forward to continuing to walk this road together!

In Solidarity,

P.s. #justiceforMakhiaBryant #sayhername #untiljusticejustis

Daunte Wright and Adam Toledo should be alive today.

Image Credit: APNews and Ben Crump Law, PLLC. 

20 year-old Daunte Wright and his son, Daunte Jr. Daunte Wright, Sr. was killed by an officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 

Image credit: Elizabeth Toledo, mother of Adam Toledo, age 13. Adam was killed by an officer in Chicago, Illinois.

Daunte Wright and Adam Toledo should be alive today. They are not. Their lives were taken from them by those who are supposed to “protect and serve” the communities for which they are paid to serve. 

For my international readers/listeners, last week was another week of trying to balance trauma with hope here in the U.S. As an educator, it is growing more difficult to shore up an inspirational message for our next generation leaders.

However, I am fortunate that I have a community of leaders to engage in these conversations who can provide empowering words in those times when my motivational reserves are low. Feel free to watch or listen to the following episodes of the “More Than Metaphors” podcast to start your week off on a good note:

More Than Metaphors Episode 12 Part 1: Politics, Hip Hop and Re-Membering Home 

Episode 12 Part 1: Politics, Hip Hop and Re-Membering Home 

Sociologist, Author and Higher Education Leader, Dr. A. Rafik Mohamed reflects on the intersections of storytelling and politics in remembering (recalling) his journey from D.C. to California, while re-membering (putting together again) a feeling of home. He and Dr. Kecia also square off on a hip hop trivia challenge to (possibly) end their 20+ year East Coast/West Coast beef [Timestamp: 53:45-1:04]! P.s. Ms. Lauryn Hill has more than one album, Dr. Mohamed!!!

Rafik’s More Than Metaphors Playlist contributions: 

King of Rock © 1985 Run DMC

Can’t Truss It © 1991 Public Enemy 

Ain’t No Future in Yo’ Frontin’ © 1991 MC Breed


More Than Metaphors Episode 11 – Part 1: Being All the Things: Beyond Expectations and “Instagram Ash”

Episode 11 – Part 1: Being All the Things: Beyond Expectations and “Instagram Ash”

This is the first part of a conversation with one of the co-hosts of the “The Adjacent Self” podcast and Principal of Kendra Dorlenda Coaching & Consulting. Kendra Stewart reflects on her evolution into supporting the personal development of others. She also talks about the importance of re-connecting to the world around us while keeping “Instagram Ash” at bay.

Are you “Instagram Ashy?” Listen to this episode and find out!

Kendra’s More Than Metaphors Playlist contribution: Alive by Sia

More Than Metaphors Episode 10 – A Poetic Love “After the Snap”

Episode 10 – A Poetic Love “After the Snap”

Our very first More than Metaphors interview is with Author, Poet and Inglewood’s Mahogany Son, Kian A. Furnace and his amazing wife, ReShockie Furnace! This lively and thought-provoking conversation looks at what and how we can learn to love ourselves and others after experiencing divorce. 

Kian and ReShockie share their truths (and lots of laughter) as they discuss how they went about their healing process and eventually found their way back to each other. They also share their musical choices for the brand new More Than Metaphors Playlist.

Kian and ReShockie’s More Than Metaphors Playlist contributions:

– Sunkissed Child by D Smoke ft. Jill Scott ©2020 D Smoke

– Don’t Let Me be Misunderstood ©1964 Nina Simone

– Fall In Live  (Your Funeral) ©2010 Erykah Badu

– Mark on Me © 2014 Eric Roberson

Feel free to enjoy the playlist on Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal. Search for: More Than Metaphors: The Playlist. 

You can also watch these interviews on YouTube

Even in these times when it feels a bit harder to hold on to hope, let’s work to cling onto our belief in something greater than what we see.

I am sending you all love and light as you continue to to learn, thrive and move towards liberation.

In Solidarity,

Cherish the Days: My Reflections From “A Poetic Love After the Snap” and More

Welcome back, Everyone!

I pray you and your loved ones are healthy and safe. As we begin to re-engage into our pre-pandemic ways of being; I hope that each of you are continuing to be vigilante about your health as well as the health of those around you.

My plan is for this post to be brief given what I really want to share with you lives in this week’s episode of More Than Metaphors. So, let’s jump right into it:

As we move closer to the middle of April, I find myself in as space of contemplative gratitude. You see, for some, April 15th may be filled with dread. Others are excitedly preparing for their tax refund. I have a very different view of this time of year because I happen to be born on April 15th. There was a time when I would treat my birthday as if it were a national holiday. However, given the events of the last two years (and well beyond), I am viewing another year of life differently.

As I prepare to turn 48 years old (how in the hell did that happen so quickly?), it has become more important for me to think about how, or in what ways I am honoring those who I have lost with the life I have been given. Kind of a heavy question, but one that sits with me as we mourn the death of yet another artist, Earl Simmons known by his stage name, DMX.

Rest in Love, Mr. Simmons.

How are celebrating birthdays, the death of DMX and an episode of this week’s podcast entitled “A Poetic Love After the Snap” connected? I look to the words of Mr. Simmons’ family for the answer “He loved his family with all of his heart, and we cherish the times we spent with him.”

Love and cherish. Because it could all change in a snap.

Sade Adu said it best: Cherish the Day.

Who are the people, places, things and circumstances that make you feel loved and cherished and you, in kind, love and cherish them back? This was one of the questions that was answered by my first podcast guests, Kian and ReShockie Furnace: Two divorcees that decided to give love a chance and have created a union based on friendship, love, mutual respect and a deep faith in their Creator.

Are you sharing your gifts out loud in the world where our next generation leaders can build, borrow and best-up what you have created? DMX did. If you have too, hats off to you! If you have not, what are you waiting for?

And as for the gift of another year, day, or moment of life; how are you honoring those you have loved and who continue to love you beyond this world? That is the question that I am reflecting and acting out in a far more intentional way.

I hope that you are continuing to learn how  to love and cherish your days a bit differently, while continuing to learn, thrive and move towards liberation.

In Solidarity,