Poem: Love’s Shores

First, I would like to send love to all of the readers in the United States, India, Pakistan, Canada, Ecuador, Romania, Russia, Croatia, Sweden and Denmark, who read the poem moments after it was published!

I was inspired to write this poem after receiving my inspirational Bible verse of the day. I use these verses to right set my day and provide a positive word when everything else we hear is the direct antithesis of positive.

For those of you who do not read the Bible or are unfamiliar with the “Love Chapter” I Corinthians 13, please find verses 4-7 form the New Living Translation for your reference:

“Love is patient and kind, not jealous or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no records of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice, but rejoices whenever the truth wins out…Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”

I Corinthians 13:4-7

It was these words that inspired me to write an interpretation of added attributes of Love. I hope you enjoy it:

Side Note: If it is vicious, vindictive or destructive, it is not, never was and never will be love. 


Love has a swag all its own.

Love says

“I Am with you. You are not alone when I Am here.”

Love says

“Things may not be perfect, but when we’re together, what we have will always be enough.” 

Love says

“Others will do everything they can to destroy us. And I will protect us at every turn.”

Love says

“I will show you how to trust again and again and again…”

Love says

“No matter what may come, only I can withstand time, space and circumstance. Come. Take a chance and walk these shores with me.”

Poem: The Future is Waiting for You

Updated: May 21, 2021

The inspirations for this piece were my daughter Makaila, the graduate students completing their Action Research requirement at the University of San Diego (especially the 1st year students I have been blessed to engage this semester), and all of our next generation leaders.

A special Thank You to Dr. Nydia Sanchez and Jessica López for the encouragement to do what I do!

Feel free to share this poem with any graduate or person who is moving to the next level in their lives. Also, feel free to reframe the poem into the first person and use it as an affirmation for yourself!


The Future Is Waiting For You

Our world is calling you now
to lead at a time when innovation must lock arms with compassion.


Call and response: The future is waiting for you.

When we have called for change
Your brilliance, power and hope have responded unapologetically “We are here.”

Call and response: The future is waiting for you.

Your Ancestors stand proud as you represent a mosaic of possibilities
and our community stands together as we see a loss of learning and the violent taking of lives.
In the midst of it all, you have steadied your hearts with courage, power and purpose
and have confidently continued your stride towards excelencia.

Call and response: The future is waiting for you (read 2 times).


The Future.
Is waiting.
For You.


May you all continue to thrive and keep moving towards liberation!

In Solidarity,

7 Questions: Thriving

It’s May! Happy Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month!

So, this is the first post (I believe) where I start off with the 7 Questions. Given EVERYTHING that is going on around us, the idea of healing and thriving have been center-stage for me. I asked Yolanda the “thriving” question during our conversation (Timestamp 7:26 – 11:03) and now I am digging deeper. I would love for you to dig deep with me and ask yourself these questions:

  1. How do I define “Thriving?” Do I know what thriving is for myself? Others? 
  2. Have I ever seen people thriving, i.e. do I recognize what thriving looks like (No, not InstaThriving/social media-esque thriving, the real thing)? 
  3. As I continue to interrogate myself (Cornel West via A. Rafik Mohamed Ep. 12 timestamp 31:22 – 32:11) and exorcize the internalized messages of oppression – stereotype threat, impostor syndrome, etc.), what hard truths do I need to hear in order to embrace what it means to thrive? 
  4. Who do I trust in my Circle of Support who will tell me these hard truths in order to help me/us move forward?
  5. If thriving is new to me, what can I do to not self-sabotage out of fear of experiencing something outside of the toxic, trauma-filled norm?
  6. What are ways I can support the thriving of those dearest to me? 
  7. How am I celebrating with those who are thriving and not letting my Inner Critic dampen the moment out of fear or questioning my worthiness to thrive?

Last week, my clients and students reminded me what thriving in spite and despite the oppressive conditions surrounding us looks like. My students found a way to enjoy each others joy and brilliance in a socially distant way and reflected on what it means to be Scholars of Color. My clients are confidently redefining what success and wealth building look like to them, and my daughter is finding great joy in making her racist teacher more upset as she is progressing in her schoolwork (Hey, motivation is motivation).

However you define your “win,” let it empower you to dream bigger and dream in honor of those who are thriving through you: 

Ma’Khia Bryant, Jacqueline Polk, Sandra Bland, Atatiana Jefferson, Breonna Taylor, Andrew Brown, Jr., Daunte Wright, George Floyd, Adam Toledo, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Philando Castile and way too many/too painful to list.

As Beyoncé said in her beautiful song Bigger “life is your birthright they hid that in the fine print.”

Because it’s Beyoncé

Not only is living your birthright, but so is the audacity to radically love, thrive and liberate while being liberated. 

 Hold fast to your Birthright.

In Solidarity,

P.s. For anyone in the mood for a little poetry, take a look at one of my latest pieces for my 4th book “Emancipation Papers.” The poem is titled “The Road Home.”

Poem: The Road Home

I feel your heavy heart.
I see you are trying.
You are not casco.
You matter.
You will find joy again.

I welcome you home.

You have tried to be
what others have wanted you to be.
You are still discovering who you are, truly.
Let their construction of you crumble.

We welcome you home.

Your heart and spirit know you fully
and are aching for you to be what you are destined to be.
Let the lies disintegrate into fine particles of dust
and stand fully in your truth.
Your Ancestors applaud your courage
and dance to celebrate your deliverance.

You are home
and home has always existed in you.

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,

How Dare You, Will Smith!

Welcome back! I pray you and your loved ones are healthy and safe. I also hope that you had a wonderful Valentine’s Day week! Some of you read my impromptu gift I sent out to everyone on Valentine’s Day. Like Love itself, that inspiring post is still available to you whenever you need it (I have read it a few times myself to get a little additional motivation). 

Speaking of love, we are sending love and resources to those in Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and other states that have been hit by winter storm Uri. There are a number of mutual aid fund platforms collecting donations to support the hardest hit communities in these areas. Personally, I have donated to Feed The People DFW, led by Black & LatinX women. If you feel compelled to help out in some way, make sure you learn as much as you can before making a donation of any kind.


Now, I would like to share with you my latest learnings which involve me ending my “entanglement” with Will Smith…in my imagination.

Good Will

How it started (in my dreams)…

I had a dream about Will Smith. I have to be honest, me and Will have had a love thing going on in my dreams for decades. Not consistently. He only shows up when I am utterly disenchanted with my current, or in this case, future prospects. In this dream though, something had changed. He was not the usual fun-loving, daring, and sensual character he had always been in my dreams. Will had been through some things: Enter Jada. No actual shade to Mrs. Pinkett Smith (only nocturnal disrespect), but she never showed up in my dreams with Will.

Regardless, in this dream she and I were talking about what they had lived through in recent years. At some point, Will walked in looking worn and gave me the weakest ass hug: A hug that no one wants and only the jankiest of humans deserve. You have seen it before; The hug where the person thrusts their hip forward to serve as a block to their full being (maybe I am the only one that does it)? Yes, that hug. Plus, he gave me the pat-pat…patted me lightly on my shoulders to communicate to me, “There, there, Little Mama. You will get over us eventually. You have to move on because I’m not the same anymore.” 

…how it’s going (not so dreamy)

How dare you Will Smith! 

I have finally realized that Will is the surrogate for an actual person in my life. That person had essentially given me that weak send off virtually. He is both my forever and never at the same time. At some point, I have to let him go in my head. He is not available to me now. What is available and sustaining to me is my daughter’s love, our dog’s love, my family’s love and my love for myself. There is enough love around me to sustain and teach me how to love in healthy and restorative ways.

I am learning more each day to embrace that love and how best to turn it towards those who mean the most to me. So yes, I have to say goodbye to the Will in my life and that’s okay. I wish that person all the joy and laughter and sensual experiences that his dreams and real life can hold. It’s time for me to embrace what is really real. No more fantasies about what I wish and imposing those dreams on what is in order to make my actual relationships seem better than they actually are. That was one of the many dynamics that showed up in my relationship with my ex even before we were married. 

No Good Will

The man in my head and the man in our home were two very different people. There was always the possibility (and expectation) for change with the person in my head. The person in our home never got the memo and because I outwardly acted like the person in our home was in fact the person in my head (or some would say the person of my dreams), then he reaped some of those benefits…along with the frustrations when reality would set in. “These actions of yours are not inline with who you are in my head!” I would think, loudly. And so, I would act accordingly. I’ll just give this sage advice: Do not ever give someone you are dating your login credentials for your email account, then ask them to check your email for you. It is a really, really, REALLY bad idea (what were you thinking, 2Ex?). 

I sure did, Erykah Badu! I sure did!

It became very clear that I was in an unhealthy relationship, I finally had the courage to move on in the summer of 2008. I literally called Tyrone and moved all my stuff into my dearest little brother/friend’s home and lived with him in New Jersey as I worked on my plans. I began to plan how I would move back to California, acknowledging that I gave my long-distance relationship a shot, but it did not work out. Just as I was preparing to move back home, my ex-boyfriend/now ex-husband’s father died.

My ex’s father was very dear to me: A gruff working class older man of Irish ancestry, who valued hard work and hard working people more than anything in the world. Contrary to popular belief, I was closer to him than I was his son! He was the one that told 2Ex (my new name for my ex-husband) that “if you don’t marry her, you’re an idiot.” Yes, that was what fatherly advice from his generation sounded like. whenever 2Ex would upset me and I would question my better judgment, I would call and chat with his father to regain a glimmer of hope.

That glimmer of hope died in September of 2008. 

This man became like a father figure to me and having lost my own father at the age of 7 to stomach cancer, 2Ex’s father’s untimely passing was hard to take in. Even though 2Ex and I were in the process of going our separate ways, we had this weird dynamic (still do) of if the other person was in need, the other would always be there to help in some way, while still filled with all of the anger, disgust, distrust and jealousy of any normal high functioning toxic relationship. 

He told me he needed me, so I went back. 

We got married in 2009. We worked on getting a whole house built from 2008-2012, gave birth to a whole amazing child in 2010, made sure we got his mother in her dream home by 2012, the place where she died in January 2019. Earned a doctorate in 2012, built two businesses in 2013…all of it on the shoulders of two brokenhearted people who kept it all together when they should have been apart. And, we did it all with a smile on our faces and moments of laughter to conceal what we felt every waking morning. I am telling this story now because this is the hidden truth, not my having an emotional relationship with someone as my marriage was ending. No, I am telling this story because many people are having to create entire lives built on a foundation of pain, destructive tendencies, emotional abuse, self-deception, and self-abandonment, especially if kids or dependent others are involved.

And…

  1. What happens when death reminds you that tomorrow is not promised?
  2. Who have you shared your love with and why? Was it love or was it a love imposter: Toxic bond, obligation, dependency, fear of being alone, etc.?
  3. What unresolved resentments choke out any goodwill in your relationships faster than Deebo in the movie Friday (R.I.P. Thomas Duane “Tiny” Lister)? Name them.
  4. What self-crafted lies are you committed to upholding in order to save face in front of people who seem more invested in your unhappiness than your wellbeing?
  5. What impact, if any, does historical trauma play in your sustaining oppressive structures and ways of engaging in your relationships?
  6. If you were able to love fully (and we are all capable of doing so), how would that love be demonstrated to yourself and others around you?
  7. Who do you need to let go of in your mind and heart in order to make room for a healthy relationship with yourself and others?

Even during these times of distress, uncertainty, trauma, pain and loss, we can still uphold love in our lives. 

Sis, those incense fumes and all that lemon ginger tea has you all the way messed up! We are losing our minds out here*!?@#!

Whether personal or professional, whether long-distance via Zoom, in our physical living spaces, or even during disasters–Love fuels Liberation. And those two together can help fuel our possibilities. 

And to my very dear Fresh Prince I say: It is well. Go in good health, Will Smith.

I look forward to checking in with you again in 2 weeks! In the meantime, keep learning, keep thriving and keep moving towards liberation!

Peace & Blessings,


Find my posts amusing, the 7 Questions thought-provoking, or just want to help someone close to you read something new? Feel free to forward this post (or any of my posts) to anyone who may find it/them useful. 

New! If someone sent this to you as a “gift,” and you want to be added to my email list or would like to chat with me directly regarding a particular post, click here

My Valentine’s Gift to You

Coming in hot to you out of today’s journal entry!

you are important

May we reclaim this day set aside to celebrate romantic love, as a day to celebrate how much we have overcome in the face of everything that has attempted to destroy our ability to love. All of the hate, delusion, cowardice, complacency, nihilation, corruption, psychosis, neurosis, hypocrisy, rejection, micro and macro aggressions, and plain old unkindness and disrespect. You are still here! Despite and in spite of decisions that could have destroyed you or even the selection of partners that were (or are) undeserving of the exceptional love you / we have to give, you are still here and you are still loved. Regardless of who has tried to use you in the past or who may be plotting to use you in the future, you are still loved. 

Now is the time to own your love. All that “in spite of” love. That enduring love. That “I-waited-20-years-for-you-because-you-are-that” kind of love. Own your “I-have-been-through-the-gauntlet-of-attacks-and-got-my-mind-back” kind of love. Show out because you’re standing up to injustice with every fiber of your being with that love. You…up here representing those that others have tried to kill mentally, physically and spiritually; yet you are up here still standing like an Elton John remix. Look at you, you and your magnificence! Your power! Your resilience exists even when you don’t feel resilient at all! You are the most amazing being we h ave ever encountered and we love everything about you! 

You have so much ahead of you. Don’t get sidetracked by the naysayers or those who wish you and themselves the worst. See yourself fully even on those days when you wish you were never born. Yes, we all have those days; I know I have had them as an adult. Then, at that precise moment when I’m questioning the reason for my existence, the Lover and Creator of my life reminds me of my purpose by sending me you: My loved ones, my students, my clients, my neighbors, my Ministry.

And so, on this Valentine’s Day in the year after a year like no other, I wish you the love that you deserve. I wish you the love that you conjure in your mind and spirit that you dare not speak aloud. I wish you the love that continues to endure time, circumstance and space. May the love that brings you joy in the secret recesses of your mind and that reminds you that you are so much more than your titles, degrees, or other accolades could ever detail, continue to abide and give you strength. You are blessedly you… and that has always been enough! 

May you continue learning, thriving and moving towards liberation!

In Solidarity,

The Poem I Will Never Write

Periodically, I will post poetry and prose in order to process what is on my mind or heavy on my heart. You have been forewarned.

You will forever be that forbidden poem that I will never write, 

but whose words will dance and sing in my heart. 

I will go on to write many pieces, 

for that is what makes me feel connected to humanity. 

But that poem is sacred. 

That poem remembers me. 

That poem’s stanzas enliven me 

and causes blood to circulate faster, 

with more force and greater purpose. 

Yes, that poem reminds me of the purpose 

coursing through my veins! 

That poem acknowledges my personhood. 

That poem sees my mind, heart and spirit 

through tear-filled eyes and holds them with precision

between its smile and its laughter. 

The cadence of that poem I will never write 

will always inspire me to do my best, 

even when my best is shadowed by what will never be. 

That poem will always bring me butterflies of anticipation. 

Yes. Butterflies as if MJ and Marsha did a duet in Paradise. 

That intricate, serene flutter during a Jill-inspired Long Walk

on a crisp, clear Southern California winter day. 

The poem I will never write will always keep me grounded. 

That poem will always give me the strength to take risks, 

because no risk can match the weight of daring to write that poem. 

That poem with matchless intellect. 

That poem that exudes resilience in the face of destruction. 

There are those who may experience bits and pieces of that poem, 

but not one of them will ever recite that poem in its entirety. No. 

Only I have the full poem engraved on my heart.

That poem will always remain an inspirational piece 

for I will never release its passion into a world that aims to destroy it. 

And so, to the poem I will never write, 

in the spirit of Syd’s toast to your cousin, hip hop 

in the experience of Brown Sugar I say to you:

To the greatest poem I will never write, 

I will never regret not experiencing you in this life 

for it is you who will continue to hearten me.

To you, that poem I will never write 

I loved you then. 

I love you now. 

I will love you always. 

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!

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.    

View this post on Instagram

#truelove vs #trauma

A post shared by Teracarissa (@teracarissahodges) on

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