A Word of Gratitude: From You to You

Episode 19 – Part 1: The Nikole Hannah-Jones Effect: The Black Woman’s Artistry in Flipping Scripts and Tables More Than Metaphors hosted by Dr. Kecia Brown

In part one of this three-part episode (so much goodness), entrepreneur, educator and “space curator” Alisa France stops by to celebrate “The Nikole Hannah-Jones Effect.” Alisa also shares her learning journey navigating work environments. This episode was recorded on 7/6/21. Follow Alisa and her ventures on: IG: Personal – @imsofrancey Meliaison – @meliaison Financial Tracking System – @financialtrackingsystem Aight, So Boom Game – @aightsoboomgame ELVYN TREE Coaching & Consulting – @elvyn.tree Luxcarious (Car rentals) – @luxcarious Websites: Meliaison.com Elvyntree.com (coming soon!) Car Rentals on Turo Airbnb Rentals: https://abnb.me/VCzZ6a20Rhb https://abnb.me/akZbQGq1Rhb Song for this Episode: Title: Diva Artist: Beyoncé Album: I Am…Sasha Fierce Released:  2008 Copyright; © Sony Music Entertainment Movie clip in this episode/part: Title: Everybody Rejoice Film: The Wiz Released:  1978 Copyright; © Motown Productions Feel free to enjoy this song and others on our playlist! Simply search for: More Than Metaphors: The Playlist. Merch Shout Out: Click here to get your Mind on My Business t-shirt! Have questions, ideas or interested in hearing a particular post from drkeciab.com brought into the podcast? Email Dr. Kecia: contact@drkeciab.com or leave a message at https://anchor.fm/mtmetaphors/message. Who knows, we might even read your message on the air! . . . . . . . . . . . . . A special Thank You to Prdesignstudio for designing the Mind on My Business t-shirt! From now through the end of July, I will be highlighting the talented artists I found on Fiverr who have helped get my podcast off the ground. Are you looking for a talented designer or editor? Say less and get more with Fiverr! — This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app — Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/mtmetaphors/message
  1. Episode 19 – Part 1: The Nikole Hannah-Jones Effect: The Black Woman’s Artistry in Flipping Scripts and Tables
  2. Episode 19 – Part 2: The Nikole Hannah-Jones Effect: The Black Woman’s Artistry in Flipping Scripts and Tables
  3. Episode 19 – Part 3: The Nikole Hannah-Jones Effect: The Black Woman’s Artistry in Flipping Scripts and Tables
  4. Episode 18 – Part 2: 360 Degrees of Power & Pride
  5. Episode 18 – Part 1: 360 Degrees of Power & Pride

Can you believe that July is almost over! Before you know it, it will be 2022 (hopefully it won’t take any notes from 2020 & 2021)!

So before there are any more surprises, let me jump into my reflections for this week:

I have been thinking about what I learned  from my three-part conversation with educator, entrepreneur, and “space curator,” Alisa France. During her interview, Alisa reflected not only on the professional decision made by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones; she also talked about a workplace trauma that showed up in how she engaged and performed in future roles (career trauma) and how she has made peace with it.

Your Majesty: Nikole Hannah-Jones pictured here. Image Credit: nikolehannahjones.com | John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation | Copyright: John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

It has been a few weeks since we recorded Episode 19 and I am still reflecting on what Alisa’s story has inspired in me on a personal level. Something that immediately comes to mind is that we can (and often do) continue to make great strides while still making sense of painful situations that happened in our past. 

As functioning adults with families and other responsibilities, we don’t always get the opportunity to sit, reflect, process, gain support, question our thoughts and destructive patterns, etc. We just keep on going like the Energizer Bunny (even that rabbit ran out of energy at some point). 

Processing past traumas takes time. Whether we are talking about personal  trauma, professional trauma or both. Here is a personal example of how better understanding our experiences can provide an opportunity for us to become better advocates for ourselves (and others).


I recently had a great session with a therapist that afforded me an opportunity to pause as I move forward in this next phase of my personal development journey. The therapist asked me about my earliest recollection of a particular trauma I want to dismantle in my family (and for the generations to come). I could not recall the origin of the trauma at that moment, so I interrogated myself as I drove home from my session. Not only did thinking back to the first time I experienced that specific trauma help me see the patterns created from that experience; it also helped me uncover an aversion and consequently, my reaction when people have something difficult to tell me (or even an otherwise pleasant surprise) and are working out how to say it to me while I am in front of them (I am sure most people feel weirded out in those moments, but I digress). To this day, I cannot stand when someone has something difficult to share with me and they do that awful pregnant pause as they gather their words.

“Oh dear God! Spit it out, will you? Rip the damn bandage off already!”

Yes, Nicey Nash! Hurry up and cut to the chase, please!

I realized that my reaction stems from my childhood and the day I was told my father had died. Understandably, my mother was searching for the right words to explain to a seven-year-old child that her father had died. However, while she searched her head and her heart for the right words to say, I was just standing there for what felt like hours. Finally, my mother’s best friend broke the news to me.

Had I not been asked about and had the willingness to think back to my earliest memory, I would not have 1) learned the source of an area of emotional discomfort that shows up for me now and how I respond to others; thus 2)  allowing me to communicate with others what I need in order to respond best to them in similar situations (self-advocacy). 


I share this story as an example of challenging our taken for granted assumptions and ways of engaging in order to have you think about an area of your life (personal, professional or both) where you may hold additional angst or anxiety (be reminded of what Anthony Parham explained during our episode about anxiety triggers being a part of society long before we were born). Here is a selfwork exercise that I often use with my clients that may be a useful tool for you: 

  • Think back to a time when a personal or professional trauma took place and the stories that you created about the experience.
  • Write down the various meanings/stories created from the experience and their impact (if any) on you now.
  • After reviewing the list of stories you have created to keep yourself safe (physically, psychologically, spiritually, etc.), consider any healthy/helpful lessons that can be derived from the incident (even if it is simply learning how to spot red flags).
  • Last, write a letter of gratitude to your past self (the one that experienced the traumatic incident) from the space of where you are now (who you became post-incident), then switch and have your past self write a letter of gratitude to who you are now.

Disclaimer: For some people, reviewing these origin stories may cause additional distress or trauma. I strongly encourage you to seek out a licensed counselor / therapist who can support you in this process. 

I hope this exercise is useful and helps you as you continue to move towards love, justice and liberation in your life.

Thank you for taking the time to read this entry. I look forward to hearing from you regarding any Aha’s that come to you after watching/listening to this 3-part episode with Alisa France entitled: The Nikole Hannah-Jones Effect: The Black Woman’s Artistry in Flipping Scripts and Tables. Feel free to listen on your favorite podcasting platform or watch all three parts on YouTube.

In closing, to anyone who needs to have a difficult conversation with me OR if you have a surprise you want to share with me, please do so expeditiously. I’d greatly appreciate it! 🙂

Sending you all love and blessings.

In Solidarity,

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Poem: The I Am Within

I am more than my feelings.
I am more than resentment and bitterness.
My timeless smile and unreserved laughter reminds me of that fact.

I am every “No” my Mother Ancestors were robbed of uttering.

I am an electric spirit.
I am love and courage.
I am passion and joy.
I am the force behind the waves of the deepest oceans.

I am contradictions and compliments.
I am impenetrable and porous.
I am the creator of Daughters of the Moon 
and Sons of the Sun.
I am distantly present and
present in my aloofness.

I am the bittersweetness that lies
at the very moment of impact 
between Agony and Ecstasy.

I am the quintessence of creating more with less.

I 
Am 
More.

Nothing less.
Examples of BGM who flipped the script this week.
From top right down: Nikole Hannah-Jones, Mary J. Blige and the 2021 Scripps Spelling Bee Champion, Zaila Avant-garde.

Ep. 17 Video: Couples and Parenting Advice

I am sharing the YouTube video of my interview with Dr. Santira Streeter Corbitt with you here.

This conversation was centered on the premise of looking back on our experiences in order to inform and direct our future experiences. Moving towards the future requires just that, movement. Not staying comfortable and certainly, not staying stuck. And sometimes, not even moving in the same direction all of the time. An example of that came up for me as I reflected on the interview again the other day.

While watching this interview, I heard something that I have yet to say out loud. As Dr. Satira talked about the 4 Horsemen: The communication pitfalls that doom relationships, and I chimed in about “Fred, the 5th Horsemen of Resentment,” it dawned on me that my resentment has not been solely focused on my ex-husband. No, the resentment I hold most strongly is towards myself.

Emotional abuse notwithstanding, I have realized that my self-abandonment, dishonoring of my “No,” and over commitment to people pleasing set me and the marriage up for failure. Now, I am focused on learning healthy ways to show up unapologetically for myself first in order to show up for those I love. I am developing diverse ways to say “No” to people and situations that are not healthy for me. And yes, people pleasing is slowly but surely becoming a thing of the past.

As I continue this journey of accountability and critical self-reflection, I would love to hear from you about your healing journey. Feel free to email me directly at dr.kecia@drkeciab.com and share your story. I am also looking forward to bringing you more conversations to usher in greater introspection for us all.

Saying “We’re in this together” is one thing. Actually holding each other accountable and cheering each other on for those every day wins AND setbacks is something else. Please know I am cheering for you no matter where you are in your journey!

Let’s keep on healing, thriving and working towards liberation!

Much Respect,

Reflections: Black Love, Black Genius and the Power of Sankofa

An Interview with Dr. Satira Streeter Corbitt

It has been a while since I have conducted an interview for the podcast. I have been busy processing and working on my next book Emancipation Papers: A Truthtelling Journey Towards Awakening, Healing and Transformation. That said, I have now resumed my interviews and cannot WAIT to share episode 17 with you.

Here is a description of the episode:


In this episode, Dr. Kecia speaks with Licensed Psychologist, Dr. Satira Streeter Corbitt (“Dr. Satira”). Dr. Satira talks about her journey to supporting the love, genius and wellbeing of families through her practice, Ascensions Psychological Services, Inc. She also shares parenting tips and advice for couples, as well as shares excerpts from her first children’s book “Black Genius: A Journal of History and Affirmation.” Feel free to reach out to Dr. Satira at www.drsatira.com/ to learn more about ways she can support you and your family.

Song for this Episode:

Title: “Move On Up”

Artist: Curtis Mayfield

Album: Curtis

Released: 1970

Copyright ©: Curtom Records

Feel free to enjoy this song and others on our playlist! Simply search for: More Than Metaphors: The Playlist.—NEW! Want to represent your new favorite podcast? Order your More Than Metaphors shirt or mug today at www.drkeciab.com.co/!


Take a listen and let me know any Ahas! Oh-oh’s! or Oh Wait’s! you had as you think about your relationships with your partner, family members and any children in your circle.

One Aha! Moment I had from this episode was when she talked about “The 4 Horsemen: Criticism, Defensiveness, Contempt, and Stonewalling. Dr. Satira called them “…the four things that they [couples] do in relationships that are the four biggest indicators of divorce.” It is these ways of communicating (or not communicating) our feelings to our partners AND the children in our lives that are highly detrimental to those relationships. As we talked, I began to realize that these forms of communicating live in our assumptions and expectations of others. Further, there is a connection to what Dr. Mohamed referenced in episode 12 as “…the story we tell ourselves about ourselves,” and the stories we tell ourselves about the other people in our lives, our expectations of them and their intentions towards us.

Big time Aha! Moment!

Speaking of relationships and expectations, Jay Sheatty has an interesting episode of his podcast On Purpose where he talks about 8 Unrealistic Expectations We Have in Relationships & 8 Ways to Replace Them for Success in Love. Jay and I had an argument about these expectations (albeit the argument was in my head…no matter). I will share those musings with you in a future post. in the meantime, take a listen to episode 17 of More Than Metaphors and leave me any comments or questions that come up for you!

Looking forward to continuing this journey towards love, justice and liberation with you!

In Solidarity,


Check out Fiverr for your creative needs!

7 QUESTIONS: Your Mental Health Continuum

Happy Father’s Day to all dads and dad-like adults who serve as supporters of our next generation leaders!

I hope you and your loved ones are healthy and safe on this post-Juneteenth Sunday! 

If you are unfamiliar with Juneteenth, it was first recognized by newly emancipated African Americans in 1865 and now has now been recognized in the United States as a national holiday. You can learn more about the holiday celebrating the emancipation of our African American Foremothers and Forefathers from the institution of slavery that was instated in this country. One of my personal favorite resources and one that has helped me explain the holiday to my 11-year old in “TikTok Timing” is this video clip from the Show “Black-ish” by one of my favorite bands, The Roots.


My goal for my message to you today is to be nice and concise (such a Poet)! 

I have had so many conversations that are examining what it means to thrive and go beyond all of the destructive, toxic and debilitating confines created by ourselves and others; whether from an individual, group or institutional level, that I felt the need to share a few of the concepts and questions that come to mind:

THE MENTAL HEALTH CONTINUUM

I was working with one of my brilliant scholars at the University of San Diego a few months ago regarding their research on thriving for Black Queer and Trans students. As we were researching existing frameworks on Thriving in general, we came across a model of the Mental Health Continuum by the organization, Delphis Learning:  

The folx at Delphis Learning clearly do not know that “COVID Crunching” and “Processing-by-Pantry’ is a response to when we are in crisis mode.

Our conversation went in a number of directions, including what survival versus thriving may look like for those communities that have dealt with various forms of trauma and complicated grief, as well as how “excelling” may be defined differently by various communities based on their experiences.

Love this quote by my “Mentor-in-my-mind” Oprah Winfrey: “Turn your wounds into wisdom.” Image source – Thrive Global 2019 article: The True Face Of Women Empowerment: Oprah Winfrey

LIFE: A VERY PATIENT TEACHER (Notice I did not call it a “nice” teacher)

I think we can agree that we have all lived through something, right? Regardless of the emotional weight of the experience/experiences, Life is a very patient teacher and has a way of calling on all of us regardless of our roles in society. 

As a way to think through Life’s Lessons as they relate to our mental health and wellbeing, I would love for you to take some time to think through these 7 Questions with me:

  1. What are some of the ways I have been taught (intentionally or unintentionally) to deal with crises? Who did I learn my crisis management lessons from and what (if anything) would I change about how I deal with crises?
  2. How do I react when I am struggling emotionally? Who or what do I turn to or turn away from when I feel overwhelmed, fearful, etc.? Again, where did I learn this strategy? What if anything would I do differently?
  3. What does “Surviving” look, sound and feel like to me? What are some of the messages I have learned about what it means to survive as the person I am and/or the communities I represent (write out the messages)? Do these messages help, hinder, harm or support my healing?
  4. What does “Thriving” mean to me? (I asked this and several related questions in my post 7 Questions: Thriving. Feel free to take a look back).
  5. Has thriving been something that has been discussed in my family or other circles I frequent? If so, what are the messages and if not, what impact (if any) has the omission of what it means to thrive had on me as I move towards healing?
  6. How would I define “Excelling” for myself and my situation? What is my vision for excelling in my family, intimate relationships, work relationships, etc. that I want to actualize in the short-term and in the long-term? 
  7. What role, if any, does love, justice and liberation play in how I navigate through the continuum towards my vision?

Again, I am walking this road right along with you! Matter of fact, I have an upcoming episode of my podcast with Dr. Satira Streeter Corbitt, Executive Director of Ascensions Psychological Services, Inc., where we talk about mental health, our wellbeing and so much more! I look forward to sharing the episode with you!

Ok, ok! I said I was going to keep it short! Sending you and your loved ones love and light! I look forward to sliding in your Inbox again soon!

In Solidarity.

Related Videos

Episode 13: Love & Liberation Beyond the Vortex

Episode 10: A Poetic Love “After the Snap”

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.”

Reflections: Endings, Beginnings and Gentleness

Before I begin, I would like to say Happy Pride Month to all of the LGBTQ+/Same Gender Loving readers/listeners in the 30+ countries my blog/podcast has reached thus far! I am deeply grateful and appreciate you for letting me encourage and amuse you with my reflections during my healing journey. 

Now that we are filled with so much gratitude, let’s dive into the reflections for this week:

ENDINGS & BEGINNINGS

The past two weeks have been filled with lessons on Endings and Beginnings. So much so that one of the videos that is now in heavy rotation with my colleagues and clients is one entitled A Meditation on Endings. Check it out if you are in the midst of a transition of any kind.

Whether we are talking about endings/beginnings related to a job/project, health or relationships; endings and beginnings require our attention. However with the constant distractions, we may not give the proper time to acknowledge, celebrate, or mourn situations that end, begin or that we expect to happen but do not (Nancy Schlossberg calls this a “nonevent”). Examples of a nonevent are the job offers we expect, but do not occur; the child that was expected to be born, but is not; or waiting to be asked out on a date, but they ask Marcia instead (Brady Bunch reference).

What I am also reflecting on is the very human response to harden from these experiences. We can become guarded, if you will: Protecting our mind, heart and resources.

Can you relate? 

Yes! The situation ended! Whether it was an unhealthy relationship, moving from one state to another, or the end of cancer treatment. However, there is always a tiny voice in our heads that asks: 

What if this move was a bad idea? 

What if this relationship is like the one before it or worse? 

What if the cancer returns? 

I don’t know about you, but even as I give praise for all of the blessings I have experienced, there’s a part of me that says, “I don’t care what happens, I am not going through THAT again!”

And it is in those moments when I begin my job as a bricklayer and begin building walls around my heart, my health, my family and my business. 

Whether we are talking about endings/beginnings related to a job/project, health or relationships; endings and beginnings require our attention. However with the constant distractions, we may not give the proper time to acknowledge, celebrate, or mourn situations that end, begin or that we expect to happen but do not.

Taking refuge behind walls has become commonplace during this pandemic. Clearly, there are times when it is wise to have healthy boundaries (BTW, I am still giving folks air hugs…stay away from me!). In addition to healthy boundaries that could be developed, sometimes our hearts harden a bit and we lose our ability to be gentle with ourselves and others. I would like to share a recent experience of my (re)learning to connect to my gentleness for your consideration:

TRY A LITTLE GENTLENESS

During our family therapy session, my daughter and I re-learned how important gentleness is to us in our ability to end difficult conversations and begin to transition to a point of psychological safety. After a difficult conversation, our therapist gave me a small tube of lotion and asked me to lotion my daughter’s hands. 

Sounds easy enough right? 

So I, being a Black mother who has navigated personal and historical trauma; having been raised by a Black mother who navigated personal and historical trauma (and so on), went about my task. I proceeded to apply the lotion to my daughter’s hands with such vigor and purpose that the top two layers of her skin were likely being rubbed off. Our therapist, seeing me go into exfoliating mode, said one word to redirect me: “Gently.”

At that moment I thought “What? This is how I’ve always…ohhh. Got it.”

My daughter of course looked at me in that moment to telepathically communicate “See, this is EXACTLY why we need to be here!”

My eyes softened and so did my grasp. I focused on rubbing my daughter’s hands gently and communicating, without words, that everything was ok. The hard part was over and healing begins with acts of gentleness.

I am sharing this experience with you because we live in a world that is constantly training us away from our gentleness. Think about the last time you heard one of these (or similar) sayings:

  • “You need to develop a thicker skin!”
    • “You have to be ruthless in this field/role!”
    • “We go for the jugular in this family! You better get used to it if you want to be successful in life!”
    • “Mama said knock you out!” 

Ok, so the reference to LL Cool J’s 1990 album was a bit much, but you get the point. 

As you reflect on the previous messages, how many times have you been told to be gentle with yourself or with others? Have you ever been told to be gentle in relation to ending/beginning experiences in your life? 

Whether you are a graduate who is transitioning from one learning environment to another; someone with a new work opportunity (even if you are newly “liberated” to explore other endeavors); or a shift in a relationship with a family member or intimate partner, how might you be able to add gentleness to your ways of engaging in the world?

No matter what we have heard or what we have experienced, let’s not let anyone or anything rob us of our ability to be humane to one another. AND,  even if we have hardened our hearts or ways of engaging with others in order to navigate our circumstances, we can find our way back to being intentionally gentle to those who matter to us while creating rest for our souls. 

I thank God for your healing, thriving, loving and liberation! Looking forward to continuing on this journey with you!

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,

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,


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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,