EXTRA! SO VERY EXTRA!

Archive for January, 2013|Monthly archive page

Choose to be Amazed

In Encouragement, R[evol]ution on January 29, 2013 at 3:08 am

On the drive home from classes tonight, the moon was directly in front of me: large, silvery-yellow, cratered, and nestled in a halo of clouds. It was beautiful. I felt as if I was caught up in a special moment. The gorgeous moon right in the center of my windshield as I drove east to home.

In reality, it wasn’t a special moment, was it? Dozens, hundreds, even thousands of other people were looking at the same moon at the same moment.

But, I chose to be amazed. And that made all the difference. In that moment of amazement (at a sight that some would call ordinary), I felt validated. I felt connected. I felt in awe of the power of God. I felt purposeful. I felt beautiful.

Up until that moment, I had been feeling a little tired–a little inadequate (having just left a criminal law class in which my colleagues have some really impressive criminal law experience)–a little overwhelmed (having been running through a never ending to-do list).

That all fell away like scales.

I am going to choose to be amazed more often; I am going to choose to see the spectacular more often; I am going to choose to look at the world around me more often.

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The Way to a Lovely Tomorrow

In Encouragement, R[evol]ution on January 28, 2013 at 4:55 am

I’m a little overweight. I’m 5 feet, 9 inches and I weigh 170 pounds. My waist could stand to be a little thinner. I can be a bit judgmental, too. Not to mention perfectionistic. There are many times when I fail to stand up for myself. My 10-minute mile has turned into an 11 or 12 minute mile. I don’t drink enough water. I don’t go to church or do enough to maintain a strong relationship with God. I’ve had numerous friendships end sadly over the years. And, I have dark circles under my eyes.

I seriously suck–like Edith-Crawley-jilted-at-the-altar levels of suck, right?

Wait. What will telling myself that I suck right now do for my tomorrow? Nothing. Self-hate does not prepare me to meet the newness of tomorrow with anticipation and hope. Self-hate tells me that tomorrow will be just like today and that I will still suck with the possibility of sucking even more tomorrow.

If you are starting to get into a spiral of self-hate, please try this to prepare yourself for a lovely tomorrow: QUICKLY NAME ONE THING THAT YOU DID OR SAW TODAY THAT WAS GOOD. Did you do a really good job with your hair? Did you compliment a total stranger and bring a smile to his face? Did you scatter bread crumbs for the squirrels and birds? Did you recycle? Did you make a really delicious sandwich?

If that sounded way too corny, think about this: how would you feel if you witnessed an adult yelling at a child, using the words you are using toward yourself right now? Outrage? Embarassment? Anger? Sympathy? Sadness? Compassion? Realize: you are willing to feel more for a child you do not know than for yourself. You deserve compassion, too.

Prepare for a lovely tomorrow–and that begins by stopping the self-hate today.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” –Rev. Dr. Martin L. King, Jr.

“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” –Philippians 4:8

And I’m still Black

In R[evol]ution, Somewhat disjointed rant..., Uncategorized on January 24, 2013 at 5:04 am

Today, for some reason, was the breaking point. That title is pretty aggressive, huh? Well, I’ve been carrying it around with me for 31 years.

I’m still Black. No matter what anyone says about my vocabulary, my choice of friends, my choice of college, my lack of athleticism, my love of tans, my choice of music, my fashion, my accent, my hair, my skin or my figure. The content of my character neither changes nor is changed by the color of my skin. What I choose to do with my race does not threaten or invalidate what you choose to do with yours. The fact that I may not conform to a stereotype only serves to underscore the fact that stereotypes are stupid.

I’ve been told many times: “Black people don’t do that….” or “You cannot be Black if you’ve never….” I have just recently realized how incorrect and small-minded such viewpoints are–after spending miserable years trying to prove to (wrong and ignorant) people that I am ________ (Black, Christian, feminine, etc.).

The Art of Moving On

In Encouragement, R[evol]ution on January 7, 2013 at 12:56 am

A blogger’s existential moment of crisis. Why bother writing? No one reads it. What I say doesn’t matter.

But, it does matter. It matters to me. It matters to who I was before I started this blog. It matters now. It matters because I am being honest about myself–in a forum with every possibility of being extremely public.

One evening over cocktails, one of the most incredible women I’ve ever met (who also happens to be a dear friend) told me: There is something to be said for moving on gracefully. That started the wheels in my head. I’ve been through break-ups, disappointments, tragedies, and dramas. I’ve survived and I’m still alive, so in a purely chronological sense I have moved on. But, had I moved on with the determination, simplicity, and thought that grace demands? Indeed not. I was still carrying baggage; still nursing wounds; still picking emotional scabs; still subjecting myself to guilt and regret; still going through that endless cycle of silent question asking. I had moved on with gumption, with panache, with pizzazz, with flourish, but not with grace. What I called moving on was really limping through a process of constantly trying to “keep it together.”

Not good enough. Keeping it together doesn’t really sound like it fits in with a life of kindness, joy, peace, love, and patience. Keeping it together sounds like something that grandmothers would advise me to do in a really tough situation. It means that I don’t have time to shut down; I don’t have time to analyze; I don’t have time to purge; I don’t have time to do anything but continue with my routine of life. I was angry because everyone else seemed to be moving on and sliding through life in a way that I could not.

So, I did everything opposite of what I thought “keeping it together” meant.

Some days I shut down. I stayed in bed longer than I should. I wore my comfy pajamas. I didn’t talk about how I was feeling.

But, then came the time to put a name to the pain–and pain was being left behind, being left out, being written off, having to leave others behind, the hurt that comes from separation and distance. I realize that what I was doing in those years that I was “keeping it together,” was internalizing those feelings and incorporating that pain into my identity. For a moment, I referred to myself as a black widow spider–because that’s how I thought of myself.

I named each hurt; put it in a specimen bottle; examined it; and, then I began to see the patterns, the lessons, the reasons behind each. I saw that I was not the only contributing factor to each situation. And, if each hurt represented something that I had learned and something that caused me to mature into the (super awesome) person I am, I could not in good faith hold onto regret or anger.

That’s stage 1. It’s an art, after all.