SO R. KELLY IS A PIMP…WHY ARE WE SURPRISED?

SO R. KELLY IS A PIMP…WHY ARE WE SURPRISED? 

The world has been inundated this week with the latest story of R. Kelly’s alleged improprieties with barely legal girls looking for stardom after his promises of “helping” them with their music industry careers.  At first glance, the “sex cult” headlines caught my attention but then after delving fully into the original #Buzzfeed story, my disdain for Kelly turned into disgust for the piss poor judgment of the parents involved.  Yes, I said parents…as in multiple sets of parents, condoned the interaction of their teenage daughters with R.Kelly, initially.  According to the article, the parents, who are now claiming their daughter has been brainwashed, knew of R. Kelly’s sordid past but thought they could protect their child.  Both Mother and Father uprooted their lives to move to Atlanta to jumpstart their daughter’s music career and considered themselves to be “fiercely protective parents”.  Now, I cannot for the life of me figure out why any sane grown parent would rationalize any possible reason for their teenage daughter to be placed in a situation where R. Kelly’s old sweaty illiterate ass is a mentor! This is the oldest game in the book, and in this case his longstanding rumors of sexually deviant behavior is well documented over the whole damn internet.

This man came up with a whole docudrama called “Trapped in the Closet” explicitly detailing his pimp fetish yet these parents still thought it was cool.  I’m sorry but the parents get no sympathy from me.   This incident should be used as a teaching moment for parents of daughters on how to spot “game” from a mile away.  There are too many Mothers out there who refuse to be transparent with their daughters about their poor choices and cause the vicious cycle of abuse to be repeated.  Additionally, those Fathers need to come clean and show their daughters how to spot the sinister bastards of the world by admitting that they had “game” back in the day.  Transparency can be humbling but I find it necessary to connect to  younger generations.  I would rather be a little embarrassed by sharing my story with my daughter than being devastated by hearing that she needed to find “love” by becoming a masochistic sex slave.

Once I became a mature woman, and I had my first experience attempting to date someone much younger than me, I immediately knew what a deviant you have to be to seek out teenage girls.  I couldn’t even stomach the juvenile conversation, much less anything physical. Eww!  The only reason you seek out someone less mentally developed than yourself consistently is to control them.  R. Kelly has called himself the Pied Piper of R&B for years, clearly not by accident.  The whole premise of the Pied Piper folktale was that he lured the town children away to their death with his irresistible musical prowess.  Now, I don’t think that Kelly is smart enough to be considered a cult leader. I refuse to give him that title.  He is simply an ordinary predator with money and resources to convince naïve young women that only he can love them properly.  He convinces them that they need him as their “Daddy”, even though some of these girls have very present Fathers. I really struggle to understand that part.

This is the precise reason why we need to educate our children early to psychological games played by predators.  There are myriad forms of abusive relationships but many of them start with subtle manipulation like what R. Kelly used.  Promises of career help or VIP treatment  are common ruses used by pimps to get their stable together.  This is exactly what R.Kelly has done, assembled a stable of groupies who willingly traded in their dignity for this perceived VIP lifestyle.  Unfortunately they won’t even realize the psychological damage being done to them until they age out of the stable and are left to pick up the pieces of their wasted lives.   Sex trafficking is real and R. Kelly just gave you a celebrity face to associate with it.

Again I implore you, please educate your children about the professional way to network in the entertainment industry.  Also remember boys are victims too,(Jerry Sandusky, Bishop Eddie Long, James Cleveland, boy band manager Lou Pearlman and The Beltway Sniper John Allen Muhammad).  We all think that this won’t happen to our child because we are there to protect them but I have never met a parent that really knows everything their child is doing on their devices.  Obviously these parents thought they knew too…This is why the Bible says never to give the devil a foothold.  The Pied Piper of R&B is the devil and it seems that he has settled in for the long haul.  Protect the kids please, parents that is your Divine assignment.

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A Seat at the Table: Discussions on LGBTQ Pride

Trans Poet Lee Mokobe

Earlier during this Pride month, I had the honor of attending an interactive discussion series, “A Seat at the Table with LGBTQ Friends in Faith” at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.  The mission of this event was to promote conversations about what it means to be Gay, African American and a person of faith in our society.  The ultimate objective was to identify issues and possible solutions to change the negative experiences in our community, especially to aid the younger generations.  Predictably this subject is very dear to my heart and the discussions did not disappoint.

The format was a panel of speakers followed by group discussions at each table. In addition to this, we heard the poignant poetry of South African Trans Poet and TED Fellow, Lee Mokobe.  His poems about what it feels like to be transgender, especially in the hostile environment of his homeland, were both enlightening and haunting.

The table conversations revolved around a set of questions about how we can improve the relationships between communities with opposing views regarding being LGBTQ based upon a common goal.   There were so many academic terms being thrown around that it may have been a bit intimidating to someone not familiar with the new politically correct terminology.  I guess I’m now considered “old school gay” because I found myself Googling many of the words like intersectionality, heteronormative, cisgender, non-binary and fetishization to know exactly what they meant in the LGBTQ conversation.  Hey, I admit that I’m in the community but not totally up on the lingo.  Even a word like “ally” has a specific definition in the community, according to the USC LGBT Resource Center glossary.  Apparently, allies are part of privileged groups that become actively involved in societal changes to change the perceptions of the oppressed group, such as Trans people.  I was pleasantly surprised to see the diversity of the allies at my table, which made the discussions more engaging.  For instance, hearing about the Trans youth experience and the necessity of them performing sex work to survive from the perspective of a lawyer who works as an advocate was very sobering.

There were so many great points illuminated at this event but 3 concepts stood out to me; Education, Visibility, and Respect.

The first thing needed is relevant education on many levels, especially on religion and history.  Much of the irrelevant education received about the LGBTQ community is based upon religious beliefs steeped in marginalization and hatred.  As Rev. Yvette Flunder, pastor of City of Refuge UCC in Oakland stated, “You need to free yourself of the notion that you have to suffer to receive something from God.  All of the Bible is NOT God.”  This has long been my belief.  I challenge people to educate themselves on Bible history and religion and see if they still believe that the Bible is the unadulterated Word of God. The fact that there are multiple versions and translations proves it is quite adulterated.  Educating ourselves on beliefs before adopting them blindly would eradicate much of the ignorant hatred spewed in the name of religion.  Something as simple as being aware of the correct terminology to use in conversation is showing a willingness to broaden our minds to the changing world.

LGBTQ invisibility in the church is a challenge to connecting the faith community.  We must make our stories visible, demand our rights and acknowledge our accomplishments in the church community.  If it were not for Gay folks, there would absolutely be no Gospel music.  Truth.  If we continue to allow churches to use us up for our creativity without crediting us as being valuable members, nothing will ever change.

We need to be courageous, out and proud.  My Mother used to say, “Tell the truth and shame the devil.”  If you are already transparent and affirming about yourself, there is nothing anyone can say to try and shame you into silence about being LGBTQ.  Also, if you consider yourself an “ally”, speak up and speak out loudly against injustice.

Finally, the end goal is for us all to receive love and respect from society.  It was noted that Millenials start the discussion not at acceptance, but at respect.  Acceptance of LGBTQ people is simply saying I tolerate you, but respect is a whole other level of accepting their humanity without judging.  Let’s stop asking for permission because the way has already been paved by earlier generations of activists.  We simply need to forge ahead demanding respect, our rights and equality whether in the church or in the workplace or in public restrooms.  So in the spirit of Gay Pride, please enjoy celebrating for the rest of this month and continue to demand your Seat at the Table.  Bless Up!

 

 

 

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Why We Do What We Do: The Case For Faith

This month I am taking part in a writing challenge to prompt me to be more consistent with my writing.  I will be posting some topics from The Speak Write Challenge to vary my content.  I have shared the link on my FB page for anyone interested in joining the challenge.

Today’s topic is “Why We Do What We Do”.  What motivates us to be the people that we are?  I’m talking about both the good and the bad. If we are to be honest about it, at least in my own life, I find myself asking “What keeps me from doing what I should be doing”?.  I mean we all can cite reasons for being on our grind, on our search for success, spiritual connection or whatever.  Many people grind for their kids or to achieve material goals or career goals.  I think that both our motivations and lack thereof is what really completes who we are.  There is a reason why we have the Jay Zs and Bill Gates of the world and then we have the dudes who pump gas and work at the 7-11 up the street at 55 years old, right?  I would like to think that gas station dude didn’t start off life with this as his career goal, but this is how it ended up.  I am intrigued by the traits that separate the ambitious from the settlers.  Sometimes life just chews you up and spits you out and you end up barely maintaining because you are emotionally drained.  Other times though, you get your swagger back and decide to fight for your blessings.  I believe that the difference between both types of people is faith.

In terms of my motivation, I strive to use my gifts of gab and wordsmithing to inspire others before I leave this earth.  I fear dying and having to answer to God why I squandered what I was blessed with.  It might sound cliché, but for me it’s very true.  This is the anniversary of God sparing my life from a heart attack last year and I am sure I am still here because I have work left to do.  Over the past few years it has been revealed to me that I am a leader at heart and I need to stay engaged in spreading love and wisdom to be satisfied with my life.  My health has prevented me from having a conventional job in recent years, but I can contribute to society by sharing my life’s lessons through writing.  I still hesitate to call myself a “writer” but I can’t deny that this ability springs from my soul.  I have a natural curiosity about everything so I can always find some subject matter to analyze and glean wisdom from.  My other motivation is my family, especially the younger generation.  I don’t want them to always think of their Auntie as the crazy weed smoker with arthritis and no job.  I would like to inspire them to express themselves and utilize every gift and talent they have been blessed with, despite any obstacles that come their way.  I feel that I need to be an example of the qualities that I want them to have; faith, hustle, integrity, compassion, wit and wisdom.

On the flip side, my days of procrastination, depression and laziness also contribute to the sum of me.  Although I know both practically and spiritually what habits I need to let go of, I am still puzzled by my own disobedience.  I can start off my day pumped up with a workout, prayer session and a healthy breakfast but by 2pm, I have wasted hours on the couch playing video games and watching TV.  My mentor told me that this form of procrastination is based in fear of not being enough.  I had to mull that over a bit before admitting that it was true.  That old perfectionism had returned. So again, I have to tackle the fact that I need to work on the fear factor that creeps up in so many insidious ways.  This is where the faith comes into play.

The only way I see to balance what I want to do and why I don’t, is through prayer.  I am learning the true meaning of the verse, “Apart from Me you can do nothing.”(John 15:5). Basically the only way to stay on the righteous path, despite me succumbing to temptation daily is by asking Jesus, The Holy Spirit and God to help me.  Constantly.  And Yes, I distinctly ask all 3.  To be honest, I don’t really get the whole Trinity thing so I just ask everybody.  Can’t hurt right?

I have found that spending time with God increases my faith.  When I slip up and let the days lapse in between my dedicated prayer and meditation time, essentially being apart from God, that’s when the depression creeps in and zaps the faith I built up.  After attending the Global Leadership Summit for the past 4 years, I have observed very prominent business, political and creative leaders share the core of their success and it is their faith.  I am sure they get discouraged at times but over the years, after building up their faith muscles, they know definitively that they will be victorious.  Since we are all unique, this faith muscle is developed differently in each of us but the key is to intentionally build it up.  Intentionality goes a long way in spiritual development.

So to bring this back around to my original reasoning for what makes me who I am, and who I would like to be.  At my core is a fierce faith that allows me to experience the highs and lows of life but still know that God’s got me.  My faith pushes me to do better and affect mankind positively.  My faith also lets me forgive myself and not be consumed by my flaws because I know God loves me unconditionally.  I may have temporary lapses, but I am not consumed.

Jeremiah 29:11-14 states that God’s plans for us are for a great future.  The passage goes on to explain that once you pray God will hear you, answer you and restore you.   When I find myself sliding too far down the dark hole, I remember this verse and get motivated all over again.  Faith is really the only way to connect who we are now with who we want to become.  I strive to become a better version of myself everyday so I will continue to intentionally seek spiritual knowledge which builds my faith muscle.   Until next time, Peace and Blessings!

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The Ghosts We Face

 

So, this morning I woke up with a need to reach way back into my Bitter Bitch bag and spill some of this vitriol from my soul.  Since I reached my half century mark a few months back, I really have zero F’s left to give about how people perceive me.  The reality is that I spent so much time giving a shit and building these emotional walls that I even masked from myself how sensitive I really am.  This is probably the reason that these episodes affect me so deeply.  Today I want to talk about this thing called “ghosting”.

For those who may be unfamiliar, “Ghosting” is when someone abruptly ends a relationship without any type of direct communication. I don’t believe this is a new phenomenon, just as with everything else, it has gotten more common because of this digital age we live in.  Since many relationships are sustained these days by social media and texting, it feels more pronounced when even this minimal form of engagement disappears.  There are a couple of types of ghosting; one is experienced after bad dates and the other happens between what were thought to be genuine friends.

Not to justify, but many of us are guilty of the first kind of ghosting, even me.  I remember I showed up for a date that I met online and shawty told me she was feminine and professional, and in person she looked like a broke Rick Ross. Umm, that was not you in the picture Sir!  I couldn’t even keep a straight face so I just left…got ghost.  I mean, I figured she knew she lied so I couldn’t even feel guilty.  When the person is a casual acquaintance or a Tinder date we feel like we don’t owe them any type of explanation because “we don’t even know them like that”.

To me, the most emotionally damaging type of ghosting is when it happens between longtime close, or so I thought, friends.  Like, whoa.  This means that I totally misjudged your character for years and you know my intimate business.  Now I’m doubting myself, wondering what event triggered this and can it be fixed.  Driving myself crazy replaying previous conversations in my head, my anxiety and obsession on full throttle.  It takes me awhile to convince myself that I need to drop the guilt.  Then I get pissed off, thinking about all the apparently fake ass conversations that took place over the course of the relationship.  I’m thinking, what red flags did I ignore?

Perfect example of this is my last ghosting experience.  I met her about 8 years ago and she pursued me for the friendship, then she disappeared suddenly after a few months of deep conversations.  It bothered me then but since I hadn’t known her that long, I let it go, but my gut was bugging me.  How do you go from texting me and calling regularly to nothing? It’s not like we were dating so it couldn’t be on some emotional shit.  After advice from a mutual friend, I decided to show compassion and no judgment when she suddenly reappeared right around Thanksgiving with a story and an apology.

This became her pattern for the next few years and it was cool with me. I understand the need to withdraw from time to time to refocus. I understand that life gets in the way and time slips away.  She reiterated our “family” status every time we spoke and would always seek me out for prayer and advice. I’m a sucker for the whole prayer thing, if you ask me to pray for you, I take that seriously. I believe this is how I got played.  I was so busy trying to be a prayer warrior that I ignored the pattern of disrespect to herself and others. I should have known that same disrespect would be aimed at me in time. Gotta watch how people move with others, it won’t be long before they move funny-style with you too.  She was always supportive of anything I was involved in so I guess I had no reason to suspect anything was awry.  Anyway, after a couple of months, I noticed that my calls and texts weren’t being returned so I took the hint.  I hadn’t unfollowed her social media though so I saw a post that my intuition told me was about me.  I was like hold up, what is this cowardly nonsense from someone who prides themselves on being so confrontational?  It’s so crazy how people are quick to do some dramatic shit like air out their grievances on Facebook but not simply confront the offender in person.  I mean picking up the phone is easy, just like you picked it up to ask for money or bend my ear asking for prayer and advice. WTF?

There are a couple of reasons why people ghost someone.  Some people think “we’re sparing the other person’s feelings because being honest would hurt them worse”.  Nah, we just want to spare ourselves the emotional drama of having to explain exactly what is “wrong” with someone else.  This is that passive-aggressive, non-confrontational, weak AF approach.  Being honest with others about what you think about them can be painful so many people simply avoid it by disappearing.  This also avoids witnessing the pain on the ghostee’s face when the rejection is experienced.

According to Psychology Today, there is a link between social rejection and the biological reaction of physical pain. (https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/living-forward/201511/is-why-ghosting-hurts-so-much) Unfortunately, this type of emotional pain is the core of many opioid addictions because rejection of any form chips away at a person’s self-esteem.  But that’s a subject for a later time…

The other reason for this immature approach is, because like Common told Ice Cube back in the day, “I see the Bitch in You”. Real Talk.  When you have built a relationship by presenting yourself to be something you are clearly not, the shame eventually gets to you and poof, you’re gone.  Once you realize that people have accepted you without judgment, you can’t believe it because you don’t deem yourself worthy.  Now you must sabotage the relationship and make the other person out to be the villain.  You are ALWAYS the victim, right?  Nah, we all do ratchet shit and the truth is you need to accept yourself as you are, just like your friends do, just like God does.  Once you realize that it’s fine to let someone know what offends you and discuss solutions without losing your value, you will no longer need to be the victim and get ghost.

Bottom line, Ghosting is the ultimate form of psychological cruelty because it leaves the Ghostee unable to determine how to process the event. When this happens between friends that you love and trust it especially feels like a deep betrayal. We all need closure but without communication we don’t even know what behavior to address.  Ghosting renders us powerless over expressing our emotions and beginning the healing process.  Despite the Ghoster thinking it’s not that deep, this act can leave deep psychological scars.  The best way to heal these scars is to go through the stages of grief over the loss of the relationship, pray for the offender, forgive them and let it go.  This process can range from days to years, everyone is unique.  I believe that everything occurs for a reason and perhaps this person was only meant to be in my life for a season.  I’m good with that.  But then the petty part of me reminds me that Karma is a Bitch and I don’t wish ill on anyone but…can’t say I wouldn’t smirk a bit if it happened. Yep, God is still working on me.   Until next time, Blessings!

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At 50 The Struggle Is Still Real

So, it’s Valentine’s Day and I have been “meaning to” and “about to” start back up Wani’s World for at least a month now.  I turned 50 in December of 2016 and for me that was always some kind of magical deadline when my life would miraculously somehow fall into place.  I mean, I had put in half a century of work right?  But, I quickly found out that even at 50, the struggle is still real.  I know we all have struggles but I feel like my particular struggles might resonate with someone so I guess that is why I have been prompted to share.  My struggles in a nutshell are: Fear, Forgetting my Why and the rollercoaster of waning and gaining self-confidence.

I woke up this morning feeling grateful but a bit ashamed at the pound of ground beef I ate last night, trying to assuage my feelings of guilt for not writing and being productive yesterday.  However, I decided to shake it off and make this a great day.  I prayed, decided to show love to myself and others because after all, it is Valentine’s Day.  All the while, my mind was wrestling with what profound message I wanted to share to explain my lack of presence in the blog world.  I wanted to come up with some grand explanation and how my absence has been filled with intense periods of introspective writing and productivity.  But, as we all know, real life shit is what really happened during my absence. The death of family, friends, my seemingly declining health causing me to stare my mortality in the face, taxes, bills and just dealing with regular life stuff is what really happened.   So, just before I talked myself out of writing anything at all, I was returning from Starbucks and getting on the elevator in my building and this little boy, who looked about 10 years old got on the elevator with me.  He was a cute little boy, unaccompanied by any parent and he simply turned to me and said, Happy Valentine’s Day.  For some reason, that simple gesture just warmed my soul and I felt at that moment God sent me a cheerleader to prompt me to just keep going.  I know it seems simple to most, but sometimes the simplicity  of a kind word goes such a long way in dispelling fear and depression.  I mean, when I got home, I immediately went into worship mode and thanked God profusely for the myriad of blessings that are sent my way daily.  You see, God has been impressing upon me the need to write, not for myself but to help others, for at least a year now.  Yet, for various reasons, that is the one thing that I have not done.  However, despite my disobedience, He continues to send me cheerleaders to let me know that my mission cannot be aborted.   I keep trying to talk myself out of it, and He keeps sending me cheerleaders, in many forms.  A perfect example of this came a couple of Sundays ago in the form of a text from my sister-in-law.

First of all, my sister-in-law and I never text each other and we have not connected in almost a year.  Not because of any animosity, it’s just that we don’t hang like that.  She is actually my sister’s sister-in-law so, we are not that close.  Anyway, I have always respected her as a true woman of God and I am sure she doesn’t even know this but, I have some Bible study notes that I took during her class in 1998 that I still refer to from time to time.  In other words, I know that when she speaks, the anointing is present.  Anyway, I woke up that Sunday with a confused heart, still grappling with my purpose in life, and out of the blue she sent me a text that read. “This is not the time to become distracted.  Stretch your goals.  Be the best you can be.  Watch God move.”  So I replied, trying to make light of it, “Did you wake up knowing that I needed this? LOL” Complete with the grinning face emoji.  “I receive it, Thanks.”  She came right back with “Push. God says you are paralyzed in fear.  Rise above it.  You are greater than you think.”  Dead ass serious.  So I knew this was directly from the Source.  All I could say was, “Got it.”  I was stunned.  I hadn’t revealed to anyone the depth of my fear based paralysis.  I thought my hamster wheel thoughts were only privy to me and perhaps my partner, simply because she lives with me.  Only my Creator could have known that this paralysis was keeping me stuck.

What is so crazy to me, is how I continue to have faith for others but neglect doing the same for myself.  I have been affirming for the past 7 years that: I am an encourager.  I am an edifier.  I am an exhorter.  I am a prayer warrior.  Yet for some reason, I act like these things are not my life’s purpose.  I have also been told many times, that I am a healer and a leader but since I don’t feel like I am leading anyone and I definitely have not healed myself yet, I have shied away from taking on these titles.  I even spent the time and money to become a Reiki Master, but because of that ever present rollercoaster of self-doubt, I haven’t acted upon that either.  I even started, reluctantly, looking for a job, although I know that writing is my new career.  However, I swear, each time I have started looking for a conventional job my health takes a downturn.  It’s almost as if God puts me in a physical position where all I can do is write.  I guess the real issue for me has to do with something I thought that I had conquered.  I thought I had conquered tying my self-worth to my earning ability.  Truth be told, my faith has not reached the point where I can see myself earning a livable wage writing.  Which again sends me on that rollercoaster…you get the gist.

To wrap this all up, I am happy to say that despite all of my pitiful excuses, brushes with death, disobedience and plain old laziness, God still uses me and encourages me daily.  The last few cheerleaders, along with various conversations I have had with folks in the past month have helped me rediscover my Why.  I may not have any profundity to spew, and I surely have not accomplished a quarter of what I wanted to.  However,  I know that regular old me and my life experiences are just enough for someone to gain encouragement from.  For this reason, I jumped up to write this on Valentine’s Day to show someone that loving yourself just where you are, flaws and all is what this day should be about.  So, welcome back to Wani’s World and for any newbies, thank you for visiting.  As always, I wish you all Peace, Blessings and Prosperity! Happy Love Day!

 

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My 33 year Bachelor’s degree AKA Persistence Pays Off

 

It’s still so surreal to me, I am finally graduating with my Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from University of Maryland University College today.

I started this journey towards a college degree back in 1983 when I graduated from high school back in Yonkers, NY. I graduated at 16 and entered an elite Urban Legal Studies program at City College of NY where I was supposed to have earned a Bachelor’s and a Law Degree in 6 years. This program was started by the late great W. Haywood Burns, a civil rights lawyer and general counsel to MLK’s Poor People’s Campaign. My intent was to become a civil rights lawyer and use my legal skills in the service of the underserved urban community in NYC. However, as life goes, circumstances in my life changed the trajectory of my path and I became disenchanted with the legal system, since it failed me and my family in our time of need.

My career path took me into the US Army then to a career in Telcommunications for the past 2 decades. I would have never imagined myself in such a technical occupation, but as I have said before God laughs at our own plans. I started in commercial telecom back in the 90’s when cellular phones first became practical and affordable for regular folks. At the time there was really no formal education for this because it was a new and ever changing technology. Since I was already working in the field, and being trained in proprietary practices for each company I worked for, I felt there was no reason to pursue a degree. I mean my only reason at that time to pursue a degree was to earn more money with a “professional” job. My logic was if I was already making good money and working next to folks who spent good money and time getting their degrees, I was already ahead of the game. After working in this field for so many years, since it was never my passion, I became bored and could no longer motivate myself to learn anything new in the field. I always wanted to pursue my creative talents of writing, promotion and marketing and even some motivational speaking. Since I am a veteran, and I was blessed to work for a company that offered tuition assistance I had many opportunities to pursue higher education. I stopped and started many times over the years. I started at UMUC while still in the military, but because of my schedule it was too taxing to keep up with the assignments. I attended a couple of community colleges and earned enough credits for an Associate’s degree but I never thought that was good enough so I didn’t take the steps to get that degree.

Finally back in 2008, when President Obama took office and he gave his speech on the importance of empowerment through education, I was inspired to take advantage of my benefits and finally complete my degree. I realized that I was squandering the very benefits that immigrants like my Mother come to this country to take advantage of. I also realized that since this is the latter part of my life, I might as well not chase the dollar but chase my real passion. I have always felt that my unique perspective and personality make me a “brand” of sorts so I wanted to get a degree that would help me capitalize on that. This is where the marketing comes in, I figured this knowledge will assist me in effectively promoting my blog and eventually my book, Memoirs of a Bitter Bitch.

I guess I have always held myself to such high and unrealistic standards that I have been reluctant to celebrate my accomplishments. I wasn’t even going to walk in the ceremony until my sister Wanjiku convinced me that at the very least, I should celebrate that I actually completed something worthy in my life.   I also have to shout out my dear friends like Malcolm Wellborn, Reshonda Carroll and of course my partner Johni who always congratulated me and told me how much I motivated them, although I never thought that I was doing anything special. It’s so crazy how I give others such inspiration but in my own mind, I deemed myself not good enough. I remember one class I had where I procrastinated horribly until literally the last day when I had a 16 page paper due. I was so disgusted with myself once I hit the send button after working from like 4am to midnight to complete this paper. I just knew that I would be taking that class over and I was so surprised to get an A on this paper. An A on 16 page paper that I did in one day! That was when I began to realize that despite all my anxiety issues and my addictions, my brain was still functioning properly and I can accomplish great things. Of course I prayed and smoked through every minute of writing that joint, but in the end God’s grace prevailed and got me that A. LOL

So today as I walk across that stage to get this degree that I went through the fire to earn, I feel so grateful and amazed at God’s grace and Blessings upon my life. I made it through the loss of my parents, financial loss, homelessness, illness, surgeries, addictions and most recently a heart attack…to end up here, on the threshold of my next career. I hope I can keep it together without weeping for joy over God’s goodness, but even if I don’t…I don’t care if everyone knows that my unwavering faith in the Almighty Creator got me to this point and it will carry me on until the time I transition from this earth. I am so at peace with myself and my emotions now, since I have gone from weed to worship that I may just break out in a praise dance while crossing the stage! So, to everyone that is on this same journey to gain a higher education, keep on pressing and keep your faith in God, nothing is impossible with God, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! Now, I am even toying with the idea of pursuing my Doctorate, if I can figure out how to not go into debt by taking student loans. LOL Oh well, as I have learned, God will make a way that is perfect for my situation. Please keep me in your prayers people and as always I wish you Peace and Abundant Blessings! #UMUCGrad2016

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Diabetic Gourmet Journey Day 3

 

So, as promised, I’m keeping this journey completely transparent with you all. Yesterday, Day 2, let’s just call it Food Fuckup Friday, started off on the wrong foot. I went up into the Amish Market on an empty stomach. Mistake number one. I grabbed a bacon, egg and cheese pretzel to sustain the nausea quickly forming in my gut. I did well, only eating half of it. I walked around picking up all my healthy groceries, like fresh fruit and veggies, but then…I walked past the pastry department on the way out. Welp, you already know, 3 danishes and a pack of Buttered Rum Muffins later the tone was set for the day. After that, I said WTH and ended my morning with a Starbucks Butterscotch Latte. Sooo, I decided to go home and be productive by burning some calories up doing housework. I knew it wouldn’t erase the calories, but shit, it still counts. In my cleaning frenzy, I decided to Scotchguard and Febreze the upholstered furniture, which totally funked up the air with toxic fumes, so I needed to get out of the apartment. Well, it was lunchtime and my brain thought, “Hey let’s go get some more Jamaican food!” I rationalized that I would just keep it simple with a chicken patty, but what had happened this time was…umm I saw that bread pudding with the rum sauce and it was on. That common sense switch clicked off and the Greedy chick took over my brain. I was up in that joint ordering shit like I was a paid food critic at the Washington Post! SMDH

So after that fiasco, and my lack of working out yesterday, I really was starting to feel ashamed of posting the truth about my lack of discipline. I jumped up this morning ready to rectify the bullshit by eating a healthy breakfast and heading immediately afterwards to the gym. On my way to workout, I put in my Accelerate CD by Joel Osteen and got in a little Word and inspiration during the short drive. Now, I am still not used to this being overcome by the Holy Spirit in crazy places, like my car while driving. I already stopped playing certain songs on the treadmill because I damn near bust my ass when I am overcome with emotion over my blessings and how far I’ve come in this spiritual journey. However, God got me again. LOL

 

Joel was talking about how God wants us to love and fully accept ourselves with ALL our flaws and not to be ashamed of failures. God is interested in our hearts and our willingness to honor and please Him by doing right. God is more concerned with our pure hearts than our perfect performance. When Jesus chose the disciples, He chose people who on the surface were not qualified for such coveted positions. These weren’t the most disciplined people, like the Pharisees who performed every letter of the law religiously. The disciples were men from dysfunctional backgrounds who had a simple desire to honor God with their lives by being willing to follow and learn from Jesus. Joel was giving a good word and I was definitely receiving it but when he said, “ You wouldn’t be listening if you didn’t have a heart turned toward God. God handpicked you not because of your great behavior or character but because you have a heart that wants to do right.” I started to tear up because; I stay trying to attempt perfection and beating myself up after failing. Joel continued with, “ You have to learn to accept yourself while you’re in the process of changing. It doesn’t do any good to go around beating yourself up because of flaws and weaknesses. There will always be something to improve or some reason to feel wrong about who we are.” This last line though, was most definitely for me, “Why don’t you stop beating yourself up because you don’t perform perfectly and start accepting yourself because you have a right heart?” Whoa. I had to hold it together from bawling in the gym parking lot then because that line spoke right to my insecurities. He basically kept reiterating the need to enjoy the phase of the process we are in right now because it all works together for our good. Another mini-epiphany for me was when he said that I need to trust God with EVERYTHING, not just my goals and dreams but my flaws, addictions and weaknesses. I received that I am not a finished product, God is the Potter and I am on His timetable. There is no choice for me but to accept myself, trifling eating habits and all.

 

So, since I have learned how to work with my own crazy thought process, I have decided to focus on increasing my time in the gym and not my food challenges. I know abs are made in the kitchen, but the reality is I am doing the best I can right now. Managing eating on time for my diabetes, taking the time to actually prepare the healthy meals, dealing with nausea and having convenient substantial meals while I am out running errands…it’s just a whole lot. I notice that being in the gym around like-minded folks motivates me and makes me more conscious of my food decisions. For real, like I said before, at least I’m doing more than I was. I will be working out tomorrow with my trainer @GrowOrDieAth, Brandon and if he reads this I will definitely get cussed out. I guess that’s part of my process. LOL

#The Struggle is Real Until the next update, be Blessed!

 

 

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