Prayer: When Life is Too Hard to Stand...Kneel

When I sat down to finally write this I found myself with my pen in hand just hovering above an empty page. It's not because I had nothing to say but because I had so much to say that none of it was coherent. Instead in my mind there were flashes of the map with 8 States highlighted due to their new "heart beat" style laws. Mugshot after mug shot swirling as the headlines of perpetrator on top of perpetrator is released with little and/or no consequence despite admitting assaulting a woman or child. Visions of legislators who say things like, "rape is God's will" or "find the silver lining" after assault haunt my thoughts. I had to take numerous breaks writing this just to clear my mind because the emotions this whole situation brought out of me as a woman left me feeling angry, frustrated, silenced, and defeated. The overwhelming feeling of not being protected or appreciate it makes approaching this fight logically difficult. I wanted to shout from the rooftops," MY BODY IS NOT UP FOR DEBATE!" "MY SAFETY MATTERS!" While inside I know those screams would fall on America's deaf ears.

The Price of Peace: How Losing You Meant Finding Me

Then say Rome wasn't Built-in A-day, well embracing who you are and awakening key who you are meant to become does it happen that quickly either. For me The journey to self happened in more of a hopscotch kind of motion with me sometimes holding firmly on 2 feet,  and  other times wildly wobbling on one on the brink of collapse.


 In order to understand the story you have to start at the beginning. The 1st time I ever heard someone say they needed peace I was very young. Like most my 1st encounter with it came at the hands of my mother. My mother was and is a single mom of 2. That meant even with my very large Hands on family things were not always easy. We had some amazing times with road trips, and sleepovers with my cousins that make a big bowl of noodles with 3 forks and Babes in Toyland playing on VHS.   But having a young single Room also make there were struggles. My mom and I grew up together in a sense so there was no line or sugar coating about our situation. As on my mom where card, earn less and hope for a better way. It was in reference to this struggle I 1st heard the word peace. The way it was described I thought piece meant having money and paying bills on time period so I would tell myself I'm going to have peace when I grow up and started making my own money at 11, paying for my own things so my mom would have to cartman and in my mind I was hoping as both have some peace.

  Fast forward to my teenage years filled with the typical teenage drama with a sprinkle of the complexities of same sex relationships common being out and proud and how working and taking college classes peace took on a completely new meaning. It was no longer about just money for bills now peace also met finding a way to "live my truth" while also maintaining my grades, keeping an active social life , shouldering the expectations of my family,  defending my sexuality, and so many other things all while still keeping a smile.  I was told by all of my friends that I had the best life because my mom was it straight and I had freedom but I wasn't happy. In fact I was suicidal. After my 1st attempt I felt peace met no longer baby in this world we have to fight hard for everything come on not being crushed by peer pressure and obligations, or being judged by people who claim to love you. Peace meant saying good bye to everyone I love and finding my ultimate freedom in death. But,even that didn't go as planned as my attempt was thwarted  by what I'm now years later see as an angel.  Since that night I've always prayed that he would somehow know how grateful I am. In the time that followed  I lost Friends camera family, even a partner as I promised myself I would do right by this life to never again see might gift of life as a burden.


This man the man who raised me being added to my blacklist in every way because he hurt me so badly telling me how disappointed he was that I was embracing my sexuality. At a time when love was all I want it they seemed to not want me back. I lost my father figure, I lost my actual father whom I hadn't seen in years, lost a close connection with my family, and inevitably I lost myself in a cycle of emotional, physical, and substance abuse that would span the next few years of my life. 


 The promise I made to embrace my life had come to a halt as I drowned my pain and alcohol, drugs, and  bad relationships and I came dangerously close to losing my life yet again.  


 Seemed at that point peace yet again needed to be re defined. Am I very real depression and anxiety peace literally meant nothing to me.  It was an unattainable fairy tale but I had no interest in reading. Following an unhealthy divorce I found myself standing at a crossroads. Not only did I need to address the scars my marriage, abuse karma and was carriage Left Behind camera I needed to figure out who I was now. Was IA scorned woman? Maybe a bitter ex?  A naive new dater? The uncertainty of it all was both exciting and scary as hell!  I couldn't be sure what was next but I knew for a fact that gaining a true sense of self and understanding this new chapter in my life was a must and the beginning of that wasn't finding peace or clearly defining it, no this journey needed to become about more than just the word it had to become a choice. I had to choose peace at every turn no matter what it meant giving up.


 It was during this time that peace became less about superficial things and more about my energy, my interactions, my health,  my space, my words, my thoughts and the power they held, and more importantly what I wanted the legacy of my life to amount to.  


At this point  I had to ask myself by what standard was are measuring myself against and whether that standard was high enough to match my dreams from my life. 


 If I had to describe peace to you today I would say it feels like when I close my eyes and breathe deep, feeling the air fill my lungs and my chest expanding,  allowing a smile to cross my face, embracing that moment right before I breathe out THAT! Is what peace is...

It is stillness and movement, silence and selective noise, it is feeling the smile both inside and out. These days when something tries to get me down, my illness causes the body to flare, I remember what I felt like before knowing real peace. That time when family members hurt my heart, when lovers turned against me, when money was short, when my diagnosis was cruel, when my self worth was shot, when my friends became acquaintances, when my self esteem reflected others image of me instead of the one God-ordained for me, when the happiness and comfort of others trumped my own, that time when giving up was an option, I remember that and say to myself NOT TODAY! *Shameless #GOT plug* lol.

 The level of peace I have obtained today is worth every failed relationship, and every good bye spoken.   Will you feel real peace you are willing to sacrifice it for anything. So if you were ever blessed  Enough to feel my love, be my friend, or even just get to know me and our relationship is no longer there no 3 very important things are true; First I wish you no ill will,  nor do I hate you.  In fact I wish you every blessing because I found peace in our parting and and thankful for our season. Second,  I gave as best I could to you. I made every effort to be fair, honest, kind calmer and forgiving so I found peace and comfort in the good times while acknowledging that it was you and not me that failed us. While that may seem harsh peace the man's that you hold yourself accountable as well as others. Third, and this is the last but certainly not the least I love you still. Surprising I know but it's true. I love you and love who you were for me be it friend, lover, family, or LESSON. I love you with my whole heart but I LOVE ME MORE! That is the greatest gift peace gave me. I paid the price by losing you but that payment came with the reward of truly knowing me and that is truly priceless....















The Dark Side of Delivery: Maternal Mortality and Me...

Can you imagine if every 1st visit to the obstetrician they asked about your diet, your goals for your pregnancy, in at the end asked if you were prepared to die? Sounds crazy I know but the reality is that the happiest time in a woman's life also  Carries the weight of being the last thing she does in the world.

Maternal mortality in this country has become a topic being discussed more and more in recent years and it's not because it's declining but just the opposite it is on the rise. According to the CDC had 7208  reported deaths of women from pregnancy related issues  From 2011 to 2014 within a year of giving birth with 2726 of those deaths being found to be  directly related to pregnancy. Even more alarming is the fact that black women lose their lives at a rate that is 4 times higher than white women with no documented reasons as to the cause of the discrepancy see between the races.  With the technological advances available in the United States he would think that these numbers would be much lower but in fact the CDC sites cardiovascular disease ( 15.2%) ,non cardiovascular disease ( 14.7%) , infection and sepsis ( 12.8%) , and hemorrhage ( 11.5%),  as the top reasons for death among these women with more than half of the above named being preventable. The United States as of 28th 18 is saying a rise in these numbers with a staggering 20+  deaths per 100,000 reported with 47.2 deaths per 100,000 being black mothers . 

47.2! That number means that if you are black, female, and childbearing the chances that you may pass away during delivery or shortly after pregnancy is incredibly high compared to other races. 

Take for instance the story of Kira Johnson.  Kira gave birth to my son Langston on April 12, 2016 as Cedars-Sinai medical center in California. After her husband noticed blood in her catheter and he alerted hospital staff on subsequently ordered stat diagnostic CT scans. Expecting the test to be performed immediately they waited 7 hours for this game which never got performed. Instead after Cara began to shake uncontrollably and internal exam was the which they husband Charles was told would take 15 minutes. Watching his wife be rolled away that was the last time he saw Kira alive. But the Johnson story is not isolated thousands of women's family share this heartbreak every year in this country. Hospitals failed these women on multiple fronts yet the CDC reports the over all reason for this is unknown. To that I call bullshit.  

Is it Possible to be Black, Female, and Mentally Stable?

…being a Black woman is to stand on the edge of the mountain and shout for the world to hear that you bones are strong, your skin is kissed by the sun, your heart is pure, your mind is has been strengthened by generations of way- makers, and your resolve is unmatched by any other being on this planet!