Are You Truly Living?

I awoke one morning around 4 am as I often do. My body has somehow programmed itself to hate me thus making me open my eyes way before sunlight hits my window. But whatever. As I was awake at the middle of the night, I decided to begin scrolling through social media in search of something to occupy my mind.

I began watching videos and looking at pictures of others living life. They looked happy. They were taking risks. They were being bold. I asked myself, “Are you really living or are you just obsessed with the concept of it?” The question frustrated me. It saddened me because in that moment, I was unsure that I could say with honesty that I was truly living my life. I recognized I had become burdened with doubt at times. Occupied by routine and responsibility, I’d fallen into the routine of making excuses for why I could not simply live.

This question sent me on a quest to discover who around me could declare they are living and what it truly means to live life. The quest was interesting. Filled with Facebook, GroupMe, and text message conversations, I discovered that many people associate the concept of living with having an abundance of money, traveling, being in their desired bbe6e5cfa19ece85b973f28432012d6ffield, having extra time to have fun, etc. As a person who quit her job and now makes my own schedule, I’m confident that living does not begin when you change your job or when you have money. Eventually, after asking myself and others several questions, I settled into a long conversation with God; which was my favorite part of this quest. I began as I always do, asking questions; letting my mind wander into the possibilities of what it means to live until I received what I felt to be profound and acceptable answers.

What if, living has nothing to do with money or a particular status in life? What if living is only partly about fulfilling desires? What if it’s also about being obedient to your spirit in each moment. Following it even when it feels and looks crazy? Jumping when there is no parachute to catch you. Standing when your legs are weak. Living begins when you make the decision to live. (I believe) living cannot be constricted into one section or place. You can be living life adventurously yet have such a burdened and resentful heart. Or you can love yourself and others yet neglect your desires because you deem them unworthy of fulfillment.

Living means so many different things for so many different people. There are many factors that come into play when evaluating whether or not you are living. Tailored to the individual, living is allowing your heart, mind and spirit to be open to the beauty and possibilities of life. Not holding yourself back because of carnal feelings (such as unforgiveness, offense, bitterness, fear, etc) but instead letting yourself fly and experience the supernatural. Allowing yourself to tread waters that may scream “keep out.” Experiencing euphoria in the sacrifice of appearances and the acceptance of others. Loving beyond walls. Doing the “impossible”. Challenging your own status quo. Finding beauty within your realm of circumstance. There are million ways to live life. You choose what that looks like. You choose what you’re willing to sacrifice. If you choose to sacrifice self-fulfillment in order to please your loved ones, and that is what living means for you, we shouldn’t dare tell you that you’re wrong until you yourself decide that it is no longer life-giving to you.

Maybe “living” changes and evolves as we do. Hopefully as you change,so do your desires, views and needs. For e47d87c2c06d54740efc49d5ef42da34some, living means following a routine. For others, it means having no routine. I believe as we were created, we have the right to live life however it so pleases our spirits. The standard is whatever has been placed inside of you. Knowing yourself, being unafraid to discover, believing in something bigger than yourself; all foundational when living. Maybe you live some days and others you don’t. Maybe some days, living means staying put in your home and watching TV, or reading, or doing whatever the hell you want.

I’m learning that I don’t know a lot. But I will ask questions. I inquire. I ask God for clarity. I evaluate myself, I talk to my best friends and my soulmates. I acquire peace in the midst of all of that. I find beauty in discovery. Beauty in the unknown and beauty in our ability to evolve, question and gain new revelation everyday.

and that for me, is living.

Him.

You were the first man I ever called beautiful. Years later, I still see you as such but my perspective has changed. I seeIMG_8259 you as so much more.

A fighter, a warrior with so much strength yet the sensitivity and humility to love me beyond what most would say I deserve.

You have never stopped being a great husband and for that, I honor you.

Then you became a father.  For the last year, I’ve seen your strength more than I’ve ever seen it before.
I’ve seen the IMG_9367epitome of grace in your patience. In your ability to love me and our baby so fervently and purely.
I’ve seen your ability to lead. Your gifts. You know how to grow & build a ministry my love,  you do it everyday with our family.
Because you’re a great father, I’m able to breathe on days where breath seems unattainable.
You allow me rest when I need.
You’re intentional and emotionally involved.
You’re gentle and kind.IMG_9532
I talk a lot of mess. I’m mean sometimes. I criticize how you do things.
But I can’t ever deny how perfect you are for me, our daughter and our baby boy.
I’m so so grateful that our children are able to experience your fatherhood.
I can’t believe you ever worried that you wouldn’t be a good father.
I never did. I never worried.
You’ve proven that I never had to. I love you so much. Obviously Brook adores you and I know our son will too.
Happy Fathers Day Baby.
I love you so much.

One.

3D_3

You were never a thought. Well, maybe a distant one. One I figured would surface when I was ready. When I was finished establishing my career and having fun with my husband.

and then you came. out of nowhere. unexpected but not prevented so I get it.

I wasn’t happy. I was disappointed and afraid of what may happen if you entered this world so soon before I deemed myself ready.

Before I deemed myself worthy.

Before I had conquered my fear

but it was too late, you were on your way

I knew that you would change my life, I just wasn’t exactly sure how.

I had heard so many things about motherhood. The good, the bad and the ugly but still I was determined to narrate my own journey

and I did.

Pregnancy with you was an experience. Much like your true personality, you were stubborn

You didn’t want to be seen by the cameras until you were ready and we were forced to wait until you graced Earth

forced to wait and see how beautiful you would be. and you were, so beautiful.

You met the world on June 16th, 2015. You cried for 2 seconds and then found peace as you rested on my chest

you were the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. and you still are.02-15-IMG_7990

my angel. my baby. my beautiful creation. my daughter. You’ve changed me.

You strengthened muscles in my mind that I never even knew functioned the way they do.

You bring me joy every time you breathe.

Your personality is a perfect combination of him and me.

You kept me alive. Literally. Stopped me from ending life because I knew you deserved to be here

DSC_2619and you helped me realize that I deserve to be here too.

With you, life is truly worth living.

I see myself through the Fathers eyes because you are His gift to me.

I know my capabilities because you were entrusted to me,

to be your mother, is a privilege.

To call you daughter is unreal.

It’s been 365 days of crazy mommy instincts and ever changing norms

I never understood the tears and emotional moments that mommies have when their children grow but I get it now.

It’s a profound reality that we control nothing but yet we’re blessed and graced to see a creation bloom as she was created to.

Happy Birthday My Baby Girl. You’re perfect.IMG_9371

Brooklyn Ayebapreye Brandon

Love: Choosing To Embrace

Love. The more I learn about it, the more often I question whether we truly love each other. Whether we love ourselves. I realize I’ve been truly ignorant to what it truly means to love someone. Acknowledging someone’s differences and loving them for those differences, are two different things. We often say we love each other for our differences yet we spend so much time complaining and criticizing what we don’t understand. What we don’t like.

We spend time pushing each other to be different; or like us. We miss the foundation of love when we begin to dictate what is “right” or “wrong” about a person when we weren’t the ones who created them. If we’ve chosen to believe in an intentional God that designed the Earth, trees, cycle of life, pregnancy, conception, animals, etc.; how can we not embrace that every human was created intentionally and perfectly. We often quote “I’m human, never claimed to be perfect” and I always beg to differ. I’m not perfect in your eyes, but I am perfect. I was made this way. And unless you are my creator, you can choose to love me this way or not love me at all.

I’ve found that often, we love others the way we want to love them as opposed to loving them the way they desire and need to be loved. Studying, learning, and embracing the spirit and character of someone can be challenging. Loving them fully even when you aren’t a fan of “who” they are is even more challenging. Accepting people for who they are and choosing to love them as such, is a huge key to loving happily and effectively.

As a person that is constantly developing, I desire to be loved and accepted for who I am, totally and fully. I desire to be loved for my seemingly outrageous comments and my long rants about religion, social injustice, or the state of my hair. I’m learning that although I often disagree with the way my husband operates at times, I’m enticed to love him regardless because even those things I dislike make up the very essence of who he is. I can’t choose to love part of him and desire to change the other part.

We (whether intentionally or unintentionally) put parameters on love that we absolutely shouldn’t. We put parameters on what “type” of person should be loved. What actions are acceptable and what actions are not. What 8046d5c4ec043a6a8f83e49cc5eac076thought processes are standard and what thoughts are wrong. Somewhere along the way, we were taught that there was a wrong way and a right way to do life and anything outside of that, is wrong and should be condemned.

I’ll admit, I used to think that way. However, recently I realized that I do not hold the standard nor can I accurately dictate what is right or wrong when it comes to personality, preferences, and desires. I have my opinions and I know the ways in which I desire to teach my children but how can I tell another human being that they are wrong for believing in a certain religion? Or that they’re wrong for wanting a million tattoos? How do I say a person is wrong because they like a different style of music? Furthermore, how do I desire to be loved for who I am while deciding not to love another fully simply because I don’t agree or care for their way of life?

We can focus so closely on our differences that we lose sight of the reality that differences are what bless us. Different cultures, beliefs, ways of life, skin color, etc. those are the things that help us become. Those are the factors that make up a beautiful people. I’ve noticed that at times we love others by deciding what is best for their lives; often dictated by our own life preferences. Where do we draw the line in dictating whether a person is right or wrong based on our own perspective? How do we balance holding tight to our own beliefs while embracing the opinions and beliefs of others? How do we love others when we are sure that we dislike or even hate so many things about them? Is it possible? Are there parameters?

It’s possible. We can create parameters. We can dictate what we will and  will not tolerate. We have that right. The beauty in that, is that we can still love others without agreeing, or even engaging in an active and intimate relationship with them. I’m learning how to do that. I’m learning how to embrace. I’m learning how to give grace and love even when it makes absolutely no sense.

In a time where it appears necessary to demean those who disagree with your way of life; I implore you to open your heart and mind to the reality that we were made differently for a reason. We are each living life in our individual skin. A skin that we did not choose. I hope that you would choose to love someone who seems unlovable. Or choose to accept someone who decides they no longer believe what they used to believe. I hope that we’d all learn to see the perfection in each other instead of highlighting what we perceive to be flaws. In choosing to embrace instead of hate, I believe we’ll stumble upon a new, refreshing, and beautiful way to love.

5-mountains-to-climb-1

The Mountain Is Not Your Enemy.

We often hear from inspirational speakers that your challenges and obstacles are not your competition; you are. When going up against something scary or challenging we often consider this thing as our opponent that needs to be beaten and conquered. I’d dare to argue that those obstacles are not our competition, what if we are our own competition. Our mind, our will to continue. Our inner strength and voice  are what truly makes our breaks our successes and failures. This week I saw that first hand.

On Monday, my husband and I took advantage of the holiday by going on a family walk in my parents neighborhood. Due to adulting requirements, we had to stop our once daily walks so that we could accomplish other things; being able to revisit that tradition was a treat. We put our 11 month old daughter in a stroller and set out to walk. We walked out of our parents neighborhood and headed towards the Silver Comet Trail.

The hill leading out of my parents neighborhood is steep. Really steep. Leaving out, we’re going downhill which makes for an easy walk. However, while walking on the silver Comet Trail (which is a completely flat surface all the way) I kept thinking about the hill that I would have to climb on the way back in. Initially, I began to worry and wonder if I could make it back up that hill carrying all 7 months of my pregnancy. After about five minutes of worry, I encouraged myself to change my mindset. Instead of worrying, I began to encourage 5-mountains-to-climb-1myself. I began to say “don’t ask if you’ll be able to climb the hill, just tell yourself that you can.”

“That hill isn’t scary, it’s just something you have to do to get home”

“You can climb it.” “You will climb it.” “It’s nothing!”

About 45 minutes later, as we entered my parents neighborhood, I stopped thinking about the hill. It was no longer an issue, an opponent or a factor. It was just part of my journey home. I climbed that hill as if it was a flat surface. Looking forward the entire way and focusing on my strength. Once I began to reach the top, I heard “See, the hill is not your adversary. You are. You are the only thing you ever have to conquer.”

That stuck with me. It impacted me. Finally those inspirational speakers and quotes on Facebook began to make sense. In that moment, the hill was not my adversary. It wasn’t my enemy. It was just a hill. What I had to conquer was my mind. I had to decide whether I wasBusinessman torn between being positive or negative going to be strong or weak. Was I going to focus on my impending defeat or success? Of course, the hill is a metaphor. It was a real challenge for me but it opened my eyes to the reality of life’s challenges. The obstacles that we face don’t become our enemies. They are simply obstacles necessary on our journey to wherever we are trying to go. We are our own adversaries. The beautiful thing about that is that we can defeat our adversary by simply changing our minds. Our focus becomes our tool to success.

I know, there are very real excuses. Before we even got to the hill I was going to call my mom and tell her to pick me up so I didn’t have to climb it. I’m not ashamed, I had the thought. I instantly dismissed it. What good am I doing for myself, my mind, my spirit if I begin planning for my defeat before I even try to succeed?? Yes the excuses are real and sometimes even valid. I am 7 months pregnant. It was hard for me to walk 2 miles and climb a really steep hill. I am allowed to be tired and even request to be picked up. But i’m tired of making excuses for myself. I like how it feels to conquer my challenges. I like the reality of knowing I have the power to overcome anything in my path. The pity party days are over. The days of blaming my negative perception on circumstances are over. If we can defeat our own negative mind, we can defeat any obstacle in our path. If we can learn to encourage ourselves towards the best case scenario, we won’t flinch when presented with a challenge. The hill is not your enemy. Neither is the mountain. Nor the people around you. They are simply playing their role, whatever that role is. You have the power to control how you view them.

I don’t know what your hill is. I don’t know what your biggest battles are. I do know that when you change your mind to focus on the power of your perception above all; you’ll realize that you were your biggest obstacle all along.

JoniHeart_Tasha&Xavier-418

Perfection is a Myth My Dear.

This blog was birthed from a very real place. A place of hurt, disappointment, feelings of inadequacy and eventually a place of anger. For the past 9 months, my marriage has been on one of the worst roller coasters ever. A roller coaster similar to the Goliath at Six Flags Over Georgia. As soon as you’re up, you’re coming right back down. Holding your stomach counting down the seconds until that crazy feeling goes away. We love each other, we have promised to stay married, but it’s been a very, very crazy time.

Originally, I began this blog with a rant. Venting about a friend who told me that my husband and I used to be her example couple. Questions formed in my mind instantly. I remember thinking “well damn that’s a rude thing to say.” This conversation and a few comments that I’ve heard about Beyonce have led me to a place of slight frustration. A frustration towards the notion that married couples, even the most in love, connected, happy, soul mates somehow hold a status of perfection. As if my marriage or Beyoncé’s for that matter should be a banner strong enough to hold up the image that being chosen for life should mean ultimate, constant happiness.JoniHeart_Tasha&Xavier-339

It’s a weird medium. On one hand, I know that there are people who understand that marriage does not equal everyday happiness. I know people understand that it’s work. People know there is compromise. What I’m unsure of, is if people realize that in a commitment that holds the length of forever, you may encounter far worse situations than arguments and unhappiness. You may encounter resentment, loss, sickness, neglect, dishonesty, deceit, and even infidelity. And the reality is, none of the aforementioned situations mean that divorce is necessary or eminent. It may just mean that you have two real people, dealing with real mess, trying to make it work for life. We have a tendency to label one “sin” as more devastating than the other but the reality is, hurt is hurt, things happen; and in marriage, you can either choose to give up or choose to keep going.

Before I continue, I must clarify. Nobody hopes for disagreement and discord in marriage. No one aspires to be an adulterer. We strive, pray and hope for perfection while also acknowledging that we are only humans. We come into marriage with so much stuff; mentally, emotionally, physically, etc. Despite how hard we try, and how long we spend trying to perfect ourselves, we’re ever evolving vessels that may hurt others unintentionally.

I’ve simply decided that I don’t desire to be anyone’s example marriage….ever. My issue isn’t that people have looked to us as a great example for young black love. My issue is that being the “example”  looks like whatever mirage they’ve associated with the identity of marriage. Resemblant of the way people look to Pastors as the ultimate example to uphold the Gospel at it’s every word, without blemish; putting an unfair expectation in something as individual and unstable as marriage will leave you disappointed every time. Being a Beyoncé doesn’t guarantee the perfect life or marriage. Just as infidelity, years of arguing, dishonesty, dissatisfaction, etc. does not necessarily mean that you have a terrible marriage. It may mean you have a real one.

 I’m learning that marriage never promised me that it would be perfect. Marriage never promised me I’d be happy all the time. Marriage never promised that there wouldn’t be months or JoniHeart_Tasha&Xavier-275even years where I questioned my decision to be married. “Bad things” happening in my marriage doesn’t mean my spouse and I don’t love each other. Those things that are considered imperfections in my marriage are the very things that have made my marriage last, ironically.  They’ve pushed us to reevaluate our decision, remember why we said yes, and challenge ourselves to love each other harder and better. Those imperfections have cradled us into a position facing a very pungent mirror; showing the places where our marriage has suffered. Helping us realize that we had gotten very good at ignoring the signs, living in discontentment, and hiding transparent feelings from one another all for the sake of maintaining a sense of “perfection”.

I can honestly say that the love my husband and I  have for one another grows stronger and better as it’s tested. What we’ve been through has rendered us the ability to be more open and honest with each other. We are truly seeing what it means to love someone through the best and worst days. We have a new understanding of what love is. We’re not as quick to give up on each other when the days are rough. We simply have a new understanding of “weeping may endure for the night but joy comes in the morning”.  The tests suck in the moment. There have been moments where we’ve both considered leaving. I’m not ashamed of that anymore. And I don’t think it labels my marriage a failure or makes us any less in love or connected. It makes us human.

The reality is, it’s fine to go into marriage and relationships with expectations. It’s fine to have agreements and make vows. It’s fine to expect to love and be loved forever. What you do have to keep in mind, is that all of your expectations, vows, and desires can be shattered by life circumstances, time, and maturity. And if that happens, you have to remember that marriage never promised you that your perception of it would be fulfilled.

If I could ever write a letter to the woman or man who desires to be married, I would say to know why you’re aspiring for marriage. Don’t aspire for marriage because you think that it’s where your happiness lies. Understand that your happiness lies wherever you create it. The Instagram pictures and snapchat clips are really cute but real life happens behind closed doors and that real life does not constitute failure. I have heard a few people say that they look to my husband and I as examples and when we aren’t doing our best, they are worried or upset. They become discouraged and I become confused. If we’re your examples because you think we should always be “happy” then we are your examples for the wrong reason. Remember that no married couple owes it to you or anyone else to be the ideal image of what Happily Ever After is “supposed” to look like.

So if you ever thought we were perfect, I’m not sorry that we aren’t. I’m sad that you ever thought we were.

 

27.

IMG_9212For the past few years, my birthday has been a dreaded and miserable day for me. Disappointment in my life often led me down a road of resentment and feelings of failure. My career  hasn’t taken off the way I’d hoped. My thoughts and desires concerning life sequence and money have not been fulfilled ;and I’ve often questioned whether my leap of faith was a huge mistake. My birthday would come around and I would focus more on my failures than I would focus on my achievements. This year, I began walking down that same road. I was starting to feel depressed. From money problems to unmet desires, I had already begun to start the process of self loathing about a week before the day of my birth. Only a few people know how many hours I’ve cried because I was disappointed in my life. Only my husband knows to the extent in which I’ve struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts.  To some, my life looks perfect. To me, my life was a disappointment and every birthday was a reminder that I wasn’t where I desired to be.

Well. This year is different. This year, I made the decision to grow. I made the decision to be great. I made the decision to love and celebrate myself while being grateful for all that I have and all that I have achieved. I started on Sunday, May 15th. I began to prep myself and remind myself constantly that this year would be different. This year, I would not let my own thoughts or the opinions of others ruin the beauty of my perfect life. This morning, my birthday, May 19th, I woke up in control. I woke up excited about myself and grateful for this beautiful life. I chose not to self loathe. I chose not to focus on unmet desires and instead I began to remind myself of how beautiful I am. I reminded myself of why I am worthy of celebration. As I was giving myself the most encouraging speech I’ve ever IMG_9210heard, I began to cry. Tears of joy this time. I was almost taken aback at how much I’ve changed over the last few months. I recognize that ultimately, disappointment is real. However, it’s just as real as my ability to choose which emotion I will feed. It’s just as real as the beauty and significance of my life.

So, today I’ve chosen to celebrate myself. It’s the most beautiful gift I’ve ever given myself. The most beautiful gift that I’ll ever give anyone who has chosen to walk this life with me. From my husband to friends and family, to my kids (who didn’t technically choose to walk with me but whatever), I’m so grateful for every piece of love I’ve been fortunate and honored to have experienced. I am so beautiful. As I walked around today with my Ankara dress with a plunging neckline (a little cleavage for the birthday won’t hurt nobody), I embraced the attention. I embraced my confidence. I embraced the love I have developed for myself. I’m so in love with God because through His guidance and love, I’ve been able to grow and see myself the way He sees me. I know that I can never be perfect in the eyes of humans so I’m no longer concerned about trying to be. I do know that I’m perfect in the eyes of God and as I grow and move forward, I have begun to see perfection when I look into myself.

I’m so proud of that.

Sharing these thoughts and embracing them as truth has been freeing and an amazing experience. I’m hoping that these thoughts can encourage someone else that has ever been in a place where they were so disappointed with life that they weren’t able to celebrate themselves. Life is beautiful. Celebrate it, love it and mostly, please love yourself!

  1. I’m excited

 

Power of Perfect Timing

Maturity is a strange thing. Defined as “perfect condition” or “full development”, we rarely consider maturation (or the lack thereof) as a reason for why we don’t have what we desire, when we desire it. I believe maturity is something we continue to strive towards. It’s fulfillment changes just as we change. For example, I was very mature at age 21, but not nearly as mature as I am at 26. Maturity isn’t necessarily a mark to reach but rather a concept whose face changes as we change.

While watching The Vow, I stumbled upon the concept of maturity and the power of perfect timing (If you haven’t seen the movie, I’ll do my best not to present any spoilers or go beyond what you’d read in the movie summary). In the movie, Paige, a free spirited artist, is married to Leo, an entrepreneur played by sexy Channing Tatum. The couple are involved in an unfortunate accident which leads Paige to lose all memory of their life together (ok, as I approach my next point, I’m almost sure I’m going to ruin the movie for you. If you care, stop here. If not, read on).

ImpactQuote_TheVow-013As her memory has disappeared, she can only remember her former life; the life where she was in law school, very close to her family, and engaged to a man named Jeremy. Throughout the movie, she is caught in between a tug of war between the life with her immediate family vs the very contrasting life that she had with Leo. No matter what he tried, Leo could not move Paige to operate in the way she operated during their marriage. Her mind was stuck and she could only be the Paige that she remembered. As the movie continues, it becomes clear that as time moved forward, the same life decisions, preferences, and realizations begin to resurface and she slowly transforms into the Paige that Leo met and fell in love with.

What’s my point? I was amazed that no matter how much Leo wanted her to be “his” Paige, she just couldn’t be. Mentally, she was the Paige of old and knew nothing of the matured, artsy, free Paige. Contrarily, as time moved, she began to make the same decisions that had upset and confused her parents before. No matter how hard they tried to keep her as “the old Paige” she was naturally moving towards her maturity. Time was her pathway to her destiny. Time had to pass in order for her to be the “new” Paige; it just wouldn’t happen any other way.

As I’ve told others, the things you desire will come in perfect timing. Effort, self discovery and completion of certain prerequisites may be required in order to reach the next level of maturity but there is never any use stressing about how and when you’ll get there.  I am learning first-hand, the power of perfect timing. While we can search for formulas, answers, and short cuts, the best things in life come as you are ready for them. Stay present in the moment and trust that, just like Paige, you’ll naturally move into the you that you desire to be. In perfect timing.

 

Then There Were Four.

 

Let me just be honest with you for a moment. I never imagined that I would be a wife and mother. I wasn’t one of those girls who dreamt of white weddings and long evenings in the kitchen. I never planned family vacations in my head or thought of baby names while still learning how to write in cursive. I wanted a career and a grandiose life. Marriage and kids were an added commodity that I imagined would come much later on in life. So the story goes, what we desire escapes us and when we least expect it, life surprises us with the exact thing we never thought we’d have. And at 26 years old I am a wife and soon to be mother to two kids.  

Yes. We’re expecting, AGAIN.

As I walked into my second ultrasound appointment to find out the sex of our new baby, my mind was riddled with confusion as to how exactly I got to this place. This place of wifedom and motherhood of not one, but two kids within a three year time span. I thought back to the day we found out we were expecting another child. Christmas Eve. A day painted with presents, excitement and togetherness left my husband and I holding each other in fear. What is happening? How are we going to be parents of two children? God, I thought you knew what we wanted, what are YOU doing?? In this moment I imagine God looking down at me with the confused face, “Well, when you have sex, babies come little girl.” I know God. I know.  

[I know, I know, this sounds sad  but I promise it gets better.]

Fast forward five months, as the smoke clears and the dust settles, the reality of “all is well” has become our posture.  We’re now filled with excitement to meet our new baby boy! Change and transition have both always troubled me and have even led me to a place of anxiety at times.

Questions of inadequacy have filled my mind over the last few months as I’ve solicited advice from new mothers of two. How can I love more than one child equally? How will I juggle two kids when I go crazy watching my sassy, vibrant 10 month old? The answer settles within me every single time like a dove descending on it’s favorite tree. “You just will.” The heavily quoted phrase “God won’t give you more than you can bear” comes to mind. I reflect back on the days when I’ve literally cried because I was exhausted or overwhelmed with life’s demands and unsolicited annoyances.

The most important phrase in that sentence is “reflect back.” I realize that even on my worst days. In the most complicated situations, I made it through them. Sounds cliche, but it’s been what has gotten me through life these past few months. I no longer waste energy worrying about “how’s” and “why’s” because the reality is, it’ll all work out. It always has and always will.

So even as we prepare for two car seats and the double stroller life (rolls eyes emoji), I’m assured that we’re going to beast being parents of two. I’m challenged to find balance and promise myself that I will never lose sight of my own desires despite the challenges that come with raising a family.

Here’s to another round of new baby bliss with my sexy baby daddy.

Beyonce

Lemonade Is Not Beyonce’s Story

Yes. Another blog about Lemonade because that is what true art does. It not only evokes emotion but it incites cultural enlightenment. I believe Lemonade is more than Beyoncé telling a story about her and her husband. I feel as if she said “I want to tell the story of thousands of women” and that’s exactly what she did. I don’t truly believe the entire album is about her and Jay-Z but even if it is, it doesn’t matter. Lemonade is NOT just Beyoncé’s story, it’s mine. And hers. And all of the shes in the world who can remotely relate to what she is saying, portraying, and declaring.

This album is poetry. It’s a beautifully creative way to tell the stories of real life people dealing with real life shit. Is that not why we love Beyoncé? Beyond her amazing performances and creativity, she tells our stories; from “Irreplaceable” all the way to “Formation” and the entire Lemonade album.

Songs like “Sorry” and “Hold up” are our anthem. How many of us have felt that way? Whether in relationships or marriage, “Sorry” is an opportunity to celebrate our impending freedom from our current situation. It’s a charge to reclaim our queen. To be empowered instead of feeling however that relationship made you feel. “Tell him boy bye.”

I was advised that it may not be a great idea to watch the visual album while pregnant because the images and content could evoke emotions that may lead to emotional instability. While I completely understand the logic behind the advice, it just provoked me to go and watch Lemonade for a second time (because sometimes I let curiosity and pride override all logic). Songs like “Let It Be” could absolutely leave women that were upset or suppressing to revisit those raw emotions especially if they haven’t healed from them. I only consider that a bad thing if they lack the inner strength and guidance to find healing after those emotions resurface. Or if they fail to seek it elsewhere. OR if they just simply desire to never revisit those feelings and emotions ever again.

I believe every woman should take a journey through their pain. We need to know that we can experience pain and still come out of it restored and beautiful. I don’t think pain and the “ratchet” ways in which we tend to express it should scare us or move us to avoid images that may remind us of the past. Pain isn’t something to run from.  I think running and avoiding will put us in a state of operating through suppressed emotions that will one day erupt. I can’t live life that way.

I have had to mature to a place of learning how to deal with my pain and emotions in a healthy way where I don’t blow up nor ignore them. I haven’t perfected it. But I won’t unless I allow myself the opportunity to feel and be guided by God and my spirit towards true healing and the beautiful lessons embedded within my experiences. I want the battle scar. Because it’s inevitable that one day, I will need to tell the story of that scar to someone who has been freshly wounded. I want to be able to watch images that remind me of my painful experiences and reflect back to them while wearing the cologne of freedom.

And what if my interpretations of these songs are completely erroneous to the points Beyoncé intended to make? It doesn’t matter. That’s what art is. Art is to be created by the artist and interpreted by the admirer. I can interpret her music however I want. The next woman can interpret it differently and I would never tell her she’s wrong. I can only give my opinion and take from it what I desire.

Some people will look at Lemonade and say that it’s simply a marketing ploy to get people to continue to buy in to Beyoncé’s empire. Whatever. It doesn’t hurt me to read that, and I won’t say they’re wrong. I’ll just say that I disagree and I’ll go about my business singing “Boy Bye” as I do my ratchet bounce. I’m grateful for Beyoncé’s brilliant ability to portray art without boundaries. She embodies the reality that we can truly do whatever the hell we want to do. I admire her artistry as I strive to grow more and more free in my own. Lemonade is my story. It’s all of our stories. I embrace it and love it for everything that it will be.