For the first time, I contemplated beating Zora. I needed her to know that not only did she try it - she disappointed me. She scared me. She acted outside of the good sense God and intentional parenting granted her… Zora, in all of her “four and a half” years of age, lacked discernment. I’d been praying for the ability to recognize when I’m operating within or beyond God’s will, and there was my baby girl running freely in disobedience, demanding the grace I request on the daily.
For all the advice offered on character building and potty training, there’s little to no guidance on how to protect our children from online hackers. Never mind that child identity theft is the fastest growing crime in the United States.
Without saying, “my reality is more than I care to process,” I neglect it by way of acutely orchestrated “reality” television. I tell my brain to take a break and allow the chaos of these self-sabotaging co-stars to comfort me. To make me feel ordered and aware. Woke, even. I’ve been seeking a place of refuge from my own thoughts, and I’m slowly learning that they should, instead, be my safety net.
It is not my responsibility to consistently air us out. Nor is it my responsibility to publicly crucify myself. However, it is my responsibility to come to my husband whole. To be forthcoming about what I lack. To allow him to see me for exactly who I am and choose whether he still wants to help me grow into the potential that’s also present.
My mother worked gruesome hours as a cosmetologist while raising two children, doing her damndest to have a dating life, and battling arthritis/lupus. The photos I attached to this article hold a special place in my heart, because at 27, only 5 years shy of the age my mother was when she transcended, I finally see an image of me that reflects her. It shows me in my mother's likeness, and my expression reeks of her joy. It's typically a non-negotiable that I'm a spitting image of my father. However, this photo serves as proof of what I had yet to realize: as I am constantly shape shifting, my face is forming into my mothers.
It has been a long time coming on undoing all the damage and unlearning all of our toxic tendencies. I know that we still have light years to go, because (if I'm being frank, and when aren't I being frank?) there is a part of me that measures our success against the length of time we've spent without cheating on each other. That sounds terrible, but it's our truth.
There are nights when the fabric needs to hug my body in order for me to feel like a sex siren, because feeling like a sex siren is still affirming and necessary. Because I never had issues feeling sexy before Zora, and being able to obtain that feeling shouldn't be so fleeting now. I'm a mom, but that hasn't altered my ability to exude sexiness. Hell, it should have multiplied it.
Today my student's mother died. My biggest concern was making sure he was able to grieve like a child. Because Black boys don't often get that. Considering his experience inspired me to write a long overdue poem for Black boys.
When I sit for a second... when I allow myself to actually feel all that I am feeling, it hurts. So, I reroute the pain, and I cry watching Grey's Anatomy. And I cry on my grandmother's lap til' I unknowingly fall asleep. I cry listening to music that reminds me I'm still feeling. I unfollow friends as means of maintaining mental sanity. I lean into my husband, who caused some of that hurt, and I fall apart. And it's still okay, because it's all temporary if only I make the time to tend to it.
Watching Bishop TD Jakes preach this morning reminded me that we often look for confirmation from other people to affirm our greatness. We forget our ability to proclaim life over ourselves. Today, I'm doing away with that thought pattern and affirming that I am enough. In the fullness of me and in all my faults, I am enough.
My older sister, who's hands down one of the greatest mothers I know, told me years ago that she was intentional about not showing annoyance when doing my niece’s hair. Her reasoning was simple: viewing our hair as a burden is a learned behavior she had no interest in passing on.
I've chosen traditions for my family that weren't practiced in the house I spent my teenage years. My parents chose not to participate in yesterday's Kwanzaa activity and feigned ignorance regarding the meaning behind the holiday. While I recognize that the unfamiliar is uncomfortable, it's a source of pride to know my younger siblings are receptive. To know that I'm a peer to some of them, but they're no less willing to let me lead.
I see now, more than ever, what my grandmother sought to do in giving me a holiday rooted in my personal experiences. She was championing the God I only thought I worshipped by exalting Him, and only Him, on Christmas Day. She was also planting roots of heritage and self-celebration by adding Kwanzaa to our holiday roster. She was creating a tradition I could take pride in and affirming that these two holidays didn't have to be mutually exclusive.
I'm a real person outside my classroom. I'm a real woman working through my own issues with body image. And just as much I see my students in ways they've yet to realize, it's okay for them to see me too.
As someone born with a nurturing spirit, I've wanted to be a mom since as far back as I can remember. I also wanted to be married. Chris and I were nowhere near ready for the load we took on in committing to both of those visions, and my first trimester was hellish proof.