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Brenda's Got a Baby! (Well, Deranecque does)

Brenda's Got a Baby! (Well, Deranecque does)

What has been your most life altering moment? Was it a good thing? Was it a bad thing? How did you handle it? What did others think? Did you even care? My first most memorable life change came 29 years ago. Want to read about? It's a personal story, but worth sharing. Here it goes.... I became a mom at the age of 15. Yes, FIFTEEN! It was a shock to me too. I was the Student Council (Class) President, Honor Roll student, Cheerleader, Freshman Ambassador, Beta Club member, Math Club member, Newspaper staff member, Track team member, Miss Wonder Junior High, and all around favorite. I was sort of like a teen in an after school TV special. I "had it goin' on"! Then, along comes a boy. He was tall, dark, and handsome. He was also athletic, kind, country, and from out of town. He seemed a little green, talked a bit funny, and was always polite. To add to this, he lived only 3 doors down from my aunt, which was also down the street from one of my best friends at the time. I couldn't help but connect with him. It was convenient. Right? I can't remember all of the details, but one of the first times I saw him was during summer break before Freshman year. It was at the school, Wonder Junior High, during cheerleader practice that I got my first look at him. We didn't speak, he was going in to register. The second time was on his street. I was in the roadway talking to another classmate, who had already met the new kid on the block. This time, I had rollers in my hair; a head full of orange and yellow and green plastic rollers and bobby pins. No matter, it was me. Somewhat embarrassed, but I was cute. This time we shared words. Brief, but we connected. In the remaining summer beak months, I can't remember much about the happenings as they relate to him. However, once school started, it was on. I made those high school girl moves regularly, especially during 7th period Athletics. Now, I wasn't too flirty. I just did things to catch his attention; laughing loudly, acting silly with friends, running past him in my "shorts", etc. Outside of school, I made it a point to visit my friend and my aunt on the block. Subtle and slow was my method. Then one day we exchanged phone numbers or my number was given to him. I can't exactly recall who called who first, but I am sure it wasn't me. Once we became a couple, everyone knew it. I snagged the new boy. I was Miss It and he was known as "Nightmare" because of his athleticism. We walked the halls together. I wore his jacket, he carried my books, he walked me to class, and he walked me home most days. It was puppy love. I was smitten. My family liked him. My grandfather thought he was a well-mannered young cat. (I really do miss my granddaddy!) Everything was good. Fast forward to us thinking we were grown. One weekend, I was at a sleepover with a group of friends who lived in the same neighborhood and for some reason, I ended up at his house. We were alone. There were condoms in the dresser drawer. So, we figured we'd be careful and "do it". We did it. In the weeks, months ahead, we continued to "do it" safely you know, with condoms. Fast forward through lots of high school drama and a break up and summer break again. He went back home to Florida for break. I attended an educational summer camp at UAPB. It was the end of June. I was getting a little thicker, but not fat. Went to have a physical because I was going to play intramural volleyball and it was required. Nurse comes in and asks if I had been feeling ok. Yes. Have you been feeling little flutters in your stomach? Yea, kind of. When was your last period? I break down crying and slobbering. I was a mess. She asked me if she could call anyone. My mom. I continued to cry. It was as if I was in that small room, perched on that table, sitting on that noisy, crumpled white paper for hours. I couldn't believe what was happening. It was all unreal. My thoughts were racing just as fast as my heartbeat. This wasn't supposed to happen to me. I was not supposed to be a teen mom. We were careful, right? We used condoms. I didn't want a baby. I didn't need a baby. I had made the JV cheer team; the only black girl to do so! I needed to be on the cheer team. I needed to be on the homecoming court. In my mind, things were coming to an abrupt halt as far as my high school career. Yes, career is the right word. Let me run you through the next 4 months real quick. Yes, 4 months. In my mind, I was only pregnant 4 months (June to October). However, my son was conceived in March. Later, his dad told me he remembers when the condom broke! {Insert lots of cussing words and adjectives here} Too far along for an abortion. Those "sporadic periods" were threats of a miscarriage. Sophomore year starts: Girl, you pregnant? It don't look like it. No, we won't hold your spot on the JV squad. No, you can't be on the Homecoming court. Develops Toxemia/Preeclampsia: pregnancy complications characterized by high blood pressure and signs of damage to another organ system, most often the liver and kidneys. Weekly doctor's appointments. Out of school on bed rest for roughly 4 weeks Hospitalized for nearly 3 weeks: baby isn't getting enough oxygen. your kidneys aren't functioning at 100%. Your womb is not stretching/growing enough. My mother signs waivers and paperwork regarding life saving methods for me or the baby. The doctor thought one of us might not make it. I found this out accidentally and after the fact. October 21, 1991 @ 9:44 pm,on a stormy Monday night, after hours of pain and with no epidural, my son was born weighing less than 5lbs. When the nurse swaddled him in the white blanket with blue thin stripes and Regional Medical Center stamped in navy blue lettering, he was the size of a football. A tiny thing; a preemie. I held him as we were rolled from the delivery room to the recovery room. As we rolled, I looked at this little baby boy and he blinked his dark brown eyes at me. I cried and proclaimed my love to him. I vowed that I would love him and look after him and let nothing bad happen to him ever. I was in love instantly as I looked at that tiny face. He was a light caramel brown complexion with full cheeks, dark straight hair and long fingers. He also had patches of redness about his face that had me a little nervous. I kissed him and held him tight. I will always believe he heard me that night and understood every word. A lot happened in the days (and years) to come. Let me tell you this, I had a village!! I have a village. I am grateful beyond measure for everyone in my village! God has blessed us beyond measure. My son is awesome. He's intelligent, respectful, loving, talented, a protector, a giver of himself, a great big brother, a great friend, and a very charismatic person that you can't help but love. His natural disposition is one of energy, strength, and responsibility. I am a proud mother. I wouldn't change anything. NOT ONE THING! God blessed me with my son at His timing, not mine nor at the expectations of others. I have other stories for other days about my son, my daughters, and my life. Keep coming back. You will definitely be entertained. P.S. That teen snapback was real, too!

Come on skinfolk

Come on skinfolk

The Daily Memphian published an article under the title Opinion: MPD makes 98% of arrest 'without incident', written by Dee Juxtaposition member Erica May. The article has been shared and viewed hundreds, maybe thousands, of times via the internet. I read the article for myself. I found it to be well written and engaging. The juxtaposition of opinions and statistics provided sufficient detail for the purpose of provoking readers to think for themselves. The reader was given a clear glimpse of Erica's perspective and her stance on the views of Memphis police and their arrests made without incident (black men primarily). I visited a Facebook page where a not so pleasant post referenced the article and the character of the author; the page of a black woman. What followed were rude and offensive comments made by black people. I have also heard of conversations boasting negative remarks and criticism by black people. My first question: Why? Why have a lack of compassion for someone verbalizing their opinion? Why attempt to tear down the voice of a black woman? Aren't black people getting enough of that? What is wrong with being a strong black woman who can think for herself and relay those thoughts clearly and effectively? Erica's comments were conservative in nature, poignant, and relatable. While I am not in 100% agreement with all of the article, I was able to empathize and understand the points of view being made. There was and is no need to disregard her opinions, nor to attack her character. Now more than ever, as black people, it is time to stick together. It is time to agree to disagree and stand united in our fight against those who go against us. Black people have been mistreated and abused long enough. I believe in the fair treatment and justice for my people and all people. Black people have been at a disadvantage for centuries. We now have opportunities to be heard. We have a multitude of platforms to speak and share our experiences and ideals with a variety of people. Let's use them for positive, not to tear down the next black person. We all have different identities, experiences, and values that allow us to see things from different points of view. Let's use them to come together and form partnerships and relationships that will grow and nurture our people. We have to lead by example and lay the foundation for OUR children's children to flourish. It is important that we find our voice and share with others who look like us in an effort to understand our differences and effectively engage in doing what it takes to be recognized as intelligent beings capable of standing together and fighting for what is right. The negative Facebook posts, comments, and conversations referencing the article and Erica were highly unnecessary. They were a clear sign of narrow mindedness and adult bullying. Erica is an educated black woman. I respect her opinions and enjoy her ability to speak freely and unafraid. We all have opinions about everything. Instead of going with the messy folks, think for yourself. Erica is using her platform and speaking her truth. What are you doing with yours? Leave a comment with your thoughts/perspectives on this post. Here's a link to the aforementioned article: https://dailymemphian.com/article/15468/erica-may For more of her writings, visit the link posted on my homepage. Side note: I do not condone police brutality nor the disparate treatment of my skinfolk. I am proud of my blackness. I am not a fan of ignorance. I will never let anyone's hate and negativity stop me from being my best self. I am not perfect, but I am a person who cries and prays and seek to be better. I believe in the gospel of Matthew 26:52; for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword and Job 36:12 - But if they obey not, they shall perish by the sword, and they shall die without knowledge. (I urge you to read the text for your own understanding Job 36:9-15)

Cut It!

Cut It!

It's 2021. We made it! I am grateful. I am looking forward to something different, better, and "phantasmagorical". That's a word my mom would use to describe amazing, unexpected good things. However, you should Google the word for yourself and own understanding. So, that's that on what I am looking forward to, because what has already happened is down right unbelievable and embarrassing It's atrocious. Yes, embarrassing is one of the words I have chosen to describe the recent events that occurred at our nation's capitol. You've seen the news and the social media posts and heard radio broadcasts. The foolery is real. Now, I may hit a nerve or two or even hurt some feelings, but guess what? The truth always hits different when it's the real truth. So you know: I am a black, African-American, Negro woman. I know my history, but I don't know my history. I was born in the United States, just as my mother and her mother and her mother's mother. I have never been to Africa, so if you are one of those persons who think or even utter the phrase "go back to Africa"...... F@*k you! Trick, how can I go back to where I have never been? Make it make sense. Now that that's out of the way, I will proceed with my original rant: The despicable, horrid, privileged mob of reckless thugs who stormed the White House are true criminals. I will not compare what they did to any of the protests that occurred because my skinfolk want to be treated equally. I will not compare the rioting or looting (which I do not condone in any way) that took place as a result of people protesting the killing and disparate treatment of black people to the savagery of the fools that vandalized the White House. If you have viewed my most recent Instagram post via @lveishia, you will see a few examples of what this occurrence should be compared to. Check me out, but also follow me @deejuxtaposed. Keeping this rant going: Isn't it sad that people attacked a government building, the People's House, in an effort to stop the certification of the next presidency? I mean dang! Why? If we had to endure 4 years of bigotry, spewed hatred, incited violence, and insufferable incompetence, then why not give the next person a chance? How much worse can it get? Why destroy property and human life because someone "lost" an election? Barbaric! News reports state 5 people died as a result of this stupidity. Life was lost because of the back-woods, primitive thinking of some whiney ass adults who were following the lead of another adult throwing a tempter tantrum. Again, I say downright embarrassing. We as Americans should be embarrassed and disgusted at what took place on Capitol Hill. (refer to paragraph 4 if you object to me calling myself an American and insert middle finger emoji) President-elect Joe Biden and Madame Vice President-elect Kamala Harris have every right to a peaceful and seamless transition to office. They won dang it! The people voted. The people stepped up and showed out! The courts have denied all claims of "voter fraud". It's time to move on. They got next! We are all humans. Our skin may not be of the same shade, but so what? That doesn't make anyone less than the other. I dare you say that you are superior to me because you don't possess melanin. I will look at you and laugh. I absorb the sun. I harness a different power because of the melanin in my skin, but I don't use it to demoralize or take claim to a higher authority than anyone. If anything, you should appreciate it. I am God's child, just as you are. Any and all claims are futile when it comes to superiority. No one is greater than the other. Periodt. And that's on who? Mary Had a Little Lamb. (I had to do it! HAHAHAHAHAHA!) If you don't get it, you just don't get it. I hope each and every single thug that attended the rallies and had any part in the so-called coup that took place at our nation's capitol are punished to the fullest extent of the law. I hope they all serve jail time and drop the soap! Screw being privileged. Ignorance is ignorance and they all deserve punishment.

Fresh from the Garden

Fresh from the Garden

I don't have a garden at this time, but I soon will start my own. Recently, a coworker provided me with zucchini, summer squash, cucumber and tomatoes from her garden. She grows everything strictly organic. NO Chemicals at all! She has a very large garden. Anyway, I have eaten "organic" veggies before, but hers!?? Wow! The freshness. The size. The sweetness. I was impressed. I haven't always been a zucchini and squash eater, but now I am. I prepared them my own way. I consider these to be healthy meals. Zucchini is a very low calorie food. Let me share my cooked creations: Zucc Pizza Slices - not so thin sliced zucchini topped with Prego, black olives, veggie crumbles, shredded cheese, & spices then baked for about 15-20 minutes. Zucchini Crumble - chopped/diced zucchini, chopped/diced summer squash, cherry tomatoes, ground turkey crumbles seasoned w/Weber's cheddar bacon burger seasoning and garlic powder, shredded mozzarella cheese, red pepper flakes. The veggies were sauteed with plant based butter, then the turkey was seasoned and browned in a separate skillet. Once ready, everything was tossed in a bowl and sprinkled with cheese and red pepper flakes.

Hey, Ladies!

Women are doing great things. We are shattering glass ceilings in different professions, across different stages, and in different nations. We've gone from creating home based businesses in the kitchen and turning them in multi-million dollars companies to becoming Vice- President of the United States! Women are showing up and showing out. (OK, sing it: Sistas are doing it for themselves!) It's always been a great time to do great things. It's now an even greater time to be a woman. We are no longer asking for opportunities, we are creating them. Women are taking more opportunities because we know our full value. We are no longer afraid of failure, we are taking risks. I am using "we" because I want every woman to understand women are creators. Women are innovators. We are teachers, providers, nurturers and healers. We all have the strength inside of us to do the greatest things. As a woman, I encourage you to take advantage of this and every moment. Yes, we are living during a pandemic. Yes, things are changing. Don’t they always? That's why we are here. We are here because of change. Now is as good a time as any to show our resilience and strength, and to show that we run the world. (Hit it: 🎤 Who run the world!?) I believe God gives us multiple purposes. I have fulfilled some of mine, others I have yet to find. He has equipped us with the passion and the talents we need to thrive, grow, and succeed. I am excited. I am encouraged. I am motivated. I am making new plans and setting new goals. I am finding my next purpose. It's a new chapter for me. I have new breath in my body. My way of thinking has shifted. My past successes won't compare to what is in my future. I will exceed my own expectations. I ask that you be patient and support me. I ask that you see me as confident, not arrogant. See me as a woman on a mission, not one who doesn't have time for the you. If I stumble or if I should fall, cheer me on, don't laugh- I'm going to get back up and go even harder. If I ask you for a favor, believe that it will be returned to you. I am not intentionally ignoring anyone either (maybe), that‘s my focus. Speak life over yourself and your family. Manifest your dreams and your success. Pray purposefully. Side Note: If you are interested in supportive and adult conversation, comment below and/or email me at deejuxtaposed@gmail.com. I would love to start a bi-weekly or monthly virtual discussion. As I type, I am thinking it could be titled "Women Who Talk" and we could start with a toast and end with toast. Wine optional.😊 Reading Recommendations: Matthew 7:7 https://www.forbes.com/sites/blakemorgan/2021/03/07/15-of-the-worlds-most-inspiring-female-leaders/?sh=1e3e56343e6e

Hi, Hater.....

Hi, Hater.....

I consider myself to be a pretty cool person. I am sometimes giddy. Sometimes chatty. Sometimes funny; yet, lame as my daughter says. I don't think I am better than anyone. And I most certainly am no hater! I Googled the word "hater" and this is what I found: Hater is a label used to refer to people who use negative and critical comments and behavior to bring another person down by making them look or feel bad. To be a hater requires a lot of action. It requires a person to think, to do, and to feel things outside of being positive, supportive, and optimistic. Hating on someone brings about a gloominess and a weakness. Being a hater promotes pain and creates low self-esteem. Incidentally, gloom, weakness, pain and low self-esteem are the reason a person has become a hater in the first place. In hindsight, you can only put out what's inside of you. Haters don't feel good about some part of themselves or some part of their lives. I'm not saying they are evil or depressed or not nice at times. Some of them camouflage the act of being a hater well; by being mean spirited and/or spiteful . What I am saying is that being a hater comes from a place inside of you that you want to escape from or are ashamed of. It stems from something that has festered on the inside and manifests itself from time to time in the form of "hating on" the next person. For instance, not being willing to compliment or congratulate or support someone who got the promotion, won the award, received the recognition, won the prize, looked cute in that outfit, and so-on and etc., has to be felt first. Before the action comes the feeling and then there is the mental thought associated with it; you literally have to think of ways to be negative and demeaning before actually performing the act. You have to make a conscious effort to be a hater. Some people are so set on being a hater, that they have to recruit others into their web of misery in an effort to rationalize and justify their hate or their pain. For example, a hater has to find someone who is not familiar with a person or situation and then relay a lot lies, false truths, and a false version of events. The hater feeds all of this information to the listener, who again is totally unaware of the real truth, and the listener begins to believe what they are hearing. The listener has become a victim and, in doing so, begins to hate on someone they know nothing about. And this feeds the beast. Why? Why tear down someone because you hurt? Could it be the juxtaposition of jealousy, greed, or envy? This has to be stressful. Hating can't be good for a person's health. It's never a good thing to be hurtful towards someone who is blessed. Just because that person smiles and has the appearance of happiness, doesn't mean they have it all together. It means they choose to be on the right side of things. It could be because they pray and give thanks to The Father. And by giving Him praise, He puts a spirit of happiness and favor and winning over them. Remember, God don't like ugly. If you are a hater, pray that spirit out of you. If you don't believe in prayer, try meditating and looking inward to find and destroy the beast inside of you that is causing your pain, anger, and bitterness. Find some joy and happiness in your life. Focus on it. Because when it comes to being a hater, ain't nobody got time for that! As for me, I say this to my haters: Piss on yourself! (words often spoken by my Grandma Loretta)

Just A Recap

Just A Recap

In 1991, I started a new life. On a Monday, it was a rainy football night, I gave birth to a 4 pounds 6-ounce baby boy. I was 15 years old. After the nurses swaddled him in a blanket and placed him in my arms, I began to cry. I was filled with this intense, overwhelming feeling of love. It was amazing. In those immediate minutes after giving birth and seeing my son for the first time, I was in love. As I cried, I told him that I love him and that I was going to be the best mother for him. As I continued to cry and say these things, I made up my mind that I would not become a victim of my circumstance. I was told numerous times that I wouldn't graduate high school. I did. I was told that I would not go to college. I did. (which is another story for another time.) I was told chances and opportunities wouldn't be the same for me. They were. I was told I wouldn't have many options because I had a child. Well, perspective is as perspective does. The thoughts and negativity of others brought me to shame. There were many times when I held my head low. I often doubted who I was and who I was to become. I’d get those looks and stares that people give when they are judging you. I caught glimpses of the dismissive eye rolls. To my credit, and what the haters didn't know, I had (and have) a village - my family and friends. I also had will and determination. I knew I was destined to be greater than my circumstance. My son changed my life. He changed my thinking. He changed some of my actions. Just as I was blessed with my son, I was blessed with a daughter. At 18 years old, I became a mother of two. This was not intentional on my behalf, but it was God’s plan. Again, I did not hold my head down for long. I had my village. Just as they were there for me at 15, they were there for me now. This little bundle of joy was everything. I knew I would be raising the best little girl ever. Let me tell you! She was the cutest, cuddliest, and plumpest little bundle of joy. As an adult, she’s petite and cuter and more brilliant. She’s still my baby. My son and my daughter have a sister. Yes, a third child. My unicorn. She is a magical and mystical creature. She’s independent and somewhat complex, intelligent, and talented. She’s the epitome of “doing her own thing”. She is a brave, wild, and free spirit in the most positive sense of it. She is kind and loving and my spirit animal. She can do just about anything she sets her mind to. My God sister says she is inhabited by a spirit that knew she would be going places. It’s 2021, I am 45 years old now. I don’t envy anyone who chose to live their lives in a “different order”. The spiritual force that reconciled my dealings when I was a teenager knew my order. He knew what, why, who, and when. I became a vessel that brought forth life at the right time. My children are great forces as well. They are a brightness in the lives of so many. Trust me, if you know them, you know. They have done, are doing, and will continue to do amazing things. One of them is probably teaching your child. Did I mention they are educated? I am not bragging nor boasting about my children. I speak highly of them, as a proud mother should, when given the chance. If I don’t, I would burst at the seams holding all this love and joy and excitement in. They are not perfect. They have flaws. But why talk about what doesn’t matter? Lol! I truly love and adore my children. They prompted me to be who I am today. They produced purpose in me. They are my gifts, and I am grateful to God for allowing me to be their Mah, Momma, Mommy, and Mother. Disclaimer: Part of this story is from a speech I presented. I changed it a bit to make it more enjoyable. Some of this may be familiar to you, but it really is about what I love most, my children.

Just Put It Out There

Just Put It Out There

It's been a little over two months since I've posted. I can only blame myself. I've thought of blogging. I've thought of stories and content. However, I didn't make the time necessary to sit down and start typing. Well, now I am typing. I am going off the cuff. I have loads of rants and thoughts in my head at this moment. It's November 11, 2020. The Presidential election is 'almost' over. I say almost because for some reason there seems to be some ballot counting still goin on. Yea, a HAM! (Hot Ass Mess). Anyway, if we are to go with the numbers and the information that has been presented to us, the United States now has it's first Black Female Vice-President Elect. Yes! Another representation of an educated black woman in the White House. First Lady Michelle Obama, the most educated First Lady in U.S. history and my best friend, was number one. This representation we are witnessing can and should change the narrative as it relates to the strong black woman. It should serve as a catalyst for black women to step up and show out! No longer should our passion and ambition be seen as agression. No longer should our success and accomplishment be viewed as bougie. No longer should our intelligence and confidence be perceived as arrogance. Kamala Harris, Madame Vice-President Elect, has made history. The Black Woman's History (Herstory) will be written and told with stories full of triumph, perserverance, and resilience. The black woman's story in America will, from this day forward, be a masterpiece- the greatest stories ever told. This is the time to tell all little Black Girls to stand in their moments and be the light! Our daughters, granddaughters, and neices have more chances and opportunities to be great. Make sure you share with them the importance of standing in their power. Their futures are bright and we have to help them shine. Because this little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine. Let it shine. Let it shine. Let it shine! I do not own the rights to the above photo.

MAKE IT COUNT!

MAKE IT COUNT!

I try to be a mature and responsible adult. I try to mind my own business and stay out of trouble. I do my best to be productive. I also do my best to be supportive of my people. However, lately all of that has become a little hard to do. We are living in a time where we depend on social media to receive news and daily information. We tend to rely on celebrities and creators and influencers to be our guides. What has happened to thinking for yourself and researching things in order to form a more knowledgeable opinion? Information is out there. We still have books we can read. We have the internet. But most importantly, we have each other. We have good old fashioned conversation. What's wrong with talking things out? Intelligent conversation always wins. With the upcoming election, a lot of us are looking to celebrities and social media posts and video snippets to provide insight on who to vote for. A lot of our past voting decisions have been made because a person is "the democrat" or "they black". Well....... Stop it! Don't be swayed by people wearing kente cloth and singing negro spirituals. Are they really for you? Or, are they camouflaging their ideals in order to hype you up and win your vote, only to destroy you later? The ever so popular "they" have their foots on our necks. Game is being spit and it is being spit hard! Watch out! You might get got. First, I encourage you to know what is important to you; honesty, leadership, and effectiveness for examples. Know what is important and needed in your community: education, public safety, juvenile outreach programs. Then, know who you are voting for. Start researching the candidates running for any and all positions. From local elections to state to federal. Look at their history. Be selective. Know what positions they've taken on certain issues. Verify their records. See what legislation they have backed and fought for. View their endorsements. Examine the candidate's campaign and who they have on their team. Check out their social media sites and any public information you can find on them. Look into their history and background. Get in their business! Don't settle for mediocrity. After you've done your research, have conversations with others. Ask questions. Talk about the candidates and what you believe. Get involved. Engage and influence others. People are the most valuable resource. Most importantly, VOTE! Volunteer to register others to vote. Volunteer to work on a campaign. When it's time, take 2 or 3 car loads of voters to the poll. After you vote, continue to be engaged. Hold the elected officials accountable. Send letters, emails, and make phone calls. Make them live up to their promises. Attend public meetings or town-halls and debates. Keep the community involved in the politics. Don't be one and done. It's time for accountability. It's time to demand action and have that action met. If politicians can't keep their campaign promises, vote them out next time. Show them you mean business. DO SOMETHING! EDUCATE YOURSELF. MAKE IT COUNT! P.S. I know who I am not voting for in one major race! Don't mistake my message for tom-foolery.

Me, Myself, & You

Me, Myself, & You

Have you ever been called conceited or stuck up? Has someone muttered the phrase "she/he think they all that" in your presence? Do you get those bitch looks when you enter a room? When this happens to me I tend to think that the person saying it or thinking these thoughts actually think highly of me. Why? Because why not? I think great things of myself. I am confident in my being. I am confident in my power as a woman. What would possess any person to think little of themselves? Google defines confidence as a feeling of self-assurance arising from one's appreciation of one's own abilities or qualities. I have power. I have abilities and I have qualities. Guess what? So do you! I appreciate everything about me (most of the time). So why attempt to demean or belittle a person who is confident in their looks, their style, their thoughts, or their education? Let us have our moments. I am all that. If I don't think it, who will? You don't see me boasting and bragging about anything. You may see me express my excitement. I may display pictures of happiness. I might even show my pride in an accomplishment. But none of it is ever loud and obnoxious and rude. If I walk with my head down, who will ask me to lift it up? If I am not confident in who I am, who will change that? Only I can direct my path and I know in order to do so it must be with prayer and supplication. I am moving towards better because I believe I can. If you have to disguise your insecurities by belittling someone else, that's just downright awful. If being miserable is your natural disposition, then I feel sorry for you. If you have a deep despondency for your own being, don't bring that to others. Don't project your feelings of inadequacy onto others. Keep your passive aggressive micro-aggressions to yourself. The things you don't like about yourself, don't attribute them to anything I have done. Take a long hard look at you in a mirror. Talking about or gossiping about the next person or regurgitating your own disdain on them does nothing to help you. Are you depressed? Are you jealous? Do you need a friend? Are you lonely and in search of something that you just can't seem to find? Seek professional help. Talk it over with Jesus. Don't hate on me. I am no saint. I have flaws. I have preconceived notions about others, too. I misjudge at times. Yet, I find a way to get over it. Proverbs 14:30 reads "A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot". I will not rot at the expense of another. To be honest, I have this spirit of dislike for a person inside of me. It's not malicious, it's a simple dislike; however, it doesn't cause me to act foolishly or belittle this person. I honestly have conversations with them and show them some modicum of respect. Yet, I know it isn't enough. I am working on it and praying that spirit leaves me. I ask for spiritual guidance. I ask for prayer. But, in the interim, I do my best to smile and be positive. I am not in any position to bring anyone down. I keep my head up in spite of a lot of things that aren't "perfect" in my life. I know my limits. I know that what is for me is for me. Yet, this small tug remains. And, because I know it's there and because I know it's not good, I know I must be diligent in my praying. I must be honest with myself about my thoughts and my feelings. Which is why I am sharing. So, the next time you see me, don't be a hater. It's just me, myself, and my confidence. May we all have an encounter with God that pulls us from that place of negativity or pain and despair. May God lift us up where we belong.

Old Words, Same Ol' New Meaning

Old Words, Same Ol' New Meaning

It's August 2020. We are living through/in/during a worldwide pandemic, social injustices, protests, civil discourse, social and political movements, coin shortages, tissue shortages, tech advances, and a whole lot more. How much of it are we truly understanding? I mean, something new is being hurled at us nearly each waking day. There are words and phrases being tossed around like penny candy. It's as if the journalists and the more conscious people have a contest going: who can use the word of the day the most? They are old words, with the same ol' new meanings. It's just that the world is now listening to and paying more attention to everything that's being said and done. If you are having some anxiety about what's being said and wanting a better understanding, I can help you. Below is my juxtaposition of the dictionary or formal meaning and my connotation of a few words we are hearing more and more of these days. #1 - Systemic Racism (aka Institutional Racism) is a form of racism that is embedded as normal practice within society or an organisation. the juxt of #systemicracism: oppressive people doing what they do and have always done; keeping black people down. #2 - Disenfranchisement - the state of being deprived of a right or privilege, especially the right to vote. the juxt of it: don't let black people do it. #3 - Racial Disparity - is defined as existing in the criminal justice system when "the proportion of a racial/ethnic group within the control of the system is greater than the proportion of such groups in the general population." the juxt of it: The percentage of mistreated black people in prison (or the justice system itself) is higher than the actual percentage of mistreated black people in the United States. #4 - Social Injustice A violation of one’s civil rights that could inhibit the ability to realize full potential and ultimately impede one’s career success. the juxt of it, in an improper grammar: you really ain't gonna win black people. #5 - Marginalized - to relegate to an unimportant or powerless position within a society or group. the juxt of it; Stay down black people, you don't mean much. #6 - Propaganda - ideas, facts, or allegations spread deliberately to further one's cause or to damage an opposing cause. the juxt of it: Listen to what we tell you and believe it cause it's true cause we said it and it's true. #7 - Protest - a statement or action expressing disapproval of or objection to something. Fact: The First Amendment gives you the right to assemble and express your views through protest. (peacefully is best) the juxt of it: No Justice! No Peace! #8 - Black Lives Matter - The official #BlackLivesMatter Global Network builds power to bring justice, healing, and freedom to Black people across the globe. the juxt of it: #PERIODT! #9 - Juneteenth - Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. the juxt of it, and you know this one: Fourth of what? or F@#! the 4th! #10 - Cancel Culture - refers to the popular practice of withdrawing support for (canceling) public figures and companies after they have done or said something considered objectionable or offensive. Cancel culture is generally discussed as being performed on social media in the form of group shaming. the juxt of it: You are not invited to the cookout! Disclaimer: The italicized text is not my own. Click on the word itself to further investigate and understand the meaning. Again, the "juxt of it" is my personal understanding. Also, juxt is not a word found in Merriam-Webster's dictionary; however, it is found in the Urban dictionary and is acceptable for word games. 😁 Leave comments, critiques, and suggestions below.

Plucked from Nostalgia

Plucked from Nostalgia

Once upon a simpler time, I enjoyed birthday parties. Whether it was my mom bringing cupcakes and ice-cream to school or her baking the cake at home, I had a good time. For our at-home birthday parties, the decorations were simple; party hats, blowers, twisted streamers, a matching table cloth, and balloons that were unknowingly filled with a mixture of saliva and hot breath. The menu consisted of hot dogs on buns, cheese "sprayed" on buttery Ritz crackers, tuna salad spread across the same, chips poured into a bowl or two, candy mixes, sweet and swirly ice-cream punch, and of course the main course - the cake. The cake was not fancy. There was no super fantastic decoration, just "Happy Birthday" and the name of the birthday child. And no one was able to cut the name; it was to be refrigerated for later. (Not sure why. It was just the thing to do.) The guests were family members who outnumbered your actual friends. Either way, everyone had fun. Even the birthday kid, who received a few dollars and a few gifts, had an exciting time. The children ran around and played and exerted themselves, while the adults engaged in adult talk, beverages, and maybe a spades game. The party was about the people and the love and enjoyment of being together. It wasn't about extravagance and appearance. It wasn't about your parents showing off for the guests or strangers via social media. It wasn't about how much money was spent to impress anyone. The pre-internet birthday parties were amazing because they were intimate gatherings where everyone knew exactly why they were there - for the birthday child. Once the party was over and everyone had gone home, it was all about the next kid and their birthday because you got the chance to do it all again. What's a memory you have of "pre-internet" birthday parties?