The Dog In the Fight

harry-1248025Have you ever seen a dog dawning the ever fashionable Cone of Shame, barking and clawing at the window as neighbors pass by the house? If not, let me paint a quick picture.

The dog is super excited by the foot traffic outside his home and just wants to romp and frolic and play. But alas, he swallowed the squeak in his squeaky toy, which had to be surgically removed. The result of said surgery is that he must stay indoors and wear the goofy looking conical contraption until his stitches are removed and his belly is healed. Meanwhile, he waits by the window and goes absolutely ballistic because he just wants to be out there in the sun or rain, with people and pets and fire hydrants and…

The last few weeks, I have felt a lot like this dog. I’ve wanted to get out for coffee dates, business meetings, birthday parties and photo shoots (because… we fancy…). I am pregnant with ideas and overcome with inspiration when I read about awesome new tech ventures or talk with my enterprising acquaintances.

I spend my weekends alone in coffehouses, scribbling ideas and sketching plans I’ve yet to execute. I run into friendly faces I’ve met through networking events and over-hear firsthand accounts of protest rallies and grassroots movements.

While my intentions are nothing but genuine, my reality causes the appearance of flightiness and unreliability. All of these great ideas and neat opportunities are hampered by one health struggle after another. Parties are called off by hives, business meetings canceled by facial swelling, and social engagements ruined by other, more vague but no less impeding ailments and responsibilities.

In the ultra hip neighborhoods, I attempt to keep my composure when I encounter an influencer so I listen conspicuously and smile coyly. But inside, I am screaming

TAKE ME WITH YOU!!!

Of course, I don’t want simply concede to riding the coat tails of my peers who are making strides and changing the world. I want to make my own strides and affect my own change. Not because I expect some kind of accolade, but because I feel like I am fairly unqualified and uninterested in doing anything else.

But what does an aspiring change-maker do when their body is effectively a straight jacket restraining many of their goals and dreams? How do you live out what you know is your destiny, presenting reliability and consistency, when every day is a fight for internal stability? How do you ride the waves of momentum that come your way when leaving the house some days is a struggle in and of itself?

What is a to do when she just wants to fight for the rights of others but her own body insists on fighting itself?

I guess I continue to educate myself and prepare for the moment I finally get to bust through that door, cone free, to romp and play and innovate and help right along with all of the other dogs looking to change the world.

Until then… Here’s a moody Frenchie in a hoodie…

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Photo Credit: Gratisography

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When Words Are Too Much

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When tragedies occur, people often search for words to accurately describe their feelings while sensitively protecting those most severely affected. Over the last few weeks, many sad events have transpired. Most recently, the mass shooting at a gay club in Orlando, Florida, where 50 lives were lost in an unfathomable act of hate-fueled violence.

As the news broke early Sunday morning, and people around the world began to awaken to the shocking (if not surprising) news, people quickly took to their cell phones and laptops to express condolences, outrage, fear, grief, and – in some particularly despicable cases – even arrogant I-told-you-sos.

Many of the passionate, heartfelt responses were timely and apropos. They embodied the author’s feelings and emotions, acknowledge the hurting victims, and some even called for action (stricter gun control, immediate blood donations). Some tweets, posts, snaps, and streams, however, were ill-timed, inappropriate, or just plain tasteless. Of course, some of the posters stand by their heartless and ignorant statements, but I also suspect that there are a few who simply posted in haste. Their stream-of-consciousness response to scattered thoughts and unmetered emotions pours out in combinations of words that could cause more harm than good.

My social media responses have been subtle and slow to come. It was tempting to immediately post my opinion on the events that took place, not because I felt the urgent need for my voice to be heard, but for fear that my radio silence would be viewed as condonance or apathy. I found myself questioning the validity of my voice as someone who is an ally of both the LGBTQIA+ and Islamic communities, as a Christian who loves all of these people.

While silence can certainly be deadly, misspoken words may wreak havoc. As a writer, I want to use my voice to inspire and to provoke thought. I also want to behave responsibly, focusing on the heart of the problem without allowing myself to veer off-course into psuedo-political shouting matches.

I want people reading my words to know that the thoughts I express come from a place of deep love and respect. I do not proport to know how my friends and family who are part of the LGBTQ community feel or what they experience in times like this. Nor do I claim to begin to understand the complex feelings Islamic brothers and sisters have in these moments.

Wherever you are, whatever your thoughts, feelings, and emotions please know this:

There are people who love you. People whose faith is founded in love and who are wholly committed to living out that faith in both word and deed. I am one of these people.

I Resolve…

Sleigh bells are ringing and the eggnog is in full pour. You know what time it is…

Time to make our New Years’ resolutions!

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Now, I personally do not believe in making New Years’ resolutions. Few people keep them and we often place ourselves under unnecessary pressures for fear of failing. We lose sight of the purpose because we simply want to say we successfully joined the resolution-keeping movement. But what if we focused on making lasting, impactful change in our lives whenever we are ready, one day at a time?

For all of you stressing over how to lose weight, quit smoking, or stop Facebook stalking your ex — it is time to renounce the resolution! That’s right! Instead of treating transformation like a sprint with January 1st as the starting line, give your whole life a lift!

This new series, Life Lift, will offer daily themes and goals that encourage you to live your best quality of life right now, right where you are. Join me as I share with you how I learned to start living my life rubescently. Discover how I tackle things like weight loss, mental wellness, and self-acceptance.

It is my hope that you will find my story helpful and be encouraged to embrace and enjoy this rubescent life!

You Like Me! You Really Like Me!

The Liebster Award Badge A few weeks ago (before I fell into the abyss that is life without WiFi), I discovered that the lovely blogger Danielle of The Thought Card nominated me for Liebster Award! (Please be sure to visit Danielle’s page – it’s awesome!)

While I am surprised, but very honored. This ‘blog is less than one month old and the fact that people have responded so well to what I have shared is very touching. This journey initially began as an attempt to keep friends and family abreast of my adventures in Barbados. However, it quickly became more of a stream-of-consciousness journal; a look into my daily challenges and triumphs. There are times when I question myself, wondering if I am over-sharing my life with perfect strangers. But I continue writing and posting because it serves as a form of therapy for me and perhaps a source of hope for others.

I do not know where this blog will ultimately take me, but I am glad you are all along for the ride.


Rules for the Liebster Award:
  1. Thank the wonderful person who nominated you.
  2. Display the logo for the award.
  3. Nominate 5-10 other bloggers with less than 200 followers, let them know they have been nominated by commenting on one of their posts.
  4. Answer the questions that the person who nominated you has set and pose 11 new questions to your nominees.
My Liebster Award Nominees:
Questions for My Nominees:
  1. Where do you live?
  2. How do you react when an unwanted creature (e.g. bugs, rodents, reptiles, etc.) gets into your home?
  3. Do you stay informed about politics? Why or why not?
  4. What is the best meal you have ever had? (Please describe. Pictures optional!)
  5. If you could solve one of the world’s many problems (e.g. hunger, war, homelessness, etc.), what would you solve and how?
  6. How would you describe the person you most admire in your life?
  7. Who was your first celebrity crush?
  8. How old were you when you had your first kiss?
  9. What is your greatest irrational fear and how do you cope with it?
  10. If you could relive one day over again in your life over again every day for the rest of your life, which would it be and why?
  11. How would you describe your faith (e.g. Christian, Buddhist, Protestant, Jewish, Wiccan, agnostic, Spiritual but not religious, athiest, etc.)?
Responses to Danielle’s Questions:
  1. What’s your nationality?
    African-American
  2. Would you rather explore a new planet or the deepest part of the ocean? Why?
    Now that I live so close to the ocean again, I would love to explore more of it. I never tire of staring at the ocean and it’s beauty never ceases to amaze me. I cannot for the life of me understand why people would travel millions of light years away when there are so many wonders available here right on our own planet.
  3. What are some of the best friend’s qualities?
    A fondness for the arts and classic and period films is a plus, but it is most important that they enjoy vanilla ice-cream cones while watching said genres of film. A genuine appreciation for mid-1990s through Y2K pop culture will earn you some serious brownie points! The best friend must first and foremost exhibit unconditional love. They should be honest enough to tell me when I am drifting into dangerous territory, but gentle enough to tell me with kindness and love. They must be able to laugh heartily at themselves when they fall down, and they must fall down a lot.
  4. Cats, dogs or neither?
    I love animals; that said, I used to be afraid of dogs and have a very interesting relationship with cats.
  5. Which are you likely to fight for, love or money? Why?
    Love. I think the Bible puts it best:
    On money…
    “Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless.” – Ecclesiastes 5:10
    On love…
    “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”1 Corinthians 13:13
  6. If you could speak another language, which would it be? Why?
    Hablo un poquito de español, but I would really love to learn American Sign Language. It is visually beautiful to observe, but I believe it is also an under-learned language. I have also wanted to learn Japanese since we watched a documentary about Japanese school children when I was in the 5th grade.
  7. Would you rather receive a text message or call? Why?
    Frankly, it depends on my mood. I feel special when I receive phone calls, but the pressure to respond immediately can cause me a bit of anxiety depending on who is on the other end of the call. Texting affords me the opportunity to give thought to what I want to say.
  8. What’s the single best decision you’ve made in your life so far?
    As a Christian, I am supposed to say “to accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior.” And do not get me wrong – this was the most important decision I’ve made in my life. However, this decision I made in 1996 was truly solidified and magnified in 2003 when I chose to have a relationship with Jesus Christ. Understanding that Jesus died for me, loves me, and calls me His friend has absolutely changed my life and I cannot begin to thank Him enough. (Look for a post with more on this coming soon…)
  9. Do you focus on the big picture or do you get lost in the details?
    An excellent question! When it comes to other people’s problems, I think I am pretty good at looking at the big picture. However, I tend to examine my own life and its challenges with a fine tooth comb.
  10. Luxury or low maintenance?
    Low maintenance luxury? I enjoy the luxury of having friends and family who love me but I do not feel the need to incorporate theatrics into showing them my love. On a more material level, I like fancy things but I don’t require them to have a full life. I am easy to please and not overly fond of opulence and excess.
  11. What are you looking forward to the most?
    I cannot wait to finally discover who I am in all aspects of my life and truly live in that truth. My formative years were more about figuring out who other people wanted me to be. My early twenties were a combination of learning how I can positively impact people. My late twenties were about caring for and supporting other people. Now that I am in my early thirties, I pray for the opportunity to discover more of my likes and dislikes and to dive into those interests headfirst.