for Angry Black Girls who
pack down the frustration
with shrapnel of self-hate
who coat it with tears that self
combust into rage unjustly earned
and blamed for the reaction to the
"is it shark week down there?"
not listening to her
hiding behind their fear of her
strength to fight for herself
ready to burn it all down
because no one tells her
she's a phoenix
young wings ablaze
scorching the earth
nobody to show her how
for Angry Black Women
still on the ground
ashes to ashes
dust to dust
For Ma'Khia Bryant and all the Black girls and women who are constantly punished for their anger. Misogynoir must come down.
I've been doing a lot of GOING for these 32+ years.
I've lived in 6 cities in North and South America over the last decade. I've visited almost 20 countries. I've served in at least 4 different church congregations. I'm currently working on multiple projects that don't even have anything to do with my actual day job. Somehow, surprisingly I'm still finding sleep, but don't ask me how much. Ask my parents and they'll tell you how even as a little girl, I had a propensity for running ahead of the pack without any concern for who I was leaving behind. They'll say I'm still a beautiful handful.
In fact, I went to a church in college where their motto was to help you "Get Ready, Get Set, and Get Going"; you already knew which category I was apt to find myself in time and time again. I was an on-the-go go-getting girl boss who got things done. Every time. I prided myself on my ability to take initiative, pay attention to detail, execute flawlessly. Do do do do do until I couldn't do anymore. All that striving cost my soul dearly. I'm exhausted thinking about it.
So when I decided to transition away from my corporate career climb, put away the ladder and leave the United States altogether, it was the first time I had ever decided on my own to STOP.
Oh, y'all, at first, I struggled. If you kept up with my blog back in those days (4 years seems like a lifetime ago, amirite?), you can almost hear me screaming: OMG y'all this is exciting and I'm glad to be where God wants me to be but also what the heck am I doing and what does this all mean and where am I going to end up at the end of this rollercoaster ride?
At the end of such a run-on sentence, you can imagine that I, the go-er, the little engine-ista that could, ran out of breath. I decided to inhale something different; a life not based on milestones and accomplishments and tasks, but one grounded in discovery, in character, in friendship and service. Oh, joining the Peace Corps was the best decision I could have ever made for the trajectory of my life. Because it was in that pause that I found where I've always been and who I've always been meant to embrace.
I reached out for those 2+ years and gave her un abrazote de oso. Big bear hug. I fell in love with her and I didn't want to let go. I was HIGH ON LIFE and I wasn't trying to come down.
Now imagine my despair upon arrival to my new adult life in NYC when the vicissitudes of life pried my hands away from this best version I'd come to know of myself finger by finger like velcro on hair -- pain and noise notwithstanding -- until I almost regressed into the very same shell of myself I had to go to Ecuador to break from just 3 years prior. This was a pause that I didn't get to choose, and I was pissed.
While the world went to a standstill, I went to my darkest place. When most people thought I was simply making the most of a terrible situation, I was on autopilot, keeping myself busy so I didn't have to deal with my discomfort. Disconnection by distraction was just my destructive coping mechanism of choice. It worked well until I hit That Pandemic Wall(TM), and, well, it didn't. My mental health suffered as much as my physical health, and I had to find another way to breathe again.
Thanks be to God that He keeps His promises time and time again! Even though I laid my bed in the darkest of the dark, still God came down and shone His light in my life, word to Psalm 139. Hope was extended to the deep and He allowed me to be reminded that my true self was still in reach -- I just had to extend my arms and believe.
I began to stretch. I've started taking my therapy appointments seriously. I've been setting boundaries around my emotions and identity. I've changed my environment. I've started embracing more promises from God about my future than entertaining the painful lies of my past. I've been learning how to love my life even when I'm not at the highest high, nor go into distress mode when I'm feeling my lowest low, but how to balance and find myself breathing at sea level, too.
God has taken my little seed-sized faith, my susceptibility towards all-consuming anger and self-sabotage, my low-self esteem and has turned it around for my good. It's been a humbling experience, but I am able to be more compassionate with those who are searching for answers, and I have more patience to listen to those who are going through hard valleys. I am reaching out to help them find their footing here at the shore alongside me. We're in this together, y'all.
Because I have understood that life wasn't ever meant to be fully lived on the mountaintop or in the valley. It's here at the shoreline where we find the strength to balance the good days with the bad ones; the trials and circumstances with our victories; our grief with our joy; our pain with our healing. No matter where you find yourself today, please know you're not alone. Because I'm here too. I'm believing little by little, day by day, moment by moment that God will come through for you.
I have shifted my GOING and DOING into BEING. Instead of simply serving, I am invested in cultivating the heart of a servant. I recognize that I don't have to fight anymore, I am standing still and seeing the salvation of the Lord. I've always been a costeña, even before I lived those wonderful years in Manabí. With my feet in the sand and sun reflecting off the water onto my skin, I embrace the greatest sense of peace I know in the middle of this exciting, terrifying, beautiful world.
Let's go for a swim... maybe we'll walk on water too ;)