A friend contacted me. She felt like an outcast – tossed aside. It made me think of a line from on my childhood songs – The Cheese Stands Alone – sometimes you have to be OK with that.
One person decided that she was not good enough and she was “excommunicated” so to speak. I comforted her as best as I could but I understood everything she felt. As sad as I found the whole situation, I recently found great comfort in all of it.
Your “brokenness” can still be beautiful. It depends on who is taking you in… Photo by Jeannie Shaw
Let them talk.
One of her concerns was that the one person who found her “unworthy” would convince others of the same. Any favors that were bestowed upon her were pointed out, repeatedly – any graces or kindness given to her were thrown in her face. I found myself angry for her. I knew my friend and I knew better. She is beautiful and kind and has held secrets for me deeper than the deepest ocean. There were a couple days that filled me with great disgust but in those flared emotions, I found my comfort. I too have felt like an outcast and tossed aside. As I thought of my friend’s situation, I realised – we don’t need to worry about people who don’t know better. People who know better will not engage in any talk or behavior that belittles, outcasts or saddens you.
It doesn’t matter what is said about you or who chooses to believe it. It doesn’t matter who tries to tarnish your name, spill your secrets or tell the world what they did or didn’t do for you. My friend was given some favors and she was thankful and appreciative. I know because she told me and shared much of her journey with me. However, she was told she was ungrateful.
I know better.
She has been very kind to me and never told a soul about it. She’s never thrown it in my face or jump at the first opportunity to share it with others – “Did you know that when so and so needed this, I did that”. Not once. She doesn’t remind me but sometimes I remind her of her kindness. There have been many instances of kindness on her part but there is one instance that she jumped in for me in a way that showed great faith in my ability to pay her back and I did.
She hasn’t mentioned it to any one but I have. I have told several people but mostly to brag that I’m just blessed like that – haha that ego of mine. Or is it Sh-ego!
My friend knows what it is to be in a position to give and to need. I realise people who know better won’t care about another person’s opinion of you. People who know better won’t engage – they just simply won’t. They will stand up for you or they won’t listen at all. If they don’t or if their actions and behaviors change toward you, do not worry. Stand alone.
Even If It’s Just You and Your Damn Shadow Girl… Photo by Jeannie Shaw
Be the damn cheese.
Take the path alone if you must – there are people who know better!
The important thing is that you know who you are and if you are content in knowing that you are a decent human being doing your best as you traverse this great life of yours, then stand alone! But, I write this to tell my friend – you are not alone. I am here!
Do not flicker your flame for the winds of “bad mind” as we say in Belize. Stand tall oh beautiful one. Know that those who know better WILL NOT ENGAGE. Those who know you will Nourish You Sweetly.
That girl right there has been my diamond in the rough many a day. I am not interested in that story you wish to tell. I already know her well.
Learn to walk alone… Grace will send you all you need for your journey.
Recent events have lead me to ponder on the art of listening. I’ve either been on the listening end or the sharing end and I’ve thought so many times who I have felt safe with and who feels safe with me. What are they sharing? Are they letting their guard down and being completely open and vulnerable or are they constantly changing words and thoughts so as not to provoke a judgment out of me. The better you are at listening, the more space you’ll create to be heard… so if you want to be heard, learn to listen and create meaningful friendships.
Generally, people probably don’t mind advice but sometimes you can end up feeling like you’re on the receiving end of a missile attack. Instead of feeling supported, you may find yourself feeling more broken than when you first started. As I found myself feeling more broken, I wondered: what makes a safe place for people to talk and be open?
Most people already know the answers they seek
Most people already know deep down what their true situation is, even if they don’t voice it to you – they know. They just want a place to sound off and vent – a place to hear it echo back to their own ears. Having a space to fall apart and process the information is one of the best ways to hear ourselves and our truths.
Here are 3 key elements in creating a safe place for your loved ones to vent to you:
1. JUST LISTEN
We are often quick to interject with our experiences and this time when and that time how.
2. RESERVE JUDGMENT
If you are fair and honest and take true inventory of your own life, you will find that there were many many times you fell short of what you “should do”. Maybe you don’t even have to look back too far. There may be many areas in your life where you still lack direction and perfection. Stay grounded. As your thoughts float in and out, let them. They will surface and disappear. Ears open. Mouth shut. Judgment reserved.
3. ASK QUESTIONS
I have a friend who asks me questions. It helps me to process. They are not judgemental questions. Yes, there’s a difference. She asks me questions to prompt thought – to help me think things through. Why do you think that happens? What makes you think that? How did you feel when…? What do you think could make this better?
When I look back on my life, I find that I always knew the answers deep down. Sometimes I had to talk about something over and over again or to tell the same story to more than one person. Of course this meant hearing many different suggestions, advice and opinions. Deep down, I would always know the answer and even if the answer resonated with someone’s advice, it would not sound right to me until I felt it. It had to resonate with my vibration and where I was at that time in my life.
Follow your own intuition
I had a process I had to go through and even if someone said I could have saved myself time if I had only done this or that at the time they said, it didn’t matter. It didn’t matter because it was my process and I could not be rushed or pushed. If I acted when someone else said I should then it would feel like I was swimming against the current. My intuition had to be in agreement.
I had to do things when I was ready – it was the only way to make a move with grace.
If we learn to be better of a listener and less of a judge, it would make a lot of things easier on us.
Who is a good listener in your life?
It was so long ago. At least that’s how it feels and I can’t tap into a year or a month… only a person and a moment. I don’t even remember how I got the DVD of The Secret – only that I got it and that my long time friend from Art Institute days introduced me to it and somehow sent me a copy. I remember the first time I watched it. I can remember how my living room was set up and instantly go back into that space of time where The Secret made its special appearance to me.
Keep in mind I was raised by Ms Positive Thinking herself, my mom. She was the type who would not hear “NO” and “Can’t”. One of her favorite responses to that mind frame was “Watch me!” Over the years this would rub off on me and I would always be drawn to self improvement literature, initially many of Vincent Peale. My mom made me believe in the impossible.
When I migrated for a few years to the US to study Visual Communications, this yearning for self improvement would continue to grow. I lived with my cousins for a couple years in Florida while attending Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale. My cousin Kim introduced to me to some kind of visualization/meditation via CDs or was it cassettes? Gosh! I am NOT ancient, am I?
I would lay on the floor and listen to the words and dive into another dimension of myself. Deepak Chopra can probably explain this. Please don’t expect me to explain. I have diagnosed myself with ADD and added several other Ds. I love Deepak but half the time I have no idea what he’s saying. It’s a weird sense of “I get it” … “Oh, Lawd what is this man sayingggg?”
Moral of the story so far is that I have always been exposed to visualization/meditation/positive thinking… “change your thoughts – change your world” mentality. I would read book after book about how people who would change their lives and completely get lost in the possibilities of my own visions. And they are many and sometimes so clear, they were almost tangible.
Back to the DVD. It inspired me. I wanted that. I wanted to think large, dream big and watch things come to fruition. They were like projects. Several projects that would be about and for my life.
There were only a few people I could share this with because most people can rationalize it all away. Dwindle it to nothing. I chose to believe in the message, not so much the details. I hope that makes sense. It feel like most things can be rationalized away, including and maybe especially religion. The Secret for me is more a way of thinking… a philosophy. Hmm, (philosophy) I should probably Google that to be sure.
I became so fascinated by it and I found The Secret Audio CDs which contained 4 CDs in the package. I would play these CDs repeatedly, day after day for months, nearing a year… and each day it felt like I learned something new. While I worked, drove, painted, existed… I would have the CDs sounding off like some good Reggae in the background. Even now I learn something new when I tune in. I started to create vision boards and I learned about “visions” vs “feelings”. How just “thinking positive” was not enough. It was also visualization and that this is in fact a ‘feeling universe’ and Oh Yea, a ‘friendly universe’. I learned about the Law of Attraction.
What is the law of attraction?
I learned that the higher my frequency, the better I felt and the more heightened my intuition would become. There have been times it left me speechless. I learned how our thoughts in fact create lots of things in our lives. I learned about frequencies and levels. That we carry with us an energy that expands out to those around us… people, places, things, events. Really, this is life in a nutshell: People. Places. Things. Events.
This would also lead me into some of my favorite books: The Alchemist, The Monk Who Sold the Red Ferrari, Eat|Pray|Love, The Power of Now, A New Earth to name a few. Keep in mind, I don’t like to read. I have ADD and some additional Ds remember… I don’t like to read. But I want to write. Oh the complex me! Sigh. Chalk it up to the eccentric artist in me. Please. Let’s pretend it’s that.
Nowhere near to being a master of my domain, it is something I try to practice. Also to live in the present. This moment. Right now… at this cafe where I am constantly letting my shell fall off from my core and I dare to share things that keep surfacing from the corners of my mind. This moment where I can hear my “Nourished” fingernails hitting the keys and the cappuccino machine dancing to its own music, people are talking, and utensils are subtly singing with their special effects on different platforms. I am here. Right Now.
Some days I fall completely short of this mindset, like yesterday. And perhaps some day last week but who’s counting?
Any day short of this mindset are most usually down days… because, after all, our thoughts create our world. It is just simple logic.
If my vision boards were not so personal, I would share and you would be amazed to see what has manifested. I am sharing here photos that may seem like random shots on random days of my life. Believe me, they are not random. They are representing powerfully. They are great reminders for me as I sit here. I really should remind myself of ‘then to now’ daily. It is at the core of me but it doesn’t always spread out to every part of me. Yet, I can confidently tell you that things have manifested in my life that people constantly said would not come to fruition. Many people stay on their journey, ever traveling the “Negative Nancy Train” but I could not afford those tickets. No Thanks. I would surrender to my idealistic vision boards and they would many times over, surrender to me.
I would stay true to my visualizations and my feelings and…
Does it mean nothing can go wrong ever?
No. Of course not.
Does it mean some paths have not lead me to trauma and heartbreak and shock?
No. Of course not.
Does it mean I can think away world issues and sickness?
No. Of course not.
Does it mean I can be positive through anything whatsoever?
No. Of course not.
Haha, anyone close enough to me can attest to this.
It means for me that our time on earth is short.
It means I want to make a conscious decision everyday to think differently, expect great things, find my rhythm and always dance to it. It means that I am a witness to the Law of Attraction and that subscribing to the right thoughts will constantly elevate my frequencies and there’s a much greater chance that my vision boards will manifest.
Each day has only so many seconds and they disappear as quickly as they appear. If you are having a great day, they disappear even faster. Although I’ve also had experiences where it felt like I controlled the time. I know this is hard to digest, even as I read it, it sounds warped and until I can find a way to explain it that makes sense, I have to leave it at that.
It means I’m human but I will always try to get back up. I will fall apart and rebuild as I have many times. I will live with cardboard boxes until the furniture comes. It means I want to subscribe to greater things. And that I will Expect Great Things.
I want to… Nourish Me Sweetly and I want you to come with me. I dare you to believe.
My daily “hairdo” was too time consuming. I was born with naturally straight hair that was dirty blond as a child. It was long and straight and what I like to refer to as “wash and go”. WuHoo! Yay me! Life is great! Of course this was before I cared what my hair did or was or how it flowed and if it went with an outfit I just bought from Goodwill. One day when I was about 12, my mom cut my hair. It changed and I found myself on a journey that took me near 20 years to embracing my naturally curly hair. There was a lot to learn in the process of transitioning from naturally straight to naturally curly hair.
The transition of naturally straight hair to naturally curly hair
I remember sitting in my mom’s room and watching the old style colonial door frame and I can still feel her presence now as I think of it. I can hear the not-so-sexy sound of the scissors making their “I don’t know how to cut hair” debut on my long naturally straight dirty blond locks. I was getting bangs.Or something!
I don’t remember much after that. I only remember at some point I looked in the mirror and there was a mop in the front of my head on the top of my cranium, maybe about quarter way in on ALL sides and the rest fell straight.
What kind of madness is this?
What happened to my straight hair?
Where did it go?
Mixed Chic Problems – actually no problem at all.
My mom was Belizean and of mixed ethnicity: Mestizo and Creole (White and Black). Her hair was jet black, thick, kinky and COARSE… a beautiful mixture on her. My dad was white; Scottish and had soft curly hair if it grew out more than 2 inches. My mom had relaxed her hair most of her life and I wonder now if she ever embraced her natural kinky hair and would she embrace it now?
There is an old saying in my country inferring something to the effect of “when someone who has more coarse hair than yours cuts your hair, your hair will grow coarse thereafter”. I don’t remember the exact verbiage. I only remember thinking… OMG it’s true. My hair changed. Thicker, curlier, less manageable (how I felt then). Of course, that had to do with her genes and not superstition but still!
At 12 years old, my mom decided she would cut my hair. The nature of my hair changed. It’s been quite a journey to loving my hair.
I ended up cutting and keeping my short hair for a long time. I would straighten it when I could. Somehow I always thought I looked better with it straight. One of my “dos” was a Halle Berry cut some time in the early 90s and I LOVED when anyone would make reference to her and me. Yep! Scout’s Honor, they did…
Straight hair can be more work, actually.
As time went by and my hair grew out, I learned how to blow dry, flat iron and wrap my hair. I learned about relaxers and even had an old boyfriend who would willingly relax my hair for me. Ha! He was ESPECIAL! I learned about Matrix Hot and Cold and Keratin straighteners and I learned that unless it was Matrix Hot (very costly to do) that if I went out and danced the night away my straight would go curly, or should I say carazee! I learned that I did not feel pretty UNLESS my hair was straight and at one point, did not feel pretty UNLESS I had bangs.
Needless to say I learned a lot.
Changes came as they often do.
And then 2014 and all the changes in the last several years weighed heavily on me and I got so tired of giving so much of my precious seconds per day to doing my hair, day in – day out. EVERY SINGLE DAY I would do my hair (just about) for the last 3 years, or 1095 days or 94608000 seconds… do you see how time adds up… Wow! I’M TIRED!
A few months ago, I had a health scare and I wanted to start taking my exercise more seriously and I also did not have the time to fit in working out at the gym plus the additional 40 mins to an hour every day to give to my hair. I had so much more to do and learn and take care of. “Ain’t nobody got time for that”.
I had to find a way to let these curls be. I had tried so many times before and failed miserably but now I had to find a way. It meant healthier hair, more growth, better skin, more time for myself and my loved ones, more rest and relaxation time, more “dance that reggae all night, who cares” time.
It took a while to find what worked for me.
It has been quite a journey although I am only four months into it and still trying to find the perfect fit for me and my do. I have tried a few products and procedures and “he said, she said” bits and pieces of advice and thinking that it’s a lot simpler than I anticipated. It’s just to find that perfect fit for me, for my hair. It’s definitely “something to blog about”.
My hair with Just for Me Texturizer
The thing is, there’s really more to it than just the time it takes and the work and finding the right fit. It also has a lot to do with mere acceptance of all I am from the bottom of my feet to YES! the top of my head…
Me, in her whole entirety.
Me, in all her “perfect imperfections”. (Jump in John Legend or better yet Jah Cure’s beautiful cover)
Me, the here and now.
My natural hair with no chemicals.
Me, the one whom I wish to Nourish Sweetly…
It was around March 9, of 2009. I remember it well because that’s a Public & Bank holiday in my home country of Belize. I was at a local membership club with my my son and niece so that they could swim and play. It was just me and them, a very usual clique around this time of my life. I had one of those crazy moments I’ve read about in books, seen in movies and heard Oprah refer to as the “Aha Moment”.
My son was not feeling well and neither was I, although his was physical and mine was emotional. I was out of sorts… sad and disheartened. I was questioning everything in my life… EVERYTHING.
I was unhappily married and unhappily self employed running a hotel and living off a blueprint I did not design. I remember writing a letter to my mom that day. She had passed away suddenly almost ten years prior. I was explaining to her that I was unhappy on so many levels and questioning everything in my life.
Why was I in a marriage that did not serve me?
Why was I running a business that I was growing to hate? (Yes, hate!)
What is my belief about Jesus Christ?
Why? What? When? How?
I wanted answers. I set out to find them. Literally.
And, I remember declaring emphatically that I was ready for change. I even posted it on FaceBook, so that makes it really real. It was on FaceBook!
I wanted to change my life.
I had no idea how this would unfold over the coming few weeks, months, years to bring me to where I sit today… somewhere in California happily typing behind a laptop that is not mine and feeling like “Aha!” is about to completely envelope and love me beyond definition. I had no idea I would eventually be working virtually and could essentially work from my home country or any other country, quite frankly.
Life is full of so many changes … peaks and valleys. Sometimes when I look back on the last 7 years of my life I am completely amazed and in some instances traumatized.
I often find myself saying that in March 2009 I was awakened.
There have been so many ups and downs and in-betweens, and although I do remember much of my life before March 2009 it feels like I became more present and my eyes opened after that time. I started to see, be in touch with, feel on every level, be highly connected to so many things and people and places and events and it changed how I saw many things, people, places and events. And each time I’ve fallen off track with that inner connection… that knowing and that voice I found myself in some very sad, hurtful and disheartening situations. It is now my quest to stay as connected as I can to that inner spirit… that full and complete me who is ever changing and evolving and aging (sigh) and growing! March 2009 brought me to a moment I knew I had to March On from so many things, people, places and events. I did not the know the how… how life would unfold. I only knew the surface of it all: I was ready for change. I had no idea how hard some of them would be to make or how some of it would feel like it was forced on me to do. Life has a way of forcing us out of an environment even when we feel like we are yet still not ready.
These changes would include divorce on many levels: unions, ideas, businesses, friendships… believing without a whimper or a doubt in what people said could never happen, witnessing the loss of life for one of my closest and dearest darling friends (and the mother of my beautiful niece) all too soon and making choices for the benefit of my son even if it meant completely shutting my whole life down to help him.
All the changes since that time have brought me to where I am… were you paying attention? I’m behind the laptop, remember? The one that isn’t mine? But I am happily typing… the greatest thing I’ve learned is that I am here to write my own music… dance solely to the beat of my own drum and sway to my own personal & perfect rhythm.
Everything has a rhythm. Every place has a rhythm. Ever person has a rhythm. Every event has a rhythm.
What’s yours? And dare you March On to it?
I want to promote, engage in and surrender to Nourishing Mind, Body & Soul.
I am a MOM, an Artist and the kitchen and I are not friends. I Love Photography, Art & Reggae (preferably LOUD with 1 glass of Merlot) and will feel especially appreciative if it’s @Chronixx – Selassie Souljahz. I ran a small family based hotel for 12 years trying to fulfill the dreams of another blueprint that was not my own. It took great courage to move on from that era of my life, albeit not quite planned the way it unfolded.
I was living a dream that was all but mine. It did not belong to me and I did not belong to it. I have been on a fast growth scale that has brought many changes to my life in the last several years.
I am now exploring where to channel my creativity and how to create my own blueprint… the last several years have taught me so much and I have been quelling the urge to share and write but it keeps finding it’s way to every corner and crevice of my mind and every reach of my fingertips in so many varying ways.
Some years ago, I was sifting through one of my mom’s agendas and found scribbled in a corner a quote from a local Belizean sculptor/poet, Mr George Gabb – “Seek to find that place where nothing is of value, yet everything is priceless.” It really touched me.
I yearn to belong to nothing.
Except maybe Reggae.
I can belong to Reggae 🙂
Side Note: Monday December 18th. This was before I discovered AfroBeats.