My father’s daughter 

My father died on February 28,1996. I was ten years old.  I was in the 5th grade. My sister in the third grade. I’d nervously performed a Maya Angelou poem in front of the school.  I remember trembling on stage as my mind went blank. Dressed in my white leotard,  sheet white stockings, and  red calve length skirt.  Relieved, I rushed off stage and back to safety inside the teachers lounge.  
After the performance I went back to my classroom and my life began to normalize again.  I don’t remember if it was an announcement or if my teacher pulled me out of the classroom.  Next thing I knew I was sitting across from the school counselor. She said your father passed away this morning.  My sister began to cry immediately. I didn’t know what to feel or think.  I just remember a bunch of adults trying to comfort me.  All I wanted to do was wipe the tears from my baby sisters eyes.  There was nothing I could do.  We went home for the remainder of the day. 

A few tears fell from my eyes later that day.  A part of me felt relieved. I’d be lying to you and myself if I said my father was perfect.  Truth is,  I didn’t know my father.  He knew me more than I knew him.  For most of my childhood he was in jail. Vague images of him cloud my mind of him hurting my mother. As a kid,  you try to filter and organize the chaos. I could not.  I just felt things.  Things I couldn’t explain until I went through them in life. 

The only person I’ve ever known is my mother. We didn’t go to a funeral. We said our goodbyes days before as my father layed inside his hospital bed.  He was dying of H. I. V.  I didn’t know the disease at the time. I thought we had more time together.  Although he was sick during my final years,  I knew my father loved me. He knew I love chocolate cake,  cheeseburgers,  and could stay up late til the sunrise. That was my secret. 
Apart of me strongly disliked my father.  Mostly for what he did to my mother.  He questioned my love for him constantly.  I loved him. I just didn’t know how to love a distant stranger.  I wrote letters to him in prison.  That was for him not me. We share a birthday month,  January.  Our birthdays are seven days apart.  For my tenth birthday he bought me a jumping jack doll with a trampoline.  I loved it. I remember vividly whispering in his ear on his death bed that I had passed my science test. He replied ruggedly,  I’m proud of you. 

They say time heals all wounds. I’d like to thinj it does. There were moments that I replay in my mind.  My dad bought me my first pair of K-Swiss. He warned me about boys with a strong look and his belt. He made me feel like a princess for my 5th grade prom. I remember calling him to overrule my mom saying no to Six Flags. He didn’t question me,  he just said yes. We had our battles.  My smart mouth and his firm hands.  I was stubborn just like him. Nothing will ever take away sitting on my fathers lap. 

I have my father’s forehead and eyes.. My mother’s smile and nose.. My complexion is a mix of the two hues.  Although my life was not planned, I was made with the intention of love.  It has taken some time to appreciate my father, his mistakes and embrace the love he had for me. I gave my son his middle name.  Today I welcome him fully into my heart.  Forgiving the past. He was human.  Humans can make mistakes.  I just hope he’s proud of the woman I have become today.  After all I am my father’s daughter. 

God’s Divine Plan: Failures, Obstacles, and Setbacks

 

 

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As a kid I was never any good at board games. Maybe I never had the patience to understand checkers or any of the like. That’s okay with me, I like being a bookworm anyway!In the game of checkers nothing ever stays the same. You are up against your opponent and you have to be strategic against the obstacle in front of you in order to come out victorious. In order to be victorious, things must shift. Sometimes things in our lives shift for the better or the worse. All of which conspire to make you prosper and withstand the next battle you come up against.

There has been some battles that I simply was not prepared for or found myself incapable of handling them. For example, after graduating from high school I was sure of two things, I wasn’t ready for college and I wanted to be wherever my boyfriend was at the time. I didn’t have a plan for my life, so I began the next chapter of my life blindfolded.  I loved him and he loved me. Naive ? Yes. Hopeful? Of course.

Life will shift you into the next phase without your permission. At twenty one I was giving birth to my son and by twenty three I was married. By now there were holes in my blindfold. I couldn’t see the future but the road ahead looked bleak. Things were shifting underneath my feet and I was falling. Falling so deeply behind my vision for my life that I grew disgusted with the woman in the mirror. This wasn’t a rehearsal, nor apart of the plan I envisioned for my life. My life was shifting. Shifting into a place of dim light. Finding it hard to breathe. To put one foot in front of the other. I was pushing forward, yet going in circles.  I thought I could handle whatever God sent my way. After all I had been through enough pain growing up, how could I not?

The next couple of years of my life would take me on an emotional roller coaster. One that would leave me wounded, broken, and damaged mentally,spiritually,and emotionally. Through it all God never let go of my hand. Sometimes I’d cry in the middle of the afternoon. Tears would cover my face and I’d be smiling. There was a wound inside my heart that needed to be mended. When it was hard for me to speak through my tears and confusion I found comfort in God’s arms. How do you rebuild your life when life has knocked you down so much?

 

Someone once asked me how do you do it without any tv, internet, and etc. for long periods of time. Well, all of those things are just distractions. Something to entertain your mind and distort you from connecting with God. I like peace and quiet. In those times I can be honest with myself and the Lord. I could have curled up and died and given up on my life altogether. That’s too easy. Why give up or give in when I know the Lord is not through with me?

For every failure there is a bigger victory, every setback is a setup for something better, and for obstacle is an opportunity to uplift, encourage, and praise his name. My past is my testimony. My bridge to what I have overcome to arrive to my next destination. People may say you’ve changed or you’re not the same anymore. Its all true. Anything that doesn’t change dies. Scars heal and wounds close. All things happen according to God’s divine plan. Remember on this day two years ago when you were crying, depressed, and confused over your situation. But, through it all you kept the faith and God changed your circumstance. He can do it, again if you remain connected to him. Instead of allowing other people drive your life get out of the passenger seat and allow God to drive you to your next destination. Trust me the possibilities are endless when God is behind the wheel.

 

Be blessed, not stressed!!

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The Girl I Used To Know….

It’s always been said that if anything that’s not growing will eventually die. Once upon a time dying seemed like the worse thing that could possibly ever happen to me. Your life ends and all the things you hoped to accomplish in between the dash dies right along with you. That’s the scariest shit I ever imagined. Yet, it was a reality I saw lived amongst the living. Slumped shoulders, heavy bags underneath each eye, liquid poison to numb the sorrow, and minimal paycheck to keep the lights on. After a while, I soon realized maybe death brought peace and the death that I once feared so deeply was actually amongst the living.

Not to long ago, I used to be just a girl with big bright eyes, a toothy grin, and dark brown extensions that kissed my shoulder. I saw life through a colorful lense and life would work out just way I imagined or saw on television. I was the girl whom carried books by various authors in her backpack next to a bag of flamin hot cheetos. As two dollars in change hid in between the nooks and crannies of my used pocketbook. The quiet wallflower that barely waved or smiled in passing.  I would stare shyly at boys and wonder self consciously to myself, “Does he like me?” I never talked much. Too caught up inside my own thoughts to filter them through my lips.  I didn’t fit in much with the other girls. I wasn’t enough for each category. Not smart enough to sit with the advanced students. Not promiscuous enough to share my dirty laundry. Not lazy enough to adjust to the lazy kids passe lifestyle. I stood out like a sore thumb. I was strange inside my head. Often wondering where do I belong.

I used to wonder why me. Why can’t all the boys like me? Why can’t all the girls include me into their inside jokes and weekend gatherings? So desperately a part of me wanted to fit in and adjust to my reality.  I became a people pleaser to a certain extent.  Despite my efforts, I was unsuccessful at every turn.

I now realize that the girl I used to know just needed confirmation from within that she was more than enough. Her smile needed to reflect the beauty on the inside. The curves of my hips defined my femininity. My laughter could heal a broken heart. My intelligence deserved to be included into a conversation.  Although I may not have been accepted into cliques and organization, the uniqueness inside of me was made to stand out. The girl I used to know used to be soft spoken, mild mannered, and vulnerable to other people trials and tribulations. I used to allow others to treat me the way that they wanted and with my permission. That was okay. It was okay to not remember my birthday or ask me out. Disregard my feelings or disrespect me in private. As long I held a title or perceived position in your circle of life things were okay.

It took a while for me to unlearn the negative associations had with seeking validation from others. The girl I used to know has grown up into a beautiful young vibrant woman. It took some healing and some hard truths that I had to come clean about. No one has the power over your life to make you feel small. You take back that power by defeating every negative energy thrown at you with positive thoughts. No one is me. I am beautiful, smart, funny, creative, and deserving of the same energy I put out into the world. My gifts deserved to be shared with the world.My best advice that I would give my younger self is to not give people so much power and control over who you are and your purpose in this world. You are you and that is enough.  Grow within yourself and give yourself the best chance to reach your fullest between. That dash is your opportunity to give this life your best shot by thriving within each second and moment.  You never know who needs you to keep going. Do yourself a favor and grow where you are planted and blossom in the sunlight.