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You Don’t Need to Forgive to Be Free

I’ve always had a serious issue with the concept of forgiveness. It never made any sense to me and it never resonated with my spirit. Why should I, the one who was done wrong offer anything, especially forgiveness to one who has wronged me? Why does the onus now lie on me? Since when did it become my responsibility to fix what others f****d up? Why do I have to be the bigger person?

There’s talk of accepting apologies you’ll never receive, turning the other cheek, forgiving 70 times 7. RUBBISH! And I’m not even British. They say forgiveness is for you, not the other person. Why is my healing and freedom contingent on the denial and sacrifice of my righteous anger at those who have harmed me?

I was molested at the age of 4 by a family member. This man ruined so much of me. He left me broken and confused. Any concept I had of self-worth was obliterated. After the 7 years of abuse ended, my perception of myself and the world was so skewed, I easily found myself in relationships with men who were abusive. Abuse had become my norm and I accepted dysfunction as my karma. 

So, I need to forgive this man to be healed and be free? That is complete bulls**t. Who came up with this crap? I’m here to tell you, if forgiving those who have intentionally and systemically hurt you doesn’t resonate with your spirit, DON’T do it. And don’t you dare even try. Forgiving others does not have to be a part of your healing journey or the key to your personal freedom. You can say f**k em and they mama and still become whole. You can refuse to forgive them and still shine. 

When you see me, do I look bitter, sad, or defeated to you? Absolutely not! Anyone who has the pleasure of being in my presence can feel the vibration of love, light and healing that radiates from me. And you know what? I didn’t have to forgive a muthaf****n soul to do it!  

You don’t have to forgive anyone, blood relatives included to become whole.  And holding onto the belief that you need to forgive may be that one emotional block that is keeping you mired in your trauma and pain. You are conflicted. You are trying to do something your spirit is rejecting. No matter what the preacher says in the pulpit, the life coach or therapist says in your sessions. You are not obligated to forgive a soul. 

Now, let me tell you what you are obligated to do. You are obligated to forgive yourself. You are obligated to offer yourself every ounce of kindness, gentleness, and compassion you can muster. You are obligated to love on yourself, every hour of every day. You are obligated to go within to the deepest parts of your being to love and cry and moan and pray yourself back to life. You are obligated to mourn and grieve every part of you that was lost. And after your mourning period has ended, you are obligated to dig through the ashes, gather the best parts of your essence that could never be destroyed and you must with every fiber of your being recreate, restore, and rebuild. 

Sorrow and suffering must become your closest companions. Grace and gratitude must become your song. You reparent your inner child. You nurture your soul back to full health. You master yourself. You find the joy within. You must release the parts of you that you needed to survive because, now it is time for a new thing to begin. You take off your armor because the war has ended. You release your deep attachment to the pain, hurt and bitterness. Your anger remains, but it builds you up, it becomes a fire in your soul that propels you to move forward. You become one with yourself and then one day you wake up and look in the mirror and it’s as if you’re seeing yourself for the very first time. 

You look at your scars and you can only cry tears of joy because of what you’ve overcome. You feel enveloped in the light of love. You repeat the cycle again and again. As many times as you need too. You mourn again. You heal again. You see yourself for the first time again. You are transformed by the bravery of your choice to let your healing journey be what it should only be about. YOU. 

Does this work? With a strong emphatic voice, I scream yes! I didn’t forgive my abuser or his wife and when I tell you I am healed from the inside out. I am healed! How did I know? Well, the moment came when I saw this person. And when I saw this individual, I didn’t feel an iota of resentment, anger, disappointment, or pain. I wasn’t triggered. I didn’t have to pretend I was ok when in reality I wasn’t. I was truly ok! PEACE! PEACE abounded in my soul and that was the moment I knew, I was free! And I did it without offering forgiveness.

You don’t need to forgive anyone to be free. Now, go be free!

And while you’re on your way to freedom, check out the amazing e-book book called The Black Girl’s Guide to Radical Self-Love, which provides a unique 5 step process to experience radical self-love and feel your own sun. It is on sale for the next 10 days for $3.99. To download your copy, click The Black Girl’s Guide to Radical Self-Love. This book was was inspired by a recent blog post I wrote, called “The Truth About Self-Love No one Told You”. To read the article, click The Truth About Self-Love That No One Told You.

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Pity P****y and People Pleasing: I Lost Every Time

“If it is all burning and misery ahead, I hope the version of myself that is tired from rising from the ashes in the end shows up and keeps me from dancing into the fire to begin with”

Upile Chisala

I have been engaged in a deeper level of self-reflection and self-awareness lately. I mean, really, truly looking at the core and essence of who I am and delving into what has gotten me to where I am. I am peeling back the layers, going beyond my blind spots, and coming to some really insightful realizations. One of those, realizations is that I am a HUGE people pleaser. I do things that I don’t want to avoid hurting other’s feelings. I much rather endure discomfort than cause it. I fear that if I don’t do what others want or ask of me (particularly those close to me), they will withhold their love and affection and I don’t want that.

Because of the way I was socialized, and due to some aspects of my childhood trauma, I have held the false belief that others are more important than I am, and their feelings are more important than my own. I felt that I owed people what they wanted from me. I was worried about how others perceived me. I didn’t want to be seen as mean, rude, or stuck-up, so I would go along with whatever others wanted. Especially the men in my life.

The first experience I had with this was when I was 16. I was “dating” this guy. You can’t really call it dating because I only saw him at church, or at the YMCA for basketball tournaments and we talked on the phone. That hardly qualifies as dating but in my book, that was a full- blown relationship. He was OK, but he wasn’t what I really wanted. But he liked me, and I just went along with it.  Fast forward to Junior Prom. He told me that he never had a chance to go to his prom and he always wanted to go (he was 18). But my crush at school, who was super cute, smart, and sweet asked me to the prom. I was so happy, and I was going to say yes! But I thought of my “boyfriend” who I only sort of liked and never had a chance to go to his prom. So I made a decision, I told the guy who I REALLY liked and wanted to go with no. You see, I didn’t want to let my “boyfriend” down. I didn’t want to hurt his feelings. I didn’t want to be mean. I thought I was doing the right thing because I had placed his desires above my own.

Let me tell y’all how that backfired! I told him I was wearing black, and I wanted him to get a black tux. Do you know he showed up at my door in a white suit and an orange hat?! Wait, it gets worse. The night of prom, he handed me a hand-written note telling me that he was breaking up with me. TF! Really? After I made his dream come true of going to the prom, this asshole dumps me! I took a major, major L that night. I promise you, to this day I think what may have happened if I put my feelings above my “boyfriend’s” and went to prom with my crush…

I didn’t learn my lesson because 10 years later, it happened again. I was a proud member of the 5:30 am gym squad and so was my soon to be baby daddy. He would always talk to me, bring me little trinkets, and ask if we could work out together. He was a short, light-skinned, dreaded, gold-tooth Rasta man straight from Trinidad, and I wasn’t the least bit interested. He kept asking. I kept saying no. He kept asking. One Saturday morning, he literally begged, “please can we workout at least once together”. I felt so bad for the guy. I thought, wow he must really be into me to go this hard. He wore me down and I agreed. But it was out of pity more than anything else. We started working out, then it was lunch dates, mall dates and dinner dates. Next thing I know, I’m face down, a** up giving him pity p***y. Because I mean that’s the normal part of dating right? I was never attracted to him, but I didn’t want to hurt his feelings because he was just so into me. Once again, I put the feelings and desires of others before my own.

“Honey, you are sacred land. Choose your travelers wisely”

Della Hicks-Wilson

But it didn’t end there because I became pregnant. Before you judge me, and ask why the hell I would have a baby with a man I wasn’t attracted to or even liked, we used protection every time. But one time, the condom broke. AND the very next morning I took the morning after or plan B pill. But you know what? I still became pregnant. I guess my daughter is just as stubborn and won’t take no for an answer just like her daddy, because she was like nope, I’m coming. F your plan B pill mom! Lol. I am so blessed to have my daughter and I wouldn’t change having her in my life for anything. But soon after I became pregnant, her father’s true colors showed. He was very abusive to me. He put my daughter and I through a lot. I can’t help but to think how differently my life would have been if I had just kept saying no. Or even had the courage to tell him to F off! But I didn’t want to be mean, and I didn’t want to hurt his feelings.

I have learned the hard way, through much pain, heartache, and disappointment that I must ALWAYS honor myself and my desires. I must ALWAYS put myself first, even if it disappoints or hurts others. No one is more important than me. No one’s feelings are more valid and honorable than my own. Especially not a man. Being a people pleaser left me with a very unpleasant high school memory and the chance to experience a wonderful event with a great guy. Giving away pity pussy, caused me to become a single mother.

My father always told me that it is good to learn from your experiences, but it is even better to learn from the experiences of others. Learn from me. Choose you, always and forever. My dear, Choose you…

“I know my worth. I’ve paid dearly for every ounce of it”

Alfa

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You Ain’t Married Yet? The Question Everyone is Asking

“Think not that you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy directs your course”

Khalil Gibran

I’ve been hearing this question a lot lately. Mainly from other women. The question is always framed with equal amounts of surprise, pity, and the thought that maybe something is secretly wrong with me. I never take it personal though. I guess if I were them I too would wonder why I’m not married yet.

And to be honest, it is something that I have been thinking about a lot lately. Perhaps because I will be turning 37 this year. I had my first relationship right out of high school at 17. Twenty years later and I have NEVER been single for more than a year. I have literally gone from one relationship to the next. And not because I didn’t enjoy my time alone. Because I do. I can sit at home alone for hours and read or watch tv and enjoy my own company. I love to run alone, and I certainly don’t mind working out alone. I never used my relationships as an escape from myself. But there was always a man there. How could I resist?  I’ve had some rough relationships! And my heart has been broken more than I wanted to experience. But that never stopped me. I am a hopeless romantic, always willing, and ready for the next adventure in love. Both sets of my great-grandparents were married. Both sets of my grandparents were married. My parents have been together for 43 years and married 38. I’ve seen and experienced healthy love. I know what it looks like.

What I realized is that despite never being single in 20 years, always having an open heart to men, and seeing healthy love and marriages all my life, I never thought I was worthy of that kind of love, intimacy, loyalty, and security. I’ve spent most of my life fighting for my life, going from one struggle to the next, overcoming obstacles and trauma, making peace with who I am and learning the meaning of radical self-love.

But how do you explain this to people who ask, “you still ain’t married yet?”. How do you explain to people its not as simple as meeting a man, falling in love, and getting married. And no, it’s not because I’m secretly a raggedy hoe that no one wants lol. How do you explain that you are out here hustling for your own worthiness. And once you find it, you can finally accept the man out there who is gonna love the shit outta you and REST in that. My path this time around is requiring me to dig deeper than I ever have before, transcend certain karmas, and learn specific lessons. So nope, I ain’t married yet. You are free to ask, but are you ready to hear the real reason why?

“When others asked the truth of me, I was convinced it was not the truth they wanted, but an illusion they could bear to live with”

Anais Nin
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Shame, Shoes and Stones: The Skeletons in My Closet

“Shame dies when stories are told in safe places”


Yesterday morning while I was cleaning the juicer I started screaming and hollering. The screams and hollers bellowed from my belly. My heart felt so heavy and I had to get it out. There were three huge, long hollers. My stomach hurt . The same hurt you feel in your stomach after you throw up when you’re really sick. But afterward I felt like I could breath. I felt some of the life force coming back to me.

The irony is that I had just done an ancestral reading where I conveyed to the client the need to let go. The need to release some of the things they had been holding onto. That just as if we don’t release our physical waste (poop), the toxins start to recirculate in our system, causing dis-ease. Our emotional waste (anger, shame, guilt, bitterness, resentment) will do the same, recirculate in our systems and cause emotional and spiritual dis-ease.

I’m one of those people who gives the best advice but also struggles to take her own advice. I can lift up, motivate, inspire, and encourage so many, but will often neglect to do the same for myself.

I’m at a crossroads in my life. A weird space where I’m no longer who I was, but not yet who I’m going to be. The in between, in process, still loading phase. The question is, what’s next? And it all depends on my next few moves. When the pandemic started I took a long break from social media and the world. You can read about it here. I came back to social media and the world like “yes, let’s get it”. I was getting it for a moment but still with a heaviness and burden.

When I turned 35 last year I went to sleep asking to receive a message from my ancestors about what’s next. Dreams are powerful that way. You can receive and download so much information while you sleep. That night I dreamed I was looking for my favorite pair of shoes. I kept asking everyone in the house if they’d seen them. They said they hadn’t. They were nowhere to be found. I gave up after awhile but then I opened the closet door and there they were. My favorite pair of shoes. Black, old, worn, tattered and honestly pretty ugly. I was so happy I’d found my favorite shoes!

Now time for a little dream interpretation. We put on our shoes to go places. These shoes had taken me many places and have walked a lot of miles in some not so nice places. Those shoes and I have been through some things and it shows. That is why they were so worn and tattered. And I had lost them. The message of the dream was I had lost that which I needed to take me where I must go. Those tattered shoes were the real me. I had lost myself. Most people want new, shiny, and designer shoes. To be noticed and make a statement. Look at me, I make good money, I’m stylish, I’m fabulous. My shoes aren’t shiny, new, or aesthetically fabulous. Neither is my life.

I have some stones in my pocket, secrets in my heart, and some skeletons in my closet. They’ve burdened me. Weighed me down. At this crossroads in my life, this in-between phase, it’s time to lay my burdens down. For good. Some of my closest friends and family know these things about me, they’ve been there to help me pick up the pieces, but I’ve never spoken about them publicly. My blog has been a place of transparency and authenticity as I’ve shared many personal stories of tragedy and triumph, but there’s still more that needs to be revealed.

“The journey of descent consists of encountering your shadow many, many times. Emotions as intense as shame and guilt give themselves up only a bit at a time-and you wouldn’t want more”

Deepak Chopra


Honestly, there are many things I’m ashamed of. I sometimes wish they weren’t apart of my story. I wonder if I would be better or if my life would look different without these experiences. Alas, I must fully own ALL of my story. Every part, even the ones with shame. The definition of shame is:
a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior. Sometimes this behavior is our own. Sometimes it’s the behavior of others. But Shame along with guilt are some of the heaviest weights I’ve carried. Since I’ve decided to walk in my old shoes, I realized that shame and guilt don’t match with my shoes. In fact, it’s outright tacky. So I’m no longer wearing them. These are my skeletons that carry so much shame. Someone very close to me calls them rocks or stones in our pockets.

“You either walk inside your story and own it you stand outside your story and hustle for your worthiness”

Brene Brown


In 2006, I had an abortion. When I was 18, my very first boyfriend and the man who took my virginity was 33. He told me he was 28. We were together 4 years. I was young, naïve, and very impressionable. He was emotionally and sometimes physically abusive. And I was madly in love with him. When I got pregnant, he told me that no child deserved a mother like me. He also had another woman pregnant at the time. I made the tough decision to have an abortion. Had that not happened, I’d be mother to a 14 year old.

In 2011 I had my daughter. I met her father at the gym. He kept trying to talk to me for weeks and I finally gave in and we developed a relationship. I later found out that not only was he married but an alcoholic and addicted to weed and cocaine. He was controlling, emotionally, physically, and sexually abusive (he raped me multiple times). One morning he came over drunk, upset that I was going to travel for work. I yelled at him and told him that I have to travel. I have to work. We fought from the living to the dining room where a knife was laying on the table. He took that knife and held it to my throat and said he’d kill me and walk out the door like nothing ever happened. My daughter was right there. Crying. In my head I said, “Jesus”. He dropped the knife, backed into the corner, and started to cry and apologize, asking me please don’t call the police. I said if he left, I wouldn’t. He left. I didn’t. And we didn’t see him for 3 years after that.

I spent most of my adult life in abusive relationships with men. I can’t count how many times I’ve been called a hoe or a bitch. How much I heard how no one wanted me and how worthless I was. How many times I’ve been held down, panties ripped off, forced to do things I didn’t want to do. I attracted alcoholics, drug addicts, and womanizers. My childhood abuse at the hands of a man my family trusted for 7 years set me up to live the rest of my life being used and abused. And that’s what happened mostly. But then I decided to make a change. And I did! And I had relationships with men who were kind and never so much as even yelled at me for anything. They were supportive and helped me grow.

In 2017 I met the man I thought I would marry. This man loved me. Said he knew me from a past life and he’d finally found me. Said he loved how radical I was and loved my organic, natural beauty. He said he was going to marry me and asked if I would have his babies. I said yes. He was perfect. And I couldn’t believe my good fortune. Was my luck finally changing. I had manifested a whole new life…And then I got pregnant. Unplanned, but still a blessing right? Well not for a traditional Igbo man who still has to fulfill his familial obligations. Having a child out of wedlock is a HUGE no-no. And with a Black American woman? There was no way I was going to get rid of this baby. But he wasn’t ready. I wasn’t ready either but this was OUR baby. We loved each other. It was different. There was no decision to make because I had a miscarriage. I don’t know what’s worse; abortion or miscarriage. That experience stained the relationship. I blamed him, he blamed me. We limped along until I couldn’t any longer. My baby would have be 2 this year.

“He was part of your story but not your happily ever after”.

Mark Anthony


Instead of one child, I should have 3. The skeletons and shame of abortion, abuse, miscarriage, and failed relationships have burdened me for 14 years. The painful feelings of humiliation and distress have overwhelmed me and I’m tired. It’s too heavy. These stones in my pocket. The shame in my heart. The skeletons in my closet. I got these old shoes on and they trying to take me somwhere.

I wake up and I do what I must. I work. I care for my child. I fast. I pray. I workout. I write. I run my business. I smile. I laugh. I cry. I’m fighting for my life. I’m fighting to love and be loved. I often wonder is it supposed to be this hard. Is it this hard for everyone? Life is something, y’all. It really is. Because we get through it. Every single time. We live to fight another day.

Shame, shoes and stones.

“She has good days and some that are bad. Some feel like flying and others feel too much like dying, and none of that matters. Because every day, she is doing the best she can”

J.M. Storm
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A Sojourn Back Home: My Book of Poems

“When the dust settles and all that is left is the bones of who you have always been. Will you be brave enough to sing them to life”

Jessi Mendez

Many of you may not know, but I wrote a book of poems and self-published the book this summer. I’d like to share the introduction and 3 of my favorite poems with you from the book; “Welcome Home”, “C.J.C” and “Disruption”

Introduction

I’ve been writing poetry since I was 16. I never thought I would publish a book of my poems though. They weren’t for anyone but me… My 2019 was the world’s 2020. Everything fell apart. I lost one of my most valuable friendships, I lost my last living grandparent, I left a job after nearly a decade and lastly, I lost a nearly three- year relationship I was certain would lead to marriage and mo children. After all these losses in six short months, I was left standing alone. Everywhere I turned, there was nothing in sight. Just desolation and devastation. There was nothing left of the life I had been living. There was nothing else to do, nowhere else to go, except Home. Home to my ancestors. Home to the place where I could sort through and pick up the pieces of my life. I went back to go forward. During that time, I completely removed myself from social media and eventually changed my phone number. This was during the NYS stay at home order, so I was really off the grid.

This collection of thirty poems is the manifestation of my sojourn back home. A sojourn is defined as a temporary stay. I’ll go back home one day for good. For now, I’ll visit often in my dreams and hold on to the memoires of my time there.

During my sojourn, I found more than I bargained for. The purpose of my sojourn was to heal, to tend to my wounds and to rest my weary spirit. I found pieces of myself that I had thought were long gone and would never be recovered. I developed an even greater intimate relationship with my spirit guides and guardian ancestors. I unearthed remnants of past lives and treasures of my unique, enigmatic being. I found grace, gratitude, and guidance.

My fatal flaw is that my eyes say “Welcome Home”

to tattered,

 worn,

broken,

 nomad men.

They travel from my eyes to my smile,

down to the curve of my breasts

and finally

to the vacant, warm comfort between my thighs

“Welcome home” …

Only, I am not home

I am respite on their journey

A safe place for the night

My eyes say “Welcome home” to men that only intend to visit.

When they leave, I tidy up my space with tears.

But my tears that should erase, “Welcome Home” from my eyes

is only a whore bath.

-Welcome Home

I’ve never been a fan of easy love from easy men.

The men who walked through life

 aimlessly

 not in search of anything or anyone.

The hardened men

The troubled souls

I ache for them.

I beckon them to let me in their world

The men who travel far and wide

across lifetimes, searching.

I saw his longing and could not walk away

I followed him

wanting to witness life through his eyes

feel every ache and want of his heart.

To hear the words, he has never spoken

To be the calm in his storm

Hardened men who give hard love

The love that empties you

Leaving you breathless

not knowing where you end, and he begins.

Give me that love

The love from a hard man.

Cause I can’t do a gotdam thing with love from an easy man.

-C.J.C

I didn’t send for you

You came for me

I was not looking for you

You were looking at me

I didn’t want love

I was in search of forever home in my heart

Clearing space

Throwing shit from my past away

You interrupted me

disrupted my life

took me away from my chores

Just to love you

I didn’t send for you

You didn’t tell me you were on your way

You showed up at my door

Hat in your hand

I did not ask you to sit for a spell

I did not offer you a cold drink

And I did not ask you to stay

So, tell me, why are you leaving?

-Disruption

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The Men Who Lie to Have Us

“Loving you was like going to war; I never came back the same”

Warsan Shire

Some men will be attracted to your light, desire to have access to that light and will do anything to get it, even if it means lying or withholding information. He sees the rarity, the uniqueness. He knows that his thirst will be quenched and what was missing in his life has been found. He cannot let the opportunity to taste your succulent fruit slip through his fingers.

“Just because someone desires you

does not

mean

they value you

desire is the kind of thing

that

eats you

and

leaves you starving”

Nayyirah Waheed

Over the years I’ve learned that it might be a good idea to have background checks done on the men I consider getting involved with. I learned that you must ask thorough questions up front.  Are you married? Separated? Do you live with your wife? Is there someone who still thinks you belong to them? Do you have children? What’s your relationship with the mama? Do you have a wife and children overseas? Have you been to jail/prison? If so, what are your charges?

Through many heartbreaks I learned that you could ask all the necessary questions and some men will lie or withhold information and you must do your own research. You must check prison records and marriage records. You must request copies of tax returns. You have to pray, consult with the ancestors or other forms of divination to find out the truth. I lament that I’ve had to live this reality.

“You are the altar. Not the sacrifice” 

The reason he lies or withholds information is because he knows that if he tells the truth, his chances of having that woman are decreased or worse, ruined.  And he cannot have that happen. He has to have her.  But would that woman get involved with him if she knew that he was separated but still legally married, had several children with multiple women, and had been incarcerated?  Maybe she would, or maybe she wouldn’t. But how would he know if he doesn’t reveal the truth. If he must lie to get her maybe he doesn’t deserve her. By lying, he takes from her. He steals her opportunity to make an informed decision with all the facts she needs. He has taken away her right to choose.  He shows her everything he wants. He tells her what she wants to hear. He sweet talks her. He woos her. He makes it easy for her to let her guard down and she falls for him.

“you

keep putting your hands

on my mind

it is the same thing as my body”

Nayyirah Waheed

A man should always be honest and upfront about his past and who he is. Not that he must reveal everything immediately, but if there is something lurking in the past that will impact that woman and the relationship in the future, then she should know. By being honest with the woman, even at the risk of losing his chances with her he does two things. One, he demonstrates the integrity and respect he has for himself and for her. He shows that he values honesty by accepting the risk that if she knows the truth about who he is, she may decline to pursue a relationship with him. Two, he may get her complete acceptance without having to lie. By being honest with her, he earns her respect and that is something that a woman needs to have if she is to ever truly love a man. How will she ever love you, if she doesn’t know you? But then I wonder, was it about love, or just selfish ego and pride…

“You love people the way they are, or you don’t. You accept them the way they are, or you don’t”.

“The soul has no secret that the behavior does not reveal”

Lao Tzu

The men who want us but lie to get us are nomad men searching for respite on their journey. It is our choice if we let them call our hearts home.

“his back

was a hundred stories

he

wanted to tell me

a hundred lives

he

wanted to live together”

Nayyirah Waheed