Happy New Year!!! I know it’s been a long time since I have been able to chat but things have literally been spinning out of control and my focus has been on everything except for writing. There just seems to be so much going on at one time that for awhile I didn’t even seem like myself. It was almost as if I was beginning to morph into this other individual that I did not recognize, I did not know, and quite frankly nor did I care for her very much.
I was finally beginning to see the result of my overactive lifestyle and the product of my busyness. Now don’t get me wrong during the last 6 months I have learned a lot about myself and all about how creative of an artist I really am and have grown a great deal in that area. I took some time to explore my other creative talents such as beading, crocheting and learned how to make jewelry. I even opened up my Etsy store RBD Designs this morning, but I haven’t been doing is writing. I have not written one word in well over a month. I work and I craft and then I go back to work. I try to sleep a little in between once in awhile but I’m still not very successful at that. Oh and then, of course, there is family and other personal obligations, plan making, self-discovering, the I’m getting too damn close to 40 to be single woes, and the list goes on and on. Then recently I looked in the mirror and saw a very tired, worn, reflection staring back at me.
That’s when I realized that this new image that I was seeing of myself was not me, but a shell of me of who I used to be. I know longer go out, shop for shoes, get dressed up just because, get my nails done and very rarely wear my full face of Friday night make up on Tuesday afternoon just feel perky. My busyness had finally taken control of me I was always drained and unhappy to where I didn’t even have a desire to write. Somewhere in the midst of my busyness and normal life hiccups I have given up. I had given up on my likes, my wants, and my desires. I had given up on me! And for a brief moment giving up almost looked like growing up, but it isn’t. It’s a deterrent, it’s a distraction. When the busyness and other life factors seem to completely take over and run your life, it’s often a sign that we are running from life. Things will come up, life will change, schedules will change and we will change. However, we can’t lose ourselves in the process or run from it. We will grow and we will learn, but is an essence of ourselves that is so deeply part of our making trying to change that part will only make us unrecognizable. Now please don’t get me wrong I enjoy the new skill set that I have developed and you will be seeing a lot more of my new creative ideas very soon but it is not a trade in for the other parts of me. I’m not ready to trade in my sexy for a skein of yarn just yet or my writing for beads. These things are part of my essence, my core and I am here to embrace them fully. I can no longer run into the busyness.
Last month I did a post “Relax, Relate, Refresh” discussing the busyness of life and how we get so easily overwhelmed with all of the things in life we attempt to juggle. But what about when we become too busy to even be sick or even too tired to know we are sick. I know I am a huge culprit of saying every time I get a sore throat that I am too busy to get sick, and in the midst of it all ignore the signs that my body is giving me to let me know that I need to rest, recharge, or even see a doctor. We constantly set other priorities in our lives on other things such as school, work, family, relationship, etc., that we totally forget about ourselves.
Last week a woman very close to me had a severe health crisis, she was so tired from her long days with work and school that she didn’t even realize that something was wrong. Then while being hospitalized she was more preoccupied with missed work and deadlines than she was getting well. Which means she still was not taking the time for herself that was necessary in a proper recovery.
Even with more and more information now available about how we should take care of our health and wellbeing, we still seem to be trapped in a society where the superwoman is no longer super but expected. We watch on television these extraordinary women that go through cancer treatment while never missing a day from work, have major surgeries or babies and return to work right away without their doctor’s permission. Their was a time in history when this is what black women were forced to do and that’s when we were slaves and housemaids, now we do it because that’s what we are used to. Because we must work harder than anyone else either because of our own goals and dreams or because have others that depend on us to keep moving and providing. And most of us feel like we can’t afford to stop or slowdown even for a moment. But we still seem to be missing a major question, “What happens when there is no us?”. The point is we cannot allow ourselves to be worn out to the point that we are no longer available to help ourselves or anyone else. Taking care of our health and well-being is a major contribution to this world because it allows us to be around a lot longer to do what we do.
Believe it or not this is a wonderful time to be a Black Woman. Now there are times when it won’t feel like it and honestly it should always be a wonderful time to be yourself, but there has been some beauty in the horizons. Starting with the Emmys Viola Davis’ amazing speech last week made it very clear that we are doing some amazing things in areas Black Women were never taken seriously. We may not be doing everything that we wish we were or have climbed to the top of the game as we would like to but we definitely are making some major moves and have started to be recognized for our achievements. This demonstrates one very important thing- Our voice is starting to be noticed.
As black women our voices have been smothered, silenced, and even beaten out of us. Remember when Celie decided to leave Albert in Alice Walker’s “The Color Purple”- ” Who you think you is? You can curse nobody. Look at you. Your black, you’re poor, you’re ugly, you’re a woman, you’re nothing at all!” As I’ve gotten older I realized how much emphasis he put in that statement and that her being a woman was the worst on that list and her blackness was the first of her nothingness. How many times have any of us experienced this type of labeling just because we are black women? We see it in the media, in the workplace, even in our families and intimate relationships. We have even seen it amongst other women. But the beauty in this scene in the movie was no matter what Albert said to Celie he couldn’t undo her realization that she too was a magical woman she no longer stayed stuck in the box that others had put her in her entire life. Like Celie many of us get boxed in we are just little girls.
This weekend I had the pleasure of seeing Black Girl: Linguistic Play by Camille A. Brown and Dancers at the Joyce Theater in New York City that focused on just that us being girls. The show celebrated the magical power of being a being a black girl from the games we play, the bonds we make, through our discovery of self with the rhythms and gestures of childhood. It was a wonderful demonstration how we grow, play, and evolve into something bold and unstoppable with our voices only growing louder and more powerful where we can longer be ignored.
Recently I have thinking about how many of us me included have or have had a really hard time during our lives trying to differentiate who we are compared to who we are suppose to be. It’s one of the those internal struggles that one can often get lost in and even defeated by. When I was younger I really struggled with: Who was I suppose to be? What was suppose to do? How am I suppose to act? Even, How am I suppose to look? Really, who decides these things? We do!
I have to realize after I got older that it was not anyone else’s opinion about who I suppose to be or even who I was it was mine. In getting to the who we are suppose to be we first must examine who we are and understand that it in order to get to who we are “meant to be” is a growth process. Understanding who we are as individuals is how we develop into our destined selves. Truth is the entire concept of “who are you suppose to be” is nothing more that a distraction.
Most of the time if we are trying to do what we think or what someone else told us we were suppose to do we are just on a mission to please someone else family, partners, teachers, spiritual leaders, or even God. I got to the point where I believed that I was suppose to be what other’s wanted me to be and my own innate skills and interest were wrong. Once I got older and started to embark on a journey where I worked and developed my skills, interest, and gifts I realized that I wasn’t meant to be what other’s wanted me to be. I was meant to be what God had created me to be (why do you think he gave us those gifts). But what was really important, I realized that it was truly all about the journey.
During that journey of chasing all of the wrong outlets, people, and careers was how I realized that I was already “who” I was suppose to be and “where” I suppose to be. So though I may not always enjoy the journey I understand it has allowed embrace that who I was “meant” to be was always in me the entire time.
Enjoy the journey,
For the last month I have been working nonstop. Last month I did a pretty big book signing (though it never really feels like work I had to put in quite a few hours in planning) and I been putting in a ton of overtime at my 9-5 so it has been an exhausting few months for me. However, since I have been working on a part 2 to Passion & Turmoil (available on Amazon, Kindle, and redbutterflypublishing.com) I really need and artistic boost of energy. I have been doing so much that I don’t feel like my brain ever stops for a nap, so since its so awake and active I need to rejuvenate it with some art, love, and sensuality and my go to place was what I really expected.
So I took a day trip to the City of Brotherly Love (Philadelphia), where is my go to when I just have a few hours to escape. I started my day early enough to spend some time in the park, take a stroll around Center City and do a little people watching. I even made a few pit stops on Chestnut St. to do a little shopping. Though a few new items play with always thrill me, it still was not helping my case. Off to the park I went, first I went to Love Park to see if I could glimpse a few couples strolling through or see any artist outside playing and their was the usual tourist taking pictures, skateboarders, and a few locals just hanging around. No groups mixing each one separated into their own corner. It was kind of sad there such a dryness in many of the individuals especially the locals and it was heartbreaking. Even the fountain was turned off and drained. There was such an obvious difference between the two groups while the tourists where happy to take pictures the love statue the locals seemed to be barely existing. The atmosphere was very thick and heavy, which is a huge example to so many things that are going on and so many changes that needs to be made, then my mind started spinning, working, and wondering. Then I remembered what this trip was for, though it gave me so much to write about it just not what I was look for today.
So went across the street and outside of The Sip with a Love Park Lemonade and watched two toddler boys play in the shooting water, laughing, splashing, and running. And there it was, innocence! Carefree innocence, the stuff your not allowed to have as an adult, that’s why its such a precious gift for a child something the must have an opportunity to have. For some reason, at that thought I relaxed then and calmed for a bit and allowed myself time to just be in the moment. Which is sometimes hard for me. I am glad that I took the time to take a break from everyone and everything. However, though I didn’t come back home with a new spring in my step or a super amazing love poem I did see a lot to write about.
See you Soon,
photo by: Yolanda Hargrove
Today marks the official end of summertime fun, though the sun is still high and shinning school is back in full swing and most summer vacations are over. Hopefully, everyone took some time this summer to reflect on their plans for the fall and leading into the new year, but this should not be the end of an occasional breaks and vacations.
The older I get the more I realize that it is important to take the time to relax, reflect, and refresh. Continual moving isn’t healthy for anyone. I am very guilty of moving constantly and never taking a break to reflect and think with an unclouded mind. Even when I say that I am taking time off I usually just dive into to new projects. A few years ago I realized that I had a fear of appearing lazy. For whatever reason I have noticed that women without children are expected to have these busy lives to make up for not having children or they are considered just “lazy”, which we all now is very far from the truth. Last year I finally realized that my busyness wasn’t at all healthy no matter how productive I thought I was. I made that discovery around the same time I discovered that I was no longer concerned with what people thought. With or without children we have our own lives to live and we are in charge of how we live them and those that are on the outside looking in and taking the time to care for ourselves and our well-being is very important not to just our physical health but also for our mental health as well.
This summer I actually took the time to spend some time on the beach, cut back on my work schedule, and try to spend more time with friends. Though I will discuss it in another post I have seen a lot more information about the unhealthy consequences for women who don’t rest or take the time out for their bodies or their mental health. I remember reading articles about how taking a break was for women only involved a 5-10 minute bathroom break, or a hot bath. Our break does not need to revolve around our necessities. Its only right that we are aloud to be able to nurture ourselves while we are in the world nurturing everyone else. It is very important to take care of yourself in order to keep taking care of everything else.
More info coming soon,
Today is my birthday so what better way to begin my day than with a random little blog post to celebrate Red Butterfly Chronicles 1st year as well. I started this blog last year as part of my turning 35 journey. Now 35 has come and gone but the journey of life and writing will still continue for me. I must admit it has been a very blessed year and I have grown so much both personally and professionally. It has been amazing!
Recently I have been doing a lot of think about beginnings, newness, and especially new years. Though the calender changes and a new year begins for everyone, birthdays are our official personal restart date. This year it shocks me when I think about how much I have changed in the last 12 months, how I think differently and want different thinks. Life has a beautiful way of opening our eyes even if we don’t think its so beautiful at the time of reveal. However, I see myself much differently than I have before. I have closed a lot of doors, ended some unhealthy relationships, began new projects, published my first book, and began to brand Red Butterfly Publishing. I’ve a long way and still have a long way to go on my continuing journey.
As we all know we always have to let go of something to allow something else to grow, so I have decided to let go of redbuttaflydiva.com. It was my first blog and my baby but I am just now feeling it anymore, and honestly it’s not getting any attention anymore. So this will now be my only blog and I have a good feeling about it.
Lastly I would like to thank everyone that has been here from day one to my last subscriber and reader. I really appreciate the time you take to read this blog.