Over the last few years one lesson that I have had the hard task in learning over and over again is the power of walking away. Though more often than not it doesn’t feel powerful at all, many times I left feeling exhausted, defeated, and for the most part powerless. I have had to walk away from friends, relationships, projects, a job and for awhile this blog.
Though none of it was fun, each time opened my eyes to new moments and opportunities that I would have never had the ability or time to discover if I wasn’t able to leave some people and things behind me. However, before I was able to come to understand some very important ideals first. The first epiphany that I had to learn was that I had to let go of somethings in order make room for new things in my life. For example, it took me a long time to realize that I had to let go of a relationship that was not growing or no longer fulfilling in order to make room for the type of man and love that I desired. Honestly, during the entire course of the relationship I knew that it didn’t have a future and I was still hoping to find my Mr. Right instead of continuing with Mr. Right-Now. So I finally let him know how I felt and eventually we went our separate ways. This was not easy for me and ending things really hurt but so is staying in something that you see no future in. I had to make room for what I really wanted so I walked away. Now I’m not going to say that this my magical man of my dreams have swept me away already but I am closer to being ready for him when he does that I have ever been before. Another example, would be leaving a job that I had for 15 years because I was exhausted, under valued and the financial benefits just were no longer worth the sacrifice. I had become tired and cranky all the time, my physical and mental health was starting to suffer. The lesson I had to realize by walking away from this job was the value of myself, my time, and my well-being. I also began to think more about what I needed and wanted out of my life other that just working for others around the clock (literally). Once I left this employer I was able to launch my accessory brand Red Buttafly Designs and release my second book Red Book Chronicles all because I now had more time to focus on things that were important to me instead of wondering around like a sleepless zombie. One other very important lesson that I learned was to let go of things and projects that I was not able to put my all into, because it’s selfish to hold on when you don’t have enough to give. So for a while I had to walk away from this blog, because I had so much going on I wasn’t able to put the time and effort into growing this blog into the resource that I truly wanted it to be. I was trying to pour into my readers when in reality my own cup was empty and I really needed to pour into myself. So what I was leaving you with was inconsistency instead of the inspiration, and in a way I way I felt like a failure by walking away from it. In time as I was making an effort to pour back into myself I had the realization that walking away doesn’t always mean forever sometimes you just have to step away from somethings until you are completely ready for the project, job, or relationship.
The reality of walking away is that there always a level of growth made by the sacrifice. Unfortunately, we don’t always feel the growth in the beginning it usually feels like a piece of us is being ripped to shreds or often like we have given up. In the end there is sense of freedom that is so comforting and undeniable and nothing and no one can take that away from you especially the situation that you walked away from.
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.
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.
Last week I made a post and I mentioned getting my swag back. For some reason I didn’t take into consideration that I was self-publishing and actually had to go out and promote. I had gotten so comfortable in my tights and sweats now that tax season is over, it took me off guard when it was time to reach into my bag of tricks and bring it together for press, promotional pictures, open mic events, and interviews. I actually had that moment of “I don’t feel like it”. It had been awhile since I had gotten dressed to go anywhere other than work or rehearsal, and with working and trying to finish the book it was just way too much to do more than shower and jump into some clothes to go about my day. However, once I started spending more than 10 minutes in the mirror I remembered how nice it was to actually take the time to slip into something pretty and sexy. Taking that few extra minutes in the mirror does a lot to add a little boost to my confidence as a woman. Now don’t get me wrong I wasn’t necessarily feeling a lack of confidence, to be honest I had been working so much over the last year or so feeling feminine and sexy just was no longer a priority. There was so much on my plate that I ignored myself as a sacrifice to get things done. I was surviving on 2-hrs of sleep a day and as much as I needed make up to hide the bags under my eyes I just didn’t have time, not to mention trying to maintain my natural hair I wore a turban or a bun any chance I could just to make sure I would be out the door as fast as possible. (Isn’t amazing what part of ourselves we give up to make ends meet.)
Thankfully those time are not behind me and while I am still in the midst of an extremely busy schedule I am also forced to look at myself twice in the mirror, especially now that I have to be conscious of my brand and I want to be seen. Now I know it’s nothing wrong with being lacks at times but now when it doesn’t feel natural and most times I was too tired and worn out to feel feminine or sexy. But today is new day and I know that it is never too late to create change and why not start in the spring where everything is fresh new and beautiful. So I will be keeping in touch with a few new purchases, hair, nails and even an occasional OOTD or OOTF. I can’t wait to see how my own progress will move into the summer months.
See you Soon,