Cinderella 

Definition…

1. A Young woman with a lack of familial support. She is known to be a hard worker but lacks direction in life. A kind soul that wants different from the life she was brought up in. She spends her life trying to clean up after others. Carrying the burden of others and not enough time spent on her own personal dreams and goals. She is forced into adulthood with little guidance. But find fairy godmothers, people that love like family along the way.

Cinderella was what some of my friends used to call me. A term they used to make fun of my adult responsibilities as a teen. I didn’t understand at the time, but I realized I was different from my girlfriends. Different upbringings and different responsibilities. While many of them were just responsible for being a teen, I was worried about working and providing things for myself. At eighteen, I was kicked out of my father’s house over some chores not being done. I’m not going to lie, I was what adults would consider disrespectful. The only problem was they didn’t realize me growing up so fast led me to believe I was on their level. I called the adults out on there wrongdoings. I learned at an early age that just because your older doesn’t make you right. I was adulting while my friends were away at college. The interesting thing was watching them all after school. Graduating with degrees they wouldn’t use and learning about the world while I was doing it backwards. I always had my own place, worked a full time job and handled life on my own. I got a head start but did not always make the right decisions.   I spent enough money on rent that I could have owned a house by now. Screwed up my credit because when things got hard I could only rely on myself. There was no one to clean up my mess. I decided to write this because I know of a few young girls that fit this glass slipper. It may not look so pretty now and no Prince Charming is not going to save you. My advice is to use the tools that you have obtained through the struggle to succeed. In your current circumstance you are being taught a valuable lesson so pay attention. You will have a gift of indescribable gratitude because you did it all yourself. Unlike the Cinderella in the story when your time comes you will know how to keep it. You learn to be disciplined and learn from your mistakes. There will be plenty evil stepmothers and wicked step sisters. People who will try to bring you down. Keep dreaming and aspiring for a change. One day all your hard work will pay off! #Cinderella

Natural 

A couple of months after giving birth to my second son, I decided to do the ” big chop”. If your not aware of what this is, you must be sleeping under a rock. The “big chop” in the African American culture is cutting all your relaxed hair off, until your left with your natural hair. I decided during this time that I wanted to return to my natural curl pattern. It sounded like such a great idea and something easy to manage. This was normal for me because I used to cut my hair every time I was going through a break-up or wanted a little change. It seemed easy, but I had no clue how attached we women are to our hair. The first day I cut it and went to the jail to work for night shift, I hid in the locker room during road call. I already was tired of explaining the diversity of my hairstyle to my Caucasian male co-workers. They would always notice a change, or new hairstyle, and seemed to think I had this magic hair growth serum. This was when I was going between my natural length and 18 inch weaves. That night I did not want to explain why I looked like my newborn son, with about two inches of tight curls on my head. I knew eventually I would have to expose this new do, but I preferred to hide in the dark and listen to the inmates roast my new do. For about a month, I tried to find ways to conceal my nakedness. I felt like I was baring my soul, without my hair being able to cover my ears. Time passed and my curls and length were in a not so awkward phase. I enjoyed flat ironing and seeing the true length. Soon I was ready to be adventurous and try other healthy hair straightening ideas. I decided to hit a local hairdresser and get a silk press. A silk press is a flat iron, and a under dryer wrap that leaves kinky tresses silky straight and flowing. I didn’t do much research on the hairstylist, but figured she was black and knew how to deal with my hair type. I was so wrong! After one silk press and twelve months on a healthy natural hair journey, my curl pattern was gone. No deep conditioner, or hair treatment could bring back a year of very minimal heat and gorgeous curl pattern. I was extremely disappointed but what I did afterwards was an example of lacking self love. I figured since it was damaged that I would just continue to do so. All it took was one person to damage the progress I made within that year. I was finally where I wanted my hair to be and looking forward to the years to come. I sacrificed and dealt with some serious emotional attachment to something that never made me Kieona. Similar to my natural hair journey, we as humans go through situations in life where one person, or situation can occur that takes us off our path or goals. They can put you in situation where you have to hit the restart button. What about that diet and exercise you have incorporated in your life the last three months? You have been working so hard and one cheat day led to five. All the weight you worked so hard for you gained back. What I learned from my natural hair journey, is to not be so hard on myself. There are going to be some major setbacks when you make commitments to make changes. It’s not the fall, it’s what you choose to do after falling. If someone has hurt you and your heart was broken, is it smart for you to continue allow others to do the same. We have a choice when the downfall occurs to either get back up, or continue to damage the very thing we allowed another outsider to do. To make a long story short, I plan on going back to my curls. The process is going to be a little easier emotionally because I plan on slowly cutting away the damage ends. It may take longer but this time around I will know better. Take it as a lesson learned an opportunity to do better the next time around. We all have been there, failed school and worked harder when given the second chance. Maybe failed at the first marriage and learned more of what to expect for the next. How to pick your battles and appreciate the process. My natural hair journey wasn’t just about my hair. It was returning back to the very thing I once was. It was to celebrate the hair God gave me. It was about returning to my natural state. #Natural 

Femme Forte de Couleur 

Hello everyone,

I just wanted to let all my blog followers know that the femme Forte website has officially launched. This is another women’s empowerment project that I work on as well. Femme Forte de couleur which means strong women of color was founded by three strong black women including myself.  Our goal is to promote unity within our community amongst women and for all women to embrace their inner goddess. Femme Forte is a movement, no competition, but a chance to embrace our similarities and differences. We are all queens and have something special to bring to the table. Working together and inspiring  one another. Femme Forte de couleur come join the movement!

Check out the website http://www.femmefdc.com

Intoxicated love…

“A drunken mind speaks a sober heart”  a saying that I’ve heard a lot but in so many different ways. A French philosopher came up with this idea due to his own alcoholism.      I don’t know too many people that can say they have never encountered this behavior from a loved one. Beyoncé called it “drunk in love”, Chris Brown and a few other R&B artist called it drunk texting. Even country music tunes like Lady Antebellum “need you now” highlights this very statement. Scientifically they say the reason for this is because the thought process is delayed. Intoxicated love is being emotionally available when they are under the influence. I’m not so sure of the exact history, but was told that the reason they call liquor/wine stores spirits is because there is a biblical significance.  Under the influence their souls are free. Their words unrestricted and carefree. The thoughts of you burst through their pride, that will appear to them the next morning. They are as honest as a two year old, letting you know if they love you or hate you. Without the choice of drug they are stuck with the representative spirit. This is the spirit that you see everyday, that lacks emotions. The anger and confidence is just a role to play, outside of their internal insecurities and fear of rejection. One glass, two glasses, a bottle…the spirit is free. The vulnerability and lack of judgment is no longer behind a cage. Sometimes the loved ones support the intoxication, because that’s the only time they feel they are loved. If only they knew how to love you sober. If only they loved themselves when sober. What was once toxic can be unconditional #Love

Black Girl Hiking?

Saturday afternoon I had plans to go to the gym that completely fell through.  I was on the phone with one of my girlfriends and forgot that the YMCA closed earlier than usual. I sat in the parking lot trying to figure out what to do next. my health journey has been on and off but I consistently try to remain as active as possible. I was originally frustrated because I had my workout planned in my head. The usual, but it gets the job done. An hour of cardio on the treadmill, some weights, and the sauna. I got off my routine because I have been spoiled lately with dinners, and have been cooking since I had a friend of mine come to visit.  My son was spending the weekend with his father so I had an abundance of time on my hands. I decided to go to Valley Forge park here in Pennsylvania. I have walked there before, but never realized how huge the park was. I wasn’t too excited about the weather as it was getting cloudy and appeared like a storm was going to come. That evening, I  spent a hour in the park with me and nature. I walked 5 miles of trials and observed the beauty around me. Lately, I have been surrounded by new visitors. Everything that I observe frequently, or encounter more than usual, I  research its spiritual significance. Dragonflies have been surrounding my very presence everyday. This is why I promote awareness/mindfulness. There are so many answers or clues around us, we just have to pay close attention. Since I have been surrounded by dragonflies so much lately, I’m beginning to think they are my spiritual animals. Dragonflies represent change and are creatures of both air and water. They have short life spans that signify the importance to live life to the fullest.  In most parts of the world the dragonfly symbolizes change and self-realization. The person with a dragonfly as a spiritual animal has a better understanding of the deeper meaning of life. Saturday evening I spent my night walking in nature and in the mental space of my purpose. The whole time I was concerned about the down pour, but once my workout was done I embraced the rain. Outside of being a child, this was the first time in a long time I walked in the ran purposely. This time wasn’t like a playful child, instead it signified a cleansing and being renewed.

Sunday I was so excited about getting my 20,000 steps in on my fitbit. As soon as my feet hit the ground, I wanted to explore Valley Forge as a whole. I played it safe the day before by taking the trails that were within the views of my parking spot. The day before I encountered this hill/trail that lead to the woods. It was seven o clock and dark and all I could think about was the episode of “Underground”. There was a pregnant black woman running in the woods from being killed by white slave owners. Its unfortunate but with the recent KKK attacks in Virignia that was the first thing that came to mind. Here I was a black woman, alone in Pennsylvania, a huge Trump supported state thinking of hiking up a hill in the dark. As I always say the black people are the first killed in horror films. So I made a choice that Saturday, during the evening, was not a good decision but I planned on making that trip on that secluded trail in broad daylight.


I was on a mission to conquer that trail but had a few things going against me. I was nervous for one, and for two my time was limited. I told a friend of mine I would attend her event in Philly that afternoon so getting lost was not an option. I set off into the woods with a bottle of water, phone, and headphones. That day at the park of course I was the only person of color. At least this time, if something was to occur I had light working for me. I put my headphones on and silenced the negative thoughts. It was not only a physical battle but a mental battle as well. Something kept telling me to turn around and go the way that I knew. Something else told me to trust myself and to take in the views and that I would find my way back. I had everything I needed, right with me. At this point I had to just trust myself. There was a couple that walked hand in hand in front of me, that became a distraction. Something did not want me to accomplish this task because it knew that was something I wanted. I didn’t want to face these hills and bumpy trails alone. I wanted someone to ease my nervousness and silence my negative thoughts. In my space and at that moment, I did not envy them. I knew that what I was doing at that very moment, was building myself exactly for the partnership that I saw for myself. So I kept pushing forward, alone. I got lost at one point and kept telling myself to go back on the path that was familiar, but I wanted to see if I could find my way back. Instead of going back I focused on moving forward, and seeing if I was going to be able to complete the task at hand. To make this long story of a black girl hiking short. I made it back to my car sweaty, funky, and sore. I started to panic after I looked at the grounds map. They talked about making sure you check for ticks after being in the woods. Bugs and I don’t get along. Lets just say I was itching and searching for ticks the entire way home. God showed me, in the past few days that he sees my struggle. He made it clear to me that he is aware of the things that I have asked him for. He just wanted me to trust in him and within myself. I got caught in a storm, tripped over a few rocks, and got lost only to find myself back to where I started. Where I needed to be. This is what this journey is all about, returning to the pure, innocent version of you. By this way, this black girl can check something else off her bucketlist. #blackgirlshike

FEAR…

Fear used to live here but not anymore. Everything that I once feared, I’ve experienced. I came to realization yesterday after going to see the new horror film Annabelle. I do a lot of things alone but going to see a scary movie was not one of them. After watching an hour of a child being possessed with a demon, I went home more relaxed than usual. I used to be creeped out staying in the house alone but not yesterday. I came to realize that fear no longer resides within me. Everything I once feared has became a reality within my life. A reality in which I have overcame. I used to fear my truth. Fear others rejection. Fear the loss of relationships. The biggest fear was death. I no longer fear nothing on this earth. The only thing that makes me nervous is dying not living fearlessly.  I have detached myself from the outcome and decided to focus on my output. I’m okay with taking risk, because the fear that once resided within me has turned into motivation. Fear feeds my growth. Fear is no longer my disability. What do you fear? Face that fear because it is blocking you from your purpose.

Corrections…

The most interesting part of my resume is my previous employment as a Correctional Officer. Yes, I was a Correctional Officer for a total of five years. I actually enjoy watching the interviewers facial expression and sudden interest in my diversified employment background. Corrections? Really? My pleasant demeanor and personality confuses the interviewer as to how I fell into such a position. It was just that, I fell into an opportunity. Now that I think of it, I have played many acting roles with the uniforms I worn. None of the uniforms made me, they added pieces and skills to the person I am today. To be honest, the only two uniforms that fit me naturally is being a mom and a writer. Nothing was forced it just came natural. My father, his brothers, my sons father, and many men I knew had fell in the system. Only they were wearing the opposing uniform. If it wasn’t for my son’s father, I would have never went for the job. I was tired of working as a tech for the hospital, and CNA work on my free time. I wanted a career, something to fund my dream. The pay was great for a young woman my age, and so were the benefits. The thing that bothered me was what it represented. Corrections is an action or process of correcting something. As an officer, my job was to lead and correct behavior of grown ass men. Or as my veteran officers would have called it “Adult Babysitting”.  I was confused because most of the individuals that were responsible for correcting, needed some corrections themselves.

A black woman in a predominantly white male environment. The ones in orange looked like my father, my sons father, and my fathers brothers. They looked like the friends I made in high school. Out of all the officers there was a total of 5 black staff members.  There may have been seven, but a few of them didn’t consider themselves black or not so much while in uniform. The institutions have this idea of minimizing recidivism but embrace the “job security” of the system that sets many for failure. I was pregnant twice working for the jail, and that will be the last time my sons energy will be within that space. Don’t get me wrong there are people that deserved to be there because of the crimes they have committed. Majority of the inmates have mental health issues, which a jail is not the appropriate space for treatment (that’s another topic). Jail to me represented purgatory. The space between heaven and hell. A place where individuals were able to chose light or the dark. The reason I state that jail sets them for failure is because upon release they are released to the same environments. Same negative energies they have surrounded themselves around all their life. Many of them unfortunately don’t know any better because of the generational ignorance. Me, I was their counselor. I gained my respect from being myself.  That same personality was exuded to the offenders. I maintained this by not constantly reviewing their files or wrongdoings.  Instead I met them for who they were at the point that I met them. I gave them the opportunity to build a rapport with me outside of their wrongdoings. Many of the officers had issues with respect I guess during their youth. They couldn’t wait to put on a uniform to “correct” or become the exact same individual they had issues with.  For me I saw both sides. I saw the frustration of the officers with the behavior they dealt with. I also saw that there was a reason behind the inmates doing, one in which we did not understand but was their truth. 

Change is required to correct unwanted behaviors. Most importantly corrections should be made with the support of those who lead by example and with positive intentions.  The world we live in today is one in which everyone is quick to judge. Quick to find corrections for others but none for themselves. We are all spirits that have a choice to choose between light or the darkness. Sometimes it requires someone to share their light to lead others out of darkness. Darkness in which they may not have known was a choice. 

 

Trust…

Trust begins with self. Self esteem, self-confidence, and self-awareness are the building blocks to trust. Once you have conquered these within yourself, the trust you have built within will be projected on the relationships you build on the outside.  Trust begins with self because we have a choice. The problem is that with certain relationships, people don’t believe or understand they actually do have a choice. One thing that seems common in situations with women’s health and fetal loss is the trust factor. In healthcare, trust is extremely important when seeking a physician. You trust that they will provide you with confidentiality and the best possible treatment. A lot of times, patients  place an extensive level of trust into healthcare providers, to the point where they lose their inner voice. A physician only understands you, through you. Your diagnosed by the symptoms that are visible, and by the symptoms you have communicated to the physician you have personally experienced. Self-awareness is important in this case because we as women should be mindful and aware of how our body works. Monitor intake and output, menstrual cycles, and also important our emotional state. Pay attention to what works for your skin and how your body reacts. You should be aware of what is not “normal” to you. During my 5k run for stillbirth awareness, there were signs with short facts about stillbirth. One that stood out to me was that 90% of women knew something was not right. That is a high percentage. Many women, including myself, experiencing childbirth and pregnancy the first time place extensive levels of trust in physicians. I’m sure you have seen the movies where the women gets extremely upset because her normal doctor is sick or unavailable. She wants someone who knows her medical history and one that she trust.

The issue lies when an individual’s degree and certificates, clouds your judgement or trust within yourself. I don’t care how long someone has been in practice, every patient is different. Situations may be similar, but all patients are different. Many women, especially first time mothers, place that extensive level of trust in physicians. Trust in which sometimes clouds their own judgment about their own needs and desires. Treament options, birthing options, and self-care are all things very rarely discussed or talked about. Doctors today have a bunch of patients, so remembering everyone  and who wants what can be difficult. So as patients, it is important to ask questions. If you don’t feel like something is right, ask for more testing or resources for answers. As women our voices are silenced through ego because of the fear that one is more intelligent than the other. Any individual with a higher level of education understands that there is always an opportunity to learn something new. It’s unfortunate when I had encountered this situation, I did not push to understand the information that was provided to me. I just stood by their word in my trust, at that time. This does not just apply to fetal loss but also anxiety and depression. I hate to say this but hospitals and doctors offices have become primarily business. More focused on the financial as opposed to the well-being and options for the best treatment for their patients. This is not all but many. Anti-depressant medications amongst women are being handed out like candy on Halloween. Women or patients are not being provided with alternative options. Anyone that has ever tried a diet pill knows it requires some level of work from you. You may need to change you eating habits, exercise, or lifestyle to enhance to ability of the pill to work for you. Same goes for other medications. Our bodies are our internal compass, they alert us when something is wrong. Trust yourself enough to challenge your physician, and have a health plan or goal for yourself. When pregnant ask questions, and create a birthing plan you see fit for you. Don’t silence yourself or health needs, due to the intimidation of one’s degree. The more trust you have within yourself, the better choices you will make about your life and the life you carry. Asking questions, raising awareness, and expressing concerns can save a life. It may be your first time, but it is the physicians first time working with you. #trust #youaretheteacher

 

He loves you, He loves you not

True love, pure unconditional love doesn’t come and go with your behavior. Unconditional love supersedes your flaws. How can someone love bits and pieces, and not you as a whole. He doesn’t allow you to make mistakes, if so you will catch hell. His love is a reflection of how he was loved. By what he did, not who he was. He loves you, he loves you not. 

Ocean

The ocean is my sanctuary. The place I would go to escape reality. I always wondered what my connection to the Ocean was and now I know. If I was to ever make a connection between me and a thing, the ocean would be me. The salt water is cleansing spiritual and the beauty is calming. While staring at the ocean, it appears to have no end. The opportunities of what may be on the other side are endless. The body of water provides and supports many different forms of life. As peaceful and serene the ocean may be, it can also be destructive. When storms hit, the waves can be tragic to those that dare to swim its waters. That once beauty can be destructive to all that it encounters. In life there needs to be balance. To better understand and appreciate the beauty of life, we have to embrace the good and the bad. The reason I chose the photo of my son running on the sand for my book London’s prints is because what the photo represents. One of the most famous Christian poems “Footprints in the sand”,  is about an individual believing they were alone in their troubled time. To prove his belief, he had assumed that since their was only one set of footprints, they had to belong to him. God then renewed his own belief and faith by reminding him what he had seen was not the truth. “It was then that I carried you” God told him. As humans we always want answers or proof of things. We need something tangible or what the eyes can see. The photo I chose for the book represents a time in my life where I thought I walked alone. My son in the photo represents the plans God had for me, that I was unaware of. The ocean represent the peace and calm after the storm. An ocean with no end, that represents the life I have built for my son. My journey of healing was not only about me, but it provides a safe space and a space of love for my son’s life journey.  In the photo it appears that he is alone, but I was right behind him snapping the photo. In his life, I am positioned in that very spot to let him know I will be there for him to turn to. Like the poem “Footprints” my son has love surrounding him. Both here physically on this earth, and those that have spiritually passed on. I am learning to trust God and my spiritual guides, to lead me on the right path.  What I have learned will be passed on to my son as well. He represents a new generation. The renewal and breaking of old beliefs. The title London’s Prints is because of the uniqueness of a humans prints. My stillborn son is responsible for opening my eyes. He has led me on a journey of personal healing and building for his brother Micah. Everything I do, Everything I see has meaning. All that I have left of him is a set of footprints, but those very footprint led me on the path I am on today.