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 

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

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.

Today I chose me…

While I write this very post, I am sitting at my desk crying.  For the last two days I didn’t want to do a thing. My life doesn’t allow me to take a time out, and mommy is not allowed an emotional break. I took a day off from work yesterday because again my energy has been drained. People have no idea what situations I have been required to face. People see changes within me but it’s not just personal growth, I have been fighting spiritual warfare as well. This post and my book will go over the heads of many, because we live in a surface society. My life and growth goes beyond the physical experience. I have been doing so much research and have been fighting between good and negative energy. Ten years ago, I married a man from a different culture. A Haitian man. Our cultural differences and genetic makeups set our relationship on rocky foundation from the beginning. The language and culture excited me, and opened my internal interest in the world around us. As time progressed I became aware of the effects of his upbringing and beliefs. I have said this in previous post, that as adults we are responsible for teaching ourselves how to reverse the wrong things we are taught. Although people may love us, the things they may have taught us may affect our very being. I thought that I could save him from the darkness. The grief and generational curse that runs through his blood. I fell in love with the innocent little boy within him. The boy who was not loved but physically hurt, the boy who was not feed. My internal light was dimmed by his darkness. My life with him was not normal, and me choosing to love him brought darkness to my life as well. When we first met, he told me he was Catholic. Most Haitians consider themselves Catholic. However, voodoo is still being practiced within their culture. The flag they wave is symbolic to the practice and it is tattooed on his chest. The very ones that said they loved him taught him to dabble and make deals with the devil. Deals in which has affected his life and our life as a family. His blood runs through my son’s veins. Now that I am aware, it is my job to save him. His life is so dysfunctional but has become normal to him. The last few months, I have been brought to war with his demons. My sleep has been interrupted, and women I don’t even know wish me dead.  He was not living right, but I tried to show him otherwise. He became accustomed to the dark. The women he attracted practiced possessive bindings. Other women supported his life, the ones that benefited. Me on the other hand , I held him accountable. I wanted better for him. Better meant or required discipline and going against all he was taught. He made it clear to me today that he is too far gone. Energy is real both good and evil. There is another level of life outside of the one we live. The last two days I was sinking into the darkness, the dark that I once lived in. My life was at peace because I did the work. The negativity I had encountered was not my own. I was being spiritually attacked, pained for someone else karma, an innocent bystander. Now that I am aware or spiritually woke, I will continue to protect myself and my son. Creating life is beyond the physical, and genetics. There is a history behind every individual, a story that will be written in your child’s cards. Another word press blogger wrote about “Emotional Endurance” and Loving the unlovable. God has shown me my strength is beyond the normal humans level of understanding. I was called to not just save lives but souls. So many may ask why help this man. I married this man and vowed to be there through sickness and health. His spirit affects our child. I sacrificed the last ten years of my life trying to save his soul to the point that I almost drowned in his darkness. Today I chose me.

London Kyrie Exantus 12/5/2011

 

londonlove 004.JPGI have been playing safe when it came to my blogging and introducing readers to my writing and book in progress. Until I stripped myself of my ego and became vulnerable, will I truly allow others to see my passion and purpose. As a writer it gives you the opportunity to speak freely. It provides you with a platform to touch others. Today, I have decided to share intimately the person behind London’s Prints. I have realized that not many people still read with all of the social media and visual art we have freely at hand. The stories I have shared within my blog only allows people create their own images within their mind. They create the characters (people whom they envisioned) or they visualize themselves in similar circumstances. I decided to put visuals of the event that has drastically changed my life. The person that I shared my body space with that did not make it outside of me. The stories that I share are my truth. They are chapters within my life journey that have shaped me into the woman I am today.

Thanksgiving 2010 was the last day that I saw my Grandmother. She was going back and forth to the hospital for pneumonia, but this stay was different. She was diagnosed with Lung Cancer and landed a lengthy stay in the hospital. Two weeks had passed before I made it my priority to go and visit. I spent most of my Thanksgivings as a young girl in her home. Things changed when we encountered death of my grandfather, aunt and uncle. Something about my grandmother died with them. I felt guilt going to her empty-handed, but hoped she was still happy about the fuchsia roses I bought her the last time. She bragged to all the nurses and doctors about how beautiful they were. It meant a lot to me because she loved flowers. I would do anything to put a smile on her face after being faced with death. When the doctors told her the diagnoses, I was there. She denied and cursed the doctors for even telling her something like that. She didn’t understand Cancer, but her nicotine dependency throughout her life seemed to finally cause her body lethal damage. One in which she could not erase. In her mind the doctors weren’t telling the truth, that was her story and she was sticking to it.

Thanksgiving day, I did not cook the Okra. That’s all she wanted from me, nothing more nothing less. She loved my cooking and knew I could cook it, but Lard was never used in my kitchen. She told me how she wanted it but my schedule didn’t permit me to even eat during this time. While I went to visit my grandmother, I was also visiting county jail, and working two jobs to maintain my household and a jail cell. I had lost about thirty pounds from working 24hrs straight some days, so my grandmother immediately took notice. “Girl you starting to look like that girl off the Jenny Craig commercial!” I could do nothing but laugh and reply “Jennifer Hudson”. That day was different when I went to see her. She was at peace. Peace with the hospital food, peace that I came empty-handed, and peace with her illness. My grandmother gave the hospital workers hell most of the time, but thanksgiving day 2010, she was giving God thanks for her life. The visit was quiet she told me about who came to see her, “Where is that boyfriend of yours?” she asked. I had lied to her every visit by telling her he was at work. I was embarrassed and was not ready to hear what she had to say. When I decided to leave, I gave her a kiss on the cheek. That was the first time in twenty something years of my life was I able to be affectionate with this woman. With that kiss, she said nothing. She did not reject it, or tell me to get out of here with that mess. She accepted my kiss at peace. I left. Later that evening my grandmother went into cardiac arrest.

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Thanksgiving day 2011 my water broke.

Exactly a year later my son was born stillborn. I was asked by the doctors, if I wanted to see and hold him. Everything about that day was not normal. I did not know what to feel. I wanted to protect my sons father, because he was weak. His weakness had a lot to do with his guilt for the way he treated me during my pregnancy. I was giving birth and planning for death at the same time. I was afraid of what my child was going to look like because there was no amniotic fluid. I had to give birth to my son via vaginal with no natural fluids. My son had fought for days, here it was a week since thanksgiving. No one was able to realize that something was wrong. I trusted the doctors over myself, and I knew my body. The doctors gave me morphine and an epidural to numb my experience. My body swelled from the fluids. The amount of tears shed in that room, that day, could have replenished the womb that once carried my son. Fear does not live here anymore. I have endure pain and have seen things no one should ever be exposed to. All I am left with, is his footprints. With that my job is to share my story and to support other women who have endured such tragedy. There is life after loss.

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P.S. I apologize for the graphic image however this is my truth. London Kyrie Exantus 12/5/2011footprints.jpg

Some people don’t think fire burn…

My grandmother would say this exact statement in her permanent Camden, Alabama accent. She left at a pretty young age but that country girl accent stuck with her throughout her life in New England. Everybody thought she was nuts, but in reality that woman made a lot of sense. At an early age, we are taught not to touch things that are hot. Especially not to play with fire. It appears that there are people out there that have yet to have learned their lesson. I understand that sometimes we are tempted to see what can occur. We have a choice as humans, and every choice we make results in consequences whether positive or negative. Over the last year I have seen negative karma unfold right before my eyes. The colorful flames of the fire when it changes can be beautiful to watch. When controlled and still It can provide comfort and warmth.  That same source of energy can provide pain, and destroy everything around it within a split second. I have a very calm demeanor  with an extensive level of patience. One thing that will drive my fire to be uncontrollable, is when my family is affected. So just in case your mother never taught you, let my grandmothers message be a lesson to you. I will sit back and watch, cause what God has in store for you is greater than anything I would have the potential to do. #yougonnalearntoday

Change…

We are taught throughout our lifetime that we are not responsible for other behaviors, we are only responsible for self. Well yesterday I had an epiphany. Ghandi said it best “Be the change you want to see in the world”, but what does that really mean? Your job is not to sit and wait for others to change, you do so for self. You can’t make someone change, however you can inspire them to do so. When you change, you promote, desire, and demand the same. You begin to attract the very things you give out.  Your environment, and the people around you will either conform, or leave you. When you begin to understand this, it will become easier to let go. The greatest gift is to share with others your trials and how you overcame them. Provide other with the resources you have obtained and the knowledge you have acquired. Unfortunately most people are not aware there is different. They have become so used to their norm, they are unaware that there are levels to growth. I have lost many friends and family along the way. I still love them but from a distance. Hopefully one day when they are ready, I can share with them my desire, and assist them with their change. My change affects all my loved ones around me. My advice is don’t wait for that person, situation, or circumstance to change. Be like Ghandi, take control of your life and you be that change.

Team Player! Be careful who you pick

For my grad school class, I recently had to read a book called “The Five dysfunctions of a Team” by Patrick Lencioni. The book was for a leadership class that teaches the fundamentals of being in a managerial role. The book focuses on the corporate world and the five key principles for success. It is important for a company to create a team focused environment for the company to reach its fullest potential. With my vivid mind and interpretation, I felt like this concept of principles can be applied to not only the professional world but also personal. So, a lot of women are out here playing the victim when they have forgotten they played a role in their team building. I’m sure you recall being in middle school in gym class being able to select and build your team. Depending on the activity that day, you would point to the person or people you thought would help you win. In certain circumstances you would pick a friend (knowing they weren’t skillful), or how about the bottom picks (the last people to be selected). Most women including myself have picked team players solely based of off their physique. The guy that stand 6’2 with the fresh-cut, looks like he may get the job done but has no skill or talents he can bring to the team. When it comes to picking players and when it comes to intimacy, the bedroom skills overshadow his life skills. You and your team-mate get pregnant and your dealing with a lifetime of unnecessary conflict. This causing the main focus to be neglected and the child suffers. I once believed that Love was a you needed for a lasting relationship. I now disagree. With Love there are underlying components that need to be met. Whether you’re in an intimate relationship with someone or co parenting, whether you like them or not, you are on the same damn team. I spent time in court battling with my son’s father over custody. Although he was not presenting to me the dad I wanted him to be, he was an active father. I was stealing the ball from my own teammate. I don’t care what no one says, a child needs both parents period. Fuck the I’m independent I can do it on my own shit. Unless the father is abusive or is a threat to your child, they need that time to build a relationship. It may not be what you wanted for your child, nor is it your job to discuss negatively to your child about this parent. We are all learning day by day when it comes to this parenting thing. If you think you got it down pack, then your life must be perfect as well. The Five dysfunctions addressed in the book are:Image result for the five dysfunctions of a team pyramid

Conflict is good, especially when you learn to argue fair. Learning the others behaviors and ways in which they communicate. Co-parenting means that as a team you have a common goal, that also means going outside of your ego and needs. This was especially difficult for me because there was a lot of hurt on my end. I had to come to terms with his decision, respect them, and focus conversation on the bigger picture (our son). When it comes to picking a team member, make sure you have an accountability partner. Someone that calls you out on behaviors or things that are distracting you from your goals. At my age now, I am always surrounding myself with soul fillers. People who aren’t afraid to tell me when I’m wrong. Stop surrounding yourself with surface people. There is no growth without accountability. In relationships with shared and separate goals, hold each other accountable so that the goals will become easier to obtain. Trust. Trust yourself enough to know that what ever trials may come to your team, that it will be okay. No team can always see eye to eye. However learning to respect and appreciate the differences allows everyone to grow. So ladies, that player you see with the light eyes, beard, and supple brown skin….check his stats. Make sure he has the skills and will be an asset to your team. Remember, you get to pick and build this lifelong relationship. #teambuilder #leadbyexample