I have been thinking about self -love and self-care and why others have such a hard time with it, sometimes . Lately, in the pandemic, I’ve been way too busy. I’ve been a caregiver for parents, I’ve been a mental health therapist, I’ve been a concerned friend. But I haven’t cared for me , like I should. I’ve placed others’ needs above my own and thought less of mine .
When the racial protests happened I felt bad I couldn’t walk with them, because I was trying to be safe from the Corona virus. I compared my suffering to that of others and thought about the consequences; feeling guilty I was not as involved as a activist for social justice issues like this. Yet then, I realized as long as I had a voice my voice would matter , my sharing and transparency mattered, and so did my attention on…
Friends are few and far between, & are hard to find.
It’s been real living in Tulsa Ok. We are headed to Rochester , N.Y. after nine years of living in Tulsa and I’m thankful for friends .
When I first moved to Tulsa, It took about two good years to find friends . I thought it was the longest time, but grateful when I did. It seemed that friends were found most easy, in having gatherings and so that’s what I did.
I went to Meet Up Dot Com to start a book writing club and it turned out great. We had attendees from all over the area and it felt good to have peeps come from near and far and it felt authentic, friendly and at home.
That’s what Tulsa has felt like to me: My Second Home.
I then decided to have a rather group called Shine- Sisters Helping Inspire Nurture & Excel. This group lasted for over a year. We only disbanded because our schedules shifted in a big way and I began to transition to leave town. But it began as mentoring group. A group of women who built trust and transparency amongst one another , and grew authentically.
I’ve sincerely met some good friends and I’m thankful . My friends in tulsa have loved on me in a big way and it’s been awesome to share my lives with them. It’s felt mighty good to know them!
We’ve gone to conferences together, wrote books together gathered to pray , or just to have a snack in an empty house and focus on the Lord. We’ve laughed and went away on retreats together near beautiful lakes, went on walks in the woods; met up at writers conferences ; and everything else that friends do to have fun. We also loved on each other during challenging times. Nothing like having a friend support you when you’ve written an entire program and are due to launch it and can’t find it at all on the computer ! (Oh no!)
Or like the time you get a new job ( again ), and you’re going through a mid- life crisis and decide to make changes with them all, and need to begin a new career!
Above my friend Meg, and she’s pregnant and ready to deliver her child! (We just celebrated her little one is coming really soon!) Or you’re having that first baby for the first time and need that mental, spiritual and emotional support that friends give!
Yeah… we were a family offriends and it was great. Who would’ve known it would begin so challenging and then I end up leaving SO blessed!
Identity & Worth . It’s a subject my sisters are discussing at Mentor My Sister. My platform online, that strives for authentic women and authentic connection. Every year we challenge each other to live out a new word FOR that following year. To inspire you, nurture you and become your Teacher. These were a few of the ladies, and our words, during this past years.
Identity-what gives me identity
What I spend time with – tends to give me identity . We can desire material wealth, cars, … to be in relationship with people and we can make idols out of all of them.
I have value in relationships, so I will share what comes up for me as I make mention of my value of several relationships I have, currently. Mainly they’ve been friends familyand my spouse; but alsomentorship .
My Family has given me identity. Now that i live closer to them, I have more opportunity to be influenced by them. You see, whether I cherish them or not. It’s up to me to decide if I’ll carry out a legacy of good or evil.I always say, if there’s good, make it better . And if it’s not good, make it exceptional.
My Spouse is one who influences my identity . How we make decisions together, dream together… LIVE together makes a difference and influences my identity .l and my children’s identity as well.
Friendships influence my identity . Whether I choose mentors, leaders, friends who live models lives or just have the challenge of daily survival, I can learn from them. I make space for mentors and people to influence me. I need leaders to pour into my life, so I find out where they are, and I serve, or join them in their discussions, or create them.
Mentorship . Being mentored and mentoring others has brought great value in my life . I really enjoy having conversations about life with other leaders, friends and women who desire authentic relationships.
Here are a few ‘mentors’ in my life
Here are three places I’ve learned from other in my life :
1. Teens & Trees .
I was in South Africa in May, of 2003 and I was teaching in a classroom about dreams. A teenager said to me: /“We Are All Like Trees.” I resounded after that encounter , because I realized I’ve always loved trees. The strength , growth and resiliency tees represent inspire me. I have never seen trees the same , since.
2. My African Heritage Family.
I found identity in my African Heritage family. It’s a leadership organization that teaches diversity. The leader, a woman I know named Joyce Shabazz, is the Master Teacher. She created a forum of people and a platform about people regaining their culture and heritage and finding value in what they see and experience, again.
I attended for five, maybe six years a platform that help me transcend racism, my thoughts about my identities as wife, female, being oppressed, internalized oppression, my inadequacies about being African American, and I re-claimed myself.
The process and journey has been amazing. I’ve gained new international friends and I’ve learned new experiences I’ve gleaned and kept treasures forever sealed in my heart. I’ve come up a lot, and now I mentor others on perspective.
Where have I found worth and value? I believe it has come in the form adversity. Turning them into opportunities.
What foundations have I established my worthiness upon?
For years I pondered this. Growing up in an alcoholic family, my vision of myself and who I was was altered. It wasn’t my truth. It was an attempt to destroy my truth . I once was a girl of low self – esteem, insecurity and felt very inadequate . However I no longer espouse those characteristics .
And today, I have evolved. I was determined to change the depiction of what my worth and value set as a template from birth to 20 years of age. Once I gained a determination of the will and had mentors in me that saw in me the greater good, and encouraged it- I realized I could truly be my best self. I reached for opportunities to be better: attended a historically black college , Howard University, experiences ethnicity in a new way, was determined to learn about my heritage, visited South Africa, ignored and distances myself from hate, and envy and people who represented this at all costs… and read books galore on the subject of identity , esteem and intrinsic value. And maybe my trips back and forth down the road to African Heritage, or a constant re-evaluation of my life purpose ; or maybe my trip to Africa all influenced me in major ways.
Or maybe it was the fact I didn’t allow Opportunity to pass me by.
Perhaps I reached for it with eager anticipation, and it became my friend. My mentor . My tutor.