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Showing posts from February, 2018

Standing Firm On Your Desires: On Career and Parenting

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I am black. I am woman. And I am standing firm on my desires. Today's vLog details my desires for motherhood and stability amidst my burgeoning ministerial career. Enjoy!

Tired As Hell

Roses are red. Violets are blue. I'm tired as hell. How bout you? Listen, Monday's are hard. I feel like I need the entire day to recover from church; and while the large chunk of the early morning and afternoon is open for me to sleep in a bit and catch up on school work, I never feel rested enough to make it through the day without complaining about fatigue. I really am weary , perhaps, not tired . I constantly feel as if New York City has taken it's toll on me--like I'd be fine if I could just escape to an Island for a week. I'll take Miami...I ain't bougie. I'm also wondering if something is coming to knock me even further into the hole I've been trying to dig myself out of. Something in my spirit says, "Beware." I feel as if the joy I seek might be thwarted by something unforeseen, so I'm staying vigilant. I'm weary because even in the midnight hour, I'm vigilant. Even as I sleep, I'm alert. It's like I'm sleep

The Stories that We Weave

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I'm exhausted. There will be a much longer post about my 10+ year love affair with the beloved show,  Once On This Island .  But I just wanna comment briefly on the power of theatre. It is the through-line of my life. It is my constant. Going back to school for my divinity degree has been SO difficult, particularly because I've had to momentarily lay aside a part of myself to do this new thing God is requiring of me in this season of my life. While the theatrical through-line hasn't disappeared--it is still so useful in my preaching and pastoral ministry--I miss performing. I miss doing shows. I miss being able to afford to see shows on Broadway. For Valentine's Day, my mother bought me tickets to see Once On This Island. Tonight was the night. It was fantastically awe-inspiring and a reminder to never stop dreaming. While my story might be a little complicated right now, I have the power to weave my various stories together to make "some kind of life." One

Having a Baby, Pt. 2

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I've talked previously about Having a Baby  on here- Not just having a baby but not feeling like I need a man to do it. It was a revolutionary act of self-love to declare, this past January, that I wasn't waiting on the perfect partner, the right  time, or the best financial situation to have a baby. Black women, in particular, have it hard out here. For those of us who didn't accidentally get pregnant at 17, we were told by many to wait-- to wait until we got settled into our careers, to wait until we made partner at the firm and then wait 3 years after that so that we could keep partner...to wait until we made tenure at whatever university...to wait until we got our first church or our first job as pastor...to wait and wait and wait....until our eggs disappear or we can no longer carry a child to term because we've reached advanced maternal age. I've heard the stories--both dictated to me in private and publicly shared in books and interviews [Read Gabrielle U

Something Beautiful

Yesterday, my anxiety got the best of me. I missed an event that I had talked myself into looking forward to because I merely didn't want to put up with all of the people. Instead, I ate a late lunch, fixed a cocktail or two, watched a documentary on the Black Panther Party, beg an reading Huey Newton's Revolu tionary Suicide , and went to bed around 7pm. I missed posting and the event. I don't feel bad about the event. I mostly feel defeated by anxiety. I feel defeated by New York City. I feel defeated by this acute loneliness that comes with this calling on my life. I've come to the conclusion that I'd much rather be alone in my home than to be lonely amongst a crowd of people--to be sheltered and away from than to be bombarded by stimuli. On days like yesterday, I often wonder about who I am becoming...about who this woman is who has caved in on herself. And I'm not sure I dislike her. She's quiet. She keeps to herself. She minds her business. She has

Almost Forgot To Post

😯😯😯😯😯😯 Blogging everyday can be hard. But it has been so rewarding. I'm currently up listening to a podcast and eating a 2nd dinner. I almost forgot to post but something clicked in me that just didn't feel right. Today has been good--filled with anxieties and joys. I'm grateful for God's hand in and on my life. It was God who made sure I posted tonight, just to say "Thank You," publicly, for keeping me during this very uncertain season. Every day on here is another chance for me to make something beautiful in this world--to tell the truth, to write in power, to express my deepest thoughts in a way that can heal others. I almost forgot to post but I'm so glad I did.

Uncle Butter

Today was Uncle Butter's funeral. He was a kind man. Giving, Caring, Gentle, Determined. Those were just a few of the many superlatives used to describe him. I saw him last in his home on December 18th. We talked and laughed. He told me about his life's journey. He reminded me that he was keeping up with me on Facebook. And of course, before I left, he made me take a picture by his tiny Christmas tree. Butter had a passion for photography! I have so many photos of my most intimate worship moments. I have so many photos of me laughing and smiling. Butter's joy and enthusiasm for life kept so many of us sain when we couldn't see through the depressive commotion of the hail and the fog. He will be missed, but I'm so grateful we crossed paths-- that I was blessed with his unfading smile, his humor, his wit, his righteousness. Well done, Butter. Well done.

"You Have Such A Gift."

i hear words that pierce me. staring at the lips of the person who utters them whilst trying to make sense of such a profoundly overwhelming statement. how shall i respond to such praise? what words could i bother to muster up? what fake expression of gratitude could i attempt to plaster on my face? "you have such a gift," they say. i struggle to make sense of such a... compliment? if only they knew this gift was a burden. i like to believe that i'm learning to smile and say "thank you." there are moments when i'm successful; but mostly, i shrug my shoulders in a way i've perfected. i tilt my weary-full head to the side, as to suggest deep gratitude for the acknowledgement-- for the affirmation-- for the chance to share these coveted gifts that are burdens. i often try my best to escape the room post service-- to hastily leave my gifts at the altar... or the pulpit. oh, how i wish to disappear into thin air after s

Fresh Wind

I'm currently up doing homework that I've procrastinated on all week...month, actually. I had a rough start to the semester...to the year...and now I'm paying for it this week as I make up all the work I put off. I'm grateful to God for a fresh wind of energy as midnight approaches. I should be tired, broken, busted, and disgusted; and while I'm still many of those things, I am, yet, able and available to do the work. Thank you, God. In every season, You are STILL who You are. Amen.

God is STILL God!

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Today was a good day. I took another step towards my journey into ordained ministry, both church services were great, I checked off everything on my homework to-do list ON TIME (the first time since the semester started), I made a cocktail for myself and cooked some bomb a$$ shrimp and grits!  I have to say that through all of my trials and tribulations--and there have been MANY in 2018, alone--God is STILL God! πŸ™ŒπŸΎ God is STILL in the healing business, okay! Somebody shake your neighbors hand and say "STILL GOD!" πŸƒπŸΎ‍♀️πŸ’¨πŸ’¨πŸ’¨πŸ€ΈπŸΎ‍♀️ Desert Song by Hillsong is one of my favorites!  The bridge says:  All of my life In every season  You are still God And I have a reason TO SING! I have a reason TO WORSHIP! Listen, whatever you're going through--whatever season you're in--if the field is barren or the harvest is plentiful, You still have a reason to sing! God is still God. You still have a reason and a responsibility to worship! Get

Late Bloomer: A Memo On Love

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I've always been a late bloomer when it comes to love. I didn't date much in high school. I didn't go to prom. I didn't date in college because "they" told me to stay focused on my studies and to "leave the boys alone." I moved to NYC in 2011 and tried my hand at it--I didn't even know what to expect. I didn't introduce a guy to my parents until I was 27. The introduction was risky (for me) and scary and exciting all in one. Today, my tulips bloomed--the ones my father sent me for Valentine's day. They bloomed right before my eyes. I'm committed to keeping them alive for as long as I can (I'm usually pretty horrible at keeping plants alive but this is a new season). They bloomed and I thought about how I finally bloomed at age 27. I finally got to a place in my life where I was no longer hiding my love life from the world--I was no longer sneaking around with people who didn't serve me. I was finally allowing myself to

Reverend Bartender

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I learned a lot about ministry while I was bartending. People have NEEDS, okay! Ha! They NEED their cheeseburger medium-rare with no cheese, side Bleu cheese crumbles, no sauces, side mayo, extra pickles, okay! They NEED their martini filthy dirty, with extra olives on the side. Just drink the olive juice out the carton, why don't you?! They NEED their fries extra crispy or their salad finely chopped or their world will come tumbling down, shattering into a million pieces. Oh yes! I learned a lot about ministry while bartending. I learned how to plaster a smile on my weary face so that I'd get a good tip from Rick Ross (he left me $100 one time). I learned how to put up with vindictive managers who hated their jobs and, thus, took it out on us. I learned how to eat one meal a day in between a 14 hour shift. I learned how to carry 3 hot plates with 16oz bone-in prime ribs on them without dropping them, AND to dodge rowdy, undisciplined kids who were sprinting arou

Future Too Far Away

Today, I cried the tears I didn't cry yesterday. Bottled up, they came forth, Bursting through like a Runner crossing the finish line. What is this reoccurring nightmare That keeps creeping into my daydreams? It's like I can't stop emptying. I can't stop releasing. I can't stop feeling Anything but despair. I hope for better tomorrow's But I desire better yesterday's. The present is too uncertain. The past betrayed me. The future is... Always too far away.

Tulips, Strawberries, and Free Indian Food

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I waltz into the office doors at the church. My boss, the associate pastor, takes me to the temp at the front desk. The temp says, "You're Mia?" I nod affirmatively. "Your dad called earlier. There are packages for you." I look down at the table and see two large boxes. One is obviously a flower box. The other most certainly has perishables in it. I gather the deliveries and head to the worship arts room/my make-shift office. My boss is snickering whilst making sly comments about how loved I am because of these offerings. I open the flower box and embrace pink, red, and white tulips, accompanied by a beautiful glass vase. I open the box beside it which is filled with chocolate and white chocolate covered strawberries. I search for a note, knowing deep down who the admirer is: "My gorgeous baby girl, Happy Valentine's Day." Signed, "Daddy." I struggle to fight back tears, so overcome by this gesture, though not surprise

Thankful.Grateful.Blessed

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On days like today, I'm weary-- weary because I haven't been sleeping well and the exhaustion is catching up with me-- weary because Tuesdays are my LONG days [I'm in class from 9am-9pm...yes, I'm in class now πŸ˜“]-- weary because melancholia takes its toll on you. However, in addition to being weary, I'm forcing myself to be thankful-- to make space in my days for gratitude. It's amazing how much 30-45 seconds of sharing gratitude with the Divine can help refresh your day. I actually prayed before my meal, yesterday, and those 30 seconds of solitude--30 seconds of space to say "thank you, God" ...for this food and for my mom and for my dad and for this person and that person--provided the wind that carried me through my three-hour class. I just felt...better. I definitely need to engage in this more often--to not wait until bedtime or when I wake up in the morning, but to engage with the Divine in what feels like random moments throughout

My Purpose Statement

I went to a goal-building/vision-detailing seminar a few weeks ago and the facilitator asked us to write our personal purpose statements. Mine is ever-evolving, obviously, but here's my second draft. I am a multi-dimensional black w oman, artist, scholar, preacher, and educator who has been called by God to heal through musical expression and the prophetic spoken word, to give my life to serving others, and to dream without ceasing. To heal To serve To dream Not bad ey? I'll continue to work on this and flesh it out. It's important to be able to speak and write these words into the atmosphere, specifically my calling to heal through music and speaking. I have to remind myself, often, that my voice has power--that I have the agency and authority to affect change with this magnificent instrument made up of cords, lips, & teeth, powered by the breath of my lungs and stabilized by the rhythm of this beating heart. Be well, folks.

Ezra, Pt. 2

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Today, there was a baptism at church. An infant named Frederick. His parents were decked out-- in their finest garb. I looked on this moment with amazement-- Filled with the joy that I imagine the parents were experiencing. As the Reverend walked the baby down the aisle, to celebrate his welcome into the Church of Christ, I teared up. I so desperately desire that moment-- the moment when Ezra...or Eden/Moriah... are paraded down the center aisle of the Church, celebrating their welcome into a community of Believers. I got sentimental. Is it because I'm almost 30? Is it because I let go of loves of my life? Is it because my ovaries are ready--along with my spirit-- to create something new in this universe? I cry myself to sleep, often, mourning the loss of possibilities that seem dead I cry because, although I know that God would never leave me or forsake me, I can't even muster up the energy to imagine better-- What does that even look like? I th

Ezra

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I spent much of the day crying-- tossing around a once empty bed that I now share with my laptop, tablet, phone, and tomorrow's sermon-- looking for jobs-- planning post-seminary life-- trying to decide where I'll relocate to in 2019-- And daydreaming about Ezra. Ezra-- my son. My future. I daydream about Ezra often, these days. No, I'm not pregnant. I want to be someday. I want so badly to experience motherhood-- to watch my kid play in the backyard-- to treat the wounds he'll garner on the multi-colored battlefield of jungle gyms and sandboxes with peroxide. I daydream about Ezra-- going on mother-son dinner dates-- teaching him how to eat sushi-- how to order mommy's favorite glass of wine. I have visions of carrying him on my chest while teaching midweek Bible study. I imagine looking out from the pulpit, Sunday mornings, seeing him-- and all my children-- staring back at me in awe... or misbehaving in the back pews (which is t

"You Don't Like To Lose." Pt. 2

Eyes glazed over with tears that want to fall, I gaze into a distance far beyond. An undiagnosed crack in the heart Pushes air out from a diaphragm That squeezes to keep just one breath alive, For that might be all I have left To hang onto a life I don't want. I sniff what wants to drip from my nose-- Swiftly silencing the wails that are waiting to break free. "How much longer til this damn bus arrives?" I ask myself, over and over again-- silently--hoping my frigid pacing would quicken the time. "Is this what losing feels like?" I whine internally. "It's better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all," they said. But these aches in my neck from a long day's journey disagree. If I had never loved, I'd have never lost. "You don't like to lose," my therapist remarked. Crudely, she'd told me about myself some weeks ago as I soaked her couch with my tears. And now, I reflect on the ri

Taking Risks

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So much of life is about taking risks. Sometimes, risks lead you to dreams and destinations you never knew existed. Other times, risks lead to tears--to failure--to heartache and physical trauma. Sometimes, risks lead you to death. The hard part about taking risks is trying to limit the regrets. I took a HUGE risk this week. I'm shaking inside just thinking about it. I'm uncertain and fearful of the outcome, and yet, I pressed forward with the decision. The last few years have consisted of me taking risk after risk, hoping for the best and praying for comfort through the turmoil of uncertainty. The years have consisted of me pressing forward, despite my fears of failure. Some of the pressing led to beautiful moments, life-changing relationships, and wild career turns.  Right now, however, I need comfort. The uncertainty is much too much and I, often, get so close to throwing in the towel. Yet, I'm addicted to never giving up on the possibility of a possibil

#MyBodySpeaks

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I went to bed fighting last night... Or shall I say, this morning.  Fighting for sleep--for rest--for peace of mind. I'm exhausted--physically, mentally, and emotionally--but I press on. We all have to. I'm picking myself by the boot straps and everyday, I'm making the choice to get out of bed, brush my teeth, shower, get clothed, and put my hand on the door knob--go to work or school, come home and reflect, and do it all over again. I sometimes find a way to eat at least one proper meal a day. I'm amazed at how much a seemingly mindless or rudimentary routine can serve one in times of deep grief and stress. It's like, my body knows what needs to be done for me. My body is my saving grace. I have to remind myself of that, often...remind myself to be nicer to her--my body. I have remind myself to listen to her (mostly)--to really hear and interpret what she's trying to say to me. For example, I practice a vegan diet about 4 days of the week; BU

Anxious Reminders

I am in the middle of an anxiety attack caused by reasons I can't fully disclose. I'll just say that when I speak of the harmful and violent rhetoric that is spoken from the pulpit, my body has a visceral reaction. It's like a heart-racing, panic-inducing moment that both angers and devastates me. I was reliving the moment I decided to leave a church years ago behind the problematic theology that was/is being taught there, and the anxiety that has crept in has been almost debilitating. Reliving that trauma is heartbreaking and not having the space to cope and recover (because I have class until 9 pm) has been tough. Separating from friends and tasks that I loved was like the worst kind of break up. There are still remnants of the tears I didn't cry back then wallowed up inside of me, itching to break free. And so, my heart beaks--not just for myself but for all who have sat in violent spaces where their identities have been castrated...where their very humanity has b

When Tears Freeze

I wanted to cry so badly today. It started around 5 pm as I made my way from the A train at 125th street to the supermarket near school to pick up a refreshment for my intern-small group. I started reflecting on my life, especially the past 4 years--the ups and downs...the tears and the triumphs. I do this often, after I hit a milestone or during the weeks leading up to my birthday. The 4-year anniversary of a devastatingly life-changing event just passed and I thought about where I was 4 years ago, comparing that to where I am now. So much has changed, and yet, some things have come back into sameness. I was in my 2nd and final semester of grad school at NYU (full-time status), depressed and hurting, yet pushing my way through the pain while working a full-time job. I remember waking up everyday after very little sleep, showering, and filling myself with just enough energy to put my hand on the door knob, turn it, and exit my apartment. I always had just enough  energy to make it to a

If The Shoe Fits: The Ethics of Blogging

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It recently occurred to me--better yet I've always sort of known this--that people think that all of my writing is about me. They think that all of my writing is about some ex that I'm angry at or some friend that I fell out with. But I'm a pastor at my core. I hear stories from other people--in conjunction with my own stories, many of which have happened throughout my lifetime--and I put all of that together when I am thinking about what I'm going to write about for the day. A lot of what I write is stuff that I've already processed. For example, when I talk about relationships, many times I'm talking about that ex-boyfriend from 2014 who was a serial cheater or that ex-whatever from 2012-2015 who wasn't putting in the work to show up for himself or for me. I'm not necessarily talking about anything that I'm currently going through. But, on occasion I'm weaving those past stories in with present experiences. And so it's important to know

i ain't nobody but a dreamer

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I ain't nobody but a dreamer Thoughts lost in bent melodies Feelings wrapped in warted haikus  I ain't nobody but a dreamer with seeds sown in potted soil Waiting to be watered... Wanting to bloom ain't nobody but a dreamer who's working and waiting working and waiting praying and progressing sowing and stepping listening and learning loving and leaving things behind so that I can dream more. I ain't nobody but a dreamer Hoping and hurting from dreams that turned into nightmares. And with all the tears-- with all the scabs and wounds and sores and cancers-- I dream...still I dream...still I wake to dream I fight to stay alive to dream I write to dream For dreaming is salvation-- My one-way ticket to heaven-- the only everlasting arm. I ain't nobody but a dreamer.

For Colored Girls Who Are Tired Of Mothering Men

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Warning:  This post might piss you off-- especially if you are uhh... a certain type of man. Ok. Get out of your feelings. #NotALLMen -- say that to yourself, over and over again as you read this post. K. Thanks. I am a strong black woman. And I have a therapist. (We've been through this, but see Therapy Blog ) And I have a circle of friends, colleagues, and acquaintances who encourage me, hold me accountable, pray with me, laugh with me, play tick-tack-toe with me, slap me up side the head, etc. And I call on the ancestors often--my cloud of witnesses--Wilhelmenia & Myrtle & Prathia & Lorraine & Claudette & Ora Lee...the list goes on. I have dealt with many men in my lifetime--mostly black men. I've sometimes dealt with them in romantic relationships. I've often dealt with them in professional partnerships or collegiate relationships. Overall, what I've noticed is that many hetero-cisgender men I've dealt with don't have m

You Chose Me?

I spent some much needed quality time with myself this week. In that time, I embraced silence. I've never been one for a noisy home. I am so busy in so many other areas of my house, when I get home, I desire the serenity of my little Oasis in the middle of this concrete jungle. No TV blaring, no music blasting--just peace. Now that is not to say that I don't listen to music at all or ever catch up on my shows on Hulu. Matter of fact, I worship daily, listening to music via wireless headphones--communing with God in the sanctuary of my living room. But those are intentional sounds that disrupt silence. Those are the disruptions that I choose. Today, I allowed the silence to give way to worship. I sat at my keyboard and just let the Spirit move my hands and mouth voice through the silence. Most days, I don't sit down at the piano with an agenda. I sit down with optimism and curiosity--What will God and the ancestors awaken in me today? Sometimes it's a completely ne