Thursday, March 27, 2014

Your Baggage Really is OK


As spring enters with its spirit of renewal, my heart is with Single Moms. I recently set off to see Tyler Perry’s newest masterpiece in theaters now, “The Single Moms Club”. I was so touched! This movie was such a classic depiction of the real life of the single-mother of today. We all have baggage! Single-moms aren't the exclusive owners of the complicated stuff that weighs so many of us down. In general, singles will enter into new relationships this season that won't have the opportunity to get started or to flourish properly. Individually, we need to take a serious look at the baggage we’re carrying. We might even have some unclaimed baggage that we don’t even want to think about touching. If you’re reading this and you are over the age of 30 and single, the odds are that you will be bringing some level of baggage into any new relationship that you start. It's quite possible that in addition to children; you may also have student loans, been divorced, have a baby daddy or maybe even a couple of baby daddies (as in my case). You might already have a poor credit score, you may have had a try at unsuccessful home-ownership or a vehicle loan, have pets (not everyone likes them lol), or maybe you're still trying to hang onto childhood dreams that you never fully had the chance to fulfill when you were still in your 20's. With all of that  said, these things can cause serious strain on dating and on any new relationship.

My advice isn't centered on the baggage itself because there isn't a single thing that we can do about that!  For the most part, it is what it is! I also think that it's important for me to say that I still firmly believe in the art of true love and genuine soul connection. When those two factors interact, there isn't a flaw or any messy baggage that a man can't handle as a means to being with you. I also believe that "special person", you're waiting to meet will take you by the hand and actually help you to neatly arrange your mess. On the flip side of things, we are all responsible adults individually and we are obligated to have our affairs in order when decide to begin dating seriously. We're living in a world that sustains itself on facts as it should. That grey-shaded area is quickly tossed to the wind or overlooked mainly because it shouts imperfection and taint. People are hungry to look perfect on paper in today’s world and by all means if that’s what you strive for then go for it! This is why I believe the divorce rate in our country is so high. When our partner’s fall short of our expectations for who they "should be",versus who they "actually", are we discover that they don’t quite measure up. Divorce is a quick fix and many people use it as an easy out.  I don't know about you but I personally have never measured up to any level of perfection. I could be the spokeswoman for that grey-shaded/over-looked area. I have a heart muscle that pumps the purest kind of love and paper doesn’t seem to do any justice for that.  We miss out, when we don't take the time to look beneath what’s on the surface. The rarest forms of diamonds are found deep in landmines under the earth.  Metaphor’s don’t help much in dating so let's realistically fix what we can and depend on God for the rest!



Here are a few common yet essential tips to ensure sure that your bags are neatly packed. I also want to approach the touchy subject of unclaimed baggage which can include, resentment, anger, and bitterness that can stem from childhood or past failed relationships. Either way, I'll keep the subject matter light so that we can have fun with it throughout. I don't know about you but when I'm traveling, I happen to be ridiculously meticulous about how I pack my suitcase lol. I rely heavily on plastic freezer bags (I literally separate my outfits with them). I iron articles of clothing and I make sure that my toiletries are neatly tucked away. When I reach my travel destination, I'm relieved at how organized my things are and how easy it is to unpack them. This helps me to sort quickly through what needs to be hung, laid-out, or put away in drawers. Any good man that meets a good woman doesn't deserve to have to sort through piles and piles of past mess before getting to the true essence of who that woman actually is. Not too mention, it's rare that anyone will wait around for you while you're cleaning YOUR house. Cleaning saves time period (even when we’re cleaning emotionally). Unclaimed baggage is usually emotional.  It’s the anger, disappointment, past hurt, guilt and resentment that we leave untouched simply because it's easier to leave it that way. When we get over a situation we tend to just sweep the underlying emotions under the rug and try to quickly move on. As these emotions stay untouched they linger and they can show up unexpectedly and without any warning.  These often uncomfortable emotions need to be addressed so that the healing process can begin.  What better time to unpack unclaimed baggage then when you’re still single and have plenty of time on your hands?  You can address it, deal with it, confront anyone that might need to be confronted, and you can do it all on your own time without inconveniencing anyone else.
If you're reading this and you haven't spoken to that one particular family member for years, please allow this to be that you needed to call them.  If you and an old friend have fallen out don't let another day go by without apologizing to that person.  By no means, do you have to allow them back into your world but you do need to apologize.  Forgiveness heals both the offender and the victim.  It allows fresh air to fill an enclosed space. If you're reading this and you don't have a passport I want you to apply for one today! If you don't have a driver's license get one! You might be saying, "I don't have any money to travel", or "I don't have a car". What I'm here to tell you today is this: The man of your dreams may walk into your life tomorrow and say, "Let's have our first date in Paris, France", but you won't be able to go because you've neglected to apply for and have a passport sitting in your sock drawer. He also might be filled with compassion at the thought of you and your children waiting at a bus stop in the cold. He might say, "Babe, I have my old car sitting in my driveway and I'd like you and the kids to use it". You CAN'T use it because you don't drive! Do you see where I'm trying to go here? There is something beyond blissful about spontaneity that can lead to abundance. Listen, we have to show-up for life even when life isn’t giving us a real reason to.  This is how we attract more of what we want and less of what we don’t!
 
The ultimate bottom line is that our baggage does not prevent us from being all of the other things that make us great women! Beauty, intelligence, good manners, great work ethic, class, nurturing and mothering skills all make women unique and appealing in their own special way.  For those of you that may be coming out of a marriage, I would just encourage you to have your divorce finalized before adding anyone else to the mix.  If the divorce is messy then legal separation papers would come before deciding to date again.  It will be difficult for your new beau to explain to his family members that his fabulous new girlfriend is married. DON'T DO IT! Saying that you're simply, "Divorced with children", is much easier.  Heading back to the dating scene is going to be like seeking new employment except for the fact that your résumé will be personal versus professional.  Before you begin, I would even play around with generating a personal résumé at home just to see what you look like on paper to yourself.  If you're able to identify anything that you don't like or you see any red flags, fix it! Write down your hobbies, your personal interest, the last place you've traveled to, etc.  You might even discover things that you didn't even realize that you missed about yourself! You may discover that there are things you want to do independently before you begin dating again. Your personal résumé should speak volume about the woman you are and the direction you're moving toward.  It should say, "I am a woman of great character and I do not have time for playing games". Cleaning house will rid you of lots of dead weight! Dead weight that you have probably been unnecessarily carrying around for years. I promise this will be a refreshing task that will have you excited about dating again. By taking just a little time to get real with yourself, you will offer healing, self-love and forgiveness for what you might have failed at in the past. More than likely I think you'll find men that you would have dated years ago are no longer in your league.  If by chance you encounter a man that doesn't seem to be interested in what you have to offer just keep in mind that he's probably offering himself to another woman lol! Keep it moving and just try again! The journey is ultimately about healing.  There's no better time to make room for LOVE!

Wishing you Blessings and Success with Love this Spring!

Much Luv,
 

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Drunk in Love


I wrote this post to let all my Good Lovers out there know exactly how much you inspire me! Keeping a relationship healthy takes constant determination and a selfless attitude. Your years of willpower through both good and bad times only validate how much I want to experience a loving marriage in my own life. Marriage is an Honor before God.  The obedience and discipline of marriage are what many couples inherently miss. Love is what will sustain marriage but it isn’t enough to bond it. God is the glue that every marriage needs. With His loving hand on a couple their marriage will flourish beyond expectation.  Some of you will be bothered when I say this but I want to encourage my married folks to stay, “Drunk in Love”. Stop minding Shawn and Beyonce Carter’s business and get some of your own. “Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful and endures through every circumstance”. ~1 Corinthians 13:7


I watched the opening performance of the Grammy’s on Sunday night in pure delight! The act of love that graced the stage between Beyonce and  her husband Jay Z was so beautiful. The love between those two appears to be way bigger than the both of them. My mind took me right back to their 2003 hit, “Bonnie & Clyde”, which unbelievably was over a decade ago. They still seem equally as attracted to one another and equally humble in spirit. I see so much appreciation in Beyonce’s eyes when she looks at her man and such profound admiration in her man’s eyes when he looks at her.  The electricity of their physical attraction for one another is magnetic to watch.  I don’t think the world at large gives married couples nearly as much credit as they deserve. When the haters inevitably took to social media with their, “illuminati”, commentary my spirit was disappointed. One comment said, ‘Iluminati members don’t thank Jesus”.  I have always been a fan of Jay Z and what I see in him is a creative artist who has managed to turn some of the difficulty in his life into triumph through his hard word. As a fan, I’ve actually admired that Jay Z references his spiritual beliefs in some of his raps (something he simply doesn’t have to do, especially if he’s in a cult which again is none of our business). Some lyrics that immediately come to my thoughts are,  “Place any burden on me but please not that Lord”,  “God’s Gift, I wish I woulda prayed more”, & “Colleek, somewhere up in the clouds like go get’em Grandma make me proud”.  I’m not trying to sell anyone on the Power Couple but I do think that harsh judgments against them should make us question what type of Christianity are we really practicing? The Bible I read says, “But if you are always biting and devouring one another watch out! Beware of destroying one another”. ~Galations 5:15 I wonder deeply when we see good love why must we execute it and how will this affect the well-being of couples in the future?


I drifted off deeper in thought and I thought of La La & Carmelo Anthony and how the two survived after the negative commentary by Kevin Garnett.  I thought of Alicia Keys and Swizz Beats and the public scrutiny they underwent after Swizz left his children’s mother Mashonda.  The singer Pink often sings about the difficulties of marriage in her songs which I love.  All of these couples have had to deal with harsh public criticism at one time or another yet they persevered and survived. Culturally, little girls grow up watching fairytales that quickly provide us with imagery that marriage will be one of the best things that could ever humanly happen to us. We dream of big weddings, big dresses and this perfect Prince Charming. What these cultural illusions fail to mention is that if we are Blessed enough to make it down the aisle many of us will do so with deeply-rooted, unresolved childhood issues and insecurities.  These things won’t have anything to do with our spouse yet we often find ways to project our issues onto others. One of our first gripes in marriage could end up being us passing the blame of our own unhappiness onto our spouse. These trying times can be duplicated when a couple’s high-profile celebrity is on the front cover of every magazine for the entertainment of spectators. My only advice for any power couple as I close, (famous or not), is to stay drunk in love as often as possible!  Try hard not to let the flames fizzle no matter what direction life is unfairly pulling you in. Love your mate when you’re up but don’t forget that you need to love them just as much when you’re down. Real love fights to stay alive against all odd and it beats the odds every single time.   Careers, children, and time we need for ourselves as individuals will all make it difficult to participate in any relationship.  Marriage further complicates this because the commitment is full-time.  We are personally held accountable each and every time to be there for our significant other. If we can enter into it replacing the fairytale with the real harshness of everyday life, then we have a fighting chance that divorce will never enter our doorstep. Give and takes, a ton of compromising, loyalty, kindness, trust and of course love and light make for a recipe of undying marriage. Those of us that are single need to build our couples up and let them know how much we admire their strength in marriage.  Let’s commend the celebrities we see that have made marriage an example rather than tearing them down. Offering encouragement and a useful listening ear is what will help our couples to stay powerful in their love! Let’s support them!




Much Luv,

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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Chopping Block


This article is not for the squeamish. 

As of late, I’ve been working on an article called, "The Girl I Used to Hate". It's a pretty funny fitness article that circulates some of the feelings we women have toward one another at the gym. The article highlights the amazing physical change that my body has gone through since writing my, “Fall Fitness Challenge”, back in September.  As I was writing and organizing the photography for this new article a shift occurred within me; a shift that immediately grieved my heart.  I was listening to Beyonce’s song called, “Pretty Hurts”, off of her new self-titled album and I was inspired. It took months before I began to see any physical change to my body in the gym and there were many instances that I wanted to give up. I quickly learned that the difference between winners and losers is simply that winners never quit!  The only problem with this was some days I wondered what exactly was I even striving for…Perfection? I thought, “Perhaps”? But what was perfection to me? Was it an image that the world gave me? Was it a celebrity body or face that walks around with a glam team? If you’ve had the pleasure of listening to the song that I mentioned then you already know that Beyonce sums up perfection as the disease of a nation.  We can’t fix things that need to be fixed within the realm of our souls.  January is a time of year that many women will be sitting at home or in their offices considering whether or not they’ll be using their tax-refunds toward plastic surgery. This pierces my heart deeply and maybe because I’ve never had plastic surgery it’s very unfair for me to comment or to even write this. Womanhood is a sisterhood that obligates us to encourage, uplift, and support one another. If we spent more time helping one another to be happy within our flaws we’d move so much further in sisterhood.  I’m writing this article because I want to remind women that our flaws tell the story of where we’ve been. Some of the places we’ve been haven’t been pretty but our flaws reflect that we’ve survived.  I also want to say that in the past I’ve worn hair weaves and I’ve tanned my skin to have a glow that wasn’t naturally there.  I know how much pressure this world places on us to be what it considers to be pretty. I’m even bothered at times when I see y stretch marks or my laugh lines but self-acceptance is a huge step toward self-love. I encourage you to comment if anything I say in this article goes against what your experience with plastic surgery was like. I want this to be an article of healing not of judgment. 
Many of us will hit what I refer to as the chopping block this winter.  It will be a quicker fix than any healthy diet and/or exercise can offer. South Beach bodies at the snap of a six-week healing period finger.  My heart is so heavy because we’re living in a world that moves faster than we’re able to keep up with. Although plastic surgery offers super fast, “Hourglass figure”, results what we don’t hear much of is how dismembered it leaves a woman’s physical body post surgery. A body that was once intact even with its excess fat and muffin top.  I have been privileged to see some of these awful scars behind the scenes from close friends that have decided to take the plastic surgery plunge. Butcher shops are all that comes to mind when I’m forced to look. Painful scars in exchange for tiny bikinis on exotic islands. What has our world come to?  How much does pretty cost? What the hell even constitutes pretty anyway? This week I was looking at my naked body in the mirror and I was literally ashamed of how overly critical I was of myself.  Let me just say this, I’ve worked hard to have the body that I have today and in its naturalness it is scared with stretch marks, dimples and unsightly fat in storage places that I haven’t been able to work off at the gym. When I’m being this critical I realize quickly that I’ve allowed public images to suggest what my naked body should look like to me. Bigger is always seemingly better in some areas while thinner is the way to go in others; When you lose as much weight as I have all of the good bigger gets a lot smaller.  My breasts are ridiculously smaller, my back has lost almost 8 inches and my butt is this tiny mold of what it used to be years ago. Some days, I don’t even know what I’m looking for in the mirror because in many instances we will never meet anyone else’s standards of what beauty consists of other than our own. I wonder, “Dear Jesus, what has this world done to us”? Biogel butt injections, aggressive liposuction, tummy tucks, smart lipo, breasts implants and Brazilian butt lifts are just some of the procedures plastic surgeons will be charging patients for this season.


May you’re reading this right now and you are all too familiar with the pictures here because at some point you’ve already been on the chopping block.   I want to give you the biggest hug and tell you how pretty you are. Our souls are what need to have these intense procedures not our bodies. I’m sure deep down you know that you were absolutely perfect before ever undergoing the procedure.  Plastic surgery does nothing for what we can’t see. I want to encourage you never to go back!  Not because I can make you look perfect but because I want you to let me convince you that perfection is just an illusion. The pain you feel when the scars are still there won’t go away by simply having another procedure.  I haven’t met an ugly person in my life other than the way they behaved. We have to heal what’s going on inside before we can fix anything outside. I want to specifically blame someone for this but who can I blame? We sign-up for the procedures and we pay for them.  We feel like the tiny waistlines and bigger busts and butts equate happiness but is this ever the case?  Can undergoing such major surgical procedures heal our unhappy hearts? Is there a medium or even a healthy balance between what the world suggests and what we want? If the scars are only something that we can see when we’re alone wouldn’t that prove that we butcher our bodies for the outside world? Parents, our daughters need to know how infallibly gorgeous they are. They need to hear this every single day! When you think they don’t need to hear it, I promise you that they do. Someone in school may have told them something contrary to what you’ve been telling them all along. A boy may have rejected them because their curves don’t make them skinny enough. Men, you should be telling your women how beautiful they are every single day. Our souls are so broken and in so much pain. Facial fillers and botox injections will never be able to fix that. I once looked at aging as a gift and a blessing from God. I felt like a long life indicated that God was showing you favor. Now, aging seems like a horrific occurrence that indicates the withering away of something dying {isn’t dying a significant part of the life that we’re living}. From magazines to infomercials the fountain of youth seems impossible to get away from. I fight against this by sharing any horror stories that I come across just so that the women in my life will be aware that not every procedure goes according to a doctor’s plan. We all heal differently, scar differently and respond to medications differently.  There is a huge risk in having these procedures that simply isn’t discussed enough. 


Today, God asked me to remind you of how much he loves you just the way that you are.  He asked me to remind you that he is invested in your soul and not in the outer casing of it. Spend your hard-earned money this season on something else. Invest in  piece of jewelry, that new car that you’ve been eying or on that spectacular vacation.

Much Luv,

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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

I Am The Widow

This poem is dedicated to Kimberly Richardson. Kimberly is the President of, “Widows of Opportunity”, in Columbia, South Carolina.  After losing her own husband she has become a blessing to many other widows in her community, around the country and even around the world.  My heart is moved by her organization and I hope that your heart will be equally as moved. Please check out Kimberly and her organization at www.widowsofopportunity.com

I Am The Widow


I am the Widow
I go back to Black
Unfortunately, my Husband won’t be coming back
James 1:27 says, care is on the way from Heaven
My bills are long, now that my man is gone
My children’s laughter is fading faster and faster


Who knows what to do with his clothes?
They say, “Girl, you have got to let go!”
But I don’t want to let go, because I’m just not ready
The vows at the church said, “For better or worse”.
How come no one said, “It might be cut short and just end”.
The will of the Father can cut like a knife


Tomorrow might be better right?
I hear his voice in my head and that makes me smile
He says, “Baby, these ribs are like wood to a fire”
I’ll never have the chance to cook for him again
So all I do now is reach for my pen
I speak to my diary that never talks back

For, I am the widow and I go back to Black


Much Luv, 

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Monday, December 30, 2013

She Speaks


She Speaks



Sitting here thinking about all the red flags you said went up
My flags were always white
Loving you caused me so much pain
Apologies
Today I just feel meh
Meh in the way that I lost
I was chasing you
You were chasing her
She was chasing you
But when I turned around, I realized that no one was chasing me



From cereal to heartache
Scattered pieces to dry tear ducts
Promises of unbroken friendship
Lies of undeniable hatred
The thin lines
There’s a win to every lose
The Lessons were worth the pain
The Joy always outweighed the Rain
I’m still crazy and you’re still out of your mind
The irony of my all


No part for me in, “Moody’s Mood for Love”.
Can you really lose what you never had?
Best thing…
Bright Lights only know light, even when it’s dark
I release you from my heart in love & light
The key to my heart wasn’t in your locket
For now, I’ll put it back in my safe box for safe keeping
I wish you lifelong happiness
A new white chapter is beginning for you
Mine is still unwritten

Much Luv, 

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Saturday, December 14, 2013

I Gave You All My Ugly



Two years ago, I gave you all my ugly
You gave me all your ugly too
I wasted all my pretty
I wanted to heal you in the place where you stored past hurt
But I was too broken to be of any help
Where do broken hearts go?

To Heaven or Hell
If they walk around wounded they go where I did
I burned in the Flames

Then someone called my name
I looked back because I thought it was you
The light was so bright that I couldn’t make out the face

He stepped out boldly
His robe was so white that I had to turn away
That’s when he grabbed me and wiped all the soot away
When he opened his arms, doves flew out all sorts of ways
He gave me hug and walked me to the table

He knew me by my name
He said, “All your ugly has passed away”.
At the table he showed me a mirror
At first I saw your face

He told me that I was looking for a Savior but that you were not the Way
I couldn’t be with you because he hadn’t worked on me
And then I looked again but this time I saw Me
I violated your trust but it allowed me to regain His

He taught me a new obedience and I instantly felt like a kid
His love for me extends from His Kingdom to my world
As the soot began to fade I saw my pretty face

As the King ate a meal with me he explained that my brokenness was gone
And that the memories we created were sort of like a Love Song
He said that because neither of us was ready in his eyes we’re still together apart
In all our mess and chaos, only He could offer us a new start
I told him that you’ve moved on to a girl with style and grace

He said, “My child, the only thing I want you to focus on is that your ugliness has been erased”.
I’m so blessed
That’s all that I could manage to say
He saved me before death entrapped me

Proverbs 31

White Candle

The pages opened and he showed me
I heard the faint sound of a guitar playing behind and a lovely melody in the wind
“Her Husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life.
She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life”.

With soot on my hands and face
I finally understood my Light & His Grace
He Saved Me at that moment
Right there, with all my soot from the flames, he showed me one page

He walked me back to my world and said
“My Promises are true”
“Love will be a Battle”
“I Love Your Husband more than you do”
“Your union will survive because it is my Will for both of you”

1 Corinthians 13
“Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance”
I’m not the one that he believes in
I’m trying to let him go, trying to turn the page
His Happiness means the world to me even though he might not think so
Do broken hearts make their way back?

Revelation 3
“I know all the things you do, and I have opened a door for you that no one can close
You have little strength, yet you obeyed my word and did not deny me”.
He gave me another hug with his glorious white rob on
He never seemed worried or concerned about all the soot that I had on


In His silence, I knew that I would see Him again
When He calls me back Home to Heaven
For now, I’ll return to my world but this time without my ugly

Praise the Lord

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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Wind Blows Differently Here



Many times our stories won’t be told until we’ve left the earth. Nevertheless, every story is worth telling. This is the history of the neighborhood that I was raised in. R.I.P. Crystal Sweet, may you always be the angel that watches over your daughter. I’m sorry that we lost you.

The wind is stale and harshly cruel here.  It has a personality of nothingness and it finds oneness with darkness. It blows with ferocity at times and its occupants can become just as angry as it. Every now and again there’s a gentle hint of laced marijuana blowing in its harshness; just enough to make you want to gag if you don’t find that type of aroma pleasing. God left this place a long time ago and now the only thing that remains here are the countless scaffoldings and the angry men.  The angry men were cheated out of life and some might even think that they were cursed to remain here within these four corners forever. They inherited the four corners debt-free when their parents bought into the bargain of its cheap rent and free utilities.  To their parent’s credit, this was once a quite lovely place to raise a family.  It was once filled with the laughter of happy children playing. Budding green trees and grasses once grew here too!  The squirrels weren’t as aggressive back then as the ones I see here today.  These squirrels today should be fitted for motorcycle jackets and smoke cigarettes.  This place was once filled with neighbors that actually cared enough to never mind their own business. Minding one’s own business back then might mean that someone’s child could be lost or even worse, hurt. Everyone looked out for everyone back then. That was always an unspoken rule here. We were all as tight knit as a cable sweater. Those were the days that someone shouted, “Barbara, does your Mutha know you outside?” A follow-up telephone call was made to my mother just in case I might be lying in saying that I had permission to be outside. If I didn’t have permission, I guarantee you that in less than 5 minutes my mother was downstairs in her large bifocal glasses searching for me. I felt so well-protected here at one time that it makes me cringe as I look around today. The wind blows differently here.
  

I’m deep in thought now and I’m thinking of the culprit and then it finally comes to me. Something terrible happened here in the late 1980’s.  Crack-cocaine entered our dynamic and a neighborhood that once blossomed with enough was now quickly turning into a place of lack, destitute, despair and hardship. Some of our beloved neighbors were now running amuck selling their VCR’s, and gold jewelry in exchange for crack.  Their faces were barely recognizable at times as crack began to suck them dry of any signs of life.  Every man here now was out for himself.  Sons turned on their mother’s and spouses began having love affairs with the tiny white rocks.  Children lost their parents in the chaos too. Small residue filled red and white empty crack vials began turning up all over our once clean neighborhood streets. Poverty and police sirens blow in the wind here now.  The good ones weren’t spared either.  Some good sons became drug-dealers and some smart daughters became trophy girlfriends for the big time dealers that weren’t even from the neighborhood.  If crack bypassed your household completely, then you were blessed to escape Satan’s wrath.  Many children were robbed of their youth during those years as the wind just continued to blow with its fury and destroy everything in its path.  Some were committed to a life of crime that only guaranteed one of two outcomes; death or prison.  Some gave birth to babies while they were still babies themselves.  This one-way ticket to hell wasn’t what any of us had signed up for during the young, peaceful and hope-filled years.  Crack was like the onset of a terrible earthquake. A nightmarish tornado and there really was no place like home. No one had ample time to prepare for the hit.  We had big dreams and aspirations before the crack came.  We claimed the cars we would have when we grew up and we played manhunt in the street without fear.  The experiment we were in was unknown to us and unfortunately it ate some of us alive. Many of us became dry leaves blowing in the wind.  In 1990, I pleaded with the YMCA to keep funding, “The Fresh Air Fund Summer Camp” a summer camp program that would invite inner city children to attend sleep-away camp for free for two-weeks.  In my essay, I explained that sleep-away camp would serve as an outlet of freedom for our innocence; freedom from drugs, drug-dealers, rising crime and fear.  My essay won 1st place and The New York Times, covered the story.  It wasn’t enough to save me from the neighborhood.


“Where are you God, It’s me Barbara”.  “This isn’t what I wanted or expected for my life”.  “I’m smarter than this; I can see above all the destitute here”.  God didn’t hear me back then or maybe I couldn’t hear God because the haze that surrounded Satan’s playground was thick.   Some of us made it out but we’re scarred with the kind of trust issues that will last us a lifetime. Let’s fast-forward 19 years or so; the fierce wind is still blowing. You see where the wind blows differently you can leave but the wind has a way of trailing you.  Someone you know is always still in the wind and you will always hope and pray the best for them from a distance. You pray that they get out because this place isn’t safe for anyone.   I can remember a day that the wind bought the rain with it. It’s the end of May, in 2011, and I’m lying in bed in my quiet Queens neighborhood when I receive a very disturbing early morning telephone call. The caller is frantic when she says, “B, two people were murdered last night behind my building. I have to get out of here!”  The caller advised me that I knew all of the victims involved; a third victim was fighting for his life in critical condition.  I couldn’t wrap my mind around what she was saying and I couldn’t picture any of the victims. There was a very long silence after learning that one of the victims was a young mother.  I wasn’t used to that. I wasn’t prepared to hear that a young female became a casualty of a war that was underway for nearly 20 years. I selfishly thought, “Thank God I don’t live there anymore”, but that was cowardly. The caller was so shaken because as if to add insult to injury, she was at a local restaurant just hours before and the young woman was also there…alive and enjoying her life.  22 year-old Crystal Sweet was murdered outside of her family’s apartment window within the confines of the four corners.  Her daughter was instantly robbed of her right to have a mother by the neighborhood where the wind blows differently.  Crystal Sweet was a drug-dealer’s girlfriend and she was me just 19 years later.  In an Epicenter of opportunity like NYC, a melting pot where dreams are stirred and structured, it saddens me to think that there are still tiny little pockets of neighborhoods in areas where the spirit of success and wealth don’t ever blow their wind.  Young men have no vision here because this wind has blown the vibrant colors of life away from them.

The wind blows differently here…

James 1:19-21 “Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger*does not produce the righteousness* God desires. So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.”

It seems like we don’t even care…

Much Luv


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