Flight School

Moons ago, I couldn’t see the forest for the trees.

I was heavy with the “ride or die” movement and carrying a team thicker than any late 1990s rap entourage.

Loyalty was the name of the game and I was in.

Deep through my heritage and culture, it is understood that you leave no one behind.

So, as I traversed my journey, I took every Tom, Dick, Harry, Sally, and Sue Ellen with me.

Years would go by and never once did I question my inability to…

  • Free myself from the heroes cape, starving to save anyone who would let me
  • Recognize my insecure feelings on celebrating any good fortune that found my way
  • Discern the foul, discouraging, hurt birds that were there for the spoils but never the losses
  • Question the content and inconsistencies that I deemed worthy of acceptance

Then it happened. Somewhere in Graduate School, I no longer had the capacity to carry another.

Not another soul, opinion, direction, etc.etc.etc.

God had occupied my mind and vision with all that he had for me to the point that loyalty was directed towards Him, towards me.

If this were Flight School, attendance was slim.

The life that was once standing room only like a college club on Thursday nights…became wide open and free. For those who loved what I stood for, loved what I had, or just loved standing next to me had to flee.

There was no more room inside of me for loyalty greater than we (me and He or HIM, the GREAT I AM).

Enter those who understood my transition and had flown a very similar path.

Some, where veteran characters in my cast who stood the test of life and changes. Others were new characters that would stay for a season, a spell, or remain for the duration.

Funny thing about Eagles, they do not clutter or cling to another.

They cross paths at the right time but when their assignments are doled out, it’s understood that the mission is great.

I stand here today, thankful, blessed, and bright-eyed reflecting over the fellow Eagles I have collaborated, shared, inspired, or learned from during different levels of flight school.

You are only as good as your faith, attitude, and team.

It took time and travail, but my fellow Eagles and I are soaring even higher through the sky these days.

Blessed.

She’s Crying Out

America is crying out.

We continue to treat her symptoms with allergy meds, cough suppressant, and nausea pills.

Not working.

I remember the last time the phrase ‘crying out’ surfaced in my life.

It was during my last year of Graduate Studies at WG.

My supervisor and I were having a one on one meeting (weekly or bi-weekly professional development meeting for my non-student affairs friends).

Janine looked me in the eye, face filled with concern.

“Coretta, your students behavior is crying, if not screaming out for your attention. They are asking you for help via their behavior.”

Until that point I was numb. I was juggling interning as a Counselor, maintaining my graduate studies, balancing a part-time bank gig, keeping my staff together, and duct taping the back of my head to ensure none of my remaining marbles would slip out.

Janine was right. There had been a series of piss poor decision based incidences that occurred in my hall. The behavior reflected a lack of self-love and self-esteem in my residences (or the lack of critical thought) which threatened safety and well-being.

Like a good steward, I had previously employed every ‘reactive’ measure to restore balance/safety into our community. However, in truth, I was only bandaging an oozing wound.

Long story short, Janine’s words jolted me awake. I would go on to partner with fellow dept. colleagues and seek out collaboration from our Patient Advocates, Peer Advisors, and the Director for Alcohol Education. Prior to departure for Thanksgiving break we hosted an on-campus event at one of our largest facilities on campus which included a guest speaker used to break open conversation. After 20 minutes of presentation-we created over 25 table groups of people to have facilitated dialogue.

Yes, nearly 250 students and professionals talked through surface to deep related issues that involved truth.

See, I came to that program willing to get on their level. I created spoofs or mock videos of the behavior that was questionable with the help of my dept. friends/colleagues and showed the students a reflection of what was debilitating our living environment.

This allowed ownership and authorship to show up. Students negatively impacted by the behavior spoke their concerns and were able to look across tables and talk with culprits. Those who were responsible for the questionable behavior were able to speak up and voice their perspective.

Roses did not emerge. There would be smaller level issues. Those are typical and why I was employed.

The bigger picture was the putting a face behind hurt, distrust, and pain.

Back to today.

The latest news with the Officer shooting the unarmed man in SC is symptomatic of a systemic problem.

America is crying out for help. She’s telling us all is not well. What we’ve done in the past will not work today. We cannot look away or break out bandages for deep-seated wounds.

Our fabric has a whole in it. It’s not okay to be right and not learn how to work through fear and ignorance.

She’s crying, hurting even. So Am I.

Standing Tall

Towards the end of last week, the weather shifted and the rain entered as the sunlight took a bow.

I was driving somewhere with the windows rolled down enjoying the scent of rain.

Refreshing.

My mind drifted off slowly to this time when I was in Clemson standing under a tree chatting with one of my favorite colleagues, Jill. Suddenly, the clouds broke open, rain poured  from heaven beating the earth profusely.

In the middle of our conversation, we stood there admiring God’s design.

See the trees towered towards the sky and leaned in ever so gently protecting our beauty and natural coifs.

We both ceased talking and smiled as the rain danced around us while not a drop graced our backs.

I believe that to be one of the most beautiful and enlightening moments of my life.

Entering towards Easter weekend, I was in awe that the Lord brought that back to my remembrance.

At that moment, I grew prouder at the sacrifice that our Lord made for all humanity (those accepting and those who reject).

Wow, what a magnificent being. Jesus.

That same Lord walks with us whether we stand tall or fall. That memory will be forever my proof that nothing touches us without permission. Through it all, he protects, shields, covers.

Displaced

Roughly three weeks ago, I was in the kitchen having a conversation with my mom about the politics of local Church. Somewhere the conversation took a turn towards one of the favorite places of worship we love to visit. At some point, she looked me in the eye repeating the pastor’s words of “sister you’re out-of-place.” Mom repeated those words again, but made her reference plural.

Oh, how the hairs on my skin stood up for justice (they really did).

“Uh, No. Don’t make it plural. He was talking to you. That’s your message.”

Had no idea I was triggered. It’s only through today’s quiet time with the Lord and after reading a book on whitespace (spiritually resting) that I came to realized the gravity of that day.

This book on whitespace really delves deeps into the author’s plight with anxiety and stress. It’s the very thing that made me grabbed the book. See, when I’m good. I’m really good. That means I am calm, focused, but in an open free to follow God space.

The opposite, is just that. When I stress, worry, doubt, fear, turn myself inside out, it becomes a monstrous affair. Somehow, reading the words off the second chapter of the book told of my insomnia journey i dealt with between 2012-2014. The author talked about not being able to sleep or rest and busying self with numbing behavior like reading, tv, internet, etc.

Wow, she must have been right beside me.

I completed the little exercise at the end of the chapter but had no idea what Jesus would go on to reveal.

I began asking Jesus what I was or have been feeling.

My initial responses were the words  sad, frustrated, angry, hurt, and ended with afraid. That was until my Dad, fresh out of surgery asked me to move my car because the satellite provider needed to troubleshoot our internet connection.

Snap. That very thing I felt in that conversation with my mom. That “I feel some type of way” air…started heating up my blood. I can feel it. That deep in the pit of your stomach uggggggggggh.

Pause. For those of you on the surface, you’re think sheesh. Just make way for the service provider. Simple request.

Now, let’s hit the play button for truth.

My truth is that I am displaced. I do not fit anywhere at the current moment.

But, I’ve always felt this way. I love my hometown and even my home state, but truthfully that’s not home.

I normally tell people I’m a wondering gypsy in search of something greater every moment I take a breath. At least, that’s what my inner soul tells me.

Exit confusion, enter clarity.

My soul was at rest with the word displaced. Yes, that what is it.

My heart would even dig further. Is this what I’ve been feeling my whole life?

Such a simple accommodation. Wait, I’ve been making accommodations my whole life with none being made for me. Move here, do this, don’t inconvenience so and so. You just do the adapting and adjusting.

Oops, time for the “turn up.” Boy this word displaced has opened the can for sure.

My mind raced around the corner and would bring some more friends to the party.

What is that?  A nice bright shiny package from the depths of my soul.

Perhaps, this displacement stems from feeling like you were born to be everything for everyone else.

Like people who have kids to make themselves feel better or connect with love? Selfishness.

Suddenly, my heart took another detour. Expectations and boundaries.

All these disjointed thoughts around displacement are tapping on the issues of expectations and boundaries.

I am an eagle who will most likely pass through more places than settle. I’m game for the travels and looking forward to these adventures.

But clearly, for my soul to finally begin to de-clutter years of wear and false truths, I must  get clear on what I need.

I can move my car out of the driveway, I can comply to simple requests.

What I cannot do is continue realigning myself for the vision or needs of others.

My soul is crying out for me to awaken so I can put voice to expectations and boundaries I need to live the fruitful life I am destined.

Such a journey requires rest, a quiet place, and the freedom to explore without regard of others who cannot bear any truths that are revealed along the way.

Rebirth of Coretta

Six weeks ago, I would have cringed or scowled at some of the opportunities that are opening up on my behalf.

Six months ago, the side hustles and adventures I’ve undertaken would have warranted a side-eye.

A year ago, I would have vomited at the mention of settling or thoughts thereof.

Today, I stand realizing that God operates best in simplicity. Stripped down and core exposed.

I have seen God in less than a year, strip down my false sense of self and list of wanna be needs.

In return, He has surpassed all of my expectations by affording me opportunities to learn first hand about running a fashion empire from shipment, visual campaigns, marketing, price stability, the new era of service, and business assessment.

The Lord has also shown me how warehouses work and the true differences between consumers and producers.

Yet again, He is about to place me in an opportunity to see the inside/out of an organization that will add to the tool belt of resources that I strap on daily.

God is using all of these things and more to do what he has always done. Teach.

My dreams are vast and expand around the world. The level of business and mogul like ventures that I will strive will require me not to be a cave dweller, yet a jet setter.

My line of work will involve me having a thorough understand of all the cogs, nuts, and bolts of my operations so that I can employ, innovate, and create the greatest brands ever.

But, first comes training. Training comes with the humility to explore, roll up sleeves, and work.

The Break Up

Messages have a way of finding themselves to you even when you run or ignore them.

I glanced on a friend’s page (Stacey G.) and noticed the video below. I knew from the freeze frame that it was a good watch. Figured I would get around to watching. Of course, I became “busy” and allowed other distractions to take their course. Funny enough, one of my long time friends tagged me in the video (Chantal).

The video shows a poet pouring out truth in her vows to her “soon-to- be-husband”. What I love the most is the vulnerability that the two share in front of all to see. However, she stole my soul with the following line:

“Pain had been loyal for years.”

Yesssss!!! I am not celebrating. NO. Just recognizing and owning the impeding break up with pain that I have been transitioning through for the past 10 to 15 years of my life.

Sounds like a prison bid right? Well, it is.

Pain and fear will lock you down in maximum security where no visitor or light can reach you.

The walls of pain will drain the color out of your eyes and the life out of your very soul.

But, God being the loving creator he is tends to send his most dedicated servants not to save, but to love us. Yes, those servants do their due diligence to be the very thing we are running away from, Love.

For some of us, the wrong kind of love, be it family, career, lover, user, or pusher,  robbed us.

We don’t file police reports or take anyone to court. Nah. We just enable each situation that familiar to the previous episodes to stack on top of each other.

Grief loves to party with other grief right?

Before long, you are unfamiliar to self. You say things to hurt others. You hurt self and others to just know that ‘feeling’ is still a thing. Yet and still, those faithful servants that God sends see right through the translucent wall of excuses, stubbornness, isolation, or whatever label we choose to dress our pain in for the day.

However, the light of true, healthy, unselfish love is too strong for the tainted love that brought on the pain. In time, we begin to open ourselves to those of real love. We learn to cope better. We pray together. We learn together. Eventually, the light of possibility blots out the dark spots of uncertainty or inadequacy.

Yes, as this young lady experienced, we all are loveable and worthy of agape love.

I smile as I too am traveling a different road. After a long burdensome relationship with pain, I too am calling it quits. Returning to Georgia has allowed me to fall head over heels with living, thriving, and loving yet again. Pain still shows up at my door unannounced with flowers and candy coated hearts.

Sometimes I’m alert and vigilant not to answer or to at least call a sponsor.

Other times, I open the door, read the text, or entertain pain’s latest gossip just to remember why we broke up in the first place.

A Hum to go with that Pep

About three weeks ago, I found a song that resonated my current mind state.

The song is called “Live your life” and it is by an artist named Yuna.

Some days are harder than others to keep a pep in our step.

This song really helps me rediscover my priorities and perspective as soon as I hear it.

May it add a blessing to your day.

“Live if you really want to.”

first few lyrics…

Find your light
Don’t hide from what you are
And rise before you fall
And hope for something more
Live if you really want to
Live if you really want to
Live if you really want to

All my life I’ve been looking for something amazing
It’s almost like I’ve been stargazing
The sky is right above me

We were meant for something bigger than this
Don’t ever try to dismiss yourself cause you don’t have to