Consistency

I am doing this thing these days. If I start with something I aim to finish it.

Like if I start encouraging a person. I aim to do that thing until God says stop.

Or if I start with this vegan lifestyle, I plan on picking every piece of egg I can find out of the fried rice I forgot to tell them to make without egg.

If I am working on building a better me, then I want to be able to do that consistently. I remember when walking and running miles were my thing. Then I fell off. But consistency would have kept me on.

I need consistency.

I need routine.

I don’t care if you are a consistent shady character.

Just don’t ever change how you treat me.

Until you are ready to come clean about how you been throwing shade and me under the bus. 

I have come to brace myself for certain individuals and their sly comments and almost compliments. 

I have something to look forward to. 

But, I have expectations.

See consistency. That’s all i need.

Someone consistent in their decency.

If someone is going to be in my life they have to consistently be a decent person, with morals and integrity. Trust is such a big thing to me. And if I cannot trust a person they cannot be in my inner circle. 

See consistency is such a tough thing to find these days. 

Then a double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

A couple of weeks ago, I was in the train. A man I had been crazy about for all of 2016 happened to be on the same car as I. We were both so busy in our phones that we didn’t see each other. Or maybe I didn’t see him. Maybe he saw me and had his own private agenda. Because his story of wanting to go to Giordano’s is not adding up when I just looked to see what time they opened today. They open at 11 AM. We were getting off at my stop at a little before ten. He was definitely not about to wait until 11 until they opened up. 

So we were walking. I told him I threw my feelings for him away. 

Buddy was under the impression that all women get hooked on something and will stay. And maybe he thought because I am a nice person who was interested in encouraging him so let the words God has given me to help him on his journey, in addition to my attraction was going to cause me to allow him to mistreat me. Even though he would not give me what I was asking for, he thought I would still be willing to stay around for the foolery.

I am an only child. I enjoy my alone time. I have only ever been in three official relationships, because once I start something I ride that thing until the wheels fall off and even then I am slow coasting on the rims.

So he asked why. I explained that if my feelings were unnecessary and weren’t going to be put to use what use are they. If the feelings weren’t being reciprocated, why hold on. I threw them away. I have no plans to go and find them. 

He began to explain how I come up with all types of conclusions, that aren’t true. 

And the more we talked, I knew my mind wouldn’t be changed. When I am done I am done. Forget everything else. That’s it. That’s why I don’t commit. If I was committed I would have been compelled to try. But no commitment means a towels throw away. 

As our time together progressed he began to ask me for a kiss. 

Not a chance buddy. We are literally fighting for kisses. Me to not give him one, and him to force me into giving him one. 

When I explain to him why he begins to go into details about all the women he is interested in that is not me.

Is that double minded or what? Why would a man be wrestling with a woman he is not interested in?

I need consistency.

I knew he wasn’t consistent. 

Some days I would get texts, some days I would not. 

Some days he was available to talk, some days he was not.

Some days we would speak to each other, some days we would not.

I was so over it.

Consistency is king in the land of confusion. 

Life is too short to not know what you want. Life is to be lived, and what you want shouldn’t change with the current of the wind.

Nope. I want consistency.

See I have a couple of goals. And like Joseph led Mary to a place to birth her promise safely, I need someone who is consistent about listening to God to follow the path we are supposed to take to make that happen.

I know a consistent person will push and motivate me to become my best consistent version of myself, because that is something they have already conquered.

Anything else will quickly get dismissed!

Everything I want is not good for me. So I will consistently stress to myself that I deserve the best life I was placed here to live. And live abundantly. I will live consistently and on purpose. 

Love on time, at the right time and in the right season. Love like a sculpture on the potters wheel. Love like you are willing to conform to a mold that best suits the beauty of this life that you want to hold. Some sculptures, like vases, have a small opening, and some sculptures are wide enough to hold larger pieces on display. 

Whatever you allow love to mold you into, make it the you that has the most to give to the rest of the world!

Spread love. It’s an art. It was never meant to be kept to yourself, because when it’s real you can’t contain it nor hide it. The whole world will know about it!

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Protector

I used to listen to Steve Harvey talk about the ways a man will show his interest in a woman. 

Those three things were to provide, profess, and protect.

Protection.

I need a man to hold me down in the areas I can’t when it comes to being safe in this world.

Remember Miss Sophia said the world ain’t safe for a woman child in a house full of men. And here we are in this society full of men who think rape culture is alright. 

She must’ve asked for it, about the woman who said no repeatedly to the man she let in her home just for tea or coffee. 

Remember For Colored Girls? 

Just because I enjoy your company doesn’t mean I want to enjoy your body.

I always had to be tough. Who was there to protect me? 

My father died when I was 15. My stepfather was a joke, and I didn’t meet my brother until I was 26.

Yeah. I don’t think too much about fighting women. We been fought, beat up, abused, mistreated, made to be responsible while the boys got away with bloody murder.

It’s easier for me to forgive the transgressions of a woman than it is for me to not hold a man accountable for his behavior. He was built to lead. And I can’t see letting him fall short of using traits that will make him a better leader. 

I am more mature these days, even at my lowest. But I remember how I was always quick to jump in a dude face screaming, “I fight boys.”

I would’ve, it I had to. Until my momma died. My baby was in my belly and the boy who wanted to fight me wanted to abort the baby in my baby too. Yeah. I just humbled myself.

I don’t keep much beef with my sisters. 

But these guys. The guys Who are supposed to be protecting his sisters. The guys lying on their dipstick just trying to see how many licks it takes to get a chick to drop her guard and let him in. 

Those lying boys.

They love to pretend as if they have gotten notches on their belt, when they have really just gotten dismissed, looked at in contempt like why are you here looking to undress yourself in my space as if I am interested in pursuing you on that level?

Those lying boys. Supposed to be protecting sister girls image. Supposed to be protecting her heart. When they pretend they want anything more than sex they allow a woman’s heart to be unguarded. They are supposed to be protecting her body. Why satisfy your cravings on a woman treating her like a toilet. Just someplace to do your business?

What is wrong with settling down with one woman?

I often wondered.

And then I saw a post. It talked about hazing sin fraternities. It spoke of rituals I would care not to discuss right now. But it caused me to wonder about men and their ability to be with one woman. Does it have anything to do with needing an urge and a craving satisfied that a woman never can?

Is that why my brothers refuse to protect their sisters. Protect their reputations after one  out of character deed, forgetting all the good they did before? Protect their minds by speaking truth to them. Protect their bodies by honoring their no. Protect their hearts by treating them with kindness and dignity?

Who taught black women how to hate themselves. Was it the black man with his love of the exotic features? That same mans’ love of the look of women who have never and may never walk along side them in the struggle? Is that why we compete with each other like crabs in  a barrel. Who has the longest weave, the fairest skin, the most European features is the one who will get chosen by the man who hates himself, and hates his sister in the process.

Brother I needed protection. Ten years ago. On this early morning when I supposed to be headed to school. 

My dreams were left there with the hauntings of a naive, not so innocent, young woman who never knew what being protected felt like. 

There was no savior back then.

But that’s why I love my Savior like I do now.

I used to choose men based on what my physical self told me was good. If he looked good, or smelled good, and did this and that good. Yep, it’s him. He is the one for me. But now a days things are different. If he doesn’t have integrity he is a no go. You remember the traits I discussed in the last blog? Those values would be honesty, loyalty, and moral fibers in his values; now let’s add, and be able to protect me to the growing list. If he doesn’t have those basic things; I am not interested.

I get this. This is not all my brothers. But I have been so bad at making choices, it is hard to be able to discern between what’s real and what’s fake. 

I just dismissed the fake. The fake that got mad at me for not letting him in my home, and not letting him kiss me. 

Nope. No sir. These lips are on reserve for somebody God has deemed worthy. 

The fake that got to spreading vicious rumors about me behind my back, but failed to say a word in my face. The fake that keeps harassing me with his nasty display of indecent behavior by gossiping and repeating secrets I thought I told a friend.

I Guess. My brother became my enemy.

But the Lord is faithful. He will strengthen me and protect me from the evil one. The ones that refuse to become accountable for their behavior. That keep lying to themselves about where their self hate, and hatred of women comes from. The ones that never try to live by the standards they grew up believing in and have let their moral fibers be given over to the enemy they used to sing songs in praises to Jesus to defeat that enemy.

The ones that would rather beat their mother down for being a failure, instead of loving her through her storms and accept her where she is. The one who treats women based on how he feels about the mother that failed them in life.

We are not to blame. And therapy helps us address deep seated hurts that cause us to fail in our interpersonal relationships as adults. 

That mother did the best she can. She probably just wasn’t protected from something that changed the whole course of her life. I know about being that woman. I know about healing from hurt and trauma. I know that it takes a lot of strength to do so. And sometimes it is hard to find that strength while trying to be strong for little people that demand so much.

Those who are critical of others usually have a hard time accepting theirselves. So. Accept you are doing the best you can, as we all are. I am sure my brothers would protect me if they knew better. And when they know better they do better. 

Do better, and be your best. There is a whole world waiting on your greatness. But in the meantime. 

Protect your sister the same way you want someone to protect your daughters and sisters. 

That’s love. So love on purpose. Intentionally. Like in art. It takes time to complete the masterpiece. So take your time to love someone. It is not always easy. But it will always yield fruit, because it is a seed!

Accountability

I will never forget the year I fell in love I with a married man.

He was tall; 6’4, caramel complexion, and so handsome. 

I was walking up to my friends apartment, square in hand, and whatever had me stressed had me smoking the cigarette until the butt. 

He asked for the county short. I looked at him in disdain. I mean what kind of man is trying to shoot his shot at a woman walking in an alley. I immediately discarded him as trash.

But me, forever being nice, and always wanting to give what is asked of me proceeded to walk towards him to give him the short. I figured he had to be going through worse than I was if he needed my short that was nothing meow than fumes really at this point.

He tricked me though. The first time of many. He didn’t want my short, he wanted me to be his shorty. His nucca no matter what as he chose to describe it later as we got closer.

I wasn’t really interested. Especially after he told me he drove a city transit bus. I was too bourgeoisie for that. Bad, and boujee. Especially after he asked me was I a stripper. I already knew what type of man he was; and I had just come back from California visiting PhD programs at Berkeley, Stanford, UCLA, UC Davis, UC Santa Cruz just to name a few. I was being groomed for the life of the upper echelon. My ‘guy’ was working on his Masters. 

No sir. My family lives in the hood. Just because I am a product of the ghetto doesn’t mean I am a ghetto progeny. My story will not end here, and it looks as if you live for the hood.

No and thank you.

But. Life happens. Shifts change, and currents tide. 

My mother as dying of cancer, and my ‘guy’ was being dishonest. Besides, he never told me he was married. What he did tell me I disregarded because he said he wasn’t married.

However, when a year later he did come clean I didn’t leave him all the way alone. I insisted he leave. I insisted he get his own place. I was bossy and demanding. And he did.

Oh the repercussions!

I met an abusive man shortly after that. One that refuses to help raise his child, and quits a job every time child support sends papers. Touché.

I had never been a person who had a hard time finding and keeping love around. After that, however, love always seemed to slip through my fingers. Jobs became hard to come by. I got kicked out of school. The job that was waiting for me after my graduation was forfeited. My mother died. My friends became busy with their own lives. My family couldn’t help. I knew homeless nights a time too many.

And then here comes Jesus.

And then here comes this relationship with my Savior. 

And then here comes repentance, and obedience.

Jobs started lining up, money started rolling in, homelessness is a thing of the past, even after not having an income from my job in almost three months. 

Then here comes a secret desire of mine being fulfilled. Before all the horrors of the year my mother died and cavorting with the married man, I had this amazing boyfriend. One who took me everyplace I wanted to go, bought me everything I thought I wanted, and loved me unconditionally.

And he once took me to see Def Poets on stage.

I wanted to do that. I wanted to share my poetry with people on a big stage. 

But I never told anyone that. 

But one appointment. One meeting with my pastor, and he offered me a spot on the stage.

See my pastor didn’t know me. I hadn’t been recommended to him. But God knew me. He knew my changes had come. He knew I sent the married man home to his wife encouraging him to be true to her and love her like he did when they were teenagers. He knew I blocked all contact, and vowed to never make that mistake again.

He knew I was living a sacrificial life. My God knew this. He recommended me.

And I made a promise. Well not really. I stated some words. I said I was patiently waiting for my husband at the end of that poem.

Lord knows I meant it. But, the way my resistance is set up these days. I fought a good fight. I ran a good race. But someone at my job hindered me. 

Those words became meaningless and futile.

So now the hurt and pain I am suffering letting go of something I was never supposed to grab hold to is a constant  nagging reminder of why obedience is better than sacrifice.

See lack of obedience is why Saul lost his kingdom to David. And David’s taking Uriahs wife is the reason why his child with Bathsheba died, why his son slept with his wives, and why someone was always going to die by the sword in his household.

2 Samuel 12:10,11: 10 From this time on, your family will live by the sword because you have despised me by taking Uriah’s wife to be your own.
11 “This is what the Lord says: Because of what you have done, I will cause your own household to rebel against you. I will give your wives to another man before your very eyes, and he will go to bed with them in public view. 

God holds us accountable for our behaviors. We have to suffer the repercussions of our actions. This is why, i always ask God to show me how to deal with people dealing with hardships. If they are being disciplined by God because of sins against Him who am I to step in the middle of what crooked path God is making straight? If a person is constantly going through the same thing because like Jonah they are running from obedience to God, and I step in to help them, should I be surprised when I am hit because I am blocking Gods hand from hitting them.

God is a God of mercy and grace, when we repent. But he is also the same God who caused the earth to swallow up whole families who were disobedient in the wilderness, even when only one member of the family was guilty.

Guilty by association.

But God was merciful. To David.

1 Samuel 12: 13 Then David confessed to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.”
Nathan replied, “Yes, but the Lord has forgiven you, and you won’t die for this sin. 

I often wondered what was the key to the gospel of Christ.

Acts 8:37!

All I have to do is believe. Believe that Jesus is the Son of God and he died for my sins. Once I believe I know that when I confess my sins they are forgiven, and thrown in the sea of forgiveness. Then I run a race working hard to win no more. 

I hold myself accountable, all while remembering there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. He is my only judge. He judges with grace and mercy. 

So.

We all fall short. A righteous man falls seven times, stands up eight.

Get up. Someone is waiting for you! You did it. But grace, being sufficient, said all is well. We are imperfect beings whose desire to is to serve a perfect God. So go, and be. Become all God called you to be! Because He is the one who authored, and finishes our faith!

Let it be done!

Integrity

I have some big dreams.

My dreams require some places that most people would never be able to enter into.

I need God to help me get there.

How in the world can God entrust me with my big dreams, if I can’t be trusted with some of the smaller things he gives me?

Like, the ability to love the people who have shown love to me. Or, the responsibility to be honest in my intentions towards others? Or, carrying someone’s secrets who came to me in distress and wanted me to hold onto their pain? Or, respecting people.

Sometimes I have a hard time respecting people.

My issues with authority is long standing. My mother always promised me my big mouth would get me into trouble.

And I will never forget. It did. 

2011. I was driving down the block my daughters father liked to smoke on. I saw him, blunt in hand, in the car with his lady, and became livid. Yep. I did my vindicative thing. I called the police. Little did I know the police that came would put me in jail. 

But I was talking. Every time they tried to get me to leave I reminded them I wasn’t going anywhere. I had rights. It was a free country, etc, etc, etc.

I am not easily scared.

When they removed me from the situation and I had to be bonded out of the situation, I wanted so bad to run and tell all my daughters father’s secrets about himself to his face and anyone who would listen. I mean he told a lie, the policeman told a lie, and I had to pay a couple of stacks to a great lawyer to free my name from something that had been made up.

But, integrity.

I recently was close to a young man who enjoyed telling me all the sordid details about his significant other. He also told me all about his friends and their secrets. 

How can a man with no integrity expect to go any place in life?

It doesn’t matter how great a person’s talents are when their moral fibers are few. It doesn’t matter what a person does well when they treat people like trash. That may be why a talented person who has been working at their talents for decades still has shows where no one can sing along with the songs. Or, no one shows up at all. 

Mediocrity at its best. 

Mediocrity and lack of integrity goes hand in hand. 

It’s hard to build a following of people when respecting people is at a minimum. It is hard to be loved by adoring fans when a person is not honest about their motives for another person. Why not be honest about what your purpose is in a persons life?

Who sent you?

I am thankful for every area in my life I fell, I failed, and had to work hard to rebuild. 

Rebuilding teaches humility and with humility comes integrity. 

There are moral principles I live by these days. 

I will not lie to get my way. I will not disrespect those who have been kind, or have come to help me. I will not pretend to be interested in a person’s life just to get them to consume something I have to offer. I will not pretend to love someone just to get their attention when I feel no one else, I want, is giving the attention I want. I will not be disloyal. There will be no talking about the people I am close to when they are not around if I have no intention on telling them how I feel about them when it all cools down for me to share. I will have concern for others. I can’t be a person who is only concerned about what a person can do for me and how they make me feel. I have learned to take responsibility for my personal actions. When does one grow into maturity to hold themselves accountable for behaviors that may have led to discomfort in relationships?

See this last situation God used all types of things to remove me from was something I was never supposed to be involved in, in the first place. I kept letting what I saw get me distracted from faith, which is a substance of the things hoped for and belief in the things UNSEEN. 

For all that is in the world is lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and boastful pride of life.

All that character did was talk about himself and his perceived accomplishments. What good is accomplishments if changes aren’t happening around us. We live in a society where everyone is so consumed with themselves. Pause, flash for the click of the pic. Where men need to have a woman that represents everything society says we are supposed to be going for and wonder why our children are failing as a generation killing everything like open season at target practice. It almost seems like Everything has a bullseye on it in Chicago these days. Who is raising the children? 

Are they women and men of value, moral integrity and substance? 

Men in the music world are constantly promoting sex. Women believing they have to be sexy in order to be chosen. Divisions happening between women in competition for what they feel is a valuable man. And men confusing women, and overconsuming product to create bait for women to bite. Who has time to raise the children. Who has time to fill them with moral values? Who has time to show love, when lust and greed are the central and key ingredients to our societies potluck?

See in honesty I can say finally I am single because I never had the closure I needed with my ex. I was too busy lying telling him all we were, was sex partners and that’s all it was about. The truth was, I was head over heels in love with him.

But closure came at A visit to my daughters birthday party. The same man, from back when my then two year old called Dadas, like she never knew her father, walked in the door to say happy birthday, and left with a sense of closure. We made the right choice all those years ago.

See while he was chosen for being one of the most handsome men. His encouraging words built me up. A woman has to be up built by her man in order to be the healing nurturing light the family structure needs to grow. He was let go for his inability to be honest, and communicate with me. He chose to get his information from the woman who called herself my sister but hated me like an enemy. 

I let go then, and where I grew over the last four years in one direction and he grew in another; closing doors to a purpose we chose not to fulfill became the plan for our future.

Integrity. I live to love on purpose. I am not interested in a man who sleeps with women for sport. Who calls women out of their name. I have encountered too many down low men, thank God for the Holy Spirit being a snitch. Men who disrespect any woman is suspect. I am not interested in a man who speaks ill about a woman who carried his seed in her womb for months. I am not interested in a man who is not loyal to his circle of friends. I am not interested in a man who has nothing to offer to his community. And while many other women may be, I have to be honest and show integrity to my needs and the needs I want to meet for my daughter.

And if that means I wait until she is a teenager like my mother did and all the raising has been done so be it. If I teach her sheer drive and determination from the beautiful people God has surrounded us with, I shall. I refuse to settle just to say I have something when that thing does not fit my needs. 

I operate in integrity.

I walk in purpose.

I treasure my moments.

And I love.

I love like splatters of paint on an empty canvas. There is no containing it. And I give it freely. Integrity means I give because that’s who I am. I never expect anything in return. I store treasures in heaven for my God to release to me as he sees fit.

And. His treasures have been abundant these days!

My integrity looks like a sun peeking out of storm clouds letting it’s rays illuminate bleak and drab skies. 

So what does your integrity look like?