Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?

If you are true music fan, you will recognize Paula Cole's 90's song title. No this post isn't about the 90's or music for that matter. Being that it s the last day in February, I had to take a moment to pay homage to my people.

I have always been proud to be a Black American. Yes I say Black American. I prefer the term, but take no offense to African American. (My reasons for another post...) I am proud to come from a lineage of people who know how to encounter injustice with true courage and bravery. I am proud to come from a lineage of people who were commitment to see change even if it meant not in their life time.

But in 2012 I pause out of concern. Truly where have all the cowboys gone? Where are the voices standing for change? The voices sharing the bravery of yesterday and the glad tidings of tomorrow. Somewhere we have lost our connection to the past and have desecrated the glorious history of a people to being a behavior--rap music, sagging pants, ill language, flashy jewelry, chrome wheels, etc, etc. We are nowhere near removed from the struggle. And forgetting the efforts of those who were a part of it and witnessed it is a blasphemous shame to humanity.

With the westward expansion of the United States, it is estimated at one fourth of all cowboys were Black. These men most times received equal wages as their white counterparts. Just like others, Blacks forged west in hopes of creating their own slice of the American pie. They built all black western towns--Nicodemus, Kansas; Dearfield Colorado; Boley, Oklahoma. They farmed, lived in sod houses, and worked hard. How dare we forget? How dare we not know? How dare we not remind ourselves that Black History is American History.

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Inward Battle:Silent Permission

It's no secret that I am a little bit different, rather strange, and certainly one of a kind. One of the hardest lessons I have learned was to love my uniqueness. I have always been the round peg who could not fit into the square hole. And my silence did no good to my own self labeled eccentricity. No I wasn't the outward flamboyant, but my extrordinary thoughts always remained private; thus my inward struggle.

It's not a unique battle to me. Most won't admit their inner struggle even to the most intimate of friends. It is a challenge we were conditioned to keep to self, which in turn is self destructive behavior. The taboo surrounding mental health has come a long way, yet much work is still needed in the area. The fact is we all have experienced a mental battle. This battle comes in several recognizable forms--low self esteem, abuse of any kind, living in a "broken" family, etc. It all starts in the mind--a word we heard, or words we didn't hear that we thought we should have heard--the effects of actions done or not even completed--it all is processed in the mind sowing seeds for a inward battle.

With no intentions to belittle any traumatic experiences, but it is not the battle that causes us the stress or imbalance, it's the capped bottle that shakes us. Keeping it all within is the problem. We will experience a multitude of things, but these things should be released not withheld. By withholding your story you are withholding your dreams, aspirations, present and most importantly your future. The moment you allow what others think, believe, and speak to control the quality, pitch, and volume of your voice you walk like the living dead. Though breath is flowing through your being, life is all but absent. Silence is deadly. . You can not afford to relinquish your voice under any circumstances. Break the silence. Let it all hang out! Now know that I am not suggesting anyone to go willy nilly and use your voice to impose negativity on yourself or others. Not at all. Your voice is meant to create and promote life not bondage, thus you must use it wisely.

Yes. Using your voice is one of the hardest battles to overcome, but know it is well worth the fight. Sure some don't agree with my voice, can't understand my voice or simply don't hear my voice, but it is mine. I have come into the understanding that my voice was to intended to give life to my every valuable thought the creator, God, placed within me. When I allow my voice to be under another's lock and key I am giving silent permission to every negative force in the universe to cause havoc in my life. By the mere power of my words I can produce the outcome I desire. I end by battle with I break the silence. To reaffirming my birth right, the freedom to pursue my happiness, I speak. Platinum coated words with  access to former restricted areas. I speak. With quality in small quantity. Unashamed of who might hear, I speak. 

Stand up, speak up. Don't ponder the ifs. Put a voice to your pain and watch it begin to turn to gain.

Friday, February 24, 2012


Being a fan of words--all kinds--good words—exhilarating, succumb; bad words—any swear word will do; I try to peruse the blog scene daily. Kind of like my morning and afternoon coffee ( I hate coffee by the way). One of the blogs I regularly follow is I love the candor the men provide and the comments can be Wow Nelly some times, but it keeps me reading. A recent post by come of the writers was, in brief, using a line from Drake's song, Make Me Proud, "I like a woman with a future and a past, A little attitude problem all good it'll make the sh-t last, Don't make it too easy girl, don't take it too fast . . ."  I loved the post for its honesty and thought provoking content, but I really, really, really made me think. What is it with this concept of damaged goods? If one is damaged does that mean they will always wear that label?

While Drake's lines seem to be a paradox, it really trumps the entire idea of being damaged goods, right? If you have a future and a past, then you had a past that you obviously overcame to have an impactful future, right? Isn't that the concept of the entire song? Why else would Drake be so proud of you?

From all accounts I tend to believe we are only damaged if we allow ourselves to live in the wreck. Broken things get fixed all the time and some sometimes things have to be broken to be fixed. And this is where perception is at its greatest. You must know how to look at the situation. Will you allow it to determine everything you can't do or drive it to push you to be everything that you are supposed to be?

Any time you choose to enter into a romantic relationship of any kind you are making an unspoken agreement of acceptance. This agreement is not to accept any ill wanted behavior but it is to accept and support the person's commitment to be a better person. If you believe at any point that job, for the lack of better words, has requirements that you can not or will not agree to you then have the option to walk away. It's a pure matter of choice. However know that all things quick and easy aren't good. Sure it may take some time to see total fruit of change, yet the outcome is most benefitcial to all involved. We all have something we need to move beyond and external support to keep us in the right direction.  

I guess my point in it all is really, really, really I could care less if you grew up in a broken family, or was shot five times, or lost a limb, or sold dope, or whatever your past circumstances may be. What I care about is what are you doing now? You don't have to wear the label of damaged for your lifetime. In the words of the Dalai Lama . . . when you lose, don't lose the lesson....

"Everything’s adding up, you've been through hell and back, that's why you're bad as f... and you know you are" Drake--Make Me Proud

Monday, February 20, 2012

Loving Love

Recently I recalled a conversation that I had with one of my best sistagirlfriends and love. I don't know if it's our age--a ripe 32 years--or our genuine natural that truly let us to this topic. It was further on the fore front when I watched a news special in ATL about couples who have been married for over 50 years who lived in the same neighborhood. It was so beautiful it led me to tears. Yeah I'm a MAJOR sap. Undoubtedly, we all want to be loved and know its being returned, but are we truly ready for its eternal style to take over our being? Honestly, I love the ideal of love--what it stands for, its ability, and how it functions--but I don't know if I am ready for it.

I know there's no store bought barometer that can gauge my readiness level or any no true visible signs of ripeness like a banana (though I love a banana that is still under ripe with a little green on it). But love is not fruit or temperature; there has got to be some means to know your love has hit perfection and you are ready to share in its experience. Emotions can be tricky but really is love that complex? It is that shrouded it needs a surgical team to remove its garments? I don't know all, but I'm convinced majority of us don't know what love truly is. Yes I made a logical fallacy with my major generalization here--but if we did know what it was, maybe we won't mislabel it, abuse it, miss use it, discard it, and long so hard for it.

My humble (yes I am in awe of how many people read my blog) opinion places love at the top of every must have list. Why? Well in the best words I can use--it's love. So circular of me, right? I discuss love and then use it an explanatory manner to explain it. So let me attempt to show my love of love...
  1. One reason I love love is because it is eternal. Love in all forms is everlasting. I can't understand how we choose to limit something that is intended to be limitless in application. If you love me, I shouldn't have to question if your love will be present tomorrow or the next day. Even if I should leave all visible presence, you should still love me. This eternal love is evident in parental relationships but can't it be in romantic love too? Can I love him into infinity???
  2. Another reason I love love is because it truly conquerors all. Afraid? Confused? Lost? Run to love and it covers you.
  3. Love is simply beautiful. It has a natural ambiance that glows. A beckoning glow that begs your attention. love needs to make up to enhance its features or heighten its attractive qualities. The old couples I show on that news report looked eternally youthful as they shared their stories of love. Their excitement for each other even after all the years never faded.
  4. Love is truth. And you know how I feel about the can't truly live without it. They say truth hurts--well it does sting for a moment. If allowed, love will spread once truth is acquired and begin to heal wounds. But we just have to let it work. Don't give in or up so easily--it takes a true commitment.
  5. And yet another reason I love love is its cost. You can't buy it with any form of monetary funds. It comes with a price tag you must be willing to pay for it with the very breathe you breath. Every ounce of your being must be dedicated to knowing love's value and risk. Love is work that it labor intensive, not for the faint. It you are looking for cheap, fast, and easy---well that's not love.
  6. Love's a mutual benefactor. In love, both parties win. The fact that you can love is its gift to the giver. Sure we all want reciprocity, but pure love, true love, real love receives as it gives.
I know my mini list is well just that, mini. In no way to does capture all there's to know about love but it's a start. I'm convinced that what we thought was love all long wasn't really. Lust most likely, but not the distinctive qualities of love. I know that I have much to learn on the subject, yet I am willing to learn. I don't think love is hiding or choosing to elusive. I don't know all of its signs, but I can feel it's here. Like you can smell rain in the air, I know my time of love has truly come. I know my words sound idealistic and mystic, maybe even magical, but one must maintain a sense of hope in truth and in love. Love is no fairy tale. It's common and simplistic and most of all real. I'm in no rush to meet love in its raw form; I would much rather it take the lead in its course and I simply follow the journey.

Sunday, February 19, 2012


In preparation for my New Jersey move, I am beginning to pack, boy what a task. I must downsize a-sap! It's ridiculous the abundance of shoes, clothes, and home decor that I have. For example, I have 14 yards of a pretty almond brown with gold specs fabric. It was my intent 6 years ago to have my cousin make be some curtains for my living room. But you guessed it, that never happened! So what in the world do I do with the fabric now?? But that's not the end--upstairs I found more fabric!! Now I look at the clothes I never wore, pictures I never hung, and shoes I never walked in and see nothing but dollars! Imagine if I would have saved all that money I spent....I'm seriously shaking my head now. But the saying goes, why cry now??? It's a bit to late to cry after the fact....I'm moving.

In all aspects of my life, I'm moving. At this point it doesn't matter who's going with me. I need no audience to make the choice or supporters to follow me; I just need to complete the action. I need to move because I need to move. If I stay any longer I run the risk of missing my meeting. Sounds strange? Not really, just think about it. If you stay in the same position long enough you can get everything that you aren't asking for. Honestly, stand in one spot you can experience sun, rain, snow, etc. all the weather conditions you please--if you stand in that one position for several years. Who would do that, right? Stand in one place for years just to experience the variety. The choice seems problematic and quite unwise, but we do it all the time. Stand in one spot and watch the motions slide right past us. Everything passes us right by. But, why stay?  Movement allows you to experience it all in a relatively short amount of time.

In life we tend to be too stationary. Most times fear roots us standing still in all aspects of our lives. The worst feeling in the world is wanting something yet being too afraid to go after it. Recent events have shown the world time waits for no man or woman. We must move forward in our journey. Forward progression requires movement--some planned others spontaneous, regardless, remove your feet and move forward.  Nothing comes to one who just dreams but sleep. Faith without works is dead. Something from nothing gets nothing. Go. Go kicking and screaming if you have to but just go. Follow that imagination you so creatively have. Create your life's desire in real life action. Go. Go. Go.

So here I am going. Moving as I pack and prepare to move. I'm giving away and donating then trashing the rest. I'm tackling the move with motion and for once, I am not out of breath, in fact I'm breathing much better now. My meeting date is drawing near and new adventures are waiting for me to move so I gotta go.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I Do

So I just touched down about 4 hours ago and I can't get certain songs out of my head. Like every radio I have experienced in the nation, Atlanta's stations play the same songs over and over again. Now Jeezy, Drake, Tyga, Wale, and Blue's momma are in my head. Their words are blending together to make this new song--some new remix I have solely created. One repeated phrase, I Do, plays constantly at random times. 

Of course, my magnificent mind reaches into formerly inaccessible areas and begins to think about those two words, I Do. People live to here these two words on one special day. Yep those words stop at that alter and linger for that one special day and forget to make a connection to its intended context and audience. 

Did you know the divorce rate in 2009 was 50%? So that means half of the people who married in 2009 divorced. I'm baffled. What's the point of committing to eternal love yet limit its length?  But this post has nothing to do with marriage or divorce explicitly but implied they do. These two words really got me thinking about what I say "I do" to.  Follow me for a minute....

I can honestly say that I am super shy. Have always been. I'm not the one who enters a crowded room and mingles with everyone, not to say I lack in the conversational skills, but I'm shy. Initiate a conversation with me and I can go without breathe, yet I am content to do things and be by myself. Yes I love the being with others, but I'm content shopping alone too. Why? Because one day I just decided to say I do to me. Yeah that inner voice that has always been present no matter how much I tried to deny it. I'd dress it up to hide it because its sound was off beat from others. 

Imagine if we all married ourselves, not like Dennis Rodman, but that could be rather amusing--but I'm speaking about deciding to commit to who you really are. Yet many of us would rather deny ourselves the luxury of meeting ourselves. I stated this before in previous post Dating the Real You, the real you is much better than the fake somebody else. Every time you assume the character of another you are branded as fake, because in reality there's only one---one Mike Jackson (as my handsome little cousin Allen affectionately calls him), one Whitney Houston, one James Brown, one Etta James, one Teddy P, one Heavy D, one Gerald Levert--no matter how many people may sound like these there's still just one.

When we deny ourselves the power to be the person we were created to be ultimately we lose. It sounds harsh to say, but ignoring important things can be harmful. Bring back in the divorce rate. Honesty would have stopped you way before a proposal would have been planned. Stop saying I do to the wrong things....sometimes you need to say I don't and I won't.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Power of Vision

Vision is not the ability to see with the natural eye. It is the ability to believe what has yet to materialize. Architects do it all day; create what has not been seen. When we were children, we did it all the time. We closed our eyes, even in the mist of day, and dreamed of a world invincible of negativity and pain. A world  built by the wildest parts of our imagination. You remember don't you? I know I do.

My imagination still runs wild. Sometimes I close my eyes and see. See several things--things that are there and things I make up to be there. My greatest thoughts come when I see not with my eyes. I am under the impression that you must see whatever it may be you desire before it can ever happen. We must allow ourselves these childish behaviors in order to have a successful adult journey.

So lately I have been envisioning myself in the wealth of my passions. What do I mean? Well, I can see my desires-all of them. Love, marriage, children, author, etc...I seen it happen already in my vision. No it wasn't some magical world that only operates with invisible capes, it was real. It was me. My childhood imagination has advanced itself. Adapted, grown and is still functioning. Quite frankly, so should yours. Just because you can't see it, no matter what that it may be, doesn't mean it is not there.

I have a tattoo on my forearm that states, never forget the struggle. People ask me all the time, what does your tattoo say, when they get a small glimpse of it peeking from beneath my sweater. When I tell them, I'm quite sure they don't understand, but it's a statement recognizing the vision of Black people in America.

My great great great grandparents saw me in their future. They saw me. Yes me. The impact I need to make in the world. In their vision of possibilities, they saw something had to be different. And look I AM HERE! Their struggle was for me. And now I envision life for others. The struggle of my ancestors is not forgotten because I chose to see what is yet to be seen.

The beauty of it, I see you in my future. What's the point of seeing it alone. You can come too. We must begin to believe in what is yet to come. I know that I am on the cusp of something great in my life. Not only have a seen it, I believe it, and know its on the way. Begin to see yourself draped in your desires of the good life you so deserve....

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Serious Moments in Life

I can't say it enough how much I am in love with my life right now. All things seem to be working for my good, yet I seem to be indecisive as of lately. I mean I have everything an accomplished woman could ask for--a dream new job in New Jersey with Teach for America, which starts in June; loving and adoring parents who are support me through all things; and I belong to a great church--but something is off in my life.

It's monumental...I am in "like" with someone and it seems that instead of advancing the relationship I find ways of bringing all things to a halt. And how do you tend to do this Tiffany, you might ask? My quick response: my past experiences, my detailed response....

So like most of us, I have had an unpleasant experience with a young man. I could truly say I was in love with this young man, but the relationship was not mutually beneficial. And it left me questioning myself in all aspects. I questioned my motivation, my values, my wants, my needs, my worth, my desires, everything. Honestly it was what my soul truly needed--one of those blessings in disguise. The incisions were deep and the surgery was lengthy but necessary. I didn't like the person I had become and I was determined to make a change. Then Mr. "Like" comes along and challenges all the changes I have began to make.

Honestly he is much of what I want and need in my life but yet I am letting old issues creep up. Some times some thing as simple as one word triggers something of the past and I want to back away. he says something or does something and I see past in all bold flashing lights and have to fight the urge to make a quick exit stage left and call it a d.a.y., seriously! And he is patient enough to know when I am having a "moment" and gives me time to calm down, but I am in no way being fair to him. He didn't cause my past pain and he should not have to be a my personal pin cushion. I don't want to ruin my own vision by throwing salt in my eyes.

So where do I go from here? When does this past affliction stop?

Ask myself these questions in an effort to acknowledge and work towards healing and building. I know path on life's journey passes through some wicked forests, but this moment in my life doesn't have to be forever.