Homework: Self Study💕

In reflection this Sunday morning: My day off…I am still off my routine of things. It was struggle to enjoy my mani and massage pedi. I mindfully had to make myself sit and be taken care of— for they are doing great work.

I’m noticing that I’m struggling within the easy parts of my life. My self maintenance is priority —yet even in that I’m resolved to what is the point. What is the point in all I’ve worked for and towards to be told that “there is something there.” I’m not professing hopelessness or helplessness. I’m still trying to figure out what I did wrong. I believe I’ve had to do something wrong that requires punishment. Right?Right.

Thursday mornings are my spiritual companionship times w/ my Spiritual Advisor. We’ve been together over a year now and I would say she knows me better than most. She affirms me in who I am, how I am, how I love and how I want to be loving. She doesn’t push unless she recognizes that I am not present. She gets me, all of me. Although, this Thursday morning was a struggle too—to hear her, to want to be there. Through this tough time that I am struggling with…I am fussing and complaining about mistreatment towards me, towards others, how this world is cruel at it’s best and it’s worst; I fuss about friendships, about abuse; about it all. She quietly asks me to “overstand, to know that not everyone has your gift.”

I chuckled silently and think, I’m struggling to inner-stand, understand where I am. I acknowledge that, no one is holding space for me. Deep sigh. I am committed to surviving with thriving–this in-betweenness is difficult. This week’s wins: I woke every morning with purpose. I reached out to patients outside of working hours due to their hurts along their journey. I took two vacation days without working and finishing notes. I am planning for workshops in 2022 with strategic hope. I daily connected with my children and spent time with my granddaughter. I talked to my sister and my biological Aunt Shirley. My Koda is without a doubt the most loving furbaby ever.

What I am learning: we love easier when we allow our changes to come softly. When it feels the most is falling apart…maybe the transitions bring all we’ve wanted to fruition and all is coming together. It all looks different, fearful. We’ve never been in this position before. I never expected love throughout this type of season. Redefine Love for yourSelf. My father told me once: “Michelle you’re just running in the field of flowers.” Of course, there was an hour long lecture about relationships after that. I was a teen.☺️
It’s 30 years later and I get it. I comprehend those wisdom highlights more so than ever. I miss him.

I anticipated and wanted “Love” happy, without sadness, without work. There are consequences to our choices. Undoubtedly, there are benefits to our choices as well. Every rejection, disappointment, their “no” can possibly set us on an extraordinary different path. Stop attaching your future to leftovers, to what is left. You’re dodging bullets left and right, Woman! Rise up. Level up. Do you. Protect yourSelf with love—be loving– intuitively. This is…this betterment is actual; it is what is tangible, intangible. This journey, our blessings are necessary. Our lessons learned. Our experiences personal. Everything is happening for your good—-even the current pain of right now. Choose You again and again—intimately and faithfully.

Words for thought: Scripture: Luke 22:31-32

Intimately Worded,

Michelle

“There is something there…”

Vulnerability: November 2021

Prelude: I am flowing not forcing. I reflect, smile and I asked God for more writing days.

My days, my months, this year has been divine, purposed, productive, exhausting and loving days of hallelujahs. I am living to “do no harm” to anyone and thriving in my authenticity to be my truly different unique self.

I purchased a gym membership and I show up 2x a week at 5:00 am. I am loving it and finally seeing results after 2 months. I’m closer to entrepreneurship: professional headshots, website. My Tribe is flourishing. As an employee: I’m excelling, scheduled months out and there are bonuses that I forgot about. I witness the healing that will benefit individuals as well as generations and I am in awe of God’s purpose in my life.

Friday, day after Thanksgiving, I show up for my second imaging mammogram. I’m nervously strong, I think. Of course I’m completely turned around due to nerves. I’m in the Breast Cancer Center not Imaging. Mentally cuss the lady that left a voicemail without an address. Now I think I’ve completed a faux pau of predicting my future. Nice lady gave me directions to the Imaging Center.. I walk, yes walk, to the other building. My day off…no coffee, full of lostness and anxiety. #Michelle #DeepSigh #EarlyMornings

Second imaging is the worst. Painfully so.

Her: “Breathe. Stop breathing. Move to the left. Face me. Breathe. Stop breathing. Look forward. Look out the window.” Pain. Pain. I gasp.

Me: “Is it suppose to hurt like this?

Her: “Breathe. Stop breathing.”

My thoughts: “What have I done? Why am I here?”

She sits me in a quiet area. She comes back.

Her: “Your left breast is clear. We need to do an ultrasound on the right.” I’m still confused. Really confused but I say okay. She does the ultrasound. I realize she taking the longest time. Her: “I’ll go get the doctor.” I stop breathing. He comes in, black framed glasses and white coat. He’s real. He starts examining, searching. I don’t think I’m breathing. There’s nothing in my head. No sound. No words. He speaks: “There’s something there.”

I disassociate. I hear him. My tears fall silently as I listen. My voice whispers, “What now Jesus?”
She places back in the room. I cry. I cry for awhile. She places me in another room. I do not breathe as we discuss procedures. Her: “Do you have insurance?” My thoughts: ”What if I did not? What happens if you do not have insurance? Does it just remain there? Growing?”

I’ve never had the greatest relationship with my breast. I was a 36C at 16 and my mother was a Southern Baptist Mom to her heart; everything was covered. My breasts drew attention: Middle school boys, older men…they eventually became strangers to me. The alienation continued through childbirth and breastfeeding. I did the self-exams, my annuals they were always healthy, heavy, covered (no pretty lace bras for me) …yet they defined my femininity. They are purposeful, necessary, required. They are mine.

I ask for your healing prayers as I go in for a biopsy 12/23. Currently, I’m crying a lot. Thinking a lot. Putting their future ( my Tribe) in perspective. Trying to think…unsure of how to process any and all of this. My Tribe knows. The youngest walks away as I am telling my older two sons. I question him later. He responds: “I heard December 23rd. You’re not dying from cancer. That’s it. We’re not losing you to breast cancer.”

My sleepless nights….strange. I feel strange. Unfamiliar. I wake up crying throughout the night. I now sleep with a security blanket…I wake up holding it. I’m 51. I feel doubtful. Hopeful. Worried. My breasts —alienated. The right one seems more dominant….it never has been…they are disproportionately different in size yet it feels the heaviest. I’m scared. Prayerful.

Life has taught me and taught me well. I stopped believing in my fairytales a long time ago, without bitterness. Nowadays, I see how God places me in the center of my unbeliefs and strengthens me to wait and see, to heal. I am trusting Him for that yet wondering what if it is too big of an ask. Healing?

A few months ago, I silently asked for more writing days, for more “Me” days, for the ability to take more moments to do other things I love: soft launch of private practice, creating a woman’s support group, certification as a group psychotherapist, seemingly my goals, my wants are coming to fruition….all of this I am working on. Trusting Him for those things.; the tangibles. What I know, He answers our prayers His way.

Intimately worded,

Michelle

Persistent: December 2021

#Mammograms #Breasts #MyBreasts #BlackWomenHealth #Mass #Growth #Treatment #Biopsy #Healing #BlackWomen #Therapy #SpiritualHealth

The In-between

#MustHaveJoy

*This a repost from my IG page. Weekly, over several years I encourage by posting SaturdayLove reflections. It gives me opportunity to share my thoughts and my heart.

#SaturdayLove: What a week! A huge amount of different emotions: the trial, the verdict, our response and we still live with everything that continues to happen.

We’re giving on empty. We’re loving on experience, traumatic experiences. We’re running on fumes. We’re hoping…Faith-ing our way through. Our in between is frayed. #Breathe

I turned more into my Family, my dreams and my work this week. I began to measure my milestones, taking mental inventory of what I want and who I am; reflecting on how this world affects me. My weariness, my faith and my hope are intertwined. I smiled. I can’t ignore the World. I’m not built that way. My heart is this ever-evolving rhythmic thing. Our humanity is in questioned and I am aware that it always had been and will continue to be. I still remember when my parents were the #CareGivers and I was safe. No worries.

This world continues to get bigger in so many different ways. #CollectiveDisturbance
My faith will too. There’s so much more we are required to give. Refuse to give/live on empty. Find and heal in those spaces that trigger you, bully you. •SelfCare. •SelfLove. •Recovery •Rest
Know that it isn’t selfish; it is necessary. We’ve got so much more work to do. Pace yourself. Listen with love. #SelfHealing

I pray peace in your struggles as well as peace in prosperity. Continue to find your way. Know what works for your healing…what and who supports you in being loved and loving.

Intimately Worded,

Michelle💞

#BeAWholeMovement #GetBackOnYourGangsta #YouAreSoDope #DoYourWork #Queens #SelfDefeatism #Struggles #SpiritualWork #Heavy #TraumaResponse #Women #Family #Parenting #BlackParents #Mothers #Friends #BlackWomen #Love #Therapy #Racism #Love
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#BlackWoman
#BlackWomanTherapist
#Thriver
#FreedSoul

#31DaysOfPrayer ♥️

Continue reading “#31DaysOfPrayer ♥️”

Lion’s Den and the vulnerability of Belief

God walks before us. He never plays catch up. As so many things fall away, as our fears are presented to us daily in different ways we should be able to “see” more of whom God is.

It is during the midnight hours, the darkest moments in my life that I can hear, “see”, and feel God with the greatest clarity. To think we are alone, living and loving without the aid of others is a self-demonizing discouragement, which is fueled by our greatest fear — that we are unloved.

There are thoughts we tell ourselves to build walls of protection…it is where we live, where we hide our hearts. Where we stick our real dreams. Unknowingly, we begin to suffocate them. We expect to remain in the Lion’s Den. We secretly fear a rescue. For then, what would we do? I know trust is one of the most difficult things we learn to do, even with God.

We should strive to meet our hurt challenges with hope. Even hurt inflicted by others, greet them with hope, believing we will get through. There have been worse times, remember?

“Faith strengtheners” those problems, those issues are construed to sidetrack us. Designed to keep us right where we are, in fear and in worry mode.  Yes, I know some are so heavy and so hurtful you wonder what the point is. When we do not understand the why we move to what for, remaining stagnant in trying to understand, why me?

For a moment, let us wrap our mind around the elements of Love. There is so much more to love than what we receive. We have to be able to give back. We have to. Push forward. When in the Lion’s den our opportunities of relate, release and recover are met. We emerge better, without a scratch; better focused. I am committed in my belief that everything happens for a reason a lot of it not by our own choices but rather for our experiences. There is no way I can encourage you about faith when I do not know one thing about being faithful. I cannot assure you all will be all right if I do not know the place of not being all right. (It is temporary.) There is more in the Lion’s Den then chaos. At times, it is the place where you find your faith and the source of your faith so that you are able to continue.

Be encouraged in your Lion’s Den. Be even more the encourager when you come out of the Lion’s Den….for you will come out of it. Continue to be expectant of God’s love for you, for me, for us.

Ever hopeful,

A.Michelle!

Letting go….

It is okay. To let go of what you wanted to happen. There is so much more when you do.

I ask that you not lose focus in wanting to want….all will happen in ways greater than you wished.

When the most difficult is happening deal with your now, do not push away; it all is preparing you for your future.

My wish is that we remain hopeful in disappointment, heartbreak and in our sacrifices,…you are so worthy and deserving and if “they”, if none see that, if none recognize your You

Well my dear you push forward ever so expectantly. Your strength has guided you this far and frankly you cannot be stopped. I believe in you. I believe in us….we who despite it all Hope.

Let go so that more comes. Be ever so proud of how far you have come.

 There’s more.

A.Michelle!

Choose You!

When my writing reveals more vulnerability than I want to say, my soulfulness caters to my surroundings I cave. I stop writing. My creativity is blocked.  This is the third draft to this post; I began writing it a few days ago.  The walls I have had to build to steady, right my way and block the negativity of others chisels away bit by bit. As a mother, I do it alone. There are greater blessings I am learning in being a single mother. The role is a joy more that it is a hardship. I smile more than I hold on to what ifs. As a teacher, there are days children break my heart yet there are more days when I know the difference in what they see, what they do begins with me. There are no small winnings when teaching for that I am humbled. It is the season of spring, Lent and Resurrection Sunday….new beginnings, time for newness, time for changes.

This year one of my intentions is to be more open when developing new friendships. Sounds easy enough. What I know: many things I will not entertain, life is just too short. In addition, personal experiences have led me to slot a number of issues as unnecessary.  I do not understand the point of going through unavoidable drama. I refuse to entertain it. We know we “see” crazy before full-blown crazy hits.

It is ironic that these past few weeks a few good friends have communicated issues in their relationships, seeking my opinion. I am careful not to advise. Cautious in not stating my opinion. I listen, with care. Sunday, in conversation with someone and she feels comfortable enough to share this information concerning her dating wants and issues.  I am open-minded. I do not expound on the matter with negativity. She is 38 to 40 years of age, attractive, confident, Black, a single parent, employed and believes in Christ. Her: “My dating is brief and the sex is always awful. On a first date, this guy picked me up and immediately pulled out a condom once I got in the car. Can you believe that? I still went out with him. It was not worth my time. I got me an ace in the hole. He is my best friend, still. We use to date. I know all about his girlfriends. He is my best friend. Our chemistry is off the chain.”  Me: “Why are you two not together?” Her: “I’m not into women.” Me, naive: “I know you aren’t. Why are you and him not together?” Her: “I’m not into women.” My confusion shows.  Her: “In order to be with him you have to agree to have sex with another woman in front of him. He tells all his girlfriends this from the beginning. They agree to get in then when its time that say no.  Once they disagree to his initial requirement he calls me.”  I am shocked and whisper, “Lord Jesus.” She laughs and goes on to say, “That’s my buddy though. My very best friend. I still see him when I need my fix.” Inwardly, my mind is whirling from all the body fluids just passed around. (Mental vomit.) I did not give any advice. She did not ask. I did not ask any more questions. What I noticed, she was happy when speaking of him. This arrangement, and him, however the prerequisites are this is her comfort zone. Her want. Her happy.

In my opinion, there is no way her thoughts are connecting with being who she wants to be. Her statement disappointments me greatly, “He’s my best friend.” How? Why? Why settle? Why conform for someone on a part time basis? Their “best friend-sex-ship” has lasted over ten years. I question her requirements on intimacy, privacy and the meaning of best friend. Our population does the excessive for something that has been around since creation. Sex, the pleasure principle! #ego

The heart is fragile. If our experiences mold, strengthen and at times temporarily break us; why entertain activities that will lead to the demise of who you are and who you want to be?  We all are “being” something, someone; we are in a process of pursuit. The pursuit of prosperity, of bliss, of peace, of affluence, of joy….seeking our own happy.

The early stage of a relationship represents “let’s try and see where this goes”, and opportunities to reveal one’s hope in what they want. Simple.  I will admit at the first sign of conflict, I am the first to say, “We do not have to do this.”  In all truthfulness, we do not. We choose to remain in the early stage believing we can “fix” or change the person of interest. By experience, we know so much more yet we are willing to overlook tangible signs and push forward idealizing our self-definition of change and hope.  We should be able to grow, increase from knowledge. Self should never fade. When in doubt never run so far left field that no one recognizes you, not even you.

Love and hope enhance, they should not break you. We are unable to fix people. Our parents, Life can be our greatest teachers. Continue to embrace common sense and core values.

My thoughts, my five cents when it comes to embracing something new:

  • Do not enter an arrangement that will devalue you in any friendship or relationship.
  • Communicate effectively and with authentic honesty.
  • Do not mislead. Do not allow yourself to be misled. Do not purposely deceive. State your intentions, your wants, and your discomforts.
  • Do not settle. Settling undercuts your self-worth deeply and with precise thoroughness.

I try my best daily to see the bigger picture in every aspect of my life. My hope, my want is to be in love, to be loved happily and with consistency.  Outside of self, my focus is my tribe. No matter how old they get we are a package deal. No matter how long it may seem remain hopeful. Seek more than momentary pleasure. Fight for and expect more. You define what your more is. One great thing about more, it changes and grows you. Choose you.

“Instead of holding onto broken dreams hold onto Love.” Alicia Keys.

Take care of you,

A.Michelle!

 Singleness: 1,026 days and not settling

Broken Relationships

Dysfunctional moments have the possibility to lead to decisions that will set us on paths unintended. How we treat each other, love each other is one of the greatest gifts we give. It is priceless. Yet, everyone one of us has someone we will not talk to nor deal with due to personal and private issues.

Healing begins when we are able to let go. Letting go of the guilt, the anger, the remorse as well as the mindful playbacks of what ifs. Concerns about what could have been are mere distractions that can keep you unfocused on what is ahead. Apologize if the desire is there but prepare yourself—your readiness, your act of kindness has the potential of non- reciprocation.

Life gives so many challenges. The opportunities of having more are multi in number. Continue doing what is right. When we take the necessary steps often times that is when the unpredictable happens. Our hearts mend with the intent to move forward.

If we allow it, Life will cater to our pain—to the perceptions we have of others and ourselves. Friendships stale, our versions of love and being love can deteriorate. We bury our emotions; we skip over life lessons and expect resounding forgiveness from those our actions destroy.

What I love about forgiveness is the two-way of it. Forgiveness removes the fault lines, those consequences of failed hope without a trace of residue. Do not push away, do not shut down on the things that matter the most. Matters of the heart are genuine steps to all you wish for; remain expectant in God’s better. Think of it this way….broken relationships are broken at times for new growth. Brokenness is not an ongoing exit for guilt, shame, arguments and doubt. Move forward.

Love as our Creator commands. Forgiveness is counterintuitive to love. Forgive because it betters you. Let God do the rest. I worry less when I trust God more. My heart has taken its share of bruises; my soul wounds have been many yet trust God I do. This time of my life, this winter season has been the warmest ever.

 You have what you want in this life; make it work!

Happy kisses,

A. Michelle!

 

Something New, Teaching.

Last week I began teaching teenagers in our public school system. I was so scared, still am. At times, I still believe this something new is all going too fast. This something new has affected all facets of my life. My life is changing. Things are different. I am different…softer in my approach or retaliation to others. There is so much training on what not to do that it is easy to lose focus on how we are to be….with children. They are children, little people trying to figure It out too—so many of them without any help.

Teaching is not a role new to me. It was never a desire of mine to teach. My parents told me I was good at it. As teens, we believe parents tell us what we can do because they love us. However, teaching requires a great sense of responsibility and that I did not want. When the thought of teaching Sunday School became more than just a thought I fought against it with so many belittling reasons. I am not good enough. Who am I? Why me? I am not smart enough. The greatest one, if I teach I truly have to live what I am teaching. Lol! Every night of training, I had to push myself to go into class and each night as I was leaving I cried the whole way home. Three years later, the butterflies are still there but the love I have for learning and being able to influence others toward God’s love quietens the fluttering.

When I started this job, every morning as I traveled toward school, I prayed for strength and protection. Every afternoon, while leaving I thanked God for strength and protection. Whew, I made it! While driving home I reflected on each day and I smiled. I wanted more. I am still smiling now. They grabbed my heart. Those children, other people’s kids grabbed my heart. They have given me the greatest hope and that is of finding ways to influence their lives. Yes, they are at times loud, sneaky, disrespectful, and cautious and closed off. Yet, for those few, there are more who just want you to listen, encourage, show concern, and hear them.

Oh these little minions are easy peasy versus warring with God about my personal preferences. Finding my way and living out my life well that is the hard part. Becoming a better person while in a difficult transition requires brutal self-honesty. Learning to love where God has you requires dependency, trust, faith, forgiveness, hope, determination…..and so much more.

My something new reminds me how God loves on purpose. A former colleague and a great female leader emailed me when she knew I was teaching: “Doing something you have passion for is the true key to success!!!” She is right. Be encouraged.

Always be ever expecting in God’s better.

Writer-Mom-Child Advocate-Blogger-Teacher,

~A.Michelle

Crossroads, where I am.

Phewwy. Yuck. I do not enjoy being here at the moment, in this space. At the Crossroads. At the Crossroads, no, no, no. New Crossroads, a little better for a title I think as I am writing the posted blog. If we pause and truly think about it we all are at a crossroads. We each have to make daily decisions that will impact our tomorrows or with some personal duress, someone else’s. As we try to live in the moment we are also planning, processing, progressing for tomorrow. I know God is intentional. I know that anything we go through and will go through has not taken Him by surprise. Oh, but can I have a physical, touch it, know it plan, Jesus??! Oh, then the scripture of Faith is dropped into my hearing, my spirit.
My heartbeat in these new crossroads has a rhythmically odd thumpty-thump-oh-my-pause pace. I am uncomfortable in this season of my life. I don’t quite understand it. I am dumbfounded and unable to encourage others. Daily, I would send affirmations via personal email and Facebook to friends and family. My give back from God; a morning aspiration for the past five years. It would seem after all I have done, been through and all that I have tried and am trying to do I should be able to do what I want, get what I want without question. Without this unbelievable stretch of stillness in time. “Be still and Know”….and still I whine, stomp my foot and pull at His shirttail “But God, do you hear me?”
I am advised to “sit” and hear God. Listen to Him. Pray for the next right move. Yet, I assure you I’ve always tried my best to do that. After twenty-five years of growing up in the country—where we had to travel to another city or town for groceries; where lights and the television were shut off during a storm; where a whooping came like the summer rain, unexpected—sitting still, listening to God is what I would know best.
I don’t say this to those who encourage me because I would come off sarcastically inept and insensitive. “Have any of my decisions been made without Him?” Whether I was obedient or not, I still made the decision with God in my mind. I did what I wanted knowing God would reprimand me one way or the other. As faithful as He is this free will He gives is the ultimate Aha. Conscious, that Holy Spirit “uh-uh” isn’t funny.
I have been given the greatest of opportunities: to be home. I take the Little Ones to school. I’m home when the Little Ones get home from school. I am able to write for hours at a time with no interruptions. I am able to help with homework. I am able to do my assigned homework and give my all instead of rushing to complete a 6 page essay on a one hour lunch break. (Grad student. The geekiest fun is a pressured deadline.) I have time to study and enjoy my Bible lessons in order to teach Sunday School. I have Time. Time to fulfill the dreams and opportunities I have always wanted without stress.
The children are great successes in school. My GPA would make you smile and say proudly, “Well, will you look-a-here.” Yet, here I am stressing, not sleeping, worrying, and crying. I have Time! And I am the most frustrated organized, got-to-have-a-reason-right now, obedient, hopeful, why-me-Lord woman in all the Earth. (That’s my personal opinion.) Oh, I forgot educated. Big sigh.
My Life! My own individualized because God loves me scratch pad has just been erased. I can’t see. I don’t know! If I knew I could do. I can plan. I can “Michelle” my way. Oh, how I want to “Michelle” my way through this. Oh well. God knows best. He does. I believe that. I know that. I have witnessed it over and over again. New career. New Pastor. New Crossroads, that’s where I am….on the other side of God knows best.

Walking by Faith trying to See around.

Me,

A. Michelle.