A Glimpse Into My Life

See it through my eyes & understand me a little more

Category Archives: Education

Isolation & Growth

Here’s a thought: “Isolation is necessary for growth.”

Isolate. Verb. Cause a person or a place to be or remain alone or apart from others. 

Isolation is a feeling that none of us like. It’s the part of growth where we start to question, “What is all of this shit for?” It makes being in the emotional tunnel that requires living more intentionally or with a higher code of values almost unbearable. 

Almost. I said almost.

The thing about isolation is that we notice it the most when we feel like we’re in a dark place. I use dark here because I’m reminded of the church hymn, “This little light of mine.” As the case with any light that shines in darkness, it is a beacon for those who are finding their way to look to. The assumption that a lot of us make is letting our light shines means we know what our light is shining for. Often, we do not and we are not comfortable with the not knowing. At least, I know I’m not. 

There’s good news though. Isolation doesn’t mean that all is lost and we shouldn’t feel that it does.

When you ARE being isolated? It’s imperative that you understand it’s like your Spirit is trying on a new size of clothing. You aren’t necessarily alone BUT it is necessary for you to be separated from people, places, or things that could hinder your growth. 

Said another way, when you ARE being isolated, your Spirit is adjusting itself to the new amount of space it needs for you to live more fully in your purpose. It’s why civilizations have always separated neophytes and initiates from the rest of the tribe during coming of age and initiation rites. It’s why newlyweds separate from what they’ve known as their family in the “get to know you differently” phase with their new spouse. It’s why new hires go through training and are slowly introduced to new coworkers. 

In each instance, you’re shedding an old way of being and know. Isolation, or separation, is what allows you to come into a new understanding of who you are and how you must perform in your new role. Isolation is imperative for the person you strive to become. 

And when you’re waving around blindly in darkness trying to reach for anything or anyone to let you know you aren’t alone? Don’t worry. Once you’ve become accustomed to the way your new Spirit fits, the people, places, and things which support who you have become more fully will show up.

Isolation isn’t ever really fun but it is necessary for growth.
Love,

Ms. C. Jayné 

The Benefit of Humanity

Last night, I tossed and turned hoping that sleep would welcome me into its embrace. No such thing happened and I decided to write.

It’s hard to rest when your heart and spirit are weary. It is hard to breathe when it feels as though your chest has filled with water. I came to understand that my weariness was the realization that I could awake tomorrow to news of another “tragedy” and the feeling of it being hard to breathe was grief complicated beyond measure.

In Charleston, in a place of worship and refuge, nine Black American citizens gathered to safely study and learn of the grace and gift of God. They welcomed a stranger, as Jesus commanded many to do before them. They offered this stranger a place to sit and share and breathe and live. For an hour, this stranger did just that. And in an instant, the stranger became a terrorist.

Nine of those gathered within a holy space were murdered for merely existing.

As news of this tragedy spread along with the description of all victims and the sole perpetrator, I could see this to be a calculated measure spurred by the deeply entrenched notion of Black people as something to be feared.

Something. Not someone.

Like clockwork, media began to ask questions that I am sure are considered hard-hitting and cutting-edge to someone. Questions such as “What could these Black people have done to prevent this?” and “Should white people now be afraid of black people?” Absurd questions when you think of it because who would think that you would ever need to protect yourself in a place of worship that sits in a land built on freedom of worship?

Unfortunately, we then heard the questions, comments, and suggestions made about the man who murdered these innocent people. Things like “What would possess him to do this?” and “Maybe there is a mental illness that we don’t know about.” Most ludicrous of all were the statements “Allow him due process under the law.” and “Let’s not judge him in the court of public opinion.

This adult male, aged 21-years old at the time he coldly executed people in a calculated fashion, was given the benefit of his humanity.

Black Americans watched as many defended this many and simultaneously deflected the notion that it was a terrorist attack with racial motivations EVEN AFTER he admitted this to be the reason he murdered these people. Black Americans learned that there were people who knew about this plot for months but dismissed it as just “talk.”

Most offensively, Black Americans watched as the police apprehended him peacefully.

You see? Because of the benefit of his humanity, this man will see his day in court. And when he does, they will uphold it as evidence that the justice system is fair.

And so I write this as a reflection of what it means to be Black and a Woman and American and operate daily within a system that was built on the backs of my ancestors.

People do not care that I must grapple with my Black identity as I walk on streets named after Confederate generals who fought wholeheartedly to keep the institution of slavery as we learn about it in school in place (the North will have a day of reckoning behind their involvement in slavery).

No one bats an eye at the thought that we frequent financial institutions that descendants of slaveholders were allowed to open with wealth amassed while Black bodies were treated as chattel.

We are given weak apologies from some of the finest educational institutions in the world for their involvement in the dehumanization of Black people.

Be quiet, Slave.

We are told to move on and act peacefully in our grief as we point out that this is always about the fear of Blackness.

Be quiet, Slave.

We are told these instances of terrorism that make the news are isolated incidents when in actuality they support the system of disenfranchisement upholding the status quo.

Be quiet, Slave.

We are told to erase our culture and identities as that is what makes us animals while being expected to swallow the offensive performance of Blackness executed by those who benefit from White Privilege.

Be quiet, Slave.

We are expected to go along with the “program” of acceptable outrage that demonstrates that you can be upset someone would wear fur but not that police will murder your children in the streets and let their blood run into the gutter.

Be quiet, Slave.

In the many institutions that make up the complex fabric of the United States of America, Black Bodies are seen as expendable, yet necessary, to move the wheel of systemic and systematic oppression forward. And we know the reality is we are not even viewed as human enough, worthy enough, to warrant outrage behind being slaughtered like animals. We are not seen as human enough to warrant the removal of offensive reminders of the past.

We are not seen as human.

The sad reality is that many who benefit from White Privilege view our mere existence as trivial. They do not see us as we walk down the street. They do not place money in our hands when we serve them in our jobs. They do not acknowledge the idea of personal space belonging to a Black person. And while there are a few brave allies willing to put their good names on the line for what it right, many of them unknowingly uphold the system that invaded our countries, the bodies of our mothers and fathers, and our psyches.

I sit with this heavy on my heart as I count down to another birthday, something the nine victims of an attack spurred by racism can no longer do. I have come to understand that my Blackness, as amazing and divinely inspired as it is, serves as an iron veil that would never allow me the benefit of humanity.

And so, I write their names below with the idea that it is just another reminder that they did matter. More than melanin and blood and bone, they were spirits who touched the lives of others. They were mothers who gave birth to children. They were fathers who molded the minds of those under them. They were neighbors. They worked. They loved. They hurt. They laughed. They cried. They welcomed strangers.

They prayed.

They were human. They were people. They will be remembered.

Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney, 41.

Rev. Sharonda Singleton, 54.

Myra Thompson, 59.

Tywanza Sanders, 26.

Ethel Lee Lance, 70.

Cynthia Hurd, 54.

Daniel L. Simmons, 74.

Suzy Jackson, 87.

Rev. DePayne Doctor, 49.

Today’s Lesson: Being Human & Loneliness

At the beginning of December, I injured my foot to the point that I’m on crutches. Since then, I’ve had to rely on people for just about everything. And I’ve realized that I feel like I don’t really matter to anyone.

That’s not to say that people don’t care about me. Their willingness to “help” says that they care. But people can care about you and their actions can say you don’t really matter. You’re probably reading this like, “But what do you mean? That makes no sense! How dare you be so ungrateful!!!”

What I’m saying is that this injury has forced me to be completely human. At work, people constantly let doors close on me or jokingly “complain” they about helping me. At first, I thought this bothered me because the shit is old and tired. Then I realized just how much I’m asked about my foot or how often someone mentions what they have to stop doing to help. And that’s what I mean when I say I don’t matter.

And in being completely human, I’ll admit that I don’t like the icy, cold, impatient or critical reception that I receive from dealing with people I care about on a daily basis. I guess for me, it’s reciprocity or whatever. But if I don’t understand anything else, I get this one point…

I don’t really matter to people that matter to me. And that hurts.

The Thing About Depression…

It starts as a creeping thing slowly moving towards you. In the beginning, it is encapsulated in just one bad thought or a few negative whispers. But just like a changing tide, it will slowly grow to become something that engulfs.

You feel swallowed up. And insignificant. And tiny. And alone. And that’s where the danger lies.

Because when you’re alone, you’re left with your fears and no way to fight them. On some days, you’ll be courageous to share something — a thought, a question, a tweet, or a status — and it is in the responses from others that you’re knocked to your back. And a rock is placed on your chest.

“I hope you get the support you need.”

“Change your thoughts.”

“I’ll pray for you.”

When in those moments you want more than a generic message in the moments of passing by.

A phone call that you might be brave enough to answer. A letter that you might find some joy in returning. Or a hug where nothing is said at all.

Because depression counts on the advice to highlight your shortcomings. The philosophical banter that is void of emotion feeds it as a mother nourishes her child. Solemnly, dutifully, and with purpose.

The thing about depression is that one day, you’ll feel your heart beat in your chest and it aches. Because you negotiated the night before to a god that no longer hears you. Angels will have become stoic in matters that relate to you.

The thing about depression is that you go through your days for the benefits of others because it’s no longer a reason for you to be here. And it is at this point you will wish for the happy ending. The question will come up though — what if there isn’t one?

And tears will well up in your eyes but never spill because it takes even too much to do that. Things that you want to scream to people who love you will become lodged in your throat. New hurts will expose old wounds and more of the emptiness will seep into you.

You’ll ask for courage. Or time. Or love. Or hope. Or respect. Or to be remembered.

Because depression will tell you that you can’t have it all. And in these moments, you’ll see flashes of people saying, “We didn’t know it was that bad for her.” Or him.

And your soul will want to scream. But the layers, the blanketing of the feeling will be so thick that everything is muffled. Even in death, everything is muffled. When truth is in the faces of the ones who said they cared, it will still be silenced.

But before that moment ever arises, you’ll wish for rose-colored glasses and childlike innocence. You’ll negotiate once again for another dawn and morning and afternoon and night. You’ll get a glimpse that hopefully things will be better.

You will be better.

You will determine in your mind that a day will one day come and you’ll no longer feel outside of yourself while still engulfed in despair. You’ll pray and you’ll hope that the god your mother knows hears you. And answers you. And loves you. And releases you.

You’ll try conversations again. You’ll try phone calls again. You’ll try letters again.

You’ll laugh and recognize a melody that belongs to just you. The light that everyone else sees or feels? You will know for yourself that it is real too.

Until then, you’ll quietly wait. Because the thing about depression?

It’s always there.

I Am a Writer

In my core, I am a writer. I have never said that out loud, I’ve only penned it in my journal. It’s why I like blogging – I get the opportunity to share my thoughts and make an impression upon an anonymous spirit sitting in front of a screen.

I feel that nagging feeling that I’ve gone about my day and even though it’s good, I don’t feel complete until I jot some notes down.

When I write, I’m not just putting pen to paper – I am putting myself on paper. Every line is a personal thought. Every paragraph is an e tension of myself that I hope is received favorably. I leave traces if my DNA, my life source, in everything that I pen. It’s me. It’s all me.

So yes I’m a writer.

Now that I’ve gotten this out, I’m now trying to figure out how to become more of who I dreamed I’d be so that I can be happier with the face I see every morning.

Easier to Think

I’ve been in a brainstorming frenzy for the past three days! I attribute that to the clearing of my mental and physical spaces. Just wanted to share a quick update because I’m excited about the different areas in my life that I’m taking to the next level. Scared…but excited.

Professionally, I’ve started thinking of ways to market my skill set to companies and writing down my goals.  I’ve also thought about how I could take my company, Professional By Design NOLA, to the next level. The BIG realization — there will be some sleepless nights and I might devote two “work days” a week to planning for it.

Personally, I’ve even seriously considered dating (WHAT?) and that’s funny. That actually makes me laugh and who knows, I may have my own little highlights from the interesting things I see and experience while dating. My awkwardness and ability to make something funny (that might not be funny) could turn that into a fun thing. We shall see though.

I will say overall that I’m more open to facing my challenges head on and really embracing who I am.

This was just a short update to let y’all know what’s going on with me.

Be sure to LIKE the FB page for my company, Professional By Design NOLA. Stay up-to-date with product offerings and how we can solve your professional challenges. 

Progress! (#31WriteNow)

Pour it up! Pour it up!

Watch me fall out.

I have finally narrowed down my list of programs to apply to. Oh, y’all didn’t know? I’m applying to PhD programs for the Fall of 2014. 

This is an update. 

I count this as the post for today. lol

*Don’t judge me…I may do a whole update in the future but heavy, heavy stuff has been going on.

A Purpose Driven Life (#31WriteNow)

For the past year and some change, I’ve struggled with being able to identify my purpose in this life. To make things more confusing, I’ve had trouble with being the person that other folks came to for advice. To me, it would seem like these people would ask a question, I’d give my advice and then something GREAT would happen to them almost immediately after our interaction.

Yet, I was still stuck…in whatever “rut” I was in. I guess you can call it a rut.

Then yesterday, I was trying to take a nap and it suddenly hit me. It was almost as if my Spirit responded to someone who asked me, “Why is it that you do what you do?”

In a brief moment, I answered this question very matter-of-factly:

“I do what I do because I want people to see who they truly are and KNOW that they are more than capable of doing whatever they want, which is in contrast to what society has convinced them they are. I know that this understanding of one’s self only comes through self-exploration, but often we have to be pushed to that point to begin with. For us to do that, we have to get a different point of view and that comes from being exposed to new information. Ultimately, with each project, job or task I undertake, my goal is to education and share information with people so they are equipped with the tools to better their lives.”

And why?

The “Why?” is what really tripped me out but things started to make a lot more sense to me. The “Why?” do I do this is because I have struggled with feeling like this has been lacking in my life. As I’ve gotten older though, I realized that it wasn’t so much that I lacked the support necessary to understand this about myself.

That was actually a hangup due to my expectations and being quiet (more on that tomorrow).

Recently though, people have been placed in my life where this message is reaffirmed for me. As I begin to understand my greatness and live in my brilliance, I know that I’m being equipped to share this with others.

For a purpose as great as this, my challenges (while difficult) are a bit more comforting.

Scared to Write…

I wrote this about three years ago. I’ve shared it since…but I thought of it because someone said I was a good writer. This is what I’m most proud of.

Sadly, I haven’t written anything for real since then.

The Black Experience

 

Welcome to the Black Experience

Where Black skin signals a troubled soul and corrupt spirit
Nappy hair and thick lips hint at the ignorance of those which society loathes
Single mothers and absent fathers
Sisters spiritually raped and physically broken
Brothers are weakened vessels, no longer wearing the crowns bestowed upon their ancestors
Where souls moan in unison and vacant expressions beg you to ask
“What’s going on?”

Welcome to the Black Experience

Come with me as we are stripped of royal titles
Taken far from home
And reduced to a state beneath humanity
Deemed a cursed people
Mentally stifled
Watch as the minds jump ship from the bodies
The spirits of the willful and proud are broken
Until all are empty
Come walk with me bound by chains
Head to toe
Silently falling in line

This is the Black Experience

Work by my side in the sweltering heat from sunup to sundown
Witness the forced separation of families
Children torn from mothers, husbands removed from wives
Walk down this road as Emancipation in proclaimed
Witness the Reconstruction of the Great White Hope
Our oppressor
That which comes for us in the night

This is the Black Experience

Lie by my side under nights that are lit by the burning torches of Jim Crow
Do you feel the burn in your chest as you hold your breath and
Pray to a God that looks much like your Oppresor?
Can you feel the terror coursing through your body as
You listen for the sound of foreign feet on pebbles nearing your home as you beg,
“Lord this night we pray,
No not my husband?!?”
And desperation fills your voice as you whisper,
“Take me and
…not my son!”

This is the Black Experience

Thick lips and a wide nose continue to hint to the world
A status of inferiority
Do you recognize the glances of the well-meaning contempt?
“Get up!”
They say
“Work hard and remove yourself from the vestiges of poverty!”
All the while holding their foot over your throat.
You can’t breathe.
Just like your father and his father and his father couldn’t breathe.

This is the Black Experience

The neighborhoods have already died.
Long ago,
The life support was taken.
Raise up your eyes and bear witness to the
Crumbling spirits of children barely able to
Reach the window sill
Watch them age right before your eyes
As they play during recess in a yard that eerily mirrors the
Correctional facilities where many like them have gone before.
Look now.
Look to your left and notice the collapsing houses.
Places unfit for even the wildest of animals.
Look to your right.
No real signs of life.
These are the jungles.
These are the streets.

This is the Black Experience

Trees don’t grow and few blades of grass peek through broken concrete,
Bear witness to this place.
Mammoth buildings gutted by fire.
Unsafe streets manned by a cadre of men whose sole job is to
Ensure that anarchy stays here.
No jobs.
No food.
No life.

This is the Black Experience.

The Land of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity
Merit.
“The reason you have nothing is because you lack morals.”
That’s what they spit at us
As they draw their invisible lines.
Those boundaries that they don’t care to admit
But is easily recognized by the Darker Brother.

The Black Experience.

Young

Gifted

Black

Educated and…

Unemployed.

The Black Experience.

The place where you pray
To be that Token.
That fare to a place much better than this.
You’ll be the Realized Dream of a
Thousand ancestors.

The Black Experience.

Crushed dreams.

The Black Experience.

Dehumanized souls.

The Black Experience.

Walking corpses.

The Black Experience.

Hold on tightly, Visitor.
As you walk through this space,
Did you realize you clutched your bag to your side?
Did you realize that you began to stink of fear?

The sun is setting and people, you once believed,
To be docile,
Have suddenly become the deepest, darkest, and scariest image that you can imagine.

This is the Black Experience.

No longer are we your Brothers.
We are simply the Other.
The one from which you wish to escape.

But hold on.
It’s just a bit further.

You look to your left and see a young Savage
Jeans low, eyes drawn to the pavement.
A voice whispers to you,
“Walk faster, he only wants to rape you.”
You look to your left and see a young Whore.
Clothed in the latest fashions,
Standing in a suggestive pose.
Inside, your corrupt soul is telling you,
“She’s turning her tricks and surely she has kids to feed at home.”

The Black Experience.

Hold on now,
Get a hold of your anger.
Like the animals we are,
We can smell your fear and in
A place of
Nothing
We hope for nothing more than
Something
Don’t try us.
You’ll lose.
Darwin told your kind we were better built for this
There’s no way a Civilized One could win a fight against
The Savage.
The Primal Ones.

The Black Experience.

Just a little longer.
Your nightmare is almost over.

Step over the downtrodden soul lying in the gutter
High on a substance that takes him further than the heavens
To a place that not even your God is aware of
An empty place
A vacant place.

Just a bit further now
Do you see your Promised Land?
Clean streets
Cordial neighbors and
No broken homes.
A place where
Derelict schools are not the norm.
One child and
One desk and
Space.

This Promised Land!
Present fathers
Wed mothers
You’re almost there now.

You’ll leave this place
You’ll forget this world
You’ll shut up your mind
Dear Visitor.

You’ll move to a haven where
Institutional Racism is something unfathomable
Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are all real to you.

You’re almost out now.
Just walk on.
You can feel it.
Freedom
Redemption
Hope
Assurance.

Clean skies.
You’re almost there.

Breathe a little easier.
That’s it.

Just one more step.
Don’t turn to look back.

Forget the Dark Ones that you’ve left
For homes with White Picket Fences
That surround the homes of those with Paler Faces.
Golden rays of sunshine illuminate those with
Golden strands of hair, placing upon their heads what seems to be a halo.

The places of angels.

That of Heaven.

That place of peace.

Take a breath now.

One…

Two…

Three.

Release.

You’ve now leaving

 
The Black Experience.

*My first poem since I was 13. (written in 2010)

Encouragement (#31WriteNow)

Sometimes that is all that a person needs.

This morning I woke up and everything was wrong. COMPLETELY WRONG! Like, I felt I had gotten kicked in my chest type of wrong. I won’t get into what was wrong but I needed encouragement and it took a little while before it happened. But it happened.

And the thing that was hurtful was that people threw in my face the fact that I’m underemployed and that I left my job when a bunch of things came to light (all financial). People said things like, “Well it was stupid of you to leave your job.” Never mind that the place stressed me out beyond belief and that other things were taking place in my life that suggested it was the best decision for all parties involved.

Yet..here I was struggling today like crying on the phone with bill collectors type of struggling…but it worked out. I never asked for money from people. I just wanted people to tell me that I made the right decision.

Luckily for me, three people did just that and my Brother reassured me that everything would be okay because he would send something to help. And that brings me to what is so frustrating about people who think differently from me. Sometimes people just need encouragement. They don’t need you to echo their negative thoughts OR to belittle them in any way. They just need to know that it’s okay and that everyone faces a troubling time. 

It’s okay.

They need encouragement. I wish we were all a little better about this.

From now on, I’ll do better to be Encouraging to others…and I’ll pay close attention to those who do the same for me. Those folks will be my inner circle.

This is today’s post.