My first thought was to save this for my weekly Hello Sunday blog since it sounds like a Sunday message. But this is how I am feeling now– in this particular moment. So I am sharing.
After checking Facebook and Twitter this morning, I began to feel discouraged. Every post/tweet was about chaos and doom. If someone was not sharing stories about us going to a cashless, socialist society, then they were sharing stories about injustices and living in the last days. Sometimes.. no.. most of the time, it is so overwhelming. However, this morning, as always, God reminded me that He is still in control. Our job is to trust Him in spite of what we see.
When I was a little girl, I spent my summers with my great-great grandma, Madea. Every morning Madea would get up, pray, and read one chapter from her ginormous white Bible. That chapter was Psalm 23. It was her morning ritual. Y’all, she did this every morning before she started her day. To this day, that entire chapter is instilled in me. However, verse 4 is my secret weapon. Whenever I feel afraid, that one verse seems to calm all of my fears. I dare you to recite it when you are afraid. Whew! Talk about peace like no other! Personally, it kind of makes me feel like royalty. As if my daddy is The King and I am His princess. Like nothing can touch me. Sounds crazy– huh? But it does.
Anyway, without further ado, here is Psalm 23. Enjoy! And use it!
Psalm 23 KJV
1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
Yes, it is Sunday again! Seems like time is passing at warp speed (Star Trek- lol). I would love for it to slow down a little. I need time to process a few things.
Woke up thinking about the turn of events over the past month or so– personally as well as professionally. Even though I have been blogging since 2018, it was not until May of this year that I was ready to share my blogs with the world. In May, I also started volunteering again. It had been ages since I last volunteered. And, when I woke up this morning, I logged onto my professional social media accounts and began updating them. Also, this morning, it finally dawned on me why I had neglected those accounts for so long. Y’all, I did not want to be that person anymore.
Okay… moment of full transparency.
It all began two years ago. Whew, I never thought I would talk about this. At the beginning of 2018, I was asked to do a presentation for an association that was having a conference in Mississippi. I was so honored and hyped about it. I was given a topic, asked to come up with a few objectives for continuing education credits, and told I would be working with a local chef on a menu and food demonstration. Y’all, it was like a dream come true! It was everything I imagined I would be doing at this point in my career. I was ready!
The first hit I took was when I found out the association I was presenting for was not a diverse association but a national, all-Black association. Some would say I should have been honored. However, it was like receiving a blow to the heart. You see, I was asked by a predominately (99%) white company to deliver the presentation.
Just to give you some background on my relationship with this company. For several years, I had been invited to attend their sponsored events. At that time, I knew the state and regional directors well enough to contact them personally whenever I needed a sponsor for one of my events, educational materials for health fairs, or incentives for community projects. So when asked to give this presentation, I automatically assumed it was because they valued our relationship, not because they needed a Black registered dietitian to present to an all Black audience. That stung!
The second thing that happened was they changed my entire presentation. I was initially told they wanted the session to be fun and interactive. Which was right up my alley. I hate boring presentations! Well, after submitting my presentation for review, it was returned to me butchered. Y’all, the entire flow was all wrong. They kept the objectives but added random information. Even the fonts were inconsistent. They also added pictures that did not go with the text. Now, I might write crazy things in my blogs, and make all kinds of grammatical errors, but when it comes to my professional work, it has to be almost perfect before I present it. Honestly, I felt like my work had been sabotaged. Y’all, I cried.
The third thing that happened, and what finally made me question if I even wanted to be in that space anymore, happened during the night of the event. As I said– FULL transparency. This was a month and a half before my hysterectomy. My cycle had just started. Which meant I was extra irritated, cramping like crazy, and blood was pouring out of me. I wore a navy blue suit, and put on an adult diaper lined with two overnight pads, to hide or prevent any accidents. Y’all, I did not want anything going wrong. Well, I arrived at the venue and EVERYTHING was white. I mean— EVERYTHING! The floors were white. The linens were white. And ALL of the chairs were white– white cushioned chairs, that is. Talk about anxiety!! All I could do was pray– “Lord, please don’t let me have an accident on all of this white.” I kept thinking, what would I do if I stained one of the chairs? I tried to remain calm, but I was all nerves. So when I got up to present, no matter how professional I tried to be, it did not happen. Here is how the night went.
When my audience arrived, they were tired from attending hours of educational sessions. I was later informed that they thought my presentation was supposed to be entertaining. HA…so did I! Y’all, they had access to an open bar, and boy did they drink. Some, a lot more than others. Needless to say, I was giving a presentation to a room full of tired, tipsy people. As I said, my presentation had been changed. What I did not mention is that I had only received the revisions a day or two before the event. Which was not ample time to thoroughly review the changes, so I felt unprepared. I also did not have a microphone so I had to walk the room so that everyone could hear me. Funny story- There was this elderly lady that kept yelling, “I can’t hear you!” The night was a mess. When I tell you this crowd asked questions I had “zero” answers to! LOL! Funny, but sooo not funny. Y’all, I felt like a failure. Most of the night I deferred the questions to our host, the one who revised the presentation. At one point I stopped presenting because a few people would not stop talking. Y’all, one thing I hate is rudeness. And when the entire audience can hear your conversation, you, my friend, are being rude. So I stood there and glared at them until they stopped talking. Was I unprofessional…HECK YES! Y’all, I was fed up, I was sick, and I felt humiliated. I felt like an imposter– WOW! I just pinpointed when I began feeling like an imposter.
After that night, I swore I would never attend another one of their company’s events. That was also the last time I really posted anything of worth on my professional pages. I went into my shell and never wanted to come out. Honestly, I had given up. I had lost my confidence. That was two years ago.
As I mentioned, May was my turning point. Slowly, I am regaining my confidence. Maybe I did need two years to Reflect, Regroup, Refocus, and Rebuild. I do believe I am wiser and better prepared to handle the unexpected. I am also working on the way I deal with my imperfections. Recently, I attended a Zoom call with a lot of unknown attendees. At first, I was not going to turn on the camera. You know, leave the nice, edited picture displayed. At the last minute I was like, why not! I did not have on makeup. I had on a t-shirt and my hair held back with a headband. And my lighting was bad. But, I decided to show the world me. Part of my personal and professional growth is about me becoming comfortable with my imperfections. Slowly, but surely, I am growing.
Y’all, I am so grateful God loves me. Moving forward.
Today I am choosing to be present. To actively live in each moment. That is what I did on my birthday; and honestly, that was one of the most peaceful days I have ever experienced in my life. No lie. No anticipations– just went with the flow. Y’all, I even worked on my birthday and did not feel the least bit of anxiety because I was not doing what I had planned. That day, I actually let go and allowed life to happen. And guess what– everything worked out perfectly. So today, with God’s help, I know I can do it again.
Hello! So I have been blogging for two years now. Well… on this particular site. My other site was professional and way too boring. Lol! At the time that I created this site, I was on this transparency kick. I needed people to be transparent. I was so tired of the fake–glorious–perfect social media posts. Ugh!! The frustration was real! So I decided if others could not be transparent, at least I could. Below is the blog I wrote two years ago. It is very transparent. Enjoy!
Character: the mental or moral qualities distinctive to an individual
Over the past week, or anytime something major happens, and I do not respond or react the way others do, I begin to question myself. Like– Am I not normal? Is there something wrong with me? Why am I not visibly outraged like everyone else? I care. I feel. I am angry. I am disgusted and disappointed and frustrated. I am all of these things. Yet, people may never know it because I do not show it. Why? Hmm… It finally dawned on me that I am not that person. That is not who I am. So why force myself to respond like others if it does not come naturally. Y’all, it is not my character.
I can think of so many incidents throughout my life where people have told me how they would have reacted differently to the same situations. For example– just because I feel like writing– when I was in my early twenties, I had gotten off work early and stopped by my boyfriends place to surprise him. Little did I know, I was the one in for a surprise. I found him in bed with another girl. I stood beside the bed and causally asked them a few questions, like- “What are y’all doing?” “Why didn’t you lock the door?” You know, questions anyone would ask. After receiving my answers, I sat down and waited for her to leave. Y’all, I remember this big brass lamp being on the nightstand. For a second, I considered bashing his head in. Yep… I could visualize the entire scene. However, I chose to remain calm. Even our conversation afterwards was calm. He kept saying things like, “I know you want to hit me,” and “Just let me have it!” If “Boy, bye” was a phrase back then, I would have definitely used it. Every time I tell someone this story, they tell me that they would have responded differently. Most say they would have fought him and the girl. But why?? Was I hurt? YES!! I thought I was in love with him. But, the consequences that would have resulted from that moment of gratification, would have been costly.
Now, have I ever acted out of character before? HA!! Of course! When I was ACTING! Whenever I have to give people what they expect, it is called acting. And y’all, I hate acting. Whenever I have to cuss to get my point across, that.. my friend.. is acting. You see, whenever I am hurt or angry, I become very quiet. I do not say much. I just act. Y’all, this is my character.
I decided to write this because it is something that has been weighing on me for a while, even before George Floyd’s murder. As I said, after something major happens, whether national or personal, my response is always a little different from others. Hence, the reason I always refer to myself as being unique or quirky. The way I react or respond may not be what is typically expected. Y’all, I was going through a crazy divorce for over four years and I rarely said a word about it or spoke badly about my ex. There were so many things I could have said or done, but chose not to. Shoot.. I can barely cuss when writing, because again, it is justnot in me.
Today, I am so grateful for those who choose to accept me for who I am. Those who understand and respect my true (not the act) character, as I do theirs. From this day forward, I will no longer question myself based on how others think I should react or respond. Y’all, people will have you angry with yourself only to come around and agree with you later. Honestly, in the end, the only opinion that matters is God’s.