emergingfree

Christian and Socially-Conscious…One Woman's Expression

Archive for the tag “self love”

Excuse Me Little “Black” Girl—Part 4

Ponytails.  Afro Puffs.  Hair Clips.  Barrettes.  Beads…with foil tips. 

Yes, you know! 

Braids. Jheri Curls. Candy Curls.  Hair Rollers.  Hot Dryers. Hot Combs. Ouch!  Protect your ears!  Wash and Press.  Perms.  Just Wash?  Nah! Excuse me little “Black” girl, let’s talk hair.

little girl smiling

Since I was your age I knew I had good, thick hair.  Hair dressers would routinely tell me that my hair was a lot of work, but it was what other people wish they had.  Thank God for hair dressers who have loved on my tresses!  My reward for sitting hours in those styling chairs and sweating under those roasting dryers were tons of compliments from the awaiting public.  

“Mom,” I recently asked, “why did I start getting hair relaxers?”

perm on girl

“Convenience,” she simply said, and with that I remembered the words of my many stylists.  Your hair is a lot of work, but it is what other people wish they had.  Convenience made sense.

Sad Girl

An interesting thing happened to me in exchange for this convenience.  It took a while, but I can now realize its onset shortly after my first perm.  You see, while waiting for my mom to blow dry my hair I would let my towel hang down and pretend that my hair was longer and stringy.  I wanted it to shake when I moved my head like I saw girls hair move on television.  I wanted to wrap it into a ball and tie it back.  I wanted one side of it to tuck behind an ear and hang down my back.  How convenient it must be to just wash your hair and it be naturally straight?  I did not have that luxury, so I pretended.  Have you ever done that? 

press girl

At the time, I did not realize that I was buying into the idea that the desired look was long and straight and movable.  I did not understand that obtaining this look came with a cost, a cost I could not afford.  So in my naiveté, I would prolong my mom blow drying my hair by leaving the towel on my head and walking around the house imaging that it was my hair.  Oh, the innocence of a child’s imagination.  Convenience.

Shhhh

It is only now that I realize the importance of the honesty and the positive messages I received from my stylists which preceded the hair compliments I frequently received from the public.  I never stopped loving my hair no matter what state I choose to wear it and a lot of that unwavering love is because of the hair stylists I have had over my lifetime.  In their own ways, they have always and without question instructed me to love my hair.  Unfortunately, however, I had begun to devalue it.  Make sure, no matter how you wear your hair that you never shortchange its value.

me upside down

As you can see, I have returned to wearing my hair without the addition of relaxing chemicals.  Go ahead! You can smile!  It has been an absolute joy rediscovering the texture and behavior of my hair.  And to think, I last saw it when I was your age.  Oh boy have I missed it, and the messages that it reinforces within me.

What messages, you ask.

Oh, we will talk more about them later.  I need to go and wash my hair.

Just wash?

Yes!  Just wash.  I am about to do a wash and go…and in case you are wondering…I still receive numerous compliments, from all shades of people although now I don’t actually need them.  My hair is a constant reminder to love and value my whole unique self, even in the face of convenience which may convey otherwise.  

me hand up

Love yourself little girl!  In short, that is what my hair messages me.

My 2015: Back To Loving ME!

Here I am again reflecting on the year—smiling, fully conscious of the joy I have in my heart as memories flood my thoughts.  I entered the year with a list of goals AND A PLAN.  First, however, I knew I needed to commit to being whole.  I was finally tired of holding myself back.  I had reached the point within my self where I had intentionally settled on uncompromisingly growing into my best self.  To do this, I had to return to the basics.  In 2015 I returned to loving me and it feels oh so great!

2014

Have you ever been afraid to be great?  I have.  Thank God those days are over!  How can I say that I want all of the blessings God has for me and then await them with closed hands?  It seems silly now, but it took a while for me to see my self.  I wonder how many people are like how I was, wanting better but not wanting greatness.  (Is that you?)  How many people are denying their uniquely-made brilliance and settling for mediocre because that is now the accepted norm?  Guess what, we are not normal! We are supernormal!  We are exceptional!

As I go forth in claiming the promises God has given me, I do so in humility.  This is a good thing as I have discovered the difference between being humble and having low self-esteem.  Oh, how fine that line can be, especially in a world where lowering the esteem of another seems to be a sport.  (Why does “Hunger Games” come to mind?)  Loving your self, however, is the counter to the world’s punch.  Admittedly, I could not love myself without growing closer to God.  It is a continuous process.  How exciting!

About ten years ago or so, a woman told me that the Lord is going to do great things in my life but I would have to learn humility first.  I remember this like it was yesterday because her words confused me.  I thought, “Who is this lady?  She has me all wrong.  I am already humble.”  Although I was woolly, I knew she was prophesying to me.

Had I known then what the lesson plan looked like for me to learn “humility”, I probably would have said, “Never mind.”  I may not have cried out for God to bless my life in ways only He could.  I may have settled.  Sometimes, maybe more often than we care  to realize, the blessing is in not knowing.  His ways are not our ways.

Having gone through the coursework and passing the test, I have now invested in the blessings.  They are already a part of me.  They have always been.  I just needed to return to the basics to locate them.  I just needed to love me, my humble self.  The world offers many temptations to that which it defines as “success”.  Humility provides balance.  Yes, “balance”–something to remain upright and steady.  Won’t He do it!?!?

3.26.15 Instant hand on neck - Copy

 

Book Review: Intuition

About a week before Thanksgiving I got an intense urge to read three books.  I quickly decided on two of them.  The third, however, I only had an idea of the subject matter.  (That book, BTW, turned out to be the one by Shondra Rhimes.  See this post:  https://emergingfree.wordpress.com/2015/11/30/book-review-yes/)

Intuitive Self-Healing by Marie Manuchehri was the second book I decided to buy.  (See: http://www.amazon.com/Intuitive-Self-Healing-Achieve-Balance-Wellness/dp/1604076275 )  It, however, ended up being my third read.  Thanks to India Arie, I knew it included exercises.  I wanted to really take my time with it, so I saved it to read last.

Outside of knowing Manuchehri’s book would focus on intuition, I began it without any additional expectations—just with an openness to consider its presentation.  I found myself being introduced to chakras and how these  energy sources are connected to life’s manifestations.  The silliness I felt doing the first exercise quickly evaporated with the turn of each page.  In them, I found confirmation and clarity regarding things I already knew.  I also discovered things that had already resulted in lightness, smiles, and the embracement of both identifying and accepting love.

Aside from many of the exercises, there are two main things I will employ from this book.  The first is to be present!  I spend a lot of time problem-solving and using analytical skills because: of my profession, my spiritual gifts and talents, and my future hopes.  I have an active mind.  Yes, I think a lot.  People tell me this to which I always think, “Don’t you?  How can you not?”  I laugh now because those conversations normally stop with my questions.  I would walk away not understanding the point of the observation.  Can you relate to this?

Now, I know that it is necessary for me to be in the moment—to feel the clothes on my back, the emotions that I have, the socks on my feet, the water when I am washing dishes, etc..  It is easy to take these things for granted, especially if you are a person with a great ability to be empathetic.  I cannot afford to negate this part of my life anymore.  Can you?

Secondly, I must SPEAK self-love mantras to myself often and daily.  I would think these things, but what I have found is that I MUST SPEAK THEM!  There is a powerful energy in the SPOKEN WORD.  Try it!  Feel how your body reacts when you look yourself in the mirror and speak to you about you in a loving and caring way.  Go ahead.  No one is watching but you!

I really enjoyed this book.  It is a short, easy read.  The exercises were a great supplement.  Upon reflection, I am a better, stronger person with a greater awareness for living a joyful life.

3.26.15 Instant hand on neck - Copy

I’m glad I listened to the nudging to read three books.  God is amazing!  He gives me what I need when I need it.  He reassures me that He is with me.  He guides me along this journey.  I am truly thankful!

Neighbors

Who remembers Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood?  I loved watching this show as a child and still remember that its theme song ends with a simple question, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor”.  (For those who are not familiar with this, here is the song:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vtc7A67kZlQ )

Friends

At the beginning of every show, Mr. Rogers would ask me (the viewer) if I would be his neighbor?  Have you ever thought about who are your neighbors?  Do you limit your neighbors to those who reside in homes you see surrounding your house?  There was a time when I did.  Now, I have a much broader definition.

He answered:  “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”  “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied.  “Do this and you will live.”  But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”  —Luke 10:27-29

Do you think Christians see each other as neighbors?  (YES, I know the cited verses come out of the Parable of The Good Samaritan.  My thoughts, however, are in regards to the Christian community.) 

As I ponder this, I wonder how the world would be if Christians actively and proactively confirmed that we are neighbors.  Would this awareness spill over to being less judgmental about our religious differences, our socially constructed racial differences, our socio-economic differences, our political differences, and so on and so forth?  I often think about, how is it possible that people professing Christianity can have so much disdain for another person, for another Christian in particular, because of differences in politics, or because of differences in complexion, or because of differences in sin.  I think about how various denominations and sects amongst The Church have people more loyal to a church’s bylaws than to The Father, to The Son, and to The Holy Spirit.  I contemplate how we have become so desensitized by the terminology of Brother and Sister that we have loss the concept of Family.

Upon introspection, I challenge myself to be more conscious of the people I pass and of the ones I engage.  I would like to think that if I saw someone in need I would stop to help, but I know this is not always my truth.  As I mature, I understand that everyone I pass has a need.  Some have needs I can see, while others have needs I cannot see.  Yes, everyone has a need.  I am no exception.  Yet, I am to love my neighbor as I love myself.  Ahhh, and that is where the balance lives.  The central question is, “How do I love myself?”  How do you love yourself?

God is great isn’t He!  A few years ago I took a considerable amount of time to discover for myself how I loved myself.  By doing so, I realized that I was not loving me continuously, consistently, or enough.  How tragic, right?  Once I made some life-altering changes, gone were the emotional attachments that tired me as a result of my good and merciful deeds.  Long gone they are.

My neighbors are people who I know and those I do not know.  Although I am not as bold as Mr. Rogers, I have grown to a point that when I show up in a place, I do with the same inquiry, “Won’t you be my neighbor?”

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