Thursday, January 28, 2010

unloaded gun

One of the worst things that can happen when you come face- to- face with an opponent that wants to enslave you, is to have a gun that is not loaded. 
I am presently in a series of study sessions in lessons of the bible. The series is called Breaking Free, by Beth Moore.  This host equates lies with captivity and truth with freedom.  There are several truths. My truth, the host suggests, is a sum of my experiences and my environment. Sometimes hindsight really is 20/20. So as I now see my captivity, I can look back and clearly define my truth.  

My TRUTH =  born into a family, with parents who believed in Jesus as their bridge to the almighty God; wanting to follow Jesus, as my own choice; being a perfectionist; holding people to high moral standards, and being utterly disappointed when they did not live up to those standards; depreciating myself when I err; avoiding some activities for fear of consequences and sequelae; feeling that the approval of some persons was conditional on my being excellent; being very picky; indecisiveness; nervous to trust; seeing a brother’s marriage (to a women who had recently begun to believe in Jesus) become a tangle of disappointment, betrayal and confusion; seeing my family blame the sequelae of his marriage on the woman he chose, and her not really being a “believer”; seeing one of my parents not be productive (even though they were full of so much potential); not seeing that parent change, despite countless prayers; seeing myself achieve and avoid certain bad choices; progressively acting like past closeness with God would be sufficient in the present and in my future; progressively not communicating with God through prayer; seeing my [past] boyfriend love me, like no man has ever loved me; seeing that my [past] boyfriend matched the promise a few had told me God was sending; seeing that in several key ways he was the kind of man I had been telling God, openly and silently, that I wanted Him to send for me; seeing in one essential way (his initiative in, desire of and faith in all things God), that he was not, presently, what I prayed for; seeing myself wonder what that big question mark on his spirit was finally going to reveal; not seeing my [past] boyfriend when he read the bible (because he wanted to) or prayed on his own; not seeing the boyfriend move forward, quickly; seeing us (he and I) move too fast in physical affection; seeing that he was not formally educated or a professional (like me); seeing that he had made some poor choices in past relationships (and I had not made some of those poor choices, and if I compared myself to most of my peers, in that regard, I was exceptional, and he was not exceptional); not seeing my pride, sense of entitlement and perception of superiority.

PLUS (+)

LIE = the boyfriend could never be someone God wanted for me; he was not smart enough; if everything in his life was not where I thought it should be, then he was not for me; he would never want to be fully committed to God; maybe one day he would stop loving me

{Self-delusion; confusion; fear; worry; broken-hearted; numbed emotions;  isolation;  hopelessness;  loneliness}

It’s sad to have an unloaded gun when you come up against captivity. As a person that believed in the power of God’s Spirit being with me, I believe I had a gun. I had God’s words (the ones I received personally and the ones I could read in the verses of the bible); I had, Jesus, as my deliverer; I had experiences to confirm my faith, people who prayed for and with me; I went to church BUT, my ammunition was to be an Active and present relationship/communication/trust/partnership with God. This, I did not have. So when I heard the lie, my gun was unloaded, and I was not adequately able to fight off captivity; consequently, I became enslaved. If I had had my gun loaded, maybe I would have recognized the lie when I heard it--because I did hear it. Unfortunately, my [past] boyfriend did not even seem to have a gun.

I almost asked God, “why did you send me a man without a gun?” Even before I finished the question in my mind, I was realizing the answer: so that I could see him/be a witness to the event of (the boyfriend) being connected back to the almighty God (a priceless thing to behold); because God trusted me to be a bridge between him and God; because God believed I could handle it; because God intended to walk with me through the whole thing. The next thought I had was about Canaan, the land promised, by God, to the descendants of Israel. When God brought the Israelites there, during the leadership of Moses, the land was inhabited by other people. It was not empty and just ready for the Israelites to just walk into and occupy. God had intended to walk with them in the gaining of that land (the acquisition of their promise), BUT fear [of the people living there putting up an insurmountable fight; that things would not be easy] and a lie [that something was not right with the circumstances; that they had been lead into a trap; that this was not from God] drove them away from their promise...and it was 40 years of dryness in the desert before the chance to acquire the promise would come before them again.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The lie of epidemic proportions

Now on to Hair.
I recently watched, “Good Hair”, the documentary by the comedian, Chris Rock. He explores the world of black hair and the women who are adorned with it. I was talking about this film to my Indian friend. She stopped me because I kept using the term “natural hair” and she did not know what I meant. So I went down a list of women [whose ancestors hail from the African continent, to be called ACAGs in this blog (African Continental Ancestry Group-ies)] she knew and told her that each one of those women wore their hair straight even though their hair does not grow out of their scalp straight. She had had no clue. This is a woman, from New York City, with a Master’s degree and a host of ACAG friends, and she had no clue. So then I pointed to my curly head of hair and expressed that most of those women on the list had hair like mine, before they straightened it, of course. Her eyes widened as she said, “really?”   It was then, at that moment, that the gravity of the lie that black women tell everyday with their hair, hit me. It hit me how odd it was to have to use the disclaimer “natural” when talking about my exception-to-the-rule of a hairstyle, when the rule is not normal.  

I must give the following disclaimer: To relate the dysfunctional hair thinking of so many ACAG women, to my Indian friend, and so that ACAG women’s hair straightening addiction would not seem so fanatical, I said, “just like some Indians will not go in the sun for fear of being dark, and will even bleach their skin to be whiter (i mean lighter), so do ACAG women think straight is more beautiful than curly and will go to lengths to have straight hair.  At that, she understood the problem/ disdain for self that afflicted mine as well as hers.

So in 2010, the question begs to be asked: why are we, as ACAG women, still there, thick in the middle of a outward lie? Why have we not moved on, or rather, moved back [to the truth]? 

Maybe I would not ask this question, if I had not seen the movie [“Good Hair”].  But, I did see the movie.  While watching it, I had my turn to be amazed and clueless of the weave  world which I was now realizing I knew very little about.  I can tell you the difference between a full head weave and extensions and wigs and a cap and tracks; however, I did not know that there were some working class women--may I stress the words working class-- who would pay $1000 for their weave. $1000/ one grand/ a crap-o-la of cash! I could not fathom a working class woman forking over a mortgage, on the regular, for her hair. I began to envision women throughout the U.S going into debt for their hair. And the answer to the big WHY, was presenting itself to me, as a disdain for self.  I am not saying that ACAG women hate themselves, just their nappy, not-straight enough or loose and bouncy enough, Africa derived, kinky hair.  That’s when I thought, THIS HAS GOT TO STOP!  

The saddest part is that we ACAGs are the strongest defenders of the lie.  In the film, young ACAG teens comment about natural hair and professional appearance.  Each girl shown, expresses that she would not take a person seriously, as a professional, if they wore their hair in a natural style.  A few girls have no qualms about saying this, in the company of a girl wearing her hair in a natural coif. You can see in that one girl’s face: shock, uneasiness, insecurity, rejection.  

When I first started working in a very esteemed and professional environment, I was timid about my hair.  Without many examples of coiffures for people with my type of hair, that were both flattering and professional, I felt very much in the dark.  What was appropriate, I asked myself? The more I experimented, and the longer I stayed in that environment, the more I realized that the majority of the restrictions and taboos were in my head.  Most people never said anything about my hair. Many just commented that I changed it often.  And many others liked the ways I styled my hair.  I remember one day showing up with my hair in a huge, voluminous style--the night before I had done some extra-curriculars and did not have the energy to fight with my teased hair, in the morning.  So I showed up to work looking like Diana Ross, with my hair out to There. And you know what? For the most part, nobody said anything about my hair.  The one comment I do remember, came from a supervisor who said, “don’t let anybody make you feel uncomfortable about your hair, it looks great.” Bet you did not expect that comment, and neither did I. 

I’ll give you some more insight that you may not expect. A lot of non-ACAG people love natural hair--they are bemuzed by it and they will openly confess that they envy it.  I often get stopped by passers-by who feel compulsed to say, “I love your hair” or want to touch my hair.  Even though I have gotten used to it, I sometimes feel awkward when I am with a friend when this happens, mostly because my friend did not get the memo that he/she was going out with a hair celebrity that day. (LOL).  I was with the same Indian friend, mentioned above, when a car-full of women shouted from their car to hers, that they loved my hair.  Once, a friend who had witnessed several people, in the span of a few minutes, have visceral reactions to my hair, asked me, “does this happen to you a lot?” To that, I replied, “it’s happening more and more.” When I think on these episodes, I wonder, “do ACAG women realize that the world would accept them if they gave up the lie?” It hurts my soul to know what they do not know.  But unfortunately, standing in the way of that wall coming down is a host of ACAGs chanting “you can’t handle the truth”.

Definitely to be continued.....

Monday, January 25, 2010

Heart (dividend sign) 2

In my first entry, I wrote that I was “involuntarily single”.  The more accurate truth is that I walked away from love and was temporarily not picked up by another fish in the sea.  Maybe there is a sign on my forehead that reads: Unfinished Business, DO NOT approach this one.  (LOL).  More recently I have been overwhelmed by a wave of emotion and deluge of questions with uncertain answers.  Why did I walk away? Was he not right for me, or was I afraid? Did the voice of fear speak to me with confidence and blind me from what I should have seen? Did I run because things were not easy or perfect? Am I afraid to take real risks, like the risk of giving my heart away?  Was I pressured by people who did not see what I saw? Was I trying to live up to the standards of others, instead of allowing myself to discover my own desires?

I met a beautiful man who scared me.  He loved me so intensely, so quickly. He had a lot of the character traits that I was looking for, in a person that I would give my heart to; but he was like a bag of potential seedlings waiting to be sown.  That state of being in limbo scared me too. What ifs became a voice In my ear. What if he never used his potential? Who does he want to be? What if I will always want more for him than he wants for himself?  The questions scared me. Others saw that limbo state and raised concerns about it, and I could not subdue their concerns. One, told me a chilling story of love that went dry as one person’s path went from limbo to a direction opposite the person they were supposed to share their life with.  These two lived in the same house, but one desperately wanted to share certain parts of them self, that the other wanted nothing to do with.  This and their exhortation created the thought that if he was in limbo then he was not right for me. So I walked away, and in doing so, I broke my heart in two, and I broke his heart. For months I entertained all those questions, all those what ifs. Only to find myself realizing that maybe I, (me), did not care as much about those uncertainties as some others did. What if I allowed fear to tip the scale in the wrong direction and to drop a veil over my eyes?  What if love is the most powerful force on earth and in life? What if love is that force that sees us reach for the stars and touch them? What if all I really want is to be loved and to share who I am with someone? What if the resume is just a glimpse of where someone has gone so far, but not a predictor of where one will go?

At present, my heart is still torn. I’m confused and uncertain about many things.  I am in limbo, but I am focused on moving forward. 

Beth Moore writes that the greatest paradox is that healing can flow from a wound.  That idea made me wonder if God allows hurt and emotional wounding in my life to bring about a needed healing. Could it be that sometimes I’m only open to great healing when I am so hurt by a deep wound? Maybe my thinking needs healing. It is sad to admit but I often really reach out to God when I feel like I am in a low point, or ashamed of how I have muddied things in my life or when I am hurting. But sometimes I do the opposite too; I ignore God along with all the pain and lead myself into a numb cocoon.  When the prophet Isaiah writes of this savior person who “took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows” I think of Jesus and how he sympathized with the hurting and burdened his soul with the oppressed and overlooked.  I think, “Jesus can identify with me, He understands my broken heart”.  Jesus even quotes writings in Isaiah, of this person who took it as a mission to bind up the brokenhearted. It is as if He wants to be the glue that pieces my heart back together.  Hmm.

Monday, January 11, 2010


The heart doesn’t speak in intellect, it’s language is much more simple. Beat or not beat, love or hate. Truth or lie. 

Sometimes a princess meets a King and becomes a Queen. But what happens when a prince meets a Queen? Is a Queen only meant for a King, or can the prince rise in stature? 

It’s scary to take a chance and invest in human potential. What if they decide to squander and be lazy? Man, I wonder if God’s intestines are in a knot, watching and hoping for mankind.  But if you don’t take a huge risk, you lose the possibility of reaping a huge reward.   

I have to ask: why was the tree in the garden? I mean really, why put it there if not to tempt? And it temptation was intended, then can one really disappointed at any choice that is made, or are all choices valid? What if life is an exercise in making choices and seeing what they produce?

What if God is a bystander?

It is so easy for me to want to be frustrated with my situation of singleness and to be frustrated with God. Sometimes I do not want to talk to God about my frustrations and that just leads me to feel more isolated and alone, walling off my deep trueness behind guarded detachment. But today I wondered, “what if God is a bystander to my life?” What if God is watching and waiting to see what I do. What if God is waiting to see what choices we make and then what we do with the consequences of those choices? What if the day- to- day choices and courses are up to us, and only huge/ affect- the -world- and- all- it’s- inhabitants events does God navigate? What if the rest, God leaves up to us?