Someone told me once …

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The other week I went back to where I grew up. My time in a small village by the River Tyne were my formative years. I grew into a woman there and then left to go to London for university. I couldn’t leave quick enough. I found the place small and claustrophobic. It was a place where everyone knew your business. And to top it all we were the only black family around for years and miles. So we stood out.
Someone once told me that I should learn from the past but not hold onto the past. At the time, I didn’t quite get what she was getting at. I nodded my head and said thank you and moved along. Going back to my roots the other week this piece of advice came back to me.
Growing up in that all white village, I learned how to fit in, I learned how to make people laugh, I learned how to make other people comfortable being around me.
That is in the past. What I know now is that it’s okay to be myself; my whole self because if somebody doesn’t like me or gets uncomfortable that’s their problem not mine. I’m not in this earth to make everyone like me. I’m not on this earth to just blend in and smile.
I know I am here to shine. To offer up my gifts to the world and those who are on the same plane can appreciate them and learn from them if they do choose.
In the past, I worked hard for you to love me. In the present, I work at me loving me. And that’s enough now.

Malaga

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So this happened to me today – Malaga. When a woman needs a rest, she can’t just go upstairs and lie down. No she’s got to get on a plane to southern Spain to feed her creativity, which has been banished for the last few months.

Ended up in a dive of a place I booked thru Airbnb – it was dirty and smelly. And there was a moment there when I was going to make do. I was thinking of ways to improve it – cleaning it, candles, new bedding would be a start.

Then I stopped myself; felt and knew I deserved better than this. I’m better than this.

I got back onto Airbnb and booked myself into a much nicer apartment. I’m not even thinking of the money, I’m thinking I must put my needs and wants first as no one else will. How could I relax if I was worried about what my skin came in contact with?

Now I’m settling in and letting myself put down my load. Not even the rain can dampen my mood.

I’ve never done this before. This blatant self-nurturing. This instinctive sense of doing the right thing by me.

I like it. I like it a lot.

#atthecrossroadsofshouldandmust #self-care #self-worth #enough #abundance #cleansheets #trust #intuition #listening #feeling #power #self-awareness #rewinding #authenticsheshe

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#atthecrossroadsofshouldandmust #self-care #self-w

Love Yourself Friday 

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Yes I know today isn’t Friday. But I want to share with you something that happened to me a few months ago which I am proud of.

I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Phoenix Rising Collective, for their Love Yourself First Friday.
The aim of this special feature is to shed light on various ways we as women are practicing self-care, making it a priority in our lives.

After a couple of years of being in the doldrums and not being able to look myself in the eyes in the mirror, I feel I’ve come a long way to the point of actively practicing self-love. Maybe going through situations and experiences that others might recognise and gain insight from by sharing this way.

The question that struck home the most was; Is there an obstacle or challenge that you’ve overcome that lead you to a deeper love for who you are? In answer to this question, for the first time, I revealed my dirty secret. And it felt good to finally speak out about it.

Here is my answer and read the rest of the interview here.

“What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would spin open.” -Muriel Rukeyer

There comes a time in everybody’s life when the unspeakable happens. To say it hasn’t happened or won’t happen to you is a lie. You’re kidding yourself. Believe me.

In May 2015, the unspeakable happened to me. There was a public shaming. My whole world fell apart the day I was accused of being a plagiarist on Facebook by a ‘so-called’ friend and fellow poet. He wrote that he’d found whole scale “borrowings” from other writers’ words, phrases, and structures within my latest collection of poetry. He said that he was just doing his duty for the poetry community by bringing it to everyone’s attention. What followed was what I chose to call a public lynching of me as a writer, poet and person. This was the unspeakable that happened to me. But funny enough, I am speaking about it here, as well as writing a creative non-fiction book about this whole experience. Everything I knew, all I was, how I thought myself to be was taken from me in that public posting. I issued an apology regarding my unintentional mistakes and withdrew from the public realm. At one point, death looked a very promising course of action, but I had my family and some supportive friends who helped me.

Within the Chakra system there is a heart center called Anahata Chakra. In Sanskrit, Anahata means “Unstruck.” For me this speaks to the resilient nature of the human heart. I believe, wholeheartedly, that there is a place within my heart that is absolutely unbreakable. Thank you Chris Maddox for this wisdom.

This experience did break my heart, stopped me from loving, and shut me down and out. However, there was a minute part that kept pulsing, kept the light on for me. Maybe it was my belief in self, my self-love that got me through each day.

Each day has not been wasted. I have taken this experience as a wake-up call, a wake-up to explore and claim my authenticity. Afterwards, I had nothing. I couldn’t even look myself in the face at one point. But writing my book and starting to take photographs of myself have supported me in my climb up. I can’t say climb ‘back’, because who or what I am becoming, I do not know. I have never met this woman. I do know that love and self-love, first and foremost, are at the center of this journey.