I’m a proud member of various athletic clubs, groups, and associations that I love, and one specifically BTA also known at Black Triathletes Association. A little while ago a few questions were posed to members including: how we got started in the sport, what keeps us motivated, ultimate goals and what being a part of BTA means to us. Check out my video response:
To: Riley, Tanayea, Tarshana, Taquara, Maya, Trinity, Anayah, Kelsey, Olivia, Akeria, Kyra, Terica and I dedicate this to all the little girls, teens and women whose hearts I’d long to protect and encapsulate from hurt. In life’s journey it may prove challenging, continue to have a childlike heart full of excitement, hope, and openness that comes from an enduring spirit that won’t allow man or earthly wounds to diminish its ability to give & be LOVE.
I’m sharing these words & thoughts from a few weeks ago that it may bless someone.
Placing these words down is an attempt to first get out raw thoughts, feelings, emotions, dreams, as well as to process the space that I am in at this time. And still I’m attempting to make sense of the why, how, in order to grow, to gain some understanding, and to move into a clear and solid space. Right now quite literally and in a sense emotionally, I am broken. Just having had a fall on my bicycle, I’m now healing from fractures in my cheek/face and a dislocated clavicle. Needless to say, I have again been brought to a moment of stillness. And in this stillness, I’m also faced with dealing with heartache. Once again I’ve opened my heart to someone who was not ready for the love that I have, I am, seek to give, embody and desire.
And in some ways I am simply tired. Tired of lessons, of hurtful things that I understand grow me, but just tired. Not that I want or expect things to be easy, but whatever I have been doing, any type of behavior that has me revisiting heartache, I’m just tired.
For years I surrendered to God. I have sought to cling to patience, obedience, virtue, celibacy, focusing on my spiritual walk, waiting and in many ways preparing for sharing my life with someone remarkable…and here I am. Hurt, unable to do something I’m so passionate about in my races, not really focused on work at this point, and just at a loss of direction. Part of me doesn’t even feel like putting these words down, but it is my way of trying to make it through this cloud to some belief in sunshine on the other side.
At least you could say I still in spite of the last week and few months, I still cling to God. He’s all I know I have to get me through this, when it doesn’t make sense, when I’m disappointed in my circumstances, how I got here, trying not to stay at blaming myself for decisions I’ve made, not hearkening to my own gut..that spirit of discernment, and yet even still having love for the very one who has hurt me…who still won’t talk to me to give me some sense of clarity as to why from his perspective, he wasn’t completely open and honest with me from the start. Not that that matters in the end, he is where he is, and I own the fact that despite the red flags, I embraced loving him.
So, why? Why have I longed to and actually do love him? Someone who has not demonstrated in his actions the desire to love me. This is not the first time, but I thought that I had learned my lesson to choose wisely of who is deserving and ready and able for authentic love, unconditional love. My continual habit of not just giving someone the benefit of the doubt, but having compassion and understanding of his past pain, hurt, longing for love, hoping that my love could lead him through the hurt of what he has gone through and into the light of the beauty of love at its purest. Knowing that God is the only one that can heal his heart, I guess I thought in bringing us together, I could be an instrument that God could use to reach him…to let him know he is loved beyond what he may have thought of his past and embrace it.
I’ve never been really a selfish or self-centered person, but I feel like I’m face to face with the idea of self-love. I love myself through and through, but if I have to look at how I got here, I have to face the possibility and realization of the fact that.. I have allowed loving and want to give to someone else, to compromise my own love of self. At no point should loving someone else require my own heart to be hurt, and that is really what I’m looking at. Needing to ask myself, tell myself when I start seeing disappointment, discouragement, feeling used, unappreciated,…, that at that point, I’m not only not receiving love of that person, I’m not receiving love for myself. You are so much worth more than the crumbles of attention, that aren’t even an iota of what true love is awaiting you and what your heart is truly ready and longing for. Keep basking in God’s love, but also know He has a special counterpart for you on earth that wants to love you and was created to love specifically YOU.
Which gets me to another point..truly trusting God. I previously was at a point when I had to ask myself in my actions did I really show that I trusted God. In being honest with myself, I had to say no and do the work to not only own up to it, but also ask what it would look like and live in truly trusting Him. You could say in these last few months, my eyes deferred from God onto what I thought I longed for. And having once again gotten hurt, though I blame myself, I honestly don’t know if I have the patience, desire, and strength to stand in that place. It’s hard being in a place of waiting even when you’re busy, doing work you thing God wants of you. I still longed for that special man to share my life, my faith, God, my dreams…and more. Knowing I’ve waited and tried to do and live in what I believe was expected of me, it’s not like I’m going off the beaten path, but like I said I’m just tired.
Maybe with all this being still so fresh and the injury, I’m just feeling so beaten down. “Be still and know that I’m God” – Psalm 46:10. Lord I try, I really do. And I know you know when I’m stirred, please help any unbelief. And please heal my heart, please allow me to not only bask in your perfect love, but I still pray that you provide my earthly helper, counterpart, love. That I still can fulfill on what I hold dear…that you bring us together for a purpose that is bigger than us both. Lord I humbly ask that of you. And until that day, that my exhaustion and hurt not deter me from my desire to serve, seek, please and love you.
To those reading…trust the journey of life, even the lows, for they have the ability to bless just as much as the highs. Embrace the love within your heart and give freely in word and in action, including to yourself. Trust God and his love for you.
A couple of things prompted me to write this post, but I have to thank a friend for sharing with me a FB post about a card game “Mentally Stimulate Me” that spurred me to put these words to pen…or shall I say cyberspace. We had a brief conversation about dating, relationships, and today’s society, and later when I was tagged in a post about the game, my reaction was “now this is exactly the point.”
I’ve long observed a few lost arts to relationships and human connection in today’s world. Intimacy (and I’m not talking about physical intimacy), communication, being intentional and present, as well as, integrity and vulnerability are just a few.
Having an engineering degree, having worked in the IT field and still very much working with and using technology, like many I embrace technology, however, in many ways it has hindered our basic human interactions and connections. We now live in a world of “virtual” relationships where people get to know each other through online spaces like Facebook or Snapchat or primarily communicate through texting that in my opinion lacks basic fundamental intimacy. Arguably, we are all so busy juggling various aspects of life, more complexities, and live further from our jobs, families and friends, which is why we rely on technology so heavily. Yet, the tools we use to bridge the quantity of our relationships, in my opinion, hinder the quality of our relationships. Learning about this game “Mentally Stimulate Me” is an example of how we are at a point where people are having to create a game to get at what we should already embrace in natural human behavior…talking, communicating, being open, sharing, stepping away from fear of deeply personal discussions to truly tap into the mentality, psychology and spirituality of others.
I can honestly say I’m not the biggest phone person and can have tendencies like my dad to be more quiet, observant, and maybe even somewhat distant, however, I love and enjoy the connection of being in someone’s presence and sharing thoughts, ideas, and experiences. Even enjoying the sound of someone’s voice, the highs & lows, and auditory expressions of individuals I truly connect with are more enjoyable than the mediums of text, tweet, like and comments. I still recall the enjoyment of sitting listening to my grandma share family history stories and those are some of the most cherished moments of intimacy that I have.
Now, this is not to say that I don’t like many folks text or post “Happy Birthday” messages to family and friends or think that it’s cool to text brief messages (i.e. Hellos, Good mornings, directions, and others) to people. It’s just that I find that often we rely on certain mediums too much to create, build, and maintain relationships, or use them as our primary means to nurture relationships without thought to the lack of intimacy that ensues.
I also recognize that there a certain times and perhaps only certain individuals, family, friends, etc., that people even want to create intimate spaces with, which leads me to being intentional. Particularly in today’s “dating” world, I’ve found that often out of fear, trying to be cool, having gotten comfortable and various other reasons, many people aren’t intentional about maintaining relationships or even “being present”, which translates to being attentive or concerned or in-tuned with another person.
Before you can connect with and truly know someone else, I feel that you first must know yourself, especially to be able to be honest with others about who you are. One of the things about being intentional about relationships is that it is a priority, something you want and do make time for. Especially these days, it’s funny to me how we often act like we are so busy or too busy for certain things. We all make time for what we truly want to make time for and if you don’t make time for certain things or certain people, that is ok. Sometimes it’s that person that you may or may not be meant to have a certain relationship with, sometimes it is or isn’t the right timing of it. But let’s at least be honest about it.
In being intentional about getting to know others, developing and maintaining relationships, it’s important to really learn what their interests, desires, fears, needs, goals, purpose and more are in order to ensure authentic connection and understanding. We often may think we are giving or doing something that WE may feel is important to the relationship, without realizing that the other person does not value or even recognize what WE are doing. And they may be looking or seeking something completely different. We have varying priorities, needs, opinions, perspectives, so to have time and space to bring all that out into the open for those involved is key.
Integrity. Integrity. Integrity. What happened to the days where “word is bond” and when people did what they said they were going to do? And I’ll give you one better, because no one is perfect. Even if you didn’t do something you said you were going to do, you at least acknowledged it or apologized or owned up to it when you realized you didn’t (because perhaps you forgot, got distracted or were hindered).
I’m nowhere near perfect, however, I’m so tied to my word that I remember about 5-6 years ago when I told my dad I would model for some photos he was taking for a class. I completely forgot about it and the next time I had visited my parents, he didn’t even mention it but I happen to see his camera and remembered what I said I was going to do. I was so apologetic because I rarely forget things like that and me being a daddy’s girl, I would never not want to come through for my dad. He said it was ok and had got his assignment done, but I still felt bad. But I remember that from years ago, because it is such a rare instance and words are like promises that I don’t easily break.
To be so connected to our word and our integrity that instances where we lapse are rare, to me is ideal because it means we truly honor what comes out of our mouths and don’t just say anything to anyone at anytime.
To end this post, I’ll say that I truly feel we as human beings are beautifully made, beautifully flawed, and beautifully growing creations, which is why I feel our vulnerability is so amazingly beautiful. Our vulnerability allows us to strip away the layers of past experiences, pretentiousness, what we feel we need to show outward, etc…and simply be. Like a child with no sense of wariness, walls, fears,…we are able to open ourselves up knowing that we can be hurt, we can receive joy, love, happiness, we can be surprised, and still we can be who we are meant to be and trust in the life experience we are meant to gain from being just that.
You can check out Mentally Stimulate Me game at – https://msmcardgame.com/
Sorry, it has been a while since I’ve posted, but I do try to focus on posting when I really feel led & inspired about a certain topic, event, experience, and the like. It has been a few months and then something that happened tonight sparked me to share what manifested.
It’s been a while since I’ve had one of these types of conversations with my mom. Over the years our difference of perspective over many things like how I wear my natural hair, the decision to leave a stable corporate I.T. job to start my own businesses, to taking less paying opportunities to work with youth and communities and more, needless to say, have made for debatable discussions or lack there of.
This attachment is a snippet of tonight’s interaction:
As I read this short transcript, I can’t help but laugh in observing how my questioning responses have a way of redirecting what someone wants to place on me, but more importantly challenges their views, reasonings and assumptions of me and my life.
With my mom, I’ve long accepted that her being who she is and her perspective are not necessarily going to change. The expression ‘set in ones ways’ often come to mind. And yet I embrace her & her expressions, as someone from her view, who wants to see what she thinks is best or what she’d like to see out of love for me.
And I don’t necessarily disagree with everything she desires. I wouldn’t decline receiving more money in life? And I look forward to relationships, husband, children and more family.
Where we don’t connect is the necessity to have that and to have that now to be happy, successful, fulfilled, and enjoy life. That is what I think she doesn’t understand. And no matter how I’ve tried to explain it, how long I demonstrated who I am and how I live my life, it seems difficult for even a person who loves, supports (in various ways), and adores me, to not be so blinded by what they want to see to make me happy over the joy & gratefulness I have in simply being me.
I share this for 2 reasons & 2 types of people.
One, for many that think, feel, want something in their life or in others lives to be different or longing for something in hopes to come. It is natural to have desires, however, to give so much power to what isn’t or isn’t yet that you can’t cherish, be grateful, enjoy and appreciate what is, will leave emptiness. Why should we be given more or something different if we can’t have joy with what we already have. I know this isn’t an easy space to be in..it takes time, growth, maturity, and often life experience to get to. And like many spaces in life, it is a journey.
The second reason is to challenge us all to continually assess our perspectives of life and all that lies within. Our view of things like what makes us happy and why, how do we determine what is success, beauty, purpose, why do we really want the things that we do, why are we doing (career, education, family) what we are doing, and is there more that this experience of life could be trying to reveal to us, about us, about others and about life itself ?
On this day, I was blessed with a gift that I’m still in awe of each day I wake..for LIFE has granted me..
PASSION, which has given me a zest for life, to still see it as through the eyes of a child and hope, play and love beyond limitation or reason.
PURPOSE, which has given me clarity, and yet unclarity, definition but yet to be indefinable, and allows me to be visionary and still know what i cant see can still be.
EXPERIENCE, being able to cherish it all, continue seeking it as it keeps pouring into me wisdom.
PAIN, which has given me the understanding that disappointment, failure, hurt are just as necessary as success, happiness, & elation, for those are the spaces we learn acceptance, peace and often grow the most.
THIS WORLD, which has shown me that even in these times of turmoil, to see hope, a window of opportunity, to believe in humanity as I can see God in everyone.
LOVE..boundless, limitless, absolute..seeing love, receiving love, giving love, being love yet never being able to fully embody or know it completely.
Just something I wanted to share in celebration of the blessing of another year of life.
Now that we are settling into 2017, how is your new year looking so far? Typically, by now I would have already completed updating my vision board, have my list of 2017 goals and commitments set, and focused on the steps and what I need to do to achieve along with my continued journey of growth and self-actualization. However, to be honest, this year has started with some stagnation, rather than an energetic rejuvenation.
I thought perhaps with having had so much going on in 2016, just maybe I was experiencing a ‘whew’ moment in wanting to take time to settle and relax before I jump into gearing up for more. Between the day to day hustle and bustle, I just hadn’t been making the time to set up and refocus for this new year. But if you know me, that is not good enough.
I thought to share this because there may be people dealing with some sort of slump, or needing a push to get things going, or maybe in a valley of unclarity, uncertainty, seeking next steps or life changes, but not sure how to or what to do about it.
At the top of 2016, I posted about creating commitments vs. resolutions, as well as methods to stay focused throughout the year in “More Than Resolutions, Committed in 2016”
However, what if you’re not sure of what commitments to make or how to build on things you may have accomplished in your life so far. So, I say let’s dig deeper.
As someone who leans on prayer, I lead with seeking God for my path, further living into my purpose, and for revelations for what I meant to do. Just taking time out to be silent and listen will often provide you with the answers and inspiration for moving forward.
There are also questions you can ask yourself, such as:
– Am I living into my life’s purpose? If not, what would it look like if I did?
– What ideas or recent inspirations have I had that really speak to me and my purpose?
– What have I been afraid of doing but know I am meant to do? Am I ready to step out of my comfort zone?
– What are things I’ve been wanting to change in my life? What are steps I can and should take to make those changes?
– What are changes I want to see in my family, my job, my community, the world? What are the things I am moved and will commit to, to start seeing those changes?
– What did I want to accomplish last year or the year before, etc that I did not? What am I going to either re-commit to and change from before to see that come to fruition?
– What have you accomplished in the last year or so? For what purpose, did it serve and is there more that you can do to build or expand upon that purpose?
No matter the area of your life, be it career, work, fitness, health, family, relationship, financial, spiritual, community, or others, you can ask yourself which you can go deeper in seeking development and growth, as well as begin to detail things you seeking to change or accomplish in those areas.
I still recommend some of the tactics I detail in the “More Than Resolutions, Committed in 2016” post, like the specific lists; revisiting daily, weekly, or monthly; identifying and dealing with obstacles; and creating accountability with others (read the post for the specific details).
Overall, the point is to decide to make your commitments, to determine the steps you will take in achieving that which you are committing to, and using this next year to focus on them. So, NOW…how is your 2017 looking? Be blessed.
This year has been an amazing one for both my indoor & outdoor triathlon seasons. Getting faster, acquiring sponsorships, moving up to Olympic distance & in placement towards the top my age group of triathletes (and hope to see overall as well), has been great accomplishments for me this year. After today’s 2016 finale, I took some time to reflect on the year and want to share with you a summation of that in the post. Enjoy the video below..
Going into the Chicago Triathlon weekend in preparation for my Olympic triathlon, there are some nerves, some excitement, and having just witness the 2016 Rio Olympics, I must say that I have once again been inspired.
Having a variety of tools and rituals that keep one focused, motivated, and passionate about being a triathlete, improving, growing, and seeking various goals is key, however, to see the athletes of this year’s Olympics was not only amazing to see, but also spirit-moving to see them go for and accomplish lifetime dreams.
The strength, power, and domination of Simone Biles.
The history making of Michael Phelps.
The focus and drive of Allyson Felix, Tianna Bartoletta, English Gardner, Tori Bowie.
The dedication and comeback of Gabrielle Douglas.
The sense of accomplishment of Gwen Jorgenson.
The youthful surprise of Simone Manuel.
All of their achievements is a reminder of the level of commitment it takes for us all to step up to the challenge of reaching our dreams, living the lives we desire, and fulfilling on our purpose. Through their smiles, tears, falls, and celebrations we see a moment that sums up all it took to get where they are. This can be applied not just Olympians or athletes, but to anyone.
The moments of the Rio Olympics has allowed me to reflect and take stock in not just my commitment to various aspects of my life (family, friends, career, goals, dreams, etc) but also to visualize and imagine the feeling of what the end result could not just look like, but feel like, and use that to fuel me daily in my aspirations.
Yes, many of us picture what we want or seek in life, but often we can’t really embody what it would be like to actually be living it. It’s easy to get inundated with the drudgery of the work it takes, the day to day ebbs and flows, the pitfalls and hitches that may seem to take us back a notch or two. There are days of discouragement and times when we just aren’t feeling motivated. There are often mundane periods as well as times we may second guess, have self-doubts or fears. I imagine even these Olympians have experienced these (injuries, poor performances, or simply falling short). However, the difference between getting to the finish line or not is the choice we make once we hit that crossroad that determines the path to ordinary or the path to greatness.
I definitely plan to take this as inspiration into not just this weekend’s race, but also into my continual life’s journey. From watching such phenomenal athletes these last few weeks of the Rio games, hopefully we can all be inspired to choose in our own lives, the path to greatness.
And best wishes to all the athletes racing in the Chicago Triathlon…let’s go!!
With all the outcry for the violence that we are seeing in the world, our communities (particularly low income communities & those predominantly people of color), we all can choose to play a role in transforming our current state.
I’ve written various posts to uplift and encourage us all to take action no matter our gifts or abilities. However, I recognize that many are at a lost for exactly what to do.
Between our careers, jobs, families, organizations, and a variety of other things we juggle, many feel there is no available time to do something about our communities’ challenges. Well, I ask if we don’t make time and prioritize addressing these issues, are we prepared to not see change or see things get worst? Well, I’m not & hopefully we all are increasingly a point of no return to commit to action.
Included in this post is a “Create Our Village” Pledge that lists things that pretty much anyone can do. Even children can get involved. Many of these things are not reactionary acts (though those are needed too) but look at the core of the human psyche, mindset, circumstances and create opportunities for us to be proactive in addressing the source of something greater that is needed in our families, communities, us, as a people.
Two things have inspired this over the last few years: 1) our need for Love, for God amongst us, poured into each other to conquer the state of fear, hate, and division and 2) it’s said ‘it takes a village’, connection, unity for our children, our communities to be uplifted. Here enlies some fundamental things for us to start doing to address both and to start creating change. So, will you take the pledge by committing to acting on 3 or more of these on a weekly basis? If so:
2) Click to email your acceptance of pledge (include name, email address, 3+ actions). As this #CreateOurVillage movement grows, you can be included on FB group for posting updates
3) Email any additional list ideas (this is not an exhaustive list of actions to create our village) to firstname.lastname@example.org
4) We hope to see posts, tags, pics to see the actions and results of our commitments (not just for accountability and keeping this going but) to further inspire others and further create connections amongst this movement. These can be very powerful tools.
5) Post and share this pledge with other and invite them to take the ‘Create Our Village’ Pledge.
My apologies if this offends anyone as it is not my intent to do so. With this past week’s tragedies of the killings of Alton Sterling, Philandro Castile, and the Dallas police, we are seriously hurting and many have been trying to deal, make sense of it, and figure out what next must be done.
Many main stream media as well as others through social media have shared the videos and images of those killed last week and there are many others who have stated they refuse or could not see these images and would not want these images shared. I can relate with both ways of thinking. I struggled with myself in writing this and including such images, and have grappled with seeking to find the meaning of last week. I’ve been asking questions of the bigger meaning to the madness we are seeing and in recognizing that the lives taken not only matter, have a special meaning not just to their families and loved ones but to us all, in life, but also in death.
With the devastation of these recent incidents, I couldn’t help but think of a particular moment in history and that was Bloody Sunday.
This snippet captures the impact and effect of Bloody Sunday:
“The world doesn’t know this happened because you didn’t photograph it,” (Dr.) King told Schulke, according to the Pulitzer Prize-winning book “The Race Beat.” This time, however, television cameras captured the entire assault and transformed the local protest into a national civil rights event. It took hours for the film to be flown from Alabama to the television network headquarters in New York, but when it aired that night, Americans were appalled at the sights and sounds of “Bloody Sunday.”
Everybody knew what had been going on, but many tried to pretend they didn’t see it or were not doing anything about it. Bloody Sunday was televised to the world. Once the visuals and enormity of it was exposed to the world, outrage swept the country.
In reaction to Bloody Sunday galvanized public opinion and mobilized people, as well as Congress to pass the Voting Rights Act, which President Johnson signed into law in August 1965.
I ask myself was the events of this past week, the violence we have been seeing sweeping our nation, the police brutality, shootings and our reactions or lack thereof our wakeup call? Seeing the images of Alton Sterling, Philandro Castile, and countless other incidents coming to light, meant to be our modern day Bloody Sunday.
People keep saying “I’m tired of this”, “this has got to stop”, “I can’t breathe”, “Black lives matter”, and various expressions of frustrated, however, I ask are we at a point of having seen enough wrongful and senseless death to galvanize ourselves to act with intention?
Congress has not passed a gun control bill.
Police reform and accountability is being demanded.
Boycotts are being suggested.
Protests are happening.
As a people, as a country, is this FINALLY enough for us to take a look at ourselves, be committed to strategizing, unifying, organizing, and be determined to effectively transform the state of what we are seeing today?
I will end by sharing that it was seeing this photo [below] of Philandro Castile that broke me down.
Having lost a brother, I cried the same tears and felt hurt in reaction to this image as I did when I learned my brother passed and saw his lifeless body. I didn’t know Philandro, however, I see him as a brother, a fellow man, my neighbor, someone loved.
If this was your brother, father, cousins, son, husband, etc…, what would you do proactively different today and moving forward? How would you honor a life lost, so that this ceases to continue?
Are you really ready now?
Source: : http://www.history.com/news/selmas-bloody-sunday-50-years-ago