Joy

…is an inside job. Its something I knew I wouldn’t find joy from a job, a man, a new country, or really even with financial gain. I knew joy was an inside job and that it required work.

Work work work work work (cues Rhianna).

But seriously, nothing good comes to us without some work. Sure, there are instances where an opportunity come, but we have to do the work on maintaining a blessing that has seemingly “dropped” in our laps.

So, for the past few…years, really, I’ve been doing work. Work on my self esteem, work on my relationships with God, work with my mindset when it comes to obstacles and entitlement, work with my need to be accepted and acknowledged by men, by my friends, by my family.

The work I have done is leading me into a new freedom. Free from the opinions of others, I am discovering that my Joy simply comes from the Lord. Knowing that I am completely utterly and unconditionally loved and accepted by God NO MATTER WHAT has been the key to my joy and my hope and my freedom. I recognize that He is number one. He is most important and because I am human and I will fail, His grace is the best gift that never stops giving.

I can smile in the midst of defeat. I can laugh in the stead of failure. I can shift when I feel stuck because he gives me joy…that passes beyond all comprehension. Its amazing, its fulfilling, and its free. I didn’t earn it. I don’t deserve it. I can’t repay it. And it will never be taken away from me. Incredible love. Incredible joy.

Advertisements

Love yourself

Name 3 things you love about yourself.

That sounds taboo, right? So often we are focused on the things that we can fix or improve. Let’s take a moment and acknowledge self love. I love myself. Flaws and all- that is where my confidence comes from. If nothing else I have to choose to love me. I mean, I want others to love me. Why would I request or require of them something I fail to give myself? It doesn’t make sense.

So, self love and self care is real. We had a morning meeting and my student asked, “love yourself more than your mom?”. I replied, “well, if you don’t love yourself first it is very hard to love someone else”. We talked about it. I shared that for me, God, self, others is the order of my love.

Receiving and feeling loved by God first then reciprocating that love on me and passing it to those around me has proven difficult and yet so simple. I love because I am loved. You’d be surprised how many kids chose not to share a compliment about themselves to the group. My students are not shy, they are intelligent speakers, and I was really taken a back by the fact that only 50% of them shared what they “love about” themselves. We are going to work on this.

I told them to never lose the ability to encourage and build themselves up- it is a magic power. It is healing and warm. It is necessary and yet stolen so young. We teach children that recognizing their strengths is bragging. No it isn’t. I am a good teacher. That is true. I’m not putting anyone else down. It doesn’t mean I don’t have room to grow. I simply am a good teacher, right now, in this moment. As my students are in PE, I am filling my cup and preparing for the day ahead. I practice what I preach. I tell them to read and write daily and I do. I teach them to be confident and kind- and I am. I want them to solve problems and change the world and that is what I do…one lecture at a time, one lesson at a time, one book at a time, one blog post at a time!

I love myself.

Love yourself.

IMG_2561

Queer concepts

I copied and pasted an email from a friend. She sent me a website with videos about intersectionality: race, gender, identity.

The link: https://www.colorlines.com/articles/our-new-video-series-raceand-captures-essence-intersectionality

(I almost didn’t post the link, because I’m not sure where I stand. But, knowledge is power. And exposure takes away excuses…for me…and for you).

“I didn’t watch every video. I watched the first and last and a bit of the second one. I just couldn’t really engage with the LGBT struggle. I definitely want to think more about this. I don’t know how to engage.

I think deeply, identity is being attacked. God created…and then man/the enemy distorted. I also believe culture pushed people to be so outrageous. You can’t be a woman who sees the beauty in another woman. You like women. You’re gay. You can’t be a feminine man who likes fashion. You dress up. You’re a drag queen. It may be small minded but I believe that there is a place for everyone and this agenda is so STRONG it IS overshadowing race and “gender”. And if you can choose your gender, how is gender an issue? I’ll just be a man if I don’t want to be oppressed? Or if I feel more masculine? I don’t get it.
Here are my notes:
misgendering – how can we know what gender someone is now that you can choose? We have to go off appearance and voice…and that can be confusing. No one can confuse my blackness. Ever.
“Race informs the other parts of me.” I agree.
I am a woman who…is also…   I agree.
My thoughts, I’m almost “white” but I’m brown. I mean my education, my social-economic status to some degree, my profession, my dialect, my socializing, my ability to travel, my experiences and opportunities. Sometimes that excludes me from what some paint as “blackness”. I didn’t grow up in the hood, I don’t always understand rap music, I don’t like “rachet” tv (well I do sometimes). A lot of that is also my religion. I’m Christian. And some say “a white man’s” religion. I have to shed all these identities and just be a child of God, knowing that others create boxes for me. And I’ll bust through them MUGS like Mario Kart bustin ice on the track.  Shout out to the 90s/2000s babies.
Intersectionality- heavy stuff.
Race no longer matters. We got all we were going to get during Civil Rights. We can’t fight everything at once, but we must choose and start somewhere.
I’ll always want people saved and to know Jesus Christ.
I will want women empowered.
I want brown and black people treated with dignity and respect.
I want money and education to be equal access, hard work opening more and more doors.
And I want people to love beyond all else.
Even when we don’t understand one another, can we please love?
That, we know, we all need.
#blogpost”
I didn’t proofread. #workflow
#letsengage

I love a guy.

You know the saying about love?

Our first love is young. 

Our second love is hard. 

Our third love we don’t see coming. 

I guess I’m in between love one and two. But I still love a guy. What’s funny is, I’m 99.8% sure that we won’t be together and we may not remain friends. And it has taken a year to come to terms with that, but I think I’m finding comfort in knowing that that is probably healthy and best.

I still write about him. I still think about him. And most days, I’m not sure if I am in love with him. Or I simply possess a deep love FOR him. Our ability to differentiate the two is imperative. Love is unconditional. It keeps no record of wrong. It is humble and selfless and to quite honest it is uncomfortable and unnatural. Most people give conditional though. Though the conditions may be broad, when pushed to the limit, a limit is found.

This idea of unconditional love bothers me. Let me rephrase, its agitates my normal behavior. You make me sad, I love you less. You disrespect me, you get boundaries of my love. I know, there seems to be nothing wrong with that, but if love isn’t free…is it love? Whats the price of love? A ring? A wedding? A child? Can it ever be paid for?

I love a man. And he may not even love me back. And that makes me even more confident about my love for him. He’s made me sad. He’s offended me. Never disrespect, never intentional harm, never unapologetic. And I love him.

Some days I feel like proclaiming this love, because it is evidence that divorce and heartbreak, and failed relationships did not crush me. They didn’t steal my capacity to love and to give without expectation. And that is a miracle. That’s evidence of the God I serve. One who can heal and transform and restore.

Back to love. Family. I love them unconditionally. Friends…my friends. I love them unconditionally and even the healthy boundaries I establish for them are not barriers to my love.

My students. I love them unconditionally. And they need that love. They need to feel and see that love. They need to know that that love is…real love. So as they grow and experience life, they can be prepared to give and receive the love that covers all.

I still love a guy.

 

Mourning Divorce

I knew this would be a process, but geez! A week ago I had another dream. I have reconciliation dreams. Dreams where he comes back or he stays…or we are together. They are never beautiful. I always wake up with a feeling like “why can’t I stop dreaming this nonsense”. I’ll do a better job of capturing the feeling next time.

Its like an annoying reminder that we could have pushed through, could have made it, but…he wasn’t cut out for the struggle. And honestly, he wasn’t built for me. I’m a fighter, I’m tenacious, I’m a handful of love and energy and adventure…! I have my flaws and they are the same things that make me beautifully fearless and unique and strong.

I just finished a sermon series on relationships and I’m taking away a newfound appreciation for my singleness. (Its great for EVERYONE- single, married, divorced, dating, engaged)

Click and enjoy: https://youtu.be/H7h5BHax06c

For the past several months, I’ve been flirting with the concept of contentment in this stage, but its solid now. I go as I please, I travel solo dolo, I have friends visit, and I really just pursue purpose on my own terms. God is in the driver’s seat and I am learning to trust Him fully. I still mess up and start trusting myself and my own understanding, but I have taken Proverbs 3:5-6 to heart:

Proverbs 3:5 King James Version (KJV)

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

 

 

Notarized.

I paused a Netflix movie to post this. So…you know its real.

Today, I scrambled to get documents notarized for my Work Visa. I’m about to leave the US in a matter of months to pursue a job abroad. I will be teaching 4th grade all subjects in Costa Rica! Excited is an understatement. I didn’t realize how much paperwork signing/applying/verifying would be required. I still don’t even understand if I sent everything perfectly. And being born abroad doesn’t make the process any simpler. Its confusing and annoying and very systematic even though no human being can explain the process considering my rare circumstances.

The notary at the bank (my shared branch because I still bank with an out of state credit union) did all my paperwork for free. He didn’t have to, but I am so appreciative. I saved $25. Then spent $20 for a document I forgot to have notarized by him and later paid for at a postal store that probably overcharged me.

Anyways…I sat at his desk and remembered the last time I had paperwork notarized at a bank. It was January of 2014. Divorce papers. I cried as I signed each page. I had gotten there at 4:59pm, right before closing after my ex kept asking when I would sign. He left me January 4th and the papers had January 10th on them. This had to be mid January. It was heartbreaking and I’m sure super awkward for the notary (a woman who kept her composure). I cried loud and deeply as I signed all thousand lines requiring my signature. I felt defeated. I was a little embarrassed. Not that I was crying- I needed that. I was embarrassed that my marriage had failed and this document was the proof.

So…as I sat in the office today. I almost cried again. Just in remembrance. Of a marriage I mourned and laid to rest. Divorce is a tragedy. I survived a tragedy. I overcame and rose above a tragedy. And 3 years later, I signed documents which I’d like to refer to as freedom papers. I’m leaving the US. I’m leaving (dis)comfort. I’m leaving what has been familiar. And I am so excited that now I understand the foreshadowing. At a bank alone. In an office with a stranger. Making a life changing written declaration. My life is changing.

I can never ever say I won’t survive. Or things won’t get better. Or I may not make it. Those statements are simply untrue. I will rise. I have been Notarized.

https://www.thebalance.com/what-is-a-notarized-document-315434

A notarized document is a document that has been marked with a stamp (or “seal”), which indicates that the signature on the document is legitimate. A notary watches you sign and then places the stamp near your signature (along with information which allows others to track down records related to the signature).