“Imagine Me”/”Flaws And All”

Scrolling down my Facebookwall today, I have seen the same picture over and over again.  It is a post baby pic of Kim Kardashin in an ill fitting white bathing suit. I know many of you have seen it as well because it seems every form of media has posted it or is talking about it.  While I admire how quickly she has been able to shed her baby weight and return to her beautiful curvy figure, I can’t help but think about the sabbatical we have had for the past 10-12 months not having to be bombarded by pics of her on  instagram in varying states of undress, and how much I have enjoyed it. She is a beautiful women but geesh! Scrolling further along, I see an article about a young girl that was found in the middle of her crowded high school cafeteria giving oral sex to another male student.  Though these articles would seem to be two unrelated stories, they sadly are very much the same.

I have to admit, throughout my childhood and my teens I didn’t love myself. I liked myself, but I didn’t love myself.  I had body issues, hair issues, daddy issues, clothes, money, boys; all the issues that come with growing up a little brown girl under the California sun.  I really didn’t learn to love myself until I was in college.  For the most part I was comparing myself to the other girls, (who probably had the same insecure issues I had) in my jr. high and high school. It wasn’t the Gwenyth Paltrow’s on the red carpet, or the stunning Beyonce’s entertaining the masses, or the Kim Kardashin’s in every magazine on every shelf in the grocery store check out line. Though  at the time I felt I could never have all the things my classmates possessed, everything they had, or looked like they had was some how obtainable even if I didn’t know that then.  Even in their school yard perfection they still had a zit or two, had lipstick on their teeth, or bad hair days every once in a while.  I was able to see that the “princess of the ball” was sometimes off her A game just like me.  Even though I didn’t love myself, I liked myself a whole bunch.  Liking myself filled in the gaps of my insecurities until I could learn to love who I was.

I think about my nieces and I know that already in their young lives they are already being indoctrinated about what is beautiful and what is not. Unlike me their young minds are already barraged by the flawless perfection of societies idea of beauty. Unlike me, they are not shown bad hair days, zits, or any form of imperfections. All they see are impeccable photos that have been doctored beyond recognition, or the glamorous life of celebrities that is idolized on tv or social media.  It makes me wonder will they ever learn to love themselves.  Will they ever learn to even like themselves?  Will they constantly compare their self worth to an unattainable apparition that doesn’t exist. I pray when they realize that they can’t attain this false perfection they see around them, they don’t look for it, crave it, from other means. I pray they don’t look for that love from a bottle or a drugs altering haze. I pray they don’t look for it in a boy, whose love is conditioned on what she can do for him.  I pray they don’t look for it in an addicted obsession of body dismorphia.  I pray they don’t seek attention using their body as currency. I pray they grow to love themselves and all their imperfections because they are unique, special, wonderful individuals who are carefully and wonderfully made by a perfect all loving GOD.  I want them to grow to love those things that make them different.  I want them to know they are very extraordinary girls and they are loved, because there are so many little girls who have never heard this, and so many women who have yet to believe it. By birthright, you have always been “the princess of the ball”!!

Brandi 🙂

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“I Will Always Love YOU!”

Candy Hearts Clip ArtA friend called me this morning to let me know she found her birth mother.  I am so excited for her!  I wish I could be there to witness the reunion, 36 years in the making.  Two people that have been thinking and searching for each other have finally been reunited. The birth mother would return to the agency to find her every year until they gave her the impression that the child that she gave up so many years ago was possibly dead.  I can’t imagine what she felt when she heard her long-lost daughter on the other end of the telephone, actually alive,  who had also been looking for her.  What a major change in my friend’s life. What a major change in the life of her birth family.

I have been thinking about my friend all day today. I’m on pins and needles by the phone waiting for her call to tell me how everything went.  While waiting I have started to think about how much the LORD loves us, and how we have become separated from him.  We have lived our lives far away from his will, yet he continues, year after year, day after day, minute after minute to get our attention.  We know he is there, but we continue to go on with our life-like he is not.  We feel we are so lost, and that we are to far from him his will to return.  Even still he continues to call us.  The bible say’s,

Romans 8:37-39 “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

This means that no matter what we do, where we go, what we say, not even death, will EVER will separate us from GOD’S love.  We can never go to far where he can not save us!! Isn’t that wonderful to know that we have a heavenly father that has an everlasting, unconditional love for us. How many times has he dispatched our guardian angel to protect us from harm just so that we may have one more day, minute, second, to seek him and be saved? GOD wants to make a change in our lives.  He died so that we all would be free. He loves us so much that everyday he holds back the clock so that all can be saved before his return. He loves you/me to much to let you/me remain lost.   On that cross on Calvary he was thinking of you, he was thinking of me. Oh how he loves us!!!!

John 3:16  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Romans 5:8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God. who loved me and gave himself for me.

Ephesians 2:4-5 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, evenwhen we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved—

Psalm 86:15 But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.

Proverbs 8:17 I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Zephaniah 3:17 The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exalt over you with loud singing.

 

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“Grandma’s Hands”

Every Black History Month, there are children studying great American’s such as Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman and more recently President Barack Obama.  I remember these lessons when I was a child.  I looked forward to talking about someone who looked just like me in a classroom where I was surrounded on all corners by white boys and girls.  I learned of great men and women who made a difference despite being mistreated because of the color of their skin.  While I loved to hear these stories about the people who looked just like me, I couldn’t relate to them.  They seemed like these great mythical creatures or super heroes.  I never thought that I would be able to ever meet anyone who was apart of this “great black royalty” that we heard about every January, and most in February. Even still, I was happy to learn about them since most of the American history I learned about was geared more towards  Euro centric history.

For some reason this years of Black History hasn’t been the same as the past 32 have been.  I don’t know if it is because I  have lost family members recently or what.  I have become more interested in my lineage, my ancestors, who make up the 20,000-25,000 genes that I possess and whose experiences influenced my life.. Because of this, I began to  ask questions from the matriarchs, and patriarchs of the family to begin to research my family tree.  From this information I began to build a history of the “great black royalty” in my own family.

My grandmother Constance Clark, married at a young age, and had 7 children.  After she raised her children, she went back to school for her GED, and then later to Nursing School, proving that it is never to late to follow your dreams. My grandfather Delbert Daniels grew up in Oklahoma, later relocating to Southern California where he was  the first black supervisor at the San Bernardino County Post Office.  My great-grandfather, Eugene Marks owned a very succesful sanitation business.  He would always tell the story of how Berry Gordy of Motown wanted to buy his property, and how he turned him down.  He always cared for his family and took time out of his busy schedule to talk with his grandchildren and tell us stories from “back in his day”.My grandmother Katie B Merriman served in the Air Force at a time when it was not popular to be black in the military, let alone a women. Her great-great grandmother Clarissa Murphy was born into slavery and was a single mother to 7 children in a time when it was hard enough to take care of yourself.  My grandfather Eddie King who grew up in a small town of Lower Peach tree Alabama, has always been an example to me of a hard worker, and an example of how a man should treat a women. He absolutely adores my grandmother.You can see it every time he looks at her. He is the great-grandchild of Leonard King that was the older brother of Martin Luther King Sr.

I was blessed to fine information through great oral history about my 4th great grandfather Elijah Daniel. Both he and his mother were from Ethiopia and enslaved on the Russel Daniel plantation.  Russel Daniel was a father of 4 sons, and 1 daughter that he had with a Native American woman..  Her name was Adeline.  Elijah worked in the big house because he was a rather small man.  It was there that Elijah and Adeline fell in love.  Adeline begged her father to allow them to marry.  He would not allow it until Adeline told him she would kill herself is she could not marry Elijah.  This was unheard of at this time in history.  This could not only be embarrassing for Russel’s family, it was also against the law.  Together Elijah and Adeline moved to the Indian territory and bore 8 children together.  One of his son’s was named Elijah Aaron who coincidentally is also the name of my oldest son.  I was not aware of this until I started researching my family tree.  After Adeline’s death he married another women by the name of Mary King and bore 2 more children.

All of these people, named and unnamed are all a part of me.  They may not be in all the history books, but  to me they are as important as those who are.   Without their pain and perseverance, trials and triumphs I wouldn’t be here.  It is upon their sacrifices I stand.  I realized I don’t have to wait until February or crack open a book to learn about important people in history.  I can see through my ancestors eyes, feel with their hands, walk where they trod, and sing and pray with their voice.  They are not mythical creatures, or untouchable super heroes.  They are all apart of me.  You posses a whole new strength when you know who you are and where you have come from.  I encourage you to learn as much as you can about your family history.  It has changed my perspective.  I hope it will do the same for you.

This Black History month I honor my ancestors. You will not be forgotten.

Brandi 🙂

“Father’s Be Good to Your Daughters…”

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A couple of days ago, (New Years Eve) my husband and I celebrated our 11 anniversary.  We had a very interesting conversation over dinner at our favorite mexican restaurant.  Some how our conversation turned to me growing up without a father.  He told me he couldn’t comprehend not having a father, and how  or what my feelings were when I was around my friends that did have their father in their lives.  I answered that I didn’t think anything about it.  I thought about the saying, “You don’t miss what you never had”.  Thinking about it now, I did miss out, and it has affected me even though I didn’t realize that it had.

I would be lying if I said I had NO feelings at all about not having my father in my life.  I have memories of being upset that my father had another family, with kids that he saw and took care of everyday, yet he wasn’t doing the same for me.  My home life wasn’t always the best. Sometimes I would think about what it would be like to be rescued from the hell I was living in.  Other than these occasional thoughts I had no thoughts about my dad.  He wasn’t apart of my day-to-day activities.  I wasn’t  the only child to not have a father in their life.

There are many opinions on women who didn’t have their father in there lives.  What you hear coming up every time is of them having “daddy issues”. After having that conversation with my husband, I began to think what were “my issues”.  I would definitely without a doubt say that my biggest issue was trust.

I had serious issues with trusting men.  When I think back on my relationships, I realize that I didn’t trust them at all.  I wasn’t one of those girls that held so tight that I didn’t allow them to spend time with their friends, male or female.  It was more like I didn’t  trust them with my emotions. I didn’t want them to see me vulnerable.  I didn’t trust anyone with my emotions.  It was always in the back of my mind that I had to keep my feelings and emotions barricaded so I wouldn’t be hurt.  I didn’t want to give them my heart for them to turn around and break it.  I was waiting for them to lie, cheat, or walk out.  To me all men lied, cheated were untrustworthy and didn’t stick around.  I was in control of my emotions and I didn’t want to give up my control over them and be disappointed or hurt. It didn’t help that some of them  cheated on me. That just validated how I felt. I didn’t have dreams of “Prince Charming” on a white horse whisking me away to my Cinderella, Snow White, Disney fairy tale.  I didn’t have examples of happy marriages or what a  fathers role was our how they should be.  I wasn’t told how a man should treat you.  My reality was that men were good for nothing.  I saw my mom work herself ragged while her “man” lived off of her, didn’t respect her, and treated her like trash.  He treated us the same.  I knew what I didn’t want, but was too guarded to experience it.  It wasn’t until after my last relationship before I met my husband that I prayed for GOD to heal me.  If I hadn’t been receptive and willing to change I would have missed out on the wonderful blessing GOD had in store for me.  It was then I forgave my father.  I decided that regardless of what happened, or didn’t happen in my childhood regarding my father was the past.  We couldn’t get those years back.  I had forgiven him for not being present.  The only thing we could do was start from scratch, and that is what we did.  Me and my dad have a great relationship now, and though I didn’t ask for an apology, he gave me one. He told me that the worst thing he ever did was to not be a father to me when I was younger.

It wasn’t just forgiving my father that healed me, but also the love of my husband.  He was the first man to show me how a man should treat a women.    I felt safe for the first time in my life.  I knew he would protect me at all costs, and that my love, feelings, dreams, aspirations and emotions were safe with him.  For the first time I could be myself good or bad, and I knew he would still love me.  He didn’t just want me for my body, or what I could give to him. I learned from him how to love. He wanted me for me. He made me feel wanted, and desired. He is the best example of what a husband should be.  I thank GOD my children won’t ever have to go through what I went through.  They have the best example of a man and father.  I praise GOD for that!  The cycle has been broken.

“For Every Mountain…”

My friend Kristen posted this on facebook. This story really touched me. Even though our diagnosis is different our story is the same.  Please keep this young lady  in your prayers.

 

(Thanks Kristen)

 

Brandi 🙂

” Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes”

I am 33 years old and to this date I have yet to have “the talk” with my mother despite the fact I have been married for 11 years with two kids.  I don’t know if it slipped her mind or she just hasn’t got around to doing it but for what ever reason I am still waiting.  ( Like I am still waiting on my purple biker shorts from the 5th grade that I paid for the material and pattern because she said she could make them, rather than just buying them like I should have done.)  I relied on the sex education class for all 5th and 7th graders, and my friends to learn the ins and outs, no pun intended, of sex and the changes that began to happen to my body.  For what ever reason we were so excited to grow up and to begin to see the manifestations of it in our bodies.

Well the time has come for me to prepare my children for the changes in their bodies. I have two boys ages 9 and 11 (12 in a month).  We had “the talk” with them about a year or so ago.  It took much coaching from me to get my husband to sit them down and explain it all.  He was so not ready, but it was time and I didn’t want them to find out in the streets like I did; especially since they are boys.  I wanted them to get the correct information, not the information Ray Ray or June Bug would tell them they saw through the key hole of their uncles bedroom door.  Ever since they were babies I have always used the correct terminology of the male and female anatomy. There were no wee wee’s or pee pee’s around here.  They knew that they had a penis, and girls had vagina’s, even though they had no idea what a vagina was.  It took many  many corrections and conversations of  “mommy doesn’t have a vagina penis” .   So my husband sat them down while I listened from the back room.  He did a good job, very quick and to the point.  I thought it best for him to talk to them rather than me.  It can already be a very embarrassing conversation.  I came out when he was done to see  if they had any questions they wanted to ask us.  It didn’t quite click to our oldest right away. when he finally understood he looked at my husband with absolute disgust and said ” Daddy, you did that to mommy!!!”  We could barely contain ourselves!!  When you think about  it you grow up with just you and your genitals, then all of a sudden your parents tell you what you will someday do with them…what they do with them. Lol!! It’s sometimes hard for us adults to even think about our parents having sex even though we (hopefully) do it all the time.

Now  my son’s are at the age where they are in the beginning stages of puberty.  Their pits are zesty to say the least, and my oldest is checking everyday to see if his adam’s apple is visible to anyone other than him.  The hormones are kicking in and so is the attitude. (Lord help me to hold out.)   Their bodies are starting to change, and girls are becoming noticeable. Before long I will have two more men living in this house…Whew, I belive it is time for a refresher course!!!

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