She Speaks Wise Words

“I am learning everyday to allow the space between where I am and where I want to be to inspire me and not terrify me.”- Tracee Ellis Ross. Here’s a little motivation for your week! xxoo

wq1

Photo courtesy of Pinterest.com

wq2

Photo courtesy of The New York Times

wq4glamour

Photo courtesy of Glamour

wq5latimes

Photo courtesy of The Los Angeles Times

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Photo courtesy of COLOURES

Don’t be Such a Dickinson

Photo courtesy of Bottom of the Ironing Basket.blogspot.com

She was one of those. You know the type. The ones who are amazingly brilliant and somehow or other keep all that brilliance under wraps. They may let it leak out here and there, but they rarely own it and share it. Not to mention only after something crazy and or  tragic is the awesomeness that they have always been suddenly revealed for as many who bother to look will see. Emily Dicknson died, and she was posthumously famous- famous, rendered a literary wonder, after she died. Works she created while her heart was steady pumping and lungs steady inhaling and exhaling, revealed to the masses and hailed by many genius. No disrespect to Emily who had 1800 works of poetry when she died but had only made public a dozen of them, but ladies, don’t be such a Dickinson.

Translation- Ain’t nobody, none of us, got time to be hiding how amazing we are. No down playing it because others are intimidated or jealous. No being secret about it cause we’re not sure if everyone will get it, like it, or love it. Everyone won’t, but you don’t need everyone to.

Photo courtesy of Glamour Magazine

Photo courtesy of Glamour Magazine

We’re moseying right on through Women’s History Month, a month to remind us of the brilliant history that we have as women. We have years upon years of women from Harriet Tubman to Mother Theresa to Sheryl Sandburg to Michelle Obama to Soledad O’Brien who have done and are doing things to maintain the momentum of changing the world for the better not just for women and girls but for humanity. Could you imagine if any of these women  were the least bit shy about who they are, what they are passionate about, and what they knew they had, wanted, or needed to offer the world?  Wouldn’t nobody be leaning no where. Wouldn’t nobody slaying or getting in formation.

As I sat at my desk the other day looking at graduate schools and daring to re imagine my life more thoughtfully, to keep walking towards thriving and leave the past two years of surviving behind me, I chided myself saying- “Don’t be such a Dickinson.” There was an allure to it.There is  an allure to doing enough, especially when it mimics someone’s version of success. But when you’re living it, it’s kind of  not so shiny, sparkly, or velvet and soft. It’s itchy, and faded, and toot tight and too short- it’s not enough. Living in the shadows of your own greatness is not enough. Giving 12% of yourself is not enough. The Simply LIVEd life is about knowing that you are enough and therefore worthy of an abundant life directly in the spotlight, all eyes and cameras on you, as you are the leading lady of your own life.

It’s the start of the week and may it be the start of you deciding not to be a Dickinson 😉

Photo courtesy of For Harriet.com

Photo courtesy of For Harriet.com

 

 

They All Love US

Photo courtesy of Mark Seliger for Glamour Magazine

Photo courtesy of Mark Seliger for Glamour Magazine

It’s a smaller museum off of New York Avenue in DC. A perfect two blocks from Starbucks, and an even more perfect two blocks from Macys. I could grab some tea, wait for the museum to open, be in awe of the art that adorned its walls, and head over to Macys afterwards to peruse some of the spring offerings.

As I roamed the halls of the four story National Museum of Women In Arts building I noticed just how many times I saw her, me, us. Whether it was mixed media, oil on canvas, charcoal sketches, jewelry, or photographs, the artwork was not only by women but of women.  The last exhibit I saw was in a small room with slate grey walls and portraits of women who either roamed the earth or roamed the minds of women who roamed the earth hundreds of years before my amber colored leather boots roamed the exhibit. There was an introduction to the exhibit on the wall and it was clear to remind visitors like myself that there was a time women weren’t allowed to paint and denied access to the best tutelage, as well as showcasing in the early major art exhibitions.  I rolled my eyes, completely unsurprised at the sexism that existed, and laughed, noting how women were at a time not considered good enough as artists yet we have constantly shown up in art, the art of men, the very men who said we were less than.  “They love us,” I thought and smiled as I made my way to the museum shop.

I may have overgeneralized that “They love us,” but as we are an oh so cool seven days into women’s history month, I got a lot of love for being a woman and art always reminds me of just how wonderfully made women really are. Over the past couple of years I’ve watched us make serious strides in the world. Whether in leadership roles of corporations, opening our own business, earning terminal degrees, contributing to the political arena beyond just voting, and not giving up. We’ve lifted our voices with and for one another. We’ve seen and been seen by one another. We’ve fought for and with one another. And we are educating and being educated with one another.

Each year my network of women grows, and I continue to be amazed by the brilliant and beautiful women I am fortunate to connect with, work with, laugh with, cry with, take Zumba with, celebrate birthdays with, hold fears with, take courageous leaps with, pray with, and just live life with.

This month I’m spending a little more face to face time with some of my favorite women and I look forward to sharing what those moments have looked like, the courageous moves they are making even when it feels like anything but courageous, the women they are inspired by, and the work of other women that they are drawn to and support.  I look forward to sharing just how some of the women I know are LIVE-ing and you continue your journey of what LIVE-ing means and LIVE-ing well means.

tommyton

Women Who Inspire

Photo courtesy of The Color Lilac.com

Photo courtesy of The Color Lilac.com

We are four glorious  days into #WomensHistoryMonth. Being a woman is one aspect of my identity I really do revel in and absolutely enjoy encouraging others with the same identity to revel in too. Last weekend as I spent time both in DC and in Philadelphia, the moments I enjoyed the most were with women with whom I have the privilege of calling friend, aunt, sister, cousin. I also reached out to those same women and asked them to share about women who inspire them. This is what they had to share-

The woman who still inspires me is Marlene Idun. I have been inspired by her since I wan 18 years old, so that is almost 40 years. (Stop adding people!!) Anyway, my best friend inspires me still because of her capacity to understand, not blame, and always extend grace and mercy. She like i suffered many things yet she always was able to share wise words and encouragement- even when I did not want to hear it. Since she is no longer walking with me on earth, I have often reflected on our attitude, her love for others and most importantly her to devotion to Christ.This has and always will inspire me.- Marlene Idun inspiring Carol since 1977.

A woman who inspires me is Reverend Dr. Shirlyn Henry Brown. I call her Mama Brown because she knows how to put me in my place with firmness and love. I became inspired by her in 1999. She was able to see my potential and boldly challenge me to live up to it as she did with every Delaware State student whom she cared for. She followed through on her call to ministry and completed her doctorate. I hope to hear and listen to God’s voice, to recognize potential of others, and to complete educational goals as she did. – Rev. Dr. Shirlyn Brown inspiring Ronika since 1999.

There are many women who inspire me, so it was hard to pick  just one, but I finally decided. The women who inspires me is my favorite sister. Often times she calls me her favorite sister but she  truly is my ONE AND ONLY FAVORITE sister. I know this probably took her by surprise but she has inspired me for quite some time.  Her style, grace,  patience, words of wisdom, and selflessness, are just a few words that describe how much she inspires me to try just a little bit harder. She is a phenomenal woman.  She has always been there for me when times got rough and when times were great.  She loves and adores my son, her nephew- Jalen as if she birthed him herself.  She is truly a blessing and I am happy she is not only my sister but my friend.  I Love her lots!!!!!- Ahyana King (yup, me) inspiring Rachel for “quite some time.”