Give It to Me Straight


Emotions can make us so emotional. That’s especially so when they’ve been caught off guard, dealt a blow, had the rug pulled from up under, snuck up on, or as we used to say on 19th Street SW in Birmingham, Alabama’s West End, when someone has decided to “bust a cag” on our feelings. There’s nothing like a bruised ego, a bit of devastated pride, or some wounded notions to trigger the two-year-old baby in the best of us.


I, for one, have had the wind kicked out of my emotions too many times to type. Looking back, I can chuckle now as I think of most of my 20s being a perfect picture of “emotions run amuck”. (Thank you to all the friends and family who hung in there with me during this time of, shall we say, growth. Thank you to the creator of social media for waiting until I grew up before opening up the world to the madness which emotions often usher in…LOL!) Anywho, from revelations about so-called relationships, notice of issues with friends, hints of trouble on jobs, news about family, details about my health or simply sage advice on horrible hair and wardrobe choices, most times, the truth I was served seemed devastating and at the time appeared to be to my detriment. Usually it ended up turning out to be the best or worked to move be toward better. Others times, there were times where the truth, with all of it’s stench and sting, was the absolute best medicine, right then and there for what ailed me.

Still, who in their right mind readily welcomes the truth straight, no chaser knowing that the cold, hard truth can often be like taking two of your great-grandmother’s extra-large sized tablespoons of cod liver oil without a dash of honey or strong Coca-Cola to back it up? Some of the best truth, like cod liver oil, will make you want to gag, before making you get better. But it will make you get better. Can you handle it?


I want to grow more to embrace the truth, to welcome it even. I want to surround myself with people who love me, see me and aren’t afraid to say what helps me, AND be in the proper position to allow them to do that. I want to be able to ask others “what do you think of me”, “what can I do differently”, “what do I need to do better”, “do you really like this dress”, “am I a good friend”, “what do you really think of this relationship”, and so on and so on. I want to be big girl enough to boldly tell a friend, a colleague, a family member or whomever has my best interest at heart to “give it to me straight”. And like a big girl I want to be able to hear it, heed it and keep it moving without getting caught up in emotions.



Men and Women Can Be Friends

Life Gets Better

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Earlier this year, I ran into one of my former high school best friends at the funeral of a mutual friend. We were truly true friends who had a mutual respect and appreciation for each other’s quirkiness that is rare to find in teens. A friendship over a love for Kwame, polka-dots, brownies and “crimped” hair that started our freshman year blossomed into a great brotherhood/sisterhood that proved to be a treasured jewel after I experienced a tragedy my junior year. Then we blew it! We made the ill-fated choice our senior year to wreck the friendship by dating. Yikes! I know! What in the WORLD was I thinking? (I wasn’t.) And when I say wreck it, I mean we wrecked it! We messed up big time. Not only did we damage our friendship, and were truly mean, for lack of a better word, to each other, but we hurt a couple…

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The Thing About Growing Up


Most of my life, I like many, have wanted to grow up, be on my own, make my own money and make my own decisions. Out of the four things listed, the first three have proven to be “interesting”. The last, well, let’s just say if I could find a word more interesting than interesting that would describe my entanglement with the decision-making process.

Why is it no one told me that growing up would present a daily challenge with one constant feature being the mandatory command to make my own decisions, which, in light of what life has taught me, often is a tough decision to make? There’s not much like the thought of having choices, being responsible for those choices, making sure you’ve heeded the voice of God, listening to the sound of wisdom, learning from the experiences of the past and accepting the repercussions one way or another to make a girl like me wish she were actually a girl instead of a fully-maturing woman.


The thing about growing up is that I didn’t know it would be sprinkled with more tough choices than the rainbow-colored, Funfetti candies on a home-baked cupcake. It seems like decisions run amuck in the life of a grown up.  From what job to take, what school to attend, how to rear children, who to date, who to marry, whether to stay, whether to go, whether to come back or stay put, how to save, where to give, whether to eat lunch at Whole Foods or Leonard’s Page 1 in Birmingham, AL (I chose Whole Foods, at least today) and every other imaginable and unimaginable decision in between tough choices are called tough for a reason. Tough decisions can be tough, but they are necessary. Tough decisions can be scary, but they are a required process of life. Tough decisions can seem unfair, but they can be very meaningful. Tough decisions can seem to come out of nowhere, but they are often strategically designed for something far greater than meets the eye at the time. Tough decisions can cause one to question his/her sanity, faith, purpose and poise, but, when made wisely they can propel us to exactly the place we were supposed to be. That is, until we grow up some more and another tough choice causes us to be launched even further.




The Look of Forgiveness


How does forgiveness look? That’s a good question. It’s also one that I, as I’m still trying to wade through the sometimes muddy waters flowing from the fountain of forgiveness, look to find the answer to to help myself and others.

While getting dressed recently I was standing in the mirror applying my “Wet n Wild” eye shadow when a thought crossed my mind which made me feel guilty the moment I stopped letting it linger there. I wasn’t specifically thinking about anything someone had done to me, but rather a borrowed reaction that still didn’t belong, especially since the situation was slightly none of my bees-wax. (Don’t even ask me to share what it is because I have forgiven myself and am sure the Lord has done so as well.) The thought of what I’d actually thought made me think of what God must think of me. I felt bad so I was certain He did too, and I was well on my way to resting in that condemnation. Then, like a cool breeze which often flows from a fountain I felt forgiven. It was pretty cool, pretty cool indeed. That’s why God is so good, and forgiveness as a giver and receiver is too.


So what is the look of forgiveness. I’m still not absolutely certain and I’m sure the list below will continue to grow, but here are some things I know.

Forgiveness is when:

  • We can look at the persons we feel are at the heart of the pain square in the eyes and choose to focus on the good which has come out of the situation, not the pain they caused.
  • We can use our pain as a platform to help others with absolutely no hint of cynicism or intent to throw shade. (Google it.)
  • We know we may never forget but can remember the situation, and not have to constantly or ever remind the perpetrator or the public of the memories we still hold.
  • We don’t spend time in our minds crafting what we’re going to say or do to hurt the ones who hurt us.
  • We don’t allow ourselves to be the carrier of the mistakes of others like a Diddy-style umbrella from his Bad Boy days in the Hamptons, just using what we know happened to hover over the heads of those we once knew and likely loved.
  • We don’t have those “where in the world did that bad thought come from” moments when the person’s name is heard, presence appears, or simply when the wind blows.
  • We can sincerely pray for those who hurt us.
  • We can see any fault we might have had in the situation if there was any to be had (which sometimes is absolutely not, but sometimes can be.)
  • We aren’t defined by the look, sound, or stifling emotion of our pain.
  • We can actually laugh with them rather than at them.
  • We know we know that we absolutely know that we wish them no harm.
  • We don’t hold ourselves in unforgiveness for any role we played (or think we played) in being hurt.
  • We hear word of their calamities, or trials in life and don’t break out into a mean running man dance on the inside.
  • We simply just aren’t consumed with the person or pain in thought, word, action or reaction.
  • We can remember ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL the times God has forgiven us, even for those pesky little thoughts that pop up in the mirror while applying make-up, and choose to be grateful for the present and look to the future rather than holding on to the past…regardless of who did what, what happened and how it hurt.