As I approach December 31st…

…I am reminded of some words I heard a few months ago: “Get out of your head and into your purpose.” This is what 2013 has been all about for me. I started this year with my head in a toilet– literally. I had one too many shots of Malibu Red at my friend’s New Year’s Eve party and was puking at midnight. I remember thinking as I looked down at my royal blue, studded shoes, ‘God please don’t let this be an indication of what this year is going to be like.’ I had experienced a lot of growing pains in 2011 (I moved to Upstate NY alone and broke) and 2012 (I graduated from grad school, had a dysfunctional relationship with everyone in my life, had to move out of my apt because of bed bugs, etc) and what I was really hoping for in 2013 was a way to cope with and navigate my internal experience, rather than suppress and negate it.

So when I had to go to the hospital and receive an Epipen and Benadryl IV drip just a week later because of a severe allergic reaction I thought that God had ignored me. But something happened on that cold Manhattan night while I was all by myself breaking out in hives. I realized that I had survival skills (or at least common sense). It was as close to death as I had been since birth (and it wasn’t that close), and I survived it. This moment of clarity about my ability to stay alive made me seek clarity about other things.

The major thing I really needed to be clear about is that it is okay to be wrong, but it is not okay to know you’re wrong and act like you’re right. I was wrong about most things. I had built my life on a series of ¬†“If…then…” statements. ‘If I get good grades and graduate from college then I’ll land my dream job.’ ‘If I wait then love will come to me.’ ‘If I don’t show my weaknesses then no one will see them.’ To sum it up I thought: ‘If I do everything right then life won’t tell me no.’

This line of thinking allowed me to put in no effort, expect great results, and pout when I didn’t get what I wanted. It allowed me not to have to show up in my own life. I expected things to just flow without me having to mind the terrain. I was supposed to be a copy-editor for an arts & entertainment weekly, living in a Manhattan apartment decorated with odds and ends from various trendy shops. My boyfriend was supposed to be someone important and interesting. My friends were cultured and we had a set cocktail night for girl talk and ridiculousness. This is what I had gone to college for, right? <<< WRONG

Education doesn’t make dreams come true. It’s a step, a way to expand your way of thinking, not a means. I realized that the first thing I needed to do (in the words of Jim Rohn) “Ask yourself, “How long am I going to work to make my dreams come true?” I suggest you answer, “As long as it takes.””

I think the greatest thing I started doing for myself that is helping me to reform this way of thinking is that I ask myself on a regular basis : “Am I here today? Am I present? Have I checked out?” If the answer is yes I’ve checked out, I usually say, “Come on Kelundra. Get here. Show up. I need you. God help me get to me.” If the answer is no, I’m here, then I say, “Okay. Stay with me. God help me stay with me.

It makes me sound like a crazy person, but just checking-in with myself has helped me tremendously this year. So often we go through the motions without thinking or feeling. It has helped me not to deny me, and because I validate me, I can also validate others. Empathy starts at home. Yes, I’ve faced disappointment, but now instead of pouting, I revisit and re-evaluate my actions and thoughts in the moment. I also forgive me for my shortcomings and don’t deny them as a part of me. I also found that as I sought positivity, inspiration, newness, and spiritual balance, resources and sources showed themselves to me.

As the year is drawing to a close and 2014 is making itself known I just needed to take a moment to recall the lessons I have learned this year. Here are the ones that have made all the difference:

  • Don’t wait for a holiday or a milestone to celebrate. Celebrate each day.
  • Time takes time.
  • Don’t let life drive you crazy. You drive life. It’s yours. –Jenifer Lewis
  • Your are the only person that can navigate or negate your emotional experience. –Iyanla Vanzant
  • Manage your expectations.
  • Make time for God and He will make time for you.
  • You can’t dare greatly with your hand on the arena door. –Brene Brown
  • Get out of your head and into your purpose.

I hope that these bless someone’s life and that instead of a single resolution to lose weight, eat healthier, save money, or go to church more, we can resolve to put in however much work it takes for us to show up to life everyday as our best selves.

Beyonce is not a feminist…

…and even if she is, her ideological views do not matter. There are many bloggers and trollers that are starting a flurry of debates on the internet about Beyonce and feminism. My question is: Why? She released a “visual” album on iTunes that sold 500,000 copies in less than a weekend. And it happened to be Friday the 13th. This doesn’t make her a feminist. It makes her a really famous person with a good marketing team. I’m not a Beyonce “Stan” (as she calls her fans) by any means, but I want us to get clear about the fact that we can’t expect pop stars to be the holders/molders of changes in gender ideology and progress. Get real.

I will say, though, that I appreciate that the release of her album is sparking conversations about feminism in the 21st Century and who we are talking about when we use the word feminist. Furthermore, I appreciate the distinction being made between white feminist thought and “other” feminist thought. I’ve often said that black women still have to burn their own bras, because in the 1970’s they were still scrubbing floors, raising other people’s children, marching for the right to vote, and fighting blatant racism and violence. There was no time/opportunity to burn a bra. They only had one bra.

But I digress…

Leave Beyonce alone and get your own feminist/womanist identity.

Internet foolishness for the week

This was floating around next week. I think more disturbing than the negative images and words said about women in entertainment, is the negativity that they received on the “news.” Most of these clips come from Fox, CNN, MSNBC, etc. Women in politics and communications seem to particularly have the glass ceiling lowered on top of their heads. http://www.upworthy.com/a-glimpse-at-how-the-media-treated-women-this-year-is-a-look-at-way-too-many-cringe-worthy-moments-aa3-5c-2\

This just made me happy because I loved the movie Matilda as a child http://www.buzzfeed.com/leonoraepstein/watch-matilda-cast-members-reenact-scenes-as-grown-ups

I see the video creator’s point and respect the vision, but rappers don’t care and neither do people who listen to rap music. Entertainers sell a product and as long as big booty hoes sell, hide your kids, hide your wife. I think the most disturbing thing for me is hearing kids say the N-word. I’d personally like to see that word disappear from the vernacular, like jive turkey did, and jive turkey wasn’t even offensive. http://www.fastcocreate.com/3022946/a-new-video-puts-raps-roughest-words-in-the-mouths-of-kids?partner=rss

Why is is always the black organizations that drown in financial foolishness? *sigh* http://www.ebony.com/black-listed/news-views/august-wilson-center-in-dire-straits-981#ixzz2lghyWdpy

When I was 15….

When I was 15 years old my family moved to a new town and I had to switch high schools. Prior to moving I attended Dunwoody High School, located in a suburb north of Atlanta. I went their on a program called Optional Transfer, formerly called M2M (or Minority to Majority). The program was designed to diversify schools in majority white neighborhoods and alleviate overcrowding in schools in poorer (black) neighborhoods. Then by the time I got to high school my parents started moving on up like the Jeffersons and we moved to a better neighborhood, bigger house, and all of the shiny things that come with moving on up. I recently found this poem that I wrote for a class assignment about my experience:

I smelled the morning dew as I walked up the driveway. I followed the cracks and unevenness of the concrete. I listened to the creek just after the rain as it stumbled upon a steady flow into Pine Lake. As I walked up the step of the long, southern porch I looked out upon myriad of nature. Bamboo trees, oak trees, maple trees, pine trees, rose bushes, and even a few mushrooms, said see you later as I crossed over the threshold.

Moving has its costs, some of them entail loss whole other entail gain, nonetheless moving has its costs. Not a money cost, but the kind that forces you to get rid of your favorite Care Bears lamp or the glass case that held all of those crystal statuettes for so long. And having to get rid of the patched tapestries was the hardest, the same ones that wrapped me so tight on those cold winter nights, and having to move away from the wood-burning fireplace for gas ones to make room for a better life, one that has new SUVs and shiny, polished furniture. Moving up has its costs.

Mom stood in the kitchen making pancakes, eggs, and bacon and stained sunlight shined on her and the oil in the cast iron skillet. My brother played Madden 2003 and as I walked up the stairs the wooden ambulatory squeaked a little as if to say ‘I know you’re up there.’ And as I turned back in my dreams I saw me plopping down on my bed, and as the sheets and pillows moved to smother me I knew I needed to sulk in Saturday morning.