Thursday, May 15, 2014

Small Changes....

*** This is a long one. So you may want to print it to paper and read it when you have time. Like on the train or in the bathroom. Lunch reading. Last time I checked it was up to 4 pages! Just so you know***


It seems to me that the art of consistently changing your life occurs in a series of small steps rather than big ones. I’m not saying big changes won’t alter your life. If you develop cancer, lose a limb or a spouse your life will change forever in a big way. But that is more reacting than being proactive with change. The small ones are the ones that have lasting power.

Have you ever seen people trapped in their own lives? People who go to work and come home scared to venture out of their daily routines? People who are afraid to try ANYTHING new. People who have accepted that what they have is all they are ever going to have and made peace with it. They make comments like, “Well if I haven’t tried it by now, I don’t need to.” And my favorite, “Black people don’t do that.” I can’t stand those small minded, small thinking people. I try not to share air with them. Seriously I will hold my breath or get of the elevator. I don’t want any of their essence within me.

I am a COMPLETELY different person than I used to be just 10 years ago. I look different. I do different things. I live in a different place. I wear different clothes. I eat different food. And I am not done. I expect to be in a different place in the next 10 years and different still 10 years after that and so on….

I used to be a scared and sheltered Christian who listened to everything my mother and pastor told me to do. I kinda fell in to that pattern because of trauma that happened when I was a teenager. Up until I was 17 I was free spirit. I went and did what I wanted but stayed barely within the parameters of what was expected so I wouldn’t get in trouble. I was (and am still) the queen of arguing the point of I did what I was supposed to. 2 things happened that burst my bubble…. My mother entered menopause and I got an abusive boyfriend

Those 2 situations put and locked me into a box where all I could do was beg the mystery god to make it all better. Since I religion at home and at school, I forced myself to be less of a free spirit and more devout. But guess what. The situation never changed. But graciously, I went away to college. Distance was a good thing.

In college, I became a little more free… but not completely. The most valuable lesson I learned in college was that it was up to me to become the person I wanted to become. I could not look to another person to guide me. If I did then I would become the person that person wanted me to be; and that wasn’t necessarily what I wanted to be.

My first independent decision was my career choice. I wanted to be a doctor, but not a medical doctor. I had worked in a hospital around people who died and knew that I didn’t want to be involved in a career where that was a looming possibility. The only other ‘doctors’ I knew where dentists, vets, and eye doctors. So I have a career of my own choosing.

Next questionable choice I made was to fast. Grad school was no joke. It sucked all the color from my life. I was not doing well (testing panic) and I needed to clear my mind and settle down. Inspiration came upon me to fast before tests. And it was just that… inspiration. It centered me so that I performed better. I was no great scholar in grad school like I had been in previous educational settings. But the fasting made me a solid student. I graduated on time and I found a way to cope with large stress. I find fasting to be centering; I could focus on the task at hand. It worked so lovely that I made it something that I did on a weekly basis and later in life long term fasting.

Next big choice was to become a vegetarian. That was a rough choice because (a) I didn’t know other vegetarians, and (b) I was going to be the only person in any of my ciphers to live this lifestyle. I made the decision because I was idiopathically unhealthy and after a lot of research and doctor’s visits, it seemed to be a way that I could heal. Why was this a thing? All the people around me swore I was trying to commit suicide via eating disorder. My mother tried to have me committed. (My mother has been trying to have me committed all of my childhood. Doctors have always told her that I’m normal, but she still tried…) My husband supported me, (though was a bit weirded out at my mother’s reaction) but only with his words. I became a vegetarian by myself. And this was before the internet. I had to figure out things on my own. I tried a lot of new and different recipes. Now I have an entire repertoire.

Next independent choice I made was to stop perming my hair. I had gone perm free in grad school but under braids. I said it was because it saved time on my hair so I could focus on school. But I knew it could be done. I learned there that white people were going to have something to say if I wore my hair differently. But not what you think. A lot of what white people do is based on supremist ignorance. They wouldn’t trip about my hair as long as they could pity me for not having their hair. But it’s not the white people that made my 2nd natural hair transition difficult. It was the Black people. What Black people say and do to other Black people will always be more hurtful than what white people say and do. Simply because we have more intimate interactions with each other. Your white boss is not going to call you ugly to your face, but your family, friends and pastor will. Plenty of people with natural hair have jobs. But your own people will strive to convince you that natural hair = unemployableness. Your man will tell you he no longer finds you attractive. Hampton University will say you can’t attend if you lave locs. You can die a million little deaths amongst your own people because you decide to reject the mold. It can be way more painful than anything white folks can do.

I find having dreadlocks to be waaaaaaaay easier. People are more accepting of locs on women than plain natural hair. I think it’s because locs can grow long and women are supposed to have long hair.

A smaller but equally difficult choice was the choice to stop wearing pants. Now NGE cannot claim that their teachings taught me to not wear pants. Nor can Christianity take credit for this. A plate glass window on Euclid Ave in Little 5 Points got that credit 10 years ago. I had on jeans, boots and a sweater. I saw my reflection in a window and I realized that the jeans gave anyone with vision, an 87.6% accuracy to what I look like naked. It’s not that particular pair of jeans either. Women’s pants are not ever as saggy as men’s pants. They are usually fitted from waist to hip, and most down to the ankle. If a woman is wearing pants, chances are they will show her form. I’m not okay with that. Months before my pastor at the time made a comment about my intention while I was wearing a different pair of jeans. He was sporting an obvious erection that he blamed on my outfit. He didn’t apologize. He said it was my fault. I do not advocate the practice of blaming the victim for the feelings and the actions of the perpetrator, but I realize that I may have some minor culpability in the exchange. Besides, folks shouldn’t get to view the goodies unless they are qualified.

Why was this so difficult? The current world we live in, kind of requires women to wear pants. Inclement weather, yard chores, outdoor activities, etc. Do I want to be a house hermit? I only own a certain kind of pants. 2 pairs of jeans 1 utilitarian pair for snow or doing something really dirty. And another pair because I paid more than I should for them and I’m not getting rid of them. It’s like finding Jordans at the thrift store. Not on my dime. And I own exercise pants that I work out in. I suppose I could run in a skirt… but I’m not. Chances are when you meet me, I’ll have a dress or skirt on. And do you know what? Folks don’t even notice unless I make Knowledge Born. When I’m in meetings and folks ask me to tell them something they don’t know about myself, I always say, “I don’t wear pants.” Even people who have known me for years are surprised.

The next big independent decision I made was to leave Christianity. This was the absolute most painful and scary of any decision I have ever made. I had been taught and had internalized that I was nothing without the mystery god. If Christianity wasn’t working for me it was because of my own innate evilness (I have more evil because I’m a woman) and I needed to get right with God. I have been “born again” 6 times that I can count. Ach time more drastic than the previous because clearly I hadn’t prostrated myself enough the last time since I backslid. After my husband died… I literally lived in my house, tithing, fasting and praying, only venturing out to go to church and work. In the words of Angela Windbush… This ain’t living.

I stared by looking for other religious options. I hadn’t quite come to the realization that it was religion that was the problem. I bounced from the Moors to the Wiccans, to the Ausar Auset Society. Where I found something in all of the programs useful, as a whole it was the same as Christianity. I wasn’t about to learn a whole new system for something I had already rejected. Even when I came to NGE, I was approaching it like a religion. I treated Supreme Math, Alphabet and 120 like it was the Bible and my enlightener like he was a prophet. I was literally afraid to let go of the mystery god’s unchanging hand. And that’s what it is. No matter what religion you find, it is always the same rhetoric. A friend of mine who is the New Birth cult said to me, “You can’t serve two masters. You need to get it together and repent of your sins and go back to Jesus. Stop fooling around with this other stuff. You know better.” And she was right, I did know better. I knew in my being that I was done with church. I had to just physically let it go. And imagine how much more I’d have to give up this time to get ‘born again.’ There was a lot of crying and sleepless night, but do you know what? It’s been 8 years and that lightening bolt never came. I have had trials and tribulations, but so has everyone. I have had joys and triumphs, and so has everyone else. What I don’t have is the illusion of someone pulling my strings. If I want something, I need to figure a plan and go get it.

Being part of NGE Culture I choose to wear my head covered in some aspect. I know not all Earths cover their heads full time. But I do. Every day when I leave the house, I have something on my head. Whether it’s a hat or a wrap. I’ve even done doilies. It is a rare occasion that I don’t have something on my head. I made that choice at the beginning of my lessons. If my boss knew that there was an option to me covering my hair, he would choose and option for me; and it would be the option HE wanted. I refused to give him that power and took the decision out his hands. Since then, I have come to love the wrap. I don’t feel restricted at all by wearing it. I love that it puts my ‘differentness’ right put front for every one to witness. I was self conscious at first but I got over it. I am a visual representation of NGE wherever I go. Folks look at me and say…. “Hmmmm… I wonder what’s going on over there.” And they treat me with the respect of someone they haven’t figured out yet.

When making a change I find it best to employ the scientific method. Conceive the idea, develop a plan, work the plan, collect data, look objectively at the results and make a determination about whether your experiment was successful and whether the result is useful in your life. Works every time!

And most importantly, don't be scared to do something that is right for you.