Former Chicago cop Mingus Black is used to liars. So why does the private investigator believe a teacher who insists she’s being framed? Joanna Barnes is totally convincing…in more ways than one. The chemistry between Mingus and Joanna becomes perilously potent, but until he can find out who framed her for a heinous crime, everything they love hangs in the balance.
In 1918 Mary Turner, a young, married black woman and mother
of two was lynched by a white mob in Lowndes County, Georgia, for protesting
the lynching and murder of her husband. Mary Turner, who was eight months
pregnant, was tied and hung upside down by the ankles, her clothes soaked with
gasoline, and burned from her body. Her belly was slit open with a knife until
her unborn child fell to the ground. Its little head was crushed by a member of
the mob with his heel, and the crowd shot hundreds of bullets into Mary's
body. Racially motivated mob violence by whites against black people in the
American South was commonplace between 1880 and 1930, the lives of thousands of
individuals including at least 159 women, lost.
When I first read about Mary Turner it sent me searching for
more information. I became obsessed with the horrid details, unable to
comprehend that level of cruelty. I wondered about the white men and women who
stood by and did nothing, their glee captured in photographic images for
posterity. White mothers and fathers who encouraged their little white children
to watch because murdering a black man or woman was simply sport, as easy as
stomping out an ant crossing the floor. They posed for pictures beside the dead
bodies. They postured for friends and family and laughed as if they were
celebrating a holiday. Who were these people? How did they lose their humanity?
What did they gain in exchange for their souls?
Recently, Cindy Hyde-Smith, a Mississippi senator who faces
a runoff against an African-American opponent, joked that if invited, she’d
gladly take a front row seat at a public hanging. Her comment was met with
applause and cheers. When criticized, she insisted there was nothing negative
about her remark.
There was a time I couldn’t begin to imagine people who
could be so callous. I believed things were different, that the fight for civil
rights had served us well. I trusted that lessons had been learned and time had
taught all of us a new normal. Like so many others, I was wrong. Racism is
alive and well, rearing its ugly head with impunity. Racists have become
emboldened by a political party who have abandoned the American people for
their own selfish gain. Some white neighbors would sooner slit black throats
now than wave and smile. They put brown babies in cages and criminalize parents
who only want a better life for those they love. They build walls to keep
migrants from crossing the border while white men use churches and night clubs
for target practice. They claim one is a threat to national security and defend
the other with excuse after excuse. They rage about making America great again
when what they aspire to will take America back to a dark place of hatred for
and violence against those they consider inferior and unworthy of their
We should all be scared. The devil is busy in ways that were
once unfathomable. We make memes about white women who are offended by black
people living their best lives when nothing about their threats is funny. We
dismiss politicians who have thrown civility to the wind. Misogyny is trendy,
sexism acceptable, and they vilify victims for ratings. Suddenly, bad behavior is
encouraged in favor of a greater good that has nothing at all to do with being
great. They speak their truth, no matter how vile, and then call it a joke if
We should all be afraid. There aren’t enough of us standing
up for what’s right. Leadership is slim and shaky. Only a few are willing to
get into the fight and get dirty. We are failing the masses and our children and
grandchildren will suffer most for our shortcomings.
The jokes aren’t funny. Those same grinning faces captured
in our past have become the smirking faces in our classrooms teaching our children. They sit on
juries and empower police who shoot down unarmed fathers and sons. They prepare
the food in your favorite restaurants and clerk in your stores. They live next
door and around the corner. The very thought of sitting on the front row as a
life is swinging away in the wind excites them and fuels their fight to widen
the divide. They’ve come out of hiding and now rule in the White House.
should be very afraid. But we should also be prepared to fight for what is
right and good and decent in this world.
I often wonder what men who assault women tell their
daughters. What do they say about their convictions or allegations of improprieties?
How do they forewarn them about predators? Do they even caution them against
men who prey?
Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has been accused of
pinning a young woman to a bed, groping her and covering her mouth when she
screamed. Allegedly, there was alcohol involved. He was a seventeen-year old
student. The girl was fifteen. The GOP would like to brush the allegations
aside, seemingly inconvenienced by the timing of the revelation. Many have
called her a liar. Some have said they don’t care, party priorities more
important than morality. Even their Commander-in-Chief saw fit to castigate the
now adult woman’s integrity.
Brett Kavanaugh has two daughters. The very public
debate about his alleged actions, about rape culture in America, about the dynamics of
women who say no and men who do anyway, has surely invoked questions and
conversation in his home. So, what does he say? What will he say when they are
older and there is greater understanding?
I have no doubts they’ve been told daddy didn’t do what people
have said he did. But what does he tell them about men capable of doing such
things? How will he warn them? What will he teach them about protecting
themselves from boys who won’t take no for an answer? How will he justify a young man's bad behavior when drunk at a high school party? More importantly, what does he tell them
about a girl telling? About women who report the crimes committed against them? Will he prepare them for the shitstorm that follows a female who speaks her truth? Or will all of this continue to perpetuate the cycle of
silence that has enveloped women since the beginning of time? Will they grow up
to be women shamed into silence and continually haunted by memories of an
experience they couldn’t trust anyone to believe?
Men rape women. Men molest girls. Men kill females. Men routinely
victimize women. And, NOT all men. There are good, decent men in this world. Men
who are protective and caring. But even a few of those men will fall into line
to protect their brethren. It’s what they do. It’s what they know. That good-old-boy
network has already amassed, collectively ready to defend Brett Kavanaugh, even
if they have doubts. Even if they know the truth and the truth may not mesh with
their political agenda. Like they did with Donald Trump, and with so many others.
They will defend locker room banter and proclaim it okay when boys are just
being boys. They will chomp at the bit to call a woman a whore and proclaim her
a liar to protect their status quo. Or they will remain silent, voices barely
raised to call another man out on his bullshit. They will loudly proclaim a
woman the enemy to preserve their boy’s club.
So, how do men explain themselves and their actions? What do they say to justify another man's moral turpitude? What do
they say to their mothers? Their wives? What do these men tell their daughters?
And just as important, what are they teaching their sons?
It's RELEASE DAY for the paperback version of my newest book A STALLION DREAM! It is also my last Kimani Romance! First week sales are critical to its success, so PLEASE, support it by buying a copy if you can. And get one for a friend! You won't be disappointed!
And there's still time to PRE-ORDER the Ebook version coming September 1st! PLEASE and THANK YOU!
Two years ago I felt compelled to write a post about being a black woman, and a writer. It was in response to a white reader who was offended that I was breathing. Two years have passed and sadly, little has changed. I still get the occasional hate message questioning what makes me so damn special although it's not necessarily worded in a positive manner. Since it's Throwback Thursday and almost two years to the day of my original post I thought I'd repost it. I have new fans who don't really know me or haven't heard my story. This will be an introduction of sorts. Insight into how I tick and how I won't roll. So sit back and enjoy! And if you're inclined, explore my blog a little. I'm sure you'll find something entertaining!
BEING BLACK - Originally posted 8/4/16
I received an email from someone who wanted to know who I thought I was. There were some expletives and the N-word was used a time or two. Seems something I wrote struck a sensitive nerve and she doesn't plan to ever read any of my books. Ever. But since she asked, I thought I'd tell her about myself. Rather than send her back to an original post I wrote once a long time ago I thought I'd just rehash it again for those who might be finding me for the first time.
I wrote once before about a friend who thinks it is the funniest thing that I never drank Kool-Aid until I was well into my teens. Every time the subject comes up he is rolling on the floor with laughter. I can’t help but laugh myself because what family back in the day didn’t raise their children on Kool-Aid? Well, mine didn’t.
My first experience with Kool-Aid was at a cousin’s house during a summer break. I thought it was the coolest thing to be able to make a full pitcher of drink from that little packet of colored powder and a bucket load of granulated sugar! When I returned home and shared the experience with my mother she looked at me like I’d told her we’d built an atomic bomb out of shoe leather and toothpaste. She was not amused and it was many years later, after her first grandson was born, that she finally broke down and allowed Kool-Aid into her home. It was also that presweetened variety as well, not the little flavor packets that you could sweeten yourself.
My dear friend laughed himself silly when I told him I’d also never eaten canned vegetables, potted meat, Vienna sausages, or government cheese either. Not that he could talk because he never ate grits. I mean really, how many Southern Baptist black children do you know that didn’t grow up eating grits? I know I ate me some grits and I wasn’t Southern or Baptist!
I was raised in an extremely white, middle class neighborhood in very wealthy Fairfield County, Connecticut. My friends were kids who got BMW’s for their first communion and Mercedes Benz’s for their bar mitzvah’s. My mother shopped at Lord and Taylors and Bloomingdales, and I’d be the first to say that I grew up privileged, prissy and just a tad pretentious.
Ours was the first of four black families to integrate the neighborhood and until fifth grade there were only two black students in the elementary school I attended. We attended the AME church on the other side of town and I spent my summers on my grandparent’s South Carolina farm where I learned to pick cotton and eat watermelon right off the vine.
Growing up, I was an anomaly. I wasn’t blonde or blue-eyed, my mother wasn’t a stay-at-home Mom, and my father worked three jobs and none of them were on Wall Street. During my fifth grade year bussing became en vogue and suddenly there were other black kids filling up the classrooms. That’s when I discovered just how different I truly was. I didn’t feel different or look different but to everyone else I was suddenly too white to be black and too black to be white. I was called Oreo, half-n-half, high yeller, wannabe, jigaboo, and a host of other expletives more than I was called by my name. It wasn’t pretty, left me traumatized and would have made for great afternoon fodder on Oprah's sofa.
I’ve had to deal with issues of race most of my life. The environment I was raised in called it into question on a daily basis. I was either treated differently because the color of my skin was different, or I was treated differently because I spoke and behaved differently. Out of sheer necessity I learned early how to walk in two very different worlds but I was never made to feel welcome or comfortable in either.
Fast forward a few years and I married and divorced a biracial man of white and Portuguese parentage straddling his own fence. He still doesn’t have a clue where he falls on the color wheel. Our children are an amalgamation of many ethnicities and they could care less. Depending on the mood of the moment they’ve been known to check either the "black" box, the "white" box or the "other" box proudly, not having a clue what color their Kool-Aid should be. They listen to rap, classical and hard rock, eat chitlin’s, pizza, and Puerco guisado, and genuinely can’t understand what all the hoopla is about race and why people fear it so.
When I was first called about my very first manuscript, the editor at the time spoke to me on the telephone for a good fifteen minutes about my book. The conversation was curious at best and then she asked if I would please email her a picture of myself. I thought it a pretty strange request but hey, a real publisher was interested in my writing so I was ready to send as many photos as she wanted. Ten minutes after she received the email I received my second CALL and an offer to purchase my book. I later understood that they wanted to be sure I was what I claimed to be, a black woman who'd written a black romance. Apparently that didn’t come across over the telephone line.
I have no doubts that the majority of my readers are black women. Interestingly though, I had a book signing once where I sold a lot of books. Only one of the fans who came to see me was a black woman. Most of the books sold were purchased by non-black readers, male and female. I thought for just a brief second that there was actually some progress being made and then one elderly “fan” felt compelled to expound on what she thought about me and my writing. The praises were plentiful and complementary and then she leaned in, her hand pressed against my shoulder and said, “I really do like your writing. And it’s not like you’re really black, dear.”
As a black author published in the romance genre I find myself once again straddling a fence where I understand that I’m not necessarily welcome nor is there any concern that I’m comfortable. I’m discovering that to write what I want to write I will clearly have to walk in two very different worlds or make the conscious decision not to be published at all.
I wish I could be as dismissive about race as my children but I can’t. My race has a major impact on where my books are shelved in the stores, if they’re carried in certain bookstores at all, and whether or not I can even get a book deal. My race impacts how I see myself in others, when the media, movies, and books depict black women as being less than we are; somehow flawed and undeserving. My race is why random strangers think they can call me a nigger and get away with it simply because I called out the publishing industry to just do better when it comes to diversity in books.
I’m not blonde this week and since my last blonde disaster I doubt highly that me and Miss Clairol will be trying that ever again. I’ll never be blue-eyed and there is no longer anything prissy, privileged or pretentious about me. I am, however, one hell of a force to be reckoned with.
And more importantly, I’m a damn good writer no matter what I happen to be writing about. I’ve got a lot of storytelling in me and just like my Kool-Aid, the flavor I tell them in will be however I choose. I am a thing of beauty. A joy. A strength. And like my Kool-Aid, a secret cup of gladness. That's who I am. And since I don’t plan to go anywhere any time soon, you really should pull up a seat, grab yourself a glass, and join me. Otherwise, you're going to miss out on something amazing!
And just to be sure we understand each other, if you call me a black bitch again, I may very well show you one, and my being black won't have anything to do with what I unleash.
Our current President and his administration lie. They lie
with a voracity that is absolutely mind-boggling. If he can say his is bigger,
better, and brighter he could care less whether there is any truth to his
declarations. He will never acknowledge his shortcomings and will readily lay
the blame for his transgressions at the feet of Jesus if he thinks it will keep
him in favor with his political base.
He is determined to give those who voted for him a wall. A miles-long
continuum of brick, mortar, and armed guards intended to keep out the black and
brown-skinned people he, and others, believe are a threat to the great white
way of America. He has no understanding why there has been obstruction, that
thus far, has kept that wall from rising.
History has clearly taught 45 nothing. But then one must know history to learn from it. There is no
understanding of why walls don’t work and most inevitably come down. He cannot
comprehend the reasons for rebellion when people are oppressed. He despises the
dissent against his core beliefs and readily rails against those who show
disdain for him. In his heart, the Klan and white supremacists are good people and immigrants are animals who hail from shit-hole countries. He has closed the door to those seeking refuge, aspiring to the American dream on which this land was founded. He lauds foreign leaders who are equally as narcissistic and wants HIS people to bow to his will.
Now he is holding children hostage in the name of political
gain. He has no qualms about using little brown boys and girls as pawns for immigration
reform. Give him his wall and he might give these babies back to their mothers
and fathers. He is reprehensible and though he would like to claim they are
only following the laws established by the Democrats, that has been proven to
be yet another blatant lie. He digs in his heels because he will have that wall at the expense of people he could care little about. He is cold, heartless, lacks integrity, is an international joke, and an abomination to the American people.
Every sitting member of the United States Congress should be
warned. Your silence makes you just as culpable. Your defense of this heinous
practice is inexcusable. Your blatant refusal to do anything is beyond vile. If you are waiting to see what your brethren will do
instead of leading the charge to stop this and insure every child is returned
to their families, you are even more despicable. Do not ever preach family values
when your own moral turpitude reeks of elitism, racism, and apathy. If picking on
innocent children, whose parents only wanted better for them, is okay with you, then you
will reap what you sow. If you pick and choose Biblical tenets to justify babies
being caged and treated like cattle, you too, are as evil, and hell will gladly
Know that voters will not forget come election time. There
are scores of women and men, and mothers and fathers, from both sides of the aisle,
who will use their disgust for this administration, to fuel the fight for
significant change. Come hell or high water we will return integrity and decency to our government. We will be represented by people who will fight for the best interests of the people and not the personal agendas of a select few. If you have lost our respect you will lose our vote. And it is the American people you should fear far more than the Commander-in-Chief.
Be warned. If you don't do what's right, we will
see you unseated if it’s the last thing we do.
The characters in every book I write have a celebrity inspiration. A face or personality that just fits the persona of the individual I am fleshing out. My new Harlequin Suspense series, To Serve and Seduce, follows members of a Chicago family dedicated to law enforcement. The family is headed by patriarch Jerome Black, the superintendent of police and his wife, federal court judge Judith Harmon Black. The stories will follow sons, Armstrong, Ellington, Parker, Davis, and Mingus, and daughters, Simone and Vaughan, all seasoned veterans in the Chicago judicial system.
The first book, coming June 1, 2018, SEDUCED BY THE BADGE, is the story of Chicago detective Armstrong Black and Danielle "Danni" Winstead.
Chicago detective Armstrong Black follows the rules—his rules. When he’s assigned to partner with an Atlanta detective who’s hell-bent on bringing down criminals who targeted her sister, he’s determined to stay in control. But stunning Danni Winstead is all blazing temper and sweet temptation. Working with her tests Armstrong’s restraint; trusting her could put them both in fatal jeopardy…
It gives me great pleasure to share the images that inspired the characters. Meet the Black family!
For weeks now I have been frustrated with my favorite shows
SCANDAL and HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER. I haven’t been feeling Olivia Pope played
by Kerry Washington or Annalise Keating played by Viola Davis. Then last night,
the ABC crossover event that paired the two characters fighting side by side brought
it full circle and gave me new life!
What was always relevant about Olivia and Annalise is they
were two African-American women in positions of power fighting a good fight.
You rooted for them. You wanted to see them succeed. You needed them to win because
they’re fictional accomplishments buoyed the daily wins of black women just
like them. Black women who had no voice and no representation in the media.
They were golden, and we needed them to shine!
Then suddenly there was a shift in the writing and their vulnerability
had them downtrodden and unlikeable. Both Washington and Davis played their
roles brilliantly. So much so that there was a backward shift in the fanfare. We
weren’t rooting for them like we were in the beginning. Viewers were frustrated
and conversations around the watercooler on Friday mornings were lackluster at
best. But last night we were blessed with a glimpse of light that had everyone singing
What I realized is that too often when we saw black women on
television, the roles were always bittersweet. Already underrepresented we were
not portrayed at our best. We were shown as weak, deviant, misguided, and/or angry.
We stood in the background and were silent observers in other people’s lives.
We didn’t shine. I don’t need to see anymore of that. Personally, I was tired
of Annalise and her failings. I wanted brilliant Annalise who could run circles
around the best in the business. Mean girl Olivia, angry Olivia, evil Olivia,
gave me indigestion. I couldn’t stomach her hissing and spitting and clawing
her way over people. I needed brilliant Olivia, being the best fixer and making
choices because they were the right choices to make. I was desperate to have
those characters back and last night both brought back the light!
I hope Shonda Rhimes, Scandal’s creator and Peter Nowalk,
the creator of How To Get Away With Murder, will continue to represent these
women at their very best. I have no doubts about Kerry or Viola playing the
hell out of the roles as they’re written. I just need the storytelling and the
characters to continue to shine! I need them to keep representing the best of
all black women!
This author gig is hard. The work involved is never-ending.
There is no writing a story and just releasing it into the universe with your
fingers crossed that it will do well. It becomes a never-ending cycle of
telling a great story, staying relevant in a saturated marketplace and if you
are an author of color writing romance, the inevitable fight to be respected
and welcomed where you are too often told you are not wanted. For black authors every book is a fight for acceptance, to sit at the table and be treated fairly. But I speak for
many of us when I say that we welcome that fight. Because we have stories to
tell about characters who look like us. People of color who struggle and fight
and love fiercely.
The television program THIS IS US, has become one of my
favorites. The writing is exceptional. But what calls me to watch each week, it
the loving relationship between Randall and Beth Pearson, played divinely by
Sterling K. Brown and Susan Kelechi Watson. The love and devotion between a black
man and a black woman who respect and admire each other is a rarity in
television. But for many, like myself, it reflects the history of our parents
and our grandparents and the family that loved and nurtured each other and their
children. Despite the lack of black couples in television, the Pearson’s are no
more an oddity than breathing is. They just do a damn good job of representing what
we already know exists.
Before the Pearson’s, we watched and adored Heathcliff and
Clair Huxtable, Florida and James Evans, Dwayne Wayne and Whitley Gilbert. They
laid the foundation of black love on television. Seeing their love stories on
the big screen gave value to what many people of color live each and every day.
Yet, we are constantly told that kind of love doesn’t exist and has no
I write romance. My heroes are always strong black men and my
heroines even stronger black women. Occasionally, I’ll stir things up and give
my stories some swirl. In the romance genre, authors of color occupy a very small
sliver of that much larger multi-billion-dollar pie. But we’re out here,
standing shoulder-to-shoulder, arm-in-arm, lifting each other up, because ultimately,
we all have the same goal. To tell great stories about two people falling in
love, in whatever flavor moves us.
When a new author joins the fold, I get excited. Because a
new voice, another perspective, a sister-in-arms, trumps the naysayers who proclaim
we don’t belong. In our small community we welcome newcomers with an open heart,
ready to help push and promote their book baby. We know that for far too many
of us, we are all we have. The powers in charge aren’t bending over backwards
to promote our stories. Hell, they’re barely trying to see us published! So, we
are always ready and willing to step into the gap and do whatever we can. I
know I am, and I do so to honor the black women who paved this path that I’ve
been blessed to travel. The literary Queens who were the first and sometimes
the only voices of color fighting to tell our stories. The matriarchy that
pushed and pulled so many of us along and consistently encouraged us to do what we so love
Recently, I was so ready to welcome a new author into this
sisterhood. I was ecstatic to see her getting press so many of us have
continually been denied. It felt like a step in the right direction that her
publisher was standing firmly behind her. And then, in the blink of an eye, she
and her advisors threw a boulder at the rest of us that hit hard and stung like
hell. To hear them tell it, her story is the first of its kind. They proclaimed
that the rest of us don’t exist. It seems she single-handedly invented black
romance. I was offended to the nth degree and I was not alone.
In a recent interview, the newbie said, “I want[ed] more
books about people like me. People who aren’t white but also people who have
diverse lives, who live in cities and have friends of different ethnicities. It
just felt false to me to read books that were just about white people.”
Well, baby girl, let me enlighten you. Author Sandra Kitt was
the first black woman to write for Harlequin, publishing her first three books by
1984. Her novels featured African-American characters and tackled social issues,
race relations, class differences, and interracial relationships. They were
people who had diverse lives, lived in cities with friends of different
ethnicities and weren’t just about white people. The list of black romance
authors who followed is lengthy and distinguished. Have you ever heard of Donna
Hill or Rochelle Alers, two prolific black women authors who helped lay the
foundation for black romance? You are far from being the first to bring
black love to black women.
Black romance authors can’t talk about black romance without
bowing to Brenda Jackson, and Beverly Jenkins. To ignore their continued contributions
to the industry is an insult of magnanimous proportions. Queen Brenda and Queen
Beverly have helped many of us get a foothold in this industry, grooming us for
what would come, teaching us the ins and outs of writing and writing well,
cheering our efforts, applauding our successes and being a shoulder when the writing fails us.
And they are not the only ones. Renowned author Jacquelin
Thomas mentored me and has been a fixture in my life since I got that call some
fifteen years ago. I am honored that all these women cared enough to help
nurture my career and I’m blessed to be able to call them friends. I can’t fathom
how anyone could extoll their own efforts without giving due praise to those
who set the bar and who continue to dictate the standard that is expected from the
rest of us.
I can’t begin to list the best-selling, award-winning black
authors with membership in this club. Women, and a few men, who have
whole-heartedly embraced the good and the bad within the industry. Who have
achieved a degree of success despite the efforts of others to keep them from it.
Writers who love to write, respect the readers who support them and who readily
share their knowledge whenever they’re able. There isn’t enough space to list
them individually and to extoll the virtues of each and every one of them. But
if I could, I would!
I hate that any author would think that slighting the rest
of us to promote their work is a good thing. I’m disappointed that it was necessary
for this author to proclaim herself the one and only saving light for the host
of readers who have supported black romance authors and the black romance genre
since before she even thought about becoming a writer. The blatant disrespect was
chilling. I’m annoyed that there are those who seem determined to not do
better. And I’m pissed that another black woman would make this author gig even
harder than it has already proven to be.
I don’t have the energy to entertain bullshit. I might be a
lot jaded after one too many affiliations gone awry. It’s why I’m persnickety
about who I allow into my life and most particularly into my heart. My heart is
fragile and because it has been broken, even shattered a time or two, I’ve
built walls that stretch miles high to protect me from getting hurt.
I’m always amazed by those who are fueled by discord and
conflict. Persons who thrive on drama and consume negativity for
breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Those aren’t people I welcome into my circle and
at the first hint of conflict, I quickly become dismissive. I have no problems sweeping
other people and their ugliness as far from me as I can.
Recently, I was annoyed when associates called to repeat
something a former acquaintance had to say about me. It seems that the gossip train has been running on full steam! For a brief moment, it bothered me because
her truth was anything but factual, which is why we fell out in the first
place. She lied to me. Repeatedly. Even when given the opportunity to come
clean, she continued to lie. Losing my trust is the kiss of death for any
relationship. And not only are you dead to me, but never again will I have a
need to invoke your name. Not even to spit on it.
Friends called to make me aware that I was being discussed, and to see what I had to
say about the situation. But I wasn’t interested in spilling any tea. I don’t
waste good drink on people who are dead to me. So, I didn’t entertain the
bullshit. Life’s too short for the games we use to play in grade school. Had I
felt a need to tell my side of the story, I would have done so when the
incident first happened. Instead, I said what needed to be shared to the
persons involved and that’s where I left it. I couldn't help but think that other people might want to do the
same. Because bullshit stinks to high hell if it ever gets thrown back at you, so it’s best not to entertain it at all.
I greeted someone today with a cheery new year wish and was
swiftly dismayed when they turned around and asked me what was there to be
happy about. It was an eye blink moment as I realized my joys may not
necessarily be their joys. The first call of the New Year came from a family
member who wanted to complain about the same damn things she’s been complaining
about for the last five years. It was the same story, different day, and she
was the only common denominator. She was allowed her moment because that’s how
it has always been. When she finally hung up, I blocked her number. Not this
year, Satan. Not this year.
Last year was rough. It took its toll and when I found myself
on the verge of a nervous breakdown I realized I had to change for things to be
different in my life. So, I once again washed my hands and my heart of everything that was
toxic. I severed friendships, distanced myself from family, and focused solely
on all things that brought me joy. If it caused me any ounce of angst I let it
go. I refused to be inundated with other people’s problems and issues when I
had my own to deal with. I focused on me and I became unapologetic about what I
needed and wanted. I chose the path I needed to follow to get myself wherever
it was I needed to be.
For me, embracing the New Year is all about continuing this
life journey and being the best me I can possibly be. It will be about writing
what I want to write and telling the stories I need to tell. I no longer have a
desperate need to be validated by others. I know my worth and I will not allow
it to be diminished by someone else’s lies. I’m happy with me and I really don’t
give a damn if anyone else is.
I didn’t pledge to do anything specific this year. There was
no long list of resolutions. I refuse to put that kind of pressure on myself. I
know stress can kill and I have way too much living to do. But I did discover this
wonderful list of life lessons a few weeks back that was circling the internet.
Of the many declarations, there were a few that stood out and caught my
attention. I have found myself referring to it often as I contemplate the New
Year and I thought I would share them here.
And to answer that man’s question, what is there to be happy
about? I say, EVERYTHING!
LIFE LESSONS for
·When in doubt, just take the next small step. ·Life is
too short not to enjoy it. ·Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying
alone. ·It’s OK to get
angry with God. He can take it. ·Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the
present ·Don’t compare your
life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about. ·If a relationship has to
be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it. ·Everything can
change in the blink of an eye. But don’t worry; God never
blinks. ·Take a deep breath. It calms
the mind. ·Get rid of anything
that isn’t useful. Clutter weighs you down in many
ways. ·It’s never too late to be happy.
But it’s all up to you and no one else. ·When it comes to going after what you
love in life, don’t take no for an answer. ·No one is in charge of your happiness but you. ·Always choose Life. ·Time
heals almost everything. Give Time, time. ·Don’t take yourself
so seriously. No one else does. ·Believe in miracles. ·God loves you because of
who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do. ·Don’t audit life. Show up
and make the most of it now. ·Growing old beats
the alternative — dying young. ·All that truly matters in
the end is that you loved. ·Get outside every
day. Miracles are waiting everywhere. ·Envy is a waste of time. Accept what you already have,
not what you think you need ·No matter how you feel,
get up, dress up and show up. ·Life isn’t tied with a
bow, but it’s still a gift. ·The best is yet to come…