24

I always see this picture floating around Facebook reading, “What would you call this chapter of your life?”. Honestly, I never paid it much attention. There are billions of Facebook ads and quotes drifting through my timeline. But as the clock struck 12:00 AM, this question rang in my ear. What would I call it? My initial thought and almost immediate response was Mine. I would call this chapter, Mine. I often reflect on opportunities I should have taken, times I could have said more or less, times I could’ve been more brave. And I couldn’t help but ask myself why. Why could’ve I bring myself to protect what was most important; myself and my family. Why couldn’t I raise my voice when I needed, when it was vital. And those moments will probably float around my head forever. And the only answer I could come up with, is that I never really felt like anything was mine, not really. I was timid and quiet more times than I can count and I counted myself out on a number of occasions. But at 12:01 AM, I promised myself I would never, ever do that to myself again.

So for 24, I have decided that my voice is mine, my opinion is mine. The right to be upset and the right to speak my mind, the right to need space, the right to say no or yes; all mine.

It’s crazy, the things that you remember when you reflect. Things that happen in passing, the subtle things you think don’t matter at the time. The hard part is not remembering, that will happen whether you want it to or not. The hard part isn’t accepting the things that you cannot change. The hard part is not letting it dictate your life. You can choose to be what you have been through, what you didn’t get, the things you didn’t say. Or, you can chose to be raw with yourself and aware and move past it. You admit your fuck ups, you admit when you let yourself down, and move on and live YOUR life.

When my mom taught me how to drive, she told me that where ever you look is where you are going to go. Of course I tried to test the theory out myself to see if I could defy the odds. But, sure enough, when I looked to the left for too long the car slowly veered to whatever object I had my eyes on. When I glanced to the right to look at whatever point my gaze was set on, the car followed. I’ve realized, life is a lot like that; driving a car. You have full control of it. How and when you get to your destination is solely on you.

“…she told me that where ever you look is where you are going to go…”

So, this chapter and every year after, God willing, will be mine.

What would you call this chapter of your life? Why?

Below is one of my absolute favorite interviews with Zoe Saldana. I watch it more often than I’d like to admit. But it embodies and puts into words my ideal state of mind. The state of mind every woman should have and wear every time we open our eyes. This interview is like that red lipstick you put on the makes yourself feel strong and powerful; that assertion and confidence we should all have. Enjoy.

As Always, Peace & Love ♥

 

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How Not to Become Me

I’ve always considered my self a strong person. Things came easy to me and I’ve never really had to fight for anything. Not for good grades, not for friends, not for cute boys to like me, not to get something I wanted. Everything I ever needed, I was rewarded with one way or the other, and I realized that I became so wrapped up in the word “yes”, I didn’t know what to do when I heard no. I didn’t know how to react when things got hard, I didn’t know what it meant.

It’s one thing for other people to tell you about what they went through and to advise you not to do the same or how to avoid it. But, it is an entirely different thing when you face it head on.

Pain is tricky. Fate is even trickier. And life is a mix of both and we have to decide what category to put the bad parts in. Was it meant to happen? Is this normal? Does everyone go through this? Do I deserve this? Did I make the right choice? Well, I was confronted with both; in every aspect of it… and I failed myself.

Abuse starts off subtle and it has many faces, forms, phrases and phases. If you’ve encountered it before, you know what I’m saying. Now, I won’t go through everything I endured, I’m not here for pity. I made the choice to go through hell and put on a smile everyday and fake it to the world until I just couldn’t anymore. I faked my smile so much and by the end of it I began to hate it. I hated laughter. I hated people that smiled at me. I hated him when he smiled and showed a glimpse of happiness. I hated when we laughed together. I hated when we were happy and I hated when we were at odds. I was disgusted with him and disgusted with myself for putting on that fake ass facade like I was okay.

There are certain firsts you remember in a relationship and I had many. The first kiss, the first time you said I love you, the first time you made love. I remember the day I was first called out of my name, I remember where I was standing, I remember how the sky looked; it was raining and I stood outside so no one would hear me cry and beg him not to talk to me that way. I remember the first time he hit me. How cold it was when I ran outside for fresh air; snow sprinkled on the ground. I remember the first time that light I shined on him dimmed and the pedal stool I put him on fell shorter and shorter.

As time passed, I no longer looked at him as my everything. He was a monster and I would lay awake at night, looking at him while he slept and wish we could rewind to the day before he had ever put his hands on me. I hated him for not being who I imagined him to be, who he promised he could be. But that wasn’t possible so tears tried to run away from him since I wouldn’t. It confused me because I still had this aching urge to fix him and make it work. But each time I clocked in for overtime, I thought of my mother and my niece. How would my niece look at me. How could I give her advice if she sees her aunt doing the opposite. How would I feel if someone ever dared to raise a hand to her or my future daughter and call her anything but her name. I would cry to the point of convulsions thinking of my childhood and the future I was laying out for myself. I was depressed and stifled in my goals, health, and life. My head was filled with constant noise and I could never really focus on anything but how to perfect the costume I put on everyday.

Every time the smoke had cleared and we were ‘happy’, I had a replay of the last time I was a bitch, the last time I was a hoe, the last time I was a thief, the last time I waited for a part of my body to stop aching, the last time I winced when I pulled my hair into a pony tail or tried to chew. My heart would race when I thought something would turn into an argument or a one way fight. I had panic attacks often and apologized for everything a million times while I twisted to fit the mood he was in. And still, I fought for us.

I thought I was being strong for the both of us. I thought the crack in his voice when he apologized meant growth and an end to the monster I thought I created. I thought I was being strong each time I tried to peace myself together and nurse his illness. I thought my tears would be enough for him to see the wrong he was doing. But it didn’t and nothing I did was enough.

I fought until I pushed myself to look at my broken body and exhausted exterior. And wouldn’t you know, the strongest thing I did throughout this entire misadventure was let him walk out my door. I had to claim myself again. ‘Our home’ was MY home. ‘Our happiness’ was MY happiness. The object he was so comfortable hitting was MY body. MY name was Malissa, nothing else. The insults and the anger was his to keep and to deal with internally, and I stopped taking ownership of it. The love I gave was mine to give. I took everything that belonged to me back and let him take his baggage out the door.

I stopped trying to prove to myself and everyone else that I could fix it and get what I wanted. That was the strongest I could have ever been and the rightest my decisions have ever turned and I took something from it. I learned about myself, and love. Love shouldn’t hurt. Love shouldn’t make you feel less than. Love shouldn’t dim your light.

So, I am proud to say that I left that costume at the door that day as well. My smile is not a mask I put on anymore. My laughter is as contagious as my happiness and I have moved from behind the dark cloud of pain. So, if you take away nothing from this very minute excerpt of my life, I want you to know, how not to become me. Don’t take as long as I did. Don’t ignore the signs. And please, don’t stay silent. When the noise quiets down to a whisper at night, your peace or lack there of is the only that will ring in your ear louder than anything or anyone else. God and my family got me through it. I was able to completely separate myself from it, no financial commitments together, no children together, nothing binding to me to him. And I thank God for that everyday.

I am one of the lucky ones I guess. I survived it with no permanent scares on my soul or my body. I am a survivor of domestic violence. It took me a while to even let those words come out of my mouth due to shame and denial. But, I am not ashamed of someone else’s illness. His anger was not my fault. And I want you to know, if you are going through something similar, it is not your fault and will never be and to seek help and take yourself out of that situation. Nothing is worth more than your life. Some girls aren’t as lucky as you and me and don’t get the chance to leave.

 

As Always, Peace & Love ♥

National Domestic Violence Hotline

:contact 1-800-799-7233

:website: http://www.thehotline.org/

If you or someone you know is going through violence of any kind, please don’t hesitate to call.

 

 

 

Justice for Joseph: Go Fund Me

Justice For Joseph

Friends and family, Joseph Murchison Jr. was wrongfully convicted of a crime he did not commit and has been jailed for over 13 years. We are asking for your prayers, support and donations to help with legal fees for an appeal and a new trial to bring him home sooner than later.

Joseph N. Murchison Jr. is a college graduate with a Masters in Business Administration. He was working in the field of Public Works and was a Master Teacher (State Licensed) before he was sentenced. For the past thirteen years, he has been turning his time into something positive by heading leadership and tutoring classes for young men trying to better themselves.

Anything you could offer would be a great help and we would deeply appreciate it. Help us bring Joseph home to his family that loves and misses him. Thank you.

To help support, my family and I have created a GoFundMe account: The link is

Here: https://www.gofundme.com/bringjoehome17

PLEASE SHARE! Below is his story, please take the time to read and get to know the man we know and love. Our family would appreciate the prayers, support and/or donations. Thank you!

 

 

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The Go Fund Me Link is Here: https://www.gofundme.com/bringjoehome17

Thank you in advance!

Do you stop?

“Do what you love; you’ll be better at it. It sounds pretty simple, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t get this one right away.” -LL Cool J

You ever catch yourself listening to music, jamming as you’re driving, doing the arm pointing thing (y’all know what I’m talking about) as you belt out the lyrics to your sooong of the moment cause your shuffle is on point? I know I do! There is nothing better than a good ol’ fashioned car karaoke session, whether it be alone or with a partner. Doing your impromptu dance moves with your arms, snapping your fingers and tapping on the steering wheel with the windows down so the wind whips thru your hair is one of the best moments (I don’t have much for the wind to blow now-a-days, but you get the picture).

The point is, you should never stop doing what you enjoy because of what others might think of you. You like dancing in your car? Do it! You like singing out loud every time you hear your favorite song, do that too! You like going to yoga classes or taking walks in the park? DO IT. Life is way too short to not do something because of others opinions. It will do nothing but stifle you and dim your light more and more. So, ignore the friends that toss side comments your way. Ignore the off putting looks people give you. Ignore the family that look down on your decisions when it comes to doing what you love. Just do it.

As Always, Peace & Love ♥

 

Day 4: 30 Day Blog Photo Challenge; Favorite Color

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Day 4: Favorite Color

First, I know I’m out of order but, I wrote this out on paper and kept forgetting (aka being lazy) to type it in. But, here we go..

You’d think this question would be easy. I say my favorite color is blue but, I’m not sure that it is.. Yes, it’s pretty and I usually pick it out of the others but, I think I choose it because it isn’t that bright or loud and it doesn’t cause much attention. Honestly, blue doesn’t mean anything to me. But, it still looks good. Truth is, I love white.

But with anything white, you can’t hide behind a color like that. Those lumps and bumps that you place your clothes over strategically to distract the human eye are very much visible with white, no matter what you do. With white sheets or covers (which I have now) you can’t hide the dirt or other random stains. It’s there for everyone to see.

White is so royal, so honest, so pure. White can be anything it wants to be; it is where all other colors begin. So to respond to my favorite color question, I will answer white. Maybe I’ll start wearing it more often and embrace it.

Whats is your favorite color and why? Does it have a special meaning to you? Let me know!

 

As Always, Peace & Love ♥

Day 6: 30 Day Blog Photo Challenge; Childhood Memory

 

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Day 6: Childhood Memory

This day in particular, my mother and my two brothers went down to the Lake Front downtown ( near the Arch for my non-St. Louis people, where the Mississippi River is). It was 199-something. We hoped in the black Volvo, which I loved so much, and headed down their. I can still smell the clean leather seats and how warm it was hunched up beside my brothers. My mom had braided my long, thick hair into two french braids behind my head. We had our swish-swish jackets on (you know, the one’s that make the noise when even when you breath lightly). And I had on purple corduroys and Nike shoes and I thought I loved beautiful.

Every where we went i always took some sort of bag or purse of choice. That day in particular, it was an Easter basket filled with God knows what; barbies, lip gloss, lipsticks, who knows. But I was happy. When we got out the car, we hobbled down the cobblestone just close enough to feel the coolness of the river on our faces while my mother snapped photos of us in complete bliss. I ran around with my brothers, jumping and spinning and laughing. We didn’t stay down there long, because it got chilly fast, but it was a nice, short and sweet get away. I didn’t realize how important those little getaways were to my mother. Now that I am older and I know what she was going through at the time, I appreciate those even more. Those little escapes.

What is one of your favorite childhood memories? What made it special?

As Always, Peace & Love ♥