For Colored Girls Who Are Okay With Being Colored.

This weekend was the opening of Tyler Perry’s film adaptation of the critically acclaimed For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf by Ntozake Shange. There was much buzz around Perry, a Black male, taking on such a resounding chorus for Black women all over the world. We wondered, “is he capable?” “is he going to feature Madea as one of the ‘colors?'” “who the hell told him that he could tell our story?”

Even I was on the you-are-not-the-right-one-to-tell-this-story bandwagon early on. Guilty as charged. I always thought that Tyler Perry left his viewers hanging with unresolved plot lines  and rushed character development and, for someone who has gone from slap-stick comedy in his stage plays to million dollar movies, I just didn’t correlate the Tyler Perry I see in my head (who looks and talks like Madea) to such a important piece of text like For Colored Girls.

Many of my friends and college classmates  gave varying degrees of opinion. From the “my-feminism-will-not-allow-me-to-agree-with-anything-a-man-does-even-if-it-is-good-makes-sense-and-I-can-relate-to-it” to a resounding cyber-applause for Tyler Perry, the movie, and the realness of the characters.

I took all of these thoughts, feelings, and opinions into the theater tonight and realized that this movie isn’t about Tyler Perry and his previous cinematic efforts. It’s much, much more.

It’s about the bravery of the women who portrayed a differenct facet of Black womaness, many times, a side of our Black womaness that we want to keep hidden in the shadows and foggy mist of our imaginations.

We don’t want people to know that we are broken, abused, hurt, forced on our knees to serve as the trodden path of those who “rule” over us.

We don’t want people to know that we mistakenly love the wrong ones and let go of the right ones.

We don’t want people to know that the facade we put on as Super Black Woman (fly your cape!) is many times just that: a fake.

We don’t want people to know that beyond our academia and righteousness that we genuinely just want to love as hard as we can, without letting go, with out apologies.

We don’t want people to know that sometimes we make mistakes and our most valuable selves, including our children, suffer at the hands of our refusal to let go of love.

We don’t want people to know that the men we love sometimes do not love us back. Not because they don’t want to, but because they can’t.

We don’t want people to know that those same men who do not love us are worthy of forgiveness and we spend every waking hour trying to help them receive that same forgiveness.

We don’t want people to know that despite the front we put on, we want to be fucked. Yes, fucked. Without rhyme or reason.

We don’t want people to know that we have the desire to be fucked because our daddy’s fucked us first.

We don’t want people to know that there are tons of pieces that have been left behind, scattered across the Diaspora and without them we’re a mess.

But with them, we are resilient, brilliant, and worthy of every thing we secretly desire when no one is watching.

We are everything Shange and Perry expressed in that film. No matter how far you try to remove yourself from it, that’s you. That’s me.

Dirty bitch. Glorious woman. His whore. His wife. Their mother. Their aborter. A thief. A giver. Afraid. Brave. Killers. Life givers. Jealous. Selfless.

We are. And that’s okay.

Who are we to shy away and be afraid of our pain? Our joy? Our failures? Our triumphs?

Who are we to not reach the end of our rainbow?

On the Chase,

 

Alisha L.

Kanye West’s “Power”: An Introspective

I like the Kanye West “Power” video…er, painting. But some people, many people in fact “don’t get it…”.

Let me see if I can break this down:
\”Power\” Video (In Case You Haven\’t Seen it)

“One man shouldn’t have all that power…”

Hes surrounded by…

…sword wielding men, trying to cut off his head, sexy women engaging in lesbian acts, spilling water (water = life), food, bowing at his feet…

…while ONE woman sits gingerly at his left, not moving. Eventually, she sprouts angel wings.

There are two women with devilish horns who hold a staff, a sign of power and leadership standing before him…

…before the video cuts, the consuming images of the women disappear and ALL that is left are the two men trying to cut his head off.

To me, that is a POWERful video. Pun intended.

Cut off the head, kill the body. The creativity. The man. The purpose. The destiny. It wasn’t the pussy that “killed” him…

It was two men, with swords…

But can I go even further? Follow me.

The two women with the staffs, serve as Kanye’s mother. She was his leader, protector, guided him when she was alive… She stood guard, and while all the women, and distractions flew in around him, she was there, standing guard.

When ALL those things disappeared..

Kanye’s head, his most important asset, was taken off…

Kanye is no dumb dude. Not in the least…

Power personified.

NOTE: I’ve received so much positive feedback about this post as well as come across some equally thought provoking insight regarding the video. This is one of them: http://shadetheground.wordpress.com/2010/08/07/kanyes-power/

On the Chase,

Alisha L.

PS: check out my book, Pieces on www.findthepieces.com

:: Fear Factor ::

Eek! Fear!

What are you afraid of?

Yesterday, I had an interesting conversation with a male suitor about the state of our “relationship”. (If you can call it that).
After a few hit and misses (more misses than hits) and a seemingly roller coaster type experience over the last few months, we both got revelation on something.

We were both continuing to deal with each other out of fear.

Fear? What? Ain’t nobody afraid of nothing!

Oh, yes we are.

We realized that the insurmountable fear of being alone, not having another potential come around in the timing we would like was too great for us to just cut ties and go our separate ways, even after we both verbalized our discontent in the current situation.

Oh, ladies, you know how it goes: He doesn’t call when he’s supposed to. He doesn’t show up on time. You catch him lying. He has piss poor character. You know, those types of things.

We’ll overlook them, however, to fill the basic need that all women have: to have an emotional connection with someone.

Mid conversation, he told me about how earlier that day he stopped to help a young lady change a tire. She was struggling with getting the car jacked up and figured he would stop to help her.

In a matter of minutes, he changed the tire, she thanked him, and as he proceeded to walk to his car, here came a young guy walking across the street to them.

“Thanks for changing my girls tire, man.”

He stood there in shock.

The girl’s boyfriend was standing across the street while his girlfriend was changing the tire. Yes. You read correctly.

Disgusted, my guy friend left. He mentioned that as he was changing the tire, the girl told him that she was working on her MBA and recently bought a house.

But, you’re dating a dude who wouldn’t change your tire for you.

My friend was confused. “How could she date a dude like that considering all the good things she has going for her?”

I told him, “she won’t leave. She’s afraid.”

“Why?” he asked.

“He fills a void in her life that every woman needs: he’s that warm spot in the bed, holds her hand, tell her that she’s cute, he’s there to listen to her… and for many, that’s enough. It matters not about character or the type of things he brings to the table. The basic emotional need has been met. It won’t be until she relinquishes the fear of being alone that she’ll have a ‘light bulb’ moment and leave the relationship.”

He and I sat there and silence.

We realized something: we were guilty of the very same thing.

We both knew the timing between us wasn’t right and we were in two different places, but because there was a quiet fear that if we let go of this one that another one may not come along, we tagged along to each other. (anybody been there?)

I tell this story for one reason: fear is real. Fear is paralyzing. Fear will cause you to spend entirely too much time in situations (jobs, relationships, church families, etc.) simply because you’re afraid of not having enough or another chance at that thing you’re losing.

Essentially, fear is the common denominator for mediocre lives and experiences.

Many of you, however, are still very afraid. Afraid of being alone, not having another chance, or if you do have another chance, it will take soooo long to return, you’ll grow weary waiting.

Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Galatians 6:9

Choose to let go of the fear. And when you think you’re standing alone, remember that you are not.

“…be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.'” Hebrews 13:5

Being fearless,

Alisha L.

Transparency.

Recently, Erykah Badu released a video for her song “Window Seat” where she is walking through downtown Dallas buckey-naked. Completely naked. 

While many debate whether or not her antics were for true artistry or just a publicity stunt, I think she brings about something worth considering when chasing after those things we are most passionate about. 

When chasing after God and his purpose for our life, it may require for us to be extremely transparent. 

We may have to remove the fake lashes, the weaves and wigs, the makeup, the fake labels, titles, accolades, organization affiliations, maybe even appendages (cue the movie “I’m Gonna Get You Sucka”) 

Cherry from "I'm Gonna Git You Sucka"

She' removed the filter, ya'll!

  

What I’ve learned as I chase after God He requires for me to be extremely transparent. It is very difficult for me to hide my past and even my present as I encounter people. While writing my book Pieces: Finding the Missing Piece is Easier than You Think, I remember having a hard time writing certain things in the book because they were so personal in nature. I thought to myself, “What in the world will people think when they learn (insert huge failure or character flaw here) about me?” On a number of occasions, I would erase entire pages of text because the information I was sharing was personal, so hurtful, and, in some ways detrimental to my “reputation” that some people may laugh, snicker, or even see me differently.  

But God. 

Being transparent has allowed me to not only remove the dusty residue from those experiences, they have allowed other people to be transformed through my learned ability to be transparent. No, I don’t run around telling everyone every little mistake I’ve made, wearing my failures and triumphs on my sleeve, but when the time calls for it, I will pour out every bit of me to allow that person to see that redemption is possible. 

How transparent are you? How many lives can be changed by just one moment of transparency? Many believers think that they don’t have a “calling” to minister or have a great spiritual impact simply because they aren’t called to the pulpit. Know that your biggest ability to have an impact on someone else is to drop the act, take of the mask, and just. be. you. 

They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimonyRevelations 12:11

Oh, by the way. Every page I deleted I had to retype or click the “undo” button. God just doesn’t like shortcuts, I guess.

On the Chase,

Alisha L.

Face Time: You are Who You Think You’re Not

Breakdown

I am breaking the cycle.

I am breaking the cycle.

I am breaking the cycle.

In my head, there’s a vision of a person who is strong, fearless. A person who speaks in front of 10’s of thousands of people, who uses her words to motivate and inspire other people into greatness. In my head, I travel the country talking on the radio, T.V. about my books, my platform to revolutionize women, their outlook, and who they can be. I do things never done before all by a person who had humble beginnings, expectations, and hopes.

All in my head.

But in reality, I’m afraid of that person. She scares me to death. I don’t know who she is, how she’ll ever come to be, or if she’ll ever be a real life, breathing person. She’s so big, so magnificent, so capable, ready, and equipped.

Have you ever had a day dream where you see yourself doing something so big, so major that you snap out of it, look around your humble apartment or home, alone or with three kids standing around you and realize that who that person you dream of does not exist? Has someone ever told you that your dream is too big, it can’t be done, or that you don’t have the skills, education, ability, beauty, smarts, or money to do it?

You will break the cycle.

You will break the cycle.

You will break the cycle.

Face time, folks. Remove the bondage of inadequacy. You are not inadequate.

You have every skill, ability, financial power, level of education you need. Everything you need to be the person you see in your head, you already have. If you did not, would you  be dreaming it?

At this point, you’re either near tears or feeling angry. Tears because you know that, in the dark nights, this is exactly how you feel. Anger because I’m stepping on your toes and you don’t want to admit that you’ve put up a facade long enough to make everyone believe that you are stronger than you really are. You believe that your social organizations, advanced degrees, and family ties have “qualified” you to be who you say you want to be. But be honest, no matter what you have, you still feel, in a number of ways, inadequate.

Be honest. You don’t feel like what you’ve done is enough to get you to where you want to be, do you?

But where you are now is a reflection of what God began in you years ago.

“…being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete [it] until the day of Jesus Christ;” Philippians 1:6, NKJ

I’ve been on a quest all year to write my book, Pieces, and by now, I was hoping that I would have had a literary agency to represent me and my work. I’ve gotten nothing but rejection letters, some nice, some not so nice, but, I know that in this business, that is to be expected. As anyone should do, I’ve done my research about what literary agents are looking for, what makes them “believe” in a project. My non-fiction book, according to one resource, has to answer the question, “what makes me qualified to write on this topic?” I sat back and thought about that question, and in the scope of society’s standard, nothing does. Oh, other than the fact that I had a kid, unmarried, at the age of 22.

I don’t have a Ph.D. in child psychology; I didn’t study at Harvard or Yale. I attended a small women’s college in Atlanta that has been named one of the top liberal arts colleges in the nation year after year. I don’t have a lifetime of experience (I’m only 27) and I’ve done no extensive research on women, their psyche, and what dictates “good mothering experiences.” I have, however, countless friends who are mothers, daughters, wives, and widows. I’ve never written a book in my life, and quiet as kept, I always have to double check my grammar; it’s never been my strong point. But I do know good writing when I read it and I can tell a good story.  I’m not from Malibu or any ritzy town in America and my daddy isn’t made of money… I’ve only seen him 3 or 4 times in the last three years. I’m from a middle to lower class neighborhood in Decatur where trap boys trap, girls fall for the quick game rap, and if you’re lucky you can catch the t-shirt man on Candler Road selling white T’s 10 for $20.

Those reasons and those reasons alone qualify me to finish the work God has started in me. There’s nothing ordinary about me and I’m not deemed to live a mediocre, ordinary life. I can be the woman who I see in my head because God gave me all of the tools to be that.

My hood ways, my Spelman refinement.
My broken heart, my healing in a 4 year old.
My wild imagination, my controlled tongue.
My inexperience, my countless friends and family who know better than I.

All have equipped me. All have validated me. All give me the ability to be who I see in my head.

If you get nothing else from this, remember: Simply because you do not have the title, degree, or association does not disqualify you. You have already been called, deemed needed, necessary, and, in your own right, a requirement for God’s plan in the earth to come to pass.

You are who you think you’re not.

On the Chase,

Alisha L.

Wait. Work. Repeat.

Wash, rinse, repeat. Wash, Rinse, Repeat.

Familiar directions we see on the back of shampoo and Woolite® bottles. They give us directives that if the first time you’ve washed isn’t enough to get the result you want, you rinse off, and start again. The end result, regardless of the number of times you’ve had to wash, rinse, and repeat is exactly what you want: squeaky clean hair or a really good smelling silk shirt.

When it comes to life and the desires of our heart, we have to have the same tenacity but instead we should wait, work, repeat.

Wait…

We are to wait on God. There are things that He wants us to do, to accomplish, prior to receiving what it is that we want. Many times we believe that a delay in receiving what we want equates to denial when in actuality it is simply God giving us enough time to prepare ourselves to receive what it is that we desire. God is not your random Joe-blow type of dude; if He gives you something it won’t be exactly what you want—it will be more than you could have ever asked for. If you were only prepared to receive a “job that pays the bills” and he was planning to give you a “job that paid the bills, mama’s bills, enough to save away for a rainy day, and feed your shoe habit” then your virtual “space” isn’t ready or big enough to receive what He wants to give you.

Waiting requires two things to occur: a passive and active response. We are passive in nature because we have the innate belief that whatever we are waiting on will occur. (That is what we’ve been taught that faith is) We are active in nature because… oh, you didn’t know you had to be active while waiting? See, there’s that “missing piece”….

Work…

James 2:20 “…faith without works is dead.”

In every instance where God did something miraculous on the behalf of someone else, it was because they did something while waiting. Whether that was praying (Paul), offering up a child sacrifice (Abraham), searching for a new apartment with no job, creating lesson plans when there was no promise of a teaching contract, actively engaging a husband in “pro-creation” when the doctors said the uterus was too damaged to conceive, are all examples of puttin’ that work in while waiting for God. Faith, as we know it, is some kind of mystical force that seems to work if we think hard enough.

**FlAsHbAcK!**
Remember as a kid when your friends would say, “if you stare at someone long enough, and think really hard about them and say their name in your head, they will eventually turn around and look at you!” Remember that? I do…

That’s what we believe that faith is. We don’t have to do anything but think about it, quote bible verses about it, and just twiddle our thumbs and wait for God to make a move.

Epic Fail!

This thing takes work. It takes you putting action to what you say you believe even when you don’t have a concrete plan or nothing is seemingly going your way. What you do, if anything at all, is a direct reflection of where your faith is! It doesn’t matter how many scriptures you know, if you don’t put that Word into action, then your faith, in essence, is dead.

The chair you’re sitting in right now. Look at it. Touch it. Real, isn’t it? When you came to sit down at the computer, you didn’t look at the chair and say, “oh my, I really want to take a seat, but I don’t know if I should. Maybe I’ll sit next to it, pray that God will give me the chair to sit in, and see what happens.”

Epic Fail!

You look it, know that you need/want to take a seat and you do it. Period. That’s the work. The FAITH comes in when you sit and realize that it’s supporting your weight without buckling. J (I pray the prayer of faith every time I take a seat in my chair, please believe that! Ha!)

Repeat…

Humans are creatures of habit and we can and will repeat the same things over and over with no complaint. It is when we repeat those things that we have purposely said or done for the benefit of ourselves or others and they (or us) are not getting what it is we intended for.

We grow weary as we “wait” and “work” because we hate repeating ourselves. When you’re talking to Big Mama with the bad telephone connection, no matter how much you love her, you loathe having to repeat yourself so many times because she can’t hear you! We do not want to repeat anything we’ve said or done with purpose because it simply annoys the heck out of us. Unfortunately, God could care less whether or not we become annoyed with His purpose, because even while we “wait” and “work”, we are to be “learning” and “growing”.

Sometimes we may be called to repeat a moment in our life, but…

…Don’t get tired of doing what is good. Don’t get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time. Galatians 6:9, NLT

The moral of the story today is:

Wait. Work. Repeat.

Say it with me: Wait. Work. Repeat.

Blast it on your Facebook! Wait. Work. Repeat.

Let it spread like wildfire! Wait. Work. Repeat.

Wait. Work. Repeat. Are you ready?

Go!