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life

Define You

Happy New Year and Such…

 

I was slowing down my morning with some reading to pour into myself. I started with a newsletter email from Chrystal Evans Hurst – she is SUPER Awesome by the way. The end the spoke to defining how one would be remembered. She spoke about her “two momma” and her cake plate and cookie jar. It got me thinking. How does ANDONNIA define herself? Without too much analysis, crazy right, I penned this:

Creative Analytical Thinker

Mixed Matched Socks and Dope Earrings

Nail Art and Short Hair

Black and White AND Color

Mixed Prints and Poetry

Art and Calligraphy

Music and Blogs

Nature and Comfy Spaces

Bold Balance Ambivert

Old Soul and New School Progressive

Grateful and Honest

Reflective and Forward Thinking

Vision Cast and Critical Steps

Breath and Exhale 

(yes, breath) 

 

There is something soothing about getting to define self. Once you do, you can teach it with clarity. It’s very difficult to teach what’s cloudy to you. It becomes mud in interpersonal connections. Attempting to introduce you to others before you know who or what that is a gamble at best. Now self isn’t static. The more we known and grow, the more we shift and change. Yet, at our core, we identify and define. So, here ^ I am. It’s nice to meet you.

“Healer and Hurricane” 

*IVY Out*

Categories
life

Rubber Bands & Reflections

Expectations are like heartbeats, everyone has at least one.

2022 rolled over me like a steam roller, rocked me like saltwater waves, and then pushed me back on my feet like a protective parent.

In the blink of several eyes, I felt like I failed.

Why? Because even a broken clock is right twice a day. 2022 felt like 24 hours of wrong on repeat. (yes, all of that!)

I never questioned God, but His plan and will for my life felt like a computer program that I didn’t know the code for. Parts of 2022 felt like I was watching it from the outside. As if I was going through the motions, present but not always participating…

Someone said I looked happy. I would disagree. Although I know how to put on clothes and smile, most days I am a bit bummy. I have joy. At my core, I am grateful for Jesus, but my humanity has been on display. The more I reflect, I think about how my current (insert noun here) doesn’t look the way I thought it would. Yet, get this, I am VERY grateful that it doesn’t.

I had to set up the shadow so the light would shine, you see.

I thought I knew what I wanted. I thought I was doing the things, all of the things, to get to where I thought I wanted to be. But when I look back over my year, I survived it. I survived health scares, I survived my surgery, I survived shifting people in and out of my life, I survived a second doctor telling me not-to-wait, I survived being misunderstood multiple times, I survived other people’s opinions, I survived crying and smiling and caring for my people. I survived the financials, the horrible business year, and the lack of creativity – which if you know me is a scary place to be. An artist who doesn’t create is like lungs that don’t breathe.

But it was a transition year.

It had to happen. I had to wake up. I had to realize the lessons. I had to be ready to embrace new experiences. I had to be stretched. That’s the thing about a rubber band… after a while the original shape is gone. It’s replaced by a stretched capacity. And there it is… my word for 2023. CAPACITY.

I might have the ability. But if I don’t have the CAPACITY the answer is no, respectfully. I could explain that, but NO is a complete sentence. This next season will look different for me. It will be different because I am different. My life didn’t wait for midnight on NYE to be different. I am because there is no way you survive and return. So maybe I will come back to this blog. The last time I actually posted was December 28, 2021. Even then, I only posted 12 times in 2021. I can’t promise that I will be a regular again. I can promise different. Growth requires that. Grace too.

Merry Christmas folx.

*IVY Out*

Categories
life

A few notes that I learned…

It’s here. The last week of 2021. If you have been following my blog for at least a year, or you know me personally, you know I am a reflective person. There are two marked periods of the year that I steep myself in reflection, the week before my birthday and this week in between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Last night I took the time to write out some of my reflections. Like to hear them… here they go:

  1. When life moves too fast, constantly, you lose too much. It’s cool for a season, but it’s not often sustainable.
  2. Your environment often imitates your internal perspective. When I am going on warp speed, the space I occupy looks like the eye of a hurricane. Again, for a season… ok… indefinitely – nope. See number 1 for reference.
  3. Selective participation is a benefit of adulting. No is a COMPLETE SENTENCE. You not only get to say NO and mean it, I suggest you learn how to deploy NO’s when people start pulling on you too much. (You are people too. Tell yourSELF No too!)
  4. People’s proximity doesn’t automatically grant all access passes. Discern who needs to know what. That’s online and in real life. I love many, but like Jesus I keep a select few very close.
  5. Privacy is a gift. Value it.
  6. Creativity is not a full throttle 24/7 machine. It ebbs and flows. Learn the seasons and cycles. Don’t fight them, you won’t win.
  7. Cooking is comforting and lethargic as long as you aren’t hungry. (Bonus, don’t go shop for groceries while you are hungry either. Your pocketbook will thank you for adhering to this.)
  8. It doesn’t matter that people knew you yesterday, you grew. You are different. IF they have a hard time with that, let them watch from a distance. And if by some chance they turn into a negative entity in your life… remember Psalm 23. The Lord has already shared there will be an enemy audience at your table to witness your cup running over. Just pray to be able to discern people’s purpose at your table.
  9. Good music is literally the soundtrack to life, it should be embraced as such.
  10. Books are fieldtrips, no matter your age. They are free passport stamps that are pandemic proof.
  11. Support is real and GRATITUDE is invaluable. Especially when life is out here acting up.
  12. Water is life.
  13. Can we keep the social distancing and return the pandemic? No? ok.
  14. My vision board from 2021 is still accurate. And that’s ok.
  15. Stress kills. No really. Stop it.
  16. Anger is expensive. So is remorse, regret, and withheld apologies. You can’t afford any of these.
  17. Love heals.
  18. Discipline isn’t natural. Eventually you choose it, or you never acquire it. But having it requires consistency.
  19. Even if they never indicate it to you, someone is always watching. What they see, authenticity or not, is completely up to you.
  20. Faith + Learned Experiences are how we inform our decisions. Our life is a gumbo of stimuli, prayers, and decisions. Season well.

I am embracing what 2021 still has for me. When 2022 arrives, I will embrace it as well. It stands to be a year like no other.

Lord, this morning You reminded me of so much. I have literally been running a million miles a moment. Thank You for the shift. Thank You for those who have entered my life for their assigned season and those who have been given their leave. Thank You for blessings, lessons, and wisdom. I embrace HOPE as I close this chapter and open another. I thank You for that which I have overcome and that which I have yet to overcome. Between them is both celebration and preparation. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.

Ivy Out

Categories
life

Finding resources…fibroids

If you read my last post, this one will make sense. I want to share a few things I have found.

https://unmutingfibroids.com is a site with a very informative panel. While I only have 3 detected fibroids, some sisters had over 20 in their womb. I am hearing people having multiple procedures. I am noting it all.

The White Dress Project- IG- https://instagram.com/wecanwearwhite?utm_medium=copy_link

This was the first real source of info for me after my doctor’s appointment. Its super helpful. While this diagnosis isn’t monolithic, knowledge is power. The founder is on the panel in the first link too.

I also want to shout out the first person I remember personally making Fibroids and PCOS LOUD in women’s convos- BNeal! I appreciate you for your comfort, conversation, and willingness to have TABOO TALKS!

I will continue to share what I find and my journey. Thank you for the prayers, encouragement, and those who have come forth and shared their journey with me! I will continue to FAITH & FIGHT.

IVY OUT

Categories
life

Diagnosis not death…

Did the title bring you to this entry? Great. Here we go. I got part one of this situation back in December os 2020… I didn’t really share. But with this fall’s shift I began looking for resources and that was a struggle. So here we go:

On October 1, 2021 I was diagnosed officially with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) and in the midst of maybe my 5th or 6th pelvic ultrasound over maybe 5 years, a THIRD fibroid was found. The first two fibroids were found December 2020. So the news of a third sent me emotionally over the edge. In 10 months another one decided to pop up.

Let’s break this up. PCOS and Fibroids are both very common among Black women. Yet I didn’t know that one of them affected someone close in my family UNTIL I shared my first two with my mother. WE ARE NOT TALKING ABOUT THE THINGS THAT HAPPEN IN OUR BODIES.

I can’t give you expert knowledge yet… because I honestly don’t know enough to even know where to point you.

I can’t tell you all the sites, sources, and resources out there on God’s internet… but I want to stay AUTHENTIC and TRANSPARENT via this blog about this Christian Black Woman’s truth (ME). And I identify myself as I always have on this blog. Why? It’s MY blog, lol. And word to “Auntie Tab”, that’s my business.

October 1 – day 1 – (the) Emotion that initially bubbled up: FRUSTRATION. “dear God, really?!” I get this close to some relational and family goals and then “my womb”?!? Really? And although I know the scriptures and the Biblical truths – THAT IS NOT WHERE MY INITIAL THOUGHT WENT. I refuse to overspiritualize my reaction… I was in a yucky place!

Day 2 – I had a whole bunch going on so I didn’t get to really process.

Day 3 – Back to having time to process this…Sitting in church BALLING (crying), I literally walked into the lobby and finished the sermon in the lobby. Sadness, frustration, disappointment all about what the diagnoses could mean…I felt it all like I had bricks on my shoulder.

You see among a bunch of regular symptoms, PCOS and FIBROIDS BOTH can make fertility & conception more difficult. That is not something a 38 year old woman who WANTS children wants to hear. Now once the emotions came down enough for me to process the TRUTH that God CAN even with all of this, I began to notice people around me. God literally sent people and their testimonies to me. People’s daughters who were currently pregnant, people who had successful fibroid treatments, and even one sister whose PCOS is no longer detectable.

I don’t yet know what my treatment options are – because there are a lot of factors to consider – because medical referrals aren’t speedy – and because I just don’t have enough information yet, but I am evaluating everything possible to preserve my womb. Outside of the fact that I will not let anyone remove my “lady parts”…it’s a huge factor in WOman. Like HUGE. And this isn’t the part where I need someone to tell me not tow worry. To some extent I have to process this in chunks.

So if you are out there and you dealt with these, are dealing with this, or know someone who is… I OVERSTAND. I am in the THICK of it. I know that God can and still will get the glory out of even this. I am here. We can fill up these comments. Literally, I am open to the conversation. I will not deal with this silently in hope that it will encourage someone else. No more than even commUNITY matters.

So there you have it. I was diagnosed with PCOS and a 3rd fibroid… it wasn’t a death sentence – but it almost killed my dream of being a mother after being a wife. BUT GOD. Emotions come to reveal something to us. I literally had to ask myself, “do you REALLY trust GOD/JESUS CHRIST/HOLY SPIRIT with EVEN this?!”I cried asking myself that and admitting that I did. But like the man in the Gospels…I prayed, “God I believe, but help my unbelief!. He answers every prayer…even if it’s “wait”. So while I wait, I will build community and eventually awareness. I will faith and fight. And one day… when my sweet babies are born… I will look back and say… LOOK WHAT THE LORD HAS DONE!

IVY OUT

Categories
life

Professor Dis.

Do you grow in your disappointment?

It’s a part of the human experience. You can’t get around it. DIS-Appoint-ment. Dis is an indicator of a negative experience. But guess what… It might sting for a minute but it doesn’t have to stay negative. I have had a lot of interesting moments of disappointment recently. I had a choice. I could stay down, or I could learn from the moment. I have said with every job application, “I want what God wants for me. If this job is not what He has ordained for me, I DON’T WANT IT.” Guess what. You can repeat that a million times, it doesn’t kick the sting. But every time I repeat that to myself, I am reminded that God’s will for Andonnia is FOR Andonnia. Like there are some Andonnia sized places that only Andonnia can fill. Sub your name for YOUR STUFF. It’s true. A job could be a great fit in the wrong season and still be, that’s right, WRONG.

So, ask yourself, what is there to learn in the disappointment? Allow it to teach the lesson it came to teach. Soothe the hurt and find your joy.

Remember, joy isn’t based on your journey…it’s based on JESUS. Since He is consistent, joy is too. I wasn’t happy about the “great candidate but we went with someone else” emails…but I AM glad that I know God doesn’t sleep. When the NEXT comes up…it will be WORTH it!

Keep your head up and your prayers flowing.

IVY OUT

Categories
life

Reserving Mother’s Day for later…

Last year a LOT of people told me Happy Mother’s Day. I kinda smirked and said.. “not yet”. Then that individual and several others went to an explanation of bow I am a “mother figure”. And with a deep sigh… I want to share my heart.

While I am a nurturer, and I LOVE THAT ROLE, I am not a mother YET. I would really like to reserve that for when I carry a little.

A stranger told me Happy Mother’s Day yesterday and I redirected that to my mom.

I am 37 years old. I want to be a mom. My season hasn’t come. I am able to voice this. I want you to think of all the women who CAN NOT voice this. Angel moms, mom’s who have experienced loss or who have complications with fertility. Be gentle with your words. “Happy things” can yield unhappy results under certain circumstances.

You can politely ask. You can avoid all together. But for me… please reserve Mother’s Day for my wombfruit. My harvest will come.

Ivy Out.

Categories
life

When YOU form the weapon…

I ALMOST put my opinions on somebody, read verbal punch, until I thought about my ugly moments. The moments only God could accept me because I would have thrown me away then too. I formed a weapon…an opinion…a statement about someone else’s shortfall and then God said, “Remember when you…” GATHERED ME RIGHT ON UP.

Maybe I am the only person in the world who has had that moment, but I won’t be the last in history. Think about Grace and MERCY in your own life, it will help you with other’s humanity. For good measure, tuck Proverbs 23:12 and Proverbs 23:18 in your heart for safe keeping.

Ivy Out

Categories
life

A question for you:

Will we sit still long enough to hear? Will we still ourselves so that it isn’t our history making suggestions? Sometimes the apex of our confusion is not due to the stimulus outside of who we are. MANY times it is the noise I N S I D E of us. I dare you to get still and get quiet. Ask GOD to show you the answer. Can you create space in your schedule for your SOULution?

IVY Out

Categories
life

Not the busy, the rest…

It’s not uncommon for people to assume that my busy is a problem. However it’s when I am doing nothing that usually triggers me. There is always something to do. I had to literally learn to rest. I remember my mother telling me I would have to do that. I have been a purpose driven girl my whole life. Serving others. Hurting when others hurt. I have NEVER understood the hate that radiates from some people. Hate has no inherent purpose. It doesn’t do anything but reveal evil. Heck maybe that is its purpose. . . the Red Flag Alarm that says, “BROKEN”.

It’s sad that in America…those who hate go from one demographic to another. Bias is revealed ALL OVER THE PLACE. With that being said… Joy is a revolution. Peace is a revolution. REST is a revolution. In a world where busy is interrupted by constant HATRED… JOY, PEACE, AND REST are things we must remember to cultivate. The current attacks on humanity bother my very soul. It is only in Christ that I find peace. LITERALLY. I cry when I encounter the MANY outlets blasting the latest. My heart is sore for the Asian community, the Black community – of which I am a part, and everyone with a heart enough to be a real ally.

My country tis of thee… WHERE IS YOUR LIBERTY AMERICA?

Don’t worry about your strong friend’s busy… worry about their rest.

IVY OUT