Life in the Face of the Fight: The Black Millennial’s Balancing Act in Conjunction with Police Brutality

Here we are again: Baffled in the midst of an ongoing anti-Black war on African-American life and the seemingly nonexistent factor of “justice.” Here we are, learning of yet another Black body rendered bloody and helpless in the streets of 2016 America. 

It is here that we find ourselves not even remotely healed from the last tragedy, just to be tossed head-on into the gaping gore of a new one… grappling with the illusive concept of value… catching our breath, questioning our country, evaluating our own lives, talking, listening, crying— trying to find the right words to say… 
It’s a heavy weight to carry when your skin connects you to the gut of a continual epidemic whether you feel like looking it in the face all the time or not… People are saying they’re going to block all the disgusting dirtbags (other Blacks) who RT clips of  violent shootings. And it got me thinking: With all that’s going on (and all that will soon go on), I’ve been thinking: 

What if we turn on each other without even realizing it? Do we know how to prevent that? Do we know how to act? Do we know how to maneuver when our senses are high and we start to feel it all? 

Look, I get it. I completely understand the overwhelming, life-sucking black hole that can arise from the frequent consumption of graphic police-shooting content. I’m trying to stay afloat myself…
But don’t let that accumulation of frustration and anger be channeled in the wrong direction. Look— all I’m saying is that we’re all trying to process things, and maybe some of us have gone too far with the reposting, mostly out of shock or similar sentiments. The truth is, no one knows exactly how to handle the content that’s surfacing. It shouldn’t be HAPPENING to us at all, so there’s no manual. And if we as a family need to come up with some rules, that’s OK too. 

 It’s okay to feel bewildered. If it’s driving you crazy, by all means, guard yourself. Seriously, guard yourself. But don’t let a built-up, dismissive allergic reaction to any brutality content cause you to hate your brother. 

Let’s not demonize people who, likely in shock or disbelief, share some news they thought was very new and crazy or that accompanies a statement they’d like to make. If you need cut off autoplay, do it. But not everyone needs to cut off autoplay. 

Know yourself. We all have different thresholds for graphic videos. For instance, as an artist/former art school student, the craziness on that nudist, blood-loving, put-it-on-camera, anything-goes campus really desensitized me to a lot of images, so it takes a lot before research/discussion me falls off and “Omg turn that off” me kicks in. 

In reference to the idea of online frustration, it’s also fairly important that we remember the impact of moods. I didn’t say anyone was moody, but it’s worthwhile to consider that the alternation of given states of being can account for the spewing of many ill-placed angry words. What I mean is that there’s a plethora of factors that can contribute to a black person’s level of belligerence or peace at any given time. And we have to be aware of that.

Just because you’ve had a relatively peaceful day eating yogurt at the park and don’t feel like discussing something, doesn’t mean another Black person is a “Twitter Activist” who “never shuts up.” I know your White boss was nice to you today but who are you to say someone’s killing YOUR vibe? And just because a community event ticked you off and you don’t see EVERY Black person with a Twitter account joining that particular hashtag, doesn’t mean they’re this engaged with their community. There are multiple factors (including age, location, daily sightings, life obligations, bad memories, personal triggers and the like) that can affect the degree to which a Black person chooses to immerse themselves into a topic at a certain time. They could be doing more offline than you’d ever know. (That’s what I try to do Yes, we must always be cognizant of who we are and the never-ending fight for better— and hopefully we find ourselves more in the ring than on the sidelines — but you can’t jump to conclusions about a person’s level of commitment and micromanage someone’s life. People are in different modes at different times, and a lot of it is for our sanity. 

For some, too much is too much and they don’t want to see bodies bleeding down their TL’s. And that’s okay. For others, it’s all just super unbelievable and by sharing they call themselves, “spreading the word” to further the conversation. Both moods are branches extending from the root of a beating, concerned human heart. 

None of this is easy. It’s clear we’ve got a lot of work to do, and in 2016 social media is realistically apart of it. It’s getting real. If it’s getting to you and you need a bathroom break, I’ll watch your purse. If you want to repost a clip or photo as REAL support for what you’re trying to say, maybe you can add a trigger warning. 

As we embark on a path we shouldn’t even have to walk, it’s likely that our moods/dispositions are going to range from inflamed, typing-a-mile-minute think-pieces (gotta laugh at yourself) and moments of feeling the desire to disjoin from it all. 

Let’s try not to lean too far in either direction. 

Disconnect from the constant swallowing of bitter pills like word-picking and extremely graphic content, but try to find a way not to disconnect from the cause. Take your breaks; go on walks; eat Popeyes (but grab some tea because that biscuit is a monster on its own); do some work; watch Martin. Breathe. 

Stay well-rounded. Keep living your life. That’s how you stay strong enough to be in it for the long-haul.

So no, you don’t have to feel required to answer the ignorant cashier in the coffee shop tomorrow when he brings up the Minnesota shooting— but we do need to have the capacity to come together continually and keep believing in what can happen. 

We don’t have to discuss this stuff 24/7, but we DO need to be on the same page 24/7 if any of our ideas are going to be ultimately manifest into action. So if you feel a thing, and you don’t like what your brother posted, say so respectfully, without spitting venom. If not, we’ll get so consumed by the back-and-forth that we’ll forget we have a common enemy to triumph over. And that’s how we lose. 

We can’t afford to lose.

It’s a tough road, and we have to take time to refuel. It’s okay to feel simply “over” the sights and sounds of bloody streets for a time; I just don’t want us to get so overwhelmed by videos and everyone else’s posts that we say, “Screw it all.” I don’t want us to chill to the point that we freeze. We have to keep going. 
This is a journey no other marginalized group has to take, so unless somebody is spewing some utter negativity and horse manure, let us take each other’s perceived “mistakes” and mold those moments into something informative. 

Look — I don’t know the answer… But I know the insurmountable God who does. The sincere and rigorous unification of our mind-spaces is a first step so that high-impact strategies like financial restraint and control of the Black dollar can begin to foster effective leverage. 

Let’s work together. It’s a tumultuous journey but needless to say, it’s one worth taking… And any long trip comes with rest stops, so take breaks when you need to. It’s about balance. The balancing act isn’t easy, but if we want our future children to experience something else, it’s worth it. I know it’s hard. We’ve got our work cut out for us. There are emotions everywhere. But we must keep things in perspective. 

In light of all that’s going on, do you.

 But don’t forget to do US. 

We need each other right now.

-JQ

#SignThePetition to force the hands of politicians:

https://wh.gov/iFCfP


Angry Rant #3927298

Recently while I was out shopping downtown, I realized I need to get my eyebrows done. I was far from my usual eyebrow spot (usually a taboo choice in girl-world) and the closest place was a new upscale salon in the hart of McPherson Square. Since I had an event to attend later that night and was running short on time, I thought I’d give the new place a try. I took one last sip of my mocha frappe, darted past all the new boutiques and settled into the beyond-pretty salon.
There, I met Sarah, the eyebrow technician. “Not too thin- just clean them up, please,” I remarked with a smile as the seemingly well-to-do woman placed a cape around my neck and went to work. I slipped back into the leather-laiden chair and enjoyed the tingling sensation of hot wax glazing across my brow bone.
[Ladies, don’t act like it you’ve never liked it! ;)]

While Miss Sarah was very pleasant up until the end of the very appointment, I was in for a rude awakening- one that had absolutely nothing to do with the arch of my brows. When she finished and handed me a mirror to review her work, I was quite pleased. I pointed out that she had done a good job except for the fact she’d forgotten a few hairs (which was a typical client remark at a beauty salon). I stated it very calmly, knowing that it was just a matter of a bit more plucking here and there. After I’d stated my case, Sarah (who happened to be White) welled up with this nervous look in her eyes, clasped her hands together and blurted out the randomest of random pieces of dog-crap I’d ever heard:

“Oh, no! Oh, no! We don’t like a lot of drama here! Don’t get loud! PLEASE!”

 
Astonished, I just stared at her for a moment. My voice hadn’t rebelled above a whisper. Yet somehow, the fact that I had melanin mixed with even a remote level of dissatisfaction meant that I was about to pop my gum, cuss her all the way out, call LaKeisha and Quantavia, flip over tables and turn the whole salon into a bottomless pit of my “Angry Black Woman wrath.”
GIRL.
In hindsight, it’s quite ironic to note that she was the one making a scene and inviting everyone to look at us.
 
As she batted back the gripping urge to protect her life and call 9-1-1 on my Waffle-colored behind, I stealthily leaned in with the don’t-try-me eyes I’d often seen my Mama use and asked her:
“Have I raised my voice? Have I threatened you in any way? Have I done anything to make you think I would cause “drama” or damage your salon?” She simply looked down at her apron… The worst part of it all was that there was no shame in her eyes… not an ounce of regret. I could tell she was trying to find a way to justify the conclusions to which she had so earnestly jumped… But the reality is…
There IS no justification.
 
#Microaggressions often seem so trivial (and even natural) to the perpetrators who commit them, but they can burn such long-lasting and degrading memories into the minds of the people of color against whom the actions are taken… I still remember every nervous smile, every awkward glance, every do-you-even-belong-here vibe, every time I was made to show my ID as my White friends danced past the security desk– even though I had been living in that apartment for almost four years… I remember it all… I don’t let it change me… But I remember it all…
If I were less confident, I’d be screwed.
I used to feel quite sad within myself when these happenings would rear their ugly heads. Now, all I think about are the young humans who don’t know how to process these things when they happen… and who begin letting these instances eat away them.

Who are you to act based on a stereotype?

We owe it to ourselves to give everyone a chance.
So please:
Think before you speak.
And then THINK again.
And if you’re a White-privilege-toting, tactless idiot who STILL can’t find the error in their ways, then with all due respect…
Shut up and do my eyebrows.

Mirror, Mirror: The Idiosyncracies of #GrowingUpUgly

  

Did you grow up “ugly?” You know, I’ve been thinking a lot about the “Selfie Generation” and about beauty ideals for a while… Subsequently, the #GrowingUpUgly hashtag really was an unexpected trip down memory lane. (Ever started off doing something for fun until it got too real? #Oops)… I identified with so many of the posts… getting teased by the boys, not getting the cards on Valentine’s Day, being the target of all those “Aye my friend like you,” stunts (just so the “friend” can turn around and say, “Ew” and make you feel even more mortified)… I remember it all… And it wasn’t pretty… #NoPunIntended

I know what it’s like. I remember being made to feel so ugly you just want to go home. When God was handing out looks I must’ve asked for books because that’s exactly what I got. I was always just the “smart one.” I loved to learn more than anything… Learning was my best friend. I was a brain with shoes. And I was okay with that. My thoughts kept me company.

I know what it’s like. I grew up as a nerdy bookworm with severe acne and horrible eczema. I was a black-and-white, by-the-book thinker so I had been taught by my parents that God had made me beautiful, and I believed it in theory… But all the theories in the world can’t help you in the middle of the cafeteria when the popular boys decide to go in you…

My self esteem was usually good (I hope I’m explaining this right)… But getting made fun of is NO joke. It shrinks you. It makes you want to cry in the bathroom and eat lunch by yourself (which I did a lot anyway). I know what it’s like. I wasn’t the girl all the boys liked. I was the girl who helped everyone with their homework. 

As a teacher, I’ve met a lot of students who don’t think they’re beautiful… My heart aches for them. I feel them. I hear them… I want to tell them that there’s so much more that makes them. 

Your “glo up” isn’t what makes you. You’re YOU before your skin clears up. You’re YOU before the braces come off. You’re YOU before you get hips. You’re YOU before you any of this happens. Your exterior is the outer shell in which your spirit resides, but your interior is A1 from Day 1. Your soul shines like no other and that’s #FaxNoPrinter…

The truth is, we all blossom at different points in our lives and I suppose I was just a late bloomer. I’m not saying I’m like the “baddest” or anything now. LOL. But I do believe that I’m fearfully and wonderfully made. (And underneath it all, I’m still the same little nerdy girl inside.)

So to any girl (or guy) who’s wondering when their “turn” is going to come… when puberty is going to come and change her life… when their “glo up” is going to come and make them beautiful: My friend, you’re already beautiful. You’re a divine creation. God designed you with a paintbrush so unique that your exact features will never be duplicated. You’re the manifestation of God’s perfect artistic eye… utterly breathtaking in every way imaginable… And you don’t need a mirror to tell you that. 🙂

 -J 👑  
 

  

  

Rejection Culture in the 21st Century: Living Above the Curve

  

Women of the millennial generation often talk about how frequently and how fervently they “curve” men… How they look them up and down… How they “laugh them out”… How they give them the coldest of shoulders and upload screenshots captioned with laughing emojis and clever hashtags… How they send dudes packing with their faces on the floor and their pride on life-support. It’s becoming more than obnoxious none of it is acceptable.

Why is this such a great source of satisfaction? Why, my dear, are you so proud of the fact that you “curve” everyone? It’s hardly an achievement. It’s tasteless and quite frankly, it’s gone far enough. Rudely dismissing and embarrassing a polite and well-meaning man is not okay.

How would you feel if you applied to a college and they laughed you out of the building, asking why you ever thought you could get in? 

Hurting people’s feelings means more than meets the eye…

Come here, girl. Closer. CLOSER

I’m going to whisper something to you that I want you to keep in your back pocket: The male ego is very fragile. It is not to be played with. You don’t toy with it. You don’t embarrass a man. You pick your battles. Sometimes you even have to let someone “win” in a situation without letting them know you did. I won’t go too far, because I don’t have a boyfriend and I’m no relationship expert; But it goes beyond romantic dealings. I have close male friends. And the point is that you don’t degrade a guy just because you think it’s cute. It’s never cute.

I’m sure it takes a lot of nerve to go out on a limb and approach a girl, not knowing what the outcome will be. Guys have feelings too and you should be cognizant of them.

Does that mean you have to accept every single advance and give your number to every man who turns his head on your way to the store? Of course not.

But there’s a way to do everything. And brushing a man off as though he were a Malaria-carrying mosquito is not the way.

Yeah, I know you’re sexy. I know you’re fine. I know he’s “just going to go right up to the next girl.” But none of these factors are a license to be rude. Actually, there’s never a license to be rude.

Be humble. Be gracious. Make it your business to be kind to everyone — everyone – and that includes dudes who thought they might give it a shot…

I hear pick-up lines all day (some better than others), but I always make it a point to be sure I’m polite to men… on the train, at the grocery store, at the mall…wherever… If you remember that everyone is a person and that people have feelings, it helps other things to just fall into place.

No one likes rejection in any form, and it’s certainly not up to you to make a guy feel like he’s the scum of the earth. If a man takes the time out of his day to ask you out, approach you or even just throw a compliment your way, don’t be rude to him. Don’t insult him. Don’t screenshot him. Don’t shun him. No, that’s not what ladies do. Be nice. See the gesture for the kindness lying beneath it. Don’t be a jerk. Live above the curve. Because when someone reaches out their hand, you don’t spit on it. 

-J 👑

 

Dismounting the “Difficult” Girl: You’re Not Worth It.

 

 
Why do girls tweet things like this?
“Worth it?” Ummm no you’re an unstable woman who needs to reevaluate the reasons behind her actions. Girls think it’s cute to list a slew of unpleasant qualities and end with “but I’m worth it.” It’s dumb and I’m disgusted. 
No, I’m not naive. I’m not “missing the point.” I SAW the point and I rejected it. I know the point is to poke fun at the idea of the “beauty” of a difficult but “worth it” girl. But how beautiful is it, really? I know — It’s cute in theory, on Instagram…and twitter… with supporting emojis… But is it really something someone should attach themselves to for life? 
It’s actually perpetuating the illusion that bad habits somehow equate to modern charm. Yeah I know you’re a “woman.” I’m one too. But excessive emotionalism is an unhealthy practice that will eventually lead to a dead end. My sister, you have the potential to be an amazing, balanced woman… a woman who follows her heart but never forsakes her brain. You don’t have to be complacent with your shortcomings and just say you’re “worth it.” Bad habits are bad habits, no matter how you dress them up. It’s okay to be sweet and spicy at the same time; We all love a passionate person. But don’t be extra. Don’t be a headache in a dress. Be the peace… the calm after a long day… The comforting jewel that never wavers into childish antics because she knows who she is. Now THAT’s “worth it.”
-JQ

“Too Girly? And what do you suppose I should BE?”

Someone called me, “too girly.” 

Too girly?
It’s impossible for me to be too girly. 
I’m a girl. 
How can I exhibit in excess the qualities that are intrinsic to my being? It’s like calling water “too wet.” You can’t separate the innate properties of an entity from said entity. 
It undermines the laws of science.
I love pink; I think skirts are fun to twirl in and seven-inch pumps make my heart beat fast. I like pens with little flowers on the tips and I walk with a little strut but I can’t help it.
I’m a GIRL!
And just because this crazy, mixed up world expects girls to look cute but act like men doesn’t mean I have to conform. Today’s society (through reality television, social networks and a plethora of other media) perpetuates the idea of women who wear tight dresses but act up and wild out and and act gross and burp to make people laugh and curse people out…
 And girls who actually act like ladies are labeled “bougie” and “prissy.”
No, my dear, deluded friend. What you’re mistaking for “prissy” is actually the outward manifestation of a dedication to “classy.” 
God sculpted me into a woman. And I will be a woman… at all times, in all moments and in all aspects. It’s who I am. I can’t possibly be too much of it. So when you see me painting my nails and buying my favorite perfume, just know that I’m not being “too girly.” I’m being myself.
I was destined this way…Darling. 😉

An Ode to Mommy

Some people want a “cool Mom.” Some people want a “young mom.” Some people want a mom who will let them get away with murder… I never wished for my mother to be anything other than exactly what she was, because she was always just… EVERYTHING.

My mother is absolutely amazing. I really don’t know what I would do without her. She’s the glue that keeps it all together. Whether she was bringing my flute to school after I’d forgotten it at home… or catching me before I got on the school bus in high school to hand me a bowl of oatmeal after an all-nighter…or wrapping my paintings in plastic because she knew it would be raining outside…

Whether she was wiring money to me in Africa or picking me up off the ground when I had fallen all alone in the snow… No matter what she was doing… whenever I needed her, I’d look up… and she’d be standing right there. She would always come through. She just… made things happen. She is the true definition of a mother. She’s taught me that, with God, nothing is impossible. Her level of selflessness truly baffles me at times…

Regardless of all the things she does… all the places she goes… and all the titles she takes on, she’s always made it clear that “Mommy,” is her most important one. I’ve spent a great deal of my life honestly trying to figure out how she does it all. I think she’s Superwoman…

Now that I have my own students and I’ve realized what it’s like to be a nurturer, I can only hope that some day I can cause my children to feel the same sense of unwavering security that she’s made me feel. Wife… Mother… Fixer… Shoe-Beast… Diva… Comedian… Songstress… Powerful Woman of God… I’m such a fan! It’s always been fun being around someone who provides me with a practical example of true holiness and can still have me rolling on the floor laughing. She’s really just a cool individual altogether. She’s my best friend (along with my sister and my Dad)… A brilliant vessel whose light shines and warms everything around her. She never fails to blow my mind. If I can grow up to become half the woman she is, I’ll be happy. 🙂

So Happy Birthday to the most amazing mother in the whole wide world! I love you, Mommy!

mommy

Christians in the New Millennium: When “Keeping It Real” Goes Wrong…

A few weeks ago, when I was watching an episode of “Preachers of L.A.,” (a show that I don’t very much enjoy, but that I watched because my friend had it on at her house — And I’m not saying this so that I can avoid having people think I watch the show; because I think that’s dumb; but alas, I digress) there was a scene during which a few couples sat down to dinner. As the scene commenced, it was implicit that the other couples were maneuvering the conversation in hopes of discussing and finding out more about the potential romantic relationship between Pastor Timothy, a 49-year-old virgin, and Ashlie, a young, pretty Christian woman who seemed fairly nice and well-to-do.

As the conversation ensued, the table-guests began engaging in a discussion regarding the idea that the two would not be compatible physically (if you catch my drift). Finally, Domonique (the wife of Deitrick Haddon) asked Ashlie how she’d feel if she were to consummate a marriage with a virgin and ultimately end up less-than-satisfied with his…”credentials.” (I’m not sure of all my readers’ ages so it would behoove me to be discreet.)

Taken aback by the imposition of such a personal question from someone who is all but a stranger, and certainly put in an awkward position in the presence of mixed company, Ashlie responded truthfully yet gracefully. She looked up from her plate, gently smiled and said, “Well, I’m not too worried about that,” going on to elude to the notion that she believed that whomever God had for her would ultimately be the man designed for her, and thus, be sexually compatible. I’m of course paraphrasing here, but that’s essentially the route she took.

Upon hearing this “sugar-coated, good-girl,” response, antennas went up, forks dropped, and lo and behold Domonique immediately shot her down. With a look of disgust in her eyes and a crude sense of offbeat critique, Dominique told her to get rid of the church stuff and just be “real” with her. When Ashlie said that it wasn’t just church stuff and that she was indeed being very “real,” something inside of me identified with her: I’m not being a “nun” — This is how I REALLY feel!

All too often, Christians aren’t allowed to think like, well… Christians. Many times in conversation, Christians feel tempted to respond to the world in what we’re beginning to call a, “down to earth” way. We discuss everything from work, to family, to love to even sex in a way that attempts to fuse holiness with carnality (as if the two can coexist peaceably).

We even encourage other Christians to “take off the church hat,” “let their hair down,” and be “real,” too. This epidemic is becoming so widespread that Christians who actually have Godly opinions are being shunned and told to “lighten up.”

…And it leaves me in the abyss of this super-cool, super-swagged-out, “keep it real,” world of too-cool-for-school Christians, thinking to myself as my painting dries and I bite into my mixed-berry yogurt:

‘When did holy thinking become “fake?”‘

If you feel that Domonique had a point, and that some things are just “too real to sit still” (whatever that means), I kind of get the idea you’re getting at: You feel so strongly about something — and you think that your reply is such a universally “human” response — that it seems insincere and even downright phony to respond with something stereotypically “Christian.”

But, you guys, where do we draw the line between “universally human” and, well…. unholy?

I think the problem is that, as time goes on, we’re getting closer and closer to the fence that divides salvation and sinfulness… asking, “How worldly can I be and still be considered saved?” Far too often, a spiritual response, instead being considered the norm, is seen as “fake.” This is a trick of the Enemy and it’s got to go!

“Coolness” is such a thing (even amongst young Christians) that people will risk everything — even their reputations as believers — to be seen as relatable and “chill.” Thus, holy thinking is considered lofty and arrogant… So Christians, now more than ever, are being told to “keep it real.”

I don’t like what that implies.

It implies that anyone who has a spiritual or biblical response to something is only saying that to be politically correct. It completely rules out the idea that someone could actually be a follower of Christ and therefore decide to live by His rules. It makes it seem as though it’s impossible for someone to actually have a Godly perspective on something and really mean it.

How backwards is that? We’re not calling things “crazy” enough. Because accusing someone of being fake because they’re actually trying to think the way God wants them to is CRAZY! Sometimes I don’t know if we’re carnal Christians or just Christian-like worldly people. What scares me even more is that there are actually people out there who practice this double-sided thinking… and who think that it’s okay to think one way when we want to be “Biblically correct,” and an entirely different way when we’re relaxed, chilling and hanging out with close friends. I don’t want to just sound like Christ when I think it “matters.” My aim (and I think all of our aims) is to sound like Christ all the time — in front of my pastor… when I’m dealing with clients… when I’m teaching my students… when I’m in line at the grocery store…

We know that only Jesus is Jesus. I’m not saying that we should be nonhuman. But we’re starting to give the “nonhuman” label to a level of holy conversation that is actually achievable. We’re giving ourselves too much room and that’s exactly what the Enemy wants — room to slowly trick us into not living the most awesome, holy, fun, fulfilling, exciting lives that we can. In any given situation, having the perspective God would want you to have is not being deep, “super-saved,” overly spiritual, or “not real.”

It’s being…. a Christian.

Yes, we’re encased in flesh… And of course when it comes to the subject of effective communication, there’s the concept of code-switching…or saying funny things you could only say to someone who knows you exceedingly well… But we should never degrade the beauty of holiness by accepting the idea that having non-Christlike opinions means we’re keeping it “real.” The Bible tells us to strive for perfection (and we know what that means). And I think our speech should be part of that. It’s part of our homework in the school of the Kingdom.

Yes, Jesus was basically the Star-Student… and set the bar of holy living relatively high (I mean the Man was literally sinless). But that shouldn’t stop you from coming to class every day, studying to show yourself approved and giving righteous living your BEST shot!

The more you call something “impossible,” the longer it takes for you to actually try. Jesus was Jesus Christ of Nazareth, the anointed Son of God… He was a stellar example.. THE example… No, I’m not sure that in the midst of being crucified, I’d have the wherewithal to ask God to forgive the people nailing me (though I’d like to keep working toward being like Jesus in every single way possible). I may not be Jesus the Christ, But I can definitely put in the work to not be affected by society and my current culture, and think the way God wants me to think.

Living holy starts with thinking holy. We have to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. I don’t want to tell my best friend, “You know I’m saved but let’s be ‘real’ — I am ready to walk over there and knock her out.” I don’t think that’s cute. All in the name of “Realness?” I think there’s a name higher than that name… I don’t ever want to ditch God’s mandate for holiness to be considered “real.”

In this world, sometimes we think before we speak… Sometimes we act before we know it. But there’s a difference between slipping up and making a habit of forming premeditated and purposefully unholy responses to situations. And that habit is rooted in believing the lie that having an ungodly response means being “real.”

Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. Christian, you shouldn’t find holy reactions weird. And the only way to not find holy reactions weird is to make a habit of having holy reactions yourself. And that starts in your mind and heart. Understand and believe that with God’s help, you can live the way He wants you to… And respond to things the way He wants you to. Believe that it’s possible. Then, with God’s help, execute the plan.

Living holy is our reasonable service. It’s what we’re SUPPOSED to do. All Christians should do it, and all Christians — with the help of God — can do it. In the world of Christiandom, living for God is not “weird.” It’s the standard. So the next time you’re in a conversation with another Christian… and they react to something in a Godly way, before you laugh at them and call them “fake,” take a step back and realize that you need to do some homework… Because living for God is the “realest” thing a person could ever do.

Peace…

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Living in the “Yaaaaaaaasss” Era: I Miss the Old Compliments…

You know…I’m sick of modern complimentary lingo…It’s been grinding my gears for a while now….

“Yaaaaasss…
“Werk! ”
“Kill it!”
“Everythang!”
“Beat!”
“Snatched!”
“Laid!”
“She won!”
“Slay!”
Slay the children!”

Yeah that last one’s an eyebrow raiser. Lol. Anyway, all these expressions, while of course said (and often typed) with the best of intentions, are getting to be quite annoying. Not only are they a bit excessive, but they seem to be evolving into, what some might consider, “surface-compliments.”

I’m not implying that the givers of such nuggets of praise are anything less than genuine or that they’re even guilty of giving backhanded or shady compliments, but I do find that these increasingly overused phrases seem to be wanting in the area of authentic description. Perhaps this will be seen as overly analytical, but I just can’t seem to stop thinking about it. With the help of Twitter, Instagram and almost every other social commodity, this new “overly-fierce” culture is taking over, and while it may be fun, it’s something I don’t want to be inside of all the time.

Quite frankly, I don’t want to hear (or see) “Yaaaaaaassss,” every 5 minutes. (Ugh, the sheer cacophony of that ‘word’ makes my eyes bleed.) What happened to regular compliments? “You look beautiful.” “Nice dress!” “Great color on you!” I know that these phrases aren’t extinct by any stretch of the imagination, but a quick scroll through any given Instagram feed will have you under the impression that they’re certainly part of an endangered species.

It’s really not the over-zealous nature of these new super-fierce phrases that proves to be the root of my irritation; It’s more so the overwhelming frequency with which they’re being used. Seriously — Do you really have to say someone “slayed,” the cup of coffee they posted 5 minutes ago?

Today, it seems that all I ever see are photos of Nike-logo-looking eyebrows and the impending slew of subsequent comments solidifying how the picture-poster is “beat, snatched and laid.”

Beat, snatched and laid? It sounds like we’re all Iraqi war prisoners. What kinds of words are we using now?! I mean is that where we are now? We all sound like a bunch of drag queens. We can’t be like that all the time. The fiercest of the fierce-world aren’t even like that all the time.

I’m not saying that we should be boring and write “What a nice picture,” under people’s posts the way new-to-technology grandmothers on Facebook do and just totally turn in our fierce cards. No. I too enjoy a good hair flip and finger snap when the shoes are bad, the dress is sitting right and the fierce-o-meter is going off. Heck, I come from church culture and that’s pretty much the most grand, elaborate thing I can think of. (It really is amazing.)

The point is, I get it. Being fierce is fun. Like really fun. And as confident women, we should all be in touch with the imaginary fans that blow our hair in the wind. May we always feel beautiful. May we forever be fabulous. May we slap on our fierce 7-inchers and fiercely strut our fierce stuff ’til the day we fiercely die. I love it…I really do…And it’s a great source of joy and laughter and fun…But I don’t want to be like that every second of every day…

It seems small, but there’s something about quiet beauty…There’s something about warm, sincere compliments… Something about seeing something beautiful, liking something about it and telling the person what you like about it or why it’s beautiful… It’s reminds me of the difference between fast food and a home-cooked meal. A quick stamp of fierce, Yaaaaasss-laced approval can’t hold a candle to telling someone their skin is glowing or that their curls look, “particularly nice today.”

Essentially, it’s cool to just chill out and not be so “overly sexy” with everything all the time… And if you feel like you’re just a big bag of a Beyonce 24/7 and you want to just be fierce and, “Yaaaaaaaaassss” until the cows come home, then, by all means, be yourself.
I just miss the old compliments…