Brown Sugar and the City!


Blogging from the hotel pool…

“Always take the scenic route…” It’s 10pm, and I’m sitting out by pool while a few of us are preparing for VBS with the kids tomorrow, and one is swimming. I can’t even begin to describe how beautiful this bungalow is, and how pleasant the weather is right now… #favor

The team went out today! Here are my findings:

  1. Street lines are apparently decorative. Chile it is every man for himself in these Indian streets!!! I don’t understand how there aren’t 9 car pile ups at every turn! It doesn’t matter that there are lines in the streets, here they drive in the space!
  2. When a driver uses a turn signal, that basically means it already happened. Our driver merged onto the interstate without looking and I had a mini-panic attack! Never mind the guy who was already driving in the lane we “merged” into on a motorbike… Jesus take the wheel… No, really, take it. Baby, our driver flipped that signal on after the fact as a way of saying, “Yea, I did it, now what?” Horns were blowing like crazy.
  3. Blowing car horns is possibly a form of communication here. Pedestrians heard horns, and didn’t move. You hear horns blowing the ENTIRE time driving, and no one cares. Dogs and pigeons don’t even move when they hear a horn! Which brings me to my next point…
  4. It is completely normal to find a cow sitting in the middle of the street, and all of the drivers will respect the cow’s fresh. Everyone drove around the cow. Nobody bothered him. Could you imagine a cow chilling in the middle of Tchluhoma in Whitehaven??? Yea, me either, but it happened.
  5. It’s completely normal to stand on the side of the interstate. People were sitting on the rails, talking and having a cigarette! And I’m all like 😮 I still hadn’t figured that part out yet… Give me a couple more days.
  6. One of the catwalks had an escalator. We can put one in South Memphis if we bad… We would absolutely tear that up… On site. #ijs #GritGrind
  7. Children hustle, early. It’s what we call in Memphis, “working the blades.” These little boys were so unbelievably adorable… They would’ve had all my rupees. Seriously, how are you charming when you sale flags, ink pens, and wash windows?! What I found most heart breaking was the life expectancy of these children is mid-twenties because of the fumes they inhale being around cars all day.





Our first stop today was Life Centre Academy. As soon as we entered the doors, we were greeted with bright smiles, and adorned with marigolds. I loved how print rich the school walls were! You knew immediately that this was a place of learning. Sitting in that room today felt like I was in a PD that blended my school and my church! #Mindblown! This past school year, we focused a lot on the “Why” behind the work. Often times, it’s easy to get caught up in the complaints of the work. It’s amazing how the message is the same, even in India.

The director made a statement today that made me take out my pen and pad.  He said, “Your why sustains your effort.” I wanted to wave my hand! Next, one of our team members, Melissa, came behind him and opened her devotion with the Rick Warren quote, “You become what you are committed to.” Then the Vice Principal here said, “first you have to learn how the student learns, then you can teach him.” Here I am, 8,000 miles away from home, and God is using this space to confirm some things He told me a year ago. Mane listen…

We had some time to talk with the teachers, and introduce ourselves. Of course, everyone wanted to know how old I was when I told them I was an assistant principal. I was like, “It’s in the genes, boo!” The director asked me, “How does such a little woman get the attention of so many?” I showed him that Trezevant cheer voice! LOL We played team building games with the teachers of Life Centre (that’s where all the womenfolk were by the way), and we had lunch with them. One thing I especially love about Indian food is they are not afraid to add some spice! Phew! We got a chance to talk with them about their school and the work they do (school hours are 8am – 1:30pm see what I did there?). Those stories blew my mind, and sounded oddly familiar…. “It’s exciting when you find parts of yourself in someone else.”

After fellowshipping with the director, teachers, and other leaders at Life Centre, we ventured to Lodhi Gardens.

That pic didn’t quite come out as planned, but it’s one of the only ones I have before I’m sweating profusely… All of these buildings were built nearly 5,000 years ago and are still standing! The director’s daughter was with us today, and she was so sweet and funny. Apparently, staring is common here. Staring too long is disrespectful. We were in the middle of the garden waiting for a few others from the Life Centre to join us when the director’s daughter saw these two men staring at our group and asked them, “What’s your problem?” *insert North Memphis* He sassed her back, and she. went. off. Baby! She gave it to him in Hindi, with a whole lot of attitude, and the neck roll to match, then finished with, “Thank you. You can go now.” All the saints were standing there like her goons. HA! It was awesome.

Today was good. I learned a little about the culture and the city. Our team connected in a major way today, and my team leader, Katie, is out here killing it! It takes a lot to lead a team, but to be able to lead a team into the unknown shows influence and grace. This morning, Katie led us in devo about Saul. She came from 1 Samuel 10:21-24. Verse 24 says, “Samuel said to all the people, “Do you see the man the Lord has chosen? There is no one like him among all the people.” Then the people shouted, “Long live the king!” Let’s look at that word chosen for a sec. The definition says having been selected as the best or most appropriate (y’all are a smart group… You see were I’m headed, right?). Katie encouraged us to operate in the simple fact that God handpicked us to do this work at a time such as this. That was so powerful! I’m His masterpiece, His 1st round pick, and there is none like me. Knowing that God orchestrated all of this so I could do the good things He planned, long before I even reached this moment leaves me speechless. He’s an awesome wonder…

Ephesians 2:10 NLT “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”



Brown Sugar Arrives in India!

“For the sake of your soul, venture out…”

We boarded in New Jersey at 9:45 pm, and settled in. I scrolled through the movies, TV shows, and audiobooks that were available for this 14 hour international flight over the Atlantic ocean…. Yep… Ya girl felt the exact same way…


I settled for Fences and giggled at how cute Denzel and Viola looked together. Everything about them made me want to have Sunday dinner at their house. Speaking of dinner, around this time, the airline served dinner. Of the chicken and vegetarian selections, I choose chicken… It wasn’t bad. Not really sure what that cold, sweet corn concoction was in the center, but I prayed and got some Ginger Ale to wash it down.


At some point in the film, I drifted off to sleep. I was up and down for about 7 hours. After hour 7, I got up to walk around a bit and talked myself into staying awake because I knew it would be bedtime when we landed in Delhi. So I got another show going. I tried to watch Game of Thrones, but I couldn’t stay awake (sorry GOT fans. I promise I’ll try again on the flight home). Chile, I saw they had Friends! So, I’m watching Friends and CRACKING UP when I noticed people staring at me… I forgot they could hear me and not the TV show… my bad y’all…

A few people had their windows open, and I could see we were flying through a LOT of lightening. Whenever we hit a little turbulence, two small children behind me (one of which, who was probably the sweetest one, kept kicking my seat) giggled. I got through at least 6 episodes of Friends, and drifted off to sleep again. The airline woke us up for breakfast, and I was tickled because the flight attendant looked a lot like Ernie from Fox 13 News. I had turkey bacon, eggs, breakfast potatoes, and orange juice. I mixed some Emergen-C in my orange juice to help boost my immune system and watched Friends until we landed. It was 9:45pm when we left the states, and 9:45pm all over again when we landed in India… 😮

When we got off the plane, we all went to the rest room. Fam…. What was I supposed to do with this?! Which is exactly what I asked myself when I entered the stall. But if you know me, I said “YOLO” and went for it…. Don’t ask.


Sooooo….. When in Rome?

The airport process took us a little over an hour because of the lines, but it was actually a really smooth process. Everyone was friendly, but moving! We met with more of our team leaders, and they were both older men who were warm and cracked jokes. I think it made us all feel more welcomed.  The shuttle that brought us to the hotel was cool. The gentlemen didn’t speak, but were hospitable. But let me tell you, he was whipping that bus!

When we arrived at the hotel, it was raining really hard, but the hotel was absolutely beautiful! Check-in was a breeze, but our team was completely exhausted by this point. It was midnight here (There’s a 10.5 hour time difference for us).

I just realized that everyone we encountered was a man… Hmmm… Where are the womenfolk? I’ll keep that in mind for tomorrow. We were escorted to our rooms, where I showered, and typed this quick blog for y’all to let you know that God kept us safe, and we arrived.

“God not only sees where you are, He sees where you can be…”

Brown Sugar Goes on a Mission!

India1“Take the risk, or lose the chance.”

So I’m sitting in the airport in Newark, New Jersey, and couldn’t think of a better time to start blogging about my mission trip.  I started a leadership internship with my church last September, not fully knowing what to expect. I learned rather quickly the vast commitment that was expected of me, and for some strange reason, in spite of the many other demands on my plate, I took this one head on.  A requirement for completion in this internship is to go on a mission trip. I was chosen to go to India. The day we learned which trip we would go on was SUCH a rough day for me, and instead of being able to fully enjoy that moment, I was in the bathroom balling my eyes out (That’s another post on another day)!

I gotta admit, I never quite knew why I was chosen to go to India. All I could come up with was the fact that the universe aligned the stars for my yoga journey. :-/ Last week, my children went on vacation with their dad. I had all of these different ideas of what I would do with my free time: who I would hang out with, what events I’d attend, what fitness classes I’d get in. What ended up happening was almost the complete opposite of that… I had some time to clear my head, relax, meditate, spend intimate time with God, and truly be restored.

Friday, I got an update from my team leader letting me know that I was $999 away from being fully funded for the trip I was scheduled to leave for in FOUR days! Ironically, I wasn’t anxious, and had no clue where it all would come from, but told God I would trust Him. That had become my mantra that week.

Each saturday night, I serve in the 3-year-old room at my church. I’ve been there every Saturday since I started this internship. Off and on, I wondered why I was chosen to serve there when I serve on a completely different team on Sunday’s but such is life! This Saturday, all of my babies were hype about announcing they were all three! Then one stated, ” Yea when I was a little kid, I used to do that.” I almost replied with, “girl you’re still a little kid!” when I realized that I was about to crush her three-year-old dream! How many times are we unconsciously reckless with our words and ultimately plant seeds of doubt, fear, and insecurity in our children? I caught myself, and giggled with them instead. The Kids Life director and I both jumped in and told them we had “threes” in our ages too. In that moment God spoke to me and said, and that’s why you were chosen to go to India. Listen ya’ll. I was ready to go COGIC ugly shout in the corner, then make an alter right there in that classroom, and go lay prostrate. I knew then that I was sent to go love on children.

Sunday morning, one of the pastors at my church, Pastor Travis, spoke about being a Dream Chaser, and doing so meant finding what you were passionate about, and go from there. It was A GOOD message, but I’m passionate about a lot of stuff! Yoga, tea, sleep, working with kids, chips, psychology, cheerleading, to name a few. Later that evening, our church hosted Kids Life XL for grades 1-5. When I tell y’all the lil babies were LIT! I think I was called (LOL) to work in the heat to prepare myself for this New Delhi heat, but when that first bead of sweat rolled down my back, I was over it… LBVS What I did notice was how my heart lit up when I saw how excited the kids were, and how my energy shifted from selfish to selfless. Even though I’ve been working with kids for 11 years, it wasn’t until that moment that I realized that I really am passionate about working with children. It’s amazing how all things work together.

God revealed so much to me in span of one week, and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t overwhelmed by it all. To add to how great He is, by Monday morning, that $999 I had left to pay on my trip, had been fully funded by friends, family, and complete strangers! Remember that ugly wall shout and prostrate alter call I told y’all about earlier? Yep. Happened in my bedroom. I cried until I couldn’t breathe. I. Was. ‘Tow. Up.  If I don’t know anything else, I know that God keeps His promises! I can’t thank you all enough for your generosity! One thing became evident this week, my journey in leadership has cultivated my purpose, and none of it is about me. It’s all about the kingdom. I’m excited about what lies ahead!

“To me, a rich and satisfying life means one full of contrast. Give me sleep ins. And soft rains. Coffee shops and conversation. But also adrenaline and adventure. And drunken bellows to the stars. I am determined to embrace this extravagant life for all that is has to offer.” -Beau Taplin

Brown Sugar’s Mom Lesson #317

As a single mom, I try to be sure I spend alone time with each of my children. I always want them to feel special with and without their sibling present.

So this past weekend, I took my son to breakfast. Just the kid and me. We played Rock, Paper, Scissors. We played Heads Up. We sang songs. We danced to the soothing warmth of our hot chocolate (mine may have had a tinge of Kahlua) caressing our throats on that snowy day.

I noticed a male friend (let’s call him Daniel) had come in and the second my son saw him, he immediately invited Daniel to eat with us. No harm, no foul, right? We ate, laughed, and played games.

As sudden as the ice storm of 1997 covered the Mid-South, my son blurted out to Daniel, “I wish you were my dad.” It was so innocent. I was so embarrassed. If this #melaninmagic had been a few shades lighter everyone would have noticed that my face had grown hot. Although Daniel thought it was funny, I was mortified! After we left the restaurant I took a moment to calm down so I could talk with my son rather than fuss at him.

So I asked probing questions. I asked him why he said what he said to Daniel when he has a dad. My son sat in the back seat of my car starring at me fearfully through the rearview mirror.

Me: “When your dad asked you if you were coming over this weekend, you told him no. Why didn’t you want to go?” My son replied, “Because the only thing I do over there is play the game and watch TV.”

I knew that, but I thought that was just the way those two bonded… #NOT

Me: “Well baby you have a daddy, so why did you tell Daniel that?”

My son replied, “Well Daniel talked to me. Daddy doesn’t. When I try to talk to him, he’s either playing his game, on the phone, or on Facebook.”

So I asked him if he had ever told his dad that (because this kid is pretty outspoken), and he replied no. Then asked if I could tell him. #ThinkingFace

So then I asked why he was always so angry, and he didn’t reply. So I said, “Well baby you’ve gotta tell mommy something because you’re always angry with your friends and your sister. What’s going on?”

That beautiful little brown boy dropped his head and burst into tears. I could feel my heart breaking… no shattering, by the second.

He eventually choked out, “I just don’t feel respected. Daddy never talks to me, my sisters only want to talk to each other, and they’re mean to me whenever I try to come in and talk to them, no one listens to me! I know you’ll listen mommy, but I just want my daddy to listen to me too!”

Now this blog is not meant to bash my ex. I would hope that he talks to our son, but I’ve known him since we were 12, so it’s highly unlikely, but I am aware that he’s not much of a talker. My son, in a sense had given up on his own father being able to openly communicate with him, and decided to try to latch onto another male who provided him with what he so desperately longed for……. #scary

With tears brimming my eyes, I swerved into a Target parking lot, and reached back for my son. I told him to come sit with me, and I let him cry it out. I hugged him. I listened. I had no words. All I could do was what most mothers would do. I silently prayed over my son. Just as soon as the silent Amen floated from my lips to God’s ears, my son perked up. We hopped out of the car and somehow got sucked into the black hole that is Target.

When I was there, he wanted to hop his heavy 88 lbs self on the front of the basket and talk to me about how Power Rangers was a thing again, and how bacon couldn’t be real food, and how cool boys wear blue jean shirt, and how science was really cool, and how he wasn’t sure if he could still go to Christian Brothers University because he didn’t know anyone who was drafted from CBU. I realized that maneuvering the basket with him on it was much harder than it used to be, which meant he was bigger than the last time we did this, so I decided to get him more socks, t-shirts, and underwear (this will play a part in this story momentarily). He enjoyed that moment so much!

My mom would always tell my sister and me, “don’t have kids, cause once you have ’em, they’re yours.” So, I’ve embraced the fact that I’m a single parent. It’s March, and my ex hadn’t given me any money to support the kids since January. I don’t call. I don’t ask. I leave him be. I had an event yesterday, and asked my ex to keep the kids. I could’ve gotten a sitter, but considering he hadn’t seen them in two weeks, I figured #YOLO, right? He agreed, and came to pick them up. I stood in the door and watched them get to the car safely.

My son comes running back up to the door with a slip of paper. I got the paper along with a quick peck on the cheek, and my son was off. I looked at the money order my son I given me from my ex that was dated 2/10/17 (well over a month ago) in the amount of $19. I promise you, if his name and mine weren’t on it, I would attach a photo of it to this blog.

All I could do in that moment was laugh. He doesn’t see them. He rarely calls them. He actually spent money to give me a $19 money order that he’d held for over a month that couldn’t even cover the amount I spent on socks, underwear, and t-shirts (told you it was coming back up)! He got $30K from his mother’s life insurance policy, and I received a whopping $19 to take care of the kids? Turn up! Bottles for everybody! Shots on me! Ok… My bad ya’ll. I may have gone a little overboard with the sarcasm. 🙂

What I did realize was this: for the first time, in awhile, I wasn’t angry by his actions. I’ve been blessed enough to care for my children without his support. By no means has it been easy. I’m grateful for my best friend, family, and others who have helped along the way for being my village. Mom lesson #317 brought an increase in growth and a decrease in pettiness!

Brown Sugar’s Sandstorm

“Like sand in the hour glass, these are the days of our lives….”

Each fallen granule is evidence of yet another non renewable experience that has shaped who we are.

Some particles, more than others, dedicate more time, effort, and mass to certain seasons in our lives.

See there’s the finer sand like friends, our interests, our free will.

Then there’s the more course type like politics, religion, love.

That final coarse granule (love) doesn’t seem to slip through the womb of the hour glass as easily as the others though does it?

It’s forced like a predator aggressively raping a victim.

It bites like your very first shot of cheap liquor.

It burns like the hot scorching oil that leapt out of the skillet and scalded your skin the first time you fried chicken on your own.

That love granule is a course one. Course enough to cut you.

It’s the kind your mother told you not to get in your hair when you played in the sand box.

It’s the kind you carry with you days after leaving the beach.

It hurts and it lasts.

“Like sand in the hour glass, these are the days of our lives….”

My first love sandstorm started so quietly that I didn’t see it coming, you know how these storms are.

Then it picked up speed that was so forceful, I couldn’t see, I couldn’t hear, I couldn’t think.

I could only feel.

Fear and pain.

I left that sandstorm in high school only to willingly walk into another similar sandstorm in college.

This one was more intense because it followed a thunderstorm.

This wind velocity was increased.

I struggled to breathe in this storm, but there’s a Chinese proverb that says mothers are stronger than any other woman.

I had to survive that storm. There was someone else depending on me to survive.

Or so I thought.

Years later, I went back to where my first sandstorm happened.

I revisited that season.

For some reason I couldn’t remember the pain it caused.

So I stayed.

A sandstorm couldn’t hit in the same place twice right?

Or was that lightening?

This love granule was so coarse that it cut every inch of me.

I stood there bleeding and wounded and exposed

And at the worst possible moment, without warning, the worst sandstorm of the century ensued

It engulfed me and left me for dead

I lied there coughing up blood from the brutal attack of this storm

When the next two granules that slipped through the hour glass and landed next to me were my children…

The two sweetest, finest, most unique granules sat atop the mound of my mistakes, successes, wins, and losses starring me in the face

Needing me. Depending on me. Shaping their own life experiences after me.

So, I picked myself up.

I nursed my wounds

I healed

I prevailed

“Like sand in the hour glass, these are the days of our lives….”

That sand granule is unavoidable.

This last love sandstorm came dressed in a nice beard. An extensive vocabulary. A charming exterior.

This sandstorm slithered like the snake it was into my space

It graciously took down the quartz walls I had built around my heart

What felt like the smooth colorful glass that protected me and kept each granule contained in a beautifully shaped piece of art.

This sandstorm convinced me that this art was in fact a cage.

This last granule came in and annihilated me once and for all from the inside out.

When I regained consciousness

I was left lying there

Unable to move

Gasping for life

Lying on my back looking up at the swirling vortex of my life’s experiences

Grasping at the memories that brought joy

Grasping at the memories that brought pain

Grasping at all that makes me… me

“Like sand in the hour glass, these are the days of our lives….”

Chapter 13 (Jason)

Clink… Clink… Clink

The clinking sound Jason made swirling the ice around in his glass filled the room. His now empty glass had been filled repeatedly with cognac more times than he cared to count.

Jason was reared back in the plush soft leather recliner with his feet propped on the ottoman. He had the television on ESPN, but wasn’t paying attention to the baseball game that was playing. Jason had grown tired of staying in the guesthouse. It had been almost two weeks and Summer still didn’t have anything to say to him. He was left feeling lonely and aggressively missing the connection to his wife, albeit he took advantage of it. In those two weeks he learned that some needs could be met, but connections could not be substituted or replaced. Jason’s emotions quickly spiraled out of control while Summer paraded around as if he didn’t exist. He was angry with her for a couple of days because he felt she was overreacting. She’d leave any room he entered, was always dressed to perfection, had started back wearing lingerie to bed, and would only cook enough for herself. Now, he was  In the midst of this world wind of emotions and realized how he had taken his marriage for granted.

Jason was fighting like hell to do right by his wife, so he made the leap to begin counseling. He knew it was time to get himself right so he could be a better man for his family. When he got to the therapist office, he silently asked God why He would tempt him so soon! Ordinarily, he would have made a pass at his therapist. She was a beautiful and jazzy woman probably in her early fifties. She reminded him a lot of Phylicia Rashad from the Cosby Show. He loved the way she carried herself, and sometimes found himself fantasizing rather than listening to her advice.

So far, she had been very helpful. Jason was going twice a week. He didn’t realize he had so many suppressed emotions concerning his dad. Those suppressed feelings, Jason learned, were the cause of his sexual addiction. It was crazy to Jason how enjoying the warmth of a woman’s love could be considered an addiction.

“I can’t believe I let this shit ruin my marriage.” Jason grunted as he benched pressed the two hundred and seventy-five pounds in his home gym. It was Thursday, and he decided to workout to clear his thoughts after meeting with Annette, his therapist.

Annette had suggested that Jason take some time to figure out what he really wanted. If he really wanted to save his marriage or if his competitive nature was kicking in and he wanted to simply “clear his name.” Annette had said something he thought crazy at first, but the more he thought about it, the more it made sense.

“Men are physical creatures and women are emotional creatures. Men move on, not dwell on the situation. A man is more likely to tell a women, ‘I want us to move forward.’ Women are emotionally invested and connected. They have to process the situation and figure out which way to go next.”

Jason was ready to move past this and didn’t understand why Summer was still punishing him. As time went on, he realized that she was truly hurt and was probably confused on where both the marriage and the family stood. Then to shake salt in her wound, Skylar left that bogus ass voicemail! How in the hell did I forget to take that video from her? This time I hung myself with my own damn rope.

After two hours of strenuous cardio and strength training, Jason decided to go into the main house to shower. He needed more clothes and he needed to give Magnolia, the housekeeper, his dry cleaning. He also wanted to see Summer and hoped she was home. When he walked into the house, he inhaled the sweet vanilla scent. He loved that faint sweet scent. That fragrance let him know Summer wasn’t far, and had probably just left the room. He instantly felt himself become overwhelmed with stabbing grief at the thought of losing his family. Jason took his time traveling up the stairs to the bedroom shower. Partially because he was apprehensive about what to say when he saw Summer, and hoped she was up there.

Slowly, Jason opened the door, and was disappointed in what he saw. Summer was nowhere in sight. The bedroom had appeared as if she hadn’t been there at all. Jason showered and changed into a fresh pair of Ralph Lauren khaki’s and a coral colored ralph lauren polo styled shirt. He took his dry cleaning downstairs for Magnolia and decided to head out to meet his son Ayden for lunch. Before leaving he left a note for Summer letting her know that they would have dinner tonight.

“This has gone on long enough. I’m tired and I can’t even imagine how you are feeling, but it’s time we stop running and stop being angry. Tonight we will get answers and move forward. Tonight we heal. Dinner will be at 7:30. I love you.”

Jason walked out of the house with his mind set on placing the pieces of the puzzle back together. When he settled into his car, he noticed a card on the dashboard. His heart leaped! Jason quickly tore open the envelope and found a card. On the front, it read, “Remember when my heart acknowledged yours? 07/31/1998” Jason was so nervous about what was written inside the card. When he opened it, a sheet of notebook paper fell out. Jason opened it and immediately knew what it was. It was the letter Summer wrote him many years ago after he took her virginity. They dated for nearly three years before Summer slept with Jason.

So, I got caught up. Caught up in the moment. The moment when my breath ended. Where yours began. My arms had you wrapped in the most intense embrace. You had my mane, that told the story of the strongest nation, in the palm of your hand, much like my heart. I laid there, vulnerable, wanting, aching, for you. To taste your tongue… Feel the dance it so rhythmically does with mine when our lips touch. Wanting to feel you fill me to the point where all breath leaves my body. Needing you to push deep enough for all fear, doubt, mistrust, disappointment, and confusion to no longer reside. I was caught up in that magical moment we create so well so often. You asked me how I felt about you. My heart screamed, “I’m so in love with you Jason!” but my head knew that love was like an earthquake and earthquakes caused damage. They leave behind massive amounts of hurt, pain, destruction. But before I could decipher between which was right or wrong, I got caught up in the safety of your arms, and welcomed the earthquake. Allowed you to shift the first tectonic plate deep inside of me. Caused the mortar that held the breaks surrounding my heart to crack apart. My fight or flight immediately kicked in. I shifted under the weight of you, knew there was no where to run for cover. Left out in the open. Vulnerable with no protection. And before I could cry for help, the words, “I’m in love with you Jason!” swiftly escaped my lips like a prisoner circumventing the confines of Alcatraz. Those words broke free from my soul and poured like honey from my fingertips. The magnitude on the Richter scale of my heart jumped up a notch. I knew the pain those words would bring, but there was nothing I could do about it. They had already been released into the atmosphere. It was the affirmation needed to confirm the destruction to come. You devoured me as soon as the words left my lips. Kissed me as deeply as the arch in my back. Before I could scream out not to listen to me, not to believe me, I could feel your heart racing upon my breasts, could feel the reciprocity of your love for me emitting through my pores. The transference of energy causing vibrations so deep that it caused a wave my ancestors felt. I got caught up. At this point I was enclosed in an entrapment I never saw coming. How could a rose really grow from concrete without at least fertile soil and someone tending to it regularly? As the earth inside of me continued its paradigm shift, I felt you break ground when you penetrated me slowly, yet intensely. My nails dug into your back as a sigh escaped your lips. I welcomed the earthquake that became more magnanimous with each stroke knowing full well there would be no search and rescue team that could help me recover from the damage I knew would be left as a result. I had to track it all. Needed to record this series of events because history was in the making. All I could do was open the book of The Beginning of Us in hopes that it wouldn’t somehow translate into the book of The Ending of Me……..

Jason sat there motionless. His mind was racing with thoughts from that day, and his heart was full from the love he had for his wife. A lone tear slid from Jason’s eye when he read the inside of the card. “Turns out it’s The Ending of Me.”

Brown Sugar’s Journey – Finding Answers in my Son.

I am celebrating my eleventh year in education! Honestly, I didn’t realize that I’ve been in this profession as long as I have until I calculated it for this particular blog. For six years, I taught all male students. As my curiosity grew about how to best teach boys, I fervently chased after learning more about gender strategies. The more I taught boys, and the less I taught girls, I was completely sold on brain-based learning. Because boys and girls are wired differently, the delivery has to be tailored in order for each gender to be taught effectively.

As an educator, I’ve had one constant question that has nagged me about adolescent boys. What happens, whether physiologically, physically, emotionally, or mentally, that causes a male African American teen (around the ages of 12-14) to become so angry and rebellious? So many of the Black boys I taught were indeed products of an impoverished single parent home, but that couldn’t be the cause, because I had seen other teen boys on TV with different backgrounds, but the same issue. Well, fortunately for me, a conversation with my own son gave me a peek into the answer I so desperately sought after for so long.

My son is the product of a single parent home, and he’s being raised by a single Black mother. He’s angry. All. The. Time. I know some of this is the result of the divorce. Although my ex-husband was rarely ever home because of his work schedule, or exercise schedule, or “extracurricular” schedule, the fact remains that he knew his dad lived there. Now, he doesn’t. So, he’s angry. Yesterday, my son yelled at his sister about something that was actually his fault. I responded to him with, “what did I tell you about yelling at my daughter?”

With pleading eyes, that looked like they would have been accompanied with a hand caught in the cookie jar, my son responded, “You told me not to.”

“Have you ever heard a man yell at mommy?”

“No. Well yes. Daddy does all the time.”

Because I didn’t anticipate that response (it caught me off guard), it literally took my breath away. But I was in the midst of teaching a lesson here, so I had to keep it rolling.

“Well, how does that make you feel?”

My son balled up his fist (like the Arthur meme), and his eyebrows furrowed in deep thought, then he spat, “It makes me want to punch him for being a jerk to you.”

In that split second. I got it. My son is angry at the person responsible for teaching him how to become a man. My son is angry at the one person who has shaken up his security. My son is angry that his dad is no longer in the home. He’s angry, and I can’t help him.

I listened to my son that day. He poured his heart out about what makes him angry: Why is daddy bringing his new girlfriend around whenever it’s MY time with him? Why can’t you and daddy just forgive each other so we could be a family again? That’s what you tell us (referring to his sister and him) to do. So, I was honest with him. PG, but honest. I never want my words to lose their credibility because I chose to hold back the truth. So, when he asks questions, I answer as clearly and as honestly as possible. Even though all of the answers he has right now are biased because he only gets my side of the story, he deserves the very best I can possibly give him as a mom.

Our sons are angry ya’ll, and we aren’t noticing it until it’s nearly too late. We notice when drugs, gangs, failing grades, and decisions that are so often labeled as typical boy behavior are awry in our son’s lives. I need my prayers to cover him so that when what he believes and what he sees doesn’t align, he’s capable of making wise decisions. I need my son to know that nothing he does or ever will do can stop me from loving him. I need him to find comfort in God’s timing and reasoning. The conversation I had with him let me know that he needs his mom to go to war for his heart, his emotions, his peace of mind, his future as a father, husband, and citizen, his healing. He’s my son, and he’s worth it.

I wish I could have these conversations with his father. If even for just five minutes he could step out of his self-absorbed bubble to think about someone other than himself, then he could hear the cries of his son reaching out for him. Or maybe he hears them, but the cry for a father’s love is so familiar that he runs because his cries were never answered. If I could give him one message to help him see the damage he’s causing his son, it would be, “Pay attention to the seeds you’re sowing. You still hate your father for abusing your mother, for never being there with you, for never telling you that you had so many siblings (that you’re still meeting) and for being a rolling stone. Don’t ask for mercy you won’t give.

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