Stay Lit

I had someone recently tell me that I was a light in their life. In the darkest, deepest moments of my life so far, I couldn’t fathom being a light to someone else. It was revealing, and a little intimidating.

I say that because I’ve always had a nonchalance about me. I’ve always had this sense of expectation from God that I have to question frequently to see if it borders on arrogance. No matter what situation I find myself in, God is going to take care of it.

I’m human. I stress about stuff. Sometimes briefly wondering what if something doesn’t work out, but at the end of the day I have expectation. I question whether its arrogance simply because while I know God gives me grace, I also know that God will take care of me. I know the Bible tells me to be anxious over nothing and instead to pray over everything (Philippians 4:6-7). I know the Bible tells me that God takes care of the fields in all their splendor (Matthew 6:30) so how much more will he take care of his children that were made in his image. I always try to break down a problem to that very thing. I know God said He was going to do it and I know God is not a liar. I am going to trust God, I am going to be content in whatever situation I’m in because me worrying, stressing, and being anxious doesn’t solve anything.

So how do I take that mindset into these moments of darkness where it feels like my shadow is leading me and I’ve lost track of the sun. I don’t want to say that I ignore the situation, but for lack of better words, I definitely don’t give it extra attention. If I’m going through something I’m going to pray about it and actively (key word actively) wait for a response. I control what I give attention to. You control what you give attention to. If I decide in my mind that I’m not going to think about something then that’s what I am going to do.

The arrogance factor comes into play when I think things like, “Lord, you need to do it.” I have to judge my expectations sometimes. Lord, I know you’re going to do it because you said you would, not because you have to. I have to check myself like, “hey, wait, woah,” yes we know that God will work this out but some of these situations I have gotten myself in. So you go and get yourself into some trouble and then expect for God to get you out. Now in this particular season, I didn’t do anything to be in this place…

It makes me almost over analyze why people compliment my artistic endeavors with such specific language. Whenever someone says I liked your blog, that was a great poem, or I loved your spoken word piece. I always go back and listen to or read it again. I’m trying to listen/read it from the mind of the listener/reader. What did you get out if this? What part of my testimony made you want to come back? How can I get better at stewarding what God has given me to give to His people? I want to honor God in everything I do. Yet when I think about these things it draws me back to, what did I do that made someone else see me as a light in their life?

I’ve come to the conclusion that the answer is nothing. Nothing other than living my life the way I have been. I was me. I went through a situation and I leaned on the goodness and the grace of God. Since I trusted in God so much that I did not fret, that I did not worry, I did not become anxious, I did not fall as deep into the pits of despair and depression that I could have. I can feel when depression is trying to set in, but because I can recognize it, I can immediately give those things to God, those thoughts to God and not dwell in that place for so long.

I have taken the lessons I’ve learned and applied it to what felt like this HUGE test, I then can honor God by showing people through my actions that God is the way. Not with toxic positivity, or by covering up the emotional rollercoaster we can go on, but through honesty and clinging to the foundation of my hope. Even while grief tries to overtake me through remembrance, I manage the lense that I remember through. I encourage you all today, while you’re growing through a test be true to who you are, live in the authenticity of who God has called you to be. Together, you can move mountains.

For so long my prayer had been for me to be a touch point for God’s people. That when they see me, they see the light of Him first. So looking back, I didn’t have to question why because I shouldn’t be surprised when my prayers are answered knowing confidently that God hears me. If you have made it this far, you never know how much you inspire the people around you by simply living. So breathe in everything good. Exhale the worries of life. You have a light inside of you that no darkness can ever overtake, as long as you believe in it. Stay lit. I leave you with this…

“You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden 15 No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but rather on a lampstand, and it gives light for all who are in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”
Matthew 5:14-16 CSB

As always, feel free to reach out…

Love,

Komplex Simplicity

To the reader, I love you.

To the creative, I am inspired by you.

To the thinker, I am learning from you.

To the doer, I am encouraged by your fearlessness.

Dear 2020

I’m just going to begin this by saying, YOU SUCK, respectfully. Over the last few months, it has become increasingly difficult to verbalize everything that you took from me… from us. I attempted to put this in chronological order, but that only further exposed how the last 300 days felt like 1,200 days. Yet, this is also a space that has always been about truth, vulnerability, and hope, so I have decided to speak on what you taught me instead.

This year taught me to love harder, not only myself but the people around me. It taught me that no matter how hard I want to hold on to someone, I cannot determine whether they stay or go.

It taught me that as much as I want to take the pain away for my family and friends, I can’t. This year taught me to trust at levels I didn’t think were possible.

It taught me that I was as strong as everyone thought I was, but not as strong as I think I am. I bend well, but breaking is excruciating.

It taught me patience, and endurance. To keep pushing, but to also stand still. That its okay to breathe… not just shallow breathing but to really breathe. And if that’s all I can do in one moment, it’s perfectly fine. That its okay to not be okay ALL of the time. That okay is a spectrum and should be respected as such. There will be some moments that are woefully beautiful and others that are deeply, darkly, disturbing…

There were moments where I loved my life, but absolutely DESPISED the moment. Moments that I can never erase. The sobs of my sisters crying. The tears of my mother. The final glance of my sister in a casket. The stoic look of my father knowing that I was slowly breaking on the inside and he couldn’t fix it for me. The man who has always been my protector.

The hurt inside when the men in my life say things like, “I have to be strong you all.” Because, who gets to be strong for you? I hate that the world taught you that it wasn’t okay to cry…

You reminded me that America is filled with a hatred that I’ll never be able to comprehend…but also with love, hope, and determination to change from a people that is constantly disrespected and neglected.

You taught me that purpose can often be imitated, but it can never be duplicated. What is for me will be for me. Forming attachments to what doesn’t belong to me will only hurt more as ties are severed.

I learned that timing is everything. That God is faithful to his promises but also operates in a way that I will never be able to understand. That when the lights fade, my faith will be the only thing left to cling to. You reminded me that the church is NOT a building. A reminder that I will never forget.

I learned that as much as I love my solitude, my tribe is equally as important. Listening to my flow of consciousness, even when it doesn’t make sense and helping me to make sense if it. Sharing their gains and lessons in an effort to assist in elevating me.

That its okay to make new associates… and sometimes new friends. That I should keep my heart open, even with the risks. That no matter what season I’m in, I will have to “choose my hard.” And deal with the consequences accordingly.

I learned that the arts really do make the world “go round.” So please respect you local arts programs. How else would you have made it through a pandemic without it?

So to the person reading this. This could have been a great year for you, and I sincerely pray that it was. I’ve had some great highs this year. This could have been a seemingly terrible year for you, and I sincerely hope that you cannot identify with that statement. If you can, I understand because I’ve had some difficult lows this year… but you made it. I made it. We made it.

While I have no illusions of the clock striking 12:01 on January 1, 2021 and all of this disappearing, I can be grateful for the fact that I made it to see 2021. There were a lot of GREAT people that didn’t make it out, and there’s grace in that.

More than anything, I learned that life is so fragile. Here today, gone tomorrow. If I can ask anything of you reading this, I ask you to live. With the zest and zeal of a child. Go outside and look at the sky. Smell the air (with no mask on, safely!). Existing is never enough, you were created to live. Find what makes you want to get out of the bed every morning and find your balance. I love you with everything I have in me. I’ll leave you with this…

Matthew 6:31-34 CSB
So don’t worry, saying, ‘What will we eat? ’ or ‘What will we drink? ’ or ‘What will we wear? ’  32For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  33But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.  34Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

As always, feel free to reach out…

Love,

Komplex Simplicity

To the reader, I love you.
To the creative, I am inspired by you.
To the thinker, I am learning from you.
To the doer, I am encouraged by your fearlessness.

She Said, “Be Safe, Come Home!”

The other day, I saw a very disturbing video… had I know what I was about to view, I probably wouldn’t have watched it. The first time the sound was off… the second time too… I didn’t want to hear the gun cock, I didn’t want to hear the gun shots… I didn’t need to. I’ve heard it too many times before. You’ve probably seen the posts, and if not, I won’t rehearse the story here, but anyway…

After doing what I could from afar I decided that I wanted to make my own statement. My narrative never changes. God. Love. Creativity. Social activism. That’s who I am, generally with much laughter in between. Yet, I couldn’t laugh that day, so I made a shirt. If you follow me on social media, then you know what the shirt said…

I asked my brother if he liked my shirt. He said, “You can’t wear that.” I get it. I understand the sentiment, but I have never been and will never be the person who does NOTHING. In that moment, that’s what I needed for my mental health…to once again force a choked hashtag past my lips. As many of the people I know are, I was simply tired of the same conversation over, and over again…

I went to pick up my sister, so she could take pictures of me in the shirt, and my Mzazi said, “Be Safe.” It was a firm statement. As if the thought of me leaving, wearing something I felt from the core of who I am, could be a reason for me to end up in an unsafe situation…

It reminded me of a healing event I went to Brooklyn, NY, where an officer had gunned down a young man in the community. The community had come together to do art projects, massages, meditation, a community chat, and a balloon release. During the community chat, one of the mother’s said that every morning before leaving for work, she looks at her boys and she says, “Come Home!” It was her way of speaking by faith that they would be safe one more day and make it home that evening.

How can we live in a world where that is the reality of a mother! And to think that something as minuscule as a tshirt, if for only a second sparked a similar fear in my Mzazi. If my family knew of some of the rally’s and events I attended in the name of activism, they’d probably fear more… not because of anything illegal, but because of their perception of what “safe” is…

I can only be who I am. I can’t fear tomorrow, I can’t fear an hour from now. I can’t let the constant anxieties that rest in the heaviness of my blackness consume me.

I’ve been on the opposite side of a drawn gun, for no other reason than being born who I am. Being born black is the most dangerous thing that has ever happened to me, and I wouldn’t change it for anything.

So to you reading this, if you’ve made it this far… maybe you can identify, maybe you can’t, but equality, justice, truth… that’s all of our burden to carry. Be safe, and make it home!

In Second Timothy 1:7, Apostle Paul says to Timothy, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” Before that though, he speaks of the faith, the sincere faith, that ran through the women in Timothy’s family, his grandmother and his mother and because of that he says, I am sure it dwells in you.

So if nothing else, take the advice of Apostle Paul and rekindle that faith, not in man, but in God. He will not disappoint.

As always, feel free to reach out…

Love,

Komplex Simplicity

To the reader, I love you.
To the creative, I am inspired by you.
To the thinker, I am learning from you.
To the doer, I am encouraged by your fearlessness.

P.s. women are always at the forefront of progression.

She Said Manifest It

Last week I was having a convo with one of my friends, and we were talking about their new goals in life. In turn, I began sharing how I started and how I continued to push even when I didn’t want to. The age old battle between commitment and motivation. During that conversation, I realized that I have literally been manifesting the things I want by way of a meeting I have with my Sanager (my manager for my new fam) at the beginning of every year.

In 2016, she sat me down and said, “what do you want out of this year?” I answered and she wrote down what I said. It was honestly the first time I had done something like that so I was very restricted in my answers. I said things that I knew were already goals in the works. For example, in 2016 the UnPopular Movement launched, and I became an author that year. Easily one of the best periods of my life. There’s nothing more vulnerable and simultaneously exciting about handing over something you’ve placed so much of yourself into.

In 2017, I had more confidence in the process. I allowed myself to want more. Some of the things I wanted didn’t even seem practical. At the end of 2016, I was asked by Mystery Known (rapper) to do a spoken word piece on one of his tracks. I did, but had no idea when the project was coming out at the time. During the meeting I said, “I want to be on a song. I want to write again in whatever form that comes in.” Well, his album dropped in 2017 and I was on a track titled “Faith Walk.” Boom. Now I can be found on Spotify and Amazon (outside of my book lol). Also, at the end of that year, I co-wrote another project with a producer in Nashville. The singer on the hook of the track ended up wanting the whole song. At first I was like, sis, this is clearly for a rapper. Yet, ever the creative she basically said, “watch me work!”

In 2018, a dope song titled “Believer” by the beautiful Trisha Alicia dropped. I remember talking about it here briefly, but it’s crazy how something I really wanted in 2017 came at me not once, but twice. Not only did I get to do a small bit of spoken word on a song, but now I have writer creds on a project.

2018 was a weird year for me, I pressed pause on a lot of areas in my life. I still wrote behind the scenes, I was still doing open mics and private events as a speaker and spoken word artist. I was slowly getting my weight up in ministry, but very few of those things were being displayed to the world.

2019, I really just wanted to get back to who I was creatively, but that person had evolved, so my need for newness had to be on the same page. That year I began looking at my next book as a serious project. Wrote it out, formatted the project as a word document, ect. Although, now I had responsibilities in other areas and had to learn to balance everything in a healthy way.

Insert 2020. We had the meeting this year. I confessed what I wanted. It was written down for accountability purposes and I believe that even in the midst of what we’re looking at right now… God will get the glory out of this. My assignment has always been and will always be first to the Kingdom. I’m not going to list out everything I’m manifesting for this year, but I will say this. Every day I’m making purposeful strides in the direction I want to be in.

When she said, ‘Manifest It,’ I had no idea how instrumental that would be on the goals that I’ve tackled like a champ. So to you, my favorite reader! What are you manifesting? What are you holding yourself accountable for? What is someone else holding you accountable for? We’ve talked about accountability partners here before, but now more than ever when normal is shifting and realities are rapidly changing, what are you holding yourself accountable for?

Is it to have more patience? Is it to maintain a positive wellbeing? Is it to read more? To study more? To create? To relate? Is your only goal just to simply be in this moment? If it is, that’s okay. It’s going to be okay…

Moving forward I would love nothing more for you to look back at this moment and say, “I did it because I believed I could. I took this thought, this idea, this vision and I handed it to God and He handed it back to me as something I didn’t even know I needed.”

That my friends is how I feel often. Unworthy, undeserving, but throughly pleased at God’s justification for where He has me headed.

I will say this though, protect your dreams, they aren’t for everyone and people can’t hope against what they cannot see coming. Find your tribe, the ones that will tell you the truth in love and be there when you need nothing more that a sounding board.
I pray you all a wonderful journey for the road ahead, and I will continue to be the Hope dealer for as long as you need me to be. Always feel free to reach out…

Habakkuk 2:2 CSB

The Lord answered me:
Write down this vision;
clearly inscribe it on tablets
so one may easily read it.

Love,

Komplex Simplicity

To the reader, I love you.
To the creative, I am inspired by you.
To the thinker, I am learning from you.
To the doer, I am encouraged by your fearlessness.

He Said He Loved It

So as I’m scrolling through Instagram, (which I find myself doing too much in this season, but I’m not judging myself, I’m giving me grace … end rant), I came across this story and it was 7 Reasons We Self Sabotage, by Sara Kuburic and I replied to the story with a sad face emoji 😢

I said, “I used to be really good at that.”
He said, “I love self sabotaging behavior.”
I responded, “I think everyone does in the moment.”

This is so funny to me (not haha funny) because I use to love it too (it’s a struggling addiction)! Yet, back then I didn’t realize what it was. I’d start projects and never finish them, I’d convince myself that no one cared if I kept pushing out content. I didn’t understand that I was sabotaging myself or why I was doing it, when essentially I kept “ghosting” my purpose.

When you’re avoiding the growing places, distractions feel good. Really good. Like forbiddenly (is that a word? I don’t think so, but), forbiddenly pleasing.

For example, I’m not a huge social media person, but if I have a deadline it’s ‘all of a sudden’ my favorite place to be. In all honesty, it’s the reason why this is a Friday blog and not a Thursday blog.
As much as I understand this, it doesn’t take away the urge to do it anyway. Operating on a well I’ll just do it later, procrastinator mindset. I’ll stay up longer, I’ll wake up earlier. I create this superwoman persona and when I can’t handle the immense amount of pressure I place on myself, I have worse habits like ditching the assignment completely and coming back way too close to a deadline. Insert more pressure. How much does it take to break?
Wait, let’s pause here and go over some of these reasons, shall we?

  • We don’t believe we deserve better
  • We lack self awareness
  • We are focused on instant gratification
  • We have seen self sabotage modeled in our family
  • It is how we learn to cope with stress of the unknown
  • We are afraid of rejection or failure that may come from changing our behavior
  • We feel more in ‘control’ when engaging with familiar patterns — even if they are harmful

I can identify with many of these! It’s my responsibility to acknowledge the behaviors and choose what to do next.
Let’s talk about what it is not:

  1. This is not a reason to beat up on yourself.
  2. This is not a reason to over correct.

I’m the type of person who acknowledges something and if I want to change it, I do it immediately. One example of how I use to over correct with SM is to delete the whole app 😅. After a convo with my friend I realized it was a little dramatic, but it worked lol… I got through this blog by silencing all notifications for SM, see… progress! 😁

With individuals I have this conversation with, the most common reason they have for self sabotaging is because they don’t think they’ll receive the proper support.
I use to be that person too, but what I’ve come to realize is it’s not my responsibility to take on that weight. It’s not fair for me to pressure myself into carrying that.

What I know now is this… I know at least one person will read this, and that’s you, and that’s all of the support I need. I know I’ve come far in releasing the urge to self sabotage, but I also understand that this is a marathon, and not a sprint!
So, you, the one who made it to the end… you my friend will be okay. If you identify with the struggle, I offer for your consideration to find small ways to correct without overwhelming yourself. Bottom line is that I’m praying for you and I’m praying for me too! We’ll both make it to the finish line.

Finally I told him, “looking back though, the stagnant places make sense.”
Identify these time markers, then stop feeding the behavior. There is greater fruit waiting to be consumed.

Before I let you all go, the Land of UnPopularity Podcast is live and on multiple streaming platforms. I’m still waiting for a few of them, but its definitely available for you to listen. (This was on of the things I previously abandoned with my self-sabotaging behavior). So far we have a couple episodes and some Psalms scripture readings, if you want to check it out then click here.

2 Timothy 1:7 KJV

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind

Love,

Komplex Simplicity

To the reader, I love you.
To the creative, I am inspired by you.
To the thinker, I am learning from you.
To the doer, I am encouraged by your fearlessness.

The Marathon Continues…
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