I woke up this morning, Thursday, July 7, 2016 at a loss for words. I’m a writer and a public thinker. I contribute to public discourse by providing commentary on events and happenings. I tend to do this using a theological lens and I rely heavily on my Christian faith to make sense of and peace with things as they unfold. Many times this takes place on my Facebook page, but I also write longer pieces and publish blogs on Embracing My Shadow and The Salt Collective. Today, however, I had no words…
Today would have been my 8th wedding anniversary had I not divorced. Eight years. I can’t imagine what my life would be like if I had stayed married and I’m aware that the melancholy that overcomes me at this time of year is directly related to this fact.
In August of 2011 I separated from my ex-husband and plunged into one my most severe depressive episodes. At that point we had only been married for three years but I knew that the life I was living was not the life I desired. We were both miserable and that led to resentment and heartache and pain. Making the decision to separate and subsequently divorce was one of the hardest decisions of my life. Continue reading
One of my hopes for Embracing My Shadow is that it becomes a platform for people to not only share their stories of sadness and despair but also to share stories of survival and hope. It is my deep desire that it becomes a space where people receive encouragement, support and the knowledge that they are not alone.
In 2016, I will be featuring guest posts, some of them anonymous, so that more voices might be heard and stories might be shared about peoples’ journey of embracing the fullness of who they are. As we all seek purpose and meaning, it becomes so very important that we stop running from and fearing the darkness in our lives. It’s time for us to confront our shadows and to seek help, healing and wholeness and we grow in our love of self.
This is not an easy task; it is one that requires vulnerability and shouldn’t be taken lightly. I remind all that engage this space that I am not a therapist and if you or someone you know is contemplating hurting themselves, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1 (800) 273-8255. Seek help before it’s too late.
Below is a post shared by a fellow Shadow Lover. I applaud their courage in putting their story in writing and I also encourage them to seek support.
TRIGGER WARNING: ***The following article contains imagery and language that might be a trigger for some. If you struggle with suicidal thoughts, please seek help and know this article might be a trigger.***
2015 has been a year! A year of friends and fun; of weekend get aways and smiles, selfies and drinks; of working out and healthy eating. At least that’s what my Instagram would lead you to believe…
In reality, 2015 has been filled with challenges, massive depressive swings, loneliness, doubting my self worth, and suicidal thoughts. But no one knows. Continue reading
I am an incarnation Christian – my faith in the Christian story begins with God becoming human. For this reason, Christmas is my favorite time of the year. It reminds me the importance of being present and embodying themes like peace, love and joy. It reminds me that God is love and that this love is present in the world, despite what we may think. This love is a living, breathing, transforming force that overcomes hate, fear and anything that would seek to thwart God’s promise of abundant life for us all.
I love the church. I know that I’ve said many things and written many words that may cause some to wonder, but my emotion and passion about things such as church, faith and life together stems from my deep and abiding love for God’s church. I define God’s church not as a specific denomination but as an already but not yet reality where people who recognize their identity as beloved children of God gather to worship and grow. These people then engage in their communities – local, national and global – to seek change and transformation because their faith rests in a God of new life and healing and restoration. This is the image and practice of church that I love and this is the church that I fight for.
I’ve written before about my beloved albeit broken community; about my church and why I continue to be engaged with a community of faith. I am a member of and leader in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), one of the largest Protestant denominations in this country. My church has approximately 3.8 million members in around 10,000 congregations across the U.S. and the Caribbean. This church is a historically white church, founded by a German Catholic monk named Martin Luther. He never wanted to start a new church, he wanted to reform the Roman Catholic Church. Luther felt like the church was not speaking in the language of the people and that the church had lost it’s prophetic voice and leadership within society. His 95 Theses marked the beginning of what we now call the Protestant Reformation. In 2017, Lutherans around the world will mark the 500th anniversary of this historic event. My church is a church that was born out of truth-telling, risk taking and prophetic imagination.
I’ve always claimed this church as my church. I often say I am a bit of a unicorn – a Black Puerto Rican, third generation Lutheran. I was baptized, confirmed, married, educated and called to ministry in this church. At the founding convention of this church, there was a vision that the church would be 10% people of color within 10 years of our inception. This percentage has not come to pass and we’ve actually declined in the number of members of color within the church. There were always small pockets of communities of color within the denomination and people of color who were members of largely white congregations, but as a whole, we have not been good at addressing the cultural divisions that our church continues to embody.
A person with whom you have an immediate connection the moment you meet –a connection so strong that you are drawn to them in a way you have never experienced before.
As this connection develops over time, you experience a love so deep, strong and complex, that you begin to doubt that you have ever truly loved anyone prior.
Your soulmate understands and connects with you in every way and on every level, which brings a sense of peace, calmness and happiness when you are around them. And when you are not around them, you are all that much more aware of the harshness of life, and how bonding with another person in this way is the most significant and satisfying thing you will experience in your lifetime.
You are also all that much aware of the beauty in life, because you have been given a great gift and will always be thankful…
Defining soulmate by Elliek at Urban Dictionary.
I have a group of women in my life who I refer to as my soul sisters. These are women who are intelligent, articulate, vivacious and passionate about their life and their work.
We are a motley crew; a diverse grouping of women divinely connected for such a time of this. I’ve met each of them at different stages in my life and I’ve come to realize that God has gifted me with their love and their friendship. I would not be the woman I am today without each of them.
We are the women who love reality t.v., view Sex and the City as the ultimate guide to life and love, refuse to be told what we can and can’t do, want to love and be loved deeply and passionately, struggle with our confidence, fight mental illness – depression, anxiety, OCD, bipolar disorder – you name it, we have it.
We believe in a God that is bigger and wider and more gracious than anything we can imagine.
We are the women who people call bitchy and arrogant. We’ve been told that we intimidate folks
We are the women who cry our eyes out. Who want to be loved deeply and passionately. Who are die hard romantics even as we refuse to be submissive and settle for that which we know is not real and true and life-altering.
We are the women who call each other crying when someone sees something in us that we can’t fathom. We don’t see the greatness that lies within and need each other to affirm its very presence.
We are the ones who have been violated, whose innocence was disrupted either by rape, molestation, incest and abuse. The ones who have valiantly fought to stitch together pieces of our broken selves and claim the beauty that God intended us to be.
These women are my soulmates.
It’s not a sexual connection but it is a passionate one. I love men – physically, sexually, emotionally and mentally. But these women fill spaces and places in my heart that no man can… It’s a spiritual connection, one that only God could have designed.
Our scars, our struggles, our fears and our triumphs make us who we are — Soul Sisters.
Soul sisters unite
Speak truth. Speak love. Speak compassion. Speak Life.
Soul sister unite
I love you all,
On November 29, 2012 I published a blog post entitled “The Skin I’m In“. I couldn’t imagine the conversation it sparked and the positive feedback that it generated. The most significant thing that happened was that I received a message from my daddy that brought me to tears. You see, we have a very interesting history, one that I will share at another time. Since embarking on this journey of embracing my depression and coming clean with my family, my daddy and I have gotten much closer. We had very different upbringings and he has lived a very hard life. I continue to be in awe of him and his many accomplishments, not even realizing that we had some things in common. I asked if I could share his message with you and he agreed. I am so thankful that my post opened another pathway of communication and understanding between me and my daddy.
My dearest daughter,
I don’t know if I ever told you, but if I did not, I’m telling you now. As a 10 year old kid growing up in Harlem, I was often called little WHITE boy. Even now I am often referred to as WHITE man. However I understood at an early age that people who called and call me names were those who either were intimidated, jealous or unsure of themselves because I spoke better and I was more intelligent than they were. It all started in Harlem because I used to spend time in Queens where I actually spent nights in a house. So you see my darling daughter we have more in common than you might know. I am just happy that I understood this early in life. I am now happy that you have figured it out and that you are happy with the skin that you’re in. Just for the record, I’ve always teased you because I was able to identify. If you want me to stop, forget about it. 🙂