A Word on Shame

Shame Quote

As Brene Brown would say, this weekend I suffered from the worst vulnerability hangover ever. After my unfortunate Friday night experience, all I wanted to do was go and hide. I replayed the events of that night over and over and over again and could only think one thing – “Lord, have mercy.”

You see, not only did I feel bad about how things went, my mind led me to a place that went beyond embarrassment to pure shame. I totally passed over the thought of “Oh, well, maybe it will be better next time” and headed straight to “See you are not good enough. You really are a fraud. You can’t do this. You are bad.” Continue reading

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I am My Sister’s Keeper

It’s become clear to me that a key aspect of my call is walk alongside women in particular as they discern what God is calling them to do, who God has created them to be and how to grow in love, compassion and grace of themselves.
My sister friends...

My sister friends…

I can’t help but think of the statement that those things we focus the most on, speak the most about, tend to be the things we struggle with the most. That is definitely true for me, dear shadow lovers. I talk about discernment and call because those are things that I have struggled greatly with over my life. I talk about compassion, self-love and grace because I am horrible at practicing these ways of being with myself and most days I don’t believe that I am worthy of receiving them. Now don’t get me wrong, I am a work in progress, paying attention to and working on my issues. But I spend so much time walking with others because at the end of the day, I don’t wish my feelings darkness, despair and loneliness on anyone. If I could help one less person, especially one less woman, not question their worth, not struggle with their intrinsic beauty and not doubt the love that our Creator God has given freely to each and every person, then my work, my life will not have been in vain.

Continue reading

Butterfly Confessions meets Embracing My Shadow

Have you ever had a moment or series of moments that led you to recognize that something great was happening? That something or someone was making all the dots connect? That your journey – the pain, the suffering, the triumph, the joy, the confusion – may have prepared you for the life you are now living?
Things have been clicking recently. Even in difficult times, those times when I am reminded of my depression and anxiety; those times when I doubt the goodness within; those times when fear threatens to overtake me, I am hyper aware of the fact that something is stirring…
“Thank you God for divine relationships, connections that are firmer than what passing out business cards can do…”
I met A’driane through Twitter. Yes, I know how that sounds. You met someone through twitter? Yup, sure did. When I emerged from the darkness that was my last depressive episode, I began doing some internet searching. I was looking for resources, people, stories, videos – anything – that would make me feel a little less alone. Anything that would help me make sense of my newly embraced reality. Enter A’Driane.
You see, A’Driane is a woman who has been blogging about her experiences with PPD, Bipolar 2 disorder and anxiety  for a long time. Not only did her writing endear me to her, but the fact that she was a younger african american woman made me begin to imagine a friendship with her. That sounds a bit stalkerish but truth be told, her writing was so profoundly honest, authentic and comical at times that I felt like she was
a long-lost sister. So I did what anyone who is involved in social media would do. I started following her on Twitter and keeping up with her blog. And lo and behold, she followed back!
What’s amazing is that our connection wasn’t just a chance meeting. I soon found out that my best friend in real life, who is also a PPD blogger, knew A’Driane long before I’d meet her. Little did I know that something was stirring…
Our social media relationship continued. We soon exchanged phone numbers and began texting. We even set up a time for a Skype date. By this point, I knew that A’Driane was someone whom God placed in my life at a very particular time for a very particular reason. At first, I thought it was all about me – meeting a woman who was sort of like a mental health mentor. Her story and her willingness to forge a relationship helped me personally. But as time progressed, I realized that our coming together was not just about me or her alone. God was doing a new thing and had brought us to each other for such a time as this…
Over the next couple of days I’ll be releasing videos of a conversation that A’Driane and I are having about black women and mental health. The case of Miriam Carey spurred both of us into action with the goal of helping to destigmatize mental illness in the black community and encourage women to stand up and speak out. I hope you join us on this journey, for it isn’t until we confront the darkness that we can see the light.
Love,
Me & Addy
2013-04-28 18.05.45

Giving Thanks for the Angels Among Us

October 1, 2012 would have been my grandmother’s 82 birthday. She died 14 days later last year on October 15, 2011. It’s crazy the difference a year can make. This time last year I was literally incapacitated with grief. My separation, grandma’s death, issues at work and my dad’s diagnosis took the life right out of me. My depression had taken over. I couldn’t get out of bed. I felt so lost and incapable of getting myself together. I lost 3 months of my life. I literally can’t remember some days. But I remember the people and how they cared for me and loved me back to life. For that and for each of you, I am eternally grateful.

Each of you has played a special part in my life and I am convinced that your presence is divinely inspired. Thank you for showing me what it means to be a friend. Thank you for walking alongside me. Thank you for not holding my inability to always do the same against me. My prayer is that I can be the same friend to you and I thank God daily for each of you.

Whenever I hear “Never Would Have Made It” by Marvin Sapp tears come to my eyes. You embody that song for me. I know what it means to experience the real and loving presence of God in the valley of the shadow of death. Thank you for walking with me. You are my angels…

Love,

Me

Music Mondays: Never Would Have Made It by Marvin Sapp

I am unapologetically Christian. Even as I type this truth, I cringe because I know the perceived implications that may be assigned to this statement. I should follow up and say, that I’m not your average Christian. (To get a sampling of my particular bent of Christianity, visit my congregation’s website – House of the Rock). I practice this religion because of one simple thing – the notion of God becoming human and walking among us literally overwhelms me. And I mean this in a good way. Everything else that is associated with modern day Christianity, I could take or leave. I’ll write more about that in another post…

What I love most about this song is that it speaks about relationality and being present, which for me, is a central tenet of Christianity. I read that the artist Marvin Sapp wrote this song as a tribute after the death of his father. The song is very repetitive but I think that it’s divinely inspired. Hearing the words over and over again reminds me of the importance of those who have supported, loved, nurtured and challenged me throughout my experience with depression. I know without a shadow of a doubt that I would not be here today without my community of friends and family.

My favorite part of the song is when he sings,

Never could have made it without you
I would have lost my mind a long time ago, if it had not been for you.
I am stronger
I am wiser
Now I am better
So much better
I made it thru my storm and my test because you were there to carry me thru my mess

I could say more about the theological implications of this song but I’m going to leave my comments at this – I never would have made it to where I am today without someone helping me.

I pray that you have someone or many ones who do this for you. Give them a chance. They may surprise you and literally save your life…

Love,

Me

Click here to see the video for Never Would Have Made It.