Hey Everyone! I’m in the process of re-vamping my blog so just hang in there with me 🙂 You will probably notice that you can’t find some of my previous posts and that’s because I’m trying to redirect them all to one page since they were all on the same subject, all while trying to leave my homepage (this one) available for the new content I’m creating. So please hang in there with me because I’ll be back!
I went on a breakfast date with a guy that a friend of mine thought I should meet because according to my friend, this guy and I seemed to be on similar spiritual journeys.
We met up for this date on a Saturday morning. I got there before he did, put my name on the list, (there was a wait) and waited for him outside. He arrived about 10-15 minutes late, but he was cute so all was forgiven.
At first, we only ordered coffee because we wanted to just talk and get to know each other. After about 20 minutes of laughter and conversation, we ordered breakfast.
“What can I get for you, Miss?” The server asked.
“You can take his order first. I’m not ready yet,” I replied.
He gave his order: a stack of pancakes with a side of turkey bacon. He eats carbs and sugar for breakfast? Hmph, doesn’t look like it. Maybe it’s his cheat day. Who knows? Who cares? I’m hungry.
“I’ll have two eggs, scrambled with a side of bacon, extra crispy, please.”
“Got it,” the server scribbled down my order. Just as she turns to walk away…
“You mean turkey bacon, right?” He asked me, glaring from behind his menu. It was similar to one of those looks your father or husband gives you when he’s looking up from the credit card bill, asking you to “explain these charges”.
“No. I meant bacon…from a pig.” I said this to him in a very stern, matter of fact tone. I needed him to know that if we were to go beyond this date, (although his judgmental tone towards my bacon was already sending the possibility of that on a steep decline) when it comes to what I put in, on or through my body, I’M the boss of me. Now, back to bacon…
The server caught ALL the subtext of my text and had already closed her notebook and scurried off. See, she knew what was up.
“You eat pork?” He asked me, face all scrunched up in judgment.
“Well, on occasions I will eat bacon if I’m ordering breakfast at a restaurant, and I had a pork chop 4 years ago at Taste on Melrose in Los Angeles, but other than that, eating pork is not a regular indulgence for me.” I got specific about the time and geography of that pork chop because it was that good! If you live in LA, Taste on Melrose’s, Caramelized cumin spiced pork chop will change your life.
He clasped his hands in front of him on the table and leaned in.
“I thought you were born again?” he asked.
I froze. Not because I felt embarrassed or like I had done something wrong. But because yes, I was born again and my normal response would have taken his head off. I needed to make sure for my own personal growth that I responded like somebody who was really trying to practice what Jesus preached.
“I thought I was too…” I stopped right there because I wanted to give him a chance to finish.
“Well, if you call yourself born again, you’re breaking one of the laws right now. You’re defiling your body with a pig”.
At this point, my mind went from “What Would Jesus Do” to “What Would Claire Huxtable Do?” If it’s one thing that pushes my buttons, it’s someone’s arrogance in the midst of their ignorance and I looooove to give a good, factual, read, hunty! He was no longer the attractive man I was on a breakfast date with. All I saw in front of me was Elvin Tibideaux when he insisted that Sandra do woman things and stay in a woman’s place.
“So what you’re telling me is, because I’m about to eat roughly, 4 pieces of bacon, I’m committing a sin against God?”
“Yeah!” He looked at me as if to suggest that I couldn’t possibly be a child of God since I didn’t know that eating bacon would send me to hell. I thought, “He’s not serious, is he?” But he was. So, I let Claire come on out.
“Really? Because I could have sworn Jesus stated, ‘It is not what goes into the mouth of a man that defiles and dishonors him, but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles and dishonors him’. I could have also sworn that Jesus clearly stated He came to fulfill the law, which technically means if I want to go back to that kitchen and order an entire pig portion of bacon I can do that and do you know why?”
He doesn’t know why…
“Because on the glorious day when Jesus returns, he is NOT going to snatch away my salvation if I just so happen to have my teeth sunken into a pork chop, and since we’re talking about pork chops, that last one I had in LA was the bomb! Can I cook a pork chop like that? No. But, I am VERY fond of Shake ’n’ Bake and one day soon, I just MIGHT DECIDE I want to make me some Shake n’ Bake pork chops and you know what?”
Again, he doesn’t know what…
“I’mma STILL be saved.”
He just sat there, looking at me. I waited for him to respond but I got nothin’. Crickets…
Needless to say, this cut our breakfast date short. When our server came to refill our coffee I politely said to her…
“Could you just put my breakfast in a to-go box? But please, leave the bacon out. I’m gonna eat it right here”. I told ya’ll in my last post I was a petty work in progress.
I never saw him again after that and later that night, I picked up some pork chops on my way home. I never cooked them but I bought them simply because I could.
In the future, I will do my best to avoid going on dates with people who confuse the gospel of Jesus with religion. Religion is what got Jesus murdered but Jesus dying on the cross and rising again is what allows me to murder bacon. If a future date can’t grasp the reality of that, I’m not the one for him.
I don’t know about you but when God works with me, He uses situations and relationships in my life as a mirror to reflect the condition of my relationship with Him. Let me tell you what I mean…
The day I got engaged I was so shocked. I wasn’t shocked that he was asking. The shock came from the timing of it all. For the past year, we had been going in opposite directions. I was swamped with auditions, classes, and work, while he was laser-focused on building his company and our lives weren’t intersecting at all. We had gone from spending several nights and weekends together, to only seeing each other in passing, maybe a couple of times a week. This bothered me but I kept telling myself, “okay, don’t nag him about how much time you’re not spending together. Let the man work”. I’m not saying I wasn’t busy as well but you know how we are as women. We’re more likely to pause and shift everything around in order to make a relationship work.
But back to the proposal… When it happened, on the inside I was thinking: “Wait…what? where is this coming from? We’ve barely seen each other the past year!” On the outside, however, the actress in me came through and once he got down on his knee in the diner where we first met 4 and a half years prior, I gasped, I cried, I said yes. Of course, I was confused but what was I going to say with everybody watching? “Wait! I have questions!” I mean, sure, I could have said that but… who does that?
Almost a year after the engagement, the relationship ended. I’ll say that too much ambition and a lack of taking the time to make our relationship the priority definitely aided in everything falling apart. Is too much ambition a bad thing? Of course not, but it is when there’s no balance and I’ve watched enough Lifetime movies to know that this is how women end up having “afternoons” with the pool boy because they married men who would rather give their wallets than their time.
Fast forward to July/August 2016. I was spending some quiet time with God and as usual, He started to reveal some things about myself and my character that I had been slow to realize. About a week prior, I had a big argument with my ex. Most of our conversations ended in arguments these days because, despite how long it had been since we ended the relationship, I still harbored lots of anger and resentment toward him because I felt he had yet to acknowledge the reality of why our relationship went left.
Then, all of a sudden, it was as if God sprinkled “girl, you’ve got yo nerve” dust over my head. I heard Him say to me, “well, Stephanie, I understand your pain and your frustration with your relationship, how you wanted to be loved and prioritized. After all, that’s how I’ve felt your entire life about OUR relationship”.
That hit me like a ton of bricks. I was instantly humbled. How could I be so angry at my ex for not making me a priority when I couldn’t even prioritize the One who created me? When I had this, what I like to call “soul epiphany”, I immediately asked God for forgiveness. I wanted to call my ex and apologize to him in that very moment. I didn’t have the right to hold this over his head anymore. All my life I had been treating God the way I accused my ex of treating me. I still expected God to show up for me, be there when I needed Him, all the while giving Him none of my time in return. I held off on calling my ex, however, because that last conversation/argument we had…whew Lawd, it was so extra.
About two weeks later, I got around to apologizing to my ex. I explained to him how I had this encounter with God and how, through my anger, He had revealed to me that I was basically being a hypocrite. I don’t know if my ex fully grasped what I was saying but he accepted it and he apologized as well, for everything.
Ever since then I’ve thought twice about being so quick to make myself the victim in any situation where I feel I’ve been wronged. I’ve realized that while my emotions are important, they’re often secondary to the true lesson I’m supposed to be learning. That there’s always a bigger plan at play and if I’m caught up in my feelings, I’ll miss the lesson and the blessing of the whole thing.
As for my ex and I, we’re great friends. I no longer want to pay the barista at Starbucks to drop laxatives in his coffee, nor do I still fantasize about stealing his dry-cleaning and donating it to Goodwill. And don’t look at me like that. Being born again does not automatically cure your pettiness. We are responsible for the daily renewing of our minds and let’s just say, some days I’m slower to renew than others.
Next month, I will be 40. I don’t feel like it but my left knee does. I’ve always been a thinker. My mama tells me I think too much and for the most part, I agree. But most of the time, I’m honestly thinking about how I can learn from the things I get wrong (which is often) in hopes that I will grow to be a better human who’s capable of contributing some good stuff to the world.
Below is a list of things I’ve learned and/or observed throughout my almost 40 years of life. Notice for some of them, I wrote in the first person because they’re personal to me. Feel free to read them and see if they apply to things you’ve learned and to share them in the comments as well!
- Never wait on anyone to give me permission to be who God created and equipped me to be.
- It is very possible to live without the Internet.
- Hindsight will drive me crazy.
- I thought I knew who I was way before I actually did.
- Most of my health concerns can be eliminated through the foods I eat.
- If I left my acquisition of black history knowledge to American textbooks, I would only know about: Martin Luther King, Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass.
- Comfortable underwear/drawz/panties are underrated.
- It’s quite alright to cut some people out of my life. EVERYONE is of value but not everyone is of value to me.
- As I grew older, my life became more a result of personal choices than circumstances.
- It’s never too late to start over.
- When someone tells me I’m their only friend, RUN! (This especially pertains to romantic relationships)
- Most of the things I need (notice, I said NEED) are provided through & from the earth (Coconut oil, shea butter, and apple cider vinegar cover everything).
- Weed has yet to take a life and is prescribed by doctors to cure certain illnesses, yet it remains illegal in most states. Cigarettes kill on a daily basis, yet can be legally purchased in every convenient store.
- Wood paneling and popcorn ceilings are a sin.
- Failure is not an option as long as I try.
- Everyone is not going to like me and that’s okay.
- Jesus is real.
- Denim was not originally cut and created with my body type in mind.
- It is dangerous to let my imagination go unused or to stop dreaming.
- Vision boards > New Year’s Resolutions.
- Black women do not do passive aggressive and I, being one of them, am proud of it.
- Apologizing and admitting I’m wrong aids in my self-growth and is beneficial for the person I’ve wronged.
- Humility is admirable.
- I don’t believe in soul mates. I believe the person I select to do this life thing and build a family with is it. So I will choose wisely.
- Being a people pleaser often leads to disappointing myself.
- Only highly insecure people actually have the nerve to call someone physically “ugly”.
- No one can let me down like I can.
- My mom was right…about everything.
- The world is full of insecure people who are in positions of power and authority. Find ways around them.
- I can learn from someone’s successes and failures.
- Being resilient in love is a gift.
- If I don’t take me seriously, no one else will.
- Being active is the key to life.
- Wearing my hair the way God naturally intended it to grow out of my scalp should not be up for workplace dress code discussion.
- Showing up for friends and family is important.
- In relationships, repetitive, unwanted behavior from my partner becomes my fault.
- Be grateful for where I am while I’m there, not in retrospect (hence, #3).
- Michael Jackson vs. Prince should have never been a thing. They were different, amazing and there was room enough for both of them…obviously.
- A simple life is underrated.
- The kids are watching.
Hey There! Thanks for stopping by my blog. I’m so glad that you did! I’m in the process of updating my posts (adding some/taking some away), as well as the look/layout of my blog. Meaning, if you come here one day and things seem to be changing everytime you refresh, please be patient with me. It’s a work in progress. Look at it as if you’re walking into a store that’s currently under construction but you can still buy things. Cool?
Before going into 2017, I think I would do myself some good to do a heart detox. I’m not talking about un-clogging my arteries by sipping on green juices and smoothies for weeks at a time (okay let’s be real: days at a time because by day 4, I’m about to kill somebody if I don’t get some solid foods in my system!). I’m talking about really sitting down in a quiet space, dissecting the year going out so that I can go confidently into the new year with a clear mind and heart. We often take the time to write down our new year’s resolutions and a lot of those are tangible, physical goals we’d like to achieve. But what about the intangible things? The spaces in our brains and hearts that have become cluttered by the past year’s junk? Don’t we need to take the time to acknowledge and de-clutter those?
2016 was crazy! The election, no matter what side you were on, put a lot of people in a bad space. Some of us lost friends, fought with our families, got fired from jobs, viewed our co-workers that we thought we knew in a different light. The list of side effects from this bad pill we call “politics” goes on and on. I know personally, I’ve gone back and viewed past Facebook posts or tweets, read them out loud and thought: “hmm, I can see how, even though I feel I was coming from a righteous place, could be hurtful to someone with opposing views”. That’s never my intention. I’m sure it’s never the majority of our intentions but by nature, we as humans are passionate about the things we believe in and it causes us to react from an emotional space more often than not.
While it may not be possible, nor desired to restore some of the friendships lost or broken this year, what we can do prior to entering 2017 is perform a post-mortem of the last 12 months we’re leaving behind and hopefully leave a few unnecessary things with it. Here’s a step by step process of what I like to call, my “Spirit detox”:
I grab a sheet of paper and divide it down the middle, creating 2 separate columns: “2016 Pros” and “2016 Cons”. (*Note: this pros and cons list will include not only tangible, physical accomplishments and failures but mental and emotional ones as well). Once I’ve made this list, I measure each one by the following:
- How did this affect me internally?
- Did this help or harm me or anyone else?
- Was this righteous and responsible for myself and for others?
- Is this something I should carry into the new year with me?
- If this was wrong, what can I do to correct it?
- When will I start the correcting?
People repeat Gandhi’s quote all the time: “you must be the change you want to see in the world”. It sounds great but talk is cheap. I don’t know about you, but I spend the majority of my time outwardly making things happen and that’s okay. Productivity is great! But it’s my personal responsibility to also take the time and make sure that whatever I’m outwardly producing sprouted from a good, healthy space on the inside as well. AND, the good thing about this detox is, it can be done anytime, as much as you feel you need it.
Now, who’s detoxing with me? Please feel free to leave a comment if you have any helpful steps to add or your own detoxing techniques you’d like to share!
As far back as I can remember, I never grew up thinking I wanted what some people consider, “The American Dream”: the house, the husband, the kids. Don’t get me wrong, I always SAID I wanted it when I was in conversation with someone but I never really FELT that’s what I wanted. I never aimed to achieve that. It was as if acquiring those things was the natural order of life and I was supposed to want them. It wasn’t until I hit 31 that I realized I wasn’t dreaming the American Dream. Let me tell you how this happened: