Addiction: A poem


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People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar-Thich Nhat Hanh

I am grateful to be free from my suffering. I thought it was love…


I let you in

Your poison

Seeps into my skin

My heart carries

Your lies

My body

Accepts your deceit

Hurt controls me

Loving you

Scars me but

It feels necessary

My mind is gone

In my dependence

I am owned

But I am convinced

Without you

Nothing else can exist

Even if there is a cure

A way to cut the ties

Break the chains

And live free

Who will I be

If you don’t love me?

I’d rather suffer through

The deceit, the hurt

Than to build me up

And discover my worth

It is easier

To live in submission

Than to admit

My addiction


The necessity of the struggle


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Hey Sis,

You’ve faced yet another setback, another loss. Another moment where you feel like it’s easier to give up than to keep going. You have things you want to do in life but it seems like you are taking one step forward and ten steps back. I know the feeling, sis.

You know, life will deal you your fair share of challenges. Life can overwhelm you and disappoint you until you don’t have the energy to try again. You can become so frustrated that you ask yourself “what’s the point?” It’s when you start to feel overwhelmed in the struggle that you need to press on. Understand there can be so much value in the struggle. When you are down, this moment is what will create the five year from now you. When you flirted with the idea of giving up, that passion that won’t let you quit is finding its voice; not a quiet whisper, but a loud and confident roar. The struggle is developing a fighter, a survivor, a winner in you.

You know those goals you have? You remember those dreams? They are not IMPOSSIBLE! A delay is not a denial. You just have to find another way. When the road is blocked, create a new path. Don’t let them tell you who you are or what you can accomplish. Don’t let them dictate what goals you can reach. Don’t let them sell you watered down versions of your dreams.

That book? That degree? That business? That hair salon? That non-profit? That grant proposal? That promotion? That dissertation? That research? That church ministry? That mentoring project? That blog? That restaurant? That art studio? That mortgage approval? That approved financing?  Sis, don’t let anyone tell you it can’t be done.  But are you willing to work for it? Are you willing to get back up when they said no? Are you going to find another way or sit idle while life moves on? Are you willing to fight for what you want? Are you willing to sacrifice to achieve you goals? Are you willing to endure the struggle to reap the reward?

No one will believe in the power and passion you possess if you are not confident in you. Take the time to build you up, sis.  Surround yourself with people that want to see you win. Create a circle of supporters.  Develop connections and friendships with people you admire. Research what it takes to get there and then…make the plan to get there.

It won’t be easy. It may be the most difficult thing you could ever do. But in the end, when that goal is reached and that dream is realized, you will truly understand the necessity of the struggle.


A recovering quitter

Eviction notice


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Dear Fear:

Like so many other people, I view the new year as a time to begin anew. There is nothing like a new year to start fresh and set goals. I am not considering this to be a New Year’s resolution though; this is more of a life change.

So, 17 days into 2017, I am serving you, fear, an eviction notice.

Most my life I have been hindered by you. I have allowed you to hold me back, create doubt and handicap my dreams. I allowed you to convince me that I wasn’t good enough to do what I was passionate about. So, for years I sat dormant, too afraid to try because I had grown accustomed to living with you.

When I thought I was being humble, I was really being controlled by you. Fear of rejection made me hide my writing. It made me ashamed to share my thoughts. It made me downplay my ability to write. Despite having published one book of poems, I was still not prepared to accept that I was more than capable of writing-and I should take it serious.

In sharing my writing, I discovered I have so much in common with other people. We share hurt, we share love, we share accomplishments. A defining moment in my writing came from a friend telling me I write for those who don’t have a voice. It put a lot of responsibility on me but honestly, I know I can handle it because I’m not going to stop writing. What’s in my heart speaks a language a lot of people understand. And I refuse to allow you to stand in my way.

This is your official notice that you are no longer welcome in my thoughts. You cannot reside here. You cannot keep me stagnant. I reject the status quo you tried to move in with you. You cannot keep my passion stifled anymore. I have work to do and you cannot keep taking up space in my mind. I am replacing you with optimism and dedication. I am inviting perseverance and commitment. Patience and passion are moving in.

My immediate writing goal is that I will no longer be referring to myself as an aspiring author because with you out of the picture, I am an author. I am breaking free from the complacency that had me bound and pushing myself forward. Because even if I fail, the greatest reward is that I am no longer afraid to try.

Dear Ex: Lessons in Love


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Dear Ex,

Today, I had an epiphany.

Today, I realized that I am not as over you as I thought. Today, I felt that twang of hate when I saw you and despite how you hurt me, I would never wish any bad on you. Well, nothing major. A broke toe, spending hours at the ER and not being able to walk without some major discomfort would make me happy. But I digress…

After all this time, I blamed you for hurting me. I blamed you for every time I cried. I blamed you for the time I wasted. I blamed you for the nights I couldn’t sleep wondering why I wasn’t good enough for you. But today I realized I couldn’t blame you for everything; I had to admit my fault in this as well.

Please don’t misunderstand; you have a great deal of responsibility in my hurt but truth be told, I have the greater responsibility because it was what I allowed. This isn’t something I didn’t know but it was so much easier to blame you than to admit I was foolish enough to allow it to happen. Today, I put on my big girl panties and owned my part in my hurt.

You didn’t love me and I should have walked away. You didn’t need me and I should have walked away. You showed me over and over that you were not capable of providing me with the love, comfort, security and consistency that I required yet and still, I didn’t walk away. And that is where my accountability faltered. It’s true what they say: what is allowed is what will continue. Disrespect was allowed so I shouldn’t be surprised that it continued. Today, I realized I didn’t value myself enough to demand more and believe me you that hurt a hell of a lot more than anything you ever did to me.

Today, I recognized that underneath all that anger, hurt and pain, you gave me some much needed lessons in love. Because of you I learned that everyone doesn’t deserve me. I learned that while perfection is an illusion, I cannot settle for less than what I desire. I learned that begging someone to love me is a sign of weakness. I learned to define love and what kind of love I would allow myself to receive. I learned that while you may not be a horrible person, you would never appreciate me or my passion. I learned I am worth so much more than I settled for. I learned that my time and my heart are too valuable to waste.

I often wished I never met you. I imagined how much more emotionally content I would have been if I didn’t give up so much of my peace waiting for you. I thought my heart would have had one less crack in it if you were never a part of my life. But…today I am so much better for having went through that hurt. I put a value on my love and I set the bar for my time. Without you, I wouldn’t be the better, wiser, improved, stronger, ready for love me. So thank you…for once, I can say you did something worthwhile for me.


A healing and evolving Queen

Transparency: My struggle with depression


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Against my better judgment, I am writing this post. Sigh.


Hi. My name is Jennifer and this is what my depression looks like. It’s not always sadness and looking unkempt. Often times it’s this…smiling to hide the reality. Smiling to avoid explaining the sadness. Smiling because I don’t fully understand what I’m sad about. Smiling so people won’t tell me all I need to do is pray. Smiling so they won’t tell me someone else has it worse than me. Smiling because tears lead to questions. Smiling because they would never understand the war I endure everyday.  Smiling because it’s expected. Smiling to hide the hurt. Smiling because sometimes it’s easier.

But the reality is, pretending to be ok is not easy. It only adds to the struggle.  I have to wonder how well I am hiding it. I have to try to be “on” all the time. I have to look a certain way, act a certain way, do certain things so everyone will think I’m fine. And that can be so draining.

By now I’m sure your questions are forming…why are you depressed? What happened to you? You have so much to be thankful for…why are you focusing on the sadness? We all have problems, what makes yours so different? Have you prayed about it?

If you are looking for answers to those questions, I don’t have any. I can’t tell you why I feel the way I feel. Sometimes my sadness is self-inflicted. Even though I may have put myself in a situation, being in that situation feeds into my self-doubt and negative image of myself.  I also carry other people’s problems with me and that adds to my stress as well. But most of the time, I can’t really describe what it is. It’s just…sadness and frustration. Sure I could say it’s money problems or failed relationships or taking forever to finish college. Those situations can be the starting off point but it can become so much deeper than that.  Failing creates doubt. Doubt leads to anxiety. Anxiety can become insecurity. Insecurity can manifest to negativity of the I’m-not-good-enough-so-why-even-try variety.

Now this isn’t an everyday feeling. I have very good days. I have days when I am happy with myself and I am confident. But there are days when all I want to do is be alone. And being alone with my thoughts is a breeding ground for self-doubt.

I am sharing this today because maybe there are people out there like me. While it might not fit the bill for clinical depression, this sadness is real. Maybe it’s too hard for you to admit it. Maybe you never knew what you were feeling. Maybe you think you deserve this hurt. Maybe you don’t know where to turn. For years I have coped with this the best way I know how which is writing and just letting it pass on its own. That’s not really working for me anymore and I have decided to go see a counselor. If you have ever felt anything close to what I have described, I urge you to put your fear of judgment aside and talk to someone.

Maybe later on down the road I will be able to share how I overcame. But right now, this is just my transparent moment, sharing a piece of me hoping that it can help me and someone else in the process.

SN: If your only comment to this post is “just pray about it”, please don’t say anything at all. Prayer alone is not enough. If it were, this post wouldn’t be necessary.

Queens don’t compete with Queens


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By nature I am not a very competitive person.  I don’t want to be better than anyone. I don’t want to beat you in a race. I don’t want to sell more donuts than you. Competition isn’t something that motivates me.

Not all competition is bad though.  Competition can make you better. If you see another woman is working out more than you, you might want to step your game up. If you see she is putting in major time studying, you might want to match or beat her efforts. If competition is going to make you work harder to make you better, I would consider that a benefit.

However, if competition makes you bitter, frustrated or makes you down or criticize the next woman, then you have walked into the realm of being a hater.  Hater is one of my least favorite words because I feel it’s overused. But when you have to point out the negatives of another woman in an effort to boost yourself up, that’s exactly what you are. And it’s beyond pointless.


There are entirely too many people in the world for you to get upset if someone does the same thing as you. It’s absolutely insane to think no one else will have your same talents, passion and gifts.  I’m not the only writer in the world. Anthony Hamilton isn’t the only singer (he’s the only one that matters to me though; I love that man!). Kerry Washington isn’t the only actress. Scott Conant isn’t the only chef. Sometimes we create competition where there really isn’t any. People have preferences and what I like may not float your boat. And that’s perfectly ok. Don’t be naïve enough to believe people can only like one singer, artist, chef or writer at a time.

One of the reasons I had a hard time sharing my writings was because I spent too much time comparing myself to Maya Angelou, Jill Scott and Nikki Giovanni. I surmised that my writing was not to their caliber so why should I even try? But when I did share began my work I was caught off guard by the positive feedback I received.  I was floored by the people that could say “I loved that poem” or “I needed to hear that”.

I don’t compare to Jill Scott…she is absolutely amazing in her gift. But the position of being Jill Scott is already filled; what better person is there to be than me? I have a unique gift and in the words of my sister “you have something to say that someone needs to hear.” The more I compared myself to other women, the less effort I was putting into being that voice for someone.

I’m not in competition with any other woman. Another woman can write all the poems, novels and short stories she wants and I will not think of her as my competition. We share the same gift and that connection makes me want to support her, not criticize her. A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting an author. She allowed me to pick her brain and get some insight into the world of publishing and writing in general.  Instead of  brushing me off as her competition, she took the time to share her experiences and to give me suggestions. This simple act has made me a fan and I’m going to go buy all her books. I’ll support her ventures and I’ll recommend her books to other people. Because she saw me as a Queen and not as competition.

Queens: imagine how much more powerful we can be if we support each other instead of bashing each other. Imagine how much more connected we could be if we could pool our thoughts, ideas, and resources together. Imagine the people we could reach if we walked in our own path while showing our sisters they can walk their paths, too. Imagine how strong we can be if we show our sisters love and support in their ventures.

We can create a movement, a force to be reckoned with. We can create a network of women who can reach women who can reach women who can reach women. We can empower Queens to leap into their dreams.

And all we have to do is what we love to do while pushing the next sister to chase her goals, too. Who are you supporting? What blogs do you follow? What life coaches do you subscribe too? What artists do you like? Who’s book are you reading? Name drop those Queens that you are supporting!

Get you some #BlackGirlMagic


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I am absolutely in love with the term Black Girl Magic right now. I love going to Instagram and searching the hashtag to see my women of color loving the melanin they are in. It is so refreshing. So positive. So inspiring.

Julee Wilson, senior fashion editor of the Huffington Post defined Black Girl Magic as the universal aweseomenss of black women. It’s about celebrating anything we deem particularly dope, inspiring or mind-blowing about ourselves

Sure we can attach the Black Girl Magic hashtag to Gabby Douglas or Simone Biles winning medals in Rio at the Olympics. We can say that Beyoncé, Jazmine Sullivan or Chrisette Michelle slays us with their Black Girl Magic. Awesomely Luvvie, my absolute favorite blogger, sprinkles Black Girl Magic with wit and humor. Shonda Rhimes owns Thursday nights with her amazing Black Girl Magic.


But what about the women around you?

The Randae Dodsons who cast fear aside to move to another state? What about the Derricca Holmes’, Jamisha Wrights or Melanie Cross-Kings that share their gift of creativity and art?

What about the Shell Solomons or Amy Hills that want to share something they love with the world? What about the Tiffany Davis’, Nealia Coleys or Tamika Morgans that go back to school?

What about the Laura Edwards that want to see their communities be better? What about the Sharon Tarvers and Linda Harris’ that survive breast cancer?

What about the Nina Barkers, Alitha Hawkins, Denishia Tatums and Tomika Davis’ that want to share their words? What about the Valerie Trices, Yolanda Coleys, Tomeika Lukes, Elizabeth Holloways, Monisha Volleys, Nina Perrys and other women educators that push our kids to greatness?

What about the Britney James’ that are the world’s biggest cheerleaders? What about the LaManda Jones’, Felicia Hintons, Kechi Davis’ and Denetra Hamiltons that have a passion for nursing?

What about the Ayada Ingrams, Tomeisha Holts, Crystal McClusters and Stacy Cromers that take their health and fitness serious? What about the Chelsey Watts’ that graduate from law school?

What about the Shannon Kings, Emily Powells, Lucee Lou Jankins, Monica Lusanes, Dorthea McKenzies, Patricia Harris’, and Tasha Mables that slay hair? What about the Jessica Pitres or Le’Andra Jones’ that own the gift of make up artistry?

What about the single mothers, students, wives, working two jobs, getting little sleep, pressing, praying, surviving, hustling women?

These are women that surround me, that I know, that I have interacted with, all have thier own brand of Black Girl Magic.

But there are more of us out there. We are everywhere, doing great and magical things. This is not a competition; there is enough room out here for everyone to shine. Support the women around you, encourage the women around you, uplift the women around you. Spread this Black Girl Magic all over the world.

Somewhere along the way, we were told we aren’t enough when we are truly EVERYTHING. You are literally LIFE everlasting. You are God’s vessel. Science can’t explain us. We are magic.-Luvvie Ajayi

Worth the sacrifice


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We live in a microwave era where we want everything quick, fast and in a hurry. But I am a firm believer that anything worth having is worth working for. If you make the right connections, you can possibly lessen some of the work you have to do, but even then, making the right connections can take some work.

Working towards your goals won’t always be easy. There will be obstacles, setbacks, and of course, sacrifices. The reason some people (myself included) won’t reach their goals is because we fear sacrifices.  And that isn’t necessarily a flaw; if you are accustomed to doing something, giving it up will not be easy. BUT, it’s hard to convince anyone, especially yourself, that your goals are important if you are not putting in the work and making necessary sacrifices.

There are a lot of people that are making things happen but I want to highlight two people I see working hard on their goals:

First, my cousin Chelsey Watts who has aspirations to become a lawyer. After graduating from Georgia State, Chelsey began the next phase of her life and enrolled at the Thurgood Marshall School of Law in Houston Texas. She graduated with her Juris Doctor degree this past May and I couldn’t be more proud of her! Now, for the past few months, Chelsey has been studying for the BAR exam and she’s been pretty low key while doing so.


Chelsey has sacrificed hanging out, social media, enjoying the simple pleasure of watching TV and doing whatever else a 27 year old could be doing right now. Not only did Chelsey leave her friends and family to move to Texas for Law School, she has also given up life as she knew it to study for the BAR. What she is sacrificing will definitely be worth her reward of passing the BAR. I can’t even imagine the stress and anxiety she must be feeling right now but she’s definitely an inspiration to me…she is proof that Law degrees and passing the BAR won’t come easy. Once this test is passed (claiming it!) she will know every sacrifice was well worth it.

My inspiration is Ayada Ingram. I know Ayada through working with my sister and my son and her niece are friends (they went on a date!). With her health becoming an issue, Ayada began her weight loss journey.  At her biggest, she was 270 pounds and she was pretty unhappy with herself. Her weight caused major health and self-esteem issues for her.

Ayada said the hardest part was the will power to diet and eat right. When she was heavier, exercising was harder but now, Ayada works out religiously 5-6 times a week. She sacrifices her time, working out when she’s tired, and eating right when she had didn’t want to. But her sacrifices have produced phenomenal results: over the course of a few years, Ayada went from a size 26 to a size 10/12! Can you say AMAZING!

The pride of taking charge of her life, health and weight shows in her smile. Ayada told me that she is much happier now that she was before….and the results are absolutely priceless!



So my question to you is what are you willing to give up to get to where you want to be? What goals do you have? Maybe it isn’t passing the BAR or losing weight but what are you doing to take your goals from vision to action?

Talking alone isn’t enough. You can’t just say you want to lose weight and continue eating whatever you want. You can’t just say you want to be a lawyer without putting in hours of studying. If I say I want to publish a book, that means I have to dedicate time to write. If you say you want to go back to school, that means you have to carve out time to study. Talking about it without doing anything  won’t get you anywhere.

My last post highlighted my love for writing and my plans for it. And I haven’t been sacrificing enough for it. I can admit I wanted it microwaved and I made excuses as to why I couldn’t focus on it like I needed to. I have kids. I’m in school. I work. I try to have a social life. But at the end of the day, saying I want to be an author will remain a dream until I start to work for it.

Chelsey and Ayada have shown me the rewards sacrifice can bring…so now it’s up to me to push myself further.  If I have to give up watching Food network on Friday night to write, then so be it. If I have to wake up an hour earlier to write, then so be it. If I have to turn down hanging out to write, then so be it.

I have published a book of poetry but for the most part, that didn’t take a lot of sacrifice; most of my poems for that book were done by the time I decided to publish. I’ve been asked about book two and I always have the same excuse: I haven’t had the time. And the truth of the matter is I haven’t made the time. Excuses are out the window, procrastination is being evicted and now, I’m ready to hit the ground running!

Don’t quit your daydream


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One of my life’s mantra’s is Habakkuk 2: 2: Write the vision and make it plain. It’s no secret that writing is what I love to do. For years I’ve written in journals, poetry, papers, and this blog. Most recently, I’ve started writing short stories and I’ve have a lot of story ideas. I’ve published a book of poetry “But…there’s love” a few years ago and my second one is pretty much finished. If I couldn’t write I wouldn’t know what to do with myself.

For the most part, writing for me is a hobby. It’s a catharsis. It’s often how I sort out my thoughts. It’s how I’ve connected to people (hey Randae, Keshauna and Le’Andra!). It’s the way I make sense of the world.  Could I do more with my writing? Absolutely. I’ve been told that for years by a lot of people…friends, family, even my pastor. So why haven’t I? That is the better question.

It’s not a confidence thing; I know I’m good at what I do. I’m not worried about people disliking anything I write because I’m not for everyone and that’s ok. I actually don’t have a reason why other than I just haven’t.  But today a spark was lit under me by my sister. She pretty much asked me why am I not doing more. The short answer is…I am not making time. Between work, school and my kids, my free time is few and far between.

But what good is having this passion for writing, this gift if I’m not going to perfect it, work on it or share it?  I have to make time for this blog, my poetry and the books (come through plural!!). I have to take this more serious.  I can’t let other people push me more than I push myself. I may have to give up some things, sacrifice some things and struggle through some things if this is my dream.

Not that I had to share this with the world but by putting it in writing, I am holding myself accountable. At work we say “if it isn’t documented, it didn’t happen”. So this is my documentation: I am dedicating more time to my craft. I am going to push myself. I am going to share my words with the world.

A father’s love: Commentary on surviving child molestation


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Last week, a Facebook friend of mine, along with his daughter, posted a very emotional Go Live video.  I’ve known this guy for years, went to school with him and we even have some relatives in common.  I cannot say that I know him extremely well since I’ve been out of high school for 18 years, but one thing I do know is that he loves his daughter, without question.

So imagine a father’s reaction upon learning that his daughter was molested at a young age. Imagine how this father felt knowing his daughter has endured such a atrocious situation. Imagine how this father felt knowing the person who violated his daughter was his own cousin.

child molestation

Watching the video had tears streaming down my face. The daughter is now 15, disclosed when she was about 12 but the abuse happened when she was younger (I think 6-7). I was floored. I have been working in the human services field for a number of years and I have heard the most heartbreaking stories of abuse but this one? This one hit home because I know these people, this family.

Parents…please do not think these types of things only happen in certain families. That you have to be a certain race, live in a certain part of town or make x amount of money. Because it can happen to anyone.  The father didn’t suspect anything because the guy is his cousin. I’m not talking a distant relative that you saw at family reunion once a year. No, this was someone he hung out with. Chilled with. Took up for. Loved.

…all the while I was feeding my daughter to a predator

I cannot imagine having to endure anything like this with my children, niece or nephews. A few months ago there was a huge controversy about transgendered people using the bathroom of the gender they identify with. But this father didn’t have to worry about a transgendered person in a bathroom; this happened in his own family.

On the video, the father said that his daughter was good now. He actually said that multiple times.  What made me believe this to be true was that you could tell he has an open and honest relationship with her.  He has set the ground work for her being able to talk to him about any and everything.

Parents…please do not be afraid to be your child’s friend. There is a huge difference in friend and peer.  I truly believe she is good because he (along with her mother and his wife) have been there every step of the way. From pressing charges, talking about it, working through it, going to therapy…they didn’t let her handle this situation by herself. Her abuser is serving time in jail but that doesn’t mean she’s magically ok. But she had so much love and support from her parents, step-mother, and other family members that I am sure she felt protected and able to process any feelings she has openly.

We, as parents, have to realize our kids are growing up different than we did. Just as we grew up different than our parents.  If you are not constantly checking, calling, texting, talking and most importantly listening to your children, you will miss something. Parents, put your uncomfortableness aside and dive into those tough conversations. Sex, molestation, drugs, guns, alcohol…use the media to start discussions. I talked to my son about consensual sex after the Brock Turner incident. If you’re doing all the talking, it’s a lecture and you’re not learning anything. Find out how your kids feel about certain situations. Find out if they have been around someone that makes them uncomfortable. Find out how much they know about sex. If you aren’t the one giving them information, you leave it up to others (i.e. their equally misinformed friends) to shape their thoughts.

Fathers, if you are not involved in your child’s life (beyond paying child support) you run the risk of your sons or daughters having to face some really tough situations without their father to go to bat for them. Mothers, if you do not allow you child’s father to be a part of their life (beyond child support), your child is being deprived of having that protector. Child support cannot comfort a child that has been molested. Now I know everything is situational but when it comes to raising kids, your personal feelings have to go out the window and you have to do what’s best for your kids.

Let’s not be dismissive of molestation in our communities. It happens more often than you think. This situation has divided a family…the cousin’s mother does not believe her son did anything and to my understanding, this girl wasn’t the first person he’s done something to. The father said that so he does not disrespect his aunt, he does not interact with his family anymore. It’s not an easy situation to go through; it’s difficult for everyone involved. But I am extremely grateful that this father takes his role as a parent serious and they are working through this to make sure she grows up happy and healthy.

I commend them for sharing their story because I know it had to be a very tough and trying situation. I inboxed him on Facebook to asked if I could blog about it and he told me I could; he believes we need to give more attention to these types of situations. He also posted how so many people have messaged him and told him they were abused as children and he  is encouraging people to talk about it.

The bravery this child possessed is amazing and I will continue to keep them in my thoughts and prayers.