Disclaimer: This is not your typical Strands of Pearls blog post. But more so, an open journal entry – a peak into my never-ending voyage of self-discovery, edification, and preservation. It definitely lacks the usual sequence, fluidity, and grammatical accuracy…lol…but is overflowing with humility, truth, and transparency. I hope it encourages you to dig deeper, stand stronger and be authentically you!
One Tuesday afternoon, I laid across my family room couch and tuned into the 9/30/17 episode of Iyanla, Fix My Life. Outside of the usual tears and overwhelming gratitude to God for my parents and upbringing, Iyanla has afforded me valuable life lessons over the years. On this episode, Iyanla takes a journey with Tab, AKA Turk of rap group Hot Boys, and his wife Erica.
During Iyanla’s solo session with Erica, she inquired of her, “My concern for you Miss Erica is that you are losing yourself piece by piece…..But who are you? Who are you without Turk or Tab….or without the kids…so, who are you? How do you answer those questions? what are you angry about? What are you sad about? What breaks your heart? What makes you cry? What makes you laugh…To know that and live that every day, whether or not Turk is listening to you, is what I want for you……”
Instantly, there was a resonation! I don’t know if it was because I was 3 days away from my 33rd birthday or because I’m always placing myself under a microscope. Or because sometimes every woman that wears multiple hats gets lost in the shuffle and needs to be reminded of her core identity. Either way, an inward inspection of identifying Margaret – outside of titles, responsibilities, relationships, achievements, talents, and perceptions -quickly began. Iyanla was now “fixing my life.” And, my afternoon of rest became a personal evaluation session. I took a screenshot of the therapeutic questions that Iyanla prescribed for Erica and began “my work.”
Who Am I? – I am Margaret. Not Maggie, Marge, Margie, Margarita, Mags…. Just Margaret. (The rare privilege of utilizing any of those nick names is strictly reserved for few.) Biologically, I am age 33. Yet, I appear to be 22 and am internally age 45. I grew up with “old school” training and I still uphold most of those principles today. I believe that there’s a time and place for everything. I’d like to believe that I am an old-fashioned string of treasure. I am small in frame, big in heart and fierce in action. I am a stickler for detail, order, timeliness, and efficiency. I’m an overwhelming, sometimes annoying, realist. I’m all about facts, logistics, plans of action and outcomes. I’m full of surprises yet pretty predictable. I love my family and adore my friends…without them my world would be incomplete. Although I appear girly, I’m not a makeup girl and have grown out of the desire to wear heels every day. I have the slightest clue on how to accurately apply eye shadow, blend, contour, highlight or all that other jazz. And, I’m perfectly fine with that! I prefer threaded eyebrows, eyeliner and lipstick any day. I always resort to the color black and that’s simply because I like black. Black is beautiful, classic, timeless and always makes my red Ruby Woo MAC lipstick pop….LOL. If allowed, I would wear my Nike flip flops and a pair of cozy sock every day. I can switch from the dialect of an educated intellect to straight country and hood in a matter of seconds. And yes, I’m a tad bit bougie. From childhood throughout my young adult years, I’ve lived in 6 different states. Thus, I’m not permanently attached to any environment. I could really move within 48 hours if required to. I’ve been a “church girl” all my life. Thus, there will always be a place in my heart for ministry. I often play it safe, calculate risks, carry my planner and a pencil with me almost everywhere I go. I am kind, faithful, meticulous, sincere and will go out of my way to make someone’s day just a little bit easier and brighter. I love documentaries, am a Pinterest junkie and I enjoy rearranging the furniture in my house at least 3 times per year. I prefer music over television. Spotify trumps Hulu or Netflix, any day, in my book. I can flourish in crowds, but the comfort of my home is where my heart lies. I like working behind the scenes but am equally as productive in the spotlight. I’m not good at hiding my thoughts. My facial expressions usually give away my true sentiments. And, please don’t ask me to read your lips….I’m horrible at that! Just send me a text…. LOL. I love hard, work even harder and rarely play. (I know…I need to do better!) I ADMIT that I am a control freak….daily striving to remove my hands from steering so that Jesus can REALLY take the wheel! I am proud to be “mixed with melanin and God” and therefore, I exude “black girl magic!” I am undeniably my mother’s child and a daughter of the King. I am a woman of purpose. I am a woman of destiny. Neither I, nor this world, truly knows all the phenomenal plans that God has in store for me. I am Margaret…and you’ll never meet another soul quite like me😊
What angers or upsets me? –The mistreatment of my family. The mismanagement, unappreciation and or destruction of life, commitments, time, and effort. Entitlement. Laziness. The misrepresentation of Christ……..
What breaks my heart or makes me cry? – Disappointment or unmet expectations…….tragedy…death.…rejection….The thought of failure – not living up to my own expectations. Grey’s Anatomy and This Is Us episodes. Extreme levels of frustration. When my health doesn’t allow me to be great… Not being able to fulfill a commitment. When, despite wise counsel, I have to watch a loved one head down a destructive path….
What makes me laugh? – My conversations with Ayanna and Jordan and their carpool karaoke renditions. Jelani. The text message, DM’s or group chats that I have with my girls. My little sister, Ashley, and our conversations with and about our parents. The countless memes produced on social media……….(Like when do these people find time to instantly make memes. Is there a company specifically out there that hires “memers” –IJS) The random moments that seem to only occur in an African American church service…ya’ll know what I’m talking about😊
What makes me smile? – Knowing that I’ve pleased God, esteemed my family, and honored myself. The sound of my children playing or hearing them say, “I love you, Mommy!” Peeking into the room and watching my children sleep. When my favorite 90s R and B song comes on the radio or when Spotify accurately concocts a personalized playlist. A clean and organized home. A great outcome on a DIY project. Quietly browsing through the home sections of a department store without time restraints or Ayanna and Jordan’s various renditions of “Can we go now?”. A weekend without ANY obligations. Fresh flowers in my living room. When my decaf iced coffee is made with the perfect amount of crème and sugar. Publix BOGO specials of Clorox/Lysol wipes, pork bacon, Air Wick Plug-Ins, Capri Sun, and Blue Bell Ice Cream. When my hair products and curls cooperate… #winning. Knowing that I’ve successfully accomplished a task, made someone smile or exceeded a client’s expectations. Meeting deadlines. The morning conversations with my mom. Quiet moments with my husband. Volunteering at my daughter’s school. Writing. The scent of a new DW Home candle burning in my home. When my family and friends excel in life. Knowing that the seeds being planted in my children’s ministry babies are taking root…………….
Where do I feel emotionally safe? At home (both mine and my parents). In my journal. Also, in the company of the keepers of my heart….
What I need? – I need the presence of God, my family and friends. I need people to show up for me, like I show up for them. ‘Cause even the most reliable people “need somebody to lean on!” I need peace and quiet for at least 30 minutes of every day. I need my own personal space. I need to go to bed by 9:30PM or a dark side of me emerges. I need to maintain my identity and desires outside of family, work and church. I need to be understood, supported, loved and appreciated. I need to be checked on…even though I’m the queen of checking on everyone that I know and love. I need to let loose every now and then…to put aside my rigid and analytical thought processes and let my TWA blow in the wind. I need to trust the process…. to trust God’s process and His perfect timing. I need to (tactfully) speak my mind and show up for myself. I need to know that it’s OK to take a break at times. To maintain healthy boundaries… to say “No!”… to protect my peace. I need to be more consistent with my spiritual walk, my writing, establishing my brand and pursuing my dreams. I need to let myself breathe!
What I accept or settle for? I often accept tasks or responsibilities because I “can” complete them…instead of asking myself, “Should I complete them?” Everything that is requested of me, even it is good, does not deserve my time, energy, and efforts. I am only one person and I am ultimately responsible for my preservation.
What I value? I value my relationship with Christ, my family, my friendships …..a great nail tech, brow technician and barber/hairstylist (Shout out to Le, Jozie & Mark!!) . Reliability. Timeliness. Honesty. Second Chances. Respect. Hard Work. Sincerity. Collaboration. Peace of mind, heart and spirit. Hearing the voice of the God. A restaurant that I can pick anything off the menu and enjoy it thoroughly…shout out to Cooper’s Hawk!!
What I ignore? I often ignore the signs that I need to slow down or I that I don’t have to be everything to everyone. I often ignore myself…my feelings….my desires. I sometimes, for the sake of feelings, neglect to truly express my sentiments and hold them in until I eventually explode. I sometimes ignore that nudge that God gives me to pray, read His Word or to give myself a break.
What I want? – I want to be content…content with the seasons in my life…content with the knowledge that seasons change. I want to be content with knowing that God is truly the Master of the sea…that Jesus is really on the “mainline” and I can tell him what I want. I want to be OK with not always having a plan A, plan B and plan C. I want to be able to stand upon God’s word without any doubt. I want to excel in life – financially, relationally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. I want to be a present and attentive wife and mother. I want to be the wife and mother that my husband/children need and deserve. I want to travel the world (and not worry about bills) and go on a Tom Joyner’s Fantastic Voyage Cruise before it is discontinued. I want to learn how to drive a stick shift and take my sister and girlfriends on a destination trip at no cost to them. I want to live a long and healthy life without regrets. I want my children to be God centered, productive and purpose driven people. I want to have rhythm to dance #dontjudgeme ….not just to do the Electric or Cha Cha Slide….but realllyyyy dance – that’s just wishful thinking here. ROTFL …the Lord knew exactly what He was doing when He made me. Cause if I could dance the way I do in my head…………..ya’ll wouldn’t be able to stand me!!
I want my life – my parenting, my marriage, my relationships and my choices to be fruitful and honor God.
I want to live a life beyond me…….a life beyond my human capabilities.
I want to live a life so full that only God, Himself, can get the credit for it.
What I miss? – I miss my college days at ORU when life was much simpler (and cheaper). I miss living near my parents and sister. I miss the unlimited pre-kids date nights with my husband. I miss my in-laws living 20 minutes away from my home. I miss two of the most reliable baby sitters, Keshia and Briana. I miss Ayanna and Jordan’s baby stage and baby smell. (No, I’m not up to having another child. Things were just so much easier when they were babies. Their worlds were so much smaller.) I miss hearing my grandmother’s voice……………………………………………….
And at least once per week, I miss having permed hair.
When I look in the mirror, what do I see? I see an imperfect beauty striving for perfection. Not perfection in the sense of being void of error, mistakes, deficiencies. But perfection in the sense of striving to be complete, whole, and aligned…in tune, in sync, in harmony with God, herself and her purpose.
How do I live and walk in the authentic version of myself each day? I think this is a daily decision. I’d say that I must live in the God-given grace assigned to each day (thank you Mommy and Pastor Steven Furtick for those reminders)…. to not be consumed with yesterday or tomorrow…..to live in the moment….to stay in my lane and not overextend myself…to show up for myself in an even greater magnitude than I show up for others…to remain connected to the Vine…to know that because of Jesus Christ, I am worthy of every good and perfect gift that He sends my way…..
I warned you that this wasn’t your typical Strands of Pearls blog post. But I would admonish you to do the same as I did on that Tuesday afternoon.
Grab a pen and paper and sincerely ask yourself, “Who Am I?”
Separate from everyone and anything else, what makes you, “You!”
Each day, I am learning. I am evolving. I am conquering.
Each day, I am embracing being undeniably Margaret.