I used to awaken in the middle of the night, turn on the TV praying that the sound would not wake my mother and watch old black and white films. It would not matter the title. I discovered a fondness for musicals, Ginger Rodgers and Fred Astaire. I became enamored by the love story. I imagined such a life of beauty, love, and music. I became engrossed in the story until I would fall asleep or the national anthem would start playing.
Funny thing, I never saw anyone like myself in those stories. There were African American movies and characters but they were in the throws of struggle, poverty, or slaves. Where were the brown girl love stories? It was a question I put on the shelf in my young mind and went about life being a kid. As a preteen, I discovered Zora Neale Hurston stories. Their Eyes Were Watching God centered around black love before it was a hashtag. I craved more.
If I were this hungry to see women like myself fall in love, surely there were others. Mahatma Gandhi and, later, Barack Obama said that you need to be the change you want to see. So, I became a writer. I wrote Ruth’s Awakening: A Love Story to illustrate a young black woman’s journey to love. Ironically, I have had non-black women and men write me or tell me how much they relate to the story. Love is truly our universal language.
As I write the sequel, I have to remind myself to remember the love. The desire for it, the euphoria in it, the hope of it and transmute that on the page.
I heard Desmond Tutu state that we need other people to be fully human.
“None of us comes into the world fully formed. We would not know how to think, or walk, or speak, or behave as human beings unless we learned it from other human beings. We need other human beings in order to be human. I am because other people are. A person is entitled to a stable community life, and the first of these communities is the family.” Source
I extend that to friends. We need them. We need community. I’m sorry but Vicki Winans was wrong when she sang, “As long as I got King Jesus, I don’t need nobody else.”
On the surface, that may seem correct. A relationship with Jesus is the most important one you will ever have. However, is it the only one you need? Let’s delve a little further into the lyrics.
“I’ve been lied on, cheated, talked about, mistreated
I’ve been used, scorned, talked about sore as bone
I’ve been up, down, almost to the ground.”
Now this sounds like emotional trauma. There is a danger of becoming close to someone. They have the proximity to hurt you. It is also true, letting someone know the real you can be a mutual enjoyable relationship. Great conversation, a safe place to vent, someone to cheer you on when you doubt yourself. Friendship has its benefits.
The bible has many verses on the value of friendship.
A friend loves at all times,
and a brother is born for a time of adversity. Proverbs 17:17
One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin,
but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. Eccl. 4:9-10
I never really noticed this part of the verse until writing this post. ” . . . because they have a good return for their labor.” We work so hard to accomplish things solo when we could achieve exponentially more working together.
There are people who prefer solitude. There is scientific evidence that loners become overstimulated in social situations or in crowds. This is valid. I also believe that individuals thrive in authentic community. Past experiences with betrayal or disappointment can sour someone on the idea of friendship. Solitude in this instance is a trauma response. I believe this is why social media is so popular. It allows people to connect while simultaneously maintaining distance.
” . . . there seems to be a cap on the number of friends a person’s brain can handle, and it takes actual social interaction (not virtual) to keep up these friendships. So feeling like you’re being social by being on Facebook doesn’t work. Since loneliness is linked to myriad health and mental health problems (including early death), getting real social support is important. Virtual friend time doesn’t have the therapeutic effect as time with real friends.” Source
Herein lies the rub. Friendship takes effort. You have to care about another’s well-being. You have to call them. Make plans for lunch or to workout together. Each friend serves a different role in your life and that is okay. Not every friend is someone you can call at 3:00 am when you are in a crisis, but maybe you have one that is. Not every friend is a spiritually-rooted, prayer warrior, but if you have one that is, you are blessed.
Make the effort. Say hello. Share a bit of yourself. Make a friend.
Excuse the title but I needed to grab your attention. Spin it on its axis and point it back toward your goals. You said you would work out 4 days a week but you do not feel like it, you are tired. You said would stop eating junk food but you are stressed and snacking helps you cope. You said you would not go back to your ex but you are lonely. You said, you promised, and you did not because – your feelings.
Feelings are conscious expressions of your emotional state. This emotional state can be conscious or unconscious. For example, you can ‘feel’ sad, annoyed, despondent. These feelings are the result of a ‘depressed’ emotion. You may or may not be aware of your depressed state. It may take the assistance of a therapist to point this out to you but you are conscious of your feelings of sadness, annoyance, and despondency.
Feelings are tricky. Other stimuli can trigger feelings unrelated to your true emotional state. Dehydration causes thirst that can be mistakenly felt as hunger. You can overreact to a stimulus because of your own emotional state. You may feel afraid of someone in an elevator due to you never feeling protected or safe alone.
This is why you can never trust your feelings. You need something else to gauge and aid in what you need to do.
For if our thoughts are erroneous, or based on false assumptions, the feelings tied to these thoughts are bound to be equally distorted—and hardly to be trusted. Source
Enters the word. Words are very powerful, especially, written down. Here’s a tip. For the month of March, make a schedule. Type it up and print it out. Stick to it, regardless of how you ‘feel’.
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Will Smith, yes the Fresh Prince of Bel Aire, dropped a word in my spirit. He challenges s to examine who we spend time with. Is this person feeding your flame or dousing your spirit? Take a look and let me know what you thing in the comments.
As a writer, I am tasked with articulating the human experience. My characters must resonate with readers by being relatable, honest, and sometimes, outlandish. In 3D, relating to each other can be a bit more precarious. It is easier to trust the person on the page than the one sitting next to you on the subway. Then, there are people whose radiating presence penetrates the hardened façade of strangers making them feel at ease. Tamala Baldwin is such a light.
Tamala is a renaissance woman for the millennial generation. TV Host, Speaker, Producer, Author, and Businesswoman top the list of her amazing talents. This year, she had added actress to that impressive list. Tamala is staring in the Curvy Girls Rock: The Series, fulfilling a dream which fear had held her back from for many years.
Three years ago, Tamala interviewed me to discuss my debut novel, “Ruth’s Awakening: A Love Story”. Who knew three years later, I would be blessed with the opportunity to return the favor. I
What is your gift? Describe your journey identifying, owning, and sharing that gift?
For the longest time, I believed my gift was that of performing. Though I absolutely LOVE to perform, I learned that my true gift is so much deeper than that. The reason I believe I was born was to share the gift of human sunshine. Sunshine can change anything, transform anything, re-make anything, and cause anything to become as beautiful as nature intended. In this lifetime, I have been able to experience an enchanting union with the radiance of my own soul and I feel positively free, as if nothing could ever stop me because of this sunshine. My gift is to share these sunbeams to everyone I meet and one of the ways I feel drawn to do that the most, is through storytelling. We are so blessed to be alive. We are so fortunate to have the luxury of time to evolve into greater expressions of ourselves through the experience of life. Capturing the human experience in order to help others tap into deeper awareness of their own sunshine . . . that is my gift.
Coming to this state of awareness has been extremely difficult. As someone that is so open to the light, navigating the shadow or darkness was definitely part of my journey. As a child, God shielded me from internalizing what I saw, but that shifted in my 20’s. It was as if my Creator opened the gates of heaven and I experienced the harshness of life for the first time. It was as if I left home and wandered in the wilderness. Of course, in my infancy, I thought this was a punishment, because I TRULY never experienced REAL sadness even though I grew up in the hood and saw a lot of things during the 80’s. Yet, I realize that the wilderness is not a punishment. It is an invitation to become aware or conscious of your divinity, who you are and the paradise that you come from.
This awareness of GOD being closer than breathing is forever expanding, so even though I have this amazing love buzz in the center of my heart, every day I am being purged and cleansed of fear, guilt, doubt… of anything that gets in the way of experiencing more TRUTH. For example, it was only after the passing of my mother did I realize there was a part of me that was afraid and was still hiding. We all hide and it is only until we REALIZE and see it for ourselves can we step from behind it and into the light.
What is fear to you? Describe an instance when you have had to overcome fear.
My fear was that I was not the ideal weight to act. The goal of the media is to tell us what to think and somewhere along the line, I told myself that I was too fat (I am a size 12 and sometimes a 10) to pursue acting. Yet, after experiencing the loss of my mother, it allowed me to release that. Losing the person that loves me the most in life freed me from the lie that I was telling myself, which at the root, was that I wasn’t good enough, pretty enough and so forth.
Let me tell you, releasing that untruth has been so freaking liberating! It was like a weight, I didn’t even know I was carrying, was lifted.
Fear is anything that keeps you from experiencing the Truth. Fear is a weight that can paralyze you from fulfilling your purpose. Fear is a deceiver and a lie. Fear is something that keeps you hostage and dims your light. Fear is that bad friend that holds you back from doing what God has called you to do and will use any means necessary to manipulate you. The only way I know how to handle fear, is to seek refuge with God, my Creator and the Lover of my Soul. I don’t address fear. I don’t ask fear to flee. I ask God. The reason I was able to release the fear about being too big to pursue acting was because I prayed to God day and night for clarity on my purpose. After losing my mommy, I was so confused about what I was meant to do with my time here. Should I go back to working a 9 to 5? Should I stop performing and teach? I had no idea what to do especially since I am a caregiver for a mentally ill sibling. Since I knew I was coming from a place of fear, I asked God, who is my Ultimate Protector, Lover and Best Friend. When I say who God is to me, I mean it with all of my heart. We go together and so when I go to “him” it is one of the most intimate part of my day. God loves us so much that there is no need to look at the fear. Casting our gaze upon LOVE is all we need.
What do you want viewers to take away from Curvy Girls Rock: The Series?
Curvy Girls Rock is the second series I booked since I became awake to this fear that had taken up residence in my mind. The other series I am also working on is, “Asunder”, which can be found on Amazon Prime in 2018. When I booked, “Curvy Girls Rock: The Series”, all I could do was smile at the synchronicity since this series stars women that are curvy in size. All I could do was smile at God at this opportunity that was a direct reflection of the fear I had just released. All of us are born with purpose and to add sunshine. No matter what is happening around us, what has happened to us, where we went to school, or what we look like – we are here and charged with purpose. “Curvy Girls Rock”, was a wink from God affirming that truth and we must never believe the lies we tell ourselves. Rather, to trust the greatness, the love, the sunshine that dwells within us.
Being the light may sound a little cliché but every platitude starts as a commonly accepted truth. Humans radiate light and absorb it. We need it to live, grow, and thrive. Light requires a fuel source. We call that source God. When we connect with God intimately, his light flows through us. Thank you Tamala for allowing the light of God to shine through you to us.
I have read the entire Bible. It took me about 3 years but I did finish. I cannot recall anything mentioning a ‘soul tie’. I will admit, I am no biblical scholar so I am open to correction. I see services, conferences, and books marketing this ‘soul-tie’ idea and how to break it. The tying of the soul concept in with Christianity just does not jive with me.
I started researching this idea of soul ties via Google. Some Christian sites laud the idea and some do not. Continuing my investigation, I found something eerily similar in an arena outside of Christianity – metaphysics. The definition of metaphysics is pretty broad. It is the study of existence. Are you still confused? Okay, good. In this worldview, soul-ties are referred to as ‘energy cords’ or ‘ethereal cords’. The idea behind it all, is that when two individuals “bond” or “unite” (sexually or emotionally) their souls become entangled so that moving on is impossible without first breaking the soul tie.
In terms of Christianity, scripture is used to bolster the concept. Although the term “soul tie” is never mentioned in the bible, one scripture referenced in support of the idea is:
“Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, ‘The two will become one flesh.’” (1 Corinthians 6:16).
The two becoming one flesh is used as evidence of souls become tied together. I understand it to mean that physically two people are bonding but the unity does not involve their souls. I mean, what is a soul exactly? Some define it as the non-physical part of a person. There are many varied definitions depending on the belief system. Let us for for this discussion define the soul as the inner essence of someone. How can your essence be conflated with another’s? If the souls are joined, how does one divide them again?
One of the steps listed to break the soul tie is to write the ex’s name on a sheet of paper, light a candle, and burn the paper. You are reciting out loud a prayer to exorcise this person from your soul. This is problematic for me as a Christian because the practice of lighting candles, reciting chants, and burning names is very similar to a “fire spell”. A fire spell is used to spiritually cleanse yourself, to get rid of feelings and behavior, and even to communicate with the dead. I found this info on sites about witches and the occult.
Just because something is a trend does not mean we can blend it with the bible. Read the bible for yourself. If our souls belong to God, how can they be tied to another?
I wake up in the morning, pray, and grab my phone. I read a scripture or online devotional and then, I check my notifications. I may be a just a bit addicted to social media. Pray for me.
I am swiping up, in the Twitter app this morning and I see the hashtag #whyIwrite. I suppressed the urge to shoot off a quick 140 characters to hop on the trend. I thought, this will require some introspection.
Writing my debut novel was a lot like giving birth, cliche as it may sound. I felt I had the story that had been building in me for years. I was swollen with characters, plots, and exposition. The stories of the myriad of women and men I have encountered through life provided DNA segments building the unique personality of each character. I had begun the Ruth’s Awakening: A Love Story nearly a decade before. The idea, the dna, all brought together in the love making created a life that built up inside my mind. I just had to bring it forth.
Everyone always asks, when is part two. The truth is, I have allowed life to distract me from the art of love. Love is action. Love is deliberate. I am learning to write as a discipline. It is my passion. Some days, I am so wiped out, I do not feel the burning in my soul. It is like a marriage that way. I guess. I have never been married. But, I have read that you must choose to love your spouse even when do not feel like it.
My fingers are vessels carrying my thoughts to the keyboard. Words and writing – love in the making. Love making. There I go again.