Since publishing Desert of Solitude: Refreshed by Grace in 2018, I’ve been revisiting the manuscript to edit and clarify the text. This year, I’ve spent quite a bit of time actually rewriting and reorganizing it. The below excerpt is part of the epilogue and seems like a timely share for the holiday and the space I’m in.
I AM Woman Cover Work
Below are some steps I’ve taken to get to the cover for I AM Woman: Expressions of Black Womanhood. Now accepting pre-orders for a limited number of copies. Place your order at Harvest-Life.org/shop.
Reading: I Am From… by LaShawnda Jones
Video reading of “I Am From….” by LaShawnda Jones Author LaShawnda Jones recites her poem “I Am From” – YouTube
Journal: August 9, 2019
New York, New York
My mind is all aflutter with clamoring thoughts… but first I give thanks.
Father God, thank you for all You are! Thank you for keeping me, for providing for me. Thank You for looking out for me when I’m ready to give up all semblance of hope.
My closing is scheduled for next week and now I can think. I can breathe. I wish I had planned this time because it’s a good point for a fast. The last two sermons brought up a lot in me. A lot of thoughts about rejection and how different my life would be with people in it.
I’m recognizing trauma for what it is and what it has done to me.
My sister avoiding me for over a decade has been the most deep-seated, hard-to-face rejection of my life.
One of my best friends from high school treating me as a second rate, after-thought option to fill in for her white best friends from middle school and college has changed my commitment to female friendships.
Three older women I’ve long thought of as “second mothers” each telling me in their own way I had no real place in their lives crippled me emotionally.
Remembering how I traveled across the country to visit my paternal grandmother in the hospital shortly before she died, how I sat patiently at her bedside for four hours, hoping to have one last conversation as she kept her eyes closed and faked sleep, is still painful nearly a decade later. Watching her stir herself and engage with her children when they arrived felt like a betrayal to the special relationship I thought we had. She had no words for me even when she knew she was dying. Her son, Peewee had also refused to acknowledge me when he laid dying two years prior.
Then there was the time my youngest aunt had security escort me out of the hospital my maternal grandfather was dying in simply because she could.
And the time I was the only relative at my uncle’s wedding and he acted like he wished I wasn’t there.
Basically, I was flooded with thoughts of all the disrespect, emotional, psychological and spiritual harm inflicted on me in all my important relationships.
The footnotes of harm can go on and on. Though the rejection has stung each time, the disregard and dismissal have always been unexpected from each of these people.
These instances and more have each happened in their own space and time. Separate and unknown from each of the actors. After each incident I dealt with what I could and buried the rest or thought about what I couldn’t ignore, then filed it away as another great emotional injustice in my life.
This week I realized the anger – deep seated and ferocious – stemmed mostly from the trauma accumulated over the years from these relationship abuses. I’ve endured habitual emotional violence in all my major relationships throughout my whole life.
What a revelation!
Suffering from accumulated pain while thinking my anger stemmed only from the state of the world. Dealing with the little I could handle left a whole bunch of stuff to fester under the surface in years of layering. That’s how I keep getting pulled in fast and deep. My darkness is a quagmire.
Sadly, I asked to be able to love people. From prior experience I should’ve been ready for the worst. Reflecting from a longview, I can understand how many fall to the wayside. How giving up can be perceived as a road to comfort. Yet and still, there is no doubt there is literally nothing and no one waiting for me on the other side of You, Father God. You’re all I have. So despite my trauma and uncertainty, I keep plodding ahead as I’m able. After all, if I’m in You and You’re in me, then I’m already all in, right?
My sense of worthiness was wrapped up in all the hurt, anger and rejection. Reasoning that if the people who know me best don’t love me or care about my well-being, then how can some newbie care about me?
What man would love a woman whose own dad didn’t love or protect her? What kind of wife can a woman be when she’s never had an enjoyable voluntary sexual encounter? What kind of friend can a woman be when her own sister disowns her? I am the common denominator in all my relationships therefore there must be something inherently wrong with me.
My reasoning concluded it’s my fault no one loves me. What is it about me that’s so utterly unlovable? What a sad irony that an unloved person prayed to be a lover of people. No one can give what they don’t have. All these debilitating, shame-filled thoughts loop ceaselessly in the background of my life.
Perhaps kernels of pride rise from rejection. An understanding of being created in greatness and being rejected for Who I AM. Knowing my higher self is rejected more often than my personhood, doesn’t lessen the sting. What is it about the person I am that makes me so disposable?
Despite airing these rhetorical questions, I will continue on the path I’m on – searching and seeking You in my fullness and emptiness. Should my life remain one of solitude, then so be it.
By Your Grace, I am able to remind myself I am blessed and highly favored. My life is good. I offered only the best of myself to all these people. The best of my understanding and intentions. I am not lost without them. My existence is not lacking. I know all this.
Having identified the deeply rooted anger and trauma has lightened me immeasurably and made space for a more vigorous pursuit of healing.
Thank You for giving me this week to gather myself – my thoughts, my frustrations, my pain and trauma. Thank You for the time and space to explore, examine and itemize the roots. Thank You for making me sit and rest. Thank You for giving me the time to be creative and work on my art forms. It’s so hard for me to stop moving, but when You cause me to pause, it’s a full stop that’s never regretted or resented.
Thank You for caring for me, Abba. Thank You for keeping me and guiding me on Your path of life to a greater life in You. Thank You for the gifts and talents You have blessed me with. I am nothing without You, but without others I remain one of Your masterpieces. Thank You for Your Grace, Mercy, Love, Character, Nature, Joy, Understanding, Provision, Faithfulness and Guidance. I appreciate You, Father God. I honor You. I bless You. I surrender fully to You. I am Yours. I receive and embrace You as mine. Thank You, Creator, for making me the way You have. Designed to be who I am – salt, light, flesh, spirit – a blessing in this world.
I breathe in and out knowing Your Breath and Spirit flow through me. Thank You, Abba for sharing Your breath with me. For counting me worthy to bear and represent Your likeness in the Earth. Thank You Abba for the mind, heart and spirit that pants after you daily; that aches when I get off track. Thank You for continually reeling me back in, turning me in the direction I should go. Lighting my fire to motivate and encourage action. Thank You, Abba, for all You do and all You are. In the name of Jesus – Your Son, my Savior – and by Your Most Gracious and overwhelming Holy Spirit, my Guide, Amen. Amen Amen.Desert of Solitude: Refreshed by Grace (2018)