I turned 49 this last summer. I didn’t think I make it this far, but I did by God’s grace. I have a long ways to go! I am ready for journey, the second and third half of life. I video myself popping very year (Boogaloo style), but I got behind because I was in the process of moving. The video however late is coming soon.
I have learned allot about life so far at the age of 49. One key thing that has seen the hardest challenge of life is learning to be you!
Even as kids we are taught to conform. We learn to “line-up” in kindergarten. There is always that one child that is always thrown out of the line that kept moving around and looking around… that was me. I have always been different or weird to people. I call it “Artqward”. I saw the world differently then my friends around me (I use that word lightly) I was bullied allot in school. I out smarted the bullies every chance I could. I would find their weakness and make it my strength. I used art, music, and dance as an away to express my deepest pain and hurts as a child and adult. When the pain subsides I am left with masterpiece of art ( my view of course)
The world of art is like a playground with bullies in many ways. If you conform to doing art that is trendy, you make it. The rejection I had had an black artist challenged my belief I could even paint or draw. But when I don’t create I am strong inside. It is all I Know! The world will crush your dreams. The world will remind you that you are to stand in line and be still. Being who you are is hard in world where we are encouraged to blend. Being black, female, and arty has it downs and ups. Being a follower of Christ has gotten me trough every last one of them. I had to decide to either be who I am or die inside. The cost was high no matter what I decided. But I choose to be myself…. I live at any cost.
Now when I say that “ Be Myself”, that does not mean I am being who I am in regard to hurting or stepping over other…. It quite the opposite. It means I will be myself and that mean “I” love those around me as they are.
“For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.”Galatians 5:13
It is a great reward to learn to be you and let other be who they are. I gained a new friend by doing this; I gained myself and the whole world in an act of peaceful godly decision. It is still hard at the age of 49 to be committed to being myself. It is hard to keep being myself into midst of adult unseen peer pressure. There are adult bullies in the world. We never really talk about the adult bullies on the job. The adult bullies in the church and ministry are the worst. There should be a PSA announcement for stopping adult bullies!
My hair seems to be a part of me that I guess I should conform? But I will not. I have Cherokee blood pretty strong in my family. I have an uncle that is a chief in the tribe. My hair just grows…uneven but it grows. The adult thing to do it to get it done professional, cut it, fry it, go short, or put a wig on it. I did all of that and hated that “ me” that came out. I became the women in line I wished would move to another line. I like my long nappy, untrimmed, frizzy, sometimes permed, violent, tree-like, cavewomen, Picasso style hair! It all mine! I lived out west in Colorado so I got use to being outdoors and free. When I go to the store I have had beauticians give me theirs cards to call them. I have had hatefully looks and eyes rolling. I go out with it kept and groomed well. But the long gray hairs, and red streaks that came in naturally, and the thick uneven fullness seem to say “Girl, what was you thinking!” It is all mine as long as it stay in my head. If I wake up one day to find my hair is still laying sleep on the pillow when I get up then I will bury it all and have a “hair funeral”. I am just being me! I work out of the home. I am writing, painting, creating, and filming all day in my house. I go to sleep ay 4 AM every night. I am being who God made me. I can’t live my life another day as apology for being me. I lived a good portion of my life apologizing for being who I am. Now at 49…. I am being me!
Why is it so hard for us to accept each other? Why do we hear the voices of the past 20 years ago telling us what we will never be? God gave us an out through Jesus Christ. He said whom the Son set free is free indeed. I am free! Friends or no friends, gallery or no galleries, book Publisher or no book published, I am being me! I will publish my own books. I will showcase my own art; I will love the friends I have. I am blessed to have am amazing husband, two brilliant kids and brilliant daughter in law! ( Jamile, Angie, and Jasmine). I have 7 amazing brothers and sisters. I have my Ohio Family that I love dearly. I can’t waste another year being anyone but who I am.
“So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36
There are so many my age that are becoming beautiful women of God that have been beat up by the church, family, and friends for being themselves. When we conform we lose who we really are in God’s eyes. I want put a fire in the heart of those women in their 30’s, 40’s and 50’s to rise up and be who God called you to be! Comb your hair, weave it, cut it, grow it, or color it! Wear what you love, be who you are, and love every minute! You only have one life! Live it to the fullness of God. Make it count! Plan a trip to your favorite country. Buy a bike. Wear white in winter! Who makes these rules that bind us?
We begin to reject and hate the world around us and impose theses “laws” and “rules” on other to be just as uptight as we are. I just want to be myself! God has invested allot of time in me. I have invested allot of time in me. God has kept me when I could not keep myself for this day. So why blow this day living for others. It is time to just be who you are. And if you don’t know who you are then spend sometimes getting to know the great women you are inside. Come current with the “trials” that have been in your life that has molded you into a survivor and victories. You have passed through the storm! Look for the sun to shine in you! You are a Shero! You have survived. Get to know that women that defeated death, sickness, broken family, and climbed many mountains. Get to love the women whose hair grows more on the left that the right or your eye that tilts to one side. Love every aspect of you. Don’t go into this half of your life hating or feeling shame about the “you” God called you to be! Go for your dream! Be you! It is time to come current and fall in love with being you.
My hair might not impress the world, but it is more than just my hair. It is symbolic of the release I feel in spirit to allow myself in Christ to pull off any left over mask from the 80’s.( the 80’s were great but rough). We were all looking for Mr….. Goodbar. The 80’s called…. and they want their shame back. It is time to snatch away the churchy behavior I learned that made it look like I was Christians and really be one.
It is time to really love myself, God, and those around me. Love looks different when you are delivered from self hate. It is time to be myself as hard as it may be. It is hard to stand against the wind and walk toward it. It is hard to sit still when everyone around you is running. It hard to love God, stay saved, and follow the teaching of Jesus when the world around you tells you “to just go to church and don’t speak your mind”. I is hard being me…. but it is rewarding! I wake every day knowing that yesterday when “I” layer down to sleep and “I” got up with God still by my side helping me to be his child. I don’t wake up any more with regrets of being “me”. I am on the potter’s wheel everyday being molded to be myself in his image! Be yourself whatever that means to you! Stop oppressing the “you” inside to be some women that don’t even know your name and that you can’t stand! Get it? Pull down everything that exalts itself in the knowledge of God in you and how he made you. Have a funeral for the “Spirit of Shame”. Let God arise! Let the rest of your life be years of victory. Rise up inside and be counter in a real way and be you!!! Stand in the line that called” Being myself”. They pass out free chocolate in this line and it moves as great pace…. The speed of love!