This is a Cold War Indeed, Janelle Monae'

The official video for Janelle Monae's Cold War has recently premiered.  It is as follows, courtesy of YouTube.



I, for one, was elated to see that a video production was to be made for the song.  I absolutely love the album, the ArchAndroid, and the song "Cold War" is one of my favorites from the album.  It has been one of my favorites because I personally felt like Janelle Monae' was belting out the elements of my emotional state in her song.  Crazy right?  Well maybe so.  At least I can admit it.

Upon listening to the album, I will admit I was going through some changes.  Many of those changes are still haunting me.  But either way, I felt as though I was fighting for my sanity.  My sanity was being challenged by the changes I was and am still going through.  Change is an inevitable series of processes each of us must go through as time progresses.  Some of us welcome change, while others resist change, kicking and screaming along.  I usually try to pull up my big-girl pants and face life's challenges head on, with the reminded wing and a prayer in my heart.  Lately, however, this has not been the case for me!

I have been fighting for my sanity, just as Janelle suggests she is doing in the first verse.  I worry if I am making the right decision about school.  Does completing this degree help me pursue my passion?  Or am I simply completing this degree to prove my consistency to family and friends?  Am I being the best mother I can be to my children?  Am I satisfying my fiancee' completely? Why is it so hard to deal with the death of my father?  Should it be making me so angry and bitter?  It's astounding how so many thoughts, fears, and worries can be stirring within me, though my outer appearance bears no impression of stress.  This is when I begin to delve deep into my internal struggle: the cold war within me.

After searching within for answers, the only thing I could come up with was two sad realities.  Number One: the world does not stop because war is happening.  Especially not a war going on within one individual.  Number Two: the inner struggle never stops.  It is as constant as life.  Janelle implies that death is the only freeing agent of this war.  So every day we fight for our freedom, only to receive it in perpetuity.  While accepting this reality was quite depressing at first, it brought me to a few more conclusions in my thought process.

Surely one reading this may think I sound a bit crazy.  But then again, who isn't?  Each and every one of us has to deal with internal conflict.  Many of us who are parents feel like we have to put that "S" on our chests and fight off all the evils of the world to protect our children.  All of us want to be loved and accepted by someone, whether it is easy for us to admit or not.  At one point or another we all have wondered if we were making the right decisions in life for our futures.  FEAR, IN SOME FORM OR ANOTHER, HAS PLAGUED US ALL.  The best thing for each of us to do is find our happy medium.  Armor ourselves with love.  With love and hope, we all can deal with the cold war within us as well as around us.  But most importantly, as Janelle demands, "you better know who you're fighting for!"  I wonder to myself if I know, as tears stream down my face watching this video.  I don't know if I begin to cry because she does, or if it is because I am insecure with who or what I am fighting for.

So I ask each of you, do you know who or what you're fighting for?

I Am Not My Hair, I Am Not My Curves


Sometimes I wonder as a woman of color, why I am most often perceived to be a certain way because of my size or because of my hairstyle.  I know that first impressions mean everything in our society, but some portions of my appearance are given to me by my parents.  I have no bearing on how the presence of curves or afro-hair makes people feel about me.

See, I was at a point where I didn't know how to feel about my outer appearance.  Being a woman in general should be the equivalent of being born with a crown adorning your head (in my opinion).  And being a woman of color, makes me a special kind of woman, as my mother taught me.  But the way women of color are portrayed in the media speaks just the opposite.  Why was this, I wondered?

Deciding how to wear my hair has always taken special consideration.  Should I or should I not wear my hair this way or that was an everyday battle.  Sometimes I felt that I could not embrace the creative impulses within me to sport a curly afro or braids to social functions with people who are not of color.  I have always played it safe with relaxed hair and opted to add flowing tracks in order to "fit in".  Was this because of my own insecurities or were these insecurities forced upon me by society?

Not only was I having insecurities about my hair, I was feeling some type of way about my weight.  Standing at 5'4, I'm sure some medical guidelines somewhere state that I should be about 133 lbs.  The truth of the matter is, I haven't weighed 133 lbs. since my senior year of high school.  Since I have had my two children I have been carrying a voluptuous 155 lb. frame.  I had a flat stomach and was "thick" in all the right places according to the "men-folk".  However, since I have moved to a new location and have been doing the full-time work, school, and mom thing, I now weigh in at 180.  And I am thick in all the wrong places.  Funny thing is, I was still walking around in all my fabulousness and splendor until one of my friends busted my bubble.  My Vietnamese guy friend told me that I was close to obesity, if not already.  I cursed a blue streak and was angered for a minute!

So lately I've been doing a bit of self-reflection.  This has required me to look deep within in order to love and accept myself in my natural, genuine state.  The good part is that I am learning to love myself as God uniquely made me.  The even better part is that I have admitted there is room for improvement in quite a few areas of my life.  I have recently started a new workout regimen, not because some man said I was overweight, but because I was making unhealthy lifestyle choices.  I have also started eating healthier.  And I have also started a new happy hair journey, thanks to Traycee and the Keep It Simple Sista site.  Though I could care less what people think of my hairstyles now, I do have to take care of it and keep it healthy so that I will still have most of it when I'm graying.

But most importantly, I am realizing that my greatest qualities are my creativity, my heart of gold, and my compassion.  Neither of these things will be noticed by doing a once-over at my figure or my long or short tresses.  As India Arie stated, along with a remix of my own, I AM NOT MY HAIR, I AM NOT MY CURVES! Nevertheless, I do love them both.

My Declaration of Independence


In honor of Independence Day (with just a few minutes left to celebrate) I was inspired to declare independence from a few strongholds in my life. I will use this moment in time re-evaluate my place in life and make necessary adjustments. As some of you may know, this week has been a tumultuous one for me. With the passing of my father, I am slowly learning to appreciate life and it's lessons a bit more. So without further adieu....

I DECLARE INDEPENDENCE FROM...

Anxiety... I will not let fear take over my life. God has many blessings in store for me. I shall embark on the journey to obtain the blessings that are rightfully mine with the full armor of my Savior. As 2 Timothy 1:7 states, God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. I am declaring myself LOOSED from my anxiety. Amen!

I DECLARE INDEPENDENCE FROM...

An unhealthy lifestyle... I was inspired by my dear cousin to watch what I am ingesting lately. Though this may seem silly to some, I am coming to realize how important it is to monitor what I am fueling my temple with. I want to remain a healthy individual for the duration of my children's lives, so I must learn to take better care of my body. After all, it's gotta carry me throughout my mortal journey, right?

I DECLARE INDEPENDENCE FROM...

Unhealthy relationships... Some people I've crossed paths with in life have been lifelines. Some have been livesavers. Many have taught me valuable lessons about life and love. For meeting and knowing these individuals I am more than grateful. Knowing wonderful people definitely takes the "sting" out of running across the not-so-great people in life. If you have in any way developed a toxic relationship with me, please know that I am declaring independence from that relationship tonight. No need to further discuss this area. I've learned that everyone does not have my best interest at heart. So I must carry on.

I DECLARE INDEPENDENCE FROM...

Worry and stress... I seem to worry and stress out about every single thing. But recently as I began to stress, I recalled a scripture my mom used to feed me all the time when I was going through rough times. Matthew 6:25-34 lets me know that if God takes care of the lilies of the field (among other things in nature) he will definitely take care of me. I will try not to worry so much and believe that God has my back!

I DECLARE INDEPENDENCE FROM...

Idle activities... You know what I mean, right? When our minds and bodies are idle, we give room for all types of evil to enter our environments. Gossip always seems to pop up when individuals can't come up with meaningful conversation among each other. When in the midst of meeting deadlines, social networks such as Facebook and Twitter seem to destroy hours of my time. I'm not saying that I'm deleting my Facebook, I'm just vowing to no longer be a slave to status updates and Farmville :-)

and lastly.... I DECLARE INDEPENDENCE FROM...

Negativity.... It seems that when I'm on the prowl for happy days and good times, much negativity and many naysayers have appeared nearby. While many people will be happy for your new-found happiness, some will not. Some may even be jealous that you have found peace within yourself, because they have yet to find it for themselves. I am no longer allowing anything or anyone to steal my joy. You can no longer rain on my parade. There will always be someone by my side to pull out an umbrella if need be (think Fonzworth Bentley lol). I urge you all to find a little piece of happiness and inner peace for yourselves...

I plan to replace each of these strongholds with prayer, faith, happiness, healthy relationships, and most of all LOVE. Much love to you all! Have a beautiful week and take the time to declare independence from the strongholds in your life!!! Be blessed!
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