It’s Friday and there are approximately 5 hours left in my work day before spring break. As I sit in the emptiness of my classroom, I reflect. Going into the last of the first quarter of the year, I reflect on all of my accomplishments, new opportunities, blessings, abundance and the amount of gratitude I feel for it all.
As I am planning an 8-week curriculum for Curate Your Life, I came across a quote by Audre Lorde that screamed to me. It spoke to me so loudly that I was overwhelmed with that feeling of certainty you get when you know you are exactly where you need to be and that you are about to catapult into something super great. The speaking got easier. She said:
“The speaking will get easier and easier. And you will find you have fallen in love with your own vision, which you may never have realized you had. And you will lose some friends and lovers, and realize you don’t miss them. And new ones will find you and cherish you. And at last you’ll know with surpassing certainty that only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth. And that is not speaking.”
The speaking got easier. I swear to y’all it did. Curate Your Life was never a vision. It wasn’t even a dream. It was something that just happened when I started to speak and literally stopped trying to plan my path and just let it happen the way it should. All of the right people came into my life and all of the wrong people left. I’ve never been more certain in my life about my life and as Audre said, the only thing more frightening than taking risk and living my truth is not living my truth and playing it safe.
In order for the speaking to get louder sometimes you have to be very still. Sometimes you have to stop talking. Sometimes you have to stop moving and be..very…quiet…I’ve done a lot of stopping and standing so far this year so that I could listen, so that the speaking could get louder.
I didn’t give this vision to myself, but I have fallen in love with the vision that was given to me.
I say all of that to say, be quiet sometimes. Just stop and listen to what’s being spoken to you and it will get louder. So loud that it will be impossible to ignore.
I grew up in a family that was and is very much rooted in Christianity and the church. My father was recently “installed” as the pastor of the church I grew up in. My mother is now a first lady and missionary. One of my grandmothers is a church mother, the other is an evangelist. My uncle is a Pastor and my aunt is a first lady as well…you get the point because the list goes on. As a kid, I was active in Sunday school, the youth choir, the junior usher board, and the youth ministry programs and activities, but as I got older, none of it felt authentic to me. It was as if I was programmed to practice Christianity because that’s what my parents practiced and their parents and so on, but I never felt like I belonged there. I felt fake. I felt like I was going through the motions.
When I got to college, my first couple of years, Christianity and church were the last things on my mind. I was in a new environment completely free from my parents who didn’t wake me up every Sunday morning to get dressed for a long day in church. I felt free. I felt liberated from it all. Somewhere along the way, I tuned into all the background noise telling me I needed to be in church, and I needed to read my bible and I needed to pray and there I was feeling guilty because I wasn’t doing any of those things. So once again, I found myself in church, and attending campus small groups during the week trying to fake it until I made it. I pledged a Christian sorority and found myself with more questions than answers trying to reach a standard I really didn’t care too much about in the first place. I got tired and burnt out from trying to keep up. So I stopped. (more…)
I’ve been absent from the blogsphere for a while since I’ve decided to go back to school and pick up a new profession (teaching) and during that time I saw it as an opportunity to really give back to an audience I’m truly passionate about: adolescent girls of color. I wanted to create a brand and organization that would allow them to fully understand that they are in complete control of the direction of their lives. As women, we are often told what to do, how to do it, when to do it, and where to do it so much that there are times when we stop and wonder if anything we are doing is because we genuinely want to do it. So on January 28, 2017 I launched Curate Your Life, a girl’s empowerment and enrichment organization that focuses on sisterhood, leadership, social justice, wellness, and media literacy for teen girls of color, but the idea was birthed in June 2016 and there were a number of lessons learned along the way.
Community is SO Important
I knew that this wasn’t something that I could do on my own and be effective at the same time, so I built a community of professional women and organizations who would see and understand my vision. The day of the launch, I didn’t realize I would be doing so much running around and improvising when things were absent, but the community that I built was there every single step of the way. I just asked them to show up and facilitate workshops, but they’ve become family with every “You got this Deja.” or “I’m proud of you Deja” or “Tell me where I can help Deja.” Even my mother came and catered the event with my grandmother. I say all of that to say, you are as strong as the tribe you build and God blessed me with an amazing one. (more…)