This weekend one of my dearest friends hosted a surprise 60th birthday celebration for her mother. There was so much love in the room. During the celebration, they had a time for words of expression to the “birthday girl.” It was a time to reflect on what she meant to everyone and tell how our lives had been impacted by her love and acts of kindness. It was also a time for us to shower her with love back. My friend kept saying “we have to give flowers while they live.”
“Give Flowers While They Live”
To “give flowers while they live” is an expression of love. When someone gives or send you flowers they show an act of love (including caring, thoughtfulness, etc.) towards you. To give someone their flowers while they are living means to acknowledge what they mean to you and how they have impacted your life and express that to them while they are still alive. A lot of times we wait until someone pass to express how much they meant to us. We will get up at the wake or funeral and have words about them. However the problem with that is, they are no longer able to hear your words of love. We must learn to cherish our loved ones and “give them their flowers” while we still have them with us. Don’t be afraid to say I love you, thank you, I appreciate you. Flowers While Living
Even more we must stop letting the sun go down on unresolved relationships. There are so many broken relationships. A lot of which are not even sure why they no longer speak, all they know for certain is that they don’t. Life is too short to not have resolve. You can sleep better when you have made peace with a person or situation. We have to learn how to forgive and let it go. Unforgiveness keeps us in bondage and does not allow us to openly and freely give our love to one another. Once we are able to forgive we are able to use the space that unforgiveness once occupied to love freely again; with wisdom of course. Pray for resolution with any broken relationships you may have. Learn to forgive and let go.
Make an effort
Make an effort to let those who have impacted your life know. Sometimes encouragement is all someone needs to keep going. Let them know how much you love them and what your life would be like if they had not been a part of it. Give flowers to the living while they can still be appreciated.
I would also like to take time this week to honor my late grandmother the Rev. Arlene Motley-Spells. It was 5 years October 5th, 2016 that we lost her. She impacted my life in a huge way and I know that I would not be who I am and where I am if it had not been for her influence in my life. I take this time to honor her memory. Her legacy lives on through her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. When she was alive, I told her how much she meant to me, what it meant to have her in my life, how she encouraged me and how I loved her. I’m thankful that I was able to give her flowers while she lived.
Living an Enhanced Life
I would like to continue the topic of enhancing your life. Why do I use the word “enhance?” Enhance means to make something that’s already good or suitable better. To improve, increase, enrich, heighten and develop. I remember when I worked in hospitality as a Catering Manager. We had the breakfast, lunch, and dinner options. Each option came with a choice of “enhancements” to make your meal a little more sophisticated/refined, stylish or cutting-edge. The same is with life.
Life is good already
The fact that we wake up is not only good but a great thing. We have our jobs and our families, which are also great things. But now what can we do to enhance the fact that we woke up? What will we do to make the day count? How will we make sure we are living an enhanced life? I blogged a couple weeks ago of writing your ideas and thoughts down and then think on how it could positively change your life. I even challenged myself to write some things down. When you write it down put your list in a place where you will look at each day. Give yourself an affirmation for each item that you have written down. Meditate and pray on each one. Meditation causes you to think about the how’s, why’s and if’s. Through meditation you are able to get a clear picture of what it is that you want to do and how you want to accomplish it. How do you want to enhance your life and the lives of those around you?
If it seems impossible, you are on to something. A lot of times we try to look for the easy route but the truth is, anything worth having is work. You will have to roll up your sleeves and get dirty with your process (everybody’s process is different). Sometimes you may feel alone, and at times others will not understand your vision. You must remember, it’s not for them to understand, your vision is yours and yours alone. You’ve ever been with someone and you see something and you try to point it out to other person and they have trouble seeing it? You’re being very descriptive about where and what it is and no matter what you say they don’t see it. Well that’s how it is with your visions and dreams in life. You can tell some people and they will never see it or understand what it is that you are trying to do. That’s okay because it’s not for them to understand. It’s for you to understand and see it through. Sometimes it’s all about being in the right place at the right time with a right plan. If you never know what you want, you will never be able to sell yourself. You must be clear and concise with your vision.
Move in Silence
Everyone does not need to know each move you make. Moving in silence can be a great added enhancement in your life. When you move in silence it’s puts a muzzle on any negativity you might normally hear. It also gives you an opportunity to hear the direction of God. And as the good ole saying goes “talk is cheap, put your money where your mouth is”. I say put your actions/movements where your mouth is.
Examples of enhancements in life are going to college or obtaining multiple degrees in higher education, becoming an entrepreneur, learning a trade, knowing your passion and operating in it, writing a book, inventing a product, working on the mind, body and spirit. These are just a small few however the latter to me is most important because if your mind, body and spirit is not well it will be very hard (pretty much impossible) to accomplish the other enhancements in your life. I will go in depth more about the mind, body and spirit in a later blog.
When it comes to our dreams and visions, the sky’s the limit and each day we should wake up with an intent and purpose to live an enhanced life.
This week I tried to “stay on task” as my son says, however the black wife, mother, daughter, aunt, niece, cousin and friend wouldn’t let me. We all are aware of the killings of Mr. Crutcher and Mr. Scott that took place this past week, my question is how do we demand change?
As a mother, I can raise my son and daughter to be law abiding citizens. To show respect at all times and live a life that’s productive to society. The problem is the odds for my children are such that at some point they will come in contact with law enforcement. Not because of doing anything wrong but just because of their skin color.
I can recall several times my husband who is and has always been a law abiding citizen having contact with police officers. One time he “fit the description” of a person who had just committed a crime and got put in a line-up at a gas station. Another time he got pulled over for no apparent reason. After his plates were ran and everything came back clear he was allowed to go. Another time he got pulled over because “his tints were too dark” this actually happened several times so he decided to have the tints removed. This should solve our problems right? Wrong. The last incident I can recall is when we went to a movie theatre in Williamsville and as soon as we got inside an officer came over to my husband and said he was going to need his license. My husband said “for what?” The officer said, “because, a lady said you threatened her in the parking lot and if something happens to her, you will be a suspect.” I’m boiling at this point and I said “well who is she?” He says, “I can’t point her out to you.” I then say “because she doesn’t exist and you’re just doing this because he’s black.” That opened up another whole dialogue where the officer was offended because and I quote “he has friends that are black.”
That night will forever remain with me. It didn’t matter that we were law abiding citizens who loved God and served in the church. We worked for Corporate America and committing a crime was and still is a non-existing thought in our mind. That night it didn’t matter who we were. It mattered what we were. We were black. That night makes me scared for my son and my daughter. Who will feel threatened by my children, father, uncles, nephews and cousins? Who will think my husband is a “big bad guy?” When will the time come that we are seen “not by the color of our skin but by the content of our character?” Will there ever be such a time? When will we recognize the power we have as a race when we stand united together. When will we understand that if Black Lives don’t matter to us first, it will never matter to them? When will we see the beauty of our culture, heritage, history and ancestors who endured so much for our freedom and rights? When will they see that we are only angry because “you don’t hear us?” You see us and choose to mute us thinking that nothing of value exists within us. When will we truly “hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal?” When will black lives really matter?
My heart is heavy as I write this and I don’t know what to do or where to start. How can we petition change?
Tracy Collymore 9/23/2016
Exposed and Living
Last week I talked about being exposed and left you with the question of how I handled being exposed. The answer to that question is that I lived. When we think of our secrets being exposed we think of so many questions along with it such as; how will people look at me, how will I feel once my secret is out, will I be embarrassed and ashamed? The reality is it’s a secret for a reason and a fear of many things. Once I was exposed I had no other choice but to live. I had to live through the feelings of embarrassment, shame and every other single feeling that came with being exposed. There were some days I cried, some days I thought did I make the right decision? As time went on, I began to question my decision less and realized I needed exposure. I wasn’t fully living without it.
According to the Oxford on-line dictionary, the second meaning of exposure is “the revelation of an identity or fact, especially one that is concealed or likely to arouse disapproval.” When you “Use Your Voice” to expose an identity or fact that has been concealed you are definitely going to arouse disapproval. There are people who do not want to hear the truth no matter what. They would prefer to believe a lie over knowing the truth. When you “Use Your Voice” to expose your truth, then and only then can you truly begin to live. You can’t live a full life hiding behind secrets. You can’t live a full life if you’re not comfortable with using your voice. Using my voice caused me to be exposed and being exposed caused me to live. I could go deeper with this but I won’t. At least not yet. I don’t want to make this blog solely about deep issues. There’s freedom in using your voice and being able to live and if you can grasp that you are on track to living your best life.
While I’m on the topic of living I want to ask you, what have you done this past week to enhance your life? A majority of people become comfortable with mediocre living. We stay at a job out of comfort, we don’t take on too many life challenges for fear of failure and so on. This week I want you to think of a few things that you would like to do that will enhance your life. Don’t just think about it but write your thoughts and ideas down. Meditate and pray on each one. Think about how it could positively affect your life. This is major because every idea or vision starts with a thought. When you begin to think of ideas and write them down you will be surprised at how fasts ideas start coming to you. Our life should feel fulfilled and if there is a void or a feeling of missing out on certain things then sometimes we have to re-evaluate our process and what we are doing. I’m going to challenge myself to write a few enhancements down for my life as well. Let’s see how we can continue to live in our truth.
Be sure to check out next week’s blog to see how we will move forward with our list of enhancements and live!
Use Your Voice and Live
First and foremost I would like to introduce myself to you. My name is Tracy Collymore. I am a wife and working mother of two, a daughter, sister, aunt and friend. Most of all I’m a woman. I would like to invite you into a small piece of my life to discuss the different things that may affect me as a wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, friend and woman. I have found that there is strength in numbers and it’s good to know that you are not alone in dealing with the everyday struggles that we may all face. My goal through this blog is to encourage, inspire and motivate. I will be blogging weekly and I urge you to comment or email me with questions you may have regarding the blogs that I post.
This week I encountered a hurtful situation but before I get into that I must share a bit of my story with you. From the age of around 7 until about 14, I was molested by my stepfather. This was a very difficult experience for me. I couldn’t tell anyone and I didn’t talk about it until I was 18yrs old. I was ashamed, scared and confused among many other things. Flash forward to 2015, I submitted my story to an on-line magazine which was published in January, 2015. And this past summer an investigator from the New York State Attorney General Office contacted me to testify against my stepfather so that he could remain locked up and not have access to the public. As difficult as it was, I mustered up strength to tell my story to the investigator, attorney and doctors for the case. When the doctor for his defense heard what I had been through he withdrew himself from my stepfather’s team, retracted his statement and said my stepfather needed further treatment. But wait, there’s more, my stepfather admitted his guilt and that he had a problem and needed more treatment. Because of this I no longer had to testify in court. This was considered a huge win for me and the State. Which brings me to this week.
This week I experienced hurt from someone I considered family. Someone who was upset because I used my voice. I used my voice to tell what happened to me in the on-line magazine and during this recent trial. They are upset with me, the former victim now survivor. Sounds crazy, right! Because I stood in my truth and didn’t waiver I upset a loved one of my abuser. I guess what he did to me didn’t matter to them, but guess what, it mattered to me. I mattered to me and I knew if I continued to keep silent I would continue to walk as a victim.
I want to encourage you to use your voice no matter the consequences. There’s freedom, strength and power in your voice. Everyone may not like what you have to say but say it anyhow. Stand in your truth and encourage someone with your story. By using my voice I’m no longer the cowardly lion I thought I was and I feel stronger than ever. I also feel as if I can conquer anything and nothing can nor will no longer stand in my way. Culturally we were brought up to hush and keep quiet. We hid behind the silence. “What goes on in this house, stays in this house.” We have to rid this unhealthy teaching. Secrets hurt. Not having a voice hurts and can put you in bondage. We have to learn how to speak and say what is and isn’t right. We have to learn how to be honest with life, ourselves and our loved ones. This week I encourage you to use your voice without reserve, use your voice without shame. Use your voice and live!
One might ask why do you have to be honest with life first? For me, I had to recognize what happened to me in life, before I could get to the next step, I was molested. That was my honesty moment with my life. Now, I had to be honest with myself; I know I was molested but now I had to acknowledge the acts that were done to me. That’s being honest with “Tracy.” Lastly, I had to find the will to tell a loved one what happened to me. So now here’s my honesty moment with my loved one. I came from behind a secret I’d hidden quite well. Now I’m truly exposed. Check out next week’s blog to find out how I handled being exposed after I acknowledged my three truths.