Humbly Submit Myself…

It’s interesting the way we humans dwell in the humanness of our conditions. It’s interesting that even as I wake in the morning, I am already driven by my own will. From the instant my eyes open, my agenda is already running in my head. It’s a soundtrack that plays in the dream world and this one as well. Upon the waking realization that certain goals have yet to be attained, I grind my teeth and clench my jaw.

Good morning. The silent protest has begun. Grrrr.

My actions are in compliance with the will of God, but my emotions are not in acceptance of it. I am doing it because I must. It’s like a bridled horse that is moving but not submitted. I’m moving forward, but not in full speed or with ease. I am DRAGGING forward. I don’t run off, but I jump up within the space. That kind of horse is not really an asset because it can’t be trusted to truly mind.

I don’t think I want to be that. In fact, I know that’s not who I want to be. I want to partner with God. I want Him to be able to trust me with this assignment. His hand should not always need to be on the bridle to keep me moving forward. We should be able to walk, peacefully, side by side.

I’m reaching towards that mark. That is where I want to be. I want His direction and my action to be seamless. I want to be able to be trustworthy. I want Him to say go and I start moving. That is my desired end.

#RaceTogether – Damnit, Man!

Last week, a thumbnail for a featured YouTube video caught my eye. It was a picture of Hip Hop DJ/Vlogger Jay Smooth from Ill Doctrine and he had “the face”. I don’t know what else to call his facial expression but I promise you, if you have ever had to give someone “the face”, then you know what I mean.

The headline below the picture told the story of “the face”. It read, “Nancy Giles Awkwardly Assumes Black Radio Host is White (Video)”. I hear myself let out that audible sound that is half outrage and half exhaustion. It is the “Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwww! Damnit, Man!”

The incident in the video as well as the subject being discussed (Starbuck’s #RaceTogether campaign) were definitely worth of a post, but I did not feel I was the one to do it. Writer friend, Wendy Grossman is my objective source for asking the tough questions (without the undertones of ‘Damnit, Man!’ that kept popping up in my head). To read her post, click her site’s banner below. Comment and let her know what you think.

Wendy Jane's Soul Shake

To Race Together Or Not, That Is The Question..Or Is Knowing Who You Are Talking To The First Question?

I appreciate what Starbucks is trying to do. I mean, at least they are doing SOMETHING! I can’t think of a single corporation who has even broached the subject – so kudos to you! But I don’t that this is the solution to starting a dialogue. I have visited Starbucks a few times. (Okay, more than a few, don’t judge me!) I seldom see people of color (not just Black Americans, but any ethnic group) in the restaurants. If I pick up my “Mucho Grande Deliciousness” from the counter and discover #RaceTogether on the side of my cup, I’m not going up to some random and starting that type of dialogue. For the record, I also would not walk up to a stranger and ask them to give me their candid views on money, politics, religion, same-sex marriage, etc.

As for penning a post to speak directly to Nancy Giles, I think Jay Smooth took care of that when he created this video. Take a look.

TFTBN Thursday Post: Time in a Bottle

Two days ago I wrote the TFTBN Tuesday Prompt and it seemed like a good place to start a discussion. I was determined to write this week after taking last week off after writing TFTBN: Gone Fishing. The prompt flows in the same vein as some of the other prompts I have given across the weeks. It was the continuation of the conversation.

What do you want future generations to know about why you create? Simple question, right?

When I woke up on Wednesday morning, it was my intention to make a discussion video later that evening when I got home from work. I got dressed, trekked through an hour of commuter traffic to get to work, sat down at my desk and prepared to start my day.

(The best laid plans of mice and men doth often go astray…)

After getting to the office, sitting down in my chair and before I even turned on my computer, I knew I could not do it. A feeling came quickly and crashed over me like an emotional tsunami. My mind raced, “This is crushing me! This is killing me! THIS cannot be life! THIS cannot be MY life! NOT TODAY! I CANNOT DO THIS TODAY!

For months I have had a running joke with my friends. I tell them, “I don’t leave work at the end of each day. I flee the building!” Yesterday, it was not a joke. I had to actually restrain myself to keep from doing just that. I wanted to do the “hysterical lady” routine where you run and scream and flail your arms to get away from danger. I wanted to run far enough and fast enough and keep it from eroding my soul for one more nanosecond.

Shit! What am I going to do now?

Call it a breakdown or call it a breakthrough. The name you chose makes no difference to me. Personally, I am calling it a “moment of clarity”. In that moment I rediscovered a truth within me that has laid dormant for almost two decades. I was reminded that nothing else in this world is writing to me. I was reminded that I write because I must. I write because it saves my life.

When I write the words paint the vivid colors within me. A story plays out like a symphony. The very act of writing from my heart is my state of bliss. It is the most intimate expression of love I possess. In no other way can I so fully give my heart to you. The stories come to me to come through me. I am the channel given the honor to share the story with the world. What is a sonnet with no hand to pen it? What is a dream with no one to dream it?

So in the time capsule, I want to leave this message to anyone who comes after or journeys along this path with me. Be your truest, biggest, most unapologetic expression of yourself. It is only in walking in the full height and truth of who you are that you will ever be truly free.

What do you have to lose? Nothing except maybe making a spectacle of yourself as you flee from your cubicle on some random Wednesday morning. What do you have to gain? Everything that is the awesomeness that is you.

Now, stop looking at this and GO WRITE SOMETHING!

Ciao for now,
Denitra Letrice

Reply below to tell me who you talking to!

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TFTBN: Gone Fishing

When I first started doing the TFTBN Tuesday Prompts at the beginning of May, it was hard to get to sleep on Monday nights. I was so FREAKING EXCITED! My mind would swirl with ideas about what to ask everyone. It could not be just any question. It had to be thought provoking. It had to help us all grow in our craft.

I would be giddy with the thought of being able to learn from so many different creative minds as well as learning about myself too. It would take courage and creativity, but we could all do it if we were examining our process together.

We would be BIGGER, stronger, faster
but without all the bionics
and government funding and junk…
BUT WE WOULD STILL BE BETTER TOGETHER!

(Insert creative superhero theme music and words like “triumphant crescendo”…)

Tossing and turning, flipping and flopping, I sorted through the ideas in my mind.

(Toss) “What are we working on? What is our magnum opus? What is our small project? What is our life’s work?”

(Turn) “Where are we ‘staying’ stuck? How do we get in our own way? How do we trip ourselves up?”

(Flip) “Who are we ACTUALLY talking to? When we begin to create, who are we thinking about? Whose story are we trying to tell?”

(Flop) “When did we fall in love with what we do? What was that feeling? Can we recapture it at will to help us create?”

But wait… there’s more!

On Wednesday, I would create the TFTBN Wednesday Discussion so you would have the video “back story” on what I was thinking about when I created the prompt. It was more than just the prompt reworded. I was expounding on the intention behind it. It was, “You know the prompt. Now, here’s what I think it will help us to uncover.”

But wait… there’s STILL more!

And if all that was not enough, then I would get to do what I adore, TFTBN Thursday Post. On that day, I could be a “plain old writer” doing “plain old writer” type things. I could answer the questions I had posted to the group as a student of my craft not as a moderator to our creative process. It did not matter that I as a grown up I never got an invisible jet like Wonder Woman. I got to WRITE!! THAT was my super power.

(Cue the aforementioned theme music and accompanying crescendo of triumph…)

And that ain’t all!

Then you would reply with your blog posts, and your vlog videos, and your comments. You would read my work. I would read yours. Other people would read. In our own little virtual commune, we would support each other, critique each other, learn from each other, grow with each other, teach the world to sing in perfect harmony. EVERYONE from all over the world, all races, all religions, all cultures, and all creeds would “collaborate” with me and with each other.

It was great!
It was Amazing!
It was AWESOME!
Until… it wasn’t.

(Insert “The Lonely Man” theme from the Incredible Hulk TV show.)

My ideas to engage people started to dry up. It was like trying to ring the last bit of water out of a washcloth. I started having creative tantrums and some very uncreative ones too! Less and less people started to view and participate. What had felt like “marketing and promoting” started to feel like “begging and pleading”.

The joy I had in the beginning dried up like a raisin in the sun.

Or worse…

it melted like your favorite Popsicle
that time it fell off the stick onto the sidewalk
after you begged your Mom to get it for you
and she didn’t want to buy it
because you didn’t have dinner yet
but it was 90 degrees
so you whined and she caved
and she gave you the last dollar in her purse
(a purse as big as a garbage bag with only 1 dollar. smh.)
and you got the red, white, and blue pop
and it was gonna taste good
and the second you licked it
I mean REALLY licked it
DAMMMNNNNNNN!!!
it fell on the ground
except in this metaphor
you are like 6 years old
so you can’t say “damn!”
even though you feel “damn!”
in your poor little Popsicle-less soul!

And that is where I am on this Tuesday. Looking at my popsicle of inspiration on the ground melting. Trying not to throw a creative tantrum with the word “DAMMMMNNNN,” bellowing in my mind. I want to do this if it is engaging and stimulating and fun. If it’s not then it’s a chore and I have a butt load of those already.

Now here is the dilemma I experienced… who would I talk to about what I was feeling? The “Non-Creatives” don’t really get what happens in the mind during a creative process.

(To avoid copyright infrigments, close your eyes and imagine watching a video clip of Dr. Frankenstein as he screams, “Look! It’s moving. It’s alive. It’s alive… It’s alive, it’s moving, it’s alive, it’s alive, it’s alive, it’s alive, IT’S ALIVE!” Thank you for your participation.)

All of the “Creatives” I admired have at one time or another participated and I didn’t want to get in the icky space of making them feeling obligated to participate just because they had answered a question about how to engage people. And the WHOLE quandary just made first me tired in my mind, body, and spirit.

So… when to going gets tough… the tough GO FISHING!

Not literally, of course. The live bait and fish I can handle. The bugs, not so much. So I am taking this week off and I will see on Tuesday of next week if the creative juices are flowing or if the draught remains.

Now, stop looking at this and GO WRITE SOMETHING!

Ciao for now,
Denitra Letrice

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#TFTBN Musings: Against the Tide

It is in the ebb and flow of it…
the yes and the no of it…
the stop and the go of it…
that I am forced to grow with it…
 
Standing up against the tide.

TFTBN Thursday Post: Fighting Frustration

Look. Let’s keep it real. Like I wrote in the TFTBN Tuesday Prompt, frustration has my creativity in a headlock. When it has THIS intensity (across multiple days or weeks in a row), it is not content with just attacking my ability to write.

Noooo. Frustration gets into EV-E-RY-THING in my life. Ev-e-ry-thing? Yes. EV-E-RY-THANG!

On days like this if I manage to get into bed at night and I don’t owe anyone an apology, I count the whole day a success. Didn’t lay anybody out? Didn’t let anyone have it? BOOM! Count the W! Circle gets the square!

For me, this type of frustration – utter, intense, and complete – rarely wants to stay internal. It wants to show out! It likes to throw tantrums. It absolutely loves to go “Chernobyl”. Have you ever tried to be smiling and patient parent when you feel like a pressure cooker with the lid duct taped on?

So here I sit, my outsides sitting straight up pretending to be all adult-like but my insides are SPLAYED OUT in aisle 7. Even yesterday when I did the TFTBN Wednesday Discussion, I made a super short video because I did not want it to turn into a rant. Angry, frustrated, and on my own nerves is not the neighborhood where I want to live. So what do I do?

Well, I hate to admit it but my first reaction is always to give up. If it’s not fun, don’t do it! “THAT’S IT! I’M DONE! SHUT’ER DOWN! TAKING MY BALL AND I’M GOING HOME!” Then I make the “stank face”, suck my teeth, roll my eyes. See?!?! I am showing life, huh?

But it takes a lot of energy to stay mad. You would be surprised at the amazing amount of exhaustion that sets in after you have spent the whole day pretending to be okay but your mind and emotions are on the floor. Spent, I sit exhausted staring at the blank page in my notebook, staring at the blinking cursor on the screen.

Last night, I decided to call my sister. She has a gift to be able to take the weight of when I vent. She is not moved by my tone. She is not afraid of my faces. She calls me on my crap, but I was secretly hoping she would cosign that I take a break for awhile. She didn’t and now, her words are swirling around in my mind.

“You can’t stop writing. Writing is not what you DO. It is who you ARE!”

Dang! Can’t even make a stank face to that one. I find myself getting really quiet and sitting very still. The truth of what she says stands firm and still remains. I could no more give up on writing than I could give up breathing or loving or being. It is who I have always been. It is me.

So, I open up my journal and once again lift my pen. I write until my heart does not feel like a child mid-tantrum on the floor. I write until the steam in the pressure cooker is released. I write until my frustration bows to the weight of the truth within her words.

I write until every doubt in my mind is cast into the light of knowing that I can’t stop writing. Writing is not what I do. It is who I am!

Ciao for now,
Denitra Letrice

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