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Not My HIStory

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Inspired by our trip to Memphis and a visit to the National Civil Rights Museum

Not My HIStory

by Suhaiba Neill

I stood where Martin stood

And tried to imagine
Having the strength
To peacefully lead
A divided nation
To the promise land

It took my breath away

I sat where Rosa sat
And tried to imagine
Being so tired
Of the unjust laws
That governed her world
Simply due to the color of her skin

It made me weak in the knees

I walked the path that Ruby walked
And tried to imagine
What it felt like
To be so young, so innocent
And yet so full of courage

It sent shivers down my spine

I sat in church
Bowed my head
Swayed to the rhythm
Of an old familiar song
And yet it wasn’t enough

I marched on the mall
Waved my flag
Chanted along with the masses
A sea of many shades and hues
And yet it wasn’t enough

I cast my vote
Made sure my voice was heard
Despite the waves of opposition
To honor those who fought to pave the way
And yet is wasn’t enough

The battle wages on
The struggle still continues
The fight is not over

So I call on the strength
Of those who came before me
The Martins, and Rosas and Rubys
Who never gave up
Who never gave in
Who never lost faith
They are a gentle, but constant reminder
That we have not reached the final chapter
That this is not how it ends
That this will not be all there is to my history

Welcoming A New Year

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This came to me this morning and seemed like the perfect reminder as I start a new year. Especially when everything that I wanted to come to pass last year, didn’t happen the way I had hoped. So here’s to a New Year ahead, and letting go of any notion of what I think it should hold or how I expect it to turn out. Here’s to losing the “I” so that He can do his work.

Just Live

Stop trying
to imagine
the life
God
has
in store
for
you.
You can’t
even begin
to dream
that
big.
Instead
just live
each day
openly,
willingly,
purposefully,
and filled with
love.
The rest
will take care
of itself.

She Knows Me Too Well

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Last week as I was gathering my things to head out the door when my daughter turned to me and said “Why aren’t you wearing your leopard print shoes?” I had on a white linen sleeveless shirt and magenta capri pants, which I do usually pair with my leopard sandals to mix things up a bit. In the madness that has been my life however, surrounding our recent move, I hadn’t had time to update my pedicure and my toes were in no shape to be on display. I filled her in to this fact, and she nodded and we headed out the door.

What I realized in that short interaction however, has stuck with me ever since.  So much so, that I felt inclined to write about it. Raising a modest (and unspoiled) daughter in this day and age is no easy feat. We argue regularly about appropriate clothing choices (leggings are not pants!!!) and have very different taste (I can’t shop for her anymore), but in the end, as much “talking” as I do about things, it’s really the “living” that counts.

Whether I realize it or not, she’s always paying attention, and this particular incident reminded me that actions speak much louder than words. While I like looking nice for work, and love getting dressed up for special occasions, my wardrobe has changed quite a bit since she came along, as it should (I’m just not one of those “do as I say and not as I do” moms, nor was I raised by one). But now that I’m re-aware of how much she’s paying attention, I may just have to throw her a curveball and change up my style a bit. Who said moms can’t still have some fun with fashion too. 😉

leopard shoes

Author’s Note – I originally wrote this post on August 17th, but had to get my pedicure updated before I could take the photo. Now it’s too cold for the cute leopard print sandals.

To Share Or Not To Share

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As a writer, believe it or not, more often than not, I’m reluctant to share my words. This is mostly out of fear that they’re not quite good enough, or not quite ready for anyone else’s eyes. Ask almost any writer you know and I’ll bet they’ll tell you that most of what they put out into the world rarely feels truly “finished.” There’s always a word that could be swapped out for a better one, or a paragraph that could be rearranged to get the emotions you’re striving for across a little more clearly, or a chapter that you would end differently if given the chance…the list goes on.

But as a writer, there also comes a point when you feel like if you don’t share your words, then what’s the point of having put pen to paper in the first place? Or in my case, you feel like you’re going to explode if you sit on them any longer.

Thankfully, my BFF is my “first reader”, and always gives me honest and open feedback without judgement (a key quality in a critic). So, here’s my most recent poem. I was reluctant to share it with the world due to the ache deep within my heart that is now reflected on the page, but his reaction to it lead me to change my mind. So this is me, letting go and letting go…

The Art of Letting Go

There must be
An art
To letting go
And it is one
That I have yet
To master

Some say it takes
10,000 hours
To become a master
So does that mean
It will take
10,000 heartbreaks
To master the art
Of letting go?
I sure hope not

Some study their trades
For years and years
Before attempting the test
To prove their knowledge
So does that mean
It will take me years
To truly understand
When it is time
To let go?
I don’t have that kind of time

Sometimes I think
I have in fact, let go
Only to discover
I missed cutting
One final string
Keeping me connected
Keeping me from moving on
There always seems to be
“Just one more”

Maybe the art
Isn’t in letting go
At all
Maybe the true art
Is in learning how to
Surrender

 

 

 

 

No Changing The Station

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My daughter will turn 11 in a few months, which means I lost control of the radio in my car about a decade ago. First it was the Baby Einstein cds, then we moved on to the Backyardigans, and from there to Hannah Montana (that was a painful period). Next came Justin Beiber, which finally (and thankfully)  lead us into more current pop artists.

Now that we have progressed from cps on repeat into listening to main stream music on the radio, I have finally laid down some ground rules. For the most part, we don’t listen to much that was released before she was born, but this summer I had to ban Taylor Swift (sorry, just couldn’t take it anymore, and her songs get stuck in your head for days), and also announced that when we came across one of three classic artists when flipping through the stations, we would listen through the duration of the song. And the winners are – Prince, Luther, and Michael Jackson. Time to teach her about the classics in hopes of one day turning her into an old school, die hard, r & b fan like her momma. 🙂

No Explanation Needed

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To My Future Husband

I have yet to hear you speak my name
And still I miss you

I have yet to gaze into your eyes
And still I miss you

I have yet to feel your touch
And still I miss you

I have yet to hold you close and breathe you in
And still I miss you

I have yet to taste the sweetness of your lips
And still I miss you

I have yet to walk with you, hand in hand
And still I miss you

I have yet to laugh with you until tears stream down my face
And still I miss you

I have yet to sit across from you as we share a meal
And still I miss you

I have yet to slumber in the warmth of your embrace
And still I miss you

I have yet to awaken to your smiling face
And still I miss you

Every minute, of every hour, of every day
Oh, how I miss you

 

 

 

Just Breathe

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This one is in honor of National Poetry Month, but mostly because I need to remind myself to just breathe.

Be still
Really still, and fully
Engaged in this moment
As you inhale, be
Thankful for each breathe
His greatest gift of all, and
Exhale knowing that the cycle will begin again

With every breath we have the opportunity
To be thankful
To be grateful
To be fully present
But most importantly, and most often overlooked,
We have the opportunity to just be.
– Suhaiba Neill

As Another Birthday Approaches

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I’ve been feeling a little melancholy lately, and was having a hard time figuring out why until it finally hit me – my birthday is quickly approaching. And then my sad brain took it one step further (because that’s what your brain does when you’re sad, drags you down a bit deeper). I realized that I have been single for every birthday since I entered my thirties (and I’m coming up on the tail end soon).

I know a lot of single/divorced people complain about the holidays being lonely, but tonight it occurred to me that for the past seven years, my birthday has been the loneliest day of all for me. No offense to family and friends (and I have the best a girl could ever ask for), but there’s something about having someone special who chose to love you of their own free will doting over you on your special day.

While most might say I have a tough exterior, the truth is I am sentimental and a hopeless romantic at heart. I remember my mid-twenties, and waking up to a smile and that first “happy birthday” when I did have that special someone in my life. I remember the thoughtful gifts, dinner plans that I didn’t have to make, and ending the day in a warm embrace.

So, I’m bracing for what I hope will be my last single birthday (God, do you read my blog by any chance?), and like most adult birthdays, it will be over before I know it and life will return to normal. In the meantime, since emotions are never right or wrong, I’m not going to fight the sadness, but rather let it run its course in the hopes that it will be followed by a giant wave of happiness. And to all of the other single moms out there who will also celebrate their birthday alone this year, happy birthday to you, from my heart to yours.

pink-heart-outline-clipart-aTexGLAT4

My 3 Favorite Features

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I’m going to start this post with an apology because I’m going to make a generalization about most women. I’d bet that if you asked almost any woman what three features she disliked about her body the most, she’d be able to rattle them off with out batting an eyelash. If, however, you asked the same woman to name her three favorite features, I bet she’d have to think about it for a minute.

So why is it that we’re so quick to point out our own “flaws”, but have such a hard time seeing the beauty that so many others see when they look at us? I know the media doesn’t help, but let’s stop with the excuses. Below are my three favorite features, which happen to all be things that I got picked on for at one time or another as a child (mostly at the hands of my brothers – sorry guys, but I still love ya).

  1. My lips – yes they are full, yes I was frequently teased and called Mick Jagger, but they are now my most favorite facial feature.
  2. My freckles – I have a girlfriend who tried her hardest to cover her freckles all through high school, but I’ve always loved mine. I feel like without them, my face would just be too plain.
  3. My hands – for a girl my size, they are a bit on the large side. In my younger days, I thought I would eventually “grow into them” (wishful thinking – I’m still tiny), but now I realize how strong and yet gentle they truly are. From palming basketballs to cradling my newborn daughter, and everything in between, I love my hands and all that they have allowed me to do.

Now it’s your turn to make your own favorites list. While three is my magic number (see The Power of Three), don’t limit yourself. I hope you are pleasantly surprised to see your list quickly grow, and may it soon outnumber that lifelong “dislike” list you have stored in your head. Time to move that one to the trash, and replace it with a much more valuable one. 🙂

 

33 Days – 3 Take Aways

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While I prefer to read non-fiction during the day when my brain can still absorb new information (nighttime reading for me is to detach and unwind), after hearing Panache Desai speak at a Random House Open House event, I decided to give his book Discovering Your Soul Signature: A 33 Day Path To Purpose, Passion & Joy a shot. I will openly admit, that despite considering myself a highly spiritual person, I was a bit skeptical at first. Thankfully, as a Taurus, once I make a commitment, it’s very rare that I don’t see it through to the end.

Without ruining it for those of you who might pick up a copy for yourselves, the purpose is to reconnect with your authentic self. Everyday for 33 days you read one chapter, broken up into morning, noon and night passages. Having completed the task I can tell you that it is succinctly and authentically written, and the chapters flow effortlessly into the next as your progress. I will also say, that when you are prompted to stop to carry out a small task – do it. This is not a book to be rushed through, but rather a book to be read and savored every step of the way.

So what did I discover when I reached the end you might ask? I’ll sum it up in three bullet points, since we all know now that three is the magic number.

 

  1. A nice deep breath really can change everything.
  2. Keep your mind clear and your heart open.
  3. Everyone we encounter offers us the opportunity to give and receive love, and love always wins.
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