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Listening at the Speed of Life

– by C. J. Wade –

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letters

#bloglikecrazy: Open Letter #30

To My Fellow Creatives:


I sincerely applaud us! Like immigrants, we get the job done! (see what I did there?)

We robe ourselves with the stories of others and output exceptional interpretations. It takes a brilliant mind to do such acrobatics. It takes a certain level of emotional skill to tap into the dark recesses of the world to tell an authentic story and come out of the cave without permanent scarring. I marvel at our community’s ability to do this often and sometimes across multiple projects. We are AH-MAY-ZING!

If I had to remind us of something, it would be to remember that we are valuable beyond what we do. Yes, our skills pay the bills, but we are more than what comes out of us. We are more than our masks. We are more than the stage.

Photo by Andrew Neel on Pexels.com

The truth is if we die tomorrow, the show of society would commemorate us for a bit and continue with another cast of characters. So, take care of yourselves, Loves. Our minds, bodies, and souls are more than worth it. I know we lie ourselves down for the sake of the craft, but for a lifetime of creative expulsion, I don’t like seeing us falling victim to the vice of overexertion. Some of us therapeutically deal with our issues through the arts and some of us die physically and spiritually because of them. The cycle in our community has to stop. WE MATTER.

Photo by Edgar Colomba on Pexels.com

When we sing, notes fly out of our souls like beautifully-winged freedom. When we dance, movement creates waves that disrupt unseen demons. When we act, emotion pours out of us and onto a canvas called life so others can see themselves. Yet… when I see another one of us die by suicide, drugs, crime, and various manners caused by reckless living, I am saddened because it was so preventable and the world is dimmer. Such a beautiful Icarus. Another creative we must love from afar because they got too close to the sun.

Please take care of you and look out for one another. It can be a lonely career although it is dependent upon so many people. Once you give yourself so well and you return to your hotel room or the job is over and you’re back home until the next call, the pause can be rejuvenating or deafening. Let’s be sure that we’re OK. Let’s be sure we don’t get lost in the sauce. Let’s remember that we are people first and we are loved.

Keep rocking EVERYTHING, Co-Stars!

CJW

#bloglikecrazy: Open Letter #29

Written January 11, 2017 at 1:36 AM (It’s a little lengthy because I let it flow that day. No apologies.)

To The Obama Family:


I cried.

Not the sniff-sniff sentimental cute cry. The ugly one. A lamentation even.

I kept asking myself “Why am I crying?! Why… am I crying?” I’m a firm believer that tears have a name. They speak when your words can’t, so I was trying to hear what these were saying. My voice got softer as the tears got bigger and my face crumbled like an unwanted piece of paper. I didn’t understand where the tears were coming from. Here I was — watching the farewell address of a current president as I had done before, only this time, my soul was weeping and I couldn’t put my finger on the origin. Then, I asked again aloud in frustration, “Why am I crying right now?!” I heard the Lord say “Because someone had to do it. You’re mourning the end, but you’re glad to see it.”

I couldn’t have agreed more.

I was so overjoyed to see with own eyes the historical manifestation of what I taught to hundreds of students. I was proud of our technological age as I absorbed the spirit of the moment through my cell phone. I was grateful to hear the passionate sincerity in your voice, President Obama. My president. My ownership of the political process was just as real as my ancestors. In essence, I was crying with my late grandmother that used to clean the homes of White families. I was crying with my late great-grandparents and my uncles who experienced discrimination in the military. I can’t describe how anointed it felt to be in this moment, full of grace and momentum, simultaneously.

I was in awe.

Photo by Aaron Schwartz on Pexels.com

I felt the love toward your wife and daughters. I absorbed the gratitude extended to the vice-president, cabinet, and staff. I witnessed the appreciation toward the volunteers and voters that got you there (at this moment I could see the tear wiped from your face with a handkerchief). To acknowledge the torch was burning for a new carrier and that you had taken it as far as you could. Despite the surge of overt racism, death threats, and emphatic defiance, you made it to this moment. And it was true — somebody had to do it. And I wasn’t looking for perfection — I was just looking for someone to try. Someone that looked like me.

And First Lady Obama… to be painted as an angry Black woman in the midst of raising the standard of America’s children as well as your own was no feat for the average will, but again… somebody had to do it and do it well. So much so, that the second go ’round was even more beautiful to behold than the first. Your blossoms of security, passion, and focus were bigger and brighter. As a result, the pollination of other Queendoms ensued and there are gardens all over the world. You were and still are remarkable in your own undeniable right and I love you for being brave enough to remain authentic. Authentically in love with your husband, authentically protective of your children, and authentically passionate about justice and solidarity. I appreciate that. A blueprint beautifully unscrolled for other women to follow and cherish.

Sasha and Malia — Bless you for growing up under such a judgmental microscope. When people picked you apart, I shook my head and spoke up. You were children living in a world you didn’t sign up for, not on a reality show with a contract. You were not “fair game,” as I heard someone say. Despite all of this, you rose to exceptional heights and I am so proud of you. You’re intelligent and you stand unapologetically in your womanhood. Keep doing just that.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

I’m still amazed how those sporadic tears jumped down my face, but they were definitely shed without regret. I admonished them to have their way and for my soul to speak its peace without restraint. And it did. Again and again. A lamented song with bars I had never heard. I let it out without penance. I was sad to see you go, Obama Family, but so happy to see the completion of this chapter. There were many times I prayed no one would kill you as you waved to crowds with heart and hugged with compassion. I prayed often for your protection because the threats were out there. I’ve always prayed for leaders as the Bible says so, but this time was different. On several occasions, I feared for your lives and your optimism. I didn’t want the vile of a few to dilute your hope and strength. The past, present, and future needed you.

In closing, I appreciate your steadfastness toward each other and for displaying balance of life. You have a few more gray hairs there, Mr. President, and you earned every one. There’s no telling how many backdoor conversations you had to stomach and pep talks you had to give and get.

I’m sorry to see you go, but I’m glad to see you live.

Somebody had to do it. Somebody had to stand in the middle of time and history. Somebody had to be you in this lifetime and I’m so glad it was you. Thank you. For everything seen and unseen. You did it well and your heart spoke for you in every footstep toward your belief for better. My tears today are well spent and I appreciate the opportunity to let them fall. Thank you for being you and may God richly bless your days and the lives of your family.

Sincerely,

Christina J. Wade

#bloglikecrazy: Open Letter #28

Disclaimer: Have you ever heard of encouraging yourself? Well, this is an authentic letter from my spirit back into myself at a time (any given time) when I needed to do that. Thank you for listening.

Christina,

Girl. It’s OK.

It’s OK to not be OK. It’s OK to be frustrated. It’s OK to survive on the Word of God. It’s OK to drink pouches of positivity to stay alive. It’s OK to pour it out.

You’re doing the best you can. You do right by people. And as you type this part with your eyes closed, you are emotionally, spiritually, and psychologically aware of who you are and who you want to be.

I know there are parts of your life you have yet to obtain. Those unreached parts do not define a deficit in who you are. I know there are many experiences you are grateful to have in your memory bank. How beautiful, they are. How beautiful, you are. Remember that you are not your accomplishments and there is no race. Do your best and when you get there, you’ll be there. In the meantime, you’re here and don’t be angry at that. It’s downright egregious that you’ve had to fight for things that others received easily. You’re not envious of the person, but the frequency frustrates you.

Photo by mikoto.raw on Pexels.com

Queen, stand firm in knowing that God’s got you. You have to believe that enough to keep walking when the room is spinning. You have to breathe that in every chance you get. That’s your resuscitation when it feels like you’re suffocating under the bricks. Our God is great provider, healer, and the resurrection of life itself.

You have to be better at accepting His help through others though. You’re patient with others more than you are with yourself. You know how to give yourself grace, but you suck at letting the process continue when you don’t see the justice. You struggle with letting patience have her perfect work in certain situations. No, you’re not the only one with challenges beyond your control, but your experiences do matter to the Father and to those whose loving arms surround you.

Just breathe. Deeply. Inhaling all you know that is Truth and exhaling all you know that is heavy.

It’s OK.

It’s OK.

It’s going to be OK.

Photo by Matheus Natan on Pexels.com

You are a warrior. You are soft enough to be a princess and strong enough to be a queen. You have exceptional abilities and capabilities. You are one woman with a wide wingspan. Doubt is no match for you. Despair slinks away at the mention of your presence coming because you know to whom you belong. The same God that created the world and all that you see lives inside of you as a force to be reckoned with. So, after those tears comes a rising. After those shoulders rolled forward comes a head held high. Listen to your heartbeat and remember God put it there for a reason.

You got this.

He got you.

Just like He did the last time.

Sincerely,

CJW

#bloglikecrazy: Open Letter #27

To my Fantastic Frat Brothers of Kappa Kappa Psi National Honorary Band Fraternity:

First things first — Happy 101st Anniversary, Bruhs!

When I joined Tau Beta Sigma in 2001, my dean/big sister told me that if I ever need anything, find a Bruh. Not that my sisters wouldn’t have my back, but she wanted to establish that I had always had back-up. I was always covered.

She didn’t lie.

A Quick Note: Now this was before KKPsi became co-ed, so my primary memories involve male members and my points of references in this letter will reflect that experience. This doesn’t knock any member post the co-ed change. You know I love you all.

Whether I was on the road or down the street, a brother of KKPsi would sincerely ensure my well-being. Small things matter to me like walking to me to my car (which you always do) and the big things certainly can not be overlooked like letting me sleep peacefully in your room and making sure no one woke me up because you knew I had a long drive ahead. It was even a Bruh that provided a place to stay and transportation for my audition in DC. I’ll never forget that.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I love that you are exceptional musicians and no one can stroll like you — no one. One of my favorite memories is watching a small group of you recall the score of band music you played in college. Quarter notes and staccatos punctuated your voices like audible artwork and you gathered like the geniuses you were to make sure it was flawless. The musicianship it takes to be you in unparallel and that’s what I admire about you all year long.

I love that you support each other In The Bond. I’ve seen you hold each other up in hard times and correct each other at parties. You’re brothers and you act like it.

God bless you all for the rest of your years and beyond. Stick together — no matter what. Keep loving on each other during this time and keep showing Sorors that sibling love (not just Greek crushes) is indeed real — that those constitutions meant something when our founders bonded us together. Music and band are the ultimate examples of that because it takes every part of us to create the Masterpiece.

I love you. Keep striving for the highest. I tip 101 red carnations to you.

CJW
“Fine Tuned”
#1 – Eta Lambda – SPR01
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Eta Lambda Alumni Association

#bloglikecrazy: Open Letter #26

To my United States of America:

Don’t worry — this isn’t a bash letter. I can’t truthfully say that all parts of you are horrible. There are some beautiful moments between us and your landscapes are breathtaking to say the least. The way your camaraderie comes through in times of tragedy is amazing. When an actor or a farmer can become president, you know there’s something magical here. I love you; otherwise, I wouldn’t be here.

It’s because of that love that we need to have this conversation. Our garden has some weeds in it that we can not ignore. Some could say there’s full-fledged forestry. In this domestic relationship, my face has bruises that you don’t want to see. You’d rather I be silent and keep smiling for the pictures than for Truth to stand in the middle of our living room.

When corporations can make unlimited donations to control their candidate’s voice and society is celebrated for working on fumes, we have a problem.
When gerrymandering is normal and public health doesn’t serve the public without some bureaucratic blowback, we still have a problem.
When it’s 2020 and women are still paid less for the same caliber of work and indigenous persons must protest for the sanctity of their land, we definitely have a problem.
An age old problem.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Just because there are great opportunities doesn’t mean there aren’t great opportunities for growth. Progress takes time, I know, but you can’t keep wining and dining me thinking that I’m going to forget the repeated black eyes of injustice and the dismissive nature of our union. There’s not enough makeup in this house to cover such crimes.

The truth is we were unraveling way before this year began. Our jaded bubbles of reality were actually being held together by tattered strings and I kept saying that I wanted us to work out, but I don’t feel like you hear me… that you want to hear me.

Photo by Josh Hild on Pexels.com

From the bottom of my heart, I love you. I hate the mess and I know we aren’t perfect, so all we have to do is acknowledge and adjust. You have to be willing to do that before anything gets better. The land we built wasn’t ours to do so. It’s been watered by the blood of so many. Our home needs the beautiful truss of Truth and don’t think I can’t leave; I just shouldn’t have to. My blood, sweat, and tear equity is invested in this house.

I believe we can get there. I have to believe we can get there, but I won’t stand to be a victim in these four walls.

Can we work on this? I want better for us. Our inception didn’t start out so fair, but we have control over our future. Do you want us to work? Do you want us to live together? Do you want us to live?

I hope so. Let me know.

Sincerely,

CJW

#bloglikecrazy: Open Letter #25

To Wanda Dear,

Once upon a time, I left my house with a prayer. I was a fresh out of grad school with boots on the ground trying to secure a teaching job. My phone had just been stolen as I was using pay phones to call schools and possible leads. I had gone to the library to print out directions because GPS was not an option. The summer heat was not my friend and I was beyond hot — inside and out. So on a day in June, I said “Lord, I need to work somewhere. Just tell me where to go.”

I drove straight to that store and took a deep breath before walking inside. It had been a couple of years since I had worked retail and frankly, I was not looking forward to it. “You’re allergies are going to freak out,” I muttered to myself as I walked through the store, “but you gotta do something.” Your frankness and your warmth sold me from the jump. I knew you were the real deal, but I didn’t imagine that you would become family.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

When my sweet friend Nancy passed away, you showed me empathy by letting me work in the backroom so my tears could flow at will. When my former husband’s diabetic skin needed suggestions, you always made sure to keep me updated on the best products to soothe its agitations. I appreciated your humanity. And while I appreciate every supervisor I’ve worked for, I have comprehensively learned more from you than any corporate experience I ever had. I learned more than how to run a store. I learned how to use discernment during the hiring process, how to mix grace with facts, how to manage personalities, how to work that calculator and know your products like you know your name, how to provide a positive customer experience, and how not to be pissed off everyday. I would tell myself after a long day or a hard shift, “If Wanda can do it, I can do it.” We made it through holiday rushes, limited staffing, late night inventories, and ridiculous floor sets. Every time, I would tell myself that same sentence.

You know my family because you’re woven into our tapestry. My mother respects you and when my father and former husband were alive, so did they. Your heart is bigger than most people I’ve met and I am so grateful you’re in my world. Like I tell anyone that acts sideways – “I’ll fight you over that red-head. She’s family.”

Wanda, I pray that every single seed you have sown in the lives of others will come back to you 100-fold. I have no worries about your future because you’ve planted so richly. You know I have your back no matter what and you know I’m not the only one that will say the same thing. All of us are so much better because of your awesomeness.

I love you big,

CJW

#bloglikecrazy: Open Letter #24

Dear Future Self,

Girl, you did it.

You’re enjoying your life to absolute fullest, even more than you were before. Beach waves are rolling nearby and an organic smoothie is within arms reach. Your upcoming trip is booked and the next one is already planned. Did I say how good your hair looked today?

I am so proud of you. The birthing of your books continue to yield much fruit. While challenges still arise, you digest them with wisdom on your fork. Remember the financial pressures that came like tsunamis? I’m glad you didn’t drown. I’m glad you didn’t give up. I’m glad you gathered the shreds underneath your feet and walked right over them. Everything you experienced made you the force that you are now.

You shine. I can feel it from yesteryear.

Photo/Hair/Makeup by Desiree Danielle Beauty.
Assembly – my sisters Desiree, Ashlee, & Miyoka

Your “no” is still strong and your “yes” is still formidable. I’m smiling right now just thinking of how courageous you are. Nothing was able to hold you from fulfilling your purpose and I’m so grateful you didn’t quit. Sitting at that desk writing your heart out is exactly what you should be doing. Inspirational speaking is your jam. Loving is your armor. Massage therapy and wellness are still your advocacy vehicles and your practice is flourishing beautifully. I’m so proud of you for hiring others so they can be empowered as well. Those properties and those investments are going to serve you well.

Girl, keep shining. Keep doing what God tells you to do because it only gets better. They say to check on your strong friends, so just know that I’ve been praying for you for a long time. I don’t know if you’re married, but if you are, I know he’s dope. If you’re not, I know your solitary life is dope.

Can’t wait to see your awesomeness. No rush. I’ll meet you there, Queen.

Sincerely,

CJW

#bloglikecrazy: Open Letter #23

Dear Sweethearts,

You know I couldn’t leave you out of this challenge and I didn’t want to wait until the last letter either.

Every week, we connect on many wavelengths to get through life together. Our topics range from work frustrations to crazy things Christians believe to losing a loved one. When I started this blog, I remember thinking “Is anyone even going to read this? Oh well, here goes.”

And here we are! You listen to my heart on these pages week after week and I hear yours in your responses. Some of you tell me your thoughts via text, email, and in the blog comments. I’m grateful for it all, but it always catches me by surprise when you tell me in person. One time, a student told me in the hallway that she read a post. I froze like I was in a game of tag. Another time, I was at a wedding reception and three SoRHOrs talked about how a particular post resonated with them. In another instance, a Soror said that she looks forward to the Wednesday Wind Down as a spiritual check up for her week. What can I say? You keep me going!

Are you following to me on Instagram?

I never wanted to write just to write; I prayed to write with purpose. My writing guru Javacia asked me to describe my niche during a coaching session one day. I shared that I wanted to create an inspirational home for busy humans, provide a realistic approach to faith, and encourage people to listen for God’s voice in their everyday lives. Over the last four years, I believe we’ve been running in that lane and I appreciate you being with me in the process!

Sweetheart, I pray this place continues to inspire you to be human and to let God help you through it all. I love you and I pray God’s blessings shine on you wherever you are. OK, enough mushiness. lol In essence, you rock my socks, so let’s keep going.

Peace & Thanks for listening (as always),

CJW

#bloglikecrazy: Open Letter #22

To my Fellow Retail Slayers:

First of all, you rock. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

You’re probably gearing up for the holiday weekend right now and while this year looks a little different, it is still projected to be busy nonetheless. Around this season, for some reason, the public seems to lose its wits. Rudeness flies freely like the wicked witch’s monkeys from The Wizard of Oz. It’s repulsive and I don’t condone it one bit.

Whether you had to take a retail job to secure your family or you’re just trying to make some extra cash, you deserve to be treated with dignity. I wish I knew why people toss their money at cashiers, don’t read their coupons, or insult your intelligence, but after 17 years of retail experience, I can’t say that I’ve found the master key to that one yet. Even when I was in leadership and managed a high-volume store, I still had people question my ability to assist them. I am convinced — when some customers cross the threshold of your store, something happens to their neurons and they are draped in a disgusting cloak of indignation and entitlement. It can make you angry if you let it.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

May we all show each other some grace this retail season and thereafter, but truthfully, there’s a lot of stress in the world. So, gear up. Someone will probably try to degrade you today or yell at you over something beyond your control. I’m sorry about that. When you put on that uniform or that nametag, remember that you are simply fulfilling a role. You are not what you do. You are not a peon. You have exceptional skills and you are valuable to all who enter. You are still the fantastic phenom you were when you got out of bed this morning and you will be when you lie down tonight.

I don’t care who comes into your establishment, remember that you are the heartbeat of the company. Don’t let anyone make you feel otherwise, OK? Don’t let it stick.

Work that shift. Make that money. Help those people. Go home proud.

Sincerely,

CJW

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