Pressing On: Filling the Void

love in the wrong places

Share a time when you felt spiritually abandoned
Losing one of my closest friends ‘Punkin’’ my senior year of college was really hard. He was my Clyde! I knew he’d always have my back and when he was killed I literally shut down. I stayed in my room and grieved for days at a time. This is was a process that would last for many, many years after his death. At that time I felt like a walking ghost. I remember people reaching out to share words of condolences and bible scriptures but I was so outraged with God for ‘taking Tre’ that I couldn’t bear to listen. Around this time my step father was publically preparing to serve prison time and my biological father was majorly failing to fill his shoes on all levels. Here I was heartbroken, searching for jobs so I wouldn’t have to drop out of school and using temporary physical affection to Band-Aid my hurt. My graduation from college should have felt ‘victorious’, but instead it was an extremely lonely time for me. I went into alumni hood not really feeling like God had a special place in my life. 

Share a time when you felt broken
When I moved to New Orleans I started dating folks who I knew didn’t meet my standards. I was searching for love in all the wrong places and a relationship with God was an afterthought. My longest relationship here was with someone who I didn’t realize at the time was verbally and mentally abusive. After years of being his “side chic” I’d graduated to “main chic” and was trying to do anything I could to keep him. He would say, “Don’t cut your hair off, your face is too round for that! You’re going to look like a boy.” I would share my dreams (which has now manifested into a 30 before 30 list) and he would just shoot them down as silly fantasies. The man who I’d dreamed was my ‘soul mate’ in reality was bitter, mean, and rude. Instead of walking away I began to ‘change’ for him. I slowly watched myself become a shell of the once lively woman I was. I, ironically, at this time wore a lot of black. My hair was flat ironed in a boring bob (his favorite). I began to pick up weight and hide it under baggy clothes. He ended up cheating on me and my self-worth was in the toilet for a while. When I finally became strong enough to let go of what God had been trying to break apart for 4+ years, I then clung to His word. I clung to my dreams. I clung to my sister-friends. I got a freaking therapist. Yes, therapy is for Black women too!

Share the moment when you discovered your purpose OR the moment you received a revelation of what your purpose might be.
I wrote an African American Literature Curriculum and taught it to a group of 11th graders my 3rd year teaching. I didn’t know it at the time, but this would be ‘the thing’ that revealed a part of my purpose on this earth. Outside of my relationship with God, there is nothing, I mean nothing that brings me more joy than sharing the true history of our people (not those lies in text books) to our people.  I fell in love with our ancestors, I fell in love with my brown children, and in many ways fell in love with what I’m sure God has put as a calling in my life. The rush that I’d felt writing a ‘The Black Love’ series for my HS newspaper and re-starting Common Ground Spoken Word in college I was now feeling again as an educator. I will always speak. I will always advocate. I will always teach. I will always write on our behalf.

When you are hardest hit how do you motivate yourself to press on?
This year in particular I was hit the hardest personally and professionally. After living in denial of my commitment issues and my repressing my anger until it literally drove me mad I began to seek the counsel of my elder’s and mentors. I decided to take therapy on wholeheartedly. I also found myself reading this scripture over and over again, “Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” - Philippians 4:8

What have you learned in this season of your life?
God’s love is enough. I am enough. Sister-friends are A-MAZ-ING. Therapy works.

What advice would you give to those who feel like their story is over?
Press your hand over your heart. Do you feel it beating? The story must go on. Fear isn’t real, it’s a choice. Choose to be courageous. 
- Create a list of things YOU want to do. Put them on your calendar. See them through.
- Get a therapist. There’s nothing like telling it all, so you can forget it all, and begin healing. The word says, “Brothers and sisters, I know that I still have a long way to go. But there is one thing I do: I forget what is in the past and try as hard as I can to reach the goal before me.”
- Find the good and praise it.

Send me a picture of your favorite pair of heels and let me know why they are your favorite!
I adore these heels mainly because they have such a soulful feel. Also I love, love, love red, but it's crazy hard to find shoes w/ true Crimson (OO-OOP and Roll Tide) these have the best of both worlds. They're crazy versatile too so I can rock 'em straight through all the seasons; that's always a bonus! *hits my Dougie*
By: Stevona Rogers
S. Elem
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