unconditional 

To know the gift of unconditional love is to become one’s true self without fear. This is a milestone and my heart is happy.

My dad called last night. We had that talk about me being bisexual. I had wanted to be able to sit with him and discuss things in person, but according to him last night, he had something “weighing on his heart.” He just came out and asked me after prefacing it with how much he loves me and how he’d never stop, also stating that no matter who I am, I am his child first and his love for me will never change. 

Him being an Episcopalian preacher has no hierarchy over his love for his child. He also said that he’d known for years but didn’t know how to approach the subject, but he’s glad that I was open with him last night, that I shared myself at my full capacity. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be, it was like a casual conversation. I’m grateful for that. I believe, this will open up new doors for us. Expressing how this makes me feel has no words. I don’t think they have even been invented yet.

We all have our skeletons. I am happy mine are out of the closet. 

Centered

My Great-Grandmother Lucille Tiggs pictured at the far left. I have no clue of when this was, but I love this picture. Not sure who the other people are, but I aim to find out.

I remember my Great-Grandmother being more than sure of herself, she was confident and she had a presence about her that demanded your attention. I was close to her, undeniably and inexplicably close. Her passing more than sixteen years ago now gutted me. I felt as though my world would crumble. Her mind decided to give up on her. She had a form of dementia that beat her to a pulp and shrunk her overwhelming presence to one that we needn’t cower from. 

I do not want to ever know what it feels like to lose your mind, your sanity, your ability to make vital decisions for both yourself and others. When my Great-Grandmother’s condition worsened, her children agreed to have her placed under the watchful eyes of an appointed caregiver. There, in someone else’s home, she was monitored and cared for accordingly by professionals. It was there on my visits to her, that I noticed how aggressive this illness was. She didn’t know me anymore. Oh, she knew that I was family, but she kept referring to me as my older cousin. It pained me to watch her wither, to witness her become someone I did not know. 

Even though she was no longer as smart as a whip and her memory began shifting and leaving her day by day, there was still a sense of groundedness in her. I looked at her and she appeared centered. Was it the fact that she was in her eighties and had been the epitome of strength and tenacity for our family for decades? Was it because I still saw the confident and self-assured reckoning of a woman that she was? I am certain that it was a combination of these things, but now, when I feel as though I may fall or am falling, I think of her. I remember who she was and…

I tell myself that I am of her blood and I am centered, grounded, confident, and sure. 

I am hers even if she’s gone. 

Happy Days

My oldest nephew Jeremiah. My youngest niece Sarai.
My baby cousin Caison and I. Christmas Eve, 2018.
And again.
My niece, the dimpled dream, Kali.
My nephew Jr., always frowning. Lol.
My oldest niece Tierney, the eldest of them all. This young one is so incredibly intelligent, it truly renders me speechless.

The two things that I am sincerely proud of is being an Auntie and a big cousin. If I could divvy out my heart equally to each of these wondrous beings, I would. Time and distance keeps us apart more than I believe that it should, but I am most grateful for photos, the phone, and the US Postal service.

through pictures, we share

an undeniable love,

one that will not die

“Let Your Heart Be Light”

Customized Christmas card that I gave out this year. Here’s one for all of you. 

It is my hope, it is my prayer–that all of you will enjoy the upcoming holiday season. I will be taking a short break from social media, logging off effective, Sunday, December 23, 2018, at 7:00 pm EST. Both Jernee and I wish each of you a very Merry Christmas, that is–if you celebrate. If you do not, find peace in something you truly want to do and enjoy every moment of it.

Be Good To You.
Be Kind To Others.
Love As Much As You Can.

Peace and Blessings.

The Battles We Create For Ourselves

Are The Ones That Break Us

TreGranny
Left: My paternal grandmother at age 37. Right: Me at age 37.

By design, we are all different yet beautiful. Coming out is teaching me what unconditional love is. What life outside of a box feels like. The more I share with my family and friends, the more I am finding out, “but you know I knew that already, right?” And no, I had no idea my family knew the inner-workings of my heart, of my soul. I am rather private. For the most part, I keep to myself. I am significantly older than all of my siblings, so much of what I experienced growing up, they did not.

They looked up to me, yes, I knew that. But, I did not know how closely they were watching me. According to my brother TJ upon me asking, “When did you think you knew?”

“I don’t mean no disrespect sis, but I knew when I was little. I mean, I ain’t never really seen you with no boyfriends except that one dude that everybody liked. I thought, maybe my sister likes women. And then later, when you started dating that bald-headed guy like three years ago, I thought — oh, my sister still likes men. I see no difference in you, sis. I’m gonna love you anyway.

To this, I laughed. I am nine years older than TJ. He and I are quite close. Most people say, he looks a lot like me and really, I think that as well. Most of us have strong features that link up, however, I am told he and our kid sister looks most like me. I found his comment the best way of his expression. Of how he began thinking his big sister was not heterosexual. He has a big heart too and is sensitive in ways that my other brothers are not. As a toddler, he was one who would cry at the drop of a hat. I knew then that he would sincerely be connected to his emotions, unafraid to share, or one willing to listen when listening is of the utmost importance. I was hoping I would be right.

TjandTre
TJ & I.

I Am Right In My Assessment.

I know there will be hills that I will ache from climbing, someone will voice their opinion, will Bible-thump me with scriptures they have twisted to fit their model of beliefs and display not one modicum of common sense, but I am in a position to not let that keep me from being me. I have no control over the thoughts of others and my journey into this new life is not the responsibility of anyone but my own. I am tired of limiting myself to being with who I want when I want, yet “in the dark,” cut-off from everyone else. I am tired of waving happiness away because of a way of life that most of my religious upbringing planned for me.

I Never Fit Into That Box

So, why was I constantly trying to keep myself there? I created a war within me. The battles I fought needed heavy armor and up against myself, I was not winning. I was only breaking and withering away. A revelation hit me, that caused me to say, “You know what? You want to be happy, be who you are. Do not think about it, Tre, just do it.” And after that moment, I felt an overwhelming sense of FINALLY! My heart slowed down its beating. I could breathe better.

Cousin, I believe this is gonna help you so much in relieving the depression and anxiety you have been dealing with for years. You are learning that it is okay to be you.” ©Akua

And it is okay to fully be me. I have made a pact with myself. A personal declaration that I intend to stand by, to etch into my skin. I will make my life easier by being who I am and nothing more. I looked at myself in the mirror and declared that. I meant it.

I Am Focused.

I carry the strength of powerful women in my bones, women who will cut you with their eyes then tell you to get over it without a trimmer in their voice. Women who have been fighting for me without my knowledge. Women who will look you in your eyes and tell you while they stand on flat feet and shiftless legs, “you’re lying.” A long line of women who have stepped forward and said,

“You better be who you are while you still can.”

I Will.

Just bees and things and flowers
Just bees and things and flowers
Just bees and things and flowers
My life. My Life. My life. My Life
In the sunshine
Everybody loves the sunshine.


Originally published in Other Doors via Medium.