Strutting In The Sun

Vol. 8: End of the Year Good Things

Kelis Photo by Michael Mora

Hello, lovelies! We made it through another year here on Medium and most of us still have so many stories to tell. To those of you still following us, still reading what we have to share and still enthralled by every click of each post, we appreciate you. Surely, we would not be who we are here at A Cornered Gurl if it were not for each of you. A heartfelt THANK YOU does not seem like enough, but it is what we are gifting as well as our words.

This year, in January, we launched the opening of ACG up to every writer on Medium and since then, milestones upon milestones have greeted us. Currently, we have 1,131 followers and we are comprised of 159 writers with 75 of them in an active status here on Medium. Our theme–our dedication within this publication is to give you writing that is brutally honest, vulnerable, and relative & relatable. We are writers who, “Break out of the Box” and this is shown with every piece published in A Cornered Gurl.

The last few months leading up to the end of this year gave us the last Young Minds of Medium challenge with a theme of “How Do You Sing The Blues?” We also introduced our youngest contributor, Niharika Gursahani who is currently flourishing here on Medium as well as maintaining her readership on WordPress.

Two pieces I’d like to shine a little light on as contributions to this challenge are:

Anto Rin, Women are from Venus

Braden Turner, Southern Fried Circuits

The last challenge for all writers was this month with the following theme: “How Do You Like Your Love?” We had nineteen entries and I was more than pleased with each submission. Everyone was not only creative in using three words or multiple sets of three words to share how they like their love, but I also felt a sense of togetherness monitoring this challenge. I want to highlight three of those entries:

Willow T. Lovelace, Endless Endearment

Subo, Love

Rachel B. Baxter, How Do You Like Your Love?

I want to take this moment to recognize some of our newest contributors as they have shared poignant work with us toward the end of this year and I am certain next year will welcome the same: Roxana Ștefan, Esther Spurrill-Jones, Christie Alex Costello, MBA, Stephen M. Tomic, Sarah E Sturgis, and Bella Linda.

In A Cornered Gurl, we are built on community. It is important for us to not only encourage one another but to help each other grow and we are doing that by exploring many of the facets of writing available to us. The goal I envisioned, as we neared the end of this year, was to be able to present one of the local homeless shelters here in my area of North Carolina with a check or an electronic payment that would not only go toward providing meals but also a place to sleep or rest for a few nights too for those desperately in need. We did that. The amount donated to Samaritan’s Ministries was $75.00.

Not only did we raise enough funds to contribute in the fight to rally against homelessness in this area, but we were also able to gift St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital $90.00. Their remarkable care, professionalism, and willingness to help children diagnosed with cancer for absolutely no cost to their parents, blows my mind.

I have friends and family members who still want to donate and will do so and have been informed that their funds have been and will be placed in the ACG account to go toward next year’s charity donations.

Here in ACG, small monetary rewards distributed throughout the year to twenty-four writers for meeting various milestones in or outside of the publication added up to $262.00. I am overjoyed that we have been able to meet most of our goals and exceed in others.

Next year’s challenges will be totally different from this year’s and they will force us to use our thinking abilities as creatives and truly break out of the box. Stay tuned.

To anyone who has given their time, money, efforts, and support to this publication, I am honored. I cannot thank you enough and words do not seem to be justifiable given the accolades placed upon us. I look forward to what 2020 has in store and I hope you do too.

And now, a little Kelis: Get Along With You

Peace and blessings and a very Happy New Year to you!


Originally published in A Cornered Gurl via Medium.

 

Non-fiction Saturdays

In Focus: Photo by Tremaine L. Loadholt

You Are The Creator of Your Boundaries

Know What You Will and Won’t Accept From Others

If you want to know just how resilient you are, try living through hurt, harm, danger, or wrong-doing from a loved one. They can press buttons no one else can. What is even scarier is they can lord things over you many would not even attempt at doing. I would like to say that I am someone who would offer the benefit of the doubt — that I am more forgiving than I am not, but there is a breaking point and everyone has it. The older I get, the more I am being introduced to my limitations.

This is to say, I am more in tune with what I tolerate and to what extent. I am creating longer paths on my journey, therefore, I have to implement and reconstruct boundaries.

boundary

Something that indicates or fixes a limit or extent — Merriam-Webster dictionary.

If someone hurts me or disrespects me in a manner I can clearly spot, I make that known. I call them on it. I then create a space for me to be able to express why I am hurt and what led to that. No one knows if they have hurt you or not based on their words or actions. Sure, most of us can recognize pain when it occurs in someone else, but are we so quick to jump to the conclusion that we may have caused it? I highly doubt it. I say this because I am not always open to claiming the pain I have caused. I know I am not the only one.

Often people don’t intentionally cross our boundaries. As per Liz Morrison, “Since no one has the ability to read someone else’s mind, it cannot always be assumed that a person will know if they are triggering something in them . . .” But whether someone means to break a boundary or not, the result is the same. — Liz Morrison, LCSW & Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S

I believe the words boundary and respect go hand-in-hand. One is what we create to suggest a limit, the other is being mindful of that limitation or extension — or lack thereof. One definition of the word respect, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is “an act of giving particular attention,” in other words — consideration. If someone will not consider your feelings in a situation, knowing that tension has been created or some sense of pain, then it is most likely, this person does not respect you and will more than likely not respect any boundaries implemented either.

You and only you know when a line you have drawn has been crossed. You know what boundaries to establish and why. If you have ever come into contact with someone who can be selfish, rude, racist, or asinine, chances are, you already have boundaries in place. The question I would ask you is: “How often do those boundaries get tested?” To take it further, I will be nosy and query, “What do you do when they are tested?”


Photo by Mantas Hesthaven via Unsplash

If someone does cross that line and an actual break of the boundary has occurred, you must be aware. There are things you will need to do that may either pull you out of your comfort zone or cause you to evoke feelings of discontent in the person who crossed the line. How you prepare yourself in handling this is key to if your vocalizing the displeasure in their actions will be worth it in the end. From my experience, if approached effectively and the person has a modicum of common sense and compassion, you will survive addressing what needs to be addressed.

Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S. along with information taken from her colleagues in her article When People Cross Your Boundaries, suggests five ways on what to do when someone crosses your boundaries:

Handle it internally. When someone crosses your boundary, one option is to handle it internally, said Morrison, who specializes in children and families in New York City. First, you might find the positive in the situation. Secondly, question the situation.

Restate your boundary. Another option is to confront the person. Maybe they misunderstood you initially. Maybe your boundary was vague or indirect.

State your boundary in a positive way. That is, state what you want, instead of what you don’t want.

Offer a way to move forward. Assert yourself, explain your feelings and offer a way to move forward.

Reconsider the relationship. If you’ve been clear about your boundaries, and the person still keeps crossing them, consider if you want to remain in a relationship with someone who disrespects your limits.

This task, approaching someone who has crossed a boundary, is not easy. I do not think it is meant to be. When feelings and emotions are involved, it is hardly ever easy, but expressing yourself when you know you have limitations or intolerance for certain things and they are not being respected is important.

If you are anything like me, the potential of losing a loved one or becoming distant with a family member based on the fact that they just will not and cannot respect your boundaries is heartbreaking. But, there will come a time you will ask yourself, “Do I always want to mend my heart back together or do I simply want to live without constantly picking up its pieces?”

You have to know what is best for you. We are human. There will be mistakes made. However, if established boundaries are in place and those with whom you come into contact are aware, I find it best to voice any discontent and displeasure regarding the crossed boundary and this should not go overlooked.

You are the creator of your boundaries. You will also need to be the upholder of them as well. Stand your ground. Know when your guard needs to be up and move forward wisely to address situations that require attention. I have found that doing this creates less friction in my life and offers me the opportunity to weed out those who truly do not respect me or my boundaries.

Keep your heart healthy — your mind and spirit too. Know what you will and won’t accept from others.


Originally published on Medium. The link shared is a friend link that allows anyone who clicks on it to read it for free as it is a piece behind Medium’s paywall.

Peace & Blessings, Beautiful People

May This Holiday Season Bring You Endless Joy

time for embracing
this — a beautiful season
of love and laughter

and of endless cheer
be present and honor life’s
neverending gifts

pull in and push out
boundless love to everyone
including yourself

*Hello, beautiful people. I will be taking a short break. I intend to drink in the welcoming arms of relaxation, reflection, peace, and stillness. Here’s hoping each of you will enjoy the upcoming holidays to the fullest. ACG will resume its normal publishing schedule on Friday, December 27, 2019.

Peace and blessings.

A Cornered Gurl

How We Have Evolved & How You Have Helped

Dad sitting on a couch reading to his two young children
Supriya Bhonsle via Mixkit.co

I opened up A Cornered Gurl via Medium to all writers on January 5, 2019, and since then, I have watched the publication grow by at least 388 more followers. We are currently comprised of 159 writers/contributors with about 75 of them active on Medium. We are a publication that has reached the 1100 mark with 1,123 followers. Our theme–our dedication within this publication is to give you writing that is brutally honest, vulnerable, and relative & relatable. We are writers who, “Break out of the Box” and this is shown with every piece published in A Cornered Gurl.

Nine months ago, I updated my “About” page via WordPress aptly titled, “Who Am I?” to include what we are doing at A Cornered Gurl and how we thought many of our readers could help support us and catapult us near our goal. This effort has not been in vain and this post is being drafted to not only thank you for your monetary gifts but to also thank you for your readership. Without readers, writers would not exist. Because some of you clicked on the PayPal button directing you to our “funds” link, we have been able to gift twenty-four of our writers small monetary payments for accomplishing certain milestones and goals both in the publication and in the real world. That dollar figure is up to $262.00 as of today. These milestones and accomplishments include:

1. Meeting or exceeding 1K claps in A Cornered Gurlvia Medium.
2. Meeting or exceeding 500 claps for three consecutive posts in A Cornered Gurl via Medium.
3. Being a winner (there are usually 3-4 selected) of any of our challenges held throughout the year.
4. Making incredible headway or impacting the community online and off (Graduating high school, college, entering a Master’s Program, or volunteering).
5. Donating time, money, and efforts to anyone in need in some way, shape, or form.

In A Cornered Gurl, we are built on community. It is important for us to not only encourage one another but to help each other grow and we are doing that by exploring many of the facets of writing available to us. I find it imperative to share the works of our contributors here via WordPress as well as I believe words are gifts given to us and should be thrown into the ether in any way they can be. You have seen Featured Writers and Featured Poems for the past seven months and this will continue in the new year. Some of those featured writers are; Esther Spruill-Jones, Christie Alex Costello (currently featured), Jackie Ann, Braden Turner, and Fatima Mohammed.

Our end goal, as we are nearing the end of this year, is to be able to present one of the local homeless shelters here in my area of North Carolina with a check that would not only go toward providing meals to homeless people but a place to sleep or rest for a few nights for many of them too. The breakdown of their funding is as follows:

Donations:

  • $25 – 10 meals or 1 night of shelter
  • $50 – 19 meals or 2 nights of shelter
  • $100 – 39 meals or 4 nights of shelter
  • $250 – 97 meals or 10 nights of shelter
  • $500 – 194 meals or 19 nights of shelter
  • $1000 – 388 meals or 39 nights of shelter
  • Other

Where would ACG like to be according to this breakdown? We would like to pursue efforts from the $50.00 to $250.00. With this amount of funding, as you can see above, we would be able to change a few lives temporarily. To me, that’s us giving back as we honestly can not only with our words and talents but with a donation too. If you would like to be someone to help us meet our goal, please click on this link to issue your donation. If not, we can only hope that you gift your time, efforts, money, etc. in some other form to assist, love, and aid our brothers and sisters across the globe during this season of giving. And please, know that you have done enough and we are appreciative!

I cannot thank you enough for your eyes, minds, souls, and hearts. Having every one of you along for this ride has been an experience of the highest kind and I am humbled.

THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

Peace and blessings.