Embracing Me is an opportunity for us to connect with ourselves...learning to embrace the God within. The post that I share with you are very real. The experiences of my life (whether good, bad or indifferent) sought to develop me into a Woman who honors the God that dwells inside of me.

For over 10 years I fought against sharing my life's experiences with the world but I also neglected to fully share my gifts. You may ask why I denied myself to live and the answer is fear! After relinquishing the fear of my own thoughts as well as the thoughts of others I have decided to do and be all that God has ordained. He chose me to share my testimonies through songs, poetry, short stories and encouraging words.

I invite you to travel with me as I journey into yet another fearful place, seeking to please the Father while providing healing, restoration and inspiration as chosen. It is my hope that these words will improve your daily living.

My charge to you: Think Well. Do Well. Speak Well. Be Well. Live Well.

"For as the rain and snow come down from the heavens, and return not there again, but water the earth and make it bring forth and sprout, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, So shall My word be that goes forth out of My mouth: it shall not return to Me void but it shall accomplish that which I please and purpose, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it." - Isaiah 55:10-11

Monday, April 13, 2015

Hell & Heaven at 8: Chapter 10

Chapter 10
Uncle Dad

Mommy stood at the kitchen stove making hot chocolate as we sat in the living room on the floor, wrapped in blankets, watching television. It was the dead of winter and we were snowed in. An unusual knock came at the door. We all looked at one another and then back to the door hearing once again a mid-range knock almost in code – tap-ti-ti-tap-tap-TAP-TAP. My mother yelled asking for the name of the person on the other side. I heard a man’s voice respond with John and my mother said Stacie, open that door. I went over to the door, removed the chain and unlocked both the dead bolt and the door knob. As I opened the door I saw a face that was vaguely familiar to me. This man John stood on the opposite side of the heavy steal screen door in a hat, gloves and red and black plaid coat.

The snow was piled high everywhere and although the man wore a smile on his face I was excited by the view behind him. I could barely see our porch. I unlocked the screen door and let him in. By this time my mother was walking towards the door. One at a time John knocked his boots against the ground loosening the snow from his boots and then he stepped completely into the house. He asked me how I was doing and I replied with the word okay. He smiled again and asked me if I knew who he was and I shrugged my shoulders saying no. By now my oldest brother had grown curious and was up standing not far from me. John announced that he was our father’s brother, our uncle. He tapped me on the head asking if he could get a hug. At first I stared at him, searching for my father and then I found Edward living inside of John. There was something in his eyes that reminded me of my dad and again I noticed that he was a little taller, broader and most certainly had more hair than my daddy did but it was good enough for me so I leaned in to give him a hug. I was so short compared to him. I think he thought the same thing so he reached down and picked me up, giving me another, tighter hug while swaying gently from left to right. I could feel John’s chest rise and fall rapidly as he chuckled. When he put me down he hugged my oldest brother Man and when he smiled, I almost immediately remembered John was the man from my day on the porch. After hugging me and my brother John followed my mother into the kitchen. They sat at the table smoking cigarettes and talking for what seemed to be eons.

Man and I went back to the living room floor to watch the television as Renee and Brian lay on the sofa sleep. Before long my eyes grew heavy and it wasn’t long before the television was watching me. I woke to the sound of John’s deep voice saying goodnight to my mother. The tv was off and the only light was that from the lamp posts outside the house. John hugged my mother telling her he would see her soon and to call if she needed anything. Just then John looked up and his eyes met mine. Just like that day on the steps, he told me to be a good girl and smiled as he walked out the door.

After that night, John’s visits came more frequently. I remember one time he came during the week of Valentine’s Day. When his knock came at the door Man and I competed in opening it. We figured whoever opened the door first would get to choose the best prize first, as John’s visits were times of excitement because he always came baring gifts for me and my siblings – shiny silver dollars or fifty cent pieces. It’s like the man was made of coins. He always had pockets full of change and we enjoyed his tricks of pulling coins from behind our ears. Sometimes he came with fudge which we grew to love. This particular visit John had chocolate valentines candies which naturally my siblings and I were excited to see because we thought they belonged to us but this was not so. These candies went to our mom. Rightfully and deservingly so but that did not stop us from being disappointed.

I guess John saw the disappointment in my face so he leaned down to pick me up and told me that when he put me on his shoulders that I could grab a piece of candy from the top of the china cabinet. My mother must have known what he was up to because she shook her head side to side and said they are about to eat. Please don’t fill them with candy. John just smiled with a boyish grin and an expression as if he were confused about what she was saying. Moms’ voice didn’t stop me from grabbing candy...one piece for me and one for each of my siblings. Out of all the days John visited, this day was the most memorable. It retained the sweetness to a new found relationship and we were all clueless that something so sweet even possessed the slightest possibility of bitterness.

After John’s many visits, including overnight and extended week-long stays, mom and John sat us down to both inform us that they were getting married and to ask us how we felt about it. I must admit, even at seven years of age, it was awkward to consider my father’s brother marrying my mother but Man and I agreed, putting our on happy faces. Something in it didn’t seem right but then again we saw that mom was happy, we were being taking care of and well, it was cool having John around...it was almost like having daddy – not quite, but almost. Man and I sat in his room silently and then finally Man cut the thickness in the air by saying that he heard John say to mommy that our father Edward and him and made a pact when they were younger that if anything ever happened to either of them they would take care of one another’s families. Man told me that John said it was biblical custom for the brother who was next in line to step in and take care of the family of his deceased brother.

John must have been standing outside of the door because he came in and asked if we had any questions about the marriage. We were startled, as we did not hear him come up the steps. Shaking our heads, we said no. John called us over to him, sat us on either side of his lap and shared a story that my siblings and I have never forgotten. He said that family was extremely important to him. He assured me and Man that he knew how it felt to be without our father because he had grown up away from both of his parents as well as his brother, our father Edward and his baby sister Karen.

Only John and his sister Joanne were allowed to stay together when our paternal grandmother died because they both had the same last name Jones. Ironically, John and Joanne ended up with foster parents possessing the same last name as them, the Jones’. My father Edward Whitaker was placed in the care of his foster parents, the Johnson’s. The youngest sister Karen Hodge shifted between several families including two that were blood related. John said that being separated not only from his parents but from his siblings after his mother died was traumatizing for all of his siblings and that is why he and our father vowed to never allow our family to be split up again. He went on letting us know that as difficult as it was for him to step in to fill his big brothers shoes; he was determined to keep us together and for us to grow up as a strong, tight-knit family that was inseparable. For a moment I thought I saw tears in John’s eyes but he just drew me and Man closer to him hugging us. It seemed we were more his comfort at the time than he was ours.

After hearing this story Man and I had a different perspective and maybe even a little fear. We were glad John stepped in so we could not be taken away from our mom for her lack of being able to properly care for us. Equally, we were always on guard, waiting for someone to come, disqualifying our mother of her God given right to raise us, even if it were from love only and not tangible resources. We were never hungry and mommy always kept us clothed. For us that was enough.

It was not long before our house began to fill with family and friends as mom and John planned the wedding. Seemed everything went by so quickly. My Aunt Pat from North Carolina designed and made all of the wedding dresses. She was not just a seamstress but she was a fashion designer with out-the-box creative thinking. I was excited because I was the flower girl. Man got to hold mommy’s train and Brian was the ring bearer. Renee was in the audience, crying as usual. She did not like huge crowds of people.

My mother looked absolutely stunning in her gown. With her deep chocolate skin, naturally dark berry colored lips, high cheek bones, with the prettiest most perfect smile in all the world. She was radiant! I remember watching her with all her maids of honor surrounding her doting over her, giggling and laughing. It was an honor to watch my mother at this moment. In my eyes she was a beauty pageant winner without opposition.

John and his groomsmen were handsome but not nearly as wonderful to watch as Aunt Icey, Aunt Cat, Ms. Cathy our cousin Robin with other beautiful ladies nearby my mom. For me watching them was seeing God’s gorgeous rainbow of women stand like true Goddesses. I will admit, I was searching my mother trying to see myself but could not see me. I only saw that I was shorter, lighter, thinner, not possessing any of my mother’s features. That sort of made me envious and I determined in my mind at that time that I would have a dark chocolate husband so I could make babies that looked like my mother. She was the epitome of beauty in my eyes and as she walked down the aisles, she did so with such grace and poise. Although I had been modeling for my Aunt Pat since I was about age two, I still had not developed that sort of self-confidence, yet I was unwavering that I would be like my mommy. She was my role model.

After the wedding we all went outside to take pictures and it was the first time I felt distant from my mom. She was captivated with having just spoken the sacred vows of I do and I stood by her side tugging at her dress wanting to simply kiss her and tell her I was happy for her also but I could not be heard. I felt invisible but I tried not to let it show on my face. I smiled big for the camera as my cousin Joseph snapped picture after picture. Later we went to my great-grandmothers’ house for the reception to continue celebrating this new union. I tried hanging with my mom but every time I turned around here came another adult whisking me away to “a place for the children”. That was crazy! At my house there was no such designated place. We were always with my mommy but again, I didn’t want to take away from my mom’s happiness with my teary eyes or pouting so I followed along, doing what was instructed of me by these other grown-ups.

Eventually the crowd thinned out and everyone went in separate directions. I went searching for my new Uncle Dad and my mommy but somehow with all the coming and going of guest they had snuck off, without even a good bye. My great-grandma must have sensed what and who I was looking for because she came over to me and said you can go sit in my room for a while and then she gave me a gentle hug with that huge smile on her face. I couldn’t resist her smile. It always made me feel better and going into “the sacred room” – wow, I was super excited. I was going to look at all her magazines, books, jewelry, dolls…EVERYTHING because grandma had given me permission. So, off I went, forgetting that I was missing my mom and new Uncle Dad.


Dear Woman of Substance,

I, here and now,
Having been of sound mind,
Do release you from being ensnared within my indecisions
And, I do bequeath wholeness return to you
Return to you in less time than it took for that lustful self to finesse the wholeness from the guarded heart inside of you

I do heart fully apologize for feeding that insatiable appetite
The appetite of this Womanizing Monster that lay beneath my skin
Because its hunger for your physical-sexuality
Turned into an intoxicating greed that devoured the sweet emotions you tried hiding deep within
I realize that my attempts at reparations could not begin to change what other wretched beasts exercising their maleness have done to you and your Beautiful kind before

However the Beast has been slain where it stood
And where it stood now stands a strong, patient, and unselfish MAN,
A Man that’s gently standing here, with arms wide open, to escort YOU, if you’d have him, Through Happiness’ Door!

We are not all created equal, and we are all not slaves to our drives as for some males
There are a few that are more than merely the Sum of our parts
We are Men, men who yearn for the opportunity to be the caretakers of all which is sacred and fragile inside your hearts

Live for a chance to Love
Love that chance as you live
It is only a real man that can handle a woman’s heart

When its Love that she chooses to give!

With Love,

One Abstract One

Monday, April 6, 2015

Hell & Heaven at 8: Chapter 9

Chapter 9
He Wants Me

Attending Westport school #225 was enjoyable during my Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten years. Both consisted of half day lessons filled with singing, dancing, painting and my favorite, snacks. I will never forget walking into my classroom on the first day. I was holding my mom’s hand really tight. There was a brownish-gray carpet on the floor. It looked like one big ugly rug. The air smelled stale. The room looked dim and gloomy although they tried desperately to brighten up the room by painting the walls a light pale blue color. Actually, the color was so faint that it looked as if it was supposed to be white but someone decided at the last minute to add blue to it and ran out while mixing the two. No matter the colors of the walls, the smell in the air or the ugly carpet, I remember being greeted with a warm smile and a hug from my teacher. She took my left hand and asked my name. I turned to my mother to receive the nod of approval to engage in conversation with a stranger. My mother nodded with a slight smile and saying, “its okay baby”.

My teacher, Mrs. Rosenfeld was a petite short white woman. She guided me around the huge room showing me all the toys, my cubby that would hold my belongings, the sandbox and the painting station. I smiled at her and from that moment on she and I had a strong connection. She had become a mother to me while I was in school. I never even realized my mother had drifted out of the room as Mrs. Rosenfeld took me into the attached room to introduce me and my fellow classmates. Initially I was extremely afraid. My thoughts were often consumed with whether my classmates and teachers would like me. My mind stayed constant, contemplating whether I was too short, to light, not light enough, to thin – if my nose was too big or my hair to wooly because I was in school with people from communities that did not look like mine. I found myself comparing and contrasting myself, my mother and my environment with the other students but especially the white ones.

Eventually, after settling down in class and learning my friend’s names, I grew confident and comfortable with them and this new transition in my life. Although my friendship pool expanded I was still pretty shy. There was this one particular little boy in my class that was from the neighborhood claiming to know me but I had never seen him before, though he swore he knew me – really, it was my brother he knew. Since the second day of school he would sit by me and smile at me. I sort of smiled back but not really because he made me feel awfully uncomfortable.

One day while we sat on the gray carpet ready to recite through song our newly learned alphabet, this same little boy crawled over to sit by me. We were seated alphabetically but even that did not stop him from pursuing my responses or from invading my space. As we were all engrossed in song, going from alphabet to numbers to colors and onto days of the week, he began tapping me on the shoulder. He wanted to show me his new toy car but I was not interested. I looked at him as if to say stop bothering me and kept singing with everyone else. As I remained focused on the lesson he tried everything within his power to get my attention. From creating fart sounds with his mouth to sitting directly in my path blocking my view, until finally he yanked my pony tail, snatching my barrette off and almost pulling me completely backwards. I thought my neck was about to snap from the force of the jerk.

My teacher quickly ran over and grabbed him up by his arm. Mrs. Rosenfeld informed him of the trouble he was in. She escorted him to the next classroom where the teacher’s aid was working with a student as I sat on the carpet shocked and in tears. I was embarrassed as the other children sat watching me cry. When my teacher came back into the room she came over to me with tissue in hand asking if I were okay. She then turned to the other students and told them bullying would not be tolerated in her classroom. The students were sent back to their seats as Mrs. Rosenfeld and I filled out an incident slip. Afterwards, she asked me if I wanted to get a drink of water and I said yes. With a soft loving voice she encouraged me to wipe my eyes and to smile. She assured me that the boy would not be bothering me again.

From that day forward Mrs. Rosenfeld made sure to keep the boy at a distance from me. The moment she saw him out of his seat without permission he was reprimanded. Each day we were sent to do special activities at different times. Though the teacher worked diligently to keep the boy far from me it did not stop him from licking his tongue at me nor did it keep him from following me after school. When he could not get close to me in school he decided after school was the perfect time to raid my personal space. He would walk behind me with his buddy calling me names but I just kept walking. I had been a latch key-kid since Pre-K so I always walked home alone. Never having confronted issues like these before, at least not outside the occasional agitation from my brothers and sisters, I just decided to keep my cool and make it home. Inside my head I kept repeating, “sticks and stones may break my bones but names and words can’t hurt me”.

After weeks of jockeying for my attention, following me home and name calling, he finally upgraded to pushing, shoving and even groping. He began telling his buddy that he was my boyfriend. I was confused as to why he thought I wanted to be his girlfriend especially since he had been so mean to me – plus he was a dingy little boy who often smelled. Once the pushing began I would go home crying.

One day I walked in the house with dirt all over my clothes and tears streaking my cheeks. My Aunt Pat from North Carolina and her two daughters Rahon and Wanda were living with us so sometimes she was home when I got in. She asked what was wrong and I told her about the boy chasing me. I explained with a scraggly voice that this particular day the boy decided to not only call me names and push me around but that he pinned me to the big oak true across from the school. He also tried to kiss me on my lips and he kept saying over and over that he wanted me to give him some. I didn’t know what some was but then he pressed his pelvis against mine and began humping me. I told her that once he was done he pushed me in the grass and tried lifting my skirt to touch my vagina. I escaped because a guy from the neighborhood snatched him off of me, grabbing both boys by the arms telling me to run home while he held them. My Aunt was furious. That night after my Aunt and mother discussed the day’s events my fighting lesson began.

The next day, I was all geared up. I had a surprise for my little Kindergarten stalker. When the school day was over I did not rush as I had been doing since the annoying boy started following me home. Actually, he and his friend ended up in front of me because they too were accustomed to me sprinting out the door so they tried to keep up with me. Only this time, they had not realized I was behind them – well at least not at first. Upon recognizing my position they immediately stopped and as they did, I moved towards the street.

Suddenly I had butterflies in my stomach and I was not feeling up to demonstrating my fighting skills so my intent was to run. He must have sensed it so he gestured to his friend and swiftly I found myself closed in near the same oak tree across from the school. The boy asked me where I thought I was going without him. He had taken it upon himself to upgrade his status from my boyfriend to my husband, boasting about how I was his for sure now that I gave him some. Sickness again flooded my stomach and I felt something coming up but it was not vomit. For the first time, the quiet little girl began yelling at the boy. I told him he was a dirty little thing that made me sick and that he better leave me alone or he would be sorry. Both of the boys laughed but I did not think anything was funny. I was afraid but I was also fed up with the constant harassment.

He pushed me and I reached into book bag and pulled out my weapon. It was the hard spongy thing that sits on top of crutches. He and his friend were truly amused by me because they laughed until his friend fell on the ground. Then “my little Kindergarten pimp of a husband” asked me through a smile what I intended to do with my weapon. In my mind I was thinking this is not going anything like my Aunt told me it should. I think I moved to slow or something because according to how she demonstrated it by now I should have whacked him and his friend quite a few times and be on my way running home. He moved towards me and I back away saying in a shaky voice that he better stop before I hit him. He told me to go ahead so I swung and to my surprise it landed right in his hand. He snatched the crutch top out of my hand and began beating me on my head, legs, arms and even my butt – with my own weapon.

This scene lasted for what seemed to be hours. To this day I don’t know what stopped him. Maybe it was a combination of my tears and screams of pain or maybe his arm grew tired but whatever it was I was grateful that he quit. I went home once again, defeated but this time with my pride bruised a little more than my arms and legs. Not being able to defend myself made me afraid and anxious. The entire way home as tears fell I thought about having to live with this boy for the rest of the school year. I made up my mind that if he wanted me that bad I would either have to give in or quit school. Of course when I got home my mom and Aunt where seated at the infamous kitchen table smoking cigarettes. When they saw me they both, almost harmonically screamed, “What the hell”.

The next day, they went to the school blazing, ready to set fire to someone or tear the roof off the school. My afterschool rendezvous’ with the boy were exposed to my teacher and the principal and included his abrupt, abusive, abrasive and obscene behaviors towards me. Never knew what happened to this little boy, all I remember is I never saw or heard from him again after my mom and aunt visited the school. I still wonder what they said or did to make him disappear and why he wanted me so bad. I was only a little girl just as he was a little boy. What did he know about wanting somebody or gettn’ sum? Well, – that was the end of that.