#FindingMeBeforeHe: Strange Fruit

“Southern trees bear strange fruit, Blood on the trees and blood at the root…”
Strange Fruit, by Billie Holiday

I smell the aroma of precious fruit with the sweetest scent, and it hurts me. It is the scent of strange fruit whose cherished nectar wasted and I must talk about it.

To my father, my brothers, my nephew, my uncles, my sons, my lover…we realize who you are. We really understand the power of your being. We truly realize and are outraged in knowing that you are at war with a sector of society that cannot understand you, an entity that feels threatened by you.  I see humans of all ethnicities, religions, nationalities and persuasions taking a stand and I smile. And as a sister on the journey of finding myself, I embrace the truth of the mocha skinned, naturally born kings and princes, black knights in shining armor. Yes you…

Stand strong in your spot…

Tormented by the world for centuries, leaving you bare and scarred, the mysterious sparkle of your crown never ceases to shine. Your knowledge, power and strength is misunderstood, feared and too often disrespected. Like our healers of the world, dear Malcolm and King, some desire your life. Extinction is the goal but your divine destiny says NOT SO! IT AINT GOIN DOWN LIKE THAT!!! 

I refuse to give into the fear of the blessing of giving birth to my mocha skinned prince.  Sometimes I wonder. Do I have the strength to mold him into another persecuted leader of the world? Will his undeniable royal presence be equated to threat? Will his walk to school be a threat to his life? Like a wife and mother to a Spartan or a Mandingo warrior, we prepare our men for greatness. We send our love, prayers, and support to hold them up. We protect your dignity, your life, your sanity and your freedom…

I must remind you that the world is yours too, your crown sometimes denied but the glow is inevitable. THERE ARE THOSE WHO FEAR AND DESPISE YOU BUT KNOW THAT WE LOVE YOU, WE NEED YOU, YOUR LIFE MATTERS TO US…

We need you to hold us together. From leading the fashion world, music world, and even the nation into more glorious victorious days…you are the reason for a better living. 

Madam Billie Holiday sang of strange fruit hanging from trees and she ain’t never lied. I, Miss Chloe Howard had to speak of strange fruit dropping on the streets, its rich nectar spilled leaving a nation malnourished. I am angry, I am hurt. I can’t sleep on it, I can’t ignore it because I CAN’T BREATHE…

You are our beginning, middle and end…  Our lives starts and begins with you… Modeled after our Father Himself, God has given you the greatest task and test to be a warrior in this world. From corporate suites to barbershop chairs you are the chosen ones. Even without words from your lips, your swagger, your presence alone brings that chilling effect that leaves us all… Speechless…

Keep leaving us speechless. Keep them wondering, be untouchable, be the greatest, take back your crown, never forget who you are, be eloquent, be strong, be fearless, walk in peace, be at peace, understand the test, keep loving, take care of your own and take everything back that was stolen from you…No matter what my brother, YOU WIN, YOU WIN, YOU WIN!!!

Finding me before He… Finding me today it’s all about loving him… Be strong.

As always I love you and I’m praying for you…

~ Chloe’ ~

(Photo via Hands Up United

#FindingMeBeforeHe: Rehab

“Long will we remember the pain, but the pain itself, as it was at that point of intensity that made us feel as if we must die of it, eventually vanishes.  Our memory of it becomes only its trace.  Walls remain. They grow moss.  They are difficult barriers to cross, to get to others, to get to closed-down parts of ourselves.”

 –Alice Walker, “The Temple of My Familiar” (I honor and salute you, my Spelman sister)

Finding Me Before He…

In the midst of this journey of finding myself, I was losing myself… slipping like fine sand through a child’s bare fingers.  I found myself in the devils mouth once again.

I was ashamed to share it. How could I blog about a journey to a place called independence, motivating so many women to be strong only to come to the realization that I was… weak? What! Not Miss Chloe! Really???

This particular brand of “weakness” was one that I could not unveil because I had already found myself right? I had officially went public with my roar of self-reliance. Correct? Here I stand as an up and coming pillar of advice and empowerment to my beautiful sisters around the world.

I had overcome, an agent of change for the entire world to see. Look at me! Can’t you just hear Mary, Mary singing my theme music? “You see her style, you think she nice…” Oh but the trap!

WHAT IS IT THAT MAGNETIZED ME TO THAT THING THAT I USUALLY CAN SPOT A MILE AWAY? How is it that I was caught in the trap that I so skillfully spot and “check” in my friends? The simple, predictable trap that we women frown upon when we see it entangle others. We say “Dang, look at her.” I could hear Florida from “GoodTimes” screaming, “DAMN, DAMN, DAMN!” We get lonely at times but “Lonely and Stupid” is simply not an option, period. Perhaps it is our sheer humanity that makes us fall back into his arms or seek happiness in the familiar words, hands, scent and smile.

“I’mmm On-ly Hu-man”…ooh la la that soulful expression. “Things just happen” we say. The mind is so amazing. It can do magic! It can make events appear and disappear. But our amazing minds can be our worst enemy… So now, can we talk?

I was pitiful, hiding my smile from friends because I feared the question of “Girrrl, who got you cheesing?” I was in it! I was about to go in deep or so I thought BUT IN SHORT, MY HEART WAS TELLING ME THAT THIS JUST AINT RIGHT. Hmmm, my vitals are telling me that I am knocking at someone’s door… Have you been there? Sis. are you still there? 

“Who got you cheesing Clo-Clo?” I couldn’t answer that because in my heart of hearts I remembered that it was the same person, who once made me cry… How could I answer the questions of others when I refused to even listen to my own voice? I refused to answer my own “Why Clo???” Not to mention my “Chloe What tha…???”  

My pride was oh so invincible; yet invincibility somehow allowed Miss Super Chloe to get caught up in the devil’s mouth again. I kept convincing myself that it would be better this time. I was reinventing history, claiming the lie in my mind and my body was ready to follow. Dang, look at her…

BUT!!! MY HU-MANITY HAD TO SIT HER BUTT DOWN SO MY DIVINE SELF COULD TAKE A STAND, A SIMPLE STAND, A STAND THAT PRACTICES WHAT SHE PREACHES, A STAND THAT SAID, “NO, I REFUSE TO CLAIM THAT.”

My inner divinity even got gangster with it and said, “Nahhh, I’m not bout that life!”  It was a wrap. Even in my few years on this earth I can say that I’ve been through a few fires and it hurt! I don’t know about you my sister, but I know that fire has the capacity to provide warmth, but can also burn and destroy. FIRE has not changed its character since the beginning of time, so why play with it?

I had to regroup and chill. Easier said than done, I know, I know. Yet I find that alone time is sacred. It is so unappreciated, but priceless. In these quiet times you become in touch with your soul and understand what is nourishing it, and also what is truly causing a drought….and that fascinated me.

I would go back into the years and think about all of my good times, but also the times that hurt me. Oddly that was where I found him, him the persona not necessarily a specific man. As my nana would say, “Same ole grits, just a different bowl…” I found the many times he, but more importantly I found the many times I allowed him to take me to that place, occupying that which is precious… Me.

Long will we remember the pain. Everyone has that place, an area that is so dark, lonely, confusing and painful that you would do anything to get out of it. Our escape is sometimes found in a bottle, in our art, in developing a business or maybe in the arms of another. My escape tonight is in writing this love letter to you and I thank you!  Your joy is my empowerment; your freedom is my freedom. I escape in knowing that you my friend will one day be stronger and wiser than I ever was. Lovely…

Science has taught us that no matter who we are, how far in life we go, no matter what degree of success we attain, if we sit and contemplate about a place of hurt from our past long enough, those feelings come back as fresh as if the situation had just happened.

Our minds have that much control over our physiological beings. Our bodies release the same hormones and chemical reactions.  We relive the pain over and over again. Our physical bodies acknowledge no timeframe that lessens the pain unless our mind and spirit take charge and say “NO.”  

We have the capacity to feel that same hurt with each thought we dedicate to it. We forgive, some of us move on, we even reinvent history, but in essence we never, ever forget, and why should we?

Our memory of it becomes its only trace. That hurt; that trace is there to remind us of how far we have come in life. Sour lemons make the best lemonade. I get joy from remembering the times that I was hurt, because I then reflect on how God has brought me through to this very lovely part of my life! Amen! Amen! (Hebrew for agreed, confirmed, supported, certainty, upheld and TRUTH!)

Miss Clo-Clo & Company will take all of that because we are all that, literally.  This, my sister is why I had to tell my past, present and future “No, never not again.” I had to boss up, and if I have to do this again someday? Ohhh well…  “Mary, Mary, hit it!” (I jus wanna tell the truth man, wanna tell the truth….)

Take a moment to breathe. Biologically it is the very first and last thing in life that we do. I had to take time to breathe, to realize that I was a good one, the diamond. I was the one he lost and could not come back to. Life just doesn’t work that way.

Some women find a sense of accomplishment when their exes come back for a round two, thee or four. I find it offensive. How dare you think that I can be so simple minded, basic and gullible to let you into my divine space again? My temple is no longer open.

Ladies you are too beautiful inside and out for the ridiculousness. We will use our mind and spirit to take control (Real science, let those endorphins flow!)   I’m gonna tell the truth now… CLOSE THE DOOR TO YOUR TEMPLE, SLAM IT SHUT TO FREAKIN HOME INVADERS AND ONLY OPEN IT TO THOSE WHO TRULY LOVE YOU!

Call it a bad bitch mentality maybe, but to me it’s the grown woman inside who knows who she is. Even if you don’t know her fully, it’s really okay, understand that it is a process that requires your utmost attention.  

Self-awareness doesn’t just happen; you must put in the work. Don’t forget that you are surrounded by a host of those who care. EMBRACE THE TRUE LOVE ALL AROUND YOU AND ENJOY YOUR LIFE. Know that being alone is far more beautiful than being with someone who breaks down everything that makes you.

YOU THE QUEEN, (Yes YOU THE QUEEN! Love won’t allow me to ever back off that point).  No fairytales, no more lies that we tell ourselves and want to believe (that’s why they call it “make-believe” baby). WE CANNOT AFFORD TO RELIVE, RETHINK OR REVIVE PAIN. JUST LEARN FROM ITS TRACE.

Nobody will enter the castle of my life, and lock me in the dungeon. Pah-leeze! My mama has always called me “Princess Chloe-Love”, I hold on to that… (insert your name at this point, Princess_______-Love). Ralph Ellison said it best, “WHEN I DISCOVER WHO I AM, I’LL BE FREE.” It is all about your mindset.

For some, IT IS YOUR TIME NOW. We are in this together. Your sisters (and some beautiful brothers) got your back my love!  IT IS INDEED YOUR TIME. Go ahead. Shut the door. Pull the drawbridge. Turn around and take that Diva Catwalk through your royal court up your throne. Take your crown.

Thank you all so much for the kisses and misses. I missed you too. You touch my soul. Know that I won’t write unless I have something to say.

As always, I love you and I’m praying for you.

~Chloe~

(Photo via Darwin Bell)

#FindingMeBeforeHe: My Social Media Tragedy

“Soon silence will have passed into legend. Man has turned his back in silence. Day after day he invents machines and devices that increase noise and distract humanity from the essence of life, contemplation, meditation.”

~Jean Arp

Lost in the digital age…the new age of the plastic. Plastic cards, plastic bodies, plastic relationships, superficial existence…artificial lives that everyone believes to be true. We have traded our souls for the plastic life…

Barbie Doll Girl, Digital World

The picture perfect life with the absence of love, but I’m all that… Barbie doll in a plastic box or shall I say Barbie with a plastic box in hand. Oh yes. I forgot. You gotta keep it all together. Miss Independent. Miss Got-It-Like-That. But if the truth be told, there is another voice that cries out.. “I am afraid to tell anyone I am in love.. yet on Facebook my life is an open book… I am afraid to share that I want my love again.. I fear the judgment and the thieves… I fear the dram bandits. Those who will abort dreams of love and life before it is born…”

How do we operate fearing the accusations of human emotion? Something is wrong. Can’t we just live? Can we take risks and feel what we really feel? Who is watching? Why does loving have such a consequence? Ohhh there goes those negative thoughts… “Oh my past!” aaand “I just can’t” aaand “He’s not…” aaand “What will they say? What will they think?” Can I ask, Who are THEY??? Do you even know them??? Why is the implication of love shadowed by FEAR?

The strongest power has failed us. Can we bring forth a revival of love much deeper and far beyond the latest R&B single? CAN WE JUST STOP IN THE NAME OF LOVE? (Now that’s a single!) Can we STOP in the name of love for oneself. STOP and claim your right to love and be happy…Stop and think (without the I-Phone!) Miss Chloe’s thinking? It is normal to be happy, even to love… Don’t you dare let the ISSUES of plastic rob you! HAPPINESS SHOULD BE OUR GOAL NO MATTER WHAT ROAD YOU TAKE TO FIND IT…

Let’s face it. Social media has brought on a new level of ISSUES. That lovely irresistible bandit… That 3 out of 4 relationship basher. Yup. We have become restless and emotionless. Social Media enables us to become perfect liars to the world, our friends and ourselves. We can package ourselves superficially to the world and escape that naked soul in the mirror who tells the truth. THAT NAKED SOUL WHO LOVES AND WANTS TO BE LOVED… As we compromise our core values and beliefs (or fail to develop any at all…dang) we become hungry and blood thirsty for an “easy come up.” Nothing is driven by passion, faith, self-worth to someone whom we don’t know. They have become our inspiration and THINGS are now our idols. Our VOICE has turned into a TWEET that sounds something like:

 “It’s all good. He can miss me with that. New day. New me.”

Babygirl, what does that even mean???

BIG SISTER MOMENT: I just CAN’T!!!

I cannot get with…

1. Sub-tweeting your ex like it is really doing you or him any good

2. Stalking his new girl’s page comparing yourself to her – diminishing your royalty

3. You taking off your clothes, integrity and virtue to show him “What he’s missing out on,” Really? If he comes back, it will be just for dat…

4. Simple being, “Petty as heck!” BE A LADY! (IT still works!) Never let them see you sweat…Ne-verr

Learn from the teachings of your mother, grandmother, big and little sisters… KEEP YOUR BUSINESS CLOSE TO YOUR CHEST and think before you press SEND…

MY DIRECT MESSAGE

I left Spelman for a semester to live on a sailboat and research marine life in the Pacific Ocean for months! The best moments of my life were at sea. It gave me time to figure out who I was, and see a different side of life. I left the pain of my relationship, the scars and baggage all ashore. With no access to TV, phones, Internet or society for weeks and months at a time, I was so free…

After a month at sea with my hair mildly in dreads, skin sun kissed and a new perspective on life, I was so eager to see what my friends and family were up to back at home. At our first island stop I booted up my laptop and awaited the messages from my loved ones. Within 30 minutes, I allowed the bandit to take me back to a deep, dark, painful place…

….There she was, “posted” in my ex lover’s hat, the hat I wore with so much pride. That hat symbolized our relationship, I wore it so proudly across campus. Everyone know it was his-mine-us, it was my armor or so I thought. On the front it read, “OBEY” …Yes obey our love and our shared passion for each other. Why that hat out of them all? The anger that crept up my neck was as if Lucifer himself whispered “Embrace it and seek revenge.”

Rage.

How could I shake that hurt? While I was gone she wore my armor. Is this a joke? YES I KNOW THAT IT WAS COLLEGE LOVE BUT HURT IS HURT NO MATTER WHAT AGE. I felt like he took my ring and gave it to her as a peace offering…

What does this mean?

 Should I ‘like’ this pic?

 Who shall I blast first? 

Do not expect me to let this one go Lord 

It has gone too freaking far!

I will not be disrespected again…

Here on this beautiful island, this utopia; a place not even the wealthy had access to, I was sitting there boiling with fury, tears pricking my eyes and unable to unwilling to grasp the reality that glared at me. “I THINK I AM GOING TO BE SICK…” This was an intentional attack. This was left for me and all the public to see. A DISS. Now what??? Hear me…

“Close the laptop, now find Me…” 

Sweet whispers from the Most High guided my thoughts and unnatural movement, I closed my laptop and let it go… 

No revenge. No petty subliminal tweets. No posts and no pictures trying to prove my happiness. No reverse psychology type of desperation love. No. It took so much willpower, prayer, and even tears to let that one go. Trust me ladies, it is no easy task but the ball is always in your court. You hold the power and you can control what you allow to hurt you. THE BEST REVENGE IS TO LIVE, LOVE AND LAUGH AGAIN (Read the book!). The power of living and yes loving is one that no one can ever beat! It’s okay sis…Live for yourself and be thankful that you are free…

From that day on, life without that ISSUE got easier. I LEARNED TO L-I-G, LET IT GO. Mistakes happen, but like the waves of the ocean, we must keep moving…

~Chloe~

#FindingMeBeforeHe – The Funeral

Some relationships are the slow, dark dance of death.

– Jennifer Boyer

To date, I have never experienced a death that was personal. I never felt that emptiness of a loved one leaving me. I never fully understood heartache until..

Although I got delivered and healed from the pain of my past, I can revisit it today. Just for today, I feel the need to speak to somebody’s heart.

“Rest in Peace to the beautiful love I once knew. I mourned the death of what my relationship was and could have been. It is gone but I must live.” 

I sat motionless and emotionless for days. Unconcerned with society, my health or what the future could be for just Chloe, because I could not fathom a life without him.  I just was so used to his presence, our activities, the “us.”  What was I?  Who am I? Do I really have a definition… alone?

Many mourners go through stages and I felt every single one of them:

1. ShockCould this really be life? No! We will be back together again, right? This is just a temporary thing that we’re going through.

2. AngerYou did this to me? Oh no not today Satan! Not me! Not the one who has been riding for you since Day 1! Oh you want a break now? Sure I’ll break! I’ll break you off a piece of this hurt and you know exactly what you can do with it boy! Wait…you want me to wait? FOH

3. DepressionI can’t eat. I can’t sleep. I am physically sore. I am unable to feel. I am afraid to feel again. Darkness has become my blanket of comfort. Get out of my face everybody! I don’t want to talk!  Please everyone just let me be.

4. LonelinessAll alone with everybody in my face! We all know this feeling way too well and it leads to the rebound…the rebound that I caught way too many times. And in these lonely hours, we do things.  

My heart all dressed in black, petals of this flower washing away… 

In every stage of my mourning I neglected me. I left my soul in a constant state of starvation, so what did I do? I went on my journey to find me. The beautiful bruised but not broken Chloe that silently waited for me. The beautiful ghost of my future.  THE BEAUTIFUL ME BEFORE THERE EVER WAS A HE

These four stages of mourning were needed. I had to understand hurt in order to really understand love. My mourning showed me what to do in my next relationship. My mourning showed me how to love myself in the absence of him. My mourning gave me a chance to redefine myself, to become fierce; yet, remain gentle at the same time. I didn’t know it then, but my mourning brought forth enlightenment so that I could be a blessing to others.

So as I slowly and methodically close this symbolic casket to all of the hurt, lonely hours, lies, cheating, bitterness, insecurities, bruises and heartaches, I was left with one question.

Who in the hell is Chloe?  

Know that somebody is walking down that aisle with you to close that casket and seal it shut. Sister, I don’t know of any reopening of caskets (unless it’s a crime scene. hmmm). With all of that said, I am left with one crucially important question…

Who are you now? Think about it. 

~Chloe

#FindingMeBeforeHe – Devil In a New Dress

Welcome to Bad Bitch Central (sometimes we take it there…)

Here we do not feel, we do not care and we take no prisoners. We are fearless and merciless. With the beauty of a Siren and the mentality of a cold assassin, we embody the takers and yes baby, we take it all.

I remember watching “We Own the Night” with him and out walks Eva Mendes with a slow, seductive strut wearing the most sensual lingerie, smoking a cigarette as she moved down the hallway…a true boss. I felt insecurity lingering at my neck watching her move effortlessly and within seconds he turns to me and says, “One day, you’ll do that for me.” That’s when it hit me. That was when I got the confirmation that his kryptonite was a bad bitch.

He wanted a girl he could smoke with, drink with, talk dirty to, party with and be his Bonnie in all criminal acts. The good girl I was, but now she, this other woman, his fantasy, the baddest bitch, was who I wanted to be.

Every single time I caught him “slippin” it was always with a girl I was nothing like. I could not understand what he wanted with them and why he still kept me. It felt like a trap (retrospect tells me that I had the key and I had locked myself in). I allowed so much confusion to enter my spirit in the name of love.

So after our relationship came to an end, I had my very short but distinct phase where I became the girl he yearned for. Funny, I didn’t even think this was a result of him, to me it was a “Just Because” Hmmm… DON’T FOOL YOURSELF LADIES, RELATIONSHIPS CAN CONTORT OUR THINKING, TWIST OUR CHARACTER AND PERVERT OUR ACTIONS…EVEN AFTER THE FACT. Say it’s crazy if you want to; share your mind and body with confusion, you will share your spirit too.

The Devil in a New Dress…

For a while it felt good to be in control. A boss. I was able to pretend to care for a guy, control my emotions and always keep the ball in my court. I needed nothing from them and made them feel unable to satisfy me so they always wanted more. A man’s pride is everything. When you take that…you have gained control.

So I put on a mask. I was cool, calculating and calm with clothes molded on me like melted wax. My body was covered, sort of, giving them just enough to want and need more of me… I WAS THE DRUG, THEY WERE MY ADDICTS… The concept of “You Need Me” was thrilling. After all, dudes do this all the time right? This mask gave me A POWER SURGE and brought me the attention I needed and the revenge I sought. I worked it so well. The role-play was Oscar worthy. I did a checkmate on every weak link, notion and emotion. I used every strategic form of mortal combat (very unspiritual) against their mindset because that’s what bad bitches do! I went tit for tat with them until I won. But in the end, I ultimately lost… I lost me. The emptiness… That mirror… Bad Bitch Central had to officially come to a close. I am so grateful for those seeds of knowing right from wrong that were firmly planted within. Real simple. I JUST CAN’T… DON’T WANT IT ANYMORE.

911: I want to report a missing soul. Her name is Chloe. She is a child of God. You will see her light even when it is a little dim. Let me know when you find her. Let me know when she resurfaces. Let her know I love her so much and that I miss her. I AM calling her back to me. I AM her first love.

NEVER AGAIN… I promised myself. I am better than that. My sister we are built to love. We are created to feel our passion and to NO LONGER TO FEEL NUMB.

Know when to say when… Know when the essence of your divinity is deteriorating. Know when your soul is starving. Know when to rescue yourself before it is too late. Speak to thine own self! I did! I hollered out loud, “Do not let yourself fall Chloe please! Somebody needs to hear your story! YOUR HEALING LIES IN HELPING OTHERS! You need to hear their story too!!! You have a purpose! Fulfill it! Live it! Be it! FACE THOSE FEARS, FACE THOSE TEARS! FACE THOSE CHALLENGES! BE VULNERABLE AND ALLOW LOVE TO SAVE YOU!”

With tears streaming down my face I write to you. My very own sacrifice of transparency… I encourage you to PLEASE LET THAT FIRST LOVE, THAT GENTLE LOVE THAT NEEDS NOTHING BUT YOUR SURRENDER, THE SWEETEST LOVE OF ALL HOLD YOU AND KEEP YOU… It seems easier to be cold. It may seem like they, the baddest have it all together. That life seems so much more glamorous but you are a woman who is designed to soar!

When I was a little girl my mother bought me a book by Evangeline Nicholas entitled, “There’s Magic in Me.” (Positively Me!) She actually had the book signed by the author because the drawing of the little girl on the cover looked just like me! (I still have the book to this day). Well I still love the little cute girl on the cover, but its message of loving and believing in oneself will forever be my legacy…

The magic is in you! We are the chosen ones. Do not be a barren soul. The only “I don’t care” within you should be towards that desert, that mess, which hurt that you left behind. Never let anyone have that power over you. This, my love, is a work in progress for us all but I believe in you. BE THE BETTER WOMAN, (WIT YO BAAAD SELF!)

Please do not ever become the person who hurt you. Be the one you love…

As always, I love you and I’m praying for you. Cheers to a new year, and a new you…

~Chloe~

Reflection #11: Avoiding the Lonely Hour

I never knew the power of silence. The power of taking one moment, just a second to be in touch with my emotions. What did Chloe’ really feel?

My own tears scared me. Letting go of the control grip I had over myself was a great fear of mine. This iron fist in the lace glove was not ready to feel…

The only feeling I really understood was loving someone else, being a giver, being a nurturer. The concept of directing that love to myself was inconceivable, even incomprehensible. Why was the concept that theoretically made so much sense a foreign thing for me?

Something like a cup that was full of the purest oil, I anointed someone else with my love, hard work and care and never understood. How did I end up so empty?  I thought love was an exchange. The loneliness stifled me. Daily I lived with this yearning for someone to simply refuel me. This I desired much more than love from myself.

Love is powerful. Love is vulnerable. The absence of loving can make us afraid to be alone.  So we do things…

I once found myself in a relationship with someone I said I loved. I assumed-perhaps romanticized that the countless hours I spent with him equaled endless love. I made everyone (including “Me and He”) think I truly was in love and that “we” were inseparable. I lied to myself and although my intentions were earnest, in reality it was a show. Believing that the more I pretended to feel this passion, the more the love would actually come about. This was a pseudo-science I made up in my mind.

MANY OF US HAVE FALLEN INTO THIS TRAP CALLED THE REBOUND SYNDROME.

My Auntie has this cute T-shirt that reads, “You Look Guilty. “ The power of my silence spoke very loudly too me. I’m SHAKING MY HEAD knowing that in reality, selfishness is the essence of rebound relationships. I too have played the rebound game and in each case someone ended up getting hurt. It was such a painful cycle and I promised myself to never be a part of that LOSE-LOSE scenario again.

I was so thirsty for the physical touch and the emotional reassurance of a guy that I hurt someone I cared for. Yes ladies, we hurt men too.  WE RUSH TO REPLACE BECAUSE THERE IS A SILENCE THAT WE CANNOT FACE. Isn’t it amazing how we in our distress can articulate every wrong deed that was done to us?  We remember each detail. We were victims. “…and he did this to me!!! I can’t believe he would be so low, so dirty, so grimy, soooo…”  LADIES, I KNOW SOME OF THE STUFF HE DID WAS MESSED UP BUT SOME OF THE STUFF WE DO ON THE REBOUND IS FOUL TOO.  

You must learn to take responsibility for your actions and decisions. This is the most important part of your healing. Metaphorically speaking, use a mirror for greater good than putting on COVERGIRL. So, how can we stop this cycle of temporary relationships that leave us emptier than before? Consider redirecting that energy. I don’t offer a cure but a process of healing.  Safe Haven, come walk and talk with me…

Can I tell you how I fell in love with myself?

Honey I fell in love with my caramel latte skin, high cheek bones that I thank my ancestors for, my dark Egyptian features that no henna ink could mock, my curly frizzy hair that I bare naturally, my long legs reminding myself of a strong stallion, my smile that somehow makes my eyes dance, my perfect impersonation of Andre’ 3000, the joy of my corny jokes, my snorting laughter, my piercing stare, my crazy dancing that my mom says looks like I’m at Woodstock and I respond, “What’s Woodstock?” All of the makings of Miss Chloé I had never noticed.

It was almost like looking in the mirror for the first time. Like a baby discovering her voice. I found the beautiful Chloé that may intimidate others because I know who I am. Yes. I am a force to be reckoned with. I know it might sound cocky but I declare this for you baby girl as I speak of myself.

It takes time. I must reiterate that it is a process. I took time with myself. Don’t run from the bittersweet truths that your silence whispers or shouts. The same way I took time to learn his ways – studying him like he was a major, I took even longer with myself. I rediscovered my love for art in all forms…from Broadway to watercolor paintings, from scrapbooking to dancing at every music festival I could possibly get to. 

I SET MYSELF FREE AND I STILL KEEP AN EYE OPEN FOR ANY LITTLE VINES THAT MIGHT COIL THEMSELVES AROUND MY LIMBS TO ENTANGLE ME AGAIN.  The Chloé I had lost and prayed to find eventually appeared in the mirror glaring back at me saying, “Finally my love, you have come back. Let’s make up for lost times!”

I BELIEVE SILENCE IS GOLDEN BECAUSE IT USHERS IN THE WISDOM OF THE AGES…

Know thyself!  You cannot enter a relationship without knowing the value of yourself. How can we state what we want out of a man if we don’t even know what we have within ourselves?  How can we truly love another or expect love from another when we don’t love ourselves?

Try loving yourself a little more today (and tonight). “Turning up” every weekend may give you a one-night stand with the man of your dreams (or not quite) but will it bring you the lifetime of happiness that you desire?

Take this time to focus on you my love, just do it…

I am right here with you. I am doing the same EXACT thing. This is not just for the life I want as a wife and mother, THIS IS PREPARATION FOR ME TO FULFILL MY PURPOSE AS A WOMAN ON THIS EARTH.  MY FOOTPRINT…

So even in this lonely hour, write a plan for yourself. YOU MIGHT FIND THAT THERE IS NO ROOM FOR ANYBODY ELSE. Who do you want to be? What do you want to discover in yourself over the next couple of months? Fall in love with her, pray for her, claim her, take all that energy you put into that man and put into your own life.  I must admit that I learned this the hard way but I did eventually get it, my cup runneth over…

As a little girl my mother always called me her PRINCESS CHLOE’-LOVE and still does to this day.  This title always made me feel special. Today I share my mother’s blessing with you. You are royalty, it doesn’t matter how you’re feeling.  I’m bestowing upon you this title… PRINCESS (YOUR NAME)-LOVE.  Are you ready for your blessing? This is your time of restoration, (not a time to be thirsty and drink from anybody’s cup!) Curtis Mayfield (Who is that? Ask your mama!) Curtis Mayfield said it so beautifully in his song:

The love of all mankind should reflect some sign

Of these words I’m trying to recite

They’re close, but not quite

Almost impossible to do

Reciting the makings of you…

I am praying for you. I love you and I am thinking about you. 

~Chloe~

Reflection #10: Changing Seasons

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens…” (Ecclesiastes 3)

The tree knows its timing… It knows when it is time to let go of its all for renewal.

We witness the wonder of it all. We marvel at the tender green leaves that sing choruses of love in the spring and summer breeze, even the leaves’ presentation of brilliant colors and dancing- it’s fall fashion show. Yet something moves in us as we experience the ominous wind come, which appears to strip the tree of all its majestic glory.  We feel a gentle yet brisk air that envelops us and warns of a cold front approaching. 

THE TIMING OF THE TREE AND ITS LEAVES GIVES US A FLAWLESS EXAMPLE OF WHEN TO LET GO… Trees let go of their dying leaves and go dormant to store energy to become stronger. Why do we as women expend all of our energy to hold onto something that is not meant?  All of creation has a rhythm, nature has its irrefutable timing which includes you my love…

As humans we tend to want to be in control of it all. I’m guilty of it. When I want something, I have to have it even if the reality doesn’t align with my future intentions and well-being. I decide, “The  timing is now and  patience will make me lose out on the opportunity of what I want.” That might work in business but love is a completely different entity.  In our attempts to control every endeavor of love we fail to realize that we become increasingly out of control.

My adoration of love made me a complete control freak but I couldn’t see that. As I look back I realize being a control freak is more in line with obsession not adoration. In the midst of a storm we fail to see ourselves, we just focus on controlling the storm rather than getting out of it.

I remember the time he sat on the porch with me on a midsummer day just before the fall semester  began.  I remember the sweat running down my palms as he told me what I refused to hear. 

Yes baby I know you are telling me the truths of your heart but I cannot and will not hear you! This is not part of the love story I have created in my heart and mind for us!  Why are you telling me you are not good enough for me and that I should move on? This is just a rough patch. No worries. This will last. We just have to work at it. Nothing worthwhile comes easy just let me be your teacher. Learn from me, let my heart teach you the ways of love. I will do this with you just don’t tell me the truth…don’t tell me to move on…just don’t say it!  

Tears running down my cheeks, mouth watering, eyes pierced and focused on the cross that was in front of us. He told me his truths that I could not accept… Control. Attempting to control the changing of seasons can and will devastate you because it is truly an impossible thing to do. 

I could not think of myself as being alone-without him during that season of my life. Throw it all away? Let it go? But we grew together. I don’t want anybody but you… I was afraid to let go of the branch that had one time stabilized me. Yes, I too feared change.  

Ladies, listen to me when I say, LET GO. When your life does not mirror the beauty of love that your heart desires then STOP. Do not let the cycle of hurt, tears, pain and depression reoccur. You know the saying, that’s insanity!  How? Let go of the control. Let go of the pain and prepare yourself for your renewal. How? Take reality checks for yourself and make your mental stability your priority. You must find your own happiness and FALL IN LOVE WITH YOUR PEACE AND YOURSELF… 

Embracing my peace kept me during the lonely times. Like a tree, I remained dormant and I grew stronger. Like a tree I learned to take a stand for my peace and balance (this is not easy but neither is being broken).  I have been there and honestly I still have my moments. We all want the same things to a degree.

Sometimes I just want a true friend, someone I can flirt with, talk to, watch a movie with and just share my heart with (I promised to keep it real).  But I’ve learned a few things; everything in its due season!  My sisters when your love is pure, it is priceless and only deserving of a King… So as I encourage you I encourage myself. You are not alone, don’t let society’s statistics and foolish male to female ratios discourage you. Forget those numbers, you only need one soulmate. You are a Queen and all creation will bend and sway so that your King will come to you. Have the faith to believe that his love is staying pure just for you, he’s building an empire for you and waiting for the day your souls meet. No fairy tales, no fantasies, no pipe dreams and no more lies. That day I claim for you and with these words I claim a happily ever after that starts with you.  Pay close attention to trees… 

I love you and I am always thinking of you…

~Chloe~

(Photo credit: Dawn Ellner)

 

Reflection # 9: Black Tears of a Beauty Queen

Why do I find myself watching him watch them? It seems like his attention begins to loosen its grip at the sight of a big butt in a sundress and the jaw dropping hourglass shape. We as women sometimes witness these wandering eyes become wandering thoughts and actions. We take it all in and it eats away at our confidence. I had to make a choice between my sanity and the illusion of security in my relationships.

So why do we always find ourselves looking to a man to validate our physical beauty? What makes us think that this ‘cosign’ is worth the hours, the energy, money and sometimes dangerous nips and tucks? Don’t get me wrong, I love to throw on a stunning Ruby Woo MAC lip and mascara every now and then but it is the mindset behind these actions that we must revisit and improve. Who are we putting on for?

Rejection of any sort can be one of the most heartbreaking experiences ever. You feel like you lost a piece of yourself. Somehow you find yourself in competition with a woman who could never compare to you, the beautiful you. You are a gem, uniquely and wonderfully created. No one can rob you of what you have been blessed with. You are in competition with no one, real beauty is simply being the best you.

After my relationship came to an end, I found myself questioning my beauty, ultimately questioning my identity in this world as a woman.

I thought butt shots, lip injections, hair extensions, lash extensions working out with waist wraps…all these things would fix me…right? I found myself looking at images of others-trying to measure up more than I was looking in the mirror at me, the beautiful me that I could not see. In that mirror, I found out that I was broken, but not physically. I needed to nurture my soul and enhance my confidence. A MAKEOVER WAS NEEDED BUT NO MAKE-UP WAS NECESSARY, NOT ONE DROP… There was a dire need to nurture my crying soul and enhance my confidence.

The most important thing that I would like you take from this discourse is that there is no greater beauty in life, nothing more attractive and admirable then a woman who walks confidently in her own skin. DO NOT LET THE AMBIGUITY OF EMOTIONS AND DEVOTION FROM ANOTHER BECOME THE DOUBT YOU FIND SURFACING IN YOURSELF.

This advice comes from a place where I have been. Consider this: Back from a photo-shoot, feeling fine, my smile gleaming from ear to ear, “Hey check out my proofs!“  to a “You need to work on your face…”  My confidence (my power) slid down the drain in an instant (internal background music resounding in my head like the failure jingle when you lose a game at Candy Crush). WITHIN A MOMENT I HAD RELINQUISHED MY POWER TO HIM…

That comment stayed with me, in fact it haunted me but eventually became a resolve within me. This resolve reminded me of who to stay away from in life.  Eleanor Roosevelt said it best, “NO ONE CAN MAKE YOU FEEL INFERIOR IN LIFE WITHOUT YOUR CONSENT.” No man or woman has the right to make you feel less than who you were put in this world to be. Exit gracefully…No matter how you part, just leave… being the recipient of another’s negativity and suppression was never meant to be part of your destiny.

Today we are celebrating ourselves. Our loveliness. Our divinity…  Even if you are hurting or bruised or feeling unpretty, even if don’t have the strength to join us, we are celebrating you too. The journey might be your own but know that there is a circle of souls who care, who believe in themselves and you… I PRAY THAT YOU FEEL EMPOWERED BY THE COURAGE AND BEAUTY IN THE SMILES OF THE THOSE WHO WERE MOVED BY LOVE TO SHOW UP NAKED TODAY. I call this juncture a SAFE HARBOR for a reason, WE LIFT EACH OTHER…

~Chloe~

Reflection # 8: My Sin-Sation

 

Hard. Rock. Steady…. Rock. 

The temptation taunted me. I’m paralyzed with passion…for you.

The idea of you. Can’t you see I’m trying to keep you? These sheets hide the truths of what is real but my fantasy of you, of us, of what we can be in this moment are all I can see…

Dang… Love and sex. I’m not the first to say it but I will say it again, SEX AND LOVE ARE TWO DIFFERENT THINGS!

In this moment, we are one…

A moment? Unfortunately we fail to see that this lovely prose too often has more literal connotations than we want to believe. Sex without the bond of mutual love, mutual desire, mutual understanding is exactly what the words say, JUST FOR THE MOMENT… But we’re in love! I know he loves me! But were “we” on the same page at that point in time? Do “we” want the same things out of this relationship right here and right now? That’s a hard conversation to have with yourself. Dang… that little girl inside that puts hands over ears and says, “Wawawahhh!!! I don’t wanna hear it!” (because that’s what children do). But! In my heart of hearts, I didn’t really need to ask myself those deep questions, the answers were right in front of me and SEX WAS NOT THE CURE…

Can we just hold onto this moment?

With every bead of sweat my body is making unconscious promises to you. Every jolting movement I swear a lifetime with you, my loyalty, my confidence in what we can be. Just read me. Feel me. Know that I am yours… The writer in me wants to continue philosophically and poetically but I can’t right now. As my big brother would say, REAL TALK… TOO MUCH OF THE LOVE STORY IS IN OUR HEADS. We close our eyes to the reality of the loving, healthy relationship that is missing (that we deserve!) and we find justification and validation in his arms-in bed-just for the moment… You are worth more than a moment and if the truth be told, so is he…

That Girl Done Watched One Lifetime Movie Too Many

I imagine that’s what the elders would say… Philosophically speaking; SOBRIETY AFTER THE LOVIN’ AINT NO SWEET LOVE HANGOVER… Poetically speaking; Beyond this bed, the purple haze clears, reality clocks in, my fantasy now stripped-dignity wounded, falling from the strongest high I am left grounded in the truth… IF EXPERIENCE IS A GOOD TEACHER, THEN PAIN IS THE MASTER SENSEI OF LIFE! This pseudo love has given me false hope. My hope for him to be the man that I fantasized about in those God forsaken sheets. God??? True love waits, lust and desperation does not. I believe that sex is misunderstood like the Kama Sutra itself. Oh yes! PILLOW TAWKIN! Did somebody say Ka-ma Su-traaa!!! The consummate feel-good ancient sex manual with all the copulation and positions and juicy stuff! Yep! But! In reality the ancient Kama Sutra is a guide to the nature of love, family life, virtuous and gracious living (Wikipedia). I believe that sex and lovemaking works the same way. Know that sex can be deceptive but in reality it cannot hold or control love, it never did…

Honesty…

Even when I was not strong enough to resist the temptation, my ex was. He had established such a strong sense of respect for me after our relationship that he could not participate in my fantasy. I was always told that a man holds himself accountable and can control his actions. Even with lust pulling at his zipper, a grown man will take a stand. He fights for her morals and virtue, the virtue he had fallen in love with…

I HAD A FIGHTER…
…And I respect that. Real men have feelings, emotions and a conscience. When boys become men, boyish behavior gets old. Men take responsibility for their actions MEN SAY “NO” TOO… Period.

Your temple…

As women we sometimes over estimate, overcompensate, and exaggerate. There are so many times I have heard young, beautiful women say, “I can have sex with no strings attached. I’m just as much a dude in the head as he is…” Hmmm…You are always attached to “you” and “you” have to eventually look in that mirror. Have you looked lately?
Why must you tell these lies?

Down to the anatomy of sex we are incapable of sharing a senseless passion. Think about the act of intercourse, we are receivers. Like it or not this has been our metaphor for life. He brings forth food, she makes a meal. He builds a house, she makes it a home. Men deposit his seed, we produce children. I know there are so many exceptions to this rule (I know, I know Miss “Ne-Yo” Independent. I know the lyrics too). We are women, we are unique creatures built on the foundation of fire and desire. We are emotional. Know that the ultimate interior deterioration comes with letting an unearned love into your temple. What are you getting in return but a moment of a fantasy?

Let the high go…

It is like being stuck on an Ole Love Song… The words entrall you, “woo, woo, woo” you-mainly tell you exactly what you want to hear. We all know that there is a love song to justify any mindset, persuasion and behavior. “I DON’T SEE NOTHIN WRONG WITH A LITTLE BUMP-N-GRIND” Sorry Mr. Kelly, but I don’t see it that way. Sometimes ITS ALL WRONG… With every thrust of your one time lover you fall deeper into the fantasy leaving your morals, your heart and body empty… No woman wants to be a receptacle of deposits that are of little value and no returns. Sex is euphoric, it feels good! Sex however is not a seatbelt, it cannot be a clutch because it can’t hold anyone or anything. Put on some brakes, LET GO OF THE HIGH so you won’t crash and burn…

My Heart to Yours…

Protect Your Loving Heart, and Nurture Your Soul, that can be orgasmic. This conversation is not over…

~Chloe~

Reflection # 7: The Sisterhood That Found Me …

Can I tell you something?
This wise man that I know once said three little words that hit hard. 
He said, “Life shows up”…

Can I share with you how I almost gave up on people, love and myself?

Can I tell you a bit of my story?

It was simple but sad, bottom line… I was stuck in a miserable dark, place that made no sense. I tried to make myself believe something that was illogical, unrealistic and wrong yet I kept replaying the words, over and over in my head. Some of you know the words. These words gave a temporary comfort, false hope, and an artificial reality… We all know these words. Whether or not we have whispered them, listened to them, run from them or just watched those words from the sidelines as an observer (sometimes shaking your head like “Wow I cannot believe this”). We know these words… For me these words sounded like:

“That’s my best friend”
“She’s like my sister”
“You’re being insecure”
“She thinks you’re great for me”

NAIVETY 
I believed those words, the sweet whispers exchanged on our pillows that were fed to me, nourishing my desires and sometimes my desperation. It was just us I told myself. I convinced myself that he just wanted “us”.

The truth I erased, the emotions I suppressed, and THE FACES OF DISAPPOINTMENT FROM MY FRIENDS I AVOIDED…all for the image, my fantasy of perfection. This image of perfection I orchestrated-I would not allow anyone take away from me. Yes I was my mama’s IRON FIST IN A LACE GLOVE, BUT FOR ALL THE WRONG REASONS. I was the mastermind behind my own demise but my friends couldn’t tell me “nothing”. They were just outsiders, who could not comprehend the depth of our love and passion.

Passion? I felt it was so deep; it was so alive they just did not understand. Really??? In retrospect they did understand. IT WAS ME WHO REALLY MISUNDERSTOOD BUT LIFE SHOWED UP…. Life showed up and hurt badly. In my naivety I did not realize that people; MY HE AND THE SHES, MY LOVER AND HIS OTHERS, THE SO-CALLED SISTERLY “HI CHLO-WEEEE’S, LOVE YOUR HAIR!” could be so mean, so deceptive, so cold and full of the business. My sisters??? Wow… Yet! In my naivety I had no idea of how loving, kind, selfless and beautiful MY TRUE SISTERS could be… 



ISOLATION
I want you to know that isolation is like a scentless, colorless lethal gas that subtly creeps up on you and overtakes your life before you even know what’s going on… 
I did not realize how the faces I avoided became the same hands that reached out to catch me.

My beautiful sisters…

TRUST 
Let me put it to you like this:
LEMONS ARE SOUR, EVEN BITTER BUT THEY MAKE THE BEST LEMONADE…
The insecurity of a girl and the betrayal of a boy was real. This was no puppy love story because the drama, the pain was some adult stuff-nothing to play with. It led me to an obscure place that thankfully had a light at the end of the tunnel. Among other things that light was a sisterhood with women who did not judge me, they loved me unconditionally and I could do nothing about it…

THE JOURNEY TO FIND TRUE SISTERHOOD CAN BE A TWISTED, CONFUSING, CONTORTED ROAD TO TRAVEL BUT IT IS WORTH IT. EMPOWERMENT COMES WITH EACH STEP TAKEN…

Coming from a very small town where life was as sweet as the honey suckle I would pluck on my walk home from school…it was hard to fathom a world outside of that. I did not understand that there were truly mean people (“Silly rabbit, tricks are for kids!”) I just could not wrap my head around the fact that there could be an individual who wanted to hurt me, take what I had, see me suffer and have not a care.

Life showed up to tell me that this is part of my world too! I was no exception. I kept walking with my head high but sometimes we walk in the wrong direction… 

THE TAKERS, THE BETRAYAL, THE RIDE-OR-DIE DIVAS
I had gotten so down on myself.
As the story goes…the act that I thought to be harmless… totally fooled by the ridiculousness…now I’m feeling hurt and ridiculous….I didn’t deserve this…I don’t want to hear about others having gone through the same thing… my naivety now being used as a catalyst to a scandal???… Why me? I was so nice to him, to her. And so on….. I was angry. I was disappointed. I was ashamed until that night…
That one night those familiar faces I avoided stormed into the doors of my beautiful nightmare-so lovely and tragic and rescued me. THANK GOODNESS FOR INTERVENTION, DON’T WAIT FOR THE SHOW!

Even as I fought for an unworthy love, they took me and gave of themselves using the strength I could not find within myself. That night I will remember forever. 
That night, SISTERHOOD FOUND ME, those Queens saved me.

They saw the best in me that I thought I had lost…

LOVE NOTE TO YOU
The most important lessons from my sisters:
A woman has her own, earns her own and respects herself enough to leave alone, she does not compete and she does not envy. The best in me is a Queen… This Queen supports and embraces even her darkest moments. She forgives, she never forgets for she is wise. She recognizes her mistakes and corrects them with ease but with expediency. This Queen is not easily persuaded by the selling of dreams. She holds her own crystal ball and has dreams of her own. She is true to herself. SHE IS HER OWN TICKET. She is her own woman. What about the Queen in you…

I trust them. I love them. I adore them. I believe in them. I thank my sisters…



~Chloe~

(Photo via Regal Realness)