black, christian, introvert, woman

On the road to embracing love after death and divorce, there are four main identifiers that pour into my posts; that contribute to my voice.

BLACK

My Blackness has been quieted for so long – mostly by me, some by the world around me – and I’m finally circling back and digging up the buried. To be clear, I am sure God knew what He was doing when He mixed my melanin to make me a black woman. There is beauty and mystery in it as well as power and gumption that I have not fully tapped into. I am reading a lot about blackness, looking for blackness in the media (in a positive light), in careers that are growing and in leadership. I am also eager to discuss it.

To talk about what blackness means to me with others who are black, those who consider themselves to be African-Americans and Africans too. I want to connect with people who are black but grew up as a minority in their home, schools, community as well as those who experienced the opposite; my brother is a good example of this.

just the two of us; 8 years apart

In an effort to talk about this, I am eager to learn about others who have different skin tones than my own – within and outside of the black race (the spectrum can mess you up, for real). Our not talking about this and not “seeing color” is not okay – please stop saying that by the way, I know you mean well, but your not seeing color means you don’t see a part of me. An important part of me. A very real part of me that I’ve had no control over and don’t want to have denied or ignored.

Also, my being married to a white man, being educated and raising a bi-racial son does not minimize my experience as a black person, it contributes to it.

I’ll be reviewing several books in the common weeks by and about black women over on my Instagram feed (@readwithregina) so hop on over there to catch some titles that might be new or interesting to you in this topic.

CHRISTIAN

I was raised in church.

The kind of church that lasted so long on Sunday that we were worn out the rest of the week from it – you know it’s true Mom. I call it “black church” because of the fact (yes, FACT) that time and getting people home at a certain time is not necessarily the priority. I kid, I kid, well sort of.

What I don’t recall from those experiences was a personal invitation for me to walk with Jesus. For Him to be my friend as well as my Savior.

I got a great foundation for worship and believed that God was (and still is) powerful and loving and amazing, but I didn’t really delve into reading my Bible and understanding its significance for me until I was about 26 years old and a new mom to my son.

He’s 19yo now and I would say I’ve been in my Bible a lot since the year he was born. It has been a huge compliment and addition to the foundation my folks set before us when we were younger in the African Methodist Episcopalian Church.

I’ve been a member in several different churches in the last four decades, but the thing that has developed me is what the Word says and what it means for how I am loved and how I can love others and lead them to Him.

me speaking at an all girls’ school in Guatemala

I  do not get it all right or even some of it right all of the time. In fact, having read the Bible as much as I have, I have at times condemned myself for the things I know I’ve done wrong more than I’ve been quick to receive the mercy and love of Jesus. But I’m working on it. Working on understanding and embracing the love, the grace, the peace, the forgiveness the opportunity for freedom like no other.

And I really just want to share it with others so that they too will pursue or strengthen their relationship with Jesus and what He has to say about how very much He loves them.

INTROVERT

I’m so grateful for all of the research that has surfaced about what this really means. I’ll share more and more as I continue to post in this space, but I felt some freedom and ability to breathe as I realize how true this is for me.

Without going into a ton of detail here, this is not about whether I can be around people or not – I can – it’s simply how energized (or in the case of us introverts, how drained) we become when being around people for an extended amount of time without significant recovery time.

I betrayed this part of myself back in college and regret it to this day; all that time to read all the books, watch all the movies and I pushed it away to…socialize. Y’all, I was so messed up in the head about fitting in that when I finally had my own – very cute apartment five blocks from the capitol building/prime real estate – I hated being there alone because I felt I was “supposed” to be out and social with roomies making all the memories.

Shaking my head at myself.

It is a blessing for me to be able to have small group time with folks from church to talk about our Bibles, to be in a book club at the public library once a month and especially delightful to have coffee with a friend now and again.

the Bux where my son works

To balance out all of that activity there needs to be ample time for me to jot things down and to process the questions brewing – the ones I asked or those asked of me – to consider the interactions I found myself in, the silence and demeanor of those I am spending time with.

It pangs me when people tell me that I am “over thinking” things. In the past I was quick to agree with this, but now it hurts my heart. Where would be if people spent a little more time thinking, praying and pondering before they made a decision or responded on social media? How could a little more introspection and time to reflect be of benefit to us and those we serve instead of looking at it as something that is negative or that needs to be controlled?

I would or could blame my introversion most of all of these characteristics for the cause of lost relationships. I don’t do “best friends” or “bffs” – I think it’s too much pressure and quite honestly, I’m not going to be able to predict if I want to spend time with you (or anyone else) in another 12 weeks. Traveling together is reserved for those who are easy and like me – not fussy and able to be quiet and still for long periods of time.

It’s how I interact with the big old world and those in it. This article does a great job of describing how I best interact with the world and show up in various environments as an introvert.

I’m not stand offish, I’m not unapproachable, I’m not disrespectful – I don’t mean to be – I’m just thinking.

WOMAN

I am grateful if men read the words I have to say. Not to necessarily figure out all women, I’m not trying to do that. Just because I am female (black, Christian, introverted) does not mean that I am now tapped into the needs, desires and thinking of every female. I’m not. And I’m not owning that responsibility here.

But I will tell you this…

The attack on women is a strong one.

This is what I mean…

There is a hardship placed on women that we carry deep within us. I believe that it comes from the fall of man – you can read more insights about it in: Fashioned to Reign: Empowering Women to Fulfill Their Divine Destiny, Kris Vallotton. In a nutshell, he talks about the spiritual battle that is fought focused on women and the enemy’s hatred for us and how it looks in our world today. I had chills when I read it.

Stone Mountain, Georgia

What a gift to be a woman, but it comes with pain, frustration and heartache – especially in the ways that we treat and talk about ourselves.

I’m often shocked by the way we allow ourselves to be spoken to and talked about by our “friends” and then are incensed when men use the same terminology.

I’m not ready to march anywhere, I’m more apt to bow my head and pray but I do think that we are to support one another and cheer one another in those ways that only women can, because we know. We know how difficult it is to conceive the child, lose the weight, just say no, to say no without apologizing, to work the same job with less pay, or to have our opinion, contribution or value looked down upon because we aren’t men.

We can cheer one another on, build each other up, encourage and listen and love in a way that only other women can and I so want that for women who come and spend any precious moments they have here, reading my words.

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I’ll be writing about all kinds of topics in this space, but wanted to share a little more of me: the way my mind works and where the words come from.

And for those who read yesterday’s post, thank you. I’m getting a little better each day and yes, I wrote this lying on my back on the floor in my closet.

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Curious about your personality type (introvert vs. extrovert)? You can find out in 12 minutes with this free test and leave your four letters in the comments below.

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