Saturday, July 23, 2011

Strength of a Woman

The strength of a woman can hold her family together even if they work against her and make her the bad guy.

The strength of a woman cries at night and smiles come morning to encourage those around her with joy.

The strength of a woman will console her companion a million times before complaining about being console one time.

The strength of a woman can balance the finances, cooking, cleaning, repairing, praying and more to ensure the survival of her household.

The strength of a woman will take on the burden of many because her heart is bigger than her mind and demands love over logic.

The strength of this woman comes from Christ and brings her a joy and peace to rise each day, undefeated, and armed to battle the challenges of each season.

I'm Strong, Damn It!

Peace yall!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Joy of Burden

Some days I tell God I don't want to take on anymore burden. I don't want to help another soul, hear another person's problem, lend another piece of advice or dollar to anyone. I want someone to help my soul, hear my problems, lend me some advice or a buck. And then each time I'm presented with a friend in need of talking, a family member in need of emotional or financial support, or a stranger looking to make a friend, my spirit is moved. I give in and rise to His occasion and lend to them what God has blessed to me. My shoulders are heavy and in need of the massaging of my own burden-sitter but I press on. It down right angers me some days, most days when I think about the souls that God places in my life to minister to and the loneliness I feel most days not having someone in the flesh here to cast my cares on. Internally I get angry and bare selfish thoughts and kick and scream. Externally I bare a smile and look for the words of wisdom to speak. I worry "What about me? If I give all of me to them, what about me, what of me will be left for me at days end? What mental capacity will be there to deal with my own problems? What finances will be there to pay my bills? What joy will be left there to encourage me if I've given so much to others?"

As I type this, Patti Labelle is singing "When you've been blessed, Pass it on!" I guess that's it, it doesn't matter if I want to take on these burdens, God is telling me I need to. In being obedient to Him I rise to these challenges understanding that I'm strong enough to endure. Also that in ministering to those He inserts into my life, I'm ministering to myself. I grow, learn and strengthen my Faith as I seek wisdom, love, peace, and patience to endure it all. I'm not complaining or maybe I am but that's OK because I can be honest with God and trust that he hears my concerns. Trust that He will continue to bless me so that I can be a blessing to others.

When I step back and really pray over the circumstances I'm reminded to be grateful and I'm honored actually. I find joy in these burdens because this means that God is favoring me, He must see something in me even if I don't see it in myself. So for that I'm joyful and feel worthy to receive these challenges. Sometimes I want to cry, even as I type I want to cry but I get confused because I don't know if the tears are because I can't handle it all or because I'm honored that He believes in me and knows I can handle it. It's possible to cry tears of joy and sadness, right? Everytime I have these thoughts of selfishness and anger, I try to remember that God wouldn't place more on me that I can endure. Well He surely knows something I don't know because I'm about to break at any moment or at least that's how I feel some days. And then on the other side of each day, at the end of each successfully conquered challenge I see what He knew. So the joy of my burden is knowing that God believes in me and sees strength in me to persevere and to pass on the knowledge to others. As others cast their cares on me, I will continue to cast my cares on Him because that's what matters. If I don't have anyone else to lean on but God then I'm just fine with that because my strength is the joy of the Lord. That strength allows me to take all this in and find a joy and peace amid the circumstances.

I encourage you to turn towards the burdens God is placing on you. Believe that He has provided you strength to endure and persevere. Trust that you are able to minister to yourself and keep Faith day after day, challenge after challenge, and finish the race wiser and joyful.

Peace yall!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Dear Sister

Dear Sister,

I'm so proud of you and feel moved to tell you this. Your accomplishments shine brightness on your short comings of the past. Thinking back over your life, I've seen you reach goals and gain some great notches on your belt. I see an even brighter future ahead for you and know that more growth is around the corner and vital to your success. I encourage you to look at every opportunity past or present as a stepping stone to greatness. Those who love you are always willing to forgive the past and focus on the "present" which is the gift of watching you mature. I encourage you to forgive yourself of your past hurts and shortcomings and love yourself unconditionally. Allow yourself to blossom into the full grown butterfly God made you to be. Put off old ways and habits and embrace the newness of this season in your life. Look for God in everything you do even the small wonders that may seem insignificant like the monotonous job or the edifying words of a big sister. Let your words reflect your actions and vice versa. Most important, remember to stay prayed up about everything. Talk to Him everyday, all day and speak aloud or quietly to ask for His protection, forgiveness, and guidance. Stand strong in your beliefs and know that only one can judge you and only you can diminish yourself. Take responsibility for your actions and always be willing to place yourself in the next persons shoes before you speak. Although you're in a season of challenges and trials, be encourage that the reward on the other side will only make you stronger and prepared for the next trial. I'm so very proud of you for taking the necessary steps to turn your life to God so He can lift you up to your highest. Aku Cinta Kamu Sissie!

Search for Significance

"Today's success doesn't last much after midnight. Tomorrow you'll have to do it all over again." "Isn't it amazing that we turn to others who have a perspective as limited and darkened as our own to discover our worth!" - the Search for Significance by Robert S. McGee

Five days after completing the most profound and impacting class I've ever experienced, I'm stuck, unmotivated, and accomplishing much less than I planned. Each day I wake and feel this pressure to do a thousand things on my laundry list with very little motivation or awareness for how to start. I previously blogged about how business minded I tried to remain on the trip to Miami and I just knew I'd return back to NYC and be ready to roll. But perhaps not taking the trip for vacation leaves me with that classic "vacation from the vacation" feeling. I've been reading a new book "the Search for Significance" that in a nutshell talks about our need as human beings for approval. This search for approval outside of God and the fact that we will never be satisfied on that path. We follow this society opinion that we must always be in search of our next accomplishment, our next success, our next big money maker. Often, when we don't live up to society's measures we feel down and punish ourselves for the lack of accomplishment.

I'm learning that the approval I seek should come from God and my list of things-to-do as well. I wake each morning and update my board with new tasks and cross off completed ones. I get overwhelmed and begin kicking myself in the butt when nothing gets crossed off or even more so when I look at how many items are on that list. To the perfectionist of the world, "Why do we do this to ourselves?". The biggest lesson I'm learning from the book is that I'm awesome and great whether I complete my to do list or not. That my approval is not based on what "people" think but what God thinks. Understanding that some days if all I do is work on my inner being and teach her the lessons of life through God's commandments than I'm right on schedule with what I need to accomplish. See that's the thing, this "need" versus "want" mindset that we get caught up in can drive us crazy. I AM driving myself crazy attempting to be bigger and better and accomplish this and that to be successful. But what really defines my success? Is it Money? Praise from Friends and Strangers? Recognition with all the glitz and glam of a celebrity life? It shouldn't be and the more I mature spiritually the less those things define my success. Yes it is good to have goals and to strive towards something. But I see it in myself and others too often this need to keep pushing and pushing to meet some imaginary goal that only leads to another goal and we're never satisfied. Always wanting more than we have and never quite feeling accomplished and seeking outward for fulfillment. I'm at peace the most when I sit quietly and breathe and just take in the joy around me that God has provided. I get all flustered and frustrated when I'm striving to meet the deadlines I set for myself each day and miss the mark.

Ecclesiastes 3 says there is a time for everything so surely there is a time to rest and time to labor. I had to tell myself this morning that's its OK to come back from 5 days away and need to rest. My goals will still be attainable and life wont end because I'm not cranking away at the computer every second. I was so mentally exhausted trying to squeeze every ounce of fruit from that boot camp experience and now I need to gather my thoughts. The best way I know how to do that is sit and pray and search for the significance of my life according to the G-O-D!

Peace yall and Go search for your significance.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

God's Black Film Festival

Do I feel like it was a wasted trip by focusing on business instead of
beaches and parties? Not really, I'm still away from home, relaxing
and enjoying the weather and that's the basis of a vacation right?
When I compare my ABFF experience of last year to this year I see the
growth. Last year I was Miss Party Animal with drinks, men, and
clubbing on my mind. Of course, I networked but it was really about
the vacation and doing what I was used to in Miami. This time around,
I just didn't have the desire to party or entertain others who weren't
here for business. I went out 2 out of 5 nights here and I did indulge
in some cocktails, but waking up that first morning with a headache
and the remnants of alcohol in my system was all I needed to get back
on track. I was so focused, maybe too focused, according to those who
endured my lack of enthusiasm for the festivities taking place. I must
confess that I indulged mostly because of my surroundings and not
really because I desired to. I kept giving myself pep talks saying
"C'mon BJ you're on vacation, loosen up a little, have a little fun".
If those aren't words of "the darkness" creeping into my Godly spirit
I don't know what it is. I've matured enough to know that having a
good time and enjoying myself isn't definitively equivalent with
drinking, sexing, flirting, walking around half naked, and running to
the club.

Moving on, the point to all this is that I'd be a fool to return to
the festival this year doing the same thing I did last year. If I'm in
God's favor and he has opened up my understanding to his wisdom than I
surely know to put off my "old man" and bring in the new. I met so
many awesomely positive business minded folks with future
opportunities already in process. My mind was so overwhelmed with the
knowledge received at the 3-day boot camp and all the potential
blessings in the makings that I couldn't think about what to eat next
let alone what club I was going to that night. Not to knock anyone
else, but I believe these are the makings of someone great versus
someone mediocre. I took the first step in the next leg of my career
by deciding to take this trip serious and grab as much fruit as
possible from this tree of opportunity. I still have to return home
and follow up with people, but I'm grateful for the discipline God
placed on my mind this week because I wouldn't have anyone to follow
up with if I was in party mode. Miami, in the past, represented
alcohol, sex, promiscuity, and foolishness. My past attempted to carry
me away but He placed stumbling blocks and jolted me back to reality.
I'm giving praise to Him for starting a new era of memories for me in
Miami full of blessings, wisdom, and fellowship. That's what this boot
camp was...a fellowship. Bill Duke opened and closed with prayer and
repeatedly made mention of the importance for a spiritual centering of
some sort in order to survive in this industry. Amen!!! Participants
was talking about GOD left and right up in that joint and I was just
smiling and thanking Him for always showing up and having a hand in
everything I do. So I know the official title of the event is the
American Black Film Festival but I'm going to unofficially change the
name to God's Black Film Festival because he had it on lock and he was
in control of me and so many other bayooteefull spirits in attendance.
Glory to God!

Peace y'all!

Sent from my iPad

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Pretty Girl Confessions: Part 3

I laugh sometimes when I think about my current profession of modeling
and acting because I never thought I was beautiful growing up. So to
be immersed in an industry that is solely based on appearance is
ironic. My image of beauty was definitely shaped by my "growing up
story" and in the book "Do you think I'm beautiful?" this is the first
question asked. What's your growing up story?

I grew up with three sisters and we were always referenced as the
"Clarke" sisters, we traveled in 3s. We all had long curly pretty hair
and tanned skinned, three little Indian girls. I think everyone hears
"you're so beautiful or pretty" or something like that when you're
young. As I got older, attending elementary and middle school, I
recall becoming aware of my appearance and how I felt about it. I
still have my elementary school photo with a gap between each of my
front teeth. My siblings used it as blackmail over the years but my
gaps closed up on their own...never had braces. Moving onto high
school, I remember always covering my mouth when I laughed, guess I
developed an insecurity over the years about my teeth. (I also sucked
my thumb until a very embarrassing age so I had big ole buck teeth too
lol!) Anywho, I was always the skinny tall girl with baggy clothes who
wasn't very confident with herself and felt privileged whenever she
got attention from boys. I was a tomboy, always wore my hair in
ponytails and only wore sneakers, no dress shoes and certainly no
heels. Used to drive my mom crazy to come home with another pair of
sneakers after my dad had taken us shopping. I was very unimpressed
about what I saw in the mirror and my low self esteem often led me to
seek attention from inappropriate sources such as guys or partying.
Even at the age of 16, I was running to the club scene as an escape.
Here come the Clarke sisters every week at the 21 and under club, half
dressed and shaking our booties with all the guys. I think my sisters
and I invented the midriff top cuz although we were tomboys, you saw a
wife beater tank top tied up to expose our tummies every chance we
got, and the occasion bootie shorts accompanied them. I remember
thinking "I don't know why these girls are jealous and pick on me" in
response to the cat fights and battles throughout my adolescent. Yes,
boys would often try to flirt with me but I didn't think I was
beautiful so I couldn't understand why the boys were interested and
surely why girls always cut their eye at me. I had long thick unruly
hair, a unibrow, a slender build and I was flatter than flat-chested
and had a pancake butt. I didn't see anything about me to get excited
over. I'm not sure to this day where my low self esteem came from
other then lacking parental guidance and womanly conversations as a
teen. Well, I guess thats it...thats where it comes from. Being left
to decipher the definition of beauty for myself with no spiritual or
parental influences to base it on left me with a distorted view of my
value. I believe I had a twisted view of the intimacy of a naked body
too. My mother walked around the house butt naked everyday all day so
growing up around that de-sensitized me to appreciating the value of
leaving something to the imagination, I suppose. Some people call it
being free or comfortable, but I wonder if I would've grownup
differently if certain experiences didn't happen?

Current day, I can attest that my self-love has grown as a result of
being in such a fickle superficial industry. I had to learn to love
myself and my looks the way GOD loves me. Learn to appreciate me just
the way He created me and it made surviving in this industry possible.
My lack of self worth for my outer or inner beauty could have easily
crushed me with the rejection that is guaranteed in the modeling
world. I still look at myself in the mirror sometimes and say "yeah I
still don't get it, I got a long head, big teeth, crooked teeth, and
the signature Indian nose of my family!". But I know I'm bayooteefull
inside and out and I thank God for creating me as I am and for
strengthening my self-love each day.

Peace y'all!

Sent from my iPad

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Black Film Festival Day 1

This festival is getting off to a not so great start but I'm thankful just the same. Started the morning with a swollen knee and ice pack onto hot sweaty travel to the airport. My flight to Miami was delayed 5 hours... Yes FIVE hours and I'm still not to my hotel. I was harassed by numerous cranky and energy filled kids during my extended stay at LaGuardia airport. One threw a ball that landed right on my head, another sat on my purse with chips in it and then this little girl peaked underneath my stall while I was using the toilet. She got an eye full...TMI!

On the bright side, I got a lot of reading done in preparation for my first day of the Actors Boot Camp. I completed another entry for "Pretty Girl Confessions" coming out tomorrow. I read some snippets of Iyanla Vanzant's "Faith in the Valley"...always an eye opening moment. And I managed to get maybe 30 minutes of nap in during this exhausting 12-hour day of travel.

Up next, some snoring and drooling in the hotel room and a refreshing morning on the other side. Some of the boot camp participants began greeting one another via email so this appears to be a positive group of creatives to work with over the next three days. I'm ready for my Inner Artist to get her butt kicked.

Goodnight and Peace yall!

Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Quiet Rage

I want to throw shit, smack the next person that pisses me off which should be in about 2.2 seconds, scream and say fcuk fcuk fcuk at the air at the top of my voice. I wanna cry until the tears don't exist and then cry some more and again after that. I want to punch anything and everything and just channel this quiet rage into a physical form. Transfer this energy into something, anything to get it out of me. But I don't and I won't, because...

Peace yall!
Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

The Doorway

Standing on the edge of the beginning of the rest of me and the end of all of you. Looking forward while falling backwards into the hole. Turning the doorknob with one hand and clutching tight to you with what's left of the right hand. Going north while heading south depending on which way the door swings. Pushing and pulling and kicking and screaming and walking then running away from and to my future? Can't I just sit here in the doorway, one foot here, one hand there, just sit here a little while and...

Peace yall!

Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Random Thought

As a result of all the occurrences happening in my personal life lately, I'm constantly being forced to examine my upbringing. How it has impacted my life and my siblings lives as adults. I have no idea where this thought may go but I'm placing it into the Universe to write a publication of some form about "God Blessing My Family". That is all.

Peace yall!
Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®