Thought about you today.

Yeah…no different than any other day.

So what?

You stay with me.

Like white on rice.

Coating my mind like morning dew.

It is what it is…I miss you.

I miss you but at times I can’t help but wonder why I do.

I walked away empty and empty handed.

Our puzzle incomplete. You took everything I gave you but stole nothing but my heart.

In return you gave just enough to regulate the rhythm of our irregular beat.

It’s not your fault, I taught you how to love me.

You never harmed me. Never hurt me. Never said an ill word. Not once.

Inspired me to breathe again. Signed every permission slip releasing me to be me.

Your smile always on stand by and quick wit ready to respond.

Your not blowing smoke became a smokescreen.

You gave me what you could but what you didn’t give I took as 2 fish and 5 loaves and multiplied what was never there.

I said you weren’t ready. I was wrong. You were ready.

Always ready

But not once…

Not once did you ask me how my day was or if I got home safe. I left clues behind like rose petals down a winding trail inviting you into my space. Letting you know I wanted you there. Sparking fiery dialogue where the embers never caught flame. Every single question you asked, somehow benefited you. 

Withdrawal after withdrawal after withdrawal. My emotional bank account operated in the red but I overcompensated to make sure that it never closed. You stepping up to the counter sporadically, only to check the balance.

We should’ve never been a joint account.

It’s not your fault though, I taught you how to love me.

Your indifference resulted in injury.

Your inability to give time coupled with our lack of exclusivity.

My aloof dancing with the stars ever so blissfully.

Feet in denial…never touching the ground

Any step toward you now rendered a liability.

The thought of what it could’ve been and what it actually was…differed greatly.

So the lesson learned?
I settled…
So you could have a spot

Though it was marked reserved

Existing coals were no longer hot

You reminded me of who I was

Didn’t realize I had forgot

I taught you how to love me…

That’s why you loved me not.

© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee2015

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ericka Arthur and authenticitee with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

  1. a person who indulges in hypocrisy.
Hmmm…well that was no help. What is hypocrisy?
  1. the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform; pretense.

Ehhh yeah I can see glimpses of that in my parenting mirror at times. I double checked my makeup as I prepped for a “If you can’t beat them join them “aka “All the cool kids are doing it” #SundaySelfie; and a streak of introspecting introvertism came upon me. That is not a word, but I really like it. 

I felt great but honey my contacts had a very bad attitude this morning that was not consistent with high Holy worship…well at least the left one did, so on went the spectacles. 

I have really been enjoying peace and quiet more and more lately and stole a moment to myself while waiting on the rest of the family to get in the car after church. I chuckled aloud because the solitude was so different than our early morning mad dash to get in the car so we wouldn’t be late to church LOL!

I don’t know how many of you do this in your household, but as the Mom and ahem (clears throat)…thermostat (so I’ve been told) of our home, it’s my task to make sure everyone stays on task. I count down aloud the time frame we’re working with (which gets on my own nerves by the way). 

“20 mins!” Rushing the kids through breakfast. Husband patiently waiting for us. 

10 mins!” I continue to spew out warm love induced warnings laced in a booming voice as I sshhhh the kids for being too loud lol! Such a hypocrite.  

5 mins!” Husband has left the building. Kids grab belongings. My bare feet look at me with disdain as they snicker, “First one up and the last one in the car again huh?! Tsk, tsk, tsk. Such a hypocrite”. “Mind your own business!” I retort, shoving them in stockings and shoes. Or as I really prefer any day, socks and sneakers! But they were right. 

I hit the floor, bright eye & bushy tailed at dark thirty every morning, but am always the last one in the car!
How many other areas of parenting did I govern myself with the best of intentions without even realizing I was doing the opposite?!

One of my reoccurring hypocritical offenses is definitely surrounding music. Our miracles got it honest considering my husband and I are musical beings. During pregnancy I would stretch headphones around my protruding belly for as long as I could when I wasn’t reading to our unborn child. They are always singing at the top of their lungs or humming or playing an instrument or blasting music. ALWAYS. Which is a great thing… 
We love it…
Until we need quiet. 

And then the sshhing begins again. 
Eventually quiet covers the room like a cozy blanket.
Which calms my spirit..
And soothes my soul…
So much so that… 
My subtle humming (that I don’t realize I’m doing) has erupted into full voice as though there were a microphone surgically implanted in my mouth! God forbid l feel the Spirit and start walking the floor. That is until my smiling children interrupt me with, “Mommy! Now you’re singing!!”

Great Scott I most certainly was! Ain’t that a blip?! And so the saga continues lol! Oh I’m sure you have stories of your own! Even with the renowned ‘What To Expect When You’re Expecting’ series, as parents we still manage to do everything we vowed to never do! 

Ahh..they say confession is good for the soul but bad for the reputation…

(Sigh) It’s not easy being a hypocrite…but (obviously) somebody’s gotta do it!

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© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee2015
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ericka Arthur and authenticitee with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Multitasking as usual. Phone in hand. To do lists nearby half done. Stillness. Daybreak peering over my shoulder. Warm and inviting.

Like a whiny toddler tugging on the hem of my garment trying to get my attention when busy, I ignore the sun.

It’s morning. It’s quiet and for a fleeting moment…there’s peace.

The two mustn’t be confused. Peace is the absence of conflict while quiet can mask apathy.

I turn to see what my blinds conceal and see what the Son sees when He looks at me. His light. It washes over me.

Today is rare and beautiful. Unseen before, it feels amazing. I lift my phone to capture the sun but the lens is facing me…

Tiger Stripes.

I’ve never seen that before. At least not on my face. I snap one picture and the stripes of light from hairline to chin are bold yet silently speaking volumes like my eyes do every day.

So this is me

All natural

No filter

Hair in bun

No makeup


Beauty marks

Uneven skin tone

Sparse brows

Short lashes


Bags under, holding dark circles accountable for sleepless nights gone by

Faint, slightly dry pink smile

Cushioned by deeply embedded

Laugh lines

And brand new stripes…

Owning my imperfections as the sun

Overlays me with brush in hand

And kind broad strokes of light

Peeking through with a seal of empowerment

On my bare canvas

When did life without concealer and flaws on display become sooooo unattractive?


Symbolic of something that was surely meant to be hidden…

Used as leverage

Held for ransom

My new stripes interrupt my self absorbed rant with thoughts of you…


Good morning Beloved

I see your stripes

You are beautiful

You are handsome

You are strong

You are smart

You are needed

You have value

I speak words of life as a reminder that

You have outlasted

What tried to overtake you

I hereby crown you Survivor

You matter

So not only choose to live

Decide to thrive


A brand new day with brand new mercies

We don’t have to borrow anything from yesterday

Not even the air we breathe

It’s all new

Yes brand new


No filter

Liberated by dawn

Serenaded by daybreak

Owning our unique stripes

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© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee2015

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ericka Arthur and authenticitee with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Afraid To Live, Too Scared To Die

It was on Friday the 13th over 25 years ago…

I had ran into my friend from high school, Tondelayo, earlier that day or the day before. It’s a bit fuzzy now. We were both enjoying our first winter break as freshman in college and hadn’t seen each other since graduation. Several of us were visiting our alma mater Midwood HS, that night for the Annual Winter Concert. She said a lot of people were going to Micky D’s on the Junction to hangout and asked if I would meet her there so we can catch up. “Awww man I can’t get down there any earlier Tonde but I’ll see you at the concert tonight!” We smiled, laughed, hugged and parted ways… 

Later that night:

“Did you hear?”
“Have you heard?”
“You ain’t know?”
“It’s on the news!”
“What’s on the news?” 
“The shoot out!!”
“What shoot out?!”
“At Micky Ds on the junction!”
“Yo it was mad packed in there!”
“Some dude came in there spraying”
“She was the only one who got hit!”
“Hit?! She?! Who?!”
“Yeah some girl got shot twice!”
“I think only one caught her though!”
“Huh?! WHO?!?!”
“She ran with everyone else though ’cause she ain’t know she got hit till she fell right in front!”
“Sad too cause I heard she was sweet, mad cool, that adrenaline ain’t no joke son!”
Wait!!! What girl?! Whooo?!
“Some girl named Tonde…”


Fighting back tears as I type this has startled me. These tears that are attempting to coat my face are unfamiliar. Though I’ve told this story hundreds of times when asked why I love so deeply & passionately. Though told that I give the best hugs, every so often I’m asked why I do. Though accused of being intense in my faith, teased and ostracized by some peers for being “too deep” or haphazardly pinpointed as religious; I can answer these questions with vivid supporting evidence. Tondelayo

Tondelayo is why I do a lot of things.

What do you do when you’re afraid to live but no longer scared to die? This can be tackled from so many angles. From theological and philosophical perspectives to coin tosses and bucket lists. Viewed through many lenses. Though I can exegete a text if needed or spoon feed an infant the same info, I don’t wanna do any of that right now. 

Seeing it through the lens of my then 17yr old eyes:

I remember being devastated, enraged and drowning in survivor’s guilt. I wasn’t inside the crowded McDonald’s with my closest friends, where she had asked me to meet her. I wasn’t running for the exit with my closest friends, dodging the array of shots fired from a 9-millimeter semiautomatic handgun. I didn’t have time to process or even mourn properly with my friends at the memorial because I was headed back to college the following day. I had no other time or resources to get back to school, so I had to leave…and that 8 1/2 hour drive from Brooklyn, NY to deep in the woods of Virginia felt like… f o r e v e r. 

I remember being on the phone with my boyfriend that night as I rededicated my life to Christ. No I wasn’t at a church. I was home sitting on our dining room floor. I remember crying and crying out to God (There’s a difference). Being afraid to live was not an issue at that time butbeing afraid to die was. I wasn’t sure that I was ready. I prayed a prayer of rededication to the Lord, just so I can be sure…that I was sure. 

Again, to each his own. 

Yet I have lived many a day since then beneath my privilege as a King’s kid inundated with the opinions of others swarming around me under the guise of noisome pestilence. Encouraging others that theycan make it while hearing crickets when it came time for me to shine. After all who encourages the encouragers?


That was until….
I discovered 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 and by the grace of God I’ll be riding this thing until the wheels fall off:
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 

What a relief…

God Himself supernaturally encourages and comforts me as I comfort others. 


Such as I have. I give unto you. 
I open this safe space for dialogue. 
I am not clinically trained to address any suppressed emotions or memories that this post may trigger but I can provide a safe space for dialogue. 
Though I love the Lord my God with all my strength and with all my soul with all my might…I don’t have all the answers. But, I can provide a safe space for dialogue. 
Though I’m too legalistic for the liberal and too liberal for the legalistic. 
Though I’m too sensual for the prudish and too reserved for the unbridled. 
Though I’m too outspoken for the demure and too obscure for the rash. 
Though I’m too churchy for the worldly and too worldly for the churchy and…

WAY too polite to tell them ALL where they can GO FILE THEIR TAXES...👀


(Ladylike sigh) It’s breathtaking to be accepted by God just as I am. Just as we are. He loves us too much to ever leave us in the condition He found us in. 
I’ve decided being afraid to live is NO way to live! What are you waiting for?
Write that book, write that song, start that blog, launch that business, make that phone call, offer that apology, give that hug! 
Oh and you know what?
It feels amazing being authentically me here at authenticitee…and you’re more than welcome to do the same. 
Like I said yesterday….


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© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee2015
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ericka Arthur and authenticitee with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Unknown Photo Sources: No Copyright Infringement Intended

My husband is featured in Part 2 of this multimedia series documenting our 17 yrs of marriage & 21 yrs of friendship! Special thank you to April Peters of for doing a beautiful job! This was my first time seeing Kevin’s interview too☺️

Femmes Faithful

Portraits of Love – Kevin from April Peters on Vimeo.

Portraits of Love, the Femmes Faithful multimedia series, include blog posts and video interviews of Kevin + Ericka Arthur. One couple. Married 17 years. Answering 12 questions. Watch and listen as Kevin weighs in on his love for Ericka.

Femmes Faithful sat down to interview the Arthurs and hopefully get beyond the fluff that magazine cover lines would lead you to believe is life-changing, to discover what really (on the real) makes a marriage endure. Get to know the couple and what started the series in Love: Not A Game…But A Lifetime.

BTW, the couple has NO idea what the other said in these interviews, so each post will be like unwrapping a gift!

What’s the most important trait you cherish in a spouse? Share in the comments below.

View original post


Self-described as an enigmatic, quiet, complicated loner, I first met this majestic Sistah in the Summer of 2000. Our husbands were working together on a show and amidst the usual sound check attendees (artist, engineer, lighting director, venue staff etc.) were wives, girlfriends and side chicks all accounted for! I couldn’t help but notice her beautiful face, flawless smile and fierce sense of fashion. While working on this piece she told me that when she first met me, I was dressed like Queen Latifah!  I cracked up and then paused…wait a minute now! Did I look like “Cover Girl Latifah”, “Set It Off Latifah” or “Ladies First Latifah?!” She responded with laughter, “Definitely Ladies First!” Hilarious! Mark of a true fan!


She and I had so much fun reminiscing. Either way, it was a first impression and moment in time neither of us could ever get back! I greeted her that day with one of my famous and (highly acclaimed) “Ericka Anointed Bear Hugs” and then proceeded to engage her in probably the most conversation she had ever had, in all her natural born days.


Ok, ok… safe to say I talked the quiet girl’s ears off.

Fast forward to 2015. Not only has our connection blossomed over the years into friendship, it has survived the shade that can come with meeting other women. The industry that our husbands work in as entertainers, can be pretty challenging for their significant others. The first thing most fans tend to Google is whether or not the artist/musician is married and if so, what does their wife/girlfriend look like. This information is used to determine more often than not: 1– the type of woman he likes and 2– whether or not they feel she is worthy of winning his allegiance!  If they do not approve, the comments are brutal. They slam her hair, nails, clothes, shoes, make up, teeth, weight and accessories worse than any red carpet critic and then seal it with the infamous question, “How did she pull him!” 


It reminds me of this lovely gem I found online:



So I thought it be cool to use authenticitee as a space to celebrate other musician/industry wives from time to time! There is so much more to us than meets the eye! Very few get to know the real us and very few have pure motives in wanting to get to know us at all! Real talk.



Meet Eloria Smith


Hey Momma!


Hey e!


Tell us about yourself!


Well…I’m in my late thirties. I was born and raised in New York City and now reside on Long Island, NY with my husband, whose stage name is DJ DUMMY and our twin teenage sons. I am a full-time Visual Merchandiser. (10 points for whoever knows what that is, because not once have I ever not had to explain what it is I do). In my line of work, I am responsible for the aesthetics of a department store. Imagine walking into Macy’s and seeing all white walls. No logos or signs. No displays. No mannequins. No platforms. No giant posters or picture frames. No dangly stuff from the ceilings. Well, I’m the reason why you can’t (imagine that). I get to express my creative side by making your shopping experience visually impactful! 


Awesomeness! And no…I can’t say I would’ve have known what a Visual Merchandiser was prior to meeting you. Sounds like a fun gig! After all these years, I am amazed at how different we are but how well we genuinely get along. I often describe myself as an extrovert with strong introvert tendencies, but you can be pretty withdrawn! Has this always been the case?

Yes, I am pretty quiet and I generally keep to myself. I am definitely a loner. Unfortunately, it is common (for those who don’t know me), to label me as mean. I get that much more often than not. Not that it’s much better but…I’d prefer the term ‘guarded’ as opposed to being called mean. Considering that I am very sensitive and very emotional, it’s an unfair assumption. I do admit that I can be pretty hard to penetrate, but once a connection is established, I am a pretty cool person to know. I am a good friend, who can be generous as needed and extremely loyal.

I can certainly attest to your being, generous, loyal and very cool!  Tell me more about your gifts, talents, hobbies, business…


Being a full time mother of two teenagers should be enough to tell you about my gifts and talents lol! I can juggle like I graduated from Ringling Brothers University! My agility. My crisis management skills. My interpersonal skills with a collaborative approach. My ability to improvise, multitask, and coordinate conflicting schedules are a few of the gifts and talents I have been blessed with. Outside of the business of Visual Merchandising, I haven’t had much time for hobbies.


So let’s talk a little bit about your husband and married life.  Can you introduce him to those who may not be familiar with his work?


Photo Credit: Jai Nima Idowu of JADO Images


If you have ever seen a J. Cole concert or a full stage show by Common (in the last 13-14 years) then you may be more familiar with his work than you think. He is the MD (Musical Director) who puts together those entire experiences. And if you’ve never been to one of his parties…well…then you’ve never really been to a party! If you’ve ever heard Right Now by Kim Hill, or I Love You In Every Way by Maimouna Yousef (aka Mumu Fresh), or the Fine China Remix by Chris Brown & Common, then you’ve heard his work as a producer. He is also the mastermind behind WVLM’s the total online video/music station. It “ain’t your regular radio”.


Wow he is multi-talented and by far one of the most entertaining DJ’s to watch onstage! I’ve actually peeped him spin on his live internet video show. I love how he interacts with his audience! How’d you guys actually meet?


We met (verbally) through a family member via telephone at first but didn’t actually meet face to face until 5 months later!


Soooo was it love at first sight when you finally met? 


No. We were teens and dated for 6 years before we got married.


And how long have you been married?


15 years


Standing the test of time! Were you prepared to be married to someone in the entertainment industry? If not, how did you adjust?


Sort of. I was prepared to marry a DJ because that’s who he was when we first met. What I…well neither one of us for that matter, were prepared for the capacity in which his career would reach. It didn’t take so much “adjusting” per se because it started early on. There was nothing ever to compare it to…it’s all I know.


Based on what you’ve shared so far I can only imagine how much traveling he does. How often is he on the road?


 Photo Credit: Unknown



There is no set amount of time. If I had to combine all the time and average it out, I would say maybe 4-6 months or so out of the year. It varies. Sometimes he’s out for months at a time. Then there are times when he just goes out 2-3 days each week.


Wow! How has his schedule impacted your marriage?


The biggest impact is on the shifting of responsibility. When he’s away, there is an added stress of pulling my weight in addition to what he would be doing if he were home. It is never convenient to have to maneuver plans based upon last minute schedule changes – which is his constant. Married life is kind of like college. No matter what, it’s hard work. You can fool around if you want to – but it will catch up to you and you’ll have to get your s••• together, fast. It can be fun. Overwhelming at times and expensive. (…oh…wait…that’s the kids’ part. Never mind. That’s the grad school edition).


How has his line of work impacted your parenting?


I am not sure how to answer this question because our children are not really exposed to the industry side of his work. They know what their Dad does and they’ve even seen him at work. They are aware of the pros and cons. I would say my parenting includes educating them and reflecting the importance of shared responsibility between parents. Especially when one is often away from home. But as I stated before, I, as well as our sons have nothing to compare our lifestyle to because we don’t know anything else or any other way.


You mentioned pros and cons. What would you say are your favorite things about being married to someone in the industry? What about your pet peeves?


Favorite things? The perks of course. Free stuff! Who doesn’t like free stuff? Lol! Traveling and getting to meet people you would never meet under ordinary circumstances. Let me be clear, that is not limited to celebrities or those with major wealth. Just great people I would never had met! Pet Peeves? The constant schedule changes. It is very hard to plan things with your family and in your personal life. When nothing is ever concrete until the actual time it occurs…or doesn’t occur. Another Pet Peeve would be the lack of respect for marriage or any serious relationship (but that’s a whole ‘nother blog).


Oh yes Ma’am…roger that! You covered a lot! I really appreciate your keeping it 100 because it’s not all glam and lights for sure. What inspires you?


I am inspired by beautiful, strong, intelligent women. My sons. My Mom. My cousin. My bestest girlfriend. I guess that’s more of “who” than “what” huh? I guess I’m inspired by creativity and seeing results.


If you could do anything differently, what would it be?


I would’ve allowed more time to pass before getting married and having children so soon after.


So is there any advice you can give to an engaged or newly married couple where one spouse is involved in the industry and the other is not?


If it is his/her passion, be supportive. Actively help them reach their goals. Communicate. Keep your individuality. Do not lose yourself.


YES! I was just talking about that a few weeks ago. Don’t lose yourself in the process! Is there anything else you’d like to share?


The Laundry List of Necessities for Being Married to Someone in the Industry:

  • Security (meaning the opposite of having insecurities)
  • Self-assurance
  • Patience
  • Patience (yes I said it twice)
  • Individuality
  • Independence
  • A willingness to compromise and be flexible. (Be careful and make sure that compromise is for you and your partner. Not to be confused with compromising yourself for the industry)


Being married in the entertainment/music industry is like having a double major in engineering and physics with two minors in math and psychology. You got it coming at you from all directions and you can’t drop the ball on any of them, or else it will be a domino effect. But…

  • It’s worth the experience.
  • It’s gratifying in the long run when you look back and see ‘how in the world did we get through that?’ 
  • It’s gratifying when you look back at the work you produced.
  • It’s gratifying when you have something tangible to show for it.
  • It’s gratifying when you know you are doing it with your best friend as your partner.



 OH! Good stuff! Seasoned wisdom from someone who has been in the trenches, through thick and thin! I love it. Eloria thanks so much for taking time out your hectic schedule to be authentic here at authenticitee! You have blessed my space Momma! How can people get in touch with you? or on Instagram: @EMPRESSSMITTY


And if someone were interested in booking your husband, how can he be reached?




Stellar! Thanks again!

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© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee2015
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ericka Arthur and authenticitee with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
**DJ DUMMY PHOTO CREDITS: All photos submitted by Eloria Smith. No copyright infringement intended**

I’m Glad You Like My Perfume (But I Wore It For Him)

In my semi autobiographical post Barbra, Bob and Black Gospel I referenced my immense love for the Yentl soundtrack. As a singer songwriter, I’m a musical lexophile by nature with an insatiable appetite for creative genius, witticism and well written lyrics! Though I adore all the songs on the soundtrack, Will Someone Ever Look At Me That Way” has been on my mind here of late.

“Look at how he looks at her
Will someone ever look at me that way…”

The opening line. Simple but profound. Here’s a woman loving a man who loves another woman. She’s smitten by him and fascinated as she eyes his eyes, admiring who he admires. He desires to make a great impression on the one he loves by selecting his words and  fashioning himself with great care. He wants to be attractive, to who he’s attracted to and yet he attracts another.

Have you ever been there? The place where your perfume or cologne was applied with one in mind. That fresh shave, power tie or shade of lipstick and new heels a mile high are worn for them. You position yourself to run into them (by happenstance of course) only for them to look at you…but not see you. They hear your well rehearsed special greeting tailor made just for them but don’t adhere. Disappointed that they’re oblivious to your hint, incapable of detecting your scent, your countenance begins to cower; not realizing you’ve attracted another

So it is with the enlarging of your territory and the broadening of your horizons. As your perception sharpens, you climb higher, and your light shines brighter, you notice the presence of those you never extended an invitation to.

We must be alert to what we attract and be ready to discern who’s really for us. Our inability to do so can lead to sabotage from within the walls of our well crafted fort. Discerning the difference between a heartfelt supporter and obsessive fan.   Sorting through the junk mail and spam of life making room for the valid offers that deserve your consideration. You held up the light and attracted flies. You didn’t mean to but you did.

They’re here

Now what?

You tell me

Peel back the layers

What do you see?

© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee2015
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ericka Arthur and authenticitee with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

So you want to help eh? Save the world? Rescue cats out of trees? Help the elderly cross the street? Change a stranger’s flat tire? Break up fights in bars? You just love helping people huh? Never ignoring a need, just jumping right on in there? From offering to clean the home of a neighbor who just had back surgery to offering to babysit for the single mom in your support group who works three jobs. 

And what about you? 

Are you taking care of you?

When an old friend found out a couple of months ago that I was wrapping up training to become a volunteer Suicide Crisis Counselor in addition to other recent changes in my already hectic schedule, he expressed great concern.

“Are you putting your mask on first?!”

He travels extensively so I shouldn’t have been taken aback by his aviation analogy. “That’s the first thing the flight attendant instructs you to do before helping others. Put your oxygen mask on first!”. 

Before I could respond he continued, “I know you want to help people and all, but are you taking care of you? You work full time, you’re a wife and a mother…” I hadn’t quite tuned him out as he ran down the list fussing at me in love, but only because I knew he was right. He wasn’t the first person to give me this speech but one of many over the span of several years. Even my husband had noticed I’d grown accustomed to putting others first at the expense of my self care diminishing. 

I recently came across the following quote and fell in love with it. It was as if Audre was chiming in with those who cared about me, while giving me permission to learn how to put my mask on first…

We must remember that Compassion Fatigue and Caregiver Burnout is real. When you care for others. It’s important to send the very best you by taking care of you first. 

As a person who knows what it’s like to care deeply for others, I thought it’d be helpful to share a God breathed revelation I got during prayer one day: 

“Ericka, everyone Is not assigned to your caseload.”

Whoa! I thank God for theology but a little “kneeology” in prayer never hurt nobody! Talk about an awakening?! I didn’t have to do it all, for everyone, at all times with my omninothing self!

Sheer genius. 

Life has a way of interrupting us all. Not everyone is looking for damsels in distress to help. What do you do when life is thrust upon you? When you find yourself dealing with a terminally ill parent that now needs round the clock care or told you have 24 hours to decide if you’re gonna take a relative’s child in to avoid them going into court ordered foster care. 

What do you do?

Sure it’s easy for the onlooker to encourage or even assist for a time but it’s you that’s now stuck with paperwork, financial decisions, power of attorney responsibilities and overnight HIPAA consent choices. 

Maybe you’re a fellow empath. The heart mender. Peacemaker. Advice giver. Fire put-er-outer. Unofficial counselor and go to person for both friends and family alike…all the time. You can’t help but care and you’re always there for everyone

Everyone but yourself. 

You find it very difficult to not take the poor decisions made by those you’ve tried to help…personally. I mean you paid for tutoring twice a week but they still dropped out of school. You covered their rent for a few months but they ignored the chance to save money and were still evicted. You worked two jobs to send him to the best schools and he was still drawn to that drug infested crowd. You recall countless conversations with her about the dangers of unprotected sex as you rock your grandchild to sleep on Prom night.

Unlike others, you noticed the changes in his pattern of sleep and loss of appetite. You reached out, made yourself available to talk and then there’s an upswing. He begins to posts pictures online of how great things are now! You’re ecstatic. Not quite patting yourself on the back but thrilled that you were able to make a difference in someone’s life. Then you get the call. His body and the note he left were found.

 Your first thought is “What could I have done differently?” 

Beloved. As a few of my closest friends admonish me…be gentle with yourself. Everyone Is not assigned to your caseload and you have to give yourself permission to be ok with that. 
“Some plant, some water but it’s God who gives the increase” is a quote loosely based on a Bible verse found in 1 Corinthians 3:5-9. In context it’s referring to one not esteeming the role they played as ministers or in witnessing or in what they do individually to bring God glory. Their one effort is not any better (or less) than the next person’s. Each role is equally important but without God none of it is possible. 

Everyone Is not assigned to your caseload and you have to give yourself permission to be ok with that. 
Help and healing comes in many forms. Yes it can be devastating when in spite of our best efforts, the choices of others result in them hurting themselves or others…and it happens on your watch. Life is a series of baton passes and musical chairs. There are times when you did everything you could and still life happened. 

You did everything you could think of to make your spouse stay but they still left. You won an award for your work with troubled teens but your child continues to run away. Yes it’s difficult when in helping the 99 you lose the one but everyone Is not assigned to your caseload and you have to give yourself permission to be ok with that. 

Be encouraged. 

Today is a great day to release the self imposed guilt of all that’s gone awry on your watch. Free yourself of the resentment you hold against the spry employee at the rec center who was able to reach your unreachable kid. Release the bitterness, anger and frustration. Reserve all that energy for putting your mask on first, celebrating what did go right and become healthy enough to serve those who are assigned to you! Take care of yourself so you can be effective without being infected and affected. 

Oh in case it’s been some time since you’ve heard it…You. Matter. Too. 

Much love,


P.S. Be sure to share with the walking wounded among you today. Smiles are hiding a lot these days. 

© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee2015
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