I saw her with a few of her friends bouncing towards me after service. The only one attempting to keep eye contact though several feet away, I prepared myself to return her kindness with a smile.

As she drew closer and her smile grew wider she hit me with, “Hey! Is that your hair?!”

I blacked out.

No. Really.

Like there was this 10 second delay where I had the sermon I just heard in one ear and a “Heifer what did you just ask me?! Are you kidding me slew foot?! I don’t even KNOW you!!” in the other.

“No. It. Isn’t.” God musta answered her ’cause I was still looking at her in disbelief like, are Sistahs still asking that? Like no really. Are they? ‘Cause I really thought we weren’t asking each other that anymore. ESPECIALLY women that don’t know each other.

“‘Cause this ain’t mine!!”, she continued just a grinnin’.

I’m sorry, are you still talkin’ to me?? I don’t remember asking you if it was. I don’t remember you asking me my name. I don’t remember you even saying you liked my hair. I’m like for real???

I bore very easily and as a result change my hair often. Currently donning long, curly 1B/350 double strand twists (not seen here) for the last week or so I’m clueless as to why she would think it’s my hair my hair you know? And if it is or isn’t why are we having this conversation after church and I’m sorry who are you again?

Boundaries. Discretion. These things are important. So very important people. The blessing and quite honestly the sad fact is Im used to people doing theeeeee MOST when it comes to my hair as a woman of color. When my (naturally grown) locs (dredlocs) were so long they were touching my belt, I had a stranger touch my hair on an elevator. Huh?! Even casual acquaintances at work would be taken aback by my blatant “stop, drop, insert eye roll, dodge” of their creepy crawlers coming toward my hair. Like where is your home training? You’re a grown woman. I’m good and grown Honty. Why are you trying to touch my hair?!

According to the T-Shirt industry. Clearly…I’m not the only one🤔

You been there? Let me hear your voice…

Thank you for being here!

Blessings!

e of @authenticiteespeaks

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Remember YOU MATTER!

© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 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 speaks with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

All photos of me are mine with exception of the T-Shirt photos and “I Love My Roots” artwork. No copyright infringement intended.

thief

i was aloof.

thought love and lust were the same

that passion and persistence

insured mutual affection

was paying him no mind

he was a married big brother in the Faith

but here he was in the church hallway

telling me about the perfect discoloration

of my lips in front of others

the look on his face when he realized

i had never noticed or even thought about

it challenged me

surely you knew that

he smirked

surely i should’ve known that

i thought

maybe that’s the day when everything

changed well one of many

the day a grown man taught

fully clothed 19 yr old self

that I had superpowers

minus the cape

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Thank you for being here!

Blessings!

e of @authenticiteespeaks

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Remember YOU MATTER!

© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 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 speaks with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Featured Image: Google images. No copyright infringement intended.

When I’m into a book. It goes everywhere with me. I intentionally pace myself when arrested by strong lines and reading Sips of Poetry with KI was no different.

Ki (pronounced Kai) considers herself an introvert whose voice speaks volumes through her pen. I came across her work as a fellow writer in Instagram’s writing community. She was always very different. Her kindness and sincerity was apparent on every post and with every comment. It was as though she too, cared more about the person behind the post than product of the pen itself.

A woman who deeply loves family, she even shares creative space with her brother in Sips of Poetry with KI.

Often referencing the sweet and at times sour intricacies of romantic relationships, the book takes a turn as she shares a very personal and powerful moment with her readers:

I felt honored to hold this book. It felt like a labor of love and the first of many to come. You too can hold this in your hands and catch the heartbeat of this beautiful soul. For purchase inquiries: Visit her on Instagram @waves_of_rae or email kileo@bourbonwhiskeyandink.com.

All photos and photographic content used in this piece are the sole property of Ki Leo. No copyright infringement intended.

Thank you for being here!

Blessings!

e of @authenticiteespeaks

IG | FB @AuthenticiteeSpeaks

Twitter | @Authenticitee

Blog | http://www.authenticiteespeaks.com

Remember YOU MATTER!

© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 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 speaks with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

ARE YOU HAPPY?

Someone I hadn’t seen in years. Maybe like 8 years. Asked me if I was happy this past weekend. My usual response is “Happiness is based on happenings.” See I’m all heart, a skeptic, very guarded, an introvert and very private in nature. I find that because I’m kind and give direct eye contact; it’s often interpreted as being “open”. I am not.

But I like this person. A lot actually. Though mere acquaintances; I wasn’t offended. Though many go by what they overhear or what they try to piece together from social media; I believe this question came from a genuine space.

There was a time I would really ponder that question, which is bizarre to ask when just “running” into someone. I’m deep. A thinker. So the question felt very intrusive to me. Though I genuinely do not feel it was meant to be. No love lost. No grudges held. No overthinking will overtake me. But I do know this. Every question asked does not have to be answered.

I chose however to respond honestly: “I’m in a good space” and the response was, “You look like it. You look good”. I know there are many who are not happy. They ask my secret. The joy of the Lord keeps me in moments where happiness has failed me. Praying your happenings evolve into happiness and your joy remains.

Thank you for being here! New here? Welcome!

Blessings!

e of @authenticiteespeaks

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Blog | http://www.authenticiteespeaks.com

Remember YOU MATTER!

© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 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 speaks with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Photo credit Unknown: No copyright infringement intended.

SEASON(S) TOO

Hey #InspirationWithE Family!

Wow! Inquiries about Season 2 of my Inspiration With E radio show have really increased quite a bit here of late. THANK YOU SOOOO MUCH!! I am genuinely humbled by the love, interest and support!

What began as a brief hiatus evolved into our schedules going full blown bananas and colliding in midair! My incredible producer @jitchronicles and founder of @grindhardradio & I have been doing just that: Grinding Hard and building our legacies.

I am beyond grateful for the opportunity that I was afforded while podcasting and will continue to inspire no matter the format! Season 1 Episodes have been archived and available on demand on http://www.grindhardradio.com.

Enjoying my journey, I look forward to whatever the next chapter holds! You can still find me here, on Facebook | Instagram @InspirationWithE and on Twitter @EAInspiration!

New Here? Welcome New Faces!💫e

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Blog | http://www.authenticiteespeaks.com

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Remember YOU MATTER!

© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018. 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 speaks with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

I loved this gem. The intent behind Alisha Howard’s pen would not be denied. From upper and lowercase wording to bold fonts and strategic spacing; the arrangement of Alisha’s poetry is simple and simply potent…all at the same time.

I planned on devouring YOU & i because the words were few, but not so.

I should’ve known better. I discovered Alisha Howard on Instagram about a year and 1/2 ago. I was completely mesmerized by her style of writing. Her pieces are warm, grown and relatable. And her ability to say so much in so few words genuinely impresses me. Alisha Howard is strong.

YOU & i fed me. I found my words peppered with the occasional “Hmph!” and “Mmmm!” in response to her while reading. Alisha’s work demands to be heard, felt, digested and now shared.

To support this incredible indie author on her debut release, click here to purchase!

Follow Alisha on Instagram at @lablaquebelle and thank me later!

New here? Welcome New Faces!💫e

***************************************

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IG | @authenticiteespeaks

LIKE ON FACEBOOK! @authenticiteespeaks AND @InspirationWithE

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Remember YOU MATTER!

© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018. 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 speaks with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

I have thoroughly enjoyed Marie’s daily Love Letter Challenge. Though it ended March 30th, I intentionally saved the final writing prompt for my birthday weekend. Knowing I would be in a reflective space tonight influenced my decision to wait to write this piece. Although my birthday was yesterday and this weekend was awesome; this intentional quiet time is a beautiful moment.

Welcome to the final day of #TheLoveLetterProject Writing Challenge created by Marie of The Notion Of Love! If you’re just joining me, you can catch up on Days 1-29 here!

To Yourself, A Constant Reminder

e,

I’m really so very proud of you.

I, more than anyone else – know what you’ve been through. I know what you’ve suffered, lost and survived. I also know what you’ve given away and what you’ve forfeited. Many would have stayed down when knocked down – but not you. You continued to press on and even protected others at the expense of everything that made you…you.

But going forward…never, ever again.

Never and I mean never forget who you are and Whose you are.

You are worthy and deserving of every blessing your Creator has for you.

You are worthy of the range of love you give.

You are worthy of the height, weight and depth of life you so selflessly give to others.

You are worthy of healing.

You are worthy of receiving.

You are worthy of success.

You are worthy of respect.

You are worthy of self care.

You are worthy of self love.

I love you and I love the you…

You are now

And are becoming.

Never lose you…looking to and for another.

Happy Birthday e! And remember…

If they don’t think you’re deserving…

They don’t deserve you.

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Blog | http://www.authenticiteespeaks.com

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Remember YOU MATTER!

© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018. 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 speaks with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

HAPPY RESURRECTION SUNDAY!!

I absolutely cannot believe it’s April 1, 2018 already! But I am totally committed to seeing the March 2018 Writing Challenge through to completion! It has been fun, insightful and incredibly challenging to write AND post everyday. I am always writing but there are times where either my schedule prevents my ability to upload the post or what I’m writing that day doesn’t coincide with the theme.

Either way I’m so glad you’re here!! When I checked my stats, which I rarely do anymore; I saw that readers from ALL over the world still visit my site!!! It reminded me of the international blog party I threw a couple of years ago! Thank you for being here!!

Well, I’m going to share this writing prompt piece before I head out to church. Much love and prayerfully I can post at least one more tonight. Though I will finish the challenge, I do not want it to leak too much more into April. Let’s go!

Welcome to Day 28 of #TheLoveLetterProject Writing Challenge created by Marie of The Notion Of Love! If you’re just joining me, you can catch up on the rules here!

Day 28

To Yourself When You Can’t Get Out Of Bed

I think it’s so ironic that due to my delay in posting the theme pertaining to getting up when you don’t want to; falls on Easter Sunday. Though I have many readers and supporters who are non believers, I genuinely appreciate them honoring the Authenticitee Speaks Non Judgement Zone here (and it’s mutual). But as a Christian, Jesus Christ “getting up” is literally the crux of my faith.

But there are days when God uses other things to inspire me to “get up”.

Purpose is imperative! For some it’s the pitter patter of little feet depending on them; be it toddlers or fur babies. For some it’s to pay mortgage or save for college or an upcoming vacation. I’m personally inspired and motivated by remembering those who want to get up and can’t. Be it due to health issues or mobility limitations: the ability to get up is a gift. A gift to oneself and a gift to others.

Jesus Christ’s “getting up” was fueled by LOVE. Find what you love and getting up won’t be so difficult.

Enjoy your day! Let me hear your voice💫e

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© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018. 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 speaks with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Photo Credits Pixabay, Google images. No copyright infringement intended.

Welcome to Day 27 of #TheLoveLetterProject Writing Challenge created by Marie of The Notion Of Love! If you’re just joining me, you can catch up on the rules here!

Day 27

To Someone Who Has Lost Faith In Love

Losing something gives the connotation that we once had it. Be it our house keys or one’s proverbial mojo: losing something that we’ve come to cherish and/or depend on can be life altering.

Losing faith in love is usually a result of betrayal or expecting more than someone is really able to deliver. The most encouraging advice I can give is to be honest with yourself first.

Do you still want love? Do you want to be loved? I find so many issues stem from childhood rejection and perverted perception. Love is not abusive or manipulative. Perhaps it’s the agony of waiting. Wondering if it will ever be your turn.

More than receiving, love is what we are willing to give. Selfishness stifles. Has it ever dawned on you that another may be hurting too? Someone just may need the faith you lost in order for them to find faith in love again. Releasing ourselves from the weight of our loss makes room to simultaneously give and receive the healing power of love.

Who has need of what you’ve lost?…💫e

Blog | http://www.authenticiteespeaks.com

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Remember YOU MATTER!

© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018. 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 speaks with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Photo Credits Pixabay, Google images. No copyright infringement intended.

Welcome to Day 25 of #TheLoveLetterProject Writing Challenge created by Marie of The Notion Of Love! If you’re just joining me, you can catch up on the rules here!

Day 25

To The Person One Who Has My Heart

Dear Jesus,

I joyfully remember the day I gave you my heart and sadly the day I took it back; or so I thought.

I let so many things come between us. Tired of being passionately on fire for you while being called a fanatic by some family and a couple of friends made me choose them over you. I eventually became embarrassed about my insatiable hunger for you after Tondelayo died. Always being teased about my faith and lonely when my best friends didn’t want to go to Christian events was a bit much for someone in their late teens. Friends were either God fearing but non religious, non believers who greatly respected my faith but not interested or believers who didn’t want to cultivate a relationship with you beyond Sunday morning service, Saturday Sabbath or Midweek Mass. It was lonely at times and though you said you’d never leave me nor forsake me; I could only see them…and I never saw you.

I remember the night a few years later that I was trying to go to a Sunday night concert at the late Rev. Timothy Wright’s Church that my friend now Minister, Tyrone Pittman told me about. Tyrone had begun making cassette tapes for me and I learned about a lot of gospel artists through him. From the Rickey Grundy Chorale to countless others, he kept me in the loop. Well, unfortunately Tyrone couldn’t go that night and I couldn’t find ANYONE to go to the concert. I was so frustrated that night rushing out the house only to be thwarted by my well meaning, powerful woman of God grandmother: Grandma Dora. She kept trying to help while fussing with my hair and clothes. I would move one way and she’d try to adjust a strand of hair out of place in other direction. I’d speed walk to the left and she would yank my slip to the right. She loved you Lord and I loved her but she was not my age, you know what I mean?

And that’s when I heard you say, “I’ll go with you“. And I sighed heavily and angrily blurted out, “I DON’T WANT YOU TO GO!!” A gasp of air shook my lungs. I immediately regretted my words but weariness and young adult pride tied my tongue as I flew drove through the streets of Brooklyn. I was in a hurry to get to your house God; all while ignoring you.

Fast forward to the many giving and taking of my heart pivotal moments in my life. To the many sins and transgressions I sometimes intentionally did because of a false sense of entitlement. Sinning like it was my turn, you know? Like, how come they can do it and I can’t.

Lord Jesus, I’m so glad you’re not like me. I’m so glad you went to the concert with me anyway that night. I’m so glad you were already there when I got there. I’m so glad you were and still are patient with me. I’m so glad for your mercy and your grace. I’m eternally grateful that you know all about me and still want me.

And just in case someone else comes across this letter, I’m so glad…you knew that they would.

Love,

Ericka

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Remember YOU MATTER!

© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018. 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 speaks with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Photo Credits Google Images – the late Lester Kern. No copyright infringement intended.