In a time where positivity is almost trendy and catchy hashtags prevail, it’s a blessing to come across genuinely inspiring souls. Determined to streamline the at times habitual “scroll, scroll, like” syndrome of social media in my own life, I periodically reassess the accounts I follow to see what really speaks to me. Without fail, Dyon Davidson is one of the few that continue to stand out.

Some time ago I launched a mini series featuring volunteers from all over the country and I was thrilled when Dyon answered the clarion call!

Dyon Davidson is one of those gifts to humanity that God has chosen to reveal His love, strength and creativity through…and I can’t wait for you to meet her!

e speaks…

Tell me the name of the organization you volunteer for and how often do you volunteer?

Dyon speaks…

The organization that I’ve volunteered with over the past few years is Shay Sharpe’s Pink Wishes.  I volunteer with them once a month because they’re filling such an important need in that community.

e speaks…

What led you there?

Dyon speaks…

I was introduced to the organization’s President while I was putting together a breast cancer fundraiser. I had signed on to donate part of the proceeds to another well-known breast cancer organization. A high school classmate was very adamant about me meeting Shay Sharpe. She said Shay and I had a lot in common and would do great things together.

It was 2011 and I wasn’t diagnosed with any health issues yet. As a matter of fact, I seemed pretty healthy. I was carrying out a vision God gave me in a dream to give Breast Cancer Survivors a platform to share their stories. Shay came to the event and we clicked instantly. She invited me to her event the following week and I got to witness her and her team grant a wish for a young lady with terminal breast cancer. My heart changed forever. That young lady passed a few months later.

Each event gave Breast Cancer Survivors a platform to share their stories. I also made jewelry and auctioned it off along with other items donated by local businesses.

The events were a great combination of Beadly Speaking Jewelry and Shay Sharpe’s Pink Wishes doing community service together. My high school classmate was right. The crazy thing is that it took a few months for me to realize that we’d met briefly as teenagers at a football game when our high schools played each other. Life brought us back together for a reason.

e speaks…

What are some of the ways you serve?

Dyon speaks…

I organized fundraisers and raised money for the organization to help carry out their vision for 2012, 2013, and 2014. I’ve even helped pack items for the homeless over the years for annual campaigns.

e speaks…

How has dealing with your own health issues impacted your ability to serve, if at all?

Dyon speaks…

When I was diagnosed with Lupus in 2013, Shay didn’t nag me with a bunch of questions.  She understood that I was scared and trying to figure it out. She held my hand and sent me information about it. She still texts me Lupus and Sjogren’s related article from time to time. There are symptoms that gross other people out but I can talk to Shay about them. Most of the times she can relate being a young two time Breast Cancer Survivor at age 26 and 36. She has been my doctor on call, prayer partner, my chef, workout partner, and accountability partner.

It was devastating to tell the organization in 2014 that I was no longer going to do an annual breast cancer fundraiser on their behalf. I needed to focus on healing. To honor them, I donate 10% of the proceeds from my pink handmade jewelry back to them. So when customers buy any pink Beadly Speaking Jewelry, Shay Sharpe’s Pink Wishes receives a portion of it.

Breast Cancer and Lupus are very different but the fighting spirit in the two women, (Shay and I), they chose is the same. We are Warriors!

e speaks…

What’s been the most challenging moment?

Dyon speaks…

The most challenging moment was when Shay Sharpe was diagnosed with breast cancer for a second time. She was 36 years old. She’d been through it before at 26 years old. I was scared. She fought hard. Seeing her make the decision to remove her breasts was the probably the most challenging.

e speaks…

How did you overcome it?

Dyon speaks…

At the time I was newly diagnosed with Lupus and was depressed. Watching her recover and seeing her fight made me fight harder to get better. It was life changing. When she got better we challenged each other with workouts and monthly weigh-ins. We healed together. We lost the weight we gain from medication together. We extended the challenges to other Cancer and Lupus Warriors. We are still changing lives this way years later.

e speaks…

What’s been the most rewarding moment?

Dyon speaks…

The most rewarding moment happens every year at The Shay Sharpe’s Pink Wishes Black Tie Fundraiser. Each year the organization grants a wish of a terminally ill Breast Cancer Survivor. It usually is a surprise to that person. The organization receives hundreds of wishes each year and it warms my heart to see a wish being granted.

This year’s fundraiser is Sunday October 28, 2018. Visit www.shaysharpespinkwishes.org for further details so you too can witness this!

e speaks…

That is fantastic! Dyon what would you advise new volunteers?

Dyon speaks…

I would advise new volunteers to get involved. Shay Sharpe’s Pink Wishes is filling a major need for young women diagnosed with stage four breast cancer as well as helping their children when these women die. It’s fulfilling work to serve in any capacity with the organization.

e speaks…

Thank you so much for stopping by Dyon!

You can support Dyon’s movement the following sites:

@BeadlySpeaking on Twitter & Instagram

Beadly Speaking Jewelry on Facebook

http://www.etsy.com/shop/beadlyspeakingjewels

Blessings!

e of @authenticiteespeaks

IG | FB @AuthenticiteeSpeaks

Twitter | @Authenticitee

Blog | http://www.authenticiteespeaks.com

Remember YOU MATTER!

All excerpts and photos used in this piece are the sole property of Dyon Davidson and the photographers who took the photos. No copyright infringement intended.

© 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.

September is the awareness month for both of the causes closest to my heart! Suicide Prevention AND Alopecia Awareness! Visit www.naaf.org for more info and click here to read our daughter’s story of Alopecia Areata entitled “A Smile Big Enough To Cover The Pain”.

New here? | Welcome New Faces!

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.

Images via Pinterest- no copyright infringement intended.

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

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.

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

Welcome to Day 23 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 23

To Your Friends

Seasons. If I’ve learned anything about friendship, it’s that seasons apply to connections as well. I’ve always been very anal and guarded about who I trust. From trying to protect my heart and mind contractually in platonic and familial relationships (true story) to doing everything I can to make sure no one feels left out on my watch.

Friendship. There are tiers and levels to this thing. And you know it’s funny because just a few days ago I gave a “just because” shoutout on my personal Facebook page; thanking my support network:

What’s funny is I deactivated my original Facebook account for 8 years; only to return almost a year ago at the request/major nudging of two organizations I’m affiliated with, one being GRINDHARDRADIO. It definitely came in handy because of the August 2017 launch of my Inspiration With E Radio Show and it’s also enhanced my accessibility to certain movements that inspire me. But I’m not in love with Facebook as it’s become a place I periodically blurt out random thoughts, link my writing and post occasional immediate family pics. Out of all of my followers I can literally count on one hand the number of people I’m referring to when I say “friends”.

I know a lot of people. And my acquaintance and extended family lists are ever growing, but I don’t throw the term “friend” around lightly at all. I don’t believe in luck but my mommy always said, if you have just one real friend, consider yourself lucky. She was right.

If I’ve learned nothing else:

Friendship is a major investment that requires time, transparency and thoughtfulness. I expect and want ALL of my relationships to THRIVE. This means I must take responsibility for the health, tone and tenor of every relationship and assume nothing. More than anything, I want to be an even better friend to the amazing sisters and brothers God has supernaturally imparted into my life. I love them deeply.

I can see the faces of those who have walked through some of my darkest moments and saddest of days with me; especially in the last few years. A few names I can’t even call publicly but I thank God for them every day. They loved me UNCONDITIONALLY and challenged me. They were honest with me and protected me. They spoke life over me and deemed me worthy. Reminded me who I was and Whose I was. They came through for me and came to know me very well. They deserve the world and though they care about me – just as I am, I look forward to improving, growing, maturing in my love and even blessing them (and their pockets) one day soon.

Thank you so much. Words cannot describe my appreciation. Love you to life. Thank you forever strong.💫e

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

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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, Pinterest and Ericka Arthur for Authenticitee Speaks . No copyright infringement intended.

I really wanted a photo of someone wearing crime scene tape wrapped only around their eyes, heart, or head for this piece! Anything to signify where most often, severe damage has been done. But I didn’t like any of the photos I found, except the one I chose to be featured.

Apparently the scarf pictured is (or was) a hot ticket item that could be purchased everywhere from Etsy to Perpetual Kid. I just knew that the model’s eyes resonated with me. They were strong, cushioned by a bit of a smirk and a “are you sure you wanna do this?” look. It’s as though she wasn’t wearing damage as a crutch or badge of honor but more so as an “Under Construction” label warning.

Hmm…

Under Construction warning labels would actually come in handy…

Some of the most life altering wounds sustained are invisible. But before we can receive whatever greatness lies ahead we MUST take time to HONESTLY assess the damage that we survived during the last injury. The one we didn’t bounce back as fast from. Adrenaline, pride, determination, denial and smiles mask some of the most painful “I’m gonna feel that in the morning” situations.

I’m not telling you what I overheard.

I’m telling you what I know.

I recently began positioning myself in all encompassing quiet spaces for one reason; only to find self introspection, without fail, emerges as the end result. I then chose to stop bucking up against the obvious and instead relish in each new revelation and in some cases correction, God is so graciously giving.

I am learning a lot about myself. Such as what my boundaries are, what my dealbreakers are, what makes me uncomfortable and who makes me uncomfortable. What I will not no longer tolerate and what I need. I’m identifying root causes and dissecting a myriad of intricate heart and mind moments and I love how healing is unfolding. Inner clarity is paramount but somehow we’re conditioned to always look outward for the new thing. I genuinely believe lack of self clarity only impedes progress and prevents us from reaching goals that appear to be within reach.

So why a picture with crime scene tape over the eyes, heart and mind? Because there’s so much that we can’t unsee and dont know what to do with – so we just stop. Stop living, breathing, thriving – but I say it’s time for stopping…to STOP!

How, you ask?

First and foremost be honest with yourself. If it’s survivor’s remorse; own it. Unforgiveness? Own it. Grief? Fear? Own it. Lack of direction or support; own it. I didn’t say claim it – I said own it. Be honest and assess the damage before you inadvertently do more damage!! Excavate your land before you try to build again! As Pastor Valerie Chaney used to say, “Prepare Your Ground For Due Season”!

And as I have learned to say…be kind to yourself as you do so.

Thank you for being here!

Blessings!

e of @authenticiteespeaks

Host of the Inspiration With E Radio Show

IG | FB @InspirationWithE

Twitter | @EAInspiration

Blog | http://www.authenticiteespeaks.com

IG | @authenticiteespeaks

Twitter | @authenticitee

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.

Background photo credit: Perpetual Kid. No copyright infringement intended.

felt

I can see the face of each KING; some say ‘muse’.

This was never me..not the life that I would choose.

One where pain pierced boundaries,

cue shattered heart and a mind left bruised.

Spiritual arteries left clogged, arms found flailing,

grip on reality gone.

A SOULTIE severed only for new ones to be formed.

The Almighty the Gatekeeper – every time I chose wrong.

No longer haunted or tortured.

If you’re on my mind, I want you there.

To be tempted; a new normal.

To resist; a resolution for the NEW YEAR.

Thank you for every healing word; written or spoken.

It’s because of you my Authenticitee Speaks

and my broken heart’s unbroken.

@authenticiteespeaks

Saturday December 9, 2017 is Day 343

Thank you for being here!

Blessings!e of @authenticiteespeaks

Host of the Inspiration With E Radio Show

IG | FB @InspirationWithE

Twitter | @EAInspiration

Blog | http://www.authenticiteespeaks.com

IG | @authenticiteespeaks

Twitter | @authenticitee

Remember YOU MATTER!

© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks, 2015, 2016, 2017 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’ve been wearing blue lipstick at times and with pretty good reason!

I shared in this space a couple of years ago, about our then 10 yr old daughter’s battle with sudden hair loss as a result of Alopecia. Blue is the awareness color for the condition and our daughter; now a 15 yr old HS student, shares her story every chance she gets.

She’s courageous. Courageous because no one would ever have to know. See she was diagnosed with Alopecia Areata where there are patches of hair loss. Her remaining hair is thick so depending on the hairstyle, bald spots can be hidden. But now she’s getting older and experimenting with different hairstyles so newly formed bald spots are visible. As a creative being, she’s discovered that blue lipgloss and strategically painting only one nail blue; sparks a conversation she’s ready to have.

I never shared photos of the bald spots on her scalp. Not only because they were the size of the palm of my hand, it was just too overwhelming to do so. The hair loss…it seemed to happen overnight.

LIFE BEFORE ALOPECIA AREATA…

PONYTAILS AND BEHIND HER EARS…

Sometimes You See It..

AND SOMETIMES YOU DON’T…

Our Daughter And Son February 2017…

It’s been difficult when I watch her struggling with her hair. I want to jump in and help her figure out the parts; literally and figuratively – but I would be doing her a disservice at this stage of her development. She talks about going away to college one day and wanting to “feel comfortable doing her hair without Mommy’s help”. As a parent however, it’s painful to watch her sweep up piles of hair after washing or combing it. But even with that going on behind closed doors, she still has a full head of hair. This has served as a tempting deterrent to be silent and understandably so. Either classmates did not understand because they couldn’t see her condition and the monthly scalp injections; or she had serious tinges of survivors guilt about the hair she did have. After all we are taught to not judge books by their cover…but we all have at one time or another, wouldn’t you say

As a matter of fact, I came across an article years ago written by Ohio journalist Jona Ison raising awareness about her son’s Alopecia Universalis. She said strangers would pay for her son’s meal at restaurants because they assumed he was a cancer patient undergoing chemotherapy. Attempting to seize those moments as teaching opportunities to educate others often ended in frustration. Kind strangers mistook her response as a modest refusal of their generosity and wouldn’t hear another word.

I remember reaching out to her back then because it was all so new for us and she was extremely gracious. I credit Jona’s bold transparency coupled with God’s undergirding, in empowering me to do the same.  
Listen. We all have something.

To this day, I’m accused of lazily slouching and having horrible posture. The accusation of having horrible posture is correct, but the reason is scoliosis; something else God decided that I should genetically pass a hint of to our daughter as well!😉

Though she is determined to help raise awareness, there are those who will never see her as a person dealing with hair loss or qualified to discuss it. Those who in their smug haste would ignorantly deem our determination to raise awareness as a cry for unmerited pity. But we are not alone. Afterall, there are those who will never see you as a person dealing with any type of loss…simply because of how well you wear your survival too.

Would you consider sharing this post? There are several ways to do it just by clicking the various social media icons below. Maybe we can help someone else today who may think they’re the only one dealing with invisible loss.

Little do they know….

💙

e
I wear blue for our daughter. You can find her story in the piece shared with her permission called “A Smile Big Enough To Cover The Pain“. To connect with the National Alopecia Areata Foundation visit http://www.naaf.org.
Blog | http://www.authenticiteespeaks.com

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Remember YOU MATTER!

© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks, 2015, 2016, 2017. 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 – Ericka Arthur


LOVE

I say that word a lot.

I was taking a gander at Webster’s definition:

love

ləv/

noun

1.

an intense feeling of deep affection.

2. a person or thing that one loves.

verb

1. feel a deep romantic or sexual attachment to (someone).

And then I read the Biblical definition as recorded in 1st Corinthians 13: 4-7 (NASB):

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

LOVE. 

Love is stressing me out

Ought not be, right? But it is. I’m an extremely affectionate, passionate, God fearing woman, so I kept reading the Biblical list. Like Santa; I even checked it twice. Found out I was one who’d been both naughty and nice. 

I’m in the mood to fight for LOVE

LOVE. 

The word is overused so much that very few have even looked up the definition. It’s just…a given. Love to them basically equals something they really like. That’s it. Nothing more and nothing less. There’s no reflection on the ridiculously overlooked component to real love: SACRIFICE!

None. 

I write love poetry constantly. I write about it all…

My content is tastefully done and demonstrates a range of emotions. At times broken vernacular is used and others, the King’s English. It all depends on what I’m feeling at the time. I’d give the content I share, a PG-13 rating with an occasional NC-17 streak. By choice, I do not use profanity, sexually explicit photos or post pieces that would be classified as Erotica. However I find it very interesting that the prudish and “saints” (in this context the reference is applied to “church folk” with short term memory loss of their lives before their God encounter), are uncomfortable with publicly admitting they read and even screenshot my poetry on Instagram. 

Fascinating.

Especially considering the top reasons for divorce among Christians according to studies are:

1. Ongoing adultery/pornography 

2. Lack of communication

3. Drug or alcohol addictions/abuse

4. Physical/emotional abuse

5. Sexual problems


I liken those living vicariously through my transparency to the religious folk of Jesus’ day who couldn’t be seen talking to Him but would go to Him alone at night for help, advice and deliverance (John 3). 

Love. 

There’s nothing new under the sun and true healing ONLY comes from being honest about what’s hurting. 

To be continued. 

e

Blog | http://www.authenticiteespeaks.com
IG | @authenticiteespeaks
Twitter | @authenticitee
Remember YOU MATTER!

© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks, 2015, 2016 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 Ericka Arthur for authenticitee speaks

  
I PRAY

Mommy prays that you always make each other laugh. That you always look out for your little brother & that you always look out for your big sister.

 
I pray you always feel comfortable in your shade of melanin skin as you endure the insidiously frustrating questions as to whether or not you have the same parents ’cause one’s eyes are hazel & the other’s dark brown.

I pray you stay strong & hold your ground when they reach for your Locs & Afro out of ignorance & curiosity.

I pray you remain humble & walk worthy of your calling, even when Mommy & Daddy aren’t looking.

 
We not only love you, we respect, admire & like you; our miracles.

Be blessed beyond measure & strengthened for every mile of your journey🌹Mommy

© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee, 2015, 2016 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

Photo Credit: Ericka Arthur for authenticitee speaks 

I was tagged in a poetry challenge on Instagram but only music would come out. Life has silenced my song for too long…so I submitted to the unveiling💞e

© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee, 2015 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