I remember being barren for the first 4 years of my marriage. It was a difficult time. My side of the family is small but I married into a huge, supportive and loving tribe. And Lord were my prayers answered! I mean like literally almost everyone had 3 – 6 children each. Just a kabillion of them LOL!

I can laugh and smile now. As a single woman; I remember praying that my future husband would have a big family. But I had completely forgotten about that prayer request to be honest. Actually I was so deeply in love at that time – it didn’t matter if my now husband of over 21 years, was an only child…

I can laugh and smile now.

I can laugh and smile now.

But it ABSOLUTELY sucked when we began to try to have children. And false pregnancy test after false pregnancy test after false pregnancy test…my GOD. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME????

It never dawned on me that it could be my husband, right? And it wasn’t.

But why as women are we automatically conditioned to absorb blame in a subconscious effort to cushion the fall of others?

No matter the matter?

I digress.

And instead – I testify.

If you’re new here – welcome. Here’s the abbreviated version.

Kayla was born 6 weeks early. 5 lbs 8oz.

Kevin Jr. was full term. 10 lbs. 6oz.

Kyle never got to see the light of day and is the inspiration behind the song I wrote entitled It Hurt Too Bad (Not To Be For My Good).

Not sure why the Lord would have me share this again nor why would he want me to share it at this moment.

But be encouraged. No matter what you have been believing God for.

After my last at home pregnancy test read negative I gave up. But my Dr. asked if she could do a blood test. Needless to say I was already almost 6 weeks pregnant with Kayla.

Sometimes under the guise of your life’s false negatives, closed doors and rejection – your positive results are just being better prepared to be revealed.

Because of Him,

e

New here? Welcome! Feel free to introduce yourself!

Blessings!

e of @authenticiteespeaks

IG | FB @AuthenticiteeSpeaks

Twitter | @Authenticitee

Blog |http://www.authenticiteespeaks.com

Remember YOU MATTER!

© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks, 2015-2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material and photos 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: Original sources unknown. No copyright infringement intended.

About a month ago or so; my daughter, one of my best friends and I went to see Toni Morrison’s documentary entitled:

Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am

It was SPECTACULAR. Riveting from beginning to end. So much so that my life….no our lives were significantly impacted. That day we renewed vows to ourselves. We were inspired to do better. To dream again. To hold each other accountable. To honor time by never wasting it…again.

And then – she passed away on August 5th, 2019…and the world learned of it yesterday.

I am still hurting.

I feel hurt, sad and convicted. She published her first book at 40. That is inspiring. She was the first African-American woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. That is motivating. But rehearsing the victories of others will never be enough for us to move on what God has called us to do.

Ms. Morrison in her essay titled “No Place for Self-Pity, No Room for Fear,” writes:

“There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal.”

What is wrong with us wasting so much time??? Why are we so comfortable procrastinating? As though we created and command time. There is so much to be done. Yes. Times are difficult and at times dark. Resources few. But today’s devotion really spoke to me:

So enough excuses. We are ALL going through something. But you are needed. I am needed. Lord!

Lord please forgive us for not honoring the time that you have entrusted us with. Forgive us for not honoring the gifts, talents and ideas that you have entrusted us with. Please help us to walk this thing out called ‘life’ for real. We can do nothing about our past. So we will not beat ourselves up about what has not happened that we feel should have happened by now.

And what will we do with the time that remains?

Because of Him,

e

New here? Welcome! Feel free to introduce yourself!

Blessings!

e of @authenticiteespeaks

IG | FB @AuthenticiteeSpeaks

Twitter | @Authenticitee

Blog |http://www.authenticiteespeaks.com

Remember YOU MATTER!

© Ericka Arthur and authenticitee speaks, 2015-2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material and photos 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: Toni Morrison’s -unknown. No copyright infringement intended.

Procrastination Quote and Photo of clock: Unknown. No copyright infringement intended.

Remaining photo credits: Ericka Arthur: Holding the Jesus Always devotional book by Sarah Young.

No copyright infringement intended.

Couldn’t wait to partake in what she was serving. Extraordinary poetry. An air of mystery. Passion. Fortitude. Fire. Creativity. Transparency. Love. Lots of love. Love for life. Love for humanity. And more than anything a deep love for words.

Christina Strigas has blessed more than my social media timelines. She has breathed life into them. Reminding me it’s ok to hurt. Inspiring me to remember I deserve to heal.

Inviting me to freedom and my words to dance…sometimes on the most difficult days….

And she’s incredibly kind….

In her own words…

Christina Strigas, a trilingual, raised by Greek-Canadian immigrants, has been featured by CBC Books in “Your ultimate Canadian poetry list: 68 poetry collections recommended by you.”

Christina Strigas is an author of five novels, three poetry books, and one self-help/poetry book based off of her popular quotes that went viral on Twitter. She writes romantic love poetry in a stream of consciousness narrative prose. Her influences are Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Mary Oliver, the Romantics, and Pablo Neruda. Christina Strigas holds a BA in English Literature from Concordia University and a Teaching Certificate from Universite de Montreal. She teaches English and French in an elementary school, and at McGill University. She created the popular @ArielPoets along with Alexandra Meehan, where they inspire writers and poets to believe in the power of poetry.

When I held Love & Vodka in my hands, I loved the feel of the book and it’s design. The font was warm and the spaces felt like safe places to rest. I could feel her heart and greatly appreciate her mind throughout each piece. I was almost brought to tears because with the turning of each page, I began to hear her voice strumming within each verse.

She spoke to me as she poured

There’s an inner strength that sustains writers that have embraced the fullness of life.

Moments lived that releases wisdom and depth…

The invitation remains and is extended to you as well. From the library of her life, Love & Vodka is just one of several offerings for the mature palate. Christina recently introduced her latest book Chrissyisms which also available on Amazon!

Be sure to show her some love by visiting her Instagram page here as well as her other sites!

You can find her on Twitter: @christinastriga

Facebook: Christina Strigas Author

Tumblr: Christina Strigas Poetry

Website: http://www.christinastrigas.com

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 Christina Strigas 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.

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.

(Sigh) … if you have followed Authenticitee Speaks for any length of time, you already know this woman is my heart.

Featured in this space on more than one occasion she is by far the most supportive person of my every work after my mother.

Facts.

Here’s a peek of our special moments here on Authenticitee Speaks!

And Then There Was @KittOMalley @Robrt_M_Goldste & @_thenewsexy

MEET MENTAL HEALTH ADVOCATE KITT O’MALLEY! 

And it was only fitting that she was my first guest on the first season of my debut radio show Inspiration With E last year!

Click here to listen! Kitt’s interview begins 20 minutes in! (Language & content advisory).

Kitt’s incredibly profound thoughts on language over 30 years ago as an undergraduate:

“Language frustrates me. Because of it, I think in distinctions; I draw lines where they do not in fact exist; I categorize and differentiate. All this I do to simplify, to impose order. All this so that I need not think or feel or know too much. All this so that I may function in a complex world. Otherwise, I would be overwhelmed. Or so I believe. But, in actuality, my attempts to simplify, to order the world around me, make my world more complex. More complex because I distort. More complex, for language is inherently imprecise. And, I get caught in my errors, in my ignorance, and in my arrogance. I err when I oversimplify. I close my eyes to what is really going on when I ignore subtleties that elude definition. And, I arrogantly play God when I try to control my environment, imposing on it an order that is not necessarily there. Still, I convince myself that making these distinctions somehow empowers me. But the definitions, the distinctions, the categorizations I make become cages, and I find myself, not the objects I define, behind the bars. For in limiting what is limitless, in trying to contain what will not fit into any box or cage, I limit and imprison myself.”

Yep. I love me some Kitt O’Malley😌

See, prior to posting my first blog on January 10, 2015 , I had no idea what a blog was; let alone the blogging community. Kitt however along with Rob, Kelley, Robert, Sean, Gina, Scott, Marquessa & a few others soon played a pivotal role in how I governed myself in cyberspace. I credit them for opening my eyes and heart to the power of interacting with other writers.

Our first of many conversations…

So when I decided to relaunch my #WriterCrushSeries this time around, including Kitt was a given; especially considering her recent milestone of becoming an author!! I just received my copy of Blogging for Bipolar Mental Health: Kitt O’Malley last week and I can not wait to dive in!

During this special edition of the Writer Crush Series, it was important to me to not just share about Kitt; but share what was important to Kitt. Because she is that important to me.

e speaks…

Kitt you are so amazing to me! I love how you are always looking out for others! I want to highlight volunteers on my blog from time to time so please tell me…where do you volunteer? What’s the name of the organization?

Kitt speaks…

The National Alliance on Mental IllnessNAMI for short. I volunteer for my local chapter NAMI Orange County.

e speaks…

How long have you been volunteering there?

Kitt speaks…

Since September 2014, when I participated in their local NAMIWalks fundraising effort following my completion of NAMI Peer-to-Peer, a mental health recovery course for those living with a mental health challenge. Peer-to-Peer introduced me to the concept of mental health recovery and offered me HOPE! You can learn more information on at NAMI Peer-to-Peer or contact your local chapter.

e speaks…

How often do you volunteer?

Kitt speaks…

A few times a year I participate in NAMI Provider Education. The first time I taught the course was January 2016 following my mother’s stroke in November 2015. Before my mother’s health crisis, I had reactivated my California Marriage and Family Therapist license. Though I haven’t practiced as a psychotherapist since I was 30 and I’m closing in on 55, my education and training shapes how I look at mental health. With my license, I can serve as the Provider Education panel’s mental health practitioner with lived experience.

NAMI Provider Education is a class for line staff at facilities providing mental health treatment services. The NAMI Provider Education class is designed to expand the participants’ compassion for the individuals and their families and to promote a collaborative model of care.

(https://www.nami.org/Find-Support/NAMI-Programs)

e speaks…

What led you there?

Kitt speaks…

April 2014 I attended The Gathering on Mental Health and the Church at Saddleback Church. I wrote about the experience on my blog. While there I felt a calling to volunteer for NAMI Orange County, so you could say that God led me to NAMI OC.

e speaks…

What’s been the most challenging moment?

Kitt speaks…

My personal life is pretty full and can be challenging. I live with bipolar. My son gets migraines, and connected to his migraines, social anxiety and depression. My father had dementia until he recently passed away. My mother lives with vascular dementia since she had a stroke just before I began volunteering in NAMI Provider Education.

e speaks…

How did you overcome it?

Kitt speaks…

When I’m too overwhelmed by my life, I bow out. I do not overdo it. If I’m not up for volunteering, I don’t. As simple as that. My mental health and the health of my loved ones comes first.

e speaks…

What’s been the most rewarding moment?

Kitt speaks…

Training the staff for the opening of Children’s Hospital of Orange County‘s (CHOC) pediatric psychiatric unit — the first inpatient psychiatric unit for children under age twelve in Orange County. The entire staff attended the inservice, which was incredible. CHOC’s staff blew me away — so much LOVE! They were great.

e speaks…

What would you advise new volunteers?

Kitt speaks…

Take care of yourself and your loved ones first and foremost. Do not deplete yourself. Recharge. Exercise self-care.

e speaks…

Thank so much for being here Kitt! It meant everything to me!! To learn more about Kitt please visit her at http://www.KittOmalley.com.

*I humbly dedicate this piece to Kitt’s beloved Labradoodle Thumper who passed away yesterday. Much love Kitt. I thank God you’re in my life. You mean the world to me and I have learned so much from you. I pray that you are granted the comfort, strength and peace of mind that you extend to so many.💫e

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 Kitt O’Malley. 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.

“My name is Jessica Saunders, everything Libra, financial educator and author.

I’m from Toronto, Ontario, and raised by women.”

e speaks…

And that’s when my world expanded into something even more beautiful. I began to scroll through Jessica’s Instagram timeline and found myself laced throughout her pieces. She encompasses power, ingenuity and all things woman. And her words…her words stir the reader to do the same.

I think my favorite take away from Jessica’s style of writing is that she gives you permission to feel. There are some pieces that resonated with me more than others; though I wish they hadn’t. #MeToo is more than a hashtag or millennial movement. My ability to relate should only be considered a gentle nod to a fellow survivor. For I think it is an extreme disservice to claim complete identification with anyone’s unfortunate happenstance. As much as we are different we are the same. As much as we are the same we are intricately different…and there is strength in that.

More than anything; it is a fine line that must be honored.

I honor you Jessica Saunders and every Jessica Saunders that has yet to find her voice.

Recommended by an extremely supportive and seasoned poet in the Instagram Writing community, Cheryl Schilling; I couldn’t wait to learn more about Jessica!

Jessica speaks…

My book Second Chances, is a piece of me within each page. It’s a novel based on a journey of a sexual assault, vile romance, romance, heart break, need of self-love, fighting depression and anxiety. Courage of self-determination and development as a woman to grow and become a better person for oneself.

Three part series to come.

This book leads into Love Notes, which describes a real romantic relationship of complex and raw, passionate love in various areas.

e speaks…

I can really hear your heart in your description of Second Chances. What gave you the courage to write your book and see it through to completion?

Jessica speaks…

When writing my book Second Chances, I must say, I fell through the cracks of courage more than once. Truly, what helped me see it through completion was the chance to reach out to people, let them know through all various aspects of life no matter what happens, they’re not alone.

Women, like men, keep a lot to themselves and keep secrets from even their closest friends and loved ones. This book takes you from what women feel are their possible lowest ends and let’s you see through a possibility of a new life. Give others courage to stand up for themselves and face society on multiple levels.

e speaks…

Is there a brief excerpt that resonates with you and why?

Jessica speaks…

My life is on these pages but if I had to pick one excerpt it would be page 267, “My entire life all I’ve heard is, to stay pretty and remind strong. As if women like me weren’t supposed to read books and conquer mountains.”.

This piece has always been one of my favorites because I find unwavering truth behind the words women hear daily. Women, still fight for their rights to be identified as intelligent and self-sufficient without a partner. Our body image and partner is irrelevant to our capabilities and I hope women will seek their innermost desires and achieve their goals and dreams.

e speaks…

I love the idea of a three part series for the novel! Any advice for new writers on how to know when to consider a series in lieu of “saying it all in one breath”?

Jessica speaks…

If I could speak out to any writers, I would tell them I cannot give you the best advice as I am still improving and growing. There is no right or wrong way and if you have a passion or a story you believe someone should know, put it out there and don’t give up on it!

Thank you Jessica for stopping by!

You can email Jessica to learn more or read more of her stunning work by visiting her website.

Thank you for being here!

Blessings!

e of @authenticiteespeaks

IG | FB @AuthenticiteeSpeaks

Twitter | @Authenticitee

Blog | http://www.authenticiteespeaks.com

Remember YOU MATTER!

All poetry, excerpts and photos used in this piece are the sole property of Jessica Saunders. 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.

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.

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

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

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.

Featured Image: Google images. No copyright infringement intended.

Join me tonight! June 11, 2018 – 9p EST Honored to be sharing. Call designed for women but all are welcome! CALL (302) 202-1106 Access Code 765011 & tell a friend!💫e

If you or a loved one are in crisis please use the following resources:

The National Suicide Hotline

800-273-TALK (Veterans Press 1)

TEEN SUICIDE CRISIS HOTLINE- 800-852-8336 (Trained Teen Counselors)

The Trevor Project (LGBT Community) 866-488-7386

Trans Lifeline (Transgendered Community) 877-565-8860

Crisis Text: Text HOTLINE to 741741 ***If outside the U.S visit http://www.suicide.org/international-suicide-hotlines.html for assistance

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.

#InspirationWithE #Podcast #SuicidePrevention #MotivationalSpeaker #LiveRecording #Survivor #YouAreNotAlone #family #positivity #selflove #singer #inspirationalquotes #prayer #indieartist #melanin #motivationalspeaker #writer #faith #wordstoliveby #motivation #quotestoliveby #positivity #recovery #inspiration #christian #musicians #ministry #entrepreneur

THANK YOU AGAIN FOR YOUR SUPPORT!

My big brother (from another mother) George (Ward) & I haven’t worked together in 7 yrs…almost to the day!! I was cohost on his Spirit & Truth Show for a couple of years. We had a few technical snafoos during our FB live event but all in all we were able to share vital contact info. We received encouraging feedback that it helped to give hope and new insight to our viewers!!

Blessings to you all & thanks again! Thank You Video below!!

The following are resources mentioned during the show! Much love💫e

The Buddy Project http://www.buddy-project.org/ (Twitter Pairing for Teens/Young Adults)

Depressed While Black http://www.depressedwhileblack.com/ (Mental Health stories from an African American Lens)

Hold On, Inc @HoldToLife on Twitter (Faith Based Suicide Prevention Organization)

Live Through This http://livethroughthis.org/ (A collection of portraits and stories of suicide attempt survivors, as told by those survivors.) Mental Health In The Black Community http://outsidethehousedoc.com/ (Documentary – Language Advisory)

Hotlines

The National Suicide Hotline

800-273-TALK (Veterans Press 1)

TEEN SUICIDE CRISIS HOTLINE- 800-852-8336 (Trained Teen Counselors)

The Trevor Project (LGBT Community) 866-488-7386

Trans Lifeline (Transgendered Community) 877-565-8860

Crisis Text: Text HOTLINE to 741741 ***If outside the U.S visit http://www.suicide.org/international-suicide-hotlines.html for assistance

http://www.authenticiteespeaks.com