I’ve decided to post the things I’m grateful for this Fall…
The colors of crimson, cocoa, evergreen, sand, and rust surround me in open fields. They close me in like a child shutting their lunchbox lid before the bossy kid comes to trade. I’m safe in here. I’m hidden. I’m protected.
The temperature is always just right. The rain is never too heavy. The sun is never too hot. The wind is never too fierce. I can meet with nature at any time of day and be greeted with an all welcoming environment.
They remind me of my childhood. Red light green light…1 2 3. “Helicopter helicopter” they shout and they Jump as high as they can. Jump rope, manhunt, tag, Simon says, all they need is each other. They make musical notes with their mouths and bend their bodies backwards under a broomstick and play limbo. They need no cords. They need no buttons. One blows bubbles and the other one pops them. One belts a song out like a 90’s R&B one hit wonder. The other dances. They draw dreams in driveways and ask me not to wash it away. I let God and the rain decide when the ground will be black again.
Pumpkin spice latte’s and apple cinnamon candles bring a little luxury to my day to day. Jack-o’-lanterns dress my doorstep. Autumn leaves wind down my railing. Chrysanthemums await on the patio.
This moment that I share with a ceiling fan, a flickering light, lavender scented pillows, and the moonlight coming through my open blinds. I am thankful for this moment. I can hear my youngest daughter snoring in her toddler bed. I feel accomplished with the execution of today’s activities. I’ve managed in the best way I could and I know my best is enough. My lower back may be sore, my feet are sick and tired of me but my HEART is full. I can express to decompress when so many people wish they knew how to expel the feelings that overwhelm them. I bleed voluntarily and breathe intentionally and for that I am grateful.
You thought my love was for sale. I had an abundance of it. You saw bright lights.You saw attractive colors. Yes, I was open to becoming your favorite find. I enjoyed the time you spent discovering different departments of my mind. You paid with passion. I should have printed “no returns” on your receipt. We only existed in my place of regret. Slowly your face started to look like a replica of those who thought they could afford my affection. I discounted my own destiny until I could no longer stand the sight of my own reflection. You just couldn’t resist a great deal! Clearly, there was no room for me. No storage space for sentiment. No lenten time of repentance No cleaning and purging to cherish your special someone No! You just like all bright, new, and shiny things. You only care about yourself. It never occurs to you that some things should just be left on the shelf.
Awake. In all my imperfections, I’m here. As I am. Surrounded in love but sometimes alone. Okay. Still strong. Not broken. Blemished ego at times. Open. Sometimes I miss you before you leave. Warmth in wishes on cake candles. Secrets drift away in smoke. Heart scarred but it still beats hatred and defends truth until it’s breathless and bleeding.
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I wrote My Thoughts, the evening my son Cairo was born. His birth was traumatic, exhausting and empowering all at the same time. The words gushed out of me like tears from a child who fell off their bike. I couldn’t stop them. When I was done, my son was asleep on my chest and I felt emancipated. I felt like every word was a representation of myself. The transparency, the rawness, the truth, the profanity, the blessings and the weight was all out.
Later I linked with my cousin, Langston (wheresthehaze.com) and we laid the track for the poem. 2 takes. Done. It was effortless and it fit perfectly. Hearing my words merged with his art made my heart swell. I loved the poem even more.
I dont write fluffy stuff. Sometimes, by request I’ll write a love poem for a friend courting a new interest. I’ve done the wedding of two close friends. Love is inspiring.
“My Thoughts” isn’t fluffy. It’s weighted and it’s still fly. You can read it or dance to it. It’s my ringtone. It was born the same day as my only son. It’s mine.
A typical lazy day looks like Netflix, a slice of pizza and a scented candle. It looks like wine in a whiskey glass because all my wine glasses have been broken in late night bottle making stumbles to the kitchen. It looks like prayers scribbled in two different types of handwriting in journals. It looks like delayed chores, laundry piles and floors that are waiting to be swept. A lazy day looks like stealing my husband’s sweat pants and letting a faded tshirt hold my heart in its place. A lazy day is coffee with lots of cream and sugar because its tastes good and I’d rather be sweet than awake. A lazy day is toys all over the floor, voice impersonations and irresponsible snacks. A lazy day is singing Flashlight with your strongest voice and trying to get that Parliament bass line just right. A lazy day is burying a schedule and resurrecting restoration.
My one year old runs her fingers over the tattoo on my arm.
I remember when the tattoo artist said, “It’s still professional. A long sleeve dress shirt will cover it.” I wasn’t concerned with that back then. That was a tattoo I got at a shop on Merrick Blvd in Jamaica Queens. It was shortly after my 23rd birthday. I was excited about it because I finally knew what I wanted to honor my grandmother with.
My Nana Bea was a wedding and party coordinator. She spent a lot of time in her balloon shop. My aunt Darlene was the assistant manager. We worked closely in that business, many days a week, side by side. My grandfather would often have my cousins Jason and Tyson do push ups in the back. He would “toughen them up.” All the while Nana would groom us young women for running a business. I had so many “cousins” as young black children often do. Family wasn’t designated by blood. There were friends of family, neighbors, and extended family who all worked alongside us. We turned bare rooms into magical wonder lands. We made dreams come true. We built memories.
You see, my grandmother wanted to be successful. She wanted to be a staple in her community. She wanted a legacy. She loved her children and took great pride in the accomplishments of her grandchildren. I used to listen to her brag to her clients and suppliers about articles and poems I wrote. She kept our pictures near her cash register. This was best way for us to spend time with her. We worked to learn and earn money but we also worked to be close to her.
We ate vanilla ice cream, Pepsi or ginger ale and plain potato chips on breaks. These were big treats to me because my parents kept healthier options in the house. Those were some of her favorite things. Sharing them with her added to its sustenance. They were items she could eat quickly, on the go, so she could get back to work.
As Easter approaches I remember Easter baskets with big mylar balloons with my name on them. Inside was always chocolate, bubble bath, lollipops, and a stuffed animal. She never missed an Easter or birthday. We always knew what the business meant to her but we knew even if she showed up at 9pm, she’d be there.
She’d come over in her white minivan with my grandfather at the wheel with goodies. She was warm. She was always smiling. As an adult sometimes things get fuzzy. My Nana Bea passed when I was 19 years old. She died right before Thanksgiving. I wish I’d asked her in all the time I had with her, what it was like to be a woman of color with her own business. I wish I asked her what sacrifices she had to make. I wish I knew what she’d do differently. I would love to see how’d she react to social media and how quickly information and advertisements travel now. I remember dressing the store front windows for the next holiday. It was an honor. If she picked you to help dress the store window or put up a new display it meant she trusted you artistically to make her look good. Recently someone asked me, “Who encouraged you growing up?” It was always my grandmothers. My paternal grandmother wanted us to be reaffirmed in our beauty and she called me Princess my whole time with her. My maternal grandmother wanted me to feel intellectually confident. She helped with school assignments, establishing routines, and life skills.
Those of us who have tattoos are often reminded we are wearing veritable choices. We will have these pieces of art inscribed on our bodies for all time. I love my balloons. Everytime I see it I see the smiling face of Beatrice. I feel myself standing in that building with confetti and broken clips (that held the latex balloons in clusters) on the floor. I remember the taste of Tiger Pops. I hear the older girls telling stories about the young men they were dating. I hear music. I hear arguing. I feel her curly hair. I smell her lotion. I remember rummaging for the sharpest scissor to curl the ribbon with. We would decorate baby shower chairs with toole and silk flowers. I can hear her yelp when she’d burn her finger on a glue gun and then keep going until the job is done. I see my faded balloon tattoo and I see love in all of its wholeness. Imperfect. Mine.
Our love went on like an unwatered plant. Without the sustenance needed to survive. I mourn the conversations we postponed, texts that should have been phone calls, the drinks we should have had laughs over. I miss the adolescent I knew and I pray for the woman I watched grow. I hold in my heart the spirit that could never die in any realm.
It happens every year. New years resolutions, dream boards/vision lists, gratitude jars, and planners. We are bombarded with ways to make the new year count. “New year new me” is a popular headline. Social media timelines are inundated with new looks and haircuts and matching pajama sets. We sync into the idea of needing a “fresh start.”
How necessary is this?
If you simply don’t snooze the alarm and you answer the alerts the Creator is giving you daily, can’t you make the most out of every day? Can’t you make each day productive and prosperous and consequently become a new version of yourself? My 5 year old has a habit of saying, “I trust my promise.” We used to correct her. Now we’ve adapted to it. We all say it now. It means, I’m giving you my word and I know you’re trusting in me to keep it. We have to teach our children the importance of responsibility. There are times when there is no one to blame and no one to point a finger at. You are responsible for the way you respond to situations and you are responsible for doing what you say you will do.
Lets be really REAL for a moment. You know there are about 5 things you could have responded to differently this week. There are at least 5 times you could have ignored the trolls and the nuisances. There are at least 5 times you could have stayed focused on your goals. There are at least 5 customer acquisitions you could have made. There were 5 new followers you could have had in the grocery store or the nail salon this week. Each day could have been “new day, new you.”
You fail all the time but you aren’t a failure until you start blaming someone else.-Bum Phillips (football coach)
I posted on Instagram in December that I will be posting on ShaunLiriano.com once a week and/or releasing a new YouTube video once a week. Why?
Calling: The intentional use of our specific gifts to influence God’s kingdom.-Mike Todd
What you do is bigger than you! Every person you come in contact with is an opportunity to make an impact. Furthermore, I do not delete old posts. Why? Transparency is important! Yes, you used to curse like a sailor. Yes, you used to drink like a fish Sis! Bruh, you were “sexually free” allllllllll through college! Share your story and stop letting the devil delight in exposing the things you keep trying to hide so you can seem self righteous.
Finally, humble yourself. Do what you have to do until you can do what you want to do. Realize that you are flawed. If you didn’t get that raise, what could you have done better? If your child isn’t flourishing academically, what can you implement at home to strengthen their scholastic confidence? This one is good -> -> -> -> If there are aspects of your life that you skimmed through and you half-assed, can you revisit them and do them right? Can you be more mature? Can you submit in your marriage more? Can you submit in your Faith more? When’s the last time you read a book?
Discern the difference between daily goals and annual goals and Don’t Snooze the Alarm!
“Never explain- Your friends do not need it and your enemies will not believe you anyway.”~Elbert Hubbard
I have always been a person who sees the good in people (most of the time.) I am also someone strangers sometimes feel comfortable enough to confide in. These attributes can be seen as liabilities because there are some who will take advantage of a kind heart. There are those who will exaggerate and manipulate you and assume you are weak. Silence and showing restraint in times where you could justifiably “clap back”, build character. Maintaining who you are, what your moral compass points to and raising the bar by showing the height of your integrity will be challenging but it is not impossible.
I come from a bloodline (both maternal and paternal) of people who need to be right. Actually, I come from a bloodline of people who believe wholeheartedly they are right about almost everything 97% of the time. This is hazardous. I have noticed as I age, I have aunts, mentors, etc who have mastered meditation, prayer and most importantly…silence.
“Silence is gold as long as it is necessary”-Unknown
I believe that there are moments of silence that are essential for peace. Whose peace, Shaun? Thank you for asking. It depends on the situation. If you have been deceived or betrayed, silence may be the preventative resolution for rage. You shouldn’t be saying anything that will ignite feelings of resentment and cause you to behave as a supporting character as opposed to the character you’ve worked so long to develop…The Star.
Silence sets up an environment of transparency and may heighten senses that would have been clouded by noise. In silence I was able to recognize the malicious actions of someone I thought was genuine. I was able to recognize the face of an enemy and place myself in a stance of security and blind force because it wasn’t necessary for me to do anything specific to show the fallacious nature of worthless accusations. Those who had been exposed to me, even if only for a short while, knew the truth and laughed at the adversary. The old cliché is true, the truth speaks for itself.
A friend of mine had a rant the other day and it was so beautiful in its raw nature and its unapologetic delivery. It was authentic and the premise of it was, be consistent in your positive patterns of behavior. As he would say, “I ain’t convincing nobody of s&%t anymore.” Frankly, you shouldn’t have to. Arrogance has no place to stay in a house of self-discipline. If you’re a dope parent, wife, business person, employee, OR JUST EARTHLING all you have to do is be that person as opposed to playing that role. If your integrity is challenged…