I had the honor of having a very candid and transparent conversation with an incredible soul, JamiQuan over on her podcast, “The Me I Am Tomorrow”.
This wasn’t easy. Our stories are hard shit that we, especially Black women, don’t talk about it. In this first episode, I give a little context into what “Little Lacey” was like growing up and what I experienced. I’ve never been more nervous to share information in my life, more than coming out itself. We discuss identity and the role our environments play in shaping who we are, in conjunction with our biological make up. We then plunge into talking about growing up with Christian beliefs and who we were supposed to be in relationship with self and other people.
Words from JamiQuan:
Each guest is like discovery for me. I learn who I am, who I thought I was, who I want to be through my journey.
This was an enormous place of unexpected vulnerability. I was provided the opportunity to do EXACTLY what I had envisioned… maybe?
My goal with this podcast is to provide a safe place for authenticity, respect, vulnerability within myself so as I sat with Lacey’s.
As her story was unfolding I was captivated!
An amazing story teller
We engaged on what has been challenging topics, for most if not all of us.
Strangers no more we threw aside the curtains of our journeys:
Yet we were nothing alike
Ohhh the joy of appreciation, acknowledging our similarities our humanity it allows us to dive, roll, cry, laugh in startled recognition.
To look up and find that there was more waiting, so we did another set.
And then it was.. another
And I appreciate that she gave the time to share her story.
I look forward in sharing it with you
Over the next 3 weeks, 3 parts, uncut, uncensored, unscripted
Thank you as always for the consumption, sharing, likes and support!
Until Wednesday new series drops enjoy the re-runs!
This was hard. Here it is.
“A lack of boundaries invites a lack of respect. Never let a person get comfortable disrespecting you.”
If I haven’t learned anything else in the last year, it’s the essential act of boundary setting. You might be saying, “Lacey, why only in the last year? Haven’t you been around longer than that?”
Good question. You are not wrong in asking. I THOUGHT I had decent boundaries with people. But when I woke up to the truth- that I was actually quite accommodating and codependent in how I decided my “boundaries”, I knew I had missed the lesson, again and again.
“What’s the lesson, Lacey?!”
Never negotiate my being ever again. It is not open to discussion or reconsideration.
Don’t get me wrong, there are lots of situations up for discussion, even negotiation. It’s imperative in relationships to be able to navigate differences. But what happened was my BEING, my VALUES, my INTEGRITY, my TRUTH, was up for discussion, and I participated- either by saying nothing, skirting around the issue, speaking THEIR truth, or allowing them to do and say what met their needs, disregarding my own.
My boundaries were movable, bendable, negotiable. I set them based on external pressures, expectations, and what I THOUGHT would make people love me and not abandon me, what would get me approval.
I negotiated my worth, self-respect, and authenticity.
January 2018 began a grueling physical detachment from what I knew my life to be; home, for the first time in 10 years, was up to me and only me to define absent of a partner/spouse. I had awakened to hard truths regarding my reality and knew it was going to take some grit to stay the course and not be side-swiped (again) by manipulation tactics and mind fucks from the other person involved.
One day in January, my therapist said one word to me that shifted everything- LIMITS.
Limits, Lacey. Got it. Limits. What are my limits?
Since then, I have been on a journey of defining my limits, my nonnegotiables that will get a person ejected from my life without pause. I trust my intuition, unafraid to ask questions, proud to state my wants and needs. I seek connections with people who operate in this way within themselves because…why the hell would I do anything else?
You can do whatever you want; I do not have to stay around or entertain any of it.
Internal freedom. Grounded. Taking no shit.
The work is real and worth it. And bumming off yesterday’s post, the more intentional I am in this practice, the more I expect freedom, love and true connections to flow freely in and through my life. I am enough just as I am.
So are you.
Expectations can be a trap. But what about the sweet spot within expectations? You know, where old patterns and habits become blips in your day and suddenly you are experiencing the realest reality that could ever be real…in the best way?
What do I gain when I brace for hard impact? Why do I think I need to prepare to spend time alone in deep reflection in tears to reach appreciation for past hurt and pain, to forgive others…and myself?
What if I didn’t meet those expectations this time?
What if I braced for joy? What if I expected healing through laughs, community, and sweet treats? What if I only sought opportunity to lighten my soul with my reality instead of sink in to the old thoughts that creep into my psyche.
Can I tell you something, November? I no longer have to wonder “what if”.
And yeah, my reality is that good. There is so much beauty in the breakdown, the chaos, the memories of debilitating psychological and emotional abuse from someone who I loved. That is a part of my story, not the whole thing. My energy is focused on sinking into my worth, returning home to myself. I am determined to fill it with whole, healthy, and creative people who love hard.
Why? Because I deserve it.
I expect something different. I expect abundance.
forget the madness.
your little self has no business soothing your grown ass ego. figure out what you need to do to make it happen.
this world is beautiful. take hold of what is yours and run. find the circles that recognize you upon entrance. sit at the table with people who show up different than you.
leave your judgments at the door.
in fact, bury them.
be gentle with your waterfalls.
and when you find yourself unable to cope with the hurricane winds, remember than it’s ok to lay it all at your feet and rest.
you’re not alone.
you are so love.
forget the madness and embrace the chaos.
there is beauty in falling apart again and again.
hate will consume you if you let it.
so choose fierce love.
be sure to bathe in waters of peace.
you have everything you need within.
spend time cheering for your damn self.
your future self will thank you for it.
// 32 waterfalls, pg. 158
Hello November. You bring with you a natural sense of gratitude and community, a “well, hello there” and “how you doin’”. I appreciate it all. I woke up happy to see and feel you, ready for a fresh Day 1. And also, I noted the uneasiness in my stomach followed by a tiny wave of nausea. I promise to not ignore why it happened.
There is a sting in November this year.
The stings comes a year later, after one of the hardest Novembers I’ve experienced. As this month unfolds, I will share as much as I give myself permission to share regarding the journey through the next few months. My heart is lighter because Iv’e done the work, but as grief and transformation goes, the waves may be less intense and gratitude abounds, but the memories and “first anniversaries” still come around. There’s room for it all.
I’m embracing each day of my reality with undeniable awareness and strength. I may trip on a memory and practice much-needed self-compassion when I think “My gosh, that happened. How did I not see it sooner? Why didn’t I walk away then?”
Judgement-free November. Self-love November. Self-compassion-November. Fierce and fiery November. Sexy November. Authentic and true-to-me November.
I will meet November where I am, one day at a time.
It is also my birth month. You know that feeling, when you want to celebrate your birthday all month long like you’re a kid all over again. Why is that so satisfying? Maybe as adults, we gather this sense of ownership over the mundane and simplicities. I can only speak for myself, so I, Lacey, feel a sense of ownership over the mundane and simplicities that surface in my life. The subtle moments that end up taking my breath away hardly go unnoticed. So I’m celebrating my birthday in mundane, simple, and subtle ways all month.
What’s November looking like for you? How are you embracing a fresh Day 1?
I’m looking forward to being in this space with you.
Thank you for meeting me here.
We’re only five days into the month of October, and I have already found myself overwhelmed by my calendar. Last week, I was so put off by my commitments, I wanted to cancel them all but kept going. At some point, the option to say “NO” did not cross my mind, and I ended up exhausted and unable to stay present with myself. I became so frustrated, almost to the point of blaming other people for my lack of downtime. When I finally stopped long enough to take a few deep breaths, the guilt and self-criticism set in. I knew I was depleted and could feel myself sinking. I wanted to nap, that’s all.
I stopped. Deep breaths filled my lungs once again, and I tapped into a tinge of self-compassion that seemed to be the shimmer I needed to pull myself out of the mud.
All I needed was to be gentle with myself.
Saying “no” to others is acceptable. Saying “yes” to yourself is necessary.
Where the heck did half of 2018 go? If I'm being honest, I'm thankful for the passage of time. The beginning of this year was the hardest transition of my life. The intensity would knock you over, and I can say that because it had me on my living room, bedroom, and bathroom floor in tears, having to use every ounce of energy to pick myself up and keep going. And here I am on August 1st, writing about those memories instead of them being my reality. Healing really does happen with time.
But only if you are an active participant in your healing journey.
It is up to you to decide how your healing adventure will take place. Are you one to spend more time in silence and aloneness or do you prefer to be surrounded by your tribe, dissecting and expanding on all the thoughts and feelings that surface? There is no right or wrong answer. Think of how over time, you have healed. Be curious about how you can sit with yourself, with or without another person present, and what that looks like as life continues to unfold. How do you feel? What resonates with you in the present moment now that you have had time to process? Are your eyes open wider? Can you breathe deeper without fear of the blow? Does your sleep come sooner than before? Is saying "I wish you well" something you can mouth to the person you felt hurt, betrayed, abandoned, or devastated by? Are you simply thankful to be present in your day-to-day routine? Has laughter shown up in ways it didn't before?
I don't believe in writing lengthy blog posts for the sake of a lengthy blog post. A shit ton of words is not always needed for someone to formulate their ideas or reflections about what's being presented. I love the open-ended processing, allowing each person to have a unique experience through a writer's words, a lesson I learned after publishing my last book.
On that note, I'll leave you with this:
In what ways can you honor your healing over time?
All the love and light,
like lemons, it tasted bitter on my tongue.
resentment and anger crowded the corners of my smiles, and when I wept, i felt worse.
i remember standing in that room, that god-forsaken room, barefoot and terrified that i would never make it out of the hell i lived in for years.
my lips cracked and started to bleed.
my eyes burned. everything hurt, and the ache for something healthy, something that didn't make my thoughts spiral only grew stronger.
i wanted to know and love myself more. i wanted to fall in to a love that made sense.
i craved the taste of sweet.
a little watermelon.
shit, a spoonful of honey will do.
something that didn't taste like lemons.
- Lacey Cherice
Letting go comes in waves, and sometimes the emotion behind it shows up at the most inconvenient times. However, I am thankful it shows up. It means we're doing the work necessary to heal. It sucks and is so beautiful. Today, I challenge you to take your power back when met with a reminder of "what was". Take responsibility for your own actions and the impact of those actions, and also set fire to what no longer serves your healing process. When we do this, no matter what the words and actions were that were do TO us, we can begin to operate from a place of power instead of weakness. Go inward & boss up!
I am one who appreciates many aspects of design and style. The combinations are endless and people are inspired by an array of things- food, travel, the arts, and the list goes on. If I had to choose three words to describe my style, it would be these three- words, nature, ease.
As a writer, I love seeing words and phrases weaved into spaces. Whether a framed personal quote or a simple phrase on the wall, having words connected to spaces makes me giddy.
If you find anything more healing than the presence of flora, let me know. Indoors or outdoors, I can't imagine not having greenery. I'm a plant girl with the perfect bouquet of flowers every now and then. Give me all the potted herbs and cacti, and I'll throw gratitude like confetti. Talk about swoon...
I'm not the one for fuss. I prefer uncluttered, relatively minimal, and organized spaces. However, I am a sucker for cozy and that means layers of textures, textiles patterns, and all of warmth! When I decorate, I am sure to have at least one fluffy throw hanging over the arm of a neutral sofa. Pillows on pillows on pillows. Sleepy, earthy vibes. A sense of being grounded. Easy, like Sunday morning. Alike so...
Sigh...in the best way. I hope you're inspired to think about what words and images reflect your own personal connection to home. Feel free to share in the comments and reach out via email. I'm always up for discussion about design and home!
Love & Light,
Have you ever gotten so fed up with yourself, you've thought, "Gah! Living in a hole would be better than doing what I'm doing right now"?
I can't be the only one. Right?.......
[one timid person raises their hand. and then another, and another...]
OK, phew. Thank you for showing up honest with this one.
I don't mean to speak for you, but I can bet in some way, you have experienced that dreadful feeling in the pit of your stomach when we felt like there was no way out of a situation- the one that forces us on our face and admit that we have not been paying attention.
"Huh? Paying attention to what, Lacey? I'm doing what I should be doing. Isn't that good enough, damn?"
The answer is no! HELL NO!
"should" can die. R.I.P.
"Should" is not for your life, warrior. It will get you steamrolled, bulldozed, burned, and left for dead quicker than you can say "Hot Cross Buns". The word is a dreamkiller, life-sucker, a ball pit with a one-eyed monster, lurking and waiting to eat you alive.
So stop using it. Give yourself the space to explore what it is you want without the s-word being a factor.
Ask yourself, "I am eliminating 'should' from my lexicon all together, AND what do I want?".
What is it? What do you want? How can you carve out spaces in your life to make it happen? What resources are accessible and how can you get creative to obtain ones you don't have but you know will be beneficial to your success.
I'm not only referring to professional endeavors either. Too quickly, we hand over our power because life is forever evolving and we remain in places, relationships, cycles of trauma, and self-sabotage far longer than we ever intended (oh, do I have my share of this...and you will have to wait for the second book to read those stories). Next thing we know, it's been a decade, and external circumstances have "improved". Maybe success has come in the form of a great job offer or an incredible life partner. Yet we may find that we aren't any more fulfilled with who we are as a person. That is heartbreaking, and your gifts, talents, emotional well being, and over badassery matter more than you give yourself the space to acknowledge.
What "should"s are keeping you shut off? How can you recognize what they are, and how do you shift that false narrative and belief system from you wanting to live in a hole to thriving and living your best life?
I'll share some things I've done to help keep me centered through some of the harshest storms. But for now, I want you to write and reflect. Read this post again and either highlight or write down the questions that are posed above. Then sit with your answers for 10 minutes. Notice what it feels like in your body when you read what is it is that keeps you feeling stuck with no options. For me, it's like someone sat on my chest- heavy, feeling of panic, and desperation to get the f*** away from everything and everyone. Yeah, its not cute.
Practice sitting with yourself when you complete your writing, and recognize what comes up for you. It's a small way to check in and be able to not only say " I should be over this issue by now", but recognize where that feelings lives in your body.
What you want deserves some attention, so allow yourself that time WITHOUT GUILT (.....that's a whole other blog post, yo).
And if you want some guidance and conversation to help break some of this down, contact me here. No, I am not a therapist nor do I have any desire to be yours. However the conflict you're holding IS something I am more than happy to strategize with you.
Be gently with yourself.
pause and savor the fullness of all she embodies:
shades of night.
a gentleness of a spring rain.
the vigor of a lion's den.
she glows through life, illuminating all that she touches.
and when she needs soothing, when the storm rages longer than she believes she can withstand,
she gives herself a hug. she holds on.
and she trusts the sweetness of her intuition to bloom through it.
like the perfect grapevine. she's merlot.
How quickly things change.
Today was schedule to be my book release date. But life...
Instead, today has become another day I wonder what the past three months have become and how I will be able to truly understand the upheaval as time moves on.
Today is one where I say "yes" to my professional journey of becoming an ADA accessibility attorney that leans more so towards the design side of the field than law, however, both are essential to helping people.
Today, I'm heartbroken but hopeful.
Today, there isn't a cloud in the sky and I am healthy, in one piece.
Today, I am at peace knowing my intentions and heart are pure.
And I may not have it all figured out, but one thing is for certain: I will live with integrity, honesty, and passion for those I love, my values, and the things I care about.
Maybe it wasn't time to publish. I now have three more months of experience and lessons to draw on that will hopefully bring healing and hope to another soul.
So stay tuned...
So this whole "writing a book" adventure really kicks my creative juices in to gear.
As lovely as that sounds, it wreaks major havoc on my brain. I fall into a never-ending vortex of indecisiveness and "ooooh, what if". The best one I've had so far has to be "I should totally DIY the entire book. Forget a traditional publisher. I'll write, use cool recycled paper, and use some really cook Japanese book binding then put it on Etsy to sell!" I know, that's a GOOD one, right?! What am I thinking? I've thought about creating a a booklet of poems using the above overachieving method, but my first full book of prose? That s*** cray.
So instead, I thought I'd share some of my FAVORITE Pinterest book binding finds. Y'all, the finished products are stunning!
Be on the lookout for a holiday giveaway. Also, if you geek out as much as I did, leave a comment below and let me know what you think!
I love love. I really do. The surprise, the anguish, the breaking and bending of it. Whether romantic or friendship or family or yo damn self, catch a few butterflies.
find your style and throw it around like glitter.
I have always loved creative writing, but poetry is something I never thought I'd write. I don't even think I write poetry; it's more prose than anything else. Either way, I was use to having formulas and structure around my writing...until it no longer made sense.
Snippets of stories with deeper roots. That's what I wanted.
I am easily overwhelmed by the number of writers in the world and sometimes ask, "why would anyone want to read my stuff?" And then I remember-no one has lived my story. The moments I share as the penholder come from feelings only I know. When I think of influential role models in the writing community, mine bring forth a very similar feel.
Their words are shaped by their own truth. I gleam so much inspiration from their work and am a lot less insecure about my own form and style of writing. You may have heard of them all or none of them. Either way, I adore them and that is why I'm sharing.
You have something to say about your country? This world?
What's your truth regarding the political climate? How do you really feel? Get in the trenches and talk with yourself about what's going on. Write your own societal awareness statement. You can share it or not. It's yours to come back to when you find yourself stuck in the shallow end of living.
My Societal Awareness Statement
So done with the amount of bullshit people are focused on in this country, including myself.
Bigger houses, expensive clothing, working in places just because they pay well and you can buy more stuff! People think sending money is the answer or taking over neighborhoods will make it better.
What does it really take to improve the quality of life people experience?
Education? Healing wounds? Sustainable living? Healthcare that focuses on the cause? Conversations that remind us just how connected we all are.
I don't know...
But I gotta get in the trenches to find out. I'm over the mundane, same ol', same ol' bullshit. I'm done trying to fix broken systems. It's time to focus my energy on creating new ones.
When was the last time you slid down a slide or danced without shame?
How in the hell did adulthood cause us to forget how beautiful play can be?
Today, this evening, go outside or turn up the music. Prance around like the world is your oyster.
Because even though you may have a few more gray hairs (in all their glory).
Or have told yourself "you can't do it like you use to", give it a try anyway.
Chill the hell out.
Go play a little.
What do you feel when you think about your own soul?
Take some time to write about you. Think about how connected or disconnected you are from your mind and body. Do you trust yourself. Are you afraid or safe in your own arms?
I wrote this one to myself a few nights ago, and realized that over the last two years, I've become more aware of my essence- how my jaws clinch when I'm thinking really hard. How I rub my feet together to calm myself down right before I dose off to sleep. When I am reminded of a moment that brought me pure joy, I feel the energy pulse through my entire body, literally, like I'm right back in that moment. It's thrilling.
"I Know You", my poem to myself.
show yourself a little bit of love.
Go for a walk.
Brush your teeth for an extra 15 seconds.
Hug yourself super tight and say, "I believe in you."
Dance like a wild one.
Drink a glass of water before bed because your body likes it.
These two days are for the breath.
Because that's where the work begins.
And ends for some.
Deep breath in. Take it all in, good shit and bullshit.
Exhale all the bullshit of the work week.
Exhale all the bullshit of insecurity + control.
All the bullshit that has crowded your mind up to this point. Exhale that, too.
Be intentional about your thoughts as you breathe.
Breathe with compassion for self and those around you.