Thursday, February 27, 2014

Brené Brown. My hero. Whole-Hearted living.

I've listened to the TED talk with Brené Brown about Vulnerability about 10 times now. I like to listen to it while I'm working out at the gym. It helps me forget that I'm on a boring machine for 20 minutes, and helps me work on myself physically (at the gym) and also emotionally and spiritually. My whole being is exercising healthy behaviors. I totally recommend this practice... 

Each time I listen to this TED talk, I get something new out of it, and learn something more about myself. It's freakin' fantastic! I love it because it encourages me to live an authentic life, a life lived without seclusion in my own head of secrets and shame talk. I often want to be vulnerable with people, but become afraid that they won't be able to handle what I say. I have been hurt from vulnerability in the past, but now, I do it a bit differently. I work with a counselor, I work the 12 steps (which TOTALLY encourages vulnerability and transparency - aka hard work) and I have found the friends that I know I can trust with the information in my head - often addicts and people willing to be vulnerable in return. 

I want to share some notes I took from the most recent time I listened to her Vulnerability TED talk:

1. First of all, how amazing is Brené!?!?! She begins her TED talk with such humility - She tells the story of how an event planner wanted to call her a story teller, and Brene admits that she cringed because that title discredits her PHD in this field of research. Story teller = "Magic Pixie" to her and she tried to compromise with "researcher-story teller"... A woman like Brene has every right to say "I'm a doctor in this field, call me what I am" ya know? Yet she humbles herself, admits that it made her cringe, yet still she compromised. For me, Brene's presence on stage is calming, comfortable, and vulnerable... Love it.

2. Connection is KEY - our connections in life are what give us purpose. It is neuro-biologically how we are wired, it's why we are here. And in order to have connection, one has to allow their self to be seen. This is vulnerability. 

3. Shame unravels connections - Shame is the fear of disconnection. Is there something about me that if people knew, it would break our connection?! Shame is universal. Some struggle with it more than others, and the less you talk about shame, the more you have it. Shame is the part of you that says "You're not ______ enough." Fill in the blank... Skinny, beautiful, smart, educated, happy, sexy etc. Brene collected thousands of stories during her shame research over her 6 years. What she found is when people struggle for love and belonging, it's because they fear that they aren't worthy of connection (shame). Those who believe that they are worthy of connection lived a whole-hearted life, shame did not rule them. 

4. The whole-hearted live from a deep sense of worthiness. These are the traits, that Brene picked up through the thousands of stories she collected, that the whole-hearted encompass. 

  • Courage - the root word comes from the latin word cour that means to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart. The whole-hearted have the courage to be imperfect. 
  • Compassion - the whole-hearted have the compassion to be kind to themselves first and then to others, because they know that if they aren't compassionate to themselves first, they cannot be towards other. 
  • Connection - as a result of authenticity. Whole-hearted let go of who they think they should be, in order to be who they are. We HAVE TO in order for connection.
  • FULLY EMBRACE Vulnerability - whole-hearted people believe that what made them vulnerable made them beautiful. Vulnerability is not comfortable, but it's also not excrutiating. It's just necessary... They have the willingness to say I love you first, do something where there are no guarantees, to breathe through waiting for the phone call from the doctor, and invest in relationships that may not work out.

Brene Brown in a researcher. The definition of research is to control and predict, but to live whole heartedly you have to let go of controlling and predicting. This created quite an issue for Brene (due to her profession) but also creates problems for many people, especially in our society today. Control is one of the major issues for addicts and co-dependents. It's also something we in America grow up with believing that we have control over our individual lives, that we are somehow invincible and can be whatever we want to be. So problematic... 

So we struggle with Vulnerability. Why do we struggle so much with vulnerability? Here are the four reasons from Brene:

1. We numb it. 
*** Evidence: We are the most in debt, obese, addicted and medicated adult cohort in US history. Problem is, you cannot selectively numb emotion. When we numb the "bad" stuff: fear, pain, sorrow, vulnerability, and disappointment, we also numb joy, gratitude, and happiness. Then we are miserable searching for purpose and meaning, and then we feel vulnerable so we grab our "coping mechanism" and we are stuck in a vicious cycle.

2. We make the uncertain, certain.  Religion has become more of a certainty "I'm right, your wrong, shut up." Just certain. The more afraid we are, the more vulnerable we are, the more afraid we are... This is how politics looks today. There is no discourse or conversation just blame, which by definition is a way to discharge pain and discomfort...

3. We Perfect - taking fat from our butts and put it in our cheeks trying to perfect our bodies (lypo, makeup, excessive gym, pills, etc.). We perfect children. Children are hard wired for struggle when they get here... As babies they are so perfect, and we think our job is to try to keep them perfect. BUT our job is actually to say "you are imperfect and wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging." Show me a generation of kids raised like that and we could potentially end some of the problems we see today - Brene. 

4. We Pretend that what we do doesn't have an effect on people (personal and corporate). 

If we remember nothing else from this, we should remember these four important keys to a whole-hearted life:

  1. Let ourselves be seen deeply and authentically/ vulnerably.
  2. Love with our whole hearts without guarantee.
  3. Practice gratitude and joy. Can I be this happy? Let yourself be. Just be grateful. To feel this vulnerable means that you are alive.
  4. Believe WE ARE ENOUGH. When we believe this, we are kinder and gentler to ourselves and to others. 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Raw cry for help #unedited

I'm not doing well. My depression is sinking in, exhausted all the time. I'm obsessing over a guy I really care about, and I really don't want to but can't help it. I've started craving desserts and soda's again, though I haven't had any. A pint of icecream sounds incredible right now and I wish I could just indulge. I feel like I'm spirialing downwards again. Writing this is taking all the energy I have today, and it's my cry for help. Spent the past few nights shaking and helpless in bed praying for help. The insanity has returned to my brain... Not sure why, but here's a few thoughts:

1. I was eating bagels and creamcheese a lot, not realizing how much sugar is in them.
2. I have been drinking ciders not realizing the sugar in those (or pretending not to).
3. I fell for a guy I met in St Louis, and he isn't the best at texting - and while I am not having insecure thoughts when I don't hear from him, my shame voice keeps kicking in saying "way to go Kinna, found another one that isn't right for you" and "Damnit Kinna, you ain't ever going to find someone because you're too fuckin' crazy" and "way to go thinking you could actually have someone who treats you well... you're an idiot for even thinking about rearranging your future for him."
4. I've been having a lot of insecure feelings about the future, not good enough for certain jobs, not smart enough, not nice enough.
5. On my birthday I felt utterly alone (other than at work and skyping my family). No friends asking me to do anything, feeling like a total victim and hurt, but trying not to. And trying not to envy other people showing pictures of how great their birthdays are with their friends and family.
6. I cried a lot on Valentines day, even though I tried REALLY HARD not to. Again the feeling of being entirely alone set it - flowers delivered to the house not for me - but I did get a Vday gift from my mom and a random friend from school that I don't hang out with. Spent the day entirely insecure about everything...
7. I've been isolating myself, spent most of today sleeping, or binge watching tv, waiting, hoping, praying for him to text or call and he never did.

I feel like I'm not alive. Like things are happening around me, but I'm not really in them. I get offended easily, jealous easily, hurt easily. I'm obsessing extremely. I really want to go to the gym, but can't get myself there. I just sit. numb. waiting to feel life through something other than myself. and then beating myself up for it. I'm stuck in a maze and can't seem to find my way out, at least not alone, but finding it really difficult to reach out.

And the best friend that I have here, I feel like a nuisance to. I feel like I talk too much about myself around her. My relationship with her has felt different for a while now, and I don't know why. I'm just aching, trying to find belonging. Right now I'm only seeming to find it at HN.

Thoughts of self harm are back. I'm tired, alone, weak, sad, tempted, hurting... Need help in finding the promises again.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Feeling Vulnerable

I notice that when I am vulnerable to the stranger, it opens up my shame talk...

Example: tonight I had an interview with a church. It wasn't a horrible interview, but I was answering the questions authentically instead of trying to say "here's what you need, and here's how I will be that." I just can't do that...

So my shame talk tries to sneak in - you're not good enough, you're not "justicey" enough for them, you aren't equipped for youth ministry, they are better than you, etc. etc.

I've learned through my reading and studying of Brene Brown, that the only way to conquer this shame is to talk about it, to not let it fester within me alone. So that's what I'm doing...

I'm on the verge of tears and not sure why. Is it just complete exhaustion from the weekend/week? Is it because I know this place isn't a good fit and I'm putting the "blame" on myself? Is it because I am seeing that I'm not perfect and can't be all things to all people and for some reason this reality bothers my addicted, need-to-be-perfect self?

The future has limitless possibilities which is exciting, and terrifying. I felt called to seminary, and sometimes still do. But I also feel called to go out into the world and put my passionate/relational self to good use outside of the seminary, outside of church walls...

Oh Lord help me find peace in the midst of uncertainty, and to remember the gifts you have given me and remember they are enough.

PS. Not looking for sympathy or answers, just sharing so that I don't bear it alone.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Press play people. Stop fast forwarding!

I'm a seminary student at Luther Seminary... right now we are in the season of Advent which is all about waiting.... It got me thinking about how awful we are at doing this well, and how much better our lives would be if we got better at it. Essentially - if we stop trying to rush through the painful times in our lives, and started living into them and dealing with them, then we could be on the road to a more holistic life, one of less self-hatred and addictions to cover up emotions we don't allow ourselves to have... Here's my quick lil facebook post for my #adventphotoaday #rethinkchurch during this season of Advent... I could give examples, but come up with your own. Read into it for yourself. Insert your suffering here:

When in the midst of waiting for resurrection, for happiness, for healing, for joy, for life - oh hell, for us to stop feeling sick, for our wounded hearts to be mended from a breakup, for a job, for healing from the death of a loved one, for healing from a broken bone - we are so eager to "fast forward" and get to the GOOD stuff right? We tell other people that we "Hope you feel better soon... it will get better soon... get over it... at least it's not that bad... let's celebrate their life INSTEAD of mourning their death..." Essentially, let's put a bandaid on our shit and just keep moving forward, preferably faster.

But yo, a cut that isn't taken care of, can get infected and cause way more damage, sometimes fatal.

We're so quick to want to skip over the hardships and get to the good, that sometimes the wounds get deeper and more destructive...

Advent is all about waiting. Waiting for the birth of our savior. And damnit, sometimes we just want it to be Christmas already, fast forward... But living in advent, wrestling with and the naming of our hardships, will cause for a healthier looking scar in the long run.

Instead of pressing fast forward or pause, press play. Live into it. Feel it. Mourn, cry, yell, scream, be upset... Advent doesn't last forever. There is hope in the end... #time #adventphotoaday #rethinkchurch

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


I'm back!

Took a hiatus from the blogosphere because Seminary has been a doozie. It's been tons of fun though, and super thankful I'm here. I've been doing a lot of self care stuff, and getting in touch with "Who I am" (had to after my "who am i" post!!!). Still nowhere perfect and never will be, but I'm learning a lot and on my way to wholisitic living.

I have been inspired by the show Awkward. If you've never watched it, do it. It's awesome.

I'm ready to write again. My posts may be totally random, but you can guarantee that they will be real, authentic, honest, and maybe not always PG. I tend to curse a bunch, and share intimate details about myself. I do this for two reasons:
1. Because when I talk about my brokenness or bad shit that goes on it my life, I no longer have to suffer it alone.
2. Because I'm probs not the only one going through it. Maybe I can inspire or encourage with my authenticity?!

So here it goes... Stay along for the ride. It should be fun... Although, it is finals time so I may not post too much now, but, soon... Hang tight (as if I have a ton of readers HA!)


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

To be or not to be..

A pastor? What kind of pastor?

I feel called, to what? Well, to too many freakin things. Here's the list (as of now):

  1. Worship: How can we DO worship to embody who God, Christ, and the Holy spirit are? 
  2. Music: How can we portray who God is through music? How can music be used to allow the Spirit to work through us? How can we use music to heal, to excite, to empower? How can I use my musical talent to help the world know the God that I love?
  3. Justice: How can Christian leaders impact the lives of the people around them to promote justice? How do we live into tension with those who don't see the same justices as we do? 
  4. Identity: How do I keep my identity? How do I create a pastoral identity of my own? What makes up our identity? How do I help others to find theirs?
  5. Pastoral Care: How do I create safe spaces to invite people in? How do I find the resources to help those who are broken? How do I help those who are suffering and how can I walk along side of them? How do I continue to love people and be a person that they can come to?
  6. Outcasts: How do I continue to hear the voices of the outcasts when I am an "authority figure" within a church? How do I give voice to the outcasts?
  7. Youth: How do we use the youth as an integral part of the faith community? How do we give them voice?
  8. Young adults: SAME as above
  9. Service: How do we do service without just being the "messiah" for a week on a mission trip? How can we be doing relational service?
What I fear (just a few off the top of my head):
  1. Being put on a pedestal 
  2. Rejection
  3. Losing my human-ness
  4. Not having answers for those with questions
  5. Impossibility will win over possibility
  6. Failure
  7. Mis-representation

I could "unpack" all of these in much more depth, but that may be cause for a novel...

Who I am that may hinder my position of "authority":

  1. Broken... Oh wait, that's all of us!
I'm wrestling with who I am, the healing I need to endure, and who God calls me to be. I'm resistant to becoming a pastor because of my brokenness, insecurities, and fear of how the world will react to me as a leader in the church... Do I have what it takes?

God calls the lowly to do great things. God brings possibility out of impossibility. Jesus tends to the outcasts. 

Is God calling me the lowly, impossible outcast to do something bigger than I believe that I can? 

Discernment is a bitch...

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Who Have I Become?

Remember how I said I was messed up?!?! Here's just a taste. Warning it's a bit "graphic" and the language chosen was deemed appropriate since I've been dating A LOT of black men who talk like this.... I can explain some later, if you ask... otherwise, enjoy.

Who Have I Become?

Who have I become? I only think about myself…
Who I’ll date, who I’ll fuck… Put my morals on the shelf

I have students I need to care about and my friendships to tend to
And what should be above all, my relationship with God and family, not a boo.

Somehow family became bottom of my list; who I’m screwin became number 1.
What kind of life is that? In desperate search of a non existent no one…

I need to rearrange my priorities, chics before dicks right?
And by chics I mean homies, and me and my fam should get back to bein tight.

Why do I give my time to them “niggas who just want my Ku Kush”?
Why do I waste my precious life boozing up and fuckin around with deuche(s)?

I used to think so many good things for my life…
Like being remembered as someone who helped others out of strife.

Is it true what they say, that to be loved you must love yourself first?
But I did love myself… I spose key word being did and then I let it go in a hearse.

Why did I let go of a woman that was so dear?
How did I lose my life and let it become so unclear?

I guess I handled heartbreak in the worst way that I could
He didn’t give me enough sex, so I fucked many men that would.

I sought attention from him, and when it wasn’t received,
I went and sought attention from someone else, who realized I breathe.

Or is that a fucking excuse? Do I really just seek approval from a man?
Oh wait… psychologists tell me its because I never got it from my dad.

A year and a half ago, I decided to get a trainer and join a gym.
I lost 84 pounds and felt amazing for myself and did none of it for a “him.”  

Shit got rough with my dad, and we weren’t sure he’d make it through,
So I stuffed my face and didn’t visit the gym, and now feel like Baloo.

Maybe I wanted to feel like shit because it became safe, comfortable, known…
Well now that I say that, how longs it gunna take me to take this new path that is shown?

Don’t I deserve to be happy? Don’t I deserve to feel superb?!
Don’t I owe it to myself to love me, I mean hell, I’ve spent my whole life with her.

When am I going to stop bitching and start grabbing the bull by its balls?
When am I going to realize that not picking myself up is worse than taking the falls?

Now that the question of “Who have I become” has been asked,
It’s time to move forward, and tell that Kinna to kiss my ass J