Meet Edmonia Lewis

I’d like to introduce the newest addition to my #BlackNomoRoleModels gallery. Edmonia Lewis was an African-American sculptor, who was the first African-American sculptor to achieve national and then international prominence. Her work is known for incorporating themes relating to Black people and indigenous peoples of the Americas into Neoclassical-style sculpture.

You can learn more about her here

Taking one step at a time

As well as other jobs I had planned for this weekend I needed to repair the pipe attached to the gutter at the back of my house. When we had the last downpour of rain, I noticed the rain falling on my conservatory sounded unusually loud. On inspection I realised that the overflow pipe had come away from the guttering. My initial though was “crap who am I going to call to get that fixed” – actually my initially thought can’t be shared here so we’ll go with this one 🙂

I took a moment and considered my options. I looked out the window again to inspect the pipe and it looked like it had just come out of the bracket away from the wall. All I needed to do was climb up there and push the pipe back into the bracket so I spoke to my neighbour to ask if I could borrow his ladder. During the conversation it came to light that the bracket was probably broken because, as I found out, wall brackets tend to be a solid half circle. Crap this job seems to be more complicated than I initially thought. No problem all I need to do is go to B&Q and buy a bracket.

A few days later, screwdriver, new bracket and ladder in hand I was ready. My dad, who has been up and down the same wall to sort out other things with my gutter, teased me saying that I, as a woman, shouldn’t be climbing up the ladder as it was too dangerous. Well, that fuelled me on for sure.

So, with my friend holding the ladder for me and my neighbour on the other side of the fence offering some guidance I was ready to take on this task. My friend admitted that he was scared of heights so there was no way he was going to offer take my place with this one but that was ok I was prepared. We took a number of attempts at placing the ladder in the right position, I look up, gulped, placed my foot on the first step and started to climb. I decided to initially climb up and inspect what I needed to do. I slowly lifted one foot and placed in on the next step before brining my other foot to meet it. I paused, took a breath and repeated this action. Each time I had both feet on a step I paused. With encouragement from below I slowly made my way to the top. When I got there, I stopped and took a moment to feel what it was like. Yes, it was high but I didn’t feel like I thought I would. I thought that I’d be scared and would be clutching the ladder until my knuckles turned white, but No. I stood tall, looked around and realised how safe I felt. I was going to be ok. I then knew that I could do this – all I needed to do was unscrew the old bracket, remove it, put the new one in place and screw it back to the wall. Simple!

I descended the ladder, collected the screwdriver, confidently climbed back up and removed the broken bracket. Then went back down to collect the new bracket, up I went to screw it into the wall. It then became apparent that the new bracket was wider than the one being replaced so I would need to drill a hole to be able to screw it into the wall. Crap. It was one thing climbing up this high with a screwdriver, which I secured in my pocket, but quite another navigating the ladder with a drill in my hand, let alone having to use it when at the top. This was getting tricky.

With some further encouragement from the other side of the fence I collected the drill, confidently climbed back up the ladder, positioned myself, drilled the hole in the wall, placed the wall plug into the hole, dropped of the drill and re-climbed the ladder to secure the bracket in place. I looked up with a smile that was quickly replaced with disappointment as I realised that the pipe didn’t reach the guttering. “You’ll have to pull the pipe up to meet the guttering,” shouted my neighbour. The ladder was leaning against the pip so that wasn’t going to work. I descended the ladder, looked up and wondered what to do next. I suggested moving the ladder to the side of the house so that my friend could push the pipe up whilst I guided it into the guttering. We tried this out as before, I climbed the ladder and once I felt safe we were able to reconnect the pipe into the gutter.

I felt such pride when I finally completed the task and descended back down the ladder for the last time. When my feet touched the ground, I truly felt like a bad ass. My friend, who admitted that he was nervous for me, was so happy when the job was completed. We even laughed at the thought of him placing me on his shoulder like a queen, as I was descending the ladder – I almost wished he had tried but the thought of him buckling under my weight ruined that image.

As I thought about what I had accomplished I wondered what the take home message was here….

  • When a new problem presented itself, I didn’t know what to do
  • I stopped and thought about it and considered my options
  • I talked to others who had been here before and they offered me the necessary advice
  • I was able to review the situation and obtain the required tools for the job
  • When I had the ladder against the wall I looked up and worried about what could happen when I got to the top
  • So I slowly climbed the ladder, one step at a time, reassessing my position as I went along, asking myself what I needed to help me take the next step
  • When I got to the top I stopped to check in with my feelings
  • I realised that I had what I needed in place to help me (friend holding the ladder, neighbour offering encouraging guidance) which in turn helped me to feel safe ensuring that I was able to move forward and do what I needed to do

In our grief it can be hard to see past our sadness not knowing which way to turn, not knowing how we will get past what we see in front of us. If we take our time to slowly move forward, stopping from time to time to reassess our steps and asking for help in the right places we can find the support and guidance that can help us to move forward overcoming those bumps and unexpected turns along the way.

Navigating life without a map

This morning I went for a walk, in an area that I am not that familiar with, and the directions I was given were not that great, and didn’t pan out as expected. Essentially I didn’t know where I was going and without a map was unsure I would be able to get to the place I was trying to find. As I thought about my situation I was reminded about a post I saw during one of the talks at Katy Seppi’s Childless summit where someone mentioned that it can be difficult to navigate the route of childlessness without a map.

I really wanted to go on this walk as I had heard great things about the area. So I gave myself permission to try and find where I wanted to get to. I embodied my adventurous spirit and allowed myself to (possible) get lost in the hope that I would find where I had planned to end up.  So as I walked down the road, hoping I was going in the right direction, I discovered a path.  Now this path was quite inconspicuous and could have easily been missed and me being my adventurous self, yep you guessed it, I headed off road to see where this path would lead – I must say here that it’s a good thing I don’t watch too many horror films! After about 10 minutes of walking I ended up in this beautiful field, I ended up right where I wanted to be in this peaceful field where I could view the great landscape, roam around and listen to the birds singing whilst feeling the wind on my face – it was so tranquil. Without a map (and pretty crap directions) I ended up right where I needed to be. The absence of a map allowed me to experience the freedom of life the way I wanted to experience it, which may not have happened if I walked the route that others had mapped out for me, sound familiar???

So I challenge you to throw away the map (burn it if you must), look up and be free to experience life on your terms and HAVE FUN being your authentic self.

The Childless Collective Summit starts today!

I’m speaking at the Childless Collective Summit today! YES TODAY! My presentation is going live today at 8pm GMT where I’m talking all about the women of colour’s experience around infertility in my talk titled ‘Black Girls Do Cry’!

In my talk I will be talking about:

  1. Why black and Asian women do not talk about their fertility issues.
  2. The disparities in treatment that women of colour face by our medical professionals and
  3. My journey through my giref as a black childless woman.

If you haven’t grabbed your ticket to the summit yet, you can grab one here via this link. My presentation will be live for 24 hours and there are a lot of other amazing ones for you to check out.

Hope to see you there!

p.s. If you’re seeing this too late, you can grab an Extended Access Pass to get a full year of access to all the presentations!

https://www.chasingcreation.org/ref/21/

#childlesscollectivesummit #nokids #kidfree #childless #childlessnotbychoice #familyoftwo #notamom #nonmom #childlessness #childlessbycircumstance #childfreeafterinfertility #childlesssupport #womenshealth #ttc #infertility #ttccommunity #infertilitysucks #babyloss #infertilitysupport #reproductivehealth #miscarriage #thisisinfertility #ivffail #failedivf #pcos #endometriosis #endo #fibroids #hysterectomy #hystersister

The Childless Collective Summit

The Childless Collective Summit starts on Thursday! Will you be there?

If you haven’t already heard, the Childless Collective Summit starts on Thursday 18th March presenting 28 amazing speakers over 4 days. Each presentation is free to watch for 24 hrs & you can register here. If you join us live there’s also the opportunity to ask the speakers questions during their presentation.

It’s not too late to RSVP and join. Click the link here to get your FREE ticket.

Yes you heard me, this a totally free event with speakers who are ready to share their expertise, wisdom and experience with you. These speakers are coming together from all over the world to assure you that, while your life may not look the way you’d planned, it can still be filled with joy, love, meaning, and fulfillment.

As well as hearing from me you’ll also hear from some of my friends, including:

And a whole lot more!

Each presentation will be available to you free for 24 hours however if 24hrs isn’t long enough, or you’d like to take your time, you can also get a full year of access (along with other amazing bonuses) by grabbing an Extended Access Pass.

I really hope you’ll join me on Thursday 18th at 4pm (EST), 8pm (UK) talking about the black and Asian woman’s experience around infertility in my talk titled ‘Black Girls Do Cry’.

There are two options available for the Extended Access Pass.:

The Basic Access Pass that gives you access to audio and video recordings of the presentations for a full year, and access to Katy from Chasing Creation’s new workshop “Responding to Intrusive Questions and Unsolicited Advice”; or

The All-Access Pass that includes all of the above, plus transcripts of the presentations, tons of speaker-contributed bonuses and goodies, and exclusive episodes from some of your favorite podcasters!

If you have any questions at all about the summit or the Extended Access Passes, drop a comment or message me.

I look forward to seeing you there.

https://www.chasingcreation.org/ref/21/

Celebrating the Mother within

Yesterday I was a panelist on the Gateway Women masterclass webinar about coping with Mothers day with Jody Day, Karin Enfield, Melanie Dagg and Sarah Lawrence.

We had a great conversation around what we do to manage the triggers that mother’s day can bring up for us from coming away from social media for the day to spending the day caring for ourselves. In the past I have sent cards to the childless women in my life who have been like a mum be me as I have wanted to honour and say thank you to what they have brought into my life. This year I decided to celebrate and honour the mother within. There are many ways to be a mum and the one way that we’ve missed is the way we look after and nurture of inner selves, our inner child. So with this in mind I ordered flowers to be delivered to me, with a card – you can’t receive flowers without a card. It was so wonderful to hear the door bell ring, to be handed the box and open it up to see a beautiful bunch of flowers just for me. They truly are beautiful and I get to celebrate me looking after me, my inner child is so happy right now.

So whatever you are doing today give yourself permission to put yourself first, come off social media, go for a walk, give yourself a massage, eat chocolates – basically do whatever makes you smile and celebrate your mother within

Happy Others Day to us all!!!

“I Survived!”

I’ve been on an emotionally difficult journey with my body over the past 2+ years so much so that there have been moments where I have found it hard to look at my reflection in the mirror. I struggled to see how my body could be beautifully, flawed, I struggled accept how much my body has changed.  

On recent reflections I realise how much we can hide what is going on for us, from the outside world. We go through difficulties and, at times, don’t know how to heal ourselves so the easy thing to do is hide, hoping that no one will see our scars. We present ourselves to the outside world as whole, when inside we may be crying, sometimes falling apart, hoping that no-one will notice our pain. It dawned on me the similarities we face as childless women on our journeys to finding acceptance. It can be so easy for us to hide, hoping that no-one will ask us if we have children so we can avoid those oh so awkward questions, hoping that we won’t be judged or criticized if we give them the answer they were not expecting to hear.  

Then I realised that my scars tell a story, they show what I have been through, they show that I have survived. Sometimes our scars are visible, sometimes hidden but they are there to remind us that we are ok, that we are whole and that we are beautiful. They reminded us that we have lived, that we have a story to tell, they remind us that we have survived and that we are stronger and richer because of the experience. 

Click here for the poem I wrote to honour this part of my journey

So you think you are Brave???

It’s been a while since I last posted and, in some ways’, I feel like I’ve been experiencing writer’s block. In reality I think I’ve just lacked a bit of inspiration coupled with ‘being busy with life’. A minor accident yesterday has relegated me to resting today so I thought that I would take this opportunity to have the space to write.

At the beginning of February, I sat down to work on my touchstone word for 2021. I had planned to do this on the 1st January but yep you guessed it, I was busy with life. Anyway, I took some time out to work on it and as I worked through the process – a step by step guide of working through words, their meanings etc. – I stopped on the word brave. I stopped on this word because I noticed the emotion that was evoked when I wrote ‘brave’. I cannot explain why I felt like crying (tears are rolling down my cheeks as I think about it); it may have been because I realised the strength and power in those 5 letters that suddenly reminded me of what I have been through along with the realisation of who I have become. Whatever the reason I just knew that ‘Brave’ is my word for 2021.

The meaning for brave via Google =

  • Ready to face and endure danger or pain; showing courage.
  • having or showing mental or moral strength to face danger, fear, or difficulty: having or showing courage 
  • Courageous, dauntless, perhaps a little bit daring, a person who is brave faces dangerous or difficult situations with courage. The adjective brave can be used to describe anyone or anything that displays courage…
  • Endure or face (unpleasant conditions or behaviour) without showing fear.
  • A North American Indian warrior – I love this one especially as my name means warrior

I guess the inspiration to write this blog came from watching an interview with Brene Brown and Oprah Winfrey from 2013 titled “Perfectionism is a 20-ton shield”. Brene pretty much says that perfectionism is a way of avoiding criticism, blame and ridicule. “It’s the 20-tn shield that we carry around hoping that it will keep us from being hurt” but all it does is it keeps us for being seen. We are so driven by “what will people think?” and spend our energy in wanting to ‘do the right thing’, ‘say the right thing’ (so we don’t offend anyone or so that they won’t be upset with us), being who we think we should be blah, blah, blah…. that we, in many respects, do not know who we are. I know for me that I spent many years struggling, feeling lost in an identity created for me from my cultural upbringing whilst being (different) in a system I was trying to fit into, a system that could not, cannot, see me for who I am. I became scared of being me and equally afraid to let myself be seen. I felt misunderstood, lost and confused! It took some time, and a lot of personal work, to realise that I know and like who I am, I was just too afraid to be her, to let her be seen. During the interview Brene said that “you can’t do anything brave if you are wearing the straight jacket of what will people think” so here I am ready to walk my BRAVE and authentic self.  Watch this space and let’s see what my next chapter in life holds….

My dance with Grief

I don’t know exactly when you walked into my life

Maybe you were pushed or did someone drop you off. Maybe you were there all along and I just didn’t notice

All I know is that you weren’t invited

No letter, no call, no “Hello”

I looked up one day and you were there

But for how long?

Who Knows?

It’s funny to know that you were there all along

Silently present, guiding me, waiting for me to notice you

Waiting for me to hear your voice

Waiting for me to feel your touch

I hated your touch, it was cold, distant, unwanted

Somehow you entered through closed doors

Inviting yourself in like an intruder seeking revenge 

You sat down, I got up

We danced

Your led, led me to that dark place, into the deep

I could see clearly despite the absence of light

Dark, alone I could suddenly hear

I heard my heart beating out of tune

I heard you say “I am here and will never leave you”

“I know” I replied

Then I took your hand as we danced

It was awkward at first, stepping on each other’s toes not knowing which way to go

We danced, you held me close

You whispered in my ear, I succumbed to you

We danced until we became one beat

I succumbed as my tears flowed to the beat of our dance