Family First…Good Vibes, High Times

I cannot believe that it has been almost a month since my last blog post. I attempted several times to put pen to paper but, the vibe was just not there. But, here I am on a gloomy , yet peaceful Saturday morning, sitting with my laptop, pouring out of myself.

Last night was so dope. Some of my younger cousins came into my city to see me and my children and it honestly was the best thing that could have happened this week. We ended up cooking a huge meal, sharing laughs, drinks, and listening to music. The energy of the night was intoxicating to say the least. We all fell asleep all over my apartment- from beds, to couches, and to floors.

I couldn’t help but to reflect upon our grandmother and her ideas about family.  Family was the most important thing to her and she always reminded us that although we may not always get along, it is so important to nourish your family relationships. But, in our family there has been a rift between some of us. There is a legacy of grudges; some so deep that they can last for years.

In the past, I have shared the fact that some of my family and I do not have a relationship. It is what it is. I make no apologies for taking certain measures to ensure that I remain happy and healthy. However, when it comes to my younger cousins and myself, we move a bit differently. We have chosen to respect each other, love each other, and give each other space to be exactly who we want to be.

One of my cousins is in the military and will be deploying soon.  The time we share is precious and we know that. I am so grateful that he came to visit before his departure. I know understand even more why Grandma Lillie was so adamant that family love on one another. The fiber that holds us together is laced throughout our DNA and what affects one of us , truly affects all of us.

So, I have chosen to take last night’s energy and lock it up deep in my heart- another memory to keep my company on days when no one knocks on my door. I felt Grandma Lillie with us last night, guiding us as we cooked, smiling at her legacy, feeling proud that we are following the path.

 

Peace,

Ashaki

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Birthday Month….

It is hard to fathom that next week I will be 38. 38 years old. When did I get so old? What happened to my roaring twenties? I am almost 40 years old. I can only shake my head because I still have the energy of my 25 year old self, well with the exception of craving my bed instead of the dance floor every weekend.

When I look back at my life, I have regrets, memories of triumphs, failures, successes, and struggles. Mostly I feel grateful. I feel grateful for making it to this age. I am grateful to be able to be present for my beautiful children. I am grateful for finally embracing who I truly am at my core and actively pursuing expressing the fullness of self each and every day. I am grateful for the next chapter and so much more.

As I reflect on the strides I have made from last year to now, I honestly feel joy and a bit of anxiety. I always wonder if I am doing all that I can to secure my success and if this path is indeed the path that I should be following. But, each and every time though doubts rise up, divine intelligence comes in and reminds me that I am following my own divine path. I must remain diligent as divine timing dictates the movement and progression of all things.

38 rotations around the sun. 38 represents happiness, growth, material abundance. This number combines the energy of 3 and 8. I am coming into my season. It is finally my time. And I am open to receive that which the universe has for me. The beauty of this birthday is also that I am taking others along with me through my divine assignment as well as with my soul tribe.

I am welcoming 38 with a smile, a wink, and a slow wine!

 

Peace,

Ashaki

Wounded, but Standing

Greetings,

As always, I hope that this post finds you well. I have honestly been struggling over the past few days. I had to come to the realization that although I am healed from certain traumas, I will always carry the scar and those scars can be quite tender and can still cause pain, even be reopened when not guarded and protected. I have had to make some decisions regarding those I allow in my personal space this week. It is painful but necessary. There is no way that I can subject myself to anyone who questions the validity of things that I openly shared with them- things that have forever changed me as an individual.

We have all had experiences that were painful, even traumatic. Hearing the stories of so many women who have experienced similar trauma is heartbreaking and it also peels back my own scars, causing me to really seek solace and peace within. In years past, a bottle of liquor was salve, but now I have other means of dealing with my anxieties and pain from all that has happened. It seems every time that I have sought what I needed outside of myself, I have been left feeling more hurt and regret for not only what happened but, for who I would have been if that ugliness had never occurred.

I know that this year holds much promise but, there will also be strife. I am already feeling it and it is not comfortable. But, I also understand that space must be created in order to make room for all that is to come. I have felt that I was on the brink of something big for the past few months so, I am being patient until it comes to fruition. I also am going to make even more efforts to be of assistance to all the black girls and women who have suffered or continue to suffer because of what was done to them.  The world can blame them and shame them but, I will uplift them, love them, encourage them, and enlighten them.

I have been fortunate enough to have the courage to speak, to share, to write, to do about things that a lot of people would not dare to. I  used to see my life as one big tumult- a never-ending story line of tragedy and pain. But, not now. I see my life as a testament to a spirit that refuses to give up or give in. My life is decorated with times of near death, almost this, and wouldn’t have that. In this society , I have been labeled almost every stereotype that is- the child born out of wedlock, the welfare child, the teenage mom, the battered wife, the rape victim, and so on. But, I am a creator and the author of my life. I am a woman, an overcomer, a survivor, a conqueror, a writer, a poet, a spiritual guide, an oracle, a teacher, a leader, a mother, and so much more. And I am just getting started.

Peace,

Ashaki

 

Red Lips & Fingertips

When I was a little girl, I was fascinated by red fingernails and red lipstick. I would sneak outside and paint my nails a blazing red color and admire how the red looked against my deep brown skin. I thought it looked pretty but, that notion was quickly shot down by a family member. 

“You too black to wear those colors”, “that makes you look like a clown”, “don’t wear no mess like that again”. Those statements became embedded into my mind and for years, I downplayed my own beauty, refused to wear particular colors, muting myself and admiring others who were bold enough to take chances.

But, I have shifted. My perception of beauty has changed and I am finally healed from the ugly messages that marred my childhood. So, I went to my nail salon and chose a bright red for my manicure. 

I had written previously about my red lipstick and all that it took for me to wear it. Now, here I am rocking red fingertips lol! I have come a very long way. For some people, wearing red lipstick and fingernail polish is not a big idea but, for me it is a revolutionary action. 

This is me standing fully on my own square, feeling the reverberation of my own beauty, power, and strength ripple through my body- free from the demons of the past, free from small mindedness, free from other people’s judgments.

It is not easy to overcome the lies that you have been told as a child, especially from loved ones. You often take what they say as gospel. But, be encouraged that no one can define you except you. You are as good as anyone, as beautiful as anyone, and as capable as anyone else in this world. Find your purpose, find your joy, find your hope, find you and celebrate you as often as possible. 

Live your life on your own terms and live it out loud!

Peace & Light, 

Ashaki

Ancestors Watching Over Me

Today, I decided to do some cleaning. I am not working and felt the need to just clean. I began in the bathroom, which is my usual practice, wiping down the sink, toilet, shower, sweeping, rearranging, and reorganizing. Then I moved on to the bedroom, folding clothes and gathering laundry that needed to be washed and so on and so forth.
Then I decided that my altar cloths needed to be washed and the altars needed to be cleansed as well. After the laundry was done and I began to sage the space of my ancestor altar and place everything back in order, I had an urge to change the position and dig up more pictures to add.
I went through my albums and found a picture of my great-grandmother and my uncle Otha Jr. I began to remember a flood of things- from Mama’s laugh to Uncle Otha Jr’s cool stride, to the stories, the meals, riding in his ’64 Impala convertible. I couldn’t help but to also begin to feel sad and overcome with emotions.
There are so many stories that should be shared but the family that once was is not anymore. My mother and I are estranged and have not seen or spoken in a year and a half or longer. Her brother and I were practically raised together, yet he has chosen to not have anything to do with me either. Other family members have passed away or we simply just do not communicate.
I remember my grandmother calling family meetings of sorts for members to hash out their disagreements. Whether they agreed in the end or agreed to disagree, it was always decided that we were still family- through good, bad, or ugly- no matter what. But, once she transcended this earthly life, that fell apart.
I often wonder if there was something else that I could or should have done differently but, I always come back to “Is being who they want serving my highest good?” And the answer, in short, is a resounding no. I cannot be Andre’a Danielle DeBerry, the little girl who endured much, who was a perfectionist, fighting to be herself yet, also fighting to fit in and be someone that the family was proud of. I cannot sit in church and pretend. I cannot be in a loveless marriage just for the sake of saying that I am married to my children’s father. I cannot endure toxicity from my mother or my uncle.
Stepping away from it all, moving away, and choosing to live a life so far removed has not been easy but, it absolutely has been necessary. I had to find me and ultimately choose me. I was not perfect but, I definitely was not walking a true path and had no peace because of it.
Ancestral reverence is a huge part of my life and sometimes I struggle with wondering if my ancestors are upset because of the path that I chose. But, when I hear my great-grandmother’s laugh, or my grandma Lillie comes in a dream and hugs me, I know that I am not a disappointment at all. I am my ancestor’s wildest dream. And all because I chose to live the radical concept of defining and being exactly who the hell I want to be.
May my ancestors forever guide and protect me and may I continue to be brave and make them proud.

Ase,
Ashaki

Remembering Tupac

Greetings fam! Hope all is well with everyone on this Saturday evening. Today is the day that the majority of hip hop fans spend celebrating the birth of Tupac Shakur. If he had lived, he would be 47 years old, which seems crazy to me.  Maybe it is because I was so young when he was alive. Or because we have been nearly suffocated with tons of t-shirts, mugs, memes, artwork, multiple album releases, and so much more.

I was sitting in my house thinking back on my first encounter with his music. I first saw him with Digital Underground (Yes, I used to do the “Humpty Dance”). But, when he emerged as an artist and I saw the video for “Brenda’s Got a Baby”, I became somewhat enthralled with him.

The message and images in the video were things that I knew all too well myself. I had a close friend who had been molested by her own father for years, young girls being pregnant was commonplace, drugs were prevalent, and social workers decorated many a doorstep. But, the way that he weaved the story was special and I had found a new rapper to follow and music to consume.

Tupac spoke on topics that had not been displayed so openly which appealed to me greatly. I seemed to always be on the lookout for music that spoke to my own tortured soul. “Keep Your Head Up” gave us hope, encouraged us, and solidified the fact that he loved us. I followed him closely, listening to “If My Homie Calls”, “I Get Around”, and more but, then he began to change a bit and I began to fall back.

That thug shit was a theme that although very familiar, was absolutely exhausting. His roughness bristled my nerves and I found myself tuning out when his music was played. But, as soon as I was going to throw him away, he dropped his “Me Against the World” album, and I was rocking with him again. The album displayed his feelings towards his mother, the revolutionary Afeni Shakur, displayed his sexuality on “Temptations” and highlighted vulnerability on “So Many Tears”. I was impressed and once again captured.

I remember when he died very vividly. I was almost 16 years old, living in a place that I didn’t want to be, selling dime bags of weed, struggling to adjust once again. I was sitting on the stoop in my projects when news broke across the radio airwaves. One of my homeboys stopped by as they began to play Tupac’s music. Tears ran down our faces but neither of us spoke. He was gone just as so many young black men had. Our spirits sagged.

I often sit and listen to Pac and reflect on the state of hip hop today. Lyricism is not as highlighted as in decades before and at one point, I honestly felt like throwing the whole culture away. Then, I recall some old heads talking about Tupac in similar ways that some speak on artists today.

He was a thug and a revolutionary talking about gangs, pussy, struggle, drugs, and more. They didn’t know what to do with him.  There is a difference between him and some of these untalented, new school rappers– he had a message. He was like a hood prophet, politicking on the state of affairs. So, I hang in there, as an unofficial hip hop ambassador. I feel a sense of responsibility to preserve a culture that rocked me, nourished me, fed me, and kept me in some of the most difficult times of my life.I have said before that hip hop saved my life and that is not an understatement. Tupac is another artist that played a part in my evolution.

It seems redundant to say that Tupac’s memory will never die, but it is so true. He will forever be remembered for his substantial contribution to the culture, for his influence on so many people, for the indelible mark he made upon this earth. Peace to his spirit.

 

Rest on Tupac,

Ashaki Omikunle Ali

 

Photo Cred: https://www.gettyimages.com/photos/tupac-shakur

I Can Feel It In the Air

Peace, peace, peace everyone! It has been much too long but, here I am- smiling from ear to ear. I have just finished the final edit of my book, “Life Is Still Good”, and I am over the moon. I have successfully talked myself out of publishing this book for the last 4 years and now I am finally in a place and space that I am confident enough to release it to the universe.

This book has been a labor of love; a truly transforming work. I share some of my deepest hurts, greatest triumphs, and longest held secrets. It has taken me years to cultivate the level of confidence that I have now. Do I still fear that the work won’t be well received? Of course, but the intention that I have placed within the pages overcomes any fear that I feel. This book is going to help some little girl someplace on this planet to know that her life is special and she does matter.

I am doing a special event on Facebook where I will be reading an excerpt live. I think it is important to read my words in my own voice. There is power in our voices and I have been blessed to have a very strong voice. If you would like to hear, like my page, I Lioness Publishing and tune in on Wednesday night at 8 pm EST.

Have you ever had a feeling that great things were coming……..Yeah, I am there right now.

 

Peace to the World,

Ashaki Omikunle Ali

37 Here I Come

Greetings! It is the eve of my 37th Solar return and I am feeling grateful for life, my family, my love, my growth, and so much more! The past few weeks have been super challenging and at times, downright depressing. I have had so much going on and not all positive- from my grandfather going missing, to someone stealing my identity on IG and attempting to scam my friends and followers under the guise of being “Coach Ali”, to a false social services report, and on and on.

But, through all of that, I still feel grateful. I am not over here falling apart, I am not losing sleep, I am not skipping meals. I am simply doing and being me. I have taken a hiatus from social media. Initially I thought that I would lose followers, momentum, etc. but I realize that the big picture is that whatever the universe has for me, all of the awesome things that could happen, will in due time. I have to focus on strengthening my spirit, enriching my soul, and truly focusing on my goals-with minimal distractions.

The book that I have been speaking about over the past few months is nearing completion! I am editing it and adding a bonus chapter. I have been making strides in my Afrikan products business and have also added a separate jewelry line that is doing well. I am going to reestablish my coaching business and hone in on a specific niche. And lastly, my personal life is going well- I am secure, I am at peace, and I feel loved. I have so much to be excited about and grateful for- I could go on and on but I won’t.

37 years young…..Damn time is flying. I don’t feel a day over 24. I have endured but I have just begun to live. My life today is a testament to the strength of the human spirit to endure seriously painful and trying times. May the rest of my days be a testament to the joy of life and the richness that can be experienced when one makes the decision to do so.

 

Peace & Innumerable Blessings,

Ashaki Ali

 

““I am evolving and it’s so damn beautiful.” Anonymous

Work & Risks

Supreme risings fam! I typically do not write this early in the morning but with the intense energy of the beautiful Blue Moon, I cannot help myself! I am finding myself more and more excited about the work that I have been putting into being a better me, my plans for business, and my personal relationships.

This past weekend, I completed training with Mecklenburg County Community Support Services. I am now a member of their Speakers Bureau. The work was intense but I met so many beautiful souls and I am excited about getting back into the community and doing worthwhile work. I am planning on volunteering with some other organizations soon and getting my children in on it as well.

I am also working diligently on the final, final draft of my memoir, Pieces of My Life.  This literary work has been sitting literally on my shelf for the past 4 years. There are many painful meories that I share but also triumphs, love, passion, suspense—it could be a damn movie in all honesty. It is my honest belief that I have to tell this story. The work is meant to help others and I know that it will. So, besides my volunteerism, my upcoming book , raising my awesome children, and continually working on self, I have not had tons of time to blog—my apologies. I sincerely appreciate everyone who actually reads my words and supports my page.

I have run for far too long. I am meant to do certain things in my life and many of which, I have dodged for years. Time is out for that. This year is meant to be a year of new adventures and challenges. I am actively pursuing things that frighten my soul. I made a promise to myself in 2013 that I would live my life on my own terms and would not play it safe. I have become comfortable so it’s time to shake my life up again! Ready, set, go!!

 

Are you ready??

 

Peace, love, & abundant light,

Ashaki

New Adventures

Greetings and Happy Sunday fam! I do hope you are enjoying today. Today is my beautiful oldest daughter Ayanna’s birthday. I can hardly believe that she is 12 today. She is so talented and sweet, but I digress. Yesterday, I took my first training class with a Domestic Violence Speaker’s Bureau in my city. I chose to sign up for specialized training in order to share my story, help others in those situations, and hone my speaker’s skills. I have a feeling I will gain so much more.

The first day was inspiring and overwhelming. There are parts of my life experiences that I have buried and strive not to think about at all. I was absolutely fine until we participated in a role-playing exercise in which one of my fellow trainees acted as a victim and we were her “support system”. We all had to read a statement and then turn our backs. We were pastors, family members, social workers, etc. And then there was the portrayal of the abuser.  The acting was spot on and it hit my core like a volcanic blast. I was immediately placed back into the times when I was abused daily, lived in absolute fear, and almost lost my life. Some wounds, although healed, still remain raw.

Over the past year or so, I have focused, advocated, and taught self-care practices. The session made me realize that I must be more consistent in my own self- care. I took some deep breaths and re-centered. I remembered how awesome my life is in comparison to how it used to be. I am free to pursue my life as I see fit, to love, to move about, to sleep in peace. I remember the cage I used to reside in. The cage was destroyed years ago. I am overwhelmingly happy that I am doing meaningful work and living an authentic life. It is my sincere hope that I help others find their freedom. I fought for my life. And now, I am free. Finally.

 

Peace & Blessings,

Ashaki Ma’at Mirembe Ali