Not so D.C.

This week I headed out to Washington D.C. Unfortunately, this trip was far from anything I could have thought up on my own.

Well, my first night was fairly slow-paced. I spent the evening with my host discussing things I could do for the next few days and places I absolutely needed to visit. I danced in the living room, ate pizza, and did yoga. Eventually I did homework, and read a few chapters of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. It was sweet time by myself, to focus on myself.

I woke up for day one with slight pains in my lower abdomen. I wasn’t too concerned at first, because one of the effects of Endometriosisis is regular UTIs. I went to CVS, grabbed some cranberry juice, a few pain killers, a gallon of water, and shook it off. I’d requested my ride on Lyft to the D.C. Metro and was ready to see the National Museum of African American Culture and History. I went to get my clothes out of the bedroom and noticed a puddle of blood. I’m not sure how I didn’t notice it as soon as I woke up, but then it dawned on me that I never went to the bathroom. I’d gotten up, brushed my teeth, and walked to CVS in blood soaked sweats. I was completely oblivious to what my body was telling me. I was in awe. There were no tears, and no immediate reaction, I just looked at the puddle. My body was burning hot, and I could hardly stand. I sat on the floor (in the same spot I’d done my yoga) and begged God to heal me. I’d never prayed that before. Even with the cancer, even with Endo, I’d never blatantly asked God to stop it. I felt myself feel with rage when i realized it wouldn’t happen that way. I lied down there until the pain subsided, then I got a Lyft to what I THOUGHT was the nearest Urgent Care. 20 mins into the ride, I realized I’d taken myself to Maryland (so I mentally marked another state off my 2018 list) and sat quietly in frustration and pain.

I know you may be thinking, THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE A TRAVEL BLOG, but if you look on my Travel Tour page, I told y’all I will give you my experience as it was. As unfortunate as it may seem, this was my trip to Washington D.C.

At Urgent Care, I sat silently. The pain had increased, and it was unbearable. I ran to the bathroom and for the first time since 10pm the night before, I peed. By this time it was about 11:00pm the next day.  I know you’re probably like “ugh…why’s she telling us this” but honestly, I’d ever been so excited. The doctors ran a UA and immediately had me go to the nearest Emergency Room.

My Lyft driver Abdul, was perfect. Abdul heard me crying in the backseat. So he pulled over, gave me a bottle of water, and asked if he could do anything. I simply responded “please get me to the hospital.” Once we got there, he asked if I needed to call someone to come meet me. I said no. He asked if I had someone coming. I said no. He went park the car, came into the ER, and sat with me until I got called back. I was stunned. I’d never been loved like that by a complete stranger. He sat next to me for a solid 30mins in silence and concern. I will forever be thankful for Abdul.

Upon going to triage, the nurse, Barbara asked why I was alone. I said I was traveling, and we discussed the power of perseverance. She was super sweet. She told me that when I walked in, the first thing she noticed was my smile, then I sat down in her chair and it disappeared. She said, “You don’t have to pretend to be okay for me. It’s okay to be afraid. Now give me some blood.” Lol. I thanked her as well.

Once I went to the back, the doctors ordered the CAT scan. They said the UA, my CBC, and all of the other lab work came back fine, so they wanted pictures. My nurse, Justin asked if I needed to call anybody, I was so sick of answering that damn question, but I realized that was their approval to console, in each case, they did just that. Justin rolled me to the CAT scan, rolled me back, gave me meds, and I tried falling asleep. I can recall about 10 people who would NOT stop texting me. My mama and Elijah were a constant presence and peace, Aunt Trill with her strength, Lindsay with her encouragement, Bri with her maternity, Shelby and her PURE love for my well-being, Jared, Tim, Tiara, Stacey, Jammerio and so many more. I was overwhelmed, but I can spout off names, because it penetrated my heart. My phone died, and I finally fell asleep. When he woke me up, he said, and I quote

“Ms. Solomon, you have a tumor on your uterus that is approximately 12.5 cm long. You also have one on your cervix that is 5cm long, and one on your right kidney that’s 4.5cm long.”

I sat there. I didn’t cry. I was honestly still waking up. I asked if this was some sort of practical joke and he lowered his head. I put my head in the other nurse’s lap, and wept. I can vividly remember the silence in my cry. I remember the stillness of that hospital room and the raw fear that was oozing out of me. She let me cry. I sat up. They read a stack of paperwork and made arrangements for me to be flown back home.

I want to point out a few important details. The people, the circumstance, and the future. I was surrounded by some of the most beautiful souls I think I’ve ever encountered, and I truly believe it was purposeful. I believe it was orchestrated that way because it needed to be. Not just for me, but for the people in the hospital watching Abdul console me, for the nurses in the back, watching Barbara confide in and Justin encourage me, for the nurses and patients passing while I cried in the lap of my nurse, and for the people on the plane who were stunned by the fact that the hospital would do such a thing. I haven’t lost my faith in the beauty of all people, but PEOPLE have lost faith in the beauty of people and I feel like if even one person was able to watch these days play out, they were powerfully affected.

The circumstance: I got back home the next day, and upon my arrival I went to my mom’s and let it all out. I was afraid of a hysterectomy, and they started recommending it again. I wanted children, but I also wanted a normalized reproductive system. I was afraid the pain would be chronic. I was afraid I couldn’t go back to school. I was basically a ball of fear, and I needed to release. I curled up inside of her, and left it there. I could have held on to that. I could have decided that I was the victim, that my circumstances were undeserved and definitely unwarranted. I could have lost all joy in life itself. In that moment, with my mama underneath me and my brothers around me, I decided that would not be the case anymore.

The future: Today is February 17, 2018, I have my first appointment with my gynecologist on Monday and I’ll find out when my surgery to remove the tumors and/or my uterus will be. I’m not as afraid as I was, but I am instead hopeful. I’m hopeful in the doctor’s ability to remove them safely. I’m also confident that this is a small piece of preparation for a much bigger story to be told. This week reminded me how important it is to continue putting others before myself. It reminded me of the power in self-sacrifice. It reminded me that we do live in a broken world, but it is filled with beautiful and loving hearts. I appreciate all of your sweet words. Thank you for reading.

I love you.

Rainy Day Chronicles

CHo-3TzWgAEXDQ7It’s storming; I’m writing. Initially, I was in my journal, but I figured “why not make this a blog?” It was recently brought to my attention that I don’t make my relationship status clear on social media, that if I have a boyfriend, I should be proud of it and post pictures and statuses that make it clear that he’s mine and I’m his. Instead, I post things that allude to it with little clarity. My question to that is why do I owe a stranger clarity? Are you going to pray for us? Are you going to encourage us in the ways of the Lord? Are you going to go bowling with us? Or are you just entitled?

In the event I find myself committed to a man, my priority will be to share it with my family and friends. Mainly because those are the people who will do the things previously stated. I put a lot of my personal life online, but it’s always in MY timing. I don’t like to date. If marriage isn’t the end-game, I have ZERO desire to become intimate, so dating weighs heavily on my heart. I was in the adoption process for almost 6 months before I posted it online and the small percentage of people who knew prior to then is the same small percentage who know my current relationship status. With that being said, if you are not a friend, i.e

Someone I continue to confide in and confides in me. Someone I trust with the burdens of my heart. Someone who understands the woman God has and is molding me to be. Someone who has been consistent in my life as well as my family’s. Someone who can curl up on my couch, dive into scripture, and cry with me as we figure out how to serve God in spite of what Satan has cookin around us…

 or family, you won’t know until I decide to tell you. 

I personally think that’s okay. I’m not “hiding” the real me from the world. I’m pretty open about my brokenness and God’s healing power. In some instances, I’ve simply decided to share what I’d like, with who I trust, in the timing that I see fit. I’d love to hear what y’all think!

This made me reevaluate my use of social media. It made me look at all of my profiles to see WHY I have them and WHY they take up the time they do. I read some scripture, prayed, and listened to a couple of sermons before I started this blog, so I’m hopeful that it glorifies God and doesn’t stroke Shakiyla’s ego. I also scrolled through my Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts. This is what I found:

Facebook: I use Facebook as an avenue to uplift my students. I post pictures of myself and my family with statuses that tell a bunch of random people what they mean to me. I don’t generally rant about anything other than my feelings and what God does in my heart throughout the week. Working at a high school that is often under the “radar” has made it easy for me to post a ridiculous amount of statuses that prove preconceived Washington-Marion assumptions wrong. Sometimes I post selfies, too. I tag my Carla in those. 

Twitter: I talk about my students, my friends, and my diet. I ramble. If something “dawns” on me, I tweet it. If God shows me something, I tweet it. If I get a sudden urge to go jogging, I tweet it. If Lydia sends me a picture of Colby Jr., I tweet it. It’s nothing really major. Just sort of a time killer.

Instagram: This one was the most interesting. Mainly because people seldom read Instagram captions. They seem to just scroll and double-click as they see fit. So my captions on Instagram are sometimes RIDICULOUSLY long. I like to see who reads them. Those people generally leave comments. Hey y’all! I like y’all! Here I also found the most allusions to a relationship, or pictures of men (Steph) saying really sweet things. I think this is where the situation in the beginning of my blog came from.  I also post selfies with captions that explain everything wrong with me but how I don’t love myself any less because of those things, pictures with some of my students after they’ve made me cry, pictures of my friends with some sort of LONG drawn out story explaining why I love them, and art. I love posting art on my Instagram. I tag the artist, and the caption generally says something that relates to what the art meant to me and a thank you to them for creating it.

Each social media outlet seems to do different things. As I was reading and listening today, I realized that if I am honestly living for God, my sole purpose should be to encourage, educate, and serve. That sounds really cheesy, but I think it’s true. I’m not here to condemn. I’m not here to save. I’ve been placed on this earth to show Christ to a broken world by way of service and love. I don’t think I do that often enough on social media. Don’t get me wrong, I know it’s more of a leisurely activity, but that shouldn’t separate it from my purpose. I just want to get to a place where everything I say and do is either encouraging, Truth saturated, or promotes peace. Working in the field that I am, I’ve learned that negativity is contagious, and it’s hard to bear witness to the light (John 1:8) while sulking in darkness.

“So whether it is a blog post or whatever it might be, I want to sustain with a brief word the one who is weary. I want to maximize what I can impart to them with a minimum of commitment on their part. So I don’t want to be the online watch dog of the Christian Church and the corrector of everything that is wrong. I want to be an encourager. I think the Lord is….”

-Ray Ortlund

Every day this year, before my students started their journal writing, I told them, “Your words have power, tap into it. Don’t just meet the quota, change my expectations” I know I have the power of Christ in me to encourage, heal, and mend. I don’t want to get to a place where I’m just wasting words. (Prop)

Y’all please please please don’t hesitate to give me feedback. I don’t write just to get my voice heard; I do it because it promotes growth and enables me to see things from a different perspective. I won’t lie and say “I promise not to take anything you say personally” but that comes with the territory. My prayers are that you see what God has put on my heart and we can come together and begin to serve Him better. That entails dying to the flesh, and I am ready to do so.

Shakiyla

art by, Debra Cartwright

 

 

Meet MawBea

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This is MawBea, she just happens to be the most amazing thing to happen to me since January. I’m somewhat a caregiver, I sit with her a couple of days a week and help her with things she needs help with. We talk a lot and spend a lot of time telling and listening to each others’  stories. So, a couple of Thursdays ago, for the first time in a while, MawBea asked me why I wasn’t “going steady” with anyone. Initially I had what I’d say all figured out, being I get asked it so often. This time was different though. I asked her why she asked me that and she said, “What’s wrong with these men? Why can’t they grow up and have enough faith in love and the Creator of it to jump in!?” My mouth hit the floor. I don’t think she was saying it to say that I was so special, I legitimately think she wondered why no one had committed to me. As we continued talking she started telling me stories about how she and her husband met, this was in the 1950s by the way. She went into detail about how much she didn’t pay him any mind at first. Later in the story she said how he decided that he wouldn’t give up so easily and so the pursuit commenced. She told me the biggest leap of faith she had to do was to trust that her husband would love her unconditionally & that until that moment she didn’t think her life really started. By this time, I’d  completely stopped talking because her story captivated my 22 year old peanut brain and this is what she proceeded to say,

“Shakiyla, did I say it right? SHAHKEEEELUHHH? I love that name. Shakiyla, why are you so scared to love?”

I didn’t say anything, I literally sat there and stared at her as if she’d spoken in another language. So, being the delicate little flower she is, she threw her ink pen at me and said,

“I know you heard me! What makes you so scared to love? and don’t say you’re not because I see it on that lil face. You love tough girl, sometimes too tough, but it’s as sweet as friendship bread, why not give that love to an amazing man of God that you know will protect it?”

To my surprise, I didn’t start crying, I simply replied “Fear.” & she reminded me that there is no fear in love.

Yep. That’s what happened. 20 mins into me going to work, this conversation filled the room. I’ll never forget that day y’all. Out of no where she unknowingly told me what had been the heaviest thing on MY heart and used the sweetest most simple scripture to remind me of how INVALID that was. Now, my life has definitely already started, I have goals and desires, and this is not the 1950s but those truths stand just as firm as my fear sometimes. Sometimes.

If she knew I was writing this blog about her she’d absolutely slaughter me! So y’all better not SAY A WORD. She’s more of an answered prayer than she’ll ever know and It’s the little things like this that remind me of her virtue. She’s so special and I just think I need to start sharing things like this with y’all. Disagree? Go have ice cream and take a nap, you’re crazy.

                                                                                                                     

MAW BEA MOMENT OF THE DAY:

She was walking up the garden in the picture above and the shovel was lodged in between the wall and her walker, so I go, “Maw Bea watch that shovel” and she replies, “I see it baby, thank you. Now, what am I watchin for? Is it gonna dance or somethin?” I told her to LEAVE ME ALONE, and she blew me a kiss. She’s my best friend.

im His daughter.

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I’m a thinker. I find myself sitting in the room, in my car, or at the foot of the Cross creating scenarios in my head. I don’t find it strange, sometimes it’s simply an interference during my day. So, I’m sitting on the couch in the living room right now right? I find myself thinking about what I would say to Charles, my father, if I had the chance. Now, my introduction wasn’t much of an introduction so I guess y’all don’t know much about our relationship. Well, to make a long story short, there was none. He left when I was 5, called on my 10th and 12th birthdays, called the week before he died, and died when I was 14. Now, you may think it cold of me to be all cavalier-like when discussing the death of the man that took part in creating me, but like I said before, we had little to no communication.

So, back to my initial thought. I’m just thinking, if I was ever given the opportunity to say one thing to him, what would I say? Well, I’m 21years old. I’ve never had to love a man and I’m struggling to learn how. My God is my Father and I sometimes struggle with learning how to love Him as well. All this to say, the whole “daddy” thing is not really my FORTE. Well, the more I thought, the more I ran through my head, the more I struggled with what I would even say.

I think I’ve concluded that I’d thank him.

I’d thank him for his deciding to build a relationship with my younger sister instead of me. That pretty much has shown me that NO man can ever be trusted to ALWAYS choose me first, other than my God. No matter my situation, age, innocence, nothing. God is the only one I am absolutely sure has chosen and always will choose me.

I’d also thank him for leaving my moms to raise me on her own. She is now the spitting image of what it takes to become a God-fearing woman WITHOUT the leadership of an EARTHLY man. She had to learn on her own what it meant to devote herself to God. She had to understand that she is not the father in our family but is given the honor to let God take the leading role when raising up my brothers and myself. She was put in a situation where when provision was questionable, her faith had to be solid in the fact that our God was the provider. She had to see him as the head of the household and teach us to look to Him for guidance and understanding.

I think I may also thank him for calling me when he was sick. Not sarcastically, or out of spite, I’d whole heartedly  thank that man. In those few minutes, laying at his bedside, watching him waste away, he showed me that no matter how wrong someone has ever done me, no matter how hard my heart will ever grow, no matter how abandoned, betrayed, deceived, or rejected one person has ever made me feel, that I am called to love them like my Father has loved me. I vividly remember that night. I see his face in my mind more than I’d like. I remember. Those memories simply remind me of how bad it can get, but it’ll never compare to the way I deny God with my sin and he continues to sit and my bedside, as I’m wasting away, losing myself, trying to tie loose ends, he still sits at my bedside and pours out His love to me in the most pure and satisfying way.

I’m not sure why Charles did the things he did. I’m not sure why he left. I’m not sure why he called. There are many questions I’ve wanted to ask him but now, while I sit on this couch, listening to John Legend, I’ve decided that all I’d want to do is thank him.

My God is more Father than he could have ever been and having to tell myself that when I struggle in any relationship is just another form of growth…i guess…

Matthew 23:9 says

“And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven.”

that verse brings me a ton of peace. I’m not sure when I’ll do a “biographyish” blog. I’m not really sure if i even want to. I just know I’m really thankful for my daddy and the way He loves me.

goodnighty ❤