Happy May 1st everyone! It’s feeling more and more like Spring these days, and that has me in high spirits =)! Spring cleaning is in full effect over on this side and might I say, it feels quite lovely. I’ve been cleaning out my closet and it’s incredibly liberating. The blessed purpose of this blog is inherently, to speak on all of the things I like to consider, ‘the elephants in the room.’

When I first presented my beta launch of EverythingShaquana, last April, I honestly thought I’d be mostly speaking on the most known, unknown political, social and economic implicative aspects of our world as we currently know it. I considered this to be the perfect platform to discuss things like homelessness, addiction, rape and abortion, poverty, Blackness and Browness, inhumanity, genderism and phobias, among sorts.

As an individual who represents just about all of these groups, I’d grown to fully realize that everyone and their momma felt it was their God-given duty to tell OUR stories. After a while of bitching and moaning to anyone in ear shot, I finally said enough is enough. I need to stop complaining and start doing. I am a writer, first and foremost. Thus, it only made sense to use my God-given abilities to propel such a grand ambition. To create a platform for the voiceless. The silenced. The forgotten. The marginalized and oppressed. That was my purpose, in the beginning.

It didn’t take long for me to realize what I was missing, in my grand scheme. How in the world was I going to create a platform for everyone else, before I created one for myself? On what planet did that make sense? If I couldn’t find and develop a way to speak up for my own self, in what world would I surely be allowed, let alone successful at creating a more accessible way for others to speak up for themselves.

It clicked relatively quickly. I had to tell my own story. This platform was in fact for the voiceless. I knew well enough, because I too, was still voiceless. I too, was still being validated and defined by any and everyone who was not me. I too, was still stuck into the world’s boxed view of Shaquana. So, I wrote and published, ‘Confessions: My Truth of Pregnancy, Miscarriage & Motherhood.’ I was petrified. Almost even, mortified. Here I was putting all of my business on front street, so to speak. For the whole world to see. Judge. Not understand and pretend to care. What was I thinking?!

I wasn’t necessarily thinking. I was adhering to Spirit. I was being obedient to God’s orders. You know where to start, Shaquana, He whispered into my soul. You know the perfect place to begin. With yourself, my child. I did know. I just didn’t want to listen. Nonetheless, I did. As soon as I really got things going with my beta launch, I was already feeling stuck again. I had moved almost 3,000 miles to pursue this goal and calling. I was not about to get stuck in the one thing I moved for. My writing. My story. My truth. In the end, that’s what this was all about. It was about me. First and foremost.

So, I’ve spent the last year or so, telling my story. Speaking my truth. Cleaning out my closet. Building my own platform. Because I can’t help anyone, if I can’t help myself. It’s illogical and backwards to lie myself into believing anything otherwise. I can’t help fortify a platform for the voiceless, if I am still voiceless.

I’ve of course been judged. Tremendously. I’ve been hated. Despised. Attacked. Ridiculed. Scorned. Disregarded. Talked about. Ignored. Denied. Persecuted. Devastated. Broken. Bashed. Banned. Blocked. And Lord knows what else.

But, here I stand! Still going strong. Stronger and wiser than ever. Lighter than ever. Healed. Held. High. By my Father, God. You see, more than anything else, this continued struggle to reveal my story, to tell my truth and lighten my load, has brought me as close to God as humanly possible. I am no longer in bondage. I repeat, I am no longer in bondage! I, Shaquana Gardner, am free. I testified. I confessed. I revealed. And I am FREE!

As for the naysayers, the haters, the attackers, they’re still in bondage. I think, it’s just dawning on the more wise ones, what the heck it is that I’ve been doing all along. People lied themselves into believing that I was doing all of this for the world. That I was “telling all my bizness,” to gain viewership or something sordid like that. God bless y’all. For real.

As, I am more than aware of the fact that all those judgements, repellents and blockades, were projections. Heavy. I’ve been messing people all up, or so they’ve told themselves. By telling my story, my truth, my reality, I’ve distorted the lies that everyone tells themselves. And they’re mad. Salty. Pissed off. Meh, better you than me, they say. I for one, agree.

I’d rather see you mad, and pray for you, than for me to stay mad, so as to appease your feelings. I did that for 25 years and let me tell you, it was not working for the kid. Of course, I hear often that 25 years isn’t that long. That at least I didn’t do it for 30, 40, 50, 60 or 75 years. Duh! That’s the whole point here. This is no accident. I had no intentions of doing this for any time more than 25 years. Shoot, I’ve often wondered why I couldn’t do this sooner.

That of course, intimidates people who are older than me. Because they didn’t, couldn’t and/ or wouldn’t figure out the same thing I figured out, in twice or three times the amount of time. But again, that’s their beef. With themselves. And perhaps, God/ the Universe. That ain’t got nothing to do with me.

So, pardon my back, as I walk away from your projections, self-hatred and deflections. That’s not my business. Whatsoever. Just like my confessions and testimonies, and more importantly, my struggle is none of yours. It can be a mirror for you, if you’ll have it. A reflection of sorts. Nothing more. Nothing less. Learn from it, or ignore it. That’s on you. And again, between you and God/ the Universe. Like Jay Z said, “what you eat, don’t make me shit.”

This National Poetry Writing Month was all about cleaning out the biggest skeletons in my closet, still holding me back. Writing and publishing poems that spoke to my cleansing. My filtration of the wicked and evil. I found myself not only writing poetry that spoke to my former bondage and perpetual thrust toward freedom, but also doing things within my life to reflect such strides.

I cleansed my insides and outside alike. Redefined, shortened and inched off my circle, even more so than before. I cut my inner ties with just about everyone. As, anyone who has ever elevated to another level in their life, might understand and openly acknowledge, not everyone is prepared to graduate to the next levels of life with you. If you’re truly dedicated toward going forward, with or without those folks, your circle will indefinitely get smaller.

Let me tell you. My circle got so small, it’s literally just me, God and my momma (on most days). Might I say, It has been incredibly liberating. So much so, that it makes me cry to think of it. I’ve been through too much, y’all. Far too much. And no one strong enough to help me, bothered to. I have no superman. No superwoman. No heroes and saviors. But God and His son, Jesus Christ. That’s all I have, outside myself. And it took too long to realize that was all I ever did, and ever will need. I had to save myself. So, I stood up, worked out, and did just that. I saved my own self.

Now, here I am, moving onto the dimension that God has ordained for me. Graduating from the beginner’s Spiritual University. I’m graduating from the life of silence. The life of more lows than highs. The life of being blessed, but too numb to bask in it. The life of wasted life. The life of the walking dead. I AM ALIVE AND WELL. I am graduating to the life of Alive and Well. By God’s glorious grace. It was all worth it. Every single step of the way. It was worth it.

I’ve been so humbled and learned so much about patience and faith. I also understand the significance of keeping my heart open. That means, for me, that I must maintain an open door policy for all who come forward with pure hearts and righteous intentions. That means not counting wrongs against folks. It means letting go and letting God. It means forgiving, in the moment, as we all live in real life time. It means making sure the person, place or thing understands that when I walk away, I walk away with love and forgiveness in my heart. That is all.

In such, it means leaving myself open to people coming back to me, so to speak, anew and born again. Isolation and separation is all I once knew. I had no healthy understanding or acknowledgement of how to move forward from pain, hurt and intentional abuse, with forgiveness and love, without leaving the door open for more pain, hurt and intentional abuse. So, I did all I knew best to do. When faced with the option to move forward without pain and hurt, I almost always did so by cutting all ties with folks who I felt brought me such emotions.

Now I know better. I know how to speak up for myself, without harboring anger and resentment. I know how to love unconditionally. Thus, I know how to designate and maintain unconditional love for myself. I know to how to be free. How to stay free. How to release and relieve myself of bondage. By speaking truth. Keeping faith. Displaying love. Then, moving forward. No regrets. No apologies. No explanations.

I know how to make it clear who I am accountable to. My God and myself. That is all. I have some ways to go, Lord knows. But, I am so much further from where I was, and far closer to where I want and need to be. Closest to God. EverythingShaquana will continue to reflect that, in accordance to its mission. As I get closer to the official launch though, EverythingShaquana will also begin making room for new voices. As I lighten my load, EverythingShaquana will do more to help others to do the same. That is the whole purpose of this EverythingShaquana thing, in the end, anyway.

So, as I walk away from April showers, into my reception of May flowers, I walk away clean and free as ever. My poetry from NaPoWriMo, I’d like to believe, reflects that and so much more. Thus, I thought it to only be right to remind you all of what I wrote the last month. What I let go of. Most importantly, what will never tie me down again.

I pray you all enjoyed them. If you didn’t get a chance to do so, see the list below. Perhaps, you’ll find something inspiring or something. Maybe, you’ll even be inspired to jump in on the festivities when we do this thing a third time around, next year. They do say, the third time is a charm ;-). Peace and A’se!

NaPoWriMo Poetry Wrap Up:

  • 4.11.15: ‘Stay
  • 4.19.15: ‘I AM
  • 4.20.15: ‘Push