I know whenever I obsess over something for weeks, it's not for no reason. Usually, there's a lesson for me to pull from it. I've been watching clip after clip of The Masked Singer competition television show, random? I know. There are a couple of celebs I recognized and liked on there: Raven-Symoné, Tamera Mowry-Housley, Adrienne Bailon-Houghton, T-Pain, and so many more who had a good run.
There was one that stood out to me. I'm a butterfly through and through, so of course, I loved THE Michelle Williams from Destiny's Child.
Not just for obvious reasons like her costume, but her story really fits what a butterfly is if you're familiar with all she has overcome in her singing career including having the phrase "Poor, Michelle" circulate culture, dealing with depression, and all. Part of the Masked Singer show is the artist providing weekly clues so the audience and judges can guess who's under the mask. You really feel her vulnerability as she tells her story when seemingly no one knows who she is. Check out a compilation of her performances and clues here.
A lot of people wonder what goes on in a chrysalis. It gets intense the amount of morphing that transforms a slimy caterpillar into a regal butterfly. Check out a short clip of that process here.
For the past two years, I've felt hidden in plain sight. I've been tucked away safely in my chrysalis to rebuild and relearn who I was at my core. For most of my life, I did not feel empowered to figure out who this person was without outside influence, and it led to me seeing myself through other people whether that image was correct or not. But in the words of a true butterfly herself Michelle Williams, "as the butterfly, I've found the spirit to begin again. So if you want my future, forget my past. I'm done apologizing for who I used to be."
My old pastor used to say, “honor gives you access.” She wasn’t necessarily referring to just a church setting, this phrase has more practical application even though honor is heavily mentioned in the Bible. Christians are called to honor each other and God. It isn't as weighty as it seems, Dictionary.com describes it as meaning:
If you’re benefiting from a person, place, or institution, it’s only right to give something in return if you expect to keep having access. For example, if a mentor is allowing me to learn from them for free, it is only right that I support their endeavors because I indirectly benefit from them in the form of knowledge. If I receive a gift from someone, they didn't have to give it, so it's only right I honor them somehow. There are many ways to show honor, even as simple as a thank you.
Where there is no honor, there is no intimate access.
Where there is little honor, there is limited access. It's imperative to separate them.
I’ve had to learn in my 25 almost 26 years of living that not only am I multi-gifted, but I am also a gift. You are, too, in your own way. We each have value and purpose. There are times when you should give yourself freely to others in the form of service, kindness, empathy, etc., but this is limited. You can only give so much of yourself freely for a time. It's not sustainable and can be draining in the long run.
Another person you must learn to honor is yourself. It helps you honor others by preventing bitterness and resentment. André Williams once wrote:
"When we live in either or both a partial understanding and/or a partial application of the principle of honor, we may find ourselves refusing to set boundaries, because we don't want to seem critical or judgmental toward the other party. We discern but don't act on what we perceive…for the sake of "honor". When we live in a mature understanding of honor, we apply the principle of honor by honoring ourselves when we need adjustment in a relational dynamic. Honor is both decisive and active."
I've been working out. I'm not trying to get ripped or anything I just often have back pain because of a lack of muscle. If I were to build certain muscles, I could sustain my long days on my feet a little better.
Well, it's been a long minute since I've been THIS active, so my body was so tight and in so much pain after my first session. So much so that the next few days at work, I wasn't my anxious, dash-through-the-lab self. I was hurting, so every move was calculated to get the most work done without overexerting. I began to think, “how often do we speed through life wasting energy just because we think we have it to waste?” We don't rest. We take on too many tasks. We do the most. We overextend. It isn't until after we have reached our limit do we realize how we could've paced ourselves better beforehand.
Life is like chess. All your moves should have a purpose to achieve a goal in the end. You don't have moves to waste. Just because a move doesn't cause an imediate consequence doesn't mean it's still not a waste of time and energy. Don't rush through life, but honor yourself and others by being efficient with your resources. The pandemic taught us that life is too short. You don't have moves to waste.
I don’t have moves to waste.
"This pawn that was used so many times, that traveled only a step or two while others streaked before her.
She that was treated in low regard, and often was on the verge of being sacrificed.
Photography: Jazmin Brewster
It's February. We're eight days before this platform turns two years old. All I ask this year is that you get to know me. For once, I truly have the confidence in myself to tell my own story and to be my true self.
Thank you for joining me for this ride. As a thank you, you can use code "butterfly10" if you choose to support my collaborative efforts over at Taynyleiplantery.com. By using this code, you get 10% off your purchase of seeds including the low-maintenance wildflower mix, and fourteen other varieties of plants. By supporting us you support community gardening, school gardening, as well as the means to provide the community with the information and resources to start growing their own food. I still believe in the same important principles as when I started: self-help, community service, and activism.
I'm learning my place within all three and I thank you for supporting me thus far.