Listen to her Crown Holders message: http://www.audioacrobat.com/sa/W7J9YRFr
Hello, Gorgeous Ones!
Before we begin, this is the part I would ask for a volunteer. But, since this is a podcast I want you to do this instead: Stand up. It doesn’t matter where you are -- at work or home -- get up from your seat and breathe.
Now, that you’re up and standing and breathing, I want to congratulate you because you’re doing something I couldn’t achieve in recent years, which was, overcoming my fear to live – not looking at any glass half empty or full – but to allow trepidation to be my unbearable prison.
Now, give yourself a round of applause. You’re doing something that many are afraid to do: live. And, standing up to breathe is a start.
My name is Imani Wisdom, the founder of Pink Noire Publications and the Urban eBook Fair; the author of two books, and graphic designer. The title of what I want to discuss today is “Living In Your Prison” -- freeing yourself to empowerment. So, I want to begin with a personal story, which will also shed light on an upcoming project I’m working on.
Back in 2010, on a brisk February afternoon, I found myself alone in a darkened room. I mean there was no light shining anywhere, probably just under the crack of the door adjacent to the family room where my grandmother was watching her soaps.
Yet, despite the imaginary drama that echoed through the house, I ignored what had happened beyond the comforts of my darkness. I didn’t care who needed me or if there were life beyond the four corners of the room, I was in emotional pain, and I wanted it to stop. It became so arduous, that suffering had broken its tipping point and I needed to find a way out – fast.
So here I was, at thirty-nine feeling like I was a mistake; like I didn’t have a sense of belonging, except to care for others – and I wasn’t very good at that. So amongst the darkness, I wept and wept and wept until I could literally feel my eyelids swell. Friends, I had fallen into a pathetic state of self-pity with no way out, or was it?
Then I glanced at the Bible which was lying on the bed beside the chair of where I sat. I don’t recall how the Holy Book got there; I just remembered when I glanced at it, I felt the utmost disdain. So I then shifted my anger toward the one person who created me – God.
I looked to the ceiling as if I could see His face, my fist balled up, jaws clenched, and could feel my anger going to a rolling boil. And the first thing that had come from my mouth wasn’t “Help me, Lord” or “I need guidance”, but to “Take me, I’m ready to go”.
Yes, I was ready to die right then and there, despite my children was school-aged, my grandparents were dwelling in the next room and a beloved mother living with an amazing family: my sister and her wonderful husband and kids. I wanted to give everything up and die before I reached forty.
When someone is suffering from tremendous pain, they really don’t want to die; they just want the pain to stop. And since I’ve carried the quiet suffering for years prior to my request and nothing had subsided it regardless of how hard I tried, I was ready to leave my loved ones behind. Death had become my awaited “Promised Land”.
So after I spoke to God with that cowardly request, I rambled on, asking about my purpose and why I was born. I remembered I begged as my tears poured, pleading to the All-Mighty.
Do you want to know what happened next? The most inconvenient thing ever: the telephone started to ring. While I wait for my untimely death, the phone went from one ring to two and then three rings to four. I scowled, irritated by the fact that my grandmother had picked a great time to step away from the phone. I heaved an exasperated sigh, and stormed out of the room, marching past my grandfather who was nodding off in his wheelchair and into the kitchen.
When I arrived there, I noticed my grandmother’s walker sitting outside the restroom as the phone was ringing. I turned my nose up in frustration and finally answered it, and of all people, guess who was on the line? My mother.
Now the reason why this was shocking was that she never called me on my grandmother’s landline phone. Never. I kept my cell phone literally at my hip at all times and she would call there. But that day, at the hour, at that minute, momma decided to call me on grandmomma’s phone to ask this simple question: “Are you okay?”
Not the traditional “hello”, or did you watch the Pacer’s play last night, but an innate response for any mother who knows their child is in distress. But how I wondered?
“I had this strange feeling I needed to call you?” she continued. “Are you sure you’re okay?”
Annoyed, I gazed at the door of the darkened room, wishing I could go back in there and wait for my hopeful inevitable. Yet, I replied to my mother the best way I could. “I’m fine,” I told her.
I’m not sure it quelled her anxiety, but after more small talk and other chit-chats, she ended her call. I remembered thinking with joy: “Finally!”
So when I returned to the room, the same murkiness that had wrapped around me like a snug blanket was gone. Even death didn’t seem apparent; it felt as though it made its quick exit. Poof, gone!
Again, I grew annoyed than I had before momma’s phone call. I mean, the nerve of the Lord going silent all because I have asked this simple request. If could He could make the world in six days and rested on the seventh, then why couldn’t He had snuffed me out with a snap of his fingers.
Then something had struck me; something in my inner core had told me to shut up and pay attention.
And while I sat there, my eyes wandered to the Bible. I don’t know why, but I had decided to have a staring match against an inanimate object – not sure the purpose or what I would have achieved. But I realized, at that moment, my actions during that day – and really for years – were actions of an imprisoned mentality.
I’ve created a prison within myself. I dwelled in self-pity and ignored what my inner soul had been trying to tell me for years. I was so self-absorbed with my faults that I didn’t listen to the faintest whisper. Was it my conscience or God? Either way, I chose not to listen to my gut instinct, which was to finish what I started.
What does that mean?
I’ll tell you: Four years prior on that fateful day, I wrote a short story called, Zion’s Road: A Love Story about Faith and Redemption. It’s about a former Klansman finding his redemption in the strangest of places as he bears a heart-wrenching secret, which gets revealed later in the storyline. And, of course, I was very proud of finally finishing a story from beginning to end. I’ve never done that before. Usually, I would begin with the beginning and middle but had never accomplished on completing the end.
Well, in some sort, I may have finished the writing portion, but I kept it in my hard drive for four years. Call it fear, but I didn’t make a good effort to finding how to publish the story.
However, shortly after I completed the project, I began immediately began writing the prequel, which was the original title was called, Heaven Bound and my intentions were to write it as a short story like my first narrative.
And, guess what? I didn’t finish that one, either.
Some of you know the revised title as “The Journey of Ruthie Belle”, and I had written up to three chapters and just stopped. Eventually, I finished the manuscript, went through the editing process, and published it in 2016.
But, this new project I’m working on is a direct correlation with “living in your prison”. And, surprise, surprise, not only did I finished the manuscript in the same year; but the premise of the story is so relevant to today’s issues -- depression, sexual exploitation, sexual abuse, and sex slavery. It’s no wonder finding solace within the four walls of a prison is comforting. Just like me. Just like you. Just like someone you know, and just like this character.
More about this project in a minute. But first, how many of you had a desire to pursue a dream, or had begun a project and just stopped?
And, do you know why that is? Because we don’t trust ourselves. Our hearts are our biggest cheerleader, and yet we allow negative thoughts to dictate our innate capabilities. Sure, we have jobs and families; but our jobs and families should be an inspiration to continue our dream, not an excuse. This is real talk now!
Like I, back in that darkened, depressing room on that cold day, I was mad at God because he didn’t snap his fingers to give me a quick and painless death. And you noticed, I said “quick and painless” which proved how much of a coward I was. I was ready to “go” but I didn’t want to feel the repercussions.
But in reality, I wanted to quick a way out because I listened to the wrong voice. I chose to believe the negative thoughts that swirled in my mind, instead of listening to my heart. And probably one of the reasons why I felt so despondent on that day was because I hadn’t slept well in three years.
Have you ever had an idea that stuck with you morning, noon, and night that it had kept you from sleeping? I have, and trust me; it’s a horrible feeling when you’ve been deprived of sleep.
At the time, I didn’t quite understand why my first unfinished manuscript would stay pressed on my mind. It was like a movie had been playing in the depths of my psyche with no off-button. Think about television being left on while you were trying to sleep. What do you do when it starts to bother you? You turn it off, right?
My situation, I couldn’t. I couldn’t just simply turn whatever was playing in my head off. I felt bound to my thoughts and had nowhere to escape.
So, in the meantime, as I continued to gaze at the Bible with untainted contempt, I reached over it to and gripped the leather-bound cover in my hand, and pierced another, distasteful stare.
I recalled hurling a sarcastic laugh under my breath and tossing it back on the bed. But in the course of that throw, I distinctly heard a voice saying in a gentle whisper: “Finish what you’ve started”.
Again, I wasn’t paying attention; my pain and pity were too great to listen. So, I looked at the clock on my cell phone and it was almost time for me to pick up the kids from school. As I was gathering my keys and my purse from the bed, the voice whispered again, “Finish”.
It wasn’t a voice you will hear at the movies when a mysterious, thunderous voice rolls from nowhere. This particular voice was gentle as a breeze; yet commanding to get my attention.
So what did “finish” mean? I knew deep in my heart exactly what it meant. I’ve begun to put two and two and two and two together and it equaled the most common sense as to why I chose to stay in my prison.
The project I ignored for four years; the excessive weight gain; the excuses; accepting mediocrity and cloaking myself in darkness every chance I had, were all exhibits of a dead spirit. I would say a “prisoner”, but many inmates find skills (or their passion) while being imprisoned. In fact, they’re quick to “finish” just prove themselves they can.
Therefore a prison I’ve created for myself could have been my motivation to complete my “possible” – my manuscripts, to change my lifestyle, and more importantly, to rediscover the love I have for myself.
And Friends, I love myself now than I ever had in the 48 years of my life. So much so, the events that happened on that day have been crystal clear. The Universe, you know, has ways of getting your attention whether you’re ready or not. Mine had come so abundantly clear, that I had no choice but to pay attention.
That evening, after my children and grandparents were settled in, I had taken my laptop out and searched for my unfinished manuscript. And the rest is history. Or, rather call “her-story”.
I know some would argue the premise of “The Journey of Ruthie Belle” is about domestic violence, or sexual abuse; or character loosely based on me. While two out of three are true, these are important to the basis of the narrative; but I look at it a lot more than the typical woman overcoming obstacles. When we finally wake up from our self-pity, we all do that; we will overcome challenges so we wouldn’t have to go back to that old shell of a person.
The true premise of Ruthie Belle is empowerment – and this is the message I want to convey with all of you today. She found her empowerment by pursuing her primary goal until the end. As many times during her journey, she wanted to quit, she fought on until she saw her “Promised Land”.
Like many of you, or someone you may know, we want to find our “Promised Land” of achieving goals, dreams, or getting that promotion at work; or that house, or cleaning up your credit; or finding Mr. or Mrs. Right. You have it in you; you just have to listen.
It has taken me years to get my act together. Don’t let it be you; don’t prolong your destiny because of the prison you’ve created for yourself. Get out of your “wilderness” and begin your first steps to your journey.
Now a year and three months after that brisk day, the one person that had saved me from myself passed away on June 10, 2011. God knew my mother would stop my foolishness, knowing He had a plan all along. Without her, I wouldn’t be standing here today telling you my story.
So, the question remains as you leave today: What will your story be? Will you stay in your prison, or break free and be the person you are meant to be?
Thank you for listening.
As for my new project, what I want you to remember are these lines: “All I wanted was to hold my son and bury him when I felt ready. And Rick never gave me the chance to do so.”
Why is this important?
Because manipulation leads to control. Control leads to abuse of any kind. Abuse leads to exploitation. And, exploitation...well, I’m sure you know where I’m going with this.
It’s sad when a human being, especially our girls have to endure this bullshit. I don’t know, maybe it’s me, but it seems society wants our girls to grow up fast. Hence, the character from my next project, Lilith -- a name I want you to remember.
She may have come from a middle-class background; attended the best schools; wearing the best of clothes, vacations, and allowances. I mean, Lilith had everything that most girls could dream of, except for one thing: unconditional love.
When a person gets deprived of love and compassion, then that’s when monsters are created. Lilith, by no means, have clean hands in this book. In fact, her hands are so dirty, she’s on death row. Yet, you have to ask yourself: how did she go from, Lilith, the straight-A schoolgirl to a murderess of five people?
I mean, after all, secrets can be deadly.
To learn more about this title, follow me on my social networks for the official release date.
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LILITH by Imani Wisdom
An Urban Women’s Fiction drama coming in 2020.
From the author of Zion’s Road and The Journey of Ruthie Belle, comes a new Women’s Fiction novel about friendship from two unlikely people.
SISTER MARY FRANCIS DELANEY, a highly regarded psychotherapist in the field of sex crimes, struggles with uncertainty in her personal and spiritual life. The more she fights against her vocational vows, the deeper she falls into confusion. Then one day she conducts a special interview, as a part of her own ambitions, with a death row inmate LILITH “PEACHES” SULLIVAN.
Lilith is an infamous killer, convicted of murdering five people, including her stepfather. Though living in suburbia and going to the best schools, one would think she has the best of everything. Yet looks are deceiving. Behind the Sullivans’ home is a myriad of deceit and lies, which has become Lilith’s life. It’s all she knows and carries that tumultuous lifestyle into her final days.
But when these women meet, will Sister Mary Francis discover their past are more similar in ways she realizes? Or, is the public’s perception of Lilith is true: She’s a monster.
Read the first excerpt here: http://imaniwisdom.com/lilith-novel
About the Author
Imani Wisdom is the founder of Pink Noire Publications. Based in Indianapolis, IN, Pink Noire is a groundbreaking company with an unpredictable brand of literary storytelling. Wisdom is also the creator of Pink Noire Blog, which hosts inspirational posts for the soul, along with social commentary.
Born and raised in “Indy,” Wisdom spends her days overseeing a family of five, writing short stories and books, cooking vegan dishes, running 5Ks and mini-marathons, and enjoying quality time with her friends and family.
Wisdom is a graduate of Ivy Tech Community College, earning a degree in Paralegal Studies. She is a prolific storyteller whose works depict an honest portrayal of societal issues.
As a blogger and author, she has received numerous honors including 2012 nominee for Poet of the Year (AAMBC Book Club), March 2012 Up and Coming Author (The Writer’s POV Magazine), September 2011 Blog of the Month (The Writer’s POV Magazine), and February 2011 Editor’s Pick (BlackShortStories.com) for her short story, The Shattered Mogul.
Her works include Zion’s Road: A Love Story about Faith and Redemption, and her novel, The Journey of Ruthie Belle.
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#WomenHistoryMonth, #BlackPearlsMagazine, #CrownHoldersLead, #WomenOfANewDay, #HerStoryHerVoice, #HerLifeHerTerms, #TheCHSisterhood, #StorytellersBookTour, #TheLitTakeOver, #TheMorningTea, #BetterElla, #GetLitWithElla, #UnWrappedLit, #SeducingThePen