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Identity: Why the focus?

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As Dimensions Shift, Embracing Love & Compassion:  A Flashback to August 2014 

“If you bring forth that which is within you, what you bring forth will save you.” ~ Gospel of St. Thomas

I can no longer deny or postpone the fact that my job is ending in two and half weeks, transitioning me to full-time self-employment. While I’m trying to enjoy these last weeks of perceived “stability” with the freedom and responsibility ahead, I’m also struck with the simultaneous transition into my third trimester of pregnancy, which brings with it the exhilarating certainty that my focus will solely be on keeping another human alive in just over three months. In other words, I value my roles (what I would now frame as one of many personal dimensions of identity) as a daughter, sister, friend, community builder, and justicepreneur; yet, I find myself turning inward to prepare for my new role as mama. The best metaphor I’ve come up with to express this shift is to say that I can feel the “season” in me changing.  -Via the Jillybeads 4 Justice blog

The truth is that now, over 2 and half years later, I have countless valuable stories to tell, resources to share, and light to shed on my path of Intentional Justice™,  so thanks for joining me one Tuesday at a time… 

❤️L O V E ❤️
is at the heart of everything I do.
It’s pulsing through my veins.
And, it’s a complicated intersection.
This is the beautiful mosaic of identity I love. Informing the personal and societal stories we tell ourselves and one another that are at the heart of our daily interactions. @mamajlove1

Identity is… 

Who we are (how we show up in the world to ourselves and others) and how we are seen (who the world perceives us to be), as well as the experiences that result have an impact, often defining us.

Identity, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is a close similarity or affinity. In particular, who someone is: the qualities, beliefs, etc., that make a particular person or group different from others.

Identity is the lens that has helped me make sense of who I am and how I view the world. While I came to understand this more philosophically in college and more poignantly in graduate school, my lived reality exposed me to it much earlier. It’s a toss up of which dimension I experienced first—race or gender; yet what is now clear is how I am seen in the world has greatly influenced my experience.

Whether it was being the only one among my peers with nappy hair (something I now take pride in); or wearing a dress the day we had to take cover due to a tornado, giving an older boy the opportunity to take a peak; or having to choose only one box when asked to select my race on my first standardized test, I can now see that identity played a role. As I reflect on my own experiences with identity, numerous personal and societal stories surface.

In fact, just last night I was asked to consider my identity within our mixed-raced family.

I found myself stopped in my tracks based on how someone closest to me described my identity: mixed-raced instead of Black. While both statements are true, the first one never felt like an option until now and the later took years of personal exploration, including an original master’s thesis, to fully embrace. The point is that I was left questioning why I was so fixated on one being wrong and the other right.

Then after a night’s rest, what became clear is that identity is constantly evolving. That both our personal and societal dimensions of self are not fixed. That this often challenging work I’ve defined for myself does not always fit into a nice pretty box. Then I’m reminded that I am not alone in this struggle. And, the struggle and challenge is where the learning happens.

“You’re learning all the time. Life is teaching you all the time.” @AniPemaChodron

As I fully embrace that I have and continue to live this content, I have also learned over the last 15 years how to discuss, frame, and explore it. While this lived experience and learning is what underlies my work, the reality is that the exploration of one’s identity is never done and I too will be joining you on this journey. Yes, at times this exploration can feel like a struggle AND it’s where growth happens. In other words, it’s exactly what I want to be doing—assisting others to Love Yourself like a Mother with Intentional Justice

Tell me, how, if at all, have you considered identity in your life? Share in the comments below…

In lovelution…


If you’re interested in learning more about identity, then I’d love for YOU to join me at my upcoming Intentional Justice Mindset Talks premiering in Kansas City (my hometown) on Saturday, May 20th and Sunday, May 21st. Click the links below for more details…

  • Intersectionality: Beyond the Buzz
  • Knowing Yourself is Loving Yourself

P.S. Do you know someone who could benefit from this post? Please share the love!

Grab Mama J's Intentional Justice™ Identity Activities & Guide

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Intentional Justice™ Identity Activities & Guide

With two activities to explore the dimensions of your identity along with a 4-page reference guide to frame the work and provide definitions to key social justice terms and concepts.

This bite-sized + deliberate action will unearth your cultural superpowers, creating a Intentional Justice™ in your life sentdirectly to your inbox for download.

Plus, you'll join a group of like-minded Justice Seekers & Warriors: leaders, educators, parents, and open-heated citizens of the world ready to take bite-sized and deliberate action today, tomorrow, and every day.

This is #IntentionalJustice ✊?✊?✊?✊?✊?

In lovelution...

♥ Mama J

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