Miss Lauryn Hill echoed the sentiments of so many feminine hearts when she sang:
“I loved real, real hard once
But the love wasn't returned
Found out the man I'd die for
He wasn't even concerned
I tried, and I tried, and I tried
To keep him in my life
I cried, and I cried, and I cried
But I couldn't make it right
But I, I loved the young man
And if you've ever been in love,
Then you'd understand”
“I chose the road of passion and pain
sacrificed too much and waited in vain
Gave up my power ceased being queen
Addicted to love like the drug of a fiend.”
She echoed the sentiments of my own heart. Like so many women who have shared their stories with me, I also had a “young man” encounter.
He was young beyond his years. Infantile and underdeveloped like my self-love. These were the ingredients for a perfect storm. A storm that wrecked me into loving me, totally, unapologetically.
Here’s how the storm began to brew. Girl meets herself, likes herself enough to fake the Self-esteem tests of life. Her façade was ‘together’ enough to be convincing. Girl meets young man, the test that set her free forever.
It was the perfect smolder. They met and all conditions were promising. But that was as long there were no expectations. Looking back the dance was a perfect wave that never went anywhere. The ebbs and flows were as maddening as they were ubiquitous, never settling into a definite ‘thing.’ Girl was so afraid to make demands or state facts. Young man was content to be oblivious. Unwittingly girl gave him more power than was good for either of them. She waited for him to commit, settle, affirm. Alas, he was the master of inconsistency. He gave enough that girl was hooked on the possibilities. Girl thought that “When this is good it’s really good; should I rock the boat when we could be so close to making this work?”
There were several dynamics that caused the power imbalance. Self-love was just one of them; an important one that seems to be a constant in so many women’s stories.
Who teaches us these things? Why do we believe that we are not worth more than broken promises, inconsistent text messages and booty calls?
I have been convinced for a while now that there must have been a day in Primary/Prep school on which the boys were pulled aside and taught how to jack up a girl's headspace. The fact that many of our men are raised oftentimes singlehandedly by women implicates us in our own affectation. When will the cycle end? Here's my proposal:
How about we start rebelling? Rebelling by affirming our worth without ceasing. Affirming the worth of the 'single you,' the 'overweight you,' the 'older than you wanted to be and still unmarried you?' How about we dare to fall as recklessly in love with ourselves as we are or hope to be with "the one?" How about we stop dropping the bar low and then lower because of fear of being alone? How about we start doing the WORK of sorting through our pains and pasts and reconciling them with our purpose?
It takes deliberate and consistent work to come to a place where you are utterly confident that you are deserving of all good things in life, with love being only one of them. It takes a mental and spiritual shift to shed bad habits and stop attracting demeaning energy into your space. You are worth it! You can do it, one decision at a time.
I am so grateful for my shifts, my lessons and the wealth I am beginning to reap in love. I am ready to help my queen sisters level up in love. The White Lotus Blooms Life Class on March 10 will be a safe space to do just that. Lets get all that's ours!
Email me at email@example.com or follow me on Instagram @lotus.patrice for more details.
I jumped off the cliff. I gave up my ‘secure’ means of earning a living in exchange for truly living my LIFE!
Truth be told, this has been a while in the making. I have been counseled, admonished, and lectured about the exigency of fully being in the business (now businesses). I set about to really jump off last year. This January though, is it. Today, January 23 is when I should have returned to work. So this blog post is so symbolic. I wanted to document the journey in authenticity with you guys.
I experienced so many emotions when contemplating this decision. I felt at first like I needed to transition in order to be a “real entrepreneur” and not a hobbyist. There was some shame in that analysis. “Why have you been doing it the wrong way for so long?” “You are not serious about this thing.”
Then I felt the pangs of purpose getting more and more unrelenting. I also experienced this deep need to have control over MY own time. To set my own schedule. To decide how I spend the hours and days with which God has gifted me. I feel so strongly about that. Then came the many thoughts steeped in Arithmetic and Permutations; “What if you can’t make your bills?” “What if things get horrible?” I wondered if I was being stupid, entitled, naïve or believing in pipe dreams. It’s amazing how powerfully paralyzing the thoughts in our own heads can be!
Even when I thought I decided for sure, I still instinctively clung to the ‘safety’ of the 9 to 5 concept. I feel like I was ‘helped’ by God to ultimately let go. Though I spoke of the thoughts in the past tense, I am still not free of the “OMG what on earth have you done” thoughts. But importantly, I am moving in my chosen direction despite these thoughts.
I feel refreshingly liberated and decreasingly scared. I will tell you why.
I am only here on purpose. Purpose is what guides me. I have come to trust it because it got me through Cancer. It got me through devastation probably equal in weight to cancer. It got me out of car crashes and life’s chaos. It was the thought that “God brought me here. I am His idea and so HE must know what for" that helped me to keep sane in tumult.
So with that as my compass I committed to my financial planning and calculations. And importantly also, my visioning of the life I want. I sketched and wrote and affirmed. I am still doing this.
It works! It is working as we speak.
After writing down that I wanted to be an author and perhaps more importantly after I STARTED to write, an opportunity materialized out of thin air! I got a message to call a colleague and mentor. She started with “Kamala, are you interested in writing?” (She had not seen the launch of the blog).
“I responded with a swift “Yes I sure am.” She said “Great!” She went on to tell me how she writes content for a noted Caribbean Magazine and is interested to bring me on to write for them also. Her reasons were just as providential as her intent.
Maybe the very day after posting my first blog, fellow entrepreneur Dean (of Bizniz Factory) calls me and invites me to speak at the February 18 seminar on entrepreneurship. Because purpose.
Last year when I realized I wouldn’t be able to jump off the cliff just yet, I experienced significant anxiety on my first day of returning to work. I had to defuse the anxious energy so I started to write my vision using my phone. I wrote “I want to have events/seminars/talks for women…I want a microphone and an audience…” among other things. Please explain to me how two days later Dionne and I are at the beach and she sees an opportunity on Facebook specifically seeking a psychologist who is not camera shy. Please explain to me how I end up being highly recommended, going to the audition and getting the call from the producers to say “So, Kamala we chose you!” I will testify fully on this soon. Suffice it to say it involves a microphone and an audience.
I know you are probably tired of reading this preface, but please explain to me how I get an email from a young woman who says she “happened upon my page” and is inviting me to be a speaker at a seminar entitled “Will to live, which will focus on helping people who are hopeless and may have lost the will to live.” (Future blog post coming up on why none of our experiences are wasted)
Another young woman invited me to speak to a group of young women in a rehabilitation centre.
Several opportunities not only to impact on purpose, but to earn, are coming to me. I am positively clear that when we say YES and mean it, then opportunities hunt us down and say YES to us also.
I will be back in this space sharing more of these providence moments because…purpose!
I declare today that I have not jumped off randomly to my demise. No. I have, as my friend Kaysha coined, “Jumped off into amazing!”
I will write another blog post with practical steps and considerations for starting…to tap into your purpose . Until then, start designing the life you want. Not the life that is practical. Not the life that is likely; but the life you want!
I started teaching myself how to make hair accessories and the like about 8 years ago. It started as a hobby that exercised my creativity. Friends and strangers grew more and more interested in purchasing the pieces and the addiction began.
Over the course of the new few years I developed my craft. I was working in Montego Bay then. My main supplier was a little fabric store down the road from my workplace. I went there so often that I became besties with the chief sales rep; 8 years later, she has migrated overseas and we still keep in touch.
I would travel between Montego Bay & Spanish Town with a large, plastic “sheet spread bag:” the kind with the zipper around it. All my junk was in it. All kinds of random, useful junk that I would use (or plan to use) in the making of a fascinator or something else.
I started to access training at the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship. One day at Branson, I was significantly frustrated by the fact that I wanted a store front for the growing brand. I was furiously praying inside during the sessions. I happened to change seats and ended up sitting beside an entrepreneur in the fashion industry. While I am distracted by my own supplications, she turns to me in the most abrupt fashion, as if she just remembered something and says to me “You don’t want a store space in Kingston for $35,000 a month?!” Shortly thereafter White Lotus Designs had a home.
Most of my clients were brides and so I ordered 10 dresses using my credit card and within the year the White Lotus Bridal Boutique & Design House was born.
The Branson Centre provided my first taste of business training. At that point I realized that in fact I still had a hobby and not a business. I started to work on the business. We eventually moved into a space about 4 times our first location. It cost only a fraction more, which was quite a convincing element.
One day I was reflecting on the fact that we needed more inventory, fast. I sat in my coworker’s office and said to myself “ Lord…yuh cyah mek mi get some more dresses on a deal…?” I got up, went into my office and checked a messenger notification I received on facebook. There, on the screen, was the owner of a good deal of dresses, enquiring whether I wanted to purchase from her at discounted prices. I mean, no more than 5 minutes elapsed from prayer to providence!
Enter the season of landlord wars and so many lessons learned! (This epic is for my first book).
Enter Breast Cancer.
Enter the searching for purpose.
There came a time when I thought the best thing to do was to close it all down. Everything. Beneath the glitz of magazine features and fashion shows, the entrepreneurial toll was real. In some seasons, I didn’t feel the promised freedom of entrepreneurship. I wasn’t experiencing financial abundance. In fact, my ‘business’ felt like a big bill. I knew I wasn’t doing it all correctly but I wasn’t motivated to try again. One year I boldly presented myself at the Credit Bureau for a credit report. It was a small office and there were several other bold persons being served. Let’s just say that the Office administrator did not have to be so loud during our mini consultation.
I remember seeking God for answers. I had an epiphany one day. If, IF I were to continue I would need a better location. I boldly sent out a proposal to a property I knew would be excellent as a location for us.
I was praying with a friend one day and the matter came up. The Lord declared “Today a door is open that you couldn’t open previously…”
We ended prayer and I was in the kitchen when my phone rang. The hour was of such that the caller had to apologize for calling so late. The caller was of course the contact person from the property to whom I had submitted the proposal. What do you think he said? “Your proposal has been accepted…lets work out the details this week.”
I didn’t plan to testify in this blog post (my first!). But apparently when you are God’s idea, a testimony is not something you make, it’s what you live.
I still berate myself for not getting it right. There are still painful realities. I have had times as recently as 2 months ago when I again revisited the idea of ‘simplifying’ my life. Writing this post is offering clarity on several important truths. Chief of which is that He who has begun a good work will see it through to the end.
To my fellow entrepreneurs, the struggle is real but the triumph is sweet. I know the weight of the pressure to get it right. I know how heavy the expectations are. I know what it’s like to develop a phobia for reconciling your accounts because the realities are scarier that Freddie Kruger. I know the acerbic taste of the social comparison: “Well, clearly she is doing a lot better than I am” and “Maybe I just wasn’t cut out for this; who am I fooling?”
Hear me: DO NOT GIVE UP! Re-calibrate, re-invent, re-think, re-brand, retreat for a while if needs be but do not forget your WHY. And remember If you need a sounding board, Lotus is here. It’s a lonely road and it can be fraught with emotional and other dangers. Let’s be there for each other. A world of thanks to my support system and sisters!
Kamala P. McWhinney is God's Idea. I am academic, I am creative,I am dreamer. My name is Hindu for Lotus. Given the beautiful symbolism of the Lotus Flower I have embraced it as a metaphor for my evolving, my surviving and my thriving.