The Day I Grew Strength From My Ancestors Wounds

Education, Life, Life Lessons, Motivation

I used to consume history in high school like popsicles on a sunny day. I was intoxicated with learning what happened before my existence. My mind swelled with knowledge of how what became what and how who become who. I would go through trails in my head with the intent to get to the end of how I ended up here. In America. After years of slavery.

On a cold Thursday afternoon, I made my way to the new Mississippi Civil Rights Museum located in Downtown Jackson, Mississippi. As I walked through the doors, I was met by two police officers. The lady said “Take everything out your pockets. Step forward.” I did so. It was procedure, but I instantly felt a small sense of what would be ahead.

As I made my way to the beginning of the eight exhibit museum, I started here. Instantly taken aback by what I was reading. My eyes glazed over metal chains used as restraints, documents of laws and pictures of cotton, poverty, and politics. I was on an emotional roller coaster that hadn’t even reached its peak.

Before proceeding to certain simulations and presentations, the museum had warning signs of how graphic the pictures may be. As I stepped in certain spots, the intercom said “Hey! What are you doing here? You better get out of here if you don’t want any trouble.” It was in real voices. The same voices my ancestors heard day in and day out.

One went as far as the sound of a rifle being prepared for action. Although I was in a safe place, my mind started to imagine what it must have been like living in the times of slavery and post-slavery.

I imagined punishment for little or no reason, deep senses of fear in the bellies of every black person in those times, the rise of faith and doubt, the organization of movements and companies, the birth of children and the death of some. I imagined hymns being moaned when words couldn’t be mustered. Oh, I imagined a lot.

When I exited imagination, I reentered reality. I was grateful to have gained a small glimpse into my history. I was saddened by the lives lost to fight for the freedoms I have today. I was inspired to press on another day knowing my ancestors had endured far worse than I ever have.

Many of the wounds are still open today. History is living in the present. I still see injustice, poverty, slavery of the mind, depression and systematic oppression. But in the eye of my soul, there’s light, there’s hope, there’s freedom, there’s truth and there’s time. I walked out of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum with my curly head held high with a bandaid of strength over my ancestors wounds.

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Ever had moonshine that tastes like water? 

Adventures, Life, Travel

Part one of five of the blog series, Adventures in Mississippi. Explore with me the unknown adventures of this state. 

On a rainy Tuesday afternoon, I walked into what looked like a previously abandoned building. The smell of yeast rushed into my nostrils as I inhaled. I skimmed the building filled with metal machinery, barrels, and pallets of Vodka. 

We were met by a cheery voice “Hi guys! Welcome to Cathead Distillery! I’m glad you guys could make it.”

As our tour began, we headed towards the machinery. Facing where it all goes down, we learned the main ingredients of Vodka. 

Who knew corn starch was a core ingredient of the process? A few things we learned (particular to Cathead) included:

  • It takes about 7-10 days to make vodka 
  • It’s the first legal distillery in MS to open since prohibition 
  • It takes less than a second to fill a bottle from the LIQUITOTES (container to the far right)

The final phases of our 30 minute tour included viewing where barrels are stored before they are shipped, the facilities they are shipped to, and taste testing 4 liquors of our choice.

My favorites were: Original Cathead Vodka and Hoodoo. Yes, the latter one is spooky but delicious!

If you’re ever in Jackson, MS and interested in learning about the distillation process of vodka, I definitely recommend scheduling a tour. Here’s an awesome Groupon to save a few coins. 

   Stay true. Stay wild. Stay adventurous.

Until next time,

Britney L. Clark 

You Seem So Far Away

Life

When you were distant, you seemed closer

Seem like you made an extra effort to be near

But now that you’ve been home 

I’ve been on a scavenger hunt to find your mind, your attention, your process, your vision

Perhaps I’m looking for something you’re still looking for 

I know what transition feels like, so I’m not judging 
Trying to keep my requests down as your list is already overflowing 

But I miss you 

I miss the flow we had before 

Seasons are changing, but sometimes it feels like we’re standing still 

I know what you see ain’t what you want 

But can we just take a moment and be grateful you can see at all

See it ain’t about what you want, where you want to be

It’s about being thankful you are where you are with what you have

Your time is coming 

But in the meantime 

I hope you make time for me

Cause you seem so far away 

And I gotta admit I want you close 

Original poem by britneylclark.

Death

Faith, Life, Uncategorized

Sometimes I wonder if it’s better than life

Not here to witness everyday let downs and despair

Death

You’ve taken my friend, my grandmother, and my paw paw and my uncle

Why do you come so soon

Why do you come in the midst of joy

Death

I’m sitting on my friend’s grave

Wondering if he can hear me

I’ve been gone too long

Putting him in the background as I tackle life

Now I’m back here questioning what I’d do wrong with life

Death

Could you let my friend come back for a few minutes? I need to talk to him and he ain’t here

Original poem by @britneylclark.

Rivers of Compassion and Grace

Faith, Uncategorized

Lately, I have found myself quick to respond without fully listening, make comments that do not usher in grace or understanding, and quick to judge another’s logic.

Today in my daily meditation, I was reminded of times when I made really bad decisions, led with my emotions or simply just didn’t get it right.

It is so easy to offer our opinions without having all the facts, give unsolicited advice, or get upset when others do certain things we have conquered (or think we have).

Women and men who have had the courage to heal their hearts are quick to criticize the person who can’t seem to let it go.

College students who graduated in the “expected” 4 years look down on the person who’s taking 6-7 years.

Self-righteous Christians are quick to roll their eyes at the person who stands up every Sunday who asks for prayer to overcome the same trial.

Mentally healthy people are quick to judge the person who is fighting to stay in their right mind with medicine and therapy without realizing they are possibly one tragedy away from being in the same situation.

Women without children are quick to judge the person who has a child out of wedlock without realizing they were only saved by grace.

People (myself included) who sit in their cars in the air turn their heads at the homeless as if we’re not a couple of paychecks away from the same situation.

I encourage you to pray that God will fill you with an overflow of compassion and grace for yourself and enough to spill over for every person you encounter in your day.

NONE of us have arrived. Sometimes we get it right. Sometimes we don’t. Stay faithful.

With love,

What the Sun Told Me about Sacrifice 

Faith, Life

6 months ago, I walked away from my Corporate America job. Most would consider it a “good job”, because I had great benefits, paid time off, and my own spacious office.

Leading up to my departure, I struggled with working with no purpose, enthusiasm, or vision for the work I was doing. I was simply tackling tasks and putting out as many fires as I could each day.

Fast forward to the next day following my last day at work, I woke up FREE. With no anxiety of having to go to a place where I knew I couldn’t fully grow into God’s true purpose for my life.

It has been a beautiful journey in this short amount of time. I’ve explored cities at 2:00pm on a Tuesday afternoon. I’ve worked from Starbucks and in parks. I’ve spent hours in prayer and worship. I’ve worked with women to build a Centre for Women in Girls in Africa. I’ve traveled to Turkey, Africa and back to the states. I’ve met amazing people intentionally and in passing. 

I’ve also had my moments of loneliness, isolation, and frustration. Unlearning a mindset you’ve been trained since you are old enough to read is hard. Not having a set schedule given to you by someone else can increase your chances of being lazy for the day. 

Today I had the honor of babysitting my 3 year old niece. She was under the weather but still so full of energy. As I took her to a local city nearby, she fell asleep and eventually woke up. When she woke up, she started to cry and reached out to be held. I took her out the car seat and began to walk around with her as I consoled her.

When I looked up, the sun was shining right on us. I began to cry from a place of thankfulness. These moments would have been missed had I been in an office, scrambling to get things done that more than likely won’t matter in the next 5-10 years.

The sun reminded me that God’s plans are perfect. His purpose for my life is alive. This season of my life is preparing me for the next. The sun reminded me He has the power to heal, restore, and mend. 


With dry eyes and a heart for God, I’ll continue to press on. I pray you find the sun wherever you are and let it teach you. 

What makes you woman?

Who told you when you became woman?

Is it your body development, your natural ability to nurture and love everything in sight?

Is it a western culture that tells you when you hit 21 you are woman?

Is it traditional or gender roles that tell you once you know how to cook, clean, and have children you’ve reached womanhood?

I am just so curious to know how you became woman and what criteria you are holding on to. 

Life

Finding the Beauty in the Unknown 

Life, Life Lessons

Alarm clock goes off. Snooze or not to snooze? Lay here for a few more minutes or get right to it? Am I excited about the day or dreading it? Is this really what I’m supposed to be doing with my life? Sigh. It’s 7:15am, whatever the answer is to the latter will have to wait…

Life is a journey you never quite figure out. As the seasons change, so do you. We rarely like to admit that the life we envisioned years, months, or weeks ago has changed. It is much easier to stay put rather than explore the uncertainties of your mind.

Why? You may find truths that no longer align with what you have been trained to believe. You may find who you truly are isn’t what you present to world each day. You may find more comfort is piling your insecurities in the corners of your mind rather than addressing them.

I know. Tough. But if I don’t challenge your thought process, who will? 🤷🏽‍♀️

Here are 3 ways to find beauty in the unknown and come out stronger on the other side:

1. Be okay with not knowing.

The first step to growth is acknowledgment. You cannot dissect an area of your life you are not willing to accept. It is okay to be confused, frustrated, and uneasy with the uncertainty. But ONLY for a moment. These are natural responses, but they don’t have to become you. Take the same energy it would take to sit in those emotions and intitate self-discovery.

Exercise: For the next 7 days, take 5 minutes each day to write down what you enjoy, don’t enjoy, and are willing to sacrifice to get what you enjoy. 

2. Ask for counsel.

We have counselors in high school and college for a reason. They have been trained or have completed the research to know what classes you need to take to get from Point A to Point B. Why not have counsel for your life? There are people who have walked paths you may not even know exist. Don’t let your pride stand in the way of asking for help. Be willing to be lead. It takes permission for someone to lead you.

Exercise: Following the first 7 days, find 3 people who you think are the shit! (Meaning: You admire their values, work ethic, business, etc.) Reach out to them and ask for a dialogue of how they overcame uncertainty in their lives. You want the REAL. Not the surface level blasé. Always offer something of value too. Whether we like to admit it or not, people like to engage in activities that benefit them too.

3. Create a plan to move toward certainty. 

So, now you have a better sense of what you like and don’t like and you’ve solicited counsel. Take your self-discoveries and counsel and create a plan. I’m not suggesting a 5-year plan. Baby steps people, baby steps. Start with a week at a time. Each day devoting time to build on your discoveries. It could be learning how to monetize a blog, coding, or learning how to cook. Whatever your desires are, integrate it in your daily activities.

Exercise: Document your progress and don’t celebrate until you have something to celebrate. Hint: A lot of us celebrate to soon.

Finally, you were born great. Make sure you die great.

With love,

Britney

For more inspiration: Connect with me on Instagram @britneylclark

Featured Photo Art: Street Art Utopia