Support. In this life…you’re going to need it.
In the last two weeks, I have had a whirlwind of experiences and emotions.
I recently traveled home to Louisiana, originally for the purpose of accompanying my biological father to a few of his doctor’s appointments. (And if you haven’t already, go back read my blog from Father’s Day: “Our Fathers, Who Art in Life” for more details.)
I didn’t know what to prepare myself for going into those appointments; but fortunately, the report was better than I had expected. To God be the Glory! 🙌🏾
However, just days prior to my departure, I learned that my uncle (also my godfather) had passed away after a long illness. So, I advanced my travels to be with my cousin.
Life is not forever
You know what they say…our cousins are our first friends. And I know this to be true, so I had to be there.
Since COVID-19, unfortunately, saying final goodbyes to loved ones is not ideal. Minimal participation, and seemingly very brief. BUT I was very glad that I was able to go remember my uncle, his legacy, and the impact he played in my life. He had been a pastor, and had played a pivotal role in the beginnings of my faith walk. There are so many individuals from my hometown who are either preachers, ministers, pastors, musicians or directors because of the influence of Reverend Willie Jackson ~ Gone, but not forgotten. Rest easy, Uncle Will.❤
Connections & Memories
While I was home, I had a chance to spend time with my mom and dad, biological dad, both my maternal and paternal aunts, three of my first cousins, and my brother and his children. I also reconnected with a long-lost friend of probably over 30 years. Yes, I refer to her here as “long-lost friend,” because at a place and time we lost our friendship. I mean we really lost it. Like almost 20 years of it. So, it would seem that we lost more than we had. TRUE. But the 10 years we had prior to the loss was significant enough to remember, to reflect on, and to miss. Glad to be reconnected.
I guess if we think back on the “Round Signs of Life,” we drove into one of those “roundabouts.” 😊
The other part of my visit that was significant was the time I got to spend together with my daughter and niece, who are both 10 years old. Each of them is growing taller and wiser each day. And they are beginning to…as the old folks say… “smell themselves.” I mean that figuratively, as in saying…they are maturing…coming of age. So…it’s time to have “THE TALK.”
I had asked the Dawn of a New Day VIP Sunshine Crew if any of them remembered having THE TALK. It was very interesting to hear of the different takes of the experience. I know for me, I didn’t remember having “the talk” prior to coming of age; but when I had it, I was absolutely devastated and ashamed. The path into womanhood, which for me began at age 12 years old, was not kind. It started that way, and has remained that way for 34 years. Now age 46, I can testify that the life of a woman is tough. Mentally, emotionally, and physically.
We are framed to be gentle; yet nothing about what women carry is light.
The Load of a Woman
I recently read a FaceBook post that said, “Just because a person carries a situation well doesn’t meant it isn’t heavy.” That was everything to me. When I read it I immediately thought about every woman I know. Those who have carried the loads of giants while making it look easy and acceptable.
The first woman I recall carrying this presumptive load was my grandmother. I had very little knowledge until after my grandmother passed of the magnitude of some of the burdens that she carried. But she was only one, among many, who has carried the burden of children, grandchildren, husbands, jobs and careers, church, and society.
How did she do it all?!?!
A Support System
One of the things I learned from my grandmother was she had a support system. A group of women. A circle of friends who she talked to regularly. Prayed with. Confided in. And who supported each other well.
There are stages
As I had parts of “the talk” with my niece and daughter last week, my mother ordered them both some supporting literature. Some books that were suggested by the Sunshine Crew called “The Care & Keeping of You: The Body Book for Girls” (the American Girl Collection) . These books (there are about 4-5 altogether) are a great accompaniment to not only “the talk,” but also the true journey into womanhood and all of the issues women face; tackling head-on, body image and self-esteem, to include: shape, size, acne, basic hygiene, feminine hygiene, physical features, eating habits, myths, truths, E-MO-TIONS, etc. I mean this little book tackles it all in a way that is not only good for the young girl, but is also a great icebreaker for moms and their daughters to have open dialogue about some difficult subjects.
The authors break down every detail of transitioning into puberty. But what struck me the most was…everything tackled were issues that will not only be met entering puberty, but throughout most of a woman’s life.
One of the tips echoed throughout the reading was the importance of helping young girls understand they are not alone on their journey, AND the importance of identifying and establishing their support system as they embrace their journey; because there are a lot of changes that will take place along the way, so there will need to be individuals identified who can help with the process.
Isn’t that a great way to begin? Understanding that the transitions of life should not be tackled alone? First and foremost, a SUPPORT SYSTEM should be identified. So then…why do we try to tackle life and certain situations alone?
It’s a Process
If we think about it, isn’t life just one big process of never-ending puberty? Constantly growing…evolving…changing?
As my two young ladies timidly began to listen and engage themselves into the selected literature, they had mixed emotions. Excited to grow up, but completely terrified by some of the processes that are inevitable to their embarkation into coming of age. Now their coming of age will take place (the book says) between ages 8 and 14; and will continue to develop until around age 17 or 18. But will it ever stop, honestly? This is just their Part I.
What part are you in now?
The Care and Keeping of You
Now, so that you know, I recently had the pleasure of listening to a recording of my grandmother being interviewed by my eldest uncle back in 1994. She passed away in 1997, just before my son was born; but one of the things she confirmed was that I have been deep in my thoughts since I was a little girl. Looking for and finding revelation in everything. And wouldn’t you know it? I found revelation in “The Care & Keeping of You.”
The first revelation was in the title itself –“The Care & Keeping of You.” Today we might also call this “Mindfulness.” But regardless of what we call it, caring for ourselves (especially as women) should never be a concept that we forget or neglect.
The other part that I went a little deeper on was the point of the importance of the support system. But not just any support system. I found the revelation in the mini-chapter on what else? BRA-S!
Yes! If you think about it, the support systems we need throughout life have a striking resemblance to our need for not only good bras, but for different kinds of bras. We require different sizes. Different colors depending on what we’re wearing or how we’re feeling. Then, there’s also a need for different types of supports.
So, in pure Dawn fashion, I’ve created an acronym for BRA-S – Battle-Ready Reinforcement and Assistance (for your Sister).
With life comes so many challenges; especially in the life of women. Not only do we have our dreams and aspirations, but then we must also take on and support the dreams and aspirations of our life partners and children. Many times, putting our own goals on the backburner so others can flourish. We are the nurturers and adjusters.
While we try to hold up the burdens of the world, we wear the burden of being the primary supporter to so many. The children, sometimes our siblings, and our friends. We work the 9-5s, and then rush to provide what is needed from 6-10 in the evening with personal meetings, sports events, and church. Not to mention dinner and homework. Then we may still have to pull the night shift from 12-2 in the morning (or beyond) with a sick child.
Then, what about the woman who is not married, but wants to be? Who doesn’t have children, but desires them? Did we think that she was just doing nothing?!?! No! Most of the time she’s filling in the gaps for the before-mentioned friend that sometimes forgets that her ride-or-die who is ALWAYS available needs to be seen too.
Yet still, there are other women, who fall into either of the aforementioned categories, who are now dealing with the bad report, the loss of job, the wayward child, the divorce, or the unfavorable health diagnosis for themselves, their spouse, child, or their aging parent. Still, she is expected to continue on her original journey AND take on this.
Built for This
Can she do it? Of course she can. I believe women were built different because we are different. We are strong, resilient, and we make things happen. BUT…we are human. And humans need support and engagement. That’s how we refuel.
Have you ever noticed you can get good peace from some alone time or a vacation, but you get your energy from being around people you like? It’s true. Think about the someone who brings you joy and energy regardless of how tired you are. I bet you smiled just thinking about them.
The cycle of life never stops. It just takes different shapes. And has different stages of development.
It grows differently from person to person. And happens at different times. We’re always growing. Especially in those times that seem like darkness and nothingness. Remember that’s the planting…the pruning. The necessary components to our growth. And with anything that grows…it needs support.
5 BRA-S of Support
So…back to the BRA thing. Do you have the right BRA-S?
Depending on where we are in life, we need supporters in different BRA categories. We need Battle-Ready Reinforcement and Assistance.
So here goes…We may need:
- Training BRA-S – These friends DON’T DO MUCH TO HELP OUR DEVELOPMENT, but they help us develop a better understanding of friendship and support, and help us to understand what types of friends and support we really desire. These friends aren’t useless. We will still grow to appreciate them, though it may seem like they didn’t serve much of a purpose at first. In time, their roles may shift over OR out.
- Soft-Cup BRA-S – These friends are KIND and FLEXIBLE. These friends provide just enough support, but are not overbearing. They give you just the amount of space you need. These friends may not be your tightest…but they offer support nonetheless.
- Sports BRA-S – These friends are stronger than they look. They have you covered more than you think. They may not be around every day, but when you need EXTRA REINFORCEMENT or things get ready to “jump off” (LOL), they’ve got your back.
- Built-In BRA-S – These friends are family, and may actually be a sister or cousin; or a friend…who has been your friend so long…she’s family. These friends…You don’t need to ask. You don’t need to tell. They already know…and THEY ARE THERE. PERIOD.
- Underwire BRA-S – When things get heavy, these are the friends who HOLD YOU UP. They pray for you, support you, tell you the truth…even if you don’t want to hear it. They give you extra back support and help to lift your shoulders.
Do you have support?
So, you tell me, who’s your support system? Do you have you some good BRA-S (Battle-Ready Reinforcement and Assistance)? Or is it time for a new fitting? Because always remember, just like with an actual bra, even when you know your size, you still may have to make some adjustments. I’m just saying…
So, in honor of my support system, I would like to acknowledge the fabulous and dynamic women in my life who keep me grounded, prayed-up, safe, confident, encouraged, and determined to walk in my purpose and finish my course. Thank you for believing in me, loving me, trusting me, and having my back. ALWAYS. Like good BRA-S should. You all are better than my best bra, because hanging with you makes me feel comfortable. 😊 (I’m so corny)
Now, who do you depend on for support? Drop a comment and acknowledge the special BRA-S in your life. If you don’t have a BRA, you need to identify one. This life can sometimes get too heavy to be out here unsupported.
Love you and I mean it. ~Dawn~
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