Queens Do Things! We do things! I say WE because collectively, we are Queens. You, Me, Us! We You embody the essence and becoming of such a worthy title. Yet & still, the struggles and challenges of our existence are likewise present.
As of late, surviving a pandemic–amongst other things–I’ve found myself drifting through time, space and place. I am here and I am not here, all at the same time. I am drifting. Drifting is commonly known throughout the racing world as steering an automobile so that it makes a controlled skid sideways through a turn with the front wheels pointed in a direction opposite to that of the turn. I wanted to go one way in my mind, but the wheels of my heart daily point in an opposite direction. My heart said make the call, be there, be present, none of that stuff matters. People said go home, why are you here, it’s over. God whispered, be still. I am so glad I was still. Love gives hurt permission, pain gives love a reason to exist. . . and so I did. Exist, in the stillness.
My daily routine has become mundane, I now find myself staring at clocks on the walls and I can hear the seconds just ticking away. I have grown accustomed to this sound over the last 8 months, living life in the seconds. Living life in small bits of time. Drifting. I remember when I used to cherish the days. I don’t know when I stopped. I am still trying to find the exact moment I lost track of time and simultaneously, myself and the things that matter most to me. Losing track of time seems all the more disorienting and meaningless when you’ve lost a love that you never intended to walk away from. I still remember the last I love you, the last phone call, the last time I saw each of their faces. I couldn’t be present, this Queen was on autopilot, visiting the past and trying with everything I had to connect it to the present with hopes for the future. Autopilot became my comfort. It became my way of functioning. It became my default.
According to Biblical numerology, “The number eight in the Bible signifies Resurrection and Regeneration. It is the number of a new beginning. Eight is 7 plus 1 and since it comes just after seven, which itself signifies an end to something, eight is also associated with the beginning of a new era or that of a new order“. I didn’t want any form of my past to end. I wanted to stay there because it was comfortable. It’s where I was most confident, until I realized I was living a lie. The last eight months of my life have been nothing short of heartbreak. From divorce to death to despair, I literally found myself desperate for a moment to breathe without remembering that the people who impacted that last 10 years of my life most significantly, were gone. Waking up in cold sweats from nightmares, crying uncontrollably, drifting in and out of space, this pandemic has been relentless in its pursuit of those we use to hold near and dear. It has likewise provided clarity of what and who really matters. It has swallowed me whole and made me stronger, all at the same time. It has taken from me and given to me. It has beat me down and built me up. It has changed me. Perhaps it has changed you too . . .
Perhaps you’re on autopilot too. I want you to know I see you, Queen. I see you forgiving the unforgivable, moving mountains, breaking generational curses, navigating pain, and ending trauma bonds. I hear your cries. I feel your exhaustion. I see you–in all your glory and in all your distress. When was the last time someone said that to you? When was the last time someone stopped to TRULY acknowledge where you are in this very moment? And even more, when is the last time you’ve asked yourself? If we are honest and true to self, we must not take light that we often do things on autopilot. We even Queen, on autopilot. Autopilot helps an aircraft stay on a set course without the intervention of the pilot. If you’re like me, you acknowledge God as the pilot of your life. The course has been set, however on autopilot we don’t allow God to be the intervention we truly NEED and SEEK. We don’t allow Him the space or the flexibility to shift when a shift is needed. He sees things we don’t see. When we’re on autopilot, we don’t allow Him to do what he’s trained to do. We stay where it’s comfortable and where we don’t have to fully show up, even if it means not showing up for ourselves.
I wake. I wash my face. I dress. I work. I work. I work. I work some more. I go home. I feed the dog. I pray. I sleep. Only to wake and continue the cycle all over again. I don’t deny the obvious, I need a break. Sis, you too need a break! While considering the pandemic I am forced to consider the masks we are all wearing to protect ourselves from Covid. Removed from family, friends, our communities. We have been forced, to in many ways, prioritize ourselves in ways we didn’t before. But, if I am being completely transparent, this isn’t the only mask I wear. I wear my metaphorical mask on a daily basis pretending to be ok. Mostly to make other people comfortable. We put our masks on when we’re broken, when we’re tired, when we’re hurting, when we’re drifting, while we’re on autopilot, because “they” enjoy our presence better this way. The smiles, the pretty face, the perfection. It’s the mask.
I am encouraged today, and I hope you are too, to remove the metaphorical mask. What is it really protecting us from? Toni Morrison once said, “If you surrendered to the air, you could ride it.” So today I want to encourage you Queen, turn the autopilot off. We have things we need to declare once we leave this land of pandemic and paralysis. You’re not alone, there are other passengers on this plane and we all have baggage to surrender. Let’s surrender to the air together, ride this out, see this through. Together. Let’s honor giving up control and submit to the air. Selah (pause, reflect, praise).
Brandee Alexander is an Associate Executive Director at the YMCA of Greater Kansas City who works in the North Kansas City Community to help families who battle food insecurity. Brandee knows that people do not necessarily care how much you know until they know how much you care, and she strives to embody this daily. She has spent most of her career working to help youth and families. Brandee has learned to channel her passions into servant leadership. She knows that it takes sweat equity and passion to change the trajectory of the state of families today. Brandee’s main goal is to see others healed and leading better lives. Brandee has been appointed to the North Kansas City Diversity and Inclusion Committee supporting North Kansas City’s Mayor and City Council Team and is excited to continue doing the work to improve her community. Brandee has more recently founded Let Glow, Let God – an online, faith-based community for women. Community members can connect via social media, webinars, and virtual presentations to learn and glean from others who may have experienced or are currently navigating traumatic situations. Within the private Facebook group, community members can find exclusive content on a daily, weekly, and bi-weekly basis, encouraging them to push through even the roughest of days. Brandee holds a master’s in public administration from Bellevue University.