I am a sassy, soulful, badass, beautiful being. There is no space in me and my life to be a victim. I have moxie grounded in Spirit with a heavy dose of grace and soulfulness.
I am guided each day by the “BIG G,“ to co-exist with all humanity. My humanness allows me to serve all of humanity as a poet who dwells in an inner space of delight and joy as I receive Words. Words that impact, encourage, and inspire others to be the highest and best version of themselves. WORDS, though poetic expressions with rhythm and sometimes rhymes to describe life.
“Couldn’t Keep it to Myself,” is the title of my bestselling book of 21 poems and short stories, which tells the story of my inner transformation and elevation of my vibration guided by “Love Beauty.”
Growing up, my mother, Marie, sang the song “I Said I Wasn’t Gonna Tell Nobody “by Reverend Alex Bradford at our church and in our home. As a member of the Piney Grove Baptist Church, junior choir in Charlotte County Virginia , I also sang that song. The chorus of this song became the golden thread woven through the tapestry of my life:
My name Yemaja was given to me in a lucid dream. Then I, Ann Deloris Brown Johnson McCargo Tunstall, was lying on an alabaster altar, and these Wise-Soul-Beings appeared all dressed in white. Telepathically they were communicating in a language only my heart understood:
In unison, they all declared:
“YEMAJA, YEMAJA, YEMAJA is now your name. freely given, freely bestowed”
Growing up in Charlotte County, Virginia, under the Jim Crow Laws was dehumanizing and shaming. I became outraged, after viewing what I perceived as a dehumanizing post on the Facebook social media platform,” If you grew up in Charlotte County”… I was told to “Get over it,” “Move on,”! So, I asked the editor of The Charlotte Gazette if I could write a series of articles on “Growing Up Black in Charlotte County.” My first article, which was published in October 2020 and I have completed: Growing up Black in Charlotte County; Light, Bright & Almost White; We Got Tired and This Little Light of Mine. My stories educated and healed old wounds of hurt and shame, not only for me but for other Blacks too.
I picked Congressman Lewis’s quote (“Getting into Good Trouble”) because I knew down in my soul this would pull the scab off some profound wounds, also, that the response would be both negative and positive responses. I concluded it was worth it, and it was needed not only for me to heal but for others to see just how much harm and hurt we as Blacks in Charlotte County encountered in our experiences.
We all can be inspired and empowered by “Getting into Good Trouble” by being the change where we are, even in the darkness of all circumstances. Sometimes we give up too quickly, or we play the victim, and we become defensive, not taking responsibility for changing even when it is right in front of our face. We must develop our own opinions, know what we stand for while being willing always to stay open to learning, growth, change, and most of all, be of service to our fellow brothers and sisters. ” When you see something, say something, do something.” In these times of death, uncertainty, political upheaval, civil unrest, global economic crisis, and most of all, the state of our mental, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing, demands we start within our hearts and souls.
The readers’ responses have been, “If you write a book, I will buy it and read it, to “thanks for sharing your experiences.” My goal is to share my experiences and let the readers respond to each one in their own way. I am healing some of my old wounds, and my truth, perspective, and attitude tell my story of my encounters with white Supremacy and Systemic Racism. I believe it has opened the eyes of Whites on a profound and personal level to a situation that Whites would now be more mindful of their own behaviors with Black people.
Change is initiated one person at a time, one action at a time, and lasting change begins within . I affirm that each of us will take the blinders off our eyes and see from a deeper perspective our connective to each other and not have race always be on the top to determine another human being worth. All the lies, promises that we have had told us for the past 401 years are tumbling, crumbling, and falling, word by word, status by statue, vote by vote, and most of all, by us finally recognizing our connection to each other.
No amount of money can in any way give me the sense of pride and sense of belonging that family support and community unity provide. I am so very thankful for what I was taught by my Grandmother, Violet and my Mother, Marie. These two were Black Women who were there for others and participated in the community though canning circles, quilting circles, bible study, and gardening. The skills and love that I obtained are immeasurable, and I now consider myself a “Sister Sitting in Her Blessings.”
Success is an inside adventure. When I live my life from the inside out, guided by and following my higher power daily, I am successful. As I lay my head upon my pillow of gratitude each night, I am successful! When I pray, meditate, and thank “The Big G” for another day, when someone sends me a card, a text, or a telephone call to say, you inspire me, and I appreciate your sense of transparency and honesty, I am Successful!
What Pandemic? That word is used to incite fear, doom, and devastation. Not that I have my head in the sand, and to me, it has been necessary to uncover the Divinity and the connectedness in all humanity. My career has blossomed, and I have authored a new book of poems with art by The Goddess of Soul, Martha High, called SOUL 2 SOUL! It was released March 1, 2021. My poems are in places that I am proud to say have impacted and inspired a broader group of people. Please click links below to purchase books and to read articles in The Charlotte Gazette.
Click here to purchase your copy of Couldn’t Keep It to Myself.
Click here to purchase your copy of SOUL 2 SOUL.
All images by Anne Julie