“A hard head makes a soft…”

Of course, I had this deer in headlights expression on my face like, “What? Me? What did I do now?”  If my acting game was on par, …

 

Expressed by: Cassandra Dennis

I see the smirk on my Mom’s face and her index finger on her right hand wagging at me as she exclaims, “Oh, you gone learn, oh you gone learn, because a hard head makes a soft behind, Cassandra!”  Of course, I had this deer in headlights expression on my face like, “What? Me? What did I do now?”  If my acting game was on par, then I might even drop an innocent tear or two to sell my case.  But, my Mother never fell for the okie doke.

The expression, A hard head makes a soft behind refers to a person who insists on learning things the hard way or prefers to make their own mistakes, instead of adhering to the advice of someone who has overcome what they are experiencing.

So, why is that?  Why do we choose the hard ways of life, instead of listening to the wisdom of others?  I know I would have avoided many pitfalls when I was younger if I had stopped trying to be Miss Know-It-All or Miss I’m Grown-You Can’t Tell Me Anything.  There are times we don’t realize our poor decisions also affects those around us.  I know my decisions affected my family and my children, who I brought into the world at the age of 17.

One decision from 30 years ago still lingers with me.  I’ll share a brief snapshot.

After catching 3 buses and 2 rail lines to get home from work, I walked to the babysitter’s apartment who kept my 18-month-old sons from 6:00 pm to 6:30 pm, after the daycare center closed (and before you comment, yes, I researched her before I allowed her to keep my sons, spoke with other parents whose children she kept and made sure she didn’t have any record for abusing her own children).  I walked in to see one of my sons had scratch marks all over his face and upon further inspection I found whip marks on his back and legs. I was confused, angry, hurt and devastated.  I asked the neighbor coming home from work to call the police and my roommate called my parents.  I know sometimes things happen beyond our control, but let’s follow this thread of my decision back to the beginning.

  1. I made an adult decision at 17 to have unprotected sex.
  2. I made the decision to bring my sons into this world, care for and protect them, even though I only had $3k in the bank and at the time of their premature birth, no job.
  3. I made the decision to place my sons in the care of that babysitter.

My sons don’t remember this occurrence but it resonates with me because I failed to protect them both from experiencing the physical and psychological abuse.  Sometimes, we make decisions without knowing or understanding the full scope of what that decision entails.

My parents made the decision that they would care for my sons from that point forward when I needed them to.   As I worked 2 jobs and attended my college courses, my parents took my sons on family vacations with them, along with my two sisters.  My parents helped me nurse my sons when they were extremely ill, all while they continued to work as well.  My sons and my family experienced the growing pains of me maturing and learning how to be a mother, a provider and protector.

Our world is full of hard heads with soft behinds, but unfortunately, many of the behinds have gotten numb to the hard lessons of life.  It is my prayer that we all observe and learn from the experiences of others, and seek advice from those who gained wisdom from their experience.  This is one of the ways for us to empower each other to live a more productive and purpose driven life.

This journey called life continues to teach each of us, we are never to old to learn something new or to receive wisdom.   It is a fool who ignores wisdom, to erroneously justify that their age quantifies them as an adult that knows everything.

What have my life experiences taught me thus far?

  1.  Don’t allow my pride to keep me from obtaining wisdom from others.
  2. Don’t allow my mouth to write a check my behind can’t cash.  (Another good ole saying)!!  In other words, it’s easy to make a decision, but am I able to survive or live with the consequences of my decision.
  3. My support tribe (safety nets) don’t abandon me, but I can wear out my safety nets by abusing them.
  4. My Life is mine, so I choose to own it and not blame it away.

Living inside my mind

Painting: A Bug Free Mind

Expressed by:  Cassandra Dennis

Living inside my mind can be exhilarating and dangerous.

Living inside my mind intertwines you within my brilliant thoughts and stories or can envelope you in my perversion (altering something from its original course or meaning) and fears of the “what ifs” of life.

Living inside my mind exposes me; my strengths unrecognized, my weaknesses exploited, the untapped gifts I refuse to share because of fear.

Living inside my mind keeps the true me secluded, isolated, untransformed without a renewed mind.

Living inside my mind takes you on a ride that no roller coaster in this world could compare.

Living inside my mind – STOP! STOP living inside my mind!  I want it.  I want more than the pseudo life, the unclaimed life I have lived inside my mind.  The life of possibilities unrealized because there was no effort applied to make them a reality.

I peaked outside of my mind one day and saw a glimpse of my heart.  A vital organ created to supply my body with oxygen and nutrients was showing signs of failure because I filled my vessel with the toxins of deferred hope and untruths by existing in a state of laziness and fear in my mind.

My desire to actively participate in my journey began to grow again as I began to speak my truth, know my worth, expand my knowledge, gain understanding and live my experiences out loud instead of cowering behind them in silence.  I take steps daily toward living instead of existing.

Life, my life is to be lived in motion, not on canvas; and I’ve realized my smiles, tears and fears are to create a living story of my failures and successes, weaknesses and strengths, the empowerment to overcome fear even while struggling with it.  Renewing my mind and taking an intentional step daily allows me to live freely, to love and like me; and that my friend is liberating.

Truth and Transparency…

Man, I was a single parent with two boys to feed and clothe, I wasn’t trying to hear, “Cassandra, we’re going to have to let you go.”

 

Expressed by: Cassandra Dennis

Freedom…. free mindset, free thinking, freedom in the way I speak, free in how I raised my sons.  I even got fired a couple of times from a job, but I went back to work the next day like nothing happened.  Man, I was a single parent with two boys to feed and clothe, I wasn’t trying to hear, “Cassandra, we’re going to have to let you go.”  “Yeah, ok, see you tomorrow.”  I came and clocked in the next day and went on with my shift.  WOW, as I think back to the way I was in my early twenties and thirties, I have a longing for that younger me.  I was bold in my thinking, I lived in motion, there was no such thing as procrastination; if I thought it, I moved forward in accomplishing whatever “it” was.  Lack of sleep, lack of knowledge and lack of money did not hinder me in whatever I wanted to do. I didn’t dwell upon anyone’s opinion, nor did I seek it.  Why, because another persons opinion was irrelevant to the process of me accomplishing what was at hand.  Sooooo….. what happened?

Somewhere along the way my focus changed, I lost my way and I began seeking the opinion of others, and their opinions became the gospel for me.  Why?  At first I didn’t know.  However, as I began to reflect on my life during a period of several years I realized once my sons became young men and I had equipped them to seek God and care for themselves my focus and my drive was gone.  Everything I was previously doing I was doing for them.  So now the question I asked myself was, “Cassandra, who are you, what do you truly like, do you remember your dreams and do you have the unction to accomplish them for yourself?”  The answer was, “no!”

Even though I had not been married long, being married became a chore, so I made it into a project for me.  I began to mimic my parents marriage, tv show marriages and layered in the information from marriage ministry, where we served.  BIG BIG BIG mistake.  I taught myself to wear masks.  I sought the opinions of others and took their opinion of me and dissected myself down to a person I didn’t know and didn’t like.  So I created a walk-in closet of masks; and depending upon the occasion I wore the mask that allowed me to blend in and to become apart of the crowd. What a mess.

Well needless to say, my husband and I began having challenges in our marriage, infidelity, control issues, and so much more.  I spiraled into depression and fear became a big part of my life.  From that time up until this point, approximately 7 years, I’ve allowed fear to paralyze me from living in my purpose, including even seeking my purpose for living.  For the past three years I have slowly begun a sincere relationship with God and an honest relationship with myself.  I’ve gone through a purging of relationships, masks and emotional bondage, PAINFULLLL!!  But it is what it is, it’s life and life is a journey of good and bad experiences.  It’s how I decide to live out and share those experiences that allows me to empower others as I am empowered.

Is fear still there?  Of course, but I have made the decision to live a life of kinetic energy, in motion regardless what’s over the horizon.  This renewed me has new inspiration, bold dreams and the excitement to accomplish it all, with my husband and our family.  Keep your eyes open, some of what’s to be revealed may inspire you to inspire others.  PEACE…