I have often been asked what I wish the younger me had known! What I would tell myself at 15- knowing what I know now. This question always leaves me wondering where I would start, because I would want to tell me different things for different aspects of life- something about working with excellence as if the buck stops with you. Being a wife with grace but realizing here that submission is strength and not weakness- that the buck stops with him. Loving God with all your heart- as if church folk have never represented Him wrongly- as if you haven’t… About purpose and fighting for your dreams, about silence, about noise, about wholeness, about me- “who exactly am I?” There’ll be soooooo much I’d like to tell me, we’ll probably cry together, laugh together, marvel at the silliness we are capable of together…
Anyhow, today, thanks to my dear friend Udo Okonjo , I stumbled upon something that I would absolutely, absolutely tell the younger Hajara! Something that condenses a lot of what I wish I had known in one place! Something so true and so beautiful, it made me do something the younger me would do! I transcribed a poem from its audio version! You know how when we were young, in those days when there were only tapes and no Internet, we’d listen to a song we love and then start to transcribe it, pausing the tape after every line and re-winding, to be sure you got the words right- that’s what I had to do with this! It was the most beautiful piece of spoken-word poetry by a lady called Janette…Ikz for the Status 31 project! Please please go to http://www.status31.com and support them. Watch the beautiful rendition of “Status 31 to be Exact” by Jannette…Ikz (pronounced genetics) here! Watch it and then read the rest of this post. It is too beautiful to miss and helps put the rest of my post in better perspective!
Have you watched it? So what I have done is transcribe “Status 31 to be Exact” and added my own commentary to it in italics. Everything not in italics is Jannete…Ikz work, it is so beautiful and I do not take credit for that level of genius! All I am seeking to do, is talk to the girl in me and tell her things I wish she’d known and didn’t have to learn the hard way! To remind her of her beauty, her strength and her place in the world! Will you come on this journey with us?
STATUS 31 TO BE EXACT by JANETTE…IKZ (Commentary in Italics by Hajara Pitan)
“And God said, it was not good for man to be alone so He created YOU! (Wow! I am the solution to the first problem God identified. Everything else He did, He said was good, when He first said something was not good, guess who He brought in to remedy the situation? You! All those lies, all those voices that said you were not beautiful, that said you were “useless” are BIG LIES! In God’s view, you are a solution to what ails the world! So build you up! Be excellent! Learn! Learn more and contribute! Be the solution you were created to be- not a burden, not a critic!)
But somewhere along the line someone changed your perspective, shifted your view! Like Eve, you listened to the wrong voice and took a huge tasty bite of deception! Now your stomach’s upset because your spirit won’t digest it! No longer the woman that walks in the confidence of the ultimate artistic design! Submit your name change, we’ll call you COMPROMISE! (Ouch, the hurt as the memories flood in. What would I have done differently if I had realized early that the “they” whose opinion mattered so much to me, we’re not even looking at me, they “they” were also wondering what “they” would think. Or that even if I made their news, it was only for a while- they will soon get bored and move on or find a more willing participant)!
This is what happens when the gospel is according to whoever is at the top of your playlist and the media has become your bible. Searching scriptures of magazines to be told ‘you are dancing, lead” in satan’s recital. (Don’t you just feel that? The gospel according to whoever is at the top of your playlist! when I feel myself struggling with fear, I usually find I’ve been listening to the news- the wars, the rumors of war, the kidnappings, the threats. When all my thoughts are material, I find I have been at the Kardashians too long! Or with Cosmopolitan or in that club! When I feel the cold clutches of covetousness and envy, I realize that n what’s at the top of my “playlist” is sight driven and my focus has shifted from God- so I would say to little me “guard your heart, watch what you let in, because it’ll determine your reality!)
But you are not her! And she is not you! Because we are called to so much more than make-up, hair, clothes and shoes and dropping it like its hot- even if we are able to! WE ARE WOMEN OF A DIFFERENT STATUS! 31 to exact! (Wow! This I have always sensed! I am not her! I am not my hair and my good looks (wink). I refuse to let myself be judged by my outward parts! Partly because I am not blessed with the gift of flexibility and partly because I have always wondered why I should be defined by how well I can shake my “booty” I have never felt the need to drop it like its hot, or “twerk”. Honestly! My dad used to say to his daughters “if a princess dances who can watch? [Great dad, he probably realized early, I couldn’t dance to save my life and wanted to spare me the embarrassment]).
We are content with not looking like anyone else because we know our differences are not a reason to be jealous but God’s finger print! (Little Haj, please enjoy being you, don’t envy someone else’s looks, gifts, talents or charmed existence! You do not want to know the price they have had to pay- for being them! Be your very best you! Celebrate what’s different about you! You are a designer original, not a copy!)
We don’t run around talking about how there are no good men. We know that if we apply half as much effort on the inside as we do on the out, we’ll stop drawing the wrong attention. (Dropping it like its hot anyone? If all you display is lips, hips and fingertips, guess who’ll come shopping in your store?)
Slow to speak, quick to listen. Receiving intervention from a higher dimension. Seeking purpose, watching our God-given vision come to fruition. Never forgetting that we have been forgiven much- so we eat, we live, we breathe, we give, even sweat- love! (This lesson serves me well- I know myself o! If God can forgive me and accept me and use me- I honestly should be able to forgive anyone anything -that does not mean becoming best friends with them again- but I should be able to let go and forgive much, knowing how much I have been forgiven)!
Always ready to hear from the women with silver hair- seeds have been sown, and their wisdom saturates our soil, clipping our dead ends for growth. You’ll find us always promoting unity, (as a wife this really speaks to me. When you come into a family- do you bring cohesion or create division. At your workplace do you spread gossip, deepening divides or building bridges? In church- are you the one whose duty it is to criticize the church or point out what sister soandso has done again? Do you promote unity or strife?), serving in our community.
Using our gifts and talents as an “all glory to God opportunity”. Wake up in the morning with a grind for the Most-High on our mind! Constantly being refined to be the exact of our architects design. We have no hearts- so here’s the answer before the question- ‘anyone who wants our hearts will go to Christ knowing its in His possession.’ Yes we are beautiful and barefoot in the kitchen of grace; pregnant with purpose, baking up praise. Jesus is who we crave. Awaiting to come to full term so we can deliver back what has been deposited in us. Knowing good and well, one day we will all be audited. (Haj, live everyday with eternity in mind! Don’t bow to the loudest voice! You are here for a purpose and it is in living that purpose that you will find fulfillment).
Mercy gives us second chances so we ain’t receiving what we ought to get. (Tell me about it!). We needed an intervention, Christ came to do loss prevention! On a cross He was stretched and fully extended, and we were given an extension! Hear me, an extension! Hear me! Because this price was worth more than your finest Indian remy. I know we can change the things we do not like, all for a simple cost. But Botox, lipo, and implants ain’t got nothing on what was accomplished on that cross. Cause you can’t implant in yourself a new spirit or lipo-suck away your sin. You can’t lap-band your addictions and can’t Botox away your depression. (Ohhhh…. How true! It is not things that satisfy, that pair of Jimmy Choo’s will only seem to satisfy till its yours. Once you get it, you find that the hole still exists, until retail therapy becomes a drug! That little tweak to your nose that Dr. 90210 promised will fix you- actually didn’t- you want another tweak and another, until you need to be introduced to the person in the mirror).
WE ALL NEED HIM! It’s time to change your status- 31 to be exact! Don’t be afraid of what’s abstract, let the Spirit of God be what attracts! We are women of a different status, this world, we must impact! We are women of a different status, 31 to be exact!”
Lastly Haj, you are and will be- a woman of a different status! A child of God! Ambassador of Christ! Joint heir to an inheritance of beauty, grace, dominion! You don’t follow the crowd, you blaze the trail! Don’t live apologetic! Live out loud- being the very best you! The ones who love you will stay, the ones who can’t stand your shine, will leave, and though it might hurt at first, you are far better off without them. By all means go where you are celebrated, but don’t leave celebration of you, to other people! Celebrate yourself! Create your reality, don’t believe when people say “it can’t be done”, that’s what they’ve always said till it gets done! And Haj? Smile! This too, no matter how tough it currently seems, shall soon pass! Those are some of the things I’ll tell the younger me. Tell me, what would you tell the young, hopeful you?