Empowerment – The Fire Within (A 2013 Throwback)

The following piece was written back in 2013. While 4 years have passed, the underlying message is still quite relevant today.


As members of the LGBT community, it’s sad that we still live in a world that cannot see beyond our sexuality. How appalling is it that the masses fail to realize our worth or accept us wholly and completely? When faced with hatred, discrimination, and stereotypical imagery in media and entertainment, we can’t help but feel a bit of shame, guilt, and anger. So many misconceptions and stigmas continue to cloud judgment, perception, and understanding. But for what? Our sexuality is one of so many parts of who we are. While it doesn’t define us, we can’t ignore it. And it’s obvious that public officials, conservatives, and organizations (that shall remain nameless) are obsessed with our sexuality more than we are.

Did the powers that be, holy rollers, and haters forget that we’re human too? We desire, no, we deserve the same things as our heterosexual brothers and sisters – family, friends, love, happiness, success on our own terms, good health… I could go on, as the list is endless. But you wouldn’t know this reading or viewing some of the media and entertainment created daily. How hypocritical can a society be that prides itself on freedom, but shames, victimizes, vilifies, and silences those who don’t fit the preferred, traditional archetype? We’re well past the time to lift the veil on the alienation and isolation that comes as a result of living in such a heteronormative society. But let us not be defeated.

Validation from the outside world may not come in the time, manner, or fashion we desire it to. However, we shouldn’t let it hinder us from living or having what we want in this life. No matter what the outside world says we must remain steadfast in knowing ourselves and trusting what we believe in. No matter what the world says, we are beautiful in every way. We are not less than. We are warriors.

Sometimes we have to forego or question everything we’ve been taught or led to believe as truth to find out who we really are. There’s so much that we deny ourselves when we feed into to the B.S. aimed at refuting our existence. We have to shut ourselves off from the noise and the hysteria to make way for what’s real – to make way for peace, serenity, and truth. When we’re able to free ourselves individually and collectively – the change we see within and around us will be miraculous.

As Audre Lorde said, “Life is very short and what we have to do must be done in the now.” We cannot wait. While we should celebrate the recent Supreme Court rulings in the DOMA and Prop 8 cases for being a step in the right direction for gay marriage, the movement doesn’t stop there. These rulings should only intensify our fight for justice, equality, and freedom for all. And everything we need for this fight lies within.

The key to finding what’s within, the power within, is loving ourselves. We talk a good game about loving ourselves, but how many of us actually do? How many of us can say we truly love ourselves? It’s impossible for us to love ourselves if we continue to allow internalized hatred to ruin our progress. It’s impossible for us to love ourselves if we continue to tolerate the abuse, ill-treatment, and foolishness we encounter daily.

We must not let fear run our authentic selves away. We must be brazen. Stand up for those who were/are not able to stand up for themselves. Realize that in doing so, we’re empowering ourselves and challenging everyone to (always) strive to be and do better.

When we find the love within, the power is never too far behind. When we find our power… When we realize our power… When we utilize our power, its intensity will inspire action and breed the change we need in our families, communities, and the world.

Ours is a power that not only changes lives, but also saves lives. As James Baldwin said, “The world is before you and you need not take it or leave it as it was when you came in.” So let’s find our power and wield it lovingly, strongly, boldly, and unapologetically. It’s our world. Now let the power within—that internal fire—lead the way!

Spirit Women

Sisters In Spirit_synthiasaintjamesImage courtesy of Synthia SAINT JAMES.


Spirit women,
Singing songs for the world,
Baring gifts for our hearts and souls;
Moving nations,
Changing minds,
Fueling enough power to shift our place in time.

Spirit women,
Rich with love, wisdom, and experience;
Exposing your scars,
Standing in strength,
Encouraging forgiveness,
And enlightening minds on the importance of letting go—
     so our souls can be free.

Spirit women,
Natural humanitarians;
We’re grateful for you and your gifts.
We’ve found blessings in your blessings,
And relish in the deep connections we share with you.

Spirit women—
When we honor you we honor ourselves
     And our collective beauty.

Spirit women—
We celebrate you eternally.

© 2013 BuddahDesmond

Day 89: Infinite Ways to Get to the Ultimate Spiritual Destination

While watching one of two The Best of The Oprah Winfrey Show episodes on OWN today, I was astounded by how small-minded we can be. This episode featured best-selling authors Betty Eadie and Sophy Burnham. The topic was spiritual beliefs, specifically how to get closer to God and what questions we would ask if God were physically here with us in this moment.  When the discussion shifted to our path to God, some of the audience members adamantly believed that the only path to God was through Jesus.  They could not fathom the notion that we all have different paths.  And though different, these paths still lead us to the same place—to God.  One part of me says, “Of course.  How could you not believe this, especially if this is the only path you were exposed to?”  But the other part of me says, “How small of you to think your way is the only way.  There are multiple ways, multiple paths to get to the ultimate destination.”  

When it comes to our beliefs, there’s a comfort in what’s familiar.  There’s also a sense of complacency because we do not question anything.  We don’t challenge ourselves.  And we easily welcome those in who believe and feel the same way we do.  When someone or something challenges what we believe, we get defensive and, often, are not as receptive or open to other possibilities (as was the case with a certain audience member on this best-of episode who tried to read—and I do mean READ—Oprah the riot act, but Oprah wasn’t having it).  

In our lives, we all follow different paths to get to the ultimate destination (to God).  Our life experiences are what can bring us closer to or take us away from God.  While our paths may be different, we still get to the same destination.  For me, the obvious example of this is the beltway.  The beltway is composed of several different intercounty and interstate highways that connect at various junctions.  These junctions help get us to our respective destinations.  Often times, many of us are going to the same destination but we take a different route.  Though the route taken and the time of arrival may be different, we all still reach the same destination.  And as most who’ve traveled on the beltway will probably testify, it helps to know alternate routes to get to your destinations.  We get into problems when we’re only open to taking one path.  And if we can’t get beyond this one path, we don’t have to wonder why change and different results continue to elude us. 

Spirituality tells us that we each have our own unique relationship with God.  Let no man tell you different.  The responsibility to maintain and nurture this relationship falls on us.  Religion, on the other hand, is a tool that we can use to help manage our relationship with God.  What we call God or what religion we follow is insignificant, since so many of our principles, values, and beliefs are universal.  It’s about being connected to a spirit, a being greater than ourselves—and letting that spirit guide and direct us.  But it’s our choice whether we want to accept it.  We don’t have to.  And that doesn’t make us any better or worse than the other.  Just be flexible, open, and accepting of the fact that there are several paths available for us in this life.  And remember, while our path or walk may be different—the ultimate destination is universal and always the same.