Spring 2021 Newsletter by JC Gardner

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an inspirational newsletter by JC Gardner

Spring 2021



In With the Old...




DISCUSSION TOPICS Happy Easter Happy Mother's Day

Millennial Hot News

This issue marks the end of special feature celebrating women who have overcome the odds! This month's honoree is Chidell Watkins

In With the Old... Well, it's Spring 2021. In January, we welcomed

and back-talk were unacceptable, and your

President Joe Biden at the ripe old impressive

mama was not your friend unless she felt like it.

age of 78! When they said, "Age ain't nuthin'


but a number," who knew we would elect a 78year-old man to the highest office in the land? All right, now don't go gettin' your panties (or drawers) in a bunch! LOL I think it's amazing that Joe Biden basically had to come out of retirement to "save" the country. I ain't mad at all! Sometimes you have to go into the archives, in the back of the closet, down in the basement to remind yourself how GOOD things used to be. I grew up in the 60's and 70's, and man, do I miss those days, especially how I was raised. I actually thought my mom was a little touched, you know, had something goin' on upstairs! Those rules were strict, as if she consulted with a prison warden. But guess what? I stayed healthy and safe. Things like: Be home when

We didn't have video games; we had outdoor games that kept our butts slim and trim with double-dutch, freeze tag, hot, peas and butter, hopscotch, mother may I, and red light, green light, 1,2,3. We rode bikes, roller skates, and played handball. Sleepovers were few and far between! Mama needed to lay eyes on you at all times, and who knows how those other people were living? Eating randomly at other people's houses was to bring "dishonor" on your family. LOL We didn't know if they washed their hands before preparing the food, was the fridge/oven/floor clean, and didn't we have food at home?

the street lights come on, you can only travel

Ahhh, the good OLD days. Church was not an

in groups, your neighbor is also your mama too

option. Sunday school, Bible study, choir, youth

and had rights to discipline you, bad grades

group -- if you were up late Saturday night,

Scripted - Page 2 you were up early Sunday morning. No excuses. At the time, these rules felt like torture, but in retrospect, they were lifesaving in so many ways. So there we have it! OLD simply means vintage, mature, veteran, experienced, historic, timetested, well-seasoned, wise and crafty. Like fine wine, we only get better with time. If we should

Easter Sunday was April 4th; a very happy

be so blessed to become OLD.

Easter or Passover to those who celebrate one of the most joyous days of the year! Unlike many other celebrations, this one doesn't come with a tangible gift exchange or lavish party. Instead, it comes with a most remarkable blessing that one could ever receive, which is everlasting life.

Can you name these old-school items? First 3 people to email me at authorjcg@yahoo.com with ALL 4 correct answers wins a prize and a shout out in the next newsletter!

I know Easter is synonymous with dyeing eggs, the trusty Easter bunny, candy-filled baskets, and a fabulous buffet, but all of this pales in comparison to what God has offered us. Jesus said in John 14 His Father's house has many mansions. In many versions, it says MANSIONS with an "s." LOL That means there is room for all of us, if we trust and believe John 3:16. Y'all know I'm no preacher, but I love the Lord and as the song goes, "He would not come down from the cross just to save himself. He decided to die just to save me." I'm so glad He found me worthy. Trust and believe you are worthy too!

Chidell Watkins "I'm still standing!" This newsletter marks the end of celebrating women survivors, and I have been blessed by all of their testimonies. For this issue, I am honored to showcase Chidell Watkins. I met this amazing woman at a conference a few years ago, and we've stayed connected ever since. Some things from our past can be so painful, that we bury them deep within, trying to wish them away because to bring them to the surface would be like pouring acid in an already raw and open wound. What the devil meant for bad, God will turn it around for your good! Vulnerability takes courage and to turn pain into purpose takes faith. Chidell Watkins is a survivor of a brutal attack, and she has been sharing her story on various stages, podcasts and venues. Her past is not her present and every day, she declares the victory and hopes that through her testimony, others can be set free.

JG: Tell us about that fateful day coming home from work when you were attacked by "friends." CW: I have to say when I look back at that night, I am pretty sure my gut instinct told me not to get off the bus at that stop and go to my normal stop at the well-lit and populated intersection. As I walked down the somewhat lit, quiet residential street I saw two male friends. I proceeded to walk past them, but they stopped me, and I could just smell the alcohol reeking on their breath. I tried to continue to walk home, which was down 2 blocks and around the corner, but they grabbed my arms, one on both sides, and forced me into the backyard, made me lay down and take off my pants. It was at this time that I felt fear like I've never felt before. I really thought I was going to die that night, especially after one of the rapists told me he'd kill me if I screamed and woke up his father. It was a very bad traumatic experience, especially at 18 years old. I was supposed to start life and I felt, well actually knew from that night forward, my life as I imagined it would not be normal.

JG: Talk about how you were able to move forward CW: It took some time for me to move forward. I sat in almost complete and total darkness for 2 almost 3 months. After a while, I gained enough mental strength to go outside and the very day I made that decision, I saw one of the guys who raped me. I immediately froze and fear overcame me all over

again. I can say this definitely set me back but over time, I slowly allowed myself to feel like I was going to be okay. Thirty-three years later, I still have triggers and memories of that night, but I've learned to use the resilience way deep down inside of me and use it daily to keep pushing through that pain.

JG: How did your family support you during this time? CW: Not many people in my family knew at the time. Only a handful of my immediate family knew. They took immediate action of what they knew to do at that time yet me holding on to what my grandmothers always told me, how good of a person I was. How beautiful, strong and talented I was. I also remember one of my aunts walking me to school one day specifically telling me about God, and how special I was and God has His Angels watching over me.

What inspires you? CW: I am inspired by my children, my grandchildren, my mom, my grandparents and a host of my family members (there's A LOT of us LOL). I know that may seem like a weird response, but the saying goes... it takes a village! Also, on my life's journey, I have been afforded the opportunity to be surrounded by individuals who have literally survived and overcome situations you wouldn't think they could have based on their circumstances. I happen to be

Scripted - Page 4 inspired by other people's journeys of how they have preserved to get from where they were to where they are today. This inspires me because at the end of the day, they are still standing and they've pushed forward to start businesses, write books, hold conferences and use their gifts in such powerful ways! This encourages me to know that I am resilient in my own situations and that I can pass the knowledge and steps taken to overcome along to others including my children, my grandchildren and generations to come!

JG: What advice do you have for other women who have experienced similar trauma? CW: The advice I would give to other women who have gone through this type of trauma is to not keep it to themselves. I was so ashamed, I couldn’t tell my sister nor my mother. As hard as it may seem, tell at least one person who you can trust so that you are not holding it in and allowing that burden to wear you down. JG: What makes you a survivor? CW: What makes me a survivor is not giving up! Even at my worst, when I didn't think I was going to make it through the day or wake up the next morning... I didn't give up. When it was more than hard, I mean the ultimate level of difficulty, where my eating habits consisted of naked slices of bread and soda... somehow, I didn't give up! I'm not saying it was easy. It was far from it but something inside of me MADE me get up to face each day. I also know that the things that I have been through 'happened' to me but don't define me. I now know that I was given the strength to overcome and 'SURVIVE' my circumstances that I may be able to help others with the voice they didn't think they had, the resilience they didn't know they had and the self-love they need to give to themselves. No matter what you go through, no matter what life experiences you may encounter annnnnd even if it doesn't look like it, you are going to be okay! Look in the mirror and find the resilience you already have inside of you and use that power to conquer ANYTHING that had tried to set you back! You can reach Chidell at chidellspeaks4u@gmail.com or via IG at @girlfriendsconnected.

Captivity an original poem by JC Gardner They said I had my freedom, but they were wrong! Many nights when I closed my eyes, I saw him, felt him, smelled him I fought him in my sleep and in my dreams I wrestled the darkness, punching the air, kicking the daylights into the moonlight which was hidden behind clouds of doubt, self pity and shame I tossed and turned and curled into a ball to escape the nightmares that became my constant foe The screams went unheard with my mouth open wide as if something forced them to stay way down inside The humiliation of the violation made me a champion of incarceration; maybe even legalizing castration, and if I had my way, decapitation The light at the end of the tunnel was buried under layers of grief, frustration and eternal damnation They say that a mind is a terrible thing to waste, but the memories of his face just...cannot...be...erased In the depths of my soul, there will be no peace Until he no longer walks the earth, Until he lay six feet under, Until his heart stops beating ...and he breathes his last breath

Millennial Hot News BY ALEXIS GARDNER

1. Lil Nas X - You may know this name from the famous song "Old Town Road" made with Billy Ray Cyrus. It was a huge hit and everyone loved Lil Nas X. Well...the tables may have turned since he came out with Nike sneakers containing human blood labeled 666, along with his latest music video ‘MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name.) Uh, he may have just gone a little too far expressing his creative talents, dontcha think?

2. Khloe Kardashian - An unedited, non photoshopped picture of the Kardashian sister was posted by her grandmother, and she has since then gotten her legal team involved forcing her grandmother to take the picture down and also suspending some social media accounts who have reposted the picture. Should Khloe’s wishes be respected about not having photos she doesn’t like of her being reposted or is she reaping the consequences of consistently creating and promoting an unattainable beauty standard? 3. Box braids - All it takes is one tweet for something to go viral and cause mayhem on social media. The latest hot take is that box braids are not a hairstyle that looks good when worn for special occasions like birthdays, but instead getting bundles is the way to go. Many disagree and say box braids can be worn for your birthday and there’s nothing wrong with wearing them. Send me your thoughts: lexiegardner14@gmail.com`

Everything I am or hoped to be I owe to my mother.