Yes I was arrested and I am at peace

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Guy Finley once said: “Freedom is not overcoming what stands in our way but it is understanding that what is in our way was part of the way.” Oh! How right! It is not easy to understand that the bad things that happen to us are part of our journey. We tend to forget them while making peace with them. Furthermore, we try to flee from them, act like nothing happened; but they did happen. We were hurt, judged, condemned, and “crucified” on the life’s cross. Days passed, months passed, we regained strength, rose up like eagles; but we can neither run from the past nor forget those bad experiences. Even when we do, we sometimes find ourselves reliving them through people, a similar situation or even during a healing process.

June 29th of last year was a normal day. Summer was just starting and I was still drafting my online business. The sun was hot and it was a perfect day to wear a sundress. School vacation was in its beginning and so was what I wanted to do including working three jobs to get the money I needed to launch my online store. Later that day around 5pm an incident occurred, the police arrested me with a charge of “unauthorized taking or transfer.” I remember the police officer checking my bag. Fellow Burundians were passing by, but none of them got the audacity or even the compassion to ask what was going on but they did spread the word as fast as they can (“Bad news don’t take stairs, they use elevators.”) I felt alone, scared with the officer going over every little thing I had in my Aldo bag. She did ask me if I have family I can call to meet us at the police station. I remember telling her that I had no one. I could have told her: “Yes, everyone you see staring at me, knows me in the Burundian community but they are strangers for the day”. Instead I told her that when I get a chance at the police station, I will have to call my lawyer Anna Welch. Anna is family to me since my first month here in Maine. I don’t remember any day or any time I’ve reached out to her for help and she wouldn’t reach back. She plays a big role into the woman I am becoming.
I sat behind the officer’s car. She drove to the police station and left me there. Two nice male officers received me. They ran both my background check and my immigration check. Fifteen minutes later, they took my fingerprints and told me they were building a case, that my lawyer would need to follow up and then I was released. They gave me back my bag and opened the door. I walked through the door, broken, hurt but somehow happy that I wouldn’t fight this alone, I knew Anna would stand by me. I emailed her and she came to my rescue. In fact, she got me an attorney at the Cumberland legal aid clinic. My case was ended in September(almost three months later).

A picture of the letter my lawyer sent. It said that my case was dismissed.

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My charge was dismissed, my name cleared up. Well, at least that is what I thought. Until I met the world of the internet. Internet does not delete or clear up.
Two months later, I was in a plane going to Minnesota to see a friend, when I got a message on whatsapp
: “Hey J, your name is popping in a Portland Police beat at the Forecaster news”. She also told me that she got it from someone who send it saying “ There goes how she makes a living”. I did not respond to that message. In fact, I ignored it. I am a very stubborn person who thinks that I owe no explanation to anyone. But I did cry, full of pity for that person, because at the end of the day such people have more issues than the one they try to hurt; to be able to spread such negativity (when you don’t even know the person) is truly evil.

My life went on as well as my social life. My blog got more visitors and some when “googling” my name, found the arrest report. Some asked me about it. But I got to a point where it was too much to take. Especially when the people asking are not interested in the truth but in hurting you. My closest friend advised me to delete myself from the internet life. It was after I talked to the forecaster news. I sent them an email asking if they can remove my name from what they published but their response was right and I did understand. Here is a screenshot.(…..)

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They were right. An arrest report does not say anything more than the fact that the person was arrested. They did not say that I was guilty or imprisoned. They wrote the truth: Yes, I was arrested. Since that day, I realized the problem was not the report being on the internet (even though We are working on taking that off), but the problem was who read it and interpreted it in their own way.

The truth is; the case was dismissed almost a year ago.
Now let’s get to the point of sharing this today:
It is my story. Despite what everyone may say or think. This is my own story. It was my experience, my fight. I lived this and pretty much alone but not alone. My own community rejected me. I am not afraid to say it because if we ever plan to change our country, let’s start with us. You cannot love abarundi you don’t see while there are those you see daily and are fighting battles you actually know but choose to ignore or add more to them.
I also shared my story because I have chosen a life that requires people’s trust. I really hate explaining myself since I was a kid. So this is because I think it is the right thing to do for all the people who trust my business and all my work and also those who are reluctant because they were warned about “my ways”. They need to know my story from myself, I had to break the silence. I also shared this because I want you to be inspired and encouraged. This experience didn’t stop me from having an online business and being active on social medias. When my close friend told me the best way to fight this bullying(yes, I was bullied too) was to erase myself from social medias; I told him I am not a quitter neither don’t I run away from uncomfortable situations. Where he saw an obstacle for me, I saw an opportunity. I told him that I want to own that world, that I will make a living out of that world. Believe it or not, that obstacle was a good sign that I belonged to the virtual world. I wasn’t going anywhere, I AM NOT going anywhere.

Now you my friend reading this, do not give up! God and you, are the masters of your own story. And I believe that obstacles are opportunities in disguise. You just need to change your mind and tell yourself that you will overcome this even if it means fighting alone.
Do not let a bad experience, a bad decision, anything or anyone keeps you from achieving what you want. Being uncomfortable won’t stop you from making things happen where you were told or even yourself thought it was impossible.

Today I join Guy Finley in saying: “ Freedom is not overcoming what stands in our way but accepting that what stands in our way was part of the journey.” That arrest is part of my journey. It shows that one day you may wake up and find your freedom stolen. It is your responsibility to get it back but most importantly to not allow anything to define you. You are undefinable. Don’t try hard to explain yourself because the creator of heaven and earth knows your heart and that’s what matters. Also along the journey, God has a way of justifying his Joseph ( Sometimes you need to go through a bad experience before entering your palace). Always remember, You are undefinable.

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Black girl why do you fight to fit in?

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She grew up,
Watching her mother bleach her skin
Mamma needs to be light
Daddy likes yellow

She saw,
Auntie spending hours in one place
Later she screams
My back is hurting
But it’s fine. She has the braids

She smiled whenever they ask
‘When are you going to relax your hair’
Try optimum, you will look good
Television is promoting straight
She cannot afford to go Brazilian
She sang freedom
But her mind is fighting for a way out

Black girl,
You don’t need a sunscreen
You are your own queen,
Your own beauty.
TV shows don’t define you
And You don’t need to answer
Whenever they’ll tell you
You are so pretty for a black girl
Who said Dark is dirty
Nappy is nasty
Bold is problematic

It’s your face,
Your body,
Your smile,
Your legs,
It’s yours.

With Love,

Judicaelle

There will never be a perfect time to start

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Hello Readers, 

I am so happy to welcome you into this journey.

Why am I starting this blogging journey called ‘Owning a business’?  I was asked to do it but No one is forcing me to do it.  The thought came when more than one person approached me and asked if I can share my journey with them.

We all expect people to share their journey when they have accomplished wonders but I have learned one thing: there is beauty in the process. Yes, the result is brilliant but the journey, the small beginnings, the little steps are the ones that matter because they leave a message clear than the result : Trust the process.

For that reason, You will walk with me through this journey of being my own boss and have employees. It is going to be fun mostly because I enjoy being authentic and also because I won’t be afraid to share my mistakes and failures.

Welcome and let’s enjoy the journey 

 

Many with dreams spend their lifetime, studying, planning, getting ready for it while all they have to do is to get started

Life is made of excuses and regrets. Those two things can make you stuck in the past or never be ready to accomplish your dreams. I am not a fan of regrets and not because I don’t have things which I am ashamed of but because  I realized they have contributed to who I am. I learned that what does not kill us, teach us, shape us and mold us.
On the other hand, excuses were my best friends. Mostly because I love to be always right and I grew up being that smart kid in my family. You all know those smart kids who think they know everything. Yeah that was me until I realized I was not smart just prideful

Excuses are very toxic. We sometimes call them realistic reasons because they are the reality that is supposed to wake us from our dreams. But we can also use them as a reason to pursue what we love.

‘ I am not ready to start a business’ ‘ I am still waiting for a partner’  ‘ I don’t have enough resources’  ‘ What if it fails? ‘ ‘ I am still young for that’  ‘ Let me wait two more years maybe I will be ready’  ‘ I still need experience ‘  ‘I am busy with school ‘  ‘ I need to get married first’ ….
Excuses are many, they cannot run out. We wake up every morning with new excuses. Some explain why we should stay in bed, others explain why we should miss school, work or even procrastinate.
I had a lot of excuses when it was about starting my business. They can be grouped in three main excuses:

  1. Lack of knowledge. I am young. I am in my early 20’s. I know being young is sexy.
    However when it was about taking the road of being an entrepreneur, I felt empty, without any knowledge. I almost forgot that I used to sell second hand clothes in Burundi. I told myself that I knew nothing and people will never think that I am serious with my business.
    The very first time you will start considering what people will think, you have already failed and you will need to start again. People will never value what you do not value. You are the one who sets the standard of your dreams and you stick with it even if it means standing alone.
    Back to my lack of knowledge, I got to learn that Steve Jobs did not wake up, ready and full of knowledge to build Apple. He learned along the journey, through the failures he endured and in the beginning he failed more than once. In fact, he failed twenty times when building Apple. Just like I failed during my Avon business more than once (I will share about it one day). I lost a lot of my money but I won’t change that period if I get a chance to do so, because I got from it a lot of wisdom and some incredible lessons.
    Here is my point : In business, you learn along the journey. You acquire knowledge through the process. It won’t matter the number of books you may read, the conferences you will attend and the success of your mentor, you will acquire the right knowledge when you will be in that journey.
    If today you think that your lack of knowledge can justify why you postpone going after your dreams, it is time you reevaluate your excuses because practice makes everything perfect.
  2.   Lack of Time : I love to call myself a mystery ( please I am not being overconfident, maybe a little) but I am that kind of a girl who can do anything if she wants to. I am many things at once and I have learned to embrace it. I learned to find time for everything I love. It’s hard to be a multitasker in this world. Multitaskers are visionary even though whenever they want to do something, an excuse rise: time. But we ignore that we all have twenty-four hours. If we use our time well, it is enough.
    Let’s be real : You can’t lack time to do what you love. If the passion is strong, you will always find the time even if you have to work Saturday and Sunday or choose to work eighty hours a week .The first two years of a business, you struggle. By struggling, I mean going through a lot ( lemons, Stones, failures) but they make the journey worth it.
    My friend, if today the lack of time is one of your excuses, ask yourself how bad you love what you want to do and how far are you ready to go for it?
  3.  Lack of money: There is no business without money. It is not in business only that money is required, money is needed in every area of our life. Yes money can be the root of all evil but it can also be the root of many good things. Money does not create itself or produce itself nor multiply itself. People create it. So having the lack of money as an excuse turned out to be the lack of education. I needed to know that I won’t get the money to start my business by sitting down and give reasons to my excuses. In fact, the lack of money pushed me to work three jobs. Money does not appear on your door just like that. You need a strategy but you first start by identifying the right resources. They can be people, jobs, bank. But you need a strategy.

 

The time will never be right and you will never run out of excuses. Just start.

With Love,

Judicaelle