Updated: Dec 14, 2021
My youngest sister, Monica Delores Crichlow was brutally murdered on the day I turned 20 years old. My life shifted forever. Some of the shifts I was aware of, such as my parent's separation...other shifts I was not aware that I was experiencing.
Energy is real. Even when we cannot see it, others can feel it. For many years, I walked and moved with an energy of defensiveness. I attributed it to often being the youngest in a class or at a job, or among a group of friends. I was there because I knew more (they said) but in reality I felt I didn't know anything because I never felt I was enough because the older kids always seemed to know more. I was skipped from first grade to the second and then from second grade to third grade…all within a few months at a predominantly black private school. So basically, I was six years old in the third grade with students who were eight years old. My parents were proud of their child and it seemed like the right thing to do at the time. It doesn't seem like a big difference in age when you are six, but when you grow up in New York City and are twelve entering high school and traveling from Brooklyn to the Bronx every day, it is a lot...and I wasn't ready and I was often on guard, defending my right to be.
So back to this story...I spoke with a dear sistafriend yesterday who shared that when she met me over 20 years ago in Atlanta, that even though she and I became friends, I was often perceived as stand off-ish...and then she read a post I made many years later on social media about my sister's death and she understood the reason. I understood that was part of the reason. Here is another part…
Our patterns are deeply ingrained in us as a people, as a family, as a generation, and as an individual. One of the patterns that has been ingrained in me is the defense I described as a survival mechanism in spaces where I felt less than. And, when I experienced my sister's transition from this plane, I became more defensive as a coping mechanism. Even as I sought to understand and open up my world to a greater understanding of why this event had happened in my family, and to me, I was defensive. One would think that I would supplicate for understanding and in retrospect, I think I thought I was as I searched to understand “why”, but in essence, I took deeper steps down into the energy of defense.
After my sister died, I refrained from attending funerals unless totally necessary - it was a traumatic space for me and I couldn’t put myself through the emotional event of the loss of a close family member or friend AND the memory of my sister’s funeral, which, by the way, felt like a circus since there was an active murder investigation going on, even during the funeral. It was the kind of event that you see on television; and I later learned and eventually saw the episode of Law and Order that was written about it.
Various events in my life helped me to see this aspect of myself and eventually realize the impact it had had on me and others close to me. I went to therapy, I danced, I prayed, I did many things to help me move through this space. However, the one thing that I did consistently and was most impactful was gardening. Plants have helped me to heal in ways that I could not otherwise. I feel connected to my sister and have a stronger understanding of many things when I am in my garden or taking care of my houseplants. This is my path to healing.
As I sat still with the rest of the world in 2020, I decided that it was time to transmute the energy of my sister’s tragic death into another space. I found a deep sense of solace in my garden where I could hear my sister’s and my father’s voice and I could smell my grandmother’s Jean Nate’ perfume.
In February of this year, I impulsively joined ClubHouse, an audio app that I knew nothing about. My first time listening to it was while on vacation in Mexico for my birthday in February. By March, I was hooked and had convinced three of my close sistafriends to join. I knew there was something brewing there but didn’t know what. In June, I met a woman from the UK through ClubHouse who was starting a virtual speaker training program for people who wanted to deliver a talk on a TEDx stage. I joined on a whim and honestly I didn’t know what I was signing up for. I knew what TEDx was (sort of) but I really joined her program because I needed to get the story about my sister out of my system to shift the energy. It was a kind of therapy for me. It was also perfect alignment. One of the assignments was to create a vision board, something I had not done in years. I made mine and taped it above my desk where I could see it everyday. Despite this, throughout the program, I would share my stinking thinking with some of the participants that I was okay if I didn’t share my idea on a TED stage (feeling unworthy); I claimed that this program, which I had paid for, by the way, was more about healing for me than anything else.
Well, my God is awesome and saw otherwise! My coach encouraged me and I applied for two TEDx programs. I am overjoyed that I have been selected for both. I will deliver my first talk next year in April. The events which led up to me being selected as a TEDx speaker for the April event are nothing less than magical and include my application getting completed at the last minute AND being in Jamaica at a retreat with a group of people I met on ClubHouse and hearing that I have a story to tell and they didn't even know my story. I was defensive at first and then leaned into their knowing and listened to what they were saying. Then I met with my speaker coach while in Jamaica and as I panned the villa where I stayed, she exclaimed that she knew the owner and had stayed there! And THEN one of the interviewers graduated from Spelman College and knew my daughter well.Talk about the power of my ancestors! They ride HARD for a sister!!! I am full and excited and grateful!!! I am also clear that I need to get out of my own way and believe in myself! I pray I make you proud, Monica. I love you, GooGoo!
The morals of this story: You have a story to tell. You are worthy of telling your story, that is worthy of being heard and YOU ARE MAGICAL!