Guest Blogger Lakisha Buffington
Bio: I am a STORYTELLER by nature!! I love to share stories! In fact, I believe that when you share stories, you build stronger connections with the people you are talking to. It allows them to see "your true self" in all its glory and grind.
However outside of these superpowers, I am a loving wife, awesome mom, and dedicated caregiver in my daily life, but at night, lol, my innate prowess includes author, story-sharing coach, and communication strategist, owner of Unstuck Woman SELF Strategies, LLC, and creator of An UnStuck Woman movement.
“Liberation is when you know without a doubt that you belong to every place and no place at all. You are gracious about being a part of something, but you’re okay, standing alone too.”
- Dr. Brene Brown
I have always wanted to fit in. For nearly ninety percent (90%) of my life, I have wanted to be like the others; to belong; to be a part of something. I have this insatiable need sometimes to just feel seen; to be heard; to know that I am valued.
At a young age, I can remember sitting at my grandmother’s knee, and asking her, “why am I so different”? She smiled at me and as she reached over to kiss me on my forehead, she so sweetly said, “Peaches your different is your blessing”. For the first time, I remember thinking, Bigma may be wrong this time. I didn’t feel blessed. I felt cursed. In fact, I just felt “not enough”.
I won’t bore you with my childhood stories, today, lol, but I will share a bit of background. My mother was sixteen when she had me, and my dad, was seventeen. My maternal grandmother wanted to punish my mom and make her quit school and work. However, my paternal grandparents had other plans, and because my dad wasn’t stable enough to step up, they did. At six weeks old, I moved in with my Bigma Maggie (my best girl) and my Pawpaw Chester (the best man since sliced bread). They loved me, nurtured me, nourished my body, mind, and spirit with great family values, however unfortunately I was not excluded from the effects of having one presently absent parent in my life (my mom), and a plain ole absent parent (my dad).
So, I have ‘stuff” - generational, emotional, and environmental – that I have lived with most of my life. At the age of thirteen when I was having this conversation with my grandmother, I didn’t realize it then, but it was my 'stuff' that caused me to feel ill-fated. And believe me up until recently, it didn’t get any better for me.
Don’t get me wrong, despite my ‘stuff’, others would describe me as a corny, witty, fun-loving, happy-go-lucky kind of girl! All true! Nonetheless, my closest friends would also tell you that I’ve struggled emotionally and mentally most of my life living to be loved!
I learned at an early age how to create and where the masks that others wanted to see. I learned how to dim my own light to make others shine brighter, just so I could fit in. I learned early in life that black sheep do exist in family dynamics, and I was that girl!
And over the years, I became more and more isolated, angry, and bitter, but worst of all, I became desensitized to the things that triggered me, the discomfort it made me feel, and the pain that existed in the aftermath. My ‘stuff’ began to runneth over!
In 2017 my then 55-year-old mother was diagnosed with early-stage dementia. I remember feeling numb because I had so many unanswered questions. I started researching on my own. I needed more than it's perhaps genetic, "okay, where because there's no disclosed history that I know of". Well, perhaps it's environmental., the doctor said.
Knowing what I did about my mom's abusive past, I started looking at the correlation between trauma and dementia. What I found was that "your biography will become your biology. The more I researched and asked questions, the more I realized that at 55 years old, my mother's "stuff", her unprocessed trauma from childhood into adulthood was finally returning to haunt her. And that it was possibly triggered by the loss of her eldest brother.
We can only suppress our stuff for so long.
The more I sought to figure out my mom's situation, the more I realized our similarities.... and in 2019, I decided that I NEEDED to face my stuff too. I became passionate about being open to accepting HELP, learning how to HEAL, and excited about finding HOPE!! I started learning more about embracing my stories, repurposing the language of the past, and giving my pain a new purpose.
In 2021 I refocused my mission, reconnected to my purpose, and launched UnStuck Woman SELF Strategies, LLC with the purpose of supporting women around the world, empowering courage, confidence, forgiveness, and comfortability in becoming their version of an Unstuck Woman!
After nearly three years, I am proudly working towards creating the UnStuck Woman Imitative, a non-profit side to my business that will allow me to continue supporting women withfinding this UnStuck & Free space of SELF, but through mindful healing and story sharing.
“There is no greater agony than bearing the untold story inside you.” - Maya Angelou
Over the past few years, I have learned to push through my fears, flaws, and imperfections, and Lord "handles" my triggers so much better than years before. I have learned to embrace my UnStuck SELF!
In truth, I designed the #UnStuckWoman movement as a way of leading and motivating myself first! I was a woman struggling with identifying mySELF. I was a woman unclear about who she was. I lacked the understanding and belief I needed to appreciate what I could do with my life. I lacked the trust in SELF - uncomfortable in my skin, afraid to be myself, and withholding permission to be bold in my strengths. I was living out of balance and out of alignment!
"First be a leader of yourself. Only then can you grow to become a leader of others". - Lakisha Mitchell-Buffington
I am a STORYTELLER by nature!! I love to share stories! It’s how I relate to others. It’s how I share my trials and triumphs. It’s how I heal. It's my therapy! You see, writing allows me to be completely and comfortably myself! I can laugh, joke, be corny, and be as off or on-key as I like. Writing provides me an outlet for help, healing, and for HOPE.
Writing provides "total freedom" for my SELF-identity! I get to freely talk about my stuff! You know the stuff that keeps us awake at night, that stresses the hairs out of our heads, the stuff that we worry other people will figure out about us - the generational, emotional, and environmental stuff that holds us hostage!
Through writing and story-sharing, I have developed the courage, confidence, and ability to forgive, and comfortably live purposely as my UnStuck & Free self.
This past January, I did a thing! It was an amazing thing! It was a healing thing. It was the best thing I could have done for myself, my family (especially my daughter), and for women that can resonate with me right now. I publicly shared the story of my seven-year-old self! I openly talked about my biography and bricks, in my 3rd published book, UnStuck & Free; A guided journal to Self-identity, growth, & transformation in women. And in that place of self, I felt freedom! I was able to talk about the seven challenges that I have faced as a woman trying to simply find herself; a woman who no longer felt a need to fit in; a woman who could care less about being like the others; a woman who was pushing through her ‘stuff’, unpacking it, one brick at a time. I felt free to become the woman who could finally live to be loving, rather than being loved. I was finally becoming Lakisha, my version of an #UnStuckWoman.
My journey has not been easy and yes, it's been lonely, and very challenging sometimes. However, it's also been the most liberating experience of my life! I belong to every place and absolutely no place at all because I belong to Lakisha!
“A woman that finds her identity finds herself.” - Lakisha Mitchell -Buffington
If you enjoyed this post from Lakisha Mitchell-Buffington, check out www.anunstuckwoman.com to learn more about her personal journey, as well as her grassroots business, UnStuck Woman SELF Strategies, LLC. To connect with Lakisha on a more personal aspect, make sure you’re following her @Lakisha Mitchell-Buffington (Storyteller) on Facebook, @AnUnStuckWoman on Instagram, and please join the conversations and connection in the An UnStuck Woman Facebook group.
Sarah de Orlando is an author, speaker, and the Chief-Hope-Giver of Sarah de Orlando Coaching. A season in Poland began a five-year journey to help her embrace her unique design beyond what she thought she “should” or “could” do as an engineer. In early 2021, she bravely left her structural engineering career to pursue her new calling full-time. Sarah’s passion is to coach women to discover and step into their God-sized dreams to impact others by sharing their stories. Sarah and her husband, Andrés, have one adorable daughter, “Bug.” You can find Sarah hiking through forests or beachcombing for sea glass in her downtime. Her debut memoir, Love Letters from Poland, was released in 2021. Connect with her on Instagram @sarahdeorlando and www.sarahdeorlando.com.
Wizzz!--out when Dad’s line before deftly landing near the pond’s alcove of pines. I sat straight like a rod in the middle of the canoe. The red-white bobber indicated no takers. “Dad, nothing is happening!” “Shhh, Bean. We have to be patient.”
Until I became a mother, I didn’t see why my father loved to take me fishing. Silence. Sure, he enjoyed the sport and pan-fried rainbow trout. But I’m on to his method that went something like, “Hey kids, let’s pile into a boat and see who can be the quietest as we wait out the morning for a bite.” (And leave your mom at home to rest.)
Reality hits home: rest seems impossible.
I once heard Thomas Edison liked to fish every morning. He never caught a thing because he didn’t use bait; fish and people left him alone for an hour to think. I too, crave white space to think uninterrupted from “Mami, I want a snack,” construction noise, phone notifications, social media feeds, and more. And those things are the external distractions. Forget about the mental to-do list, the reel of shame on repeat in my mind, and discouragement. I’m not beyond daily struggles, friend.
Maybe it’s just the season I’m in with a bright, talkative toddler that has me daydreaming of silent retreats. But I also think much deeper movements of culture drive it. Feeling pressured always to be on, reply to Facebook, Instagram, Marco Polo, emails, texts, and more. That doesn’t even touch the lovely Christmas and new years notes we received, and I haven’t acknowledged them from six months ago. I fear we might be on the “doesn’t get a card” list next year. Just pile on more pressure that I feel the need to respond to everyone with my undivided attention thoughtfully.
If only I could get on top of it all, I would feel peaceful and able to rest.
I can’t do it all!
You’re not meant to, my soul whispered.
In his book, The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry, John Mark Comer warns against our dependence on our phones. Even if it’s turned off, but in the same room as us, it affects our “working memory and problem-solving skills.”1 I believe it. Phones interrupt my concentration and always beacon for one more thing to do before bed. It’s a constant reminder of to-dos, activities, invitations, and work piling up if I don’t just do that “one last thing.” But it’s never that last thing is it?
Before living in Poland in 2016, I lived a hurried, stressed life. I conditioned myself to believe it was the only way to get things done. In different seasons, compounding stressors like work, social life, church, and family needs collided and I’d melt down in tears. But in Poland, working abroad with two suitcases and a few coworker acquaintances, my schedule quickly opened up. It revealed how much I had depended on doing things to feel good about myself. By grace, instead of falling back into old ways, I chose a new rhythm. I decided to have work-free Sundays which included strolls in the park, podcasts, reading, and connecting with family back home. One full day of rest made me actaully excited for work on Mondays! This is possible for you too.
Do you relate with the overpacked schedule? Here are some ways you to evaluate if you need more rest from shorted list from The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry.2 Do you struggle with:
An Invitation To Rest
What if doing less is the more I need? And it’s not just me. Culturally, the U.S. is more connected than ever with our devices. But there is a correlation to more burned out, less productivity, and greater mental health issues like anxiety and depression. Something has to slow down. But it takes discipline. It takes intentionality to accept the invitation your body, mind, and soul crave: rest.
Yes, you’re invited to rest.
Rest is a beautiful reset to our mind, body and spirit. It helps us have meaningful connections with others, ourselves, and our spirituality or faith. We come back to work refreshed, with more creativity and productivity than if we had just powered through. When our bodies slow down, our minds pick up speed in healthy ways with reflection. Cognitive neuroscientist, Caroline Leaf, in her book Switch On Your Brain, states that taking time to reflect increases our critical thinking skills, peace, and feelings related with happiness.3 In addition, taking time to slow down and notice your thoughtst helps us problem-solve. It gives us time to capture lies like “I can’t do this.” or “I screwed up again” sapping precious energy.
Having a slower, intentional pace of life is possible. It begins by noticing small ways you can incorporate rest into daily and weekly rhythms. Try some of these for the next 21 days, noticing how you feel and show up for others.
Jocelyn is a Licensed Professional Counselor and course creator who desires to help clients heal and grow into who God created them to be.