our-affirmations

7

FACE FORWARD - Meet the Photographer Advocation for Black Beauty in the Fashion Industry: Glenford Nuñez

“You photograph what you see around and the things you care about,” Nuñez says. “My mom is a Black woman. My sister is a Black woman. These are the people I love, so I want them to be depicted in the best possible light.” He is on a mission to capture at least 100 aspiring Black models to affirm that our beauty — inside an out — is worthy of praise.

featured models: Ra’Chael Baker, Kennedy McDaniel, Sinmidele Badero,Tene’A Cummings, Ariana Gulford, Emoni Baraka, Tayquana Demery

text: Juliee Wilson - Essence July 2017

Solitude, silence and fasting. Embracing the three most essential spiritual disciplines opens us to the deepest kind of risk: the risk of discovering who we really are, in all our flaws and confusion. Solitude forces us to step away from the continual affirmation of our authority by others; silence compels us to practice quietness rather than noisy self-assertion; fasting exposes our dependence on food and other good things to prop up our sense of agency and capacity. 

All of them, practiced regularly, will humble us, bringing us up against our own limits and our own foolishness. Without solitude, silence and fasting, we have no true authority -we are captives of others’ approval, addicted to our personal soundtracks and chained to our pleasures. But on the other side of this vulnerability is true authority, grounded in something deeper than our circumstances.
—  Andy Crouch, Strong and Weak
If a child smiles, if an adult smiles, that is very important. If in our daily lives we can smile, if we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone will profit from it. If we really know how to live, what better way to start the day than with a smile? Our smile affirms our awareness and determination to live in peace and joy. The source of a true smile is an awakened mind.

me: *is desperate for validation and verbal affirmation of our friendship from my friends*

also me: *ignores every attempt my friends make to reach out and talk because im Too Tired*

Lance can only speak Spanish, but...

no one knows what he’s saying.

“Lance has been in his lion for a while, Allura,” Pidge states, though not without a tinge of apprehension. She cocks her head inquisitively, nervously.

“That was quite an escape,” The princess murmurs, nodding, placing a gentle hand on Pidge’s shoulder. She promptly relaxes. “But it’s time for Lance to come out! We still have work to do.”

She tries to say this pleasantly. She really does. But Lance has been stalling — holding people up, as they say — the Paladin’s progress for far too long. Allura is eager to get moving, as well as chew Lance out for disappointing her — erm, the team — again.

“Lance!” She calls.

A few ticks. A few more. There’s no response.

“Lance?” Allura calls once more, this time confused. Lance doesn’t just not answer her — at least, he doesn’t flat out ignore her. Allura feels a swell of anger at the blatant disrespect, but tames it. Barely.

“Lance!” She makes sure to sound as authoritative as she can this time. Few have managed not to wilt under her thinly veiled anger before, and Lance is certainly not one of them.

This was the third time she has called him; her anger makes way for concern.

“Sí, princesa?” Lance’s voice is quiet, like maybe the Paladins wouldn’t hear him.

Behind Allura, Pidge groans. “This isn’t the time to be messing around, Lance! Hurry up and come out of your stupid lion!” After a moment, Pidge tacks on a hasty, “No offense.” Allura is not sure as to who she is collateralizing for.

“Yo— yo no puedo.” Allura is confused. That is not English. What is he doing?

This time, Hunk chimes in, calm as ever. “Dude, you know we can’t understand you.” He thinks about it, then adds, “Well. We can’t understand you well.”

“Lo sé, lo sé! No sé qué pasa conmigo!” Lance’s voice rises hysterically, and suddenly Allura is frightened. “What is he saying?” She asks, only receiving shrugs.

"Por favor, ayúdame! Hunk??” Lance cries, scrambling out of his lion to tumble to the floor. "No puedo hablar inglés!” When Hunk stares back at Lance, eyebrow raised, he taps his throat. "Haggar! La magia! Magia?” His friend shakes his head no, sympathetic but confused.

“Magic?” Pidge pipes up, and Lance swivels his head to her so fast Allura is surprised his neck did not hurt. “How did you know?” Shiro asks, and Pidge looks at him skeptically. “Dude, just think about it. Haggar and "magia?” Haggar the magical space witch and Lance’s sudden inability to speak English? C'mon guys. It isn’t hard.“

Shiro raises an eyebrow at her, nothing more, and Pidge mutters a reluctant "sorry.”

"Um, hola?! Hay una emergencia? Me?? Soy la emergencia!?” Lance’s voice is shrill now, though with what Allura is not sure.

Keith squints. “There’s an… emergency.” Allura is startled; she honestly forgot he was here.

Lance nods animatedly. He jabs his finger in his chest. "Soy la emergencia!”

“You.” (“Mhmm, mhmm!”) “…emergency?” Keith tries. Lance nods even harder. “You are the emergency?

"Pidge, Hunk, you guys are now our resident translators.” (Affirmative! “You got it.”) Shiro’s voice absolutely booms, cutting all side chatter with the exception of Lance’s hysterical Spanish blabber.

"Shiro, ellos no comprenderán! Bien. No comprenderán bien.”

"Shiro stared at Lance before hesitantly saying, “…Yes.” Lance groaned, exasperated, before throwing his hands in the air and storming out.

"Dios míos, por qué siempre me pasa esto a mi?????”

Bread

Every culture has its version
Pounded out, kneaded, fried, baked
Barley, wheat, corn, rye
Oat, rice, quinoa
Dumplings, loaves, biscuits
Unleavened, fruity, flat
Central to our consciousness
This life-affirming food

I remember mornings I spent in the school kitchen where my mother and my grandmother worked
How they made it all from scratch
The rising dough
The wondrous smells
The floured hands of women
Clean towels placed reverently over mighty, stainless steel tubs
How mysterious it was
How the dough doubled itself to feed us

There is something holy in the seemingly mundane ritual of its making
Its ever-presence in our lives

I remember patting the tops of the dough after it had risen
The drum-like quality of it
The simple, childhood songs I would play
That was holy too
That acceptance of everyday magic

Come, let us break bread

Azuki Lynn

If a child smiles, if an adult smiles, that is very important. If in our daily lives we can smile, if we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone will profit from it. If we really know how to live, what better way to start the day than with a smile? Our smile affirms our awareness and determination to live in peace and joy. The source of a true smile is an awakened mind.
—  Thích Nhất Hạnh

As Jews, I feel that many of us struggle with internalizing the Christian worldview to the point of denying the felt and lived reality of HaShem in our lives. We face the now-universal injunction for those who consider themselves “religious” (there has never been such a thing on the face of this Earth before Christianity; Christianity is the first and the last ‘religion’) of “but do I really believe in G-d?” This injunction, this “test of faith” is part and parcel to a Christian mode of subjectivity which has made the (simultaneous) production of, and disavowal of doubt–the challenge of “true faith” versus “hypocrisy”, “heresy”, and “unbelief” which together form the Christian problematic–an integral part of religious experience. The need to identify true faith qua true belief was historically the need to identify the class of true believers, as opposed to those (indigenous, Muslim, Jewish, pagan, heretical) nonbelievers who constituted the body of the unassimilated Christian faith. This became the Christian West’s means of constituting itself both internally and externally; it was inherently a theology of and constituted by antisemitism, orientalism, and colonialism. Even all of the secular, Western atheisms and philosophies uphold this reality.

Today, we feel the effects of this and the pressure to view ourselves and our religious practice in terms of belief and to deny the living, communal, and practical reality of HaShem in our lives. HaShem is there in Jewish practice, in prayer, when we kiss the mezuzah, when we lift up the Torah scroll, when we light the holiday candles. HaShem is the smell of besamim during Havdalah, HaShem is the soft glow of Shabbos candles on a child’s hands, HaShem is the Brahcot we whisper to ourselves when we are filled with joy or sadness, celebration or grief, with the profound sense of wonder that clings to every scrap of this world.

HaShem is not a free-floating metaphysical entity. HaShem is not the object of belief, for HaShem is not an object. Neither is HaShem an all-seeing or universal subject constructed in our own image, nor is HaShem an abstraction such as Reason or Justice. HaShem is the ontological grounding of our being in this world, the very breath of our life and striving. HaShem is the shattered and scattered presence of divinity which unfolds daily, a divinity to which all of creation sings praise continually (Psalms 66:4). To be Jewish is to access and actualize this already-present divinity. HaShem is never beyond our reach, HaShem is never something to “come to” in a moment of revelation as for the Christians. We can only ever return (l'shuv, teshuvah) to HaShem (I believe Herman Wouk pointed out in “This is My God” how strange the Christian phrase “I found G-d” is to Jewish ears. Was G-d hiding from you?). When we affirm the name 'HaShem’, we are not affirming our undiscerning yet firm conviction in a reality that exists beyond some uncrossable divide between the physical and the metaphysical. Rather, we are affirming a reality that is brought forth in each gesture of our practice, a reality which “lo b'shamayim hi” (“it is not in the heavens” -Deut. 30:12). To be Jewish is to unfold this reality and bring about the redemption of the world (tikkun olam), a process that is not metaphysical but deeply, richly, and intimately physical.

It is significant that seldom in Jewish history have we drawn lines around the 'community of believers’ in contradistinction to the apostates and the heretics. If anything, we only ever condemned those who refuse the work, a term in Hebrew (avodah) which has nothing to do with our capitalist understanding of labor but instead refers to the act of bringing about that which underlies and redeems the world, of performing mitzvot (commandments), of tzedek, tzedek tirdof (“Justice, justice you shall pursue,” Deut. 16:20). As our sages said, “It is not your responsibility to finish the work [of perfecting the world], but you are not free to desist from it either” (Rabbi Tarfun, Pirkei Avot 2:16).

To this day I still answer the question “do you believe in G-d” in the negative, because there is no part of me that can affirm my faith in such terms. I simply say, 'oh no, I’m Jewish!’

Refuse to assimilate. The question of faith will never be answered in terms of a verbal affirmation of belief, but in the existential and practical orientation towards the shattered divinity of a broken world. Judaism always responds to a world in crisis. This is our G-d, this is our faith, this is our work and life as Jews.

If a child smiles, if an adult smiles, that is very important. If in our daily lives we can smile, if we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone will profit from it. If we really know how to live, what better way to start the day than with a smile? Our smile affirms our awareness and determination to live in peace and joy. The source of a true smile is an awakened mind.
BTS INFJ S/O:

Author’s note: So before I start, this is all my opinion. So if you disagree with whatever I write remember, this is based on my opinion , boys personalities and also what they look for a future partner. Also because I am an INFJ….so yeah…


What will BTS members will think and what they will love about you?

Jin: I believe that Jin will love your affirming and warm nature. Also that you hear him out because you’re a good listener, and he can completely trust you. Your dedicated nature to your relationship with him will make him fall more in love with you because that’s what he is looking for, someone who listens, cares and loves him endlessly because he will do the same or even more for you. 

Suga: I think he will like your affirming nature, he has stated that he wanted someone more on the positive side than negative. Also that you have great communications skills and a good listener meaning that you won’t sugar coat things, and I think he will dig it. Overall he wants someone who is independent and who works hard for things and I think the INFJ’s are like that. 

J-Hope: He wants someone who is as optimistic as he is and I think we possess that due to our affirming nature. Also our warm nature because he has stated that he wants a kind girl. He will absolutely love that you are a good listener  and also communicator because he wants a girl who understands him and who is there for him when he most needs it. 

Rap Monster: Since we are (Yeah like I said I am an INFJ) part of the knowledge and intelligence family, I believe that Namjoon will love this due that you can both have very interesting conversations.. Also our great communication and listening skills because we communicate what we feel and listen very well to others people’s emotions and/or ideas/perspectives.

 Jimin: He has stated that he wants a warm S/O that is shy at first but they open up once they had found the trust and I believe that the INFJ’s possess these qualities. He will also love that you’re very dedicated on the relationship and you’re sensitive and concerned about other’s people’s feelings, especially people who is very close to you. 

Taehyung (V): He has stated that he wants someone to take care of him so I believe that he will really dig both the warm and affirming nature. Also that you take commitment very seriously. Meaning that this will bring his mature side but on the other hand he also wants someone with a dorky/awkward charm just so can he can smile all day long. 

Jungkook: Due to our introverted nature we tend to be more shy than usual and I think he will like this because we seem quiet at first but then we are warm, affirming, and tend to have high expectations on us and others and I believe this will help him motivate more and strive for the better. But I think this also will get you into trouble, just sometimes we need to let it slide. But either way he just wants someone who is there for him, takes care of him and loves him for who he is.