By Ta-Ning Connai

We all have a past. Some are tainted by shattered dreams, lost love or unbearable regrets. Others have enough scandal, dirt and drama to beat EMPIRE in the ratings. Fortunately for me, I'm just glad I didn't catch a case like Cookie or be left for dead like Lucious, 'cause that could've been me with my formerly crazy self! Whatever the case, the past can be haunting, with a grip that can cripple us and keep us from forging ahead.

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Our minds have a way of reliving a matter over and over again until we manage to make it worse. Whether we're beating ourselves up or making excuse after excuse, the overthinking never ends. All the "coulda woulda shoulda" in the world won't change what was, nor should those words be allowed to contaminate the rest of your life. So when God comes to pull you out from the hold of yesteryear, do yourself a favor...Don't Look Back.

Lot and his family had a chance to escape a city doomed for destruction (Genesis 19:15-26). Right before the fire and brimstone were about to fall, the Lord sent angels to guide them to a place of safety. "Run!" and "Don't look back!" were the simple instructions given, yet for Lot's wife it was evidently just too much to ask. Looking over her shoulder took her one step backward. And that one step backward was her last step ever. She allowed the familiarity of the past to forfeit her future, by mediating on the way things were just a little too long. For rejecting God's grace and His gift of a second chance, she was turned into a pillar of salt.

Now, whether you take this as a true story like I do, or prefer to call it a myth, the moral remains the same. When God tries to move you forward by leaving your past behind, Don't Look Back. When God invites you into a brand new future full of new ideas and new plans, Don't Look Back. As we can see, a one minute pause can end up lasting forever. So do not hesitate and do not linger, unless you wanna stay stuck. I was once stuck for years…

A hot summer night in the 80’s, I was out joyriding with my criminal-minded boyfriend. That would have been bad enough, but I had the nerve to drag my lil' brother Mark with us. See, I was on punishment AGAIN, but because my bestie was having a birthday party right across the street, moms said we could go.

Midnight was our curfew, but by 10 the party suddenly ended with a bang...a bang from a GUN! Frantically, everyone scattered like wild cattle and, one by one, we all made it back safe to my boyfriend's car. Whew! You'd think we'd just go home early and be happy to be alive, but no, I had 2 more hours of freedom and I wasn't about to waste one minute of it! So true when they say "an idle mind is the devil's workshop"! And it's even worse when you have a bad influence you wanna impress. So, off we went to appease our boredom by being mean to innocent strangers. It was the joyride I'd live to regret.

There were only 3 simple steps to my induction into the Hall of Shame:
#1 Buy a 7-Eleven Big Gulp
#2 Speed wildly down a popular boulevard
#3 Throw drink out the back window into someone's face

Yes, I did this. And in front of my little bro! Oh how could I???!!! Now, I could go on to explain the various things that led to my desperate need for acceptance, but I won't because reasons are not excuses. I thought I'd feel great after proving I was so "cool," but going to such drastic lengths to be someone I'm not proved to be so so wrong.

If only my cherry soaked casualty would've just flipped me off or cursed me out, I could've handled that. Anger, bring it on. But the pain in his eyes, it really had me shook.

I had never seen such an expression of vulnerable helplessness before. And when I looked to my boyfriend for a moment of collaborated remorse, all he did was laugh. Nothing funny about watching your victim take on shame and embarrassment for something they don't deserve, but since I was the one who “pulled the trigger” so to speak, all I could really do was pretend it was alright. But it wasn't alright, and neither was I for a very long time.

It would be DECADES before I could actually forgive myself. One day I just closed my eyes, pictured my victim’s face and asked Jesus to relieve him of any lingering trauma that I may have caused. I asked the Lord to touch his heart and supernaturally reveal to him my sorrow and regret. And since I really believed that God could do it, I've been at peace ever since. Won't He do it!

God wants you to say farewell to all those skeletons in your closet. It's time to close the door on all the crap that's been wearing you down; that bad break up with what's his name or your decision to drop out of school; maybe it's the job you should've taken or the kids you had too soon, or didn’t have at all. Whatever your yesterdays, there's a better tomorrow waiting for you. When you accept God's Heavenly Do-Over, your bad choices become valuable lessons and your life gets filled with joy. All ya gotta do is let go of the past, forgive yourself, expect a better ending and PUH-LEEZ quit looking back!

Are you holding on to something that you need God to release you from?
TA-NING is a former model and clothing designer who one day got the "call" to leave the fab world of fashion behind. While in Bible College, she discovered her knack for mixing her quirky style of writing with her gift to teach. TA-NING'S TELL IT TUESDAY is a weekly column (originally launched on Facebook) that uses doses of pop culture to tear down the walls of churchy tradition, change the face of Christianity, and present its message in a lively way. Ta-ning resides in Santa Monica (by way of Brooklyn), is obsessed with dogs, and is an old school Hip-Hop junkie!

The only thing to say about this video is that MsBlackKoreanLady, has A LOT to say about the culture shock of moving to Korea to learn about her other side. See, dad is black and mom is Korean, and though she lived with her mom her whole life, there were many things mama never shared about the culture. And who can blame her, because, like really, life is going on, and what's the use of talking about Korea all the time when you live in America? Plus it would have taken all the fun out of discovering the culture for herself. Lucky for us, Ms.BKL is giving us the inside scoop on Korean culture that we probably wouldn't get anyway else, and it's pretty funny...So get your fingertips ready to press play, and if you like, please show her some love by sharing, commenting and subscribing to her channel!

Thoughts?
I love reading about the entrepreneurial journeys of others.  I wouldn't be where I am today if it weren't for those who shared their wins and struggles.  Today I bring the full story of someone you might be familiar with.  I featured Nikki in a previous article where she talked about how the Compound Effect helped inspire the launch of her business.

Today she's back and sharing her entire story.  She was faced with the difficult decision of leaving her long-term career for her passion.  Stepping out into the unknown is never easy.  Especially when we have the comfort of what we already know.  I believe in learning from those who have experienced what we want.  Nikki is one of those people.  Let's learn from her journey to success.

Brows have always been my love, if I didn’t put on any other makeup my brows were always done. So when I decided to learn Microblading, it was no surprise to the people around me. I started this journey on a quest only to learn a new skill for a “side hustle”, but little did I know it would be the start of a new career path. My degree is in Biology and my background is in the oil and gas industry, totaling a little more than 10 yrs which includes working in goverment and private sector. Like everyone who graduates from college, I was ecstatic and extremely grateful for my new career, (I still am very grateful for all the wonderful opportunities I’ve been given). 
However, after about 10 years the thrill had diminished. The oil and gas sIump in 2016 did not make it any better. The morale at work dramatically took a turn for the worst. It was extremely stressful going to work seeing your friends, people you’ve been working with for years, get walked out by HR, and coming in to work not knowing if this was the day you would be laid off. For me this was my WAKEUP CALL! This stuck something in me, I was not okay with my job having this much control over my life. I felt like my livelihood was totally dependent on someone else which scared the crap out of me. 
I stared reading Bellemocha Blog in my spare time (it’s AMAZING!). I found myself super inspired by her posts, which lead to me to start making some new goals and dedicate my time to investing in myself financially, spiritually and physically. I started reading a slew of self help books and became extremely inspired to starting doing something that I loved. At the time I didn’t know exactly what I was going to do but I knew I was going to do something. Reading tons of self help books and being inspired by a number of new things led me to lots of new ideas to start generating addition income. 
I eventually enrolled in a Microblading Training (which was a horrible class by the way) but I was determined. These classes are not cheap, so I refused to let this be a waste of my money. I practiced, practiced, practiced read everything I could and and eventually mastered it. I did everyone’s Brows I could, sometimes free or for a really cheap to build my portfolio. With patience, hard work and consistency I was able to build my clientele in no time. It all happened so fast it was scary. I couldn’t believe the revenue I was doing my own thing, being my own boss. At this time I was still working my 9-5. On my off time, I focused on building my business. I ate, slept and breathed Brows. I eventually jumped out on faith and opened my own small brow studio and it was a success. 
I started being so busy with my business it was became hard to give both my career and new business the attention they needed. Needless to say after about 2 years of doing both Microblading and my 9-5 it came a time when I had to make a choice. I could not continue to do both and be successful. So I made the decision to resign in June 2017. This took much faith on my part, all I have known was going to school, earning a  degree, and finding a career. Entrepreneurship was never at the forefront of my mind. I never In a million years though that I would own my own business. 
In 2017 I relocated to a larger location, where I not only take appointments but also hold classes teaching the same skill that has brought me much success. I love what I do and it is truly a blessing. Being an entrepreneur is not easy but it is totally worth it. Nobody will pay you like you pay yourself. I have the joy of meeting amazing women and building all kinds of connections. I love making women look and feel fabulous. My clients are so awesome and I am so grateful for them. I also get the privilege to teach others this amazing skill, it’s a good feeling to help someone else generate additional income and be their own boss as well. 
I have truly been blessed with amazing clients who support me. What started out as a potential side hustle turned into my full time business. Resigning from my job was one of the hardest decisions I've ever made.  Little did I know it would come from my love of brows. I took the leap of faith, invested in myself and haven’t lookedback since.  My business is growing daily, and I’m excited for what the future holds for Lukx Brows.

I've had the pleasure of chatting with Nikki prior to her leap of faith.  She worked hard to build a thriving, profitable business.  But, at the same time, she felt a lot of resistance towards leaving the "security" of her full-time job.  Yes, her job provided a paycheck that arrived on schedule.  But, her livelihood was in someone else's hands.  Now, she has full control of her earnings.  Not to mention that she's earning more in just a few years than from 10 years in the workforce. 

Last night, I had dinner with two former coworkers.  I could tell that they were stressed out and wanting desperately to try something new.  But, at the same time, they were filled with hesitation and resistance.  I understand it because I was once in their shoes.  After realizing that fear was keeping me in an undesirable circumstance, I started working on removing the resistance.   And that's what we'll talk about next week.


 (Photo: Beyonce.com)
By Kanisha Parks

Since the beginning of the month, I’ve been seeing a clip from The Rundown with Robin Thede where she says, “Happy Black History Month . . . or as we call it, Month!” on BET. Quite naturally, I know it was a joke but as most jokes go, it seems to be surrounded by a bit of truth and caused me to ask myself, “Do black people actually celebrate Black History Month?”

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Growing up, Black History Month was always important to me and personally, I looked forward to it because it felt like the only part of history that was truly interesting and that I could understand. This was the one time of the year when I was immersed in the knowledge and understanding of influential people who actually looked like me after enduring entire curriculums centered around well, mostly white people.

Zora Neale Hurston
Even when taking American Literature my sophomore year in college, only two African-Americans were included in the “canon” of writers who made a mark on American history: Fredrick Douglass and Phillis Wheatley. As a result, I made it my business to take African-American Literature the next semester. Every day I was surrounded by my peers and able to discuss my thoughts on important African-American writers such as Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Countee Cullen, Ralph Ellison, Toni Morrison, James Baldwin, Richard Wright, W.E.B Du Bois, Lorraine Hansberry, Nikki Giovanni, Maya Angelou, Gwendolyn Brooks, Octavia Butler, Audre Lorde, and many more.

Each year after that, I participated in the National African American Read-In at my university and felt honored to uphold their memories. These writers, these words, still live with me today and I am grateful for the memories I have from those few months and the opportunity to study them at a time in my life when I was still learning about myself. The experience forever changed the way I look at the world. But as a working adult, I had to learn to continue to honor these historical Black figures and others—and not for the sake of my participation grade or because a paper was due.

Janet Collins
When asked if and how they celebrate Black History Month, viral sisters Dani and Dannah shared: “We start off by learning what makes us unique as African Americans and who were some of our pioneers that history books don’t teach us about. Like Janet Collins, she was a ballet dancer, choreographer and teacher. She was among the pioneers of black ballet dancing, one of the few classically trained Black dancers of her generation. We participate in plays and black history programs at our school and church too! Learning about our history is just as important as learning about world history to us! Happy Black History Month!”

Popular Hair & Beauty Blogger, Romance aka @heycurlie, says that she enjoys going to the library with her son and picking up books and learning more about the exceptional contributions made by African Americans. “It’s a great bonding experience to teach my son about his history.”


happycurlhappygirl 
Natural Hair YouTuber @happycurlhappygirl says she celebrates Black History year-round and during February, she participates in special activities and programs with her daughter at school and church to “highlight and celebrate the history and culture of Black people.”


When I spoke to writer Erickka Sy Savané she acknowledged that she struggled with Black History Month this year. “Given all the blatant racism going on in this country every day I started feeling insulted by Black History Month. Kinda like the government is saying, 'Here’s your month to celebrate yourselves and after that you can go sit down.' But then I realized, it's not about them, it's about us and if we don't take a moment to pat ourselves, our ancestors and each other on the back, not only could history repeat itself, we could lose that pride...that magic.” 

There’s no right or wrong way to “do” Black History Month as long as you take some time out to appreciate the strides Black people have made. The accomplishments of Black writers, entertainers, scientists, athletes, historians, engineers, activists and entrepreneurs are truly endless. Given our history in this country, we have a lot to be thankful for and proud of.

Do you celebrate Black History Month?
Kanisha is a Christian writer/author based in Augusta, GA. Other than CurlyNikki.com, she has also written for BlackNaps.organd Devozine, and has authored a book of poetry entitled, "Love Letters from the Master." Kanisha can be contacted for business inquiries at [email protected]