September 6, 2020
Back in the beginning of June, I introduced my Compassion Session initiative on social media. The initiative was borne out of a desire to come alongside a fellow mother to celebrate her life, and her story: to help her feel seen, valued, and loved.
In the wake of this year’s protests against the multiple horrifying deaths of Black lives by police brutality, and the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement, the burden impressed on my heart was to offer this gift to a mother within the BIPOC community. I firmly believe that all lives can’t matter until Black lives matter, and that for every Black life taken, there is a Black mother grieving.
Lezlie Mitchell (@lovelezlie), who is an author, artist, wife, mother of (almost) three, and friend, was one of many deserving mothers nominated, and her story, like so many others, is worth telling.
Lezlie Mitchell, Maternity Beach Session
Orange County, CA
When speaking about her lifelong journey of discovering and coming to terms with her personal identity and how that is tied superfically to the concept of “race” and “ethnicity,” she shared,
“Identity has always been a main narrative in my life, starting in early childhood. I was often put on the spot with guessing games of “Guess what Lezlie is” or asked the question on my ethnicity from total strangers. This would happen several times a week until early adulthood. That experience of “otherness” or “ambiguity” definitely led me on a path of questioning who I was in every way, including spiritual. It became a part of my life mission.”
Her experience as a Black woman, mother, and parent with bi-racial ancestry in our current times led her to rexamine this feeling of “otherness”:
“[The Black Lives Matter Movement] has really activated a part of me that was dormant. The place in me that had the desire to further connect to my Blackness but hadn’t managed to. Through learning so much about my actual DNA and geneology, I was amazed to read how much support there is that we genetically carry imprints from our ancestors. It’s not just inheriting eye and hair color, but even emotional imprints. I really feel like 2020 activated some of those imprints within and also connected me to BIPOC people around me who have personally experienced oppression in ways that I haven’t.
I also felt resistance from some of the White people in my life who don’t agree with what is happening and want everything to stay the same. It has hurt to experience their silence on issues that are so important to BIPOC people who they supposedly care about, and I have been shocked at some of their vocal opposition of it as well.
The silence and the vocal opposition both hurt.”
At a time when our country is so diametrically divided with controversial issues, the one TRUTH that should be unanimous and unopposed is that a person should not discriminated against based on the color of their skin, or any other physical features that may define them based on a socially constructed arbitrary classification (aka “race”).
“This was honestly the first time in my life I felt the nudge to be vocal about racial injustice. I grew up hearing stories from friends and family of their experiences with Blackness and how unfair and even scary it was at times. And I always had empathy and even anger towards much of it.
I see my son. I know and love him. And he’s such a gentle and joyful spirit. It broke my heart to even entertain the idea that he could one day be treated less than because of his ancestry. So, I started to post, talk, and do whatever I could in my power to add my voice to the collective voices of generations of oppressed BlPOC people in this nation.
It may feel strange at first, even scary. But start using your voice.
Because each of us can reach someone that the rest of us can’t. And just know that you may ruffle some feathers of friends and family who aren’t used to you speaking up, or who overtly oppose what you believe. But they will have to deal with it.”
As mothers, we often find ourselves wondering what the best path is for our children. We’re forced to make a hundred million decisions for them within their lifetimes, and the agony is that we’re never fully certain that the decisions we make are the right ones. However, what we are certain of, is that we would do anything to protect them, to love them, and to fight for them.
When asked what she would like to pass onto her children, Lezlie shared,
“If I could pass on one thing to my children it would be for them to know they are loved by me, unconditionally, just for who they are, not for anything that they do.
I want them to always know that I am a safe space for them to share anything with and there is no judgement, just guidance.
My hope and dream is for them to know that they are loved and seen early in life, so that they will have a healthy self-esteem and a support system for them to do whatever they are here to do in life.
I want for them to have healthy childhoods so that they will become healthy adults instead of becoming unhealthy adults who have to recover from childhood wounds.”
Lezlie Mitchell is the author of “Some of Us, All of Us,” her most recent children’s book release, which was inspired by her own children, and which she wrote to encourage them in their uniqueness.
“I focused on the age group 2-5 because the first life cycle (1-7 years) is so incredibly important with development. The messages they hear during these years will help shape them into the people they will become.”
Lezlie also has an upcoming new release which will be a Children’s Book that is part of a longer series. Future projects include a stand-alone children’s book and a collection of short stories that will be published as her first fiction book for adults.
I am so thrilled and excited not only to see what’s next for Lezlie and her growing family, but also to continue to support and grow this new friendship I’ve been blessed with. I just know and believe that God has good good things ahead.
Support Lezlie & Purchase your copy of “Some of Us, All of Us”
(Be sure to leave a review as well :))!
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My Motherhood Sessions have been featured on prominent Online Publications such as La Peche Journal, The Fount Collective, ShoutOut Los Angeles, and The Motherhood Anthology.
From California, to Paris, to Motherhood. This is my story.