*I promise, this will be the longest post you will read on my blog, should you decide to continue reading. And yes, we do get together for a good game of Scrabble every now and then*

My name is Roben (like the bird) Meylon (pronounced like Ceylon (Italy) Clark. I’m a southern girl who doesn’t fit the typical southern mold. I will say the Southern hospitality stereotype runs true in my family. What can I say? I get it from my Mama πŸ˜‰

I am Golden Girls fanatic who takes solace in knowing I don’t need a reason to wear lipstick and heels to the grocery store. My jam sessions in the kitchen are compliments of Bob Marley, Michael McDonald, The Spinners, Ray LaMontagne, Luther Vandross, Anthony Hamilton, Huey Lewis and the News, Sade, and Gavin DeGraw, just to name a few.

I’m a certified nutritional therapist and personal trainer, a mostly plant-based eater about 90 % during the week with a wiggle room of about 10% for balance… we do live right behind Chick-fil-A, I have a sweet tooth, and will reach for just about anything else I want when I want it…as I said, balance.

I love shopping for local produce, specifically, local farmers in the vicinity – my favs — Jenny Jack Farm in Pine Mountain, GA. Eating local and in season with Jenny Jack and other organic farmers makes for the best nutrient-dense fruits and veggies that will power-up your immune system while providing the nourishment your body needs from head to toe!

I am a daughter, a sister, and a proud mother of two! My eldest, Jahmai, is 14 and Imri is eight months. As crazy as it may sound, the age gap between the boys created a much-needed balance in the throws of raising a teenage son.

Imri Rosh Clark A.K.A. Mr. Thick, is a frisky, analytical, army-crawling bundle of joy. He’s a healthy little nugget weighing in at almost 25 pounds and wears 12-18 months as an 8-month-old. He acts and responds on his terms and to whom he wants when he wants. Imri is very attached to us yet is extremely attuned to sweet people and will allow said people to hold him. He loves strawberries, peas, apples, spaghetti, multi-grain bread, rice puffs (compliments of Auntie Anne at Ria’s Indian Cafe), pressed juices, raisins, chickpeas, spinach, and will never turn down a piece of dark chocolate. Did I mention he still prefers nursing over all of his favs combined?

Jahmai Alexander English Clark is the apple of our eyes. He has kept us laughing and on our toes since day one. Jahmai is creative, intelligent, quick-witted, competitive, energetic, considerate, bold, loyal, ardent, shiftless at times, mostly disorganized, and 85% of the remaining descriptions that are synonymous with a teenage boy.

Did I mention he built his own computer from scratch, by himself, this past summer? Yep, my boy built his very own PC, part-by-part. #ProudMom

And yes, Jahmai is on the Fortnite bandwagon, hence the gaming PC.

I could go on and on about this child: like the time he baked a homemade red velvet cake for my birthday and presented me with cake in bed as I woke the day of…and the time he “took” me to Ria’s for Mother’s Day and paid…the time we were pulling out of a gas station and he looked over and cried at the sight of a disabled elderly man in a wheelchair sitting alone and idle in a parking space – yes, my boy may be a sarcastic little rascal but he’s also empathetic and compassionate – the making of a strong, compassionate, leader.

My brother, Brel, and I are 19 months apart and have always been close. For a brother who allows his sister to sleep in the same room with him and his best friend at 9 years old… yeah, I’d venture to say I have the best brother in the world.

From making WWF notebooks full of the bubble-lettered names of our favorite wrestlers to Brel playing tomb raider for hours at a stretch while I sat next to him and watched, to me reading books to him while he was on the toilet (this was definitely pre-teen years; we were 5 and 6), us renting looney toons and Johnny Quest and watching them in my parent’s room, on their bed, on the rainy days my mom fried chicken and okra. Oh, and that time I mailed Brel a pack of crackers to camp because he was gone for two whole weeks while I slept in his bed…According to my mom, I made myself physically sick, temperature and all, in lieu of his absence.

As if his love for me wasn’t enough, he has practically raised Jahmai and is known as Uncle Dad. I don’t know what I’d do without him in our lives. He is a constant presence and source of support for me and my boys. For Jahmai, Brel has always ensured he was the epitome of everything a role model should be while also being a consistent figure of authority who holds Jahmai accountable for his choices and actions. Just thinking of those two together brings tears to my eyes – If ever I’d let anyone else claim my child, it would be Brel…well, Brel or my parents.

Lord, my Mama?! Where do I start? I’d first like to note that she is 63 years young and in London on an internship in the above pic. Doesn’t she look fab?! We weren’t always this close. As an emerging teenager learning the ins and outs of popularity, style, and sass, I can vividly remember many shopping trips to Union City (their mall was the closest in proximity of Columbus who had Kasper suits for my mom) that ended with me picking out a few outfits from the junior section, walking over to the women’s section to show my mom, her putting one elbow on the clothing rack and one hand on her hip and proceeding to do somewhat of a foot shuffle. All of this was a display of disgust in response to the fast outfits I had hoped she’d buy that day. Now, we laugh at those moments.

It wasn’t until I became pregnant with Jahmai that our relationship would take off into the magical world of BFF land. To this day, she’s my ride-or-die, my voice of reason, my solid ground, my safe haven, my wise counselor, my comedic relief, my muse, my everything.

And then there’s Dad, who is dressed for Halloween above. The only addition to the costume was the dreads πŸ˜‚

Well, I am and will always be his Baby Girl. My dad is the most giving man/human I’ve ever known. His calm disposition can be provoked by injustice, abuse against those with no voice (the least of those) and mistreatment of his family.

Dad has always ensured our needs are met even if that means he goes without. With the craziest of ideas and attempts to try something new, he has always supported me and the many different career attempts I’ve made.

He was the only who ate my very first homemade cookies I whipped up at the age of 10 – lemon cookies in the shape of gingerbread men and candy canes. And that French onion soup? Yeah, he ate that and enjoyed it too.

If you know my dad, you’d know it’s him coming a mile away just by his feet. He’s the only man in Columbus I know who rocks cowboy boots with his suits every single day of the week. Then there’s the infamous toothpick. Mom has gotten on him over the years and he no longer chews them in public but we certainly find toothpick particles around the house whenever we visit and he keeps a backup pick in his shirt pocket.

Last Christmas Brel’s gift to dad was a gourmet set of flavored toothpicks.

But back to baby girl and her daddy…Y’all, I don’t know how many times dad indulged me as a child. He never grew tired of emulating the scene from dirty dancing when Baby ran and jumped into Johnny’s hands as he lifted her up into the air during the final dance scene. This will be forever etched in my heart along with “I’d be dun see’n about everything till I see an elephant fly. Whatcha say boy?” Do you remember? Dumbo! Ok, well maybe that last line was an ad-lib but we loved marching around this house repeating this after my dad. Not to mention, “Kali Ma Shakti de”, from Indiana Jones. Dad would recite this line, too, while clawing our chest, mimicking the scene from the temple chant.

AAAAAnnnnndddd, one thing I couldn’t stand growing up – we used to go to dad when we thought we could get our way but when he’d respond with, “ask your mom”…ooohwe! Made me regret even asking in the first place! But, while mom was giving us sugar-free candy and raisins for a sugar substitute, we could always count on dad to bring us special candies back any time he’d go out of town.

As I circle back around to the purpose of this blog, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention a major influence in the conception of the Coalescent Feminine; I’ve decided to stop living in self-condemnation and shame and live in the freedom to be all God created for me.

After God delivered me from my on-and-off-again five-year relationship – which left me unmarried and pregnant – I was ashamed, embarrassed, and fearful of being judged. I condemned myself almost on a daily basis for setting a poor example for Jahmai and bringing dishonor to my family for my choices, or lack thereof.

For a long time I only went out in public if I had to and when I did, I tried to conceal my stomach as best I could. It was bad enough I hid my pregnancy from my family for six months, but I gave Satan a footstool by living in a realm of darkness for far too long worrying and anxiously anticipating life with a new baby and a teenager as a single mom.

But God – still proving to be all He promises He is – was merciful and gracious and His love exuded through the love and support of my family and close friends. They did not judge. They did not condemn. They loved, accepted, and supported. And I remembered, by the power and through the blood of Jesus Christ, I am redeemed!

While we all struggle with sin, there is no one sin greater than the other. If God can forgive David for his affair with Bathsheba, Saul for murdering Christians, Abraham for taking matters into his own hands and fathering a child with his servant, and Jonah for running from his calling, surely he can forgive me.

My mother’s words rang in my ear from the day she spoke them when I was seven months pregnant until now, “when you step outside of that door, you better walk with your head held high, don’t try to hide your stomach, and remember who you are.’

Thank you, Mom. Thank you.

So, I refuse to box myself into a mold and settle for the monotonous and mundane. God intends for us to be free from bondage and anything that stifles us and keeps us from growing. We are supposed to enjoy this sacred blessing called life!

I don’t have a niche for this blog. Every aspect of my life – past relationship, family, children, hurt, self-consciousness, singleness, a health nut, athlete, …all of it! – blends beautifully to create one unique feminine.

So, I want to help you embrace your purpose, your mistakes – they are stepping stones to wisdom and transformation – your spiritual journey, your past, your gifts, your femininity, your idiosyncrasies, and every single thing about you God created just for you. I want to help you create middle-ground areas in your life so you will find personal solutions while exercising the gumption to stand and advocate for what’s right.

If you’re a mom like me, you know being a mom (single for me) is as challenging as it is rewarding. Not only are we raising and teaching another human how to navigate life, we also come to discover much about ourselves, our tolerance levels, decision-making skills, creativity, innovation, drive, and emotional stability. We also overcome or are pushing to overcome stress, trying circumstances, crossroads, and simply being overwhelmed.

So, trust me, I know sometimes when you’re ‘in the moment’ it’s easy to feel alone. Please take heart and join me to discuss all things women and mom-related, faith-based purpose, health-consciousness, practical living, family life, and some absolute randomness! My experiences are life lessons and I’m ready to share them with you!