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Accessibili-Tea (ac·ces·si·bil·i·ty)

Seeing the words: 'Access denied' has to be one of the most infuriating encounters. I mean, right up there with discovering you have a flat tire while dashing out the door on your way to work. Funnily enough, this tends to happen when you're in a mad rush or trying to meet a tight deadline. Being unable to obtain what virtually belongs to you seems a bit unfair.

Even if it's because of something as trivial as forgetting your passcode, having an expired key card or perhaps not having the key at all. Yet isn't it amazing how many people think being available means they should be accessible too?

When I saw this word on my tea-time list of topics, my mind went a few places. Accessibility as to whether or not the disabled can enter an establishment. Accessibility as in the level of security clearance a person has. Accessibility, the ease or difficulty in which a person can be reached. Accessibility, how vulnerable is something to outside interferences. As I gravitated toward the latter instance, my mind went to an incident I encountered in, yes, you guessed it, high school.

Can you recall the scene from Sister Act 2, when Sister Mary Clarance walked in on the 'Ya mama' jokes? 'Ya Mama' disses are to this day the fuel of fighting words. In Bahamian culture, to say to someone, "Das ya ma!" (short for mama) is like invoking the mortal combat "finish him" command. This whole scene used to happen for real in my classroom when our teachers were called in to staff meetings during school hours. Nothing escalated this debacle faster than a good diss, followed by the class singing in unison, "Ooorrrr!"

Anyhew, I was always good with words. But only now I feel confident enough to admit there was one chick better than me back then. For the purpose of this story, let's call her Keisha. Sweet girl had me going home to look in the dictionary, 'cause I use to be good and lost.

Keisha came from a long line of professional career women—her aunts were doctors and lawyers who were entrenched in greek society. It was no wonder her nose was always in a book, and not the ones that regular teen girls read, like Sweet Valley High or The Babysitters Club. No, in the 90's imagine a high schooler reading Nora Jones, Stephen King and Danielle Steele. I finally understand why her vocabulary was so vast. Kudos to you, girl! Kudos!

Even so, one day, Keisha and I went head-to-head during the last period. That day I was coming in hot, I mean buckets. Scoring more than Steph Curry in his best career-high game. The background roars of "Aw's & Ooh's" were like the soundtrack to my finest hour. Alexia, play 'This girl is on fire,' 'cause that day I felt like Buju! I talked like a champion!

Be that as it may, the next day, she came ready. It was as if Keisha spent the whole night training at the hand of a Nazi concentration camp. Last period came again, and her first diss was more like a personal assault that knocked me straight to the ground. Boop! One-shot! I pretended that I didn't want to fight back, but honestly, I couldn't.

She caught me off guard—striking me right of my high from my previous day's victory. Regardless, she kept swinging. I mean blows with no sign of mercy. I was good until the insults got personal, and she talked about my weight. You see, back then, I was chubby, and that was a bit of a soft spot. Still, I ignored her, but she kept going, and the class roars were deafening as one boy shouted, "OMG, you gonna let her talk to you like that?"

All I felt was my ears getting flaming hot, and all the hairs at the back of my neck stood at attention. The next thing I knew, I had Keisha in a headlock, hitting her crown repeatedly against the chalkboard. As she struggled to get free, her arms were flailing, and I took a few good (what I thought was) slaps to the face. To this day, I don't know who pulled us apart, but all I knew when the adrenaline had stopped pumping, I was in some deep dodo.

As we did the walk of shame through the quadrangle to the office, I think the only appropriate song to play would have been the theme song from Thunder Cats. Because the right side of my face was scratched like I had a run-in with a wild cougar. I was bleeding from seemingly everywhere, and I supposed it appeared to the onlookers Keisha had just swept the floor with me. I was a nailbiter then, so I had no tool, and from that day to this, I never bit my nails again.

The minute I entered the office, my eyes locked with a familiar face. Low and behold, a woman from church was the Senior Mistress. She nearly lost her marbles with all the shrieking she did. The poor lady nearly had a coronary as she ranted and raved about how she couldn't believe it was the Bishop's daughter in her office for fighting. I won't lie; I was ashamed. But even more so, I was scared. My daddy was gonna kill me but not before one of my sisters did! Siri, play, Baptist hymn "When the Home Gates Swing Open for Me!"

In retrospect, I realized how that day I had given Keisha access to my peace and to my self-esteem. I gave her and all those bystanders an all-access pass to my confidence. And as a result, there was a suspension slip on my permanent school record. Even worst, had it not been for that lady from church, I would not have been permitted to take my very important National Examinations. Whew, chall, accessibility to the wrong people could almost cost you your life.

Through much trial and error, I've learned that when people know your buttons, rest assured they're gonna push 'em. Yet, from my adolescence to adulthood, I've allowed so many folks to live rent-free in my mind and take up residence in the seat of my emotions. Truthfully, I've given out the password (aka triggers) to my secret places, like the way we let the whole family use our Netflix account. Before I knew it, babies could set me off. This was not healthy. Yet, I knew it and allowed it anyhow.

"Girl, what in the fa-la-la, fa-la-la you doing?" is what I asked myself every time I found myself raising my voice and acting like a complete nincompoop. I've blocked and deleted and readded some folks more times than I care to admit. I would often say I was giving multiple chances because who was more wishy-washy than me? When I would look inward, I saw someone who was not qualified to act so perfectly. While some folk may have had a few skeletons, I was about one body short of a graveyard. Before now, I was an expert at looking past my beam and see your mote.

Here's the thing, if when whats-his-face texts or calls, and you find that shifts your whole mode or you end up in a 3-hour-long argument, sugar pie, you need to revoke access. I mean, pray-tell why you hell-bent on answering anyway? I get it; you're not at the stage of the block and delete yet, but what are you waiting on to take your power back? Until you, out here, slashing tires to go viral on social media? Honey-child, loose that dingy and set it free. But as for me, I cancelled the family and friends account and started all over. Translation: I went dark for about 6 months, and when I emerged, access was minimal.

I need you to analyze some things. If every time you get with a group of friends, you find yourself coming out of character to fit in, you need to limit access. If the only time certain people call you, it sounds like this, "Hey, what's up?" Quickly followed by, "I need a favour, please!" you need to cancel this one-sided subscription.

If certain calls are only geared toward dredging up your past, press clt, alt del, asap! And you need not ever feel bad for setting boundaries. In case you didn't know, 'When something is not valued, abuse is inevitable.' Look, not any ole body can just walk up in Buckingham Palace all willy-nilly. Most times, it's by invitation only! So Sir, Ma'am, do what you must to protect 'you' at all costs.

Solomons breaks it down like this, So above all, guard the affections of your heart, for they affect all that you are. Pay attention to the welfare of your innermost being, for from there flows the wellspring of life. (Proverbs4:23 TPT)

I'm reminded of the familiar story of Sarah and Abraham (see Genesis 16). I mean, sister girl told her husband to sleep with Hagar to have the child she thought she couldn't. Then she cops an attitude when Hagar gets brassy. Why you pressed Sarah? Did you not give the woman access to your husband? No one told you to make him the community daddy. You literally gave Hagar the ammunition she needed to show you that she was a better woman than you! In the same sense, we all can identify a person that be doing too much. Just out here giving strangers a step-by-step guide on how to blow up their life. Don't be like Sarah Sis, don't do that!

Recently in US News, a major pipeline company was attacked by ransomware hackers. Forcing them to have to pay some 5-million dollars in ransom money to regain control of their own network. This one-act sent the entire east coast into a panic, forcing many to think there was a gas crisis. Now let that sink in.

A company had to pay a group of criminals money to get back what was already theirs. Are we really going to allow our lives to be so convenient that we'll have to absorb the cost to get our own life back? Hear me, and hear me good, “No one should gain access to the important areas of your life if you are not absolutely sure they are there for a good reason.”― Carlos Wallace

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