June 14, 2021

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Lena Arnold ~ A Modern Day Inspiration

Lena Fields – Arnold is the author of several books including “For this child we prayed: Living with the secret shame of infertility” , “Strong black coffee : Poetry and Prose to enlighten, encourage, and entertain americans of african descent”, “In the absence of my father” a book to encourage fathers, “Scenes from the city” a book of urban based poetry, and “Jackie’s Way” which teaches young people about ways to manage anger and deal with bullying. Lena’s motivational tracks touch on leadership, goal setting, the power of dreams, and empowerment. 

Lena’s has been published in several periodicals and books including “The Speaker Anthology”- a collection of 101 inspiring stories from the most successful motivational speakers from around the country, edited and published by Kent Gustavson and Sally Shields; and “Free to Fly: Wisdom for the Seasons in a Woman’s Life”, published by InSCRIBEd Inspirations.

You are a Jill of All Trades from author, to motivational speaker to poet and so on. What is your inspiration behind your many endeavors?

I don’t remember the exact moment I fell in love with reading, but I know my mother took us to the library all the time when we were little and at some point I fell in love with words, and the power they had to create worlds that sparked imagination.  I suppose that was the initial inspiration.  Then in the 5th grade I realized I was really good at it.  I wrote a poem about cats and it got through the entire school because my teacher raved about it.  Ms. Pierce.  I’ll always appreciate her for that.  Then, when I was about 13, I participated in Hal Jackson’s Talented Teen Contest-remember that?  God bless Mr. Jackson for his pageants that blessed so many young black girls back in the day.

I recited an essay I’d written for another contest titled “In My Youth I See,”  watching the reaction from the audience is when I realized words had the power to inspire and give people hope.

One of the books hit home for me by knowing so many who have had infertility struggles. “For This Child We Prayed: Living with the Secret Shame of Infertility”. Give us the backstory on this book and what you hoped to convey to readers.

Whew, that is a long story, but I’ll try to make it short.  My husband and I had been married for 12 years and had never been able to conceive despite never having used birth control.  The book was birthed out of our unique experience as black and believers in Christ.  At the time there were a lot of misconceptions about infertility in both those communities.  The book was written to help dispel these myths and encourage both of these communities, bound by falsehoods and stereotypical myths, to seek help. Having the answer to the problem is the first step in resolving it.

As a poet, what pushes you into your “zone”? What genres are you most passionate about when you are writing or performing poetry?

That’s a good question and honestly for me there are a variety of answers.  Sometimes it’s just an inspiration that pops in my head.  Other times I believe God drops something in my spirit like the poem “The Finish.”  Sometimes it’s an assignment and I am forced to be creative.  There are times when I’m blocked and I have to pray for inspiration, or go back and study the craft and challenge myself to do something new.  Often, it’s a response to a difficult time, a challenging issue, or something that made me angry, sad, or hurt, and I need to work it out, like when I wrote “Diva Made by Design,”  and “The Hunted Fox.” It’s also important to know that I am not always the object of a piece either.  For example when I recite “Rules of the Game,” people assume I have been abused because of the line

…My first name ain’t bitch, and my last name ain’t damn…

It’s a women’s empowerment piece and could be any woman.

Tell us about your blog, “Stuff Inside Your Head?” That title alone had my mind wandering.

LOL!!! My cousin swears I stole the title from her and I probably did! LOL.  She doesn’t hold it against me and she told me she’s glad because it fits me better, since I literally am known for saying whatever is inside my head at any given time, and it is not always politically correct.  My dad would not have won any Father of the Year Awards, but one thing he did do right was encourage us to always speak up for ourselves and never be afraid to say what was on our minds.  I think he regretted that when we became teenagers.  The only thing I hate is that now that I am getting more exposure I can’t say EVERYTHING that’s in my head.  Well I could, but these days I really try to be more inspirational and encouraging and approach every post from a leadership perspective.

If you could stand on any stage in the world to deliver an inspirational word or poetry, where would it be and why?

Any stage in the world? That is a fantastic question. Hmmm!

Okay, so the first would be the high school I graduate from, Paseo School of the Performing Arts in Kansas City, Missouri, and I am proud to say that I will be doing that this June.  YAY!  I would like to tell the graduates what I wish someone had told me when I graduated.  Every speech is filled with flowery words and accolades and give you a false impression that you will rule the world! I wish they had warned me that life is hard as hell and that some of you will tiptoe through the tulips and smell a ton of roses along the way, but the majority of you are gonna have to slog through a ton of crap.  That said, keep slogging!  NEVER give up on your dreams, whatever they may be and when you fall-AND YOU WILL-over and over again-but ALWAYS get back up; because, yes, life is hard, but it’s also very very beautiful if you focus on the things that matter.  Things like love, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Things like sunlight, the smell of a lilly, being able to run, and spin, and jump.  Joy is found in all the little things in life we often take for granted.

And the second stage would be opening for Janet Jackson!  Why, because we are the same age.  Our birthdays are a month apart, and although she grew up as a sister to my favorite music artist in the world, we have this in common-We were both beautiful black girls who struggled with self-esteem and didn’t believe we were beautiful. I think she would get me. And I mean, it’s Janet Jackson, who wouldn’t want to share a stage with her?

Connect with Lena online by visiting her site www.lenafieldsarnold.com

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