Can you believe it’s been 21 years since the great Sister Souljah released her best selling book The Coldest Winter Ever? Even though it came out in 1999, it kept its relevance for….over 20 years. The GEN Zs are probably reading it even though they were barely born when the book came out or just babies when it did.
Sister Souljah wrote in the perspective of a spoiled, grimey, ratchet, hoodrich teenager who had her priorities ALL OUT OF ORDER–Winter Santiaga. She got her saddity ways by being the oldest and most spoiled daughter of a big time drug dealer. She was gifted with diamonds since the second she was born and every birthday until—shit hit the fan like it normally does. Her house was raided by the feds, her sisters had to go into foster care, her aunt sold her out to the Bureau of Child Welfare because she didn’t want to deal with her.
Winter’s goal is to get money so she can pay for a lawyer to help her dad AND to maintain her appearance because that’s all she cares about. But mainly she is a hustler and will cross anyone just to get ahead. Fast forward—-Winter has to stay in foster care and has to learn that she is no different than anyone else and she needs to humble herself. Of course, that didn’t adjust her attitude. Her close friends became her enemies because she only looks out for herself and she’s selfish. She stole from people who took her in and provided a roof over her head. She pretty much said forget her sisters who were in childcare and only focused on herself. She did get the chance to see her father before it would be a few years for her to see him again.
Winter starts dealing with an old boo thang who is a big timer and has money in his pockets. He was part of a crew who was an enemy to her dad’s crew at the time he got incarcerated. Per usual, Winter didn’t really care after a while because her father could no longer provide for her, her mother got addicted to drugs and her new man could provide for her–at a minimum. Once she thought everything was all good, it wasn’t. Winter’s boo had her on restrictions because he really couldn’t 100% trust her, (which makes sense). Once she started trusting him, things went array.
It took for Winter to get locked up in order for her to be humble. Per usual, she had a good hustle going on and the same friends she turned on are the same ones who were in prison with her, holding her down and she doing the same for them.
To me, this book is relevant after 21 years due to the fact that it addresses karma, real life situations, hustle and loyalty (or lack thereof):
Karma–> Winter stole from Sister Souljah and her house; her karma was leaving there broke because she tried to steal again. She also was disloyal to her best friend, who was boosting clothes for her. Once she got locked up, Winter didn’t want to help her nor bail her out.
Real-Life Situations–> Being in foster care, father is sent to prison, mother on drugs, having to start from nothing and hustle to the top, plus a slew of other things
Hustle–> Winter had kept some of her clothes when the feds invaded her home. Once she was placed in foster, the kids there would get a weekly allowance plus whatever money they had from their part-time jobs. Winter would sell her styling services and let the girls there borrow her clothes.
Loyalty–>She had loyalty to her family. She was defending her mother when she knew she was on drugs. She was hustling to pay the lawyer for her father. That loyalty then turned to disloyalty when Winter started having a relationship with her father’s enemies. She also finds out that her father cheated on her mother and had an outside child, that’s when she lost all respect for him. She still kept him in her heart but she couldn’t deal with his infidelity so she decided to start screwing the enemy. Karma had a way of making it’s way back to Winter when the same guy left her hanging as she was getting jumped and had his drugs on her. He was also selling drugs to her mother. When Winter found out, she was disgusted—by her mom; she never address him nor her mother about it.
In conclusion, any pre-teen or teenager or grown ass woman can read this at point in life. It’s a timeless boo. Yes, it was based in the 90’s but the message still remains the same:
Be careful what you do because karma always catches up to you.
Lindsey Walker is an entrepreneur, publicist, daughter, and importantly a woman of God. She’s has been through so much and she’s only 29 years old. Being diagnosed with stage 4 cancer took a toll on her life but she kept her faith in God and stayed prayed up. With all that being said, she is now cancer-free.
Once she realized that life was too short, she started living and blessed us all with her first book Thriving Through The Storm. In the book, she gets transparent about that journey, her upbringing and even drops a few gems on life. I was given the opportunity to not only read her awesome, but also interview her about it. Check it out below.
At what during your cancer diagnosis did you start living by the phrase “let go and let God” and just overall having faith?
Lindsey: It gets to a point where you can’t control anything. I knew I didn’t have any control over what my life was going to look like during that time period. I’d always tried so hard to control everything but when you’re faced with something that could effect the rest of your life, I had two choices; I could chose to be worried about it or I could chose to let God do what he’s going to do in my life. What people don’t understand is, when you’re dealing with things like a cancer diagnosis or any diagnosis, your mindset is going to be the key to keeping yourself calm. Our bodies respond to everything whether we know it or not. I’ve always had a relationship with God, but at the point I had to ask God to see me through it because it there was nothing I could do.
You’re right, there are some things we don’t have control over, but you always looked at the brighter of things. In your book, you dived into having self-control and all the unfortunate events you went through. You said, “we no longer have control over situations, but the truth is, we never had control.” Can you explain what you meant when discussing having self-control but really, we don’t have control because God is in control.
Lindsey: We’re not in control of outcome. I can do everything to the best of my ability and still fail, especially with me being a business owner. I can run all the ads and do everything that’s in my will house but after I do everything I’m supposed to do, the rest is up to God. It’s a matter of practicing self-control as far as what I can control and what I’m responsible for. As far as being a business owner, I’m responsible for getting up every day and sending reports. As a daughter, I’m responsible for making sure my mom is okay. I can control those things, but I can’t control how my mother feels if I say something to her that she does or doesn’t like. I can’t control how my clients think or how they respond after I’ve done what I’m known to do. I feel like we as people spend so much time planning things out and we think that were in control of outcome, but we aren’t in control of how anything turns out. The only thing we can do is to continue doing what we’re known to do, run our way, do things to the best of our ability and after that, the rest is up to God. It’s that fine line between having self-control and knowing that you have no control over the outcome or over what happens next.
I really resonated with you talking about experiencing different things in your life that was meant to happened. You said “if you never experienced pain, how would you know if you have the power to heal. If you never experienced rejection and loneliness, how would you know if have what it takes to make it through life on your own.” What brought you to that point? Did you already have that mindset before your cancer diagnosis?
Lindsey: Yes and no. I pusher and ambitious. I don’t really take no for an answer or don’t give up too much. It wasn’t until my diagnosis that I realized; it takes on a new meaning when you are faced with something you don’t know the outcome of but there is beauty is every situation. Think about the worse thing you’ve been through; you have a choice to look at the good in it or bad. I could’ve looked at the diagnosis like “this is all bad” but I was so blessed to have a grandmother and mother to help take care of me and to have so many resources. Me getting closer to God and praying for other people, those were the beautiful moments. You have to chose to find the joy and beauty in everything. There is joy in every circumstance. If you’ve never been through storms, how would you know God is a healer?
You were very selfless when you explained that, you would endure the pain [cancer] so you wouldn’t have to see your mother or grandmother go through it; even if it meant that your future children or husband wouldn’t have to go through pain, you’re going through it for them. Were you always that selfless?
Lindsey: I love people, I genuinely have a heart for people; to see them thrive, to see them win, to see them in their zone and be the best people they can be. When it comes to my family, I love hard and its one of the most beautiful things about me and most complex things about me. I was/am so grateful that my future husband and kids didn’t have to see my endure what I went through because it’s a lot. My heart aches when I think of anyone having to go through that. I didn’t want to go thru it either. It would’ve hurt me so much more to see my future kids and husband go through what I went through. Its not an ideal situation, I hated It, I would not wish any of it on my worst enemy, but it was necessary. I guess you can say I’ve always been this way, but it was heightened. I’m just extremely grateful.
Was there anyone whom you were close with before your diagnosis, but after the diagnosis they fell off the face of the earth?
Lindsey: I was extremely blessed to have an awesome and beautiful people around me. Yes, there were people that I thought were going to be there that weren’t there a much. A couple of friends would come get me to make sure I was okay. There was someone that I knew was going to be there but unfortunately they weren’t but, in that moment, I couldn’t be concerned about who was and wasn’t really there because I had to fight for my life.
Question: You said “what if I told you, unless you have ups and downs, you aren’t living at all, you’re walking on eggshells trying hard to strive for perfection that you’re killing yourself on the inside.” You stated that you never took vacations and barely took care of yourself. Would you say that you were a workaholic versus a person walking on eggshells before your cancer diagnosis?
Lindsey: I think I was both. I definitely am a recovering workaholic. At the same time, when I was speaking on that; some of us spend so much time trying to be perfect and trying to live up to expectations that we forget to live in moment and worry about making mistakes. We fall under pressure of what we allow people to place on us. We don’t realize how much of a weight we carry with that. If you’re busy walking on eggshells, are you being truthful to yourself? You miss out on lessons when you don’t make mistakes. Our failures are lessons life teaches us. But if you’re so caught up on trying to be something people want you to be, you miss out and realize you should’ve done what you wanted in the first place.
Question: When you were going through chemo you couldn’t work, but you somehow maintained to work with just a couple clients. HOW in the world were you able to do that especially being tired from the chemo?
Lindsey: To be honest, I think about that a lot, but its through God’s grace that I was able to do that. God gave me the idea for a new service to roll out for people that need PR help but they couldn’t afford a retainer so I started doing a service that mapped out the blueprint of what they needed to do; because I had that service that was different from my normal services, I was able to take my time with things. I outsourced a lot, so I had a couple different account executives and contractors that would help me on projects. Thankfully I was able to have the resources to pay them for their help.
Question: I REALLY loved when you said, “who I was isn’t who I am right now, and who I am right now isn’t who I will be in the future.” Who are you right now?
Lindsey: I am ever evolving, I am, I’m healing I’m growing, I’m loving. I am a better business owner, I’m a better me than I was before. I’m just a better version of myself.
Question: “I don’t have to agree with God to trust him”—I’m sure you seen that power when you were diagnosed with cancer and going through chemo. Would you say that’s the part of you that has faith in God?
Lindsey: Yes and it’s funny because I remember writing those words and it really hit me that we can love and trust in God and know he has our best interest at heart but that doesn’t mean have to agree with his methods. So no, I don’t agree with having a stage 4 cancer diagnosis at the age of 27. I don’t agree with me having to go through things I endured prior to that, I don’t agree with a lot of things but I know and trust that every single moment is working together towards my good.
Question: You were really transparent with your relationship with your dad. You talked about your childhood with him and a gap when you two weren’t talking and when you were diagnosed with cancer, he came to the hospital. You said a huge part of your healing process is having boundaries and learning to protect your peace. Would you say that now that you are cured and things are going better in life, your two’s relationship has gotten better, or is it stagnant or you all are still working it out?
Lindsey: My father is my father. I will always acknowledge him as that. So, there has to be a level of respect due to the position he has in my life. Currently, I’m still processing everything, so I’m deciding to work on our relationship on my own terms. I will say that it’s a work in progress.
Question: What’s next for you now that you’ve thrived through the storm?
Lindsey: I’m very intentional about the way I treat myself, and the way I allow myself to be treated. I have these huge goals I want to hit within my business such as being able to expand, reach more people and work with different clients. With this story, I want people to know they have what it takes to thrive through the storm as well. Life is what’s next for me. Enjoying every moment, being intentional, going through the journey and realizing that healing is an ever-evolving process. Its not something you can do overnight. I’m very intentional with making sure I’m healthy and I’m internally okay and being the best publicist, and author that I can be.
Question: Since you did such a great job with this book, would you consider writing another book?
Lindsey: Yeah, I’ll definitely right another book! I started writing this book the beginning of February 2019 and finished by March 16. My friend Chanel Martin, who mentioned in the book, has a challenge on Facebook called “Write with me” that she started as an accountability group. she actually published a book and encourage me to write it. Going through the process was therapeutic to me and helped me start my healing process. I would definitely write another book; I would hope that the next book would be about teaching how to balance entrepreneurship and being a wife and a mom. Hopefully that’ll be what the next book is about, l definitely want to explore those roles in my life.
The book officially comes out March 24th, so make sure you support thee great Lindsey and get some guidance on your journey and storm that you’re going through.