Broken Conditions, Volume 1 of the Clean Colored Girl Chronicles Book Series by Jo Lena Johnson
Reprinted with permission from Black Pearls Magazine.
Broken Conditions highlights the author’s college years and chronicles key relationships, which lead to drama, adventure, hurt and poor choices into her 30s. See how growing up affects and influences almost every decision, relationship and behavior. When what she learned wasn’t working, she did something about it … sometimes!
Reviews for Broken Conditions by Jo Lena Johnson
“Broken Conditions is an honest account of the life experiences of a “clean colored girl.” The author doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel here. She simply tells the stories that many women, colored or otherwise, can relate to. The stories that shape who we become over and over again; growing up a product of divorce, the struggle of the mother-daughter relationship, and MEN! These are stories of failure and brokenness and growth and resilience. Johnson’s storytelling is such that you’ll place yourself in the back seat of that Cadillac with the trumpet player’s friend as he starts to urinate in a cup. You’ll experience the terror of hiding in the bathroom as a drug-addicted man kicks in the back door. You can taste the excitement of living out your dreams in Los Angeles and the fulfillment of finding God and purpose. This is a good and quick read that will leave you wanting Volume 2.” – Faith Conner, Host, The Platform 314 Podcast
“Broken Conditions is fantastic! It reminds me of books like Eat, Love, Pray by Elizabeth Gilbert or Waiting to Exhale by Terry McMillan. It’s real and keeps you reading. How lucky Jo Lena is to have an amazing and interesting life. She was always starting “projects,” i.e. relationships, endeavors, etc. in the book that weren’t always necessarily for the betterment of her soul. Just her filling the holes. Channeling this book into a movie; now that’s a better project. Everyone is soul searching and will connect with her story.” – Shannon Tocco
“Broken Conditions is the perfect book for a quick weekend read. Jo Lena does an excellent job of being relatable and real. In fact, I almost felt like she and I were sitting on my couch with a cup of Joe while she told me about her life. From struggles as a child and rocky relationships in her 30s to triumph as a business woman, Broken Conditions takes you on a journey that shows you exactly why Jo Lena Johnson is the “Absolute Good Resilience Coach.” – Katy Beigel
“I’m sorry, but then again, I’m not sorry, because God has a way of using us and our stories for his good. In reading Broken Conditions, I saw myself, my mother, the stepfather and men in my own life. As a child, we are in a play called “Life” and it just happens. After growing up in a whirlwind, I had to make conscious decisions not just for myself, but for my three sons. I didn’t want to succumb to drinking, drugs, and being a whore. The love and respect I had for my kids made me respect me. I have this survivors guilt, how did I go through so much in life without going crazy, going to jail, or even dead? My discovery is, I’ve been kept by God to share the only truth I know. This life doesn’t belong to me, and I must share his grace and mercy even when I don’t fully understand the purpose or plan of the journey. I love you so much for sharing, and allowing me to be a part of your journey.” – Delena Evans
“Reading Broken Conditions made me feel like I wasn’t alone, not that I would want someone to ever go through my situation of life, but the reality is that these issues are more prominent than mentioned. The book made me think about the many ladies and gentlemen like me going through obstacles and over hurdles of life because of the dysfunctional conditions in which they were raised has an adverse effect on their being. Their normal adaptation has repercussions for their tomorrow.” – Robin Thomas
Chapter Excerpt: Broken Conditions, Volume 1 of The Clean Colored Girls Chronicles by Jo Lena Johnson
Once he proposed, did I really need my house? He had a huge one… but I had to finish my house. Since I was working full-time, he took the lead in being a junior project manager, directing workers to rip out the drop-ceilings throughout the second floor. That bright idea cost me at least $5,000 because the entire place had to be dry walled, mudded and painted, which was not part of the plan that I had written down in spreadsheet form and had given to him. Whew. At the time I didn’t understand how those little things were piling up. I got it when the trash literally piled up.
Over the winter I bundled the trash and asked him to take it out. The trash dumpster was located in the alley behind the house, which required going through the sun porch and the locked, chain link gate. I didn’t mind shared domestic duties but I wasn’t taking the trash outside; I trusted him to do it. As spring arrived and it was an early-in-the-season 55 degree day, after a bone chilling winter, I decided to venture out to take the trash myself.
I opened the door leading to the back porch and there sat at least 20 big, black garbage bags piled up and thawing – all of the trash he supposedly took out over the winter!!! When I say I was shocked, appalled and confused at the same time, that’s an understatement. When he got home I ripped into him and all he could say was that he needed to go through the bags to make sure there wasn’t anything in there which could identify him or which didn’t need to be saved. I assured him I had removed all magazine labels and blacked out any prescription bottles. It wasn’t enough. The more he tried to rationalize the irrational, the more irate I became. Now the tremendous piles of stuff in the basement made sense. He couldn’t throw anything away. I forced him to open that gate and I marched right along with my man to that alley-way trash can, putting every single black bag in the trash.
Afterward I cried. I cried for me. I cried for us. And mostly, I cried for him. In that moment it was clear to me, he had real problems. Because of my ingrained habit of taking care of grown people and co-dependency encouraging habits, I wouldn’t leave him – he needed me. But, I wanted to. I was committed to our situation, but not that far gone. I knew I would never set a wedding date. Why I was willing to take one for the team and continue to deal with him has to do with my holes. It wasn’t healthy or right, but it was true. Daily, little mess-ups, little fibs, little mistakes and then the water was off.
Child, when I say the water was off, it was off. I called him, to which he replied, “I just paid the bill, they will be there tomorrow to turn it back on.”
“What??? You didn’t pay the bill? It takes notice after notice before water gets turned off. What happened?”
I couldn’t trust him.
Purchase Broken Conditions, Volume 1 of the Clean Colored Girl Chronicles Book Series
Autobiography/Biography/Memoir By Jo Lena Johnson
Published by Mission Possible Press
Jo Lena Johnson, The Absolute Good Resilience Coach, is a Certified Mediator, International Trainer, Acclaimed Author and Writing Coach, Founder and CEO of Absolute Good Training and Life Skills Management, and Publisher of Mission Possible Press. Principle-focused, results-driven, and heart-centered, Jo Lena has taught over 100,000 people worldwide with her no-nonsense and dynamic approach. With messages of how to effectively communicate, manage conflict, and how to maintain even after something bad happens (resilience). Become uniquely self-aware, unburdened, enlightened and empowered through spending time with Ms. Johnson.
REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION FROM BLACK PEARLS MAGAZINE.