We repeat what we don’t repair.
We repeat what we don’t repair.
We repeat what we don’t repair.
We repeat what we don’t repair.
From my heart to yours.
I saw a meme with that phrase on it today and had to get off the treadmill to address it. In all honesty, I needed a treadmill break anyway. It inspired me very deeply. I want to share a few things with you (whoever it resonates with).
THE POINT: We replay scenarios we haven’t healed from even as far back as childhood. They create a stain and emotionally stunt us. Forever. We replay and reenact them in our interpersonal relationships over and over and over and over. How awful this is for our partners and loved ones who see the good in us? What torture it is for someone who loves you to try and save you from “you” over and over?
How taxing it must be to repeat unhealthy habits learned from childhood influences like poor financial management, poor eating, conflict styles, emotional abuse or neglect?
Wondering why we can’t reach our goals???…because we aren’t repairing the real sh*t inside. We aren’t dealing with the damaged children inside. Perhaps we are in self-preservation mode or a state of constant defensiveness? Perhaps we are harboring anger and resentment, expecting someone other than ourselves to satiate the pain. When we look externally for relief from personal pain, we soon realize no one can fix us, but us. Not a man/woman, not booze, not food, not money. We must repair ourselves.
What if we examined our actions for what they were? Objectively. What if we had the balls to decide to divorce ourselves from perpetual victimhood and toxic cycles to just live our best lives and be better f*cking people? What if we forgave ourselves and our parents/relatives/teachers/friends for what they indirectly taught us and said “Today, I am different” and truly meant it?
Here’s an example of what I mean:
Are you constantly going from relationship to relationship and when things end, your rhetoric is always the same? “He’s crazy” or “she’s not good enough for me?”…chances are it’s you, bruh. It just is. Maybe this person is crazy because they can’t fill the void your parent left when they passed away or walked out of your life? Maybe you cannot see what baggage you bring to the table and the games you expect people to play with you? And not just for dating, but friendships too. Are we going from circle to circle? These things follow us.
We repeat what we don’t repair.
We repeat what we don’t repair.
We repeat what we don’t repair.
In the African-American community specifically, I know that many things are prayed away but not necessarily dealt with head-on in the sense of seeking mental health treatment. What if we broke the cycle and sought out the many resources available?
We pick up learned behaviors of gossip, passive aggressiveness and conflict avoidance from childhood as learned behaviors (in some cases), but what if we stopped ourselves like “why am I doing this?” “What is the desired result?” “What if I broke the cycle?” “How do I feel when I do this?” “How do I feel when it is done to me?”
These are all things to consider. Things I’ve considered many times.
Personal Application: Personally, it took me years of therapy and intense self-reflection to free myself from a lot of the things I saw growing up. Many things to unlearn-when I say this I mean television shows and movies also. Not just family and grade school influences. I had to divorce myself from who I thought I was supposed to be, financially irresponsible behaviors, toxic relationships, commitment issues and much more.
I’m sharing this to say IT IS possible. I’ve never been more free or more self-confident and it reflects in everything I do.
The thing is, the ego makes us feel like we need to protect ourselves and put up walls and facades and such but when you are honestly able to own your sh*t and be vulnerable, life becomes even more enjoyable. No one can hold anything over your head if you own it. You don’t live in fear of exposure if you own who TF you are.
You can be intentional in your words and actions and be taken seriously. You are free from anger and resentment if you truly understand what life is about beyond those personal frames and external influences.
Conclusion: You don’t have any regrets if you are intentional with your word and always doing your best. (Seriously, I got this from The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz). No one can successfully project things onto you if you know who you are. Surround yourself with people who will help you heal from these things and hold you accountable for your bullsh*t. The immediate sting of an uncomfortable conversation will do a lot of good in the long run. We cannot grow being surrounded by people who agree with us or feed into our personal demons-we must work to challenge that sh*t. We must. That is totally why I am so grateful for my village-eternally.
Extra Credit: For the over achievers who are already free from their personal bullshit, I offer you this-consider exercising patience when dealing with a person who isn’t “there” yet. People were patient with you, so think about how much they will appreciate you for treating them with respect through their process. Guide them- and be honest, of course, but be sure not to condescend. I’m saying this from personal experience. In short, just because you want to say “what the f@ck is wrong with you!??!” doesn’t mean you should. 🏽
As always, I hope this resonates with whoever needs it.
(Photo credit: Daily Herald Blog 2017)
A dear friend said this in our GroupMe thread the other day, and it motivated the hell out of me. She was referring to someone else, but it TRULY resonated. Well, what she actually said was, "Become a star, b*tch," but I know that many would find that title off-putting and could place yourselves at risk for missing out on the next 1500 words....I internalized it like "D*mn, it really is that simple." I added it to my personal mantras immediately.
Language aside, what it truly meant to me was:
YOU ALREADY KNOW WHAT YOU HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO BE.
SO JUST BE THAT.
Here's a quick story to explain why this is on my heart. I'm in school this week, preparing to change the world along with 12 other amazing doctoral students very, very soon. I sat at lunch the other day with one of my ultimate girl crush classmates and she was telling me how much she enjoys my ballsy articles and how much she wishes that she could write and get her thoughts out BUT…
She lost me at “but.” And here’s why-when I see this woman, I see someone who is intelligent, successful and a fighter. She has strong and informed opinions on just about EVERYTHING! I’ll hear some sexist or condescending bullsh*t in class and while I’m thinking, “Did this really just happen? Should I say something?!?!” I’m still sitting there thinking and she has already addressed it out loud...SO I was stuck wondering, how could someone like HER feel that there’s no audience for what she has to say?
And then it hit me- those f*cking self-limiting beliefs. They are the worst. I would've never imagined that a person I found so fascinating dealt with them too.
So What Are Self-limiting Beliefs?
In short, self-limiting beliefs are things that we tell ourselves that convince us not to access or express our true power - be it a goal, talent, passion, technical skill, etc. We convince ourselves of reasons why we shouldn’t or couldn’t do “it” and we accept it. It’s much easier to spot self-limiting beliefs in others before ourselves because we accept them as facts within our own minds, not realizing they are merely beliefs.
Now, not all self-limiting beliefs are bad. Some messages like "don't drink and drive," “don’t sleep with him” or "don't curse out your boss" are necessary messages in most cases. I’ll spare the in-depth lesson, but you can learn more about self-limiting beliefs here and here.
Okay…So How Do We Deal?
The following is a list of ways to deal with self-limiting beliefs.
Unpack the Message.
What does it REALLY mean? Who do you visualize when you hear the little voice in your head? Who do you associate these thoughts with? Is it your mom? Your husband? Your boss? Evaluate your relationship with this entity and determine if it speaks to a deeper issue in the relationship.For example:
“My family will laugh at me.”
"I'm too old."
“My best friend will think this is stupid.”
“My wife thinks we can’t afford it.”
2. Simply Tell The Voice to STFU.
Isolate the belief and acknowledge it for what it is. If your dream doesn’t require you to break the law, harm yourself, harm others or waste wine, just go get it. Grab it by the balls and don't look back.
3. What Does This REALLY Mean to You?
What are your values? What are your core beliefs? Does your passion align with these values? Ensure that they do. It’s easier to persevere when the work you do aligns with who you are at your core. Successful people are intrinsically motivated to do whatever it is they do. People know when you are intrinsically motivated versus extrinsically motivated. If those words are over your head, no worries.
Here’s an example:
My friend is a DESIGNER; she works HARD for her dream. Like…she is up all night, sometimes, perfecting garments and sketches, and I can tell that her effort and her love for this is IN her. It’s who she is; it makes her happy. She is intrinsically motivated.
I won’t give an example of an extrinsically motivated person, but if you take a look at the more sh*tty Instagram boutiques or online stores, you’ll notice who is simply regurgitating other folks' ideas, selling you clothes or goods that don’t match the item description once you receive your order - you know, shady or half-*ssed efforts like that. These types of people are more motivated by participation in trends that will make them money more so than creating a good or service that they feel compelled to share with the world.
4. Attend a Vision Board Party.
If you’re an introvert, order a VISION BOARD PARTY IN A BOX ,and do it alone. And thank GOD that’s a thing you can buy. Vision Board Parties are events where you can visualize your goals, place them on a board in collage form, and THEN share the board with other people. It makes the goals a reality once you state them out loud. Hold onto the feedback you receive when you share your goals. When the voices creep in to tell you that you can't do it - channel the thoughts of the enthusiasm you saw in your friends' faces as you shared your goals at the party.
You know what’s awesome about people who attend Vision Board Parties? They’re wine drunk too! They ALL have goals too. You can be honest and vulnerable and receive the support and, often times, connections you need to support your goals. There are also opportunities for accountability partners. Another plus is that these parties almost always have cocktails and hors-d'oeuvres.
5. Kill The Excuses.
Everyone can tell when you’re making excuses. They’re just being polite by tolerating the conversation. It's weird. Don't be weird. Believe in yourself.
6. To Hell with Social Constructs.
We live in a society where for whatever reason, women are made to feel less than. We are treated like we don’t matter as much in many environments. I have always believed that any dominant culture that attempts to demean you unprovoked, sees something in you that threatens their security. Know that. Keep going. It isn’t personal.
7. Step Your #SQUADGOALS Up.
Do you spend time with people who encourage you or tear you down? Hold on…let’s back up a bit. Do you have friends? Get friends. Make sure they’re the right friends. You need a circle of people who are motivated. They should also respect and understand your goals.
And yes I do realize that #SquadGoals is very 2015. Don’t email me.
8. Guard Your Dreams against Villains. They are here to destroy your goals.
Everyone has that negative friend or two who never has anything positive to say, yet never follows their own dreams. I don’t recommend unfriending them but I do recommend being very selective with how much you share and to what degree. Sometimes envy, resentment and other negative thoughts can take over a person with nothing of their own to look forward to. Yes, even a person who loves you. Take a proactive approach to it.
9. You’re Not Going to Die if You Fail.
I promise. Take failures as lessons. Seriously, I am an entrepreneur and sometimes I make mistakes. Sometimes I mess up in school. Sometimes, I am a sh*tty girlfriend. I'm still here. I own my mistakes, and I keep going.
The anxiety about it is the most difficult part. And you know what else - how do you know you can trust a person or service that hasn’t failed? You don’t know your strength until you are faced with adversity. That’s where character is built and demonstrated.
Contrary to what we tell ourselves, there is no huge press conference held to announce your failures. Unless you’re Britney Spears or someone fancy like that. She bounced back and so can you. Also, consider this:
If you own up to your failures, NO ONE can throw them in your face.
"Success is how high you bounce when you hit the bottom." -Patton
More often than not, if it makes you uncomfortable, it’s the RIGHT move. Stretching outside of your comfort zone requires discomfort. You can stay comfortable if you want, but there’s nothing more insufferable than being around a frustrated mind. Let your mind do what it was meant to do.
Spoiler alert: Stretching will suck just before it gets awesome. It will suck a lot.
Visuals are important when combating self-limiting beliefs. I do not work for them BUT I strongly recommend buying a Mantraband. Mantrabands are bracelets that have mantras on them that cover several areas in life. You can gift them to a friend or collect them for yourself. I wear mine as a constant reminder of who I am and what I stand for.
#NAMASTE #FOLLOWYOURBLISS #FEARLESS
Because sometimes I forget.
Okay so why did I write this? I wrote this because life is stressful. There is so much war, sexism, racism, socioeconomic division, job stress, financial stress, local levels of shade, etc out here to f*ck with your Zen. I am a hardcore advocate of enjoying life by any means necessary -and am a constant work in progress.
I have my own struggles and I sometimes hate taking my own advice. I mean, h*ll, look at me. I am more than halfway done with a degree program that I cannot even afford, constantly driving 300 miles away while being an entrepreneur and a full time employee. I want it all. I am going to get it. This is the STRETCH before I get to my true Zen. I would never recommend anything to you that I wouldn't do myself. I have to #WHOLEASS this sh*t.
Many of these points are based on personal experience. We aren’t going to survive out here without internal happiness. Follow your bliss.
So what do you think? Did I nail it? Did I miss anything? What resonated with you? As always, thank you for your energy. Please share it with someone who needs it.
Last night, a car accident happened just a few feet away from me on 210. I watched a man respond in agony and realized that the person in his car likely did not survive. His screams and panic are etched into my mind. I see it every time I close my eyes. I didn't know this man, but as a human being, his pain resonated with me-just like the people who were taking in a show, having dinner, etc who lost their lives yesterday in Paris.
I cannot imagine the feeling of receiving a phone call or having to identify the body of someone you are not prepared to lose.
As I scroll through my timeline, I see a lot of hateful words, blame shifting, false information, and criticism of each other's responses to the week's events.
I'm no self-help guru, but I do encourage you to step away from this intense environment (social media) and focus on your loved ones and being the best person you can be-OFFLINE. We are all hurting.
We are also becoming numb to the nonstop tragedies and sensationalized misinformation news cycles we find online. We feel it's okay to share insensitive memes and speak on religions we don't participate in.
Take a walk, teach a toddler some curse words (it's hilarious, sorry), do your homework, have some wine, get some crabs, read a good book, binge-watch "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," visit your grandparents, etc.
Cherish the people in your lives and do more than argue/criticize online-get active and support the causes you feel strongly about. Regardless of race, religion or geographic location-we are all human and we all feel pain.
The world is in turmoil.
Be responsible for the energy you bring. 💜
Hi There :)
Over the past month or so, I’ve been preparing myself for turning 35. And of course, everyone around me is freaking out on my behalf. For whatever reason, as it got closer and closer, I became more and more comfortable with it. 30 was my favorite year but I am pretty certain that this may be the best one yet.
There is a sense of awareness and confidence within me that is sometimes so overwhelming that I find myself constantly trying to help others feel the same about themselves (thus the podcasts, Zen in a Jar, and the column-writing). Of course, I did not reach this point overnight. I was once a bit of a self-centered shit show in many areas of my life-some areas I am still feeling the aftershocks from. But, as always, I am thankful for those experiences because I am not sure where or who I would be without them. So without further ado, here are some life mantras and habits I picked up along this 35 year journey that I hope you find useful too. Some areas I will expand on but most are self-explanatory.
I live my life as the personification of fucking Black Girl Magic and here’s how:
Self-care is non-negotiable. It is not a sin, it is a necessity. Go to the spa, get some rest. Say no to events. Take off work. Go to spin class/yoga/boxing. Do nothing all day. Learn a new language.
Be self-aware. Know who you are and own your shit. It’s okay. No one is going to die if you admit weakness. Just be who you are. There is no greater relief for me than when I can tell people how awkward I am-and that I am clumsy AF. It was far more stressful to try and hide my clumsiness or “act normal” when I’m in public or around new people. And people are less likely to go into shock when I fall down the stairs or on the sidewalk.
Confront your blind spots. Once we get the self-awareness going, it’s also important to confront your blind spots AND then address them. A blind spot is a mindset or behavior that you either choose to overlook or can’t see-yet it hinders your growth as an individual and often impacts your interaction with others. You know…the ugly parts of ourselves that we don’t want to deal with. Most of our loved ones and close friends know our blind spots-they’re sort of the “elephant in the room” about us. I will elaborate on this in another article but if you’d like to know more about it, check out the Johari Window.
Have at least one REAL friend. You need someone around who is honest with you about what you’re wearing, saying, doing, gaining, etc. My BFF and I are pretty blunt with each other when we are being ridiculous so, for me, it keeps me aware of my blind spots. Oh, and having a southern mother and grandmothers helps too. It may hurt sometimes every time, but they can help you present your best self to the world.
Don’t be afraid to tell people to get the fuck out of your uterus. For a while, I would dread being around my family and certain circles of friends without a friend or my significant other because I had to constantly answer questions about my plans for children and being reminded of my age. What would affect me wasn’t the fact that I didn’t have children yet, it was more so the feeling of shame that people would try to project onto me. I would leave places like “I didn’t feel bad about myself until people started telling me I should” and that’s not okay. It got draining at times because it wasn’t a primary concern for me, internally. Now, I don’t think people do this to be rude, but it comes across that way when it’s redundant. If the only value that people find in you is your ability to keep a man and/or have children, shame on them. Not you…. Which is why I started comfortably and confidently asking people to get the fuck out of my uterus and you know what? It actually died down. Believe me, when the time comes, I’ll let you know or it’ll be on facebook. Or something.
Expand your circle. If you are the most interesting, well-traveled, motivated person in your circle, you need to expand your circle. Identify areas in your life that you’d like to grow in and find people to introduce you to those things. Don’t be intimidated by things you’re not experienced in-just experience it.
Maintain a ZERO TOLERANCE policy for insecurity. Insecurity is truly a waste of time and energy. I do not tolerate it in relationships, friendships, nor within myself.
LOVE people for who and where they are. Your friends have flaws and so do you. Placing unrealistic expectations on people upsets no one but you. Remember the blind spots we talked about? Your friends are dealing with yours. A technique I use is placing people in boxes:
For example, there are friends you can expect to attend functions and friends who flake. Know that the friend who flakes may be in a different space in life with different priorities. Don’t hate them, just extend the invite with YOUR expectations in check. You have no idea what people are dealing with. It costs nothing to adjust your response to things.
Do NOT trust a person who actively doesn’t like Beyoncé. (I’m not talking about those who are Beyoncé-agnostic…just the “anti” folks. Think about what she embodies-she truly slays in a male-dominated world industry, controls the narrative of her career/personal life and does not speak up on issues that don’t concern her. She simply focuses on her craft. And slays that shit. Who could not appreciate that? I’m being slightly facetious but truly if you’re anti-Beyoncé (at the top of your internet lungs), think about what Beyoncé triggers within you that makes you dislike her and work through it. We’ll be here to welcome you on the other side.
Stretch outside of your comfort zone. I live in constant fear of being the big fish in a little pond. There are millions of ponds. Always try new things outside of your box, take on new challenges like degrees, hobbies, etc.
Spoiler alert: Being stretched is uncomfortable.
Follow Your Bliss. Do what makes you happy in life, follow your passions. Don’t be the broken record of “shoulda coulda woulda.” Just fucking do it.
Life is to be lived, not chronicled on social media. Leave that to the 20-somethings.
Follow your instincts or not. When it comes to relationships, specifically:
a. Do not go through anyone’s phone.
b. Do not fight with another woman over a man.
c. Do not air your dirty laundry on Facebook. Save it for the group thread.
d. Skip the relationship memes. Please.
Be vulnerable. Too often, I used to wear this hard-ass exterior and my ego would not let me express pain, regret or sincere apologies. It RUINED many friendships and relationships. In my old age, I find the following phrases extremely freeing:
a. I am sorry.
b. I miss you.
c. I shouldn’t have said that.
d. I am hurt by your behavior.
e. I do not care about this as much as I may have led you to believe.
f. I am feeling left out.
Only accept love that you do not have to chase. When a man wants you, he will move mountains to be with you. There will be no questions. No quarterly “so what are we?” discussions.
Don’t be a martyr. Nobody owes you sh*t just because you’re Superwoman. Be Superwoman because you want to be Superwoman-not for validation or to ensure people feel indebted to you. You will eternally feel slighted. That’s no way to live. (see item #1)
If you are constantly in a state of being offended by people and things, you need to look at yourself.
Partner with someone who is secure. You know, someone who is your biggest cheerleader, not someone who dulls your shine. I do not know where I’d be without a partner who helps me manage my time, helps me with my homework, and provides creative insight and encouragement regarding all the shit I have going on.
Speaking ill of others says more about you than the person you’re talking about. Distance yourself and your thoughts from people who speak negatively about other people-especially unsolicited.
Don’t cry over spilled milk. LOVE and FORGIVE yourself. LOVE and FORGIVE others. I once heard that your 30’s are the best years of your life. Don’t waste them dwelling on shit you can’t change or holding grudges that only matter to you.
Being a mean girl is corny after 30. Don’t be a mean girl.
Don’t be offended by people who imitate you. It’s an indicator that you’re doing well and it’s time to step it up another notch. This has been my official struggle of 2015.
Stop concerning yourself with haters. If you aren’t a public figure, you sound absolutely crazy talking about haters after 30. We all have detractors, but focusing energy on them makes you look insane.
Never apologize for being a complete badass. Being on top of your game normally upsets the insecure. People who are worth your time will always encourage you to be your best self.
What you put in your body is an act of self-respect. Eat responsibly.
Keep your business to yourself.
Sleep with whoever you want. Don’t deny yourself pleasure because you’re afraid of being labeled a slut. This isn’t high school, do what you want. With confidence.
Know when you’re in a relationship and know when you’re just having sex. Dragging out one night stands is weird.
Buy the shoes. Always buy the shoes.
You do not need a large group of friends…but nurture the ones you have. Remember to ask how they’re doing. Make sure that you reciprocate the investment they make in you. Assess the value they bring to your life and vice versa.
Assert yourself at work. Don’t restrain yourself because you’re afraid of being labeled a “bitch.” That’s a low-power strategy for the weak-minded. (With that said-be thorough and know your shit before asserting yourself).
Pick your battles. Every moment that I hear/read something offensive is not the time to react. Every time someone talks shit behind my back is not a free pass to start kicking ass. A grown ass woman understands that what people say behind your back is none of your business.
Know your audience. Determine within yourself what’s necessary to say in real life or online. Determine what’s Facebook rant-worthy and what’s better as group thread material. Think before telling a joke or a story-is this necessary? Does this bring value to the conversation? It’s okay to shut up.
Always bring a gift. Always. Expressions of gratitude are classy AF. Whether handmade or store bought, gifts will always make someone’s day. You never know what people are going through. Make them smile. Do not bring me cheap wine.
Keep your word and be honest, even if it hurts. Being a liar in your 30’s is weird. Don’t be weird.
Okay, that’s all I got. What do you think? Did I miss anything?
God bless social media. It has connected us in ways that were only mere musings in sci-fi novels and movies. We can get on a soapbox share our interests, thoughts and opinions at a moment’s notice…with the entire world. In my observation, this can be a gift and a curse. Why? Because internet activists.
It’s no secret that we are in a racially-charged climate where there is a clear line in the sand between one side of the racial divide and the other. You know who makes it worse? Internet activists. These are truly some of the worst people online. You’ll notice I did not refer to them as Social Justice Advocates or Leaders in the Movement. You guys are all rock stars to me.
Internet Activists: Social Media users that are constantly engaged in internet gangsta antics, trolling people’s status posts, posting and re-sharing things just to appear involved and constantly jumping into threads with misinformed opinions. What’s worse than that is that these are the people who are online all day long, but don’t actually get involved, nor do they vote. It’s more of an attention-seeking behavior, if that makes sense.
Don’t be that person. If you find yourself being that person, get your shit together it’s not too late to change for the better. Here’s 5 ways to be an involved, well-rounded citizen and NOT be an Internet Activist.
Five Ways to NOT be an Internet Activist
1. LOG OFF
Since Ferguson, it seems there is a new event taking place between police officers and unarmed persons of color almost every week. Regardless of the side of the coin you’re on, there’s constant hashtags, violent footage, accusations, grieving families, hate speech, etc. flooding your timelines. It can be draining. You may experience fatigue and trouble suppressing visceral and often emotionally-charged responses to these things. We’re human. That’s why it is important to take time OFFLINE to process your emotions and remember to enjoy your life that exists outside of social media. Have a good cry. Call your grandmother. Have some wine. Do your homework. Pay some speeding tickets.
2. Get involved in your own local government and community.
A trend that I see in the Internet Activist community is the ability to be so vocal about what’s happening in other community or be SOOOOO outraged by verdicts and such but that person normally has NO CLUE about their own local political climate. When is the last time you voted? Who are your local elected officials?
Not even being funny nor judgmental, we have to be fully informed and active OFFLINE to effect actual change in the world. And it all starts at home. For example, if you are concerned about black on black crime, what are you doing to help the youth? Perhaps you could volunteer with an organization that places focus on keeping troubled youth off of the streets and engaged in something positive. That’s just one example, there’s so much to be done.
4. Take Your Sensitive Shirt Off
Everything does not require a response. As a general rule of thumb, if I disagree with something that a facebook friend posts on THEIR OWN PAGE, I don’t chime in. It is everyone’s right to post whatever they wish on their page. Even if it is wrong, offensive, etc. It does not give any of us the right to go on some sort of rant, leaving a dissertation of “Strongly Disagree” on their page. You look like a cry baby and the internet will turn on you.
Remember, there is peace in knowing everything does not require a response. Just observe and move forward…or see Item #1.
4. PLEASE Know What You’re Talking About.
In this real-time information, immediate meme creation culture, we have to be SURE that we vet our information. We cannot afford to pass bad information all up and down our timelines. Keep these two things in mind before accepting or sharing information about these events as they take place:
a. People will sensationalize stories just because they can.
b. People are judging you when you post false stories. Everyone gets one pass, but if the behavior continues, your judgment may come into question and you could lose credibility with your friends. I’m not wishing you a facebook happy birthday if you post fake stories about Tupac prophesying about Sandra Bland’s death in a song released last week. Stop.
Long story short, ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS verify news stories and ensure they are not satire or complete fiction like MediaTakeout. Add this link to your favorites to verify news sites.
5. Stay in Your Lane.
Don’t be so quick to judge others because they are not posting as often as you or at all. We are all human and process things uniquely. I can’t fault anyone for not posting about something that’s very present for me. Don’t be the a-hole that gets online like “Everybody’s on here talking about Future vs. Russell Wilson but what about Black Lives Matter?!?!” It
Hi, thanks for reading this. I am about to take you on a difficult, but necessary journey. Please share with anyone who needs this in time for the holidays.
It starts like this...I am at a family function or just sitting around my mother's house-doing nothing in particular and he's there or I hear that he is on his way. I can't ever put my finger on the specific distance between us, but I am always excited to see him.
When I am in his space I feel normal and relaxed. It's a familiar feeling, but not one that I have often these days-if that makes any sense.
....We talk casually and I tell him what I've been up to, he never responds and I always get annoyed like "Helloooo... I'm talking to you...don't you care? Didn't you miss me?! (Just being spoiled and obnoxious as usual).
...Anyway, this casual conversation normally goes on for a few and I start to realize he isn't responding to me. I don't hear his voice, nor his laugh. I don't smell his aftershave because he never gave me a hug. Ithink, "Wait. He didn't hug me??? But we've been apart so long- did I upset him?!? OMG I forgot to ask him how he's doing!"
And then like a ton of goddamn bricks, it hits me.
He has not been out of town.
He isn't finally returning from the hospice.
He never came home.
He is dead.
And has been for some time.
He can't hear me tell him about my day.
He still isn’t going to walk me down the aisle.
We will not awkwardly dance to the Chi-Lites, nor the Doobie Brothers at my wedding reception.
Because I am dreaming.
The realization always happens during this dream and it feels like my heart is being ripped out of my chest. It's a fresh pain every time. I start to panic and reach for him and he moves further away. I quietly plead "OMG Please don't leave me again. I really, really need you. I can’t do this. "
I never want to wake up and when I do, it HURTS. I feel abandoned, panicked, and all the other emotions I felt when I received the initial call that his battle with cancer had ended. I try so hard to go back to sleep and beg my brain to go back to the dream and to revisit where I left off and it NEVER happens. My stomach drops. It is devastating.
UGLY CRY FACE.
It's never a dignified cry.
I have this type of dream pretty sporadically but it’s always the same. It always feels like the first time. It used to devastate me and I'd take a personal day and cry and just be a mess. But after a tearful conversation with my paternal grandmother, I decided I am ready to evolve this scenario and find the positive in the dream. And all of the triggers like songs we loved or movies we watched.
The positive is GRATITUDE. I am now grateful for these dreams because I realize they are visits. I find comfort in the fact that we are still connected in my subconscious. This means I have not completely lost him. I just have him in a different way now-and I must accept this reality and adjust. Just like I adjust to paying tuition in my mid-thirties, ridiculous traffic, bad breakups, etc. It's all in how we choose to process the event. For example, I can no longer stay in the space of "it's not fair, why did this happen to him?" Life goes on and we do ourselves an injustice by "crying over spilled milk" and staying there.
We owe it to ourselves to live our best lives and that sometimes requires a shift in perspective…and everyone knows a shift in perspective requires work. I accept that my life is different now. I am not just “thankful for food to eat” or “clothes to wear,” etc. I have a different level of gratitude to express.
I am THANKFUL that I even realize this.
I am THANKFUL to live in a world where technology allows me to view his Facebook page if I need to see him immediately or read his emails if I need good, honest comfort.
I am THANKFUL that I could articulate the many life lessons/gifts he gave me into words that will live on for the future generations of our family to see (when they're of age because I used such colorful language).
If I need to cry, I still cry but I also whisper
"Thank you. Thank you for visiting me."
I hope this message resonates with those of you who have lost a parent and try to get through the holiday season. We are part of a fraternity that unfortunately bonds us in pain, but we can encourage each other and make the best of it.
It is not the easiest time of year, but maintaining a spirit of gratitude and demonstrating appreciation for family and friends who are here is a great way to survive the holidays and all days. Think of the positive energy this mindset can create. In my life, there are many kind people who support and nurture me, my mom & my sibs through this-especially my uncles and godfathers. And even my Grandma who put her own pain aside to help me reach this realization and decipher these dreams when we were supposed to be watching Scandal-what an awesome demonstration of love. All of these things are reasons to go on and to be thankful.
I understand that this may not work for everyone. I wanted to get this out in hopes that it helps someone get through the upcoming holiday season. This is my gift to my sisters and brothers in the struggle during the holiday season. I am in this with you, as I would never recommend you do something that I don’t have the courage to do myself.
For those of who try this approach, let me know how it works for you?
Do you have any suggestions for coping with the loss of a parent?
Hello there….Being Mary Jane Season 3/Episode 3 has me sitting here in my feelings…even days later. So with that in mind, let’s talk about Toxic Friendships.
There’s an unlimited amount of articles, posts, etc. about how to spot a toxic friend and how to get rid of them, etc.…and don’t get me wrong, I feel that those perspectives are great, but it just makes me wonder-what happens to the toxic people once they are expelled from their various circles? If you think about it, the cycle continues.
In my experiences, most toxic people lack self-awareness. They have no idea how ridiculous their behavior is and can easily convince themselves that something is wrong with the other people involved in the conflict that severs the relationship. The Toxic friend finds a new circle and eventually performs the same or a similar behavior more often than not.
If you listened to the Wine o’clock podcast, you may have heard my position on Mary Jane’s role in the demise of she and Lisa’s relationship and I am certain that my position is unpopular. But, it comes from an honest and experienced place. Basically, Lisa was the toxic friend, riddled with issues and Mary Jane loved her, but her go-to response to the behavior was the silent treatment. In the end, Lisa reaches out and is, of course, “iced” by Mary Jane and SPOILER ALERT: Lisa commits suicide. Mary Jane is then haunted by the fact that she ignored her call-the call that could have altered Lisa’s day…her decision.
It’s easy to say “I am so done with her!” Hell, I used to do it all the time. But it takes a special type of person to say, “There is good in all of us and I want to help you find the good in yourself.” I believe in the power of energy and being responsible for the energy we bring. In the spirit of Finding Your Zen, I wanted to offer some alternatives to simply cutting a person off and send them on their way to wreak havoc in someone else’s life.
Based on my own experiences and observations, here are some steps to rehabbing the toxic friend in your life:
Determine if this relationship is truly worth the investment. Think about the reasons that you bonded in the first place and weigh them against the toxic behavior. Truly take some time and think about it. Unlike Mary Jane’s character, we still have the luxury of having our friends here. How would you feel if your girl who is “always lying” was actually truly tormented by her reality and killed herself? Would that matter so much-or would the fact that she left her job to care for you when you were beaten senseless by a terrible ex-boyfriend? Or when you lost a loved one? Suffered a miscarriage? Needed $1,000 to pay your rent? Would you be proud of the nasty threads you participated in about this friend once they are gone? There is no right or wrong answer here, but this is the starting point before proceeding down this list.
Find the root cause of the toxic behavior. I find it hard to believe that a friend would just wake up and say “Hmmm, how can I hurt the people I love today?” More often than not, our upbringing (especially the foundational years) is what forms who we are. For example, let’s say you have a friend who is a “hater.” She never has anything positive to say but will readily say something critical or passive aggressive. On one hand, it’s easy to say “oh she’s just jealous of me” but what if her reality is that she never had anyone to tell her that she’s beautiful or that she is good at anything? Find the root cause, unpack it and help her. We will explore what “unpacking” entails and different approaches in a future issue.
Hold this friend accountable. When the toxic behavior presents itself, don’t hold it in to protect their feelings or due to your own fear of confrontation. Your feelings matter. Call the behavior out and let them know you’re aware of it and how it comes across. I recommend considering this as opposed to telling other friends while leaving the offender in the dark. It’s certainly okay to vent to other friends, but with the understanding that you’ve done your part by calling it out between the two of you.
Place them in a box. Yes, you have decided that you’re going to love them through it, but take your time and manage expectations. For example, you can help heal your promiscuous friend, but you may not necessarily have her around your new boyfriend or guy you’re just starting to date. Keep limits in mind.
Be the solution. It is tempting to gossip and start a group thread without this person and perpetuate the drama-going on and on about how this toxic behavior is affecting you, but consider being bigger than that. Introduce them to the concept of self-awareness and considering mental health treatment be it a therapist, psychiatrist, etc. Be sure to come from a judgement-free position and be clear that your intentions are rooted in LOVE.
What do you think about these? Did I miss anything? Did any of this resonate with you? Have you tried this before? Let me know!
Thank you for your energy,