Month: December 2018

Stop Hiding

Let your true self be seen. Enough of hiding! Allow yourself to be rejected by others who have only seen your masked self – the one that gives advice but can rarely sit in your own; the person who regularly defends her point of view yet fails to understand others; that girl who is loved because of what she offers as a cover up to what she doesn’t have.

Stop Hiding! Reveal the Mask! Liberate Yourself! And wait to see who hangs around when you do. You’ll be grateful you’ve crossed over. I’ll see you when you get here.

Xo,

The Mirror (Reflections)

Life is full of colors. The unique thing about living is you have an opportunity to pick your palette. Will you select the color pink for your Monday or will the color blue be your preference for the weekday? Whatever your decision, you have a choice to paint your wall and create your picture the precise way you want to either be viewed by others, perceived by others, or true to others. I choose the latter. In fact, I rarely choose a color scheme. Instead, I go with the flow and accept whatever comes my way by endorsing a popular phrase you will always hear me say when things don’t go as planned and that is – it is what it is!

It is what it is’ is not a phrase more so than it is a way of life for me. I worry a lot, pray a lot, and wonder a lot. My mind is always thinking about the next best thing. Actually, I recently realized the way I think is a direct reflection of what happened to me in 2010 when I left my marriage of 16.5 years. Today I know of ways that I could have saved my marriage, but I also realize that reclaiming the core value of my role as wife and spouse had long left. Thus, nowadays my life is a cerebral exercise about how to discover ways to salvage and obtain the stability I once had that I must now restructure. And even though I know the answer to a stable life is through prayer and undoubted faith, writing about it and publicizing it for others to read will be my salvation because it is a confession of my faults.

The Heart. Not the Head.

So where do we go and how do we handle the luggage of clutter we have unloaded? The answer can be found in the same manner we unpack our clothes, one piece at a time. Expressing our inner-self is better achieved in small, regular chats when we are more in tune with our inner self, i.e. emotions so that what we feel, instead of think, can be fully expressed. Therefore, talking about an argument that happened 10 minutes ago is better resolved soon after the incident or when all parties are calm because datum is harder to retrieve days after. So, having discussions about how to resolve a negative discourse – when thoughts are recent, current and fresh – may present opportunities for better listening and communication so that honesty and transparency are the result.

My former premarital counselor talked about a process called ‘flooding’ that happens in our mind at a time when we may want to resolve differences but our convoluted thoughts forbids. A process, commonly known as information overload, could inadvertently and unnecessarily invite stress and ambiguity to a situation or relationship. Conversely, it is presumed that humans are unable to process multiple data at once, although we might refute the task of being able to. Perhaps my partner expressed it best when he said, “you cannot successfully hear and talk at the same time” because the brain is flooded with unsorted expressions without knowing what belongs where at what given time. So, the goal as speakers should be to express ourselves in a way that is easily heard and understood to avoid misunderstandings that could potentially lead to disagreements, or worse – emotional, physical or mental distance.

Our Precious Butterfly. 12 Years.

It is a few hours away from December 20, 2018 – a day I will never forget! It would be a few months before she’d arrive when we both stood in our living room, overlooking the pond yet wondering ‘What would be the gender?’ What would become of us as first-time parents to whom God would trust a life to properly nurture?’ ‘Were we prepared enough to ensure she’d become better than ourselves?’ These were among the many questions pondered, while contemplating if we, ourselves, would sustain our marriage and family. We had waited so long, so patiently, and I at age 35 and he 41, our prayers were finally answered. Yet, unbeknownst to us, our commitment to parent on one accord would always be tested in what has now become a healthy co-parenting relationship.

Her Papa finally agreed to the name Torrie because it was so suitable and simple, and it complemented her default-first name ‘Lou’ (the name given to daughters whose fathers belong to the ethnic group Guru in Ivory Coast, West Africa that means Daughter of her Father). Conversely, Lou Torrie Semi’s birth would give me many chances to correct a lot of wrongdoings.  I never knew love like this before. Frankly, I never believed someone would be so forgiving. Parenting at the current age of 47 is made easy and simple because of Lou and I am sure her ‘Village’ would echo.

Being vulnerable in her company has never felt so good insomuch she understands my flaws and simply expects me to be me, no more & no less. She challenges me to push harder, be better and never give up. It is her determination, stamina and self-accountability that elevates me to another level of quality parenting. Further, she is always receptive to what she’ll call ‘constructive criticism’ at doubtful times when she needs reminders about her reasons for being. Of course I can go on and on about Lou, yet I will leave you with this. Her shoulder is a placeholder for my tears of joy when she gently wipes them away.

My description of our daughter’s character isn’t adequately described in words. You have to really know her to know her, which rarely happens on the first introduction.  Butterfly is slow to anger, yet quick to protect. Further, she is learning to trust her whole heart in the company of others, but not without complete observation. She rarely needs reminding about the importance of an education, inclusive of the lessons learned outside of the classroom. Her recent achievement has been accepting her authentic self in the company of peers, who differ from her at her new school where cultural shock met her face on. And she has now fully grasped the concept of ‘being the salt‘ – to remain calm in the storm and quiet amidst noise. I am a better me because of her and I thank God daily for choosing us to be her parents. To my Village: where would I be without your unwavering support? Only God knows, only God knows …

Happy birthday Sweetheart ❤️ 🦋

Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children.

– Charles R. Swindoll

 

 

 

 

These 3 Words…

mom_daughter_at oddsGood Morning! I. Love. You.

These three words are often exchanged on the phone between me and my dear father. As he rises each morning I am certain that he keeps me in prayer, as he has done for many years. This is a practice I also reciprocate! Hence, God tapped me on the shoulder one day and whispered that I should text him more often to share this same greeting; but, my mother also needs to hear I.Love.You more often because she is the person I have emotionally missed for many years because of our differences and our inability to communicate with each other.

Additionally, my close friend, turned fiance who has three sons and one daughter, once told me that a little girl’s first love is her dad. This statement is so accurate, as I am told to be my father’s female version. In contrast, the same cannot be said, or isn’t regularly voiced when speaking about the relationship a daughter has with her mother. Ahem. With that said, I do speak of my mother with similar endearment because she was, and still remains my first role model, although communicating this to her is so challenging – most of my time is spent defending myself from her unconscious belief of my taking advantage of her guarded heart.

So, until she believes otherwise, I will continue to write with hopes of meeting her there! If she only knew! One day, though … One day.

Cuts and Bruises (Covert Injury)

Written as a Facebook Note, June 6, 2013.

I heard her once say that she could not afford to leave because it felt so right. And then I begged the question “What is so right” about a situation already gone wrong? She explained ..

I have a place to stay. I don’t want for anything. I receive personal appeasements on a regular. Our arguments are few and far between. He treats me great at times, although I am one of many others. We’ve dated for quite a while, so starting over may be difficult. I am completely in love, and he knows this.”

Image result for tolerance of disrespect

My response: “My friend, you have a lot going on. Although I am not one to give advice, I will say that we all have a threshold of tolerance. And until you meet that intuitive feeling that tells you ‘You cannot continue on the path of self-unworthiness, poor-self esteem, and self-blame,’ you will continue to get what you have always received (and rightly so) – nothing.”

 

Recovering People Pleaser

A great read from my fellow Blogger!

I’m a, what I like to call, recovering people pleaser. I no longer feel bad for saying no to things that I don’t think I should do. I no longer give of my precious time to those that are negative and toxic. I no longer force my kids to be around people that haven’t actively been a part of their lives. I decided to stop explaining and defending myself to people who will only see from their chosen perspective anyway. I no longer make decisions based on how others might think of me. I now make myself a priority rather than being the last on the list. And you know what? I don’t even feel bad about it!

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Your turn. Art & Beauty of Vulnerability

If you have not heard of Dr. Brené Brown, let this be a formal introduction to her work.

This article is about how our ‘messy flesh’ is worthy of embracing. If you have followed my previous posts, there is one specifically that hits a home run with vulnerability where I aired all of my personal laundry for public consumption, realizing that how I may be viewed and perceived by others could completely change the way you see me today thereby altering the relationships I have with each person who perceives me as having it altogether. Writing that single post was my complete moment of vulnerability because after its release I felt free of bondage and that dark cloud of 30 years was lifted.

As I wrote about that painstaking article, titled Sharing my Personal Scar, God held my hand through every keystroke, wiped my tears through each memory, whispered in my ear that all would be okay and shook me back to reality, assuring me that He forgives me regardless. I had to write about my younger years to release myself from the hurt and pain that I held for way too long – so long that I was threatened by a few who would go public about my intimate experience. Hence, I was fearful not so much that the story would be narrated by another, but more so because I knew of its accuracy of events and the emotions were mine to release – no one else’s.

Image result for act of vulnerability, brene brownSo back to Dr. Brené Brown, who is a scholar, researcher, author, public speaker and eloquent researcher of story-telling, among many titles – the core of her principles are hinted at letting go of what may hold us back so that we can ultimately be loved and accepted for who we really are and can be, beyond our masked self. So what does that mean? Let me put this in context. In my younger years I so wanted to be accepted by others that I would go along to get along because I feared that I would lose friends if I didn’t conform. Candidly, complying to fit in was not the issue at all nor did anyone demand as such; yet, in hindsight, I was reserved to reveal my true self: flawed, oddly different, insecure, immature, inexperienced and the list continues that hanging with friends who were anything but would exclude me from the crowd.

Conversely, it’s been nearly 11 months now since I published that article and today I couldn’t be happier in my skin because all of my skeletons are out in the open for anyone to see. My message? If I, who was undeserving of forgiveness (i.e. a thought I convinced myself of for many years), yet asked God and finally forgave myself and was thus forgiven – Why not you? Why are you incapable of not only forgiving yourself, but the flaws of others?

Do you really know what being vulnerable requires? Do you believe you can feel liberated from the flawed self that no one else knows about, aside from you – if you only, if you really understood and trust that it is your ability to profess your mistakes, admit your transgressions and realize your misgivings, then (and only then) you have fully exercised the art of vulnerability! Make the commitment today and don’t be reluctant to seek assistance along the way. I sought professional counsel and still ask for guidance from those who believe in me, despite. So it is now your turn.

I am forgiven because of HIM, My God!

Oh, I gotcha back!

He’s my Baby Boy (in the voice of a mother)

Make note of how a few Black mothers may find satisfaction in parenting girls differently than that of boys.  It goes a little something like this …

Make her tough so that she becomes an independent woman to build a life of her own. If he falls or fails, he will always have a place to come back to – Momma’s house.  Teach her mannerisms, e.g. how to sit like a little lady; yet, he will learn about chivalry on his own because I am unaware of the practices because I was never a recipient.  Ensure that her self-esteem is high, otherwise she may become too vulnerable and dispensable. However, he will be okay – he’s a boy, and besides, he will always have a place to come back to if things don’t work out – Momma’s house. 

Tell her about the birds and the bees so that her pocketbook remains valuable. He will learn about manhood through the experiences of other male figures because his father isn’t in his life, but if all else fails, he will always have a place to stay – Momma’s house! I suppose you get my point! Black mothers must stop pacifying our men, implying that Momma’s house is a place to return to when the school of hard-knocks becomes unbearable. A boy should be groomed to become a man, yet returning to Momma’s house to live and subsequently build a life should be a last resort (if any).

Grooming Boys to become Men

Becoming an example to other males should be the primary focus of experienced and matured patriarchs. Conversely, matriarchs can be successful when there is a great support system that promotes and encourages paternal bonding. However, there are some mothers who may do the opposite when feelings of insecurity fuels their energy, thereby shifting the true intent. With that said, this is not to insinuate single mothers are incapable of parenting successful, responsible men insomuch to say their parenting practices should include tips from male friends and respected male mentors as it relates to their sons.

Conversely, I know, as you may also, a few examples of successful men who were brought up by single mothers, i.e. former presidents, movie directors and so many more who get little to no recognition – thus, much to their credit. However, today’s challenge is greater for mothers to groom boys to become men than it is for their fathers, particularly if the mom is parenting from her past hurt and unhealthy emotions, such as a bitter divorce or tumultuous separation that results in custodial privileges.

Mother parenting boys‘What an admirable responsibility to be given sole or joint custody,’ is a likely reaction a mother with a son may receive. However, the challenges of teaching a boy manhood principles is overwhelming if at it alone. Iyanla Vanzant, who is an “American inspirational speaker, lawyer, New Thought spiritual teacher, author, life coach and television personality among many titles,” alludes to the mother’s inability to effectively parent boys when the practice is delivered from a negative stance of constant reminders of avoidance, fear and refrain that may eventually pique an interest of curiosity instead of employing teachable moments of ‘why.’

Take, for instance, a situation where the mother is overly concerned about her son’s propensities that mimics his father, which in turn, leads to a recall of her former spouse’s conduct that negatively impacted her. Therefore, instead of an embrace of her son’s innate traits, the outcome leads to anguish and apprehension between the mother and her child that stems from place of unhealed hurt and a possible lack of closure among parents who are now divided.

The message! Be mindful that parents may divorce, but the same should not be expected in a parent-child relationship when their parents are no longer together. Further, also reserve the thought that a mother could possibly be replacing a void of her male spouse with that of her son because of her inability to trust males again.

Three Little Black Girls

I wish to friend, understand and play with the little girls who came before me. I want to know what they dreamed of when they didn’t have to concern themselves with anything except to play, laugh and love without expectations and instructions. What were the secrets in their hearts? Were they happy or unhappy, and how so? Did each of these little girls have someone who often hugged them, reassuring that ‘All would be okay?’ Did they feel beautiful or empty inside? Did they feel alone or cold, particularly in the company of others? Were they permitted to speak without being accused of ‘talking back,’ or were they told to ‘hush’ because they did not have the permission to voice their emotions?

– Book excerpt from a section, titled ‘Three Little Black Girls,’ as the author explains the distant relationship between she, her mother and maternal grandmother.

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