Good 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.
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.”
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.”
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.
So 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!
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.
Are you like me, who once wondered if what and how I do things are considered inadequate? I heard a message on the radio yesterday that changed my perspective on how I interact with God. I am further convinced that what we think of most has a direct correlation to our actions, i.e. your thoughts will ultimately dictate your behavior.
The speaker suggested that we, as children of God, repeatedly measure and compare ourselves to HIM when we engage in self-doubt about the things HE has already forgiven us for. As believers, we will supposedly accept that HE has forgiven us for our sins (past, present and future), yet continue to engage in self-doubt that our sins are forgiven. When and if done, we are doubting the Father.
Inadequate feelings are a human emotion. Yet, we must not confuse ourselves with things of the flesh when talking about God! Hence, we must have faith in all that we do:
- Never close or guard your heart so tightly that hinders you from loving again.
- Refrain from living in your past unless you intend to revisit that place of regression.
- Do whatever sanely possible to maintain cordial relationships with your ex for reasons that support your initial decision to date him/her beforehand.
- Make a conscious effort to wish your former well in all that s/he does, particularly because retrospectively you desired the same when you were the significant other.
- Pray often, daily. Always listen to your heart no matter if your head tells you otherwise. If it feels or looks funny, don’t dismiss – observe.
- Be cautious of one who is overprotective. There is no such thing as being around your partner 24/7. Trust and respect yourself enough to let him / her do their thing because if you’ve done your job correctly, physical space rarely overrides strong emotions.
- Respect yourself to wait for that suitable partner. I am one to tell you that quickly leaving one person for the next is a sign that screams ‘I need attention.’ Allow yourself to hear the birds, enjoy the waves, walk the pastures and smell the coffee.
- What’s for you is for you! Desiring another’s blessings will rob you of your own.
- Do not succumb to the hyperbole of needing someone to feel whole. Dare to complement, and not replace.
Often God sees in us things and persons we don’t see in ourselves.
I am sure you also know how HIS grace spares us from risky behaviors and grave decisions. Hence, it is HE who understands our thoughts, decisions and actions beforehand. Further, it is HE who also knows that what we want for ourselves may not be what he ultimately wants for us. I was explaining this message to a friend the other day who is adamant about decluttering her life, insomuch that things once appreciated and loved about her career and life have caused a spill-over detriment, thereby affecting her ability to become her whole self.
There is a belief that changing jobs or finding another employer may be the solution when, the real issue is with self and how and when we allow outside influences to interrupt our positive thoughts. Albeit there is so much control an employee has when working among and alongside others who are also struggling with similar concerns, however, I know and believe that God speaks to us individually. Therefore, in order to precisely hear and receive God’s message, we must be fully aware of our faults with the willingness to be changed.
I’ll use myself as an example. I am a four-year old Atlanta GA transplant who moved here in hopes of creating a new-blended family of my own. Intuitively my former partner and I both knew our relationship was tumultuous, yet our hearts spoke to the mind, changing all logical reasoning about why we couldn’t begin anew in a different location. Our haste to defy and refute the blessings God had for us, which was separate from one another, ultimately resulted in a rift that grew irreparable. Why and how so, I recently asked? We both disobeyed God’s instructions for our lives, i.e. living as married at a time when learning about each other from afar may have brought us closer together.
Hence, what I didn’t know then I wish I knew today, yet God ushered me forward with my desires to become the wife (metaphorically speaking) of our home without the honor. Hence, I wore my responsibilities, as did he, without God’s blessings upon our blended lives and today is actually where HE ultimately wanted us to be, separately living our lives on amiable terms. Conversely, today I am more in tune with the hows and whys of my emotions and I continue to seek counsel to better understand me and my needs because I still desire to become a great-committed friend to a future spouse.
So to my friend! Remain put in your current position. Take moments to reflect upon why God has you where you are today. Pray always and speak positive thoughts that will help dispel ambiguity and rid convoluted feelings that could ultimately consume you. Make conscience efforts to spend quality time with HIM, our Father. Exercise the art of patience and let your feelings flow like a river that streams in different directions without interruption so your foresight is clear and the path HE has for you may be received. Be Present Always!
Happy Valentine Day!
On a day like today, i.e. the romantic-commercial holiday of exchanging and expressing love gestures to signify the appreciation we have for our partners and loved ones, don’t forget to keep the flame burning in your relationship. Whether you’ve found it already, still looking for that desirable match or are choosing to love on self because you need more ‘me’ time, be mindful of the gesture instead of its monetary gain or the public notoriety of receiving. Last year I wrote an article, titled Flowers and Chocolate where the giver of my gift was acknowledged for the Gesture of giving. I was grateful because the sender lifted my spirits insomuch the deliverance of joy was received at a time in my life when there were more downs than ups. Hence, his gesture of buying and ordering the deliverance of flowers and chocolate dispelled all self negativity.
Hence, today is unlike that day and now is a different situation because I am no longer in a committed relationship. I have thereby graduated to a stage in my life where the gesture of receiving is less valued than the act of giving. I will continue to usher more importance to the reciprocated practices of my very own Valentine who quickly forgives me when I make parental mistakes, compliments me when I feel low, lifts me when I am exhausted, reads to me when I need to hear an inspiring story and values our conversations during the slow-dance lessons on days when I will grab her hand to share the significance of ‘loving on self’ and why so. This person is my ultimate gift, my protege, my forever love, my darling, my Sweetheart, my shoulder when I am tired, my napkin when I weep and my partner who will sit across from me to work on her assignments when I also have work to do. She is my daughter and today is my day to make sure she continues to understand the essence of love, the act of giving and the significance of ‘marry to date’ so that flames in her future relationships are fueled with passion and substance.
Enjoy your V-Day!
Written as a Facebook Note, October 29, 2011.
Associations, i.e. friendships, relationships, and acquaintances are usually developed from individual comfort levels from within. For instance, two people meeting for the first time who share a mutual understanding about an issue will likely grow closer to one another because of common knowledge or experience. To the contrary, if there is a reservation between two people, meeting for the first time, it will likely result in no further conversations beyond the point of the initial encounter.
So I argue that the duration or severance of relations is stemmed from how one is perceived and accepted in the company of others. Therefore, I would encourage an assessment of your relations and determine if your life is improving or regressing. And from this evaluation, make some changes to become and be a better you.
You owe it to yourself!
Written as a Facebook Note, March 8, 2012.
Each time I see her, the picture is the same.
I am told all the time to look in a different direction, but nothing changes.
Sometimes I see grey, black, brown, and clear, but never anything worth staring at.
Occasionally the surface is rocky, leveled, paved, and sometimes shallow.
The echo in my head keeps telling me that the glass will always be half empty.
However, I remember what my mother tells me repeatedly – your posture tells the story.
Yet, each time I change my posture, I revert back to my ole ways.
I begin to reflect on how time is clicking away, and I cannot seem to reflect on what I just accomplished.
My lack of concentration is due to overwhelming distractions and the hastily interference that is abrupt.
Anything to steer my focus away from what I could have accomplished some time ago.
But something keeps bringing me back to full circle.
Uh oh, I hear the echo in my head again.
But it is not until I trip that I begin to realize that things are clearer if I ONLY hold my head up.
Signed – the Inner Self,
A House is not a Home.
A house is a structure that includes different participants with dissimilar objectives. Each entity has a different focus and goal that is notarized and projected. The members in the house will behave in an agreed upon manner insofar of guidelines but each person has a different direction or objective to accomplish that, when given an opportunity, may lead to enticed conduct, e.g. stealing from one another, inflicting harm upon another, cheating or moving on to the next available offer. Further, the house members will enter and exit as they please because whatever laws that produce civilized conduct will be breached and persons will ultimately succumb to individual propensities, such as biases and judgments. Later, the ambiance in a house will fluctuate and grow uncomfortable, sometimes so unsuitable that it greets excessive admittances, produces high attrition, and invites intolerable demeanor and ultimate distrust.
In contrast, the home is a feeling (ambiance) that provides, produces and breeds tranquility. The cohesion and union cannot suitably occur without accordance. Certain things must be in place for a home to mature because it requires clarity, time, patience, tolerance, management, calm, a certain temperament, active collaboration and proactive teaching. Metaphorically, each member is a fiber that adds to the value of a finished product. The difference can be witnessed with the role of a project manager (PM) who is assigned to lead a group of 5, which was our household size before my parents divorced. The PM will wear many hats because he is the appointed overseer who will allocate funds, deliver assigned tasks, disseminate materials and issue project deadlines to name a few. Thus, I equate the PM to the head of the home; the father who is further designated to answer questions and provide clarity with the goal of delivering a finished-quality product.
The Apology that Mattered
Clarifying these two distinctions lends itself to a question about the modern marriages compared to what I will call contemporary unions today. Shortly after sharing my most intimate post yet, titled “Sharing my Personal Scar” I received a phone call from my dear father. I will preface this to say that my dad has become my best male friend. He was overly apologetic and emotionally moved to learn that I had not reached out to him at a time of need. The content of my recent blog lends itself to a lot of speculations about the quality of parenting I and my brothers received when we were young; hence, I point the blame at no one because I attribute my parent’s parenting styles to that of which was passed on to them, i.e. adopted practices that were observed and illustrated in what I describe as the house where the parental figure was absent.
Conversely, I wonder if my grandparent’s decision to withhold facts about what they knew of their predecessors deprived my parents of an opportunity to predict and monitor certain tendencies that were imparted? Today I know the spoiled- rotten-little girl, who was left to self-parent because her older siblings were creating lives of their own, did the best she could to take care of house while her mother worked odd hours as a private-duty nurse, is the mother who parented us to the best of her ability. I also know the young man who pursued her because he wanted to be the paternal example that was absent in his life was improperly coached on chivalry and dating etiquette. Hence, both teenagers made conscious decisions to marry and create a nuclear family.
“The future of every generation lies in its progeny. Prepared or, unready they are the unwitting guarantors of familial memory, living time capsules filled with stories that define and sculpt family identity, culture and history. All of us are both mirrors and windows reflecting what has been and apertures allowing a brief and narrow look into the limitless potentialities of what can be.”
Dr. DeGruy alludes to the practice of inheritance. Whether it is knowledge bestowed upon us, experiences lived in the footprints of those we follow or the psychological incapacity of discernment, we essentially become what we may want to disown. Having said that, I see the authoritative, stoic, guarded, independent and covert habitudes that were instilled in me from my maternal upbringing that contradicts my paternal traits of balance, candor, transparency and objectivity to name a few. However, I also know that a lot of my characteristics were acquired along the way through my exposure to others and their experiences.
“In families where the father’s interaction with the children is limited because of marital statuses, he still has an effect on the children—but to a lesser extent. The roles of the father figure are assumed by male relatives, partners of the mother who live in the home, and by extended family helping networks (McAdoo, 1996).”
– Excerpt from the Michigan Family Review. Section, titled The Child Socialization Role
For instance, writing and sharing my Personal Nuggets are necessary not inasmuch for personal healing but for others who are also reserved about why the black family is prone to systemic practices that seem challenging to overcome. For instance, if we were to poll children of divorce parents in the black community and ask them questions about their experience each person may have a different outcome; however, the common theme and take away may convey a degree of self-blame in their parent’s decision to live separately. Thus, my childhood history resembles other children that are now caught in the crossfires of a ‘tug of war’ between parents who have become fierce opponents. Accordingly, has the home structure that many black fathers desire been unreported? Is the black man stigmatized by the mainstream media as deadbeats and uncaring?
There is supportive research that highlights the positive image of black males, who are willingly and actively involved in their kids’ lives, as was our father. Yet, for reasons I will write about later, both parents were subjected to unhealthy conditions that compelled him to leave when I was 10. Subsequently, his efforts to constructively co-parent and the attempts to remain in contact grew challenging as years passed. What I didn’t understand then I absolutely understand and agree to today. So, although the intentions of creating a home instead of that ‘house’ environment may be short-lived, our relationships with the comprised members don’t have to be. It is possible to maintain contact with our loved ones, albeit a grandmother or the village that reared us. And it is further possible to open our hearts to misunderstandings and disagreements. Today I thank my dad for the apology that matters because I am now receptive to hearing and receiving without reservation because he was the ‘Head of our Home’ and has accepted fault.
Note: This is dedicated to my Father.
I love you, despite is what we should first think of when we are faced with challenging circumstances that may physically, mentally or emotionally distance us from a person we once loved and shared a life with. I think of this phrase in a different context today, as it relates to my current situation, i.e. an interruption in my personal relationship. However, I would to speak about the idiom in the ‘past’ tense as it relates to severed relationships: separation and divorce.
When you become a victim of parental alienation (PA) everything stops. Your heart begins to beat a different way, your thoughts become irrational, your foundation is interrupted, your stability is no longer, your health is jeopardized and your future is gloomy. Now just imagine how all of these emotions are housed in the mind of a child, who has no cognitive ability to recognize what is occurring nor does she have foresight about what the ‘fuss’ is about because in her mind she loves both parents and cannot understand why what is rational to her – apologize for wrongdoing and kiss and makeup – is beyond her parent’s comprehension.
Considering all things that distorts our mature thoughts about the partner we once favored and dearly cared for, our emotions often get in the way of our mental capacity to think beyond our hurt. When the British Politician, Andrew Bennett, was quoted as saying “the longest journey you will ever take is the 18 inches from your head to your heart,” he could not have been more truer with this statement. To add to his brilliant quote, I pray we, as parents are more mindful of the permanent effect our actions will have on our offspring. Although I don’t fault or blame anyone for my hurt and scars as a PA victim – because I believe my parents parented the way they witnessed their parents parented – yet, I believe that words spoken and voices heard is a beginning point to healing because when a person speaks and hears their own voice, they are claiming onus and accountability.
So let us begin with … I love you, despite:
- my (your) hurt.
- my (your) pain.
- my (your) flaws.
- the hurt I’ve (you’ve) caused.
- my (our) inability to see eye to eye.
- our falling out of love with each other.
- my decision to move on without you.
- our inability to reach common ground.
Now if you are reading this from the perspective of solving PA, asking will it solve what is becoming prevalent in our society? The answer is a resounding no because PA is a disorder that requires professional intervention and recurring treatment (in my opinion). However, I do believe that taking precautions will help us to think + feel instead of just feel and thus affect every other person in the process.