You’re the only woman…

The risk I took at 23 is a different risk today at 47. Times have changed. I’ve changed. I see life differently and my physical abilities aren’t as good today like years ago. Okay, these are a few of my excuses for a long-time engagement with a slow crawl to the alter. Yet, I can clearly recall what she said to me about a year ago, ‘Felita, you’re probably the only woman I know who would be engaged this long without getting married [paraphrased].’

My immediate response was silence, and then I thought to myself, “She might be correct about that statement.” Yet, just the other day I reminded myself of how listening to that and giving it weight is the sentiment she carries, and not that of my own. Albeit a disagreement or an indifference, we have independent decisions to make for particular reasons. Hence, my decision to remain engaged- with a brief hiatus- is a mutual agreement in my relationship.

Truth be told! There’s a hesitancy between us with approximately 34-years of past luggage we both are still unpacking. He, formally married for 18 years and I for 16.5. Our wounds of past agony are slow to heal, and we can now finally see progress with our communication skills where, formally, we spoke at one another. Today we now talk to and are empathetic towards each other. We further understand our beginning was in haste; hence, perspectives are realized. Nonetheless, reaching this stage has been an uphill battle but neither he nor I would have it any other way.

Conversely, we are now beginning to apply helpful tips to strengthen our relationship, such as ‘working on our whole self’ and bringing that person to the table. Though remedial to a few, these relationship nuggets are useful reminders of how the slightest misunderstanding of words can potentially lead to a large ordeal that, if mishandled, can take days or months to heal. We’ve gracefully been through that also.

With that said, me and my fiancé are going on 6-years strong with no plans of turning back. So today I will say this: Yes, you’re correct about the ‘very few women‘ who will hang this long. However, my urgency to marry is different than the next (it’s not an urgency at all)! Grant it – your and my decisions are independent but our positions are the same – direction, forward. So, I wish you well at your pace that will officially occur in a few months with one simple request … I pray you will also appreciate my walk to the alter – regardless of how slow of a pace I take.

Congrats 🎉 Mrs.!

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Care with Deliverance

Challenges are plentiful in a relationship, but nothing trumps Communication. I remember the beginning of many relationships, two of which I was able to salvage after I identified the complex, yet simple problem – my Communication style. Twelve years ago before I became a parent communicating my candid thoughts weren’t as important as they are today. Not because my relationships carried less significance insomuch that I had less to lose than I do now. As a submissive wife, who wholeheartedly trusted her husband, I rarely vocalized things of the heart that was largely attributed to the incapacity to process and translate thoughts to feelings, i.e. head to heart because of the fear of what would become if I did so. Hence, it was adequate for me to suppress my inner voice and starve the heart instead. The outcome? A consensual divorce.

 “In my next relationship I will do everything in my power to not repeat the same mistakes, even if it means ‘telling my story to others to save their marriage.'”

My life at 35 carried a different perspective than my current age of 47. The reference point of knowing that I have less years ahead of me than I do behind me is relevant to the Why, When, What, How and Where of my Communication process today.

  • Why (the relevancy): Why should I communicate this today, right now instead of later? Why is it important to know what I am thinking and feeling? Why is it significant? Why do my thoughts matter?
  • When (the timing): When is it appropriate to address my (our) issue, i.e. when things have calmed or at the peak of frustration? When did I become affected by what was said?
  • What (the intent | content): Will what I say break or build the relationship? Will what I say matter insomuch to improve or takeaway from the quality of our friendship? Is the What greater than the We? What is the timing of the message: do I wait until we arrive home or should I say what is on my heart here in public?
  • How (the delivery): Will How I say impact us greatly – for better or worse? Will my message be received or ignored and How so, e.g. with love or anger, respectively? How do I phrase what I intend to say so that what I do say is accurately felt, spoken and delivered with love?
  • Where (the venue | environment | internal space): Is the setting suitable to discuss our personal matters? From where (internally) am I gathering my thoughts – a place of compassion; a place of frustration or hate; a place of jealously; a place of resentment and the list continues?

I could continue to expand upon the aforementioned points, but the focus of Communication should always be on these five main points. Attempt to always ask yourself is my message Relevant; is the Timing appropriate; what is the Intent of the Content; contemplate the appropriate deliverance by asking ‘will it lead to harm or love’ and how so; is the setting appropriate from where the problem occurred and from where the sentiments are birthed.

Again, I never said Communication is easy but I will attest to its importance! Remember I spoke of the two relationships I was able to salvage?

The first one was my marriage of 16.5 years. Although my former husband and I did divorce, we are more friendlier to one another now than we could have ever been married. Why? Because (1) We both apologized for our wrongdoings in the marriage – realizing that beginning anew would not be possible without this step, (2) We realized we hindered one another as a couple, although we were accomplished financially, because our dual obligation to cherish each other’s hearts was inadvertently and sometimes purposely ignored in the marriage, and (3) in hindsight we’d have it no other way than to remain cordial because what was not offered to us as kids, who had parents that did not communicate, would be the very thing to combat. So our daughter will forever have what she deserves – to have genuine love in her life with parents who can look beyond themselves.

The second is my current relationship to my fiance – this second g’round. After a 3-year courtship and a 2-year engagement we broke off the relationship because we grew separate and distant in personal goals. Conversely, that one-year break up was the best thing that happened to us! It allowed him to commit to a sole person, while I dated on and off. Albeit we each missed each other and didn’t realize it until we decided to remain friends (a philosophy I had never condone) separate from our individual lives. However, had he and I not decided to take a leap of faith and express our dismay about the breakup to one another, while respecting our intimate space with others, we’d be living a part wishing we should have communicated what we missed most – us. So, despite our flaws, inadequacies and divorces to our former spouses, we believe one of the most complexities of relationships can be achieved if we dare to put forth a genuine effort to understand our Communication styles.

Note the words Why, When, What, How and Where are intently used because they are the beginners of open-ended conversations that stimulates a dialog between and not at one another. Applied and used correctly will allow the initiator and receiver of words to not only respond to each other, but possibly have a discussion unknowingly – thus, the objective. Open-ended questions are widely used to gather feedback in the most clever of ways.

Rest, Be still, Have faith

Sleepness nightsToday is one of those days where I often find myself behind the computer searching for that position. The position that will just get me over the edge until the next career find. This has been my status in society for over 5 years now, juggling things from attending school to remain competitive in the job market, to parenting full-time, neither of which I regret. However, the irregular sleeps and the midnight sweats like the one last night is beginning to wear on me.

Before I decided to bring up this subject and write about it, I prayed about it. I prayed about if sharing it with the public would put me in a bad light. I also prayed about what you’d say about the person you thought you knew, who supposedly has it altogether. And then, it hit me! Writing is to express, to share, to exchange, to reach and everything in between. I was scheduled to teach a certain number of ESOL classes today, but somehow the students who were previously registered to attend decided to cancel.

Canceling a class is an individual right, but when an online class is scheduled beforehand or within 5 minutes of instructor entry, there is no pay for that session. Hence, I only made a fraction of what I had budgeted for today. Likewise, I recently read a friend blogger write about how she had similar challenges of trying to find the next gig when everything she ultimately needed was staring her in the face – faith in her writing and the ability to communicate her candor. Conversely, I am no different in that description because you may have your own opinion, but I believe that each supposed job I’ve had, e.g. PRN health instructor, interim business development lead, substitute teacher, full-time student, part-time staffing agent and the list continues in the span of five+ years (which, by the way is the time I left my marriage) reflects why I haven’t been blessed with the things I need because I haven’t learned to be still and wait.

When you believe and have faith that HE hears and has heard your prayers, you must trust the process that will develop on HIS time. Hence, today is another one of those days, but a different one. I trust the process and have faith that my stability and that ideal profession will find me instead of attempting to find it. So as of right now, my role is to write to share my story with complete openness because this unemployed mother has never gone without the necessities and I am without doubt that on this 2nd day of October me and my daughter will be abundantly blessed.