Tag: Divorce

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.!

I may become Distant, but never Separate

Written as a Facebook Note, August 29, 2011. 

Although I am covert, I require tender care. Don’t beat me up because it may result in self-harm. I make you feel good when others may choose otherwise. I require attention so treat me gently. I realize that I have peers that live in other people, but you and I are unique.

I give you confidence when you are engaged in self-doubt. I serve as emotions at times when you cry. I may not come naturally, so be receptive to feedback. I may become distant from you, but we will never separate! Who am I?  I am your self-esteem and I love you unconditionally.

Walking alongside the beach_me_2

Note: This was originally written in fond memories of a dear-teenage friend, who was experiencing personal struggles. Today I am happy to report that she is getting her life back on track.

Cheers,

The Apology that Mattered. A House is not a Home.

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

love-daughter-dad-quoteClarifying 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. Joy DeGruy

Systemic Practices

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 …

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. Wise_strong_flawed_beautiful

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.
  • etc…

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.

 

Author’s Note

It was titled, an ‘Author’s note’ about self, and it reads:

The relentless blame a daughter carries is the closeness she has with her father, while her mother’s heart sears because of the supposed open wounds she still has from a bitter divorce that led to misunderstandings . He is aware there is no favorite ‘parent’ although she believes otherwise. The daughter will forever pay a hefty price because she is caught in the middle.

This is my story and I am finally shutting the door of fear to put a voice to why I consistently experience bouts of sadness. Truth is – what you see at the surface is not my reality. The ‘real’ me is a gullible, naive and inexperienced adult who still cries for her mother’s attention. So although I pretend to be strong in front of the people who know of me, those who know me on an intimate level remain hopeful that I will find my happy place (one day, somehow someway).

%d bloggers like this: