Tag: Love

No Favorite Person, Just Selected Conversations

A life of age-appropriate events ended way too early for me. When I parent my daughter, while reflecting on my own life, I realize the things once shared with me when I was her age are way too mature for her to process in her tween years. But then I realize questions she asks are warranted to validate certain behaviors about why me and her grandmother aren’t as close as she and I. It’s one of the hardest things I do as a parent, aside from explaining what good can become of severed affairs like the one between me and her father.

Glamour_MommyButterfly

If, in my younger years, I had a glimpse of how my future looked without an involved father I would have made a conscious effort to communicate my misgivings to mom about their divorce in hopes of some change. I further wish the time I spent keeping silent and finding support elsewhere was instead spent with my dad, sharing my most fearful thoughts about when I grew too close to men without suitable preparation. I regularly tell my tween that students learn from teachers they connect with. The same is also true about customers who buy from salespeople they like.

Likewise, you wouldn’t talk negative about your work to your boss and risk being fired, but rather speak with your close friend who can help you manage your emotions on the job. Hence, children and adults aren’t any different! My most intimate thoughts, as a child and now as an adult, are shared with people I trust[ed] with my emotions. I’d like to think I am not alone in this belief. Yet there are potential disturbances when you are closer to one parent than the other, particularly when your parents have moved on with their separate lives.

I’ve heard and am witness to the pathological cycle you can become a part of if old baggage isn’t handled in a timely manner. I am further convinced there is delicate balance I must keep between both parents, limiting my conversations with each about what the other one is doing. This is currently being practiced between me and my father but the to-do list is partly unaddressed with mother who is beginning to understand. So, what does this reveal, if anything? I don’t pretend to know, but I suspect the answers are more than surface deep. Breakups are handled differently between men and women, chiefly if there is no closure after a breakup.

An article I read the other day asserts that sex is 90% emotional and 10% physical for women. If accurate, this finding tells us two main things about females, i.e. we feel mostly everything, and we are overly troubled and mainly unhappy if we cannot fully express our senses with transparency to our mate. Therefore, if an emotional seed is interrupted and complete closure is never received, we can grow uneasy, overwhelmed and inundated about how to handle our anxieties, which could thereby lead to frustration or resentment, at worst.

Intimacy

I know this mindset all too well because when my emotions were mishandled at a young age I later grew guarded and defensive towards males. Consequently, my inability to cope with hardships led to many years of angst and regrets that continues to affect me and my loved ones today. It’s called “Sharing My Personal Scar!” I regularly reference “Sharing My Personal Scar” because the voice to the story saved me from self-hate, self-infliction, self-judgment and psychological warfare. Moreover, the negative energy and shame I once harbored are no longer because I realize my teen mind was manipulated by careless-adult men with a single agenda. However, going forward I am willing to love, give love and receive it when the occasion is mutual.

Now reentering this ‘single-woman journey,’ I give more credence to whom I share my heart and mind. Questions like ‘has he earned an opportunity of total trust; does he understand the importance of contingencies; is his patience short-lived and the list continues?’ are important so that I may forecast my emotional investment. So in the context of No Favorite Person, Just Selected Conversations – the heart must feel safe for love to be expressed, exchanged and reciprocated. Otherwise the union or setting will resemble an exchange of thoughts for personal gain with an abrupt outcome.

Cold conversations

 

 

 

 

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.!

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.

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.”

 

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!

Inadequate

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

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.

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,

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