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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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.”

 

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.

It is His Grace. Be Present, Always!

Often God sees in us things and persons we don’t see in ourselves.

Flow Like a RiverI 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!

 

Finding your Pretty

When I was a little girl I knew I would marry one day. Although I did not know how to become a desirable woman to attract the right guy, I searched for him very early. I was introduced to womanhood very slowly, but the need to belong to someone who would love me was my driving force. As a youngster I can count how many times I was told ‘You are pretty,’ yet there was a myriad of negative remarks about my physique (even still today) insomuch that it led me to doubt my adequacy, image, significance and acceptance by others.

How you make me feel

I never thought about the emotional damage that came from the name-calling or innuendos because it was so routine that any constructive praise came as a surprise. Just imagine a person trying to use malice words in a positive way and this sums up the mood and ambiance in a house that was led by women who were mainly parenting from their agony. I know the words ‘You are pretty’ that were never spoken does not define me, as a person. But the little girl then didn’t know that. I only wanted to hear something different than what society could offer.

My story about female wounds is like so many other girls of my race and culture. Thus, another blog can be written about how patterns are repeated and passed along through generations in the black community, and in some homes of mixed-relations, when hurt is the regulator of most actions and decisions. I believe the pain from which our black community parents is inadvertently related to the psychosomatic conditions of slavery that now reveals itself in the muteness of stories, the bearings of distress and the inability to discern a cyclical array of the same problems that continue from one generation to the next. Hence, the chastising and bondage, if you will, has disabled innate traits like nurturing, loving and hugging that was either severed, forced shut or forever hidden and replaced with thrashings, hatred or nonacceptance.

So instead of releasing the hurt to learn of new coping methods that leads to better understanding and accepting for and towards one another, the black family has built walls of defense to guard the heart and seal it away from sensations in deep places that are alleged to be unreachable. This action leads to remnants of our pain that grow dormant because it is now a part of our normalcy, living within us today. The fragments are further witnessed in accusations about and at each other and also present in our parenting styles when we first whip our children  in hopes to solve an issue before we know the problem because releasing our frustration makes us feel good, temporarily. Adopting this approach is unhealthy and counterproductive because hitting is a temporary attempt to address a long-term problem that can be unearthed using different approaches, i.e. intervention, confession of faults, etc. Conversely, a person in today’s era still practices yesteryear’s tendencies, challenging change because it is unaccustomed.

So, the little girl that lives in me today is aware of why the unkind remarks about my image were voiced and the emotional closeness was practiced because the positive of the two simply couldn’t be found in the heart of that young girl who also remains active in my mother’s life that yearned for the same compliment from her own mother who didn’t properly validate. A scholar, name Dr. Shefali Tasbary speaks and writes about the dichotomy of the parent-child relationship (among other subjects) and she asserts how the personalities within us as parents can have a stronghold on different aspects of our life, particularly when we parent.

The scholar is quoted saying, “Moment after moment after moment, your child acts as your mirror. Through every interaction you have with your child, you are really interacting with yourself. Every way you relate to your child is a reflection of how you relate to your own inner world.” This statement is profound and it speaks to different facets of a parent-child relationship and it helps me to better know and consent to the emotional space I share with my mother.

To better understand is to know one’s past hurt.  – Felita Williams, MPH

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.