Real Love: Friendship Edition

So I have been documenting my journey during various stints of my life.  I have talked extensively about moving to Philadelphia from Lancaster and how hard it was for me to adjust to life in general. I STRUGGLED. There were a lot of reasons why.  I had great friends at home in Lancaster.  I was newly pregnant with baby number 2 and a toddler as I moved into my fiance at the time’s home.  It was too much at one time and I was trying to act like it wouldn’t be a problem.  In my mind I am like I got this.  However I didn’t have it and I was too self-centered to reach out to others to tell them the REAL of how much I had been suffering but feeling like someone should just know what is wrong and rescue me.  Guess what?  I had to rescue myself.  Many didn’t know. I didn’t open up and I didn’t talk about it either.

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One of the areas that suffered the most was friendships.  All of them took a hit.  Not one was okay in my eyes.  It wasn’t that friends left me because they didn’t.  I lost the access that I once had or at least I felt that I had.  Do you know how hard it is to maintain friendships even an hour and a half away?  When you can’t drive as often as you want due to the hassle of having a toddler and a growing belly?  Listen, I didn’t invite any friends over because anybody who knows me and knows my ambitions would think (in my head) that I had accepted the very bottom by moving in with my fiance and his mom.  Now let me be clear that is how I FELT.  There was nothing bottom about taking on a plan to make sure you are secure and making sure that things aligned well as long as YOU have a self-care plan and I had ZERO!  I never let folks know not even my parents what my plan was and how having that plan is what has caused me to have a better life even now.  I just moved and acted like I was crazy in love and I was but it was a purpose for it all.

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So after I had my son and even after the birth of my youngest and last child I struggled to get out and make friends.  I am not one of those people who believes in having a thousand friends instead I believe in smaller solid circles.  To build a circle I compared them to friendships I had for over 20 years and they can’t be on that same level.  However after some self-care, some get over yourself, after some mental relief I have been able to establish some new friendships and they are proving to be something so powerful.  My new friendships have NOT replaced old ones but they are showing me that you can open your heart and life to another person and be whole.  I have learned that I can be the friend I want others to be towards me.  In that I have learned that the love will not look the same either.  We have to be willing to put it out and weed the wrong ones out.  That is a process.  It doesn’t happen overnight.

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One of my friends I will call her K is amazing.  I didn’t realize I needed her in my life until she came in and I allowed her the space.  I find that she is super refreshing and super encouraging.  If anybody would follow our daily videos or texts they would call us weirdos. I find that the love that she gives adds to me and makes me want to be a better woman and mother.  She checks me when I need it but her approach isn’t to cut.  I have had friends who kept it too real but didn’t have the finesse to be able to know where I was at moments and it would hurt my feelings.  I also didn’t speak up about the hurt either. I didn’t want the backlash. That is not a real friendship if you can’t say hey you are doing something that isn’t sitting well with me and I need you to stop.  I am glad that I am open to the kind of love where someone gives me the love I need and not the love they think I need and isn’t willing to change. I have had several budding relationships in the last 5 years and they are ALL super amazing.  They all have taught me so much about myself.  They all are a blessing.  I don’t have to pick and choose love I can have it all and having girlfriends in my life is necessary and beautiful at the same time!  This notion that having girls who are friends to avoid cattiness is ridiculous.  That only happens when you choose the wrong ones.  I have had to cut a few of those off too in the last 5 years or even just let nature take control and not see them as much too.  My friends old and new are making me better in this thing called life.  I am honored to have each of in my life.

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Thanksgiving Tips To Get Through

It’s here, it’s finally here.  The start of the holidays can begin.  For all of those that have been dreading this or those who welcome it, it’s time to go into full gear. With that said not everyone will be spending the holidays with the most accepting family or friends.  Honestly I would suggest to avoid drama to have a Friendsgiving meal instead of with family if the situation is toxic.  Life is too short to be arguing over the dinner table.  I would rather family be mad and get over it then to have to spend the holidays overwhelmed, angry, and then have this feeling stick with you for days.  This is not that I do not like family gatherings, I do but I am anti stress of any sorts regardless of the occasion.  In case you just can’t just not show up to a family gathering and you know there will unavoidable drama here are my tips to get you through:

  1. Have an exit plan. If you are traveling with others, make a code word. Something that only you and the ones you came in with know. Honor your sanity to know that you don’t have to spend a whole day, if after some time you are ready to roll, then do so.  You are grown.  Do NOT make up an excuse. Just simply be gracious, thank your host, and then leave.  If you have to make an excuse then you haven’t realized how grown you are.
  2. Take a deep breath.  Folks gon work your nerves. There’s no way around it. Be prepared for it.
  3. Don’t answer everything.  Sometimes we talk to much just to prove a point and why?  It’s not necessary.  You don’t have to be right.  There’s peace and letting folks play themselves.  It’s amazing the folks every holiday that got a word for YOUR life, but yet ain’t got one for their own. Less is best.
  4. As long as you’re not on alcoholic tendencies, grab a drink but don’t overdo it.  Two people tell the truth and that’s kids and drunk folks.  Loose lips sink ships.  So do not become so drunk that you allow your drunk muscles to speak for you.  This is when things go left and what you should have dealt with sober you try to deal with liquid courage.
  5. Bring a hostess gift.  Do you know the worst thing about the holidays is the part where folks talk about the ones who just come through with a plate but don’t ever bring anything to contribute.  Bring something.  Even if its momma house and she insist, slide momma a few dollars. Do something.
  6. Remember that Thanksgiving is one day.  Do not fall into the trap in putting more power in the day that you forget what the day is about.
  7. If things get heated, retreat, leave, walk away.  You know you are going to hear the same stories. the same drama, and the same everything, be prepared for it.
  8. Be realistic.  If you chalk it up to be more than what you know it will be, you will be the only one disappointed.
  9. Have some fun-yes with all of the stress to prepare the perfect meal, be the best host, or just avoid going to jail remember to have a little fun.  Play some games, enjoy that beverage, enjoy that piece of pie-enjoy!
  10. Do not bring anyone to someone else’s house without speaking with them beforehand.  No you can’t bring your new flavor of this week to the dinner.  We don’t want to meet them. No you can’t just bring a random dude to momma house. See them afterwards.  I know people want to bring them a tenderoni to the dinner but unless you clear it with the hoss, meet up for some after Thanksgiving night cap and leave it at that. If you don’t take heed the only tenderoni you gon have is some ricearoni or get hemmed up in a corner.  There are rules so know the rules before you go to someone’s house.
  11. For the single that get the when you getting married question, just be gracious. No matter what you say or do they gon ask.  You might as well deal.  If you are married and you get the whole, when are you having kids find a way to be gracious instead of mad.  If you feel the need to be a little bit more stern than do so but remember stern don’t have to be ignorant unless someone has asked you several times in the same night and won’t respect your no.
  12. If you are married or dating and you are going over your in-laws or future in-laws, take the cue in how to deal with their family from your mate or boo. Stop overstepping your boundaries. Everybody family ain’t saved and you might get a bite you wasn’t expecting.  Attempt to be respectful.  If you feel you can’t remove yourself.

I hope you all have a great holiday. It will take a cool down, being focused on what the holiday is about, having a plan of action, and removing yourself from stressful situations to do that.  Remember self-care sometimes means saying no, not over doing it, enjoying the moment and controlling your own responses.  Have a good one and keep these things in mind.

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It’s a Vibe

So welcome back to getting our lives together. We have gotten past the solar eclipse and for those of us who haven’t burned our eyes, its time as it always is to set things right. Vibes matter. I am a firm believer that people send vibes whether they are positive or negative all the time. The thing is not in receiving or giving out of the vibes but what to do once the signal is presented.
For instance I definitely do NOT make my kids go beyond their comfort level in how they interpret vibes. Growing up parents made their kids hug a cousin, aunt, grandparent, etc. I think it’s a sign of respect or at least that is what I was made to believe. However I do not force my kids to hug or be around others simply based on their title. The reason is there is a lot of people who don’t always deserve to have their bad vibes given a stamp of approval. I feel like my kids know how someone made them feel and if they don’t want to show love or attention to someone based on that they shouldn’t have to be made to. Now can my kids disrespect an elder? Nope not one bit. However if an elder is feeling disrespected due to my kids not wanting to engage than I would speak up for them. It’s my job to let the elder know to either give them a chance to warm up, or when they feel up to it they will or they won’t. I have been challenged on this thought process but its fine. My kids, my rules. How do I teach my kids to trust their instincts than make EVERY decision on what that looks like? That makes no sense.

I have gone to someone’s home and had the receiving friend or family member start hollering and not in a demeaning way towards my kids and wonder why my kids are just looking at them. My kids are naturally loud but they do not always gravitate to loud people. My youngest for instance is not the one for that. She will play mute and you can be in her direct face. The reason for her feelings I believe is her ability to feel you out. If she is feeling you and 9 times out of 10 she’s not, she won’t force it and I generally just watch over her in those regards. I have had people who don’t realize that if my kids don’t interact with you regardless of title you are a stranger or they may treat you like one. So with any stranger they are looking for my input to see if the person is a person they can let their guard down. My oldest is the one who I watch the absolute most. She is one who likes everyone no matter what. She has no fear of talking to anyone. I watch her because she hasn’t learned discernment. In her world, everyone means her well and that’s not the case. My middle child, he is pretty mellow if I don’t alert him or if he doesn’t feel unsafe he generally will be fine. All of three of them have to learn what vibes mean to them and how to interact beyond what I desire them to be in a situation and beyond what elders who want them to perform do.

What happens to my kids as they matriculate to adulthood and find someone they don’t vibe with? I would hope they would continue to show respect to others even if the person is someone they don’t agree with. That’s life. Respect on the surface should always be the first thing extended to all UNLESS they have shown themselves to be a problem and in that case, a good hi and bye works wonders. However as an adult I don’t stay in the presence of bad vibes. The second people are acting out-of-pocket, I find ways to make sure I don’t let those vibes transfer to me. I don’t need to give someone a bad attitude just because someone else is doing the same. I will cut off a bad conversation in a minute. I will pull back until either the offender has changed or if the season of friendship has ended let it fade naturally. The issue is that with vibes which can be transferred if you’re not careful is knowing who you are and what your standards are.

Another issue that parents have to wonder about, is those who harm children and do things to them that isn’t right. Newsflash, they are generally in your circle and not strangers. For that alone I allow my kids to determine who they vibe well with. How do I know that the one I am pushing them to hug is the one who made them uncomfortable? I have to speak to them and allow them to know it’s okay to not want to be in someone’s face and if someone is making them uncomfortable as children, they have every right to retreat. They have a right to say no. But wait, its aunt so and so right? No aunt so and so may not realize the last interaction they had didn’t set well with them. They may need time to adjust or find out if they want to be in aunt so and so’s presence. They can say hello to them and then figure it out. I give hi and byes to strangers, it cost me nothing. However vibes cost me my time if I keep allowing them in my circle.

How much more for adults? These are lessons that many adults don’t conquer. You stay connected to people based on their title. So the person who is sending you bad vibes you know you need to distance yourself but you are afraid of what they will think. You tell others about how you need to distance yourself but when the courage comes to do so, you revert back to a child like mentality and stay. You leave their presence feeling more wounded, hurt, discouraged, etc and wonder why you can’t do better for yourself and for the relationship that has every sign that it needs to end. It’s called knowing when YOU feel a bad vibe and then following through to make sure you do what’s right for YOU. You can control for the most part what vibes you allow. When I am at work and bad vibes are popping off that is when I have to know my environment and adjust myself and NOT allow the foolishness to get to me. It’s called being in control of yourself. When you are in a place where you can get up and go a little more freely, than do so. We especially in these times have to learn to be in the presence of those who celebrate you and not to depend emotionally on bad vibes. Bad vibes can become something that you are used to so you settle. You ever see an abused person stay with their abuser not because they don’t know its wrong but because they are used to it? The same came happen in our everyday lives. Vibes matter. They matter more now than ever. People are doing the most whether it’s for love, political reasons, etc I have been around those who only ask for money every other second. SO when I see them I just say hey how are you and move along. Why? I don’t need to entertain why you are being a part of broke phi broke EVERY time I see you. You ALWAYS need something you can’t give. You want to take from my resources but can’t nobody ever depend on you to be on time. Retreat. Stop giving. Just fall back on the relationship. Allow that person to become their own source or let them find someone else do to it for them. Those types of vibes are draining.

Vibes need to be consistently checked. You decide what vibes and who they are associated with to either continue or not. Trust your instincts. Trust yourself. It’s okay to not know and take a break to figure things out. Respect all from the jump. Respect means also I can love you from a far and not allow you access to me. I need to keep my vibes clear and so do you. Check the vibe.

National Thank You Day

I honestly think the art of simply saying thank you is gone.   We replace thank you with that’s what someone should do.   Regardless of a person’s role in your life removing a thank you is definitely taking advantage of another person.

That’s why family and friends are burnt out.   We say we don’t need a than you but it goes a long way.   We teach children to say it in the beginning but if you’re not careful they too begin to fall off.   We live in a society where we are so caught up that those simple words have lost their way.

In order to say thank you, there has to be gratefulness in your heart.  Yes how can you say it and not believe it.   We see so much negativity in the world, have we closed ourselves off from allowing thankfulness in our heart?  I know this sounds like a semi mushy blog but it’s not.   Thankfulness has nothing to do with having it all.   If you’re waiting for that to happen you’re in for a rude awakening.

Have you ever had a bad day?   Of course you did.  As you cursed your day and maybe a few people along the way?, the

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the phone rings or you speak to someone and discover you’re having a light weight day in comparison.

Saying thank you should make you feel good just as hearing it does.   Take a second to thank someone today.   Don’t take for granted people’s presence in your life.   National thank you day should be an everyday thing but it starts on the inside first.