Anxiety, Balance, and Relationships

People always says that when you meet the right person you will be able to navigate anything with them.  There is a lot of truth to that statement.  However in life you may not have that someone in your life, you may really be struggling, or the person in your life struggles with understanding you in the way you need them to understand.  This blog will be super personal but not meant to paint the people in my life as horrible individuals.  However it is a reality that I know many lke me experience.

Expectations vs. Reality

Expectations tell you that if your partner loved you they would know how you feel as your anxiety mounts.  Reality says no matter how much empathy they might have, they aren’t going to understand if they don’t go through it themselves.  This is why you in reality need someone who has a high level of empathy while you in return are going to have to do active self-care.

Expectations says that if you have a partner they will have a higher level of understanding to help see you through. Not always true. There are movements when you find that your partner misses the mark. What they see as ungrateful, anger, fear, is masked as anxiety. When you have anxiety often times you have a thousand questions, you don’t deal with unknowns or you may not be able to express yourself correctly. These feelings are complex.

Let me give you an example. In college freshman year I was learning myself. I came in the door strong willed and able to articulate myself extremely well. Over the course of those first years through fault of my own, I was made fun of, talked about, and had to withdraw from many social circles. On top of that I already lacked social skills even though I had great academic skills. I found myself not able to be bubbly and I felt alone. I started to figure out once around certain people what I should or shouldn’t say. As the years went on I became more and more reserved that once I graduated although I was happy to be away from some of the dismissive crowds I had managed to just tolerate; I greatly couldn’t navigate even in my small town outside of my set crew. This is when my anxiety took off.

In college my coping mechanism was to be loud or angry just so it would make more sense that if someone didn’t want to be around me I would already have an outlet. I started being only around my 4 friends for the most part but even with the them I felt I had lost a little respect.

I’m learning how to get back to myself. When I had my kids and moved to Philadelphia which made sense it still mentally stripped me of a lot of independence. I had already moved from my apartment to my parents home. The only reason that wasn’t a total bummer was because they wasn’t there and I was living in the home with my siblings. Being able to secure my own bag, right or wrong pay my bills, and live on my own terms always made me feel stronger. Moving to Philadelphia didn’t make me feel secure on my terms. Everyone told me how great it was to have my needs met by someone else but by then my episodic anxiety had already kicked in. I moved away from what I knew and only expressed it outside of fights with those around me. See how that anger as a coping mechanism was the band aid that didn’t help me in the long run? Once again I was around people who were smiling in my face, talking behind my back, but wanted to have a private relationship while publicly bashing me felt like college all over again.

It’s funny how that type of mess didn’t bother me in high school because I was too focused on my academics. Now my focus was on my kids but without outlets I was feeling alone. I’ve called alone stuck many years because I didn’t understand it. It wasn’t stuck it was feeling alone and honestly let’s call a spade a spade; I was. I didn’t understand my anxiety and by this point I hadn’t been seen by a counselor. I moved away from familiarity, and I couldn’t articulate what I was going through but that didn’t stop the talking. It didn’t stop my anxiety either.

Let’s flash back to now, anxiety is better managed but it doesn’t change how I am perceived. If I’m having a hard time and stay to myself I’m perceived in my mind and by the things or situations as ungrateful. If I express myself, I’m angry. Now this is why having anxiety is hard. That line between real and expectations slide into one other. Have I been told I’m ungrateful-at times yes. I have to be đź’Ż. I’ve walked in on conversations that my husband has had about me and my anxiety with his friends that made me not want to be around the same friends he spoke ill about me too. Some to this day I speak but mentally side eye. Having anxiety has stripped me of the ability to have peace while I actively take ownership of it. I had to talk to my counselor many times and her advice I took but not all of it. As I work through that why not, I’ll reveal it at a later time.

When I blogged about going to counseling I was told by some how brave it was to speak openly but often times people I wouldn’t have told were told anyway. I grew up in a home that if others were going to speak about something about me; let me tell it in my own words. Again this isn’t to throw anyone under the bus. These are real situations that have happened and I have to work through those scars and how anxiety has robbed me at moments to control who I allow into my inner circle and who doesn’t. People make it seem like it’s not a big deal but if you’re left vulnerable, having someone not want to talk to you because you’re getting on their nerves or not wanting to go out because you feel like people are whispering about you because they know things that you would never tell them is debilitating.

I’ve missed cues on friendships because of my own anxiety. However because I was used to certain people and their antics I allowed disrespectful behavior too. How I was able to figure things out was to go to therapy to find out who was who and what people’s words, actions and behavior means to me. A lot of that is to speak truthfully about where I am. So when you see a personal blog and I’m writing it comes from a very real place.

How you perceive how people treat you can very much be clouded by anxiety. However you have to know yourself and trust your instinct. As much as I wanted to carry the anger of my husband’s friends the reality my issue was with him and not them. How I felt they were responding was based on my anxiety. And it was up to me to work through that.

I can’t say that I’ve conquered my anxiety. I have and do manage it better. I struggle with perception because when actions say someone would rather not be around me and I know I’m super dope individual, I know it has to be a few reasons, they really don’t like me or my anxiety has me perceiving the situation one way.

To those who suffer with anxiety that has caused break ups, lost of jobs, or feeling alone know that I understand. All I can offer is understanding as you work through it! Don’t give up on yourself! Don’t think you’re alone. Don’t think you aren’t worthy of finding love that will help you in getting towards your goal of controlling your anxiety. It will get better!!

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Weekly Recap: Friday February 15, 2019

Blog Life

What a busy week it has been.  2019 is showing of and showing out. I have been doing some crazy networking so look for some new collborations up the pike.  This week has been a theatre week.  Last Friday I attended the showing of Box Clever.  You can catch up on it if you missed it.  Wednesday I attended the Bridges of Madison County.  It’s been a great week of activities. In between these 2 events this week there has been a new blog everyday.

Don’t forget my time at Be Free II! We been out and about!!

I also have to shout out to my husband for gifting me the portable lighting that I needed as well as a new tripod.   I will release the information on the podcasts I will be doing a bi weekly features.

Also if you will be in the Lancaster area on February 23rd you can join me and the rest of TCP personalities, bloggers, and podcasters as we give and host people in the community to find community outreach projects.

Fit Life

Spring is around the corner.  With that in mind so will all my Spring races.  Shout out to my friends who have been pushing me in our step competition. I have been over hitting my daily step goal. Getting my breathing and stamina is important. I have been working out 4 days of work out so far this week. I plan to get at least one more day in.

Also I tried some of these amazing healthy snacks from Rhythm Super Foods! I mean if you have to eat your veggies you might as well eat them in a chip right?!

Kid Life

These kids have enjoyed their delays and their one day off this week. I remember these great days growing up. The focus this week is on my youngest who will be 5! She’s super excited to do whatever (in reason) on her special day. She also reminds me that she will no longer be a baby! I always tell her I’m aware. She’s such an amazing child. She’s definitely a firecracker. I love watching her grow and speak up for herself!

Personal Life

This week has been interesting. I’ve been trying to manage myself and my emotions. I definitely feel like I am in control. Also the more my calendar fills up I have been attempting to stay balanced. It’s a lot to manage the kids, the house, the blog, work, workout and drink my water, but I’m getting it done!!

I hope you all who celebrate had a great Valentine’s Day! I tell people all the time if Valentine’s Day is everyday there’s no reason not to be able to add this day in the mix! If you weren’t celebrated as you wanted, celebrate yourself!! Self love is important. It won’t stop you from feeling a void, but it can help ease it. Being whole includes emotional healing as well.

Philadelphia Theatre Company Presents Bridges of Madison County

I had a wonderful time at the opening night of Bridges of Madison County.  This musical was not only engaging, it also hit on some questions in life.  The story involves an Italian woman named Francesca Johnson who married an American solider to flee the war in Italy. The story also surrounds Francesca family as they head off to the state fair without her. Who she encounters while they were gone, sets the many questions of what would you do.

What would you do if you found yourself in the company of a handsome stranger who woos you? In crossing the line you are left with the questions in your heart and mind of staying with the man you have built a family but not necessarily having the fire in your soul for or the man who with whom you just met who makes you feel alive?  How deep is your loyalty?  I attended this musical with my husband and it made for one great date night and an interesting conversation for the journey home. We talk in our society of men cheating but this woman clearly cheated on her husband and fell hard in love. Could she in the 1960’s just leave?  Could you in an unhappy relationship leave your mate now?  I think about all of the social and economic structure of that time and think about how staying definitely was more of a stable decision. To leave stability and your children is not only now but then unheard of. So of course my husband and I are talking about how life is different for women in a lot of ways with advancement in careers, etc but there are still women who are housewives who feel stuck in their current state. Now I am not condoning cheating in any way. Matter of fact, although stuck Francesca was actually quite wrong to cross the line with the photographer even if I understand it!

Did I mention that it’s a musical? I love musicals. Bridges of Madison County kept my attention and the front seats were probably the best part. I would highly suggest you getting to this show, opting for VIP seats if you can and by the way you can because there are many options to make it affordable.  This musical has romance, its funny, the music is A1, and it has drama and will have you talking well after you have left. If that isn’t the making of a good time?  I am enclosing the link for deals, like reduced tickets 3 hours before show time, ticket discounts if you are a SNAP recipient, group tickets, etc.  Tickets for all budgets and the ability to have one star-studded night.  So affordability for all is important and trust me when I say you are going to want to get out and not miss this masterpiece.

Thank you to the Philadelphia Theatre for a magical night. Thank you to the amazing cast you were above and beyond talented. Each of you have such a great gift. Thank you to Aversa PR for the invite.  Thank you to everyone who were involved in the reception afterwards for the reception. The brisket was divine! I felt like a celebrity with all of the star treatment.

Everyone get out and support Bridges of Madison County.  The show is located at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre, 215 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia PA 19107; 215-985-1400.  The show runs from February 8 to March 3, 2019!

 

Monday Inspiration: Be Free Stories II

I had the opportunity to attend yesterday the Be Free Event yesterday! Although I could never nor would I ever attempt to retell their stories I can tell you how inspired I left!

Brian Terada started Be Free as he began the journey to come out to his family and friends. Being able to create a safe place jump started this mission of hope, love and acceptance. It has opened the doors for others to “free” themselves in many ways. Opening up others to tell their stories of freedom in their way.

I had the elite privilege to stumble upon Be Free by way of Saxbys. I’ve found such a warm welcoming from Saxbys a few months ago and since then anytime I get the opportunity to relax and enjoy their amazing coffee shop I do. Saxbys has always allowed me a conducive working space to blog and enjoy my me time. I would encourage you to give them a try you won’t be disappointed!

I saw the link for Be Free first in Saxbys Instagram story and scrolled past. I believe in timing and was drawn to relook at the story again. I saw and read the information and decided to RSVP! I still didn’t have an idea of what to expect! I purposely didn’t log onto Be Free’s website because I wanted to walk in and get my own sense of experience. Let me tell you because I believe in timing and divine calling, everything tried to deter me. However surpassing my own anxiety that attempted to rise as each hurdle came along, I knew I had to be there!

Once inside I was greeted by warm smiles and my anxiety was also calmed by Saxbys cold brew! Ryan Lewis my Soul Cycle instructor, gave me the look of relief and I knew whatever hurdles I had gone through to get there was worth it. Y’all remember the last time I blogged about Ryan. As I sat and listened to the stories of strangers I had never met, one reoccurring theme hit me. No matter what they had been through what made them “free” was their ability to not quit even when quitting was all they had. Each person including me was not at that moment by chance. We all needed to hear each other’s story. Stories of amazing strength from life. Stories of pressing through pain and heartache, everyone wants to be free to live, to love, to be whole!

I encouraged Brian not to stop the Be Free Stories. This safe space is necessary. This may be the only therapy, the only space of love, the only space of encouragement that someone receives. There are so many who need Be Free’s movement! If you could be in a space of complete freedom, love and knew you wouldn’t be judged, would you go to that space?! If the answer is yes, Be Free is that space!

I am grateful for the moment to be present in watching, listening, and participating in other people’s breakthrough and triumphant. Shout out to Lululemon for sponsoring this amazing event along with Saxbys.

To get more information on how you can participate, donate, and support to Be Free, Be Free Stories

Sunday Message: Controlling Your Triggers

We all have triggers.  Triggers are the things that we see, experience, or are around us that pushes an emotional response.  We all have to find a way to control them, handle them and most importantly address them.

Some people deal with them in healthy ways such as counseling, talking to a trusted associate or friend or acknowledge them.  The unhealthy way of dealing with triggers is hoping they will simply go away, drugs, sex, relationships, etc. I am aware of my triggers because I have had more times of not handling them right that I had no choice but address them.  I was tired of arguing, yelling, ready to fight, and being about drama to deflect what I hadn’t acknowledged.  It was too much to keep things going!  My tipping point came when I got into it with family and it spilled over into social media. I knew at that moment that I had to disengage, take a break, and handle the root of the issue. So instead of worrying who was wrong, I just dug deep into getting my life aligned. Now the issues that came up didn’t  disappear but with the help of my counselor I worked through!  Funny part I was in counseling and she told me that the situation was going to happen.  It was almost verbatim how she described it.  It’s funny now but then I was one split second from bail.

I have since seen a few family members since the whole breakdown and nothing on he inside of me moves. I hold no malice.  However there are other triggers that I still work through quite often.  For me they come out when I handle my children. My kids are good overall but they will every now and again make me tap into something and I find I have to work through some things. Parenthood in my opinion is sharpening me to be a better version of myself.  I owe it to my children to be the parent that they need and not the parent that is in constant fight or flight so that is why I have been in and out of therapy since I had my oldest and she will be 10 this year. I  have no embarrassment at all with saying that in order to control how I walk in this world is to have help. I want to spend my days being whole and not a whole mess.

How do you know that you are being triggered? Listen to yourself.  The things you speak about portray where you are.  If all you speak about is certain people or things that aren’t about building you to be your best, that issue you speak on still has life and you need to really deal with.  When I as having marital issues and not speaking and listening to my husband all I spoke about was negativity of our marriage.  I also would speak negatively about the imagery of other positive marriages. This is where the term hating does apply. I wanted my marriage to be a safe space.  I wanted it to be strong from the inside out and would take issue with others who appeared that way.  I wasn’t strong enough to be real about my part in my marriage. I never acknowledged how my triggers were not my husband’s to deal with.  I wanted him to be understanding and fix me while I acted a fool and hide behind “for better or for worse.”

adult alone autumn brick

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

We are responsible for our own happiness. We want others to care about our triggers more than we are wiling to deal and handle them.  It’s not enough to be understanding as you watch a partner do nothing.  How about just regular folks watching you wallow in your triggers.  Are your friends supposed to carry your triggers and the bad behavior they often demonstrate?  They can love and be supportive but they are limited in making things okay. I blogged the other day about who my friends were present for my most colorful times with Marques in college. Looking back they should have raised the standard for our behavior in that if we wanted to hang the drama couldn’t come.  Triggers place distance between people.  Triggers is the cause of why hurt people hurt people.  It’s simply still not okay to contain hurting people and having expectations that your relationship, title, or age will grace you.

You need to speak for, handle, and show up for that inner pain and deal with it. You need to trust me it’s in your best interest.  Everyday I wake up even when the day before  might have allowed  a trigger to get the best of me and show up for myself.  It’s important for me to mirror wholeness to myself as well as my children. Also social media and triggers is real. I do not argue  with folks on social media. Debate is a thin line to fighting too.  I will debate you with maybe 2 exchanges and that’s it.  It also depends on the topic. The trolls will never engage me.  Also if its family or friends that I have personal numbers to, it’s a no automatically. First I don’t post too many subjective things and on top of that I think about whether or not its someone who has a front row or at least a few rows into my life for me to get hype and it has zero outcome.  Also don’t let what you think you see on Facebook. I knew of several males who made who dedications to their wives and was cheating the whole time using hashtags like couple goals.  Life is complicated and comparison will leave you  in self defeat! Don’t do it!

One last thing, in life we can’t always retreat but one of the things that can assist in healing is separation.  I was told when I stated I needed to separate from individuals that I was wrong.  I knew what I needed.  I knew I wasn’t going to be okay from years of mess by staying in the midst.  My counselor allowed me to see that the person needed me to stay and work things out because staying gave the other party to believe that things weren’t as bad as it was. I didn’t care if I was looked as wrong.  I no longer wanted to be right. I wanted to be free to live and love.  I needed healing from my triggers.  I needed to separate to walk in real wholeness and know right or wrong I was entitled to how I felt but not entitled to react negatively to it!  Working through triggers is a daily tussle.  However if you are overwhelmed or feel overtaken in your triggers, its time to acknowledge it and get help!

Inis Nua Theatre presents the American premiere of Box Clever by Monsay Whitney

I had the elite privilege of attending Box Clever for my Friday night fun. This play directed by artistic director, Tom Reing was outstanding.

Let me set the stage for you:

Marnie is living in a women’s shelter in London with her 4-year-old daughter. She is headstrong and says whatever comes to her head. While attempting to protect her daughter she is also dealing with her past boyfriends and the drama that ensues from their lives. This is a 2 women show. Ruby Wolf plays Marnie and Rachel Brodeur plays all of the other roles. This isn’t simply two ladies talking back to each other. Both of these ladies put so much passion into their interactions that they made me believe I was in London with them and entangled in Marnie’s frustration.

Now for those who would want to attend this production let me forewarn you, Marnie doesn’t mince her words. There is some cursing. However when you take a step back if you’re a mother trying to keep space for your daughter nothing Marnie said I didn’t want to stand up and verbally co-sign. This play hit a personal moment for me. Growing up and being in a shelter for a bit I saw what I remember seeing in my own mother. It took me back and it was done so well that it tapped into that part of my past. I didn’t feel ashamed. I did feel slight sadness thinking of the lack of resources available to her. I felt proud of my own mom for doing what she had to do to get us settled. Every emotion of upset, pain, frustration and anger I felt and so will you.

I’ve grown up around the arts and I will tell you Ruby and Rachel are professional and more than exceptional in their acting. By the end if you didn’t laugh, get mad and cry (some moments at the same time) you aren’t human. I would love to see the play again. I encourage all of my readers to attend this show if you’re able.

Box Clever will be showing up until February 24, 2019. Tickets are from 25-35 dollars a piece. All of the performances will take place at the Louis Bluver Theatre at the Drake, 302 South Hicks Street in Philadelphia. Thank you to the cast, and all staff who from the door to the theatre floor showed care to all of their guests. Thank you again for the reception afterwards as well.

A little more about Inis Nua Theatre:

  • Inis Nua means New Island
  • They produce provocative contemporary plays from Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales
  • Based in Philadelphia, they have been in production for 15 years
  • They have produced 17 American premieres, 13 Philadelphia premieres, and 1 world premiere
  • They won 6 Barrymore including the prestigious June and Steve Wolfson award for Evolving Theatre Company in 2014

To purchase tickets, Box Clever

Mature Love

Let’s face it with the wave of reality television society obviously loves drama. We thrive on. We take it in.  We gravitate towards it. In the last 2 years I have taken on a journey to dismiss a lot of the drama in my life in the form of television and media. In addition to that in the last few years I have eliminated drama in my personal life and especially in marriage.

I think about the wonder years of college. Here I had come from this small town and I had recently been holding on to my high school sweetheart. I was so torn on keeping up this relationship but happy to start this new adult life. With limited time I ended one relationship and set out on a journey to find myself. In the midst of finding myself, I found a new relationship. In the beginning I kept telling myself to keep my options open but I fell hard and heavy with this tall glass of water who I later would end up marrying and having a family.  Oh the relationship goals I hear people speak of when I post my beautiful family is encouraging.  It encourages my husband and I to honor each other more and to be the example to ourselves and children.

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Let me dip my baby toe into the early years when we weren’t as gracious in relating to one another as we should. The drama and fights and break ups to make up were really out-of-pocket. My college years were filled with too much of it.  Our friends God bless their hearts had seen their fair share. From me moving off campus, to not being able to go down the street without a fight, goodness. Yes not anything physical but all that ratchet yelling could have made a lot of this reality television look like Elmo’s World. We were in love and I will speak for me unable to handle and know what adult love was supposed to look like. The cursing each other out, seeing or attempting to see other folks (depending on who you ask), acting a fool in public, breaking up and making up and not telling others, just exhausting to write let alone live. Back in the day it seemed like a whirlwind. It seemed normal. Everyone on campus knew we were toxic and out-of-pocket. Just a mess!

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Separating and allowing space and time and for me to honestly deal with some inner struggles led us back to each other. People think we just woke up one day and decided to give this thing called love a try. We were tested in that love several times almost ending our marriage. What turned things around from college and marriage was living and learning about myself. Finding out what worked for me. I found out my passions. I had learned to live with myself enough to not allow someone else to come into my space that wouldn’t allow me to be me. This allowance has come up several times in our current marriage. The ability to let your partner balance their lives with you is necessary. One day in our car we were at the point of divorce, he looked at me and said, “are we in or out?” He said if we are in lets stick together and make it and if we are out, lets find a way to be honorable with our children.  He looked me in my eyes and I knew he wasn’t playing.

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Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com

We at that moment lived by our mantra” us against the world.” We had stated that mantra in college but it solidified with me and him that day. That was at least 2 years into our marriage. There are no cute pictures you can take when two people have kids and are literally walking around like hateful roommates. What picture can you show when you are at the point of no return?  what picture can you show when you have enough and only doing the bare minimal?  So I always go back to the picture below.  When we were happy and made the decision to love each other forever. The time where we were so in love that nothing before that mattered and now nothing after should be to the point where we can’t work together.  We are willing to be with one another and this picture reminds me to take a mental break, wait for an answer, love despite of, and go back to the basics of what makes us, us!

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We don’t have the answers. We live each day but we know what works for us. We were friends first. We have “truth moments.” We give each safe space to be vulnerable.  We are learning to listen and talk to and not at each other. These are things that we learned in counseling the first months of our first year! I stepped out what we should be in our marriage and looked at the value of what we are able to make and hold on to when disaster hits. We are stronger together because we still want to be teammates in this thing called life.  As holidays like Valentine’s Day comes we love love or at least I who loves all holidays love these and any love related holidays, but to know that we are working through things and have matured beyond the college days is a miracle of staying the course! I want to leave a highlight with you, don’t think you have to struggle to get to this great point. If you can avoid it, please do so. Know yourself before you enter any relationship. The best thing is to work on you, get counseling before considering dating because uniting with a person can be a trigger in itself, and be clear about boundaries.  I am not glorifying bad behavior.  You can have healthy love. I am glad that we did the work to get to where we are. Nobody wants that perfect love story, but our love story is perfectly fitting for us!