Sunday Message: “What She Said”

So today is turning out not quite how I had in mind. I’ve finally ate breakfast yet it’s clearly late lunch time right now. I woke up with the worst headache. I haven’t had a migraine like this in quite awhile. I’ve noticed my hormone levels have been all over the place. Thankfully I have my first “yearly”check up since hysterectomy surgery, tomorrow.

I was looking at my Facebook memories and a picture came up that was so innocent but made me do a little thinking. I started thinking about my past dating life and being single in general. Let me pump all of your breaks now I am not wishing or hoping for any old thing! I am not taking applications, my home life is super secure. But I thought about the woman I was. I would say I was strong and confident. I did what I felt like I wanted to a point.

I was talking to a friend and she asked me at any time while dating did I feel like I had regret. I told her the truth overall no of course. However individual situations many times. I definitely struggled with wondering what everyone was saying or thinking of me. I’ve only come to the knowledge now that folks will say whatever about you or even make up what they want so you have to just live.

I remember one time when I was visiting some friends in Atlanta a man I had been romantically connected to wanted to rekindle but I was so caught up in what those who were with me thought I declined. He told me I would go back home and be “wifed up” and he was almost right to the point. I’m not saying anything would have come from that encounter but there’s no way of counting that out. Again I’m not in a what could have happened mode but as my friend and I talked there were other missed opportunities that I missed aligning my life with the crowd.

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I missed job opportunities too! I got a job offer in Omaha and didn’t take it because I was worried about leaving my family and feeling I would be isolated from friends. I wasn’t thinking about how much of a life I could have created. My dad was like girl get out and enjoy life. But nope I was like I’ll stay.

Listen, having people around is great. Creating a new life is scary. Taking a chance on love, can be nervous however don’t ever make a decision on the basis on what others would think. Whatever the “she” is speaking, saying, or thinking, it only affects them not you. I’ve missed on things because my inability to separate support from permission. I didn’t need permission but during that time I wasn’t able to distinguish the two and set boundaries.

Everyone is talking about “living their best lives.” I’m doing that now. I’ve wasted time and didn’t enjoy moments due to not being able to understand what that meant. I didn’t have the capacity to shut the naysayers out. I didn’t have the capacity to say regardless of what my entourage thinks, I’m making a decision on what I want.

Whatever the “she” may be whether a friend, a strong glare from a stranger, your church family, a boyfriend or even a potential dater, be sure to balance what they say to what you want and be able to live with yourself after the fact. Anything that may create a regret means don’t do it. I wouldn’t go back to that life now but I can learn and teach my girls and my son not to let other whispers stop you. You can’t live your best life under the guidance of hoping for acceptance from everyone around you! You may not get it. You better be sure you can accept you. You are okay with the outcomes. You are okay with walking away! What “she says” means nothing if it doesn’t align to what you say or what you want! Remember support isn’t permission. Give yourself permission to be happy! Define what that means to you!

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Ask Toi: How Do you Tell your Friends to Watch their tone with you?

You have to just tell them.  This notion of allowing folks in the name of friendship speak to you anyway suggests that you are keeping them even in an unhealthy state just to keep them around.  That’s the same notion used in some romantic relationships just for the sake of not being alone. I know you want to preserve relationships and of course blowing up at everyone is frowned upon but real friends should be open enough to speak the truth in love.  I think sometimes we forget that keeping real can go left sometimes and you must have a little finesse when you deal with other humans.  People have things in their life and on their heart that not everyone needs the in your face approach or the let everything happen approach.  There is a balance but you are the ONLY one who control that.

From what I gather you have allowed a build up go on way too long and you need to address the relationship as a whole. It sounds more to do with if that friendship should stick than it does with tone.  As adults you aren’t going to necessarily get it right all the time, but friendships are a choice unlike family.  If you choose this relationship in more than one way, then you need to find out what attracted you to it in the first place.  Keep in mind that not everything can remain.  So that means that there are times when relationships can run its course.  You don’t sound as if you are just someone in a tiff with a friend but more you are recognizing the unhealthy part of the relationship.  You have two choices, keep some control of how you allow folks to speak to you, or let it continue while you get frustrated and mad that you didn’t speak up.  I would suggest you speak up when things are being said and if that doesn’t work, you may need to figure out the extent of the relationship and let it take its natural course.  Also you have to own some responsibility.  I have had friends who for various reasons have crossed lines, but it’s not the habitual line stepper that was the issue it was my issue for not making others respect me.

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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Women History Month: Everyday….We Stand Strong

Women aren’t to be celebrated only during the month of March.  They should be celebrated everyday.  We are the giver of life.  We hold things down.  We are strong. We are beautiful and complex. We are love in its best form here on Earth.  For that you don’t limit such celebrations to only one month.

Ladies celebrate yourselves daily.  I have been saying this and I mean no matter what degrees you have and what accolades you get, if you do not take care of yourself you are no good to anyone around you.  You will wear yourself thin operating from an empty cup.  Keep your wits about you. Say no to things when you can’t add another thing to your long to-do list.  You are not a yes woman.  It’s okay to let a few text messages go unanswered.  It’s okay to let a few calls and emails wait.  You are doing yourself a disservice if you feel you have to be ON all the time.  Take a bubble bath, take a 10 minute break, whatever you need practice some level of self-care daily. Yes there will be times when money is tight.  I haven’t always been able to sit at an expensive spa but I sure now how to turn a trip to the Dollar Store, Wal-Mart or Target and turn my entire bathroom into a spa for one while my kids slept to recharge.  I have had times when I turned into my own beautician and did what I had to do.  There are hard times.  Sometimes when your world feels like it’s crashing it gets difficult to look within.  However if you don’t everything around you will attempt to take you over. Say yes to you.

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Go after that degree that you have been putting off. It’s okay for you to be well-rounded. Will it be easy?  Absolutely not.  We get so excited when we read stories of women who are seasoned and still going after their educational goals.  Yes you could be the oldest in the room, but your degree will hang just like the young 20 something.  Go after it! Will it be hard as you strive towards that new career?  Possibly.  Imagine going to interview after interview only to be told no.  You invested, exerted time and energy only to feel like every door you touch is closing. Keep on going!

What about the woman who doesn’t want to have children?  The pressure for women to be life givers is crazy.  There are some women happy and content single or married not to have children.  What about the women who in our stories for this month lost a baby at 20 weeks.  I need you to understand that is devastating because at this point you are well showing, you have told people and on top of that you know the sex of the baby.  People are hurting all around us.  We are women have the power to really affect change in ourselves and our communities that goes past a #metoo movement.  We can make things easier for the women around us by what we accept, give our voices to, or stand up for.  Be wise.

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You are strong. You are beautiful.  You are confident and a force to be reckoned with! Celebrate yourselves and all that you have done in your life.  The good.  The bad. The ugly. The failures. The insecure moments.  The embarrassing moments.  The moments of regret. The moments you felt inadequate.  All of your messy moments. All of you for all of you and all of those crazy moments are going to push you to your best moments if you are open to it!

 

Everything Ain’t About You

Listen I know that there are times when you can have sensitive spirits.  It could be that you are going through a rough patch but please know that everything ain’t about you. There are times when you have to attempt to get your emotions together and place them in the right category.

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For instance this morning I am talking to a friend. She is going through. I am trying to listen to her, give her hugs, reassure her that things will fall into place when an associate comes and is like what are you talking about, me? Now I am looking puzzled and trying to find the right way to respond because my friend is normally outgoing and had she been in the right frame of mind she would have been the one to tell her to go and keep it moving.  I also didn’t want the friend who is going through to be so upset in her own emotions to lash. So I give the girl the “look.”  The look is girl you see she is upset, this ain’t your fight, relax.  So she gets it but it reminded me so many times we have whatever going on that we push those emotions through to others and there is no need. We were not having a conversation about the associate whatsoever.  She was thinking that because of whatever is on her mind and heart. No one wants to hear someone prejudge them when they haven’t even given thought to that person.  That comes from the person having something on their mind and heart and pushing that on to others.  As adults if you have an issue with someone speak up.  There isn’t a class on mind reading.  Discernment goes a long way.  Had the associate had some or just looked at body language she would have kept on moving.  My friend could care less at that moment what she thought.  Neither could I if I am honest and I am sure my face let her know that.  There is no need to take others who haven’t given you the green light to an issue through an emotional roller coaster.

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So today, if you have something tugging on you that makes you think something is happening that isn’t-ask.  Everything about you. People generally don’t wake up attempting to find out how to mess your day up.  How they are going to talk about you today.  The folks that do that have no life or for sure have a lot in their life that is out-of-order. Ignore the emotional pull of these people. Giving into them only fuels them.

 

The Gift of Friendship

When I was deep in my postpartum depression I would cut off my friends.  Right after the birth of my son after moving from Lancaster to Philadelphia I felt isolated.  I was isolated because in my mind I had told myself that this move was only less than 2 hours away and that it wouldnt’ change anything. I was wrong.  I was blinded by having my family under one roof that I didn’t consider a few things.

One of the biggest things was the lack of support. I had my immediate family and one of my best cousins and my friend that I didn’t think that would change. I thought I have a car I and I could get in it and see them anytime I wanted.  My oldest was super easy in how I traveled with her that I never took into account how much more harder it would be to travel with 2 kids would be.  For a day trip it took me the day before prep and an hour just to get them into the car with everything that was needed that often times I elected not to travel.  That in itself also made it hard on me because then I would be upset that I couldn’t travel as often.  So after getting past that blow I would get the kids together and go. Trust me the come back was harder.  I felt comfortable being in Lancaster and I would take a day or two to adjust to the pressures that I was under and having these little people who needed me.

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The other issue is that I didn’t have a network of my own friends in Philadelphia.  I love my husband’s friends but they were his not mine. I didn’t want to have them as my friends on the strength of them being nice to me because of him. He and his friends had history that I didn’t have.  I didn’t want to be the wife of his and they extend some type of olive branch because we were together. I am the type of person who has friends on mutual respect, great closeness and I no longer felt that way since my access to my network had changed. I pushed the long distance ones away too because it didn’t feel the same.  I learned through this season that this was the wrong way to approach things.  Not only that so was sitting in the house day in and day out wasn’t the best way to meet anyone. So I was stuck and miserable for years like this.

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Thank goodness my friends were forgiving and understanding as only one ever knew what was happening.  Only one of them had the sense to address me on it and call me out. I appreciate that.  That isn’t a dig to anyone so don’t take it as such.  Not many of them saw me when I would have outbursts. I did well in open environments and to this day this is one of the reason why I do NOT like pop ups.  I need to prepare for visits.  It’s not personal it’s that I know what I need and I make others respect it even if they don’t like it. I am not ashamed of that.

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I learned how to love myself, how to show love and most importantly how to let others in.  I learned that I didn’t have to carry everything alone and that support looks different when you don’t hold on to the ideologies of what its supposed to be.  Change is hard but in change you find that the ones who have your back won’t change.

Cherish your friendship.  As you progress through various stages of life, some friend will drop off.  There’s nothing you can do about that.  Show love and support no matter how far and near your friends are who have been in your corner through it all.  Know that disagreements and bumps in the road are to be expected.  Remain respectful at all times. If a friendship does end make sure you try to work it out.  Don’t throw a whole friendship over an emotional off the bat without calming down, talking it out, and attempting to make peace.

To all of my girlfriends who have nurtured me and have stood the test of time, I salute you!!!!! Thank you for being amazing women to me during these years.  I pray I can continue to sprinkle the same love your way for the years to come!

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Get you A Kardashian Tribe

I hear it all the time, the Kardashians do not have any talent.  They are self-absorbed etc.  All of those things are debatable.  What isn’t debatable is their ability to stand as a family and only let out what they want.

As everyone all knows, on February 1st, 2018 the youngest Jenner had a baby girl.  The world speculated for months that she was pregnant yet she nor anyone in her camp ever let the cat out the bag.  As much as everyone goes hard on them they were able to keep that circle tight and closed.  No one needed to know until she was ready for them to know.  How many of us can say we have a tight-knit circle let along family that does the same.  I know many families that as soon as they sense a drop of tea, that spill it fast especially when they have a disdain for the person that the is being formed on.  Families are actually the ones to let you down quick, but hate them or love them the Kardashian/Jenner family swooped in around Kylie and kept her life hidden.

'Pregnancy has been life changing': She revealed that it was her choice to keep the entire process a secret as she thanked her friends and family for keeping it mum

This is a great notion for all of us, whether family or friends get you a tribe of folks that will shelter you when you need it, speak up when they have to, and keep some things private. Not everything is for everybody.  If nothing else, the Kardashians just showed us how to live our best life on our own terms.  With that in mind, use that energy to get yourself surrounded by the RIGHT people instead of worrying about having a LOT of people.  Its better to have a small tribe than a massive tribe of folks who really aren’t rooting for you. This Monday motivation is about your friend or sister circle! Drop some dead weight today and attract the right ones! Yes they have money and they can do a lot, but does it take money to have a good circle, nope ask any successful person.  You are as good as the team that surrounds you!

Another nugget from this: Kylie didn’t need anyone to be okay with her decision to do it her way either.  We the public was a second thought to her over the birth of her daughter.  Stop with the notion of waiting for someone to co-sign your every move.  Let folks see what went down especially if they aren’t key factors to making anything happen for you.