Girlfriends are the Spice of Life: Happy Galentines Day

Galentine’s Day is the day that we girls can profess our love to our best girl friends! There is something about having amazing girlfriends in your life who can support you, love you, and stand with life turns left. I used to hear woman talk about how they didn’t need female friends and as I get older I realize that most times not having female friends has more to do with the person than anything. It’s not about having a full tribe in numbers as it is about having quality friends.

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Also having girlfriends and being mature to go through things and learn to say sorry. One of the things I am being tested with my girlfriends is knowing that just because you have longevity with one another that being comfortable with one another is a great thing. One of the things I would encourage friends to do is to not lose mutual respect. Comfortability doesn’t mean you don’t consider your friend’s feelings.  No one needs a mother of the group. We need friendship, someone to listen to each other, and someone to simply be there!

 

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I have amazing girlfriends and some who my relationships have withstood the tests of time and I honored for their friendship and how it has evolved even during the moments i didn’t understand.  I am grateful that a lot of my girlfriends have been sisters to me and that at times has mattered most at the times of my life when i wasn’t sure how i would literally make it to the next day. I have evolved with them and that remaining love that we share has been nothing short of amazing. If you have an amazing girlfriend, let them know today and every day you care.  Women supporting women is an amazing thing!

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Happy Galentine’s Day!

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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.”

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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!

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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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!

How practicing Self-Loves makes me a Better Woman…

One of the greatest loves you will experience is that of being a mother. However this notion that unless you’re a mother you can’t ever attain to a pinnacle of love has to stop! Before being a mother or a wife I am a woman. A woman who has to be whole and healthy for any task that I may complete in life. Practicing self love is the catalyst for any success. Success is up to every person to obtain in their own right!

Often times you hear people talk about self-love and tell you that getting your nails and hair done is an example in how you practice it. It can be but there are plenty of women with bomb ass nails and hairstyles to envy, that simply are walking around hating their lives, their contributions to life, and how they express their love to themselves. So let’s be clear although the outward is a manifestation in how you feel it’s not the only indicator.

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I was taught to keep myself together. However it didn’t matter when I was struggling with depression not only postpartum but other points of my life, I was drowning. Back to the motherhood plug. I finally realized selfless love being a mom. It was great. However when I lost myself who was there to help me?  As a woman the only way I can be the best me is loving me. Taking time to get my life together has been the best thing that has helped me reach my greatest potential.  I can’t maneuver in this world hating myself. I can’t maneuver in this world, not filling my personal cup. Love of self motivates me to look at the mirror and embrace my flaws. It wakes me up everyday to crush my goals. It gets me to work. It makes me to take care of me. It allows me to work out and to make better food choices. It pushes me to love my mate as myself on days when I question him due to being irritated. It pulls me from self loathe when I am not my best.

As a mom I’ve had to learn that loving me makes me a better mom! Although they have changed my life in ways I would never understand they are my life but not the only part of it. This is why women can be fulfilled because having children is a choice it’s not the ONLY choice and therefore this rhetoric of women only being women through childbirth has to stop! It’s an experience and one that not everyone has to have or wants to have. Ladies I would hope to encourage self love that makes you whatever your best is!!!

We celebrate so many loves this month. Do stop to celebrate you. Celebrate the love that you have within you that carries you everyday.  As much as loving my kids have taught me and triggered me, the love for myself pushes me to my greatest sense of self!! Love yourself!

Monday Motivation: Running On E

There are many times when we push through with enormous amounts of energy.  However there are many times when you are running on E.  One of the things if you have a newer car is that once you are on E, often times there is a reserve tank that can take a few miles until you can get to a gas station. This in life is when you and others think you are out for the count but you make it enough until you can fill your mental and emotional tank for your journey.

Running on E seems so alone. Everyone around you seems to be moving faster. You seem to be going slower and slower to “conserve” the little bit of energy. Running on E is often dressed in your friends getting engaged while you can’t seem to secure a date. You are going to work and you feel like you’re one bail away from spazzing out on a co-worker. Running on E can be job hunting and being or feeling rejected.  How about running on E when it seems your kids are our of pocket while others kids seem to be well-behaved. Running on E can be wanting children, suffering in silence while the very ones around you are popping up pregnant and claim they not only weren’t trying but also didn’t want to be a parent.  Running on E is scary. You are not focused on goals. You are only hoping you aren’t left as stranded as you feel. I have been there.  Its hurtful. It’s lonely.  It’s exhausting.

One thing about running on E that you learn real quick is that one, help will come if you need it.  We tend to push away help because it’s not wrapped up in the packages that we want them in.  Also once you refuel, if you’re smart you find better routes to take in life that will either maximize you or find ways to be self-aware of your personal tank.

How you refuel is to sometimes stop comparing your journey to those around you.  Self sabotage will have you gassing yourself with another person’s goals instead of what you need.  Sometimes resting your mind which is the hardest to do but sometimes the most necessary. Sometimes reading blogs or material that wake up the goals inside of you. Refueling  could be taking a nap.  You might be up late nights trying to make something happening when the one that needs the physical rest is you. Another way to refuel is to disconnect from social media. There are a million and one ways to refuel.

The biggest lesson is to not give up.  Help is either coming or you will be awakened to what’s inside of you that will help you.  Either way, once you awake, refuel your own tank. You may be burned out from taking on everyone around you while neglecting yourself. Push through Monday, refuel and recharge and crush your goals while receiving help and awakening the gifts inside of you.

Sunday Message: Adjusting but not Breaking

Life throws curve balls. We all have had moments when something happens and it leaves you doubting yourself, hurt, or even confused. This week has been that week.  When life is constantly changing, being able to change will help.  However there are moments when things are so overwhelming that sometimes all you can do is just be still.

No response. No answer in sight. No beautiful encouraging words. Just silence. At first the silence is fine. You carry on with your day. You attempt to do what you can until something changes. Over time silence hurts. You wonder why.  You ask a thousand questions. No answers comes. You hear people say it will get better while you’re desperately searching for better and its so far off you FEEL defeated. However the pain, don’t break.

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Don’t break because you’re supposed to be strong. You can still be strong at the midst of a breakage but don’t break.  You can be strong and cry. You can be strong and have fear just don’t let it over take you.  There are hard times going on all over the world. From furloughed employees struggling to live, to people dying, to people stress about their day-to-day decisions, know that you have to keep going because you depend on you.

Adjusting is hard. It could be in the form of adjusting your attitude. I had a situation that I had no idea what to do. Right at the point of being mad, I adjusted, a call came in. It didn’t take away the problem but it aligned the problem to better so I could handle it. There is no magic trick but our attitudes does determine our altitude.  Remember that. Believe that. Live it!

I can’t wave a magical wand in life.  If I could I surely would.  However I am not going to break even when breaking seems like the only viable option. Even when my chest feels up with pain from anxiety. Even when I feel like I am going to lose it, don’t break! Sending you love and encouragement your way on this Sunday!

Don’t Dim your Light

We hear this often yet we still do it or allow others to do it. It’s easy to live under the radar than to let your light shine. As A PK (preacher’s kid) we would sing this little light of mine. Than I remember them changing the words to this big light of mine. It’s important to know that your light is big no matter what you do in life. You matter. While you are out here shinning your light, don’t dim them either.

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I was on social media like I am often. A woman who had lost weight from eating clean, working out, etc made a video because she was receiving backlash from showing her progress. I was like why in the world are you dimming your light? She literally showed each stage which meant if there was a “hater” all they had to do instead of complaining was get off their do nothing and make changes for their own health and get their own progress. We know social media isn’t for common sense.  I was taken back. There are folks that would get mad at a woman getting her life together and shedding pounds. Mind you it was after the birth of her second child. Every woman knows how hard it is to lose “baby weight.” That however didn’t stop women especially from tearing her down.

So that bring me to life off the gram or off social media. How often do you quietly work in silence but when it comes to showing that progress we hide? I often have done it by layering up if it’s from clothes to layering and hiding behind modesty. There is a time and a place for all of it. Living unapologetically is the way and anything less is dimming. You can be great and sometimes its okay to let folks a glimpse into your happiness. There is nothing anyone can do to stop real joy. So don’t cover it up just because the ones who haven’t realized the investment into their own happiness. Don’t dim it just because a few folks will get mad at your progress. Don’t dim it just because the ones “still talking” but ain’t doing will get jealous. Let me do it all. Shine your light.

Someone needs to see you walking with your bright light. It gives courage to those who need to make change. It gives courage to those too scared and afraid to take that first step. For the few that will look down at you, there are 10 that will be encouraged. Don’t dim your light! Shine!