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!

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Monday Motivation: Mario Kart Life

Today is a day like any day to make the best out of our situations. Let’s not front and act as if everyone woke up with their affairs in order. You might have gotten up this morning with stress on your heart and feeling overwhelmed. I sympathize with you. I want you to know that no matter what’s going on in your life, mind, or heart we have to press through. There may not be someone to come and save you but don’t have to let your situation overtake you.

I know you’re saying that it may be easy for me to say but it’s not. Most days lately have been pure crazy. If I could touch on the things you would be like wow. I know that life happens to all of us. I know that even with crazy life circumstances, what will pull me through is resetting myself daily. It’s going to take me being in charge of what I entertain in my mind and who I allow around me. Your thoughts matter. It’s the first line of defense in how you continue in your day. If all you speak is negativity and worry that’s all you look to see. Even in bad situations I’m like what’s the lesson and where is the good that can come out of this. I know I’ve been in worst situations and I know some how I’ve come out. That’s the reassurance that motivates me to wake up and intentionally push.

Some mornings especially in this holiday season I can feel grieve and sadness around me. So I do what I need to do for me to push out of it. Prayer is how I start, music and speaking to my children is also how I push through. Sometimes journaling. Whatever you need, grab it while your situations work themselves out. Take care of you while life happens. The worst thing you can do is fall apart and while life is happening to you. The stress of life is going to be there. Losing your mind or losing yourself is not worth it.

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Take Monday by the horns and have a great day on purpose. You ever play Mario Kart?  In the game all kinds of objects are being thrown. The objective is to dodge the objectives and keep going. Sometimes life is like that. I think about that when I am driving in Philly and trying to avoid the potholes. Life is like that sometimes. You have everything being thrown to you at one time only to find that some you miss and others you don’t. The objective is to keep going and win. It didn’t say it would be easy. It didn’t say it would work out, life is about not quitting. Usually regardless of skill set, resources, and help the person who wins in life is the one who doesn’t give up. They are the ones that push through.  How about you?

Love Energy

If you ever worked out you know how it can feel. Sometimes you feel super motivated. Other times you have a love/hate relationship.  However if you are consistent in it you will notice how better you feel and eventually you will see results. When you are consistent and you see results it keeps you feeling amazing and keeps you going even when you have days when you slack off.

The energy behind that feeling of working out, eating better, or doing better is the same type of energy that needs to be put into your love relationship. You should feel loved on everyday. The days where arguments seem to be on a thousand, and you’re not getting along, should be way less than the days you and your partner spend loving on each other. One thing that I am realizing is the more energy into the relationship, the better the results. The times in your relationships where BOTH partners are attempting to meet in the middle is key to making it work.

Energy never lies. I don’t care what a person says, if the energy that a person is giving or lack thereof, is the key to how things hold up. You can never go on record with your spouse naming the things that you do in response to responsibilities alone if the energy in how you love isn’t being shown. I learned that in counseling on my own. I went to counseling about my life in general and if I am honest my marriage came up. My counselor was a man and he said to me that I know the energy in which my marriage is giving and if that energy is slacking, it won’t hold up. I either had to do my part, wait to see if my husband’s part would match, and if it don’t match, I knew what I had to do. This doesn’t mean my counselor was encouraging to divorce, etc, but he was making me aware of things that love blinds you to.

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Love is amazing. If you are being loved right, it shows. A woman glows better when she’s loving herself and her partner is loving her correctly. There is no denying that. Energy is all about what you give to your partner. If all you do is harp on what your partner does that is negative than don’t get mad when that person goes looking for someone to encourage them. Let me say it for the folks in the back, this is not a oh well if they cheat clause. I am saying if you’re honest and you know you aren’t speaking good into your relationship and over the person you claim to love and all you do is tearing that individual them, gaslighting them, and downing their every move, eventually that ugly side of you becomes less and less attractive. No ONE wants to be put down. You can’t come with a smile, ever? You don’t have not one nice thing to say, ever? There is something wrong, always? Don’t nobody got time for that. If you have an issue with something, speak up but it don’t have to be drawn into a picture with a neon sign everyday! Speak love. Speak encouragement. Put into the relationship what you want out of it.

One last nugget my counselor told me that we tend to say, if I was with “this” person whatever the “this” represents, we would….. If you don’t work out in yourself whatever negative issues you feel from what you get out of your mate, you can leave them and run right back into that same type of person later. Check your loves of the past, do they all share common traits? If so than maybe there’s something in you that needs to be worked out. Energy never lies. If you feel miserable and you’re working on yourself and find that the person you are with is not and its dragging you down, speak up. After awhile things will naturally take its course. Don’t ignore the warning signs cause you love this person!

Checking in on Your Loved Ones

There is something to be said when you check in on your loved ones. Whether it’s a quick check in or a full on call and listen session we need to be proactive in doing more for each other. We are connected and we need to keep that connection as strong as it possibly can be. We need to do a better job on spreading love to everyone and even the ones we know well. We tend to give better compliments to strangers at times than we do to those we are around. Be the type of person that is nurturing to one another and attempt to find the good in your circle of loved ones.

So for that I am challenging all of my followers to do a quick check in. I know that often times we use text messages and we don’t talk on the actual phone, but it may be time to do a full on call. You can use text messages as a lead way but overall it would be good to hear a voice and be sure that your friends and family are truly okay. Its getting colder out and seasonal depression is real. Even the ones who you think is totally fine and there are no issues present could be fighting a silent fight.

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You would do yourself a disservice to ignore your loved ones in this season. So spend a little time and make it your business to reach out to a few folks over the next couple of weeks. Be sure that if you do that you ask open-ended questions too. Sometimes people will hit you with the yes and no and true interaction is engaging. Also keep in mind some people are private. Make sure the conversation and space is safe for them to open up and speak. Don’t judge what they have to say. Just be sure that you are truly inviting and be there. Some people don’t want a fix they just need to vent. I want to be able to look back and know that I attempted to be there for my friends and loved ones and I encourage you to do the same!!

Monday Push Through

So this has been an interesting weekend to say the least. Today I wanted to talk about anxiety and how it works to hinder you but can be overcame.  I went to a funeral over the weekend by myself and before you even think NO I am not about to blog the funeral.  This is more about me getting through it.  No one likes funerals.  They aren’t designed to be liked.  However for me they are a place of extra anxiety.  I remember as a kid going to maybe 2 or 3 funerals.  I can tell you who they were and the relationships of the people.  My very first one I was an usher and I fell into some vomit and let’s just say I was super embarrassed.

The second one I got sick physically and I still do when I go.  To view a person’s body makes me sick thinking of it.  Even when my mother in law passed almost a year ago, the fear of the whole situation made me frozen.  I got through it because just like on Saturday, I had to.  My stomach was hurting. I felt like I had to go to the bathroom a thousand and one times.  My hands were sweating.  I was having several panic attacks.  I want to shout out my support system who talked me through it because had it not to be there for a good friend, I wouldn’t have gone or I would have gone, felt sick and left. I am super glad that I pushed past it.  See anxiety is an awful feeling. If you let it ride your life you will find that you miss out on so much. I know this to be true because I have missed so many social activities behind it.  I would agree to go to something, get anxious and then back out. I would never tell people why it was just too much of an overcoming feeling for me to deal with so I wouldn’t.

Then others would get tired of asking me to attend so they wouldn’t. I knew why so I never asked or even pushed the conversation.  Also some people would invite me to something never tell the dress code and here I am showing up to something under dressed and knowing all eyes were on me and making me feel like running or not going to the next event.  All of these can be debilitating.  They cause you to lose out on life.  I have been pushing myself in the last few months to push past it but I can’t say it has been easy.  It’s hard to go to things alone but its something that is necessary so I have been doing it.  I feel great and I feel like every time I do it, it makes me stronger for the next event.

So if you are dealing with anxiety, go in your time but push through. You will feel super sick, maybe feel like you are going to throw up, but its the best to accomplish the goal of attending whatever would have normally held you back.  So for your Monday motivation, acknowledge wherever you are feeling in adequate and take one step to beat it and you will amaze yourself at what you can do if you push through!

Nancy you have got to go…

You ever meet a real life negative Nancy?  The one who complains about the sun being in the sky.  They always have some rebuttal for everything you say.  They are dissatisfied in their own lives and the only time they have any joy is when they are needed or have any type of good happening in their life.  They also are the type to think that no one other than them has a good life even though in their life they complain.

So their name isn’t Nancy.  Insert whatever their names are.  I have been listening to people lately.  Not eavesdropping but just listening.  If you quiet your spirit and listen to the people you are in communication with you will notice the relationships that need to be cut.  You know getting cut hurts.  It may be a sad thing but having someone in your life that is draining is ever more hurtful.  You ever leave a conversation and then your life sucks even though before you were happy and content.  It’s the life sucker you just engaged yourself.  If you constantly are engaging in this type of behavior no wonder depression, hatred, envy, jealousy don’t leave you as quickly as it should.  You are drowning.

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You can be on top of the world and have Nancy comes and steals your happiness.  Note not all Nancy’s are life suckers.  The issue isn’t making them change because they won’t. Most negative Nancies don’t even see anything wrong.  They blame it on their personality.  Oh your personality calls for being a jackass to others? Being troubling? Always having something to say? Always giving unsolicited advice?  There’s a word and its called contentious.  I have been hearing this word for weeks and it wasn’t even being spoken. Some times contentious argumentative people like to talk and have anything to say just because they think they can.  If you say the sky is blue they will have something to say about it.  Like Lord, do you ever breath in happiness?  Also be careful if someone says you are that way, look at who you hang around.  9 times out of 10 that is your answer.  Like momma always said everyone ain’t telling the same lie.  So you can drop the fact that you aren’t liked by whomever.  The reality is your personality you want to hold onto so dear has rubbed them and probably a few of your cherished friends the wrong way too.  Admit it you are the Negative Nancy.

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Be honest about yourself before you start trying to figure out who amongst you is the negative Nancy.  If you know you could use a little more positivity in how you address life in general.  Then for Pete’s sake get there.  People are tired of your ways trust me.  The ones who don’t speak up to you know it too and they just limit their interactions to avoid the drama that is you.  I know what you’re thinking I stay to myself and I don’t cause problems, but you are wrong.  The mere fact that you are alone and already are negative when you do speak and interact you tear people down sometimes by your mere presence. You are being tolerated not celebrated.  That is an issue you can’t blame others for.

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I would love to give  you a step by step but you know what you need to do you just won’t do it.  There is no middle ground.  It’s different when you are trying to do better and you fall and keep trying.  But there are so many set in their ways and have this take it or leave it personality.  Like really you are just that awful that change is beneath you?  Oh wait the rest of the world is supposed to deal with your bad attitude and ugly disposition.  You can’t smile and be positive?  Oh then the world should leave it.  You hurt any chances of real relationships being this way.  So if you want its going to have to be from a real place on the inside of you.  However to all of negative Nancies, ain’t nobody got time for you or your antics.

 

Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday or “day of ashes” is the start of the 40 days to Easter where one decides to fast, give up of one self, give up bad habits or sins.

Where the ash comes in is that ash represents repentance.  So it’s really a time for reflection.  Although observed by most Catholics, the thought of giving up sins can be extended across the board.  Most people give up things like chocolate, alcohol, and junk food to name a few.  I admonish or encourage you to give up things that will make you a better person in addition to something physical.  Let’s try taking gossip, lying, etc that will help your overall person.

So what will it be?  What are you willing to give up?  What about them secret sins that only you and God knows about?  Reflect on your inside and make the dedication today.

Here are a few things you can do to celebrate or participate in Lent:

1.Alcohol seems to be one of the most popular things that people give up.  That means NO alcohol or alcoholic beverages.

2.Sex-Sometimes married couples participate in this.  There are a few things to consider. One if your partner is not on board than that’s not fair at least to me.  One if you ain’t giving up anyway on a regular basis this can be used as a cop-out. So walk a straight line with this one. If you’re unmarried and not in a committed relationship this would be a great thing to clear your mind and body too.

3. Negativity.  This is going to be hard for some.  This may have been on the top.  This means you have to be mindful of you to be honest.  It takes more work to crack down on negative words, complaints, and destructive behavior than people like to give it credit.

4. Tearing down your mate.  This is something that could go with number 4 but the reality is the one you sleep with and are trying to make a life with ALWAYS has a way to get under your skin so therefore sometimes focusing on building your marriage will be beneficial in the long run.

5. Shopping.  Yes only getting what you NEED.  This is hard.  That means no Target runs, etc and only getting groceries and those essential needs.  After the season of Lent not only will you have discipline but you will also have saved yourself a few dollars.

The response is endless.  This is a time to self reflect and get your life right.  To me it doesn’t even matter if you are super religious or not.  Getting focused and stop a bad habit is something we all can use.  Also replacing some good things in the place of the bad things is essential.  For instance if you aren’t shopping during Lent, than maybe you can go through your home and give in the place of buying.  If you are not tearing down your mate, than put a special note somewhere different everyday to build their love jar.  If you’re not drinking alcohol than replace that with drinking water and watch your body thank you.  If you’re not having sex maybe you can put intimacy in its place.  Intimacy is not about sex and can teach you how to be loving in different ways. Taking negativity out can be replaced with self-love and finding ways to be more loving towards others.  So what will you do?  If you say you have nothing that you can do, I would call your bluff.  The best way to know is go home and ask the ones that live with you to give you an idea.  They can come up with plenty, pick one and do that.