Operating In Offense

So today I was reminded of what it looks like to operate in offense. Operating in offense is when you are so offended by someone or something that you can’t hear what others are saying to you. You are snippy, rude, loud and angry. Not one thing is heard from that moment. You aren’t willing to see someone else because you have taken the focus off of the issue and made it about self.  This is a self-righteous stance. There is nothing that will be gained walking in offense.  The world is really walking in offense. A lot of it is real and some of it comes from a deep seeded place that needs to be healed.

Now I wasn’t the person operating in offense today but I was able to see the old me through the eyes of the other person’s offense. Like many who have attempted to speak to me in moments of rage, anger, etc. in the past,  I saw what its like talking to a wounded person. You can’t heal that situation or person until you deal with their pain. Period. I don’t care how many cute quotes, speeches, etc. you give, they aren’t going to listen. I think about some of my past hurt prior to counseling and I seen how extremely closed off I was. Not willing to hear a person because all I kept focusing on  was myself.  Today I was hit with that same reality. I was humbled and blessed to see that for one I had real growth. The old me would have dipped into offense and gave folks a run for their money. My mouth is for sure a sword. I know this about me and with that mindset I do all I can to check myself first before handing out a 2 piece!  I listened to them and saw them for their pain and gifted them grace.  Isn’t it funny how you will confront yourself in another form down the line?

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I gave the person the grace that wasn’t extended to me. This is probably the part that I struggle with the most. Not giving of grace, because my life is a grace walk, but knowing that lack of maturity didn’t allow or wont allow people to see my past issues as simply me walking in offense. My ability to see myself works wonders for me NOW.  My biggest challenge is feeling like I have to apologize a thousand times and do emotional backflips for folks to see growth. I have now come or am coming to peace with the notion that after you take a step back some folks won’t see you for your growth because they never wanted to see you grow in the first place. They saw the offense and used it to get off their chest what they had in them the whole time.  As I watched the situation unfold this morning and while I stayed calm I just said let me gift this grace. Let me not get offended at their offense. Let me let time, maturity, and step back. It will be fixed eventually. We all have to check ourselves and walk without sometimes getting the apology that we think we need or want. I couldn’t get through to the person this morning.  I probably wont for some time. I can’t do anything past their offense. That is a hard pill to swallow but such is life.  Eventually I pray they have their moment like I had to have mine. Hurt people or offended people can’t operate with your best interest in mind until they deal with their issues.  It doesn’t matter how old or young, how smart, etc. We all have a responsibility to do our daily work and check ourselves.

My message for anyone  who is  walking in offense, you will not grow and heal until you deal with you. I could give you a virtual high-five over your offense. You could be like YASSSS SIS I was right to be offended. I did that to and justified my responses, but the truth is that the offense was there to help you grow. It wasn’t so you could prove anything. It was there to make you whole. Once you tap into that you really will have deep seeded change.

 

I know this sounds super deep on Wednesday when you were just grateful for simply surviving your week but it is a necessary nugget. Sometime you are fighting a person and its like punching air. You are attempting to get through to someone who isn’t ready to receive because they cant get past their offense or even their general disdain of you to keep it real. This is across ALL relationships. Even romantic ones. If you and your boo is always up in arms its because instead of hearing you are defending your offense. You are coming to the table of communication with your guard up so high nothing is reaching past this imaginary wall of offense. That’s what happened today. (FYI I am not talking about my husband) That wall was so high it would have taken Olympic size strides to overpower it.

Today was interesting to say the least especially since it’s not even noon but remember when you head is on right, your at peace in your life, its not just so you can be in a peace bubble.  You will see you and either be grateful for change or have to say ouch and be the change. To the person I encountered today that was and is walking in offense, I pray that you have your moment of inner clarity. I wish you the best as my peace remains!

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Counseling Days

I know I am going to say a few things that may come off of a few folks.  Whenever it rains it makes me pull out my journals.  I have been in counseling on and off for a few years. So when rainy days it takes me back to that moment. I believe in counseling by licensed counselor.  I am not all for folks running to everyone with their issues.  The reason is everyone don’t have the license and mindset to rightly divide where a person is.  So it’s not that you can’t run to a friend, or a pastor but you just got to be careful.  I do love licensed pastors because they can be a jewel to the community having the spiritual understanding with the licenses can be super helpful. So for some they get so upset the second you say don’t run to the pastors. I didn’t say don’t I said be careful. It could be from my level of hurt that I am openly saying I am still working through since my old pastor tried it.  I will say is some folks will talk to you and then have their message be your life on Sunday. Some folks like to do that prayer list conversation and reality your life becomes the tea of the week.  So be careful. People are messy individuals in real life no matter what their title!

In counseling I noticed that my days that I would go in was on rainy days.  It wasn’t that many sunny days. It really could just be that during those times I noticed the rainy days because of the down place that made me go there in the first place.  I can admit that made a lot of sense.  However today’s rain made me pull a few lessons for my current life. Not that life has totally went left, but emotionally I really want to respond to those around me in the proper way even when my petty, smart assed mouth yes I said smart assed mouth is ever-present.  I really struggle with balanced my life in those regards.  I really am sweet but if pushed or provoked or I just want to let loose, I can and will and I know deep down in my heart, that life will not bring me any good down the line.  So I dusted off a few techniques so I could find the place where I needed to be.

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I was asked  in my Facebook message what reasons have I gone to counseling a few weeks ago and I acted like I hadn’t seen the message, but I seen it. I have gone initially for postpartum.  So a few years ago after the birth of my son, moving from one city to another and being a stay at home mom of 2 under 2 my life was under pressure and after almost calling the police at my fiancé at the time, I called me a counselor who saw me stat.  Ever since then I have gone for various things. If I feel triggered about something in my childhood, issues within myself, or issues with motherhood or being a wife, I stroll right down.  My last session was almost 2 years ago with a counselor in person.  I also have done some pick me up sessions with a mobile counselor meaning I call them and they say hey Toi, what’s going on how can I help.  I prefer in person counseling but it is hard to do with working full-time, and being a wife and a mother that the mobile counselor is what I rely on.  Now I don’t call every time something gets on my nerves. I only call if I feel like I am overwhelmed and reaching out to strategic friends and family who are not the cause in my head of the trigger doesn’t help, I will call my mobile therapist.  They are wonderful. Always warm, and if they are judging you it’s in their head and not out their mouths. They give you real life tips and they have been helpful to and for me.

Now growing up the general message was that you don’t share your business. I now know that is wrong information. You have to be strategic in who you share. If I am not comfortable and for me I choose male or female depending on what’s going on.  So shout out to my counselors because altogether they have been super bomb. Let me encourage a few of you who have never gone but are super on edge on if you should go.  Consider asking your insurance who to go to so it’s covered.  Watch your coins. Sometimes it ain’t free and you need to know that.  You can get services through your job at times.  Even them free 6 sessions can be the difference between bail money, suicide, a fight, or a mental meltdown.  Trust me-no shame at all.  If you know of someone in your inner circle who is getting counseling unless they tell you to give that information out to others its imperative to shut your mouth and let people be great.  I had that happen the first year that I went and someone super close to me told others how I was in counseling and taking meds at a time where I wouldn’t have shared the information with anyone.  I hadn’t even told my momma and two its super personal and set me to trigger even more. But counseling is necessary for those who need it. I honestly think that everyone can benefit going at least once.  Even the super happy folks have things inside of them that need worked out.

Benefits of Therapy

  • Having a 3rd party call you out without having a personal relationship
  • Healing whether mental or emotional healing
  • Consistent sessions give you something positive to look forward

Pitfalls of Therapy

  • Opens other wounds as you process
  • Emotionally down for about an hour after session and having to recover
  • If not taken serious or stopping too soon can make things work, so commit

The pitfalls aren’t anything that is super detrimental but needed to be said.  You may go to counseling and think you will leave skipping and jumping and that may not be the case. I have left therapy mad more times before because of the assignments given after you leave make you think.  That is what the counseling is supposed to do.  So be aware that its work.  It’s not a great high time like the movies show you.

The other day I wrote about national family day and then this week I felt like just unblocking folks, and walking in full healing I just wanted to be sure that it was for the right reason. I called my counselor and letting him/her know about it.  She was so happy about it but the reality is I have been walking in but these last steps of speaking openly about my family was super good for me even if no one else felt what I was trying to say. Not to say that no one does because I love reading your comments as well as your emails about some of the issues you may have had in your own family.  That made me feel good knowing that I wasn’t the only one who had to be tried in that area.  Also today the rain allowed me to write.  It allowed me to share with my therapist about a few things that transpired and helped me to find ways to be a help to those around me and not give into things I know will trigger me.  Also I find that a lot of techniques I end up practicing on those around me even if they don’t know I am.  But the results is the only thing I am looking for. I am looking to be the right that I want or need in my life.  I really don’t want to be a hinderance to myself and especially the ones I live with. If I am walking around mad, pissed off, yelling, testy, what will that do for anyone?  No!  So although I am not perfect I am very grateful for balance and attempting to balance me in all areas.  I am really not working towards perfection.  That perfect life for me just doesn’t exist.  However if I can balance things better than that works for me.

Shout out to all of you who like me are a work in progress and rely on therapy or ever had it to make you whole!

Ask Toi: Have You Ever dated outside of your race?

Yes I have and it was so super brief not many people knew.  I wasn’t trying to hide him either.  I have zero problems with dating outside of my race if the vibes are right. I have never been one to discriminate against it. All of my life I have made it clear I like cream in my coffee.  I just never tasted enough cream in my coffee to make any waves. I understand some people’s issues with it and that’s their issue. So it was in college after the breakup of my college sweetheart aka my current husband.  I did not go out seeking him either.  He was white.  He was in one of my core classes.  He had a lot of the qualities I liked, tall, funny, beautiful spirit and good-looking.  He had been giving me the sexy eyes for a minute and I denied him since I was in a relationship.  He saw me in class with a hoody on looking all kinds of depressed and tor up.  Yes tor up and sad.  He swooped in with the what’s the matter talk and our conversation shifted since I was back on the market.  We hung out, we studied but it never went any further because into our second official date, he stated he couldn’t date me because he was afraid of what his parents would think.  He asked me to date him privately and that wasn’t then nor has that ever been my thing. So I let him go.  I was upset but knew I had dodged a bullet.

I might have been able to go the distance in my mind with the college guy had he been open. But I have always been any one I dated cup of tea and I wasn’t about to turn down my melanin to suppress his dad’s preferences.  So there you have it.  Yes I dated outside of my race extremely briefly but I did it.

Humble, my ass….

Okay unless you live under a rock it’s no secret that R&B singer, Tyrese Gibson has been making some not so good waves lately.  He has recently gotten married and with his marriage has come some back lash.  First let me say that when a person gets married they don’t own ANYONE an explanation as to why they choose who they choose.  Let’s get that out in the air right now.  Even if that person is the worst person for their entire life, no one can stop or is owed a reason.  We really need to let grown folks be grown.  Even if its your child and you don’t like the person they marry, you have to at some point let it go.  People have a will and a will to love is included in that.

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Tyrese and his 46% Black wife….

Tyrese has been said most likely to marry a white women or to have been expected to marry white because he has a hatred for black women.  I don’t see it as a hatred for Black women.  I see that he being a man in this world is being able to be loose with his lips because of this whole “man’s world ego.”  I think if we would have legally married a unicorn it wouldn’t have bothered me not one bit.  However his comments about what women wear and do with their bodies and hair is not sitting well with me.  The reason is men can say all day that they love natural looking women but then publicly praise all of the Instagram models.  No offense to the models but its hard out here for natural looking women.  Now what I mean by natural looking women has nothing to do with the natural hair vs relaxed hair argument at all.  It has to do with the women who weren’t blessed to find “sponsors” who keep them laced in the finest, have a team of people who follow them around for make up and hair, etc.  The everyday women who has to get it where she fits is who I am talking about.  The struggle to balance life and be flawless is a bit much.  I don’t wear heels and tight dresses everyday.  My life isn’t set up that way.  I am flawless on my own terms.  There is always room for improvement but it shouldn’t be for a man who will in return change this perspective of what should be in a few more fickle seconds either.

You Humble or you just like Kendrick Lamar’s line?

To uplift one set of women you don’t have to put down another set of women.  Which is why I say kudos to the women who have it like that to be able to be flawless every minute of the day that they are awake.  For the regular women please stop aspiring to be like what you see.  However its going to take men shouting out more than a verse on Kendrick Lamar’s “Humble” song to make me think more.  Everyone out here shouting out how they love tiger stripes but go home and give their own tiger stripped woman a look of disgust but then spend more online time pumping up the ones with the photoshopped booty.  I am not saying you can’t admire the photo shop but don’t act all of a sudden interested in the regular tiger stripped women who you don’t even blink twice at them, won’t look twice at them, and pay them no types of mind.

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Get on the do betta…

I do blame some of this mess with Tyrese on the public.  We are so super consumed in celebrities that some of them are feeling the need to tell the world and justify their actions to us and for what?  We all trying to make it.  If I was Tyrese I would have married and let folks speculate.  But no, no we all had to contribute to this need of overshare.  Tyrese, your 46% wife is your issue.  My issue is that you needed to tell us as if any of us have a Heaven or Hell to put either one of you in.  We don’t and quite frankly I hope she good with all of the posting because I would be quite embarrassed.  I would want to know if you married me for me than what is the point.  You owe no fan base anything.  Your life, do you.  Just stop giving women advice that no one asked.  Your wrote your book and that time is done.  Unless you have women lining up asking you questions, than become a life couch and leave it at that.  Women don’t need advice and especially when you haven’t learned the art and finesse of speaking to a woman.  I don’t get it but women praise Tyrese.  Let’s be clear there are million other Tyrese’s.  Stop giving these men the airways to speak on us.  Stop giving them the action.  Use your voice to speak against it.  We have daughters that are going to have it much worst than us.  If men are calling us bitches and hoes now what you think they are going to be doing worst when my daughters are able to even understand it all.  I am teaching my daughters to be strong and confident.  I want them to be able to weed other people’s voices and learn to trust themselves.  I want them to know what they like, who they like and not take down because someone else doesn’t like what they have on and how sexy they appear to be. Their thigh gaps and what accessories they wear will only enhance what they have on the inside.  Our bodies weren’t meant to attract everyone but the one who is for them.

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Imma need all the ones who loving all these tiger stripes which by the way ain’t new to really embrace them.  Don’t just sing the praises of them because it’s an in thing to do. Most of our mammas got the same tiger stripes and we won’t even buy them a card for Mother’s day.  Our wives have tiger stripes and you ONLY wait for an anniversary and Valentine’s day to show appreciation.  Our daughters will have tiger stripes but you already telling her and showing her she won’t be enough.  Get it all the way together or leave it to Kendrick and the real men who know what it’s about in this game call mature adulting.

My thoughts on MLK Day?

As we have taken part in another MLK day, I have so many mixed emotions.  I have done my duty as a parent to instill in my kids the importance that they need to be accepting of others even though based on their own skin color they may not get that in return.  I have since my kids are under 8, shield them from a larger scale of the recent events but finding my own voice to still give them the messages that they will no doubt face.  That in itself has been hard.  I am very concerned in the balance of restricting imagery but not take away from the message.  So I spent more of my time researching the facts.  I have also attempted to keep it real but not tamper with my kids spirit.  They have to live in this world and know they can go through the fire but not get burned.  I could paint an ugly world.  I see that everyday.  I see adults do some damaging things to kids. I see race riots.  I see violence within communities and to communities.  I have had to take social media and blogging breaks more in 2016 than when I started 2 years ago.  Life can be confusing, complicated, and difficult.

I reflect on how even in elementary school I had to take a few fights for being called a Nigger.  I had teachers change my grades because I wasn’t seen as valuable.  So I will never let my kids think we live in a cookie cutter world.  As I rewatched the I have a dream speech today the very things that Dr. King spoke gotten better and other things seem as we have all dipped back in the 60’s.  So when all the service projects have ended, will we be a nation that can stand arm in arm with others who look differently and drop the hate?  Will my kids have to worry about being called a Nigger?  Will they be arrested for no reason, beat or even God forbid killed for no reason? My mother answer says no not mine.  My reality answer is Lord help us all.  The fact that just because these are issues that touch predominately brown people, people with disabilities, gay or lesbian, etc., the reality is that these issues touches us all.

In a few days we will have a new president.  Everything that we know will change.  That is fact.  The way that president-elect Trump to basically bring in his own team, fired many that have more political tenure then he, further let’s me know that.  It doesn’t matter if I like or agree with his political appetite or not.  Honestly I haven’t given too much thought on what type of president he will be.  What I am seeing now has been all over the place as well as a general inability to understand the policy that Trump brings.  What I will do is stay vigilant in keeping my home a safe haven.  A place where my family can come and have peace from the world.  A place where we can do what we need to do behind the scenes so we can take that same message of love outside of the home.

I will however have a voice.  I will use that voice in the coming weeks, months and years to come up with solutions.  I will find a way to let Dr. King’s words live in me.  It is more critical now to implement what he preached and make our kids see the same.  I pray that today was more than the once a year help others day.  What are you doing all year-long?  Do you take medication to the elderly? Do you know of a family who needs support?  Do you give a single mom or dad some assistance even if it’s just a home cooked meal?  We have to do more across the board than just giving this one day.  What reflection have you given to Dr. King’s legacy other than posting a meme?  It is time to apply Dr. King’s message to our everyday lives.