Friday, July 25, 2014

Love Roller Coaster

I was in like with a man.  Ok I am still in like with a man.  As a result I have been a on a love roller coaster.  It is a love roller coaster a majority of which was self-imposed.  And while I have been on this roller coaster I lost myself, but today I am getting off of this ride.  Today I am regaining that woman I let go of for the past few weeks.

I have been dating this guy for almost two months.  You may remember I wrote about him a few posts ago. When we met there was this instant connection.  When we were together there was an unquestionable chemisty.  The first month I was riding high on a cloud of happiness and joy.  For the first time, in a long time, I thought that I might have found someone that I could spend my life with.  Yes I know it was a little too soon to predict that, but sometimes you have these feelings that you can't explain.  I had it.  And I had it bad.

Month two has been a downward spiral.  I went from being this vibrant, strong, dynamic woman to being this woman I am kind of embarrassed of.  My friends told me this.  I knew, yet I couldn't stop.  I was on a one-way ticket to Crazytown.  Suddenly my thoughts were revolving around the actions of a man.  My mood was determined on a man.  My daily happiness was dependent on a man.  A man.  A MAN.  As if any man should have that kind of power of me.  I was waiting by the phone to hear from him.  I was holding my breath every time I texted him.  I held back the things I wanted to say.  I did all of this in the hopes that he would realize that I am the one for him.  And in the end I think when I lost myself, I lost him too.

But I also must confess my roller coaster was not just him.  A few months ago I took a test that confirmed what I already subconsciously knew.  I am a girl who needs her downtime.  I need some good old fashioned by myself, doing what I want, not speaking with anyone for hours, alone time.  And for a long time I felt guilty about that until I realized that if I don't take the time to have some quality alone time I will be imbalanced.  Well yesterday it hit me.  I haven't had my alone time in a couple of months.  Trying to balance work, family, friends, the guy I am dating, and all my extra-curricular activities I was running on E, shoot I was skating by on fumes.  As a result, I have not been myself.  Couple that with my own insecurities and dating someone that pricks those feelings is a molotov of disaster.

Today is my fresh start.  Today I decided that I was no longer going to be a shell of my former self.  It's back to the basics.  I am am re-focusing my energy on myself.  Because in the end I am the most important person in my life.  It is past due time for me to start acting like it.  So I told the guy all of this.  Granted, it was in an extremely long text.  I didn't want to go another day with all this bubbling up in my chest.  And I am not giving up complete hope that that we can make it, but for now I am letting go. I am jumping off of this roller coaster mid-ride.   I am not going to wait around for someone to pick me.  I am picking myself.


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Family Matters

This weekend my mom and I went down to visit my dad's side of the family.  It was a three hour trip that took four hours both going and coming.  But to me and my mom the almost 24 hours that we spent with our other family is just the beginning of reconnecting a family that has been separated for years.

Allow me to explain.  This was an important trip for me.  My mom and dad were high school sweethearts.  both grew up in the same city.  A former factory town without its factory has now become a shell of it what it used to be.  To me going back to this city is always depressing.  It kind of reminds me of those parts of Baltimore that you could see used to be great but have been abandoned years ago.  Anyway, growing up I only was able to see my dad's side of the family around Christmas.  We lived in the Midwest and the rest of the family was on the East Coast.  Any family besides my mom and dad seemed like a countless stream of magical family members.  It was hard for me to keep up with the faces and the names enough to really have much of a connection with anyone.

Then my dad passed away.  Suddenly the real person who linked us all together was out of the picture.  Communicating with my "countless stream of magical family members" seemed awkward.  As the years went by the awkwardness continued to grow.  Combined with the fact that my mom has very little of her long term memory left, it has been hard to find out more information about my dad and his family.  It felt like the only memories that she had were from me.  And some of those memories were from the point of view from one very imaginative child.

I always felt like there was a part of my life that was missing.  For many years I always wondered why I looked the way I did. And one day I felt that my questions had been answered when I found my dad's birth certificate.  On the certificate it stated that his father was from Hawaii.  I had figured it out.  I was Hawaiian!  Made perfect sense. This finally explained my curly hair, my reddish skin tone when I tanned, and the fact that I love pineapple and Hawaiian bread (just kidding on the last two).  I brought this information to my grandmother (my mom's mother) she told me that she didn't think that really was his father and that only my dad knew who his father was.  I was heartbroken.  I was going to continue to be a mutt.  But I realized then that I had more than a few unanswered questions.

So between the passing of my father, and my uncle (his brother), and the invent of Facebook I knew what I had to do.  It was time to really make an effort getting to know more about my dad's family.  The trip this weekend was part of the beginning stages of this process.

The weekend was amazing.  It was short, yes, both my mom and I learned a lot about my dad and his family. Some of it was happy.  I heard so many funny stories.  And some of it was sad.  It was sad to see the struggles that his family had.  But I was happy to know how much my aunt and uncle looked up to him, much like I look up to him as well.  My dad, despite some of the unfortunate circumstances in his life turned out to be this amazing person, amazing husband, amazing father, and amazing brother.  And it just made me tear up to think that I am no longer able to have this amazing person in my life.

I was also sad to confirm that I might never know who was my real dad's father.  It is a piece of my history that may always remain a mystery.  However, I am so glad and blessed that I have living history only a short four hour trip that should only be three hours away.  A special shot out to my aunt who is one of my number one fans!  Thank you for the first step of many in strengthening this bond.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Crazy Girl Syndrome

I have a disease.  It is called crazy girl syndrome.  Maybe you have heard of it?  It is that thing where you are dating someone, it's going well, and then all of a sudden you freak out and create problems that aren't really problems.  Does anyone else have this issue?

For the past few months I had been on a dating hiatus.  After the last guy I dated I figured that I needed a break from dating.  In fact the last few people didn't work out and I felt that I saw the signs and chose to ignore them.  As a result, I decided to step out of the dating game.  I focused on myself and other things and didn't deal with the drama that comes with dating.

That was until I met this new guy.  He is like a breath of fresh air.  He is sweet, funny, intelligent, and super handsome.  His spirit is as attractive as his physique.  He is a guy that makes me smile.  We can talk for hours about anything and everything.  He is a man that is a good father. I wouldn't say that he completes me, because I don't think that it takes a man to make you whole.  But he inspires me to do better and be better.  We are compliments of each other.

But then that crazy girl syndrome thing kicks in.  Suddenly his non-response from a text has gotten me acting all kinds of dumb.  I got paranoid.  I assumed the worst, I mean I am a realist/worst-case scenario kind of person.  So I immediately think that I have done something wrong because heaven forbid that he could actually be busy.  But after a few days of his silence I realized that I have all these insecurities that are bubbling up to the surface.  I realized that in some of my past relationships that I was so scared of doing/saying the wrong thing or not being the annoying/clingy girl that I actually become a self-fulling prophecy.  

I hope that we can get past this snafu.  That he will remember all of the good in me, as I remember in him.  I hope that this is a lesson learned rather than a goodbye.  I take partial responsibility but not all.  I think relationships are about communication, openness, and honesty. All things that we said we would practice. But alas nothing is promised, nothing is guaranteed.

I wish I was that cool girl.  That girl who let's things slide.  The girl that doesn't worry.  The girl who doesn't overthink.  That girl who doesn't assume the worst when her man doesn't call her back.  I wish my thoughts didn't play like a record on repeat in my head.  But I am just not that girl.  I hope that I won't always be.  I hope that in the future when this happens I won't let it get to me, that I won't create a problem that isn't there.  In the meantime, I am going to work on myself and strive to get this crazy-girl syndrome out of my system.  I just hope that I don't have to go at it alone.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Long Walk Alone

This week has been an interesting week for me, spiritually when otherwise it might seem kind of depressing actually.  The temp job that I started last week ended very early.  Future employment seems hazy (as is the usually industry standard).  Today I received notice that the job that I had interviewed last month, the job I had been praying about continuously, the job that made me think that my days of poverty might be over...I did not receive.  And as the weather gets warmer I am realizing that I am starting to crave having a summer boo haha.  But spiritually a lot has been going on.

It all started on Sunday.  I was debating whether to even go to church at all.  I had decided to take mom to Wine in the Woods.  Going to church that day meant I would have to go to the 8:00 am service, a time when I usually enjoy sleeping in.  But I, we, pulled it together and got there (not too late).  I was so glad that I did. I felt like the whole service spoke to me.  It began by having a skit portraying a single, 35 year old black woman, who is single and wondering if she is being punished by God.  I am in that boat.  And so are a lot of my friends.  

The sermon was outstanding.  Pastor Dan Taylor weaved his theology background with his dry sense of humor to produce a clear and on point message.  Basically, he said that God is training us to be strong.  He cautioned that we cannot run away from this training no matter how painful and uncomfortable that it may be. Instead we have to figure out what God is trying to do and learn from the lessons that he is trying to teach us.  Powerful stuff right?

Monday I received another sign.  The weather was beautiful and I was driving with the windows rolled down.  I felt so incredibility grateful, happy, and calm.  I even had happy tears developing in my eyes.  I just had a feeling like everything was going to be ok.  But I also had an overwhelming feeling that I needed to be still.  I felt like there was something I needed to learn right away.  It felt as if there was a moment that I could not miss.  So I drove immediately to the christian book store.  I bought a book called "When Women Walk Alone:  Finding Strength & Hope Through the Seasons of Life" by Cindi McMenamin. 

Before you get the wrong impression this book is not supposed to be a how to find a man guide.  The book is not necessarily referring to the loneliness of being single.  While that is one reference it is more of a general feeling.  You can be married and feel alone.  You can be in a room full of people and feel alone.  Sometimes you can feel alone just because you feel as if no one understands what you are going through.  Or you can also just feel alone because you are not dating anyone.  I have felt a few of these feelings  Shoot, I am feeling a few of these feelings now. But the point of the book is not to figure out how to get out of your lonely place, but instead to embrace it.  It is in our deserts that God is looking for us to pay attention.

All of these signs softened the blow of my job rejection.  I honestly feel like I am in a position where God is doing some great things in me.  I feel myself growing spiritually but as a person as well.  I am trying harder than I ever have to lean in and figure out what God has in store for me.  I might not have gotten the job that I felt would answer all my problems but I feel as if I am one step closer to where God wants me to be.  And although that means I remain in limbo, it means I am uncertain of my future, I feel like this thing I am feeling right now is more important that all of that combined.  You'll see :)

Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Continued Pursuit of Close to Perfection



This year I have made the focus of working on myself.  I can say for the past few months I have really had the opportunity to work on my relationship with God.  This journey has allowed me to learn about myself, and myself in relation to others.  I have worked on joining my church (Shout out to Bridgeway !) and I was even baptized.  But through this all, in my continued pursuit of close to perfection (close to, because no human is perfect), I realized that I need to begin working on my body as well.

It has been said that the body is a temple.  If my body is a temple chicken wings, pizza, and french fries are at the center of my worship lol.  In all seriousness, I don't think spirituality and becoming a better person can be separated from the way that we treat our bodies.  If I am not both mentally, physically, and spiritually fit I will never be able to carry out my purpose to help others.  If I am in bad health how will I take care of my mom?

The past month I spent meditating on these thoughts.  I gave up fried foods for lent.  It might sound easy for some, but you don't realize just how many things are fried until you can't eat them.  Without the fried foods I was forced to make different decisions and I was happy about it.  But I didn't want to stop there.

I know this next thing I am about to say it is not going to be well-received.  So please don't throw daggers until you hear me out.  I want to get married one day.  And I truly believe that by looking, and more importantly feeling like this I won't find the right person.  Don't get me wrong, I think that everyone has their own preferences and marriages are not just about looks, obviously.  However, for me, and for me only, I love myself but I love myself to know that physically I am not where I want to be.  And because I am not where I want to be I am not shining how I could be.  Let me clarify.  I do NOT want to watch my weight and exercise in order to attract a husband.  I want to do all of those things in order for me to be happier with myself.  And because I am content with myself then I will naturally attract the man who is right for me.

I want to feel good inside and out.  I plan on being around for many years to come.  I don't want my last few years on this earth to be miserable because of the bad choices I made now.  I don't want to feel depressed when I shop for clothes.  I want to go on a hike with my friends without being scared that I will walk too slow or that I will start wheezing and slowing down and then everyone else won't enjoy their own experience.  I might never be able to run a marathon but I want to be able to do what makes me happy without my body holding me back.

Yesterday I joined Weight Watchers!!!!  This is not my first time on the program.  In fact I was on the program a few years ago and lost 70 lbs!  I didn't stop because I didn't love the program, I stopped because I needed to cut costs and I figured that would be an easy way to do it.  If I knew I would be where I am now I would have never quit.  However, I am back now.  Sure I don't really have the money for it, but I figure my health is too important to ignore any longer.  Health problems run on both sides of my family and after this week it became more evident to me that I need to make a true commitment to taking the best care of myself.

So here I am.  I put it out there.  I have you and Weight Watchers to keep my accountable.  If anyone else is interested in making some lifestyle changes with me let me know.  I would love to have some accountability partners in the mist of this journey!

#HoCoFaith

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Senseless

I just finished watching a video of man verbally and then physically assault an elderly couple on a bus.  Fortunately, when his assault became physical the several members of the bus rallied together to literally kick the man off of the bus.  Senseless.

I write this post through drying tears.  Sometimes I am just saddened beyond words how people treat each other.  People practically look at me as if I were a saint when I hold the door for others.  I was always raised to be kind to the sick, elderly, and pregnant.  I was always taught to be nice to everyone.  My faith has ingrained within me message of loving my neighbors because Jesus loves me.

When I see videos like I did today or yet another murder in the city, I feel this overwhelming sense of disappointment.  I wonder when did we get to his point.  How did we stray so far from the ideal that "it takes a village"?  More importantly, I contemplate if we will ever get back to the way we used to be.

I am not a blind idealist.  I know that "back in the day" was not always some land of optimism and pleasantries.  This country has had a history of treating people as less than human.  But that is not the point I mean to make today.

So what is the point?  When did we stop caring for each other?  When did it become ok to curse out elderly people on the bus?  Even more, why is it ok to shoot a video of someone attacking an elderly couple on a bus and the laugh in the background when the attacker is getting attacked himself.  Why do we laugh at videos of children fighting each other?  Why do we glorify violence on the "reality" shows that we love so much?  When did please and thank you become optional sayings?  What has sparked this meanness, this violence?  And is it all just the beginning of the end?

It makes me glad that I don't have kids.  It makes me even happier that I don't want kids.  I cannot begin to imagine how parents are able to navigate the circumstances of today when raising children.

I guess all I can do is continue to behave how my parents taught me.  Maybe if there are enough of us that set positive examples to others that I will never see another senseless video like I saw today.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Reality Bites


I admit it I am addicted to reality tv.  From Project Runway, maybe the Voice from time to time, to Chopped, I love it!  While I have not seen it all, I have seen enough to know that reality tv is my vice of choice.  But my favorite thing to watch?  The Real Housewives of <insert city here>.  But by far the Real Housewives of Atlanta (RHOA) is my above all favorite.  Each Sunday I make sure to have my schedule cleared to sit down and watch the outrageous cast of RHOA.  Shoot I even live tweet during the show.

But this Sunday was different.  In fact, the past few months have been different.  I am not sure if it is this working on becoming a better person thing, my spiritual journey quest, or simply a change of heart, but I am beginning to think that I need to distance myself from RHOA.  It was this past Sunday when we all saw what we having been waiting to see for  weeks, the RHOA Reunion where Porsha and Kenya threw down. At a time when I would normally delight in my weekly scheduled indulgence I was disgusted.

Television has long been the only image that people have of black people.  Many people had never seen black people until they were introduced through stereotypical representations of us on tv.   Black men were slaves and/or angry.  Black women were also slaves, or maids, or provocative sexual beings existing only for the pleasure of a man.  But that image has clearly changes.  Black women went from being Claire Huxtable to either having a sex tape, scrapping at restaurants and high class functions, or both.  The image of black women portrayed on television has taken a rather sharp digression, a digression that could have an impact on generations yet to come.

The irony of reality tv is that there really is no reality in it.  Story lines are created.  Situations are set up.  Characters are manipulated.  All to achieve the biggest drama which will equate to the highest ratings.  But in reality black women do not go around pulling hair and threatening to beat each other's ass when they have a disagreement.  Women do not carry around scepters and use a bullhorn to speak to each other.  If someone says something you don't like you do not get up and drag them across of a stage by their hair.

As black female I wish not to further condone this behavior.  I don't think any of us should.  Children should see examples of strong black females.  They need role models who are educated, who have businesses, are artists, athletes, who are pioneers paving the way for others following behind.  We don't need images of fighting nor the degradation of our fellow black woman.  We should be building each other up and not tearing each other down.  We should not allow these reality stars to extend their 15 seconds of fame through inappropriate behavior.

Of course not all reality tv is bad.  There are many reality stars  who use their shows and their images for good.  But that is not what sells is it?  Because people use trash tv as a form of escapism from their own problems there will always be a market.  However if we as a collective whole decide to take our business elsewhere the market will be dead.

So I am making this plea to whoever is reading:

Reality stars: if you are known for your inappropriate behavior please either resign from your position our clean up your act.  If you truly care about our children and even your own children, if you care about positive images of black women on tv you owe it to us all.

Everyone else: I ask my fellow reality tv viewers to boycott trash tv.  Do it for the kids.  Do it for your own sense of peace.

I can't say I am going to totally give up on reality tv, but I am going to make an effort to stay away from shows that are not in alignment with my morals, values, and spirit.  I hope that you will follow me.