I didn’t want to, but I am…

The #metoo that’s going around has had me at odds with whether or not I wanted to talk about it, but after reading about Joy Bryant, my heart broke as I found a touching similarity to her story. Read it here… Joy Bryant’s story

I do not know the entirety of the story behind my conception save for the he say/she say versions my parents have served up, but I do know that neither parent knew how to parent well.  Their varied backgrounds prevented them from loving their children in the right way.

From what I’ve learned of my father’s childhood it was violent, angry, bitter, and strict.  He was academically smart; however, his father prevented him from seeking further education , so he filtered his skills into being a good craftsman and working with his hands.  His relationship with his mother was tenuous and the foundation for his misogyny.  My father was an extremely attractive man and that parlayed into his ability to score women and oftentimes in inappropriate ways.

After conversations with my half-sister and his current last wife, I learned some extremely ugly things about my father, and while I was in many ways appalled, I can’t say I was entirely shocked, as I saw things first hand growing up that my half-siblings did not and it set the tone for how I viewed him.  I saw women come and go on the weekends I spent with him, and learned not to get attached to any of them because I didn’t know how long they’d last.  Some were nice and some were not, but again, it didn’t really matter because I wasn’t sure if they’d last as I said.  This fluctuation in women translated into my inability to bond with women or even fully trust them since some of the women my father dealt ill treated me.

I learned how abusive my father then, and as recent as this February when he passed, I learned more.  And again, while disturbing, I was not entirely shocked, but what sickened me the most was hearing my half-sister detail her own conception, which led me to thinking, I could have very well been conceived the same way…out of violence/force/coercion…Rape!

I wanted to ask my mother about it, but don’t really want to dredge up the past and have her go into one of her many tirades about my father.  I’d actually rather know about her childhood and relationship with her mother.  Her father passed when she was two.  She’s never really detailed what it was like growing up, but from the fragments I’ve heard from my deceased aunt/uncle and my mother’s sister, it wasn’t great.  The little she’s shared about her relationship with my father was drenched in bitterness and anger.

About ten years ago, she blurted out that he raped her, but I dismissed it, not that I didn’t believe her, but she said it in mixed company; (around MY friends) and it was an inappropriate time and place for such a revelation.  I never brought it up again. Given what I learned from my half-sister, previous conversations with my half-brother, and my father’s last wife, I don’t dispute my mother’s revelation.  I don’t have any resentful or angry feelings about it in all honesty because I had an acrimonious and tenuous relationship with my father anyway.  I have long since reconciled my feelings; or lack thereof toward him, so when he passed, I was completely fine.  I’d been previously estranged from him for ten years and it wasn’t until 2007 that I allowed myself contact with him again.  Those seven years were fraught with drama and I merely tolerated his existence all while forging a very close relationship with his now widow of whom he treated her poorly too!

I have always had an oil and water relationship with my mother; a little similar to how Ms. Bryant explained hers with her mother.  She was verbally, emotionally, and mentally abusive toward me and there were a few extreme physically violent episodes too.  I think there was a lot of envy that she had toward me as I succeeded in things she’d hoped to and she found ways to either take credit for my accomplishments, demean them in some way, or find ways to steal the spotlight.  The myriad of things she’s done to assassinate my character, make assumptions about me, or misrepresent the facts of my life has caused a lot of hurt and pain over the years and fractured my relationship with my siblings and my eldest brothers children.  (Fortunately, we’ve grown through and past them now – but that was decades in the making)  The combination of my mothers abuse and that which I fortunately escaped from my father sexually, served as a painful foundation for my life. For decades, I lived with a level of self-hatred, in spite of the Colgate smile I wore and then somehow amassed herculean strength to overcome all of the pain of the various abuse I endured.

My own #metoo is something I’m choosing not to discuss because it’s not necessary.  I know what I went through and what’s more important, is that I came though it to be where I am today.  Speaking about the foundation of it all is a sealing part of the healing package.  Reading Ms. Bryant’s story allowed me to speak to parts of my #metoo in a different way.  I even more understand the adage, “hurt people; hurt people“.  I make zero excuses for my parents behaviour in any way as it is inexcusable.  I just see it all for the ugly truth that it is.  MY truth! MY healing! MY catharsis!  MY closure!

I wholly empathize with the women; and men, that have been sexually assaulted, molested, raped, and/or sodomized.  I wholly empathize with those who have been abused in any way and I stand in solidarity with those who’ve had the courage to speak up about their experiences.  I understand why it was “easier” to not say anything than to speak up.  I commend those who now have come forward and are speaking publically about their experiences.  I silently pray for those who still do not have the voice or courage to speak up and pray they’ll one day be able to heal and not remain in emotional bondage.

In closing, I hope that we can and will find a way to accept the ugly truth about what is truly an epidemic in society and find ways to embrace and heal those affected and hold the perpetrators accountable for their actions.  Abuse in its varied forms should not be swept under the rug and victims should not be shamed or disbelieved for speaking up.

#Solidarity!

Life’s lessons

Reason, Season, or Lifetime

People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.

When you figure out which one it is,

you will know what to do for each person. – Unknown

Knowing, understanding, and accepting the aforementioned is one of the most complex and agonizing of life’s lessons and experiences we will face and with age, I’ve found it to be one of the most liberating experiences I go through. 

In the past, I tended to rationalize the behaviour and actions of others and allow them to stay well past their expiration dates; in turn, providing them with a revolving door into my life and emotional capital of which was squandered.  There were too many Reasons and Seasons that I almost allowed to become Lifetimes. 

At this stage of life, I find myself closing doors more easily and more often.  I no longer allow myself to be held by nostalgia, chronology, and some misplaced sense of loyalty even when the other party finds a way; or at least attempts to reign me back in using those very same things to assuage their guilt for lack of contribution or participation. 

I favour and embrace the truth of where we are now, instead, of the role we each once played in the other’s lives and what we gained in those times or moments.  I recognize the varying degrees of relationships and the impression they had; however, to remain bound by that adds no gain.  My life is tantamount to an investment portfolio, where I have to regard the deposits made and the interest earned to determine whether I’m getting the most for my life’s relationship investments.  I choose not to live my life in the red or leaning toward emotional bankruptcy.  I reserve the right to close accounts and send statements of insufficient funds when people have overdrawn from my life and emotional well-being.  I refuse to continuously allow people to deplete me, be it financially, emotionally, physically, or mentally. 

I have to recognize the signs of the Reason, the Season, or the Lifetime in order to grow in every aspect of my life.  I cannot rationalize what doesn’t warrant the thought process because if I have to rationalize where we stand, I already have my answer.  What I must do is honour the Reason that became as Season for what it provided and reserve myself for those who are the Lifetime, and at the forefront of that is Myself. 

I’m currently liberating myself of someone who was a Reason, a Season, and what I thought would be a Lifetime.  I openly, fully, and wholly accept the Reason and the very many Seasons they played, and realize that Lifetimes are wholly reciprocal relationships.  Lifetimes are proactive, inspiring, uplifting, bullshit calling, and wholesome.  Lifetimes make others a priority and honour those who have bought the ticket with the true intent to ride until the end. 

This closure has been in the making for some time now; not entirely of their own making; however, and in spite of their words, their action has proven itself to be terminal.  There is nothing to wrestle anymore.  There is no taking into account the two plus decades of friendship (Reasons and Seasons) where we once saw each other through the others eyes, or saw each other through the myriad of life’s ups and downs.  All there is, is to let go. 

What was once perceived to be the embodiment of a Lifetime will become a fading memory shrinking further and further into the distance and will eventually set on the horizon of this part of my life’s chapter.  I am very much okay with that.  I honestly didn’t think I would be, but I truly am and in an odd way, I feel a bit relieved; exhilarated even as it feels like I reached past an emotional plateau.

So, here I am, older, wiser, and much lighter on my life’s journey.  I hear Ms. Badu clapping in my head and praising me for not being a Bag Lady.  (I told you before, music is always in my head!) 

If you’re struggling with Reasons, Seasons, and Lifetimes, take a moment to set your life up like a bank account or investment portfolio so you can see if you’re truly getting the best out of your life.

 

Honour thyeslf always! J

 

View from where I am now…

It’s been years since my last post and it actually feels a little strange starting over. I was going to create an entirely new blog, but said eff it, let’s just go on from here and the most important thing to me right now is that I start writing again instead of talking about writing again.

I’m not going to recap the events of the past two years as there’s been too much that has happen and I’d exhaust both you and myself in even trying to detail everything.  Suffice it to say, the most important thing is that I’ve made it through; I’m still standing; and that now being 50 feel freaking amazing!

My life outlook is more enhanced and definitely more self-centered now.  I’ve spent a lot of my previous decades catering to the wants and needs of others and seldom focusing some of that time and energy on myself, but not anymore.  I have made myself a full time priority and make no apologizing for it.  Life is too short to waste time and energy on planning with no intent to execute action.

From hence forth, my posts will focus on self-awareness and preservation, what being a whole woman looks life from my point of view, and will of course make comment on the wanton and errant assault on black women and how we should govern ourselves.  There will be lots of profanity laced responses to the aforementioned and there will be kind and compassionate commentary and take on many other topics I chose to discuss.  I will make no apologies for my words as they are MINE and I am entitled to speak my mind and my truth.

If what I say is of any interest to you, please feel free to comment and if not, I’m not here for the “likes” anyway, so regardless, I’ll still share my thoughts however and whenever the mood strikes.

Til the next time…

 

Firm or shaky ground…

When we sit in solitude sometimes we reflect on things, people, and situations that took place in our lives.  In and during those times, we often wonder how or why things go wrong and sadly sometimes we may; and hopefully realize, we are own our own worst enemy.  It is important to recognize that there are things that are out of our control; things imposed upon us.  However, there are many things and events that we do have a say in and instead of being proactive, we are instead reactive; thus, causing us to be the architect of your own destruction.  We sometimes absorb situations instead of filtering through them to see what’s worth our heightened emotional state and by doing this, we create a shade of grey in our lives that cause us to continually be on shaky ground.  When in this state, everything becomes an issue, we find ourselves in combat not just with others, but ourselves, which only perpetuates, the weakness.  When we are more rational, we are more able to discern the cause and effect of a situation and be less likely to be reactive and maintain our emotional alignment.  That is why it’s so important to build foundations that are on firm ground in order to endure the many tests life will through at you.  And on this ground, it’s easier to withstand the chaos than succumb to it.

Life is an ebb and flow and how we receive and deliver can be the major difference to how we go with the current.  Yes, it’s sometimes very necessary to be the salmon swimming upstream and there are times where it’s not and we’re simply just being dramatic.  Mastering our environment may sound like a laborious task, but it’s not.  It’s essential for ones well-being and something that can be handled simply by weighing what’s important against who and what isn’t.  The Biblical proverb of building ones house on solid ground is equal to the fable of the Three Pigs simply said somewhat differently.

No trade-true architect would recommend any structure build on unstable ground, so why would you build your life, which is considered a Temple on such?

Blu

Act of Kindness…

On Monday, I assisted my soon-to-be stepson achieve his first grade assignment for Martin Luther King Day. He had to do an act of kindness of which he was adamant about not doing. His father and I, at separate times, told him that it was an important thing to do; not just because it was his assignment, but because kindness is important. I told My Love that his son has books that he’s outgrown for his reading level and should sort through them and I’d take him to find a place to donate them. The books were sorted through and we ventured out. On the ride, I explained that there are children who do not have the luxuries he has and that when kindness is extended, it makes one feel good knowing that they’ve helped another. I further explained that each day, whether we realize it or not, someone does something nice for us. He seemed to get it.

I pulled into the parking lot of a local church and we went in; books in tow. I explained why we were there and the ladies thought it was a lovely gesture and explained to my Stepson that his actions were greatly appreciated and the books would get good use at the church. The lady wrote a letter to my Stepson’s school explaining his act and how much it was appreciated. Lesson learned…at least I hope it was anyway.

Sadly, many children are no longer taught the importance of acts of kindness. So many are spoiled and overindulged to the point of hedonism and narcissism. They expect things to be given to them at will and without challenge. This is a sad state of affairs for them, their parents, and their future lives if this behaviour is not corrected.

When Lil Lady was small, I saw early on that she was blessed with a compassionate heart and I nurtured and encouraged it. On one of her first trips to New York City, she was fascinated by the many sights and sounds surrounding her, but the thing that stood out the most, was how she reacted to the people she saw. She sized them up, she inquired about their varied appearances, and was take aback by the homeless. She inquired and I explained that sometimes things happen to people and they have to live on the streets and beg for food or other items to make it through the day. I bought fruit from a street vendor as we passed a homeless person and we carried on our way. On the trip back to Port Authority, she asked if she could buy more fruit, but give it to the homeless person we saw. I explained that he might not be there, but on our next trip she could buy two pieces of fruit and give one away. She was quite happy with that and from henceforth, that’s something she did. A mother’s heart exploded with joy for her daughters compassion. This practice went on for many years and also carried on to helping with the Angel Tree at the church we were then attending. The requirement was to pick a name and then fill a shoe box with small items we thought a child would like. This, I was told, I was not allowed to help with. A little bit of her birthday money was saved and it went toward the shoe box. Of course, I contributed where necessary, but the selection and packing was all her. Again, lessons learned!

Suffice it to say, if we do not install these practices not just in ourselves, but in our children, we can’t expect them to take acts of kindness seriously. Personally, I strive to give back as much as I can be items donated, a small sum of money, or my time. My Love and I discussed ways we could volunteer as a family and individuals. I’ve found an organization that collects donated items for families in need and we’re going to aid once a month is sorting through donated items and prepare them for said families. I’ve decided I want to be a part of Girls Inc. in order to help young girls. I’m not sure what My Love will find to do, but I’ll help him find something.

As we look at our lives, let us not forget how we got to where we are. Let us recognize and realize, many acts of kindness was a part of that journey. And once you’ve looked back, I hope you’ll find ways to perform your acts of kindness whenever you can.

I came across this site and it warmed my heart greatly. May it serve as an inspiration to you also.

Faith in humanity/acts of kindness

Blu

The Truth…

There ain’t no substitute for the truth either it is or isn’t

First let me give credit to India.Arie as I used a sample from her song The Truth.

Now, let me get into this post…

I had an epiphany today, which said, “A woman wants a man to love her for who she is, but very often, she doesn’t truly know who she is, so how can he do that without fallout? This is one of the reasons relationships fail.” The opening of this post came to me the moment the epiphany did.

I rested on that thought for a moment, text is to my Kinster (meaning kindred spirit in one of my female friends), as I knew she could both appreciate it and adequately comment on it.

As I continue to allow this thought to resonate within me, I find myself looking back at past relationships; loosely, I might add, as they’re in the past and honestly not always worth more than a moments reflections. In said reflection, I recall having said those very words in some very much like it. As the woman I am now, I realize some of those relationships failed simply because they loved me as and whom I was at that place in time. They weren’t wrong for that part of the relationship’s demise.

When we ask someone to love us for whom we are, we must first understand whom we are. We must know ourselves with and for our flaws and not apart from them. We must be willing to own our shortcomings; be responsible and accountable for how we regard ourselves as a whole; not fractured being; and most importantly, we must know how to be in a relationship. Relationships are more than checking a box on looks, sexual appeal, financial/employment status, fact-finding tactics, or whatever else is deemed criteria for a suitable partner. Relationships are two imperfect people; since no one is perfect (contrary to the belief of some) who are perfect together. That’s something I read somewhere by the way, and not something I came up with, but it doesn’t make it any less true. While I can apply humour to this, there is a lot of seriousness that comes with that being said. Imperfection is a human flaw; being perfectly yoked is something entirely different. In order to be properly yoked, one must fully know themselves in order to present themselves suitable for a relationship and what they do not know about themselves, they’ll have to learn and own later as they grow…hopefully, still together. Again, the key part of it all, is OWNERSHIP OF SELF and KNOWING WHO WE ARE.

Let me elaborate a little more…When I was younger, I was still working to find my identity as a young woman entering a relationship without fully understanding the multi-facets of whom I was. I was an extension of the relationship witnessed of my parents and other adults. I was part fantasy of what I imagined relationships should be like. I was carrying the weight of undisclosed sexual trauma. I was, as I imagined an ugly duckling whom the boys thought a swan. Given those traits and self-image (read, lack thereof), I was completely unprepared for relationships in spite of my age. I was essentially what could be considered “damaged goods” and I took all of that into the relationships I entered. I wanted to be loved for whom I was and that’s what I was, so that’s what they loved. How could they not? It’s what I gave them to work with. I also attracted what I was and what I was carrying; yet another reason I was loved the way I was. Two broken vessels can’t fix each other! So, again, the lyric holds itself true.

After one too many endings, I took time out to begin the healing process. I began to identify why I was attracting like-type men. I began to get to the root of why I regarded myself in a certain way, or the role my tolerances and lack of it at times had in relationships, and once I identified those things, I at least came to a clarity of understanding. This understanding is what we all need to get to when entering relationships; especially once we’re into our 30’s and beyond. We can’t continue to use our youth as an excuse. We can’t continue to use the hurts of yesteryear as a cop-out tool. We can’t place blame and make excuses for our internal conflicts and external behaviours. At some point, we must, I repeat; MUST take ownership for ourselves, for our lives, and for our relationships; especially the failed ones. Again, “The truth it needs no proof; either it is, or it isn’t!”

I’ve recently watch a relationships die and it saddened me. I watched two good people who were not good together marry and a decade later divorce. They looked great on paper, had the immediate qualities they were seeking, and wanted the same things from a marriage; however, the thing they lacked was the ownership of self. Neither party was equipped emotionally for what they wanted. They wanted to be loved for whom they were, but didn’t entirely know who they were. A sad reality of not just them, but many. The demise of my marriage was in part for at least one of those reasons. It’s been well over a decade for me to finally want to marry again and I didn’t blindly or through fantasy accept the proposal. I presented whom I was at the very beginning. I told him whom I was and what I wasn’t going to be to suit him. I laid my cards down face up on the table for him to see. Naturally, the hand doesn’t always play out openly or evenly; however, he can never say he didn’t know who I was. It took a little more time for him to mature into whom he is now, but the open and willingness on his part to stop hiding, stop being afraid, or feeling less than has paid off. Yes, relationships are work; however, if they require too much work, or more work than in necessary to sustain it, then it’s not working.

Truth in its form; in its entity; in and of itself in something that can’t be fabricated. Truth will always manifest itself in spite of how carefully one can strive to manipulate it. People trip up, they make mistakes, and they get caught out there leaving the Truth to always make itself known. Truth and Love are synonymous to me. One without the other doesn’t make the equation work. Truth is the foundation of life and without it, there will always be chaos; or at least more than is required necessary for balance.

In closing I’ll reiterate my point, when we ask someone to love for whom we are, we must at least know whom we are. We must be willing to pull back the many layers of our being and allow it to be seen and known. We can’t expect to be loved like a King or Queen and then act with the maturity of a prince or princess unworthy of the more lofty title. We can’t ask for love and not even know how to receive it; much less reciprocate. We are, in many ways mirrors of what we want and most assuredly what we attract. The Laws of Attraction are based on the Truth of what our spirits send into the world.

So, as I started is how I’ll end, “The truth it needs no proof; either it is, or it isn’t!”

Blu

Randoms and sh*t!

My Love and I had a Family and Friends cookout on Saturday and I was unfortunately behind the 8-ball in getting ready.  A friend showed up and saw me in my frazzled state and offered her help, but instead of just stepping in; especially since I’m not typically in such a state, she sat on the couch and went to sleep. Who.The.F*ck.Does.That?  Sadly, this is the second time she’s done this and guess what?  There won’t be a third. I was quite annoyed, but chose not to further upset myself by saying anything and let it go.  I simply limited my interaction with her in favour of our other guests.  In spite of that, the cookout was a huge success and everyone had a great time.

I had a conversation with My Love’s mother that I hadn’t ever expected to have and said some rather severe, but not disrespectful things that I felt needed to be said. She initiated the conversation by speaking out the familial dysfunction and I felt compelled to respond. He wasn’t happy that I was being dragged into the conversation, but I felt I needed to respond openly and honestly.  I want things to be in an improved state between them and hope that things will be.

I had the best time with my cousin who’d come into town after taking her son to college in Boston.  She and I are more than just cousins; we’re best friends, confidantes, ride or die, skeletons in the closet, take it to the grave.  We talked, laughed, shared, and did all the things we do when we’re together.   Even though her visit was only for four days, it was a wonderful few days.  It’s not always the quantity of time, but the quality of the time.

I’m tired of woman playing the victim.  I’m sick the hell of it.  I want women to stop blaming others for the issues in their lives and do something about it.  We live in a time where seeking counseling is no longer the taboo thing it was in decades ago.  There are so many options for women to work through their hurt, pain, abuse, etc and not let it take over and impede their lifes development.  I’m sick of said women pointing the finger at others or trying to fix others, when they’re got their own issues and are broken themselves.

I can’t help but get annoyed when I see parents dressed well and their kids look raggedy.  I saw this, this weekend and found myself so tempted to call bullsh*t on a woman  looked a mess while she well dressed and put together. I have to invoke Kermit and say, “it ain’t none of my business though”. Haha!

My birthday is next Saturday; the 13th and I have absolutely no idea how I want to spend it. I have a massage scheduled for the 11th and I’m taking off the 12th, but nothing planned as yet. I find this oddly amusing and exciting because I usually have something planned.  Things will fall into place and I’ll enjoy the times beset to me.

I watched the documentary, Stories We Tell by Susan Polley and it made me rather sad.  In so many ways, I related to her experience, because I was 5 before I found out my stepfather wasn’t really my father and I met my biological father and two of my seven siblings.  I was about 13 when I met my eldest; now deceased brother and spend decades not knowing my remaining siblings. To date, I’ve met and know all but one of them.  Truth be told, I really don’t care if I ever meet her. I’m almost 47 and she’s went into her early 60s, I presume so what could we possibly talk about or how could we bond?  It’s rhetorical really.  I do find it sad that there are so many children who have no idea of their true paternity or that they have siblings they don’t know.  More than it, I think it’s scary.  I’d hate to be the one who found out I was involved with a half-brother, cousin, or other family member.  Eek!

Even though I’m not married yet, I’ve already decided how the bridal party will be dressed, the colours, and that there will be NO cell phones permitted. I find it rather distasteful that people attend weddings and other formal functions and publish the photos without the consent of the parties whose event it was.

I mailed some birthday cards and it felt really good. I enjoy acknowledging someone’s special day and being able to have them have tangible proof of my remembrance and wanting to share in their happy occasion.  I still have more cards to send; September is a very active birthday month.

My college reunion is next month and I don’t feel the same excitement that I’ve had for the past three.  Maybe because I’m in transition in my life, but I can’t say that with certainty.  Maybe it’ll come to me by the end of the month when things and people start really getting into high gear.

I haven’t received the invitation yet, but have been invited to a college friends 50th birthday celebration.  I was quite flattered when asked for my mailing address.  We’d always gotten along while we were in school and I got the impression he had developed an interest in me when we’d seen each other back in 2010, but nothing came of it.  He never pressed it and it was left alone. I highly doubt there is any romantic interest even now; it was merely a situational thing back then.  He’s a classy guy and I know his event will be as he is.  A very close friend has also been invited and I’m looking forward to attending.

I STILL need to lose at least 10 lbs and hope I’ll actually get around to losing it.  I need to get my body back to where I’ll actually enjoy looking at it and not tolerating it.

Yea, I said it!