The Burden of Strength: Letting Go

Awhile ago, I was talking to a friend and she said, “But you’re the strongest person I know.” I used to get that a lot. Can you relate to that? Being the strong friend? The one everyone wants to be more like? Meanwhile, you’re longing for someone to be there to break your fall every once in awhile.

I'm sis

And while I’ve never liked strong as a descriptive word for me, as of late I’ve been actively working toward dismantling the perception.

Here’s the thing: It takes a lot to be “strong.” And many, many times my strength has been my weakness. It’s a double-edged sword, because when you’re weak, either no one cares or they’re waiting to pounce on you. When you’re strong, they say, “Oh, she’ll be alright. She’s the strongest person I know.

I was strong for so long, not because I had no other choice, but because what I believed to be the alternative was not an acceptable way of living for me. I was living in a reality of extremes and saw no in-between.

I didn’t want to be weak. I didn’t want to be pitied.

I wanted compassion, but didn’t know how to access it. In fact, I think a more accurate statement would be that I didn’t know how to receive it. Looking back, perhaps I mistook compassion for pity. Does this sound familiar to you?

When you confuse the two, you will reject compassion as pity every time. You fear pity, because pity makes you feel like a weakling, and you fear being perceived as weak. You begin to overcompensate by being hostile and verbally abrasive when you feel the need to protect yourself. The thing is that you feel this need often, and it’s exhausting. You have to bark loud. It’s how you let people know that you ain’t the one or the two.

The thing is anyone can bark loud and use strong language. What I want for you as a woman to do is fortify your insides by establishing strong boundaries. Then, practice employing those boundaries to protect you from the stress of the physical, emotional, and spiritual abuse you’ve been allowing. Arguing or trying to convince others of your value actually lowers your value. It lets the other party know that your value or boundaries are up for negotiation. But that’s not the case, right? Right. The last thing you want is to have a loud voice and low resolve. That’s weak.

strong black woman

One last thing I want to address. Really, I want to give you permission. Sometimes, just you and your boundaries aren’t enough. Lean on people who care for you. Allow them to be there. A lot of our need as women to feel strong and misconstrue what it means is due to us not having or utilizing our support systems. This is so important when dealing with all types of relationships, including romantic relationships.

When dealing with predators, let the people who love you protect you.

NEVER face a predator alone. If a member of your tribe is not available to face them with you, simply refuse to engage.

Predators will always try to lure you out into the wild ALONE so they can make you prey.

– They want to prey on your heart.

– They want to prey on your psyche.

– They want to prey on your self-esteem.

Sometimes you don’t realize certain relationships are abusive. Pay attention to the feelings you feel about people. No, really pay attention. If you consistently feel proud of yourself for “standing up to” someone. . . . Sis, issa predator. DoπŸ‘ notπŸ‘ faceπŸ‘ themπŸ‘ withoutπŸ‘ loveπŸ‘ andπŸ‘ protectionπŸ‘ presentπŸ‘. OK?

Don’t fall for it, and don’t try to be “strong” by yourself. Let the love and protection of your tribe be your strength.

Love you. πŸ˜˜

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Did you have your own process for letting go of strength in favor of support? Tell us about it in the comments. I love when my readers can learn from each other. And of course, you can always hit that contact button and drop me an email! I want to hear from you. What other topics do you think I should cover on this blog?

I Had To Go Within

For the past 2 months, I have been. . . .quiet, in a place of deep introspection, exploring my inner life and putting the outer on hold. I didn’t exactly plan it. It just kind of happened. Yet, that is the point.

I imperceptibly began to simply listen to my body, my heart, my spirit and let them guide me. When I’ve been tired, I’ve slept. When I wanted quiet, I shut everything off. When I’ve felt inspired, I’ve created. I’ve desperately needed my own company, my own attention, my own affection, and I’ve given myself that.

I’ve created a space, inwardly and outwardly, in which I feel at peace, nourished, affirmed, and my whole self. A space where I feel comfortable and undistracted to commune with myself and God. It’s been an indescribable feeling. A deep knowing. I hadn’t realized how depleted I felt. How much of my delicate, introverted feminine energy had been zapped by things/people outside of me.

So I’ve surrendered my will and impulses to my spirit, which said to take extended rest until the appropriate time. The past few days I have spent loving extra on myself. Making sure my body is hydrated. Putting my fork down when I feel full. Taking extra special care of my skin. Giving my hair some TLC. Satiating my senses with sights, scents, sounds, flavors, and textures that delight and comfort me.

Now that I’m almost feeling full again, I am ready to connect. I said this year would be about relationships. I am currently doing relationship planning. Writing out who want to get closer to, exactly the actions I need to take to make that happen, and how I will hold myself accountable. I’m actually excited to get in deeper with MY people. Cheers to 2019. πŸŽ†

I Don’t Trust Women: Girl, Get Your Life

As we close on 2018, I would really love for the sisterhood to put a few things to rest, not the least of which is the disdain and shade we throw around at other women. Of course, we all have our one or two friends, because “no new friends.” Amirite? It seems women are far more forgiving and trusting of men than we are of each other. I’ve heard this phrase way too many times: “I don’t hang with a lot of women. They can’t be trusted. Most of my friends are men.” πŸ‘€πŸ˜’

This needs to change. So I thought I’d give you all something to ponder.

If You Don’t Trust Women……

But You Check Your Man’s Phone 3x/day πŸ‘€πŸ˜

If You Don’t Trust Women……

But All Your Relationships Have Ended Because Of Cheating πŸ‘€πŸ˜

If You Don’t Trust Women……

But ALL Your Male “Friends” Have Tried To Hit πŸ‘€πŸ‘€πŸ‘€πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜

If You Don’t Trust Women……

But You’ve Been Physically/Sexually Assaulted In ANY Way By A Man πŸ‘€πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜

If You Don’t Trust Women……

But Your Man’s Homeboys Always Trying To Holla Behind His Back πŸ‘€πŸ˜

If You Don’t Trust Women……

But In High School You Had A Boyfriend That Was 25, 30 years old πŸ‘€πŸ˜

If You Don’t Trust Women……

But Your Boyfriend/Baby Daddy Got Three Other Baby Mamas πŸ‘€πŸ˜

If You Don’t Trust Women……

But Your Man Always Have Something Ugly To Say About His Homies Behind Their Backs πŸ‘€πŸ˜

If You Don’t Trust Women……

But Men Are Always Trying To Have Sex With You Without Protection πŸ‘€πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜

If You Don’t Trust Women……

But Your Ex Left You With Bills And Bad Memories πŸ‘€πŸ˜

If You Don’t Trust Women……

But His Homeboys Be Lying For Him About Where He Is Or What He’s Doing πŸ‘€πŸ˜

If You Don’t Trust Women……

But They’re The Ones You’re Always Calling To Complain And Cry About Men πŸ‘€πŸ‘€πŸ˜πŸ˜

If You Don’t Trust Women……

But They’re The Ones Watching Your Kids While You Go Ride By Ole Girl House To See If He’s There πŸ‘€πŸ˜

If You Don’t Trust Women……

But You Call Them To Take You On A Manhunt In THEIR Car…..So You’re Not Caught Spying πŸ‘€πŸ˜

If You Don’t Trust Women……

But They Are Picking You Up To Go Get Your Car From Him!!!! πŸ‘€πŸ˜

If You Don’t Trust Women……

But Your Man Barely/Never Sees or Talks To His Kids πŸ‘€πŸ˜

If You Don’t Trust Women……

And Most Of Your Friends Are Men……

But You’re Always Antsy Because Most Of His Friends Are Women 😐😐😐😐😐

Girl, Get Your ENTIRE Life Together.

On Loss and Feeling Lost

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If you follow me on Facebook, you know that I’m really big on relationships- all kinds.  The most important relationships are family -whether blood-related or chosen- and family relationships can be. . . .complicated.  I wasn’t planning to get this deep so soon on my blog, but here it is.  It happened.

On Monday, my granny passed away.

I knew it was a possibility, but I wasn’t expecting it.  She’d been in nursing homes and residential care homes for awhile now.  Because of limited mobility she needed round-the-clock physical care.  However, as a retired school teacher, her mind was still as sharp as a whip.  I would go and visit her and take my son, too.  I have no pictures, because I live in the moment and hardly ever think to document my every waking moment with photos.  I wish I had.  I nor my son will have any visuals to look back on and remember our time with her.  But we do have memories.

Memories of going to sit with her and just keep her company for an hour or two.  She would send me to get her food and/or snacks because she didn’t like what the nurses prepared for lunch or dinner.

I have memories of going to visit her when she still lived independently.  I would drive an hour to go see her and do her hair. She would always say, “I like your hair.  I want mine like that.  Can you make it look like yours?”  Her hair was thinning, but I’d experiment with twistouts using Carol’s Daughter (her favorite) products or flexirods to get her the natural curly look she wanted.

I have a few unpleasant memories as well. I choose not to talk about those today.  What I do want to address is how all this has affected me in the hopes that it moves someone else, helps someone on their healing journey, or provide clarity for someone in their own familial relationship(s).

Despite the memories I shared above, my granny and I were not close.  Not by a long shot.  The story isn’t unique.  This granny is my dad’s mom, and I didn’t grow up with them in my life.  It wasn’t until I moved to Texas six years ago that I began cultivating a relationship with her.  I’d only known her for a few years, and all my visits up until that point were dutiful.  Once I moved closer and saw that age was taking its toll (plus I’d done some maturing), I decided to begin genuinely building a connection with her.  And I did just that.  I put 28 years of history (as much of it as I could) behind me, because family matters.  And although she is my blood kin, I still had to choose her.

And I did.  My visits were less dutiful, but we all know relationships take work, some more than others.  I knew I would have to actively and intentionally confront and overcome my apathy and lack of urgency where this relationship was concerned.  The bond we formed was rewarding.  Nevertheless, even after six years, I was keenly aware of the effort it took on my part to maintain.  Add to that my busy life and the distance (always at least 40 minutes drive).  It’s been months since I’ve seen her.  So when I saw my brother’s number flashing on my screen after 9 p.m., I knew.

Even so, hearing those words hit me hard.  I’d planned to visit her this weekend.  Now, I’ll never get another opportunity to see her alive, and it hurts.  Logically, there’s this (still) disconnected part of me that feels bad that I hadn’t gotten around to a visit before she passed.  Kind of like that old classmate you kept meaning to phone or send an email to.  Emotionally, I’m hurt.  She was still my granny and I chose her.  Chose to get as close as I did.  I’m not sure what to do with these feelings or where to place them.  While I KNOW I would go to visit her sooner if given another chance, I still can’t say that it would be an urgent matter for me.  And that hurts, too.  I didn’t choose the history (or lack thereof) I have with my granny any more than I could choose the effect it’s had on me.  What I always had a choice in was my own actions.  I held myself to that.  I just wonder if I did the best I could.

Black Women Have Options

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We love talking about relationships, don’t we?  And for good reason.  We are relational beings, created to live in harmony with one another.  But when it comes to dating and relationships, Black women are considered to be at the very bottom of the dating totem pole.  So I guess it should come as no surprise that conversations such as these continue to take place all over the internet.

Scenario 1:  Would you date/marry the man who gives you the world but can’t stay faithful to save his life or the man who’s loyal and loves you to life, but isn’t yet stable in his career?

Oooor. . . . .

Scenario 2: Two men are pursuing you. One has five kids by three baby mamas.  The other has no kids and lives with his mama. Which one are you going with?

WHY?

I’m sure some would say this is merely entertainment, but I don’t see it that way. People take these conversations to heart, and discussions get real. From my observations, these scenarios are usually posed to Black women, and those who do not respond favorably are painted as unsympathetic, impatient, and lacking compassion.

Why is it that WE, even in hypothetical situations, are expected to cheerfully choose mates from the bottom of the barrel? Black women are not obligated to choose between Dusty and Ashy.  Sometimes it is even hard for us to believe.  We are constantly told that there’s a scarcity of men, just from a numbers standpoint, so we should just be happy to accept whatever comes our way.  This is not true.  Listen, Black woman.  Dusty and Ashy are not choices, and you don’t have to accept either.  There are over 7 BILLION people on this earth.  In the U.S. alone, the population is over 300 million, and 49.2% of that population is male.  Eighteen percent of Blacks intermarry, which means that 82% of the Black population still marries Black, as the overwhelming majority of just about any ethnic group marries within that group. So, Black woman, you do not have to choose between two or any amount of men who are undesirable to you or unsuitable as a mate.

Don’t believe the hype. You have options.