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˜˜

love black women

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?

Spring Break Blues and Gratitude

surviving spring break with gratitude
Me right before drifting into the deepest sleep ever.

This picture is my face after only three hours of sleep in the last 36+ hours, a hospital visit, cleaning up lots of vomit, and tending to a sick and very cranky preteen.

A thought ran across my mind that this week did not turn out the way it was supposed to.

– My son’s Spring Break plans were canceled last minute. He was supposed to spend a few days in Houston with his  aunt, but unforeseen circumstances prevented that.

– Consequently, the extra work I’d piled onto my schedule (some of which could not be rescheduled) in anticipation of having extra time on my hands prevented me from being able to do anything fun with him.

– Of course, he was major disappointed about not spending Spring Break with his aunt, whom he hasn’t seen in quite some time. To a 12-year-old, it didn’t matter that none of this was my fault or his aunt’s.

– Additionally, a fun field trip I had planned for him and postponed in lieu of the Houston trip could not be rescheduled for this week, which added insult to injury for him. (By the way, I’ll chronicle the field trip next week, so be on the  lookout for that!)

Excuse Me What Did You Say GIF - ExcuseMe WhatDidYouSay Shocked GIFs
Looking at this week like. . .

These were minor things, little speed bumps in our week that slowed us down but didn’t stop us. I’d been in a space of deep gratefulness all week for everything and nothing at once.

BUT THEN. . . .

Thursday night after dinner, we were hanging out in our living room watching one of those pointless YouTube shows that kids watch, where other kids are pranking each other or making slime, when my son started complaining that his stomach was hurting. I gave him water. I thought he’d just eaten too much. It got worse, and about 11 p.m. when he began crying in agony, I knew we’d better get to a hospital. We arrived around 11:30 p.m. and didn’t leave until 5:30ish. Turns out my kid needs more fiber in his diet. The doctor ordered an enema. Haha! He was not expecting that! One day this will be sooo embarrassing for him to read! LOL! Anyway, when we arrived home, I immediately shed all my clothes, threw them in the washer, and had him do the same, because hospitals. Ew! So after showering and washing my hair (a feat in itself), I slept from approximately 7 a.m – 10 a.m. when the kid woke me up because he was feeling queasy. Then the vomiting started. And there was a store trip in between cleaning vomit (fun, right?) and just comforting him and making sure he was ok. And mopping with bleach and washing vomit-y clothes and bath mats. And of course, making sure I got  aaaalllll the splash off the doors and door frames. Listen.

3129077863 GIF - 3129077863 GIFs
Motherhood- 10, Me- 0

Keep in mind, except for those three hours, I’d been awake since 7 a.m. on Thursday. It was now Friday noon. The last thing I had planned for him, a lock-in hosted by the student ministry of Concord Church, was now looking like it also wouldn’t happen because of how sick he was.

So all of these things flashed through my head in a matter of seconds. I dwelled on them all of ninety seconds and let them go. Corrected and banished them. NO. YESTERDAY didn’t turn out how I thought it would, and that’s okay. It happens. I reminded myself that my son was able to learn some valuable lessons this week. He worked with me and was able to work off a small debt ($10) he owed me that will not have to come out of his allowance. He spent two days at a friend’s  he hadn’t visited in awhile. We were able to go to the movies, and he graduated to another level of independence. I allowed him to go and watch a different movie with his friend while us mothers were in a theater right down the hall. We ate out, and I taught him about tipping. He was able to witness the power of prayer Thursday night, as I prayed with him in the car and his stomach pains had subsided by the time we reached the hospital. And as it turned out, he was well enough to attend the student lock-in! 

Not only did this week turn out just fine, but there have been lots of exciting things happening that I’ve been working toward which I will share with you all as they unfold. 

As I contemplate how easy it was to almost get caught up in a complaining spirit, I realize how important it is to consistently practice gratitude. I was able to come back from those thoughts so quickly because my son and I end every day in gratitude. In our bedtime prayers, before we ask for anything- forgiveness, protection, healing, etc. -we give thanks for everything we can think of. The more we give thanks, the more things we find we have to be grateful for. If you’re reading this, I encourage you to make gratitude a daily practice for yourself and your family. You will live life so much deeper and so much richer. 

Oh, by the way. . . . Today, I slept my butt off!

Bad Girls Club Camilia GIF - BadGirlsClub Camilia Sleep GIFs

If this touched you in any way, leave me thoughts your below. Love you! 

The Part of Jordyn’s Story No One’s Talking About

Let me preface this post by saying that I loathe celebrity gossip and couldn’t care less about these people’s drama. But this is not a gossip post. I want to address something specific about the Jordyn Woods/Tristan Thompson situation. I haven’t kept tabs on all of the headlines concerning this faux earth-shattering news.

What I know about this situation is that Jordyn Woods, who is Kylie Jenner’s best friend, was reportedly seen making out with Tristan Thompson, Khloe Kardashian’s baby daddy, who may or may not be also be Khloe’s man at this point. Take note of the wording here, because we will come back to this later.

According to Woods, she ended up at a kickback at Thompson’s home as is customary in L.A. nightlife culture.

However, I did watch Friday’s episode of Red Table Talk in which Jada Pinkett-Smith gave Jordyn Wood an opportunity to speak her piece on what really happened between her and Tristan Thompson. According to Woods, she ended up at kickback at Thompson’s home as is customary in L.A. nightlife culture. Woods also accepted responsibility for being at Thompson’s house in the first place, although she says she wasn’t aware at first of whose whom she and her friends were headed to. Having been young once and an occasional party-goer, I can definitely see this happening. You’re with a group of people you know and you’re going with the flow. Nothing unusual about that.

Jordyn says nothing happened between her and Tristan until. . . .the next morning as she was leaving the house, he kissed her on the lips. Jordyn says she tried to forget it and pretend it hadn’t happened. What I want to know why no one is offering this young lady support in the aftermath of being violated. Because that is exactly what happened. Even the folks who are on her side are only concerned with clearing her of sleeping with Khloe Kardashian’s half-in/half-out boyfriend. We are completely glossing over the fact that this man put his lips to hers totally without her consent. He didn’t ask for, nor did he receive consent to touch her sexually in any way. In a situation such as this, what do you do? Jordyn Woods did what most women would have done. She got in the car and went home as originally intended. Little did she know that someone would maliciously scandalize what was a violation of her person.

This happens more often than women talk about or even care to talk about. I have personally experienced this twice in the past three years. On two separate occasions with two different men, I’ve been caught off guard with a kiss on the cheek that I did not want, nor was I asked if it were ok to do so. One guy waited until I was turning away. The other grabbed me tightly in a bear hug that I couldn’t get out of while he planted a kiss on my cheek. Needless to say, I never talked to or saw either of those men again. There is not very much you can do when the deed is already done, but to be blamed, ridiculed, and threatened for it certainly adds insult to injury. It’s disgusting.

Now let’s go back to my earlier comment about Jordyn reportedly being seen making out with Tristan. Wording and framing are very important, and this is how the media has been framing the story, rather than saying Tristan was seen making out with Jordyn. The wording matters. Tristan Thompson, a known and confirmed cheater being protected, whether because he is a man or because he is Khloe Kardashian’s man or both. Either way, that is also disgusting. I did a little research (because again, I don’t keep up with celebrity gossip) and found out that Khloe herself started dating Tristan while he was still with his very pregnant girlfriend at the time. Reportedly, Khloe had said she was “just having fun with him” at the time and had been told he had a pregnant girlfriend. So did she expect him to be Man of the Year? Did anyone expect him to be Man of the Year? Supposedly, Tristan has “privately” admitted to something. It’s not clear exactly what. Of course, the word of a habitual liar and cheater holds major weight, right? Tuh!

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.