On Sunday’s my family and I try to make sure we jump start the beginning of the week with an high intensity workout. This particular morning my husband and I started early before our middle son joined us. Our middle son was late coming out and by the time he joined us we had already completed our first lap around the neighborhood. When we finished our laps we clapped it up and was about to head inside when my hubby said “no son you have one more lap to go” the look on my son’s face said it all. As he reluctantly began his truck around the neighborhood once more as his mother I felt compassion for him, I mean we were in the middle of the high noon sun in blazing hot Alabama… So as any compassionate mother would do I joined him in his last lap. Now we didn’t walk side by side he was further ahead of me but I walked behind him at a distance. As I watched him in front of me I began to think about how in life sometimes we can think we are at the end of a long hard journey only to discover there’s one more lap. Those surprisingly last laps come in all different forms, another final paper is due when you thought you were done with all the assignments in the class, another 5lbs needed to lose when you stepped onto the scale and you thought you had reached your goal weight, another bill payment, another lost loved one, another fight with your spouse, another lost job, another and another. Those last laps can either break us or mold us. I also thought about how we are not alone in those last laps, just as I walked behind my son for added support, we too have someone who walks with us, Our Creator, is always near. As my son and I made it to the top of the hill, which by the way is the hardest part of the lap, my husband was waiting there in the car so that our son could have his weekly driving lessons, which if you know anything about a teenager, is one of the most exciting things for them to do. When I saw my husband in the car waiting for him I began to smile. I thought to myself at the end of every hard journey there’s always a pleasant surprise that made it all worth while in the end. What’s at the end of your last lap? You can only find out if you take the journey….
Although I’m a vegan, I still love and eat soul food. Vegan soul food that is, there’s nothing better than a hearty plate of chicken fried tofu, vegan mac&cheese, collard greens, and vegan corn bread. It can be difficult at times and I find myself eating this comfort food more than I should. If I’m not intentional about monitoring what I’m eating and how much of it I’m eating my weight can slowly creep up on me.
It can be like that sometimes in life as well. We can get caught up in mindlessness living. Following our day to day daily routines of life which require minimal thinking. This type of living I call the “living dead spirit”. It’s a life I once lived and the only thing it brought me was a dissatisfied life with spurts here and there of temporary happiness.
This means everyday I wake I am focus on fulfilling my God given purpose and assignment. And encouraging and inspiring others to practice the same lifestyle. This way of living brings a joy and peace that this world can’t give or take away. When you become so driven and focus on living out the priceless value that’s placed on your life, what others say or do just doesn’t matter anymore. Your confidence rises because you know your purpose and main goal in life is on accomplishing that purposeful assignment.
I must be honest and say I’ve been going back and forth on rather I should write a blog piece about this sensitive subject. It’s been seven months since I’ve taken the courage to come out of the F.O.G ( Fear, Obligation, & Guilt) and seek the help I needed to emotionally, mentally, and spiritually heal from my ordeal of emotional abuse from my mother. Although I’ve contemplated about sharing my journey of hope and healing I am convinced that I am not alone with what I experienced and by having the courage to speak the truth about my story may some how help other women through encouragement and empowerment and reminding that woman/or women they are not alone.
I have learned through my experience that the whole idealization of what a mother represents makes it extremely difficult for others to understand when you as the daughter makes the decision to place distance between the two of you. This decision erupts such strong emotions and opinions from others concerning your choice. It reminds me of what you experience when your pregnant it seems during those nine months of carrying the child people feel they can impart any and every piece of their mind concerning your pregnancy. But just like the example of the pregnancy, although their maybe commonalities, it’s still your unique journey. This same principle applies to mother and daughter relationships. Although it is hard to fathom this reality but the hard core truth is that not all mothers are capable to provide healthy love to their daughters.
Emotional abuse is so psychological it is hidden deep within the fabric of the mother and daughter dynamic that it’s usually invisible to the naked eye. Which makes another reason why when you as the daughter finally have the courage to take your stand most people can not understand your decision. Emotional abuse doesn’t show visible signs of harm. But the harm is done internally to your mind and spirit; Your sense of self-worth, identity, and self-esteem is so severely damage. These damages done internally externalize themselves in many different forms throughout the daughters life. I will speak candid about my journey and share that my damage externalize through choosing bad relationships, not having any sense of direction or identity in my life, depression and anxiety, having no value to myself so putting everyone else before my needs, anger, and poor lifestyle choices. From the outside looking in everything seems fine but on the inside you the daughter are slowly dying. I think the quote from one of my favorite movies, Beyond the Lights, says it best: “It’s like I’m suffocating in the middle of the street and no one can see me dying,”.
Through doing the hard work of seeking counseling, doing the homework, processing the feelings and emotions, forgiving my mother, forgiving myself, unpacking the many layers of baggage I was carrying and most importantly allowing Gods love to warm my inner spirit I began the healing process. At this point in my life I feel such a freedom I’ve never experienced before. My Creator has revealed during those hard difficult times of my life He was actually present gently wrapping me in His love. He has changed my story from shame and guilt to one of victory, transformation, liberation and unconditional love.
I will end this blog piece with saying it is my hopes by me sharing my story it may inspire, empower, and encourage any woman/women who may be experiencing the same journey that I’ve been through. If you don’t get anything else from this message please remember these last words: YOU ARE VALUE, YOUR VOICE MATTERS, YOU SERVE PURPOSE, YOU ARE LOVED!
Resources for Healing
So often, in many cultures and societies, who your parents are and what class you were born into are deemed very important. This is a tradition that seems to be found all through history and is deeply ingrained in many places, even today. This worldly idea is so contrary to everything the gospel stands for. When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and savior we are adopted into a Royal family. We become sons and daughters of the Living King. Knowing this truth should impact the way we look at the whole idea that what class or social structure that we or others are born into matter. Because the truth is it doesn’t matter in the eyes of God. God designed EVERYONE with purpose & value. It doesn’t matter how messy your family background may be…YOU MATTER!!!!
Most people’s idea of winning is when you beat your competition and come in first place. For some winning in this matter means the world to them. Some people spend their entire life trying to beat out all the competition to be the one at the top…the “big dog”. Their dream in life is to be recognize as the very best…better than all the rest….and by any means necessary. No matter the cost, their willing to suffer the consequences, rather if it’s sacrificing love ones, relationships, loyalties and sometimes even “selling out”…for them the end justifies the means.
I’ve come to adopt a new idealism on winning. I think of winning in a communal sense. Which means I can’t win if your not winning also. I win…you win…we all win! Now to some I know this way of thinking sounds utopia and too idealist. But what can I say to that argument I’m an idealist so therefore I’m constantly thinking outside the box of innovating ways to better ourselves and the community. I believe I am not alone and that their are many other Idealist out there thinking the same thing. I have found the most rewarding, peaceful, joyful and inspiring life happens when my thoughts or not on “I” but “we”.
This concept of thinking can be implemented in practical ways of living. For example, if a project is given at work, this communal way of winning could be implemented by thinking of ways to collaborate with all the human resources available which means looking in the community also perhaps inviting young people from the community into the office setting to help with the project. This provides an automatic mentoring partnership between your company and the young people in the community. Another example could be if your dealing with a personal struggle and have been trying to win alone at it…perhaps create your own support group…or if your an introvert like me, partner up with just one person, start a blog or webpage for others to come together dealing with the same issues. It seems to me we have a much better chance of actually really winning the race when we stop going at it alone and start reaching out to others.
The positive ripple effect of the many lives that can be transformed would be AMAZING!
In my field of work, I’ve come across many people who are dissatisfied with their life. Some are in unhappy stagnant marriages or relationships while others feel lonely and fearful to truly be themselves among their friendship circles. From the outside, everything seems good in their life but when they are alone at night the truth resurfaces reminding them they’re living a lie. I call these the great pretenders. You may be surprised to know that we live among many great pretenders. It could be your boss at work with the picture perfect family portrait sitting at his desk or the social butterfly in your friendship group with hundreds of Facebook friends. It’s the neighbor with the big house, the pastor of the mega-church, the couple that just celebrated their 20 year anniversary and so many more. Some of the most well-liked, brave on the outside, well-spoken and most popular people are the very ones when behind closed doors feel the most dissatisfied, fearful and insecure. Everyday people, you come across portraying to the outside world that everything is great when deep inside this is farthest from the truth. The thing about great pretenders that make it so easy to continue living the persona is pretenders attract pretenders…therefore no one is forced to take a truthful look at themselves. Pretender’s social circles are filled with other great pretenders so everyone puts on a great show around each other keeping things surface so true selves remain hidden.
I use to be a great pretender. Pretending I had this great fulfilling life when deep inside I knew my truth was contrary to the persona I kept. All great pretenders will come to a place in life where they find themselves at a crossroad. It is at this time you are left with two decisions:
1) Take the Risk
The first choice you have is to “take the risk”. You have the choice to stop all the lies and game playing and boldly begin to truly live your truth. You have the choice to step outside your comfort zone loose the persona and discover the real you. You have the option to take the risk of losing some friendships or relationships but only to find true authentic ones to take their place. You have the decision to follow the fork in the road that leads to true freedom, holistic wellbeing, happiness, and peace. You have the decision to take the road less traveled and discover a whole new you!
2) Stay Put
The other option you have is to “stay put”. The option to stay put in the persona you built. This option is safe and doesn’t require any changes to the “status quo”. This option allows you to continue living the same way you have always been living, dressing up the outside real good and playing the part. This choice will not “rock the boat” everything will stay intact. Let me just say the majority choose this option and go on to live a steady conventional life. Although, in the back of their mind they always wonder what it would be like if they stepped outside that box, they never take the chance.
I chose option 2 for most of my life, but it ended up killing me on the inside. So much of who I really was, my purpose, value, personality, likes and dislikes were buried deep to maintain the box I lived in to keep “my role” in the great pretending. To keep the life, I thought I wanted and needed created this wonderful imagine on the outside but this decaying on the inside. It took years of growth to finally wake up and face my fears, step outside that box, move from my comfort zone and boldly say “this is me…like me or hate me…love me or leave me…talk about me or join me…but this is my truth”! Now don’t get me wrong it’s scary as hell when you step on that platform and reveal the real authentic you because you don’t know what will happen. But I’m a living testimony of one who has gone before you and I am here to say that yes you will lose some friends, yes people will judge and talk about you, yes you will feel vulnerable and exposed, yes you will feel scared but trust me my friends the end result is SO much sweeter than the old life you lead before. You see although you lose friends you gain true authentic friendships, the fear, vulnerability and being exposed leads to strength and courage. The judgment from others teaches you how to challenge prejudices and discover commonalities. It creates even more bravery to stand tall in your truth and inspires others to do the same. You learn great empathy for others, how to truly listen to people and open up. This in turn creates a whole new kind of community/village of meaningful relationships people sharing of self and growing together. You learn what it really means to give and receive love. You finally discover what it truly means to be free!
Ever since I answered the calling for me to write it has been such an amazing journey. Starting my blog, having one of my poems published and completing my first manuscript has been SO exciting! But it’s funny how now looking at that same manuscript and the task of typing up ALL those pages of writing seems daunting. The same thing that brought excitement to me now brings pain. Now don’t get me wrong I am so grateful to have been given this gift of writing. God has blessed me with many more book ideas to write once I complete this book project. I am just reflecting the personal joys and pains on a journey to accomplishing life goals. By sharing my personal experience my hope is that it can bring inspiration and encouragement to others embarking on their own journeys.
It’s funny how in life the same thing that can bring happiness can bring sorrow. Take raising children, marriage, relationships or even starting a new career. Each one of these journey’s come with an array of emotions, challenges and its rewards. You see our journey’s our filled with highs and lows…bumps and turns. This is why we must embrace EVERY part of the process the good and the bad for it is in the mixture of both that we receive our greatest blessings and life lessons.
Be encourage today on whatever life’s journey you are on rather it be completing a college degree, training for a marathon, writing your first book, starting your own business or etc. Trust that the process will lead you to fulfilling your goals. You have to believe and know in your inner spirit that no matter how long it takes or how many obstacles you face…God WILL complete what He began in you! So KEEP MOVING FORWARD!