Thinking out loud while "changing my thinking"

in Him


2 Comments

Are you “powerful” or “powerless”?

I have to say, I am pretty excited for what is happening in my heart.

For the past few months, I have been challenged in my thinking and actions in ways that go beyond subtle awareness of faults.

Areas in my heart that need “work”…healing…and softening, have been highlighted relentlessly, yet delicately.

The real question is where to begin in the sharing process (bear with me as I am running on 2 hours of sleep again).

Like a great number of people, I was the product of a broken home.

I grew up in a family that was filled with laughter and celebration. The sweet smell of fresh-baked yeast breads clothing the house in warmth. Sounds of music fluttering through the air. Gatherings where games were played, movies watched and stories shared.

On the outside looking in, we were the perfect family.

Even under the scrutiny of an insider, we seemed like the perfect family. But something was just a little…off?

Expression of who I was seemed to contradict the culture I was growing up in…or maybe it just threatened authority figures sense of control.

If I was in a serious or sad, introspective mood… I was commanded to look happy.

If I wanted to spend some time alone in the bedroom, I was approached – asked what I was doing – and told to come join everyone else.

If I expressed myself truthfully but politely through letter, I was given “the keys to my life”… aka told that the security I had in having someone care for me, was being removed… and I, in return, would have freedom to do anything of my choosing without interference. A pretty detrimental thought to a child.

Considering verbal communication was already a challenge for me due to fear of rejection, the statement of giving me “the keys to my life”, along with other responses to my attempts at communicating, pushed me further into a lifestyle of people pleasing.

However, the hardest, yet most hidden issue within this, was the sense of not belonging.

There was an aching inside that was not pacified by the warmth of my family. And I had no idea how to process it.

Fast forwarding to about 17/18 years old, I discovered a lot was hidden behind lies for my protection.

Parents were grandparents… oldest brother was biological father…my dreams of witnessing physical abuse and experiencing intense fear must have been real…and the woman in those dreams, was my mother.

So naturally, the next question was…who and where was she?

Though grateful for the family I grew up in, for all the good things….ex. saw a beautiful marriage, had a loving father and strong mother (bio grandparents), etc…A part of me struggled to suppress the restless desire to know who I came from genetically… even though I did not understand why I was curious.

I also had a longing for intimacy…a true desire to connect.

Fast forwarding to the present day… I am now pretty disconnected from my family.

Between broken ties from my biological parents (who are divorced) at a young age…rejection of who I was over the years … coupled with moving every 3 years…AND then moving away from my family. I have become a detaching/distancing expert.

A queen at avoiding pain…fleeing while masking it with confidence…(unknowingly).

Initially, I saw my detachment as a coping mechanism that became a part of me…which meant I really had no control over it.

But as the issue began to surface in my close relationships… especially one in particular…I became more attentive to it.

Then another friend addressed me head on, telling me how he felt slighted when I kept my distance while his daughter visited etc…he proceeded to discourage my detachment from those I love…advising me to allow myself to feel the pain of missing people.. to put myself in the presence of them, even at the risk of rejection.

I WAS BAFFLED.

All I could say in response is “Why on earth would I do that?”

But the conversation was speaking to my heart despite the resistance I put up.

Every single day, from that point on…I can tell the dead, dark places of my heart are surfacing and being replaced…the dry places are being watered…while the calloused parts are being chiseled off…slowly, steadily, and gently.

Every day, my interactions with people are revealing my active commitment to moving toward them, or away from them. Aka, my actions are revealing my subconscious or conscious goal to connect or disconnect with people… as described in Keep Your Love On by Danny Silk (so far a great read).

All this coupled with what God has revealed to me through scriptures and reflection…. I am like wow, I have lived so much of my life as the “powerless” when I am fully equipped to live as the “powerful”. 

Here are some key points of the “powerful”:

  • They do not control other people; their job is to control themselves
  • They can choose to love because He chose to love them
  • They respond instead of reacting to fear and pain.
    • “Powerful people are not slave to their instincts…they can respond with love in the face of pain and fear”
  • In responding, they engage by training their mind to think, use their will to choose, and their body to obey

All this being said, I am on a journey and the question posed to me today, is the same I would like to share with you….

What is the goal in your close relationships? Whether it is marriage, friendship, parent to child, sibling to sibling, co-worker or even a stranger….

Are you trying to create a safe connection or a safe distance?

Will you choose today, to be “powerful” or “powerless”?

LOVE


2 Comments

Dating Standards

Tonight, I decided to skim through Clutch Magazine online since multiple pages of the website were left up (on my computer) by a friend of mine, who seems to love reading their articles. Though I have never seen the purpose of reading this mag (for reasons I will not expound upon here), I decided to give it a shot and dive in.

As expected, articles ranged from struggles with “transitioning” from relaxed to natural hair; to debates on whether some young black boys were either sexually abused, gay, or just influenced by some of the horrendous “music” that is put out in today’s culture; to people’s blatant opinion on why black women should ditch college and get married… essentially, its like the soap opera of whatever seems relevant to the “black community” at the present moment.

Though I will choose not to focus on the overall magazine, there was one article in particular that seemed worth commenting on.. mainly because I have had a number of discussions and/or debates with people about the general topic.

“My Panties Are Staying On If…” dealt with some of the challenges faced by the writer as she decided to return to the dating scene following a 2 year hiatus from her “insecure and possessive lush of an ex-boyfriend.” But what intrigues me about the article, really has nothing to do with the title… but more so with some of the commentary made by readers supporting the notion of a man not being worthy if he does not have a job and at least a bachelors degree.

Of all the comments, one woman mentioned how she passed up multiple good men in her lifetime due to being “selective”… aka having standards…

Good points but be careful ladies, you get my age and you realize these are just rules. I passed on so many great men and now in mid age, I know that all I want is a man who loves and respects me. I wish the guy I loved had money but he doesn’t. I am ok with that because no one can love me like he.

Somehow, present culture has taught us that meeting standards are what make us worth something. We are groomed that we must be educated to attain decent jobs, to be respectable, to be of value in society… and nowadays, it appears to even be worthy of love.

But why?

When did it become a crime to just be a good hearted, decent human being, who works hard and is supportive? Who says that everyone who has achieved “success” in manners we can measure (ex. income, degrees, etc) are truly the ones worth considering?

But most of all, do WE want to be held to those standards? Do WE want to be judged based on our merits?

I personally think someones character is what will dictate the future of a relationship. Their character will greatly influence the values instilled in the family hoped for. And I surely, do not want someone looking at my track record… though I may be educated, my net worth is definitely in the red.

Don’t get me wrong, if you happen to meet that guy who is “successful” according to whatever standards there are… and is truly of upstanding character… a blissful future I bid you.

But do I personally think elimination based on a list makes sense? No. And chances are, if you are miserable in your singleness because of this… you might want to loosen the grip just a little bit, see beyond the list, and evaluate them on something that counts for more.


Leave a comment

Quick fix

 

In the past, I used to spend a lot of my time dwelling in pits of loneliness…deep, painful, dark and cold pits of loneliness. Basically intolerable. Points where I would utterly question my entire existence on this planet we call earth… and would have relief in the idea of being gone…dead…

I would imagine if then, my life would suddenly matter to those around me…like I was having an outer body experience picturing the scenery as certain friends, colleagues, associates, etc would be in shock at my suddenly being plucked from their lives…from this world. I thought of those who might even shed tears when they learned of my passing… and I literally felt more loved in those made up scenes in my head than I did in the state I was in.

I imagined the regret of people who did not take the time to care for my soul.. the people who took me for granted… the one’s who could not see me and truly know the depths of my pain.

Sounds pretty dark… but this description only expresses the surface of what was my reality.

I chose various methods of escape, whether it was sexual, food, people, entertainment, alcohol, etc… all the standard things that are used to give me a purpose in that moment…a promise to elevate me out of that darkness.

Despite knowing time and time again that the quick fixes would leave me dissatisfied at the end… unfulfilled… and plunge me deeper into nothingness…I found myself addicted to the idea .. addicted to that moment of having a purpose and acting on it.

Today, I can say, a lot of those addictions are gone… some by choice, some not so much… while others are a work in progress… but has my battle with loneliness ended? or have I found more acceptable “quick fixes”? Or am I coping with loneliness in more wholesome ways?

One thing I can definitely say, is though I am alone…and have been alone for a long time now (even in the midst of relationships)… today I realized that I am not actually lonely. I miss having close, intimate relations in the form of truly sharing myself with someone… my thoughts, feelings, weaknesses and strengths, etc… i miss learning through the reflection of my character those relations offer… but i am not in pain.. there is actually a peace about where I am now… though I am alone..

and though a big part of me wants people who I care about or miss or love or whatever…to reach out… to speak to me… to tell me every once in a while that they are there for me etc.. I’m actually okay with where I am right now…

To answer the questions I posed earlier… I do not think my battle with loneliness has ended…i think its dormant… I think I am in the “cease-fire” of it all… Do I have more “acceptable” quick fixes? Maybe.. possibly, blogging is one of them for me…its a way to share what I think and feel without fighting for someones undivided attention and wondering if I am boring them to death or sounding too self-absorbed or whatever else… And yes, I am coping in more wholesome ways… when isolation does not seem like what I need in the moment… I extend myself beyond my boundaries and connect healthily to others.. or I just spend it with Him.

But I do believe the more I connect with Him, the more I make choices to be in good relationships, and resist all temptation of my mind to think on lies… the more I will experience transformation from the inside out… the more I will experience freedom and truly be content.

No relationship, no status, no popularity, no illusion of love, no knowledge about, no substance/material… will ever fill those pits. I’ve tried it all. My hope rests in Him.

http://www.footprints-inthe-sand.com/index.php?page=Poem/Poem.php

 


Leave a comment

Chatter box

 

So we are all sitting here, waiting for our flight which I now believe will be departing late…boy, I hope I make my connecting flight….and this older lady starts up a conversation with me based on seeing the cinnabon I was eating. oh how ironic to hear her ask about it telling me it looks delicious…but even after I confirmed that it was just okay… She proceeds to tell me how she cant do it even though it looks good because she has lost so much weight…two sizes to be exact. I congratulated her, and then she proceeded to tell me about her wardrobe…and then her life story. The whole time as I tried to listen with intention, I kept wondering, is she talking this much because she is truly just so friendly and open as a person? Is it part of her southern hospitality? Is she just lonely? Within a  few minutes I saw a pic of her 16-year-old daughter…found out she is 58…learned of some of the new items she got on this trip to be with her sister…heard how her parents courted (the thing they did back then as she exclaimed), then got married…learned of some alcoholic relative…how her second husband died when their daughter was 3…etc. Eventually I had to.go.to.the bathroom because I knew it wud be cleaner here than anywhere else…so I stepped away once there was a break due.to.flight announcements…. A part of me ks curious to know what drives people like this, where they don’t follow the norm pattern of pretending to.be interested in the other person to balance the conversation….is it just loneliness? could it be they are just conceited and feel so important? Or what?…

 


Leave a comment

Invasion of Pigeon Forge

 

So the whole point of this trip was to get away from everything… to isolate… to enjoy panoramic views that are not just flatlands and marsh (ask me where I live lol)… well the first day I was here, trying to kill time as I waited for my cabin to be ready for occupation… I noticed that this was a fairly large city… at least compared to the college town I am from. But what made it large to me was the amount of people and just overall traffic in general. But yesterday, not only was the journey to the supermarket a task because I ended up turning on the wrong street and on sugar hollow rd (pretty scary road I must say..or maybe it was the road I had to take prior to sugar hollow…hmm)… but the actually supermarket was absolutely packed! But what made it more intriguing and absolutely frustrating is that people in there behaved like they were from new york city. No body cared… they basically ran you over with there buggies and continued there discussion of whether they were buying enough or what they would need or ____ (fill in the blanks)… hoards of families stampeded through the store, and I was like wow, talk about a bad time to come out here… by the time I finally made it to the check out line, I asked the cashier if there was some sort of event going on tonight because people had tons and tons of food in their carts… and she proceeded to explain to me that every single weekend of the summer, its exactly like this… and then told me that september would be even worst… thats when it becomes bumper to bumper traffic… At that point, though I had it in my mind that I wish I had booked for another period of time… I was all the more thankful for my cabin… to think a part of me debated on getting a hotel room and just venturing out because it would save me some money… PHEW… I am truly grateful…

 


Leave a comment

Even expected rejection hurts

 

Today I set out for the only activity I planned to do on this weekend getaway, zip-lining. Though I am scared of heights, I have always chosen to overcome my fears for the sake of having amazing outdoor experiences. Years ago, I hiked the pyrenees, despite being completely out of shape aka too out of breath to even make it past the starting point, and telling the group I went with to leave me behind… (pic to come later)…not to talk of skydiving which was such a thrill. I knew I was nervous about dangling on some chords across mountainous terrain but I was willing to give it a shot…

A month ago, when i initially made reservations, I knew I was a little bit over the weight limit but was convinced I could make myself lose the few pounds prior to the trip. Unfortunately, that was not the case… all my emotional and physical stresses, tagged with lack of self-control… actually caused me to gain a few more pounds.

Bottom line, I decided to try anyway. By the time I got there, a large group of what may have been just one family was being geared up to head out on their tour… while an elderly couple were waiting outside and a woman with her daughters were seated inside.

From the moment I walked in, I felt discomfort … every insecurity possible was playing with my mind.. the fact that people in there generally looked in shape.. i thought of everything the employees there were thinking as they saw this chunky, out of shape girl walk in.. thoughts like… “she has got to be kidding”…”she’s fat”…”is she really here to zip-line or just to inquire”… etc.. what made it worse is when this man with a santa claus belly had just gotten off the scale, asked one of the girls behind the counter (there were about 3 of them and a guy, all adding to my discomfort)… what his weight was…. the girl proceeded to be discrete by showing him what she wrote down and I caught a glimpse.. he was 226 lbs… I was like OMG…As big as he looked, he was only 226 lbs… I was around there at one point.. wow… talk about feeling kinda discouraged.

I proceeded to fill out the forms that basically say the company is not liable for my death nor injury… so I will never be able to sue them… ya da ya da ya da…and of course they had the weight restrictions as the first reason that would give them the right to deny your participation. But I carried on reading through the disclaimers and safety policies, and once I was done… I looked over at the counter hoping there would be less people loitering around…but it looked like there were even more… ah well…

so I walked over and waited for eye contact with one of the girls, and basically told her I thought I was over the weight limit so was wondering how that would work out… In reality, I KNEW I was over the weight limit… she kindly said to me, I should just get on the scale and lets see.. and I was actually 4 lbs heavier than what I wrote down.. so she wrote the correct weight and told me she would wait to discuss the situation with her manager because as expected, weight plays a huge role in travelling speed aka.. safety issue.

Eventually, I heard my last name and there he was again, the tall lanky guy I had seen earlier standing by the counter.. he asked if he could speak to me outside for a minute and I knew…went through the motions of hearing him tell me how he could not let me participate and asked, so… do I get a credit to use later? or?… and he gave me a whole explanation of how they had to turn other people away from my spot but that he was willing to give me 50% back. I was like okay.

Then the return to the over crowded counter as the girl took me across the room to another register to issue my refund. The hardest part, was gathering my belongings and having to walk out of the lobby, back to my car… knowing that people were looking at me….feeling like a failure… like it was the most obvious walk of shame…

Everything in me wanted to turn to my quick fix for consolation, validation,… anything that would make it feel less …I dont even know what word to use. But I made a choice to just share and resolve with Him…it was hard because I felt like I was trying to reach for peace that was not attainable in that moment… like I was trying to convince myself everything was okay…but nothing was really changing…

However, as I headed back…thoughts flying through my head as I thanked Him for what seems to be a full refund, and just strength to move forward without instant gratification… I came to another cross road where a choice needed to be made… I could either continue on my current path and just find something to drown my sorrows ( food, people, etc) … or make the decision to change my lifestyle, being mindful of what I eat…not giving into every little craving, etc… once again, I had found myself at a point where I was just tired of not being able to do all the things I enjoy doing (outdoor excursions)… Even though in reality I am loved and accepted, and need to really internalize that… moreso, I knew it was time to truly live out what I believe…(more on that later!)

 


Leave a comment

Victim of the “alpha moms”

 

While I wish I could have written this post, my very first entry on wordpress.com 🙂 , several hours ago… I still consider these thoughts worth re-hashing.

Today, I became a victim of the “alpha moms”. Like many travellers, I was running on fumes… I had been rudely awakened by my alarm at 3:30 am (- went to bed around 1 am or so – ) and knew it was time to finish packing, shower, and fly out the door to drive 2 hours to the orlando international airport.

Though I was relieved to have finally made it to the security checkpoint… I knew things were about to take a turn… tensions were high… people looked absolutely aggravated … and the line… yes I said line…as in 1 line, was at a complete standstill for what seemed to be another 10 to 15 minutes till they broke us up into multiple lines…

In the midst of the crowd, a woman caught my attention because she had a very stern, authoritative look on her face, like she was on a mission. Initially I was not sure if she was the mother of the two girls she was standing in between because they seem so disjointed…but her actions soon made it clear that she was the mother hen of the flock…she stood between her daughters (the youngest being in front)… and with a look of determination, made it clear to the check point man that she had ALL the necessary documentation for her babies to go through with her… with a slight smirk on her face as she handed him more paper work before he could even ask. Eventually the elderly checkpoint man called attention to the husband? Wow, you would have never guessed he was part of the family until that very moment.

Then this younger attractive man took over and proceeded to ask that same family if they had been checked, once she gave the nod, he turned to me…

Now here is where things got interesting. You would think that me being right next to that family would mean that I was somehow going to be distributed into one of the split of lines after them… but no… I was bulldozed out of my position by what I will now term the alpha mom.

The alpha mom is that woman who feels entitled to hold a certain domineering heir about her all in the name of “protecting her child and keeping her family together”… if married, like the one today was, she is that woman who decides to cut in front of you, and then proceeds to beckon her daughter to come stand next to her… basically giving her permission to do exactly what she did now that she secured a position… and then as if to save face, her naturally passive husband plunges forward to state that he is the head of the household.

My initial reaction was… you can fill in the gaps… but then I told myself, I know I am meant to prefer others over myself so this should not matter… but it just did not seem right… I watched it happen more than once and thought to myself… what is this really about…

Despite the fact that I myself am pretty…dominant as a person… somehow I ended up about another 15 minutes behind the family I was initially next to… meaning while they had been long gone… I was STILL waiting to have my bags scanned etc…

I know I have changed because a few years ago, I certainly would have reclaimed my rightful place with a look of indignation and pride written all over my face, feeling absolutely justified… and if necessary, would have gladly made a few comments … but today, I allowed myself to be the trampled on… and I can sincerely say, it did not feel good… BUT there was peace in that.