Putting the CL on that ASS!

A Bernie's Daughter Thing


October 2015

The Fear Within

Hey Beautiful People!  It’s Friday and  I’m in a great mood.  It’s my baby’s birthday weekend. She turned 9 on Wednesday, and I’m just a proud Mama Bear.  My baby also inspired today’s post.  And she even made an unexpected appearance in today’s video.

Today’s video is all about fear.  I’ve struggled with fear for much of my life.  I’ve allowed fear to hold me back and I would wish so often to just be rid of the fear.  But now, I’m not so much about working to banish fear, but more so embracing it.  I would tend to go the “what if” route with my fear.  I’d spin stories and ask, “Well, what if this doesn’t work out?” Well, now, I’m all about taking the question a step further and answering that.  Ok, just go ahead and watch the video before I give it all away.

But before you do, just know that I’m on my Nike ish now–Just Do It!  Hope today’s post inspires you to do the same.  All my love to all you beautiful people!  Happy People baby! They make the world go ’round, so go and become one!

The Struggle is Real . . . Or Is It?

The more I mature, the less I gravitate towards the idea of struggle. Now I know we live in a world that expects, and to a certain extent, respects—glorifies even, the struggle. I mean, it’s become a pop catch phrase: The struggle is real. Really real. We hear it in every day language: “You have to pay your dues.” “Nothing good comes easy.” “Hard work is the key to success.” Yet none of those things actually mean that struggle need be involved. Hard work doesn’t have to involve struggle. Paying your dues doesn’t mean you have to struggle before something works in your favor.

The word struggle means to contend with an adversary or opposing force; or to advance with violent effort. Now I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound very pleasant to me. It actually sounds like it should be avoided. But somehow, we live in a world that actually respects a struggle. We love a story of struggle. It’s what we respect. And it doesn’t matter the area in which it lies. The athlete who overcame all the odds. The entrepreneur who struck it rich after facing foreclosure and bankruptcy. The woman who finally found love after being dogged and abused. It’s what we love! They overcame their struggles! Which is why we diminish the ones we feel didn’t struggle for it. The millionaire who we know inherited money, even if that trust fund baby used their money wisely to make more millions? Nah. Not so much. After all, they didn’t really do anything.

Years ago, when my father’s career was taking off, he sat me down and talked with me about the idea of struggle. He said to me,

“I need you to understand something. You are about to be hated. You’re going to be hated for no reason other than the fact that you’re mine. People will look at you and only know that you’re mine. And from that they will conclude that you’ve had it too easy. See me? They respect me because I started from nothing and built this. But you? Not you. You they will hate. They will talk about you. And they will do it because I take good care of you.” He went on to say, “The crazy thing is, if I don’t take good care of you, they’ll talk about me and say, ‘That’s a damn shame Bernie Mac don’t take care of his daughter.’ And that just shows you how crazy people are. But no matter what, nothing you do will be good enough. Because to the world, you didn’t have to work hard enough for it. You didn’t earn it.”

I’ll admit that at the time, I thought he was crazy. I had a somewhat Pollyana-esque view on life. I loved everybody and everything and just thought everyone else did too. But experience has shown me that my father may have known what he was talking about. Now, I’d probably never admit this if he were alive. However, that’s another experience that has changed me a bit. I don’t have a problem admitting today that he may have been right. And I know everyone doesn’t think this way. But I’ve encountered more than my fair share of people—including some relatives—who have this view that I’ve had it easy because my father is who he is. Those people have deemed me a spoiled brat who has never wanted for anything. That’s not the case. I’ve had my share of struggles. I’ve experienced heart ache. I’ve lost out on jobs. I’ve had my very own Judas’ who have stabbed me in the back. I’ve had money problems because let’s face it, my father was famous and rich; I wasn’t, and currently am not.

And even as I say that, I know there are people who will still think, “Oh please! Cry me river.” Well I can’t. I’m currently dehydrated. So there! (wink). Anyhoo, my point is that this notion of struggle is something I can’t get with. As I think over the struggles in my life, I must admit that I played a major part in each one. And perhaps I wouldn’t have struggled so much if I’d made the simple choice to swim with my obstacle instead of choosing to swim against it.

My dad finished our talk by saying,

“People love a ghetto story. And the fact is that we all have a ghetto story. Every person in the world has had their share of problems that they overcame. Overcoming the problems doesn’t have to be their whole life. So don’t you worry about what anyone else says. You have worked hard. And you know something? You will continue to work hard. That’s what will get you to whatever you want.”

My dad was a very wise man.  And while we didn’t always agree when he was here, we can definitely agree on this. Hard work is essential to get what I want in life; be it career, relationships, money, and spiritual enlightenment. I’m going to need to discipline myself, and work for it. But that work doesn’t mean I have to struggle. And I may have some challenges along the way. But again, challenges don’t have to mean struggle. And while I’m at it, let me just ask a few questions. Why is it easier to believe that the good you want can’t come with ease? Why must it come by scraping your knuckles against the concrete? And why must it be deemed less valuable if it doesn’t come complete with the struggle?

My soul rejects the idea that I must struggle for the life that I want. I believe in a benevolent, loving God/Universe/Creator (call it whatever you want). I believe that I am a Divine being created for greatness. While I have faced many challenges in my life, and know that I will face more; I recognize that the challenges didn’t necessarily have to be a struggle. Had I not resisted, but instead simply accepted the challenges, my life would have flowed so much more easily than it had. I know that in the future, if I simply ebb and flow with the tides, the future challenges won’t be a struggle. Believe what you will, but I for one believe that life is much more simple than we make it. I know that simple and easy aren’t necessarily synonymous, but life not being easy is still not equivalent to life needs to involve struggle. But that’s just me.

Daddy’s Little Girl

People love to ask me what it was like growing up with Bernie Mac as my father.  I still don’t really know how to answer that question.  It’s all that I know.  He was Daddy.  And while his story seems quite extraordinary to some, life with him seemed quite ordinary to me. I will say that it wasn’t anywhere near as hilarious as others seem to think it was. Don’t get me wrong. We laughed a lot. I mean, he was just a naturally funny guy and he had a great sense of humor. He passed it along. However, he took his responsibility as a father very seriously. And as his daughter, I can tell you that fatherhood, as far as he was concerned, was no laughing matter.

I tell people often that my father and I were soul mates.  I know that the popular idea of soul mates lies in the romantic.  However, I’ve always believed that a soul mate is that person whose connection with you is unparalleled.  Your soul mate is the person (or persons) who are there to reflect you in your truest essence. They challenge you in the most life changing ways. That was my father for me, and I him.  We were mirror images of one another.  While I wouldn’t admit it when he was alive, I proudly say today that we knew and understood one another better than anyone.  There were things we just “got” about one another.  The flip side to that is that we also had the super power of being able to drive the other crazy.

People ask, “What do you miss most about your dad?” It makes me laugh now, but the truth is, I miss the way he got on my nerves.  And he did get on my nerves.  About 90% of the 100 billion estimated ones I have in my human body!  Hearing that may sound odd to you, but it’s a comforting truth for me.  Oddly enough, it’s not the tender moments I miss most.  I miss his idiosynchrasies, his bad habits.  I miss the little picadillos that made him Daddy.

I found one of my old journals that I kept as a child.  I had to have been about 10 or 11 years old when I wrote in the journal.  Almost every entry is about how much he got on my nerves and how I will never, ever, ever be like him.  Now, those who know me well can appreciate the humor of this.  I am like my father.  Always have been.  In fact, I think I was the last person in my life to recognize it!  I’ve known one of my best friend since we were 4 years old.  We’ve never had an argument.  We were about 14 the one time we came close to blows, and it was because she told me that I was like my father.

This is yet another thing I wouldn’t admit because a large part of me felt like he was larger than life.  My dad was a superhero in my eyes.  He was able to do the impossible.  Hey, he took us from true rags to riches, so why wouldn’t I believe that?  I never believed I had that ability.  But, I also wouldn’t let him know that.  No, I would say the opposite of whatever he said. If he said “Up,” I went down. If he said, “It’s going to rain,” I said “I see nothing but sunshine.” He was intuitive and very strong with his intuition. So he was right a lot. I mean a lot, a lot. He could tell you what you would do before you even thought about the act. And I’m not ashamed to tell you that I just got tired of him being right all the time. So yep, I was contrary on purpose just to prove him wrong. You probably don’t need me to tell you that it didn’t work out very well for me.

Again, these are things that I laugh about now.  But the truth is, as much as I resisted my true self (which is so much like my dad), I’m appreciative of it now.  I like that we are so much alike. I think my father was a wonderful human being and I’m proud to say that I know him. So here’s a brief list of some of the traits that we have in common.

We’re both extremely stubborn. I mean for real, for real. We will hold our stance forever. You’ll get tired before we do.

We’re both humanitarians and care takers. We’re the one in our circle who takes care of everyone. The unfortunate thing is that we both do so to the detriment of our own selves because we get so busy taking care of everyone else that we forget to take care of ourselves.

We both have a very, ahem . . . colorful . . . vocabulary. Now this one is really funny to me because I was timid about cursing until he died.  Once he did, it was as if a part of him fused into my soul and brought his vocabulary stash with it!

We’re both natural leaders.  We’re not interested in following a crowd.  In fact, we’re more inclined to intentionally go in the opposite direction of everyone else.

We’re both very sensitive. This may shock some, but it is indeed true that the MacMan was very sensitive. He cared a lot about what others thought of him. He just had a great poker face to throw you off the scent of his sensitivity. I, on the other hand, never developed the poker face. Yet, I am just as sensitive–if not even more. Now, we’ll still go on to do whatever we want and leave you feeling like we don’t care, but we do.

I miss my dad. I miss him every single moment of every day. For so long I expected this almost magic day to arrive where I would be over his passing. I finally realized that there is no such day. You never get over it. You just get through it. I can honestly say that I’m through the grief, but I still miss him. I like thinking of him fondly. And I don’t wish to martyr him. Yes he was a great man. But he was also flawed. But the beautiful thing about maturity is that you learn to appreciate the people in your life for who they are instead of who you wish they were. And I appreciate my dad so much for who he is and was. It is said that children go through three stages when it comes to their view of their parents. They begin by idolizing their parents. I am no exception. I idolized my dad. I was in love with him. I idolized him so much that I pitied any man who wasn’t like him. I actually thought that any man who didn’t physically resemble him had some type of deformity. My grandfather’s and my father’s friends were the only exceptions.

It’s said after idolization, children then judge their parents. I can admit that I did judge my father. I judged him for things he did and things he didn’t do. For a long time I felt that he was too hard on me. I felt that he didn’t give me everything I needed from him. It would take me maturing and learning to see him as a man, apart from being just my dad to understand that he did the best he could. He did his best to instill in me the values he believed would help me succeed in life. He didn’t know how to be soft. He only knew how to be hard–even his soft was hard. But it was well intentioned. It was covered with love. And I appreciate that.

People ask me am I proud of my dad. I understand that for many who ask, their question is rooted in his celebrity. The truth is yes, I am quite proud of my dad. But not necessarily because of his fame. I’m proud that my father, without having his father in his life, chose to honor his actions and marry my pregnant mother at the tender age of 19. I’m proud that he remained in our home, leading us as best as he could. I’m proud that he had the courage to dare to dream (a huge dream). But more than just dream, he took the steps to make his dream come true–in spite of the many naysayers. I’m proud that at the height of his celebrity, he held fast to his values and never allowed anyone or anything to deter him from that path. I’m proud that while he may not have been able to soften up for me, he was able to give me everything he had. So I guess that means I’m in the final stage, which is acceptance. I’m proud to say he didn’t have to die for me to reach that stage. I was there long before.

If Then, What . . . ?

Happy and Joyful Friday! I am sending you all kinds of ooey gooey love from the very depth of my heart. Not that I’m trying to inspire a living for the weekend mindset, I just think Friday can be a great day to recharge. People seem to cast their cares away on Friday, and I think it’s a great time to drop a little nugget that you can carry with you through the weekend (and Infinity and Beyond!). But that’s only should you choose to. And quite frankly, I do hope that you choose to.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance this week to tape a new Happy Friday video. However, I have a video that I recorded a few months back that I think will still be great. I ask myself a the question of what would my life look like if . . . ” While I make a point of being cautious of the if/then mentality. I think this was a great question to ask myself. I hope you’ve asked yourself the same. And even more, I hope that you’ve answered. If you haven’t yet, maybe you will after seeing this. I think it’s great to ask ourselves questions. And asking ourselves questions are great because it gives us the opportunity to actually answer ourselves. So that’s why I chose to ask myself this question. I think I even ask you at some point as well.

My only wish for you is that you live life with joy and power (the good kind, not the ego-driven stuff, cause that’s not really power anyway). And if this little blog of mine (and I’m gonna let it shine) can do inspire you to do so, then all is well with me. Have a fabulous weekend . . . And Life! Until next time! Muah!

Better Late Than Not At All

There is a tremendous amount of pressure that exists to “have it all together.” A huge part of having it all together lies in having a career. And if that pressure wasn’t enough, just wait cause there’s more!  Yes, there’s even more pressure to have all your stuff together by the time you reach adulthood–which  depending on whom you ask, can be anywhere between 18-30. The 20s can be an incredibly stressful time because many spend this time trying to have it all together while simultaneously figuring themselves out. There is a pervasive belief that one should definitely have it all together by the time one is 30. So it can be incredibly disheartening to find oneself at 30 (or beyond), still hoping to “arrive” at this place. I understand it all too well. I’m 37 and I’m still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. And for a long while, I placed a tremendous amount of pressure on myself to have it figured out. I expected that I should have this glowing career by now. And for a time, I felt inferior to others because I didn’t.  Well, I now know that one of my first missteps was operating under the should mandate. You know that mandate. That’s the one that dictates how you are to conduct yourself as an elite member of the Worldwide Federation of Adulthood.

Unfortunately, we don’t realize that we’re setting ourselves up for extreme disappointment by hanging on to this mandate. By believing and abiding by the shoulds, we make it easy to become disappointed, depressed, and down right despondent with life. I know, because I’ve been there. I was depressed for years, due in part to the fact that I hadn’t arrived yet. I finally forgave myself and allowed myself to recognize that there is no place to arrive. As a wonderful woman I know said, “I am in a race with no one but myself.” And while that doesn’t mean I have all the time in the world this physical life has to offer, it does mean that I do have some time to figure things out and make them happen. Circumstances are so temporary, and where I am today is not necessarily indicative of where I can be a year or so from now.

It got me to thinking. Since we are all more alike than we allow ourselves to recognize, I figured I couldn’t be the only person in the world to gain success or walk into my passion later in my life. And you know what? I’m not. So here’s a list of fellow late bloomers.  These are some people who are considered extremely successful in their line of work, and they all have a very common trait.  None of them actualized this so-called success until later in their life.

Julia Child didn’t learn to cook until she was in her 40s and she didn’t star in her famous cooking TV show until she was in her 50s.

Alan Rickman (film star probably best known for his role as Snape in the Harry Potter movies) didn’t get his first film role until he was 46.

Stan Lee wrote his first comic, The Fantastic Four, right before he turned 39. He didn’t start writing his most well known comic books until he was 43.

Toni Morrison published her first novel (The Bluest Eye) at age 40 (and she was a mother who was single).

Morgan Freeman got his break out role (Glory) when he was 52.

Laura Ingalls Wilder was 65 when “Little House on The Big Prairie,” the first installment of her highly popular children’s books was published. The last book of the series hit shelves when she was 76.

Rodney Dangerfield’s big break didn’t come until he was 46, when he was booked as a last minute replacement for an act that cancelled on The Ed Sullivan Show.

Vera Wang didn’t start designing clothes until she was 40, after she had “failed” at a figure skating career, and even as an editor at Vogue magazine.

J.K. Rowling was 32 when Harry Potter was published. And this was after she was rejected by 12 different publishers.

Samuel L. Jackson didn’t get an award-winning role (Jungle Fever) until he was 43.

While Steve Jobs formed a successful company in his twenties, he was booted from it. He didn’t find success again until he was in his mid thirties.

Actress Jane Lynch didn’t receive a noticeable role (Best in Show) until she was 43.

Harrison Ford was a carpenter who was hired to make cabinets for George Lucas before he was cast in the lead in Star Wars. He was 33.

Gene Hackman starred in his breakout role (Buck Barrow in “Bonnie and Clyde”) when he was 37.

Lucille Ball wasn’t popular until she created the “I Love Lucy” show at the age of 40.

Estelle Getty didn’t become a household name until she was 62, after starring as Sophia Petrillo on The Golden Girls.

Kathy Bates was 42 when she starred in Misery and garnered mass attention for her acting skills.

While she’d been acting on Broadway for years, Phylicia Rashad didn’t gain notoriety as an actress until she was cast as Claire Huxtable on The Cosby Show at the age of 35.

Larry David was 41 when he collaborated with Jerry Seinfeld to craft one of the most iconic TV shows  (Seinfeld) in television history.

Phyllis Diller was 37 when she started her stand up career.

Duncan Hines was 55 when he wrote his first food and hotel guide. He licensed the right to use his name to the company that developed Duncan Hines cake mixes when he was 73.

My Daddy.  Oh how could I not add my Dad to this list?  My dad was 33 when he appeared on Def Comedy Jam for the first time.  He was 34 when he appeared the second time to perform his now famous “I ain’t scared of you!” routine. He didn’t begin his acting career until a year later at 35. And he was 42 when The Bernie Mac show made its television debut.

So if you’re reading this and you were feeling a bit down about your place in life, fret not. You are not alone. And you should count yourself fortunate.  You have some pretty good company with you.  I hope this helps you to remember that all is certainly not lost, as you are probably exactly where you need to be. Your place today is simply a stepping stone for you to create the life of your dreams.  And know that you absolutely CAN go on to create the life of your dreams. So here’s to us: The late bloomers. Better late than never, my friends. Cheers!

Clean Up, Clean Up

Happy Friday!  It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood!  

So today’s post was yet another inspired one. I was simply doing some much needed cleaning around my house, when lo and behold!  I got a lesson! I just had to share it with you, because, well . . . sharing is caring.

Hope you get something out of what I said (and no worries if you didn’t).  And even more, hope you are living, loving, and enjoying yourself.  Until next time!

And if you did get something, please feel free to post a comment to tell me what.

What Do You Do?

For as long as I can remember, I have never enjoyed conversations that are geared toward “work”. Allow me to explain what I mean.

“So what do you do?”
“Where do you work?”

Those questions have had a tendency to put me on edge. I begin to sweat the way I did 20 odd years ago when I found myself in a crowded room at Chicago State University, taking the ACT. The questions make me feel as if I have to prove myself to the person asking. And I don’t say this because I find myself on the far end of 30 still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. I say it because the questions have always made me feel uncomfortable. And I once had a career. After graduating from Xavier University of New Orleans with a Masters in Mental Health Counseling, I worked for the Orleans Parish Criminal Courts in New Orleans. Once I returned to my hometown of Chicago, I began working as a Work First counselor at the South Suburban Counselor on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse. So, I’ve had jobs and have been able to answer the questions. I just have never liked needing to.

Though in the past I could not quite grasp why, those “So what do you do?” “Where do you work” type questions grated on my nerves, I can say today, I have figured it out. I don’t like them because I couldn’t care less about what someone does. When I meet a person and I’m interested, I want to know about the person. I want to know about that person. I mean really KNOW. I want to know what makes that person come alive, where their passions lie. I want to know the content of their soul. And telling me what they do just doesn’t necessarily answer that for me. I mean just look at what I’ve shared thus far. Telling you about my education and work history gave you no real insight into who I am. None. It just gave you surface details about me. But it didn’t tell you what makes me tick. And for me, that’s the stuff that gets me excited when I meet a person. I want to know what makes you tick.

Now don’t get me wrong. I understand that there is nothing inherently wrong with asking such questions. They can be great ice breakers. And I also understand that we human beings need to work to earn money in order to survive in our world. And I understand that there are things people do (and need to do) to earn money and “make a living.” But I have never identified with my source of employment. I’ve never And I’ll go ahead and admit that in spite of what I’m saying, I have been excited to get the job. I’ve been grateful to be able to say that I work. But after the nostalgia wears off, I’m left with a kind of “What next?” feeling. And I now know that I feel this way because one does not make a living by earning money. If that were true, one would die the minute one found themselves without a job. In the same vein that India.Arie exclaimed that she is not her hair, I must exclaim that I am not my job. And you know what? Neither are you!

I say all of this wholeheartedly believing that most don’t ask this question with ill intentions. It’s simply small talk. It’s seen as an easy way to get to know a person. And it can be.  But sometimes it can be used in a isolating manner. It can be used to figure out what box to put another in. They can sometimes be questions that scream (even unintentionally), “Please help me disconnect from you in the most efficient way possible.” And I don’t believe most truly seek out ways to disconnect and isolate themselves from others. It’s just pure old fashioned social conditioning. Asking the questions helps one figure out what category to place another. Same as the “Are you married?” “Do you have any children?” questions. Harmless enough. Right?

Well, now I answer those questions quite differently. I get weird looks sometimes–and it has even ended a conversation (before the conversation actually began) here and there. But like the old cartoon characters who professed, “If I do this, I get a whipping . . . I do it!” right before they do something they know will rattle another, I do it anyway. Now when people ask me what I do, my answer is simply, “I live and love.”

“We must not be defined by what we do, but we must be what and who we are, then only happen to do what we do!”
― C. JoyBell C.

Stop Doing Sh*t You Hate

Hey, hey, hey!  Happy Friday! Here’s hoping you have a great weekend and all the goodness the world has to offer to you! I’ve been riding a creative high this week and I’m feeling really good.  A wonderful friend of mine made a simple post that inspired today’s post.   I was going to write it, but then I decided to just do a video.  We mere mortals are creatures of habit.  It’s very easy for us to live ourselves into perpetual ruts, staying stuck in the people, places, and things that don’t serve us.  So watch it and tell me what you think.  And don’t forget to do exactly what this thing here says.


*I realized after the fact that I credited my wonderful friend, Sie Van Dunk incorrectly in the video.  Her website is and you can find her on Facebook at Curly Demure.*



Choices . . . Choices . . . Choices

There was a time in my life when I could be indecisive.  Hey, I can freely admit this.  Having several options before me seemed to paralyze me–rendering me incapable of making a decision.  I would feel overwhelmed by the task at hand. I would hem.  And when I was done hemming, I would haw.  When that was done, I probably hemmed again.  I would do this until I spun myself into a frenzy.  I’m someone who tends to look at every encounter and moment as one that is capable of teaching me something. So when looking at the decisions before me, I consider all the angles. On the one hand, I find it helpful. But that other hand? On that bad boy, it causes complications. Excessive analysis leads to paralysis. At some point, in the words of Lil Jon, you’ve just got to ” . . . get out of your mind,” and DO something. Therein lied the rub for me. As I’ve said, I’m someone who believes that any encounter or thing (however pointless it may appear) has the ability to teach me something. However, I didn’t imagine that I’d receive a pivotal Aha! moment while sitting at Chili’s with my daughter.

Allow me to go Sophia from Golden Girls on you for a moment.  Picture it. Homewood, IL, a small south suburb of Chicago.  There’s a shopping center, and at the end of that shopping center, there’s a Chili’s restaurant.  My daughter and I sat at the second booth from the entrance.  We sat down and I began to peruse the menu.  I immediately became overwhelmed by all the choices.  I stared at the menu for minutes, unable to decide what I wanted to eat. When our server arrived to take our order, I asked for a few more minutes because I was not quite ready to make a choice.  Our server returned minutes later, and I was still unable to decide.  He returned a second time, and I found myself still in the throes of making a decision. Finally, my server asked, “May I ask what are your top two choices?”  I told him, to which he gave me his recommendation.  He then added, “If you don’t like it, we can always change it and get you something else that you’ll like.”  Woah! Mind. Blown. You mean to tell me that I can actually change my mind?  I do not have to chain myself to one choice.  Shut the front door! And while you’re at it, close the back one and all the windows too!

Now I know this was a truly simply example. But it got me to thinking.  How many other times in my life have I either stalled on making a choice, or simply failed to make a choice; thereby simply choosing to go on default mode?  I’ve done it more times than I actually care to remember.  And I’ve done it in some major moments in my life.  I realized my marriage was no longer serving me.  But I was too afraid to make the choice to walk away, so I stayed far longer than I needed and suffered far longer than I needed (causing my ex husband to suffer as well) because I was too afraid to make a choice.  I needed to take legal action years ago against someone very close to me, but I couldn’t make the choice.  I agonized over it and suffered over the choice that I couldn’t make.  I’ve had friendships that I realized no longer served me. But instead of choosing to walk away, I stayed in those relationships; continuing to get annoyed by the people for being exactly who they’ve always been.  And I did it simply because I couldn’t bring myself to make a choice.

In each case, I felt as if I had no choice.  What I failed to recognize was that there was always a choice.  I may not have liked my options, but there were options all the same.  I had a tendency to put the weight of the world upon my shoulders if I made a choice.  You know, like the world would somehow stop spinning on its axis simply because I chose to walk away from a toxic relationship, or chose to stay home instead of cashing in on an invitation.  Or I would tell myself that I was ruining lives.  You know, like I was really THAT powerful.  Why was I causing myself so much difficulty over a seemingly simple task?

As if this revelation wasn’t enough, I found myself sitting in my counselor’s office, lamenting over something (I can’t even remember now.  See, that’s how important it was!) I was going on and on, and she looked at me with such empathy and said, “Well, Je’Niece, try it out and see what happens.  If you don’t like it, you can always get off the ride.”  WOAH!  There it was again. I can actually make a choice, and then if I don’t like the choice, I can make another choice! Are you kidding me?  I felt that was confirmation of the lesson.  I’d heard it twice in one week.  There was no need to try to deny it.  I needed to get comfortable with making choices in my life and stop living on default (which in itself is a choice, but I didn’t realize that).

I know at some points in my life, I acted upon default simply because I didn’t feel that I had the right to make the choice.  I would feel guilty for feeling the way that I did, because again, I somehow had the idea that I didn’t have the right to feel whatever I was feeling.  Perhaps my inability to make a choice was in part due to my failure to break away from my conditioning.  I mean, we’re not taught that we can actually change our minds.  At least I wasn’t. I can remember being told on numerous occasions how I had no right to change my mind; AND if there was any mind changing going on, it would be done for me.  So is there really any wonder as to why I was incapable of making my own decisions as an adult?

But this isn’t a lamentation about my upbringing.  No, this is a revelatory moment.  One simple encounter caused me to recognize and break a pattern I’d been engaging in for the greater part of my life.  Glory!  I’m free!  Yay me! But, and this is a pretty big but–but I like big buts *cue Sir-Mix-A-Lot*  It’s a daily practice.  And it can be so easy to shift into default mode. But each time I’m tempted to go on default, I remind myself that I am the most powerful person in my life.  I remind myself that I am the only one who gets a say in how my life looks and feels. And then I choose.  Even if I don’t like my options, I choose.  And I choose because to do anything else is me failing to show up for myself.  And I’ve come too far to be a no-show in my life.

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