Putting the CL on that ASS!

A Bernie's Daughter Thing



Not For Play

Happy Friday!  I hope all is well in your world.  Normally, I like to keep it light and bubbly, but today’s topic doesn’t really allow for that.  I’m talking about depression.  It’s a very real thing and one that we too often sweep under the rug.  Either we have it and we don’t think anyone will help us so we wear a mask and act like all is ok until we crumble under its weight; or we see those suffering from it and deem them weak, or attention-seeking and tell them they need to “get over it.”  That’s now how this works.  That’s not how any of this works.  It’s one thing to not understand. It’s an entirely different thing to not care.  Just some food for thought.


Moving on to Peace

Hey! How ya doing? Good to see ya.  Glad to be here.  Sorry it’s been so long.  And let’s not forget, Happy Friday!  I know it’s been a long time.  And honestly, I really want to get better at being more consistent.  It’s been an interesting journey through life thus far.  I keep finding myself in these stages of growth and when that happens, I need to take steps back and process.  So that’s what I’ve been doing.  But I had to share this video because I got a lot of feedback (unexpected feedback at that) about something I said on Wednesday.  Wednesday was the 9th anniversary of the day my dad died and I said something about that day and people really seemed to resonate with it so I felt led to share this.  I hope it helps whoever needs to hear it.  Enjoy your day and your weekend!

No Valley Low Enough

Ok, where and how do I begin? I say that because I’ve been absent for so long I almost forgot how to write. That’s actually tragic for me because I love to write. Well, I’m going to give it a whirl anyway.  So let’s see . . .  I have a story to tell.  Wanna hear it? Well, here it goes.  I told you on Friday how difficult the past year was for me.  I also told you on Friday how one of the things I’ve learned I needed to do was release.  I needed to release a lot of the stories, people, habits, and basic junk that I was holding on to that was in turn holding me back.  Whew! That was a lot.  As I discovered, one such thing I needed to release was my wound story.

What’s a wound story, you ask? You know what I’m talking about.  The story I created about myself and my life based on the hurtful thing(s) that have happened to me in the past.  And don’t get me wrong. I don’t have a story for every “bad” thing that has happened to me.  But the ones that really hurt?  You bet your sweet aunt Fanny (if you have one, that is) that I had a story.  It was a good one too.  I repeatedly told it to people.  But wait a minute. Before you get the wrong idea about me, I feel the need to explain.  I didn’t tell my story to everybody.  Come on, now.  I have a little more tact than that. I simply told it to the people I trusted.  Repeatedly.  As many times as I could get away with it.   However, as we all know, good times don’t last always.  So they began to grow tired of it.  Oh sure, they loved me, they just weren’t interested in hearing the same story.  And who could blame them?  I mean, I’m sure someone could, but I didn’t know those people so I was forced to switch tactics.  Since they were no longer interested in hearing my story, I found the one person who was loyal enough to listen to it as many times as I wanted to tell it.  I could go hoarse telling my story to this person and they just let me go on.  You want to know who this loyal one is, don’t you?  Yeah, you do.  Don’t worry, I won’t make you beg.  I’ll tell you.  The person was Me.  I told myself the story over and over and over and over and. . . well, you get the point.

My wound story became the one thing I could trust.  It was the reason for my misery. It was the reason nothing good was or ever could happen in my life.  I was in the valley.  And not only was I in the valley, but can you believe Life had the audacity to knock me into the valley with no water, no food,  and no comfort at all?  That’s rude as hell, isn’t it?  *Just nod your head* Well, I’d been in the valley for so long that I’d forgotten that there were other places in the world.  I’d forgotten that there were peaks and mountains, and blue skies, and hell, even plains.  I was so low I forgot all about the plains, y’all!  All I knew–all I saw–was the valley.  I’d convinced myself that there would never be (nah nah nah nah nah nah) a better love because the valley would swallow anything good just for looking in my direction.

I was going strong in my valley wound story. I was so strong in fact that I told my story to a friend (yet again).  She loves me so much that she said to me, I know it’s been hard.  You’ve had a hard time.  But trust me when I say that those days are behind you.  So now  you need to get ready to receive blessings because they’re coming for you.  Poppycock! And she called herself my friend!  I thought she loved me? Why would she taunt me with such things?  So since she obviously didn’t hear me all the other times I told her my valley wound story, I decided to repeat it again. I gave her the Cliffs Notes version.  I said, Well, I want to say you’re right. But I can’t.  You know I’ve been in the valley for so long that it’s all I know.  I want to believe that good things will be mine. But I know that other shoe is going to drop so I’m just waiting for it.  Bless my friend’s heart because she very calmly shouted at me, “Je’Niece, there is no valley!  The valley is gone!  If you’re still in the valley you’re only there because you keep dragging the valley with you!”  Now first of all, I wanted to know who she was talking to like that.  Secondly, I wanted to know why she clearly wasn’t getting what I was saying.  Third, I wanted to–wait, could she be right?  Was I, in fact dragging the valley with me instead of walking out of it and leaving it behind?  I did a quick scan of my life and I realized that I could not give the counter argument I’d had ready to give the entire time she was talking because I wasn’t really listening to her.  Nope. I had to take a pause for the cause, and third of all, consider the possibility that she was right. But if she was right, then that meant . . .  That meant that I had to release the valley wound story.  Aww man!  I liked my story though.  I’d gotten it just right.  I had all the dramatic effects.  But there was no way I could move forward while chaining myself to the past.  So I decided to let go.  Or at least I decided I wanted to let go.

How did I let go?  Slowly.   I cried.  A lot.  I cried until I tried to cry for the pain and found I could no longer do it because there were no more tears to cry.  Then I wrote.  A lot.  I wrote down everything I was feeling.  I wrote angry letters to people and things and then burned them.  And then I forgave.  I forgave everyone who hurt me and let me down.  I even forgave myself for not being strong enough, wise enough, or good enough to have never let it happen or to be over it by that point.  It wasn’t easy, but it was well worth it. And while I still have the memory of the pain, I don’t have it embedded in my heart (or my head).  I also don’t have it bronzed and polished on my mantle.

Now wasn’t that a good story, children?  *Again, just nod your head*  What about you?  Do you have a wound story you need to release?  If so, I strongly encourage you to let it go.  There really is so much more waiting for you on the other side.  I’m not telling you that you need to do anything that I did–except forgive.  I’m a firm believer that forgiveness is a great way to healing.  However, I am telling you that you need to find whatever it is that will work for you to loose your grip around your wound and the story of your wound so that you can heal.  I know you want that for yourself and I want that for you.  Besides, what have you got to lose?  Better yet, think about what you can actually gain.

Feeling What You’re Feeling

I owe you an apology. Yes, you. You who are reading this. Whether you’re new to the blog, or you’ve periodically perused my musings, or you’re a loyal follower; I am woman enough to admit that I owe you an apology. You see, I’ve failed myself, and in doing so, I’ve failed you. I’m all about authenticity and integrity, yet I wasn’t actually practicing that when it came to today’s video. I’m about a month late posting a Friday video. I actually recorded this video last month. But in the spirit of honesty, I will admit to you that last month was a rough month for me. As Sofia told Miss Celie, “I’s feeling mighty bad.” Unfortunately, I fell into one of my terrible habits of retreating. Recording this video, which is all about honoring how we feel, triggered so many things for me and I retreated. I couldn’t bring myself to post this. It was too much for me. It was so much that I broke down crying after the recording. If you know me well, you can probably see it in my eyes as I’m talking. (That’s why there’s so much eye rolling. I’m trying to suppress the tears). Again, this goes totally against what I intended and what I’m about. How much more authentic would this have been if I’d simply shared it a month ago when I recorded it? How much could I have released then had I simply cried and shared? We may never know. But upon watching this video, I realized that I needed this. And if I needed this, someone else needs this. I don’t say this to be self-aggrandizing. I say this to be fully transparent and committed to the mission of sharing myself to help others. My apologies for forgetting that. My apologies for failing to honor myself while I tell you to honor yourself. I won’t let that happen again. Many thanks, and much love.


The Thing About Family

We are in the vortex of the holiday season. A time of merriment, wonder, love, and community. Or is it? For some of us, yes it’s true this is a time of joy and gathering. However, for others, it’s the opposite. For some of us, the holidays bring about a spirit of depression, loneliness, and even dread. Some of us have no families or communities to gather around. Some of us may have families, but we know a seemingly harsh truth, and that is family and relatives are not the same.

When I was younger, my father would find random moments to teach and philosophize with me about life–or as he called it, to spit venom. A simple request to go to the store could be met with “Let me tell you this”, as he would then proceed to give me whatever was the lesson of the day. He would even tell me, “You may not understand what I’m saying to you right now. But one day you’ll look back on things and you’ll see.” Well of course, tiring of him always being right, I vowed that I would never understand. And I swore to uphold that vow until my dying day. But today, I am happy to admit that I was so wrong. My father was right. I do understand. I understand a lot of what he said to me and what he tried to instill in me. I initially thought he was so cold, for attempting to teach me this lesson. I now know better. And that is what I said earlier. Family and relatives are not the same thing!

My father’s version of this lesson went something like this: “Don’t get caught up in the titles of folks. Just cause somebody is your family doesn’t mean they have your back. Family will do you worse than a stranger on the street. You know Cain killed Abel.” Yikes! Sounds harsh doesn’t it? I certainly thought so. I couldn’t fathom someone in my family not being happy for me, not supporting me, or being there for me. Until one day, I found myself having to face this very truth. There are more than a few family members who I learned did not want the best for me. They are not happy for me when things go well for me, and they actually seem happy if things don’t work out in my favor. The experience left me shell shocked because it went against everything that I thought I knew. I felt robbed. I felt cheated. I had been had, hoodwinked, bamboozled, and well you know the rest. I went into victim mode: “How could they?” And I really did wonder how could they. I certainly hadn’t done anything to them. I lamented over my pain and let my heart bleed. I picked at the scabs on my bleeding heart just so that it would bleed again. I did this for a while until one day, I found myself surrounded by a group of wonderful people who were encouraging, supporting, and nurturing. They praised me where I was strong and offered loving reproof where I was weak. A couple of them have been around for many years and others were new additions to my life, but they shared the same thing: they all genuinely love me. I looked around and heard my father’s voice telling me “I told you!”. I believe Oprah would call it my “Aha moment”. I got the lesson: Family and relatives are not the same thing! Oh! So I’ve had it wrong all this time? So it takes more than a shared genetic link to make someone your family member? Having the same last name does not a family make? Being born into a group does not necessarily make that group a family? If not, then what does make someone your family? Well, as I mentioned of my group, a family is a group of people who come together in the name of love. And when I say love, I don’t mean merely in words. I mean in action. It is very easy to tell someone you love them, but if you are not acting in love, those words are in vain. Such is the case with my relatives. Family is the group of people who seek to understand you, love you, offer you support and encouragement, help when they see you need it and loving reproof to help you become better.

Now sometimes, some of your relatives are also your family members. But there are those relatives who just are not your family. And the thing is, that’s ok. I know this is the time of year when we focus on love and family and some of us feel bad because we don’t like being around relatives, or maybe we don’t have too many family members to gather around. But if you have a group of people who you know love you and have your back, you can rest assured that you have a family. And sometimes those people won’t have your last name or genetic link. And again, that’s ok. Whether your group is as large as the multitude that Jesus fed, or as small as a party of 2, you have a family. Most times, your family won’t look the way you imagined. (I certainly know mine doesn’t.) And while they may not be relatives, a family is much better than a group of relatives any day.

Regardless of what it is, I hope these times find you happy and full of joy. And if you are feeling a bit bah humbuggy, I understand.

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