Search

Putting the CL on that ASS!

A Bernie's Daughter Thing

Category

Life

Silencing My Inner Critic

A very warm and joyous Friday to you!  I am still riding my high from the weekend and I’ve decided to consciously choose to live on this high for the rest of my life.  I say that with the full understanding that life is going to happen and every moment won’t necessarily be a pleasant one.  However, I recognized that allowing myself to get overwhelmed to the point that I need a get away doesn’t serve me well.  I recognized a lot this weekend.  One of the things that became glaringly obvious to me was the way that I speak to myself.  I caught myself and I actually cringed.  I asked myself, Why do you speak this way to yourself? and I recognized that it was my inner critic speaking.  My inner critic was a harsh one.  But I had to have a sit down with her and I think it was the start of a beautiful ending of a relationship.

 

My Cup

I had such a wonderful weekend! I got to go to Texas to visit with one of my oldest and dearest friends. We went to a retreat dedicated to femininity and it was so rejuvenating and affirming. I laughed. I cried. I ate delicious food. I hung out with some lovely women. And I did it all in 80 and 70 degree weather! Now that may not seem like such a big deal to some of you. But for this Chicago born and raised girl, 70 and 80 degrees in February is like finding shelter after a raging storm. It’s sweet relief. So that was the whip cream and cherry (if I liked cherries) on an already decadent and rich, brownie, fudge and caramel sundae.

The friend I visited has been one of my dearest friends for about 20 years. We have been through so much together. There’s just something to be said for having friends like her. We haven’t seen one another in ages, but whenever we see one another we’re laughing and talking as if we have never missed a beat.  I love meeting new people and making connections, but there’s just something about the ones you have with those who know you best.  My friend took great care of me over the weekend.  She told me to just bring myself and not worry about a thing. I have no idea why she told me not to worry, considering how well she knows me.  Worry is what I do.  It’s what I know.  But I did my best to listen to her.  My friend treated me to some of the best meals I’ve had in a long time, a massage, and the joy of being a passenger while she drove us to our destinations.  When I tell you this was all like sweet manna!

However, as much as I enjoyed myself, I have to admit that it did bring up some issues for me.  I didn’t have to contribute anything this weekend but myself.  All I had to do was sit back and receive.  Yet, that was incredibly difficult for me.  I wanted to do something. I even felt guilty.  It allowed me to recognize that I don’t know how to receive.  I am so accustomed to giving to others, yet I am not as accustomed to being given to.  And that’s just one more thing I need to release.

When I began examining this phenomenon of mine, I realized that it’s behavior that I learned from my parents.  See, both of my parents are givers. Correction, they are over-givers.  They give to everyone–even when not asked.  They felt like it was their duty to take care of everyone. My dad was an especially generous over-giver.  He had a wonderful heart, yet he had a habit of inserting himself where he wasn’t necessarily needed, nor asked to be.  He would go out of his way to take care of others–which would result in his depleting himself and becoming resentful.  He would resent that he wasn’t appreciated and that others didn’t go out of their way for him the way he did for them.  I guess when it became too much, he created the idea that it was better to take care of yourself than to allow others to take care of you. Always have your own and always do for yourself. Don’t let anybody do anything for you.  He taught me that and I accepted it.  I believed as he taught me–it was a sign of strength to be self-sufficient and not allow anyone to do anything for  you.  I grew up watching that behavior and assumed it was healthy until I began to follow in his foot steps.  I created the one-sided relationships.  I began to experience the resentment.  I resented being the go-to person for everyone.  Yet, as much as I resented it, I didn’t stop my pattern.  I kept doing the same thing in different relationships–romantic, platonic, associate level–expecting different results. Well, that’s the very definition of insanity.

Refusing to accept love, support, and any other good thing isn’t really strong though. It’s just something wounded people do to mask their fear of rejection.  I learned this weekend that I am so accustomed to operating from a place of lack.  I deplete myself.  And then I seek ways to recharge myself.  Iyanla Vanzant says, “My cup runneth over.  What comes out of the cup is for y’all. What’s in the cup is mine.”  I haven’t been living that way. I’ve been pouring my cup all the way out and giving everything that’s in my cup so that there’s nothing left for me to sip when I thirst.

imagesWhat I didn’t realize until this weekend is that the reason        that my father and I were such over-givers and the reason we don’t allow our cup to runneth over is because deep down we didn’t believe we could have symbiotic relationships.  We didn’t believe we could have people look out for us, do for us, be there for us.  And why did we believe this, you ask? Well, let me answer.  It’s the thing that’s behind the answer to the question I was asked this weekend, which was What do you have to prove and who do you have to prove it to?  My answer was simple and I didn’t even have to think about it.  My answer was that I have to prove that I’m worthy to everyone. But the truth is, I don’t really need to prove it to everyone.  Everyone is my scape goat so that I don’t have to face that my real aggressor is the woman in the mirror.  So the truth is that I have to prove I’m worthy to myself.  Worthy of what, you ask?  Well, let me also answer that as well.  Worthy of good things.  Ahh . . . Now you see how all the dots connect!  My issue of worthiness blocks me from accepting and receiving good things.  No matter how much I want them, I will never have them or enjoy them until I understand one simple truth.  I am worthy.  I am worthy because I am.  I don’t have to do anything, say anything, or be anything to be worthy.  I also don’t have to prove it to myself.  I just need to accept it.

I can’t thank my friend enough for taking such great care of me.  She taught me a lot this weekend. She taught me how to sit my tail down and accept love, support, and a massage (can’t forget the massage). But she provided me with a wonderful lesson that if you allow, people will show up and love you.  Good things will come to you. But you have to let them in.  It’s now time for me to get on with the business of me pouring into my cup so that it can start running(eth) over.

Sensitivity is the New Strong

I love the way the Universe works.  Pay attention and you’re sure to get a message or confirmation of something that’s been making itself known to you.  That happened to me yesterday.  I wrote this post some days ago.  I’d been mulling it around for a while and finally got around to writing it.  But once I wrote it, I just left it sitting in the drafts.  I didn’t want to share it.   I was resisting it for some reason.  But I saw a post from my mentor, Namaste Moore, as I was scrolling through my Facebook timeline and it spoke exactly to what this post is about. So I took that as a loving nudge from The Universe to get out of my own way, and so here I am sharing it. Ok, on with the show.

I’ve been telling you since the beginning of the year how the past year has been all about me unpacking my past. I’m still in the process of unpacking. I’ve got a lot of stuff to purge. 30 plus years of issues. And because they’re so layered, once I purge one thing, I find another beneath it. As I’ve been unpacking a lot of my issues that I’ve tagged onto my dad, I recognized that I need to accept my sensitivity. I’ve always been an extremely sensitive person.  It was problematic for me because my father taught me that it was a problem. I wasn’t supposed to be sensitive. Sensitivity was weakness. Sensitivity meant I was a punk. And I needed to be tough because my father wasn’t raising any punks and the world wasn’t going to be kind to a punk. According to my father, the world was cold and unrelenting, full of people wanting to hurt me and if I didn’t get myself together it was going to chew me up and spit me out.  So I needed to be strong, independent, and able to take care of myself and others. Also according to my father, I wasn’t going to be able to do any of those things carrying my sensitivity around. So I had to get to getting with the business of toughening up.

silhouette-1564372_640          My sensitivity displayed itself in ways that seemed to get under my father’s skin. One of my worst offenses was that I cried. A lot. Actually I still do. I cried if I was happy. I cried if I was sad. Or mad. I even cried if I saw another in pain. But that was unacceptable for my father.  Crying was for punks and I needed to stop crying all of the time.  I remember one such episode when I was 9 years old.  A boy on my school bus punched me in the eye.  While my dad did defend me once he found out, he was also quite upset with me for not fighting the way he thought I should have.  He became incredibly upset when he asked me, What did you do after he punched you? only to hear me say in response, I cried. I thought it was a ridiculous question.  It hurt. Crying when hurt is a normal response, correct?  What was I supposed to do?  My father thought it a ridiculous response. Who in the hell cries when they get hurt?  Hell naw that ain’t normal!  I was supposed to kick the boy’s ass!  That’s what I was supposed to do.  So he told me that I needed to kick his ass the next day, otherwise he would kick mine. Now to some, this probably seems like a reasonable order from a parent.  It certainly was based on my dad’s own upbringing.  He was old school.  Old school wasn’t about being a punk.  Punks jumped up to get beat down, so you best not be a punk.  That meant you didn’t let anybody hurt you.  If you got hurt, it was your fault.  I didn’t know at the time, but for my father that applied to my emotional self as well as my physical self.  As far as he was concerned, he was doing it for my own good.  He would even lament about how hard it was to raise a daughter because he couldn’t be as hard on me as he wanted to be–certainly not as hard as he could be with a boy.  He hated how soft he had to be with me.  I, on the other hand, was perplexed as to how he could possibly think he was soft at all.

The thing about the way my father raised me was that it didn’t work for me.  As he lamented, I wasn’t a boy. I was, indeed a girl.  That meant that I was soft. But softness didn’t mean weakness.  It was just my make up. I was (and still am) sensitive.  I was compassionate. I didn’t physically fight. But I also wasn’t a pushover.  Actually, his harshness caused me to shrink more than my sensitivity ever did.  And the effects of his harshness lasted well into my adulthood.  I struggled with my sensitivity.  I hated myself for feeling all of my feelings–especially hurt.  I hated myself for crying.  I actually still hate to cry in front of people.  I felt like I was going against everything my father stood for whenever I would and even though I would never admit it to him, I desperately wanted his approval–and even to be just like him.  I put an extreme amount of pressure on myself to be all he wanted because I was his only child.  I hated myself whenever I didn’t do what I thought he would do–even if I didn’t agree with him! What I now know is that I was (and still am) a lot like my father–sensitivity and all.  When he was chastising me about my sensitivity, he was actually chastising himself.  He didn’t like that he was sensitive (and believe me, he was).  He saw it as weakness so he developed a bark so loud that no fool ever dare test him. While I, on the other hand, didn’t feel the need to bark. I was content being me. I felt like whomever didn’t like it would leave me alone and those who did would fall in line with me.  But because he didn’t know better, he taught me that I was wrong to feel that way.  And because I didn’t know better, I learned to believe him.  So I packed that gem and have been carrying it around with me ever since.  Until today.

What I know today is that my sensitivity (and my father’s for that matter) is not a weakness.  It’s actually a strength.  And the audacity to be as sensitive as I am without attempting to cover it–to allow myself to be vulnerable–is an even greater strength. I’m embracing my sensitivity and softness.  I’m embracing being vulnerable.  I also know that my father did the best he could with what he had so I don’t need to be angry with him for teaching me as he did.  I know that I also did the best I could, so I don’t need to be angry with myself for carrying the burden as long as I have.  I’m learning to be gentle with myself.  And while he didn’t necessarily directly do it, my father taught me that. And for that I’m grateful.  So as Forrest Gump said, that’s good, one less thing.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.  I might have been awfully uncomfortable last year when having to face the contents of my baggage, but these days post unpacking have been quite enlightening.  I believe Erykah Badu said it best when she instructed in her song, Bag Lady to pack light. So that’s what I’m doing.  I’m packing light.  And I gotta say, I like it.  A lot.

It’s a Celebration, B*tches!

A magical, marvelous, glorious, and wonderful Friday to you!  If you can’t tell, I’m super excited.  My birthday is tomorrow and that gives me a reason to celebrate myself–something I must admit I don’t do nearly enough.  Now while I’m quite interested in doing the damn thing for myself, I can’t deny that this has also given me an opportunity to grow.  Wanna hear how? Well watch the video.

 

 

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.

Defensive Living

Happy Friday!  Well, Saturday now. My apologies for this late post, but I had some severe technological issues yesterday that prevented me from posting this yesterday. But what is a delay, save for a chance to try again? So here we go. Remember when you were learning to drive?  Remember hearing this term, defensive driving?  I do. I was taught that it meant that I needed to drive under the expectation that other drivers could possibly cause harm to my vehicle–either through illegal turns, running red lights, lane changes, etc.  I needed to be alert and aware that danger lurked behind the wheel of every vehicle and driving was a dangerous task.  As I ponder that idea, it has occurred to me that I was taught the same thing about life.  I wasn’t taught that life is full of joy and love.  On the contrary, I was taught that life is hard and full of struggle and danger.  I was taught that I needed to live defensively–being aware that any and almost every body in my life meant me harm and I needed to protect myself from said hard.  It has permeated every facet of my life, save for Motherhood.  I grew up expecting the worst from others–even in the most benign of situations.  It’s strange to think about now because I wonder how much more could I have enjoyed life (and my father as well) if I’d recognized this sooner? Just think about it. Defensive driving makes sense, but defensive living? I’m not so sure. I’m not saying that there isn’t danger in the world.  I recognize that it exists. However, I know for me, life hasn’t been nearly as bad as I’ve anticipated it to be.  And I’m not so sure that living defensively (not to be mistaken for living on the edge), has served me as well as I intended.

 

 

 

 

*About a month ago, I spoke about how we can actually become addicted to the negative experiences in our lives and this is one of the ways it can begin.

In The Game of Life, Someone Must Win and Someone Must Lose . . . Or Really?

Happy Friday! It’s a beautiful day to be alive! I didn’t always feel that way, and truth be told, sometimes I still have to give myself that reminder. But it’s the truth. If you’re here, you have to know and trust that you’re here for a reason–and not just cause your Momma and Daddy got busy. They were all part of the design to get you here. Do you realize how special and amazing that is? It’s ok if you don’t right now. Just promise me that you will get around to recognizing that sooner rather than later, ok?

Today’s video is inspired by My Fizzle. She loves to play the board game, Life. Problem is, I don’t love playing with her. She is ultra competitive and she cheats! She really does! She’s also a hater. She hates on you the entire time we’re playing. She doesn’t want anyone to make more money than she does, get married before her, have babies before her. None of it! But watching her play reminded me so much of how a lot of us walk around playing this actual game of life. We fell into the trap of thinking there are limited resources that only a select few of us can have access to. We hate on others for having and being more than we perceive ourselves to have and be. But what if just like Morpheus told Neo, I told you that the reality you’re choosing to believe is false? What if none of that were true and there was enough for everyone? How, then, would you view yourself and others? Hmm . . . something to really ponder, isn’t it? You keep pondering that and let me know what you come up with. Love ya!

That Old Feeling

A magical and glorious Friday to you! How many of you know that life is grand? Or at the very least that it can be. Don’t worry if you you can’t answer “yes” to that question. For a very long time, I couldn’t answer “yes” either. For a while, I was in what I like to call the valley. The valley is where we go when we’ve been rejected, abused, disappointed, frustrated, and sometimes just plain ole’ pissed off. It’s ok to go in the valley. There are definitely some valleys along the path of life. But you know what? Sometimes you can stay in the valley for too long. Sometimes you can stay so long that you forget to travel up to the peaks and you then become accustomed to the valley and all its surroundings. We weren’t meant to stay in the valley. The valley, like everything else in life, is temporary. But we can spend so much time in the valley that we get a valley mind set. And the valley mind set only keeps the very things we truly want away from us. If you’re in a valley right now, I encourage you to do what you must to not adapt a valley mind set. In other words, get on up from that valley! As a wonderful friend told me, “There is no more valley. The valley is gone. The only way you’re in the valley now is because you keep dragging the valley with you.”

I’m Not Your Superwoman! Hell, I’m Not Even My Own!

Happy Friday to you! Today is a wonderful day and would you like to know why? Well, it’s because you’re here. I become more convinced that there really are no coincidences the longer I live. So it’s no coincidence that you exist at this moment. It’s no coincidence that you happened upon my blog. Even if we can’t connect the dots as to the why’s behind it all, we can rest assured that there is a why. This past week was good for me because I was able to offer support to quite a few of the beloved women in my life. I was able to offer the support they needed because I have walked the path they now found themselves stumbling over. Let me just tell you, it’s taken me a long time to get comfortable enough with myself to share as openly as I now do. And I do it because I know what distress, pain, heartache, failure, and all the other yucky stuff of life feels like. If I can help at least one by offering support, encouragement, or just a glimpse of what it looks like to stand in the midst of it, let alone overcome, it is well with my soul. Today’s video was inspired by so many of the beautiful women I know and love and to the individuals who love them. May you all find peace, joy, and Soul! Wait, that’s the Soul Train, but hey, all aboard! Toot! Toot!

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑