Putting the CL on that ASS!

A Bernie's Daughter Thing


Overcoming Odds

The Detours of Life

Back in December I was out driving and I got so turned around.  It was weird because I wasn’t in unfamiliar territory.  I knew the area and I should have known where I was going, but somehow I wound up in an unfamiliar space.  I took myself so far out of my way and became so impatient and irritable with myself.  Let me be honest and frank. I was pissed.  I should have known better and I wasted my time.  In reality, it was probably only about 5 minutes, but still! That was 5 minutes I could have been doing something else.  Now considering that I was driving, I’m not quite sure what else I could have been doing save for driving. However, in the moment, I knew I could have had the option to do something else besides getting lost in a familiar area.

Well I was in the same area the next day.  Of course you know I had visions of previous irritation dancing in my head.  I vowed to myself as I was driving that I wouldn’t make the same mistake from the night before.  I would pay attention, doggone it.  I noticed a detour sign as I was driving my familiar route. It turns out that there was construction underway on the bridge and it was closed until December 12th.  That means I would not have been able to go across the bridge–which is where I was trying to go the day before.  That’s when it hit me. I wasn’t being derailed. I was being redirected.  I may not have known about the bridge closing the day before, but my detour actually prevented me from getting stuck in the crosshairs of the traffic jam that was underway because of the bridge closing.  I went from irritation to gratitude.  It turns out those 5 minutes really weren’t a waste after all.  And my little driving detour is a perfect metaphor for life.

The Universe is constantly working on our behalves, sending us on little detours. So often when we come across a detour we focus on the inconvenience and disappointment of it. We take detours as stop signs, erroneously believing that the presence of a detour means our goals will never come to fruition.   We believe a detour is a denial, a setback from which we cannot recover; which further serves as proof that what we are never able to get the things we want to pass.  So we stop instead of taking the detour.  We change courses completely or just turn around and go back from whence we came.  However, the truth is that detours are meant to help us.  We cannot see the chaos that lies ahead should we continue on our path, but The Universe can and so it sends us on a detour to help us avoid it all.  Keeping with my traffic imagery, let’s consider when we receive GPS or traffic cam updates while we drive.  Usually, the traffic reporter is reporting from a helicopter where he or she has an aerial view, which provides a greater perspective.  The traffic cam can see all the things you can’t see. So when you’re stuck in the middle lane of gridlock traffic, gritting your teeth and cursing as the road rage courses through your veins you can’t see that there’s an accident 4 miles ahead that is causing the trouble.  You can’t see the construction that’s taking place which will absolutely make traffic go smoother in the long run.  Often what seems like obstacles to us are not obstacles at all, but mere detours pointing us more efficiently in the right direction.  Consider the detours in your life.  Were you actually stopped from seeing your dream come true? Or were you simply redirected?  The next time you encounter a detour, consider that there may actually be construction on the bridge ahead and the detour is simply redirecting you to help you avoid the chaos.

Where Are You Lacking?

Happy Friday!  It’s been said in a really important book that before you remove the beam from your neighbors eye, try removing the plan from your own eye first.  I always thought that was a caution to refrain from judging others. While I think it is, I’m understanding now that it’s also about recognizing that what you see in another just may be a reflection of you.

I was reminiscing with a friend about how my dad had a time reconciling that he had money and didn’t have to scrape to make ends meet.  It was funny watching him until I really empathized with him.  I understand that he struggled because while he had become financially well-off, he was still mentally in a space of lack. I also recognized that while I didn’t do that financially, I did do that in my relationships.  It’s interesting to see where that lack mindset shows up–and it does show up for a lot of us. Where has it shown up for you?

You Can’t Always Have What You Want . . . Or Can You?

Happy Friday!  I’ve been having a fantastic week, as I hope you have as well.  I feel like there’s been one moment after one moment after another where I’ve experienced some wonderfully happy moments. I’ve laughed. I’ve shed some happy tears. I’ve had people be incredibly nice to me.  What’s more, I’ve actually been able to receive people being nice to me! That’s huge for me! I’ve lived much of my life on the defense, erroneously believing that the world was out to get me, that I would have to scrape my knuckles against the ground to get what I want. And that’s because deep down, there was this pervasive fear that I could not actually have what I want. I’d of course heard people say things like What you want also wants you or You’re the only thing standing between where you are and where you want to be. But hearing them say such things only incensed me and convinced me even further that they didn’t know what the hell they were talking about. It wasn’t until I had an epiphany of my own that the reason I didn’t believe them had nothing to do with any truth in my belief, but more because I was sabotaging my way to making my beliefs true.  Wow!


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.

When I Reminisce Over You

Dear 16 year-old Je’Niece,

I look at you today with eyes that have seen so much more than you. That’s not to say that you haven’t seen your fair share of life. But these eyes of mine have seen more than the visions of sugar plums that are currently dancing around in your head. These eyes of mine have seen you achieve your highest highs and your lowest lows. And I have to say to you, based on the road traveled, this 38 year-old woman owes you a sincere apology.

I have blamed you for so much. I blamed you for not speaking up when necessary in this life. I have blamed you for all my failures and disappointments. I have blamed you for not being perfect. I stopped seeing the beauty and wonder that existed within you, and instead only saw how you failed to measure up to this ideal that I thought should have existed. In short, and I’m almost ashamed to admit this now, I hated you. I hated you, 16 year-old Je’Niece. It has taken me all this time to see and admit this.

And just where did this hatred begin? I don’t think there is one exact moment that serves as the definitive one. No. Instead, I think it was a gradual process. An unfortunate seed that was planted, fertilized and watered over the course of one year. The seed germinated until it infected every area of your life. Let’s see, at the age of 16, you lost your virginity. You didn’t really want to. But you didn’t know how to say that. You wanted to be liked, and so you acquiesced. Your religious foundation left you feeling damaged and unworthy after engaging in such a sinful act. You felt guilty beyond repair. It didn’t help that you would vacillate from saying you would never have sex again to dismissing that declaration without much thought. And then it happened. The one thing you never thought would happen to you. You became pregnant. Prior to your pregnancy, you looked your nose down at the young pregnant girls you saw walking around. And then you became one of them. This discovery left you devastated. After all, this wasn’t supposed to happen to you. This was the sort of thing that happened to “fast” girls, but it wasn’t supposed to happen to you because you were supposed to be a “good” girl–a “smart” girl. You should have known better. And there was no way you could have ever told your father. No way! So that left you with only one choice. Abortion. Yep, you had an abortion. This one choice sent you further into the abyss of despair, guilt and shame. This choice followed you and the shame permeated your every choice after that. You didn’t believe you deserved anything good. You told yourself you deserved to be punished. And you unconsciously set out to make sure that you were.

So you accepted ill-treatment from others because you didn’t believe you deserved to be treated better. You lived in fear instead of love because you didn’t think you deserved the fruits of love and joy. You didn’t seek out your dreams because again, you didn’t deserve to have your dreams come true. In short, you resigned yourself to a life of just enough. Just enough to get by. Just enough to wear a half-hearted smile to cover your true shame. Just enough to create the illusion that you were ok. Just enough to continue to buy the bs you were selling to every one else. You walked in fear that you would be found out. I mean, if people only knew the truth, they’d know what a sham you were. Right?

No. Wrong, My Dear.   And I’m sorry I didn’t know any of this back then. I blamed you for so much. I bullied you. I treated you so badly. So these eyes of mine tear a little when they look at you now, because these eyes have seen so much and they see so much more clearly than your young ones. These eyes of mine see so much beauty and strength and grace. My goodness, young woman, you are powerful beyond measure! You carried all of that on your shoulders–alone–and still managed to graduate a year early from high school with honors, go on to college and grad school, get married, raise a baby, and have love in your heart for others! You never allowed the light within to truly dim. You need to know that all of that is a sign of strength.

So yes, I have to say sorry. I used to look at you and hate what I saw. I used to think you were pathetic and weak and could have been so much more. I’m so sorry because I now know I couldn’t have been more wrong. Looking at you now leaves me with so much gratitude. It’s because of you that I stand here today. Your strength brought me this far.  So yes, thank you, 16 year-old Je’Niece! If I could, I’d give you the biggest, warmest, heartiest hug you have ever had. But since I can’t, allow me to say something I wish I’d said a long time ago. I love you.

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.


Gratitude Day #5

Well it’s day 5 and today’s gratitude is a bit deep.  It has to do with a secret that I carried around for much of my life.  I actually never even told my father before he passed away.  Yet today, I don’t feel the heaviness of it as I did in years passed. In m opinion, humble as it may be, that is a true mark of my growth.  And yet another reason to be thankful.

On this day I am grateful for my unborn child. I’ve not shared this with many, but almost 20 years ago, when I was 16, I got pregnant. I felt ashamed, embarrassed, and disappointed. But most of all, I was just plain old scared. I was scared of what my father was going to do to me when he found out. He would have killed me—or come very close to it. And who could blame him? After all, I deserved to be punished. I was supposed to be a good girl and if I was pregnant, that meant I was having sex, and good girls simply did not do that. It also didn’t help that I’d begun having sex simply because my boyfriend wanted to. I wasn’t even remotely curious about sex. I just really wanted to be loved so when he showed me in a most non-discreet and obvious way where we were headed, I fell silent and complicit. I thought to myself, “Oh wow, I guess I’m going to have sex now.” And I did. I felt ashamed, but that was when and how he showed me attention and I desperately wanted his attention, so I continued to engage. I acted like I liked it. I acted as if I wanted it, but I didn’t and I died a little inside each time I succumbed to his will. I was in agony. Winding up a sobbing hot mess on the bathroom floor after reading the positive result on a pregnancy test only pushed me further into the abyss. I decided that I wouldn’t tell my parents. I’d get an abortion and never think about it again. But for the next 10 years, all I could think about was that baby and the horrible thing I’d done. The abortion only fueled the war I’d unconsciously waged against my already fragile self-esteem. I was in misery every single day.

A few days after the procedure, my mom found my medication. She’s a nurse so she knew exactly what the pills were. Too ashamed and afraid to tell her, I lied. I said they belonged to my best friend. She believed me—or at least she really wanted to. I felt so bad that I confessed to my friend. Being the wonderful friend she was/is, all she said was “Well, your parents already think I’m fast so a little less respect from them won’t hurt me.” Now it would seem that I’d been given a pass so that meant that I should’ve been ok from that point forward. But I wasn’t. I actually felt worse. In my mind, not only was I a fornicator and a murderer, but I was also a liar with no morals and a horrible friend. I deserved a fate worse than death. I deserved to be brutally punished over and over until I wished for death. And because I was so low, I didn’t even deserve to be relieved of my agony through death. For over a decade I rooted myself in this torment. I would be 27 years old, finding myself pregnant for the second time when I recognized that everything I was feeling was nothing but guilt and I had been wallowing in it. Before I gave birth to Jasmine, I thought about my unborn child every day. What would she/he look like? What would I have named him/her? What kind of mother would I have been? I didn’t believe I’d ever get the chance to become a mother. After all, I didn’t deserve it. When I found myself pregnant with Jasmine, I was happy but afraid. I was afraid every day of my pregnancy. I thought something would go wrong. I thought I deserved for something to go wrong. How dare I enjoy the beauty of motherhood after what I’d done to my first child? Once Jasmine was born, a peace wavered over me that said, “Enough. You must take care of this little girl who is here. It’s ok. You’ve punished yourself enough. Now stop this foolishness. It’s time to enjoy.”

I’ve heard it said that the soul of an unborn child simply waits until the next time to be born to their mother. So I don’t know if Jasmine was the soul waiting to be born through my unborn child at that time, or if my unborn child was another soul who has gone on to glory. But I do know, that I love that unborn child with all my might and I appreciate my unborn child. Through that brief encounter, that beautiful little soul has touched my life in a most amazing way. That soul taught me that guilt is a monster that serves no one. Guilt is a beast that robs of all joy. I wasn’t even able to get the lesson intended for me because I was stuck in my shame spiral. Through my unborn child I learned that guilt and sorrow are not the same. Sorrow says, “I messed up. I won’t do that again.” But guilt doesn’t. Guilt isn’t necessarily sorry for the act.  It simply feels bad about it because it knows the act goes against your moral compass.  Sorrow seeks to make amends.  Guilt just wants to feel better.  Guilt will continue to repeat the same thing and cry afterward having the nerve to say “Oh I feel so bad.” Yes I was sorry for my mis-steps, and I never did repeat the same mistake. However, the guilt is what allowed, even compelled me, to remain in the horrible cycle of punishing myself time and again. The guilt prohibited me from receiving and enjoying good. That unborn child also taught me compassion. Before I found myself pregnant, I judged young, unwed mothers. I looked down upon them. They were something to point at while I puffed up my chest and told myself how much better than they I was. The sweet irony of ending up just like them forced me to bake and eat my very own humble pie. While it wasn’t as sweet as I would have liked, it was very necessary and it was sustenance for my soul. I learned that we are all on our own journey and no one person is better than any other. We may cling to petty and superficial ties to make ourselves feel superior, but underneath all that bravado lays insecurity. But our insecurity is no excuse for having the audacity to think we can judge another. I’m still not convinced that I didn’t make the best decision for me at the time, but what I am convinced of is that it was all par for my course and I’m thankful for it. If my unborn child can hear me, I simply want to say that even though I didn’t birth you, I love you with all my heart and know that Mommy finally got the lesson. Thank you.


Gratitude Day #4

While I didn’t get to post my gratitudes for the past 2 days, I must say I’m still feeling quite grateful.  My daughter and I have gone to visit my best friend who moved away in August.  I’ve known her since we were 4 years old.  She’s been an integral part of my life throughout its duration.  I was quite happy when she received the amazing job opportunity in August–which is what prompted her move.  I was so excited for her and her son (who is also my amazing god son).  But, I can’t lie.  I was sad for me.  I was sad that my best friend was gone and I would no longer have the opportunity to just run by and sit on her couch while we talk about everything and nothing.  I was so excited to see them when they pulled up at the airport that I burst into tears.  It’s been great spending time with them.  And my Fizzle is so happy to see her “brother.” We’re reunited and it feels oh so good.  So this feel good feeling that we’re all feeling is only inspiring me to continue on with the gratitudes. So here we go.

On this day I am grateful to my mother. When I was growing up, my security relied on my parents. In my mind, we were a Love Triangle–our own Holy Trinity if you will–with my dad at the top, and me and my mom at the bottom. I didn’t want much if we weren’t all together. As the years went on, my mom and I developed an incredibly close relationship. I would tell people she was my best friend. I would nurture her and look out for her. I never told her, but I’d even get scared in the middle of the night that something might happen, so I’d get up and check her breathing. Mother-Daughter relationships are extremely complicated and can be incredibly volatile. Yet somehow, my mother and I were able to navigate through the explosive Mother/Daughter realm with ease. We were the amazing dynamic duo. We were the envy of mothers and daughters everywhere. I had several friends chastise their moms with cries of “Why can’t we be more like Je’Niece and her mom!” Of course our relationship would irritate the hell out of my dad and he’d say things like “Your mother is going to hurt your feelings one day.” I thought that was incredibly odd and quite rude to say, and I couldn’t understand why he’d say that—until he passed away

An incredible shift took place in our relationship. A distance I’d never known grew between us. It felt quite hostile. All that mushy gooey-ness we shared seemed to dissipate before my very eyes. It was incredibly hard for me. As an only child, I’d built my identity on my parental units. Now my father was dead and it seemed that my mother was (in a way) dying to me as well. I would ask if I’d done anything, did I remind her too much of my dad, and of course she would say no. But she wouldn’t offer me any thing else. We went from talking for hours every day to not talking—sometimes for weeks at a time. She had her story she was into about me and I had my story that I was into about her. It was so bad that when she got engaged, I may have been the last person to find out. She told people at the spa we both went to before she told me! I was crushed. I don’t do well when my feelings are hurt. I retreat. To others, it appears that I’m angry, but I am not. I am simply hurt and unable to move forward. It’s a simple defense mechanism, but this time I made an exception. I chased my mother. I mean I ran after her until there were holes in my proverbial emotional shoes. I couldn’t sleep or eat and it seemed like the harder I chased, the faster and the farther she ran away. Until this day we have never come to a true conclusion as to what prompted the shift. But you know what? It doesn’t matter. All I know is that I am so thankful that it occurred, because it forced me to recognize some heavy truths. While I love my mother with one of the purest loves I’ve ever felt, we had an extremely co-dependent, slightly dysfunctional relationship. My father was the center of our universe and much of our bond centered on an Us vs. Him set up. We weren’t very honest with one another either. I think we both believed my father to be a brutally honest person who would not dare hesitate to hurt your feelings in the name of “Truth” so we wouldn’t give that honesty to one another. We’d give the sweet, syrup, sugar coated version of what we thought the other “needed” to hear. I think we both also bought into the notion that the only “important” person in the family was my dad. Even before he became famous, he had this electric energy that just commanded attention. We both knew we were important, but just not as important as he. So we settled into this coddling type of relationship with one another. Neither one of us living to our true potential, but telling each other that we were. When my dad passed away, we didn’t need that anymore. We needed to move into something that would better serve us. But I didn’t get that. Hell, I didn’t want that! I felt like: Dammit there has been enough change in my life (with my dad’s death and my divorce) and if I couldn’t have at least this one relationship the way it’s always been what the hell was left for me?! But I realize now that was one of the best things that ever happened to me. And it had to happen as it did because I wouldn’t have gotten the memo any other way. Had she not stepped away from me, I probably would have moved in with her and become a spinster. I would have played safe, put all my focus on her. I would have asked permission to make any type of move in my life and only done so if she wanted me to. I remember her coming to me after my dad died. She said, ‘I had a dream that you moved to California with Jasmine and I was so hurt. I just couldn’t believe that you would do that to me.” I really did want to move to California, but I took what she said as a warning and decided, “OK well I won’t do that.” That shift in our relationship showed me that having boundaries in our relationships is one of the healthiest, loving things we can do for the ones we love. That shift in our relationship healed the mother/daughter bond and allowed me to be a better mother to my daughter. Otherwise, I probably would have repeated the very same pattern with Jasmine. Regardless of my initial reaction, that shift was the best thing that ever happened to us. We both have gone on to the paths we were meant. I now know that better days are ahead of me and that I am the only person required to give permission in my life. And while our present relationship is not what it was, I don’t love or appreciate my mother any less than I did then. I may actually appreciate her more because she helped me find my strength. So in some ways, once again, my dad was right because my mom did in fact hurt my feelings. But whether she meant to or not, she made me a better person, Woman and Mother. So thanks Mom. You were and still are a great teacher.

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