Happy Friday to you! I am sending good vibes out with today’s post. I really feel like 2016 is stirring up some things for us. There seems to be a collective consciousness that is awakening. I think that’s one of the reasons we’re seeing these themes of unrest and disruption in our world events. Whenever a change is imminent, we mere mortals tend to hold on for dear life to what we have known. There is some fluidity, also known as detachment, that Life needs from us in order for us to get to that “more,” “better,” “different” that we all imagine and yearn for. We can do it. We just have to be willing to detach (there goes that word again!), or let go of the reigns in order to get it. Hope you have a magical weekend!
Happy, Magical Friday! You may wonder why I am calling it magical. Well, it’s because you’re here. And I don’t say that lightly. Believe me, I struggle quite often with seeing myself and this world as magical. There are days when I’m feeling anything but magical. There are days when I just want to pull the covers over my head and stay in bed because it feels better than the alternatives. And I can honestly say that I’ve had more of those days than many people believe. And then something happens. My daughter may say something that sends a surge of love through me. Someone I love may call me and give me the exact message I needed to hear at that moment. I may even read a book that speaks to my soul. And I’m reminded of the beauty that lies within. I’m reminded that life is bigger than my feelings. I’m reminded that Honey, it’s not that life is magical. No, it’s that I’m the magic! And so are you. And then I get up and remember like L’oreal says, “I’m worth it.”
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.
I’m still in the Gratitude spirit. What I realized yesterday after I posted is that I’m not in this space because Thanksgiving is almost upon us. I actually keep forgetting that Thanksgiving is next week. When my dad passed, I really lost my connection to the pagan holidays that once meant so much to me. I decided that I didn’t want to give any one day so much more meaning than my other days. Now don’t get me wrong. I look forward to the “excuse” to gather with loved ones, eat good food, and just chillax. But I don’t need a holiday to do that. I’m actually in the spirit of Gratitude because it just feels good. It feels good to change my perspective from one of complaining and longing for what I don’t have into one of appreciation and excitement over what I do. Lending that gratitude spirit to the seemingly “bad” things that have happened in my life only magnifies the gooey goodness I feel. So onward to my gratitude for this second day.
On this day, I am grateful to my ex husband and our really not so great marriage. 5 years ago, I made a very difficult decision to end my marriage. I was married for 6 years (we were together for 9 years) and while that seems like a lifetime ago, I still remember many, many things about that relationship. I refer to that time in my life as the Dark Ages. Most people hear me say that and think I am saying it as an affront to my ex husband. But I am not. They were the Dark Ages because I was in the dark. I was so unaware of my identity. I had no idea who I was, what I wanted, or where I was going. During that time, I needed others to validate me and tell me like L’Oreal, that “I’m worth it”. When you operate from such a low vibration, you tend to attract people who do the opposite of what you wish. And so, my ex husband was no exception. I don’t think he truly appreciated or respected me. Yet that was not solely his fault. I was the one who told him that he didn’t have to. Oh of course my mouth said otherwise. However, everything else about me said that it was ok to disrespect, disregard, and undervalue me. My time with my ex husband was some of the most miserable time in my life. And I say that not because of him, but because of me. I settled because I didn’t think I deserved to be loved and appreciated. I became the master at smiling on the outside while slowly dying on the inside. I was so full of guilt, shame, and self-loathing that I unconsciously decided that I needed to be punished. I only wanted men who would treat me as poorly as I so erroneously believed I deserved. It may sound crazy to some, but today, I am so thankful for my ex husband and our dysfunctional marriage because my time with him showed me what an injustice I was creating against myself. I remember in my vows, I said to him that he was an excellent teacher because with him I had learned what it truly meant to love. I still stand by that for he really did teach me how to truly love myself. Through my marriage, I learned that it was ok to say no. I learned that there is nothing honorable in martyring myself. The true honor is in recognizing and standing lovingly in my own power. And so, because of my ex husband, I am a better woman for myself, for our daughter, and for the man who is truly meant for me. I’m also thankful to my ex husband because I know what it feels like to have my father walk me down the aisle and give me away. Had I not married when I did, I may not have ever had that experience. Because of my ex husband, I have the most precious child I could ever know. He helped me create the most beautiful person I’ve ever known and I will forever be thankful for that. Also, in part to my ex husband, my father was able to experience the pure joy of being a grandfather. He enjoyed 18 months of sheer bliss with his grand baby, and he may not have ever had that without my ex husband. Regardless of any of my personal feelings about him and how he treated me, he served as a wonderful mirror and teacher to me. My time may not have been the best with him, but my life is certainly better because of him. I count it all joy because of the woman I have become. There was a time when all I could think of was the “wasted time” I spent with him. But today, I know better. Today, I am thankful for all the preparation that I experienced during my time with my ex husband. Instead of looking back at it thinking Why did I? What was I thinking? Why did it take me so long? I look back and say Thank you for all the lessons, all the ups and downs because now I know better. And because I know bettter, I do better and am better. So thanks be to him.
*As I mentioned yesterday, I wrote this 2 years ago. So now it’s been 7 years since my divorce and I still feel this way.*
If you know me, you know that my daughter. The Fizzle, as I affectionately call her, is the love of my life. I love her in a space where there are no words. But, as much as I love her, that love is not enough to sustain me. If I did nothing else but love her and be her Mom, I would die unfulfilled. Now, before you write me off as a selfish Mommy, hear me out.
I said that I love her. She is the love of my life. However, my love for her cannot shade my divine soul purpose. I know that I was put here on this Earth to do something beyond motherhood. That’s not a mark against motherhood though. I think that being The Fizzle’s mom is one of the most rewarding roles I will ever fill. What I’m saying is that it’s not my only role.
When the Fizzle was first born, I was overwhelmed. I had this image in my head of what being a mother was supposed to entail. I was so fixated upon this image that I overwhelmed myself. I felt bad if I let her cry for too long. I felt bad when she cried even after I’d crossed off all the important items on the baby comfort checklist: fed and burped her, changed her diaper, had her at appropriate temperature. I simply felt like a failure. I can’t even say that I put myself last because I didn’t even put myself on the list. I fell into the trap of thinking that a good Mommy is one who martyrs herself for the sake of her child. And as a result, I was tired and miserable. I remember one particular day when I was just spent. I had nothing left. The Fizzle was only maybe 3-4 months old. She was crying and so was I. I had done everything I could think to soothe her, and was unsuccessful. So I put her in her crib and closed the door. I decided I would go downstairs just to collect myself. I couldn’t even make it down the stairs. I fell on one of the steps and simply cried. I remember saying, “I know I wanted to be a mother. This is what I wanted. But I didn’t think it would look like this.” Well the problem was that in my vision of motherhood, I was showing up every day. But in the reality of it, I was not. I was failing to show up for myself. I demoted myself in this world as just a Mom. And in doing so, I signed myself up to feel inadequate and to not take up my rightful place in this world.
I thought about my daughter and all that I wanted for her. I wanted so much for her. I wanted her to be and have everything that she wanted. And I believed that she could do it. So how is it that I could have all this faith in her, yet none for myself? And how exactly did I expect her to do whatever she wanted if I didn’t model that for her? How unfair I was being to the both of us. I was being unfair to myself by failing to show up for myself in every way. I was being unfair to my daughter by placing an unrealistic burden on her to be my everything. While it makes for catchy song lyrics, she was not, in fact, all I needed to get by. No one person can ever truly fulfill another—not even a child. To ask one to do so is selfish in my opinion, so I won’t. That is far too great a task to ask of my precious child. And I love her (and me) too much to do that.
No, I couldn’t ask that of my baby. Mommy needed to get on with the business of living for both of us. And that meant that I needed to engage my innate gifts and talents. That meant that I needed to admit that I had dreams that needed fulfilling. And if I didn’t go on to fulfill them, what was I doing with my life? And just like that, I gave up the ghost of martyrdom. I stopped telling myself that being a good mother was all I needed to do with my life. I stopped pretending that there weren’t dreams inside of me. I made the conscious choice to dedicate myself to myself and live my truth.
I’m so grateful to my daughter for helping me to learn this lesson. She showed her Mommy the way—and she didn’t even know it (or maybe she did and I just didn’t know). And that is why I can boldly and lovingly say that which I said at the start. While I love my daughter, motherhood alone will not leave me fulfilled. My father would say to me that the world owes me nothing. It is I who owed the world. I owe it to not only myself, but also this world to put forth my best self and use the talents that I possess to leave my imprint upon this world. And that’s exactly what I’m doing.
*photo by YourMemories Photography*
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!
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!