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!
Today marks eight years since you left this realm. It’s difficult to put my feelings into words. That’s because at any given moment, there seems to be a simultaneous exchange of starkly opposite sensations or experiences. It feels like it was just yesterday I was at the hospital with mom when we received the worst news ever–that you were gone. Yet, it feels as if I’ve been living without you for so long–too long if you want to really know the truth. I marvel at how far I’ve come, as far as grief is concerned. And just as soon as I pat myself on the back, waves of pain will come crashing down upon me. Like I’ve said, it’s difficult to put into words. I guess it’s best for me to start at the beginning and work my way up to today.
That initial moment after your passing stays with me. Hearing mom ask the doctor as she looked sadly upon us, “He’s gone, isn’t he?” and watching her face as the realization that you were indeed gone settled was heart wrenching. I remember screaming “No! No! No!” over and over again, thinking if I said it loud enough that I could reverse it and you wouldn’t be gone. I spent the next days of my life in a haze. One minute I could be seemingly fine, and broken down beyond repair the next. I settled into a grief-riddled depression after that. The pain was too intense. There was just no way I could go on without you. There was no way I could live another day without hearing you shout “What’s gwoings?” or “Hey Daughter!” It hurt too much to know that The Fizzle wouldn’t get to grow up with you. I didn’t want to go on. At least that’s what I thought back then. Today I know I just didn’t want to FEEL. The feelings were too intense. I wanted to die. Yes. That was the answer. That was the only way to stop this disrespectful attack of grief. So I wrestled with the idea of taking my own life. I concocted a few plans, but I could never seem to go through with any of them. Was that you stopping me? I’m not sure, but I’m glad that I didn’t go through with any of my plans.
So that left me with soldiering on. I just had to get up every day and keep living. I didn’t like it. Not one bit. But I did it anyway. I didn’t feel like I had any reason to keep going, save for The Fizzle. She became my reason for living. Gradually, I was able to find another reason to keep going–to be a living demonstration of your legacy. After all, I’m your only child. I’m all that’s left of you. It was up to me to keep your name going. I put a tremendous amount of pressure on myself to keep your legacy going. I think I put more pressure on me than you did during my childhood. Who would think that’s possible? I stressed myself out. I heard your voice criticizing me every time I felt like I was failing. Then one day you came to me in a dream and told me to “Chillax.” You told me that I didn’t need to put this pressure on myself because you did your work and now it was up to me to do my own work. More than that, you let me know that your legacy isn’t your comedy, or your movies, or anything related to your fame. You told me that I’m your legacy. You told me that The Fizzle is your legacy and out of everything you’ve done, you were most proud to be my dad.
And that allowed me to let go. I had to let go of you. I didn’t want to because I thought letting go of you was me saying that I was forgetting about you. I thought it was disrespectful. But I realized that it wasn’t about letting go in a sense that I’m saying you are not an integral part of me. It was about letting go of the attachment that I had to the past. I couldn’t let go of the desire to hang on to what was. I wouldn’t be able to embrace anything new if I kept holding on to the past. I had to detach. After all, you had. You had transformed. You were no longer saddled with the baggage of the human costume. You were beyond it. I knew you were right. You did your work. And now it was time for me to do my own work. And I could do my work. I could do my work while walking upon the foundation that you so lovingly laid down for me. How blessed am I?
Daddy, I have been through so much since you left. There have been so many tears, so many doubts, so many regrets. But there have also been so much more. So many smiles, so many laughs, and so much love. And you have been a part of it all. It’s because of you I am. It’s because of you The Fizzle is. We talk about you at least once a day–not in an effort to not let go, but more so to make sure that we recognize that your death doesn’t negate your life. Thank you so much for all you did while you were here. And thank you so much for what you do from beyond.
I used to dread August 9th. I used to go through severe insomnia leading up to the day. I would become depressed. In an effort to combat it, I would try to do all kind of things that were in stark contrast to depression. I’ve gone skydiving. I’ve released balloons in your honor. I’ve danced. I don’t feel like I have to do that anymore. Now I feel like all of that was in a way celebrating your death. I had unknowingly created a shrine to the day. Your physical death took up so much space in my mental memory. Today, I acknowledge the day, but I don’t need to celebrate it. And therein lies the beauty of the birth, death, rebirth cycle. While it can seem like you are losing so much in death, you actually gain so much as well. Again, all I can say is thank you. Now I can’t lie. I miss you. I miss you a lot. But I can honestly admit that I love you more. As you used to say, my love for you is non-transferable and I love you from the top and the bottom of my heart.
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.
Happy Friday! What a wonderful time it is. It’s Father’s Day weekend and I feel like that’s a wonderful time to celebrate men. I love men. I can admit that I haven’t always been able to say that. However, I’m so grateful that I can say that now. I think Father’s Day is a wonderful time for us to examine and begin to take the steps to heal our relationship with the masculine because for many of us, the wounds we have in our relationship with the masculine are rooted with our relationship with our fathers. That’s why I’m not speaking today of the absent dads–the ones who couldn’t (for whatever reason) be the men we needed. The story is told so much. I think it’s time for a new narrative. Although, I will sidebar right now and wish love and joy to all of those whose dad was absent. I’m sorry he wasn’t there. I’m sorry he wasn’t what you needed. I hope you are at peace now, and if not, I hope you are on your way to finding peace.
So , as I was saying, dad’s (and men in general) have gotten a bad rep over the years, and it’s time to release those old ideas that no longer serve. Men are great. Men are vital. After all, women may make the world go round, but men are the axis upon which it spins. Happy Father’s Day to all the dads!
I went on a date two weeks ago. That might not seem news worthy to you, but those who know me are aware of what a big deal this was. I haven’t been on a date in . . . let’s just say awhile. Not because I’m not interested in dating, but the opportunity just hasn’t presented itself. You see, I don’t get approached very often by men. When I am approached, I’m usually approached by older gentlemen. And by older, I mean they’ve been proud card carrying members of AARP for at least 15 years–and that’s not usually the median. Hey, I’m not knocking that. My daddy was an AARP member before he passed. But that’s just the thing. I don’t have the Daddy issues that would allow me to feel comfortable going out with one of these Sugar Daddies. Well I hope they would intend to be a Sugar Daddy coming at me with that. But anyway! I’m getting off topic. Back to the date. So I was minding my own business at the gas station when a nice looking gentlemen drove up and complimented my leggings. I didn’t think anything of it. I smiled and said, “Thank you.” He continued to compliment me and then asked for my number. I was caught completely off guard, but I acquiesced and gave my number. He called just a few hours later and asked me out that night. I didn’t know whether to be flattered or concerned. (I told you it’s been a while). But I agreed. Again, those that know me are aware of what a huge deal this is. As a matter of fact, my god sis and a couple of my friends were quite amazed at my revelation. Now I wasn’t quite like Prince Akeem proclaiming to the young girls on the stoop that I have a date with Lisa, but I was excited by the idea of a man being nice to me, taking me out, and showing me a good time.
I’m not one of those who get swept up in the rapture of imagination. One date did not a love match make for me. So I’m saying my expectations were in check. Let’s just go out and see how it goes. Talking with him on the phone held promise, so I figured odds were good that I would have a good time. After all, positive thoughts usually yield positive results, right? Well, let me just say, positively thinking for the best did not a successful date make. It was a disaster! I felt like a piece of meat on the chop block for the most carnivorous of carnivores. He kept referring to how sexy I am. Now, don’t get me wrong. A compliment can be very nice. And I’ll admit that as a woman, yes I want to be seen as attractive by the opposite sex. But there is a point where one can go too far and the compliment doesn’t seem that . . . well, complimenting. The guy went past that point. It went downhill when after dinner he proclaimed, “Well since we didn’t order dessert, that means you’ll have to be dessert.” Bruh! No. Just no. We went to a movie after dinner and he basically assaulted my mouth the entire time. Think Charlotte from the “No Ifs, Ands or Butts” episode of Sex and the City when she dated the bad kisser and proclaimed, “He raped my chin!” While he didn’t rape my chin, he did ram his tongue down my throat, and kept ramming said tongue down my throat. I think he thought it was sexy. It wasn’t though. I kept pulling away, but that only seemed to make him think it was meant for him to go harder. Again, it was horrible. Other horrible mentions for the night included him proclaiming to me that he was keeping me for the night. For the record, he wasn’t nor did he. He also asked me what he was going to do when he introduced me to his mama’nem. Yeah again, No. Just no. He also looked down at my feet and called telling me “Looks like I”m going to be sucking on some toes tonight” a compliment. Again, I just have to say that it was bad. Now, I’m not knocking anyone who thinks any of this was good. But for me, this was not good. None of it was good. I couldn’t wait to get in my car and drive away.
Of course, my girlfriends all got a wonderful hearty laugh at my expense. My god sis actually just stopped bringing it up. Aside from that, this little story here isn’t really about the guy or the bad date. I’m someone who approaches everything in life from a “What’s in this for me?” stand point. I believe there’s always a lesson that can be learned if we pay enough attention. While I wholeheartedly believe the date was horrible, I have to say I did get a lesson. I learned that it’s time for me to stop playing small when it comes to the opposite sex. I’ve been so focused on being Mommy and getting my ducks in a row for myself that I have been closed off from men. My god sis is always telling me that men look at me but I never seem to notice. I’ve been unintentionally sending off invisible smoke signals that indicate to men to keep on walking.
The other thing I learned is that I’m uncomfortable with being seen by men. Before it became pervy, I was taken aback by the compliments guy was giving me because it just doesn’t occur to me that I’m seen as attractive. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have low self esteem where I’m looking like Little Quacker from Tom & Jerry, with a bag over my head proclaiming, “I’m so ugly.” But I do struggle with the idea that people see me as attractive–especially men. It’s a bit unnerving when people compliment me on my looks. I don’t know why, but it is. When I see an attractive man, I don’t even bother to show interest because my first thought is, “He’s probably not interested in me anyway.” So this experience taught me that it’s time for me to get comfortable receiving. I need to get comfortable receiving time, attention, compliments, and genuine interest. I’m so accustomed to giving. I will give beyond what I am able because giving just feels natural to me. I will give until it doesn’t feel good to give anymore. And what do I do then? I give some more. My scales of balance are off. It’s time to get them back in balance. So I guess I can’t say the date was all bad. Well, yeah I can, but at least I can also say something good came out of it for me.
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.
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!
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!
“Happy Friday! It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood. One of my favorite songs that I’ve been playing lately is Demi Lovato’s Confident. It’s on my Theme Songs playlist and I love it because it speaks to me. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being confident. In fact, it’s absolutely necessary that we have some confidence in ourselves. This is an area in which I have struggled. I’ve put my confidence in people, things, events, but very rarely myself. Well times they are a-changing because I’m finally learning to put some confidence in myself. I hope you’re doing that as well.
And it’s so very easy to look at someone else and believe that they’re much better at the confidence game than you. But we all at some point or another struggle with confidence. And if you haven’t yet, just keep living, because it will probably happen. I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes.
“If you have no confidence in self, you are twice defeated in the race of life. With confidence, you have won even before you’ve started.”