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Slice of Wisdom

As long as you think that the cause of your problem is “out there”—as long as you think that anyone or anything is responsible for your suffering—the situation is hopeless. It means that you are forever in the role of victim, that you’re suffering in paradise.

-Byron Katie, Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life

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Having Compassion for the Abuser

I always felt so hot and cold towards her. Whenever she doesn’t feel well, whenever she is upset — I tend to ignore it. And it’s a symptom of what I’ve had to endure. It’s not easy switching your learned responses when you have been conditioned for years and even so when you’re constantly reminded of the past.

There are still things that my mother says and does that remind me of the fact that although she is no longer the same person she was when I was a kid she still certainly displays some similar characteristics. For example, my mother doesn’t typically apologize for anything unless someone calls her out on it. She doesn’t respect your space and likes to rearrange your things the way she wants them. As a child she used to take things from my room and give them away without asking. I don’t think anyone could ever blame me for being upset.

I like to think that I’ve forgiven my mother for everything that she put me through emotionally, mentally, physically but I can’t seem to get past it. I’m hoping that by immersing myself into Iyanla Vanzant’s book Forgiveness will help. I’m starting this 21-day journey tonight and will be documenting my progress. Here goes everything!

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Not a Good Friend? You’d Make a Terrible Lover.

Since I’ve been single for the past four months (longest time I’ve been single in the last seven years) I’ve had more time to devote to being a good friend — no make that a great friend. And by focusing more time on friends I can honestly say that my future romantic relationships will be even better.

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Me and Elizabeth! One of the most amazing people ever!

As some of you many know from reading my blog, a few months ago I left my hometown of Jacksonville, Fla. and headed down to south Florida. I didn’t leave on the best of terms so it’s been an adjustment to say the least. Leaving out of pure dire necessity is never how I envisioned my departure. I thought it would always be a one-in-a-lifetime job opportunity that would sweep me away from Florida’s First Coast. Or perhaps a significant other and I finally deciding to embark onto new territory. Yeah, either one of those could not be farther from the truth of what happened. If you’ve read a few of my entries you can easily find the center of my recent radical life transition.

With all that being said, living hundreds of miles away from friends and really only having the luxury of phone conversation has allowed me to work on my listening. Something that I still struggle with constantly. I’m that friend who wants to jump ahead and guess the next word you’re trying to say or try and relate to every story you have. So guilty of this. I really need to learn to be present in the moment and regard everyone’s words as important as my own and really let them speak from the heart. This is way easier said than done. I mean the sheer agony of a long pause makes me want to leap out of my seat and yell, “Did you mean…?!” Or the, “Oh my God! Your mom left your sweater out to dry and it smells bad! Well my mother washed my khaki skirts with a red shirt and I had to wear pink skirts for months!” I’m the over-enthusiastic conversationalist who sometimes can’t wait to get her two cents in.

Now, I’ve made some friends since I’ve recently moved and I’ve been trying to improve the in-person interaction as well. I am realizing that in my past relationships I used to be selfish and well, I think we can all say in unison: that is not okay! For example, I never realized exactly how important it is to do something for someone you love just because it makes them feel better — and without questioning it. Sometimes it feels like maybe I’m the last one to learn this lesson but it’s a new one for me. I was so caught up in how I wasn’t meeting my own needs that I couldn’t wrap my brain around anyone else’s needs. Ugh, sometimes I feel it’s a wonder they’ve all stuck around. I like to think it’s my endless supply of hugs and laughter that keeps them coming back, ha-ha.

Since I’ve been thinking about friendships lately and how to improve upon being the best friend ever I’ve realized that this will inadvertently improve my future romantic relationships. In essence you’re supposed to marry you’re best friend and if you can’t treat your own friends with love, dignity, respect, empathy and honesty then how the heck are you going to know how to treat your significant other? It makes sense doesn’t it? I mean having this new profound outlook really puts future relationships into perspective and until I feel confident in my abilities as a friend I dare not venture into ‘love land’. Also, I have about 10 zillion things I’d love to accomplish before meeting that SOS. Having long-term friends teaches you the value of companionship, acceptance, compromise, patience and dealing with everyday life.

After going through something that really shakes you to your core you definitely start to realize the importance of a lot of things, especially friendships. I am blessed to have some of the most amazing people in my life who are genuinely concerned with my well-being and happiness. I suspect that they may feel the same from me but just to make sure they never feel neglected in the ‘Yessy loves them’ department I’ll try extra hard to really be there for them when they need me and to do so with pleasure and gratitude. The pleasure of having their company and the gratitude of having them in my life.

I realize this has been kind of a mushy entry — I was feeling kind of mushy. Comment any feedback. I respond to everyone and I’d love to hear from you!

Why Did I Stay? Why Did She Stay?

Hearing the recent news of former NFL player Ray Rice, his wife Janay Rice and the video that has caused a sensation throughout social media and newsrooms has left me with such a mix of emotions thinking of my own experience.

Only my close friends would know what I would be referring to but it would be great to break the silence and share from experience why even when I was in a battle for what felt like my life I still stayed.

She was charming, she said all of the right things and I thought she was all I would ever need. My idea of love was very dim in comparison to what I know is true now. Love should never hurt, it should never be mean, it should never be jealous or vengeful — to name a few I’ve learned.

Thinking about this brings back so many flashbacks. The moments where I ran down the streets at 3:00 a.m. to run away from her. The moments where I would want to clear my head and get away only to have myself pinned against a wall or a door being told I couldn’t leave. The moment where I ran down the streets of downtown only to be pinned to a chain link fence where I screamed at the top of my lungs to have someone save me. The moment where she put her hands around my throat. The moments where nothing I did was never right. When I was criticized for everything that I did — even the way I breathed. When every attempt to make her happy almost always resulted in some sort of putdown. When I jumped out of moving cars just to get away from her.

Why did I stay? I’m a strong woman but I felt like I needed to be there for her — like I was her only saving grace in this world. I felt like my life was a whirlwind and I was trying to gain steady ground in order to sort out the issues I was facing. Yeah, when you’re in a situation like the one I was in there is no steady ground.

I stayed because I experienced mental, emotional and physical abuse as a child and I thought that love was supposed to be tumultuous. That they’ll always be someone running amok in your life and you have to make yourself small in order to make them happy. It’s hard to break a habit that you’ve known for 26 years. To leave the security of what you know (even if it’s bad) for fear that the unknown may be worse.

I left on May 31, 2014 and have never looked back. I have to thank Iyanla Vanzant’s book, Peace from Broken Pieces. It had been years since I had read a full book and it just so happened that the first one gave me the inspiration to leave. I’ll never forget this Iyanla quote, “you’ll never get what you really want unless you let go of what you don’t want.” I had had enough and I made the courageous decision to move all of my things out of her apartment while she was at work. My parents would later make the 400-mile drive and show up with my friends on a Saturday to pick up the rest of my things in a U-haul while I sat nervously a couple of blocks away for fear that if I was present she would react hastily. I really was afraid of her. 

Even weeks after leaving I still had so much fear. Her words haunted me. And I even felt bad for her and felt I left her in a bad place and was heartless for it. It wasn’t until I called Dr. Laura weeks later during her live streaming radio show that it was really put into perspective for me. She said, “you have two options — you can either go to school, study psychology and be her counselor or you can move on and make a better life for yourself.”

I chose the latter. I now live in south Florida with my parents, have a great job and have made some amazing friends. I have been working out, got a haircut, eat healthier and have a great deal more balance in my life. My insides finally match my outsides (I had gained 15-20 lbs. in that relationship).

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I hope for nothing in this world than to love people, love life and to help those who need it. I want to inspire the younger generations to really take a step back and look at their life and make sure they’re happy and making the right decisions for them not for anyone else. Thank you.

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Slice of Wisdom

I have learned to look at my life as an observer. I stand back, look at what happened, and focus my attention on the place where the wound was inflicted. I do not look at who inflicted the wound or how it was inflicted. That it was inflicted is the essence of healing. Find what your wound is, where the wound is being played out in your life, and heal it. Only by doing the work on ourselves that is required to heal mental, emotional, and psychological wounds can we ever hope to be whole in our spirits. I chose to do the healing work because I didn’t want to be mad anymore. I didn’t want to cry anymore. I wanted to heal so that I would have something to celebrate — myself.

-Iyanla Vazant, Yesterday, I Cried