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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What Does Perfect Look Like?

When you think of the perfect family or the perfect job — what does that look like to you? I can bet you that everyone’s definition of perfect is different. It’s catered to what your needs and desires are. You dream of being a singer? I’m sure perfection would be doing gigs every night and writing music without having to return to your day job. Am I right?

When I was younger my vision of perfect was to have the kind of mom that baked cookies all the time and never looked at the price tags while shopping. That my dad would let me have whatever I wanted and I wouldn’t have to do chores for an allowance. I chuckle to myself because I’m sure that there’s a girl who wished that her parents were more fiscally responsible and had better eating habits. LOL.

As I’ve grown up, I’ve come to realize that perfect isn’t about wanting something you don’t have. It’s about accepting what you have — good or bad. It’s taken many years (still in progress) to accept this fact. Perfect is what I make of it.

Accepting what I would have considered ideal is not the reality. But I do have a choice to be content and practice gratitude in my life for what I do have. I could literally come up with hundreds of things to be thankful for that range from small to big. The one that is the most important to me is that God loves me exactly for who I am — always has and always will.

That gives me strength along with the support of family and friends. Finding my purpose has also given me a big boost of strength and empowerment. My purpose is to help people, to bring people together to talk about their experiences and to inspire people by what I’ve learned. How that will transpire in the future – I’m not really sure but I know that I can start by living by the principle and trust in what God has in store for me.

When That One Person Won’t Leave You Alone

Everyone’s had that moment — when you’re finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and then suddenly someone or something takes you back to that dark place where you began. The drop you feel your stomach makes as your mind thinks, ‘not again’! Now, this moment doesn’t totally discredit all of the progress that you’ve made but it does bring to the surface some mixed emotions and discomfort.

It can make you feel angry, having to be reminded the mess you had to wade through. It can also bring a sense of shame. You think, “shouldn’t I be over this already?” Is this all starting to sound familiar?

I had that experience today and I’ve been working on a method that will help me get through those moments. This experience in particular was a person from my past trying to contact me. For months I have had my mind made up that I will never speak to this person again.

However brash my decision may seem, please know that this decision is based on several months of reflection. The old me would have felt ‘bad or even sad’ and would have tried to appease them. Ugh! That’s the pit in the stomach – the sickening part. Where the old you is battling the new you. Nauseated by the fact that the you could have ever thought any differently than the learned you.

So, how do I continue to move on? I remember these key facts (I suspect they may help you if you find yourself in the same predicament). If you have any other tactics you’ve used, feel free to comment.

  1. chose to leave for a very good reason
  2. There is nothing I need from this individual
  3. If they really need help they can call their family, friends and/or 9-1-1
  4. My new self doesn’t fit back into the space I left
  5. I am not a martyr and refuse to do things that benefit others at the expense of myself