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You Issue the Invitation

“You are the priority in your life and how you love you, how you see you, how you treat you is going to set the stage and issue the invitation that will draw other people in to love you.”

-Iyanla Vanzant

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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!

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

Slice of Wisdom

“Then it hit me. Some people don’t know how, and others never think about going back and cleaning up their crap. Most people want to start today and feel better tomorrow. They want to take a yoga class, listen to a meditation tape, rub a crystal on their head, and believe they have fixed their lives and healed their soul.

You cannot create a new way of being in one day. You must take your time remembering, cleaning up, and gaining strength. If you push yourself too fast, before gaining the strength you need to go in a new direction, you are going to fall and bump your head.”

-Iyanla Vanzant, Yesterday, I Cried 

How Someone Seemingly Warm Can Be So Cold

You know that feeling you get when there’s something that strikes a chord within you but you hold it back? When you’re so angry or sad you could cry but quickly change the subject or walk away?

For years I’ve had no issue being the loud, funny one in the group. The one who makes the group laugh and tries to deflect any subject from turning too emotional. Yup, that’s me.

Now to my friends it may seem that I’m an open book. That I wear my heart on my sleeve and that I’m willing to discuss any topic, but the truth is there are some things that I’ve trembled at the thought of being broached. And my heart on my sleeve? Well, that’s just me being hyper-sensitive.

Singing, laughing, speaking, shouting has never been an issue but crying and expressing my hurt has never been easy and understanding the why has allowed me to begin to work through how to change it for the better.

I’ve noticed that in my family there’s a lot of deflection from raw emotions when difficult times arise. We are afraid to cry, because we were never taught to how to receive a crying person. It was never taught that when someone feels sad, that you comfort them either by soothing words or an embrace that lets you know you’re safe and it’s okay to feel the way you feel.

What ends up happening is that you first, get stared at. Then, if you’re lucky they’re sympathetic and give you a pat on the back with a quick hug and try to bring up the positives (sometimes they’re very far-reaching) so that you don’t have to dwell on whatever thoughts led you to tears.

If you’re not lucky you are told that things are not that bad and that crying is an overreaction to what you’re feeling. I swear I can’t stand that!

The reason for why I want to change it is because I want to create a space for any future relationship/children where anyone can be comfortable to just feel and not be judged.

There are a few rules that I would like to put out into the universe for how to deal with a person that is in a state of sadness/grief. If you have any other suggestions, please feel free to comment – I’d love to hear what has worked for you as the cryer or the comforter.

  1. Don’t tell someone not to feel a certain way. They already feel that way — it is not helpful!
  2. Don’t tell someone not to cry. Crying cleanses the soul and allows any pain that’s been dwelling inside to come out.
  3. Don’t assume that someone is only crying about the present situation. Everyone is a complex being and in times of sadness many other memories could be flooding in.
  4. Reassure someone that you are there for them. It’s not always necessary to try and fix the issue. There are often times that certain matters can only be fixed by the one in distress and on their own time.
  5. Ask them if they want to talk about what they’re thinking. Simply listening can do wonders for the other person. Let them let it out without interjecting too much.
  6. Touch. Often times a person who holds in a lot can be triggered to finally release their emotions by a simple hug or a holding of the hand.
  7. Offer them water. Crying and letting out steam can cause shortness of breath. Offer them water to help calm them.

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