Marriage Matters: What Marriage is Really Like 

When I first got married I thought that I had failed and made the wrong decision. Everything was so difficult to get through and we argued about everything, and by everything I mean everything.  I would ask, “Can you take out the trash?” He would respond, “The trash doesn’t seem to be full.” I would take his response as him saying, “No,” instead of it being a simple observation. I would explode into a firestorm of criticism about how I don’t ask him to do anything and all he had to do was take out the trash. He would respond in kind with, “It wasn’t that serious,” and shoot a firestorm of criticism at me. It was an intense time and things only got better once we realized it was miscommunication and not pure evil. 

On the other hand before we got married if I asked him to take out the trash, he would do it without any questions. Hence the bigger issue of just being together and being married.  There is something about the bounds of marriage that intensifies everything. I think there is a fear that if you let go of this one issue then you will lose every battle in the future. As silly as this sounds, the fear of being controlled by another person is a valid fear to have. 

After catching up with a long term friend and having many conversations with my girlfriends about their marital journey, I realized that many of us are going through some of the same things. No matter who our husbands are, where they have come from, or what they do for a living, there is a common thread that connects us all to the struggle.  Marriage is hard and either we talk about it openly or we assume that we are the only ones going through it and feel worse than we need to. 

A group of friends who were engaged or married discussed our biggest issues and we settled on trash, dishes, and laundry. Although these things seem so minimal, they ended up in very explosive discussions and tension between each couple. Things build up over time and something that may be so small can be overly analyzed because we refuse to back down over something completely unrelated. Our strength comes from being patient with our spouse and ourselves.  This thing takes some work! 

I am very excited to launch this new Google Hangout Series, Marriage Matters on March 3rd at 8:30c/9:30e. http://youtu.be/wpBBaJ3gudY.  This series will feature a very open discussion with women who are married, engaged, deeply committed, and divorced. We will be discussing our biggest issues, our reactions, and how we deal with issues as they arise. The maximum is 10 participants and everyone must be set up for Google Hangouts prior to that day.  You can also watch live and comment throughout the discussion. 

I am expecting great things to come from this discussion. Be you. Do you. Tell your own story. On your own terms. 

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Shifted Energy

I started off 2015 with a very sound routine.  I would wake up early, use my prayer beads to meditate and pray, listen to NPR or a podcast and absorb some new information.  Then I would do a quick social media scan and start my day.  When I started my mornings this way, my life and day seemed to go a lot better.  I was balanced and focused on the task ahead.  I found a morning ritual that would work for me and I loved it.

When I started this routine, I did not have my son here at the time.  It was very easy to do when I was alone, but once I brought him home I slept less, woke up later, and could never find a rhythm.  I did not try hard enough to get back focused and disciplined, so my ritual fell to the wayside.  I allowed myself to be swept away from the very thing I knew that I needed, a morning ritual. Discipline.  Structure.  Consistency.   As I started to get off kilter, things at work began to also veer far from where I wanted it to be and I could barely handle it.  My patient care never suffered, but my professional interpersonal relationships did.

I usually voice my opinion face to face and allow the other person an opportunity to reconcile at that moment, but this particular time I decided to send an email in the heat of my fury and waged war on a few people.  This very direct discussion spread quickly to those who were not directly involved, and a phone call was made to me that solidified my desires to part ways with this company.  Although I made the decision to find employment elsewhere, I did not let go of how that person made me feel.  I carried that weight around with me, and that on top of recurring issues in the workplace shifted my energy negatively.

I have not been centered since receiving that phone call.  The unbalanced way in which I operated meant that I was easily thrown off even when I thought I was prepared for battle.  Small issues became major issues because my vision was skewed towards this negative energy that I allowed into my life.  I never released that moment to then reflect, grow, or correct the other party involved.  I received the negativity and held on to it for too long.

I was so focused on that moment that I could not see the bigger picture.  I had to be forced by God to take a step back and understand that our ways are not His ways and our thoughts are not His thoughts.  Although I thought I was going to be in a place for a longer season, He has a plan that is greater than the eye can see.  I am able to be so open and reflective, because God is not allowing me to wallow in my mess but forcing me to go through it and step out of it without any traces of residue or damage to who I am and where I am going.

This was simply a pit stop to a higher place, but I almost missed out on my blessing because my energy was jacked up.  I was walking along the balance beam and faltering, but I never got off.  When life has hit me time and again, I have stumbled, fallen, and been hurt in the process, but I never got off.  The road to success is not wide, it is not straight, and it is not easy.  You have to believe that everything will work together for your good.

I know that everything is working together because in a matter of days I have been blessed beyond anything I could have ever asked for or imagined.  You have to walk along your own path, centered and balanced as you move towards your goal.  Your energy is what attracts your blessing.  Never allow a moment or man to shift your energy so far that you are off balanced and distracted from your path ahead.

Stay focused. Be grateful.  Positive energy.  Balanced.  Be you.  Do you.  Tell your own story.  On your own terms.

This Little Light of Mine

When I was going through a huge moment of spiritual growth, I began to learn about the inner light.  The inner light is the glow of your spirit that shines even when you do not speak, illuminates a dark situation, and radiates and attracts people to you in ways you cannot understand.  That light can be so powerful that it attracts great things, but at times it can attract people or situations that want to steal or dim your light.  Your light is your power.

I always loved people and being around people, but learning about my inner light allowed me to permeate into the lives of strangers without them even realizing that they let me in so quickly and so deeply.  As a healthcare provider, it puts families and patients at ease when they are in your care, your colleagues trust you, and you leave an impression no matter how long or how short you are in a place.  Your light is your power.

It is hard to put in words how I discovered my light, but once I understood it, embraced it, and used it naturally, I had to learn quickly that I had to protect my light.  Light does not only attack good things, but it also attracts negative things and people.  I went through a rough period where it seemed that life was trying to dim my light.  It was one bad situation after another bad situation, and yet even if it dimmed for a minute, I centered myself and allowed my light to shine through my situation. Your light is your power.

I have interacted with people who have tried to dim or turn out my light, but I learned how to detach from those who sought to snuff out my light and recognize those characteristics early.  Many times it is hard to detach, because the light thieves are the ones who should be protecting your light or teaching you how to protect your light.  Relationships, jobs, and financial situations can all come as darkness and overshadow your light, but when you know your power, purpose, and position you remove those things or you remove yourself from those situations to ensure that your light is always illuminating at its full capacity.  Your light is your power.

I have met some of the most amazing people in the past 3 months.  I have reconnected with many amazing people I met growing up and all that remains between us all is that they don’t overshadow or attempt to steal my light, and their light is shining just as brightly as mine.  The power of presence is within your light.  Everyone has a light.  How brightly you allow it to shine is up to you.  What you put out in life will always return.  Light will produce light.  Darkness will produce darkness.  Enhance your light by putting out light.  Protect your light by disengaging with darkness.  Your light is your power.

This little light of mine.  I am letting it shine.  My light is my power.  Be you.  Do you.  Tell your own story.  On your own terms.

Jealousy and Envy

Daddy issues. Mommy issues. Color issues. Self-Image issues. Body image issues.  Inferiority complexes.  All of these things spew out of our hearts with disdain for others, when in reality we are jealous and envious of what they may have.  I used to see people with their parents and hate the way they took them for granted.  I would think, “If that was my mom, I would…” or “If that was my dad, I would…”  I hated myself for not having those relationships, and I disliked others who did not understand how great they had it.  There are many people who have Daddy Issues, a lot of people who have Mommy Issues, and then the smaller group of us who have both.  The concept of being parentless is so painful and exclusionary at times.  You feel that you do not have an anchor or a home base, because you are not connected to at least one of the people who brought you into this world.

I pitied myself and self-loathed for being a sort of orphan and wore my wounds externally.  I constantly poured salt into my own wounds and made sure that my pain was visible.  I carried myself as a victim of circumstance and clung to the concept of being different for all of the wrong reasons.  All of this boiled down to being jealous and envious of people for reasons they could not control.

Rehashing this sounds so silly, but as a child that longed for connection, it was my reality.  Although I did not battle long with my color issues because I went to a HBCU where I was surrounded by multicultural and multicolored beauty, I did look in the mirror and tear myself apart.  I longed for a sense of perfection that made me say, “You are not pretty enough,” “You are not tall enough,” “You are not short enough,” “You are not skinny enough,” “You are not thick enough,” “Your hair is too short,” “Your face is too round,” and it played out in times of failure as if any of those things were connected to my outcomes.  I look back now and long for my college physique, but at that time I felt that certain aspects of me kept me from achieving my goals.

I am not sure where my epiphany came, but I remember getting into a friend’s car my Sophomore year and she said that I looked different, prettier, happier even.  My inner self had changed and I had accepted me for who I was and that allowed my inner beauty to enhance my outer beauty.  Prior to this moment, I had failed to realize that my self-doubt and criticism of irrelevant things were the only thing keeping me from achieving my goals.  I had nothing to lose, but my personal, self-imposed chains.  The freedom that came with acceptance allowed me to change my energy and attract light with light.  I no longer yearned for what I did not have, but I highlighted my strengths and let them overshadow my weaknesses.

Life is a learning process and it takes time to become the best us.  There is always a better version of us waiting to be tapped into.  The depth and complexity of who I longed to be was tied to many things, but released by the power of love.  I had to love myself enough to know that I was more than enough today, and will be more than enough tomorrow.  I appreciate my experiences more, because I am able to connect with those who may be going through a similar situation.  I can now give hope to those who may feel that the lack of something is a stumbling block, when in reality it can be used as a stepping stone.

Jealousy and envy is more than just wanting someones lifestyle or material items, it can go deeper than that.  The desire to have what someone else has or had will not bring those things to you, but accepting your circumstance will allow those voids to be filled with the things that you need.

You will not get what you want, but you will get what you give.  Be you.  Do you.  Tell your own story.  On your own terms.

Topic Tuesday: Therapy

I have shared many times before that I went to therapy while in undergrad and it was a life altering experience.  Honestly I wish I had received some type of therapy right after graduating from undergrad, while in law school, after law school, before we got married, and I wish that I was receiving some right now.  Therapy is not a bandaid or a sole solution to any problem, but a process that helps you categorize and properly place experiences in a comfortable place in your mind.  Many times we overemphasize a situation in our life that may hold little value or minimize a situation that needs to be held in a different light.  Therapy helps you step outside of your silo and see how each experience has played a role in your life without judgment and external pressure.

I am so open about my experience because I truly believe therapy saved my life.  My anger sent me on a destructive path and caused me to mistake realness with being hurtful and mean.  Much of my anger was displaced and targeted people who had characteristics of the person who hurt me the most.  My coping strategies were ineffective and unhealthy.  I found myself in a cyclical process that I wanted to escape from, but I did not know how to reach the exit.

During my assessment for clinical services the director interviewed me and asked me one question, “Tell me about your parents.”  I immediately began to sob and cry.  I could not formulate my thoughts or my words.  She looked at me, looked down at the paper and agreed that I needed services.  I walked out of the building in disbelief.  This woman broke me down in less than 5 seconds.  I was fragile and broken.  I needed more help than simply believing that everything would get better.  My sanity required more than someone to listen to me, but someone to help me.

I have always been very open and honest so I told all of my friends that I was in therapy and they were happy for me.  Over time they started to see the changes in me and that encouraged me to continue with the process even when I felt that I no longer needed help.  I knew that being in that building held a stigma, but my future could not be derailed because of the fear of being judged.  I do not know where I would be if I never took the final step to seek help.  I do not even want to think of where I could have ended up.

I want everyone to know that there is someone qualified to listen and help you organize your thoughts and emotions.  Life is hard and will never be without bumps.  We have to accept that life will come and we need effective coping methods to properly deal with those overwhelming things.  Although I had two amazing experiences while at Howard, I had a not so great one when my husband and I went to sort through our issues.  Despite her failings, I know that there are some amazing therapist out there who will help us refocus our perspective.  Do not let one experience define your future in obtaining the things that you need.

We need more than coaching, we need therapy.  Take a moment and find time.  Get a referral and follow through with an appointment.  Get the help you need. Be you.  Do you.  Tell your own story.  On your own terms. #BeExcellent