Marriage Matters: What Marriage is Really Like (The Video)

I spent the last hour and a half having a dynamic conversation with some amazing women! We let our guard down and discussed the inner workings of a marriage and how we are dealing or have dealt with various issues in different stages of our relationship.  It was powerful to hear things about each other that we did not know.  It was powerful to hear how so much of our life has intersected at various points when we really didn’t even realize it.  We were vulnerable and we helped ourselves through our words and helped each other.  We went longer than I expected, but every moment was time well spent! Take a few moments to listen to various parts and share any feedback you may have! Marriage works, but it takes work.

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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.

Learning How to Love

I thought I knew what love was.  I do not even know what I thought, but I thought I knew something at every point of my life when I proclaimed to love someone.  As the years go by and I evolve each day, I realize that I know nothing about love and I have so much yet to learn.  Learning what love is and how to love is key to maintaining long-lasting relationships that surpass distance and time.

I have friends that I have known for years who are all very different, yet our relationships have withstood distance and time because we love each other.  Many of them were my first friends in college and we never let go of each others hands as we walked along our separate journeys.  Because we have been friends for so long, we eventually learned AND accepted how each person wanted or needed to be loved.

Some people need to be told that they are loved often, some people need that intimate connection, while others know the genuineness of your bond, and the only thing that matters is that you are present when needed.  Although we enter into intimate relationships with this knowledge, we make the road difficult by expecting love to be present and automatic.  Love is not a feeling, but the bond that is built between two people.

Looking back on my long-term friendships, I see that we did not love each other in the beginning like we love each other now.  We learned how each person wanted to be loved and learned to respect that persons love language over time.  As a wife I am learning that how I loved my husband year 1 may not be how my husband needs to be loved in year 4.  The most important thing is to allow your love to be fluid and encompass your partners current needs, instead of simply loving the same way because that is all you know.

Change is uncomfortable, but it is necessary for growth.  I am learning so much and accepting that I have so much to learn.  I won’t be the same person tomorrow as I was yesterday, because I am progressing in every area of my life, including learning how to love.

Love is our superpower.  Be you.  Do you.  Tell your own story.  On your own terms.

I AM Where I AM Supposed to BE

It is easy to say that you are in the right place at the right time when you are in a positive position.  We can easily declare that we fought our way to be right here or sacrificed enough to achieve a certain status when things feel great, but what about the times when we find ourselves in a valley.  Many of us pat ourselves on the back for our successes and beat ourselves up for our failures.  We should not do either.  Our success is not always triggered simply by the things we have done recently, but usually manifestations of seeds we planted long ago.  Our failures are not always a result of recent missteps, but a bump along this road called life.

We can easily look at ourselves and say we deserve to be where we are, except if we are in a bad place.  Although we may not deserve it, many of us need to go through that valley to be prepared for the next level. The glory of our greatness is balanced by the reality of our limitations.  We can only be great as the weaknesses we recognize and work through.  It is easy to highlight our strengths, but it takes courage to expose our weaknesses and transform them into foundational characteristics that lead to a better us.  We excel naturally through our strengths, but we build character by  converting our weaknesses into lessons of power.

Accept that you are in the right place at all stages of life.  Learn all of the lessons the first time around so that you are always moving forward, even when you are going through growing pains.  I am where I am supposed to be right now and I was where I was supposed to be weeks ago when I was in a dark place.  I had to go through that tunnel to get to the light.  The tunnel taught me how to focus, how to fight, how to listen, and how to learn even when it feels like I am stuck.  I never want to go back there, but my next tunnel will be full of new lessons and help me to be better than I was before I entered it!

I am enjoying the light and preparing my mind for my next valley or tunnel.  I want to grow and reach greater heights and I know this will take me through many valleys, over many mountains, and through many tunnels.  Basking in the glory of His goodness and accepting that the days behind me helped me be where I am today.  I am blessed.  I am grateful.  I am where I am supposed to be.

Your steps are ordered.  Live Excellently.  Be you.  Do you.  Tell your own story.  On your own terms.

Processing the Pain Properly

For the past year I have been looking for the right opportunity that would combine both of my degrees and experience.  I started the search and application process for positions as a 3L, and I just knew that I would be starting a new job soon after taking the bar.  After not hearing back from many of the opportunities I applied for and receiving many rejections, I began to increase my search, get creative, and network like crazy.  Although I felt that I had a lot of support and even a few potential opportunities, nothing seemed to pan out.  At various points through this process I was close to having an interview that would lead to one of my dream positions, and suddenly everything would suddenly fall through.  I could not understand why these things were happening to me, despite all of the work I had put in over my lifetime.  Arrogance.  Here is where I made my biggest mistake.

I wrongfully assumed that just because I sowed in many ways that I would reap my harvest when I was ready for it.  I wrongfully assumed that I did not deserve to go through this lull because I had been doing the work.  I wrongfully assumed that I had the credentials to get me into every door and I should be being recruited, instead of applying for jobs that I probably was over qualified for.  We all know that assumptions are wrong, especially those made about a life that you cannot completely control.

Instead of believing that something greater was coming, I was bitter that it was not here right now.  Instead of focusing on being able to sustain and still keeping things together, I focused on the things that I could have been doing if I was working.  But then I was reminded of why I left my job back in 2011.  I was extremely unhappy, my previous positions lacked autonomy, and I did not feel that I was appreciated or encouraged to grow.  After I realized that I never wanted to go back to being into that type of situation, I sat back and became patient again.

With my renewed patience I began to process my pain.  I realized that I needed to be humbled.  I had to begin to understand that I was not above growth.  I felt that I was doing so much that I did not need to grow in any area of my life because I was DOING things.  I did not have to pray more, focus more, read more, balance more, love more or think more.  I did not feel that I had to be fixed because I had made it this far being who I was.  Once I started to process my pain, I realized the agony came from me pushing against the process instead of learning as I endured.

It is hard to tell someone to enjoy the pain.  It is not easy to convince yourself that these feelings of depression are only temporary.  I acknowledged that these feelings are normal but I allowed them to consume me.  I allowed my situation to take over my outlook.  Even when I was able to come up for air, something would happen that would make me feel that I needed to stay under in order to survive.

When I began to take control of the things I had power over, I started to feel better.  Updating my financial spreadsheet and creating a debt elimination plan helped me see that I was not too far under or behind to catch back up.  Reconnecting with my friends and having very frank conversations about my personal struggles helped us all to see that we are all going through and growing continuously.  Finally, not being so hard on myself for being upset that I am unemployed was an okay feeling to have and there should only be an issue if I ever lost the desire to work despite my dreams and aspirations.  This feeling of uneasiness pushed me to continue applying, to continue asking for help from others, to continue exposing my vulnerability and need for others to survive.

For all of these things I am grateful.  I am still processing my current pain and hope to go through my next valley with a better mindset.  I am growing and growth is a beautiful thing.  Be you.  Do you.  Tell your own story.  On your own terms.