The Misconception of Womanhood

Over the past few weeks I have met some amazing women who are doing spectacular things.  The further I go in life, the more excited I am to be around successful women who are living out their dreams and creating their own lanes.  Society has focused on the conversation “Can Women Have It All?,” while women are out there having it all and some.  I have rarely walked into a room full of powerful women who were ever complaining about not having it all.

Yesterday I had the deepest revelation of my role in my marriage.  Despite the fact that I feel like I do so much, I realize I am able to do it and still enjoy everything in life.  I am able to balance motherhood, being a wife, cooking, cleaning, handling our finances, thinking for the future, all of my personal endeavors, and a few fun activities every now and then and never miss a beat.  Instead of resenting my ability to juggle it all, I am accepting my power and taking pride in who I am.

I have come to accept that who I am as a woman is not a burden or a strain, but how I was designed.  One of the faults with societal pressure is that all women are forced to feel that their lot in life is to do certain things, but in reality everyone was not created that way.  I applaud and admire any woman who decides not to be a mother, to not get married, or to live life outside the box of social norms.  That is their choice and they took control of their narrative instead of walking down an assumed path.  That does not make them less of a woman than me.  We are both as powerful individually and even more powerful together.

I am releasing the pressure to live within a box or to see the women around me as different because of the choices they have made.  Motherhood is amazing, but so was life prior to motherhood.  Being married is amazing, but so was the summer when I moved back to DC single and free.  We lived that summer honey. Juggling life is amazing, but so are quiet moments in the bed doing nothing.  No one writes the agenda for women, we are writing our own and taking pride in our decisions.

Women have been marginalized in so many areas of life, but as we break through barriers, glass ceilings, and kick down doors, everyone is starting to realize we always belonged in the room in the first place.  We are no longer asking for a seat at the table as a minority, but creating our own circles of power with women of like minds and spirits.  We have our own table. You can’t sit with us.  We are reclaiming our power and doing whatever we want.  There are no limits to who we are as women.  We were not made in a shadow, but in an image of greatness, excellence, and power.

I am who I am because I rejected the guilt of not being someone I was never designed to be.  I am where I am because I love myself for who I am.  I am going to another level because I am working with women who are fearless, flawless, and fierce.  We are woman, hear us roar.  This growth and connection is so natural.  We are not taking over, but stepping into our rightful places.

We are the history makers of tomorrow. Let’s make history. Be you.  Do you.  Tell your own story.  On your own terms.

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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.

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. 

50 Years of Love and Life

My 50th post is dedicated to my grandparents who would have celebrated 50 years of marriage today.  They have both taught me so much individually and collectively.  Their strengths and weaknesses have allowed me to be the woman I am today, without any apologies.  They shared many ups and downs, celebrated many milestones and supported all of their children and grandchildren through the good, bad, right, wrong or otherwise.  I appreciate their honesty, depth and selflessness.  Adam and I are two years in and we can only hope that we make it as long as they did and still be generous enough to give until we cannot give anymore.  I love my NeeNee and PaPa so much. May his memory live on and his life continue to be celebrated. Rest in Power. Happy Anniversary.

Cheers to 50 years.  Be you.  Do you.  Tell your own story.  On your own terms.

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My Transformation: Self-Love

When you hear Jill Scott’s song When I Wake Up, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7XyBz1FFQg, it does something to your soul.  This song speaks to apart of my transformation that deals with self-love and believing in me despite others opinion of me and my life.  I dealt with a series of insignificant relationships for a number of years with a false belief that they would eventually go somewhere notwithstanding the obvious signs of staleness that lead to a dead-end time and again.  I thought that my light would eventually shine bright enough and they would see me and appreciate all of me.

After experiencing a few heartbreaking realizations back-to-back I started to Wake Up.  I started to question my own state of mind instead of making excuses for theirs.  I started to appreciate my light and power instead of forcing others to see it.  I started to look in the mirror and say, “GIRL!”  I subconsciously made a decision to be the happiest me that I could possibly be.  I was in the best shape of my life and it was an eventful year full of weddings and celebrations so I was surrounded by love and joy.

When you make decisions, consciously or subconsciously, a test will come to see if you are going to stand on that decision or back down and end up right back in the same cycle of self-doubt.  Something had finally clicked in me and I decided that I was not going back no matter what.  I loved me to much to have to force others to love me.

I remember this day like it was a week ago.  A beautiful sunny fall day filled with endless possibilities and I received two phone calls.  One from a loser and one from a friend.  The first call was my test, the young brother asking me to hang with him despite canceling on me last-minute a few days earlier.  My response, a new transformed me, declined with explanation.  Enough was enough.  I let him know that I knew he would never love or care for me the way I wanted to be loved and cared for and I was merely a convenience.  Our interactions had turned me into someone I did not want for me and I refused to continue to lose me for someone else’s convenience.

Sometimes things take time but sometimes the turn around is quick.  The second call followed immediately after and asked if my friends and I wanted to come hang out with a friend and his wife at their new house.  I immediately said yes and gathered my crew for the trip out to the beltway.  What started off as a quiet get together, immediately transformed into the night that changed my life.  After being there for a few minutes, my friend’s best male friends walk in, including my now husband, and the rest becomes history.

He saw something in me that I wanted everyone else to see for so long.  I did not have to convince him or drag him along, it was just different.  When I loved myself the most is when I found the one who could love me more.  The power of self-love blooms in various ways in our lives, but mine happened to turn into meeting the love of my life.  If there is something holding you back from appreciating all of you, let it go, whether it is internal or external.  Be you.  Do you.  Tell your story.  On your own terms.

Drop, Hyphenate, Avoid or Don’t Remove At All

Changing your last name. These are the things soon to be newlyweds discuss as they contemplate their final days as separate beings.  For some, it’s an easy decision.  But for people like me who overthink everything and make simple things complicated, this simple decision becomes heart wrenching because it has strong ties to your identity, loss of independence and taking on a last name that now makes you common.  My life was already moving at a thousand miles a minute, the last thing I wanted to do was lose the last bit of me that I had left, but I had already promised Adam that I would.  And the last thing you need in a new marriage is breaking promises and doing the opposite of what you said you would do.

I took it back to high school and started writing my future last name in notebooks and doodling around it to get myself used to it.  I then brought the discussion back up with my husband and asked if it was that important to him.  A decision he felt so strongly about a few months ago was now not his priority but it was still remained important to him.  He understood that we had just went from hanging out all night with our friends to now having to be the most responsible humans on earth.  He assured me that whatever I decided would be fine, but the last few words dropped off, which meant that is not how he really felt.  So I printed the paperwork and held on to it for a while.  I started to see other people quickly change their last name as soon as they got married and I began to feel guilty.  But that did not make me move any faster.

I made excuse after excuse and finally decided to go down to the Social Security office and get it done.  I get there really early and a line is already formed.  I take a number and have a seat and start to observe my surroundings.  It is the typical DC government scenery, lots of people moving in the background, no ones name being called.  I waited for over an hour and they had only called two numbers.  I clearly wasn’t ready and I sure wasn’t that dedicated to getting it done at that moment, so I left.  I let a few more weeks pass by and I realized that I could mail my paperwork in and they would return my important documents within two weeks.  This seemed like the best route at the time, so I mailed off all of my documents to the field office.  As usual, the DC government did not return my important documents in two weeks or even a month, try almost 3 months.  After numerous phone calls to everyone in every office, I randomly get my paperwork back and then a few weeks later I get my NEW social security card.

In order to make the transition less painful, I made my middle name my maiden name and got rid of that rachetta sounding middle name that my Dad “created.”  And it felt great.  Mostly because I did not have to wait in an office, but even more because I fulfilled my first promise to my husband and did what made him happy.  Sadly, I still have not changed my last name everywhere but the most important places know me as Mrs. Williams.  I am still awkward and weird so when someone calls me Mrs. Williams I am confused for a minute moment but I quickly respond and smile like nothing ever happened.

The point of this story is to do things in your own time.  Do what makes you happy and comfortable.  Do what is best for you and your significant other.  Live in your truth.  Be you. Tell your story. On your own terms.

Quietly Married

 

 

 

 

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My husband and I have been married for over a year and a half and been together for over three and a half years.  I try to calculate how long we have been together over and over because it seems like so much longer.  I think that we both knew immediately that this was going to be forever.  Our “how we met” stories vary but our immediate attraction and chemistry has always been undisputed.  When we found out that we were expecting, it was a bit of a shock and took some time to adjust to but we both stepped up to the plate and decided to be the best parents we could be for our son.  We had always talked about being married and I expressed that I wanted to be married before our son was born, but I did not know if that was really going to happen.  Adam, being the man that he is, heard me and decided that we should be more than just boyfriend/girlfriend sooner than later.

He planned out a beautiful engagement which I of course shared with everyone via social media and we personally discussed our plans to marry.  Once we started to discuss getting married before the baby with our friends and family, we began to get a push back that we did not expect.  Our family and friends were rightfully concerned with our timeline and voiced their opinions to us.  When we discussed the push back and concerns with each other, we decided that we knew what was best for our family, so we decided to move forward with our plans quietly.

I was working for a judge that summer and shyly asked if she could marry us.  She responded enthusiastically and we planned for a late summer union.  We did not pick a date or publicize our wedding but our close friends were aware and a few decided that they had to be present.  I wanted to keep it as simple and quiet as possible.  I could not take much more excitement on top of being 8 months pregnant in the summer, new homeowners and now a newlywed.  After the ceremony, we had a small reception with the law clerks, my judge, her assistant and my friends.  Adam and I ventured to a far off land to indulge in breakfast at Cracker Barrel and continue with our regularly scheduled lives.

A friend that was present asked if I wanted to share the photos and I decided that I wanted to keep it quiet for a little while.  I did not want the negative commentary from anyone or have to explain why we decided to make that leap into foreverdom at that moment.  I was scarred from sharing my pregnancy news with some and receiving unsolicited advice that was contrary to a decision that I had already made.  I could not take the emotional stress of people’s judgment so I decided to keep it under wraps.  Some of the apprehension was the shock of being married but a lot of it was enjoying the peace of only a few people knowing.  When I started to refer to Adam as my husband, people began to ask questions.  I was always honest but I never addressed the issue across the board.  One day I decided to change my Facebook marital status (sounds silly saying it out loud).  A lot of people were shocked but most were congratulatory and seemingly genuine.  Despite sharing the news, I still never shared a picture.  So today, as I decided to be vulnerable and share my entire truth through my new blog, I decided today was a perfect time.

I am so happy with our decision.  It was the best decision we could have made and although that first year was rough, we are growing individually, as parents and as husband and wife.  This entire post is really a message to myself to live in my truth always and not retreat because of the fear of others opinions.  Be blessed. Be You. Tell your story.