The moment I grew in strength was the day I admitted to someone other than myself that I was insecure and weak. Then, and now, the word “weak” makes me cringe. I don’t care to think of myself as weak or insecure. Weakness and insecurity never go well with my outfit – not any of them – yet those words clung to me like they were tailor-made. Depression soon became the accessory that I couldn’t live without; couldn’t live with it either…
Now, here I am admitting yet another embarrassing truth: I sold myself short. I settled. After years of failed effort and much courage I revealed my secrets and immediately felt I could never do it again. I could be considered a “one-hitter-quitter.” I laid out my dirty laundry, uncharacteristically allowed myself to be vulnerable, and while I didn’t get the reaction (me left in a cloud of dust while vaguely recognizing the car break lights in the distance) I was expecting from the person on the receiving end of my Big Reveal, I knew that I was never likely to allow myself to be so open again for fear of being judged, and ultimately, rejected. Although I had overcome, or to be more precise, was making great strides in overcoming the depression, insecurity, and weakness, I didn’t think I would be strong enough to stand unpolished and emotionally naked in front of another. So I settled. That is where the buck stopped for me. Dreams deferred. Growth stifled.
I didn’t want to admit that I settled. “Settled” is not a very sexy word. Not all that desirable of an action either. But, I admit, I settled.
Today, I am choosing to do something that scares me. Assessing the poor and impulsive decisions I have made in my life and taking complete ownership of how I reached this point in my life is scary, but not as scary as choosing to accept that I can never turn back the hands of time and correct the many, many mistakes that I have made, but instead must move forward to happiness in the aftermath of all that has led me to this moment. There is no room for regrets. We all know that regret is only a short fall from the corner of Pissed Off and Bitter. That block doesn’t really work for my outfits either.
Being an adult is hard work. It looked so deceitfully glamorous as a child. But of course that’s because children are far less scared than adults. I’m not afraid of the dark, or the monster in the closet, but I am certainly afraid to reconcile the past with the present and cannot bear to fathom an uncertain future. Today, I am deciding to forgive myself for past mistakes and grant myself permission to sometimes be vulnerable without fear or regard of judgment.
Join me in confronting the fear that might be holding you back. Be encouraged.
Ever notice how a single blade of grass can grow in the cavities of asphalt and concrete, it’s sheer will for life indignant, persistent to rise despite the weight of cement and the danger of a million trampling feet or heavy weight vehicles?
In my life I am attempting to make a conscious effort to be like the grass, impervious to elements and changes designed to put weight on me. I admit, professional, I adapt to change extremely well. I am a problem-solver, independent thinker, and a creative innovator (SN: This my friends is why I am the resume and interview queen! Can you hear the confidence in the words “problem-solver” and “independent thinker”? I’ll have to elaborate on my interview genius in another post…lol) skilled at tackling crisis’ and difficult changes. Although, personally, I admit that I sometimes tend to easily get on edge so to speak. I don’t run from change, but I do not embrace it in peace. I can become easily irritated, often becoming short with those closest to me. In other words, I am weaker than a blade of grass.
Thank God that with each day comes new opportunity to learn, to do better, to set a goal(s), to reach a goal(s). As of late, my daily goal of seeking and staying in peace is showing itself to be within my reach. I am so happy to be on the right track especially knowing that the concrete is being formulated and readying to be poured. I need my armor to protect myself, and, as much as I can, my family from the dangers that are both “seen and unseen.”
I am uncertain how the upcoming changes in my life and my family’s lives will affect our relationships with one another or impact our daily lives. But what I am certain of is that there are allowances for an abundance of opportunity. Opportunity to grow in Christ, to better ourselves individually and as a family unit, to fine tune our relationship, to hone skills that in the daily hustle and bustle of our lives as parent, spouse, employee, son, daughter, aunt and uncle we have allowed to become rusty, and to pursue personal and professional endeavors that we would have made excuses to not tend to had we not been pushed in a corner by these changes and forced to evaluate all that we are not doing to lead a bountiful life.
I may be naïve to feel a rush of excitement given the dangers seen and the dangers unseen that are sure to lie ahead, but I’ll be honest, I am excited. I’m looking forward to learning how strong of a woman I truly am. I’m looking forward to showing my husband how much love I have for him and that the vows that I so thoughtfully wrote and recited to him almost 4 years ago are not empty, but words in motion.
I can’t see the dangers that lie ahead but I know they are there. I am not afraid. Instead, I am protected and fitting myself with the armor of peace…and faith.
This post was inspired by life and the words spoken by two people who are so worthy of being quoted.
I hope that this post provokes dialogue, thoughts and actions that you may not have otherwise had this evening without visiting Be Quoted. I appreciate that you’ve taken the time to read my rants.
Be Heard – share your comments.
Recently I watched an archived episode of The Dr. Phil Show (don’t judge) about a morbidly obese woman who had gained over 100 pounds throughout her two-year marriage. Her spouse was completely disgusted, embarrassed and turned-off by her weight gain that he claimed led him to begin an extramarital affair. He, and a number of the shows guest found his infidelity acceptable under the circumstances of her rapid weight gain and past unwillingness to control her weight.
The possibility of actually retiring at the age of 55 might actually be feasible if I could have pocketed $1 for each time I’ve heard a woman say, “all men cheat,” or heard a man explain his infidelity with the simple reminder, “I’m a man.” Oh ok. Well why didn’t you say so? I’ll just pack my things and go now. Take care. WTH?
Upstanding men who do not make a habit of cheating – yes, they do exist. At least one I know of for sure. Right, honey? I said RIGHT? – should be offended by the “I’m a man” statement used to rationalize blatant disrespect. I think most of us can agree that, “I’m a man” is a piss-poor excuse, not a justification for cheating. But are there some excusable reasons for infidelity? Apparently so.
Tune into any of the 1,001 court shows, talks shows, reality talk shows and you’ll witness a number of men and women cheating on their significant other citing that their infidelity is the reaction to first being cheated on. According to this rule of thought, cheating is not only acceptable, but also warranted.
There is a number of excuses that cheaters have been known to give: “I’m not built for a long distance relationship”; “I can’t stand your mom”; “you’re boring in bed”; “you knew that I was unhappy”; “your middle toe is longer than your big toe.” Blah, blah, blah. The common denominator is that all of these excuses blame the “victim” or the person being cheated on leaving behind the notion that the act of cheating is not the decision of the cheater, but controlled by the person being cheated on.
I’m a firm believer that despite how many home cooked meals one makes, kegel exercises performed throughout the day, or how beautiful one is, it doesn’t guarantee that infidelity will be prevented. Infidelity is a choice that one makes. It doesn’t “just happen.” There is no justifying it, but maybe you disagree…
“I’m not who you think I am. If you love me, you love me for the wrong reasons.”
– Sister Souljah, Midnight
The moment I read this quote it reminded me of a response I once gave someone who asked me how’d I know I wanted to marry my husband. He questioned whether I married him because for the 2 grueling years I was in graduate school he came to visit me every month by plane despite the distance between us; or was it the fact that he supported me during some of the worst times of my life; or, maybe it was because he had been consistent for the 5 years we’d known each other before we wed?
I confess, all of the aforementioned were befitting reasons to marry him, in addition to him being a beautiful man inside and out. But I reconciled that I said “yes” (or some unintelligible babble that was equivalent to the word yes) to the proposal and 9 months later “I do,” because of all the things he makes me want to do for him.
Love and relationships are not only about how that person makes you feel and what he/she could do for you. It’s about the actions conjured up by the shared love between the two of you. Actions you’ve never cared to think to do before. Believe it or not, we all love to give and with the right person there’s no need to question or second guess giving freely. When it’s right there’s no need to solicit friends opinions, asking, “Do you think I should…?” You do for the one you love because you feel there is no other viable choice. It’s what makes you happy. For this, you are grateful to “your love” for helping you tap into a benevolent love that in the end leaves you open for receiving the love that you’ve deserved all along. I said “I do” because my husband was, and still is, the kind of man whom I want to make a sandwich, sweet tea, and a slice of Death by Chocolate cake for. I’ll search near and far for a made-from-scratch recipe because his love puts me in a benevolent mood (usually…lol). LoVe…
When I became engaged over four years ago I was ecstatic! After a few days of excitement and absolute shock I began practicing the signature of my new last name-to-be. While my new name isn’t completely horrendous, it lacked the flow of my birth name. So, why not just keep my name? I would still be a married woman. After all, a name is just a name, right?
If my then fiancé was that hung up on me not “forsaking” my family name and “cleaving” to his, then he’d compromise to appease his bride. Isn’t marriage the canvas for the art of compromise? Well, I decided this would be our first test at marital compromise. Always a stickler for debate, I proposed that he take my name and I take his. The proposal was not an absolute exchange that called for either of us to abandon the name that had been with us forever, but simply exercised the convenience of the hyphen. That way I would inherit his name while keeping my own and he could share my family name as well.
Perfect right? He DID NOT think so. In fact, he pitched a fit. Immediately he opposed.
“I never heard of anyone doing that before! I’m a man. A woman is to take on a man’s last name!”
Says who? The fake proposal turned serious pretty quickly. I couldn’t recall reading any fine print in the Bible or the law that explicitly stated a woman was to unequivocally give up her family name. She is not obligated, but expected to obey tradition and willingly forsake her family name with no interjections and no questions asked.
Believe me when I say that I am not so selfish that I couldn’t submit to my husband-to-be and sacrifice a piece of me for “us.” I understood and respected the fact that marriage was built on the tenet that “two become one.” Zealously I looked forward to the oneness that marriage had to offer. I didn’t seek to rile anyone up or ruffle any feathers. I just wanted to know why, in 2008 with independent women mantra’s frequently being seen in literature, heard in music, and watched on television and every other facet of life, the union of “we” couldn’t be recognized with the bridging of family names on both sides of the marital structure?
Of course I was sad to mourn the death of my last name but I’m an 80’s baby accomplished at strutting the way us independent women strut while clutching the traditions that have been passed down from our Big Mama’s Mama. Nevertheless I forged on with one more question and based on my fiancés response it was an even more audacious and unnerving question: How did he feel about giving our future children a hyphenated last name linking both of our family names.
That question led to a series of befuddled facial expressions, perpetual head shaking, and muffled sentences all beginning or ending with, “crazy woman.”
My goodness, what was the big deal? We are entering into a union, yes? Yes. These will be our children, yes? Yes. So why was my half hearted proposal to detour from the custom creating such distress from the men in my life – my fiancé, his two friends, my father, my cousin? Albeit, my choice to embrace one name – his, I found it fascinating to see the pissed off reactions of all the men I asked.
For all of us women who have carried on the torch of sacrifice that has been passed down in our family for generations, is asking our husbands to make room for the hyphen too much to ask or should we just add the sacrifice of our name to the long list of things that we’ve given up all in the name of love?
Mrs. The Man (No hyphen. No interjections. No questions. Just plain ol’ Mrs. The Man)
I can never remember the obviously boring conversation leading up to thought provoking dialogue that sticks in my mind or conjures up a myriad of emotions usually ranging somewhere between fascination and annoyance.
Close to a year ago I had a conversation with a loved one that proved to be no different from that of what I just described. For the life of me I can’t seem to recall what we were babbling about – English literature, world poverty, going green? But I can remember the month, the faded red Urban Outfitters blazer I had on (super cute by the way), and where we were when she nonchalantly said that if a mate can leave a relationship after one instance of infidelity then the love shared between the two must not be “true love.” That statement left me wondering if the love between my husband and I is a sham or if I’m just a mean, immature, prideful person because I can’t see myself writing off his indiscretion as a free pass.
Not to say that she would easily forgive and forget his infidelity, but her level of forgiveness supersedes that of mines. I am a true lioness and although I should probably feel ashamed to admit it, I am prideful and don’t care for the taste of betrayal and choke on the bitterness of disrespect.
After almost a year of mulling her theory on infidelity and forgiveness, I found myself in a laugh out loud conversation with another friend – this one a male – discussing ??? (Blank stare, sound of grass hoppers.) We somehow landed on the topic of marriage and infidelity and how we presume we would react if in the face of such a tragedy. Of course I shared with him my loved ones’ theory and requested his opinion.
His opinion: “I don’t think that love has anything to do with it.” Well then. That single sentence response in and of itself shed new life on the theory and took my mind further from the mind monotony of “say what now?” I found myself in after the theory first reared its head. Oh, but he wasn’t done. He elaborated on his feelings by saying – quite matter-of-factly- that the act of infidelity is less about love and more about the unfaithful partner seeking out what he or she is missing, be it sex, intimacy, or conversation. (But I’ll save that for another day.) He feels like to forgive betrayal is not because you truly love, because according to him, love isn’t a factor in the process of forgiving. Instead it is because the one betrayed simply surveys his/her options: divorce, separation, can of whoop a**, jail time, forgiveness, and makes a choice. Well then?
To the left with both the theory and the response to the theory. Let’s suffice it to say that both of them may be right if that’s how they believe they’d react to the infidelity of a partner. Let’s also suffice it to say that infidelity and how one may react is a boxed surprise that can only be unwrapped for the special occasion.
For those of you who may have been faced with what I consider the difficult task of forgiving an unfaithful partner, what does love have to do with it?