Archive for November, 2011

NO

“No is a complete sentence.” – Anne Lamott

No. I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with the word. I love the word because it has given me an option and I love options.  But throughout my 20’s, I hated using it in fear of disappointing or upsetting folks. There have been countless times that my mind has shouted, NO over my heart’s whisper of Yes. I never thought it was enough and always dreaded explaining myself. I also never wanted to hurt feelings or make someone uncomfortable. Bottom line — I’ve been afraid of the repercussions of the word. When I turned 30, I remember thinking, I can’t wait to turn 40! I had been told that at 40, you lose all worries and can finally give No the love it deserves. But I’m now realizing that I need to stop creating boundaries on when things should or need to happen and allow them to happen organically. It’s possible to be the 40-year old woman I always dreamt of being at 35+.

Since I’ve been attempting to live in the NOW, I’ve come to respect the word. No isn’t always negative. No isn’t a synonym for selfish. No doesn’t always need to be justified or explained. No is freedom. No is self-acceptance. No is confidence. No is complete. For the first time in my life, I’m telling people, “No” and I’m not feeling the guilt that once was attached. I am finally learning to put my feelings and comfort first. At 35+, my heart is finally expressing its love for NO.

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Time

“Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up knowing that it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. And every morning a lion wakes up knowing that it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death. It doesn’t matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle; when the sun comes up you’d better be running.” – Unknown

In my 20’s, I always thought I had time. Time to travel… Time to start my writing… Time to make a difference… time to succeed… time to achieve my greatness…

However, as I’ve aged to a wiser 35+, I now know that time isn’t mine to claim. Within the last few weeks, the handful of unexpected deaths that I’ve come across in the media and in the personal lives of Facebook friends, have really got me to think about time and my toxic dependency to it.

One word that I’ve always used to describe myself is “procrastinator”. And I’ve always justified it by claiming that I work my best under pressure. But now I recognize it as just another excuse added to the many that I’ve planted in my head and have faithfully watered over the years.  “I can’t because of my job”; I can’t because I have writer’s block”; ” I can’t because I’m not ready.” These excuses have all been created and justified because I always thought, “I had time.”

But last week it hit me… I have to stop abusing time.  I have to stop using valuable time visualizing what will happen when I finally decide to begin running. I have to stop using costly energy whining about bad knees or why I can’t run. Every morning, I have to get up and start running to capture my greatness.  Every day I have to dedicate myself to live my best life today instead of depending on it to happen “one day”.  And every night, my movements of the day should afford me the opportunity to appreciate every second of the time granted to me.

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Daddy (issues)

“It is from her father that she begins to infer messages that will linger a lifetime— I am, or am not, considered by men to be pretty, desirable, valuable, dependent, weak, strong, dim-witted, brilliant; Men are, or are not, trustworthy, loving, predatory, dependable, available, dangerous.” – Victoria Secunda

As I celebrated my 35+ birthday last week, I started to answer some important life questions. One question being, “Why am I still Single?” When I’ve pondered over this question in my 20’s and early 30’s, my immediate response would often place the blame on the other side:“I can’t find a good man”; “Black men don’t know how to be real men”; “Men can’t accept my independence and strength.”; “Men make it hard to date in LA.”

But today, I’m ready to answer the question — At 35+, I’m still single because I have “Daddy” issues.

My parents separated when I was eight years old. Although my father was mostly absent from my life when my parents were together and became practically non-existent afterwards, I loved my father and constantly blamed my mother for the separation. It wasn’t until high school that I accepted the truth. I began to regret my ill feelings towards my mother for all of those years and the resentment against my father multiplied.  I finally confronted him in my 20’s; however, after I released the anger that festered in me during my childhood years, I invited it back in because I thought it had a right to return to the place it called home for so many years.

Over the years, I’ve held a tight hold on all of the issues that created the resentment and have found delight in the fact that I’ve been strong enough to recognize and hold on to the promise that, “I will never allow a man to treat me like my father treated my mother.” This hold has allowed my negative feelings for father to spill over in my personal relationships with men. Because of my issues with my father, I have never fully warmed my heart to depend on and trust a man. I created a list of expectations that I placed on my father and have passed on to men in my life. My strong grip of my unresolved past with the only man I once adored and trusted  have caused the reach to an optimistic future with a man to constantly move farther away and slip through my fingers.

In September, my father turned 80 and one of my brothers organized a big, birthday bash at my home. Before the party, I was on the fence. I thought, Why are we giving this man a party? Why am I rewarding him for not being a good father? But that day, as all of his eight children celebrated a father who had been absent from all of our lives, I realized it was possible to exist without the anger.  So, I’m finally taking the steps to forgive my father.  

At 35+, I’m taking responsibility in my part of why I am still single. I finally accept my father for the man he is. And I thank him for his role in my independence and strength. My father has taught me how I should be treated by a man and I have to trust that those lessons are enough.  So, today, I am looking forward to releasing all of my “Daddy” issues and I’m finally opening myself up to the possibility of being vulnerable, being understanding, and being loved by a man.

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