Need You Now

“I said I wouldn’t call but I’ve lost all control and I need you now. And I don’t know how I could do without, I just need you now.” Lady Antebellum

To start, I know that it has been forever since I last blogged. There has just been a lot going on and I know I say that a lot but it is really true. I tried to get my thoughts together and believe me, there were a lot of them. I just couldn’t narrow all of the thoughts in my head down to one blog. I waited and waited and thought and thought. It wasn’t until this week that it hit me like a ton of bricks. There has been a lot going on in the world and I wanted to take the time to discuss it and give my point of view.

In one week, two celebrities have committed suicide. Although I did not know them personally I was a fan of both of them it hurt me to my heart to know that they both felt that taking their own lives was the only way that they could get relief or peace from this crazy world. To the outside world and to the people that knew them best they were both said to have been happy, joyful and full of life. They were said to always have a smile on their face and to love all of their close family and friends. It really made me wonder, how is it that these two people can appear to be so happy and full of life to the people closest to them but still take their own lives as a means of escape? What exactly was the disconnect?

I started to think about my own life. I appear to be happy on the outside. I tend to carry other people’s issues and feelings often and I do not mind doing it at all. I honestly think that I was put here for that, among other things. I love helping people through their dark days and times. I am glad that I can hold their hand and shed light on things that obviously make them feel so low. I take pride in being there for others. What I realized though is that when I am done helping others put the pieces of themselves back together again, I am not broken and not made whole myself. I realized that I do not have the same help as I offer to others. I am left there with all of my thoughts, fears, hurt, wounds and scars and I am left to try and sift through all of it and put on a “happy face” before I can venture out into the world again. Although I know hundreds of people, especially on social media…I am not sure that I know one well enough to be there for me to help me put myself together again. When I sat down and came to this realization, it showed me that I live a very lonely life and I always have. For as long as I can remember, I have always been alone. I never really made friends that stuck around for the “long-haul.” The friends that I did make would stay around for a while but eventually they would up and go and somehow it just always ended up being me, myself and I. There is nothing wrong with being alone. I believe that sometimes being by ourselves is the best thing that we can ask for but then there are times when you just need someone by your side while you laugh, cry, scream or whatever it is that you need to do in that moment to allow yourself to feel better. I always thought that it was so interesting that you can be around a room full of people and feel so alone. It’s truly something. I often wondered if it was just me that felt this way. It made me sad to think that others could possibly feel the same loneliness that I do.

To most of the people in my life I am looked at as “the strong one.” I am usually the one who reaches out especially when someone that I care about is going through something. I do whatever it is that I can to ensure that they are taken care of. I want to make sure that they know that they are not alone and that it is going to get better. I reach out as much as needed. Being alone is not a good feeling and I try to make sure that no one feels that way. As much as I enjoy being the “strong one” it also has its disadvantages. Everyone expects you to be able to handle your stuff and their stuff, they never reach out to make sure that you are okay because you display that you always are. You end up wiping your own tears along with everyone else’s and you end up fighting all of your demons and battles alone. You become everything to everyone but yourself. You end up climbing into bed with all of the lights off and you just cry your eyes out and you wish and pray that there was someone to help you unload all of the baggage and burdens that you carry. You just wish for a break, before you break. You want some peace, rest and just a small part of your sanity back. You do all of this in the dark and in silence because you don’t want everyone to see or think that you are not as strong as they think you are or as strong as you portray yourself to be. If you breakdown and show that you are actually human and you need help, what will the others think of you? Will they view you differently? Will they still trust you to help them unload their baggage or will they see you as weak, damaged and a fake because you made them think that you were something that you weren’t, strong?  These are thoughts that often go through my mind. I do not want to be like anyone else but me but it would be nice to feel like there was someone that I could go to if I needed it and they would not look at me differently. I believe that is why most people stay quiet about the mental and emotional battles that they face on a daily basis. It is too hard to admit to others that we are not okay because we are afraid of the opinions that they would form about us. We are too consumed with the thoughts that others will have about us that we don’t even take the time out to have a thought or think about our own well-being and needs. It is okay to ask for help. It is okay to say that you can’t do it alone. In my opinion, that is what makes you strong.

As someone who struggled with depression, I can relate to the feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness and just feeling like I didn’t mean anything to anyone. I would barricade myself in my apartment in my room with the door closed and I did not want to communicate with anyone about anything. I would keep the blinds sealed shut and I just wanted to be alone. I didn’t want anyone to see me that way. I didn’t want to be judged or made fun of. I didn’t want anyone to think any less of me. I didn’t want people to think that I could not handle everything that life was throwing at me when that was the truth. I couldn’t. My uncle had died and I loved him so much. That was my toughest loss, I wanted a house so badly but we did not have any help, I hated my job and I wanted to get out but we were not in a financial situation to do so, I was tired of looking at myself in the mirror with the same hairstyle and the same clothes. I was tired of not feeling pretty or appreciated. I was tired of people not calling to check on me or asking me if I wanted to go places. I was tired of feeling like the only person that wanted me around was my daughter. I was tired of it all. I was tired of pretending that I had a grip on reality when all I wanted to do was close my eyes and make it all disappear. I just wanted to go away. Would the world be better without me? Would they miss me? Would they even notice that I was gone? I hated that my mama would keep asking me why I didn’t want to go to the doctor. I told her part of the truth which was that I didn’t have the money. The other part was that I knew I was depressed. I had studied the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Disorders) enough to know what it was frontwards and backwards. I didn’t need anyone to tell me what it was that I felt because I lived it. I dealt with those feelings everyday and if a doctor told me I was depressed (which I was) I would have to own and admit it and that was something I was not prepared for.

Of course hindsight is always 20/20 and I am so glad that I went to the doctor and talked to someone because I needed it. I needed to get all of my feelings off my chest. I needed help and I needed to not feel ashamed of what I was going through. It was a hard pill to swallow but going through what I was going through alone was even harder. I wanted someone to understand I had that in my doctor. She cared and she worked with me to ensure that I was getting better. Resources are there. All we have to do is ask for them. I beg of you, check on your strong friends. Check on your not so strong friends. Call and text them. Motivate and encourage them. Be their shoulder. Tell them that you love them. Everyone is fighting a battle that we know nothing about. Being someone’s shoulder or shelter during a storm may do more than brighten their day, it just may save their life. Thanks for reading! 💋

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“The Great Pretender”

The Great Pretender

“Oooh yes, I’m the great pretender. Just laughing and gay like a clown. I seem to be what I’m not (you see). I’m wearing my heart like a crown, pretending that you’re still around.” –The Platters

 

Before starting this week’s blog I do want to apologize for it being late. This weekend was very busy and hectic and exciting. It was Mother’s Day on Sunday and my husband graduated from USC with his Master’s Degree in Social Work so it was a very exciting time. I told myself that I was going to try my best to get it done on Sunday but it was too much going on for me to even try and fit time into my schedule and yesterday was just a bad day all around and I did not want to bring any of that energy into my blogs. I love them too much for me to write some trash just so that I can say that I published something for you all to read. That isn’t me. I respect you all and my craft too much to do that so, here I am today. Better late than never, right?

A couple of months ago I was scrolling on Facebook and I happened to see a story that caught my eye. (I am going to paraphrase and change some of the details of the story.)  It was the perspectives of a relationship between a man and a woman. The couple had been together for a long time and they had recently decided to split. They had just grown unhappy and apart. They had met in college and had spent many years together. They had gotten married right out of college because they felt that they were each other’s soul mate. They decided that they did not want to be with anyone else in life. Happy go lucky, college sweethearts.  They were able to buy a house fresh out of school due to them finding jobs in their fields and her parents were really well off so money wasn’t really an issue for them.  It wasn’t long before they found out that they were pregnant. The husband wasn’t really sure about children because he had hopes of just traveling, seeing the world and spending his life with his wife and no one else. The wife dreamed and prayed for the day that she would become a mother. That is all that she really ever wanted out of life was to be successful, a wife and a mother. In her eyes, life was now complete. When the wife told the husband, on the inside, his heart sank. He didn’t know if he was ready to be a father or if he wanted to be one at all. He couldn’t bring himself to have this discussion with his wife now though especially since she was pregnant. He couldn’t cause her heartbreak and stress right now. So instead, he put his feelings aside and hugged and kissed his wife with a huge smile on his face. He was going to be a father!  Due to the fact that the husband was still going to be working, the husband asked his mother if she would move in to help the wife with the baby and the day to day routines that she was no longer going to be able to handle right away like the cooking, cleaning, laundry, dishes, etc. Since the mother of the husband didn’t work, she was more than happy to oblige her son. She was going to be a grandmother!  The wife didn’t really care for the husband’s mother. She didn’t understand how a mother could not really be there for her son during his life and then pop up after the son decides to go to college and make something of himself, gets a great job, get married, etc. and not only that but has the nerve to have her hand out like someone owes her something. She didn’t work and didn’t plan on working because she had her son. In the mother’s eyes, she took care of him so it was his turn to take care of her. This burned the wife on the inside. She didn’t want to bring this up now though. She was expecting and she did not want her ill feelings to be transferred to the baby. She smiled and hugged her husband. She was going to have help!  The baby came, a beautiful baby boy.  He was everything that they could have dreamed of. A perfect little angel.  The husband stayed home for a while with the baby, his wife and his mother but soon it was time to go back to work. The wife and husband’s mother tried to work together to raise and care for the baby the best they could but there was too much history there.  As time went on, the baby boy grew and grew. The husband continued working, the wife never returned to work due to her parents being well off, she didn’t have to. The husband stayed busy working countless hours at the office. He was home to eat dinner, shower, sleep a few hours, and then he was gone again. There was really no time for anything except his career. He had to work. Of course he loved his son and in his mind, his son would thank him one day for working to take care of him and securing his future. Who needs to toss around a baseball when you have $100,000 in your bank account at 21 years old? That was his goal for his son and he had to make sure his mother was taken care of, I mean, it’s his mother. He had responsibilities. He wasn’t there to help with the cooking or cleaning or anything like that but that’s what his mother was there for. They understood, right? The wife and husband’s mother focused all of her energy into the baby boy. The husband’s mother never left and continued to live with them and in the eyes of the wife, remained a leech.  The wife continuously asked the husband to talk to his mother about the possibility of leaving. The wife even offered to help him pay for a place of her own. The husband wouldn’t budge. He reminded his wife that the mother was there to help them out with their son. The wife informed the husband that she was a full time mother and she did not work so the help was no longer needed. She stated that the mother just didn’t want to leave because she had become so accustomed to him taking care of her that she feared living on her own. The wife stated that it wasn’t fair for her to have to continue feeling and being uncomfortable in her own home. The wife stated that if his mother didn’t leave then she would and she was taking their son with her. The husband laughed and called her bluff and went to work. The wife packed her bags, called her divorce lawyer, began looking for another house and didn’t look back. When the husband came home, the wife and their son was gone.  There was a card on the table for her lawyer and a note that said that her people would contact his people. She stated that she had been unhappy for 11 years. The wife stated that their son’s whole life had went by with a blink and he hadn’t been there to experience any of it. She informed him that she was so unhappy that she thought that she would die. She was tired of pretending to be happy in her own home. She said that the husband only worked to take care of his mother and it isn’t something that he was made to do but she was not going to carry him and his mother. She married him, not his mother.  All she ever wanted was him. She wanted to love him and be with him forever. She stated that he was never able to stand up to her and she was tired of begging him to see her for everything that she was and all that she did for the sake of her family. She stated that she never felt like she was first in any aspect especially when it came to his mother and since he refused to put her first, she decided that it was time that she did that for herself.

In so many ways, I was like man…this sounds like my life. I feel as though, a lot of times we put everyone and everything above ourselves. We ask and beg people to see us for who we really are but in the beginning of relationships we set the tone and standard for the things that we will and will not accept. My daddy always told me, “You teach people how to treat you. Don’t get mad at them when what you allowed and taught manifests right before your very eyes.” He was right. We do things at the beginning of relationships to get the people that we are interested in but when we get them I find that a lot of the time we don’t do those same things to keep them. We grow complacent and comfortable and we no longer see them the way that we once did. They lose their glow, their shine, their newness. We become consumed with the routine of our daily lives that we are no longer appreciative of all that we do for each other and the sacrifices that we make for each other. Years pass like days and you don’t even know where the time went. One day you’re fine and the next you’re resentful. You’re angry and you’re hurt because the one person who was alllll about you and only you at one point in time, it seems doesn’t know you at all now. You’re strangers, ships passing in the night. You’re roommates. You don’t know how you got here. You try your best to hold on to the good times. You look at the pictures that are hanging on the wall all throughout your house. You look at the smile that you once wore. You close your eyes and try to remember that “happy” time in your life. You look at your child(ren) and you wonder, I was happy at some point, right? I had to be. I made these beautiful babies. There was love there once. There had to be. You no longer feel appreciated or you wonder if you ever did.  Did you ever feel all of the happiness that you vaguely remember?  Is it a figment of your imagination? Did you make it all up? When did it change from real emotion to pretending? Why did you start pretending? Did you ask for help? Did you mention it? Did he or she hear you? Did they attempt to work on and fix the behavior? Do they even still see you or have you become a hollow shell of what use to be? Will he or she ever put you first? Were you ever first? Why did you settle for anything less than first? Why did you spend all of this time being okay with this behavior? When did this start? Was your whole life that you have spent with him or her a lie?

In my opinion, happiness or love isn’t something that should be faked. I know that in life we have to put ourselves aside at times for the ones that we love but completely removing ourselves just for the sake of having someone or making them happy is certainly not the answer. It’s easy to pretend. It’s easy to say that you’re happy when you’re really dying on the inside especially if the person that you’re talking to doesn’t know you any better. We’re human, if you start to say something over and over on a daily or consistent basis; it’s easy for us to start believing it ourselves. Sometimes it feels easier to live with the lie and fake being happy than it is to tell the truth and risk hurting their feelings. At some point, you have to choose yourself. You have to put yourself first. Love yourself. Be honest with yourself. Respect yourself. If you don’t do all of these things for yourself, how can you expect anyone to do it? The father in the story pretended…the wife pretended and so did the mother. It cost them all. Some more than the others, but they all paid. Everything has a price. Just make sure that if you’re going to pay, what you are getting in the end is worth it. Thanks for reading!

 

“Dear Younger Me”

“Dear Younger Me,  It’s not your fault. You were never meant to carry this beyond the cross.” -MercyMe

In my life, I have met a lot of people. I have talked to them, cried with them, laughed with them, worked towards helping them heal and been the shoulder or the diary that they never had. I take pride in talking to them and being whatever it is that they need of me in that moment. We don’t always have someone to listen and I make it my mission to be there to offer whatever it is that I can to help them to heal from that pain. I do it and I love it. I am usually a wallflower. I stay to myself and I don’t bother anyone but it is like I can smell the hurt and the pain from a mile away. I can see the hurt not only on their faces but on their hearts as well. Some hide it better than others but I can still see it the same. My husband thinks I am insane I am sure because I can see and feel things that most people can’t. I don’t always know the story but the pain looks the same. Out of all of the people that I have spoken with, if I had the option to speak to anyone in the world, it would be me. I would go back and find myself as a child and I would talk to myself. I think that if I would have known all of the things that I know now back then, it would have made a world of difference.

If I could go back and find 5 year old Bridney, I would talk to her. I would stop and take a moment to look and admire her innocence. I would admire the smile that I had back then and how happy I was. My life wasn’t perfect by any means but I feel like I had more things to be hopeful about back then as opposed to the things that were to come. If I could go back and talk to my 5 year old self I would say, Bridney, first of all, you’re beautiful, you’re loved, you’re special and you are going to be something one day. You matter. You are going to change lives and your heart is as pure as they come, little one.  I know that things at home at hard right now. You’re dealing with a lot. You’re constantly being beat down and you’re always made to feel like less than you really are. You want her to love you and it just feels like she doesn’t. You hurt. Your five year old heart hurts and sadly, it’s not any better where I am but you can change that. You can do it. You can start by not expecting people to treat you the way that you treat them. They never will. Stop placing such heavy expectations on people, little one. They are human and they will hurt you. I know that it is hard and you don’t want to be at home. Mama is so mean and she acts like you’re the worst person in the world and daddy is always drunk. He can barely hold a conversation with you. You have no outlet. I know. I know that you think that being with granny is the best place for you to be, little one and for right now that’s fine but in about another year or so, that will change. Things will start to change. You will start to see people for who they really are and not all of those people who pretend to love you and care really do. Watch who you are around. Don’t stay at granny’s house with just anyone. Go with granny. Cry if you have to, to make her take you. You will thank me in the long run. Remember the color black. When you see black shorts and the person wearing them, run! Run, little one. Don’t go anywhere near them. Try to avoid the pain that is coming to you if you don’t heed this warning. The rest of your life will be altered if you don’t.

The innocence and the good that you see in people is something to be admired, not mocked. Do not surround yourself with people who make fun of the good and the purity that your heart possesses. Granny talks about The Lord all of the time. She’s an angel. All of the praying and the goodness of The Lord is very necessary; you just don’t know it yet. She was covering you. She was praying for and with you. She wanted to try and fight all of your demons because she knew that you didn’t know how to and she knew that there were a lot of them. Appreciate that. Hug her a little longer and tell her that you love her because things will not always be this way between the two of you. Soon, she will not even remember who you are. Appreciate all of the love and the goodness of her while you have it. Visit her often. Call her. Check on her. Hold her hand. Give her the flowers she deserves while she can smell them and can remember what they are. ABOVE ALL ELSE, DO NOT LET THIS WORLD MAKE YOU HARD. Do not allow your experiences to allow you to not trust just anyone, trust everyone, or push everyone away. Everyone doesn’t have the same intentions and it is hard sometimes to decipher the good and the bad but as you’ll learn later, you have an eye for that sort of thing. The downfall is, it only usually works for people who are not directly linked to you. Everyone is NOT your friend, little one. Some people are like leeches and they will come in and try their best to suck all of the life, joy, happiness and all of the other wonderful things that you possess out of you. They are not good people. They know that you have greatness within you and they want that. They want a piece of every single part of you that you can and will offer them. They will not reciprocate though. As much as I want to say don’t expect them to and don’t allow this to hurt you…it will. You need to feel that hurt and you need to deal with it as it comes. Do not try and block it out and do not allow yourself to go numb. If you go numb you won’t be able to feel the bad but you won’t be able to feel the good either. Feel it all!! You will need this to help all of the others that you will come face to face with later in life who have the same issues.  You’re able to do amazing things. Your ability to sing and write is incredible. You love words and you will become an amazing speaker although you are super shy now. You will remain shy but the talent and the abilities that you hold won’t allow you to stay hidden. You stand out whether you want to or not.

Little boys will turn into young men and young men will turn into grown men. If it doesn’t feel right in your gut, it’s not. Trust that instinct. It only gets stronger. Understand that men will say just about anything to get in your head. Where the head goes, the body follows, remember that. You’ll meet one when you turn 14. Pick him. He will be your husband and the father of your baby girls. I know, I know, you didn’t want children. Your baby dolls are enough right now but you will have two daughters and they are beautiful!! You will love them with every fiber of your being and you won’t be the mother that you are so afraid of becoming. You will be amazing and don’t ever let anyone try and tell you any differently. You are trying and that is all that matters. You have a lot to juggle. Don’t introduce your oldest one to candy, she can’t resist it.

Daddy loves you. He always will and that is something that he doesn’t hide. It is just difficult for him. He has demons too and they bother him. He deals with his demons the best way he knows how, by drinking. When you get older you will talk to him and he will feel like he is at a crossroads and he will stop. He will give it up and he will not look back. Things are going to be tense and strained between the two of you at times. Know that his love for you never changes, he is always there. You will feel like he is a monster and he is mean often but he isn’t. He is a gentle giant and the main one in your corner. He will choose you every time and make no apologies for it. Right or wrong, good or bad, he is riding with his baby girl. Daddy is going to get sick, twice. The first time will be nothing compared to the second. You will be fine. Don’t hold on to the guilt that you feel. Let it go. You did everything that you could and he is still here. Talk to daddy. Tell him your fears. Tell him about who and what hurt you. Don’t wait on anyone else to do it for you because it will never happen and you will be there carrying all of the pain and hurt and guilt for something that wasn’t your fault, little one. Talk to daddy. Mama is a little different. You will spend most of your life trying to make her happy and you will not be able to. You will want her to be the woman that you know that she can be but she doesn’t. You will say that you have forgiven her for all of the hurtful things that she said and the things that you wanted and needed her to say that she never did. You will wait for apologies that you will never receive and you will take the blame for things that you didn’t do or couldn’t avoid. You’ll become an adult and still wish you had your mommy.

There are a lot of things that happen in your life that you had no control over, little one. It wasn’t your fault. Please know that you are loved and beautiful. Trust God and lean on him. Don’t turn to other things to help you deal with the pain. Sleep. Close your eyes and try and sleep. If you don’t, insomnia and depression will find you and make you want to end it all. Fight it off. Pray. Pray hard and often. You’re loved, little one. You will do great things. You will go to school and graduate and get accepted again!! You have big dreams and that is something to be admired. I know that this is a lot to take in but if anyone can handle what life throws at them, it’s you. You’re the bravest kid I know.

“You are holy. You are righteous. You are one of the redeemed. Set apart, brand new heart, you are free indeed.” -Mercyme ❤️

Thanks for reading!!

” A Song for Mama.”

Mama- (n) A woman in relation to her child or children. (v) Bring up a child with care and affection. To give birth to. (www.dictonary.com)

With Mother’s Day quickly approaching, I thought that it would be very fitting to dedicate this blog to some of the strongest women on the face of the planet. No disrespect to my readers who aren’t mothers, you are a woman and that my dear, is your superpower. Don’t ever forget it.

I thought long and hard about whether or not I wanted to tackle this or not. I tried and tried to come up with a different title and topic altogether, but this was stuck in my spirit and wouldn’t move. I realized that it was inevitable, and I might as well just do it now. I am passionate about people. I feel as though I was put here to help people. Not just any people or person though. I want to help the hurt ones. The abused ones. The scared ones. The lost ones. The angry ones. The broken ones.  The forgotten ones. As an adult that survived a pretty traumatic childhood, I have felt every single one of the emotions that I previously listed. Even at almost 30 years old, I still do. It is a daily battle to try to feel and act normal when the child inside of you is screaming her head off because you won’t speak all of the things that she felt. You feel hurt, abandoned, lost, angry and forgotten. You walk through this world with its weight on your shoulders and you feel like no one can see you. I do, I see you and I know what it feels like.

I became a mother at 24 years old. It was two months to the day of my 25th birthday. God and I had a discussion and I told Him that if I did not have a child before I turned 25 that I was not going to have any at all. Due to Him having such a wonderful sense of humor, He blessed me with my oldest daughter two months exactly before I turned 25. It was scary and completely different from anything that I had ever experienced. I knew that I loved this little person with  a type of love that I had never experienced before. My life was no longer my own. It was no longer about me. I knew that I would trade in my life for hers in an instant. The scariest part about becoming a mother was not the morning sickness, the awful feeling I got when I smelled certain things, the back pain, the fact that I had her early, or the weight that I gained. The scariest part was that I was now responsible for another human’s life besides my own. I had no idea what I was doing. Sure, I could hold her, change her, feed her, etc. these were all things that I was taught to do with my nephews and other people’s children but never my own. I felt an immediate sense of unconditional love and my maternal instinct was kicked into high gear and so were my protective instincts. I sat in that hospital scared to death. I was scared because I didn’t know what kind of mother I would be. Was I even ready for this? There was no book or manual on how to raise a child or the right or wrong ways to do it. I didn’t want to expose my daughter to the things that I had been exposed to when I was child. I didn’t want the scars and wounds that I still have to affect her and make her as angry, hurt, lost and abandoned as I felt. I couldn’t do that to her, no way! There were nights where I would just lay in bed holding her and cry. I would cry my eyes out as she would be looking up at me cooing and babbling and smiling. She had no idea the pain that I had experienced and the fear it put in my heart. I couldn’t ruin my baby. She was innocent in all this. She didn’t ask to be here. Over three years later, I got pregnant again with another little girl. I told you all that God has an amazing sense of humor. She was born in September. Now I had Amaria Latrice and Autumn Marleya. Mommy’s girls. My loves and my heartbeats. Having two children, two girls, nonetheless was a completely different ballgame. You need a front facing and rear facing car seat, you need a sippy cup and bottles, an Ipad and a diaper bag, diapers and underwear. It never ends!!! I have one that exercises some form of independence and another who is completely dependent. It is the most hectic job I have ever had, and I wouldn’t change it for the world. It does get difficult though and there are somedays where I just want to lock myself in my closet for a second so that I can think straight and get my thoughts together. You’re the mama so you don’t get a break and you always have to appear to have it all together even if you’re dying on the inside. That is just the way it works. It gets so frustrating and aggravating that you don’t know what to do so you just cry, and I am sure to a lot of people that makes us appear weak, crazy, angry, insane or a combination of all the above. We are entitled to feel that. We are human, and we are just like everyone else at the end of the day. We feel too.

Earlier this week I was on Facebook and one of my friends reposted a video of a mother of four who went live to say (I am paraphrasing here.) that she was tired, and she needed a break. She said that she had to come outside because she just needed a moment to herself or she thought that she was going to lose it. She stated that she was always having to be “the responsible one” and taking care of the children, making sure their needs were met and doing everything for them. She said that she did not make the children alone and therefore she should not be the only one responsible for them. She just wanted a break. She asked why is it that fathers can walk away after a child is made without ever turning back and the mother is just expected to pick up all of the slack and carry in on her back and not get tired or complain? I watched the video and it broke my heart. My heart broke for her. It broke for many reasons. It broke because she felt this way and she was alone. All I wanted to do was hug her and those babies and tell her that it was going to be okay. I wanted to give her my keys and tell her to take some time to herself and I would watch the babies for her. There was a lot that I wanted to do for her. The comments that I read regarding her and her situation are what hurt me the most. There were people from all over cursing and laughing and telling her what and how she should feel. Telling her to suck it up, she should have chosen her children’s father more wisely, give her children up for adoption, use birth control, stop complaining, etc. This angered me. I started not to even comment on the post. I left the post completely, but my heart made me go back and express my opinion. My opinion was this, this woman is human. She is a mother of four and she is tired. She is tired, and she is hurt, and she is angry. She entitled to feel every single emotion that she does. She is allowed to express these feelings as well. She is raising these children by herself. She is doing the best that she can. She is crying out for help. She is at the end of her rope and she doesn’t know what to do. It angered me because she was trying her best to ask for help and guidance and here people were tearing her down and poking fun of her. They were calling her weak and telling her that “their relatives had x amount, of children and they never got on Facebook live and complained.” Most of the people who were so negative towards her either a.) didn’t have children b.) didn’t have multiple children c.) were men who didn’t have children or didn’t have custody of their own children. This baffled me a little because I am a very analytical person and I am very observant. I think A LOT. I don’t usually take advice from people who have not experienced the things that I have. If you haven’t been through the things that I have been through, felt the things that I have felt, survived the battles that I have fought then I don’t think that it would be in my best interest to listen to you. To me, that is like trying to learn to tie shoes from a person who has only worn Velcro sandals their whole life. How can you teach me something that you yourself have never done or experienced? It sounds crazy, right? I don’t care how many people you have watched tie their shoes, if you haven’t done it…please don’t try and teach me. Save my time along with yours. I just felt that this lady should not have to carry the weight that she did. There is nothing scarier than being a parent and I thought that her transparency was something to be admired. She was speaking her truth. She chose speaking her truth as her coping mechanism to deal with all of the emotions that she was currently feeling. Just because she chose to express herself or her way of coping was different from the ones that were judging her, they felt that it made her wrong. No, it doesn’t. Her truth is hers. She can admit and express however she chooses to whether she writes it or speaks it. I admire her for it. She did something that many of us are afraid to do. She admitted that she was tired, angry, frustrated and that she didn’t want to do it alone. She didn’t make the children alone. She should not have to raise them alone. In a society that leaves you to suffer in silence because expressing it makes you weak, I am thankful that she did. If she would have stayed silent and not admitted to the pain that she was feeling, she would have been made to look like a horrible person for that as well. She didn’t want to continue to suffer in silence. That makes her as strong as they come.  It is my belief that when a woman lays down with a man she doesn’t do it thinking and knowing that if she happens to get pregnant that she is going to have to raise the child alone. That little tidbit of information usually comes later. Using birth control is also not guaranteed. I used to think that the little 1% chance was a joke. It turns out that it wasn’t. I got pregnant with Autumn after being on birth control for years. It happens. Autumn is living proof. Giving your children up for adoption isn’t something that is easy to decide to do. It’s not. It is a very brave and noble thing to do but it is also very difficult.

As I previously stated, being a mother is hard. Very rewarding but difficult. There is no manual. There are no directions on what you should or shouldn’t do. It takes a village to raise and child and if there isn’t a village there to help, that makes it even more difficult. As women, I don’t think that we get enough credit for all of the things that we have to do. We wear many hats. We are mothers, wives, sisters, cousins, aunts, daughters, nieces, granddaughters, nurses, doctors, counselors, lovers, fighters, listeners, we wipe tears, we fight off ghosts, heal the sick, nurture, protect, etc. We do it all. We say a million times how tired we are, and we just wipe our brow and keep pushing on. That is what we know. We don’t know defeat, giving up, allowing someone else to take over for us. Not all superheroes wear capes. I told you all that being a woman is a superpower. Who else do you know can house, nurture and grow a perfect little human for 9 months? No one!! Just us! We are amazing creatures. Although we don’t like to admit it, we also have limits. We get exhausted, we cry, we get angry and frustrated and we hide in rooms and cry our eyes out so that no one will hear. We get it out, wipe our eyes and nose and keep on pushing. We are as resilient as they come. We love as hard as we fight, and we look amazing while doing it. Don’t ever allow anyone to come along and try to dull your sparkle, mama. We own businesses, we have degrees, multiple children, multiple streams of income, we are doing everything that they said that they didn’t want us to be able to do. Keep pushing. May your standards be set high and your heels, higher. This is dedicated to you. Mama, or not, you’re magical. Thanks for reading!

“How To Save A Life”

Disclaimer: This will probably be one of the longest and most transparent blogs that I have ever written. This was not easy to write at all. I made a promise to myself and to everyone reading my blogs before I even started that if I was going to do it then I was going to be one hundred percent open and honest about my experiences. I was going to say exactly how I feel/felt and I was not going to hold back no matter how hard it would be. This blog was so difficult, in fact that I had to save this part for the very end.

November 8th, 2017 was probably the scariest and most difficult day of my life. So difficult and scary that I have not discussed it in its entirety in one of my blogs until now. Here is my truth about what happened on that day. I was awakened by my mother in law early that morning. I believe that it was before 6 that morning. I remember her saying that I needed to call my mama because she had been calling me because there was an emergency with my daddy. When I heard, “daddy” I immediately sat up and grabbed my phone. The first thing I remember thinking was, “oh no, please God not again.” I called my mama and she said that she had tried calling Mario and I but neither of us answered the phone but thankfully my mother in law was there and heard her phone. She said that I needed to come down there and check on my daddy (this is where the difficult part of the blog begins, and it doesn’t get any easier until the end. Stay with me.) because she found him on the porch slumped over. He could not even open the door. She said that all of his belongings were all over the porch and she was in the bathroom when she heard him lightly knocking on the door wanting to get in. She said she went to the door and there he was. She asked him what was wrong and helped him get into the house and on the bed. She told me that she had tried to call the ambulance, but he said no. She said that he said that he was fine, and he just needed to lay down. She told me that I needed to get there. I jumped up. I threw on some old linty pajama pants, my hair was tied up, I didn’t even wash my face or brush my teeth, I put on my gray jacket and I was out the door. A million thoughts ran through my mind as I tried to get there. I prayed the whole time. I kept telling myself, “don’t panic.” When I got to the house, he was laying on the bed and he looked really weak, but he still looked like himself. I called his name and he looked at me and tried to smile. “Hey Brid” he said. I asked him what was wrong, and he said that he just needed to lay down. He said that he had thought that he was catching the flu because he hadn’t been feeling well. He also said that he had eaten some cheese toast the other day and he shouldn’t have because he felt like the cheese was just sitting in the middle of his chest. I asked him why he ate it and he knew that he wasn’t supposed to due to the heart attack he had my first semester of undergrad. He looked at me with his head turned to the side and politely said, “what do you mean? I ate it because I was hungry, and I wanted it.” I laughed a little, but I was still terrified. My mama came back in the room and asked daddy if she needed to stay or go to work and daddy said that it was up to her. She could go to work if she wanted to. She asked this several times, but his answer was still the same. Mama left and went to work so now it was just daddy and me. I asked daddy what he needed or what I could do, he said that he needed some nitroglycerin tablets for his heart because his were expired. Of course, I fussed at him because how in the world could you have a heart condition and run out of pills for your heart?!? He turned to me and said that he hadn’t needed them. Ugh, really daddy?! So, I waited right by his side until 8am and I called his doctor and requested his medicine. Maybe an hour or 45 minutes later they said that it was ready. By this time, daddy was sitting up on the bed and was laughing and talking to me. He seemed to be back to his old self. He had his blue jean jacket over him because he said that he was cold. I was looking at my phone and I remember him saying, “I’ve got to get up. I have got to make it to get my medicine” and out of the corner of my eye I saw his hands fall to his side and him fall straight back on the bed. I immediately called his name and ran over to his bed. His eyes were open, but he was struggling to breathe. It sounded like he was blowing raspberries, but he wasn’t playing. I called 911 and told the operator exactly what was happening. My daddy did not have a pulse or a heartbeat. My daddy was dead. She asked me if daddy was laying on a flat surface with no pillows around and I stated that he wasn’t. He was laying on the bed. She told me that I would have to lift and carry him to the floor and lay him flat so that I could start chest compressions. I laid down my phone and I picked up my daddy up like he was a newborn baby and placed him on the floor from his bed. My daughter wasn’t even two months old at the time and I had a cesarean but that didn’t matter to me. It didn’t matter that I wasn’t healed. I had to save him. I did exactly what I was told. It wasn’t even five minutes later, and the EMS was there knocking on the door. They cut off my daddy’s shirt, kicked me out of the room and started working on him. I walked out of the room and called Mario. We weren’t speaking at the time, but he was my husband and my daddy was dead. He answered, and I told him what was happening between tears and he said that he was coming. Next, I called my mama. She told me that she was on her way. The chief of the Fire Department asked me if I was the only one there and I told him that I was. He looked me in my face and told me that I had saved my daddy. He said that they found a pulse, a weak one but it was a pulse. They were either taking him to Spartanburg or Greenville Memorial and he would let me know for sure when he knew. Not long after that, mama pulled up and daddy was in the ambulance already. The chief asked me if I was okay to drive. I told him that I was, and I had to make it to wherever they were taking my daddy. He told me that he could get me there if I needed it. I thanked him but told him that I would drive.

The entire drive was filled with rage. I was mad at daddy for not taking care of himself the way he should have and for not having his medicine and I told mama when I got to the hospital that I was going to fuss at him for being so careless. That was the furthest thing from the truth, I just didn’t know it yet. Daddy was in surgery when we arrived. After the surgery was over, the cardiologist came out to talk to us and told us that he would be moved to ICU. I didn’t like the sound of that at all. We waited forever. When we were finally able to go into his room and I saw him, my knees buckled. He had tubes everywhere and he wasn’t awake. His eyes were open, but he wasn’t there. His nurse was one of the sweetest people I have ever met. My daddy had angels in his room the entire time. She and the doctor explained that daddy was in horrible shape. He was hooked to 4 machines and he wasn’t breathing on his own, his heart wasn’t beating on its own, they didn’t want him to wake up and more sedatives and machines would follow. I had to be strong and listen to everything they said. I was his beneficiary and his POA. I wanted to block it all out and just die. I looked at the nurse and asked her with tears running down my face if they could take my heart and give it to my daddy. She looked at me with tears running down her face and said no. Mama just stood there crying. She explained what was going to happen over the next coming days and that it didn’t look good. I signed paperwork and set up a password that only I knew so I could call and check on him. When we left that night and I got back to his house and he wasn’t in the living room sitting on the couch, missing his teeth wearing his Clemson slippers that I bought him, I felt like my heart left my body. I couldn’t even stand up. It knocked the breath out of me. I had to sit on his bed. I left my mama and went home. I greeted Mario, my mother in law and kissed the girls. I went straight to the shower and turned on my music. I cried my eyes out. I screamed and cried my eyes out. That is all I knew to do. I cried and prayed. The next day, I had to handle the business side of things. I got his money together and I tried to pay his bills. I wasn’t on his bank account, his bills or anything and even though I made them all aware that he was probably not going to pull through this, none of them budged. I was backed into a corner. My mama fussed and told me that I had to take care of this and I had to get it done. I was SOOO close to the edge. I screamed and cried. I asked her what I was supposed to do?!?! I told her that I was trying the best I could with no help. I had never screamed at mama like that, but I had this huge weight and responsibility and no help. I was angry and sad. I paid what I could and signed more papers. Daddy was still the same. He was out and didn’t know that we were there. Every night I cried and prayed. I was terrified to close my eyes because I didn’t want anything to happen to him and I miss it. I didn’t sleep. I prayed and cried.

Days went on like this. I called every morning and every night to check on him. This happened on a Wednesday and on that Saturday while I was eating for my brother in law’s birthday, I called to check on him and the nurse said that he was awake, but he couldn’t speak. They had been trying for days to get him to respond to any command and he couldn’t do it. They didn’t know if he would have any memory, be able to talk, walk, or anything. But that night she said that she asked him to give her a thumb up and although it was really weak, he did it. I cried all through that restaurant and I thanked her, and I thanked God. My daddy stayed in the hospital for 11 days. 10/11 days I was there. I missed a day because I had to prepare for him coming home. If I had to take the girls, then they were there too. It didn’t matter. I juggled it all. The hardest part when he was able to talk again thanks to his speech therapist was that he didn’t remember Autumn. I showed him pictures and he cried because he just didn’t know her. He asked if he had met her. Anyone that knows me, or my daddy knows how much he loves his girls. He will mountains and go through hell for us and we will do the same for him. That was difficult. He went through a lot of therapy. On the 11th day, I picked him up and brought him home. His memory was not still there, and he would forget lots of things and he would get frustrated, but I held his hand and told him that I was there, and I would remind him of whatever he needed. He wasn’t alone in this. I had him. I told him to allow me to carry that for him.

Now, 5 months later he is home and still doing well. I am his warden and I make sure I know what he is eating, drinking, when he is taking his medicine, when he runs out of his medicine, etc. He is only allowed one cheat meal a week and it’s usually a hamburger and fries. He deserves that much, in my opinion. It’s not easy. I was there every single day. I didn’t leave his side. I couldn’t. The crazy thing is, when I was sitting in his room before all of that happened, he kept telling me that he was fine. He looked fine, sounded fine, etc. but it was like the chair in his room that I was sitting in grew arms and wouldn’t let me leave him. I couldn’t go. I couldn’t physically get up and go and I am soooo glad that I didn’t. I carry that around daily. The guilt of thinking he was okay and what would have happened if I would have left him. It haunts me. I feel so much guilt even after all I done. I honestly don’t think I would have survived if my daddy didn’t. I would have had to be buried with him. My heart left my body when he was in that hospital and it sat right there with him even when I wasn’t able to.

I often think of this experience when people think of me as weak or associate any sort of negative connotation with my name. Most people don’t know the hell that I have survived or the daily battles I face that no one knows about. This is just one example. You have no idea the amount of strength and perseverance that you possess until you need it. My daddy was almost 200 pounds when this happened to him, I had just had a baby and was not healed but I carried him literally and nursed him back to health. That’s strength, man!  His doctor looked at me the first day and the last day that we met and asked me the same question, how does it feel to save a life? Thanks for reading!!

“Trying To Find My Way Back”

 

It’s been a while, but it feels amazing to be back behind my laptop. After my first blog of the year, my previous laptop broke and I was not able to use it at all which was heartbreaking to me. It made me wish more than anything that I had utilized and appreciated my gift more than I had been in the past. Thankfully, I have a brand-new laptop and I have the best insurance that money could pay for, AppleCare, so I am positive that this computer will be fine from here on out. During my blog hiatus, I had blog topics and titles coming from every part of my brain and I was so upset because I knew that I was not going to remember any of the things that I had initially thought of..smh. I had so many ideas and so much to say, yet I had no vehicle to say it with. All I wanted to do was to get my thoughts down and to share them, but I couldn’t. Of course, hubby offered his laptop, but it wasn’t the same. Nothing compared to the connection that I had with mine. It knew everything that I had been through and believe me, even if it had the opportunity to talk, I still do not think that it would.

It was hard not being able to express my thoughts and feelings in the only way that I had learned how. I no longer wanted to hold things in but that was the only option I had. I felt like I was in prison and there was no scheduled date for my release. I thought about asking for help but what good would it do? I didn’t want to be judged or made fun of because I did not have the money to get the one thing that I so desperately wanted and needed. I knew that most people wouldn’t understand and more than likely, they wouldn’t care either. I knew that they would think that people needed a lot more things that were more significant than a laptop to rant and rave about their life story but to me having a way to express myself was like food and I was famished. I became angry. I became angry for a lot of reasons and at a lot of people and things. Mostly I was mad at myself. Here I am with this amazing gift that I have, and I don’t even use it the way that I should. I don’t appreciate it. I use it when and how I want to. I just let it lay dormant most of the time and I am content with that. I knew that there were people out there depending on me, yearning to see that I had posted something new, needing a word from me and I did nothing. I was being wasteful. It was awful, and I know that now. I feel like it was God’s way of showing me that I should appreciate what I have while I have it because just as quickly as He gave it to me, He can take it away. Now, I know that is what I needed. I needed to lose my way of expressing myself because when I had it, I didn’t appreciate it. I used it when I wanted to and tossed it to the side when I didn’t want to use it. When it benefitted me, it was cool.

I realized that is how it is in life. I realized that I was treating my gift the way a lot of people treat us or the way that we treat a lot of people. When there is something in it for them or us then we are there, and we are all about them and everything that they have to offer but as soon as the benefits fade, so do we. We are gone without a trace. I have experienced both sides of this coin. I have been there for people in every way you can imagine. I have given every single piece of myself and it still wasn’t enough. I gave and gave and gave until there was nothing left. I was empty and hollow and still I was trying to find something left inside of me so that I could give that too. I thought to myself, well if I gave them all of that and they still left, maybe they will come back if I can muster up enough of myself to offer them this. How can you give from an empty vessel? Not everyone has the same intentions and heart as you do, remember that. Not everyone will love, be there, stick around and offer the things that you do. That is what makes you, you. Cherish that. Now at the same time, I have been that person to use people to get what I could get from them. Maybe it was their listening ear, their shoulder to dry my wet eyes, their compassion, their understanding ways, etc. I was also a leech. I got what I could and then when it was time for me to reciprocate, I didn’t. I didn’t want to. I don’t want to listen to your problems and I have my own. I was selfish, young, dumb, careless, hurt, disrespectful and just blatantly rude. That was me and I had a lot of learning to do and I did. Karma does not discriminate. She does not care who you are. When it is your turn, she’s coming through. No one likes to be taken advantage of.

Often times I sit around, and I just observe people. I watch their gestures, facial expressions, etc. I listen to the things that they say but importantly, I listen out for the things that they don’t say. The one thing that usually pops into my head is, who hurt you? What happened to make you so comfortable in treating people this way and saying the things that you say? I used to think that people said things for attention and a lot of the time, I think that they still do but you would be surprised of the things that you will hear and see when people think that you aren’t paying attention. I’ve talked to people about things that they are dealing with and how they feel and most of the time they act a certain way or say certain things because they want to be the exact opposite of the person that they once were. They don’t want to be that person anymore. Being that person got them used, abused, hurt, ignored, forgotten about, taken advantage of, bullied, unnoticed or a combination of all of these. They want to go as far as they can from the person that they use to be. In order to cope and to never feel that way again, they develop a completely different persona. The “once wallflower” now curses, drinks, smokes, has multiple sexual partners, etc. She does this because she was once “good” and that got her nowhere but hurt by someone that she loved very deeply. She would never lift her finger to even harm a fly before but now she doesn’t care. She tried caring and all it left her with was a broken heart. Or what about the young girl who was an all-around sweetheart? She started a new life in a different place with her family. She had to go to a completely different school and make all new friends. She got tangled up with this guy and believed all of his lines and found out that she was pregnant. She tells him, he doesn’t want the responsibility because “he has his whole life ahead of him” and he leaves her to pick up the pieces of herself, her heart and to raise the child that they made together. Now she’s dealing with school, trying to work, raise her baby the best way she knows how, trying not to listen to all of the criticism that she is facing, etc. She is dying on the inside. She doesn’t want to go on because she doesn’t know how. She doesn’t have a choice though because she has that little person laying right beside her with those big, bright eyes looking up at her smiling. Now all of the good, innocence, and trust that she once possessed, it doesn’t exist anymore. It’s gone, just like him. Now she doesn’t believe anything that a man tells her, her walls are sky high and to all of the men that she comes across…. she’s angry and bitter and crazy. The sad thing is, no one stops to take a look on the inside of her and ask why she is that way. All people see is the result. No one sees all of the things that lead up to make us this way.

Life is hard, man. It really is and all we can do is try our best to maneuver through it the best and only way we know how. We weren’t given a booklet on how to do it. We have to use what we know and take the advice that we receive from others with a grain of salt. All that we can do is pray and believe that greater is coming, ask for forgiveness for the ones that we have hurt along the way, and try our best not to hold grudges towards the ones that hurt us along with offering them our forgiveness. Inhale the good and exhale the bad. Take it one day at a time. Understand that mistakes will happen. Learn from them and keep on moving. Pray. Believe. Receive. The sunshine isn’t appreciated as much if there isn’t a little rain every now and then. Besides, who doesn’t love a rainbow after a rainstorm? Thanks for reading!!

“Why You Wanna Change Me?”

Man…it feels so funny being here again. I was sure that I was done blogging, like I have said so many times before and here I am. I am right back here sitting in front of my laptop with so many thoughts, ideas, words, and just things to say in general. I have to say that I sincerely missed blogging but I just felt that it was becoming too much and I was having people read my blogs and I was getting attention from people who knew me but didn’t know my story and they were asking questions that I wasn’t sure that I was ready to answer so I deleted the add-on Facebook page that my blogs were attached to and I quit, cold turkey. I didn’t give any explanation nor did I let anyone know that I was leaving. I couldn’t. I didn’t want anyone to question me or try and talk me out of it. I said to myself that I was unsure if this was what I was “called or meant to do” anyway. I didn’t know. Was I even really helping people or was I just giving people a free look and insight into my deep and dark past that I have to pretend didn’t exist every time I stepped outside? I didn’t know and I still don’t. I said that I was not going to start blogging again until God showed me a sign or instructed me to move. I battled with this. I really did. I just gave it up, again. That wasn’t fair but I did it and I hadn’t looked back until now. I got a message the other day from someone who read my blogs and me and the person were just talking and all of a sudden they asked me, “when are you going to write again?” Those words hit me like a ton of bricks. I felt it right in my stomach. I told them that I had been thinking about it but hadn’t done it yet and that I was actually waiting on a sign on whether or not I should start back. This person told me that I should and that my blogs really helped them and they were sure that it would help others as well. I had heard this sooooo many times before but this time it was different. It felt like a breath of fresh air and I had been without oxygen. I thanked the person and days later, here I am. So if you are reading this, you know exactly who you are. I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Today my husband and I were having a conversation about relationships in general. He was giving me his opinion from the outlook of a man and I was giving him mine from the outlook of a woman. I realized that a lot of us women tend to blame the men, all men for the mistakes and wrong doings of one. I am not saying by any means that the men should be excused for all of the things that they do to hurt us because I know that they have the capability to cause us gut wrenching pain. Today though, while him and I were talking, I had a thought, ” were the men responsible for the pain that we feel or are we breaking our own hearts?” Before you all go in on me in the comments, just hear me out please. Think about this, have you ever been in a relationship or getting to know a man and everything seems great? Y’all vibe, he makes you laugh, you get butterflies when he’s around, you’ve told your girls about him and they can’t wait to meet him, etc..etc… everything is great except there is just this one thing. There’s just one thing about him that you don’t like and you can’t seem to shake it. All of the good that he has about him just doesn’t compare to this one bad thing. You tell your friends and everyone else that knows about him, “it’s okay y’all. Don’t even worry about it. Once we get together and make this thang official. I’ll change all that. I’m not even worried. He will change for me.” Be honest. How many times have you said this either to friends/family or at least to yourself? We all have. He has a habit or a trait about him that we don’t like and the first thing we want to do is swoop in with our capes on and save/change him. Well what happens when we do make “this thang official” and he doesn’t change because we cannot change him? Do you let him go because your expectations are unrealistic and he doesn’t budge or do you stick around because you think that if you let him go now someone else will get the man that you have invested all of this time in and she will be able to reap the benefits rather than you? If you answered yes to either of these questions, then you my dear may be truly breaking your own heart.

I had to learn a long time ago that before I got into any kind of relationship that I had to love myself first. I had to love myself wholeheartedly because at the end of the day, with or without a relationship I had me. I was born alone and I would die the same so I needed to love and feel good about me before I could get into any relationship no matter whether or not it was serious. I had to know the ins and outs of myself. I had to know my worth, the things that I liked and didn’t like, the things that I would and would not tolerate, etc. Of course, me being 14 when I got with my now husband, I did not know any of this. None. All I knew was that there was an older boy who played football and whose picture I saw in the yearbook and instantaneously fell in love with, and I was going to get him. I did. I got him. 13 years, 2 little girls, countless memories and tons of heartache, tears and growth later, we are still together. It was hard though. It really was. I was that young girl who saw things that I didn’t like about him and thought that I could change him. I can change him because that is what is necessary. If he loved me then he would do it. He will change for me. Now being almost 30 and a lot wiser I know how silly all of that sounded. It sounded ridiculous because it was. I looked at this man and I saw him and fell in love with him because of a picture. I said that I was going to get him and I did. First off, I wanted him because of his looks which was extremely childish and vain. Over time I saw more and more things about him that I didn’t like that the picture did not reveal to me. Even if it would have, I don’t think that it would have made a difference because I was sure that I was the one that could change all of that without a problem. WRONG!!!! WRONG!! WRONG!!!

It is my sincere belief that we should never go into anything with anyone in the hopes of changing them. I believe that this is a recipe for disaster. Most people, especially men feel as though if they were a certain way from the very beginning and you did not mention or bring up the issue then, why now? Most would even say, well you knew this about me going into this..why do i need to be the one to change? Why am I the one with the issue? You don’t think you have things that I want to change about you? I just don’t bring it up because I care about your feelings. I have heard it all before. I have had so many friends bring this up to me and I have even mentioned it to a few myself. It really made me think too. Dang, I really did know that there were things about you that I did not like but I didn’t mention them to you because I was sure that I could change them. I could be the one to make you put the toilet seat down, stop chewing with your mouth open, put your dirty clothes in the dirty clothes bin, stop texting your ex, stop hurting me and blaming me for it, etc. All of us have things that we do that are completely fine and normal to us but it drives others up the wall. Let someone try and tell us not to wear our bonnets to the store when our hair isn’t right, stop talking to people on speakerphone, stop patting our heads when it itches instead of scratching it, stop talking to that ex of ours who we already know means us no good and that is the reason why we aren’t together today, etc. We would lose our minds!! We don’t want anyone talking to us that way or telling us what to do because we are “grown.” It’s funny, isn’t it?? It isn’t any fun when the rabbit has the gun.

When starting something new, or even maintaining something that you have been in for years like me, let’s decide that we are going to change the mindset of, “I’m gonna change you” and start saying, “I want to grow with you.” Growing means that you will not be comfortable and if you are comfortable that means that you aren’t growing. Changing someone sounds offensive and automatically makes them defensive. Growing says, this is where we are now but if we hope to go higher and get to the next level of greater that I know that we can get to then there are some things that are going to have to be done differently. Staying where we are now allows us to get comfortable and getting comfortable means that things stay the same. If things stay the same then neither of us are growing and we grow complacent. Complacency turns into boredom and boredom could lead to us looking to other people for the things that we want/need from one another. That isn’t what we want to happen so let’s just agree to grow together.

Relationships/Friendships are difficult enough on their own without anyone throwing the C word around. There needs to be an open communication always. Say how you feel but make sure that it is not done in a judgmental way. Say how you feel without passing blame. The blame game is never fun. I have always been told that anything worth having is worth fighting for. So, fight for it…not against it. Thanks for reading!!