Destined for Greatness

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Ever wonder why things seem to happen to you that just don’t seem fair, or it may seem as if people strike out against you for no apparent reason. Let’s see if I can shed a little light for you.

Our current positions in life speak nothing of our predestined outcomes. I now find myself in a place in my life where I happen to be surrounded by a great group of people, and we all happen to believe we are destined for some pretty AWESOME things. (A bit audacious aren’t we?)

Well, about a week and a half ago, I was having a discussion with one of these “great” people who happened to be experiencing some troubling circumstances. There had been a seemingly undeserved lash-out against her, and in that moment she could not understand why this thing was happening to her. Being the “good” friend, I was totally pissed on her behalf. Believe me. When she finished telling me the problem, heads could have been rolling all over the place! However, as any truly good friend knows, only one of you should be overwhelmingly upset at the same time about the same thing. Somebody has to think. So, I put my thinking cap on and said to her, “If you’re gonna do great things, you’ve got to suck this up and keep going; because this is going to happen on a larger scale! This is only preparation for what is to come, and are you ready?”

Shortly after noon yesterday, I found myself in a rather peculiar position. HER position! Not even two weeks later! Can you believe it? I’d had such a great morning, too. So, I was really outdone by this seemingly unfair thing. I tried to be a “big girl” about it. You know. Dismiss it. Wave it off. Pray. But nothing was working. Anger, disappointment, hurt all just gathered inside me and took up residence for pretty much the rest of the day. The why-me syndrome was in full effect. I sulked and wallowed and even went to bed early, because I just couldn’t figure this thing out. It was plaguing me on a level that I hadn’t experienced in quite some time.

I woke up this morning still wondering “Why?” and had every intention of contacting my “great” friend on the phone and setting up lunch so I could have a chance to discuss it with her today. (We call this a “bitch session.”) Yet, as I was reading this morning, I thought back to our conversation a week and a half ago, and my words hit me squarely in the face. I needed to put on my big girl drawers, suck this up, and keep going. I questioned myself. “Am I truly ready for the greatness that is to come?” Then, I said to myself, “This will happen again in a more magnified setting.”

The words that follow are not profound but are based on a premise that I’ve heard all my life. The point of going through trying circumstances is not at all about what happened but about your reaction to what happened. Yes, we may wallow. Yes, we may feel horrible. Yes, we ask, “Why me?” The ultimate question is this. How long will it take you to get over it and recognize it as a stepping stone to your destiny? Whatever has occurred will quite likely occur again. History has this funny way of repeating itself. The next question you must ask yourself is: “Will I be ready to face it head on when it does, or will I allow it to cripple me?”

Personally, I would rather not hobble into my greatness but walk with my head held high and with the knowledge that I can get through whatever trial comes my way, because I have gotten through this before with my spirit intact. As one of my best friends would say, “I’ve been there. Done that. Got the t-shirt, AND the postcard.”

We all possess potential greatness. Whether or not we achieve it is up to us and the attitudes we choose. So, if you have indeed embraced your potential for this awesome thing you are to do, the question is…

Will you walk or hobble?

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SSDD

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You clicked the link to this for one of two reasons. Either you already know what SSDD means, or you are curious to find out. If you happen not to know, SSDD is the acronym for “Same Shit. Different Day.”

The other day I was texting a close friend, and when asked how my day had been, my reply was SSDD. Following our exchange, I asked myself why had this reply become personally acceptable when I began this year with such high expectations for myself. I had imagined being in a very different place than I am now. Needless to say, I am a bit disappointed about the way I’ve allowed things to turn out.

Allow me to interject a little insight here. I do not believe in blaming others for where I have fallen short. Circumstances may have arisen that caused me to make the decisions that have led me away from my goals, but I chose. Period.

Before the how-was-your-day question, I happened to have had a particularly bad day preceded by several awful ones. I had just generally been in a bad mood. Subconsciously, I was giving myself a hard time and was feeling like crap which led to the response SSDD. It was an answer that I had given several times before in my life, but on that day the feeling that followed was restlessness. On that day, I could not just sit down and say to myself, “Girl, you just need to rest. You’ll be alright tomorrow.” Because the reality was that I wouldn’t be alright. I had come to the realization that I would be in the same place doing the same thing that I had been doing and would be even more unhappy than the day before. The cycle had to stop. More like come to a screeching halt. Something had to change, and I knew that it had start with me.

More interjected insight: Change is my M.O. I thrive on it . Change-for me-is like riding on a roller coaster. I’m scared half to death of the ride, but when I get off I’m excited and can’t wait to get on the next one. It is most definitely the thrill that keeps me coming back for more. However, until this point in my life, I’ve not made a habit of seeking out change in my life. It usually finds me, but I was so very disappointed in myself for lack of follow-through that I knew this time I’d better make things happen for me come hell or high water.

So, now more than ever, it is imperative that each day be different than the day before due to something that I’ve done to bring about a positive change in my life. No longer will “Same Shit. Different Day.” be a possible answer to “How was your day?” Starting today, I choose to make each day in some way different than the day before.

I am ready for the ride of my life!

(This post was originated in July 2011 and completed in September 2011.)

Born For This

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Every person has a specific something that only he or she was meant to accomplish in this life.

There are some people who-within the first few years of their lives-know exactly what it is they are meant to do for the rest of their lives. Others may not know instinctively, but in the course of their young lives, they see the light and know for sure what is their purpose and work toward fulfilling that goal.

I am NOT one of those people. I have the misfortune (not really) of being quite good at doing a number of things. You know, I’m a Jill-of-all-trades and mistress of none. There were times when I thought I had found my calling. Only to realize that what I was moving toward was inching away as I chased it. I’d chased this last one for about 14 years only to discover (about a year ago) that, once again, this was not it! Can you say “Bummer!”? *insert monumental frustration here*

However, amidst the frustration was clarity and a bit of confusion upon discovering that I am a writer. Until I began to share my work with others, I would tell anyone that writing was my weakest subject in school. Not that I got bad grades in it. I just never felt good at writing anything. I always seemed to be playing Truth-or-Dare with the blank page. The “truth” was I couldn’t get decent words on the paper, and the paper kept “daring” me to do something about it. In light of this, imagine my surprise at the discovery of my life’s work. Mouth wide open. Eyes bugged out of my head. Hair standing on end. But now when I sit to write, it’s like an itch I can’t quite scratch and getting the words out provides an unimaginable relief.

I recently took the time to think back over my life and realized that I’ve been preparing for this all along. Thanks to my mother and a little box of records (Gosh, I just dated myself!) and books called “Listen and Learn with Phonics,” I was reading long before I was expected to do so. Thus began my love affair with books. I was willing to read anywhere. In all the obvious places and the not-so-obvious ones. I would even sneak my current read into church, and read while my father was ministering! (Thank God for large purses!)

Shelves of books and piles of magazines proclaim my love of the written word. With a love of books so strong, it would be a shame if I never wrote a word.

I was born to write!

No one can tell my story like I can, and no one has the same perspective on life as I do. Of this I am absolutely certain. So, one thing I know for sure is that…
I was BORN FOR THIS!

Fear Issues

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Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. -Marianne Williamson

The first time I heard these words I was moved to tears. This is not a feat easily accomplished, but the magnitude of the words was like receiving long awaited test results from a sullen-faced doctor. The answer my broken heart had been waiting to hear was right there, and I felt as if my heart would burst wide open from the impact of them.
The diagnosis was hurtful, because the answer to my problems had been inside me all along. It was as if I’d suffered a mild heart attack that could have been prevented with a controlled diet and exercise. I just wanted to kick myself.
I realized that I was focusing on the minute things I couldn’t do as opposed to the innumerable things that I could. I was living in fear of losing a non-existent love and of never knowing true love and never being good enough to do anything that would make any significant difference in the world.
However, the prognosis was excellent, and with slight adjustments to my attitude and circle of friends, I had hope that everything would be okay. I just needed to change my focus and understand that whatever I was meant to do would come to me, that I was lovable to someone somewhere, and that as long as I was touching a life at a time I was indeed impacting some part of the world. Regardless of this new revelation, the fear remained.
Fears have the power to zap from us the achievement of our greatest potential. However, it also has the power to fuel us. Either we are running scared or we’re staring it in the face and gearing up for the fight of our lives. Those who are running can’t imagine having the power to throw fear to the ground and stomp the CRAP out of it, and as a result don’t enjoy the fulfillment of their dreams. Then, there are those who daily face fear head-on, beat it to a pulp, and say “What’s next? Bring it ON!”
I have had the opportunity to witness the beginning of my best friend’s journey in the music industry. It’s like watching a showdown where she and fear are the contenders, and believe me she is definitely “Winning!” (Couldn’t resist the Sheen reference) She is beating fear down on a daily basis, and it’s nothing short of inspiring. Now, she has said many things to encourage me as I move forward in my writing career, but the one thing that I remember most often is what she said to me when I was lamenting about being afraid to fully pursue it. The exact words escape me, but the gist of it is this:
If at some point during the day you are not absolutely terrified of something, then, you’re not really doing anything.
My soul-deep fear is that I am “powerful beyond measure.” Of course, Ms. Williamson was right on the money. It is daunting for me to even fathom that kind of competence. Yet, every single day I wake up, look my fear in the face, and trudge forward on my journey knowing that I’m shaking in my boots as I look at who I am and envision the possibility of who I have the power to become.

FRIENDS…Who needs ’em?

Shrek does!!

and I do, too.

While watching Shrek last night, I had a revelation about Shrek and Donkey. As much as Shrek wanted to be left alone, Donkey needed a friend and-in his own Donkey way-realized that Shrek needed one despite his objections. If you don’t know the Shrek movies like I do, Donkey literally forces Shrek to be his friend by refusing to leave Shrek’s side on the quest to get his land back and rescue the princess.

In the first installment of the Shrek series, a friendship is forged that lasts throughout every Shrek movie that follows. Humans, I realized, are kind of like that. You never really know you need true friends until you find one (or in my case two) that you can’t live without and who refuse to leave you (no matter how you may push them away).

True friends are those that know all your crap-secrets, dirt, misbehavior-and still love you anyway. They rejoice, mourn, get pissed off, and pray WITH you. They teach you new things and don’t mind calling you on your sh…. True friends finish your sentences and start new ones for you.

Mine have encouraged me when I didn’t have the wherewithal to encourage myself. They’ve kept me going through college, marriage, separation, divorce, single motherhood, and starting completely over again. I’ve made them angry, and they’ve returned the favor; but anger never overrides a BEST friend. They’ve caused laughter through tears, and tears through laughter.

Like Shrek, I need my friends and cannot imagine life without them. My journey has not been easy and-like Shrek on the journey to rescue the princess-it would have been that much harder without them. Cherish and celebrate your best buds. Who knows how long you’ll have them.

Who needs friends?

I do, and obviously…

so does Shrek!

And The Winner Is…

For Funniest Couple, the award goes to…Parthenia and Jordan!! (Applause, please)

I was very recently and publicly informed by a friend of a friend that my son and I were the funniest couple that she’d ever met. Honestly, I’d never thought of us in this manner. Although, I will admit that our relationship is an unusual one. It always has been-from the womb to present. We laugh, argue, and discuss like “an old married couple” (or so I’ve been told).

I guess I should have known this would one day be a topic of interest. You see, Jordan has a habit of saying things or asking difficult to answer questions in the most public of places (restaurants, grocery stores, malls, playgrounds, etc.), and I have a habit of responding as honestly as I possibly can without being too graphic. We get stares, sniggles, giggles, guffaws, quizzical looks, and even comments from complete strangers who happen to encounter what I like to call our “Moments of Honesty.” One evening, while we were in Kroger in the checkout line, Jordan decided that it was time to have a conversation about death AGAIN. This is kind of how it went.

Jordan: Mom, I don’t wanna die. (People’s heads turn.)

Me: Well, son, we all have to die one day.

Jordan: Just like Granddaddy and Paw-Paw and Goldy (his former goldfish)?

Me: Yes, Jordan.

Jordan: Are they in heaven? (People are looking to see how I’ll respond.)

Me: Yes. I’ve told you that before, son. (I’m starting to get exasperated.)

Jordan: Will I go to heaven when I die?

Me: If you believe that Jesus died for your sins and was raised from the dead and ascended into heaven, then, YES. (I get a few nods from some and others lose interest.)

Jordan: Oh, okay, but I don’t wanna die, and I don’t want you to die either. (By this time, I’m looking away and rolling my eyes as I’m hearing sniggles from those around us.)

Now, just so you understand, Jordan is extremely literal in his thinking and loves animation. So, as often as I can, I try to relate what we’re discussing to something he’s seen on TV or DVD so that it makes sense to him. This is how our conversation continued.

Me: Well, sweetheart, we all have to die someday. It’s kind of like the the circle of life on The Lion King. You remember when Mufasa died?

Jordan: Yes, Mom.

Then, he retells the story IN the checkout line as I’m conversing with the lady who’s ringing us up. After this he somehow SEEMS to understand that we must all die someday; and as we exit the store, he bursts into Elton John’s “Circle of Life” from The Lion King. Needless to say, those whom we encountered were either riveted and laughing or silently wondering about the weird mother-child exchange they’d just witnessed. This is only an example of the many “public (and funny)” conversations Jordan and I have had.

We have been through so much together. It’s no wonder we behave like “an old married couple.” We’ve experienced birth, marriage, two diagnoses, deaths, separation, divorce, and single motherhood (childhood) together. Jordan and I have kept each other company, looked out for each other, and leaned on each other for the majority of his life. Our love is inexplicable and very difficult for the average person to understand, but IT WORKS. He so lovingly said to me the other night, “I love you, mom, and I don’t know what I’d do without you.” All I can say is…

Ditto, son, ditto!



Hell In My Heart

At some point in our lives, in some relationship; someone makes us angry enough to sever ties with him or her. Following the fallout, what generally remains is a bit of “hell” in our hearts. (‘Cause it sure ain’t heaven!) We carry it around like a blanket that comforts us and makes us feel good about ourselves, because we get to blame whoever for whatever happened (whether the blame lies with them or not). We wrap up in our misery (misery=hell) and wait for someone else to join us. “Misery LOVES company!”
Very recently an old friend-who I felt had wronged me and with whom I had severed ties-contacted me in an attempt to apologize and rekindle our friendship. His reasons were that he felt that he had disappointed me and misses me and loves me (platonically). After my initial shock (hadn’t heard from him in almost a year), my automatic response was “I forgive you, and we can be friends again.”
A little background on us: We’d been friends for quite some time before things went “pblltt.” (That was me blowing a raspberry :-)) We used to text and talk bunches. So much that you’d have thought we were dating, we weren’t. We just leaned on each other for support A LOT. Besides, we don’t even live in the same state, but I digress.
Such was my dislike for him following our fallout that I removed him from my phone contacts and my FB friends. Then, I changed my phone number some weeks later. (He wasn’t the catalyst for that, but I considered it a plus.)
So, imagine my surprise when he contacted me via the internet. I expected never to hear from him again. Neither did I fathom ever being friends again. If I had not spent the time apart consistently growing and changing, then, I can honestly say I probably would have told him to “Go to hell!” and some other things.
There comes a time when we must recognize that the “HELL” in our hearts is not worth holding. Please believe that I am not finished growing and have yet to release some of the hell still trapped in my heart toward a few others; but in this instance I counted it a victory that I was able to just forgive him and renew our friendship.
It is my hope that in every relationship, from now on, I will be able to release my anger and move forward. Even going so far as to openly and honestly forgive those whom I have cut off and possibly reformulate the lost relationship.
As eager as we can be to have someone wallow in misery with us, it is much more healthy and fruitful to have that person join us in forgiveness and progress.
I choose this day to embrace a forgiving a spirit. Will you join me?

Islands

We were having a pretty tough day when a friend suggested to me that the world would be a better place if all the mean people were relegated to some remote island. This was done in jest, and so I started giggling. Of course, my friend took it a little further. She started flailing her arms and said, “We could put all the child molesters on an island, and just let ’em molest each other!” That one tickled me so much that I bent over laughing.
I cannot pass up a chance to “cut up.” So, when I straightened myself up, I added to it by saying, “Let’s send all the idiots to one by themselves!”
We all have times when we have just “had it” and wish that we had the power to make people vanish from our lives. Well, consider this post your venting place.
What kind of people would you give an island of their own? (This is only for fun.) GO!

Life like my purse

You can usually tell how busy a woman is by the size of the purse she carries daily.
Big ones generally hold everything but the kitchen sink and say, “I’ve got whatever you need. Just reach in ’cause I’ve got lots to do!” Large purses remind me of Mary Poppins and her carpetbag from which she pulled a coat rack among other things to add “homey touches” to her room.
Small purses are usually just enough size to hold a lipstick, an ID, keys, a condom, and maybe a pen. Those purses say, “I’m interested in being cute and am out for a good time! I’m not doing too much right now.” Small ones bring to mind the party girl who needs just enough to get her through the night.
My purse has always provided some illusion that I’m either busy or cute. In high school, my purse was always HUGE and heavy, but filled with nothing of real importance. As I got older the purses gradually became smaller but were stuffed with various things. Things that would lead to the nervous breakdown of myself or someone else if I were not immediately able to extract it from my purse.
Today, I carry a purse that is approximately 5 inches deep and 8 inches in length.

    I CAN NEVER CLOSE IT!


I want my purse to say, “I’m cute and carefree.” when what it really SCREAMS is “I’ve quite possibly got what you need and can answer your questions; and if you ask me to do one more thing, I’ll burst at the seams.”
My life is like my purse. Full, and in appearance, cute. It is my own form of prestidigitation, and like the magician I work hard to make the illusion seem real.
Life-for quite a few of us-is so much more than it appears. It may look easy, yet it is anything but that.
Now, I am faced with the choice to either hang on to the illusion and keep using the purse I have or to reveal the secrets of my magic and get a bigger purse.
Hmmm…what will I do?

Misbehavin’

My mom LOVES Stein Mart! Personally, I don’t, but I accompanied her anyway one Saturday. Needless to say, while she shopped I went strolling around the store. Looking at knick-knacks that I’d never buy is always fun.
As I was walking among them, I ran across a display of rectangular plaques. I cannot resist a good funny or a well-placed sarcastic remark. So, I stopped and stood there laughing as I read them. One, however, was about to affect change in my life. It read, “Well behaved women rarely make history.” At that time I was going through a divorce and was in a difficult, personal place; and the words grabbed me by the throat and demanded my attention. They were so meaningful that-as I attempted to walk away-I was dragged back to set eyes on it once again. In that moment I knew I HAD to have it; and having little money, decided to purchase it anyway.
The plaque brought to mind all the women I am familiar with who have made the history books or were important to me in some way or other. I couldn’t think of one that hadn’t dared to “go against the grain.” Ruth (of Biblical infamy), Harriet Tubman, Joan of Arc, Madame C.J. Walker, Barbara Walker, Robin Roberts, Oprah Winfrey, my Bigma, my mom. The list could go on and on.
As I awake each morning and cross my bedroom, I am confronted with these words and reminded of the greatness that can be and is me if I choose to be different in some way. Misbehave. See things in a new light. Choose the path less traveled. Find the long-sought-after answer to some unsolvable problem. Play in syncopation. Sing off-key. Get out of what-if land and crossover to the can-do kingdom.
In life, in my passions, in relationships, in love; I choose not to play fairly anymore.
So, when you question what I’m doing and if somehow it just doesn’t seem “right” to you; please know that I’m MISBEHAVIN’!!