Packing Light

Recently I signed up for a free 21 day meditation with Oprah and Deepak (who is no relation to Tupac as my sister seemed to be curious about), called Shedding the Weight – Mind, body and spirit. It was free, so I figured, why not? Can’t hurt, right? I’m up to day 17 and I have no idea if I have physically lost any weight because I threw away my scale back in January. I was getting rediculously obsessed with weighing myself. I also rid my house of all diet books. I know that 99.9% of anything is mental, at least for me anyways. So what I have been trying to figure out for a while now is what am I holding on to?
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Being my own best friend

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I’ve been getting the message of being your own best friend a lot lately, from all different places.  It’s like  the universe is sending me signs.  One of these signs came from Afrika Bohemian of Tribe 53’s post called  UHURU THURSDAYS: WOMBMAN OWN YOURSELF!  She had been inspired by a post Tikeetha from A Thomas Point of View did called It’s About Time.  They were both inspired by my post  Loving Me where I wrote myself a love letter.  They weren’t the only ones because Josie over at Mindjobusiness.com also wrote a love letter to herself inspired by my post which she calls Why I Love Josie.   And the best part is this was all inspired by Just Plain Ol’ Vic post Food for Thought. Who knew this would come full circle?  We just knew we all had a common goal of spreading the love.

Lately I have not been in the mood to blog much and mostly because I needed to write for me.  No one else.  Just me.  

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Knowing Your Worth

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What is speaking the truth?  Speaking my truth?  Speaking your truth? It’s all different.  What is true to me may not be true to you.  But what matters is that we are true to ourselves.  To our true, authentic selves. 
I was out the other night, for drinks and really wanted to go dancing.  Once I got out though, I started to get this anxiety.  I saw different people, some I’m not fond of, and realized that I immediately started hearing voices in my head.  Their voices.  I was imagining what these people were thinking of me.  Whether I was right or wrong, I was imagining them all judging me.  I started looking around the room, I started feeling small, like I wanted to hide away.  Crawl into a corner.  Me!  I always seem so calm and confident.  I am the one who will go to a bar or restaurant alone to enjoy a meal.  I don’t care what people think.  WRONG!  I realized I was sitting here thinking all these people were judging me in some way.  Feeling uncomfortable.  Feeling Insecure.  I started feeling like I wanted to run and hide. Then I talked to myself.  I stopped for a minute and said, “Elissa!  What the hell do you care???? Really?  What if they do think those things??”  I looked around the room again, observing.  Changing my thought patterns.  I started asking myself these questions, who are these people?  How much do they matter to you?  What do their opinions matter? Are these people you want to base your self worth on?  All of a sudden I felt empowered,  for many reasons.  First, I just didn’t care.  If these people were actually thinking these things of me, the ones I had made up in my head, who cares?  They obviously don’t know me.  Who were they to judge me? Then I took it a little further and thought, why am I even here? Yes, I came to meet my niece for a bit.  Yes, I wanted to hear some good music (old school 80’s and 90’s r&b) but really, are these the people, in this room, that I want to base my worth on?  Is this what I want to be doing a week, a month, a year from now?  NO! 
I looked at my just finished drink.  I looked at my tab.  I looked at my surroundings and my situation and thought HELL NO!  This is NOT where I want to be.  This is not how I want to invest my time, my money, my thoughts, my feelings and my energy.  It was like a wake up call.
Now don’t get me wrong, there were people in the room that I like.  People that are very nice, that were just out with a group of friends.  Overall, I do enjoy to go out and dance.  I love going out with my girlfriends and shaking it on the dance floor.  But, in the grand scheme of things, I want so much more out of life!  I could be spending my time and money so much better.  I could be home in bed all cuddled up with…my journal. Lol  Honestly, this is where I would rather be.  In fact, that’s what I came home and did.  Here is a glimpse of what I wrote:

Sometimes we need reminders of where we don’t want to be.  Where we came from.  To let people think what they want to.  Stop caring WTF people think!  Today is my day to say I’m done!  Done with small minds and simple living.  Done with not knowing my worth.  With placing my worth in someone else’s hands.  Done with focusing on a number.  A scale.  Who the F cares??  These people are not important in the grand scheme of things.  Not worth energy or thoughts.  I have so much more to worry about.  To focus on.  Put my energy into.  I can’t be bothered with pettiness.  I want so much more in life.  I need to focus on what I want and need in my life.  I have been so blessed already.  

I realized that I want to do something with my life.  I don’t want to live the day to day, ho hum, everyday 9-5 life.  I want to live!  I need to make a plan to get out!  I need to do something meaningful in this life. Put my time, money and energy into what I love.  Into writing, into people, into making a difference.   I need to stop focusing on losing weight.  Stop focusing on my weight at all and focus on DOING something!  Who cares what I weigh? Move more.  Eat Healthy.  Do things you love!  Dance, Sing, Write, LIVE!!  Let go of the made up critical voices in our heads telling us we aren’t worthy.
I only share this because I KNOW I am not alone.  I know there are plenty of people, (I’m guessing everyone of you has had this experience) with the voices in your head feeding you negative thoughts.  STOP!  Take back your power!  Know your worth!  Start putting your time and energy into you and what you love.  Don’t worry about anyone else.  Just be true to you.  

PHOTO CREDIT:  I do not own the rights to this photo it was found on the internet

My Son, My World (anxieties of a mother)

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One month from today my son turns 18. (Less now as I meant to post this the 14th)  This may be the most difficult year yet.  One minute I find myself in tears, grieving that his childhood is over.  My baby will be a young man.  The next minute I’m ready to kill him because I have asked him 5 times this week to take out the Christmas tree!  Oh yes, Mr. Independant, when he wants to be.  I can do it myself since he was 2.  Actually he was only 18 months when he learned to work the VCR because he would repeatedly watch the Lion King.  Of course he ignores my texts when I ask if his school work is done, have college apps been completed and did you make it to school on time this morning?  If I need to know something there is always a delay or pause in texting, but as soon as he wants something it’s the 70 thousand texts in a row followed up by a “????” text if i have not responded promptly enough.
Oh yes, it’s a fine line between teenage boy and young man.
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Wanting to do it all is great until it means they have to put down the video game controls and make themselves something to eat.  Fend for themselves through the kitchen and the diet consists of waffles out of the freezer or tortilla chips with a little cheese on top tossed in the microwave for 30 seconds.  Yes, its the that will hold me over til mom gets home and cooks meal.   I know it doesn’t help that I spoil my only child.  And yes, I’m a sucker.  My baby boy.  There is no such thing as mac and cheese in a box in this house, only from scratch for my Pooky bear.  He’s lucky I love to cook and feed people.  I will admit I spoil him.  He is my only one and for the last about to be 18 years he has been my world.  I mean I wasn’t much older than him when I had him.  I have dedicated the better part of my life to rasing him, protecting him, and providing for him.
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Maybe that is why my anxiety about him turning 18 is starting to kick in.  Maybe I’m scared he’s going to be all grown up and not need mommy anymore, but I know that’s not true.  He’s not going to turn 18 and walk out the door forever.  Maybe I’m scared that I have to get a life of my own.  I have been saying that for years and now it’s starting to happen.  I mean it has slowly happened, but as a parent, you never quite let go.  I know my parents still check in on me.  Maybe I’m scared of letting go.  The idea that he’s going to be able to make all these big decisions on his own.  That I’m going to have to let him.  I don’t doubt he’s fully capable of many decisions he will make.  In fact, he’s very capable of many things.  He is a very smart, confident, young man.   Not perfect, (but pretty damn close), and handsome. image

Whenever we have discussions, he always impresses me with his response.  He always has logical answers.  He is kind and compassionate.  I know he has well thought out decision making skills even when I think he is slacking.  He’s also pretty good at a little BS now and then too.
No, it isn’t that I don’t have faith in him making it.  Do I have fears?  YES!  I’m a parent, I can think up every imaginable, conveluded, crazy, psychotic scenario in my mind that could happen.  But maybe, I’m more scared for me.  Maybe it’s my fears of what will I do without him?  Yes, I know, I have so many dreams I have put on hold.  Yes, everyone says enjoy it because time flies by so fast.  Well guess what?  Those people are so right!  It’s like one day you are complaining about sports practices and band concerts and all of a sudden it’s like his whole childhood has flashed before my eyes.  Like you’re watching a movie.  Like all of a sudden you really understand what Jim Croce meant when he sang If I could save time in a bottleIt’s the strangest feeling.  So many mixed emotions.  Proud of the young man he is becoming yet sad and nostalgic, mourning for the boy he was.
I was texting with my best friend of about 30 years the other day, trying to explain my anxieties. It was interesting to know that she had been feeling similar because her baby is about to be 1 and she doesn’t plan to have anymore.  She shared a quote with me that helps her feel a little better.

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Turns out it’s a book for parents. (And kids I guess) I’m really hoping this will get easier once his birthday comes.  I have spoken to a few friend of mine, so I know I’m not alone.  Several moms who have already experienced this have forewarned me of graduation and events to come.  They have also volunteered to be a shoulder to cry on or to lend an ear.  I know there are many more experiencing it right along with me.
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As I write this, I received a text that the christmas tree has finally been taken out and the dishes put away.  I won’t bore you with the details of how the xbox cord was confiscated some where in between and I snuck off to the gym for some me time.  As my heart teeters from irritablitly to love and back again.
No, I’m really not worried about what he will do with his life or who he will be, because whatever he does, he will be great at it.  I know I will be fine as I let him grow into the man he is becoming, and I may even enjoy my new found freedom.  I know we will both be okay.  He will still want me to cook him a grilled cheese (or 3) because, “it just tastes so much better when you make it mom!”  (I told you he can BS)  He will still kiss me on the cheek when we part ways and tell me he loves me everytime we hang up the phone.  He will still be my spoiled mamas boy, my pooky bear, and my world.
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Ups and Downs and Other Lessons

It’s been a couple of weeks since I started my blog.  To be honest, around the same time I was starting my blog, I had just shared one of my first writings publicly.  (See link at bottom of blog)  It was a response to a blog I had read by Wendy Grossman, as well as, how Wendy and I became friends.  Long story short, my post on Wendy’s blog got some serious recognition and feedback.  The response was overwhelming and exciting.  I felt like I was ready to quit my day job and become some famous author.  Ok, ok, maybe I got a little ahead of myself.  

I was on a natural high from the love and positive comments I was getting from everyone.  But as we all know what goes up must come down.  And then it happened…the crash.  The negative comments, the criticism, the misconstrued words.  As much as I tried to prepare myself for this, there is no preparation.  It’s amazing what the power of words can do.  

I learned a lot from that first post.  I learned that words have the power to create and the power to destroy.  I learned that once you put something out there, you can’t really get it back.  I started thinking, maybe I’m too sensitive to be a writer, if I can’t take criticism.  After a few days of anxiety, my mind spinning itself out into ridiculous scenarios and trying to think of how to fix or correct the fact that someone took my words the wrong way, I had to step back and look from a different perspective.

I started reading blogs and reviews, comments by people on facebook and all over the internet   I started seeing how some people, regardless if right or wrong, are just rude and hateful.  I saw that some things, just aren’t for everyone.  For example, I love India Arie, so while listening to her music one day, I started to notice there were songs i would skip and others I would play twice.  I realized that certain songs I just like better, they sound better or I relate more to the song.  It doesn’t mean she is an awful artist or some of her songs suck.  It means we all have our own point of view, our own preferences.  It means some days we crave chocolate and others we want salty and spicy!

I also realized just how sensitive I am. I have always known I was sensitive.  I’m a people pleaser.  I hate conflict.  Really I focused on this about myself a little more.  I kept trying to tell myself not to be so sensitive.  I kept saying not to take the negative comments to heart.  Don’t let one or two people bring me down.  But I did.  I cried, I felt anxious, I couldn’t eat. Yes it was a bit much, but it is me.  It’s ok to be sensitive.  It made me realize that is what makes me, ME!  My sensitivities give me the ability to see other people’s point of view.  To try and understand people’s pain and stories even if I have never lived them.  My empathy is a gift.  To feel love above all, you must experience pain and hurt and anger so that you can appreciate all the beauties this world has to offer.  

So as scary and wonderful as it was to start putting myself out there, it was healing and strengthening too.  It is helping me to grow and nurture my inner child.  I actually had a bit of writer’s block for the past couple of weeks.  I was still writing, but i was scared to think of sharing again.  To put myself back out there. I have now realized that every blog, every post, every word that I share, is helping me embrace my inner Ginger.

 

To read the original blog I am referring to, please check out Wendy’s blog linked below

http://wendyjanegrossman.com/2015/11/16/a-reader-responds-elissa-butson-on-why-shes-attracted-to-black-culture/