Comfort in the Uncomfortable

The healer cannot heal others without first healing themselves

But how do you heal yourself

without allowing yourself

To live

To love

To feel

To anger

To cry

To laugh

To explore

To grow

To break free of all that you thought you were

all that others expect you to be

to become all that you truly are

It’s not about being comfortable in your own skin

But finding comfort in the uncomfortable

Because all that is uncomfortable is what pushes you further

Because breaking the mold and pushing through to the next level is how you grow

and growth is how you heal

 

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?
Continue reading “Packing Light”

She was tired

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She was tired.  Exhausted really.  Tired of trying to be someone she wasn’t.  Tired of trying to contain and stuff and hide the real her.  Why must she sugar coat herself?  Why did she continue to people please.  Didn’t she know they wouldn’t be happy?  Didn’t she know you can’t water yourself down?  Didn’t she realize there was nothing wrong with the she that she needed to be?  She was perfectly imperfect.  She was like no one else.  Why should she bend and twist and try so hard to fit the mold that wasn’t even made for her.  Just say what’s on her mind.  Do what she wanted to do.  Yes, she could be a miserable bitch.  She could also be a sensitive woman.  Highly emotionally.  She had almost forgotten what it was like to feel.  She had been hurt and saddened and disappointed so many times that she had stopped feeling.  She started lying to herself.  She started telling herself whatever she needed to hear to believe that she didn’t need to feel.  So she held it inside.  She stuffed it away.  She crammed it in and became this other person.  The one who pretended she didn’t care.  Pretended she didn’t want or need or feel.  She shut it off.  But that day she was tired.  She realized it took too much energy to be this other woman.  It took too much fighting and too much negativity.  One day she stopped lying to herself and finally admitted the truth.  She felt sad and hurt and foolish and broken.  And she just wanted to cry.  To let it out.  But it was stuck.  Like the day her friend passed away.  It had been stuffed in and pushed away and hidden behind the shadows until she didn’t even know how to get it out.  How to let it out.  So she sat down and closed her eyes and took a deep breath.  Breathe.  That’s all she needed to do.  Just breathe.  She took a deep breath and another and another…  and she let it out…  and that’s when she realized she was enough.  She was all she needed to be but she needed to be who she really was.  She needed to have feelings.  To be a woman.  She hadn’t felt emotion in so long because she didn’t want to get mad or upset anyone so she would just smile and stuff it all away.  Until the day she broke through and realized those emotions were meant to be felt.  You were supposed to feel.
And she thought, “I don’t know how to do this!”  I’m scared because I haven’t felt.  I just want to feel.  And she knew that she could.  This was the day she realized it was time to live.

White Washed World

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So I went to the bookstore after work today to kill some time before picking up my son from work.  I wasn’t really looking for anything in particular but the more I walked around browsing, the more I started thinking of books I wanted to check out.  So I was looking in religion and philosophy,  trying to find some books on spirituality.   I asked the woman if she had any books on Native American spirituality and she said that religion, philosophy and self help were all in the same section grouped together.   She said diet and yoga books were next to it as well. I advised her I was no longer allowed to buy diet books because it was my new year’s resolution.
I continued looking around and thought about checking out history, so I asked the young man if he could point me in the direction of the history books.  He guided me over and asked if I was looking for anything particular.   I quickly browsed the wall to see the faces of Trump, Washington  (not Denzel), and Truman.  “Yes!” I replied, “Could you tell me if you have any NON-WHITE history books?” “Uhhhh. Hmmmm…” he said as he looked over the shelves.  “It’s interesting isn’t it?” I said to him, “I bet you don’t get asked that question too often, do you?” Especially by a white lady I thought in my head.  He found about 2 books and 1 on Native American once I specified that I was looking for that.  I walked around a bit more and was able to find a table with several books on black history or by black authors but I’m guessing that is because it is February.
It really made me realize what a white world we live in.  I’m bringing attention to this because it’s something I didn’t notice that much until I read India Arie’s essays about skin bleaching allegations.   Obviously this is something people of color deal with all the time, but as a white woman I never realized it.  It has never been intentional,  and trust me I have a rainbow of friends, but I was oblivious.

I’m bringing it up because I feel it’s important.  It’s important that people not be ignorant.  It’s important people take the time to look at the world through another view, not just the white world view.  I’m saying this so that people will take the time to step into another’s shoes.  Realize this is just one of the examples of white privilege.
I’m curious as to what people think of this.  We need to talk about race and racism in America and not be blind.  It still exists.  Ignoring a problem doesn’t make it go away so let’s talk about it.  With respect,  with love and with open minds.  Please share your comment below.

My Beautiful Surprise

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Happy Birthday Pooky

Whatever it is that you came to teach me
I am here to learn it ’cause I believe that we are written in the stars
I don’t know what the future holds but I’m living in the moment
And I’m thankful for the man that you are, you are, you are

When you think of Valentine’s day you think of love, chocolates, roses and teddy bears.  When I think of Valentine’s day, I think of love too.  The love of my life.  The one who makes me smile, gives me reason to be a better person and the greatest Valentine’s gift I have ever received.  18 years ago today I was in labor with this beautiful baby boy.  I was young and scared and in pain.  I had no idea he would change my life forever. 
I remember when his born the first words his father said to me, “he looks just like you… he’s crying!” Lol Hey, what can I say, pregnancy messes with a woman’s hormones!  I remember feeling relieved that the labor and the wait was over.  I remember the first time he was placed in my arms and being overwhelmed with the amazing gift of love like I had never known before. 
People tell you time and time again to enjoy the moments because life goes by so fast.  You say, “oh yeah!  I know!” But then one day you wake up and wonder where in the heck did all those years go??  They really do sneak by when you’re not looking. 
I still can’t believe my baby is 18 today.  As much as it scares me that he is officially an adult today, I’m proud of the man he is becoming.  I know this is just the beginning of the next phase of his life.  I know nothing will really change overnight. He will always be my baby boy, my pooky bear and my beautiful surprise.
My song for him since the first time I heard it has been Beautiful Surprise.  Plus a love of India Arie’s music is something we share.  So happy Valentine’s day to all and happy birthday to my little Romeo, my favorite Valentine, my Pooky bear and my beautiful surprise. 

Happy Birthday Isaiah slide show

Lyrics to Beautiful Surprise found on goggle play

It’s like yesterday I didn’t even know your name
Now today you’re always on my mind
I never could have predicted that I’d feel this way
You are a beautiful surprise

Intoxicated every time I hear your voice
You’ve got me on a natural high
It’s almost like I didn’t even have a choice
You are a beautiful surprise

Whatever it is that you came to teach me
I am here to learn it ’cause I believe that we are written in the stars
I don’t know what the future holds but I’m living in the moment
And I’m thankful for the man that you are, you are, you are

You are everything I ask for in my prayers
So I know my angels brought you to my life
Your energy is healing to my soul, you are a beautiful surprise
You are an inspiration to my life, you are the reason why I smile
You are a beautiful surprise

Day 2 – Love Quotes

So it is day 2 of the Love quotes by Black Artists.  I have picked another song with the same title.  That’s right, The Truth.  This one is by India Arie.  One of my favorites lines….

There ain’t no substitute for the truth
Either it is or it isn’t
‘Cause he is the truth
You see the truth it needs no proof
Either it is or it isn’t
‘Cause he is the truth
And you know the truth by the way it feels

The Truth
I just relate to this because we all know when something isn’t right. When something feels wrong, we always have that gut feeling.

Today I nominate the following 3 bloggers:

A perfectly flawed ruby

SIMPLE DIMPLE

My random musings

I have also copied the lyrics to this song below.

Let me tell you why I love him

Cause he is the truth
Said he is so real
And I love the way that he makes me feel
And if I am a reflection of him
Then I must be fly
Cause his light, it shines so bright
I wouldn’t lie, no

I remember the very first day that I saw him
I found myself immediately intrigued by him
It’s almost like I knew this man from another life
Like back then maybe I was his husband
Maybe he was my wife
And even the things I don’t like about him are fine with me
Cause it’s not hard for me to understand him
Cause he’s so much like me
And it’s truly my pleasure to share his company
And I know it’s God’s gift to breathe the air he breathes

Cause he is the truth
Said he is so real
And I love the way that he makes me feel
And if I am a reflection of him
Then I must be fly
Because his light, it shines so bright
I wouldn’t lie, no

Oh
How can the same man that makes me so mad
(do you know what he did??)
Turn right around and kiss me so soft
(girl, you know what he did?)
If he ever left me I wouldn’t even be sad, no
‘Cause there’s a blessing in every lesson
And I’m glad that I know him at all

Cause he is the truth
Said he is so real
And I love the way that he makes me feel
And if I am a reflection of him
Then I must be fly
Because his light, it shines so bright

I love the way he speaks
I love the way he thinks
I love the way that he treats his mama
I love that gap in between his teeth
Love him in every way that a woman can love a man
From personal
To universal
But most of all it’s unconditional
You know what I’m talking about?

That’s the way I feel
And I always will
There ain’t no substitute for the truth
Either it is or it isn’t
‘Cause he is the truth
You see the truth it needs no proof
Either it is or it isn’t
‘Cause he is the truth
And you know the truth by the way it feels
And if I am a reflection of him
Then I must be fly
Because he is, yes he is (fly, light, bright)
I wonder does he know

It’s ok to Cry

We all have those days.  Those days we feel like we have failed.  Those days we want to sit in a corner and hide.  Or crawl back into bed, pull the covers over our heads and shut out the rest of the world.  Why is it we are so hard on ourselves, yet so kind to others.  Why do we not give ourselves more credit?  If only we could look at ourselves through other people’s eyes.  If only we would treat ourselves, the way we treat others.

Encouraging ourselves.  Telling ourselves, “hey!  It’s ok.  You can’t do everything in one day.  You don’t have to be perfect.  You are human!  You are not a machine.  You are not a droid or a clone.  You make mistakes.”  In fact, that is how you learn better!  If we could take the time each day, to find one thing we love about ourselves.  Be proud of what we have accomplished.  

I feel like lately I have had lots of conversations with people who are feeling down.  Having moments they want to cry.  Moments they don’t want to get out of bed or just moments of struggle.  Guess, what?  What if I told you we ALL have these moments?  Yes, even I do!

For those people who know me, who have known me throughout the years either in person or through social media, what if I told you a secret.  What if I told you that I have had these moments.

Yes, I may post statuses on facebook about how my teenager is driving me mad.  How my car was broken down.  How I didn’t want to work in insurance anymore.  But that’s not all.  There are things that I have not shared.  Moments that maybe no one even knows about.  Today, I need to share these moments.  

As a single mom, yes I have complained from time to time about not having money.  I may have felt bad for myself.  But what if I told you there were nights I cried?  Times that I felt sad and lonely.  Times that I cried in bed alone and had pity parties.  Nights I wondered why was I alone.  Nights I felt unworthy of pretty much anything and everything.  I didn’t tell anyone.  I was supposed to be a strong, independent, single woman.  I felt I couldn’t show anyone this side.  I couldn’t show anyone my vulnerability.  I would fight to hide that and get up and put a smile on my face.  I would walk around confident in public because that is what a strong, independent single mother does.

Over the past few months I have really been working through some things.  Dealing with the fact that I am sensitive.  Thinking about the fact that I try to be tough.  That is, until I realized who I was fighting.  It was me!  I was fighting myself!  I wasn’t fighting anyone else but me.  I finally realized that it’s ok to be vulnerable.  It’s ok to feel!  It’s ok to ask for help, to accept help, to feel emotions.  It’s ok to be me.  It doesn’t mean that I’m not strong and independent.  I have proven that for years.  But sometimes being strong means asking for and accepting help.  Sometimes being strong is being vulnerable.  Having the strength to ask for help.  The strength to accept help and the strength to cry, but then get up, wipe your tears and keep going.  

I am not writing this for pity, but for encouragement.  To remind all these strong independent, single women out there to know it’s ok to be vulnerable.  It’s ok to ask for help.  And it’s ok to cry.

 

This is a song by India Arie that always encourages and remind me that I can do anything when I believe in myself.  If you are having a rough day, go ahead and take a listen.

 

 

Just Like Music

So I recently posted a Blogger’s award and nominated 10 bloggers who I follow and enjoy.  I also asked them several questions about music and decided I wanted to answer them myself.  So here are my answers to the questions I asked.

  1.  What music/musician do you find most influential in your life and why?  

I would have to say India Arie.  I think because her music has always seemed to coincide with my life at that moment.  She was there through dating, break up, to build my confidence, to help me dream, to give me hope, peace, love and beauty.  I love her positivity and I feel like she is true to herself, not trying to please everyone.  I also have to say Tracy Chapman is another fave from back in the day.  I love music that makes you feel and speaks a message

  1.  Do you have a favorite song and why?

I think I have many favorites, it’s hard to pick one.  There are many that describe different times in my life.  Over all, I would say Beautiful Surprise because it is my song for my son.  

  1.  If you could meet one artist (dead or alive) who would it be and why?

I would say India Arie mostly because she is one of my faves. I mean, we’ve been through so much together, even if she didn’t know. lol  (side note confession, I once went to a Tracy Chapman concert and wanted to meet her so bad that when she waved and drove off on the tour bus I cried.  I was embarrassed but I was also just crushed I couldn’t meet her)I did, however, have the opportunity to meet Floetry.  And even get a pic with them. That was cool!  

  1.  What current song would describe your life today?

This has become one of my favorite new songs.  Here – Alessia Cara  I can totally relate to being over it all.

“…I just came to kick it, but really I would rather be

at home all by myself not in this room 

With people who don’t even care about my well-being…”

  1.  What is a song you would consider timeless?

Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going on?” Unfortunately I feel like this song still applies to the world today.  I constantly question what’s going on this world.   

  1.  Do you have a favorite workout song?  Or a song that motivates you in some way?

Purify Me by India Arie.  It doesn’t seem like a workout song so much, but something about that song just makes me feel good!  Strength, Courage and Wisdom  by India Arie also reminds me “it’s been inside of me, all along…”

Well, those are my answers for today.  Of course, music is always changing and growing just like we do.  I really love music and the effects it can have on our attitudes, moods and life in general.  Feel free to answer some of these questions in the comments below or just name a favorite song or musician.  Thanks for reading!

 

Using My Words

So recently I started this blog, not really knowing where I was going with it.  Everyone would ask, what are you going to blog about? What is your theme?  I had no idea.  So one night I sat down and just started writing my introduction.  It seems that each time I go to post I just kind of wing it!
I keep thinking about the questions though. What am I writing about? I don’t want to blab about nonsense.  I want to make a difference with my words.  I want to use my voice.  I want to create things.  I want to empower people.  To spread love.  That is my mission.  There is not enough, nor can there ever be enough, love in this world.
Tonight I am going to see India Arie with my son.  If you don’t know who she is or know her music, check out her website http://www.soulbird.com.  She may not be your style of music or your favorite, but she is one of mine.  I have been thinking a lot lately about why I really admire her as a performer.  I have been thinking about her music and why I love it so much.  It’s because she creates a feeling!  When I listen to her music I feel good!  I feel the release of endorphins, whether it makes me smile, cry, laugh or just sing loudly (and badly).  If I’m having a bad day I just close my eyes and listen to Purify Me and it calms me.  If I’m feeling not so great about my appearance I can listen to I am Not My Hair and realize that my real beauty comes from my soul.  If my son is being a typical teenager the lyrics in Beautiful Surprise remind of what a blessing he is to my life.  When I  need to escape this craziness, I close my eyes and go to Beautiful.  As India transports me to a peaceful place in my mind.  Days I am discouraged, she reminds me of the Strength Courage and Wisdom we all posess inside.
Thinking about her music and the mood it creates, has made me realize that is what I would like to do with my writing.  When I listen to her music I feel love and peace.
I want to use my words to build people up. To remind you that just because you are having a bad day, doesn’t mean it is the end of the world.  There is always tomorrow.  To remind people that just because you have a moment of weakness does not mean that you are not a strong person.  Having a bad hair day doesn’t define the beauty that is within you.  Don’t look in the mirror and let it define your value!
Words can be so powerful.  Remember the old saying, “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me?” That is definitely not true.  People get stuck in verbally abusive relationships all the time and the only thing bringing them down is the power of words.  Words can be used to tear down or build up.  So remember to use your words carefully when, writing, commenting or speaking.  I choose to use my words to build.
So what is my theme or mission with this blog? It’s using my words to create love and peace.  To remind not only myself, but all of you reading this blog, that you are amazing!  You are beautiful, strong, people with a purpose.  As India says in her song dedicated to Stevie Wonder, you are Wonderful!

*please note the italicized words are song titles of just a few of India’s songs. 

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/