Tired of Being Tired

I had a conversation yesterday with my second oldest sister about doing more things for ourselves as wives and mothers. For me, it was making the decision to go natural (no longer putting chemical relaxers in my hair) almost a year ago. For her, it’s cutting her hair short after wearing it semi long for many years. We both wore our hair in a certain way for our husbands. My sister never cut her hair much, if at all, in 18 years of marriage to her husband because he liked long hair. I let my hair grow at my husband’s request. I HATE long hair. I wore my hair short for many, many years. I adore short hair. When I got tired of the long hair I would cut it off very short whether he wanted me to or not. For the past 3 years I expressed my desire to go natural, and my husband was very against it. Finally, last year I made the decision to do it and didn’t care what he thought or how he felt about it. It’s my hair, it’s what I wanted to do to make ME feel good about myself – so I did it.

I say all of this because for years I’ve done things to make other people happy. Today at the age of 40 I ask myself “why?” Why did I constantly put myself on the back burner for so many years? I will always make sacrifices for my children. I’ll do anything for them and that’s not something I resent or regret and never will. However, my kids are older now and much more self sufficient. Their needs no longer warrant my constant attention like it did when they were much younger.  To constantly ignore my wants and needs when there’s no reason to do so, or because of someone else’s preferences (my husband) is no longer an option.

My conversation with my sister was a good reminder for me to stay on this path.  I’m at a point in my life where I get tired easily, and by tired I mean that my patience isn’t what it used to be. My tolerance levels aren’t what they used to be. I’m more confident and sure of myself now than I have ever been in my life. Being told I can’t do things that make me happy and feel better about myself aren’t an option anymore. I’ve been a wife for 20 wonderful years (and counting) to a great man who is my best friend, and a mother for 18 glorious years (and counting) to our four beautiful children. It’s time for some ME time. It’s time for me to stop being tired and to start living. Being selfish for me – that’s the name of the game. It’s not that I don’t care about other people’s wants and needs anymore, but rather it means that I will be putting my wants and needs to the forefront more. As women, wives, and mothers we often ignore ourselves. We nurture and care for everyone to the point that we become tired, exhausted, and depleted. It’s not a good feeling and it’s not healthy – physically or mentally.

In the end I’m a simple person. Small things make me happy, and from this day forward I will indulge in the small things that make me happy, not tired. Read a good book, watch an old black and white movie, work on more crochet projects, write letters to those I love, buy myself a killer pair of shoes, try a new dessert recipe. I deserve it. I’ve earned it. More importantly, I’m tired of being tired.

If you liked what you read please “like” or comment. I always respond. Thanks! 

The Struggle

The struggle can mean different things for different people. A person’s struggle, past or present, can shape them into the person they are today. You never know a person’s struggle until you talk to them and they tell you personally. You think you know someone, you think they have a great, easy life full of happiness only to find out it is the complete opposite. I for one smile a lot. That’s just me, it’s who I am. I am generally and genuinely happy 95% of the time. I choose happiness, but that doesn’t mean my life hasn’t had it’s share of sadness and pain.

My childhood was challenging and full of unhappy times. For years the unhappiness outweighed the good times. I know for a certainty that the only way I got through those times was with the help of God and surrogate fathers who took an interest in me and took me under their wings. Later on in life I had to deal with a lot of loss and tragedies. Not a lot of people knew what I was going through, and I kept smiling despite it all. It wasn’t something I talked about at first because it was so painful and fresh. Later on I did start to share with others and it turned out to be the best thing I did. I found out that I wasn’t the only one and I found a support group of friends, young and old, that I could lean on.

It is so important to get to know people before you pass judgement. You don’t know their story, you don’t know their struggle. You’d be amazed at what you learn about a person over a cup of coffee, taking a walk, having lunch or dinner with them, or just simply sitting and shooting the breeze. I’ve done this recently with someone I always considered to be a friend, someone I’ve known for years, but I didn’t know her story or her struggle until she shared it with me. We both shared our stories and struggles with each other and we were amazed. At times I got choked up because I truly didn’t know where she found the strength to endure the things she endured. I left with such a deep respect for my friend. She inspired me, she encouraged me, and she gave me hope. She was a reminder of how I need to rely on God even more, how I need to throw ALL of my burdens upon Him, and not just when things are going bad. Our long conversation was faith strengthening and beautiful because it wasn’t all sadness and tragedy. We shared with each other how we overcame, how we triumphed and became stronger women and stronger human beings as a result. We became better mothers, providers, mates, and friends because of our struggles.

These are the moments I live for. I love people, I love getting to know people. I don’t expect anyone to share their life story with me, I don’t talk to you to be nosy and find out gossip. I talk to people because I am genuinely interested in them. Whatever people share with me it’s because they want to share, not because I’m badgering them or fishing for information. You can learn something from everyone you encounter, and that’s what I strive to do on a daily basis. Strive to take an active interest in people. You’d be surprised at their story, and their struggle.

Please feel free to share your thoughts below. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog!

The Anger I Feel

Injustice of any kind angers me. Man’s imperfection coupled with extreme greed and lack of love or compassion for their fellow man is why injustice exists at an all time high today. But what angers me more is the ignorance that drives the injustice. The racism and the intolerance – and for what? Fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of something different than the little bubble they’ve been so used to living in.

If you really look at the history of mankind things have only gotten worse. It’s 2014 and it means nothing when it comes to intolerance and injustice. Racism is alive and well and there is still a lot of crooked, wicked people making decisions and making it hard on the poor and less fortunate ones. It’s been the way of the world since the beginning of time. Sure strides have been made over the years, but has anything really changed? Think about it. What’s changed in my opinion, is the racism isn’t as in your face as it was years ago. It’s behind your back. It’s you not getting certain jobs or promotions that you’re just as qualified, if not more qualified to receive. It’s the loans you don’t get from the bank, it’s the house you can’t buy in certain neighborhoods. It’s in the company and school handbooks that specifically point out that afros, puffs, braids, or locs as being unacceptable, unprofessional, and distracting. Your natural hair in it’s natural kinky state, be it braided or in an afro, neatly styled – is a distraction? That’s a subject for another post.

The anger I feel…..if you bottled it up it would have the power of several nuclear bombs. Every so often my patience and willpower get tested, be it at work, home, or anywhere out in public. There are times when I encounter sheer ignorance and racism that makes me pause and say “Really? You’re THAT ignorant and racist?” The anger builds and boils in me like hot lava boiling in a volcano that is ready to erupt at any moment. My chest constricts, my blood is pumping and my head is pounding. I have to let off this steam. I must vent my anger to someone and soon before I blow. That someone is usually my husband. He can calm me down quicker than anyone. If I’m at work and I feel this way I pray. Then I write. Then I call my husband. Not necessarily in that order either. After all of that has been done I try my best to let it go. I resolve to leave things in God’s hands because I know it’s out of my power.

The anger I feel makes me human. I care, I feel, I empathize. It’s how I deal with that anger that needs to improve. I don’t want to develop high blood pressure. I don’t want to have a heart attack or stroke. I have 4 kids that I want to see grow up and have families of their own. I want grandbabies! However, I’ve always been one who internalized her feelings until I started to put those feelings on paper. I write down how I feel and I hold nothing back. Then I begin the process of letting go and focusing on something else. Only then does the tension leave my chest, shoulders, neck and back. I begin to relax. It’s for this very reason that I don’t watch a lot of world news and can barely tolerate local news. It’s depressing, it’s sickening, and it makes me angry. I hate feeling that way.

One day soon the anger I feel will be a thing of the past, and it will be a glorious day indeed. I pray for this day.

Emotional Writing

Some of my best writing came about while I was in some kind of emotional state. Be it PMS (yes I went there), grief, or simply missing someone I’m extremely close to like my older brother, those emotions come out in a big way when I’m writing. It helps when I’m trying to tap into an emotional scene for a story because when I’m feeling “normal” it can be quite challenging for me to get to that place. When my emotions are high and raw, I can totally go there and capture the emotions that I’m trying to tap into.

I’ve kept a journal since I was in the 5th grade and it amazes me to see how much I’ve grown as a person and as a writer over the years. The way I expressed myself when I was a preteen or teen cracks me up now because I’m an adult and have lived and learned. Back then I sounded as though my life was over and the world needed to stop until my problem was resolved! I was your typical highly emotional teenager. I’m so glad I kept a journal to document the different stages of my life, and I’m glad I can look back at it and smile or laugh. Somewhere down the line I learned to apply my emotional energy into my stories. I’m not exactly sure when it happened, but I’m glad it did.

As a newbie to the blogging world,  emotional writing was something I always wanted to ask other writers. Do you find that you write some of your best work when you’re in an emotional state, or is it the opposite for you? When I’m angry I get the same results, but sometimes I find that I may be a bit too angry with my words and have to edit things to tone it down a bit. Even if I’m not working on a particular project at the moment, ideas for a story will come to mind and I’ll start writing. For all I know I may have found a new story to write about, or I can take bits and pieces from what I wrote and apply it to something else. We all have different things that motivate and inspire us to write. I would love to hear what yours is.

Please fee free to leave your comments, I love the feedback and conversation!

Sonya

 

Be Strong For Yourself

Good and bad things happen in our lives on a daily basis. Some things we have control over, but a lot of them we don’t. I have many dreams and aspirations. Pursuing them can be one of the scariest things a person can do, and it’s so easy to get discouraged. Feelings of self doubt can creep in and before you know it, you’ve given up. Am I really good enough? What if I’m in over my head? Maybe you feel you’re not getting the support you need, or the support you thought you had really wasn’t support at all. It happens. Life happens. This is why you have to be strong for yourself.

I’ve never been one to care much about what others think of me. It was my sophomore year in high school when I gained this confidence, and my junior year when I truly lived it. My husband and I try our best to instill this in our kids. I know it’s not easy for everyone to be this way, but at the end of the day if you spend your time trying to please people who aren’t even worth pleasing, or caring about what others think about you, you’ll never be happy. You’ll never reach your goals and you’ll never move forward in life.

There have been some things that have transpired recently in my life that gave me a much needed reality check about how fickle and fake people can be. Instead of dealing with you as an adult they either choose to deal with you in a passive aggressive way or not at all, hoping you catch the hint. What can you do or say to that? Nothing. You go on with your life and you let them go on with theirs. Be strong for yourself. Not everyone who acts like they are your friend or supporter are. When these things happen you can’t let it get you down. You can’t waste time wondering what you did or said to offend them or why it is they feel the need to have such a Dr. Jekel and Mr. Hyde attitude towards you. That’s no longer your concern, especially if no explanation was given.

Stay focused on your goals. Stay focused on your dreams and pursue them with everything you have. Surround yourself with those who love you and will encourage you, not bring you down or laugh at your dreams. I’ve found that when you’re good at something and you tell your friends or family that you want to pursue it as a career, you quickly find out who really supports and believes in you and who don’t. I love to bake, and my dream is to have my own little cookie shop. Years ago I had a friend tell me that one of my cookies could do without a certain ingredient, otherwise they won’t sell. Then she went on to tell me that I charged too much for my cookies when in reality I was undercharging. Mind you the cookie in question are my best selling cookie to date. It’s my signature cookie that I’m known for, and she tells me that I need to omit an ingredient so they’ll taste better and sell! Over time she’d continue to make little comments about my cookies and it hurt, and then that hurt quickly turned into anger because she knew about my dream and my goal of having my own cookie shop. I thought she’d be supportive not negative, especially since she was one of the main ones eating my FREE cookies every chance she got!

Over the years there were many more like her. Those who’d say “Oh I could bake those myself and they’d taste just as good.” That one always make me chuckle. These kind of comments are coming from people I’ve known for years and considered to be good friends. I’ve found that some people are your “good friend” until you try to pursue your dreams. It’s a sad but very real reality, and this is why I say be strong for yourself. There will always be nay-sayers in life. There will always be doubters, haters – people who wish they had the courage to pursue their dream but for whatever reasons didn’t. Instead they’d sit back and tell you what you can’t or shouldn’t do.

Sometimes these people are your loved ones, your friends – the very people whose opinion mean most to you. Sometimes they don’t even know they’re being negative. They may mean well and think they’re giving you constructive criticism, but it’s not. When this happens you must be strong for yourself and encourage yourself. Don’t let other people’s seeds of negativity and doubt take root in your mind or subconscious. Show them with your actions and success, that they are wrong. Dead wrong.

The older I get the more I appreciate my inner strength. I recognize and appreciate the power of my words.  I realize how precious my time is and how I don’t have time to waste. I don’t have time to waste on people who aren’t worth it. I don’t have time to waste wondering why certain people are the way they are. It’s a big world out there, and I’m finding as a new blogger that the blogging community is huge. There are some aspects of it that are really nice, the encouragement you receive and the friendships that you develop with others who share your passions. There are other aspects to blogging that feel very clique-ish, but it is what it is. I know my purpose. I know why I’m here. I’m here because finally my time has come. I’m here to pursue one of my many dreams. I’m here to inspire and to be inspired.  I have thoughts, I have stories, I have opinions – and I will share them as I see fit. I’m being strong for me.

Friendship

Having a small circle of friends has worked out very well for me over the years. Some people must be flanked by their friends at all times. I’ve never been that person. It was in high school when I realized that not everyone shares my view of what a true friend really is. I tried to be a true friend to someone who clearly wasn’t a true friend to me, and it manifested itself in a very ugly way. I was hurt, but in the end my eyes were opened, and they’ve been open ever since. From that point on I’ve always been very cautious of who I trust and invest time and energy in. I believe in treating others the way you want to be treated and I expect the same in return. The problem is not everyone shares that outlook. I consider myself to be pretty perceptive and a good people reader. Being a shy person and spending a lot of time in the background observing people sharpened my powers of perception over the years. This has helped me to stay away from the clingy/stalker friends, the user/mooching friends, the emotionally draining friends, and the domineering/bossy friends.

My definition of a true blue friend is someone who is a good listener. Someone who will be honest with you at all times and tell you the truth, not what they think you want to hear. A person who is there for you as much as you are there for them. Most importantly they must be someone I can trust implicitly. Just as in marriage, if there’s no trust there’s no marriage. If there’s no trust in your friendship there’s no friendship. Am I wrong? Am I the only one who feels this way?

By no means am I perfect, nor have I ever claimed to be. I simply find it hard to find true blue friends. I try to be a good listener. I make sure I listen to what you have to say before I offer my thoughts. Whatever you say stays with me. When I promise not to tell another soul or if I’m sworn to secrecy I do just that. When you ask for my advice I will give it to you and I will always be tactful, yet honest. I believe I am  trustworthy, and if I hurt you in any shape or form I will apologize and admit my wrong and try my best not to do it again. Being a mother and wife I may not have all the time in the world to hang out and do things, but I do make an effort to stay in touch with my friends.

Every friend that I listed above that I don’t want, I have experienced in some shape or form over the years. Sometimes I feel like I have a magnet on my forehead for these types of people to be drawn to me. I’m nice to everyone, I welcome everyone with a smile and a friendly hello. That’s just how I am. I also understand that people have friends for different reasons and to serve different purposes. Some need friends that make them feel important and worthy or better than others. Some people need friends who tell them what they want to hear. Some need to be the center of attention at all times. I just want a friend that I connect with intellectually, spiritually, and whom I share the same interests with. Someone who treats me just as well as I treat them. Why is this so hard to find?

Over the years only three people have fit that bill and that’s my childhood friend Angie (we’ve been BFF’s since we were 3 or 4 years old) my friend Becky that I’ve been friends with for 20 something odd years and my husband that I’ve been friends with since childhood and married to for 20 years. These are the people I know I can be completely honest with and not fear them telling my secrets to another soul, or judge me for saying how I truly feel about something – good or bad. These are the people who will tell me I’m wrong when I’m wrong. These are the people that will tell me that I need to check myself (i.e. adjustment my attitude) or if I need to calm down. These are also the people that will reassure my feelings or confirm something for me if I wasn’t sure.

Since becoming a wife and mother I’ve tried to broaden out my friendships and it hasn’t gone too well.  When that kept happening I realized that I had to do some serious soul searching because I thought it was everyone else who had the problem, not me. When I truly looked at myself I found that I was very “one and done.” I only gave people one chance with me, and if they did something that I didn’t like or said something that didn’t sit well with me I cut them off. I wasn’t a forgiving or patient person, and I know a big reason why I became this way is because of being burned so much in the past by people I thought I could trust. Even still, it was a very ugly way to be and I didn’t like this side of my personality. Change within myself was needed. 

My close circle of friends has remained small, but I did make it a goal to be more forgiving and not so quick to judge and write people off. At the age of 40 I still encounter people who think they can bully me, push me around or shut me up. They take my niceness for weakness and I’ll never understand these types of people. I’ll never understand people who feel they have the right to tell you what to do, how you should feel, or simply intrude into your personal life without your invitation to do so. This is what I have the biggest issue with. I mind my own business, I don’t offer unsolicited advice, and I don’t question people, yet people feel they have the right to do this to me. Then once I put them in their place in my nice nasty way they call me mean. I can do nothing but laugh! They have the audacity to act as though I hurt their feelings for telling them in a semi-polite way to mind their own business.

At the end of the day we’re all imperfect. We all have personality flaws that rub people the wrong way, and I’m not exempt. It’s how we deal with each other’s flaws that’s key. We have to treat each other with love, patience, kindness, and understanding. Not everyone is meant to be your friend, and I’m ok with that. I know that I’m still a work in progress. I know what I’m willing to put up with and what I’m not willing to put up with. I know the qualities I want in a friend, and I may not find all of those qualities in that person but I shouldn’t be so quick to write that person off either. Finding a true friend is like finding a diamond in the rough. Once you find that diamond, you hang on to it and cherish it for life and never let it go. That’s how you should treat your dear, true friends. I am blessed that I have the true friends I have in my life today, friends who have experienced the highs and lows, grief and happiness with me, and I with them. It is my hope that I never stop trying to be a good friend and to treat everyone with respect, love, kindness, and patience.

Please feel free to leave a comment and to “like” this post if your heart desires to do so. I always respond to comments. Thanks!

Taking A Leap of Faith Towards My Passion

I’m beyond excited that after so many years of self doubt and being scared that I’m diving in head first and writing! I’ve been writing since grade school, 4th grade to be exact. It was an escape for me and therapeutic even at such a young age. I have a very active imagination that is constantly thinking of story ideas and scenarios that play out vividly in my mind. It has been long over due that I put my love and passion for writing to use in some capacity.

The idea of writing a book appealed to me first. I’ve tried a few times, and then encountered writers block among other road blocks. Then I decided that maybe I should start with a short story. From there I discovered blogging. I blogged about sports first because my husband and I are huge sports fans. Finally I made the decision to stop putting chemicals in my hair (relaxers) and go back to my natural roots and decided to blog about my journey. I started that blog in April of 2013 and it is the only blog that I am actively writing in at the moment. I don’t have a lot of followers and I don’t get a lot of “likes” through WordPress but that was never a concern of mine. The purpose of the blog was to document a new chapter and journey in my life with the hopes that it would inspire and help others, and so far it has.

Recently I reached out to a favorite blog of mine on FaceBook called Grown Folks Music and answered their call to write a contributing piece. I wrote it, submitted it and they loved it and asked me to become a contributing writer in whatever capacity I wanted. This is a dream come true! I love music of all kinds and I love to write. To combine the two is HEAVEN for me! To see my work published for the world to see and to read all the positive feedback I received from it gave me that last little boost of confidence I needed to take that leap of faith and pursue my dream of writing.

I’m not getting paid by this blog as it’s a grassroots blog that is steady growing, and I’m ok with that. I want exposure for my writing and I feel this is a wonderful start. In the meantime I plan to gain more experience and sharpen my skills so I can become a better writer. For so long I allowed self doubt keep me from pursuing the things I’m passionate about: Baking cookies and writing. If nothing else I’m good at baking cookies and writing, at least that’s what people tell me! I just want to say that it’s never too late. Pursue your passion. Take that leap of faith and follow your dreams! Click below to read my article. Don’t forget to comment and “like” if you like what you see, I promise to respond back! Thanks!

http://grownfolksmusic.com/blog/when-did-you-fall-in-love-with-music#more-31171