In a Word: Estranged

Monday, September 26, 2011 10:00 AM




A couple days ago, my dad called and told me that my brother had a stroke several months ago. Oh, and if that wasn’t enough of a shock – he also had another child. Yup, apparently I have another niece. I had no idea. I have not spoken to my brother in at least a year. I got his current phone number from my dad and called and called and haven’t been able to reach him yet. What kind of craziness is this, anyway? Why don’t we talk anymore?? At all?!

My mother doesn’t speak to her family anymore – mother, father, brother, sister, son, daughter – no one. It breaks my heart to think that one day, when my kids are adults, they could have a falling out that would lead them to not talk to each other for YEARS. And even more unimaginable is that one of my children would become estranged from me and their father.   I can't even wrap my mind around that.

Part of the rift in my family was caused by my mother’s illness. Her behavior alienated everyone over time, because no one knew how to deal with it. My maternal grandmothers (one is biological and one is step) are the only ones who continued to try and stay close to my mom but she consistently pushed them away. Some families come together when there is turmoil and others come apart.

My brother and I didn’t have a falling out. We just stopped keeping up with each other. He lives back home where I grew up in PA, and I live in MD. He changes his phone number all the time, and I would always have to hunt him down to get his new number. I guess one of those times, I was consumed with my own life and didn’t hunt him down. Before I knew it, months and months had passed.  What if the call I received from my dad about my brother had been much worse?  What if I never had an opportunity to talk to him again?  He might think I'm mad at him or something for all I know.   My heart breaks at the thought that I haven't been there for him when he's obviously been going through so much.

This is a wakeup call for me.

I know I can’t control all of the resentment and confusion that has estranged us over the years, but there’s no excuse for me to not do my part to change it. Even if no one picks up, I will call. Even if I get no response, I will write. And I will teach my children by example that we don't turn our backs on family.

Are you close with your family, and if not, do you wish you could change that?

In a Word

Sunday, September 25, 2011 12:00 PM

"The more I write the more things make sense, and the things that still don't make sense become less important."  ~GG

I truly love all of you who support my blog and I'm thankful for your interest and encouragement.  This week, I'm adding another new series called "In a Word".

I'm always trying to find more ways to share the steady current of thoughts and feelings that are inside of me in a way that can be meaningful and helpful to others.

When you're a feeler like me, there can be a myriad of associations triggered from just one word.    And lately I've noticed myself writing spontaneous memos in my phone that were based simply on one word and the train of thought that word triggered for me.  I'd like to share those memos with you here.  The first one is called Estranged, and will be posted tomorrow. 

I hope you have a lovely Sunday!  xo



I'm Not a Snob, I Just Don't Spend Time with Negative People

Tuesday, September 20, 2011 5:38 PM




You may wonder where this rant is coming from. I can tell you that it is a long time coming.

Sometimes family and friends will see you changing and it scares them.  It just might scare them so much that they try to stop you.  They might say you're no fun anymore.  Or that you're stuck up because you don't want to be around certain people and places anymore. 

Be careful to not allow this stuff to affect you. Don't feel selfish for moving on with your life and changing your habits.  Don't be fooled into thinking that you can keep people around you who don't believe in growth and positivity.  Sometimes you have to love from a distance. 

Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with trying to encourage people - but don't be sucked in by guilt trips and other such tactics.  Lose them, keep you.  Sorry if it sounds harsh, but it's really that simple.

The hardest part of all of this for me is when I no longer want to engage in the same kind of activities or people as my partner.  I guess my idea of fun has changed.  I don't want to sit around and hear about how his friend cursed someone out at the grocery store or he lost another job for displaying unethical behavior.  Really?  This is the company you keep?  His friend is 35 years old and thinks this behavior is not only acceptable but cool???  No thanks. 

Remember the Law of Attraction:

"According to this law, you will attract to you that which you are. The law is activated by your dominant thought patterns. The purpose of this law is to show where you are in your consciousness and to give you the opportunity to lift yourself where you want to be. You can do any good thing you want to do with the right adjustment of your thought and actions. If you want prosperity and success, you must change your thought to reflect the things you want.

Many people live and die never experiencing anything greater than what is handed down to them. If you are born amidst, lack, failure, struggle, limitation, you do not have to stay there. Do not claim inherited limitations. The law of correspondence can and will move to the height of your consciousness. You cannot attract better, however, until you can better lift your thoughts. Lift your expectations. Lift yourself. Train yourself to mentally look for good things you want and the good will respond."

Please share your experiences with me.  Have you had to separate yourself from certain people and if so, have they lashed out at you for doing so?

Love and Locks - Last Week's Hair and Inspiration

Monday, September 19, 2011 6:07 PM


 
What wonderful things do did you do over the weekend? My sister was in town and it was refreshing to have some face time with her and catch up on lots of girl talk.

I've been noticing that other folks talking about the benefits of stretching their hair.  It's not like you need other people to validate what works for you, but it's still cool to see that you're not the only one.  Curly Nikki did a post on what's been working for her lately here, and she mentions that for her it prevents knots and tangling and helps her hair retain moisture.  Here, she recommends stretching with Curlformers, which I have not tried yet.  Have you??    Then catching up on Alex's Good Hair Blog, I read that she also finds her styling sessions to be more "stress-free" when her hair is stretched.  She blow dries with cool air.

The brazilian kertain smoothing treatment that I put in my hair washed out very gradually and without incident.  I didn't notice any negative effects.  However, the process involves using a lot of heat, so I plan on using it very seldomly.  I've been wearing my hair parted down the middle with loose waves as shown
below. 

Next time I wash, I'm going to try a roller set but I'm nervous because I have little to no patience for sitting under the dryer.  I'm thinking that after washing and deep conditioning and all that, I'll just put it in a few twists and let it air dry about 50% of the way before I set.  Then I'll spray each piece with a light mist of setting lotion which will keep it moist enough to roll and will help the drying process.  Any thoughts or suggestions??

I read this post over on BGLH about locking in moisture and was reminded that it's important to clarify.  Otherwise, build up will prevent your hair from absorbing moisture properly.  If you're like me and you follow a lot of hair blogs, you might think you've heard it all before but I have to say that there are so many slight variances to how people do things or how they use products and you never know what slight tweak might make a difference for you.  Sometimes you just forget, you know? So, I love these posts with quick tips that I can skim over quickly for ideas.   I can't remember the last time I used a clarifying shampoo, so this was a good reminder for me.

********

Ever since I wrote this post, I've been thinking about my elephant more and repressing it less. It's easy to put things on the backburner when there is no easy, painless solution.  In the past few years, my relationship with myself - my sense of self, my spirituality, my purpose - has become my priority.  I have to stay emotionally healthy no matter what.  And I think I avoid this elephant situation because I don't truly believe that I'm emotionally strong enough to deal with it.  *sigh*

I mean really.  I know that God will not put anything on me that I can't handle.   But sometimes I think that my actions still show that somewhere inside of me is an iota of doubt.  Other times I think that I'm just doing things the way I do them.  I've never been one to do things quickly. I'm the slow and steady type.  I think about things for a long time.  I keep things bottled up for a long time.  I guess when I know, I'll know.  And when I know, I'm so sure and so certain that I'll understand why it took me so long and why it was important for me to take my time to figure things out.  After all, there is no such thing as too late.  And there are no wrong choices, there's only the fear of making wrong choices.

I hope that's not so cryptic that it doesn't make any sense. 

Basically, all you can do is make the decisions that you need to make based on what feels right to you at the moment.  Life is an experiment in trial and error, isn't it?


Captured: Playtime

Thursday, September 15, 2011 3:37 PM


               
I love pictures.  I used to be the "picture" girl back in college who captured pictures of every important moment and even the not so important ones.  I'm no photographer by any means, but I'd love to take a class one day.  I love how pictures can take you back to special moments and different versions of yourself and others.  And I love how pictures capture light and energy and feelings. 

I'm going to start sharing some of my favorite personal photos here on my blog through a series called Captured.  I hope you enjoy.  :) 


"It's okay to play and be happy. 
In the beginning, God played with infinite possibilities
- including you -
and it was good."

Start. Stop. Continue. - Vol. 1

Friday, September 9, 2011 10:19 AM

                          

In July, I talked about wanting to do some new things on the blog - and this is one of those things.  START.STOP.CONTINUE. will be a series of posts where I share what's working for me, what's not, and also new things I'm trying.  Let me know what you think!  :)


START:
*Stretching my Hair*


 


As Fall is literally hovering over us right now breathing down our necks, I can't help but start thinking of my hair game plan for the colder weather.  As I mentioned a few posts ago, I plan to stretch my hair via roller sets and blowdrying for the most part.  I'm going to be trying my buddy Carmen's roller setting 101 tips with velcro rollers!  If my hair turns out half as luscious as hers, I'll be ecstatic.  Also, more deep conditioning and less shampooing.  I'm still shooting for waist length hair as long as it's healthy and thick from root to tip and not too much for me to manage. #3kids


STOP:
*Beating up on Myself*




I'm way too hard on myself.  I believe that to whom much is given, much is required.  And I am so unbelievably blessed.  I'm not talking about money or posessions either.  I'm talking about love and friendship and touchy feely things.  Anyway, I think this is why I feel like I can never do enough to give back.  Underneath it all, I still have a habit of beating myself up with negative thoughts.  But beating ourselves up doesn't whip us in to shape.  What really motivates and inspires is positivity and kindness.  I'm overflowing with positivity and kindness for others, but sometimes the well runs dry when it comes to saving some for myself.   Also, I tend to pay more attention to negative criticism than positive feedback.  I could hear 10 positive things in a day, and I'll still obsess over the one negative thing that someone said to me.  This is something that needs to stop. 


CONTINUE:
*Dressing like a Grown Woman*





I'm continuing to refine my style.  The older I get, the more important it is to me for my exterior to be an expression of how I see myself on the inside.  I'm learning how important it is for my clothes to fit well and for me to be comfortable in my clothing.  I don't even buy things anymore unless they are physically comfortable -- I don't care how cute it is!  No more shoes that hurt or clothes that squeeze. While I still shop at places like Forever 21 when I need a quick fix, I'm realizing that certain strategic pieces are actually worth paying top dollar for!  Imagine that.  I don't want to have clothes in my closet that I never wear that are there just taking up space.  I'm learning how to accentuate my 5'9" frame in a way that makes me feel feminine and attractive and yet still practical for my lifestyle. #3kids. I'm having fun with it and learning to embrace being in my mid-thirties, having a tribe of little ones and still being fly but in a grown a$$ woman kind of way.   

So tell me, what things are you working towards beginning or ending as autumn approaches?

The Elephant in the Room

Wednesday, September 7, 2011 3:37 PM


source

I've been keeping something from you all. I don't have a choice, really. It's bigger than just me and I have to respect other's privacy, so I can't share it here. I'm not writing this post to be purposely mysterious but to talk about :

1) How it feels to accept that some issues will remain unresolved for longer than we'd like;
2) How talking about it to friends is fine to an extent but ultimately no one else can tell you what to do and when to do it and;
3) How to still be content with your life and yourself until you know how to deal with it.


When you're going through something that you feel self-conscious or insecure about, you detect traces of it in everything! You feel transparent like everyone can see this vulnerability in you. You start thinking that everyone else is thinking about it or hinting at it. It can be very distracting. It's like an elephant in the room -- all the time, stealing your thunder, casting a shadow over you.

I'm going through one such issue.

Perhaps I'm so bothered by this unresolved issue in my life because many people look to me as a resource for how to deal with their problems. It makes me feel less credible that I have my own issues that are taking me a long time (in my opinion) to work through.

But why must we assign a timeframe to everything?

The gravity of this thing qualifies it as probably one of the defining things in my life that I'm here on this earth to learn. Here's where I remind us all that life is a journey that we don't need to rush through. We shouldn't feel insecure about unresolved issues - they just mean that we are alive, right? Why is it so hard to just admit that we don't know and don't know when we'll know?

Do you have any unresolved, recurring themes in your life? Do you talk about them with your closest confidantes often? Do you feel like they get sick of hearing about the same thing over and over?!? I do! I know my friends love me, but honestly, I get sick of hearing myself talk about it; so I KNOW they must get sick of it, too! Ultimately, they can lend a loving ear but the resolution is up to me. Sometimes I just bring it up because I want them to know that I'm aware of it, you know? I'm not blissfully ignorant in any way. Yes, I know it's an issue. No, I don't know what to do about it yet, but I know I have to figure it out on my own.

As we come and go, day in and day out, we carry around all these feelings, perceptions and thoughts that have a direct impact on our actions. Naturally, when you're carrying a burden around with you, it can cause you to feel heavy. Sometimes we even punish ourselves in a way, thinking that we don't deserve to be happy until we figure this thing out. There's no need to feel this way. We are all going through SOMETHING.

I readily empathize with other people's issues because I have a treasure trove of my own! And in spite of said issues, I consider myself to be a major source of positive energy and light in the world. And this elephant that follows me everywhere? The one that I think everyone is looking at? It's a figment of my own imagination. Most people are too distracted by their own elephants to be worried about mine.

Remember that your problems don't define you and hold your head high no matter what elephants you think are casting a shadow over your life.


"Embrace yourself. You are smart. You are stunning.
You are bright. You are kind.
You are interesting.  You are creative.
You have a bright spirit. You are positive.
You are real."




Weekend Whimsy

Saturday, September 3, 2011 10:00 AM


"Just around the corner in every woman's mind
 is a lovely dress, a wonderful suit, or entire costume
which will make an enchanting new creature of her."
~Wilhela Cushman







sources:

So You've Decided to Trust Yourself...

Friday, September 2, 2011 1:06 PM

source

"Trust is letting go of needing to know all the details before you open your heart." ~Author Unknown

Do you ever pause when you're looking in the mirror and try to get a glimpse of your inner self? 

That might sound a bit hokey but indulge me and consider what I have to say.  I can't imagine that I'm the only one who has these moments.  I see myself in the mirror and I realize that I don't see myself the way that others see me.  I'm able to see much more in me than meets the eye. 

When I am able to see past my ego and all of its doubts, insecurities and fears; there is a quiet awareness, a calm and unbiased spectator who is simply observing all of my shenanigans from a safe and sheltered place inside of me.

For as long as I can remember, I've struggled with trusting myself.  I doubted the presence of that patient, Inner Guide.  Bad decisions and their related consequences have falsely validated this struggle. Furthermore, I never connected my trust in God to my trust in myself.  I felt that my instincts were always leading me astray. 

Do you trust yourself?  I mean, really?  Do you discredit yourself simply because you've made some mistakes in your life?

We all make mistakes and somewhere along the way, we pick up on the fact that they happen for a reason and that we needn't worry about them.  But since we are human, we do worry.  We worry about pain and discomfort and embarrassment.  We stay in our little boxes and our little comfort zones because we have a sense of security there.  We trust ourselves there.

If you're like me, you're feeling the need to trust yourself outside of your box.  As you become more aware of yourself, you're sensing that you are not alone - never have been. There's a lot of unknowns, of course.  And we can't say that we'll always understand when things don't go our way, but as the quote says above - we don't need to know all the details before we open our hearts.  We don't need to SEE the divine guidance that is inside of us to know it's there. 

So, if you've decided to trust yourself, to open yourself up and live your truth, then get ready to welcome everything that comes with that as if you'd chosen it.  Because you have.  And really, why would you want it any other way?  

Have a wonderful weekend  :)