Simple Freedom | Let Go of Patterns That Hurt You

Monday, November 28, 2011 12:37 PM



source
This week, put forth a concerted effort to change a self-destructive habit.

Don't overpromise.  Keep it simple.  Zone in on something, maybe a negative thought pattern that you can target and make a conscious effort to let go.

I'll share mine with you. Ever since I became a mother, I've had issues with anxiety.

I've gone to therapy about it, prayed about it, and I talk and write about it. These things help tremendously, but it's something I have to manage everyday. I don't want it to hold me back, you know?

I want to overcome it and to stop indulging in the negative thought patterns that bring it about.

When I don't attend to it, my feelings of anxiety turn into bouts of depression and sadness. I feel anxiety over everything from the air quality in my home (my kids are always sniffling!), to whether or not my daughters will be affected by the mental illness that runs in my family (I'm always looking for "signs" in my older daughter), to when someone doesn't say hello to me (are they mad at me?!). Some things I can control, and other things I can't control, change or predict. Perhaps you can relate. Perhaps it sounds like crazy talk.   Either way, we all have our stuff.

The way I deal with my anxiety is to keep my thoughts and my surroundings as positive as possible. I don't spend time with negative people, I read uplifting books and blogs, I listen to positive music. I love to be silly and laugh and find the silver lining in everything. I'm a positivity junkie and proud of it. I'm learning to not internalize every piece of bad news that I hear (talked about that here under STOP). I'm learning to be just a bit detached, in a healthy way, from the nuances of life because I truly believe that everything happens for a reason and we only cause ourselves to suffer when we try to control and rationalize everything.

What behavior can you target this week to improve your state of mind? Here are some ideas:

*Do you check your partners' text messages/emails/voicemails and then obsess over them?
*Do you spend money beyond your means and then feel guilty afterwards?
*Do you indulge in gossip and complaining and then feel bad about the negative feelings that remain with you afterwards?
*Do you have a grudge against someone that you need to let go?

Whatever it is, search yourself and target that thing. Remember the bad feelings and self-loathing that will result from indulging in it - then choose to respond to that urge differently.

Remember that the goal is to empower yourself to be free of anything that distracts you from being your best self. I know I can do it and I know you can do it. xoxo


            

Weekend Whimsy | Mom On-The-Go Style

Sunday, November 27, 2011 8:22 AM

   
"To be a fashionable woman is to know yourself, know what you represent, and know what works for you." 

     My typical weekend is filled with kids, errands, laundry, birthday parties, functions with friends and family, ballet and basketball and then more errands, and more kid stuff (playdates, etc.)   Comfort is an absolute must, but so is polish.  The older I get, the more particular I get about how I present myself when I step out - even if  it's just for a day of errands with the kids.  These photos pretty much capture what has been my uniform for weekend, mom-on-the-go style this fall.
 

cozy scarves
skinny jeans or leggings

with a messy bun

and comfy knee boots



All images from Pinterest

Love and Locks | Male Sensitivity and Curly Updos

Friday, November 25, 2011 10:50 AM




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I hope y'all had a Thanksgiving Day that was perfectly perfect for you.  Whether it was a quiet one or a festive one, I hope that you enjoyed yourself. 

Our day was cozy and intimate with just the five of us.  Right before we ate, we went around the table and each of us said one thing that we are thankful for.  Here's how it went (using nicknames):

Bubba (9 yr old son):  "I'm thankful for my family."

Babygirl (1.5 yr old daughter):  "Binky".  (That's her answer to everything.)

Mom: "I'm thankful for the health and well-being of my family and loved ones."

Lulu (almost 6 yr old daughter): "I'm thankful for this yummy food and for my birthday."  (Her birthday is coming up on Wednesday.)

Dad: "I'm thankful for everyone sitting around this table.  I know I don't say it often enough, but I'm so thankful for my family and the life we have together."  (got emotional and choked up...smiled...tried to keep talking...didn't work so I took over)

Wow, I mean he never gets emotional like that.  Well, very rarely.  I was pleasantly surprised to see him softening up in front of the kids, because they always see the dad who's a tough disciplinarian or they see the dad who's really a playful kid in a man's body.  They rarely see him showing emotion in this way.  I'm the one who cries randomly from joy, sadness or just plain old fatigue.  But underneath all of daddy's armor, he's got this very sensitive side and he's totally uncomfortable about showing it.  I think if he did this more often, he'd feel better and not be so uptight.  How is he uptight?  Well, that's a post for another day.  :)

******* 

If you've got some time off and are looking for some good reads around the web this weekend, check out these links:

Relationships
Three Ideas to Help Men Become More Thoughtful    I so have a post brewing on this one!
 
Self-Development
Getting Closure   I especially loved the end of this post when the writer is talking about falling in love with herself. I totally get it.

Writing
The Misunderstanding of Male Sensitivity     I love a man who's very masculine, a little rough around the edges, and  as I mentioned above  - still not afraid to show how they feel.

Hair
Amel Larrieux's Natural Hair Journey     Hair Idol Alert!

Music
3 Reasons We Love VV Brown   Love her!  First heard Shark in the Water on VH1 Soul.

A little hair talk after the jump...

Food for Thought + Happy Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 23, 2011 3:56 PM

  
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.
~Melody Beattie
           
           



Simple Freedom: Confront Your Joy Snatchers

Monday, November 21, 2011 1:42 PM


   

via Pinterest


 What are Joy Snatchers?

Joy snatchers are those little things that pick away at your peace of mind and make you feel like poop.  Joy snatchers can be people, places or things.  They distract you when you are trying to be productive.  They cause strain and stress in your relationships.  Perhaps they bring out a side of you that you don't like or pull negative energy out of you.  They can trigger feelings of depression and self-loathing and are often responsible for those random bad days when you're in a funk and you can't really explain why. 

What are your joy snatchers?  Here are just a few possibilities:

*Jealousy

Maybe instead of appreciating what you have, you feel slighted because you think others have more or better than you.  Do you sometimes want to feel happy for people but can't seem to see past your own perceived lack?  Have you ever started off the day feeling great and then heard someone else's good news and suddenly had an attack of self-pity?  *Raises Hand*  This is not a pretty thing to admit in the least, but we've all been there and this does not make you a bad person!

*Lack of Reciprocity

Do you overlook the meaningful relationships in your life and focus on the the broken or non-existent ones?  Perhaps you invest a lot of time and energy into building a relationship with someone who is not giving you the same investment and you're upset about it - trying to figure out what's wrong with you?  Why won't they like you or love you as much as you like or love them?  They don't acknowledge your efforts or your gestures and you keep on trying to impress them to no avail. 

*Over-Accessibility

Do you entertain any and everything that people have to say to you?  The media?  Your neighbors?  Your family?  Co-workers?   If you're open to it, everywhere you turn, someone will be complaining about something, gossiping about something, spreading fear in covert ways and leaving you wondering why you suddenly feel so heavy.  Sometimes it's intentional and sometimes it's not.  It's up to you to restrict access to your consciousness and not let everything in.  You are not a dumping zone or a vessel to catch and recycle everyone's fears and bad feelings. 
 
How do you control Joy Snatchers?

First, you have to recognize them and their impact on the quality of your life.  You have to want to be free of their control over you.  Get to know the sources.  Search yourself honestly and without judgement to determine why you are susceptible to these things.  Begin to train your mind to embrace Abundance instead of Lack and Faith instead of Fear. 

There's no magic solution and your journey to freedom will be unique.  It has helped me tremendously to be brutally honest with myself and know my triggers.  What has helped you overcome sources of negative energy in your life?  Or, what specific joy snatchers do you need help with?  Leave a comment below or contact me.

Have a self-loving, drama-free, deliciously amazing and grateful holiday! 

Lots of Love,
GG :)

Weekend Whimsy

Sunday, November 20, 2011 11:42 AM

               

  "A quotation at the right moment is like bread in a famine."












All images from Pinterest

Start. Stop. Continue. - Vol. 3

Friday, November 18, 2011 2:17 PM



START:
*Protective Styling*

I love Autumn weather so much that I've primarily worn my hair down for most of the season. It offers the best hair weather of all the seasons, don't you think?

With harsher weather approaching along with its wool sweaters, hats and scarves - I'm going to start protective styling again. It's not just the cold weather either. When my hair is down, I just mess with it more. My hands are in it. My daughter's pulling at it and putting it in her mouth. It gets caught under the strap of my purse, etc. There are so many sneaky hair damagers in every day life.

Anyway, I want to keep my ends healthy for as long as possible with the hope that I won't need another trim until February or so. I'm sure I'll still wear my hair down at least one week out of each month, but my main protective style will be the bun. I'm looking forward to experimenting with various updos and being creative. Also, check out these super cute satin lined winter hats and knit scarves designed to keep you warm without damaging your hair.




STOP:
*Carrying the Weight of the World on My Shoulders* 


Lately, I feel like I've been grieving too much. I know that must sound weird because I haven't lost anyone.

But when people suffer around me or I hear about someone suffering, I always imagine how they must be feeling. And once I get into those dark feelings, I have a hard time letting it go. I think about how that parent must be feeling who just lost their child, or that woman who just found out that her cancer has returned, etc. I feel like I have to acknowledge their pain and let it sink in.

I know this is depressing, but it's a real issue for me. It's too much. Sometimes it distracts me from envisioning happy things, you know? At times I'll even feel guilty for being happy and expecting more happiness. I need to learn to have a certain amount of detachment from bad news. Yes, bad things happen. But dwelling on them is not healthy and can cast a shadow over your life. I love this quote: "Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings."



Continue:
*Watching Oprah's Life Class*

I have all the episodes saved on my DVR, but so far I've only watched three of them. I like to watch with no distractions, so that limits me to when no one else is home or everyone else is asleep. The episodes are also available online. I love Today's Question and reading all of the answers from her audience.  It really showcases how so many of us have the same fears and insecurities. Here are some examples:



What are you Starting, Stopping, and Continuing right now?

      

Hair Update: Trial and Error and Scissor Happy Stylists

Monday, November 14, 2011 10:05 AM


Left Photo: Before Trim       Right Photo: After Trim          ~ The best way to tell the difference to observe where the hair hits my boobie.

The Background

Back in August, I was feeling overwhelmed with maintaining and styling my hair, so I got two inches cut off.  Ever since then, I've been in love with hair all over again and styling has been so much easier

How has it been easier?  *Less tangles and pulling hair out while washing and conditioning.  *Less manipulation during styling (when I separate into sections for twisting, braiding or blowdrying, it separates easily).  *No matter how I wear my hair, the style seems to maintain better throughout the day.  *Of course, I still have the natural hair "swell" that occurs throughout the day (that I love) but it's more contained.  *It swells and gets bigger, but I don't have a crazy detrimental detangling session to deal with at the end of the night. 

Since I've been natural, I've only had my hair professionally trimmed two or three times.  I was a long term transitioner, so I got my hair cut frequently while I was growing the relaxer out.  I've relied primarily on search and destroy sessions and/or dusting to keep my ends somewhat healthy.  But now I've realized that if I'm going to continue to grow my hair, I will only be able to do so with regular trims.  Otherwise, I just don't have the time or patience to maintain it.  

The Learning Opportunity

With this realization, I scheduled a reminder on my calendar to get my hair trimmed in early November, about three months after the August trim.  I'd decided to get a trim every three months and see how that works.  The stylist who trimmed my hair in August works at a Haircuttery right down the street from my house and she did a great job.  She did exactly what I asked.  Initially,  I asked her to only trim one inch.  She didn't push back, didn't argue.  Once she got started, she sectioned off my hair and started trimming.  After a couple snips, she held a section out and showed me how much she was cutting.  She asked me if I was sure that I only wanted one inch.  I looked at the piece she was showing me and said, you know what, go ahead and cut two inches so that I know I'll really be able to feel the difference.  And so she did. 

I absolutely loved the results and how cooperative she was.  For $15.99, I knew I'd continue coming back to her for my trims every three months and I gave her a great tip. 

Fast forward to about a week ago, I had some free time on my hands and went by the Haircuttery (without calling or referencing the card the stylist gave me with her hours on it) and of course she wasn't there.  There was however, another stylist ready and available to trim my hair.  So, I paused for just a second and said OK, I mean it's just a trim.  It shouldn't be that big a deal for any stylist to do it.

Wrong.

Simple Freedom: Put Yourself First

8:00 AM


Sweet Gems

Today, let me remind you that it's not only okay to put yourself first - it's necessary.  I'm going to share with you several posts that I revisit when I'm feeling unnecessarily guilty for doing what I have to do to take care of myself.

***********


Every now and then, you're going to have to say no. You're going to need to take a step back and make sure that YOU are okay. When you're a mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend and all around superwoman, people will come to expect things from you. It only becomes a problem when you begin to feel overwhelmed or unhappy.

When's the last time you flew on an airplane? At the beginning of every flight, the flight attendant reminds the able-bodied adults that in the case of an emergency, put your own oxygen mask on FIRST before you assist children and the elderly. Why? Because what good can you do to anyone else if you can't breathe? Are you following me?  Read more



There comes a day when we all realize that we can't please everyone. We realize that people are going to judge us no matter what we do. Even with those realizations, it's often hard to stop making decisions based on what other people will think.  But what about what you think? 

It's not about being selfish or self-absorbed, it's about being self-aware. It's okay to know yourself enough to follow your heart and trust your decisions. One way to stop placing so much emphasis on what other people think is to become your own best friend. No matter what comes and goes in this life, you will always have yourself. You should protect, nurture and handle yourself with the utmost care. The better you treat yourself, the less tolerant you will be of people in your space who don't value you the same way. It will also be easier for you to exist in your relationships without losing yourself.  Read More




When's the last time you stopped to think about how much you've grown? How far you've come? How much you've changed? It's great to have goals, hopes and dreams, but sometimes we get so caught up in how we want to be that we begin to beat ourselves up for how we are. This leads to negative self-talk and low self-esteem. There was probably a time when you were scared to do what you are doing right now. You should celebrate yourself for that.

Perfection is not only unattainable; it leaves no room for improvement. Nevermind how anyone else thinks you "ought" to be. Remember that you are already whole and worthy of all good things. With every experience, you simply grow and become more aware of it.  Read More
***********

Keep these affirmations in mind this week and always:

I love myself.
I honor my needs and truths.
I trust my decisions.
Vulnerability and honesty are empowering.
It's okay if everyone doesn't "get it".
I don't have anything to prove to anyone.
Honoring myself first will give me the capacity and energy to honor and support others.

Have a great week!

Love,
GG



Captured: Happy Birthday To Me!

Friday, November 11, 2011 1:45 PM

   
"Birthdays are good for you.  Statistics show that the people who have the most live the longest."

-Thanks for the quote, Channing :)

Here are some photos from my birthday last weekend.  And of course it wouldn't be me if I didn't throw in a couple quotes for reflection to go with them!



Brunch with the girls


Me and Kimmie - AKA the ladies behind PLPT



Family brunch minus one camera shy family member :)


Happy Birthday Mama!



"The happiest moments of my life have been the few which I have passed at home in the bosom of my friends and family."

~Thomas Jefferson







Simple Freedom: Embrace Your Right to Choose

Monday, November 7, 2011 7:27 AM




20 years ago, I was a teenager full of angst and confusion.  My mom's mental state was rapidly deteriorating at that point.  I was in my first year of high school, and it felt like she completely checked out when I needed her most.

15 years ago, I was in college and had just realized that  boys lie and boys cheat and that my first love - the one I'd been with for 3 years and thought I'd marry one day - well, he wasn't who I  thought he was.  I stayed in denial about it for 3 more years after that.

10 years ago, I'd just given birth to my first child. I had one foot in adulthood and one foot in adolescence.  I was in my early twenties, but still in my daddy's pocket, still clinging to self-destructive ideas and trying to figure out what the hell I was going to do with my life.

5 years ago, I made the best decision of my life and I went to therapy.  That's when the healing and the forgiveness began.

And here I am, celebrating another birthday.  I'm breathing deep and appreciating the moment.  Everything is not what I thought it would be, but I know that my journey is perfectly perfect for me.  

Now I know that I always have the right to choose - what to focus on, what to believe in, and how to spend my time and energy.  The simplest freedom I can think of is the right to choose. 

This week remember that you are not defined by your circumstances or your past decisions.  
At any time you can choose differently. 

Have a great week!  xoxo

Weekend Whimsy - Yumminess Edition

Saturday, November 5, 2011 9:00 AM

   



"It's not the men in my life, it's the life in my men."
  ~Mae West

I'm a fan of the skin tan, hair long look on Drizzy

Do you watch Luther? If you don't, you must stop depriving yourself
O_O
Somehow I'm convinced that look is just for me

Oooohh I'm thinking of you...and all the things that you wanted me to be...


Your turn.  Who's your favorite eye candy????

Love and Locks - I'm a Scorpio

Friday, November 4, 2011 2:50 PM



Amen!


Happy Friday, y'all!

Not only is it Friday, but it's also the Friday before my birthday! I'm keeping it low key with some drinks and boo time tonight. Brunch with the girls in the morning and some shopping in the afternoon. Then Sunday will be family time, and I have the day off from work on Monday. Nothing too crazy, but perfect for a thirty-something mama who's been longing for some grown and sexy leisure time. The only thing missing is a night of dancing until I'm sore the next day. I'll save that for later this month. You know the celebration must continue for at least a month after the big day, right?

Are any of you Scorpios???? How are you celebrating this month?!

I'm not really into astrology, but I find it interesting to see what my personality is supposed to be like since I'm a Scorpio.  I feel like some of the traits are spot on, and others are way off.  See below:

This is me:

*Any kind selfless gesture done to a Scorpio will gain trust and respect which is extremely important to them in any relationship, either romantic or not.

*Scorpios are very deep, intense people, there is always more then meets the eye.

*They always want to know why, where and any other possible detail they can possibly know.

This is so not me:

*Scorpios have an excellent memory and combined with an inability to let things go, they can hold a grudge against someone who did them harm forever, in fact a Scorpio rarely if never forgives and forgets.

*Scorpios are extremely ambitious, persistent and determined which is shown through a power hungry, controlling attitude.

*Scorpios tend to dominate and control anyone that lets them, or anyone that they find weak.

Do you check your horoscope everyday?  Do you find that it is usually on point?  Do you embody the traits of your zodiac sign?

One of my favorite bloggers and e-buddies gave birth to a beautiful baby girl a few weeks ago. Since she's on somewhat of a "maternity leave" from blogging, she's had a series of guest posts on her blog this past month. I was honored that she asked me to contribute. You can check out the post here, and I would highly recommend that you stay awhile and peruse her blog.

I love when bloggers do a post like "The A to Z of Candice" and "7 Reasons Why I Might Be Going to Hell". Those are my favorites! I love getting those quirky, random insights into the human being behind the blog, you know? I'm planning to do one of those soon, but it has to be unique of course so I'm still thinking about how to do it my own way. I also like the idea of introducing myself to new readers or visitors to the blog. Perhaps I'll create a "If you're new, start here" page. For now, I've updated my About GG page. I guess your blog is like your home in that every now and then you want to make updates to it and ensure that it's evolving with you.

Here are some of my favorite posts from around the web over the last couple of weeks (OK maybe over the past month):

Beauty
Anti-Aging Tip-Facial Massage with Jojoba Oil

Fashion/Style
Hair and Style Inspiration for the Fall

Motherhood
Just Remember to Breathe

Writing
Could You Earn More By Writing About What You Love?

Blogging
How Blogging Became My Boyfriend

Self-Development
Cocoon Syndrome and What to Do When People Don't Want You to Change

Inspiration
Lifeclass: Two Black Women Teaching the World

Love
On Great Love

Hair
Rules of Engagement for Mineral Oil

Are you on Twitter?  While it can be a huge distraction if you let it, it's an awesome way to find your people and get your message out.  If you're on twitter follow me @TheWriteCurl.  While you're at it, follow me and Kim's blog @PeaceLovePretty too!

Have an awesome weekend, loves!  I'll be sure to share birthday pics next week. ;-)

In a Word: Reciprocity

Tuesday, November 1, 2011 9:00 AM

I wanted him to want me.  I wanted him to claim me.  I'm talking about putting my feelings first and saving all of his tenderness for me.

I felt entitled. He felt trapped.

I wanted to bring out the best in him.  He once told me that I had this light and that I had taken that light and lit up places inside of him that he'd forgotten about.  I clung to that.  I needed to be a light to someone.  To define myself through someone.

I thought we could save each other.  He just needed someone to understand him, and I just needed someone to validate me.  To make me feel whole and worthy.  All I could see was my happy ending. 

I ignored the flags.  I was outsmarted by the circular logic and avoidance tactics.  I allowed his confusion to suck me in.  I lost me in search of him.  I thought my loyalty would be rewarded somehow.  And yet the more I obliged, the more I allowed - the less he seemed to value me.

And that's all I ever really wanted.  To be valued privately and publicly and without restraint.  I could accept the quirks and kinks and different point of view.  I couldn't accept the emotional walls, the "access denied" signs at every turn, the constant reminders that this wasn't that.


And now, much to my dismay, I find myself still wanting that which was denied me.  Although I don't have the faintest idea what I'd do with it if I got it. 

Oh yes, I do know.  I probably wouldn't want it anymore.
 

This post is from the In A Word series.  You can read more of them here.