It’s been quite the year and when I reflect on all that happened, I think it’s been one of the more eventful years I’ve lived. I’ve visited family, gone to comedy shows in several different states, relocated across the country, started some new jobs and was a guest on several podcasts. I’ve learned more about myself and I’ve tried new foods (like alligator) that I never would have without some gentle prompting about getting outside of my comfort zone. I think one of the biggest things is that I’ve learned so much more about religious trauma and how problematic it can be to have a childhood where everything is fear based. It’s not ideal to be worried about hell or a lake of fire as a young child (understatement of the year). However, I’m glad that my journey has brought me to my current relationship where I have a partner that’s understanding and patient. There’s been ups and downs, breakthroughs and drawbacks. Overall, this has been a building year as well as one of transition. I’m looking forward to becoming more disciplined, learning about the world, and growing both personally and professionally. May we all take the next 365 days to intentionally grow into better versions of ourselves. Happy (Almost) New Year!
Recently (well a few weeks ago), I watched the Netflix series From Scratch. So first and foremost I need to acknowledge that it’s been out for a while but I finally had some time to watch. For those who haven’t watched it yet, this post will include some spoilers so you can stop here if you haven’t had the opportunity quite yet. A few things. First, the scenery and setting was beautiful. I found myself reminiscing on my trips to Italy and wishing that I had another one booked. It’s a beautiful and unique country and the food is amazing. I loved the fact that the story was true to life and I’ve heard that it was actually based on a true story. Family is important and the fact that the main character took the time to learn Italian and connect with her in-laws despite their resistance led to them embracing her and including her in their will. It was a beautiful love story of a couple who made it work even when faced with so many challenges. Family members flew in from around the country in order to provide support and everyone came together in a way that was beautiful and personified what it means to have a true family unit. They had their differences but at the end of the day they were united by their love of their daughter, sister, and granddaughter. It was a such a tear jerker and I found myself being glad that I didn’t have anything else scheduled for the day because my eyes were red and puffy. It’s an emotional roller coaster–which life is at times. I particularly loved the ending where the main character had to think about her daughter and create a new normal that included honoring the memory of her spouse. She demonstrated so much resiliency even in the midst of the most tragic event. Overall, I think that main message of the movies was about the resiliency of the human spirit and the ability we have to find some beauty in the midst of unspeakable tragedy.
So…… I recently turned the ripe old age of 33 and also celebrated 3 years with my significant other. Now, if you’ve read any of my previous posts you’ve read about how I was chronically single for the longest. But the tides of luck have changed and this year represented 3 years of successful partnership. I’ve lived so many lives and this time of year lends itself to more reflection. I will say that the one biggest change that stands out to me (second to leaving organized religion of course) has been abandoning vegetarian life. This is not to be outdone by the emotional effort it takes to maintain a healthy secure attachment. Not to mention in this year alone, I’ve moved across the country, grown a business, taken on new responsibilities and continued to be consistent with a (brutal) workout regimen. It’s been a wild ride and I’m reminded of all the many chapters of my life that have led up to the current one. 33 represents…..something significant in numerology and while I’m too lazy to look it up right now, I will admit that I see things differently. It’s funny how insanely fast your 20s are. I remember the birthday dinner I had in college and greeting my 20th birthday at the crack of dawn by a statue in the middle of the college campus. Fast forward to 29 turning 30 where I was on a cruise sailing to Puerto Rico. Alabama to Colorado, Georgia, California, Georgia, California, Georgia, Maryland, Virginia, to Georgia, to Maryland, and finally to Texas. It’s been a lot. I’m grateful for everything and while it’s not been easy, it’s been worth it. Here’s to more years and more memories and honestly more shrimp, lobster and sushi.
Someone randomly reached out to me the other day to get my perspective on the next step to take in their career. My first thought was that this was definitely a question that deserved an in-depth response or a consultation session. However, given my time constraints I decided on the quickest option. I’m not a philosopher but I’ve read a lot and sometimes it’s great to be able to recall information and share some of the things I’ve learned after over a decade in my field. My advice to the individual was to consider the values of freedom, flexibility, and peace and determine which one deserved the driver’s seat for their current moment. Are you willing to make less money in order to travel extensively and be less tied down? Do you need a schedule where you have the flexibility to start work and end work when you want? Or, do you want to feel peaceful at the end of the day? So much of society today glorifies the grind culture but there’s also the problematic inverse of not doing anything because all jobs have a certain level of stress. The majority of people depends on jobs to make money and fulfill their financial obligations. Deciding what deserves your time work-wise is an important choice and it shouldn’t be taken lightly. It’s worth it to consider your options and look for ways to leverage your education and experience. Know your worth but increase your competence at the same time.
If there’s one thing I’ve heard a lot recently, it’s the fact that it is getting increasingly hard to date. People are getting frustrated with the lack of responses and running into people who have different expectations of communication and relationship. As someone who met my (4 years and counting) current partner through an app, I wanted to contribute to the solution instead of the problem and I wrote an ebook about it. While it’s geared towards people who identify as female, I think I may also do one to help people who identify as male. Writing is something that doesn’t exactly come easy but it’s a rewarding discipline that I’m hoping to be more consistent with this year. Hopefully, this is the first of many literary adventures to come. Maybe I’ll try my hand in creating some fiction based around my very non-traditional childhood. But I digress. Check out my ebook here and let me know what you think!
As I’ve mentioned numerous times, travel has been a significant part of my life for the past 7 years or so. Due to circumstances, my travels have been limited lately but they’ve been more meaningful. However, the great thing is that there’s plenty of places to see and hopefully I’ll get an international trip on the books in the next six to eight months. Needless to say, Texas is like another country. I love the vibe, dislike the highways, and appreciate the weather. It was fun seeing new things and enjoying a comedy show.
Like many, I was happy to see laws like the CROWN Act happening in various states across the country. Historically there are certain cultural norms about hair and what constitutes being a professional hairstyle and more often than not the rules do not include an understanding of the intricacies of Black hair. Today I took the step of getting Sisterlocks and embracing the hair I’ve been given. It took about 18 hours of patience and sitting in the same spot but it went by pretty fast. It was nice to be still for a moment and take a break from some of the daily demands and responsibilities I have. The flat iron, pressing comb, and curling iron is technically a thing of the past and while it feels daunting, it feels good to start something new. In the period of a year I’ve had several major hair changes that have included a drastic cut, color and making a choice to not use heat on my hair. I’m excited to start this journey and find out more about my natural hair texture and also explore some styling possibilities when my hair matures. It all begins today.
One thing that I enjoy doing (at least most of the time) is working with couples. It’s a different dynamic than individual counseling and there are a lot of moving pieces. I was reflecting on how long I have been doing therapy and I realized that it’s been almost 8 years since I’ve started. Over the years I have started to notice patterns and the process has become more intuitive as opposed to theory. I like encouraging couples to build a new relationship and helping them to negotiate new rules and guidelines. They have the opportunity to ask questions and to be intentional about building something that provides each partner with a sense of security. It’s rarely straightforward but there’s nothing like witnessing an “aha” moment when things start to come together. It’s stressful to hold all the emotions in one place but I have learned that it is important to compartmentalize and to take breaks when needed. Many times couples get together without truly knowing what role they want the relationship to play in their individual lives. It’s up to each couples to establish a new normal and to find something that works for each partner.
Last week I had the chance to travel to the island paradise of Aruba and I’m including some pictures
In December, I went to Ireland for a week and had an amazing time traveling throughout the country. It’s a gorgeous gem with great people and amazing beer. I went solo and I had a great time anyway. The scenery is breathtaking and I learned a lot about Ireland’s history. Here are a few pictures.