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.
I’ve set an intention (as I typically do) to write more frequently. While I see the upcoming new year as a start, I thought that it would be good to try to get a head start on creating the habit. Over the years, I’ve done a lot of reading and research on religious trauma which translated in to presenting at several conferences, writing an article, and creating a mini-course. Religion is one of those things that can bring value and meaning to life. It influences the way that people see themselves and see the world. However, it can also be used as a weapon and inflict emotional wounds that are difficult to move past from. I think that there’s a need for more conversations around how to successfully navigate and integrate the values from that you were taught with the knowledge gained through experiences. Oftentimes, those two things aren’t congruent and are perceived as clashing; but in reality, our past experiences shape who we become in one way or another.
It’s been crazy how fast the year has gone and like many, I’ve realized that it hasn’t gone completely according to plan. My international trips have once again been curtailed but I’ve seen more of the countryside and traveled to some of the local spots near me. I’ve confirmed I officially like sushi and I now low key regret spending 28 years being a vegetarian. However, it gave me a great foundation for healthy eating and I’m glad for that. This year I’ve also developed more discipline in taking care of myself and taking both fitness and business seriously. It’s been eye opening to discover new ways of thinking and to hear the perspectives of others. There’s so much going on in the world today that seems incredibly polarizing and I’ve seen how fragile human relationships can be when there is seemingly a conflict of values. Time flies when you’re having fun, but also when you’re just working a lot.
While technically Valentine’s Day is over, I was reminded today while scrolling social media of all the years that I wanted to be in a relationship. While that goal was accomplished last year, it’s been interesting how much less the holiday means after being shown love and kindness throughout the other 364 days of the year. There were a lot of sad people today who spent the day alone or with people that they may not have genuinely cared about or loved. Relationships are so much more than what happens in a 24 hour period. While I love grand gestures and gifts, I’ve come to a deeper appreciation for the small meaningful things that make life easier. Being able to delegate difficult tasks, having a friend I can talk to, requesting an occasional foot rub are all things that at one point in my life I never expected to have. As I’ve continued to work with couples, I’m reminded of the importance of consistency in relationships. Trust and commitment don’t happen overnight. They both are traits that are cultivated through time and energy and many people don’t make the investment that is necessary for success. When something is important to you, you make time for it and ensure that it is a priority. Taking the time to water your own grass (figuratively) and invest in the health of your relationship will reap benefits. Just make sure you’re with the right person.
After years of waiting and hoping I finally got into a relationship with long term potential about a year ago and things are going well. The thing that has been surprising is how different my expectations were from reality. I work with black women who have educational and financial standards for their future boyfriend or spouse and honestly I used to be one of them. No one wants to be in a relationship and do worse financially then they were before. However, in the past year I’ve learned more about some of the intangibles that mean more than what a guy makes or his level of education. Women can easily get caught up in what a man does instead of evaluating who he is. One thing is significantly less obvious than the other. Dating a project isn’t about trying to rehabilitate a man but it’s not the same as supporting a man who has a clear path and plan for the future. Many times the past is a great indicator of the future. Instead of asking about a five year plan, it’s better to ask a man about a five year plan he’s has in the past and what year he’s in presently. It’s easy have aspirations but it’s much hard to put in the work to manifest them. If a man is serious his actions will show it. Giving you a girlfriend label doesn’t indicate he’s serious. Is he applying for jobs to move closer to you? Has he given you his timeline for moving in together? Is he introducing you to his circle of friends? These are all indications that there’s a good chance he’s sees a future with you. Women are quick to complain that a man has wasted their time but in reality they have wasted their own time because they weren’t being held hostage and they got committed too soon without verifying that the other person wanted the same thing. Taking inventory means that you understand where you are in your life and you intentionally choose to make decisions that align with your long term goals.
I ran into this picture and thought that it was a great idea to utilize for couples who just want to try something different to build their relationship and emotional connection. It’s more ideal for partners who live together but anything can be modified for social distancing or living apart. Happy June!
I was having a conversation the other day with a woman who was at a crossroads in her life. She had focused on her career and had finally come to the realization that she wanted to have a husband and children. The challenge is that the made the decision in her 50s. Now, I know the whole cliche about how you get wiser as you age and the fact that age isn’t anything but a number. However, the rules are different when trying to find a significant other after a certain age. Chances are that a younger woman has a better chance of getting married and having a family than someone who is middle aged. It’s not necessarily fair but it’s reality. I remember the decision I made to focus on my career and while I didn’t regret it, I also realized that it wasn’t what I wanted to focus on long term. The relationship that I’m in right now is the result of a conscious decision to grow personally so that I could be my best self in a relationship. I’m glad that my focus has shifted because it’s been valuable in defining what’s important to me and how I want my life to be moving forward. A lot of changes have occurred and I’m looking forward to what is next.
Earlier this week I cruised alone for the first time ever. Typically I go with someone but I wanted the experience of being able to chill out without having a conversation or conferring about the next activity. Aside from missing my significant other, the whole experience was great. It was nice to be able to relax and think about upcoming changes. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone needing some space. Cruises are filled with couples and families so as a single person you’re invisible and sometimes that’s exactly what you need.
I’ve always had an interesting relationship with my birthday. It comes once a year and usually I feel unprepared. Last year and this year I decided to get away and take a trip. This year has had a lot of ups and downs. I moved, traveled, taught, and adulted through a lot. I’ve made some new friends and let some others go. I’ve reconnected with people and had an opportunity to take on some new responsibilities professionally. Lately I’ve reflected on the last decade of my life and it’s crazy how much can happen in ten years. Here I am four degree and several cross country moves later. It’s been an interesting ride but I’m looking forward to more personal and professional growth and new experiences. Maybe staying home for a change and putting down some roots for real.