Who Are You, Really?

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Have you ever felt like you had no clue as to who you were, so you set out to be like someone else?  You may have tried to sing like them or mimic their style of dressing or maybe used some of their catch phrases or even started talking like them.  It’s okay because at one point in time, we have all had role models; however, there was a time when we eventually figured out WHO WE WERE.  My youngest sister, who is 14 years and 9 months younger than I am, used to say all the time “When I grow up, I want to be just like you”.  I thought that was the sweetest thing anyone had ever said to me.  That all changed, however,  when she grew up.  She realized that she was her “OWN INDIVIDUAL PERSON” who needed to have her own “IDENTITY”, and not be a carbon copy of me.  I was silently disappointed because it felt good to have someone look at you with such respect and admiration that they wanted to pattern their life after yours.

There was a time when none of us had our own identity.  When we were kids, we were “so and so’s kid”.  At some point, we may have been known as “so and so’s wife”.  Then later, we became “so and so’s mother”.  What happened to “US” and “OUR” identity?  For some, it got lost and you were never able to recapture it.

If you’re still trying to figure out who you are, I want you to sit down and reserve some quiet time for yourself as you ponder this for a moment or two – “WHO ARE YOU”?

It took me a while to “FIND MYSELF”, as they used to say, because I always wanted to be like someone else and look like someone else and, thus, walked in other people’s shadows — hiding behind them.  Therefore, no one got a chance to see “ME”.  Then, there came a day when I realized WHO I WAS.  What a glorious day!

If you’ve ever looked at other women and said, “Man, I wished I could be like her” or “I wished I looked like her” or “I wished I had a husband like hers” or, or, or, I want you to stop it right now.  It’s okay to admire people, but it’s not cool to think that we have so little to offer ourselves or anyone else that we “THROW” ourselves away to become them.  Gurl, don’t you realize who you are and what you have to give if you would be true to yourself?

If there are things that you don’t like, fix them.  It’s not always as simple as that, I know.  If you want to lose weight, find a system that works best for you.  Some people can’t diet (that would be me) because they are unable to be consistent with it.  Don’t set unrealistic expectations that you would never achieve because, in doing so, you have already set yourself up for failure.  If you don’t like your hair, cut it, grow it out, color it.  Whatever it takes for you to feel better about it.  If you don’t like your wardrobe, talk to someone who may be able to give you some fashion tips (you don’t have to hire a wardrobe consultant).  If you’d like to wear a little makeup but have no clue how to apply it, rather than doing it incorrectly, ask for help.  You’ll find that most times people are willing to assist you.  If you wanted to obtain a college degree, now is your time.  If you wanted to take up that hobby, what’s stopping you?  The list could go on and on, but I think you get my drift.  Don’t be afraid to “BE YOU”.

I’ve compiled a list of who I am, and hope you will as well.

WHO I AM (characteristics):  I am – 1) beautiful; 2) intelligent; 3) funny; 4) generous (giving of my time because Lord knows I have no money, LOL); 5) caring; 6) considerate; 7) compassionate; 8) loving; 9) nurturing; 9) encouraging; 10) loyal (my best friend and I have been friends for nearly 46 years, so that says a lot); 11) hardworking; and last but not least 12) a little “whack-a-doodles” (my kids think I’m off my rockers, but aren’t we all, LOL).

When I stop and think about who I really am, I see a strong woman who has had to overcome quite a few obstacles to get to this place in life.  I see a woman who is not afraid of challenges.  I see a woman who is willing to stand alone, if necessary.  I see a woman who will take the bull by the horn.  My stylist calls me “Norma Rae” because I’m not afraid to fight for what I believe in.

WHO ARE YOU:  Fill in the blank ____.  After compiling your list, I’m sure you’ve discovered so many attributes that you weren’t even aware of.  Put your list in a spot that is visible.  During those moments that you feel down or hopeless or worthless, review your list.  Let those positive words sink in and help you to catch your second wind as you move forward.  I had someone tell me that they didn’t think they could ever feel comfortable in their own skin.  My response was “YES, YOU CAN”!

Today, I dare you to be bold and OWN YOUR LIFE, and say “I am ____”.

I AM PHENOMENAL!  I AM FIERCE!  I AM WOMAN!  I AM FREE!

Always remember that #GurlYouGotItGoinOn!

You Are Beautiful; You Are Loved

Hey there, beautiful!  Yes, I’m talking to you.  I want you to know that you are BEAUTIFUL, and YOU ARE LOVED.

I don’t know about you, but some days I feel like I’m the most beautiful woman in the world, and there are days that I see my reflection staring back at me in the mirror (usually because of lack of sleep), and I ask myself, “Who is that old-looking lady”? However, it’s nothing that a little tube of lipstick, mascara and an eyebrow pencil can’t fix.  I then look at that mirror and put on a big smile and say, “Now, I’m ready”.

Years ago, when I was going through my phase of not loving anything about myself, I always wanted to look like someone else or be built like a “Brick House”, as the Commodores used to sing.  I was as skinny as a rail back then, and the only thing you saw were these two big feet suspended from this pencil thin body.  I ate everything I could get my hands on, but no cigar; I couldn’t gain weight to save my life.  At some point, though, I had to say “Whoa, Nellie” because the weight wouldn’t stop coming; I continued to “expand” year after year.

I remember vividly when the dropped waist dresses came out in the early 1980’s; I wanted one so badly.  However, when I tried on a number of them, they all looked like they were still hanging on the hanger.  That was really depressing.  Eventually, I found a light blue one, that looked pretty decent which, ultimately, became one of my favorites.

Fast forward.  Today, I can’t imagine being anyone else.  I always say that “Halle Berry ain’t got nothing on me”.  Now, before you all spew whatever you’re drinking out of your mouth and fall out laughing as you imagine me standing next to her with my head held high, let me explain.  Halle Berry is an extremely beautiful woman, and in 2003 she graced the cover of People Magazine as one of the 50 most beautiful women in the world. I could live to be 2,000 years old and would never be voted for that category so, in my logical mind, I know there is simply no comparison.  However, I have LEARNED to be comfortable in my skin, and you can’t tell me that I don’t have it going on.  Even with all of my physical flaws and rolls and lumps of “fat”, I am beautiful inside and out.  Yes, I did say that, and no I’m not being conceited, and no I’m not crazy nor have I “bumped my head”, as we used to say.  I’m proud of my “beauty”, and have “LEARNED” to walk in it and my “UNIQUENESS”.

If you’ve never told yourself that you are beautiful, give yourself permission to do so. You don’t have to feel inferior to another woman’s beauty because YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL.  Next, I want you to tell yourself that YOU ARE LOVED because you are. Maybe you don’t feel loved by anyone, but you can begin to feel loved by “LEARNING” to love yourself first.

 As always, I want you to remember that #GurlYouGotItGoinOn.

Happy Mother’s Day

 

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Happy Mother’s Day to all mother’s, and to all of the women who are and have been a part of “It Takes A Village”.  May your day be bright!

If your mom has passed on and you’re really feeling down today, reminisce on the happy times that you shared together.  Think about that one thing that made her stand out from all the rest, and smile about it.  You can even say out loud “Mom, I love and miss you so much”, and then blow her a kiss.  As the Intruders sang, “I’ll Always Love My Mama”.

 

#GurlYouGotItGoinOn

My Hands Weren’t Clean Either…

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I’ve been sharing my story of how others hurt me and how, thank God, I was able to get over it and go on with life.

Unfortunately, there is a very special person that I hurt deeply — that is my sister.  Sadly, I guess the saying is true, “Hurt people, hurt people”.

When my sister and I were growing up, I did some really cruel things to her.  Don’t ask me why because I have no idea other than I was just being a “dumb” kid who was acting like a “brat”. However, that’s not an excuse for my poor behavior.

There were times that I would hit her for no apparent reason other than the fact that I could.  One day, she fought back.  She was much stronger and I knew when to call it quits, so I stopped putting my hands on her.  She told me in later years that she didn’t fight back sooner because I was her sister and she loved me.  That’s enough to rip your heart right out of your chest.  I felt like a complete heel.

I remember a time when we were fairly young and my maternal grandmother gave her an outfit.  I was jealous because I didn’t get a “special gift” and helped to cut holes in it.  Who does that sort of thing to someone who they are supposed to love and help protect, particularly, since I was the eldest sibling.  There were times that I would let her take the punishment for some of the wrong things that I did because I didn’t want to get in trouble.  I could share more stories, but I won’t.  Let’s just say, I wasn’t the big sister that I should have been or could have been for that matter.

My “younger” sister looked up to me as her “big” sister and merely wanted to be with me, but I didn’t want her “tagging” along.  The things that I did to her were just plain mean-spirited, and there was absolutely no excuse for my actions back then.  I wished I could go back in time, and erase all of the pain that I caused but, unfortunately, I can’t.

While my wounds have healed, my sister is still hurting.  She and I were talking some time around November or December of 2017, and I could hear the hurt in her voice as we talked about “those days”.  I sincerely apologized, again, because I truly feel bad.  It’s been 40 years, but she has never gotten over the hurt.  I want to stop the “bleeding”, but I can still see it “seeping” through the bandage because of the “deep” wounds.  I loved her, and wouldn’t let anyone else hurt her; unfortunately, I was probably one of the people who hurt her the most.  Let’s just say, I did some major harm.

Some people carry their “pain” around their entire lives.  They never feel good about themselves because we have “damaged” them through our ignorance, through our bullying, through our eagerness to feel good about ourselves and finally through our own pain, and that’s one of the reasons why it is so crucial not to “EVER” mistreat people, even when we feel we can get away with it, even we feel superior and even when we feel justified.  The saying, “Do unto others as you would have them to unto you” is right on point.  Would we actually want people to treat us the “crappy” way that we treat them?  Let’s walk in their shoes for a minute.  Close your eyes and think about what you said or did to that individual or individuals.  Does it feel good?  Really think about it and feel their pain.  Now, don’t you feel just awful?

If you’ve hurt someone (whether it’s your parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, children, friends, coworkers, neighbors, etc.), be mature enough to go back and apologize.  They may or may not accept your apology, but that’s the risk you must be willing to take.  They may have written you off completely, and want nothing further to do with you.  No matter.  Put on your “big girl panties”, and say “I’M SORRY”. 

Don’t stop there.  While you’re at it, spread some love and sunshine with those you come in contact with today because you just never know what they’re going through.  There are so many people whose feelings have been crushed which has left them feeling absolutely devastated.  In short, PEOPLE ARE HURTING, and your kind, gentle, loving words, warm smile, and listening ear is just what the “good doctor ordered”.

No matter what people “throw” at you, always remember #GurlYouGotItGoinOn.

pam

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Fight for Your Life…

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Let’s face it.  We are all going through “something” — some more than others.  Today, you might be feeling as though you are about to fall off the “cliff of life” because you don’t see a way out of your circumstances.  I beg to differ; however, you are in for the fight of your life!  Stop sitting around feeling sorry for yourself and questioning why and sitting in the corner holding your head in your hands and doing nothing.  You have to FIGHT FOR YOUR LIFE!

Today, I want you to put on your “imaginary” boxing gloves, and choose your stance all the while grounding your feet into the floor to make sure you are stable.  I, then, want you to “pretend” to punch the living daylights out of those issues after asking them “if they want some of this”.  Uppercut depression.  Right jab low self-esteem.  Use the hook move to take out anger and hurt.  Use the cross technique to crush loneliness.  Tell those problems that you will not be defeated!

Your opponent (issues) hit you pretty hard, and knocked the wind out of you.  Catch your breath and get back in there.  You were punched so hard that you lost your footing, and felt like you were unable to get back up.  You just wanted to lie there in agony, but you can’t.  As the referee is counting, don’t let him get to ten.  Slowly rise to your feet, and resume your stance.  Look those matters, that are causing you stress, straight in the eye and say, “I’m not done yet”.  Put on your “mean mug”.  While you are handling your business, hear your supporters rooting for you.  They are loudly cheering you on.  They are screaming “You can do it.  Don’t give up”.  Now is not the time to throw in the towel.  You only have a few more minutes to go in this round.  Bluff your opponent by putting on your game face; you don’t want it to be known just how hurt you are because the same spot will be hammered and could be potentially fatal.  When you are dealt a blow, give several blows in return.  Learn how to bob and weave.  Stay off the ropes.

Some of “life’s punches”, can be blocked by you being preventive; avoid those pitfalls that are visible.  Don’t go left when you know you should go right.  I’ve been in a fight most of my life, but didn’t realize it at the time; I just felt people didn’t care too much for me.  Folk loved to say some very unkind things.  Once I was told that my sister looked better than I did.  I was also told that I would never have anything or amount to anything.  Those things could have taken me out and, quite frankly, they almost did because I believed those hurtful words.  However, I took my life back by being the driver rather than the passenger.  I’ve had many “bruises” and have been knocked down more times than I can count, but I thank God that I’m still here to tell the story.

Now, I realize you’re tired, but I implore you to hang in there.  Your very existence depends on it.  Catch your breath.  Drink some water.  Use your inhaler.  Pray.  Cry.  Whatever you do, get up!

It Was Tough, But I Came Out Victorious!

No matter what is happening in your life, stay in the ring and remember #GurlYouGotItGoinOn.

Feeling Unloved…

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One of the many reasons for my “depressed state” was because I “felt” unloved.  I actually thought that if I were gone, no one would miss me due to the fact that I believed I played an extremely insignificant part in anyone’s life.  Pretty sad, huh?  I know.  I know.  Feelings can really mess you up because that wasn’t the case at all.  There were people who did love me, and showed me but not in the way that I was always able to identify with as a kid.  I was too busy focusing on those who didn’t “show” me the love, which nearly destroyed me.

When I was a teenager, I once overheard one relative say to another relative “I don’t know what he sees in her (meaning my boyfriend at that time).  She was never attractive”.  In comes that saying, “Every shut-eye ain’t sleep”.  They thought I was sleeping, so they “dissed” me.  I don’t know if the ex-boyfriend heard the conversation because I never asked him.  Can you imagine how devastated I was?  These were people who I loved and cared for.  We were family, so I’m sure I must have had some of the same features as them.  How could they say something so cruel?  Did they actually think that about me?  Years later, I approached one of them about it, and was told it never happened.  I must have imagined it, right?  Wow!  Really?

What they didn’t know was that I was already struggling with my self-worth.  I didn’t like one single thing about me.  I thought I was ugly (in part because that’s how I was made to feel), I was skinny as a rail (couldn’t gain weight no matter how much food I consumed), my hair refused to grow like my friend’s, and I had bad body odor (no matter how much I washed or bathed).

My life spun out of control to the point that I was looking for love in all the “wrong” places.  Thus, I made poor choices just to be loved by anyone.

God placed people in my life who would “attempt” to encourage and uplift me, but I was too far gone then, and couldn’t accept it.  However, today, I am grateful because I can walk in confidence with my head held high.  I no longer feel that I’m less than, and I absolutely “refuse” to accept people’s negative views about me — no matter what!

Don’t let people’s “opposing” thoughts or views of you matter; I don’t care who they are.  Don’t let them trample and trod all over you and your emotions.  Stop walking around with your head bowed down to the ground in an effort to make yourself invisible to the world because of “them”.  Take your power back.  Say “Excuse me”, as you “snatch” it right out of their hands.  What I have learned is that people feel inadequate about themselves and are often insecure, so they “pick” on other people, to make them “seem” superior.

You are victorious!  You are a Queen!  Walk in your “royalty”.  Always remember, GurlYouGotItGoinOn!sunset-hands-love-woman.jpg

Depression

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There are days that you feel as though you can’t go on.  Nothing is going right.  No matter what you do, you can’t seem to catch a break.  Your relationship has gone haywire.  Your children are driving you to the psych ward.  You absolutely hate your life, and on and on and on.

You put on your “happy” face, so that no one sees your pain.  You have learned to be a great pretender — an actress, if you will.  You are ashamed to let anyone in on your “secret”.  However, you are crumbling on the inside.  You’re trying to figure a way to get out of this dark hole, but you just keep sinking deeper and deeper.  The hole continues to get darker and darker.

This was me at one time in my life.  I was so depressed that I didn’t want to live.  I thought about ending it all by taking pills, but I constantly thought what would people think of me if I did that.  Instead, I prayed every single night that I wouldn’t wake up in the morning, and every single morning I woke up.  One of my former coworkers said to me, “You’re always happy”.  She had no clue.  I had learned how to hold it all together long enough to get through the day.  On the bus ride home, I would shut down.  There were times that I almost missed my stop because I had fallen asleep.  I would go home, and pull the blinds down and get into bed.  My thought process was as long as I was sleeping, I didn’t have to deal with life or the things I didn’t like about mine.  No one knew this.

One day, I don’t even know when, things changed.  I was no longer depressed.  I should have sought out counseling, but I was just too embarrassed to talk about it.  I didn’t want people to think less of me.  What I realized is that depression is an all consuming spirit.  Every now and again, it comes back to “knock” on my door, and I immediately pray myself out of that “dark place”.

What I would like to say to you is that help is available.  You don’t have to walk around with this well kept “secret”.  Don’t be ashamed to talk about your feelings with someone that you can trust.  Don’t suffer in silence any longer.  If you need counseling, go for it.  If you need to take medication temporarily, until you “learn” how to resist those depressive thoughts, do so.  Get the help that you need so that you can be a happy, healthy you.

As always, remember #GurlYouGotItGoinOn.