Sometimes, You Just Gotta Take A Step Back…

Several days ago, I cleaned my bathroom mirrors and they looked pretty good, or so I thought — that is, until I STEPPED BACK.  Once I did that, I was able to see the smudges, and realized that I needed to clean them again.  This time, when I stepped back, the mirrors looked great.

Sometimes, we are so close to the situation, that we really can’t see the “big picture”, so we have to TAKE A STEP BACK.

In life, we go through many things — people getting on our nerves, finances, health issues, relationship concerns, etc.  Some of us react immediately rather than TAKING A STEP BACK.  I have found out that the older I get, I don’t always take the necessary STEP BACK, but have become more reactionary, particularly, when I’ve had the same conversation multiple times.  Let’s just say that my patience has gotten a lot shorter (which can be both good and bad).  It used to be when people did or said something I didn’t like, I would “politely” ignore them.  Now, there are moments that I’m at the complete opposite end of the spectrum.  Rather than holding it in and seething about it for days, I let it out, and boy do I ever.  My thoughts and feelings are splattered all over the place.  Depending upon the situation, sometimes, I have to take a STEP BACK by taking the high road and apologizing, even if I’m not the one at fault.  One of my favorite quotes is “It’s not what you say, but how you say it”.  I said that to say this, I meant what I said, but there are times when my delivery needs some work.

When we take a STEP BACK, and analyze the situation, not only do we see things more clearly, but we feel so much better.  I have found this method to be most liberating (that is, when I follow it).  I want you to keep in mind that we will not always pass the test. However, we can certainly be a work in progress.  Because I’m learning to STEP BACK, I’m passing some of my tests with check marks and even some check pluses instead of always getting big fat red zeroes.  There have been times when I have actually shocked myself.  🙂

I’ve had to take a STEP BACK from relationships.  I’ve had to take a STEP BACK from acquaintances that I thought were friends.  I had to take a STEP BACK to allow my adult children to begin to understand what it is to be independent and not dependent.  I’m still working on this one because it’s tough; however, if I don’t let go, they will never learn or grow up because I would have been instrumental in their growth being stunted. There are times when I have had to take a hundred STEPS BACK when someone cut me off in traffic or when they got over and didn’t drive the speed limit.  Whew!

There are times when we should take a STEP BACK before allowing ourselves to become enthralled in other people’s affairs; rather than staying in our own lane, we cross the lines and crash into their lane.  Everything is not our business nor should we force our “unwanted” thoughts and opinions on others.  However, there are exceptions to this rule and we have to use wisdom and exercise good judgment.  If you discern someone is hurting, it’s perfectly fine to ask them if they’re okay.  You don’t want to see people drowning without throwing out the life line to them.  However, it’s totally up to them if they want to share.  They may open up or they may not.  Whatever you do, don’t pressure them.  Keep in mind that prayer can reach places that we can’t.

In life we are ever learning and ever-growing; therefore, don’t be too hard on yourself if you forget to TAKE A STEP BACK.  After all, you are only human!  If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again…

Wise Quotes

#GurlYouGotItGoinOn

This Girl Is On Fire!

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My post is a day late because the original blog just didn’t “feel right”, so I had to go back to the drawing board which, I have to admit, was more than a little frustrating.  However, it’s extremely important for me to make sure that I’m posting about the right topics at the right time; otherwise, what’s the point.  While wrestling with myself and my thoughts, one of my friends texted me because she didn’t see a new post for the week.  I told her my situation, and her response was “It’s not good to have you (people) waiting and wondering either”.  I had to laugh when I read her message, but she has absolutely no idea what those simple words meant to me.  My best friend told me that she is a captive audience member now.  My other closest friend is constantly coming up with marketing ideas.  One of my coworkers is always saying, “You need to do something with this”.  There is another person, whom I’ve never met,  that follows me weekly and leaves kind comments.  One of the members of my church also follows me faithfully. What none of these people understand is that they keep me going by their support, kind words, and suggestions; I will be forever grateful to each and every one of them.

In favor of today’s post, I searched for songs that were geared to women’s empowerment.  In doing so, I came across the lyrics to “This Girl Is On Fire” by Alicia Keys.  Some of you have probably listened to it a million times but, until now, I had never heard the song in its entirety.  The words are absolutely beautiful and oh, so powerful.  I’ve included a small portion of the instrumentals for you to take a listen to and, perhaps, even sing along.

While being on FIRE, you must be bold in your statement towards life.  You have to learn how to put fear aside as you accomplish those things that you are passionate about  — no matter what it is and regardless of whose support you have.  You have to keep going; somebody is depending on your gift to the world.

You must be on FIRE:  as you fight for that relationship that’s worth saving; and advocate for your children (because who knows them better and will fight harder than you) all the while loving them unconditionally; and by being a voice in your community and/or place of employment.  Let your FIRE burn, burn and burn some more; don’t let your circumstances extinguish it.  In other words, don’t be robbed of your FIRE.

Unfortunately, there are times when your FIRE dies a slow death because you feel the need to be all things to all people at all times, and you are literally burned out by the cares of this life.  You’ve never unplugged, and taken time for yourself — ever.  You don’t say “no” because you don’t want to disappoint anyone or have people angry with you, even though you’re dog tired from life’s hustle and bustle.  People have sucked the life out of you and drained you completely dry, and you’ve allowed it.   Then, you become secretly resentful, but you plaster on your happy face anyway and say nothing.  STOP RIGHT NOW!  Do you really think your mission on earth is to take care of everyone and everything except yourself?  I guarantee you that if you weren’t here to do those things, the people who you permit to run you ragged would figure it out — been there, done that!

Let’s relieve some of that anxiety and pinned up stress that you’ve been carrying around.  I want you to grab your microphone or your make shift microphone by the way of your brush or broom or whatever you choose, and sing your heart out as you release those endorphins.  Don’t be concerned about not hitting the notes (Lord knows I can’t carry a tune in a bucket, as the old folks used to say and Simon Cowell would probably chase me off the stage, LOL); just have fun with it.  For those of you who have the vocals, imagine yourself singing at a large stadium or Carnegie Hall in front of thousands and thousands of people.  Now, belt out those lyrics by giving it all you’ve got.  You feel good, right?

Now, it’s time to give yourself permission to recharge — to REIGNITE that FIRE, and I don’t mean just having a few sparks here and there.  Trust me, the world is not going to come to an end if you don’t do laundry for a day or clean your house or cook dinner or be the maid or act as a 24/7 unpaid taxi driver who doesn’t even  get a simple “thank you”.  Believe it or not, it really is okay not to be “Wonder Woman”.  Whew, what a relief!

I want you to exhale and let out that deep breath that you’ve been holding since forever.  Gurl, you know you’re mentally and physically exhausted, and have been for years but you’ve pushed yourself for other people day after day, week after week, month after month and year after year.  Today, put everyone on notice that there is a new sheriff in town, and that you are no longer going to continue neglecting yourself.  Yes, they are going to pout and ask what are they going to do.  You simply say, “Figure it out”.  That’s not being rude.  It’s just saying that you care enough about yourself to take care of you.  Don’t allow them to make you feel guilty about hanging out your imaginary do not disturb sign.

I want you to LIGHT the FIRE that you once had and as you come in contact with other women, IGNITE their FIRE as well.  Don’t feel inferior or intimated , but rather focus on the lives that will be changed as we encourage and support one another.  No matter who you are or where you’ve come from or your social status or your race, the bottom line is we are WOMEN who should come together to BUILD UP and not TEAR DOWN.

I’m on FIRE, and plan on motivating other women to catch on FIRE too.  What about you?

Elegant Woman Silhouette by GDJ
Woman Silhouette 60

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#GurlYouGotItGoinOn

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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