Intimacy “Into Me See”

I woke up this morning rested and reflective. This was a hard week, and I was happy to see it gone! After a late day at work, I stopped by a friend’s house for a small get together. I immediately shed the stress of my week and took off my cape before walking into her front door. Every woman knows that removing the cape is a rare thing that can cause even more stress than putting the cape on in the first place. Anyway, I digress.

I move into her home and everyone there is peaceful, smiling, and present, with good vibes. We all begin to joke about the day and just have good, old fashioned conversation. “Where’d you get that dress?” “Let me hug you!” “Have you met anyone yet?” Smiles are all around me. 
I sit at a table filled with flowers and an array of nail polish. I gravitated to the small bottles of color, ready to explore. “What is it about ladies and polish? You all move into feeling like little girls,” my friend’s brother says. Yes, he’s right. That little girl moment means the world. Then it happens. As he talks and asks about me, she begins to paint my nails. “I’ll do for you!”, she jokes. I love it. 

We have a discussion about what color I’d like to wear on my nails. I choose three–blue, peach, and a yummy pink, because it wouldn’t be right to choose just one. My sister friend begins to inquire about my choices in color. “What will make you feel happy tomorrow? What are you feeling? Why are you leaning towards this one?” “Would you like glitter on one nail or two? Which nail, ring or every other?”
As she paints my nails as if I’m in one of the top salons in the area, we all laugh creating the best energy I have experienced all week. This intimate space revives me. 

This morning the importance of intimacy dawned on me, and I intentionally choose to only place myself in good, intimate surroundings where others care about me, what I want, and what I need. In this same space, I care about them. I choose to surround myself with those who choose to create intimate experiences with and for each other. You see I’ve learned that Intimacy is just that–“Into Me See”. It’s beyond sex or touching. It’s beyond a physical moment. Intimacy is shared among friends, not just lovers. It is so necessary too.
After getting my nails done and most of her company leaving, I laid on a warm couch as she laid on the other. I felt safe and just overwhelmingly loved. We talked for a few minutes, shared a snack, and before I knew it, I was waking up an hour later. That intimate moment was everything and put me right to sleep. What a tough act to follow.

Coffee with a Side of Undivided Attention

Early mornings in my house usually consist of coffee and a chat. My schedule’s been so hectic lately that I’ve been out of this routine. One particular morning, I sat in the kitchen texting and playing on my phone with one ear bud in my ear. My brother entered the kitchen, happy to see me, and he began talking. At some point, it dawned on me that he’d been speaking to me about something and I was totally in another place besides my kitchen.
He began talking again and I commented a little dryly.  I then made a phone call in between the conversation as if he weren’t speaking to me. He then said, ” I don’t really like ‘this’  (his fingers in air quotation marks) with you. I’m accustomed to having my coffee with a side of undivided attention.” That was funny to me, and immediately gained my attention.

This image was appreciated and borrowed from Woman of Wahan.com

I’m a lover of words, so this phrase was chastising and amusing at the same time. His words caused me to stop everything I was doing. I was doing to him the very thing that I hate about our society now. Everyone has so many options. We can decide who to talk to and when. We can choose several ways to communicate, whether it’s texting, FaceTime, or on the phone.

These brilliant forms of communication often leave us overloaded, missing the whole concept of authentic communication. In a world so busy, with so many distractions, I’m choosing to work diligently to unplug more and slow down. Have you had your coffee today?

When I Wake Up…

Today I wore a mini dress, only it wasn’t meant to be one. I promise this dress fit just a few months ago, or maybe it was a year ago. I’ve noticed time flies by so fast. While I put off the things I know I need to do for me, time still continues to move on like a scorned lover. Time just gets further and further away until it’s out of reach. The time is gone and you can’t get it back. I found myself mad this morning Maybe I, right now, can't see the forest for the treesSo lost behind hurtBut I'm trying everyday exponentiallyTo move forwardDo you know how it feels to be lost_having to ask my eight year old to zip my dress and he of course could not do it.
I was pissed, weepy, and over it. This dress squeezed my body and threatened to squeeze out my tears. My inner conversation was definitely abusive this morning as I reminded myself that if would’ve lost this weight a long tim
e ago,  I wouldn’t be fat now! I promise you I would’ve taken off work but I couldn’t.
I have a bad habit of wanting things now; my weakness. I want to see the benefit and the outcome prematurely. I’ve never been a fan of steps, procedures, or a process. Just a few weeks ago, I began working out. I do it at my own pace;somedays with friends and others alone. Some days are strenuous, while some are lighter. Some days I enjoy Yoga, and other days are a 30 minute circuit at Planet Fitness and Couch to 5K (a running program).

So why the discouraged spirit and tantrum this morning? My faithful friend Self-Sabotage. She showed up to give me permission to eat the donut I ate because I felt sorry for myself. It wasn’t even good. The donut was dry and nasty;I wasn’t hungry either. She gave me permission to abuse myself with my thoughts. She even gave me permission to be snappy with my son who wasn’t trying to hurt me by not being able to zip my dress. He just had too much lotion on his hands to keep his fingers from slipping.

I had two friends tell me to take a nap to calm my nerves. Why? When I wake up I’ll still be *** pounds, I texted! But still, I came home prepared for the best pity party that involved sleep. I could feel the sheets on my skin and imagine their comfort before I even got to my house.

On the way to get my son from camp, I decided to give the one thing I sometimes long for from those who wrong me. I walked in camp, saw my child and immediately apologized. I put on my big girl panties and I apologized for being short that morning. Believe it or not, he wanted to know how I was; why I was upset. And believe it or not, I told him. I told him instead of holding it in. (I won’t even get into the love, wise words my son shared, or even the advice he gave me later.)

Next, I phoned a friend for the gym. Cooked dinner (which I haven’t done in a while) and decided that through this divorce, I’ve already slept too long. In the words of Jill Scott, “Oh Lord, I need this confirmation, this affirmation, that when I wake up, everything I went through will be beautiful.” “I’m down to my last cry,” so I’ll stay awake and trust the process.

Lessons Learned

Recently a friend expressed her excitement about turning 30. She caused me to think hard about lessons I’ve learned in my 30s. There are so many lessons screaming in my mind that I can’t even decide which one to choose.

So here’s it goes! The biggest lesson I’ve learned is time does not heal all wounds! This belief is so far from the truth. If I never hear the saying “Time heals all wounds” again, I’ll be fine with that. Time sometimes allows us to be dishonest about how we really feel; it allows us to ignore issues, and it even gives us more time to get angrier about things that fester. Time has not healed all my wounds.

I recently walked into church on Father’s Day. I was happy to be in church, waiting to hear my motivation for the week. The pastor stood up and announced that this Father’s Day service would be a unique one. He began speaking about the importance of fathers in children’s lives.  He continued saying that there were so many adults that have been damaged by the decisions of their fathers. I could’ve never imagined where this was going.

This is the point where the service was no longer uplifting for me. My father has been consistently inconsistent in my life. Today was supposed to be a celebration of fathers, not a therapy session. I walked in church having already decided that I wouldn’t contact my absent, biological father to tell him Happy Father’s Day. For what? Clearly there wasn’t a thing happy about his role in my life, especially on this day. I made a decision and I was perfectly fine with my choice.

The pastor announced that two adults would express themselves through spoken word. The tall, former basketball player would start first. Now, I’m sitting in church, listening to my pastor, and what do I feel next? Hot tears coming down my face, and now I’m angry because I’ve dealt with my “Daddy-less Daughter” issues and “Time heals all wounds”! I am not supposed to be sitting in church, upset over someone who clearly isn’t concerned about me. I shouldn’t be upset over something I’ve worked on, crying about someone I’ve forgiven. Right?

Wrong. I was distraught sitting in church. The first poet steps up and I finally experience the meaning of the song “Killing Me Softly”. He expresses my truth, conversations I’ve had with myself about the anger I’ve experienced. I know this pain too well. Next, a young lady stands and expresses my feelings of longing for the man I loved to be the father I’ve never had—“Will you be my dad?”

I wanted to leave church so badly. No need to stay. This creative idea for service thoroughly irritated me. It wasn’t fair and it sure as hell wasn’t motivating. Through salty tears, I felt a gentle nudge on my arm. Someone passing me tissues, and a warm hand rubbing my back.

Now let me teach you the next lesson I’ve learned in my 30s. God will always provide what you need in His way. That nudge I felt was a reminder of His love for me. Two of my girlfriends called me the night before telling me they would visit my church. They were sitting with me, keeping me from running away. They were there to dry my tears and hold my hand. Normally, I would’ve been in service by myself. He knew just what I needed.

While time does not heal all wounds—God can.

When I left church, I realized just because I’ve gone to counseling, talked to my father, and even forgiven my father, there will be times when the disappointment just hurts;however, I don’t have to wallow in it. I don’t have to hold on to the anger from my experience. I acknowledged my feelings, gave myself a moment, and I moved on from it. My pain has definitely dulled, but I can’t attribute it to time. I’d attribute it to God’s love, the support of my family and friends, having learned who I am, and accepting that hurt people hurt people. What lessons have you learned in your 30s?

Be Great

Be Great

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us, “ Marianne Williamson

It’s been months since I’ve written, so today I’m forcing myself to sit with my thoughts and write. While I haven’t written, I’ve definitely been living. I’ve experienced more joys than pain. I’m healing from this divorce every day. Today, I sit and wonder why it’s so easy to abandon the thing you love the most. And even worse, once you step away from it, why is it so hard to get back into it? I’ve seen this happen with my weight loss efforts, with my love of writing, and other passions I have.

Ironically, I find that I’m unhappy when I’m not writing and when I’m not working on myself. So why do I quit? In my heart, I know the answer—one of my dear friends, Self-Sabotage. To give up is the easy and lazy way out of hard work.  In my twisted way of thinking, if I don’t continue, at least I can say I didn’t fail. When I just typed it, it sounded crazy to me but I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s struggled with these thoughts. One of my favorite quotes answered my questions and chastised me at the same time:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

One thing I’ve learned is that the more I live, create, and do things I love, the happier I am. My energy is so high because I’m not constantly feeling guilty for not living and giving my beautiful gifts an honest try. The more I shy away from the passions I love most, the further away I get from being great. Who am I not to be GREAT? Regardless of our mistakes, past failures, and trials, God never created us to be mediocre. Marianne explained it best. Life is a cycle created for each of us to experience motivation through each other.

A girlfriend reminded me last night that writing is a gift from God that must not be taken for granted. How would you feel if someone never used a gift you gave them? Are you great?

Williamson, M. A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles, Harper Collins, 1992. From Chapter 7, Section 3 (Pg. 190-191).

Pretty Unhappy

I remember being told that when you look pretty, you’ll feel pretty. If you feel pretty, you’ll be happy as if beauty is a quick fix for pain. They lied. 

Today I am pretty unhappy. Pretty because for some reason, it’s clear to me that I’m beautiful. My smile is bright, my eyes are a beautiful brown, my skin is glowing, but I am sad and unhappy today. 

Appearance isn’t always everything. I can give everyone a nice package of me and still have negative energy and sadness surrounding me.  I can put on mascara, eyeshadow, concealer, shades, lip gloss, and still be heavy hearted. 

The difference from the past is that I know that I can process my feelings, figure out what I need, address it and then move out of that space. Healing is so much bigger than looks.
So today, I gave myself a moment to feel it but I didn’t let it consume me. 
More than that, it’s amazing how God shows His love in ways that can easily be overlooked if you’re not careful.
 Just as a tear was prepared to slide down my face, I received a simple text from my girlfriend. It was simply her writing my name as if to say in our unique language, ” You good?” After a beautiful conversation with a nice balance of reflecting and venting, I received a message from another girlfriend filled with 😘😘😘 kisses. 
God sends me love when I need it, and today I gladly accept. 

30’s to Life

Photographer Yvette Crocker ; Flowers by Park Florists of Takoma Park, Md

“I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live.”  (Deuteronomy 30:19 NKJV)

I’d been in counseling almost a year as today’s counseling session started. The phone rang, and I was ready to talk. My counselor consistently started off with prayer. She prayed for our strength and that God would reveal what needed to be dealt with during the session. The beginning of today’s session was no different. She asked me softly, “So, what’s been going on with you?” Usually this portion of my counseling session was used to reflect on what I’d been working on, small accomplishments, and about my son’s well being. Today, I gave my counselor the blues like never before. 

I began to tell her about my week through tears! You see, my ex-husband came to my family’s home driving a new BMW, he’d just recently gotten a new home, relocated further away from the area, and to top it off, he had a new girlfriend he’d moved in with. 

I began to scream from the deepest part of my soul, “What did I do for God to forsake me? I’m going to counseling, taking care of my son, being a better mother to him, volunteering, going to church, I go to counseling, yet I’m still HERE! He gets EVERYTHING!” I stopped my rant long enough just to swallow so that I wouldn’t choke. ” He lied, he didn’t want to do the work, and yet he gets to move on. He gets everything and what do I have to show for all of this pain? NOTHING! I am stuck in my parents’ home with no idea when I’ll be able to afford to leave. He gets to move on, while I’m stuck picking up pieces and I’m in pain.”

After I released my rant from the anger I felt, the tears continued to flow. I cried because I was tired of being strong. Before my counselor could even open her mouth to respond, I interjected, “And another thing! I already know it isn’t right to envy others. I know I shouldn’t judge my accomplishments by what he has, but this is what I feel right now!”

I’m not sure if my counselor was crying with me at this point but I know she was totally caught off guard by my outburst of emotions. 

When she recovered, she began to express how valid my feelings were, and how I had a right to be angry, confused, and hurt. She also explained that I had other choices. “Look up this verse as soon as you hang up today. In the mean time, I’ll explain it,” she said. She moved on to pour a lesson into me that changed my life, and I’ll try my best to teach it to you. 

Imagine God serving us food on a silver platter. On the one side, there’s good food like fruit, steak, or your favorite cake. On the other side of the platter you see a rotten apple or spoiled meat. If he gave you the option to choose what you’d eat, what would you choose? Of course you’d choose to eat the thing that would satisfy you most—the good stuff.

This is exactly how life is. In Deuteronomy, God expresses how He gives us both blessings and curses for our choosing. Not only does He give us both of these things, but he also gives us the gift of choice. My counselor went on to explain that God urges us to choose blessings for ourselves. “Therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live”(Deuteronomy 30:19 NKJV).  By the time she finished explaining, I heard the verse like this,”Paige choose life so that you and Ryan can live.”

From this place of pain, I learned that no matter how wrong it felt to watch my ex-husband move on, it was his right. What he gains in life takes nothing away from who I am. I was so broken hearted that I saw his efforts to move on as God punishing me. I didn’t believe in a God that would ever be so cold. I constantly remind myself of everything that God says about me—I am chosen, I am His child, He’ll provide for me, I am forgiven, I am blessed, I am accepted, I am loved, and I am free. 

With that realization, I could choose to be a victim or a victor. I could choose to be happy or sad. It was my choice to recognize my accomplishments and blessings since my separation, or I could be distracted by how others were living. 

Although I haven’t purchased a home and I haven’t found a new love, I’m ok. I’m prayerful, not anxious, not worried—just waiting. For once in my life, I’m figuring out what I want, healing from my past, learning my worth, accomplishing “I wish I hads”, and finding balance knowing that life can’t always be perfect. 

Whichever decision I made—blessings or curses, it all came down to making a conscious decision. The one thing I knew for certain was that my son deserved to live. My counselor challenged me to send her a text of a picture or short message explaining the blessing that I experienced that day. The blessing didn’t have to be extravagant. The blessing just had to be recognized and acknowledged. 

I’d said to my counselor, “I’m thirty four years old with nothing to show for it.” That was a lie. I had my health, my strength, my son, a family, a home that my son and I were welcome to live in, friends, sisters, brothers, parents, my job, my right mind, a car, food, clothes, my education, and talents that made me who I am. I read that verse repeatedly.  I chose that day to make a conscious effort to spend the rest of my thirties running towards life, choosing to live according to what I wanted and what God needed from me.