Greetings friends!!! I pray the day is treating you well. Yesterday I was reviewing some notes in my journal and came across some of thoughts I wrote down on September 15, 2016. As many of you know, I have been somewhat open and vulnerable (via writing) and thought I would share what I wrote in the fall last year......
Today I travel back home after being gone for 3 days. I went to Arizona and Denver.....always for work. This morning started as any other day. I woke up, worked out, went back to the room and got dressed. What I did not expect was the flood of emotions that quickly consumed me. Those emotions started with irritation at the hotel when I couldn't figure out how to get to the 2nd floor. When I went to the lobby and asked the front desk lady where to go, she directed me to the 5th floor. "Okay lady, this isn't right!" I text Deborah to see where she was but she didn't respond so out of saving someone form my impending wrath, I went to get the car from the garage. I drove back around, went inside the hotel to get Deborah. At that point I realized what I was looking for on the 2nd floor was actually called the atrium. I was hungry and wanted some coffee but concierge service would not be my friend today. Off to the airport we went. Why I was moody and irritable, I don't know but I wasn't very talkative on the drive to the airport. I dropped Deborah off at the terminal since her flight was before mine. I am sure the tension energy coming from my body was felt but she maintained herself and continued as if I was normal.
I drove on to drop off the rental car and head to the gate. I was just in a mood! I made my way through the airport, grabbed some food, ate and waited. During the wait for boarding is when the water works decided to fall. I was simply scrolling Facebook when I came across a post from a sweet friend of mine. It was her mothers birthday. She lost her mother many years ago to cancer...fucking disease!!! Anyway her post was so beautiful and moving that before I knew it, the tears were coming!! I didn't really know her mother so why was I so emotional? Was it because I recently lost Daddy? Was it because airports have a different feeling for me when traveling alone? After all, it was at the airport that I cried sitting at the bar after Daddy passed. Was it because I was PMSing?.....fucking periods!!! I usually attribute high emotion to periods! I really don't why I was crying like I did but what I do know is that I cried a lot...at the gate, in the bathroom....I couldn't pull it together! During this emotional breakdown I decide to accept the challenge my friend threw out and cut my hair to donate to Locks for Love for cancer victims. I even posted it so I couldn't back out! This is for you Nicole and your mom. This is for you Jamie as you fight for your life.
So I board the plane. I usually sit in an aisle seat so I don't have to disturb others when I have to pee but I sit by the window instead. That was smart, especially given how much water I drank and diet pills I'm taking. That was smart!-NOT! Anyway, the plane is full and sitting next to me is the woman who I sat next to at the gate who also witnessed all my tears. She looked at me with sympathy and asked if I was okay. It was as if she wanted me to feel better and not feel alone. Thank you pretty lady, I think I'll be okay. I am ready to get home. I miss my family. I miss my home. Why did I sit by the window?!?!....fucking bladder! I land in an hour or so. Off to get the kiddo from school then the salon. I think a new hairdo is just what I need. I started working out again. I stopped after Daddy died. I started drinking a little more wine (just a glass or bottle or two) so that with no exercise leads to gaining 8lbs. I'll get it off...I'll find myself...I'll breathe again.
Emotions come in waves. Those waves hit you so unexpectedly and hard. All you can do is breathe, go under and come back up. The waters get calm and then they get rough. When they get rough I will hold on and push through.
Still on the plane. This flight was actually shorter than I anticipated......still have to pee but holding it. I should do more kegels! Okay so I have relief now that we landed. I made a bee line to the bathroom...YES! I made it!! Travel is always eventful! I am so glad to be home, still need to release some emotion but at least I can cry in the car. The hair is coming off today....can't wait!
Live in the moment....this too shall pass!
Saturday, February 11, 2017
Why should I smile when I see you? Remember, you left me.
Why should I appreciate what you have done for me? Do you appreciate what I did for you?
I watched you grow up. I fed you. I nourished you. I loved you. Did you forget?
Yes you loved me too. You helped me become better. You gave me the breath of life.
We were good to each other.
No, I wasn’t perfect. But neither were you.
When I needed you the most, you didn’t come through.
We celebrated the good and cried during the bad.
We vowed that regardless of what happened, we would stay true to each other.
The last night we had was supposed to be perfect. We were supposed to reach our greatest height.
What happened that night? Something was wrong and you weren’t yourself but I didn’t know why.
Maybe it was because you were already gone. Someone else had a hold on your heart.
You could have told me. We could have worked it out.
Instead you decided to leave without giving it one more try.
You deserve to be happy….I’m not saying you don’t. That was never in question.
Just don’t be a coward. Don’t be a sneak. Don’t go behind my back.
You quit too soon.
Now you are back. Am I supposed to be happy? Am I supposed to welcome you with open arms?
“Remember what I gave you?” Yeah, I remember. I also remember how you left.
Don’t look to me for your forgiveness. Don’t look for me to be your saving grace.
Perhaps one day you will be forgiven, perhaps one day you won’t.
You have your feelings. I have mine too.
The best thing I can say right now is…..Bye Boo!
Friday, February 10, 2017
Greetings Friends!! I pray the day is treating you well. Remember when we were kids and making friends, trying to fit in was all that mattered? I grew up with the same group of friends from kindergarten to 12th grade. I never had to “make friends”. We were established in our role, hierarchy and social status before we knew what any of that meant. College was different. I connected easily with less than a handful of people. I didn’t socialize well or make many friends. Honestly though, I didn’t care…..simply because I had my friends back home.
It is interesting to see however as we grow up and our lives evolve, the process of friendship doesn’t change. In fact, I think for some of us, it gets even harder. If you are married, you become friends with other married people. Your circle expands with the spouses of your spouse’s friends. Once children are part of the equation, the friend circle gets bigger with the parents of your kids friends.
There are a few dynamics that can significantly change the relationships mentioned above. Let’s say you get divorced…….well, the “couples” you were such good friends with don’t necessarily want their husband or wife hanging out with the newly single you. All of a sudden, the invites slow down, people are busy or the evening out is for couples and you would be the odd man out. It becomes uncomfortable for you and for them.
Let’s not forget…..All the Single Ladies…..boy Beyoncé tried it didn’t she!?!?! Single women around the world put their hands up in solidarity!! Well sisters…..where is that solidarity when you are the new “single” mom on the block? I don’t mean divorced mom….but truly, never been married single mom. The single mom at school, trying to make friends with all the married moms has to be the hardest friendships to create. It takes a moment for them to let you in. It is as if they are waiting it out…..what is her kid like? Are they here for one year? Is she flighty? She isn’t divorced…….oh, she is a single mom L It is said with a little tone of “poor baby girl”. There is always one married mom however to welcome you to the fold. She slowly introduces you to the group. They offer to let you carpool during fieldtrips. Or speak to you during school plays….”Hi….how are you? So good to see you!” Of course said with a little smile and side hug. The only thing is, you aren’t in the circle. The first sign is when you see a few pictures on social media and think….”hmm, they all went out?” Let’s not forget the family vacation trips or the girl’s trips or the dinner dates or the house hangovers or…..STOP!!!!
Why do we seek approval? We all have a core group of people we spend our time with. Still however, especially women, we want, desire, crave and need to be accepted in all social circles. We start to feel some kind of way when one of the friend groups doesn’t openly let us in.
It is a strange dynamic to witness and even stranger to be a part of. I guess at the end of the day, we never stop being little kids wanting to make friends on the playground. We never stop wanting to sit at the table during lunch and have someone openly welcome us in. The best thing we can do is remember what it feels like to be left out and vow not to be a contributor to the problem. No one wants to be the “Odd Man Out”.
Love you all!!
Wednesday, December 14, 2016
Greetings friends! I pray the day is treating you well. Why did people stop writing letters? Letters are what we have along with pictures to cherish and remember those when they are gone. I used to ask my father to write me letters. I wanted his handwriting and words so I could read and get lost in my memories. I wanted to be able to see his print, the curve of the pen and hear him speak from the written words on paper.
Before email, cell phones, text messages or just a phone line at home, letters were all we had to communicate. Lovers would write expressing their feelings and sharing their commitments with each other. They would write of longing and yearning to hold their precious love close. Letters filled the memory boxes of our grandmothers, great grandmothers and the many grandmothers before.
I would anxiously await letters from my sister when she was in college. I remember the excitement of getting mail and hearing about her adventures as a co-ed. As soon as I finished reading her letters I would write her back and tell of my 8/9 year old activities.
I found a postcard I sent my Grandmother while I lived in Mexico. The passion and emotion I felt at the time and expressing that to her on paper was priceless. Even more was finding the postcard in her room long after her death and knowing that she kept my correspondence and how that alone warmed my heart.
I write letters to my son. I started writing while he was growing inside me. I wrote to him as if I wouldn’t be here to share his life. I wrote of my excitement as he would grow up to become a young boy, a teen, a young man, a college grad. I wrote to him about his first love, his first heartbreak. I wrote to him about the day he marries and becomes a father. I wrote to him about my prayers and dreams for his life. I still write to him. I continue to share his life…past, present and future….in prose. He has never read these letters. They are not for him to read today but for him to read when I am gone. My words and my memory for him to have and share with his future generations to come.
Perhaps that is why I blog. My thoughts, ideas, fears, failures and success are written. They are forever there. What was on my mind at that given moment is on paper for anyone and everyone to read. This piece of me will live forever.
Love you all!!!
Monday, August 15, 2016
Greetings friends!! I pray the day is treating you well!!
Well…..today is my birthday…43 years young to be exact!! I am always grateful every birthday and thankful for what has been given to me. I use my birthday as a time to reflect on the last year of my life and the changes that have occurred. This last year has been one of transformation. When I turned 42 I was dealing with challenges and obstacles both personal and professional. It was a time when I felt I had very little control. It was a time when I was being forced to grow and stretch myself more than I knew I could.
Work was overwhelming…..travel and time away from home. Daddy was living with me, Porter was not adjusting to my schedule from the year and honestly I felt like I was losing it as a team member at work, a mother and a daughter.
What I learned last year after my birthday was that I was stronger than any situation placed before me. I began to understand that in order for me to handle all that was placed upon me, I had to recognize and maximize my strengths while identifying my weaknesses and turning those weaknesses into strengths.
Beginning with work……
My work schedule was crazy and I was traveling every other week. I wasn’t performing at my peak or in my core but staying in my extremes…..over promising and under delivering, working to perform but not at mastery then drifting into no man’s land because there is too much to do and not enough time (or time management) to do it in. My results did not reflect my abilities and I allowed my personal life to spill over into my professional life. After a few hard conversations I understood what was missing. I was missing. By that I mean, I stopped thinking for myself, I stopped managing my business, I stopped listening to my creative voice, I stopped being an Entrepreneur. I wasn’t doing anything I knew how to do. Once I was able to see that, I was able to change it. Change started immediately. The changes at work began to take flight the minute I made changes at home.
Then there was me……..
Who knew how much stress effects one’s life?!? I had never been a stress eater….food has never been my source of comfort during times of turmoil. All of a sudden I was eating chips (Cheetos to be exact), fast food and drinking wine (okay, I still drink wine….just not as much LOL). When times at work were overwhelming I would come home and eat Cheetos. When home was overwhelming, I would eat Cheetos…..Cheetos and everything else turned into 25 additional pounds. Nothing like your pants being too tight or seeing yourself in a picture to make you realize it is time for a change. Have you ever been able to rest your crossed arms on top of your stomach?! Yeah…….not a good look. I made a decision….a decision to regain control of my life. My stress reliever was working out. There is nothing like being sick and tired of where you are to make changes. I followed an intense program and strict diet. 6 weeks later, I was 25 pounds lighter and still counting!! I knew that the person looking in the mirror was not me and I wanted to see her again. I praised GOD for allowing me not only to recognize my triggers and the consequence of allowing them to take control but for giving me the internal strength and desire to overcome. As I transformed my body and cleared my mind, things at work became clear and home became a lot easier.
A house is not a home…..
Porter was not happy with the schedule I was working and I couldn’t blame him. He was also adjusting to changes at school and with Daddy living with us. Being a 6th grader introduced a new dynamic he was ready for but not ready for it when I was barely around. Daddy moved in that summer. His health was at the beginning stages of a soon decline one year later. I loved my time with him and we created some very special memories. No one prepares you for the changes your parent will undergo as their age becomes a factor. The forgetfulness, falling, becoming dependent and regressing to the stages of a young child and baby during the beginning of their life. I had to learn how to ask for help. I was grateful for my patience and thankful I identified and accepted the role I was in at that point. Porter saw his Grandfather differently and we both appreciated our relationship with him and understood how to overcome our perceived challenges.
It is time……
GOD does not give us more than we can bear. HE gives us exactly what we need and sometimes a little bit more. It is up to us on how we deal with all HE places upon us. At work I trusted myself and my team. We saw each day as a new day to make a difference and raise our performance. We achieved the results and I learned exactly what I was made of and who I was. For myself, I relished in the process of transformation. I found great joy in being disciplined and accountable. The physical changes were only a small part of my transformation. I have been able to connect with a part of my internal self I had never found before. At home I showed my son the true meaning of unconditional love. I watched him bond on a deeper level with my father. I bonded on a deeper level with my father as well and had a greater appreciation for what my mother did when she cared for her mother.
If only we had a crystal ball to tell us what was coming and all that life had in store. I suppose if we did, life would be kind of boring. The plus side would be being able to tell those you love how you feel and never letting a single moment go by.
Today I am 43 years young. I reflect on the last year of my life and I am so eternally grateful for all GOD has given to me. I didn’t know that this year my father wouldn’t be here to share this birthday with me. He was 43 when I was born and today so am I. I found a birthday note he wrote to me on my 39th birthday. His message is a true now as it was then. The good Lord has not given me a lot of loss. He has given me an abundance of love. I may have loss the physical being of my father but his love lives in me forever and ever. This birthday was a little harder than the ones before but no less special. For the favor the Lord has bestowed is not unnoticed and never taken for granted.
Who knows what this next year will bring? I don’t have a crystal ball……that’s okay. I will be ready for what is to come my way……..grateful, humble and blessed.
Happy Birthday to me!!!
Love you all!!!
Monday, July 18, 2016
Greetings to all!! I pray the day is treating you well. I always try in my post to provide some insight and something motivational to help others work through trials and have a positive outlook on the different challenges of life. As I share these post, it serves to be a moment of inspiration and clarity for me. They are always personal and are birthed from some personal experience I would have recently had.
The loss of those we love is difficult for anyone. I have experienced it a few times in my life and the process never gets any easier. We hope we are lucky enough to make wonderful memories with those we care so much for. We should, while they are living, take advantage of the time we are able to spend together. I find that the fear of loss is what is frightful. To be left to live without those we care so much about is difficult to imagine but we all know it is a time that will come sooner or later.
Some loss occurs unexpectedly…….a car accident, a heart attack or any other event that would take our loves one before we (or they) are prepared. Then of course there is loss that occurs due to ailing health, when you know your loved one will soon pass. Let’s not forget old age…..none of us are immortal.
The loss of my Grandmother Sneed was the first time I really experienced that emotion and the void that is left when someone so dear to you is no longer here. She suffered from cancer……such an awful disease. I was 27 years old. She was my Mother’s mother and the only Grandparent I really knew. I won’t say I was ready for her to go but I had an understanding of her condition, her age and the effects of cancer.
When my Great-Aunts passed away, I was prepared more for their death. They were elderly and becoming sick so I knew that time would come.
I was fortunate enough to work for a great leader. Dr. Steffan was my mentor and someone I looked up to. He taught me everything I know about dentistry. He too was diagnosed with cancer. His death however was unexpected. We thought he was getting treatment and would recover. We had no idea how bad he was. When I received the call that he had passed away, I was so shocked, scared, upset and heartbroken. The funny thing about life and death is that before Dr. Steffan passed away, I had a dream about him. We were at work and I saw Dr. Steffen pull up outside. I needed to talk to him and as I chased behind him, calling his name, I couldn’t catch him. He kept saying, “You know what to do Susan”. Those were his words to me and I kept telling him I needed to speak to him but he wouldn’t stop for me to catch up. Shortly thereafter, he passed away. I had a few more dreams about him after that…..always worked related and at a time when I was struggling and needed his guidance.
I have also had dreams about my best friend’s Mother, Mrs. Bates. I loved her dearly and her death had a big impact on me. She would be in my dreams, always out of reach but around and I could see her and tried to talk to her. I had a dream that my Grandmother was living again. She was living across the street from me but I could never see her and she would never come out of the house. I thought she was living although I knew she was not. I had this recurring dream for some time before it finally just stopped.
Today I sit in the hospital. I am forced to face the reality that my Father may soon depart this earth. It is a moment of denial for me. I look at him in the hospital bed and can’t help but be optimistic that he is going to wake up and go home. He is 86 years old. He has had a wonderful life and has been blessed beyond measure. I understand however that he is ill and he is elderly. He has Alzheimer’s, Dementia, cancer on his kidney and pneumonia. Even with all of that, he looks good, his color is great, he is trying to talk and knows when you are around. We sit today and watch the beginning of the National Republican Convention. My father…….always the politician, the leader, the fighter and the crusader.
I don’t know what the next few days look like, the next few weeks or the next few months. What I do know is that I love my Father, I have been a good daughter and I know I have made him proud.
Love you all!!!!
Friday, July 1, 2016
Greetings my friends. I pray the day is treating you well. What do you do when ignorance is right in front of you? How do you respond……..or don’t respond……when someone spews verbal hatred? I don’t understand racism, prejudice or bigotry. I don’t understand why ignorance runs rampant in our world.
I have spent the last 5 days enjoying Paris. I have experienced a different culture and way of life. I have watched fashionistas with Gucci cross body bags ride bicycles in the Champ de Elysees. I have observed different races, different cultures converse about what they see and their experiences, in what is said to be, one of the best places on Earth.
Tonight we celebrated the birthday of my dear friend. We dressed up, ate at a beautiful hotel, drank wine, laughed, snapped pictures, talked and embraced our environment. At the end of our evening, we walked outside ready to take some last minute photos before our Uber arrived.
What happened next was unexpected and disappointing. A group of people (obviously drunk….at least I hope they were) got into their car in front of where we were standing. “1, 2, 3, 4, catch a Nigger by the toe!”……….Now say what?!?! Did I really just hear that? Did this really just happen? Okay…….let me think before I act. The natural response that brews inside when that word is heard is something that I can’t explain. I am in Paris, they are in a car, I am with my son, I am with my friend, she is with her baby…….okay let me think before I act.
My son, being ever so observant, said “Mom…..don’t! Mom…..I see you, let it go!” So, I stood there and stared……I stared at the passengers in the car. I stared at the silly, drunk, ignorant buffoons in the back seat. The girls saw me looking…..eyes piercing their vehicle. As if I were Superman with laser focus burning the back of the car. They ducked down (as if I couldn’t see them). They told the men up front to drive off (which they did not for several minutes). They would not look at me. When they did and I was STILL staring, they quickly turned away. As they drove out one girl mumbled something about Cookie Lyon….blah, blah, blah and off they went.
In the moment of processing my thoughts I realized that ignorance is ignorance. Yes, my reaction was to go over to the car, grab someone by the hair, pull them out and proceed to unleash my fury. My reaction was to walk to the window and spit in the face of hatred. Those words are hatred! I could never imagine myself saying ANYTHING like that of any race! Who does that? When is that okay? How is that okay? How do you fix your mouth to say those words? Cracker…..Honkey…….Sand Nigger…….Chink…….Wetback……..Oreo……..whatever the word, it is all the same……ignorance. Racism, prejudice and bigotry are birthed from ignorance. Ignorance of other cultures, ignorance of other races, ignorance of action, ignorance.
I would have never thought that I would come to Paris and be subject to such a thing. Don’t get me wrong, it happens everywhere, but in this moment, it was so unexpected and so disappointing.
If you have never been on the receiving end, then it may be hard for you to understand. It may be hard for you to identify with the feelings, the blood boiling, the heart pounding, the fist clinching, the anger you feel when someone disrespects who you are.
I continued to stare the car down and even took a photo to somehow public shame these idiots. As they drove off, I understood what I witnessed was ignorance. We will fight, not with our fists but with our words, our actions, creating awareness, having conversations, championing change and bridging the gaps. I will educate my son so he is aware, he is prepared, he is informed and he is enlightened. He just had the opportunity to meet a beautiful woman from Morocco who spoke so passionately about her world travels, her time in America and her life in Paris. She told him how he would be loved in Morocco. She was so open and so true.
That was a moment I had to let pass. That was a moment I had to recognize the ignorance and let them be. That was a moment I used to teach my son some very valuable life lessons. Things I pray he never experiences but unfortunately I am afraid he will again.
Does it ever stop? I don’t know, I hope so, I pray so. Today was a good day…..it was a great day. So, I see ignorance as ignorance and chose to let them be. The next person may not be so forgiving. I may not be so forgiving. Let us educate, embrace and respect. You don’t have to know me but you will respect me.
Love to you all!!!