The Lessons We Learn Along the Way

Life definitely has a way of teaching us lessons, whether we want to learn them or not.

Life has a way of showing us that some things that were once a big deal aren’t a big deal at all.

Life shows us that most of our learning is actually done backwards. We tend to learn the full brevity of our experiences after they’ve happened.

Life can make or break us. It’s all in perspective. I’ve tried the broken route and it only left me miserable and hateful to the world around me. I feel in this one life we have, bitterness and anger aren’t the way to go. If life is but a vapor, I want that vapor to be the best of what I had to offer.

Life is about falling and failing. But it is also about getting up and succeeding. 

Life sometimes just needs to get punched in the face, so punch it in the face!

Life needs Jesus! I know everyone doesn’t feel that way. I once felt that way and I was raised in church. But when I reached a point of no longer wanting to live and I was only 19, I figured I’d see what Jesus was all about. I’d encounter Jesus for myself. And I don’t regret that decision one bit.

Life shows us that if we can hold on just a little longer in the storm, there is an end. My end in my storm was Jesus and I’m glad I held on.

Life shows us its beauty and its ugliness. It also shows us that our response to the beauty and the ugliness says a lot about us.

Life shows us that people need love. We need to love ourselves and we need to love others. No, we’re not going to like everyone and we won’t always get along, but we need to remember that every person we encounter has a person in their life that loves them dearly. We are all people and we all deserve to be treated as such.

Life shows us that people are petty and self-centered. And by people, I mean you and me. In those moments of pettiness and self-centeredness, we can take the high road and we can be selfless.

Life shows us that we are always growing and changing. Who we were a week, a month, a year ago, isn’t who we are today.

Life teaches us that if we don’t learn how to share on our own, those of us who have children will get a crash course in sharing that we will never forget.

Life shows us and teaches us a lot. And I’m sure I can go on forever, but my fingers are beginning to hurt and I really want some hot chocolate. But I will leave it at this: life is beautiful! It’s beautiful like my husband’s green eyes. It’s beautiful like my daughter’s smile. It’s beautiful like my son’s laugh. And when I have a hard time seeing that beauty, I know those are three tangible things I can grab hold of. And those tangible things lead me back to the goodness of God. Life shows me that everyday my starting point should be the goodness of God.

Out of the Darkness

I always find it funny how people talk about going back and changing things about their past they considered mistakes. That’s just me personally. If I had to choose between changing my past and receiving $10 million, I’m easily taking the ten mill! If I go back and change what I’ve done, then I’m ultimately changing who I am, and I know for a fact that I would not be where I am today. And I am very happy with who I am and what I have today.

I’ve been in some very dark places in my life. And many times I didn’t think there would ever be any light at the end of the tunnel. But by the grace of God, I’m here today. Funnily enough though, I didn’t always feel God’s grace though. When I was 18, I contemplated suicide for the first time. It seemed like the easiest solution to all my problems. The second time I contemplated suicide, I was 19. I still felt the same, that life wasn’t worth living and nobody would miss me. That was my rock bottom, but that was the rock bottom that led me to accepting Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior. Sure, I grew up in church, but that didn’t make me a Christian. And no, my life situations didn’t turn around overnight, but my outlook on life did. Eleven years later, I’m happily married, with a beautiful baby girl and a beautiful baby boy due this coming December. Do I wish that I had never reached a point in life where I didn’t think about suicide? Yes, absolutely. But had I not reached that point, a major change in my life for the better probably wouldn’t have taken place.

There are many other decisions I’ve made in life that I wish I hadn’t. Some were minor, some weren’t. But I managed to find ways to grow and learn from those decisions. Some lessons took years to learn. Some lessons didn’t take that long to learn from at all. However I look at the darker moments of my life though, I find ways to be thankful for the experiences because who I am today is a lot better than who I used to be.

 

Great Pretending

It’s amazing how easy it is for us to show up and be a carbon copy of who we really are…

I am 30 years old and for most of my life, I’ve been a version of myself. I’ll be who I think I need to be in order to fit in whatever environment I’m in. I keep many masks, like people keep many hats. I don’t want people to know the real me because I don’t want to show up and be seen. I don’t want to be vulnerable. I don’t want to subject myself to the reactions of others about who I am. But is that really the way to live a life?

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I’m a Christian. I’m a wife. I’m a mother. I’m a writer. I’m Black. I’m a female. Those are concrete details about myself, but I won’t really pull back the layers beyond those details. For instance, I don’t always go to church, I don’t always read my Bible, I don’t always display the love of Christ, I get mad at my husband for dumb and petty things, I’ll forget to pay attention to my daughter because I’m caught up in housework, I don’t always write when the words are there, sometimes I hate being Black because of the social and political climate we live in, and sometimes I hate being a woman because I just need a dumb reason to be upset.

From my mother to some random person on social media, I’ve let people have too much control over something about me. My mom has always gotten onto me about my hair and wardrobe if it’s not to her approval and that has been something that has made it hard for me to just be myself without being self-conscious. If my own mother gets in an uproar because I’d rather a ponytail and sweatpants over curls and a skirt, how will the rest of the world react? If I take a chance and share some of my not serious writing and someone dumps all over it, how will people react to the writing that shows the serious side of me? I double down on the notion of not being known and just continue pretending to be something I’m not.

But again, that’s no way to live a life. Being vulnerable and transparent (but not too transparent) is a part of living. I actually feel alive when I’m just being myself. If I’ve been made to feel a certain way that I don’t like, I know not to do that with other people. I will never make my daughter feel about her hair and wardrobe the way my mother made me feel. My daughter is not a clone of me and I cannot expect her to conform to who I want her to be. My daughter is a gift from God. She is not mine to twist and mold into who I think she should become. My daughter is to be raised according to thepurpose God has for her and however her journey in life goes, it’s my responsibility to steer her in the right direction, not set up detours and roadblocks that suit my fancy. When I stop pretending, I start seeing reality and the reality is no one is perfect, so I’m learning to get over past hurts and be better as a person.

For me, the mask is coming off. The pretending is going to stop. My experiences in life are a part of my story and they contribute to who I am as a person. I can be a jerk, but I can also be sweet and thoughtful. I can be random. I can be sarcastic enough people think I’m actually dumb. I can be funny and silly. I can be serious. I can be sensitive. I can be controlling. I can get unrighteously angry.javardh-740705-unsplash I can flat out be rude and mean. I have good along with the bad. I’m constantly learning!

Sharing about my mother wasn’t easy. But the reality is, I’m not the only person on the face of this earth that has had a parent do something that has a serious effect on them into adulthood. And telling a person to get over something is no way to go in life. Go through that something, process it, learn from it, forgive it, and then move on in life for the better. Share your story. Be seen for who you really are. Be vulnerable. And show other people it’s okay to do the same thing.

Mama’s Baby Girl Pt. I

So, I don’t baby my 21-month-old daughter. If she falls and hurts herself, there are two responses I give her based on the degree of the fall. The first is, “You’re fine, it scared you more than it hurt you.” And she’s up and running again. The second is, “Come here, let me make sure you’re okay.” And her response to that is the main reason why I won’t and don’t baby her. She fights me, or her father, or anyone for that matter when we check for blood, scraps, or any injuries. She goes from crying because she fell, to crying because she got picked up for inspection to make sure she’s okay. And ten times out of ten she’s up and running again before those tears have even dried. She did that when she fell in Jackson Square in New Orleans and she did that when we were home in Alabama and she face planted on concrete from running too fast.

I just don’t baby her, mainly because she hates it. And secondly because I don’t want my child growing up thinking the entire world has to stop when she gets an ouchie. I don’t want her to take something minor and make it major because of the attention she can get from it. She’s an only child and the only grandchild for all her grandparents, so she has more than enough attention. But my firstborn is a sassy, strong-willed, independent, rough and tumble little girl. She gets up after a fall and she goes even harder than before when playing. She laughs more than before the fall. She’s tasted concrete, grass, carpet, and dirt, and survived. She’s done free falls off the couch, fallen of the bed, ran into walls, slipped on hardwood, smashed her fingers, fallen off her dad’s lap while swinging, busted her lip, and the list goes on, and it will go on as she gets older.

If it were left up to me, I would duct tape to her crib and call it a day. But she’d figure a way out of the duct tape and then climb out of the crib. She’s a fighter. She’s determined. She’s a pint size of fierce. She’s a little version of me, and that’s the third and final reason I don’t baby her -I hate that shit!