Some guidelines...

I asked the great Susan L Taylor how she was able to take the pain and make it so positive... at what point was she able to make that transition? She began to speak, and after several minutes of exchanges, she suggested I start a women's group, a blog, a forum, something where we could talk. Where we as women could come and safely discuss the things in life that have damaged us. Not in the spirit of bitching and complaining, but in an effort to heal and grow beyond what we've experienced.

So ladies, I welcome you to Healed Doesn't Mean It Don't Hurt. Where I claim to have no quick fixes, and will admit there are many days when I'm anything but positive, but where we can work this out together. See, I believe that there's a place where POSITIVITY and REALITY can meet... where we can acknowledge and address the issues in a progressive manner... and where that honesty brings to us healing that frees us from our previous chains of bondage, but also admits the hurt is still something we deal with.

Hopefully, I'm making sense and you all can feel me on this.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

When is it okay?

I find myself wondering... when is it okay?  

When is it okay to be real. To tell the truth.  To just state the facts as they exist, as they happened, and without apologies or sugar-coating.  What's the right time for that?
And when you make that choice, to simply let it all out, put everything on display, does your choice to do so automatically put you in the category of causing harm or being malicious or hurtful?  Since when is honesty equivalent to vengeance? A mere tactic used for getting back at those you feel have wronged you... really? 

I wonder when we as people will grow past the stigmas of our ancestors.  God bless our grandmothers and their desire to hold the family together, but I believe that a part of that glue that has kept the walls from falling down around us, has also kept us stuck in an era of transgressions and mistakes that keep repeating themselves.  After all, how do you expect to break the cycle if no one is aware that it ever happened to start with?

I find that this occurs heavily in the African American communities, although it is not exclusive to us.  We feel this need to not "air our dirty laundry" not understanding that dirty laundry, when kept hidden in the dark, musty closets of our hearts, only further mildews, rots, and deteriorates until eventually, the smell seeps from under the doors,through the cracks in our walls and into the "clean rooms" in our lives.  It effects our relationships with our children, our loved ones, and even with ourselves.  So, why not air it out?  Why not let the winds of truth and breezes of long awaited understanding begin to blow away the stench of what some might call "family business" or "private affairs"? 

Is it because we're ashamed that it's happened to start with? A little embarrassed that it has taken place at all and we wish for no one else to witness our mistakes?   Do we fear what they will think of us?  While I can understand this thought, I have to say that we need to understand that we all make them and most of us have made and are making the same ones we would judge others for.  

When will we get to the place of understanding that although we've made bad choices, our bad choices DO NOT make us???

Let me repeat that... a bad choice does not make us who we are.  Because each day we are blessed with a new slate and the opportunity to learn from it and choose more wisely this time.  Having said that, it is the continual act of making the same bad choice that determines who you are.  Every child, at some point in their adolescent lives, has taken something that didn't belong to them, but that one bad choice did not make them a career criminal, right?  

And in my humble, count for nothing opinion, there is no shame in a bad choice... when you've taken the steps to learn from it.  How else are we supposed to grow?

I don't ever want my girls to repeat my years of low self-esteem and settling for men who didn't appreciate or value me.  So, I have to share with them what not believing in yourself will do to you.  What kind of choices it can cause you to make... and then I have to instill in them how amazing they are.  That's my job.  If by exposing my vulnerabilities and the things I've said or done that not only am I not proud of, but wish could simply be erased from the history books, if in this act, I somehow prevent my child or someone else's child from enduring my same pain, then so be it.  

Doesn't that act of selflessness make up for the bad choice?
Doesn't my willingness to put myself on display in the hopes of bettering the generations to come count for something?

Now, am I saying that everyone has to be as open and sharing with any and everyone as I am?  No.  Absolutely not.  Because I understand everyone has to deal with things in their own way.

But what I am saying is that my choice to do so... your family member or your friend's choice to do so doesn't make them uncaring or even unforgiving.  It could simply mean that they have accepted what has happened and found a way to be grateful, not for it's existence, but for surviving it and the ability to now use it for good.

So, with this in mind, I have to ask just one more time... when is it okay?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Truth & Trust... Does one prevent the other?

Ok.. Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a big believer in being honest even though that honesty is sometimes brutal.  Now, if I'm being real, I think that my relationship with truth has become the preventer of trust.  And then there's the additional perception that acceptance of reality is somehow negative and I have to beg to differ.

Let's deal with the first of these issues:  TRUTH... and its effect on us.

Truth to me is like an English Bulldog: It's so ugly, it's cute.  Or like the funnel of a tornado:  It has the power to wreak havoc on anything that gets in its path, but damn it's beautiful and you have to respect its power.  Because once the destruction happens, there's no choice left but to rebuild.  And now you know what needs to be stronger, where to place the beems in the foundation of your heart.  Make sense? But in this new found building process do we now trust nothing again.  It doesn't matter what the manufacturers say.  No matter how strong the steel is, how tempered the glass, or storm proof the shutters, don't those of us who have experienced AND survived the force of TRUTH always build a SAFE HOUSE... an underground bunker... where we place our valuables, those things that are precious and cannot be replaced?

So, the question becomes is the acceptance of truth, the exposing of that which needs to be brought to light, a debilitating factor in our ability to risk again.  To engage in relationships without the need for an emergency plan or expert exit strategy.  I'm just asking.

It's like this:  before we had tornado watches and warnings... we just enjoyed the show that nature put on for us.  We admired the shift in the wind, the moving of the clouds in the sky, and the firework display put on by its lightening.  But now that we have witnessed its destruction... now that we've had to clean up the wreckage left behind by our ignorance of what it could do, most of us listen to the warning signals, button down the hatches, and evacuate to our safe places at the hint that something of that magnitude could be coming our way.  There are those few... the storm chasers we all think are crazy that go running head first chasing that which we all want to entertain but respectfully fear. 

How do you become a storm chaser when you've had to pick up the pieces of your life from beneath the rubble of lies, cheating, abuse, and pain?  How is that possible? Depending on your upbringing and culture, you may say that God is the answer.  You know "when you're ready to let go & let God, you will."  Now, I have some serious thoughts concerning this type of thinking, but I'll reserve them for now.  Or you might be living with an expectation that no matter what happens, you stay in the path of destruction and you weather the storm... Continually picking up that which has been discarded so carelessly by those who are supposed to cherish it.  And as you can imagine, I have even stronger sentiments regarding this idea.  Or, you could be like me... single and staying that way.  Entertaining only that which doesn't have the ability to become anything of substance because substance means that it can be valuable and something that has value will be missed when it's gone.  And I'd rather not experience that again.  So, I knowingly keep the "good ones" at bay, get temporal satisfaction from that which cannot touch the things in my SAFE HOUSE and I live.  Putting the majority of my energies on my career and children because those things I can control.  And while children aren't quite a thing that is controlled, a mother's love for them is everlasting & always enduring.  There's a special place that we mothers draw from when it comes to our babies.

But relationships are different.  You can exist in them and never question.  Or you can be accepting of their faults and shortcomings.  Now, understand that accepting the TRUTH about someone or something isn't always as healing as it sounds.  It's not always that thing needed to move into what you had perceived to be a positive place of fulfillment.  TRUTH can be what makes you leave.   TRUTH can be what makes you say, "I'm not equipped for this."  And there's nothing wrong with that in my humble opinion.  Understanding who and what you are is essential.   Because while I may be alone with no one to hold me at night, share my dreams and chase away my nightmares, I also have no one destroying my hopes and haunting my every thought. 

Now, I understand those of you who would view my position and say I'm missing out.  I'm not giving myself the opportunity to experience the best that life might have to offer me.  And while I get your point of view, I've counted the cost.  And if you've read my book, you know that I believe that if what I miss is HALF of what I've managed to survive, I'm good with it.  Sad, but true.

What about you all?  How are you dealing with the Tornadoes of Truth in your life?  The destruction?  The cleanup?  Are you building safe houses that keep people from the most valuable and delicate places within you?  If so, should you be?  (should we be?)  And if not, please tell us how you got back to a place of storm chasing?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

It's Not Always About Us.... and yet, It's Always About Us

So, I spent a couple hours, literally, today in conversation with one or two of you and I have to say that by the end, I was a little frustrated.  I'm sitting here talking to beautiful, intelligent, strong women and for some reason you're questioning yourselves and settling for situations and people who are not edifying to your life. 

Why do we sit around looking at our past failed relationships and wonder "what's wrong with me?"... "why did he choose her?"... or "what does she have that i don't?" wth?

Ladies, every relationship that ends is not an indication for you to start disassembling yourself, tearing apart your qualities in search of deficiencies that justify him lying, leaving, or cheating!  It's NOT always about us!  Why don't we start thinking about what he wasn't and what we were?  Or even better, what you all were, but just not together??  Not everyone is in your life to be your spouse, your help meet, and your partner forever.  Why can't we just let people exists in our lives for the purpose they were meant?  What has happened to us, what lessons have we been taught that in 2010, we can't be satisfied, complete, and content with ourselves.... by ourselves?

And at the same time, understand that every failed relationship IS about you.  Now, I'm not contradicting myself so follow me.  Instead of focusing on the relationship.. the good, bad, or ugly, focus on you.  Bettering you.  Empowering you.  Becoming thrilled with the person you are and improving the areas that you are challenged in.  Finding your lane and getting in it.  What if you're not meant to be "wifey" and have children?  What if your purpose is one of solitude and professional accomplishment instead?  Can you accept that? Be happy in that?  I'm just saying.  We should make finding happiness and peace within ourselves the top priority and let whatever is to come our way... just come.  And it will. Trust.  Whatever is intended for you, you will have, but you must put yourself in a position to be ready for its arrival.

You ever seen someone praying to win the lottery and they can't balance their check book on $30,000 a year?  Well, guess what?  The universe, God, Jehovah, Allah..whatever name you want to call the higher power that sees fit to protect us from ourselves is NOT going to give us more than we can handle..literally.  Why should God bring you your perfect mate that he has crafted and specifically designed to compliment you, when you are still holding on to trash that doesn't treat you right, protect or respect you?  I mean, why give you diamonds when you're content with rhinestones?  And then wonder why you look cheap??  C'mon.. let's do better. Think better of ourselves.  And realize that the failures are NOT always about us, and putting ourselves in the position to experience success IS always about us!

What do you think? 

Let's talk about how to achieve this...

What Is Intended...

So, my intentions for this blog are for it to be a safe zone where women can come and share without fear of judgment or criticism.  I've watched the Oprahs & Susan L Taylors of the world speak so eloquently about their past and their hurts and they seem to be so positive and forgiving about it.  And I wonder what is wrong with me?  How come I'm not there yet?  Is this something that only comes with age or can it be acquired sooner?

Now, having said that, I also want to stay real.  Stay true.  I've never liked to see people who get saved and pretend that they never sinned or that they didn't enjoy it when they did or see people who become monetarily successful and forget where they come from and what it's like to need something.  Same thing here. 

I want us to grow.  I really do.  I want what has hurt and damaged us to become a tool for positive change within us, freedom from bondage, and the destruction of our fears, but I want you to keep it real.  I think that's where the name came from... Healed Doesn't Mean It Don't Hurt.  We're able to move on and be productive in life, but that doesn't mean that the things that have happened to us don't still hurt a little... like they don't flare up like old aches and pains in our bones and remind us of the damage that has been done. Ya know?

In other words, acknowledging this thing not to give power to it, but to take the power away from it.  Make sense?  So, feel free to come here and share, express, cry, shout, or whatever you need to... and we will talk it out together.  Learn from each other.  Get better together.  And maybe, just maybe, we will become "stronger in our places that have been broken" like the doctors say we should.  If our physical body knows how to do it, surely we can teach our hearts and souls to do the same. 

Talk to me ladies.