Giving Up vs. Walking Away

One of the easiest things to do when you’re faced with tribulations, is to give up. No matter how difficult perseverance may be, it takes little to no effort to make the decision to stop trying. There will be certain situations that won’t be worthy of your time, but differentiating when you’re giving up too soon vs. walking away, is very important. The two may seem similar, but there is a huge difference.

I won’t try and make it seem like making these decisions should be easy. In fact, walking away from something or someone that you’ve invested a lot of time and energy into can be frightening. Guilt has a way of creeping in, and it will begin to make you question if giving up or walking away will make you seem disloyal, fake, or impatient. These are all common feelings.

What most don’t realize, is sometimes it is more damaging to hold on for dear life, than it is to simply give yourself the peace you deserve by walking away. After all, your peace is for YOU. The last thing you should do is worry about what others may think. So, what is the difference in giving up and walking away?

It’s no secret that the breakup, but more specifically, divorce rates are sky high right now. One thing that I know for sure, is that no matter how much love there is in a friendship or relationship, there is bound to be disagreements. There is bound to be times when you aren’t fond of one another. However, I have found that a lot of relationships don’t last, simply because both parties are not willing to make it work. Instead of looking towards the future, they get so caught up in their “right now feelings.”

My marriage is far from perfect. He has hurt my feelings, and I have hurt his. There have been times where we both questioned if continuing the marriage is the best decision for us both. Instead of letting go of everything we have built together, splitting up our family, and going through that nasty divorce process, we had to weigh out the good and the bad. The good outweighed the bad tremendously!

There is no relationship that is ever going to be perfect. Choosing to give up before you have exhausted all options, will only leave you regretting and second guessing your decision. By the time you can admit your mistake, the other person has probably moved on, and in my Nene Leakes voice – the door is closed!

Walking away from toxic people or situations is not something that is easy to do. For me, I used to stick around in toxic friendships and relationships because of how much time and energy I put into it. I felt like I “owed” my loyalty to others, when they didn’t appreciate or genuinely care to begin with. If we can be honest, morality has changed.

Everybody is all about looking out for themselves. As you should, but what happens when you find yourself dishing out more than what they give? What happens when you find yourself crying in a relationship more than you’re smiling? A year ago, I couldn’t give you an answer. Now that I have a doctorate in cutting leaches off, I can tell you. You walk away! Everyone has a different perspective on their self-worth, but it’s imperative that you know yours. Know that everybody doesn’t deserve you. Know that you are a jewel, and only the deserving can get close to you.

After you’ve done all that you can do, walk away proudly knowing that you tried everything in your power to make things right. Once you walk away, the peace that you will experience will be unimaginable! Never let someone break you all the way down before you stand up for yourself and what you deserve. Things always get greater later! You just have to take that first step. Your intuition will never lead you wrong.

Which do you think is harder? Giving up? Or walking away?

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The Journey Through Womanhood

Bossy. Emotional. Shady. High-maintenance. These are only a few words that have been used to describe women, but underneath our mood swings, perfectionist ways, and technicalities, women are the strongest species on earth. Yea I said it. Although we may not be stronger physically, the way that women can pursue life in the midst of heartbreak, after birth, and/or menstrual cramps, yet still manage to get everything done – is exemplary.

Before I continue, this is not a blog to bash our Kings, but to simply shine some light on the issues that we face as women. For as long as I can remember, our culture of black women has been given this facade that we should always be strong. Be strong for our children. Be strong for our Husband. Be strong for our family. These things are applicable in some instances, but unfortunately it has become second nature to live with this mind state. Although it keeps the peace, it is unhealthy to live this way. I don’t know about you, but the best that I’ve ever felt, has come after a good crying or venting session. You cannot water others if you’re pouring from an empty vessel.

My journey through womanhood has not always been an easy one. I am not ashamed to say that I have experienced my share of insecurities, self-doubt, and loss of self-identity. As women, sometimes we think that we have to have everything figured out, and we subconsciously hold ourselves to a higher standard. Sure, we mature faster than men, but the journey through womanhood is an everyday process. There is no age limit on growing and learning. Embrace your journey, and know that it will only shape you into becoming a better woman.

In an era where social media has become more relevant and easily accessible than the news, we are now forced to see unrealistic versions of womanhood. Whether it be the perfect body, the fastest snapback, or the biggest engagement ring. I’m not saying that these things are unattainable, but for the modern-day lives that we live, it is easy to get caught up thinking that something is “missing” in our lives if we don’t have these things.

Womanhood is something that should be self-defined. Ladies, never compare another woman’s timeline to your own. It doesn’t matter how the picture is painted, we all experience the same things on our journey through womanhood. This is why I try my best to promote women empowerment. Instead of us all coming together in unity, we turn against each other and present ourselves to be better than one another. We are our own worst enemies. Why is it that a group of men can come together in peace and harmony, but when women do it, there are cliques, side eyes, and judgement? We must do better.

No matter what box that society tries to put us in, understand that we are powerful, and we are greater than the negative connotations that we receive on the daily. 2018 is the year that we no longer live up to someone else’s standards of what a woman should be. We no longer have to carry the weight of the world on our shoulders in fear of appearing weak. We will no longer suffer in silence, in fear of not being believed.

My journey has been a challenging one, but I am grateful for every lesson that it has taught me along the way. I wouldn’t be half as confident, strong, and comfortable with who I am – if it weren’t for looking my flaws right in the face, but more importantly, accepting them. I empower women, because I am empowered.

What are some essential things that you have learned during your journey through womanhood?

“I am a woman phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, that’s me.”

-Mayo Angelou

Having an Opinion in a Black Household

I don’t know about you, but as a child I can remember the vivid curiosity behind being an adult. It seemed like some sort of super power being able to do and say whatever you want. There was something so fascinating about hearing adult conversations, the explicit jokes that went over my head, and the authority to dish out regulations, but the one thing that I knew I wouldn’t dare do, was give my opinion on it.

Whether their rules were right or wrong, even if I did muster up the courage to express how I felt, it was soon after that my parents would matter-of-factly remind me that I am a child and that “I ain’t grown until I’m out of their house.” I’m sure that this is a quote that we’ve all heard, and this is true, but in actuality, child or not – we all have feelings and our own ways of self-expression. Now let be me clear, there is always a right and a wrong way to say things, so I am in no way saying that children have the right to disrespectfully address their parents.

I am simply stating that depending on the scenario, their thoughts matter too. Most parents don’t realize it until it’s too late, but often times this is where the disconnect between parent and child begins. How can you not want your child to express their feelings to you in the face of opposition, but expect them to feel comfortable enough to talk to you about issues that they face in their day-to-day lives?

I try my best to refrain from using the terms old-school and new-school, but it is what it is. It doesn’t mean that one is “better” than the other, but as a Mother of two, it is about finding the most effective way to parent. To put it bluntly, things are just not how they used to be. What may have worked for us as children, will only hinder our new generation of children with today’s societal issues.

In the old days, it used to be that what Mom and Dad said, went. End of discussion. Not only does this make your child feel unimportant, but it forces them to grow up with the notion that their opinions don’t matter. Remember I told y’all that adult insecurities stem from childhood, right? Prime example.

Even when you do reach adulthood, parents still have a “Respect your elders,” or “You will always be my baby” approach. Rightfully so, but in my opinion, you have to give respect to get it. No matter who it is. Treating your adult child like a child will only lead to a toxic adult relationship. Of course they will always be older in age and wiser with experience, but just because you’re a parent, it does not mean that you are always right. Respect your child enough to know that you instilled proper morals, and let them learn on their own. Your advice isn’t always needed.

There is no doubt that parenting can be very demanding, but contrary to the old-school beliefs, children need more than just a roof over their heads, clothes on their backs, and food on their stomachs. They need emotional support. Tolerance and acceptance are important roles in being a supportive parent. If there is no other place that a child should feel comfortable, it should be at home.

Being a parent is one of life’s most difficult jobs, but we have to keep in mind that children do not ask to be born. Our culture, such as every culture, has our own issues that we must be able to address head on in order to be better. Let’s break this generational curse and become more willing to truly learn, and listen to our children. There is no manual on how to be a parent, but treating people how you want to be treated does not just apply to adults. Our children are a reflection of us, and it is up to us to teach them how they are to be treated.

Which style of parenting do you think is most effective? Old-school? Or new-school?

Leaving your Past out of Your Present

At some point in our lives, regardless of who you are, or how much money you have, we have all experienced some sort of disappointment, betrayal, or hurt. Whether it be a bad break up, the loss of a job, or the end of a friendship, as humans, we are all bound to make mistakes. The most assuring thing that you can do, is move on and appreciate the lesson that you received from it. However, a common defense that people use, is bringing up past situations in order to justify the present.

It is perfectly normal to feel the need to protect your feelings, but the problem occurs when you start holding people accountable to someone else’s mistakes. Ladies, let’s be real! We do this a lot. I have fallen victim to this as well. We start a new relationship with a potentially great guy, and instead of enjoying and embracing a change, we feel the need to bring up how we don’t trust him, what your ex did, etc. This has to stop! Not only is it wrong to compare someone to others, but it may also cause the new beau in your life to decrease his efforts. It will make him feel like nothing that he does is good enough.

How can you move forward in life if you’re still living in the past? You can’t. I’ll admit, I’m one of those “forgive, but never forget” types of people. Yes, you should forgive, because that’s the right thing to do, but just because you remember, it does not mean that you have to bring it up. Sometimes you need to ask yourself what relevance that it holds in your current situation. If none, then it’s best that you keep it to yourself. There is a thin line between expressing your hurt – and being negative.

I can think of so many arguments that could’ve been avoided had I kept my irrelevant thoughts to myself. Ladies, if you choose to forgive your man, you have to be willing to move forward without mention. Of course it won’t be easy, but for the sake of the future, it has to be done. We all make mistakes, so what makes your mistakes more forgivable than his? Forgiveness is a part of life, and it’s all about how you choose to move past it. Think about a huge mistake that you made in the past. How would you feel if someone reminded you of it every chance they got? Keep that feeling in mind.

The past is just that. The past. No matter how bad it hurts, we must strive to look towards the future. We cannot change our yesterday, but we can certainly alter our present. It is so easy to get caught up on what mistakes you have made, but your past does not define you! What you think, is what you become, and it is nearly impossible to be the best version of yourself when you live in the past.

Forgiveness is not designed for anyone but yourself. Give yourself the freedom that you deserve, and let go of the past. You’ll be surprised how much brighter your future will begin to look.

What is your outlook on mistakes?

Do you think that they make you better? Or bitter?

Raising our Boys to be Men

As much as we all may strive for equality between the sexes, I can’t help but mention the various types of double standards that have been placed among women for centuries. Whether it be household expectations, rate of pay, or the amount of sexual activity that is acceptable, it is more than obvious that men are given passes that we as women are not granted.

As a Mother of both a boy and a girl, it goes without saying that they will require different lessons from us, but in my opinion, the principles and morals of life that are taught should be the same, regardless of gender. In our generation, by observation, it appears as if a lot of men want to be treated like men, but they were never taught how to be a man in the first place. Before I say this, I am in no way implying that other ethnicities don’t experience one-parent households, but if we can be straight-forward, it is most dominant in our culture.

Before I had a son of my own, I always heard the mantra that boys need their fathers. I have found this to be true. Again, I have the utmost respect for single Mother’s and the sacrifice that it takes to raise children on your own, but you cannot teach a boy how to be a man. From the very first day that I met my Mother-in-Law, I have always expressed to her how great she did at raising my Husband to be an upstanding man. However, on our journey together, there were things that I had to be understanding with, as he was never taught exactly what it is that men are supposed to do.

Of course he was taught the fundamentals of providing, protecting, and to never be “too emotional,” but the core values of surviving in this life – even on his own, were not. Why do we teach girls to cook and clean, but we teach our boys to play sports and toughen up? Why do we raise our girls to be classy and ladylike, but only teach our boys to lust after women?

Unasked questions like these, are why a lot of men grow up with a sense of entitlement towards women. So many times we hear that boys will be boys, but what does that even mean? In my most recent article Why Codependency Will Kill Your Relationship, I mentioned how the behaviors that we display as adults, were taught to us as children. It is time that we start exposing these boys to chivalry early. It is time that we start teaching our sons to be self-sufficient and not rely on a woman to cook or clean up behind him.

We are not just raising our children for us, but for the world. Eventually that little boy will turn into a grown man, the father of someone’s child, and potentially the Husband to someone’s daughter (or son). There will be some things that he undoubtedly will have to learn on his own, but as parents it is up to us to instill these misplaced values in our males, especially for the generations to come.

Tallahassee has so many community leaders and activists, but there is one gentleman in particular that has been specifically working with our youth to promote positivity and change. His name is Patrick Denson.

With his organization Kick the Violence, Patrick hosts community kickball events to remind children that violence is not the answer. In May, he was awarded with the 2018 Volunteer of the Year Award, presented by the Tallahassee Democrat. Congratulations on all of your success Patrick, and continue being the change you wish to see!

What are some of the difficulties that you face while raising a son?

Do you think that chivalry is really dead?

Why Codependency Will Kill Your Relationship

By all means, you should feel that you need your spouse in your life in order to stay on track. Whether it be for their emotional support, love, or guidance – we all need someone in our life to balance out our lows. The personal detriment however, is when you begin to rely on your spouse to fulfill your own individual needs. As I’m sure you all know by now, relationships consists of lots of teamwork, but one thing that you can never forget, is your individuality and what your personal needs are.

In the past, codependency has always been referenced to substance abuse. This is still a factor, but codependency certainly exists in friendships and relationships as well. So, what exactly is codependency? Codependency is a pattern of behavior that exemplifies the dependency and approval from others. In laments terms, it is a clingy person who requires affirmation from others so that they can feel better about themselves.

I am a firm believer that most of the characteristics that we display as adults, have been taught to us as children. Study shows that most people that are codependent have most likely suffered from sort of abandonment and insecurity issues as children. As a result, they grow up feeling the need for attention and confirmations from others to feel whole. These are normal feelings to experience, however when it comes to a relationship, it is not your partners responsibility to heal you from your past.

As much as they may care for you, there is only so much that they can do. Relying on them to fill your void will only become overbearing and demanding for them. During my days as a stay-at-home Mother, I too felt a void and dissatisfaction with myself. As much as I wanted my Husband to baby me and make me feel better about myself, it was something that only I could overcome. He already had a lot on his own plate, and it would’ve been selfish of me to throw my own misery onto him as well.

Haven’t you all heard the quote: “Misery loves company?” It’s a fact! Let’s be honest, nobody wants to be around somebody negative and unhappy with life. At the time I despised him for not “fixing me,” but I can now say that I respect him so much more for pushing me to get back up again. He knew the true strengths that I possessed, and chose not to enable me during my codependency.

Sometimes we enable our loved ones without even realizing it. We like to think that we’re helping them, but there is a huge difference between providing support, and withholding things from your friend or spouse that they may need – just to feed their soul. Tough love doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to be rude, it simply means that you have to love them enough to tell them the things that they need to hear.

There may be certain strengths that your partner possesses that you may not, but never rely on your spouse for everything. Being clingy is cute at first, but it doesn’t take long before it can get annoying. Relationships should be mutually satisfying, and if there is one partner that is always giving more than the other, it will kill your self-esteem and your relationship.

If you are in a relationship with a codependent friend or spouse, I encourage you to be honest with them today. Let them know that you love them and want the best for them, but please, for their growth, encourage them to search within themselves for their strengths. It needs to be said.

What are your thoughts on codependency in a relationship?

Living in Your Truth

In a world full of filters, lurkers, and scammers, it is getting more and more difficult to accurately separate what is actually real from what is fake. As humans, it is completely normal to seek advice from your family and peers on decisions that you need to make, but a huge misconception is that whatever advice that they give – it will be conducive to your life. This is immensely false, as not everyone is living in their own truths to begin with.

So what does it mean to live in your truth? In my own definition, I believe that living in your truth means to unapologetically exemplify what it is that you stand for, what you like, and even dislike, regardless of what other people may think about you. Now I know that this sounds easy, but if you are one of those people that do things in hopes of pleasing others, I understand that it’s not, as I used to be one of those people.

As we all know, whichever path in life that you end up on, it is all based off of the choices that you’ve made. Please believe though, whether good or bad, with choices come consequences. For me, after numerous let downs, betrayals, and lies told, I had to realize that I wasn’t properly living in my truth. I was living up to what others expected me to be, and I allowed the truest form of myself to be hidden, all in hopes of making others more comfortable.

Being a people pleaser shows that you have a sympathetic nature, and that’s great, but you should never live to please others. No matter how great you do, there will always be somebody with a complaint. No matter how honest you are, there will always be somebody who will call you a liar. Instead of focusing on their unneeded opinions, this is where knowing who you truly are is beneficial. From birth, we have been taught how to think and express ourselves a certain way, and we grow into adults with this made up perception of how you “should be.”

What works for some may not work for you, and you have to be okay with that. Stand proud in who you are and what makes you unique. These things don’t come naturally, so it is up to you to be able to look at your good, bad, and even ugly – to determine who it is that you are as a person. We all have flaws, so you are no less than anyone else. Once you recognize your truth and begin to embrace your individuality, you will experience a sense of freedom that is unimaginable.

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. What is it that I want in life?
  2. Am I living my life for me? Or my family?
  3. What things have I given up because of what someone else’s advice was?

The ugly truth is always much better than a pretty lie. Make a promise to yourself to start living for you! You are enough! There are millions of people in the world, but there is only one you!

What are some tips that you would offer in order for someone to live in their truth?

“Live authentically. Live your truth. And if you love me for anything, love me because I live mine.”

-Neale D. Walsch