Categories
life

When all else fails, learn.

No one likes to lose. Seriously, let’s be honest. When we put effort behind something and then it doesn’t work out the way you envisioned it, it’s the anvil that weighs you down. There’s just this little nagging truth. We learn a great deal when we lose.

Go ahead. Get mad at me. I knew it would happen. It’s not me, it’s the truth.

When I think about my 2019 I have two overwhelming feelings. One, I made some decisions that didn’t work. As in, I was warned and didn’t heed the warning. So, when these decisions didn’t end well for me… it hurt twice as bad. However, it forced me to reevaluate my thought process. It made me look at what my decisions prompted. Honestly, I am grateful for the thought interrupt. It was a detour that I needed to comprehend now. I don’t want to get to 2025 and have the same outcome. The only way to change the outcome is to change the actions and thoughts that got me there.

The second overwhelming feeling I have is GRATITUDE. I don’t look like what I have been through. Sincerely, most of the battles I fought were not plastered publicly. I doubt many of them were easily identifiable, even to the people closest to me. I had to reevaluate how I viewed my friends AND me as a friend.

PAUSE.

Me, as a friend. It is very easy to become critical of the people you call friend based on what they do or don’t do. It’s another thing to look at one’s self and give that same energy. I had to realize that I don’t pick up the phone and call people like I should. Over the years, I think texting and social media became my cop-out way of checking on people. Then, when people began to institute digital wellness (i.e. logging off and really perfecting face (2 face) time…) then I lost connection. Not because feelings were lost, but because my cop out was tapped out. (Insert me waving a white flag) The other culprit, change of environment. Two years ago I changed churches. That seems like a big deal to some…because…black people don’t often change churches. Those who regularly attend and serve become loyal to the building as if God isn’t present in others. Yes, church sarcasm. You’ll be ok. I am saying what some won’t. I still love my old church, but God told me to move on. I am super glad I did. What I was worried about, was staying connected to those I used to see weekly. I can admit that the connections aren’t the same, but I haven’t lost them. I just have to work harder to speak to them, since we don’t conveniently see each other weekly.

THERE’S THE REVELATION FOLKS… SHIPS are WORK. Friendship, Relationship, and any other ship that involves interaction and connection between two or more individuals. Even staying digitally connected to my blog audience is a struggle some times. Not because I don’t want to. The desire is ALWAYS present. My schedule, clear thoughts, planning and execution… those things don’t always align. Attached to the revelation is the fear that maybe I don’t measure up as a friend. Maybe I don’t reach out enough. Did something major happen and I missed it? Was I there when they needed me? Half the battle is showing up, did I? This is less about if it was noticed and more about the intention.

Hindsight is plenty clear. While I know I have some work to do, I did set out to be intentional about my connections about a year ago. Loosing #superdad in 2015 reminded me how precious life is. It put some of life’s great and horrible moments in perspective like a permanent contact lens. I am grateful for grace and mercy and friends that extend that to me. I then also extend that to them. I don’t think I am the only one who needs to work on intentional connections, re-connections, or learning when to let “well enough” be enough. Some people are good and just NOT going with you into your next season.

Say it with me friends, “Just let them go”. I know. I’ll be the bad guy for the truth. We have to honor seasons. Believe it or not, they change without your permission. Some of the people who were closest to you in previous seasons will not be adding your to their Christmas card list. (Non-Shameless Plug… want custom Christmas Cards handmade for your circle> email annlettered@gmail.com , you can also check out work on annlettered.com and http://www.instagram.com/annlettered ) When the calls stop, the texts diminish, and the face time is non-existent, say a prayer for their good and move ON. Not because you dislike them or harbor ill will, the page turned. The page WILL turn on some people. It’s ok. LEARN.

The loudest lessons this year were taught when I fell, cried, prayed, screamed, and just went to sleep because at the time… that’s all I could do. I don’t profess to have all the answers. I wouldn’t want that burden anyway. I do know how to pray. When people connect with me for prayer – I take that seriously. The mess ups prompt me to pray too. Urgent and Life altering prayers like… “fix it Jesus” and “I surrender Lord”. I know that when I mess up, my default is shifting to JESUS. I know that not every amazing event will include space for me – but that doesn’t change the fact that the event is dope. Not being included used to make me feel some kind of way… one of those lessons showed me that it’s usually not anything personal. So, I learned.

Some won’t like this. That’s ok too. Welcome to Andonnia.com. Some of the opinions of the author will not be accepted as general consensus. It’s supposed to be that way.. group think doesn’t go with my heart. (get it.. this (insert thing) doesn’t go with my outfit… )

When you don’t win, you learn. You should. Reflect and grow. Tis the season.

Ivy Out.

Categories
life

I don’t like…

This isn’t easy to type, but it’s necessary.

I don’t like the month of May anymore.

I’m not particularly fond of spring either.

While some people are excited about spring flowers and sunshine…it just reminds me of the last major life change – I am still processing. March 26, 2015 my SUPERDad went into the hospital. May 7, 2015 he changed citizenship to Pearly Gates Drive for eternity. Spring takes me back to the forty-three day experience that I couldn’t forget if I tried.

I may be writing this for selfish reasons, as a part of my processing, but I also write for everyone who has had to learn the hard lesson that grief teaches. I write this for anyone who may feel any of the feelings I will express, but do not choose to share it with the world. I write for voice, and voice alone.

Sometimes, people just need to feel. Emote. Release. Vent. Scramble through the bramble – even when it’s painful. Sometimes people need to be ok with the fact that they are still not ok, and THAT’S OK. Sometimes, they just need a hug – no words involved. Maybe they need to cry – with no words involved. Sometimes, they don’t know what they need…but they want someone genuine to try to be there for them. Strong people don’t want to be strong while grieving. They want to be able to come unglued like everyone else… but sometimes they aren’t allowed to. The world doesn’t stop while you grieve. Assignments are still assigned, family roles don’t come to a standstill, and expectations don’t change.

In the gym, when you lift weights, it makes you stronger. Ask anyone who participates in weight lifting if they pain of lifting ever goes away. Or just search hash tags like #legday. Training can wear you out, but it shows you that you can push past the pain, eventually, and come out stronger. Grief does that, only some of us were not already preparing for it. It’s like having someone throw a barbell at you. If you don’t catch it, it will hurt. If you catch it, it could hurt. Case and point, grief hurts.

This isn’t a cry for help or sympathy. I respect the process. I know it has to happen. It doesn’t stop me from missing him daily. It doesn’t stop me from wishing that May 7th could temporarily fall of the calendar until I’m strong enough to face it. This is only the second time I’ve had to face this beast. And while I know I will get through it, it’s hard. For everyone who can’t say…words aren’t appropriate at the moment… For everyone who can’t express that the pain doesn’t go away…we just tolerate it…. For everyone who understands what it is to re-experience the memories… I understand.

I wish no one else would understand this, and that it’s just lethargic for me. Unfortunately, I doubt that.

 

April showers were really just tears. May flowers were placed in an urn. Dear Summer…

Categories
life

Golden Honesty

The good thing about honesty is it keeps its own track record.

When you are faced with the opportunity to be honest with yourself, you then have to deal with the implications of that honesty. Are there things you can do better, and more importantly, are there things you haven’t celebrated enough? One of my mentors told me that I’m too hard on myself. My reaction: Really? I don’t really think I’m hard enough on myself. That’s probably part of the problem. Not having a realistic scope of what is acceptable and what is not. I blame my prior high achievement. I grew up not really “accepting” compliments based on things that I should do well naturally. I mean…I’m supposed to do well in school. I’m supposed to perform well in competition (isn’t that the point of rehearsal?). I am supposed to excel in everything I do, right? Well, kinda.

I have created a Ft. Knox around my life to shut people out who don’t enhance my life. That conversely means that I have shut myself in. I have walled up a huge defense system with no offensive mechanism. My football fans can attest…you can’t win a game without Defense AND Offense. Blocking out others maybe useful at times but it won’t WIN for you. My entire scope of winning was based on my past alone. Well, the world isn’t just built on my personal past. There are the “cloud of witnesses” looking down on me and either encouraging me or praying for me, lol. There are those who paved the way before me. (Good practice, know who paved the way in your particular field of endeavors) There are those who are running this race with me at the present time. They are not in competition with me, we all have our own destinies. There are valuable people in this world who are planted to help me advance. Our relationships are symbiotic. It is a true give and receive relationship that isn’t one sided. I am grateful for people who plant seeds in my life. I am grateful for those who served in their season and were plucked and pruned. I am grateful for those who are dormant until their harvest season. I am grateful for my heavenly Gardener who doesn’t give up on his little orchid in all of the delicate environments that I have lived in. I am thankful for my earthly gardeners who groomed and watched over me as I began to mature. I am distinctly grateful for my LIFE mentor who told me to STOP beating myself up. She, someone I greatly respect and admire, has gone through life and learned a great deal. She didn’t bottle it up, she shares it with others in hopes of seeing them elevated. She is a very pretty reflection of God’s grace and growth. Her words to me echo in my ears now.

In my little fortress there is one way in and no way out. That leaves me with one solution. To relive the pressure on myself, I have to decompose the bricks. One by one, I am honest about my growth. I am honest about my accomplishments. I recognize where it is that I’ve come from. I most certainly am grateful to God for the ability to see far beyond my current situation. I am going to remove the bricks of my fort and build a monument of gratitude. I will use what I’ve experienced and been taught to enrich others. I will take time for myself. If I don’t preserve the self I have now, someone else will be burdened with my final preservation. I’m not ready to lay down and die, so I have to wake up and live!

If you can share my thoughts on “living” and not “existing” then know that you are human too. Every plan doesn’t end well. Every day doesn’t slaughter your to “done” list. Each vision doesn’t come quick. Ahh, but every day you have a reason to celebrate. Start there. Live celebrating the fact that you still have life!

Brick by Brick,

Ivy Out (With special reverence to Ms. Jade Gold)