Imani Cezanne “Flowers”

Wow is all I can say!

I am so moved by this poet’s words that I had to share this. It touched my soul. As someone who is plus sized, grew up without her father, dealt with sexual abuse and all the manifestations of that trauma and life…food became my solace. It comforted me. It didn’t hurt me.

Some people may never understand the true pain of an emotional eater. We judge. We laugh. We act like they don’t exist. We was me when I used to hide behind big clothes to not be noticed. I tried to stop eating. To do fad diets. No results. I had to change me. I had to get to the root of the problem.

I did. I was camouflaging the pain. It is only then that I was able to understand what I was running from and how I could change. I have lost weight (45 pounds to be exact). It is a journey. It is something that I will never stop living. Each day is a gift and I understand it. I don’t use food as a crutch anymore. But, I will never forget.

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The Heart of the Matter

Oh, I am very weary, Though tears no longer flow; My eyes are tired of weeping, My heart is sick of woe. – Anne Bronte

I believe in love because the greatest love ever shown was the love God has given me. The love of my family and friends. Love is a good thing. But, what happens when that love doesn’t last? What happens when you can no longer make it work?

You keep loving. I’ve shared my story. Girl meets boy. Girl falls in love with boy who made her laugh. Girl and boy marry and have a child. Girl and boy forget how to love. Girl wants a divorce. It wasn’t an easy decision. I agonized over it for a long time. I wanted to make my marriage work and try to fix it. I couldn’t.

What followed was months of tears, pain and depression. I literally became a walking zombie. Sifting through the pieces of my life trying to find something to hold on to. There were many days that I couldn’t hold on. I didn’t. Those days were particularly rough for me. I wore a mask.

I would try to mask the pain that I was going through with make-up. Some believed I was fine, but my true friends knew that I was hurting. Not everyone knew or understood the depth of my pain. They thought I was good because I didn’t call them screaming and asking for help.

I wasn’t.

Many days I would just walk around the house in emotional turmoil and wonder how did I end up here? I would literally lose my balance and fall to the floor and cry out, “Why God is this happening to me? Please stop the pain. I can’t take anymore.” It was silent. God never responded.

My munch had just turned 5. He became the man of the house. I wasn’t the woman of the house. I became the child. I was in pain that hurt so bad it was foreign. I felt like I couldn’t go on and my body just gave way.

Munch would run and scream, “Mommy, are you okay? Mommy, please don’t cry. Mommy, I will protect you.” I would be silent. Tears streaming down my face. I couldn’t respond. I felt as though my world had crumbled and God had forsaken me.

It took a year before things started to make sense again. Before the haze cleared and I started to find something that resembled my life being molded and redefining my purpose. I became stronger. I became happier. I became less bitter. I became new again. I had to learn to love my new normal.

The tears stopped. The pain got bearable and doesn’t exist anymore. The scars have healed. I realized that God heard me. I just needed to trust his plan and clear the noise.

I smile a lot now. I laugh a lot too. I have a lot of people that believe and support me in so many ways. I rediscovered my faith and redirected my energy into my writing. I found an outlet in which to express myself. I accepted that I am utterly flawed and I’m actually okay with it.

I still believe in love. I know that no one is perfect. I’m not looking for perfection. I’m looking for someone who will love me senseless. Who will walk through the door and see me and know that his life is better because I’m in it. Someone who will see my attempts at cooking and enjoy the meal I prepared because it was made with love.

Someone who will love my munch just as much as they do me. Teach him how to ride his bike. To tie his tennis shoes. To work on a science project or how to catch a football. But, if he should never come into my life…I know without a shadow of a doubt that I will be okay. How?

Because it is always darkest before dawn.

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Protecting My Assets

“Divorce is the one human tragedy that reduces everything to cash.”- Rita Mae Brown

To prenup or not prenup. That is the question I am pondering today. I’ve always said that I wanted a prenup. Before getting married I asked “Hey, what do you think about a prenup?” He laughed at me and said, “Why? It’s not like you’re sitting on a pile of wealth that I’m after.” I dropped the issue. He was right. I wasn’t. However, my concern was about my future wealth and earnings.

But, many people still have issues with prenups. Especially women. Sorry ladies, but it’s true. People feel that you’re looking at things negatively and that you don’t believe that your marriage will work. Nope. Not true at all. You’re protecting yourself and your earnings. If you had one million in the bank before we get married and I had $1,000 why should I be entitled to half of that? Because I married you? I didn’t earn it.

I started thinking about this because more women are demanding prenups than ever. I read how Gabrielle Union demanded one from her very rich husband, Dwayne Wade. She wanted to protect her brand and assets. I actually liked that idea. What’s wrong with protecting your identity and the money you’ve made prior to securing your life partner?

Prenups don’t decrease the value of love you have for one another. It actually helps you discuss finances as part of your marriage planning. You’re entering into a territory of “we” but neither of you wants to get screwed should one person decide it isn’t working out for them. Now, no one enters into a marriage thinking that it may never work out, but I’m here to tell you that sometimes it just doesn’t.

Protecting your assets or future assets is not a bad idea. As women seem to be earning more and marrying men who may not be as financially wealthy as they are there is a shift to protect what was earned prior to marriage. Think, Real Housewives of Atlanta when Kandi Burruss married Todd Tucker. They were literally holding up the wedding until the prenup was signed. It was signed prior to their nuptials though.

Let’s not forget Kim Kardashian when she married her second husband, basketball player, Kris Humphries. It was Kim’s sister who went to her mother to confirm that the prenup was signed before her sister walked down the aisle. Khloe didn’t want to trust the fact that their joint family ventures were at risk because her sister was in love. The prenup was to protect their assets.

But, even though you may not have the millions like the women I discussed, think about if you are a business owner, a homeowner or you have a trust fund or inheritance. Would you want to take the chance that love conquerors all and roll the dice that a prenup would “destroy” the love? Not me. Just think about protecting yourselves and there is no time like the present to bring up the idea of a prenup.

The best quote I read was from a woman who fell in love with a man who lived in Paris. Her story “Why I’m Getting a Prenup—and You Should Too” was posted on the Huffington Post and she said, “I may be in love, but I’m not ignorant about the fact that “things” can happen. I understand that infidelity is always a possibility, that sometimes love just dies, or even that there may be a situation where I’m stuck in France, unable to leave the country with my daughter because of laws I can’t change.”

Just think about the quote above that says “Divorce is the only human tragedy that reduces everything to cash” and hopefully you will make the right decision. Because it is true. There are no guarantees, but you don’t want your brand, assets or investments to suffer because there wasn’t sound financial planning involved.

Fat and Happy

During my daily scroll on the Huffington Post last week, I spotted an interesting article entitled “If You Cannot Love Me Fat Then Don’t Love Me At All” and was instantly intrigued. Why? The title alone screams “Read Me Now”. In a day and age where we are all looking for someone to love or stay in love I wanted to see what the author had to say about loving a fat person.

It’s a great read because the author, Tony Posnanski, is telling his struggles with weight loss and meeting and finding his wife who loved and accepted him from day one as a big guy. He went from 220 pounds when they first met to gaining 75 pounds in the first two months of dating. His weight was up and down and what remained consistent was the fact that his wife loved him just as he was.

Don’t we all wish that someone would love us just the way we are? No trying to change me, just pure acceptance? As a curvy girl myself, I’m not arguing that his weight being up and down is a good thing. We all know the numerous health risks associated with obesity. He doesn’t discuss his issues with weight loss. He just wanted you to know that…If you can’t love me as I am, then don’t love me at all.

 

Girl Using A Tape Measure Checking Her Waistline

 

While some of you may think that it is quite obvious that’s what everyone wants, I would like to let you know that is not the case with curvy folks or specifically curvy girls. As a curvy girl, I’ve had men who wanted to help me get slim or question my workout routine or eating habits. What? Really?

It’s crazy. I don’t diet. I make healthier food choices, drink more water, get plenty of rest and exercise regularly. I want to live for my son. I want to be healthy for him. Not skinny. Healthy. I’m 40 and I have no health problems (knocks on wood). I want to keep it that way.

I want someone that loves me the way that I am knowing that my weight may fluctuate. In my younger days, I was fortunate to date some really great guys who loved me the way I was. One such guy, was Brian. He said that he loved me the way I was and that as long as I didn’t get bigger than him then he would never say a word. I inquired, “What if I do get bigger than you then what?” He looked at me and said, “Then I would say, baby we need to hit the gym. We’re putting on the pounds.” I smiled. I liked that answer. “We”.

There is nothing wrong with being accepted just the way you are today. It may not be pounds like me, but don’t you want acceptance by someone you love? It could be a physical or mental disability, but love should and hopefully would conqueror all.

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Tell Me the Truth

“Living with integrity means: Not settling for less than what you know you deserve in your relationships. Asking for what you want and need from others. Speaking your truth, even though it might create conflict or tension. Behaving in ways that are in harmony with your personal values. Making choices based on what you believe, and not what others believe.” ― Barbara De Angelis 

I am by all accounts a truthful person. I have integrity. I have morals and values. I’m a person who believes in service. A kind and compassionate woman who will share and tell you the honest truth about everything. I am not ashamed of my past or how I arrived at my present. Every injury, wound or scab is a testimony to how God has protected me along the way. This is me.

So, how does being a truthful person bode for me in dating situations? Not well. Because even though I value honesty, integrity and truth-telling, others don’t. I have learned so much from both men and women about dating that I literally could write a book and it wouldn’t even scratch the surface of this Rubik’s cube. There are rules about everything. However, what is consistent with all men is that you can’t tell women the truth about your financial status while dating.

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Men seem to think that women can’t handle the truth about their financial status while dating. Why? Because no woman wants to hear that a man has financial obligations, such as alimony, child support, college tuition or his own personal expenses that are preventing him from paying for dates like a woman wants. They explain to me that these normal expenses greatly reduce a man’s chances of getting a call back for a second date if they were to be honest about their financial obligations.

Men Say:

 

If you tell a woman that money is a little tight because you had an unexpected expense of $1,000 for your car or a medical expense it is met with attitude about you being broke and never taking her anywhere. No matter how good-looking, nice, loyal or emotionally supportive a man can be to a woman, they believe that women want the fantasy. Not the reality of a man’s financial situation.  He’s just like you…broke but taking care of business.

Are women truly that shallow? I’m having a hard time believing that to be true, however, a lot of men seem to think so. I’ve heard multiple men say that if they told women that they like them and would like a relationship with them, but understand that they have financial obligations that may prevent them from weekly date nights, that the women wouldn’t understand. We would classify them as broke and not a viable option.

Here’s an excerpt of a conversation I had with one of my friends yesterday:

“Majority (51%) of women don’t want to hear about what you can’t do. I told you I have had that conversation with a woman I was dating and she said, “Well maybe you should think about whether or not you can afford to date me or date period.” All people want to be with someone. So we know that MOST (51%) women want you to show them a good time even though MOST (51%) women won’t show you a good time. I have heard women complain about money and being short with money but it is okay for them to be short on money and not have enough to make ends meet but it is not okay for me to do it? RIIIIGHT.. My on-line dating profile has a heading that reads “Good Credit Broke Brothers Need Love Too”.

So, what I want to know is how did we get here? When did a hardworking, loyal and trustworthy man (who may be broke) not even register with us women? What changed? Was it the economy or reality television that changed our attitudes about men? Could it be that reality TV has clouded our judgement and willingness to dismiss a good man for something bigger and better?

Now, let me be clear and say that there is nothing wrong with wanting anything. But, if a man has or does all that he can and is just broke are we quick to dismiss him? You know that old thing where we don’t want to waste our time. Or do we believe that we are settling?

Probably. However I can say that as someone who has done the marriage thing before what really matters at the end of the day…someone who is genuinely happy to see you. Someone who adores you and knows that his life was made better because you’re in it. You make him a better man and he is strong enough, smart enough and compassionate enough to deal with “all your multiple personalities”.

There is nothing wrong with desiring a life better than your current one. We all want what we want.  We want a happy and healthy functioning relationship from someone who just gets us. Someone who can take us on dates, buy us little meaningful gifts and romance us like in the days of our parents.  But, at the end of the day, are you truly settling when you find someone who tells you that you make them a better man each day just by waking up?

Not at all.

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The Fish Tales

I’m not a murderer, but I’m not good at taking care of fish. Particularly gold fish. I have a dog, that I love, nurture and care for like he is my own child. In essence, I guess he is. Bailey is my first-born. He is munch’s older “brother”. But, munch is a child that knows his own mind and decided that he would like another pet. Not Bailey. A new one.

So, he decided that he wanted a bird. We said no. “Why not?” he questioned. “We don’t think you’re ready for that responsibility” we answered. “Okay, I want a gold fish for Christmas” was his reply. We agreed that gold fish would be okay and off to the pet store I went to purchase three different gold fish on Christmas Eve.

He loved them instantly. He named them, “Max, Figureo and Bella”. Not sure of the gender, but it doesn’t matter to munch. He believes in gender equality. LOL. So, they were the new additions to our lives. Beautiful fins, color and they liked their environment. They were welcomed into our family and all was well.

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Munch seemed to forget about his pet gold fish. They were just swimming along in their bowl not making any noise. All was peaceful. A couple of days later, munch went to spend a couple of weeks at his dad’s house. He soon forgot about his fish. Why? Probably that old saying, “out of sight out of mind”.

His dad asked him, “Do you miss your fish?” His reply, “No, mommy’s taking care of them.” There it was…the fish became my responsibility. So, I made sure to feed them and say hello and good night every night because that is what munch would want. And all was well…

Until, less than two weeks later when two of the three fish died. I thought it best to share the “circle of life” story with munch and to let him know that all things die. That his fish went to that big fish bowl in the sky. He cried. He was hurt. I told him, “I will buy you another fish baby.” He sniffled, “Okay, mommy. Are my fish with God?” “Yes” I replied.

I took the dead bodies of the two fish back to the pet store for a refund or more precisely to exchange the dead fish for the exact same species of fish that he had. Unfortunately, they didn’t have them in stock. So, I made a parental decision and got him a beautiful big black gold fish. I followed the instructions from the fish technician and put the new fish in the bowl with the other one remaining one.

Munch came home the next day and was excited. He told me that Max and Bella had died and Figuero was the one in the bowl. He loved the new fish. He said, “I shall call her Blackie. Blackie the gold fish.” I laughed. All was well in our house…

Until one week later when Blackie decided to die while we slept. Before we could even clean the bowl (because we were rushing off to school), Figuero died between the morning rush out the door and when we got back home that evening.

Munch was devastated again. We talked and I told him that I was returning Blackie’s body back to the pet store for a refund but that her spirit will live on. He asked, “Did Blackie and Figuero go to heaven with Bella and Max and God?” “Yep.” He smiled, “Mommy, I want more gold fish.” “Really munch? Let’s try some other fish. We’re not doing good with gold fish thing. How about a beta fish?” “No, I just want another gold fish.” “Okay” I responded.

As I cleaned out the bowl and tried to disinfect the smell of death in my house, munch asked “Where did you put Figuero and Blackie?” I looked at him ashamed, “Umm, Figuero is in a ziploc bag and going out with the trash and Blackie is in a ziploc bag going back to the pet store.”

He just stared at me. I turned my back and caught him rummaging through the trash looking for the body. I said, “Munch, get out of the trash. He’s gone.” He then looked at me defiantly and said, “I want more gold fish mommy”.

And so the fish tales continues.

Run Your Race

My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance;

James 1:2-3 NRSV

Today’s post is a short one. I was really going through some things this weekend. Some good and some bad, but I was really wondering, “Why me?” I’m a good person. I’m nice. I’m courteous. I’m dependable. Why do I keep getting in these situations with folks that should know better but refuse to do better. Why do I keep getting frustrated by foolishness and distracted by dishonesty? You know, I was in a “Woe is me” type of mood.

So, this quote today from my daily devotionals was right on time. Why? Because I needed to be reminded that even when it seems like my back is against the wall that I will persevere and endure. Everyone is going through something right now. No one is immune to trials or tribulations. We all have that in common.

My ex and I had an acrimonious dispute this weekend that affected our ability to co-parent effectively. I endure things on my job or in my personal life, but I keep on keeping on. Pushing forward. Why? Because I have faith that I will see this situation through to the end and I will be victorious. My faith is being tested.

If you’re going through a trial, tribulation or a storm know that it is only temporary. You are destined for greatness and your steps have been ordered. I was reminded of that this weekend when I was talking to a friend of mine. He said that if you are a woman of faith, you know that your life has already been scripted. You are just walking through it trying to determine the path where God wants you to be.

Wow! Yep. It’s already written. So, I’m going to get my mind right and my tennis shoes on because I want to walk the path that HE tells me too. It’s not an easy path, but I know that the race I run is a marathon and not a sprint. I will endure. I will keep a positive attitude and I will share my motivational moments and testimonies to keep inspiring you to do the same.

Be blessed my loves!