Motivational Monday Moment– 7.24.17

Today’s Motivational Monday Moment is about finding your joy in the midst of your storm. I know it’s hard. I know that life can be overwhelming sometimes. I get it. You may be in a transition, a storm or a dang hurricane, but hold on love.

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I need you to hold on and anchor yourself. You need to remember that you can’t control the storm, but don’t let it take your joy. You have to hold on.

I remember going through a rough period four years ago when I ended my marriage. We were in a bad space. I was hurting. He was hurting. I was literally being engulfed in a sea of pain and anger. I was drowning. I had let go of my joy.

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Have you ever literally fallen because of the emotional pain you were experiencing? There was nothing physically wrong with you, but the emotional pain was overwhelming? I have. It is unbelievable.

I would be walking and fall out and start crying. My son was holding my head begging me not to cry. He said “Mommy, don’t cry. I’ll protect you. Mommy, please don’t cry.” I’ll never forget that.

It took everything in me to get beyond the grief that I was experiencing. I was dealing with so much pain and grief at the dissolution of my family structure and how we were treating each other that I thought I was going to lose my mind.

I couldn’t hold on to my joy. It was slipping through my fingers. Until one day…

I literally heard God speak to me and say “Get up! It is done.” 

And just like that I had regained the strength to keep on fighting. To keep on moving forward despite the pain that I found myself in. I was not alone. God reminded me of that. That remembrance of his love and mercy helped me to regain my joy.

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You see God had given me back my joy. But, I’ve strayed. I’ve let life and situations that I find myself in overwhelm me. I allow the hopelessness and pain of my situations choke the joy out of me. Until now.

I am reading everything lately. Nothing is one sided. Where there is darkness there is light. Where there is pain there is joy. The good and bad exist on the same plane. I can take the good, but not the bad, but is that fair?

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Nope. I need to remember re-frame a situation, re-establish boundaries and restructure my outlook on life. My joy doesn’t disappear when there is pain. When there is despair, joy is still there. I have to remember that.

And I want you to remember it too. There is nothing that you are going through that you can’t find and hold on to your joy. You are a vessel of positive light and you are loved. No matter what the situation you find yourself in, please know that you are of value and joy is within you. Don’t despair my friend.

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Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

Volume

I turned down the volume on the radio. I had a headache. The stress of my situation was weighing on my spirit and I couldn’t take it. I sighed “Two more weeks.”

Two more weeks until I was free to move away. Move to another place far away from this mess of a life that I had managed to create here. My job was transferring. Bigger raise. Bigger opportunity. Bigger city.

The promotion spoke volumes about my professional career. My love life on the other hand wasn’t as finalized. I had been dating a man for the last six months. I don’t know if you could really call it dating. It was more of a relationship of convenience. We hooked up when we were available.

He was a Virgo. Moody as hell. Fine, but definitely not a long term option. He didn’t seem to care when I told him about the job offer and move to Chicago. He just grunted “Good for you.” I guess I knew where we stood in those three words. They spoke volumes.

I couldn’t wait to get out of D.C.. So many memories, both good and bad, but Chicago was a new city. Time for a bigger change. I had already connected with some of my sorority sisters and they couldn’t wait for my arrival. I could just imagine the jazz clubs, the deep dish pizza and the winters. I was ready.

I looked around my apartment and tried to finish packing up my life. No real attachments. My walls held the standard black art and my shelves contained the acceptable amount of English and Russian literature to show that I was educated. I had no personal photos of men that I dated or my family. I was too busy.

Always working. Always striving. I was the most accomplished in my family. That in itself spoke volumes.

I grew up dirt poor in Frog Jump, Tennessee. Not much to see, but the minute I graduated, I packed my bags and headed to Atlanta, Georgia.  I was a southern girl at heart. I attended a prestigious HBCU, graduated with honors and got a job in NYC. After a few years working my way up the corporate ladder, off to the nation’s capital I ventured to work on my MBA at Johns Hopkins and work in finance.

I just knew that I would find love here. I did. Derek was his name. He was tall, sexy and educated to boot. He was my first real love. He showed me the world. I gave him my all. Including my womb where he planted his seed. We were having a baby. It was unexpected, but I knew that Derek would be excited.

We had talked about children, marriage and a future after we had both established ourselves professionally. We were going to be a power couple. Until the baby. Until the night I told Derek that I was carrying our future. He looked at me with so much power that I knew that he would gather me up in his arms and kiss me.

But, I felt the force of his fist across my eye. The venom and anger in which he hit me with his fists and his words spoke volumes. “You whore!” he screamed. “You know that I am not where I’m supposed to be. You trapped me you slut!”

I laid there as he continued to hit me and kick me. I couldn’t fight back. He was too big. I tried. I cried. I tried to protect my belly.

My neighbor called the police. They broke in. They saved me.

I was another statistic. Another battered woman. My degrees didn’t matter. My job status. My race.

I lost more than my baby that night. I lost a piece of my soul. The quietness of my womb spoke volumes as I lay in my hospital bed.

 

This piece is inspired by the Daily Post. The word prompt of the day was volume.

 

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

Motivational Monday Moment – 6/12/17

Today’s Motivational Monday is about mindfulness. I told ya’ll last week how stressed I’ve been and it is affecting my health. I need to get a grip. I’ve begun to make changes and starting to implement the things my therapist and doctor told me because I don’t want to die. I have too much to live for.

That being said, I started to practice mindfulness. You’re probably wondering…what is mindfulness? T, what are you doing? Is this some hokey pokey weird stuff? No, I assure you it is not. I am just learning to exhibit some self-control over my mind when it comes to the stress that I’m enduring.

mindfulness (n)

  1. the state or quality of being mindful or aware of something.
  2. Psychology.
  1. a technique in which one focuses one’s full attention only on the present, experiencing thoughts, feelings, and sensations but not judging them:  The practice of mindfulness can reduce stress and physical pain.
  2. the mental state maintained by the use of this technique.

So, I’ve been doing breathing exercises and incorporated meditation. About 1 minute of mediation daily. It’s a start. I’m trying to control my mind so that I’m not being consumed by all the negativity.

I’ve also started to track the things that are stressing me out, accept them and move on. This is a big deal for me. Usually I let them sit in my spirit and I’m so angry and ready to cuss. I let the anger sit in my spirit and mind and fester in me all day and I am holding on to it.

I am learning to breathe through it. Refocus and accept that things are not always going to be the way that they should and that’s okay. That’s life. But, I used to feel the need to argue and tell my side of the story and my point of view on things when people talk about me or blatantly lie on me. That is not the case. With mindfulness comes an awareness of self.

I can only control me. That is the only thing that I need to worry about. Giving time and energy to things that don’t yield tangible results would be a waste. I need to focus and redirect my spirit to the present and just keeping positive vibes around me. Negative vibes will destroy the hell out of your mood.

My Motivational Monday Moment is to remind you to be mindful of the energy that you allow around you. Choose only positive energy today. If you can’t do that, then be mindful of the energy that is not in line with your spirit and move to a place of peace and acceptance of that negativity. Don’t let it consume you or destroy the wonderful place you’re cultivating.

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Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

You Will Not Believe This

I told you all about how my ex and I are going back to court for custody and that when we arrived to have our custody hearing we were told that we were still married. No? You can read about it in Failure of the Court and in Divorced Again. Long story short…we were both shocked as hell.

We went to a Pendente Lite (temporary custody) hearing on May 4th only to be told that nothing can be done because the second divorce hadn’t been signed off. Yep, another day off work. Another day of time wasted. Another day of stress. The magistrate then said that we have a custody hearing in August so it would wait. What the hell? More delays. More stress. More time off work.

I was beyond frustrated and barely holding on with all this back and forth. I felt like the courts had failed me. Could no one do their job? Would I have to continue in this state of unknown until August? Yep. Apparently.

I was a wreck a few days after the hearing as you can imagine because I was mentally and physically tired. I allowed myself a couple of days to focus on other things and to get my mind right. There were still things that I had to do and Munch still needed to be taken care of. After a few days of moping around, I got up and moved on with my life.

Well, last Monday when I went to get the mail I had three notices from the courts. Not thinking it was anything other than the second divorce paper and update on the August trial, I was shocked to read:

The Scheduling Order dated April 20, 2017 and the Magistrate recommendations of April 11, 2017 and May 4, 2017 are stricken. The Judgment of Absolute Divorce dated March 17, 2016 remains in full force and effect. The parties’ respective Motions for Modification shall be scheduled for three hours on the earliest available date. Notice to be sent to the parties.

What? Was I reading this correctly? That meant that a judge had reviewed our complicated file and decided that all that extra BS we were going through was not necessary and that the original divorce stood as is. Custody remained as is. We were legally divorced back to the original date granted.

I ripped open the other two envelopes and one said to schedule the Motions for Modification hearing on June 21st and to remove the merits hearing scheduled for August. The final was the hearing confirmation from the court house calendar management division. It was real. It was happening. Sooner rather than later and I didn’t have to wait until August.

What’s the big deal? Nothing really. Time. I am tired of all the back and forth and the courts are stressing me the hell out. First we’re divorced, then we’re not divorced, then we can’t have a hearing on custody because the second divorce hadn’t been signed off and then we’re really divorced (my bad) let’s go to court next month.  It is exhausting. Heck, I’m exhausted telling you about it.

But, thankfully a judge reviewed the file in it’s entirety and upheld the original divorce and decided that we didn’t have to start all over. Again. I appreciated that. I don’t know what will happen in court next month, but I’m convinced that God’s will will be done. So, I ask that you keep us all (Munch, my ex and I) in your prayers because truthfully we need it.

 

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

Motivational Monday Moment – 3/6/2017

I want to talk about grace today. Grace as a noun means favor or good will. I never really thought much about that word until recently. So, my Motivational Monday Moment is about grace and how it is not the same as forgiveness.

Let me tell you how I discovered that they are not the same…

I went home last month to Tennessee to see my father. It was uneventful, which was good. He’s recovering. He’s not doing what he’s supposed to do. His family is helping him out.

I flew in late Saturday night and drove almost two hours to my grandma’s house. I got lost. The outlets in the rental car didn’t work. I had 10% of cell phone battery left. It was trying. I got in and went to sleep.

Sunday morning I went to church with a friend of mine to hear him preach and later that evening I went to check on my dad. We sat and talked for a couple of hours. It was good. He asked me to take him to McDonald’s and get him something to eat.

So, off we went and he started to talk about how his family mixes things up. How they get information confused. His mom (who is deceased) and/or his siblings. It was random, but he mentioned how the first time he brought his girlfriend Arlene to town from Chicago, people had assumed she was white.

I listened to him talk. I said “I remember Arlene.” He replied “You never met Arlene.” I said, “Yep, I did. It was one year that we happened to be in town and my grandma made us come over to visit your mother. Your family. Funny thing is that she didn’t even tell us you were in town. We found out by visiting. I wanted to walk down the street to the local park with some of my friends. I asked you could I go. You told me to ask Arlene. Why? She wasn’t my mother. She was the first woman that I met and you thought that your girlfriend should give me permission? She wasn’t entitled. You were the parent. I felt disrespected. You didn’t provide support for us. Neither did Arlene. Non-financial people shouldn’t have opinions. Especially not girlfriends.”

He just listened. He changed the subject. He doesn’t remember that I met his first girlfriend outside of my mother. Only that he brought her to Tennessee. I, on the other hand remember everything. I have a long memory.

My memory won’t let me forget the pain inflicted by my father. I’ve tried. Other things happened which I will tell you about later. I didn’t understand. I hadn’t felt bad in a LONG time. What was happening to me? I shouldn’t be feeling the pain of longing for a father who wasn’t there.

I came home the following Tuesday and met with my therapist that week. I told her what happened. She asked me “Why do you go and visit him?” I told her that God told me to forgive him. She inquired whether or not God told me to build a bridge with him? I told her that he only told me to forgive him. She told me “You haven’t forgiven him.” I told her “Yes”. She said “No, you’ve given him grace. You’ve not forgiven him. You have too much residual pain left.” She went on to explain that the pain is both normal and understandable considering the years of abandonment, but she needed me to think about what forgiveness looks like.

I sighed.

For the last four years of my life, I thought I gave forgiveness. I gave grace. They are not the same. The weird thing is that I never knew anyone who gave grace. I thought God was the only one to give grace.

I was wrong. We can give grace. I allowed him to occupy a space in my world after almost 30 years of no relationship by thinking I was doing as God instructed…forgiving. But, now I see I was only giving grace.

I was being graceful by allowing him to be a part of my life. I was thinking that I was forgiving him by letting him spend time with me and dealing with the parts of my life that were painful. The parts that were caused by him and others. But, I wasn’t forgiving him. I haven’t forgiven him.

I’m struggling with this uncovered feeling. I’m trying to process what I need to forgive him. It’s hard. It’s a process and ultimately, I need to both obey God and forgive my father. God forgives. God gives grace.

I am not God.

So, my Motivational Monday Moment is spent somewhere in reflection, thought and understanding of grace and forgiveness. I ask the question, “Have you forgiven or have you given grace?” Let’s focus on both this week.

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Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links:  Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

Remembering I’m Enough

I am enough. That was one of the hardest things that I had to tell myself. As someone who is extremely self-confident, I seemed to lose it when I got married. He became bigger than me. Not because he wanted too or even asked me to. It was me. My choice. I thought that’s what you do when you get married. You sacrifice yourself for the greater good of the marriage.

But, I was wrong. Marriage is much more than that. How can one be expected to have a healthy and functioning relationship when you’re jacked up mentally? If you lose a piece of yourself in the process of attaching yourself to someone else, how can you be expected to know that you’re enough?  Truth is…you can’t.

I couldn’t. I didn’t. Because I was broken. Broken people can’t seem to realize that their enough. Life and storms knock you out and you feel as though you are drowning. You can’t swim. Why did this have to happen to you? Why not? This was the question that I truly had to answer. Was I above trials and tribulations? I knew from church and prayer that the road wouldn’t be easy, but dang. I couldn’t drive over those spikes without getting a flat.

Until I realized that at least I have the ability and tools in my car to fix and repair that flat. I didn’t have to drive on that flat tire, damaging the rim. I could pull over and keep repairing the tire or use the spare. You see it right? The Aha Moment…I could do it. My attitude towards my situation and life’s circumstances had to change just like that tire or my soul would be damaged.

I realized that I deserve to be forgiven and I deserve to forgive because I’m enough. Knowing and believing that you are enough in the midst of difficult situations can impact your self-esteem in a major way. You doubt the little things. You act out because you feel like you’re not enough.  But, balance is what I’ve learned. Faith renewed. Spiritual growth. They happen when you stop acting out and expecting everyone to fix or understand the messed up you.

Once you start to grow and walk with the confidence you truly have, it shows. People can see the light in your eyes when you genuinely laugh. They notice your change in hair color or clothes. They notice that effervescent smile plastered all over your face. They want to know what it is it about you. You were broken and messed up last time they saw you. What changed? You know what you tell them?

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links:  Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

Life of Regrets

It is at the end of a man or woman’s life that they really begin to ponder things. Did I live a good life? Did I enjoy it? Was I good person? Did I leave the world a better place than when I found it?

Or at least I hope that is what we’ll do.

I have been thinking a lot about the life yet lived and the mistakes that we make when faced with the possibility of death. No, I’m not dying. I’ve been sick, but I’m recuperating. That’s why my posts have seemed erratic lately. Please bear with me.

But, I told ya’ll last week that my daddy had a pace maker put in and I was worried about him. His family was calling and asking me about a living will and what do I want to do with the surgery and being his decision maker. I started freaking out. What do you mean? Is he conscious? Can’t he make the decisions on his own? I don’t know about the will. He mentioned it a few times, but I’ve seen or signed nothing. Ugh!

I was overwhelmed and frustrated to say the least. I was told they would call me back and they didn’t. I just called the hospital and spoke to his nurse in ICU. He was conscious. He was able to make the decisions on his healthcare. He wanted the pacemaker.

I got answers. I was happy that the hospital was being very concerned about my dad’s health. They took down my phone number and called me. There was a wonderful nurse who told me she was trying to let the social worker know what my daddy needed when he went home. He needed a nurse. He needed help. He didn’t have a phone.

She asked me about my dad’s military service. My dad said he was a vet. He is. He is a vet. He was dishonorably discharged. The nurse said “He told me he wasn’t dishonorably discharged and he has papers to prove it.” I sighed. It was 1:30 in the morning. I responded in exasperation “My daddy is an alcoholic. He’s had a drinking problem all his life or at least for the last 35 years. Too much drinking and smoking. His brain cells are gone. He can’t produce any paperwork and I’m too tired to argue.”

She was sympathetic as I explained that I am the only one of a possible 9 children still speaking to him. One out of 9. That’s his life. So, I have no reason to lie. He’s broke and sick. He’s one of the forgotten. I just don’t know how to feel.

She understood. She listened as I explained that God had told me to forgive my daddy. That God told me that it in order for me to be blessed I had to let go of all the pain my daddy caused by not being in my life. She said “Me too. I know exactly what you mean.” She said she would help him. She would exhaust her resources.

Apply for Medicare. Do everything she can. Thank God for her.

She didn’t have to go above and beyond. It was appreciated. I wasn’t there. I knew at that moment that I needed to go home to see about him.

I talked to him the next day. He was moved to ICU to his own room. I called and heard his voice. He’s alive. He’s able to make his decisions. I told him the calls I received from his relatives. He said that he knew.

I was exhausted. Emotionally and mentally. It’s hard loving a man that you don’t really know. I’ve spent 11 years of my life with this man and 31 without him. It’s hard trusting him to not come in my life and hurt me again. I’m not his only child. I’m one of many.

My dad said that he wants me to contact his other children. To reach out to them and ask them to talk to him. I won’t. I can’t.

I feel that God gave me the message in order to move me from the pain to the promise. He may not have given my siblings that message. It’s not for me to clean up my daddy’s mess. I’ve said to him that he needs to find a way to clean up his own mess. That you can’t ask me to do what you should have done a long time ago. Be a man to your children.

I know that he’s living a life of regrets right now, but I can’t help him. We are all responsible for the choices we make. Good, bad or indifferent, you have to know that there will come a time when payment is due for your negligence. I wish that his regrets were more of the life not traveled, but I know they are more about the man he wasn’t and the forgotten children.