The journey

The last 16 months has been a lot for me to work through and understand. In the process I have hurt people, but I’ve also been hurt. However, there comes a time when we have to look passed our hurts and rise above all of the things that have tried to tear us down. Walking away from an unhealthy relationship can be a culture shock for just about anyone. When you’ve been out of the game for as long as I have been, dating can be quite shocking as well. Working through getting to know one another can be a tedious process. Unfortunately, learning how to function in a healthy relationship can take time.

Based on my own personal experience, it is going to take a lot longer than 16 months for me to figure myself out. Some days are much worse than others, but for the most part, at least lately, I’ve tried to enter each day with a better attitude. I want to be better. I want to find myself. I want to be healthy. Wanting and doing can be difficult.

Cutting certain people out of your life is almost a must. Loyalty means a lot to me, and when I feel like someone has betrayed me it is really difficult for me to find trust in them again. I’m not mean, but my ability to fully believe or have faith in anything that comes out of their mouths is challenging. Although I don’t believe this is something I should or even need to let go of, I do believe that I must make strides to forgive and move forward. I think that’s the hardest thing: forgiveness. I have found that the hardest person to forgive is myself.

I pity the folks who have watched me torment myself for the last year and a half. It has had to be an excruciating process. I have hated myself for so long, I don’t know how to do anything but that. Nonetheless, I am learning that I am can be strong. I am learning that I am worthy of love and peace. I am intelligent and hard working. I have raised a great son, and I have so much to be thankful for. I think in trying to become a better, more centered person focusing on my blessings is the best way to go. It takes the emphasis off of feeling sorry for myself and puts the focus on all of the wonderful things in my life. It assists in an attitude change.

It is perfectly okay to take the time to get to know yourself again. That is exactly what I intend to do!

Month of Thanks: DAY 25

Today I’m thankful for an open mind.  Too many times I see people who close their thoughts to possibilities.  They stereotype.  They allow hate to drive them forward.  I’m glad that I fight against that with my willingness to look at the perspective of someone else.  The fact is that you don’t know what someone is going through; what battle they are fighting.  Maybe a simple smile can make all the difference.  If we strip away the skin and what makes us male and female, what do  you have?  We are all the same underneath all of that.  We all bleed red.  Our hearts beat.  We breathe air.  So, why should we perpetuate racism and bigotry?  We shouldn’t.  I work ever single day to teach students the importance of an open mind and true, unconditional acceptance.  I strive for it myself.  I hope I never lose sight of the importance of love and compassion.

Giving Thanks: Day 4

Today I want to say that I’m thankful for my mom.  She taught me how to be strong through hard lessons.  She taught me what an education meant, and how important it would be to obtain one.  She taught me that the odds are typically not in our favor, but it’s up to each individual to go beyond those odds; to pull myself up by the bootstraps and go on.

She is the only link I have left to my aunts, my uncle, and my grandparents.  I knew that one day we would travel this road without them, but it’s certainly been harder than either of us ever imagined.  This is our first holiday without my Aunt Evelyn.  Although I grief differently than most, I still feel the pain of her loss.  When my mother talks to me about the loss she feels, I can see that she is trying to make sense of the world without my aunt.  It’s not an easy task by any means.  However, we must move forward, and as she has told me time and time again, “Pull yourself up by the bootstraps!”

The Month Of Thanksgiving

I am a few days late, but better late than never.  So, here goes:

I am thankful for my son. He means EVERYTHING to me. He has been through so much this summer.  He has dealt with judgment from sources who have no right to judge.  He will never get that from me.  That’s the beauty of unconditional love.

Carl Rogers encouraged us to embrace our children, faults and all (Hergenhahn & Henley, 2014).  It is heartbreaking that not all parents understand this let alone employ it.  At a young age my child has been required to process one of the greatest rejections he may ever face.  However, he is becoming stronger for it.  He is excelling in school, and he is growing spiritually and personally.

Secondly is my husband.  I feel like I haven’t seen him much since I started the Ph.d. program in April, and even more so since I started back to work in August. He too has been through a lot recently.  He is one of the strongest people I know.  I only wish I could be that strong.  He is an awesome dad, too.   I love him more than he will ever understand or know.

Death is a part of life, and grief is a natural process that all humans must go through with the loss of a loved one (Stassen, 2016).  What is excruciating is watching someone navigate through that loss, feeling helpless and impotent.  That’s what I’ve been doing since July.  The loss of my father-in-law has changed everything for our lives.  As a result, my husband is much less carefree and has transformed to his very core.  Coming up on the first major holiday without his father will be especially difficult.  Still, I have no doubt his strength will win out.

I am thankful for my dad.  He taught me how to laugh. He taught me how to play the drums.  He taught me how to sing.  He introduced me to The Blues Brothers and Saturday Night Live in the 70’s.  We share a love of the same music.  He’s taught me more skills than I can possibly list.  He is an awesome grandfather, too!  My dad and I have an extremely similar thought process.  My mom often tells me that we react the same way to various situations and say the same things when presented with challenges.  We both share the commonality of road rage (LOL), but we also share a lot of endearing qualities.  He is truly one wild and crazy guy!

More to come 🙂

References

Hergenhahn, B. R., & Henley, T. B.  (2014).  An introduction to the history of psychology (7th

ed.).  Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Stassen Berger, Kathleen,  (2016).  Invitation to the Life Span (3rd ed.).  New York, NY:  Worth.

Thanksgiving Challenge: Day 21

Evelyn

1779103_10202802296292327_2122406475_nToday I offer up thanks for my Aunt Evelyn. My childhood wouldn’t have been the same without her. She will be celebrating her 91st birthday in December.

She nor my aunt Kat ever married. They never had children. I was their child. My mother was their child. They devoted their lives to their jobs and to the church.

Evelyn has really struggled without Kat. They were inseparable and they lived together until Kat went into the nursing home. I’m sure it is much like losing a spouse. There is a void that cannot be filled by anything or anyone.

I am thankful that Evelyn is still with us and I see her at least once a week. I think it’s important that we take time to visit our elders. They are filled with knowledge and history. They are bound by a higher purpose to share that knowledge and that legacy with the next generation. So, by spending time with her, I help her fulfill that higher purpose.

Thankful Challenge: Day 20

Kathleen

1779753_10202802297452356_1281414486_nI am thankful for my Aunt Kat. She passed on, but I certainly haven’t forgotten her. I look forward to her visits while I’m dreaming and think about her all of the time. There are times when I catch her perfume on some of my clothing and it’s like she never left. I think about her every single day. Thanksgivings haven’t been the same without her.

Death is a part of life, but sometimes it is difficult for us to navigate through that sea of grief. Years can pass and at certain times, especially around the holidays, depression can creep up on us before we even realize it. None of the holidays have been the same without her.

I used to feel like that about my grandma, but I was a child when she left us. After that, my aunts and my grandpa kept our holidays together. Now, things are so different. And that makes me sad.

It’s hard to be thankful for bereavement, but it helps us realize we’re human. It also gives us something to look forward to. If you’re in the camp of the spiritualists, it tells you there is more beyond this world; a place where we can reunite with our loved ones. If you happen to be me, you don’t even have to wait. Those of us that are clairvoyant are visited constantly by not only our relatives, but many others who want to send messages or just feel that “human connection.”

If you’re not in the camp with us eclectic folks, I’m not sure how to explain death to you. When I was an atheist, I saw death as a permanent end. Not only was that a pretty dim point of view, but it had a tremendous impact on my mental health.

Either way you look at it, the loss of a loved one is painful and that is reiterated for us each day we go on without them. However, if we can look back on the good times with them, especially during the holidays, we may find comfort in their legacy. This woman left a legacy like no one else. She was a public servant and gave herself more than she had to. I miss her…

Thankful Challenge: Day 12

Bloodline

85d1ef33e561f7ecf58db8aeca770cf6I raise my hands in praise for my ancestors. They are my bloodline. I am their legacy. I humbly honor them with glad tidings and offerings!

Whether you realize it or not, you are surrounded by those who’ve passed. They have a hand in your life. They offer knowledge if you can still your mind and listen. People become desensitized to their whispers. Many believe that hearing them is indicative of demonic activity. I’m here to tell you that’s false.

Embrace those who’ve gone on before you. They are wise and they want to help you through this life’s journey.

Blessed be!