break ups, love, marriage, relationships, sex

“I’m a homebody” and other lines from broke boys

It’s no secret that in this game of dating, I have some pretty strong opinions, from the nonsense around cuffing season to the ambiguous AF notion of “talking”, I’ve got a lot on my mind. And it’s not without reason.

Since I keep the company of attractive, whole, successful women, I often hear stories that range from titillating to downright disrespectful. Just last week, I was briefed on a steamy rendezvous, getting ghosted, a great first date, and an “I like you, but”…disaster. And just when I thought I’d heard it all, I had one of the most ridiculous text exchanges in recent memory.

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“But Adri” you may say, “what’s wrong with this gentleman you’re dating coming over for wings and wine?”

Well, for one, this man and I have never been on a date. We met twice and barely know each other. Secondly, and this is important, it is highly untoward for this man, or any man I’m not in a relationship with, to invite themselves over to my home. This is not the first time a man has tried to come to my place or invited me over to his without knowing me. In fact, I wrote about my issue with it a while back. Thirdly, I don’t eat wings.

I was highly annoyed because I thought interactions like that were reserved for the young and the cashless. This was common in my early 20’s living in NYC and New Jersey.

I suppose since moving to the nation’s capital, I grew comfortable living in a bubble where men in their 30’s wouldn’t dare try such cheap gimmicks. I was rudely reminded that they exist. Still.

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And so with this knowledge, I have to inform my sistren that there’s games afoot- and the broke boys are out trying to finagle their way into your homes and pockets. So, I bring you: 5 [new age] broke boy lines

  1. “I’m a homebody” – this may be true but if he keeps saying it, it means he’s preparing to only stay home. You might as well empty your cart from Fashion Nova, baby. You ain’t going anywhere
  2. “There’s too much drama at these parties” – this is coded language for “I don’t want us to run into my current flings” or “I don’t have the funds for a few drinks”. Either way, bye.
  3. “How about I cook for you?” – this one is tricky because these new age scammer men have learned that less women are interested in preparing meals for any old guy but many will be impressed if he offers to cook. You just may be signing up for nights filled with spaghetti and jar pasta sauce.
  4. “I’m saving up to buy a house”– if his savings plan doesn’t have a line item for dating then guess what? He doesn’t need to be dating. A lot of these men will use that line because it very often ends the conversation. Who can argue with a hardworking man trying to purchase a home? Me- because I own a home and know what it takes. Furthermore, if he doesn’t have any room at all for the extras in life, he will be house poor if he is, in fact, “saving up for a house”. A man with a plan and purpose for you will be creative and show you a good time without breaking the bank.
  5. “I’m just interested in getting to know you one-on-one without a bunch of people around.” – BS. Staring in someone’s face while sipping cheap wine constantly doesn’t spark organic conversation. Nor does it give you an opportunity to see them in different, sometimes less than ideal circumstances. Go to an art show, play mini golf, go bowling, grab smoothies and walk around a farmer’s market. Those are the instances when you’ll see how someone acts in different places and spaces. Adults know that. Broke boys are trying to get a lot for little to nothing.

 

Toodles!

Adri

break ups, dating, friendships, healing

Depleted

I get it.

I finally get why people become angry and spiteful when they were seemingly joyful and light. As much as I am trying to resist what feels like the inevitable, it is a losing battle that I’m not sure I care to win anymore.

I am a giver. Not at the expense of my personal finances or health – I’m not a saint. But when I see people who are in need, I do what I can to help them. And 2018 demonstrated that my generosity, my willingness to extend myself, needs to be curbed, at a minimum.

Someone with whom I’d had a checkered friendship with took advantage of me. Even after forgiving her for several instances of abandoning me during the only times I ever needed anything, I continued to extend myself. And so, when she desperately needed help and had literally no one, not even her own family to turn to, I offered to let her live with me for an extremely modest fee. And when I asked for the money a month later, she refused, stating that because she never asked for help, and I offered, she didn’t owe me anything.

I’ve had to deal with the knowledge that someone who I invited into my space and my life would do something so callous, so selfish, that it’s hard to believe I was ever considered a friend in the first place.

This breakdown came on the heels of what I can only call the most emotionally draining and intense relationship I’ve been in. By my ex’s own admission, I poured everything into a relationship while ignoring my own major issues. He’s acknowledged multiple times that I am responsible for his newfound healing and reignited passion and focus.

Good for him. But where does that leave me?

The amount of times I’ve laid myself on the line for others only to be stabbed in the back or disregarded is embarrassing for someone who considers herself a self-care queen. Self-care isn’t painful. Self-care doesn’t leave you empty and barely willing to entertain men because you feel like the best parts of you are with someone who didn’t deserve it. Self-care doesn’t ignore a chaotic person’s habits and invites them in your home, anyway. Self-care is an act of rebellion. As black women, we need more than manicures and facials. We need to protect our peace by any means necessary. Aggressively.

As someone with depression, disappointing events, betrayals, and the like can have devastating consequences. I take ownership of my mental health and do what I can to ensure that I’m always in alignment with what’s best for me. For a long time, helping those close to me was an integral part of my healing. Not so much, these days.

As much as my family and friends associate me with my heart and my love for helping others, I have to hold what little bit of light I have left closely.

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I just don’t have any more to spare.

Adri

blog, dating, healing, love, relationships, sex

Death to “Talking”

I can’t believe in the year of our Lord, 2018, that I have to even write this.

It pains me to even bring it up but since we’re in the midst of the hell that is called “cuffing season,” I have to look out for my sisters.

It has come to my attention that men and women above the age of 21 are engaging in what is being called “talking”. That’s right, folks. You’re not reading a #flashbackfriday post. I’m declaring a State of Emergency on all things brokeboy and proclaiming that we end “talking” immediately.

I’m sure some of you may be confused. Before I get ahead of myself, allow me to break down the stages of dating, according to the little situationship that couldn’t.

Stage One: Two people meet. They’re attracted to each other. They converse as they get to know one another.

Stage Two: They go on outings (not dates), limited to free or near free activities.

Stage Three: “Talking”. This almost always includes sex. Talking also means they go out on dates. But they are not committed and are free to date and sleep with other people.

Stage Four:
Dating. It’s important to note that few make it to this stage. Most situationships toggle between stages 2 and 3, and usually only progress at the insistence of a frustrated woman. The primary difference between dating and talking is that dating usually involves more emotional investment. You’re free to openly flirt just as much as you’d vent to them about a tough day at work.

Stage Five:
Exclusive dating. They agree to only date and sleep with each other. They may be known among their friends and family as a couple.

Stage Six: Sudden death round. Ok, ok. I kid. This the relationship.

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I’m exhausted. I’m sure you are, too. And that is why I want to do away with the fluff in between meeting a person and being in a relationship. These barriers of entry are entirely left up to interpretation and are almost always set up to avoid accountability.

Ladies, let’s chat.

You know that guy that hits you up no more than 2 hours before he wants to “link up?” The one that says he’s just looking for a vibe? The one who looks good but you have listed as “Don’t Answer”? The one you fake cut off every quarter?

Y’all are not talking. You’re not dating. You’re not just hanging out. You, my beautiful sister, are SINGLE. As single as the dollar bill you fished out of your purse when he asked if you had tip money for the bartender.

I advise you to take your single behind out of the twilight zone and stop subscribing to this talking nonsense. No man who wants love, a relationship, and commitment with you would even bring such things to your doorstep. You know it. And I know it.

Kill it with fire.

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depression, gratitude, healing, mental health, self awareness, weight

What Depression Looks Like

“The longer I do this, the more I realize that there isn’t a specific type of patient afflicted by this,” said my psychiatrist. I was in the hospital, recovering from my first and only major depressive episode. Just days after my birthday, the quiet storm of seemingly unrelated events that had been brewing for months – in some cases years – like my lack of motivation, weight gain, sudden disinterest in social activities, and screwy sleep patterns had turned into a tornado of 911 calls and a trip to the hospital, leaving those closest to me collectively baffled.

I had been gut punched by depression and I had no idea it was coming. As an advocate for mental health, I have to say, I was and still am a bit embarrassed. I should have seen it coming. It should not have escalated to the point it did. But as I am taking time to learn about shame from the incomparable Dr. Brene Brown, I know that shame survives in secrecy. And while the more personal details of my story will remain with my closest friends and family members, I think it is incredibly important to use my platform as a flare gun of sorts, letting my readers know that I’m here, that I’m okay, and that there’s danger ahead if you’re not careful.

As I work through understanding what this means for me in the grand scheme of things, I fully admit that I don’t have the answers. I didn’t even want to write this but my friend encouraged me to, even though I have nothing to say. Writing was my first form of therapy, after all.

In hindsight, I suppose I wish I had been kinder to myself, allowing room for error in an imperfect world that I willed to be perfect. I wish I knew that having a six figure income, house, travel plans, massages, etc. was not the true definition of self-care.

But I know now, at least. And I guess that’s as good a start as any.

Adri

 

break ups, dating, love, relationships, self awareness, sex

Sometimes, you do it to yourself

Froth: worthless or insubstantial talk, ideas, or activities

In light of today’s daily prompt and recent celebrity gossip, I’ve decided to tell the straight-shot-no-chaser version of the scandal that is Tristan Thompson and Khloe Kardashian.

Some may consider celebrity gossip mindless fodder, or froth, but I often see and identify the meaning within these types of stories. This one is no different.

Here’s the breakdown: Khloe Kardashian began dating professional basketball player Tristan Thompson at or around the time his former girlfriend was heavily pregnant (his son is 15 months, so you do the math). They soon attended star-studded events together, were seen publicly almost daily (at least I think so), and a few months ago, announced that they were expecting a daughter.

Yesterday, allegations, along with videos, arose depicting Tristan in very compromising positions with women who were not Khloe Kardashian. Khloe is in Cleveland while she prepares to give birth any day now. Apparently, the Kard-Jenner clan is shocked, with a source noting that they, along with Khloe, did not “know how deceptive Tristan could really be”.

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Aight.

I’ll start off by saying that under no circumstances should a pregnant woman, or any woman, go through the stress and pain of cheating.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of way…Khloe…girl.

GIRL.

This woman is 33. I am having a hard time understanding how she could, with all of the money, resources, and fame at her fingertips, make a conscious decision to enter a serious relationship with a man who was expecting a child. Life and romance rarely play out like in the movies where everything would be perfect if not for a case of good guy, bad timing.

If the timing is bad, then so are the prospects of the relationship.

Which brings me to the title of this post. It is important to exercise accountability at the end of almost every relationship in order to reflect on how you either contributed to the demise or could have avoided the relationship altogether. This goes for personal, professional, and romantic relationships.

Personal accountability should not ever be conflated with blame or shame. No one deserves to be met with a terrible partner who is abusive, dishonest, or unfaithful. They are, however, responsible for guarding their heart and being mindful about who they trust with it. Yes, a man can switch up and become the worst kind of partner. It happens every day. You cannot control another adult’s actions. You can, however, control yourself and your response to poor treatment.

Khloe enjoyed nights on the town and fancy dinners while her boyfriend’s recent ex was giving birth. No amount of finessing should have convinced her that that was a good idea. Perhaps she thought that “the heart wants what it wants” or maybe that “true love wins”.

Maybe this is all an elaborate publicity stunt. Maybe there’s no merit to the claims. But there is a very real innocent life about to be born into a media storm and that’s the biggest concern in all of this.

It’s just a shame that it took something like this to throw a monkey wrench in Khloe’s plans.

Sometimes, you do it to yourself.

via Daily Prompt: Froth

blog, break ups, dating, success

Some News

I’m writing a book!

That’s pretty much it. Some pretty crazy stuff has happened recently and it took those events and me centering myself to realize that I should be focusing more on the things I love.

I’ve started and stopped writing several books but this one is the one that’s coming out this summer!

It’ll be true to AdriSpeaks form: straight shot, no chaser. I don’t hold back, pull no punches, and give you more than what’s on this blog. I’ll be sharing some tough stories that I hope will empower readers to be the captains of their own souls.

Plus, it’ll have some pretty effective worksheets and exercises because I’m no one if not all about a solid action plan.

Of course, that means that I’ll likely be away from this blog for a little while. You understand, I hope?

P&L,

Adri

black panther, healing, love, racism, representation

#BlackPanther and Freedom: A Review

Marvel fans and casual viewers alike can breathe a sigh of relief- the year-long buzz has not merely been hype (kind of like the Justice League-oops). It’s the real deal.

I attended an early screening of the film on Monday, February 12, thanks to a Twitter – IMAX partnership, which gave fans the opportunity to participate in a #blackpantherlive Twitter conversation with the stars of the film and then watch the movie in IMAX. At the New York City-based event, the stars answered questions, and even gave viewers across the country an opportunity to take a peek at an inside joke that led Lupita Nyong’o (who plays Nakia) to cash in on a bet and make Michael B. Jordan (Killmonger) do a push up on the spot. While the conversation was entertaining, moviegoers applauded as it came to an end. It was time to watch the film.

Obligatory spoiler warning: I won’t be revealing any key plot points but if you don’t want to know anything at all about the film, now would be a good time to stop reading.

Imagery: Wakanda is not quite like anything I’ve seen before. As an avid moviegoer, I’ve seen plenty of films featuring East African plains and rural environments. But the juxtaposition of roaming goats against a (hidden) metropolitan city teeming with street vendors, pedestrians, professionals and other worldly technology felt like my wildest dreams coming to life. As a Jamaican, I reminisced on my most recent trip there and wondered, briefly, how things would be if we had just some of that wealth.

Be prepared to feel almost overwhelmed with the amount of details and images that cross the screen. From flying wigs to zipping trains, you may often be transported so quickly from one amazing shot to another that you won’t realize you were holding your breath until it’s over.

The cinematography is very much in line with the Marvel style – broad, sweeping shots of action scenes, appropriate slow-motion edits as cars flip over and things blow up, and what I loved most – a poignant scene where T’Challa struggles with responsibility, grief, and loss. It is more beautiful in film, thanks, in part, to Hannah Beachler (production designer for “Moonlight”).

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And yes, everyone is black.

The Story: One of the issues that some Marvel movies face is that a strong story line is often sacrificed in favor of witty banter, gravity-defying action, and the overarching need to connect to the other characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in preparation for the Infinity War. Save for a plot hole that I suspect may be answered soon, this movie didn’t have that issue.

Viewers get to see a younger King T’Chaka as Black Panther, a son of Wakandan tradition and willing to uphold it at all costs. It isn’t long before we realize just how harmful tradition without empathy can be (sound familiar?).

The theme of tradition and calling on the ancestors for guidance is what powers the film, which is why Erik Killmonger, similar to Magneto, is a “villain” we can relate to. Misguided, but only because he subscribes to the Machiavellian “ends justify the means” tactic that ends up doing far more harm than good. I’ve never taken to villains or antagonists who were evil just for the sake of it. Erik’s reasons are sound – his method is not. Michael B. Jordan is a master at playing these kinds of characters. There’s nothing one-dimensional about Killmonger and you know why almost immediately. I only wish that the script was filled with the kind of dialogue that would support the full range of this character. There were several times when I was left wanting him to say more.

The Dora Milaje – King T’Challa’s all-woman security team- is a fan favorite. From the vibrant red of their armor to their synchronized battle style, I was excited whenever they were on screen. As a fan, I expected more from them but frankly, Okeye (played by Danai Gurira) was all that mattered. She, along with Nakia and Shuri (T’Challa’s genius little sister who heads up Wakanda’s tech) quite literally save the day on more than one occasion. You know how in Harry Potter everyone knows Harry would’ve been dead if not for Hermione?

Same thing, except T’Challa isn’t nearly as incompetent.

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My Take: There will be a lot of conversations surrounding some of the themes that emerge from the film: love, tradition, and duty, to name a few. As a first-generation American, I closely identified with the struggle T’Challa faces as pressure comes from multiple sides to have Wakanda open its doors to refugees and distribute foreign aid. Wakandans live hidden – shrouded in the belief that in order to thrive, they must keep to themselves. But with unimaginable wealth and technological resources, T’Challa and others grapple with the guilt in turning a blind eye while other Black people of the diaspora suffer.

Black US immigrants often deal with similar struggles, with many instructing their children to stay indoors and focus on attaining their piece of the American Dream. We’re often told outright that we can’t solve worldwide problems and our best bet is to focus on ourselves and our families. This means getting degrees with high ROIs, buying homes, and adhering to respectability politics, as to not ruffle any feathers. We don’t have the freedom to be too loud, too joyous, or too black.

Our parents were and are trying their best to secure some modicum of financial and social freedom for themselves and their children. And in Black Panther, Wakandans who cling to tradition are trying to maintain theirs.

Black Panther premieres worldwide on Friday, February 16.

body positivity, health, self awareness, weight, workplace

Fat and Fit: Body Positivity and Weight Loss

In October, my knee was killing me. I chalked it up to the heavy lifting I’d been doing since moving into my home. It wasn’t strained or swollen. It just hurt.

I’m not sure exactly when people started using the phrase “body-positive” as the catchall phrase for physical acceptance, but it likely stems from the fat acceptance movement of the 1960s. The content of my women’s and gender studies classes are a bit hazy, so I won’t go into details, but essentially, the fat acceptance movement (which intersects with the women’s movement) brought to light the many issues in fat-based discrimination, anti-fat stigmas, and aggressive diet promotion.

It’s no secret that I’ve struggled with my weight and have written about it, as documented here and here. But it wasn’t until more recently that I really understood how insidious fat-shaming is and how it’s quite literally the only generally acceptable form of discrimination, especially in the workplace. Yes, fat people have a harder time finding work and getting paid more. And as of September 2016, Michigan was the only state with anti weight discrimination laws in place. These kinds of biases can affect even the most self-assured person, making them question their self-worth in a world that has told them that thin is in.

So when plus sized models like Tess Holliday and Ashley Graham and yogis like Jessamyn Stanley and fashion bloggers and designers like Gabi Fresh began making waves by showing that fuller bodies can be sexy, strong, and attractive, many women were encouraged to love themselves and embrace being #bodypositive.

I have followed a few plus sized fashion bloggers and vloggers throughout the years and have seen how many of them have gained-and lost-a significant amount of weight. And it’s the latter that I want to discuss.

Is it possible to be body positive while also actively trying to lose weight?

Some believe that the two cannot coexist. When supermodel Ashley Graham posted a photo of herself appearing slimmer, many comments were peppered with “it’s a shame you turned your back on us”. Gabi Fresh posted a picture of herself that made her appear as if she’d lost at least 50lbs and similar comments came pouring in. Plus-sized blogger PassionJonesz lost 100lbs after undergoing the VSG procedure and lost subscribers, with people saying that she abandoned the community, and at least one follower saying “everyone is losing weight and you just had to go and be like them.” Is losing weight or even wanting to lose weight an indication that one doesn’t accept their body? I believe the answer is yes- but no.

There’s a bevy of research that shows that morbid obesity is at best, unhealthy, and at worst, deadly. We can dive into why the BMI is a flawed metric but with tools to help us measure body fat percentages, waist-hip ratios, etc., we can effectively say that outliers aside, an individual carrying an extreme amount of excess weight is likely to experience weight-related health challenges. Does this mean that they should be subject to unsolicited comments, insults, or discrimination of any kind? No. Does it mean that we can’t have plus sized models? Absolutely not. So when someone (I’ll use myself as an example) decides to lose weight to improve my overall health and fitness, I am doing so because I want to change. I am, by definition, no longer accepting my body in its current state because I want it to be leaner and stronger.

I think that’s ok.

Embracing my desire to change is not synonymous with hating my body, my size, or anything about it. It doesn’t mean that I look down on others who are also overweight. In fact, and I’ve made this argument before, any healthy approach to weight loss has to start from self-love. I know a thing or two about dangerous weight loss methods and in those moments, I was feeling anything but love and respect for myself. I didn’t forgive myself. I didn’t make room for mistakes. I didn’t embrace my body. Over the last few years, I’ve lost and gained weight as stressors like moving twice in a year, being in a horrid job situation, and dealing with anxiety wreaked havoc on my weight. The wine and takeout and Netflix binge-watching sessions didn’t help, either. So I decided to approach fitness slowly, taking time to meet with doctors and keeping my workouts cheap, fun, and different every day of the week.

I have certainly had moments where I didn’t like the way my body looked. Those times often ended in binge sessions. But these days, I’m more concerned with how my body feels.

It’s been a few months since my pesky knee trouble. I’ve worked out daily and shed a few pounds since then, too.

My knee also doesn’t hurt anymore.

Adri

break ups, dating, feminism, insecure, love, marriage, relationships, self awareness

7 Tips to Ruin your Livelihood in Love and Relationships

The 1950s. A decade filled with A-line skirts, the dawn of rock ‘n roll, and good ol’ American segregation. Mad Men glamorized this era, where the men were powerful and their doting housewives drowned in depressants to keep afloat- with not one strand of hair out of place.

‘Twas a simpler time, indeed.

When I read the article below, I laughed heartily. Not because the tips are ridiculous, but because I knew that men who came across this blast from the past would be chomping at the bit to go back to this time – when women catered to their every need.

tips to look after your husband

But this entry isn’t about that. It’s about how seemingly progressive, feminist women get stuck carrying the emotional weight for their relationships and partners.

Black women experience stress-related weathering at the molecular level. And it’s killing us. We literally cannot afford to do this kind of stuff anymore if we want to be alive and thriving.

You may not be in a scurry to freshen your makeup and clean up before your partner’s arrival but you may be doing these 7 things that are detrimental to yourself.

  1. Saying “yes” when you mean “no”. Every time a woman says “yes” when she doesn’t mean it, an angel loses its wings. We are conditioned to be a man’s “peace”, and for many men, peace means subordinate. If you don’t want to do something, say it with your chest.
  2. Not sweating the small stuff. “It’s just the trash,” you mutter, as you haul the garbage out in your PJs while your partner watches his team play ball.  You’d asked him to take it out at least 4 times that day. Some other relationship coach may tell you let sleeping dogs lie, but this ain’t that. When you don’t sweat the small stuff, they don’t disappear; they grow. The “small stuff” thrives on resentment.  Bring it up. Talk it out.
  3. Playing detective. You’re likely not a detective, and if you are, I’m sure you wouldn’t want to spend unpaid hours investigating your mate. If you have suspicions, then you need to pony up and address them head-on. Be smart. But routinely looking through his phone, email, social media, etc., only makes you look like the crazy one. Then you end up feeling guilty and taking the blame, which brings me to number 4.
  4. Conflating accountability with blame. Accountability is a crucial component of any whole and loving relationship. Each partner commits that they will uphold their end of the bargain. They make a concerted effort to honor their commitments and apologize when they fall short. Accountability is not saying that everything that goes wrong in the relationship is your fault. It is not a pity party. Sis, it’s not always you.
  5. Playing therapist. One of the most irritating things about that 50’s article is that it instructs women to place the emotional health of their husbands above their own. His long day at work warrants a quiet and clean home upon his arrival, with nothing to greet him but docile children and a smiling wife. Meanwhile, anyone who has children or has looked after them knows how something as simple as getting them dressed can turn into a puddle of tears.
  6. Your job is not to help solve his problems, unpack his emotional trauma, serve as his whipping boy, or address his resentments.  I don’t care what meme or video you saw floating around that said the opposite. You are not his therapist and that boundary needs to be firmly in place.
  7. And before you object with the very real importance about being a supportive partner, take this into account: there’s a reason why therapists charge $150/hour and don’t treat people they know.
  8. They know their time and barriers are valuable. Why are you volunteering?
  9. Telling your business. Long after you’ve vented to your close friends and family about the terrible thing your partner did, they will remember. And while you may have forgiven him, they haven’t. It’s important to note that this one is often overlooked because women tend to confide in one another. The problem is that long after the dust settles, your closest companions will feel used and robbed of their time. You have an issue? Either fix it internally or vent but be prepared for your friends to have a vested interest in what happens next.
  10. This is often how emotionally abusive relationships strengthen. When I was in a relationship with someone that was a habitual cheater and verbally abusive, I vented to my friends until the did not want to hear it anymore. This made the man I was with my only confidant. He and I kept our mess quiet while I died internally. I touched on it here.
  11. Taking your foot off their neck. The modern woman is often told that she is too demanding, bossy, or picky. I argue that we are not assertive enough.  Relationships often start with him pulling out all the stops to woo you and once you agree to be in a committed relationship, the romance and good behavior fades away. Sometimes, it’s gone so quickly, you wonder if the good behavior was all an act. ( Spoiler alert: It probably was). And so you end up trying to bring the relationship back to its former glory, as if that’s something only one person can do, when your partner acted like they had a real interest in being with you.
  12. I learned a decade ago that the true test of your will is not how many flowers you get or public proclamations of love after a fallout; it’s in the little things he does daily to honor you, himself, and the relationship you both agreed to be in.
  13. If you saw “Fences” starring the incomparable Viola Davis, you remember the monologue that secured her the Academy Award. After her husband (Troy) of eighteen years reveals that he’s not only been unfaithful but also is expecting a child with another woman, he then goes on to explain how he’s felt trapped and unfulfilled in life. He’s “been standing in the same place for eighteen years”.
  14. Rose (Viola) then goes on to say “I been standing with you! I been right here with you, Troy. I got a life too. I gave eighteen years of my life to stand in the same spot with you. Don’t you think I ever wanted other things? Don’t you think I had dreams and hopes? What about my life? What about me? Don’t you think it ever crossed my mind to want to know other men? That I wanted to lay up somewhere and forget about my responsibilities? …But I held on to you, Troy. I held you tighter. You was my husband. I owed you everything I had. Every part of me I could find to give you. . . . I gave everything I had to try and erase the doubt that you wasn’t the finest man in the world. And wherever you was going . . I wanted to be there with you. Cause you was my husband. Cause that’s the only way I was gonna survive as your wife.
  15. You always talking about what you give . . . and what you don’t have to give.
  16. But you take, too.
  17. You take.”

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Peace & Love,

Adri

assault, blog, gratitude, healing, love, weight

Simmer but don’t Burn: Letting go of Bitterness

In response to today’s Daily Prompt: Simmer , I’ve decided to write about how and why I value “letting go” of painful situations and experiences.

I grew up on the higher end of the middle class spectrum in Queens, New York. My childhood was filled with generally “normal” things: class field trips, curiosity, some bullying/teasing, and excelling academically. It was also filled with not-so-great aspects; a painful relationship with my weight, discord within family, and often feeling that I didn’t quite belong.

Young adulthood brought more difficulty – eating disorders that spanned well over a decade, anxiety, anger, embarrassing break-ups, and sexual and physical assault. The sudden death of my cousin shook me to my core as my anxiety worsened and I became almost obsessed with my own and others’ mortality, my thoughts often plagued with the various ways that I could die.

A few years ago, a relationship that wasn’t right for me prompted an abuse of alcohol that I now recognize as self-medicating. I had not properly dealt with my trauma. I had not asked the tough questions or gotten the help I needed. What made my struggle particularly challenging was my fabulous talent for masking my emotions. My own mother said to me that she only learned a few years ago that I’m as sensitive as I am. In all of her Leo-ness, she wears her heart on her sleeve. If it’s hard for my mother – who’s about as involved and caring as a mom can get – to see me, then it’s pretty much impossible for any other person.

With all of that said, I go back to the title of this post. For those of us who cook, we know that simmering means to prepare something at a temperature just below the boiling state. Simmering breaks down cartilage in bones and thickens soups and stews. It is the difference between fluffy and burnt rice. Simmering is tough preparation.

Few of us have lived a charmed life and I recognize that we all internalize pain and trauma differently. I recognize that these things also manifest in our lives differently. But I learned something extraordinarily powerful a few years ago. I could either live my life as a reactionary response to my pain – or I could simmer in it. I could let the pain break me down but firm me up at the same time. I could feel it, acknowledge it and then…let it go.

Forgiveness is often met with derision from those who conflate it with absolution. But forgiveness is the foundation of gratitude. It’s when we forgive others and mainly ourselves, that we can begin to live a life free of the toxic dumpster fire that is bitterness. I’m not saying it can or even should happen overnight – simmering takes time. But eventually you have to get out of it. Because what lies on the other side is a peace so whole that you wonder why you couldn’t or didn’t try it sooner.

It’s possible to speak truth to power when you say these words:

“[ this person/ place/ situation] hurt me. I will never forget what happened. But I am not going to give the pain teeth. I will not allow it to take up residency in my heart. And I will certainly not allow it to mess with my energy moving forward. I release it. I release [person]. And I’m still here.”

I am not a guru. I am not an expert. I am, however, thrilled to be on this journey. And I want others to be able to feel what I longed to feel for so many years – better.

 

Peace & Love,

Adri