Sunday, February 27, 2011

Who Are You and How Did You Get Here?

Ladies, we've all had that pivotal moment in our lives that caused us to take a look at our significant other and ask ourselves, "who are you and how did you get here?" In that very next moment, there is nothing but silence, except for the sound of a gong you can't see, slowly chiming in your head. Self evaluation kicks in and we are forced to wonder what we were going through the moment we met the person.

As a teenager, I was boy crazy. There was something lacking in my family life that caused me to drift from one crush to another every time the wind blew. I fell in and out of love so many times, it's a wonder I didn't get whiplash somewhere along the line. Boys were a mystery to me because my mother was emotionally unprepared to teach her daughters about the birds and the bees. Because I wasn't taught the rules of "the chase", I became the aggressor when trying to find someone to love. Boy, if only I had learned early on how to let a man chase me, I wouldn't have experienced as much heartache as I have.

Why do so many women settle with a man that doesn't meet all of their qualifications? This may be picky but so what? Notice how men NEVER compromise on what it is they want in a woman? If "John" decides he wants a slender, attractive, smart, goal oriented woman who knows what she wants out of life, he won't compromise on that. If he were to meet a woman who met all those qualifications EXCEPT for one, chances are he won't date her. Why? He has standards. Women should always make sure a man meets all of her standards when choosing a mate. I understand some of us have been waiting for years for Mr. Perfect to come along, but let's face reality, the pickings are getting slimmer and slimmer.

Even though the pickings are getting slim and those biological clocks are ticking so loud they'd wake the dead, that is still no excuse to settle. If we trust God at His word and have faith that He has created someone special just for us, time shouldn't even be a factor. What happens when we settle for less than we want or less than we deserve? It's simple. Disappointment. If you want a man that is God fearing, hardworking, romantic, monogamous, and great with kids, stick with that, because the minute he falls short of one or more, his goose should be cooked. It's no good for a woman to have a romantic man that cheats on her. For what? So he can wine and dine her and the other woman? Trust me, it's never that serious.

If you are with someone and you ever have that moment where you have to look at that person and ask yourself, "now, what the hell was I thinking?" The chances are very good that you settled for less than you deserved. Ask yourself what made you settle for less. How is your self esteem? When you look in the mirror, do you love the person staring back at you? Were you afraid of being alone the rest of your life? Do you always have to have a man in your life to feel complete? Whatever your answer might be, understand those patterns that seem to surface every few months or every year in your relationship, won't end until you know your worth.

After having to ask myself what I was thinking, I realized I didn't love me. I always put this person and their needs before mine, I turned a blind eye to infidelity, and I accepted excuses for no presents on birthdays, anniversaries, or Valentine's Day for almost 10 years. I understand now that I settled. This person didn't really meet any requirements I had, but because he chased me and came along during a time I didn't think I'd ever meet anyone, I accepted him and all of his faults. In the beginning, I blamed him, but after years of being angry and disappointed, I realized the blame fell solely upon me. We have to understand that people only do what we allow them to do.

In closing, I plead with you to love yourself. If you're like me and didn't know where to even start, pray first. The Bible says that, "a woman's worth is far above rubies". Stare in the mirror and tell yourself how much you love you. Start putting yourself first. Start getting your hair and nails done regularly, spruce up your wardrobe, and talk to a professional. Do whatever it takes to fall in love with yourself. When we love a man more than we love ourselves, we lose our identities, and no man walking this Earth on two feet deserves that kind of power over us.  Regardless of what the world tells you, you are worthy and you deserve nothing but the best...I'll see you there.

Friday, February 25, 2011

And This Too Shall Pass...

Coping with depression can be an emotionally draining process. Whether you've lost  a loved one, lost your job, your spouse is cheating on you, or even dealing with the betrayal of a loved one, depression can take a toll on you and those around you.

The first step in getting through depression is to admit you are depressed. Women are much more prone to depression than men because there is more we have to struggle with internally. Our mothers raised us to be strong and self reliant, and showed us through their actions how to keep going, despite the hurt, pain, and exhaustion. Denying what we are experiencing only prolongs our healing process.

If you find yourself experiencing any symptoms of depression; lack of interest, unexplained exhaustion, sadness, change in eating habits, dramatic weight loss or weight gain, seek the help of a professional. Our friends and family members are good to sound off to every once and again, but after awhile, you get the feeling they are tired of rehashing the same old, same old. Look into seeing a professional counselor. Hey people! They get paid to listen. If people didn't have problems, there would be no need for psychologists and psychiatrists.

Depending on your location, counseling services can be pricey, but research online for free counseling services in your area. Some counseling centers offer counseling on a sliding scale if you can't afford $100-$200 a session. Let's face it folks, we're in a recession and I know there are better things I can do with $200 than pay for one day of counseling. If sliding scale counseling services are offered, keep in mind you probably won't see a licensed doctor, but an intern that has over 1000 hours of counseling services under their belt. An intern isn't able to diagnose you as depressed nor can they prescribe medication, so that alone may put some people off.

Try writing as a means of coping with your depression. What should you write? Write about your feelings. Write about how your day went. Just freewrite. During the freewriting process, your words don't have to make sense. You're not writing a book here. You're just trying to alleviate some of the emotions you have bottled up inside of you. The beauty of freewriting is you will end up at some point, writing about something that bothered you that you didn't address at the time it offended you.

I'm no expert in depression, but I have been through it and am battling it now. After the death of my father in September 2010, I stopped facing reality and shut down emotionally. Nothing else mattered to me except for my grief and my life completely came to a screeching halt. Once I opened my laptop and just began to type, I felt the pressure around my chest begin to ease a bit. Healing isn't an overnight process, but it doesn't have to take forever either. There is a wonderful life out there waiting to be discovered and I decided I want my piece of happiness too.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A Day in the Life...: A Woman's Worth

A Day in the Life...: A Woman's Worth: "I have heard a lot of women wish that men knew what it would be like for them to be a woman for one day. Seriously, think about it? Could th..."

A Woman's Worth

I have heard a lot of women wish that men knew what it would be like for them to be a woman for one day. Seriously, think about it? Could they really handle it? Most of the men I've dealt with turn into a baby at the slightest sign of the sniffles. Could they really handle a menstrual cycle, being pregnant, or Heaven forbid, menopause? The jury is still out on this but, more households are being ran by stay at home and single dads. Some of these guys are running circles around some of us moms and looking pretty darn good while doing it. Regardless, women were made of strong stock and are able to handle any obstacle no matter how tired, sick, or sad we may be.

There was a program on Discovery Health called "70 and Pregnant" a few months back. I remember watching this program and wondering, who in their right minds would become parents so late in life. A couple in their 70's that lived in the Middle East had been trying for years to have a baby. After seeking the help of a doctor for IVF procedures, the couple had their first little girl. When the interviewer asked the mom if she was happy with a girl, her response was. "Yes. I am happy with my daughter. Boys are useless. The girls are the ones who take care of their families." Now, of course I don't think boys are useless, but there are things women were born better equipped to handle.

As a student, a mother, sister, daughter, friend, confidant, and freelancer, it is quite difficult to without fail, meet the demands of everyone who needs you. How many times have you wanted to curl into a ball and cry your eyes out about something that really bugged you? I have wanted to do it countless times, but I couldn't fall apart because someone else needed me. Sometimes, you feel a greater sense of satisfaction if  you can help someone else with their problems, even if it means yours goes to the back burner.

I don't know why some people don't think the role of a mother isn't a full-time job. I mean, think about it. We cook 3 times a day (professional chef), clean and do laundry (housekeeper), heal and kiss boo-boo's (doctor/nurse) issue time-outs (drill sergeant), break up fights (negotiator)....our roles never end. If the government decided to pay us mother's for the hard work we do, they'd owe us back pay and then some.

Ladies, take time for yourselves. It is so depressing to look back over the years of your life and discover that others received more of you than you did. We are strong creatures and it is okay to be strong for others, but if everyone has a piece of you simultaneously, what's left at the end of the day? Nothing. Find time to invest in yourself and do the things that make you happy. You are worth it and don't ever let anyone tell you otherwise.