It’s been just over 28 weeks since my nephew passed away.
So many things have happened since that time. My son has been home since school let out in early May. My granddaughter has been here since that time, too. We needed this time together. We needed this time together so desperately.
We needed to love on each other. We needed to lean on each other. We needed to bump heads. We needed to make up. We needed the tears. We needed to laugh.
With my nephew’s death came many lessons, not the least of which is that we have no time to waste on things that don’t matter or on people we don’t matter to. My best advice to you: get out of the way of toxic people. It’s true that hurt people, hurt people, but that is purely by choice. Hurt people don’t have to hurt people, they choose to. You, my friend, must choose to get out of their way.
One of the best things I’ve done recently is starting my own business. I’m not talking about reviving my Mary Kay business; I’m talking about a business of my very own. I’ll be writing and editing full time. I am also working on attaining my notary commission and am very excited about that. Every single thing about my life will be different by December 31, 2018.
My quest to become a speaker on the atrocity of domestic violence is neverending. I have some engagements coming up and will be sharing those things with you guys.
Know that your time and energy is precious. Don’t waste it.
Every year in January, folks set out to enact resolutions for the new year and that’s cool. I used to do that. I stopped, though, many years ago. Here’s why.
In my mind, starting anew can happen any old day of the week. It doesn’t have to be the first of the year, the first of the month, or the first of the week. Wednesday is just as good a day as any. Thursday or Friday can be your new start date, too. It’s all about starting the thing — the day you start is irrelevant.
I have so many things in the works. My entrepreneurial ventures are going to explode this year. There’s a portion of Proverbs 31 that screams at me to get off my duff and use my skills, talents, and desires to flourish in order to prosper. I have all I need to succeed, so put simply, that’s what I’m going to do.
Don’t wait. Get hustlin’! I promise the day of week is not relevant — it’s all about the hustle.
Here we are at the start of a brand new year. We’re on the first page of the first chapter of a brand new book. For the most part, this day represents a new beginning. The slate is clean. It’s January 1st. We’re far into the 2000s, but we’re on the first day of 2018. Not that we needed to wait until today to start anew, but it just feels more empowering starting out with a host of ones: day one, chapter one, page one, month one, etc. This is for the ones of you who have forgotten that you are the one.
I spent a ridiculous number of years sucked under by self-doubt, no self-esteem, no self-confidence, the fear of stepping out on my own terms, and a deep belief that I was just worthless. That’s what can happen after years of mental and emotional abuse. That’s what happened to me.
All the things that make me the woman I am today — my ability to write, my ability to lead, my ability to empower, my sense of self — were all there, they are just buried. Every time one of those traits would try to surface, my ex was there to smack it right back down to where he wanted it to be. Mental and emotional abuse is real, folks. I didn’t start out as some little shrinking violet. It took a long time for me to fall flat on my back, but once I was there, I laid there for years. I was able to look up, but I wasn’t able to get up.
One day, though, I decided that I would no longer be defined by the words in his dictionary. I decided I would use the ones in my dictionary and if they weren’t there, I’d create them. I decided that I would use all the things inside me to pull up and out. I decided that I would not only survive, I would thrive. I decided to sail through this life on my own steam. Have I accomplished everything I set out to do? Nope, but you better believe a large part of my goals will be satisfied before the clock strikes midnight on December 31, 2018. It’s my time. It’s your’s, too. Let’s get on it! Strike the match that’ll ignite the inferno of your greatness.
What Not to Do
Stop letting folks decide who you are. Stop letting folks shape your opinion of you. Stop letting those who can’t tell you that you can’t! Stop holding on to people who couldn’t possibly care less if you’re in their lives or not. Ladies, stop holding on to men who are holding on to someone else. Men, stop stopping in your tracks for women who are only out to use you. Stop trusting folks with your heart when they’ve proven over and over again that they have no intention of ever doing right by you, your feelings, or anything else about you. You’re better than that. You deserve better. Get after it.
The circumstances leading up to the dissolution of marriage vary from couple to couple, but as I’ve stressed before, not every divorce calls for sympathy. Some are cause for celebration. Either way, though, folks are left to pick up the pieces.
Even though it was surely time for me to be free from the abusive hell I had been caught up in, I was left in such a confused state that I didn’t even know where I was going to live after June 2013. The divorce was final in April of that year, but I quickly discovered that it would be impossible for me to stay in Dallas. I had been a SAHM mom for a lot of years and had lost my place in corporate America. More importantly, I had lost my self-worth, my self-confidence, and my sense of identity.
I didn’t want to leave Dallas. I had wanted to live there since I was a little girl and I was extremely angry because the choice of living there had more or less been taken away from me as the result of the divorce. I will never, ever regret staying at home with Will because I think he’s a better guy for the fact that I was there every evening when he got home, but I regretted the fact that I had trusted my livelihood to someone who shouldn’t have been trusted with the pen he used to sign our marriage license with. Anyway, life as I knew it would never be the same and that, my friends, was the best thing that could have happened to and for me.
My then-boyfriend often reminded me once when I was complaining back in 2014 that I had been brought back to Louisiana for more than regrouping, resetting, and recharging. He reminded me that I had been brought back here to help with my elderly mom whose health was extremely poor. I couldn’t see that for the longest time because I was blinded by the anger brought on by the divorce. Eventually, I realized he was right. I also realized that I had been brought back here to pick up the pieces.
My credit had been left in shambles. I had been without a “job” since 2005. I had let my weight get out of control. I had no real pride in my appearance except when I knew I would see my guy. There were broken pieces of me everywhere.
Today, I’m proud to say my credit has improved by miles and is on its way back to that 800 mark. Even though I didn’t work a corporate job during the years following my divorce, I did a lot of freelance work, but it was not as fulfilling as I wanted it to be. Thank God, on May 1, I started a paralegal job and am working in family law. And guess who’s back? Yep, prissy Trē! I love dabbling in makeup, I think one of the best things about a woman can be a sweet, sweet smell, and I love making my hair BIG! I also make my way to the gym as often as possible, but that committment is going to be just that — a real committment because my health is worth more than gold.
I still have a ways to go to get everything to a place where I’m completely happy, but the most important thing I’ve discovered is a new sense of self-love. I not only like myself, I love myself. That’s a far cry from a time when I hated looking in the mirror. The pieces may still be out of place, but at least they’re all in one place now.
The Golden Rule. Whether or not you’re religious, that thing applies to you. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. My mom drilled that one into our heads from day one. You can’t expect good when you sow bad crap. You reap exactly what you sow. It may not come back to you in the exact same manner but rest assured, it’s coming back. I’ve preached that to my son. That’s a fact of life, but some people forget that. Some people are so bent on the bad things that have happened to them, they either subconsciously…or consciously… treat everyone else in a bad way.
“He/She Hurt Me, So…”
So you were hurt. No, you were crushed. Wait, no, you were devastated. Okay, I get it. What I don’t get is why that fact makes it okay for you to hurt, crush, or devastate the new one in your life. If there’s one thing I hate, it’s categorizing people and deciding that every man or woman you meet is the same. That’s ridiculous. That sweet woman you met (or in some cases, have known your entire life) is not the same one who did everything in her power to single-handedly destroy you as a person. She’s not the same person who ripped the seams out of your pockets in an effort to make you “pay” for the fact that you took away her access to the First National Bank of You. They’re not the same person.
He’s not the same man who decided you weren’t quite the woman he wanted so instead of just letting you go, he strung you along. I had that happen. It’s funny to me now, but when it happened back in the late 80s, I was devastated. I cried, I assumed the fetal position, and wondered why the entire world was against me. The truth was, it wasn’t the entire world; I had just run across a stupid, immature man (boy).
If I was bent on hurting men because I’ve been hurt, I would have destroyed the man who came into my life after my divorce. How foolish would that have been? First of all, doing that would have required me to be angry and bitter. Welp, I didn’t have those (un)endearing qualities, so I had no basis for mistreating that man. Besides that, he was already dealing with a woman who was so mean, she could burn down a whole forest of trees just by walking through it. She was (is) hateful, y’all. From what I understand, she always has been a mean one. Probably always will be. I haven’t met anyone yet who knows her personally or otherwise who thinks she’s a good person. Poor her. Poor him. Still, though, he would be a fool to allow her evil to become his evil. Be smart, dude.
The Golden Rule is applicable in all areas of life. Right now, in such ridiculous political unrest — yeah, I said UNREST — you have to be mindful of the rule. In the end, we’re all human beings. We are privileged to live in the greatest nation on the planet. We are the land that people come to so that they may fulfill their goals and dreams. Ours is the place where differences make all things better.
I am blessed to have friends from all walks of life. I know folks of all creeds, colors, religions, sexual orientations, and beliefs. I love them all. The one thing that’s always bothered me is when I hear people say they don’t see color. How can you not see their color? Now, that color doesn’t mean a thing to me, but I definitely see it because I think it’s one of the things that makes a person magically different. If I don’t see your color, in my mind, that means I don’t see what makes you different from me — I don’t see what sets you apart. I don’t see what makes you unique. I love learning about different cultures. Everyone who knows me knows that I was born and raised in the Church of God in Christ. We sang (yeah, SANG), we dance, and we will run the church if the spirit hits us just right. That sets me apart from my white Lutheran friends. I’ve visited a Lutheran church and loved it. See what I mean?
In the end, though, I don’t care how different you are; I don’t care if you’re black, white, yellow, red, orange, pink, purple, or polka-dot, I’m going to treat you the way I want to be treated. I want to feel welcome wherever I go so I will make you feel welcome in my presence. I want to be greeted with a smile so I’ll always greet you with a smile. It’s who I am. Besides, who in the world has time to sit around all angry and bitter. That gives you wrinkles.
Before I get into the meat of this post, I have to acknowledge the fact that today is my mom’s birthday. She would have been 87. Since her passing on October 24, 2015, there have been days when the mere thought of her shakes me to the core. There have been days when I couldn’t even function. There are, however, days when I giggle a lot because I’ll think of something she said, see some little note she left me, or someone will mention something funny she told them. She was a joy. She was a gem. I miss her.
December 16, 2016
I refuse to end the year 2017 in the same way this one is ending. Understand that I’m not complaining because I don’t care what’s happening in a person’s life, things can be 100% worse. I know because things have been worse. A lot worse. They are, however, going to be better for me and mine this time next year.
The reason I know they will be better is because I’m taking measured steps to make sure they are. If you want things to fall in a certain order, make provisions so that they will. For me, that means working hard now to set things in motion so that come January 1, the ball will already be rolling.
My book will be published. I will be working feverishly on the second one.
I will be speaking on a frequent basis to groups about the hell and effects of domestic violence. I will use my voice to encourage women to move forward.
My blog — yes, this one — will reach more women. Again, I will use my voice to encourage women to move forward.
The Personal Me
I will be in my “forever” home shortly before my 50th birthday. I’ve already set things in motion to have the home of my dreams built. This one has been a long time coming. Since I got divorced in 2013, I’ve moved a total of four times. Just typing that makes me cringe.
I despise moving. I HATE moving. In my eyes, unless you’re moving for military purposes, constant moving signifies instability. It goes back to childhood for me. I grew up in what some would consider a shack, but it was my home. I grew up in it and wouldn’t know of another family home until my parents moved into the home I’m sitting in right now. They finally got their brick home in 1989. It’s a small home, but it was their dream. It’s a small home, but the love and warmth you feel when you step in this place are captivating. My home will carry that same feeling of love.
I will finally get my weight under control. Stress has caused me to gain a ton of weight. I let it get out of control, but I won’t let it remain that way.
I’m going to vacation. Y’all are going to get sick of my vacation posts. I’ve never, in my entire life, been on a vacation. I know that’s sad, but it’s true. That changes in 2017. Believe me, that changes in 2017.
Get a Move On!
I hope that you guys will set things in motion for yourselves, your dreams, and your missions. We don’t have any time to waste. I’m not saying that your every waking moment should be used for work; it shouldn’t. You must make time to play. Play hard because life holds enough serious stuff for you.
Make 2017 amazing. No one can do if for you. Do it for yourself!
As many of you know, I’m in graduate school and am working toward a Master of Fine Art in English and Creative Writing. I can’t believe I’ve almost finished my first quarter.
So far, my grade is 99.5%. The fact that it’s not a solid 100% runs me *C*R*A*Z*Y*! I know, I know – I should be thrilled with that, and believe me when I tell you, I am, but I wanted to have a perfect score. When I first realized there had been points deducted from one of my assignments, I called my son via video chat. I knew what his reaction would be, but I wanted to see it. Just as I figured, he gave me the deepest side-eye he possibly could and told me he was going to hang up on me. Lmao! He’s a Computer Science major at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and I can’t be more proud of him. He’s doing so well. He parties hard, but he’s doing incredibly well. He is medical red-shirt this season so he’s not playing football this time around, but next season, he’ll dominate that field.
I’m not a perfectionist by any means, I just know my ability. I love writing and I want to do my best. I also want to do better than I did in my undergraduate studies. I’m determined to not only get this advanced degree but to graduate at the top of my class. My projected completion date for this degree is March 2018. I will begin work on my doctorate degree immediately upon completion of the master’s program.
Anyway, I’m off to work on my final paper. It’s not due until Sunday night at 11:59 P.M., but I’m pushing to finish and submit it by noon tomorrow. Why? Because I want to binge on Netflix all weekend. Yep, that’s how I roll.