New Year, Old Me

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.

The Thing About Peripheral Vision…

Just like so many other things, peripheral vision is something I consider a huge blessing. It allows you to view things on either side while looking straight ahead. It’s a good thing. It helps you avoid things of all sorts, from auto accidents to people blindsiding you (physically or otherwise).

I didn’t realize just how important peripheral vision is until I lost mine for some time due to the brain hemorrhage. I didn’t necessarily lose it, I just couldn’t use it. Just the thought of using my eyes to view my surroundings without turning my head made me cringe. The pain was almost unbearable. The total effects of that hemorrhage on my body as a whole would take a few months to manifest, but they were devastating. Everything from peeing to sitting up felt like giving birth to a full-grown elephant.

I was never one to take things for granted. I was never unappreciative of the use of my limbs. The loss of my peripheral vision taught me an incredibly valuable lesson, though. Listen.

What You Can See

Peripheral vision is amazing. It’s prevented my son from getting hurt many times in football because he was able to step out of the way just in time to avoid being blindsided by other players. It’s prevented me from getting t-boned by careless drivers. It’s a wonderful tool that parents use to side-eye their kids — it’s a favorite of mine.

There are times, though, when I prefer not to use peripheral vision. I’ve encouraged my son in this manner and right now, I want to encourage you.

Develop Your Tunnel Vision

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Most people advise against tunnel vision because it limits you in almost every way. You see nothing but the thing you’re focused on. Sometimes, that’s exactly what you need to do — focus on the thing you’re after.

In my son’s case, I’ve encouraged him to train his focus on doing well in school and bettering his football career. You see, ultimately, he will have sole custody of his daughter, so the preparatory steps that he takes on now will enable him to provide for her financially in the future. He understands that while he can’t spend as much time with Mia as he’d like right now, he is wise in preparing for the future. I also encourage him to work hard, hard, hard at football because it is such an important part of his bigger dream.

I believe that if you remain focused, but handle your business, tunnel vision is perfectly fine.

Faith, Faith, Faith

IMG_4412FA0A9187-1.jpegI also believe that when you are facing trials, tribulations, and other spiritual attacks, you must keep your vision trained on God. You can’t focus on the things that are going on around you. You can’t. You literally have to believe the God you serve is bigger than the problem(s) you’re going through. Psalm 121 is everything! It’s hard, I know, but it’s necessary. God operates largely on your level of faith. When He tells you that you need only have faith the size of a mustard seed, believe that, and stay focused on him instead of your problem. I know what I’m talking about.

 

Reversal of Fortune

My best friend and I have been wrapped around each other since the fall 1987 fall semester at Grambling State University.

We’ve seen each other through marriage, childbirth, divorce, amazing victories, and excruciating heartbreak. One of the most amazing things she did for me was talking to me for nearly two hours straight on that last trip home after I packed the previous 19 years of my life into box upon box following my divorce.

Oh, we had spent far more hours giggling and acting like high school girls before that night, but during those two hours, she didn’t do much more than listen to me cry. She didn’t tell me not to cry. She didn’t bash my ex-husband. She just listened. All I needed that night was a shoulder, and just as had always been the case, hers was there.

The Now

As with many close friends, my BFF and I tend to text a lot. Last night, we were going back and forth, texting away, when things turned serious. I won’t go into full detail, but we both stated how dissatisfied we are with the current state of our lives. Don’t get me wrong, neither of us is ungrateful for anything we blessed to have, but we know where we want to be in life.

We both suffered HUGE setbacks after our divorces. We both endured severe financial. We were both scarred mentally and emotionally.

Ultimately, we both decided that we wouldn’t let our current situations determine our future lots in life. We’re been deflated to the point that there was literally no wind left in our sail.

Guess who got back up and continues to climb the wall to success? Yep, Bree and Tre.

These Lives of Ours

The life of every single individual on this planet matters. It doesn’t matter what color, race, creed, sex, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, marital status or socioeconomic status a person is, that life matters.

I am extremely blessed in that I have friends — true friends, who are different from me. I cherish each one of them not only because they are different from me, but also because we are much the same. We are all striving to live a happy, prosperous life. We are all dedicated to our families and love on our friends fiercely. We are all eager to make a positive difference in the lives of others. We are adamant about being there when one of us needs the other. We love each other. When my phone rings, I don’t look at the caller ID and see color, I see my friend’s name.

Friends are defined by character, morals, values, not whether their skin is the same color as yours. It’s all about surrounding yourself with people who make you laugh, feel good about yourself, accepts your differences, and hold you close through the good times and especially the bad times.

Love on those folks hard.

“He’s Gon’ Treat You Right”

This morning, before daybreak, I was awake. That’s nothing unusual. For the last 20 or more years, I’ve awakened between 4:00 and 4:30 AM almost every morning. In the beginning, I would just lie there and let all my worries, well…worry me, but eventually, I started being much more productive and used that quiet time to write. That works out great unless I have Mia. When she’s here, I move around like a ghost so I don’t wake her up.

No Troubles, No Worries

Anyway, this morning, I woke up super early, but instead of writing, I was filled with worry. My faith tells me not to worry because it is a sin against God. As Christians, we are taught to hand all our troubles over to him, but as a woman made of flesh and blood, sometimes, I’m overcome with my burdens. As I normally do when I start to worry, I began to pray. When I was finished, I spoke into the air, “You cannot trust him and worry at the same time”. Those words escaped my mouth before I even realized they were in my head. I’ve always known that you can’t pray then get up and commence worrying about the things you just prayed about. That is the greatest contradiction imaginable. One of them has to go. I choose to pray and trust Him. I choose to believe that, just as his word says, he will never leave or forsake me. I’ve cast my cares on Him.

The Encounter

I had to take my car in for an oil change this morning and I took it to the same place my parents, aunts and uncles, cousins and friends, take theirs. I knew there would be a little wait time so I sat out front on the little oily bench. Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t have wanted to, but it wasn’t too hot out and it was so peaceful. I’ve known most of the mechanics who work there my whole life and while I was chatting away with one of them, an older gentleman came out and sat next to me. He had told the mechanic that he was going home because he didn’t feel well, but that he needed to rest for a minute. I had never spoken to that man before, but me being me, I looked at him and said, “So you’re not feeling good, huh? Is it the heat?” He told me that he had thought maybe it was his medicine. The conversation took off from there.

Somehow, I told him that I had been divorced for three years and after he told me his story of divorce, he looked at me and said, “You’re a good woman. You won’t be by yourself long. The next man is gon’ treat you like a queen. He’s gon’ treat you right, just watch and see.” I told him that I wasn’t really interested in anything like that right now because I have so much to do for myself, my son, and my granddaughter. He then said, “It don’t matter if you’re ready or not, when the right man sees you, he’s coming for you. Ain’t no good man gon’ be stupid enough to let you get away.” That made me chuckle. We’ll see.

Acceptance

One of the greatest acts any person can undertake in any situation is one of acceptance. Good or bad, your current situation is exactly what it is.The most immediate truth is that you have to accept where you are at this moment to appreciate where you ultimately want to be and moreover, how you plan to move forward to that point.

Once you’ve accepted the truth of where you are, you can then accept whether you or not you’re willing to stay there. The choice is yours. I’m going to take a chance here and say that if you find yourself in any situation that is not pleasing to you or your purpose/calling, you’re going to want to move on.

WHEN THE TRUTH HITS YOU

Back in 2013 when my divorce was nearing its final stage, I was more confused than I had ever been in my entire life. Besides the fact that I had been left with a 3500 square foot home to pack by myself (my son had already left for college), very little money, confused, anxious pets, and a true sense of abandonment, I had no clue what I was going to do with my life.

I didn’t want to accept the fact that the last 20 years of my life would soon be packed away in boxes. I didn’t want to accept the fact that I was no longer a part of a marital unit. I loved being a wife. I loved being a part of a two-parent household. I loved, and will always love, the sanctity of marriage. I believe in it and always will. It’s beautiful.

It took me a long time to accept that fact that I had to move back to Louisiana. I didn’t want to move back to the state, let alone the tiny town I grew up in. My biggest childhood dream was to escape this area and never come back here to reside. Well, here I am. The man who is my soulmate told me numerous times that God sent me home to help with my mom and after some time, I realized that was true.

Eventually, I came to accept that this is where I belong. I fought it, but I didn’t accept it willingly or with pleasure. I do now. So many things have fallen into place and being here, surrounded by my family, on our land, with every single thing that we need to live and thrive makes it even better. There came a point when I could have left. I could leave now, but I choose not to. This is what I mean when I say you can accept where you are or you move on.

When I decided that I wouldn’t accept foul treatment, being placed second in anyone’s life, being subtly mistreated, being ignored, rejected, or placed on the back-burner of a man’s life, things turned around. I accepted that sort of treatment for a lot of years, hoping against hope that he would one day love and appreciate me. We all know how that turned out. The greatest release I will ever have received was that which came through my divorce.

FINAL WORD

You’ll constantly receive the behavior and treatment you accept. What you accept is what people will expect you to always accept. If you want goodness, only accept goodness.

Blindsided, Blindfolded, or Close-eyed

The Differences

Blindside – while blindsiding a person usually involves catching him or her off-guard in an unpleasant manner, it can also simply mean that you were caught unprepared. I’ll give you examples of both today.

Blindfold

  1. to cover the eyes of a person with or as if with a bandage

  2. to hinder from seeing; especially: to keep from comprehension

Close-Eyed

You know exactly what this one means – YOUR EYES ARE VOLUNTARILY CLOSED!

Blindsided

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The Good – One of the most pleasant surprises I’ve ever had came on July  26, 2013, when the man who has been a part of my life in an off-and-on relationship for over 30 years inboxed me on Facebook asking if I was home. Home for both of us is Louisiana. We grew up 20 minutes from each other and our families have been intertwined for many, many generations. It’s a well-known fact that the men in his family are extremely attracted to the women in my family. My mom and three of her sisters were married to four of his uncles. That’s just the way it is.

Anyway, everyone knows our backstory and the only reason I’m mentioning it (again) in this post is to point out that his contacting me after more than 16 years after our last “encounter”, totally out of the blue – and I mean TOTALLY – was one of the things that brough me back to life. I wasn’t expecting it. Even though we’ve gone our separate ways for various reasons at different times, we’ve always found our way back to each other. Always. It’s just that I didn’t even know I was on his mind at the time. We hadn’t spoken since 1998 or 1999. I had wished him happy birthday on Facebook, but that was all. That inbox message on July 26, 2013, totally blindsided me. I was unprepared for any goodness because that contact came at the end of my wretched marriage, a debilitating divorce, and a hellish summer.

The Bad – So many things about my ex-husband and his actions blindsided me. Within the first two weeks that I was in Denver, he raped me. I’m going to write all about that in my book, but no one on this side of heaven and that side of hell could have convinced me that he would do something like that to me. No one could have convinced me that he would have allowed his daughter’s mom to call me a nigger then tell me that I would have to deal with it because he wasn’t going to let anything to keep him from seeing his daughter, especially me. That hurt. That wouldn’t be the most hurtful thing he said or did over those 19 years, but it hurt.

Blindfolded

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Let’s talk about the old blindfold. The best example I can give you of being blindfoldedwhile in a relationship was my marriage. To blindfold a person is to deprive him or her of sight by tying a piece of cloth around the head so as to cover the eyes. That cloth is not always material. Mine wasn’t. He kept me in the dark about so much. The drugs. The excessive drinking. The gambling. I was blindfolded, period. Eventually, I took that blindfold off, though. If you’re wearing one, you can take your’s off, too.

Close-Eyed

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After a while, I knew exactly what that man was capable of. I closed my eyes to a lot of the things he said because I didn’t want to feel the pain. I didn’t deal with the consequences of his retribution in response to my getting angry or getting back at him for something he’d done. It was ugly and it was stupid, but it’s what happened. I loved him with such intensity that I chose to close my eyes to all the nastiness. At the time, I was willing to sacrifice my dignity to hold on to my marriage. That’s what happens lots of times in an abusive relationship. It will never happen to me. Ever.

A Clear Vision

I’m old enough to know that life can be unpleasant because there will always be unplesant people in existance. Whenever I would question why some people seem to enjoy making other’s lives a living hell, my mom would reply, “That’s their job.” You’re not responsible for the way people behave. You’re responsible for you, your life, and your happiness. Stay awake.