But You Couldn’t Stop Me, Could You?

Fifty-one years ago today, shortly after 2:00 A.M., Mama gave birth to me. There was no pomp and circumstance, she simply gave birth to a 5-pound baby girl and was released to go home by 7:30 A.M. that same morning.

I was welcomed home by my older siblings, the youngest of whom was 11. My oldest brother was away in San Francisco with his own family. I have two nieces who are older than I am. My sister, Margaret, had already told Mama to name me Trease. I have no middle name. I was never babied. I was spoiled, but I was never babied. Most people who know me say that I’ve always been grown. I have an old spirit.

The past 51 years have carried one lesson after another for me in a constant fashion. I know when some of you heard that, you said, “Yeah, we’ve all learned lessons over our lifetimes.” For the most part that’s true. I say for the most part because in some cases, people don’t learn anything from their experiences. They continue to make the same mistakes. They grind their gears and they spin their wheels.

Here is some knowledge I picked up along the way:

  • In almost all cases, you get one chance to make an entrance. You get one chance to make a first impression. If you storm through any door in a destructive manner, reeking chaos, disrupting the good, folks won’t forget. Even though we’re supposed to, most folks won’t forgive either. Be mindful of what you do when you enter another’s space.
  • Your exit is probably more important than your entrance. I really can’t think of a reason to leave a situation in shambles. Why? Because to do so means that another person has gotten under your skin so deeply and has disrupted your psyche so much that you became someone you’re probably not. Don’t get it twisted — I’ve left material damages in some places that were so bad I should have been charged with the highest level of vandalism. It was bad and it was stupid. I let someone who had mistreated me take me to another level. I’m not coming at you in a “holier than thou” manner. Just don’t allow another person to take you out of character. What I think makes a  more profound statement is to simply take your ball and go home. You don’t even have to provide an explanation or say goodbye. Just go and be at peace.
  • Be extra-possessive of your time. Time is a precious commodity. We don’t have as much of it as we think. Don’t waste it on people who don’t love you fiercely, on a job that you hate, or in a situation that you don’t want to be in. Do life big!
  • Let no man or woman take you for granted. This is a lesson I learned the hard way. My presence — my whole being — was taken for granted by someone I thought valued me. Turns out, he is the most selfish individual on the face of this or any other planet. Lesson learned. The wrong people will take your love for granted. Take it back and give it to someone who deserves it. You’re so amazing. You’re such a blessing. If a man or woman can’t see that – GO! Plain and simple, just go!
  • Love your folks without condition. I’m grateful to see this day, I really am, but I would be lying if I said my heart is not filled with grief this morning. It has been nearly 11 months since my nephew passed away suddenly. The void his death has left in our lives is massive. Cherish your people. Loss is inevitable. Cherish your people.

I’m going to end this by saying that all those things that were designed to stop me from living my best life have failed. An abusive marriage, an aneurysm, unemployment, a devastating breakup — all those things wore on me, but here I am. None of those things stopped me. Nothing will. Trust that. The decision to live is yours. The kind of life you live is up to you. Let nothing stop you from having it all and from being it all. It’s up to you.

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Listen…

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The fairest thing in the world — the most proper thing in the world — to do when you know the time has come is to let a person go. Get out of her life and stay out.

Sure enough, the person who is constantly being damaged has the option to kick the perpetrator out of her life, but in some cases, the ties are so strong that if both people don’t let go, there is no release.

History, love, and emotional soul-ties are some of the harshest things in this world. It’s hard to let go. Decades of love can’t easily be thrown out the window no matter how hard they try. The heart wants what the heart wants.

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Broken heart

Listen to “Ex-Factor” by Lauryn Hill. When she says:

It could all be so simple
But you’d rather make it hard
Loving you is like a battle
And we both end up with scars
Tell me, who I have to be
To get some reciprocity
No one loves you more than me
And no one ever will

Those scars? They may not be visible to the naked eye, but they’re there. Neither of them can even look at each other without giving away what’s in those hearts. Both parties sustain battle scars, but they both keep walking right back into that thing. He won’t let go. She can’t.

Listen on:

I keep letting you back in
How can I explain myself?
As painful as this thing has been
I just can’t be with no one else
See I know what we’ve got to do
You let go, and I’ll let go too
‘Cause no one’s hurt me more than you
And no one ever will

It was once said that she could move to Jupiter — he’d still find her. That’s true. He loves her. She loves him. True love knows no distance. True love can hurt just as badly as betrayal on it’s the greatest level.

Sigh. Love.

In This Time

It’s been just over 28 weeks since my nephew passed away.

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Photo credit: Trease Shine Hinton

 

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.

 

All the Freshness

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.

It’s Time

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.

 

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Photo credit: www.pexels.com

 

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

 

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Photo credit: www.pexels.com

 

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.

She Knows

On November 5th, I turned 50 years old. I’m not going into the whole story of how I almost died a few years back because that’s not what this post is about. Let’s just say, though, that the fact that I did almost die is the reason I have refused to take anything lying down.

On November 10th, I celebrated that milestone with some of my closest friends in Dallas. I needed that time with them because the saying that, “iron sharpens iron” is the truth. I got my fill Friday night.

I sat at the head of the table because I wanted to make certain I could see and talk to everyone. While we cackled and acted like teenaged girls that night, what I really saw when I glanced around that table was strength, resilience, and beauty.

My friends insist that I’m the strong one, but I constantly remind them that they were and indeed, ARE, the wind beneath my wings. They refuse to let me like a mediocre life. That would never happen, but it’s good to have a circle of friends who won’t stand by and let life swallow you. You have to know for yourself, though, that you’re more.

A woman has to know that any point, she can change her “now”. We can’t go back and change the past, but we can damn sure change our “now” and our future. Whatever those changes may be, she can take the steps to make them happen NOW.

A woman has to know that a man who refuses to commit to her yet spends all his time with another woman will never commit to her and if he says different, he’s lying. Whether he ultimately commits to the one he’s actually spending time with or finds yet another one to mess around with, he won’t commit to the one who waited. And even if he chooses to do so down the road, how do you trust someone like that? It’s impossible.

A woman has to know when her time is up in a certain place. Maybe it’s her current job. Maybe it’s her current city. Whatever the case may be, there is such a thing as wearing your welcome out. If she’s become stagnant; if she’s no longer productive; if she has no desire to get up in the morning because she knows the day holds no excitement, it’s time to go.

True enough, it’s never too late to make changes, but we’re all living on borrowed time. If you’re not happy, plan your move to reach a point of happiness. No one can do it for you. No one will.

You never have as much time as you think you do, so get on it!

 

Whereas

Whereas you saw nothing more than one of the chicks on your “next” list, he sees a woman he would love to spend quality time with.

Whereas you saw someone whose feelings you could take advantage of for your own selfish gain, he sees a woman whose love he would die to have.

Whereas you find it so incredibly easy to lie to her, he would never dream of being untruthful.

Whereas you have no regard for the years she’s longed for your love, he prays for any amount of time he can have with her.

 

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www.pexels.com

 

Whereas you trampled on her heart and her trust, he plans to cherish both and would never destroy either.

Whereas you saw someone you thought would wait around forever, he sees a woman he knows he wants to claim because time is too short.

 

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www.pexels.com

 

Whereas you saw nothing more than a “lay” in Louisiana, he sees a woman he’d like to make love to in all 50 states.

Whereas you see a side-chick who you don’t mind embarrassing, he sees a woman he would cover, protect, and shield at all costs.

Whereas you see a girl you know loves you, but you just don’t care, he is praying that one day she’ll love him with the same intensity.

Whereas you didn’t care enough to squeeze her and her love with a vice-like grip, he’s planning to do just that.

 

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www.pexels.com

 

Somewhere, there is a man praying for the kind of woman you’re so flippantly blowing off. God’s going to bless him with the very woman you don’t care about losing. Your loss.

 

Internal Bleeding

Internal bleeding is never good. It’s the result of trauma, fracture, pregnancy, or any number of things. Internal bleeding is indeed a physical condition. It can also, however, be experienced in love.

I’ve reached an age where more of my friends than not have been divorced or have suffered some major blow to their relationships. Both my male and female friends have been devastated by love that eventually failed them in one way or another. Perhaps they fell out of love with their significant other; maybe it was the other way around. Maybe it was a toxic relationship to begin with. Maybe it’s one where it never seems to be the right time. Whatever the case may be, the result is internal bleeding of the heart.

This one, I know about from experience. By the time my marriage ended, I was all out of blood. My ex-husband had drained me, not unlike, a vampire who couldn’t have cared less about the condition in which he left me. He took and took and took until there was nothing left but the shell of the woman he’d married 19 years earlier.

The good thing, though, is that, magically, my blood supply was replenished. Y’all know the story. It replenished, but the relationship that brought me so much happiness at one point eventually tore my rebuilt heart out. It’s hard to explain, but the tumbling of my last relationship was far more painful than my divorce. Maybe it’s not so hard to explain. Maybe it’s just that the man I trusted with my heart was so damaged and worn from his own divorce, he wasn’t capable of loving me like he thought he could. I lost my soulmate.

He is a good man. I’ll always believe that. I think he just got caught up with a woman who, like my husband, entered marriage with a mask on, which ultimately fell off, causing chaos and confusion. He was damaged, but I did my best to help him heal. He had my shoulder and my ear. He had all of me, but it just wasn’t enough.

The internal bleeding has stopped. It stopped a few months ago, but as with any great love story, I miss him. I guess I always will. We are at least on speaking terms again, but I don’t know that we will ever reach that fevered pitch that made us JDW and TSH. That thing was rare and coveted. Not many couples have (or ever will have) what we had. They just won’t because love is not just about the physical. A true love relationship involves the heart, mind, body, and soul. We had a connection that could easily be the topic of one of those “how they stayed together” news blurbs.

Who knows what the future holds, but I sincerely wish everyone could experience love on the level that we shared.