11.26.76 ^-^-^-^———–12.09.17

I don’t know the exact time that my sister gave birth to him on November 26, 1976, nor do I know the exact time that my nephew, Arthur James Wade, Jr., drew his last breath on December 9, 2017, but I can tell y’all about the dash – the 41 years and 13 days – that he walked this planet. That dash between his sunrise and sunset can be divided into four segments — one for each decade of his life.

There’s an old saying that you live your funeral every day. Arthur’s funeral, which was held on December 17, 2017, in the tiny town of Sarepta, Louisiana, was a testament to the impact he had on people. Friends and family came from afar to bid him adieu and to hold us during our hour of bereavement. There were just as many from the community who refused to let go of our hands during that time.

The life he lived during those 14,988 days was not only represented by the number of people who attended the services but also by the air of grief in the sanctuary. He was loved. He was deeply loved.

1976 – 1986

As a child, Arthur was mischievous. He wasn’t an extreme mischief, because, for the first few years of his life, he was sickly, but he got into his share of mess. Just like many families in the country, there were plenty of guns around our childhood home. We knew not to handle them, but one day, Mr. Wade defied the odds and did just that. He had seen Daddy and Mama fire that shotgun plenty of times so he knew the stance and he knew how to aim it. Well, one day, when he was around 9-years old, he fired it.

Mama was outside doing the laundry and Daddy was working on the yard, but the minute they heard that shot, they flew into the house. As Mama was entering the back door, Arthur was trucking, trying to fly through it. He ran smack into her. By that time, Daddy had made it into the kitchen and they were all panicked. Mama screamed, “Who shot that gun??” Arthur, knowing he was in major trouble, looked her straight in the eye and said, “Daddy!” He didn’t get in trouble because they were too busy laughing at him, but you get the gist of the kind of kid he was. That spirit is what so many loved about him.

1987 – 1997

He enjoyed his school years. Despite race issues in this area, he was loved by pretty much everybody. He enjoyed extracurricular activities just as much as the next kid and was blessed with many true friendships, regardless of race, creed, or color. The community as a whole loved him. 

It was also during this decade that he went away to college and was blessed with even more friendships through his fraternity and otherwise. His Greek brothers and sisters were one of the greatest sources of support for us, his natural family, after his passing. It was without hesitation that Dave Johnson, moved when I asked that he and the brothers be pallbearers for him. It was without hesitation that they were present. I am ever grateful for their love. 

1998 – 2007

He struggled to find his position during this time. He found himself unemployed at times during this decade and he was frustrated. He was able to weed out his true friends. He finally knew who they were and so did we.

It is no secret that he ended up in trouble during this time, but it was also a time of reckoning with his inner man. In 2001, he came to live with me in Denver. He witnessed some of the abuse that I sustained during that time and it was then that I saw the man he had become. He was no longer the little boy whose hand I held everywhere we went. He became my protector. He had always told people I was his guardian angel. He was also mine. He had to leave Denver and ended up back in Louisiana, but that blessing in disguise would be just what he needed to become the man he needed to be. He would be Mama’s caregiver while the rest of us were away.

2008 – 2017 

He had finally found himself during the last years of his life. He had steady employment and was living on his own. More importantly, he had turned himself around enough to become a mentor to his younger cousins. He was determined that they not travel the same path that he did. He didn’t want any of them to go to jail. I have no shame in saying he’d ended up there more than once because of really stupid stuff. He made certain, though, that they were straight. He refused to let any of them fall or fail. 

Carrying On

I’m 51 years old and know that we all have a set number of days on this planet. No one could have told me that my love, my heart, Arthur, would leave us so early. In all honesty, I am still not in full belief that he is gone. A friend put it best when he said it was like Arthur just walked out the back door and didn’t come back. I know he’s gone, I know I’ll never hear his voice again. With all that “knowing”, I’m still not in full belief that he is gone.

With all that said, I also say happy birthday to my right hand. I say that I love him in the present tense because death does not stop the love between persons. I cannot hug him. I cannot call him. I cannot text him. I can, however, send my love to his heart.

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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.

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.

Hello?

Things have been crazier than usual. Living in my world has been like riding a tremendous tailwind through the eye of a hurricane after being tossed around by a typhoon.

My life continues to be tilted because of my nephew’s death, but I’ve taken the steps I need to in order to get back on track. Grief is a bully and it’s staunch in its efforts to drag you under. I hate that its taken such a hold of me, but I’m fighting back. I can tell y’all this — the death of a person you’re extremely close to is not one you get over, but at some point, you’ll make it through. I’m getting there. I visited his gravesite for the first time since he’s been gone. I went on Memorial Day and it was surreal. In some ways, I think it was still too early, but I’m okay. Seeing his name on that tombstone was just…

Photo credit: Trease Shine Hinton

I’m getting myself back on schedule, but know that mourning has a way of disrupting not only your calendar, it’ll destroy your very being. I’m doing my best to get back to blogging and writing consistently, and living a good life. It’s so hard. It’s no longer about taking one day at a time for me; sometimes I strive to make it one hour at a time.

Over the past few months, I’ve had to let go of a relationship that was so toxic, it was slowly draining the life out of me. The person that I finally released from my life (for good, forever, for real) should have been a source of peace and relief; instead, he only added to my pain and grief. He was deliberate in his decision to include me in his life knowing full well there was no room for me there. He claimed an addiction to me, one that has been around for nearly 30 years. There may well be one, but what I refused to be was his 50-year old side chick. Nah.

Be careful who you let in. Selfishness is a bitch and I finally accepted the fact that I have no room in my life for anyone who is only around for selfish gain. Was it hard to let go? Yes and no. Yes, because we’ve known each other our whole lives. I once considered him my soulmate. I loved him with everything I had. He didn’t appreciate it. Therein lies the “no”. He wasn’t always an ass, but he allowed himself to be morphed into, well, an ass.

I think the poorest excuse a person can have for being bitter, angry, or any other selfish thing is that someone made them that way. No, that’s not true. You control who you are. You control how you react. After a bad relationship is over, it’s up to you to become a better person in spite of the pain. You don’t have to become the person who hurt you. I refuse to become jaded because of my past relationships. Just because they were stupid doesn’t mean that the next man will be. I will always believe in true love. I will always believe that I deserve it.

I’ve made some final decisions as to where I plan to live. I’ve also made some other decisions that require me to spread my wings and fly. It’s time to make a move.

I’m coming back, y’all. I’m coming back.

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.

 

After You’re Destroyed

By the grace of God, some of us survive domestic violence. That fact, in and of itself, is wonderful and something to be eternally grateful for. In some cases, though, the residual damage sustained is just as devastating as the abuse was itself. I’ve been there. I know what I’m talking about. I’ve either experienced the following things or I’ve watched (or am currently watching) friends experience them:

Out of the Skillet Into the Frying Pan

 

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Photo credit: www.pexels.com

 

Divorce oftentimes leaves a person reeling, unsure of his or her self-worth, wondering if true love will ever find its way to them again, or even if it ever really existed in the first place. Some of the strongest people are left mentally and emotionally displaced and ultimately begin the search for someone to fill the void that’s been left in their lives and in their heart. Sometimes they start that search a little too soon.

I know a woman, who at 42, has been married six times. She has recently started divorce proceedings for this latest marriage. I don’t of a time when she’s overlapped relationships, but it’s never long after one is over that she heads full-on into the next one. I’ve never known a time when she didn’t buy her own engagement/wedding rings in these relationships.

Once, during our weekly lunch meet-up, she said, “Trease, it seems like I keep running into narcissistic guys who just use me. I don’t know why I keep picking these guys that need to be fixed. I don’t know what a good man looks like. I try so hard to love them, but they never love me back.” I’m no relationship expert, but I readily advised her that she needs to love herself first and love herself hard. I reminded her that self-love is imperative in order to live and that it is not an act of selfishness.

I fully believe that once you truly begin to love yourself, you will refuse to allow anyone in your circle who won’t do the same. I believe that once you cherish your own heart, you won’t allow another person who refuses to do the same any access to it. You won’t be willing to jump from one empty relationship to the next in an effort to find true love.

There’s just no sense in jumping from one guy or girl to the next on a wing and a prayer, hoping that he or she will be the one. In my opinion, that’s one of the easiest ways for things to go from bad to worse. You’re in essence, jumping out of the skillet into the frying pan.

Don’t be the Pawn

One thing I’ve seen far too often is an unsuspecting person becoming paired up with a person who has just gotten out a long-term relationship. Every situation is different, but you can almost always win the bet that a person coming off a 20-year or so marriage is just not ready to start a new relationship immediately, let along get married.

I know three men, personally, who jumped into marriage or a Facebook relationship after their long-term marriages ended in divorce and I can vouch for the fact that in all three cases, the women that ended up with them found out they were being used. They were either rebounds, sex toys, or being used to show the ex-partner that the guy had moved on.

 

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Photo credit: www.pexels.com

 

Two of the guys I know ended up marrying younger women. One of them would later find out that the woman he chose was only there for his money; the other found out that he was the one who had been tricked. The woman he chose had a laundry-list of issues and problems that she chose not to share with him until well after they were married. The other guy ended up in a “Facebook” relationship and in the end, the younger woman got far too caught up her feelings and found herself left alone with memories of a too-good-to-be-true fling that was never real to begin with.

It’s All About the Sex

Listen, we’re all grown, but one of the easiest ways to get caught up in your feelings is to start out having rebound sex with a person and end up falling in love. You’re going to get hurt.

Just don’t do it.

Guard that Thing

 

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Photo credit: Trease Shine Hinton

 

Love is never, ever, ever supposed to hurt. Sometimes it does, but it’s not supposed to.

Be careful that you don’t become someone’s “look, I’m over you and I’ve moved on”, when the truth is, you were only being used.

Broken people will break you.

Hurt people will hurt you.

Keep your guard up. Love and live, but keep your eyes and ears open.

 

 

 

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.