I realized I was an addict. I was addicted to people. I was one of those people who didn’t know how to lay off the toxic stuff until it became unbearable and I became intolerant of myself and the things I couldn’t let go of. Yes, you can have a thing called, “people-itis.”
Here’s the thing I discovered in the past year and a half (two years, really), I learned that you need to really, really, really, let go of toxic people, situations, and things in your life in order to feel truly happy and confident with the person you are and aim to be. You can’t muffle through it or fake the funk. Or else, you will end up slamming the door in your own face if you do. The hardest part about letting go is being truthful with yourself and your 100% organic thoughts and feelings. It’s hard to bear. Some moments become hard to even remember to take a breath through because it feels so scary and isolating. But let me tell you, in the end, it is so worth it.
I had to let go of people I felt like were the world to me. But I realized I made them the world… when they never were. I knew I was giving them way more than they would ever think to return to me. It was not about tit-for-tat for me. It was about committing their time and energy to me as I would do for them. For whatever reason, needing validation from people who you really shouldn’t crave it from, comes with a huge price. You wanna know what that price is? It is your self-worth, your confidence, and your power. You give it all away when you seek validation from people who you feel is for whatever reason… better than you or more important than you.
If you have “like-me-itis” like I used to … you will never be happy. Whether it be in romantic relationships, friendships, and/or even with your own offspring… you will never be happy because you will constantly feel worn the f out from jumping over insurmountable hurdles that you have created for yourself. It’s vicious and unwarranted self-abuse.
So take a moment and do an inventory check, are you keeping something or someone around because “one day” something might change and you will decide to wear that pretty dress that’s been hanging in your closet with the price tag still attached? More than likely, you won’t. So give it out, throw it away, donate it… because it just may be a better fit on someone else. It’s hard but that is the truth and the road to freedom I’ve learned.
I realized I was happy when I could let go of these people… like really and truly let go… because I was not relinquishing my power over to them. I said “goodbye” and I wasn’t staring at my phone willing them to call and reach out. I wasn’t hurt by the lack of communication or contact. I didn’t feel less than because they were no longer in my life. I could wish them well and pray for their safety and happiness and move about with my life… what’s the difference, you ask? My ego no longer gave a shit. That’s when you know.
It’s also because I have accepted that I no longer needed them in my life because they were never meant to stay long. They were here to show me what I didn’t want in my life, so that I could have a greater appreciation and love for those people and things who wanted to be a part of it. I used to push away those people who were so willing to walk along side of me, because I was too busy chasing after shooting stars that left me feeling lost and lonely.
Now, I just look around me and feel so blessed because I am so loved and needed by the people who “dig me” for just the way I am at this moment and the person I aim to be. Letting go of the negativity and toxicities in my life has made me a better mother, friend, and person… I’m still working on the better “daughter”and “sister” part (gotta keep shizz real :)), but I’m happy. I’m still a work in progress and will always be.
There are still monumental ups and downs… but I no longer feel like I allow myself to sit in an abyss of darkness and isolation. Change your thoughts; change your world-Ghandi.
I talk to my best friend and friends all day long. We are each other’s lifeline to sanity. One day, my BFF and I were talking. It had been a particularly trying week with my kids and I was at my wits end and feeling inundated by noise and the sense of drowning was becoming overwhelming. I needed a break. I have yet to go away anywhere by myself since my six year old was conceived!!! This is in no way a woe-is-me type of blog. Rather, it’s a blog to show you what is possible and why guilt should not wear you out when all you are trying to do is stay afloat and not just survive… but thoroughly enjoy this one life we are granted. My husband gives me every arsenal I need to conquer the day, conquer my demons, and win over what my mind sometimes (and very often) tells me I cannot accomplish.
So on this day, I was texting with my BFF and I was telling her I need to get away, but giving her all the reasons why I couldn’t. She then just said, “why? why can’t you? It’s not like you can’t afford it. It’s not like you don’t have help with the kids, so why don’t you just go or go buy yourself those shoes you’ve been wanting?” She continued to tell me, she is all about “self-preservation parenting” because if she doesn’t do that, she wouldn’t be useful to herself or to her family. (She’s a little wise one, that best friend of mine… she really is). And so, it clicked. It made so much sense.
I pour on guilt because my husband works hard so I can stay home and raise my kids, so I don’t want to spend his hard earned money on “extravagant things,” just because I can. I can. Yes, to a certain degree, my life has been blessed but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a sense of consciousness and gratitude for the amount of work my husband puts into affording us this lifestyle. That being said, I do feel like what all parents need is to allow themselves certain freedoms and pick me ups here and there just to make this journey more manageable and fun. My husband needs his friends and Vegas as much as he needs air and water… I need alone time and my girlfriends just as much with an occasional splurge on something nice. I believe not every day has to feel like a sacrifice for the kids. No, it doesn’t make me selfish. It doesn’t make me less of a mother with no sense of priorities. It makes me a happier mother, wife, and woman. And that is worth its weight in gold.
Here’s the catcher, always live within your means. Do not compare your lives to others. My husb and I were just having a conversation during dinner with some friends last night, and it’s so true that everyone else’s lives seem prettier and greener from the outside but that is not always the case. Live within YOUR means. Do not crucify yourself or your spouse if some things others have isn’t in your cards. Appreciate what is yours.
People get so caught up LIVING OTHER PEOPLE’S LIVES that you really forget to just live your own. That is so disingenuous to the life you were meant to live. That steals away from your sanity and your ability to preserve a sense of authenticity in your life.
Life is good. It’s meant to teach you about YOU. You can’t do that when you are living a life that is not organic to you. So while I’m all about leaving something for yourself, make sure it’s something worth the effort, time, and money. Because if it’s not, it’s just not worth wasting moments with your family and loved ones. It just isn’t for me.
My friend, Sam, wrote a great post on Facebook. I loved the post. Fell asleep and woke up thinking about it bc I have those off days and sometimes it’s so hard to get out of a funk. Sometimes the dark actually feels so safe and familiar that I end up staying there longer than I should.
God has blessed my life in so many ways and I struggle to accept it sometimes bc it feels so foreign. Like I’ve been a fighter all my life. Not just for me but for my friends, family, justice. Hahahaha. To the point my husb has said for me to stop bc some things aren’t my battle.
Sitting still with happiness is scary for me because I wonder when she’s going to escape me like most things and people have in my life as a child. I keep telling myself, I’m not that abandoned child anymore but old scars don’t heal completely and always leave a trace of remembrance of how the hurt occurred.
I just read that loneliness comes from when you don’t have a purpose. I feel lonely a lot even with kids and a great husband. You cannot get edification through people, I’ve come to learn because when they grow and move in different directions from you… That same underlying loneliness will revisit you again. So what’s my purpose? What’s yours?
As a stay-at-home mother and wife, I’ve kinda given up my personal purpose and invested my purpose into the happiness of my kids and husband… And that there is a lonely and yet rewarding journey because your own purpose feels hidden somewhere. So I hope you find and stay where your happiness is.
This happiness thing to me is like peace… You feel its presence and you know its essence… You know its visited you and you know you’re its home … But sometimes you feel like you put it in such a safe place, you yourself forgot where it is.
Does that make sense?
If you look at my Nook or home library, it will be full of three types of books. Books on self-help, parenting, and nursing textbooks. Okay, so Fifty Shades of Grey may be entwined some where in between. 🙂
Some of my favorite books are Drama of the Gifted Child, which was actually mentioned in The Battle Hymm of the Tiger Mom, Real Marriage, and Loving Kindness. I read four or five books at a time. Right now, I’m reading Reviving Ophelia, Raising Cain, Wild, and just finished Battle Hymm of the Tiger Mom.
In my quest to become the best parent I could be, I realized that WHILE reading these books, I stress out. The stress seems to stem from the notion that I feel like I haven’t done anything these books are suggesting I should do. I start thinking “OMG, thee impressionable first five have gone with my daughter!!!! Is she doomed? Will she resent me for the rest of her life??? Will she suffer from depression due to my parenting??? Will puberty be my payback?” That’s when I have to put the book down and try to convince myself that I can’t look back at what I’ve done.
I always tell O (my daughter) “don’t make the same mistakes momma does or just because someone else says something or does something dumb, doesn’t mean you have to.” Unfortunately, I have made duplicate mistakes with her a number of times. Namely when my patience runs thin or my own frustrations get the best of me and in that moment… I can’t control my own emotions or reactions to the situation. I’m praying daily that I practice what I preach and control myself by giving myself a timeout and a chance to breathe.
I don’t think we should coddle our children from emotions though. We are human and like I tell my mom and sister all the time, “the world is not going to cater to my kids like you guys do.” Tough love. It’s hard, but I refuse to raise entitled and spoiled children.
My daughter is a mini replica of my husband and myself. I see how she gets frustrated sometimes and it sends chills up my spine because I feel like I’m staring into a mirror. Those are the moments I pray she hears my voice again saying “O, do better than momma, teach kindly and patiently.”
The postcard photo I posted rings so true for me and most of my girlfriends I’m sure (J. Peddy… I know you feel me). I think we all think we are damaging our kids to a certain degree especially when we read these books and aren’t doing half of the suggested material. What I come to learn is that I can pick and choose what works in MY household and reiterate to myself every second of the day that I am doing the best that I can and reinforcing more than anything else that “I love you, O. I love you Husb. I love you, Will.”
These books are tools and guidance materials, not the bible.
This is me. Postbaby 7 weeks. I haven’t blogged in quite some time, but I had this indelible urge to write again lately. I know in a short month, I will have to prepare to take on the end of my Master’s program, so I’m voraciously doing some leisure reading and beginning to chronicle my journey as a mom of two.
My daughter loves her brother. Yet, she has shown signs of normal regression. Wanting to try all of the babies things. Needing extra attention. Oh gosh, the baby talk… cute until it gets annoying. Hahhahaha. Yes, I keep it real.
At the beginning when I got home with the baby from the hospital, nothing about my daughter’s behavior annoyed me. But set in sleep deprivation, the constant “mommy, mommy, mommy!!! Can I tell you something?” Me: “can you tell me without saying, ‘can I tell you something?'” haha, the annoying sound of the pump machine at night, homework, life, taking care of a newborn… oh, did I mention SLEEP DEPRIVATION??? then my patience becomes nonexistent. But I am praying and hoping (although I heard from my friend that “hope is not a strategy) that I find that place of reassuring guidance, love, and patience that my daughter needs right now. I hope I have the fortitude to learn to balance my needs FIRST without feeling GUILT.
This is when I began experiencing empathy for the first child. I’m the second and the last in my family. I wish parenting came with instructions or at least pictures to show you which is the right way up or down. 🙂 I say this, because recently, my husband and I have been having warfare with our daughter during homework time. Mind you, my husband is a great instructor who is energetic and fun, but even he gets worn down when my daughter for the 100th time says “N is a U.” Yes, they look similar, but that’s no excuse to get it wrong more than 20x in my opinion. Yes, I can be a bit tough but I have been way too liberal in my child-rearing of her till this point (great she just came in here and found her bike we were supposed to give her on her birthday!!!). I always allowed for her to just putz around and do things at her own will. Well now, we are interviewing and testing for private schools, so now the tides are changing. Something in me got triggered. I realized I can’t be lazy to raise a successful child.
Right now, I’m trying to analyze what kind of learner my daughter is. In the process, I have screamed my head off because my expectations are so high. I keep telling myself in a Finding Nemo like trance, “she’s never seen this… she’s never seen this.” But I can’t use that forever. SHE HAS SEEN THE ALPHABETS for at least two years now!!! Hahaha.
But at the end of the day, I come to conclude that none of this has anything to do with my daughter. It has to do with me. My demons. I have to disconnect from my past and embrace the woman I am today. I’m no longer the kid that was average in school because no one encouraged anything in me other than to be pretty. More than anything, I wanted to be viewed as “smart” like my sister. Actually, I knew I was probably smarter than my sister (I think my parents knew it too… sorry hyung)… but I never tried, because things came easily for me to just pass. I suppose this is my biggest regret. I never lived up to my full potential or got to discover what I was good at or even excellent at. I was a quitter. I never looked to the end of the road to discover that hard work and effort pays hundreds folds more than quitting. That discovery only comes with age and wisdom.
I’m fortunate though. I’m not my immigrant parents who couldn’t spend the time with their kids even if they wanted to because they were working hard in a foreign land to provide for their children. I have the ability to provide the opportunities for my children that my parents did not possess. What my kids do with these opportunities are my responsibility until it becomes time for them to bear the burden of the cross on their shoulders and learn to use what weapons and lessons I’ve given them into their lives on their own accord.
I will write about what I learned about myself during homework time in my next blog. Thanks for reading. Happy New Year.
The season is coming to an end. I don’t know if I’m happy to see 2012 come to an end. As hard as this year proved to be, I feel like I learned so much more about myself and have learned to allow myself to have boundaries. As a person, I feel I have definitely inched closer to becoming more whole. Mending the broken pieces within my mind and soul, that were once hidden and locked away deep inside, has been healing. You come to realize, at the end of the day… none of it really mattered. All that matters is how I deal with the now.
I understand the importance of walking through difficult times with humor and dignity rather than with anger and hostility, because in the end, I’m the only one who is angry.
I am vulnerable. Sensitive. And it’s okay. I can, finally at age 37, allow myself to feel these feelings. I can admit that I need help… and most of all, that I need my husband. I used to think being needy equated with being weak. My mindset has changed a bit. I’m still a strong person, but only when I need to be.
I also am thoroughly embracing the fact that my boundaries with people are more clear cut. I understand and accept that not everyone is a friend…and that is okay.
Watching O grow these past few months has been truly rewarding. Parenting, even with all the stress and fatigue, is the best thing that has ever happened in my life. Her dad and I feel so truly blessed. We thank each other daily for helping create this little raggamuffin.
And what I appreciated most has been knowing the value of my friendships. I love having my meetings with my BFF and other girlfriends… and even if for just a moment together… I love the feeling of leaving with the stress of the world off my shoulders because they took off some of the load. I am so blessed.
I hope everyone had a safe, happy, and healthy holiday season. I pray that you find even more joy, love, health, and happiness in the new year.
This picture was from Sunday night. My husband asked me out to the UCLA game. They lost. Unbelievable being they were up like 18 points at one point. They became complacent. The irony right? I think that’s like marriage and relationships. You give it your all at the beginning because you want the relationship to go some place, so you work hard. Then once you achieve a sense of security, that tenaciousness and vivacity kind of disappears. Am I right? So one person starts to revolt. That person being me. Haha.
But we are married. We have a child. We still love each other immensely. He is after all the love of my life… and I would like to presume, I am his. But, life gets in the way of our abilities to show one another the worth in them from our eyes. We forego the simple gestures of kindness with the thought, “oh he should know.” But maybe they don’t.
We hit a rough patch. And it wasn’t easy to overcome. But these are some of the small steps we were forgetting about to help always keep the fire going.
- we ask each other on dates
- we pray
- we go to church
- and we keep the focus on us
- we express our thoughts and feelings more freely without fear of judgment
- we don’t compare ourselves to that of others
I had to practice the last one. Why? Because I am innately a competitive person. I want to do great things. Not for outside accolades but because internally I feel good. And with this, I had to clean house again. There were people in my life that weren’t bringing out the best in me. They wanted all of me, but would only give me a piece of them. It was about their convenience. Their life. Their time. I’m okay with that to a certain degree, but after awhile, you just realize that that friendship isn’t as fulfilling as you had hoped it would be.
I had a few friends whom I loved dearly. But I don’t think I have enough room in my heart for them anymore. I didn’t like the way I felt around them and it was eating away at the core of me. I think it was because all along I knew these people would walk away once they got what they needed from me. Which I believe was a tiny bit of comfort during a time of loneliness. And I don’t blame them, because I can so relate to those feelings. But I need continuity. And a sense of belonging to one another for one another. Does that make sense? My husband is like, “you can still be friends with them.” But for me, I’m not like that. Either you are my friend or you aren’t. And for the most part, they weren’t really my friends to begin with. Why I put so much energy into building friendships with people stems from my own need to feel that close knit tie… the sense of family and comradery. But now, I don’t really feel inclined to need it so much. I have my own little unit… and a great sister, mom, and dad. And more and more, I feel the few great friends that I have are just icing on the cake.
Anyways, it was a nice night. It was cute because he kept commenting on how he liked my look. I felt bashful. And my sarcastic ass wanted to say something snide, because that’s how I accept compliments. But this night, I just absorbed it. I could tell he wasn’t just shooting hot air up my butt, because he mentioned a few times how he liked my “hoop” earrings. Ahahahahahaha. He’s so random.
Most people never disclose what’s going on in their marriage. For the better part of life, we pretend that every thing is picturesque and we hide behind our pain with smiles and laughs in front of others. Maybe in fear of judgment. Maybe in doubt of ourselves. Maybe in doubt of our abilities to be able to handle life. I don’t know what it is. Why we feel the need to front that life is great. That we are unbroken. That we are happy.
I think as we get older, we find a median. A middle ground of solace. A place of comfort. A place where we feel we fit in and are safe. I don’t know where that is for you, but for me… it’s wherever my daughter is at.
I love how people give glimpses of their happy moments. They post the happy pictures on Facebook and Instagram. And everything seems peachy-keen. They forego taking pictures of the temper tantrums and meltdowns because at those times, they are too busy dealing with the chaos than having time taking pictures.
Life. It’s not easy. And no one knows what’s going on in your life. At times, we feel attacked. At times, we feel judged. At times, we feel insecure. But knowing that we have a core group of friends who have our best interest at hand… should give us strength. And that in no way do we judge, do we mean you harm or pain, or that we believe we are in a better situation than you.
I am so fortunate to have such a great circle of women who have given me strength when I didn’t have enough on my own. I am so forever grateful to have people to break bread with and share the woes of life. Thanks, Netters, Jenn, Allison… life became that much simpler because of you gals.