So I was thinking about an experience I had a couple days ago with a family member. Before I continue, let me issue this disclaimer: I have this blog and also have a podcast launching soon. I won't say names, but NOBODY is exempt from being discussed on one of my platforms. Just something to keep in mind. 😉
Anyway, this family member sent me one of the most deliberately hurtful, disturbingly vile, laughingly inaccurate, glaringly projecting texts I’ve ever received in my life. In my almost 42 years, I’ve had my share of atrocious things done and said to me that have nearly destroyed me. But, however unfortunate, each experience sparked exponential growth and the lessons learned were invaluable, effectively preparing me for whatever obstacle I might encounter next. This was no different...well...it did feel a bit different, but maybe because I haven’t “let” words rattle me like this in a long time. I would describe the emotional pain like a poisonous arrow through the heart that caused excruciating pain as it went in and continued to sting as the arrow was removed and an apparatus was used to suck out the venom.
I felt like I had nearly mastered the art of protecting my peace. I thought I was an expert at not sweating the small stuff and realizing that in the grand scheme of things, it’s ALL small. This shook me though. The words and intent behind them continue to replay in my head. 2 main reasons I think the content of the text is living rent free in my head:
So I was thinking about how I'll be getting the COVID-19 vaccine in 2 days. Or how maybe I won't get the COVID-19 vaccine in 2 days. 🤔 I signed up about 2 weeks ago and I have changed my mind 63 times since. I've thought and thought and thought and read articles and watched videos and asked people's opinions (medical professionals and otherwise) and of course prayed about it. People have legitimate fears about receiving the vaccine. The apprehension is understandable and even shared a bit, but I'm mostly leaning toward getting it. I have people in my life who have tried to convince me not to get the vaccine, but thankfully it was done with nothing but pure love and concern. Cuz baby...I've seen some people being BRUTAL on social media! I really don't understand why people tend to be so condescending and rude when opinions differ. The pandemic, the vaccine, it's all new to EVERYBODY. In my opinion, it is important for the masses to be as safe as possible while also respecting each other and how they go about dealing with it.
I believe I've made my final decision. I considered going about this whole process surreptitiously, but I came to the conclusion that sharing my thought process and experience might help somebody in making theirs. So, I'll keep you all posted. My advice to anyone who is on the fence like me, try to get your information about the vaccine from reputable resources, make your decision based on what makes YOU feel comfortable, and like I think is important in most situations, go with your gut!
So I was thinking about today being inauguration day and where I was on this day 12 years ago. Get a load of this story...In 2009 I was in DC sprawled out at the National Mall, colder than I had ever been before in my life, which is saying a lot for a Chicago native. Let me go back a bit. My friends and I had driven down 2 days before on the worst road trip I've been on in my entire life. There were 4 of us in my SUV, I drove most of the way, but that wasn't the problem. (So I thought. Years later all my passengers told me they were afraid while I was driving! 😰🤦🏾♀️)The problem was we were in a BLIZZARD going through MOUNTAINS! And if I recall correctly, my windshield wipers were wonky. 😰 And that's just where the series of unfortunate events BEGAN. When we got to my friend's cousin's house where we were staying, I got in the shower and when I got out, I fell on my face because my back went out! I had never felt such pain!! It was pretty scary because I could NOT get up. I scooted on my stomach into the bedroom, my friends covered me with a towel, and I had to be lifted up on the bed. In short, I ended up getting some type of muscle relaxer and/or pain medication and I was eventually able to stand/walk, and went about my day. Fast forward to the 20th. We get up at the crack of dawn, bundle up, make sure phones are charged, and head out on the Metro to the National Mall. There were so many others doing the same. It was quite the sight to see! Thousands of us waited for probably about 8 hours in the biting cold to see the inauguration of our nation's first Black President. There were several times I wanted to throw in the towel and say forget it, I'm going back to the house and just catch it on TV. But I stayed and I'm glad I did. Even though I was uncomfortably cold, threatening frostbite and hypothermia, the energy of the atmosphere made me stay put. The air was charged with a hopefulness and unity that I had never experienced. This was one part of history where I'm proud to say I had a proverbial front row seat. But it wasn't all good!
Quick recap before I go on: There was the scary journey through a blizzard and mountains (which I forgot to mention was at night), back went out, and camped out in freezing almost unbearable cold for several hours...but wait...there's MORE! Once the crowd started to disperse and we headed toward the Metro to go home, pain shot through my back again and I needed to sit for a bit. I'm pretty sure I said aloud that I needed to sit, but nobody in my group heard me. I didn't rest for long, but when I got up, my peeps were no where to be found! By this time, my phone had died and I only knew ONE person's number in my group by heart. On TOP of the night, the cell towers and trains had been shut down, so when I found somebody's phone to use, the one person whose number I knew went straight to voicemail! I ended up waiting and wandering around by myself until the trains began to run again. Luckily I remembered where to go and made it home safely, but imagine how lonely, nervous and even scared I was for a couple hours in a place I had never been before with throngs of strangers, and no phone. What a story I have to tell my grandkids one day. This was the BEST WORST trip ever!
Today, there is once a again a hopeful energy felt virtually across the nation. We're hoping for a better 4 years than the last, we're hoping for an end to the pandemic, we're hoping for equality, we're hoping for economic rebuilding, we're hoping for opportunity, and the list goes on. There's also a feeling of pride in the history that is being made by Kamala Harris being sworn in as the FIRST woman and FIRST Black Vice President. Due to the pandemic, we can't gather in celebration, but the celebratory mood is definitely felt. Plus, I'll never go to another inauguration again in my life time. Been there and don't wanna do that NO MO! LOL...
I pray that today and the days to come are filled with peace and harmony. In the words of my former pastor, "Forward ever, backwards never!"
So I was thinking about the letter I wrote to my son. I had been thinking about writing him a letter for weeks, but for some reason, I couldn't find the words. I just knew I had to write it. After a couple therapy sessions, some personal reflection, and lots of journaling I finally found the words. Here's a peek into my world and into my heart. He gave me permission to share this. I removed his name and his daddy's. Most of y'all reading this know me already, but I'm preparing for the thousands of subscribers I'll have one day. Lol...
There is absolutely no human on this planet who I love more than you. I remember when you were an infant...I would hold you and stare at you in awe. I couldn’t believe that I made such a beautiful, perfect, human being. Maybe that was my first mistake, thinking you were perfect and expecting you to be that way. How could that be at all possible when you were born into an imperfect world and came from imperfect parents who hadn’t a clue what they were doing in life, let alone as parents! We thought we knew, but we had NO idea!
Low-key, I thought you were my second chance. I guess I thought I would mold you into some type of Stepford child or something (if you don’t know this reference let me know and I’ll find The Stepford Wives for us to watch one day when you have time for your mother...but I digress.🤪) I expected you to have only the very best parts of me (and I guess ____________🤣). But that isn’t realistic, so of course you have a piece of the good and bad from both of us.
I thought I would be able to make you into all me and your father were not. In parenting you, I thought I’d correct all the mistakes I FELT my parents made with me. Now that I’m almost 19 years in the game, I realize that most parents did the best with what they knew and what they thought was the best for their child/children.
Even though our lives ended up way less than ideal with the divorce and the back and forth between me and your daddy and living arrangements and school and major losses and everything else that life threw our way, I still somehow expected you to be perfect. You were just supposed to magically obtain superhuman strength to ignore everything you were feeling and seeing and just be all I envisioned you to be.
Now don’t get me wrong, me wanting all that for you wasn’t just for selfish reasons. I just truly wanted and still want in my heart of hearts everything that’s best for you. I want you to be better than me so that you can have more direction and opportunity and ease of life than I had/have. In all my imperfection and wrong methods and fussing and misunderstanding and dare I say what you’re thinking, bitchiness, I just wanted to shield you from the same types of mistakes I made. I wanted to shield you from the hardship and heartache I’ve experienced. I just wanted you to learn from my mistakes, from the past and the present. My eyes are welling up with tears as I write because I just wanted things to be EASIER for you! You already have strikes against you as a young black man, so I wanted and want you to avoid any extra burdens if possible.
Yes, I can teach you right from wrong. I can try to teach you responsibility and morals. I can share my stories, but how dare I try to dictate and orchestrate your life’s path, especially as a young adult. I didn’t let anybody do that for me! AND I’m not God!!
As humans we live and make mistakes, ESPECIALLY as teenagers and young adults. But, we should also learn from our mistakes and I’m realizing more and more that I must give you the opportunity to do so. I know that I need to extend to you more patience and grace and I’m sorry that I haven’t. I’m working on it. I’m sorry to have contributed to your anxiety. I’m sorry for not affirming you as much as I should, ESPECIALLY after I made you take the 5 love languages test for kids, lol.
Do not get it twisted. There are still rules to follow and practical expectations to be met as a young adult living in my home. However, I’m going to do better as your mother. Like I said before, I’m working on it. I’m working on me and learning how to be a parent to a young adult, because it isn’t the same as parenting an infant or a toddler or an adolescent. I’m no longer expecting perfection from you, but I do expect you to do your very best and I will be here to help you figure out what that is. I could probably go on and on and may need to later, but I’ll stop for now. Hopefully you even read this! Lol!!
Oh! One more thing, please have patience with me. Let’s work together. I love you son, just as you are! 🥰🥰🥰
His response: Thank you for this mother, and I love you too.
Could I have at LEAST gotten 2 sentences?! 🙄 LOL
So I was thinking about everything I have going on right now. I had been sitting here watching the news for about 2 hours or so and as the goings on in our nation played out like the season finale of a dramatic political series like Scandal or House of Cards, I chose to celebrate. All of that, coupled with other unfortunate news I received today, was just way too much for me to deal with at the moment. So, I turned the news off. I'm not denying the reality of what's happening, but I'm protecting the peace of my personal reality by focusing on the joyous parts of my life.
I began working on some things personally and professionally last year and am excited to be able to share some with you as we dive into the new year. A few years ago I had a blog, along with my friend Shari, called The Optimistic Divorcees. You can actually find a few of our archived posts on this site. Being divorcees ourselves, we established the blog to highlight the happy and fulfilling life that is possible post divorce. We shared stories of our experiences in marriage, divorce, dating, co-parenting, travel, etc, while also commissioning other divorcees to share their stories. Our intent was to provide a relatable outlet and to encourage and uplift other men and women who were at the same stage or had experienced the same stage of life. We ended up taking the party over to Periscope for a while, but then life happened and we no longer blogged or appeared on Periscope. After a lengthy hiatus, I'm excited to announce the return of The Optimistic Divorcees, but in podcast form! The Optimistic Divorcees Podcast will officially launch February 8, 2021, so save the date! In the meantime, you can find our introductory episode on Apple, Spotify, and Stitcher!! We also had the chance to be guests on The MKOS, For Women Only Show with Melissa Fredericks aka MrsKevOnStage AND on the Faith Over Everything Podcast with host Faith Wimberly (Which can be found wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts). We had a blast recording both!
The podcast will air weekly on Mondays. Please stay tuned and go ahead and subscribe to the podcast on either of the platforms I mentioned! Follow us on IG: @TheOptDivorcees. Also join our mailing list to stay in the loop! http://eepurl.com/hm9QTT (if the link doesn't work, copy and paste in your browser).