THE BEST PART OF ME

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Living and Forgiving

I offer the best part of me to you. A collection of original poetry. Thank you for viewing. Enjoy!

Wearing My Fabric

My shirt is worn,

And patches adorn,

My sleeve is ripped,

The seams are torn,

The color has faded to a dusty blue,

In some spots bleach has eaten through,

But I wear my fabric- the skin of my life,

I sew a new patch with every battle I fight,

I’m not ashamed that I’m not starched and clean,

Cuz it’s a reflection of what life really means,

Sometimes we get dirty; sometimes we get worn,

Sometimes we get beat down and get a little torn,

So when I feel that I can’t put up another fight,

I look back at what I’ve overcome on my fabric of life.

What Mom Never Said

Don’t be ashamed of tears,

Or make jokes to hide them,

Never walk with your…

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Living and Forgiving

CHAPTER 1 – NEXT EX

Fiction

“Where is he?” Sia puffed as she checked the freshly applied makeup on her almond shaped eyes.  Her date was late. And if there was one thing she couldn’t stand it was someone wasting her time. “Damn, doesn’t he know how much time I take to be this hot? He could at least be on time. Strike one,” she said aloud.  Dating seemed like all Sia did these days. To be honest it seems like all she had ever done.  That was until she meet Rus a couple years ago.   But now that was a not-so-distant painful memory.

After calling off her wedding last year to Rus everything had been a whirlwind.  Most of the time she dated to avoid the pain of what happened.  What a fool she was; she thought.   For girls like Sia fairy tales really didn’t happen her…

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Are Your Kids Wearing Your Scars?

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LISTEN TO THEM

Recently, I was having a conversation with my son as I walked the dog.   We walked past the swimming pool that had just opened at our complex and he exclaimed “Mom, the pool is open! Can we get it?” Instinctively, I flashed back to grade school when I almost drowned at a friend’s swim party. I said “Mase you know I can’t swim. What if you start to drown?  How would I save you?  No, we should wait until you have swim lessons this summer.”  He lowered his head a little and agreed.  As I continued to walk he rode his bike along side me.  At one point I heard a car.  I remembered the time I got hit by a car crossing the street to get ice cream when I was ten.  I realized that Mason had traveled a little bit further from me than was comfortable. I yelled to him “Mase you have to stay close to me. What if you get hit by a car? What would I do?” He again looked at me and agreed.

As we continued on our path, Bella our dog stopped to investigate something on the ground.  Before I realized it Mase had started messing with a bug on the ground. I said “Mase don’t do that sweetie.” He stopped, looked at me and said; “Have you had a bad experience with bugs too mommy?”

At that moment all the bad experiences that I had as a child flashed in my head. When I looked at Mase I realized that I was making my son wear my scars. The scars from my past that I subconsciously tried to hide from the world were invading his world.  Was I teaching him to be afraid?  A feeling of overwhelming sadness showered over me.  I walked up to Mase, grabbed his face and said “No sweetie mommy didn’t have a bad experience with bugs.  I’m sorry I have been pushing my fears on you.  I never want you to grow up afraid to live.”  He smiled and said “I won’t mommy.” We hugged for a long time.  It had never occurred to me that in wanting to protect my son from the perils of this world that I was feeding him my fears.  It was important that I give him permission to live his own life.

IDENTIFY PATTERNS

This experience with Mase made me think of the men I had dated. The ones that never left their parents home and never worked consistently.  The ones that had abandoned their families. The ones with hidden addictions and the ones with so much self doubt and shame they couldn’t face themselves. The relationships that always put me in a position of being a protector; a mother shielding a child from the worlds disappointments over and over again. I always hated and resented men that forced me into this role. But why had I chosen to stay so long?   Maybe I was the one who saw their fear and was drawn to wanting to fix them.

Now I think twice before starting a relationship because I realized that I was falling into a toxic pattern.  Have you ever felt like you were dating the same person over and over?  Me too!  The great news is we don’t have too.  According to  Dr. Gail Gross  a psychologist and researcher; there are ways to identify toxic people and break bad patterns in relationships.  Dr. Gross explains that there is really just one question you need to ask yourself about a partner.  Do we have the same core life values?

BREAKING THE CYCLE

After dating Suitor 2 for awhile it came to my attention that we had different spiritual beliefs. Even though we both identified as Christians our understanding of what that meant was so drastically different that we were both caught off guard.  On top of that even though he seemed zealous for his spirituality he had no regard for keeping his word and we never spent much time together even when I voiced my concern.   That was a huge turn off to me. When I started to see a toxic pattern I realized it was time to  call it quits.  I’m not perfect at all.  But I definitely  didn’t want to go down that toxic road that would end up in arguments, mistrust and self doubt.  I understood that I needed someone who shared my same values and that shouldn’t be a struggle.

I pray that you are careful  not to transfer your scars to others. It’s so important to deal with your own issues before getting involved with others.   This of course is harder when it comes to children. However, what better motivation to move towards a healthier you?  If we need counseling why not get it?  Whatever it takes to be your best self is worth every dollar and every minute.

Dating While Celibate II: You Won’t Believe It!

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I Can’t Believe It!

I can’t believe where this decision has taken my life. All these years I had it wrong and now I’ve finally got it right. It feels right. You know what I mean when something just feels right?  My mom used to say, “You know that you are on the right path when doors start opening for you.” That’s a sign that you are moving towards your purpose.  Since I’ve been celibate some amazing things have happened.  These are the five things I’ve learned so far on this journey.

  1.  1. Focus Forward

  My focus has been razor sharp.  Since this journey began I have been able to redirect the energy that I’m normally putting into someone else into God, myself and my son. I’ve never been more focused. I landed an amazing job, created a path to help my son stay in school and I feel so close to God. I can actually talk with him without shame or that small voice in my head that plays back all my poor decisions. It’s amazing!

   2. I Got The Feeling

My biggest surprise has been my emotional connection to people. I care more deeply and listen more intently than before.  Life seems so beautiful and I think it’s because I don’t feel any pressure to give more of my self than what’s comfortable. I can have a conversation with a guy with a different trust level than I had previously because I know the limit of my interaction with him. Laughing and enjoying people seems so rich to me now.

 3. All That You Need You Already Have

God has equipped you with everything you need to move towards your purpose. But there  is one key.  You have to be able to see and hear his voice. What happened to me was I could no longer hear him.  So many things were fighting for the attention he needed in my life. Guilt, shame, stress, financial burden and single parenting.  Nothing seemed to be working. No matter how hard I tried everyday I felt defeated. Until I decided to listen to God and silence those emotional haters I didn’t see where I was going. Now the path seems so clear ahead.

4. You Deserve Better

Are you always snapping and frustrated? Are people always asking you what’s wrong? Maybe you need some.  Yep, you need some time to fall back in love with you.  Before this I had forgotten who I really was. Honestly, all I seemed to be was what other people needed. But who was I?   Do you remember my  counseling session I spoke about before? Well, my counselor had urged me to reevaluate my expectations of myself.

My unrealistic expectations to be an over achiever had caused me to work myself into a ball of stress. My counselor warned me to really look within myself and define who I was without being what I had become.   I responded. ” If I’m not that then I don’t know who I am.”As soon as I said it I realized how broken that thought process was. She didn’t let up though, “That’s what you need to find out Teresa. Who are you for you?” She waited. Guess what?  I really didn’t know.  Silence.  Now I would say I’m a writer, a poet, a lover of people, a community activist, volunteer and an involved parent. And that’s more than I thought I was before.

 

5. Love is More Possible Than Ever

You know, in my mind I thought that being celibate was going to lessen my chances on finding love. Somehow it seemed that maybe I had written my own life sentence of loneliness. Honestly, it was scary at first. But what I found out will amaze you. Men think it’s pretty hot! I know I was surprised too! Go figure that to them knowing that the girl they are into isn’t letting anyone get that close to her makes them feel like you’re something special.  My dating life is happy and light. Maybe in a way it’s a weight off for them too. Now I find we can simply enjoy each other and take our time seeing where things go.

Recently, I’ve learned that Suitor 2 from Dating While Celibate is a great father, warm and funny, protective, talented and helpful. At the same time I discovered that he’s not totally ready to jump in with two feet. The thing is that’s all ok. Before being celibate I may have given in to the physical attraction before I realized we didn’t want the same things at the same time.   When I removed  that from the equation I could really see and hear him clearly. So for now we are enjoying getting to know each other.  Maybe he’s the one or maybe he’s not. Either way I can walk toward him or away with my dignity intact. And that my friends is the best feeling in the world!  

 

 

TOP 5 REASONS: It’s Time to Graduate from Clubbin’

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ARE YOU TOO OLD FOR THE CLUB?

Yep. There it is; right there in bold letters.  Thought you would always be the cool party starter didn’t you? Hey, me too!  There’s nothing like that moment when you look around in your tipsy state and ask the question that’s been in the back of your mind since your 30th birthday.  Am I too old to be at the club?  It’s not that you’re too old. You are just ready to graduate from the traditional clubbing spots.  If any of these 5 things sound like you CONGRATULATIONS you’ve graduated!

 

1.YOUR OUTFIT ISN’T IN ANY CURRENT VIDEO

Do I have to say it? Don’t make me. OK. I ain’t scared! You’re best club outfit is stuck in the decade you last graduated in.  Maybe that’s kind of harsh.  But have you ever found yourself at the club wondering why the girls or guys are dressed “that way”? Well, it’s probably because you haven’t kept up with the latest diva wear. I say this with love.  If the only way that you would fit in at the club is to buy a new wardrobe order the cap and gown instead.

2. YOU START YAWNING BEFORE YOU LEAVE THE HOUSE

Back in the day you could leave the house at 11:00 pm, hit the club for 4 hours and crawl home just as the sun started to peak through and still make it to work by 8:00 am with a smile.  Now the thought of going out past 8:00 pm; well it kind of  makes you nervous. You immediately start calculating how many hours of sleep you’ll miss.  Give it up honey. If you look drunk at the club and it’s just sleep deprivation it’s time to change it up.

3. YOU’RE BODY HAS STOPPED MOVING

I remember the moment like yesterday. Wait that was yesterday! While dancing around at home being silly with my son something cracked. I’m not sure what it was.  I was attempting to show him the Stanky Leg dance from “my day” and my Stanky Leg fell off! OK. Not really but something broke. All I know is I heard a crack and couldn’t move. Two days later I’m still healing. If those dance moves that used to draw a crowd only draws doctor’s visits your graduation date has been set.

 

4. GRADUATION DAY

So where do we go from here? Not clubbing does not have to equal no fun.  The way you see the world now should be broader than the view at 18 years old. Don’t become that outdated oldie hanging out at the club that can advise you on the location of the bathroom, the best food and drinks to order and the weekly club events. “Hey did know on Tuesday’s its open mic night?”  It’s time to find a life outside of four stale walls. I’m not talking needles and yarn hobbies but fresh mature hobbies like dinner parties, wine tastings, rock climbing, bicycling and traveling. Let the world be your club. Get to know people and places.

5. GET YOUR FRIENDS ON BOARD

Lastly, it can be hard to venture out when your friends are still club committed. Here’s a crazy idea; you be the new travel party starter. Check out local blogs and travel sites and plan a girls/guys trip. If you’re married start family trips they can be fun or romantic. Start a hobby with your spouse. Get people on board. But if they just won’t budge it’s completely OK to graduate at the top of the class and fly solo. Need some more ideas?  Check out this link.  The Before You’re 40 Bucketlist http://relm.ag/1bTP8fJ via @RELEVANT  Until next blog have an awesome amazing fantastic refreshing life!

 

 

Dating While Celibate

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Yes! After 36 years and many tears I have decided to become celibate. The reason may shock you! Celibacy is similar to the word abstinence and is often used interchangeably. Both words are used to mean a voluntary withholding of one’s self in a sexual manner with another person.  However, in history the word celibacy is often used to describe single persons.  The choice to become celibate  was one that I have been struggling with for awhile. Then something happened that made it so much easier. I  met an asshole. Yep, that was my turning point. Allow me to explain.

I have meet many assholes in my dating life.  There are the ones that talk about themselves and what they have all the way through dinner.  The ones that blame their ex’s for everything. The ones that think women are as eager to have sex as the rap songs say. The ones that complain about their kids and are doing nothing to help.  And let’s not forget the ones that talk to you like you’re an idiot. Lastly,  the ones that have a bachelors degree and job but act like he has a PhD and is a CEO. FYI assholes of America having a job doesn’t make you special. I’ve had one since I was 15.  Honestly, it’s been exhausting.

However,  the last asshole broke the meter. The next morning after our  “cookie exchange” (not sure why I don’t just say sex)  he began telling me how I needed to leave quickly because he was going to be late for his haircut appointment.  He just couldn’t miss it he said. It was like 7 am on a Saturday morning. Totally still cuddling hours. As I tried to mention that he shut me down and moved away.  By the way this idiot was damn near bald and the few hairs he still had were ready to commit suicide. I think I saw one jump.   I was so annoyed that I just got shut down by a damn near bald idiot that I just kept it moving. My decision was made at that moment.  How many times would I keep hitting this same wall? Who was the real idiot here? So there I was no orange juice or breakfast. Just my empty stomach and the walk of shame.

Later that day he texted me about how it was my fault that he missed his appointment.  Now he couldn’t get his hair cut and was upset. You know until that day I thought he was a pretty cool guy. Now he was another asshole. The last asshole to get the “cookies”.  So my decision was solidified.  But how was I going to follow through and hold myself accountable?  A friend gave me a book that changed everything.

Before I get into the book may I say something? I realize that some women will act like they don’t care when things like this happen. I can hear the echoes now, “I’m just doing me”, “that’s all I wanted too”, “On to the next guy”. But it does matter and it should.  When we share ourselves with someone there should be a certain level of care, concern and compassion involved. To be pushed away or made to feel belittled is not part of the deal. It’s far from romantic and unacceptable.

“The Wait” by Meagan Good & Devon Franklin was the answer I needed. My friend had given me this book after urging me to take a break from dating. In her eyes it wasn’t working and I was no closer to finding the one than before I started serial dating. She was right. In the months to follow I embarked on a journey with “The Wait”.   In the book Meagan and Devon discuss their unique situation. He is a pastor/ film producer and had been celibate for 9 years after a few failed relationships. Meagan is of course an actress who had been labeled a party girl by herself and others because she had basically decided to have a “I don’t give a damn” attitude after many unsuccessful and emotionally abusive relationships. Yet in the last year before they meet she makes the personal decision to become celibate. They meet and continue on a journey that is funny, rewarding and respectful as a couple. They are now married and have chosen to share their story to help others.  Because they waited they learned amazing things about each other that they may not have know with “sex brain” (that’s my word by the way not theirs).  How many times have you started dating someone exchange “cookies” and realize you actually don’t even like them? I was in!

If this was going to work I decided that I would have to be upfront with prospective suitors. No games here. Nothing pushy or demanding either. Complete honesty. I would just mention it in conversation and allow them to decide.  After 3 months I’m ready to start dating again. Suitors to follow:

Suitor #1 – Praise team leader at a local church. Self starter and devoted father of one. Owns his own home. Rarely makes time to date. According to him “I’m looking for someone to have my back”. We spoke on the phone a few times and I mentioned one day casually that I was doing “The Wait”. He responded well and the conversation ended shortly afterwards. We didn’t talk again for 3 weeks. We went out once and he calls off and on. I like him but he seems a little inconsistent.

Suitor #2 – Someone I knew Pre- “The Wait”. We had talked about a year ago but in my mind we were going different directions. He is also a father of one but there’s baby mama drama. I called it off after realizing he was still “cookie exchanging”with other people. He had been trying to get back in touch for the last few months. Since we had never had a “cookie exchange” I was open to hanging out again. So we were at dinner having a pretty good time when I decided to mention “The Wait”. He’s funny and open minded. A little crass and cursing is a normal part of his vocab but I thought he’d take it well. I mentioned it kind of casually between bites. I’m not sure when he stopped eating.  I looked up to find   he had set his fork down and was sitting back in the booth. “Are you OK?” I asked concerned. He says ” Well I’ve been waiting! At least for you anyway. I hope you don’t expect me to do this with you!” Not sure what to say I laughed and continued eating.  I made a mental note and we finished the night well. We have spoken since but I get the feeling that he may be taking this as a challenge.

Suitor #3 – The Ex – So my ex calls. Says he misses me so much. Just can’t go any longer without seeing me and wants to come and visit. I say sure it would be wonderful to see you again but let me tell you about this decision I recently made. After I briefly explain he says, ” You know I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to come. I need to check my calendar again”. “OK. Keep in touch, I said. When I hung up the phone I laughed. How funny is that. One down!

What I’m learning in the meantime is my worth. Who I am, what I like and what makes me happy. This process is also shows  how much someone really values me, how interested they truly are in my goals. I do believe that you can date while “waiting” and that it can be filled with intimacy just not the kind I’m used to. It’s funny this whole time I thought sex had to be a part of the deal. Now I realize it should have never been. It’s not a deal at all. It’s your body and it’s so precious. The heart should be the only way inside of it.  Everyday that I “wait” I feel more empowered and beautiful, special and even sexy. I love myself differently than before.Even the way I dress is more sexy confident than provocative.  The idea of knowing that the person I choose to commit to will have a special part of me is really hot!

This may not be for you. I get it.  I just have one question. Is what you’re doing now working? Men and women could use a little more time to really get to know each other without “sex brain”. I bet we could all avoid a little more drama by “waiting” a little longer. Like Meagan I don’t come with a sparkling past. I have flaws and experiences but my desire is to find someone that will love me for who I am. Someone that will work as a team with so that we can grow into a beautiful couple. I’m a silly, slightly goofy, Christian, nerdy, mommy, sometimes sarcastic, fashionista,  celibate. “Waiting” on the one who gets that is worth it.

 

 

The Night I Went to Heaven

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I never thought this would be a part of my life’s journey. But I went to heaven the other day. Actually, it was Saturday, January 23rd 2016 to be exact. I promise to share every detail with you if you do me a favor. Believe.

The last couple of months had been hard. Matter of fact the last six months had been the worst. Everything that could go wrong had actually gone wrong. My car was a wreck, I was behind in my bills, my son’s father had lost his job again which meant I was stuck yet again having to take care of all my son’s bills. And on top of all of that I was scheduled for surgery, my job was more stressful than ever and I couldn’t breath.  No really, I seriously felt like I couldn’t breath. And as many witnessed my fall from “always in control” to “absolute destruction” I felt the world caving in.

So I lost it.  Yes really, I actually lost it. My mind that is. My breathing was worst than ever. Going up steps had become a chore. My doctor thought my heart was enlarged. And as I attempted to grab hold of my spinning world I tripped and fell hard. I would find myself in a nearby hospital shaking, crying hysterically, and unable to move my legs and arms; paralyzed with fear.  How did this happen to someone that is so with it, so together?

So the funny thing is; according to my new counselor my break was because I was trying to keep it all together for so long and had lost. It’s really unnatural I see now to try and control everything. It’s exhausting. It took about a month to regain myself. A month to breath normally again. A month to return to work. Exactly two weeks before I entered heaven.

I returned to work without a fuss. No party. No big welcome. Just slid in the side door  pretending to be better. I was a little better but never really the same.  Somehow, I was more aware of my feelings than before. This may have been the reason that on the night of January 23rd I found myself in heaven.

After wrapping up a few housekeeping to-do’s I headed to bed. It was about 10:30 pm. I’m unsure what time I actually drifted off but I found myself on a large school bus soon after.

It was yellow, I remember. Traditional school bus yellow with an nontraditional driver; my aunt. Yes, my mother’s only sister.  The people on the bus with us were friends from my past that I hadn’t seen in awhile.  The bus was driving really fast. Not like 90 mph fast but above the speed limit. I was very aware that we were moving quickly along a road.

The swift moving yellow bus approached an over pass. There was a man there with St. Louis Cardinals hat and jersey on dancing on the side of the street. We were all from St. Louis but it was just a really odd sight so I said “Hey you guys? Did you see that guy back there in the Cardinals uniform dancing?” My aunt said “No, let’s go back and see!”  So she swung the bus around. Now remember he was the over pass dancing? The bus approached the over pass moving quickly but somehow my aunt missed a slight turn and over the side of the over pass we went!!

There was a moment when the bus was nosediving that we all knew seemingly at the same time that we were going to die. I remember thinking ” I can’t believe this is how I die.” We were in shock. Maybe we were screaming or maybe we weren’t. We all braced for the end.  But something odd happened. At the moment of impact there wasn’t one. There was no fire or screaming, no awful scene of blood and death. At the very moment when we crashed it was like we blinked and were in heaven.

But I need to explain the “we”. I could tell I was in heaven and I could tell I was with people that I knew but they weren’t actually the people from the bus for sure.  This is hard to explain. Basically, I had a really warm feeling of love and comfort unlike anything I’ve ever known before. It was all encompassing.  I felt like I was surrounded by people I knew, that loved me, that we all loved each other but when I looked at there faces I couldn’t say ” Hey James how are you?”  It was a deeper knowing.

Heaven is a city.  Well that’s how it appeared. A bustling city with people of all kinds going to and from. Everyone was happy.  Not in a parade clown kind of happy.  But in a deep inside contentment kind of happy.  I remember saying I could just stay here and be safe forever.  But then I remembered my son Mason. MASON!!! OMG what about Mason? I started to say.  All of a sudden I realized I wasn’t ready for this. I had to get back to my son. He still needed me.

No one was concerned about what I was saying.  Not because they didn’t care but because no one had concerns! But I needed help. I wasn’t fearful but I was determined to get back. So I start to walk briskly through the city. I see an escalator but no one is on it.  Someone important must be up there I reason. So I head up. Why wasn’t anyone else on the escalator I thought. Oh well, I need to see who’s in charge to help me get to Mason.

There was water.  You should know that I am terrified of water due to a terrible accident as a child.  But I wasn’t scared in heaven. The water ran up the escalator. Yes, up the escalator. I noted the water but I wasn’t wet at all. Finally, I get to the top.

At the top of the escalator was a desk. A regular brown office desk really maybe a little larger. Nothing extreme or super excessive.  Someone is there at the desk.  I start to plead my case to them about Mason. But there is something you have to know about the person at the desk…..I couldn’t see them.

There was an entity there. I was aware that we were having a conversation. But they were not a human person. Maybe a spirit or some kind of deity. It wasn’t GOD himself but maybe a worker of some kind. It wasn’t male or female. The thing is it didn’t even matter to me. I never seemed surprised by the being or lack of form. I was just pleading my case.

I was given a choice. I knew I was being given a choice to stay here in comfort or go back to an unsafe world. I finally said with both hands on the desk. I need to get back to Mason!

I woke up. Terrified and sweating. I called for my dog Bella. She was there. I cried and didn’t want to move. For days I said nothing of this to anyone. I was so scared it was so real. I can’t remember any other dream with such detail. But I decided to finally tell a friend at work and then share with the world.

I hugged my son so hard when I saw him. He was with his father the weekend I had the experience. What I believe is that I had a glimpse into heaven and I realize now that if something were to happen there is nothing to fear. Yet I also know that I’m not ready for that part of life yet. I’ve still got a lot of living and forgiving to do.