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Book Announcement: Are You Ready to Break Right?

If you’ve followed my other blog (2blu2btru.wordpress.com) or followed me on social media, you may have seen that I’ve been working on a new book. I’ve kept many of the details close to my chest. This is one of my most personal projects, and I wanted to make sure I wrote this well before sharing it with the world.

 

In 2016, it seemed like everything I touched broke–I lost my job, ended my relationship, and faced a move with no savings or income. I ended up leaving the city I’d come to think of as home, my church family, and many of my friends behind. It was truly a breaking season for me. Yet God kept me in perfect peace as these things occurred.

I learned many things in this season, and many books could have come from it, but in the end, God placed Break Right on my heart. As I worked through the ramifications and realizations breaking up brought to the forefront in my life, I wrote the things I was learning and experimenting with in my journal. This season looked different than I expected, in ways that both humbled and encouraged me. I began to wonder if others might be interested in what I was learning, so I reached out to a few women and pitched the idea. Once I put the heart of this book into words, I knew it had to be written, and I had to be the one to write it.

In the process of writing this book, I experienced the full force of what heartbreak can do. I found myself struggling to repair things I didn’t know were broken or damaged. I confronted truths I ran from before battling with the blank page. The writing of this book further healed me, and I know the wisdom God shared with me will help others discovering the healing He wants to give them as well.

If you’ve read my other books, you know I’m not the “woo, woo, woo” or “there, there, there” girl. I’m the “dig deep”, “let’s look at the lady in the mirror and be honest about what we see” girl. I’m the hard truth teller, the “what does the bible say” redirector, the spiritual fruit inspector. I’m a southern gal who’ll bless your heart and tell you about yourself in a ladylike, well-mannered way, clutching my pearls the entire time. I wasn’t sure I could write a book bound in sensitivity AND filled with hard truths for hurting women in search of healing.

But God met me on the pages of this book. He walked me through this season the way I needed Him to, while helping me hone the message of it in a way that’s sensitive and respect of where a woman walking through a breakup is in her healing process while presenting truths wrapped in a ton of love. I didn’t hurl hand grenades at injured soldiers; I’m helping in the healing. Like many medical procedures, there is some pain and discomfort involved, but it’s necessary.

I’m so excited to share the final product with you! As I finish getting the final details wrapped up, I wanted to let you know about this book of my heart and what to expect when it comes out next month. The book is entitled Break Right: Finding Wholeness in Heartbreak, and a Good God in a Bad Breakup. Part memoir, part practical advice and encouragement, and all from the heart, this raw, real and relatable work will comfort, correct and challenge the Christian woman in the midst of a breakup to reexamine heartbreak and healing from a biblical perspective. Filled with biblical examples and personal experiences from myself and other women, Break Right seeks to provide the perspective shift many of us need so we can shine our lights for the Lord in the midst of a dark season.

This book is not a blow by blow of the breakups I’ve experienced or a way to bash an ex. In fact, you won’t find much about my ex, and I hope you won’t focus too much on your ex as you read it. This book is about how you can emerge better and help the next woman do the same. I share many personal stories, but they probably aren’t the ones you’d expect. ūüėČ

This book feels different, and it’s inspired me to do something different with its release. I am opening pre-orders for Break Right tomorrow, February 14, 2018. From Valentine’s Day until Wednesday, March 7, you can order Break Right for the introductory price of $9.99 in paperback (it increases to $14.99 after the pre-order period). Why should you pre-order? Those who pre-order will receive some cool perks: breakup greeting cards, bookmarks, and prints, as well as a free eBook of funny and introspective tales from my romantic life, Misses before Mrs. You will also received the first section of the book to start reading and access to a special Facebook Group. I saved the best for last: all those who pre-order the book or a book bundle will be entered to win a $25 Amazon gift card. All pre-order books will arrive by the release date, March 13th.

If Break Right sounds like something you need in your life, come back tomorrow and see the front cover, read the book description, and reserve your copy. I’ll be sharing more about this book in the coming weeks before release, so watch this space.

For all my eBook readers, don’t fret. The eBook is coming! I will open eBook pre-orders two weeks before release, with digital perks.

I love you all and can’t wait for you find your wholeness and experience how good our God can be, even in a bad breakup.

XOXO,

Erica

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Manufactored Memories

I‚Äôve been trying to get Mr. Perfect to watch Friends with Benefits with me ever since I bought it in March. Even though it‚Äôs bawdy and raunchy and not the least how I would like my love story to go, I love the way that it mocks romantic comedies, yet manages to give one of the best endings of any modern romantic comedy (classics such as When Harry Met Sally, Forget Paris, and Sleepless in Seattle aside). It makes eloquent use of songs like ‚ÄúJump‚ÄĚ by Kriss Kross and ‚ÄúClosing Time‚ÄĚ by Semisonic. I care about the characters. It‚Äôs a good story. But I really just want him to watch it to create a memory I can use later.

That’s right; I will manufacture a memory to orchestrate a future endeavor.  I want to be able to do all this really sentimental things at my wedding, tell a romantic proposal story, and make a kick butt scrapbook of our awesome adventures. It speaks to my creative soul. I think I would be that girl that would make someone do something again if I missed a great photo opp.

The thing is, we all have memorable moments; they just don‚Äôt always happen when we are looking our best or translate well when we try to tell others. Wanting things to be perfect keeps me from making some really ‚Äúme‚ÄĚ memories. If I look too fat in a picture or my hair is a mess, the moment is ruined, and it doesn‚Äôt have to be.

As I was thinking about this, I thought of ‚Äúour‚ÄĚ movie. Our movie is I Think I Love My Wife. I mentioned this in an email before we were official, & we discovered we both had an affinity for it. It was the first movie we watched together as a couple (in a long and storied movie going experience). We quote it often and refer to it frequently. But it‚Äôs a movie in which a man almost cheats on his wife and has a passive title. (You think you love your wife? What?) It‚Äôs not the most romantic portrayal of love & commitment, you know? But the movie is significant to is, which is what should matter.

The problem with manufacturing memories is that you are the only one attached to them. For example, I know what the perfect first dance song for us would be. It was on a CD I made for Mr.  P. for his birthday after about two months of talking. How cute, right? But Mr. P. has no idea where that CD is, & likes a completely different first dance song that doesn’t have a cute story or significance in our relationship. Besides, we aren’t engaged; why is this important.

I could say that I’ve been influenced by Pinterest and such to want to create the perfect themed life events, but honestly, I’ve always rewritten moments or planned things out in my head for maximum effect. I’m the girl who made myself a Valentine’s mix tape, bought a teddy bear, & took myself to dinner and a movie (a V-Day date not tipped for YEARS…I know how to treat myself, I tell you). I have been developing the soundtrack of my life’s story since grade school. I fantasize about my class reunion. I’m a writer; manufacturing is kind of my business.

Someone please tell me I’m not the only one who makes people do things again so I can get a picture or plans events years in advance? Has anyone else been guilty of putting the cart before the horse? Have you made it a lifestyle like me?

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Quarter Year Crisis or Celebration?

The first quarter of this year is already over. It’s time to evaluate how well you’ve done with sticking to the resolutions/goals that you set for the year. Whether or not you started out the year gung ho and fell off, or you weren’t exactly sure at midnight on January 1st what you intended to accomplish for 2013, it’s not to late to get on track.

The first quarter of 2013 was a busy one for me. I was accomplishing goals left and right in one area of my life, while seeing little to no progress in other areas. It was truly a feast or famine quarter in each individual area of my life. If you read my word of the month recaps for January, February, and March, you know that this year I’ve already reset, developed and transitioned. Most of the goals I have reached have been those pertaining to developing my website. The goals that have fallen by the wayside have been those pertaining to my personal life and my career. I’m also a little behind schedule with the book, but that’s another story for another day.

The reason that I haven’t made any progress on some of my personal goals is that I haven’t spent much time executing any of the steps I planned to help me reach those goals. In my work life as well as my personal life, organization has gone out of the window.¬†Just like they say in the movie 28 Days, “it works if you work it.” I haven’t been working it in those areas. I’ve worked my butt off¬†finding things for¬†the¬†website and working on my presentation for the seminar, but with the loss of organization in my personal life I find myself doing whatever comes to hand and¬†trying to straighten things¬†up in this haphazard manner is not helping me accomplish much.

So even though I have achieved stellar growth in one area, I am lagging behind in other areas for the year. But it’s still early. I am going back to my earlier framework of organization. I am going to take some time¬†at work to write out a schedule of my work days and recurring tasks. I am going to come home and begin a more focused approach to running my household of one. I’m going to have some more difficult discussions. It’s time for a liberal amount of INEBIGTDIA* to be poured on everything.

How was your first quarter? Are you on track to reach your goals or are you in need of refocusing? 

XOXO

Erica

*INEBIGTDIA- I’m not excited, but I’m going to do it anyway. You’re welcome.

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God’s Will

My great aunt recently passed. This person has been close to me my entire life. She is one of those people who kept me from a whoopin’, gave me extra tight hugs, and indulged my amateur interview skills more times than I can count. She taught me how to make tea cakes. She straightened my hair in her kitchen. I walked with her when her doctor told her she needed to exercise. I massaged her shoulder when it grew stiff. Whenever I came back from out of town, I went to her house immediately after going to my house. This isn’t just another family member or peripheral person in my life; this is one of the pillars of my life.

It seems the past few years have been especially rough for me in this regard. I’ve lost many people who have supported me at pivotal moments in my life, who form the bridge that I crossed into this portion of my life. From my beloved stepdad, who raised me as if I was his own; to my kind hearted aunt who literally chased down opportunities for me; to my uncle who ferried me back and forth from Cranbrook to home so that I could see my family and go to church each week; to this present loss. It’s been a rough for years. Four years and four pillars gone. All gone at a relatively young age and mostly very suddenly.

As I got down on my knees last week to pray for my great aunt, there was a slight moment of trepidation, of not knowing what to say. That’s not exactly true. I knew what to say but I didn’t want to say it. You see, as a Christian, a big part of prayer is submission to God’s will. We can come boldly before God in prayer and ask for whatever we want, but we are only promised that those requests which are according to His will are going to be granted.

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything According to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us-whatever we ask-we know that we have what we asked of him. 1 John 5:14-15

In the Garden of Gethsemane, ask Christ prayed to God, we are given an example of a submissive prayer. Nevertheless, not my will, but thy will be done. He was able to tell God what He wanted, but accepting of whatever God’s will was for Him. It’s a beautiful example to quote and study, but¬†a hard example to follow.

In case your wondering, I didn’t pray for my great aunt to get well. It wasn’t that I was convinced that she couldn’t by what the doctor’s were saying. I wanted to let God know that I recognized His will was going to be done. I prayed for all of the people involved who will go as far as they can go with her, whether she were to be healed or whether she had to leave us and journey into eternity on her own. The doctors and the nurses caring for her; the children, grand children, and great grandchild she supported and took care of in various ways; all of the family members who depended on her when knocked off their feet by the trials of this life; all of those who would feel guilty over all the things they left unsaid or undone should she not pull through; I prayed for those people. I prayed for those of us who sat at her feet and learned so much about being women and taking care of a household, and those she couldn’t seem to get through to before. I prayed that no matter the outcome, God would be with us and we could recognize that His will has been done.

None of that means I didn’t hope that she would recover, nor that I didn’t think that my prayers in that regard would have mattered. Reading online about the nature of her illness, I learned what a long and slow process recovery would be for someone of her age with her other health issues. Hearing about the damage that was already done to her system…there are some times when recovery doesn’t look like the best alternative, even if our hearts jealously long to keep someone with us.

When I was told my great aunt had passed, I had a David moment. David had been fasting and praying for his son to get well, even though God had pronounced that the child would die. His aides were fearful of what he would do when they told him his son was dead. David got up, washed himself, worshipped God, and ate. His servants were confused by his actions. Here is what David told them:

22 And he said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether God will be gracious to me, that the child may live?

23 But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.

When I say I had a David moment, I mean I felt…if not relieved, at peace. There was no more need to be in anguish about whether or not she would make it through another day fighting for her life. There was no more need to fear what could happen next. God is still to be praised and worshipped. Now is the time to draw closer to Him.

It is so hard to see so many pillars falling away in my life, so many people I can’t call to celebrate our victories and encourage one another in our defeats. What’s even more amazing to me is that despite their loss, the structure is still standing. We are still standing and continuing on. God be thanked that they were there when I needed them to hold me up. I have every confidence God will continue to place people around me who can do that. Most importantly, throughout the years, I’ve learned to rely on Him more and more to do that.

I’m asking that you all keep my family in prayer at this time.

XOXO

2blu2btru

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Freestyle Friday: Wrapping Up Month 1

Who can believe it’s already the first of February? February is always a month of personal introspection for me as my birthday inches closer and closer (My birthday is the 24th of this month; I would like books, music, movies, a new flat iron, cute shoes that don’t hurt, cute work clothes, gift cards, caramel ice cream or cake, and/or The Adobe Creative Suite, Scrivener, and a laptop:D). Since my word of the year is to savor, I figured it might be a good idea to recap the month. Since I’m recapping the month, I decided to take a cue from Diary of a Happy Black Woman and give the month a word as well. Without further ado, January 2013.

The word of the month: Reset

I could have used a lot of words to describe this month: perspective, backsliding, crashed, pain, delay, etc. Most of them were negative¬† or didn’t give a full view of what this month meant to me, so I decided to go with the word that most fit what happened the entire month: Reset.

In December when I picked savor as the word of the year, I made preparations to be able to live out the meaning of the word. I had given myself a few things to savor: a great job review/bonus, paying off my car, Mr. Perfect and  I finally making a decision about our relationship, signing up for my first paralegal studies class and the ability to travel more like the last half of the year. I was ready to take writing and blogging by storm. I was going to tithe the full 10%, no excuses.

The thing is,¬†I floundered a little bit. I reached out to an editor, but when it came to sending her a sample, I just wasn’t ready. I gave myself a deadline to finish the book, but I discovered I still had a lot more to write. I went to my first class and felt a crazy mixture of excitement that I was actually doing this and mild trepidation that I was going to fall on my face. I wasn’t sure what to do with the extra money I would have, what I should save for or acquire first. I had set myself all of these high expectations, and I was scared stiff I wouldn’t be able to meet them.

After the car crash, everything was reset. I had to withdraw from the class I was taking. There’s no question what I need to save for and/or acquire first: a car. I had to miss some work, which meant I wasn’t ahead at work anymore. Instead of Mr. Perfect and I pulling back and spending less time together, I see him everyday because he takes me back and forth to work and appointments resulting from the crash.

I could look at this as everything being set back at zero, but that’s not actually what has happened. What has happened is the slate has been wiped clean. No more hold-over expectations from last year; I can start fresh. It feels good to be able to slow down and ensure I have time to fully develop the things I outlined for the book, topics I didn’t even know I wanted/needed to include. Not being able to rush from point A to point B has allowed me to savor some quiet moments to myself that I would have missed. Even though this month has seen me more irritated and a bit snappier than I’ve been in a long time, it has revealed that I still have some growing to do in some areas. If I truly want this year to be about savoring moments and influencing people to be more Christ-like, I’m going to have to slow down to take in all of the flavors and be savory in times when I would rather be sour.

This month has been like the pre-test at the beginning of the year to see what you already know about the subject and what you will need to work on learning. Now that I know where I stand, it’s time to dig in and learn.

I’m off to start day one of couch to 5k. Wish me luck in sticking with it this time.

XOXO,

2blu2btru

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I Need This

This past week has been full of a lot of hardship for me, some things so much worse than the other things that it feels weird to even mention them in the same post or thought. To start off with the more trivial things, I came up with a really cute concept for my website, logo, brand and an organization centered around my book. It turns out the the domain name is taken in all of its forms. Naming it something else would be confusing, and I don’t want to use my name (that’d be even more difficult to change if I got married or¬†wanted to use a pseudonym for writing), so the whole concept for the brand fell through. I just about had everything up to the merchandizing planned out, too. Disappointing.

Second, I’ve been buried under excessive amounts of work since I returned to work the first week of July. The last two weeks or so, I’ve been slammed even harder with the addition of new tasks just as I was getting it under control. I feel like I should stay late to finish some of it, or come in earlier to get more done, but then I’m tired and high strung when I get home. I’ve not been a lot of fun to be around the past few weeks, I’m sure.

It doesn’t help that I’m still in the middle of my financial recovery plan. I am short on money to do things when the weekend finally gets here, so I try to find free things like parks to go to or go to the hot tub at Mr. Perfect’s apartments. Mr. Perfect is so weary of his own hot tub and random central florida parks that he doesn’t know what to do. I’m a little tire of being creative with a few staple foods from the grocery store. To be honest, we’ve been kind of getting on each other’s nerves this weekend.

The biggest deal is the passing of my uncle. My uncle went into the hospital for a stroke and got progressively worse the past week. He passed yesterday. I had been praying for him and all of our family, and I can be at peace that my prayer was answered and God’s will was done, but it’s another hard blow. I have lost three really close family members in the last four years–my stepfather, an aunt, and an uncle. This was the uncle that took me back and forth to Cranbrook for two years so I could spend some weekends at home and not go stir crazy in the dorms. The one that was always available to ride me around and support me. I haven’t just lost some great great aunts whom I’ve never seen; I’ve lost instrumental folks.

It’s more than obvious to me I need a break. A real, go someone and do something break. I’ve been sticking to a financial plan (that sucks, at the moment) which will allow me to have almost an entire check free while catching up on everything. I wasn’t entirely sure how I wanted to allot this “extra” money. Going forward, I would have extra money each month sticking to¬†my plan, so it’s not as imperative that I¬†keep all of it (but that’s for another post), so I wanted to do some things with this that I’ve been wanting to do for blog/brand/website development or personal development.¬†Now, however, I’ve decided that I need a¬†“Florida on a Tankful” type of trip¬†to rejuvenate myself. I’m going to St. Augustine.

There are several reasons I picked St. Augustine, the main one being I’ve wanted to go since I’ve lived in Florida. Other compelling reasons are its many historical sites, white sand beaches, convenient trolley system, and it’s less than a two hour trip (so I’m told).

I will be going up after work the Friday of my trip, maybe experience my first taste of seafood there, and check in to a hotel. I will then have all day Saturday to explore. I found a church up there for Sunday so I can go to church and get in some last minute site seeing before I come back. Just a little weekend excursion, but it will be so needed.

I hear people debate all the time about whether to accumulate things or experiences with their money, to get an education or travel or just buy things. I haven’t experienced a new place in a long time, since Mobile (I still need to get those pictures developed). Thinking back to how much I enjoyed that day trip to Mobile when we visited Mr. Perfect’s family in Montgomery, I realize how much I love exploring new places and doing new things. I explored a battleship and a submarine and¬†walked through a hangar full of military planes. You have no idea how much fun that was for a girl who had no real interest in the military beforehand. I love experiences, and they really stick with me. So, for once, I’m going to choose experiences over things (although I’ll buy a digital camera¬†before I leave to get some blog photos).

Florida has so many places¬†that are no more than a¬†full tank away that are gorgeous and ripe to be explored for a little cost. I need to exploit that while I’m here, right? I¬†may not be able to go to Rome and see all of those stunning Basilicas, but we have one up the street in St. Augustine. I can’t get to the white sand beaches of St. Thomas, but I can get to St. Augustine. I¬†think it’s high time I did.

More to come as I plan my weekend getaway.

XOXO

2blu2btru

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Growing Up Geared Up

There are many set questions that I love to ask people in my marriage kit interviews. One of the most interesting is the question “What were you taught about marriage growing up?” I tend to think that most people take me a bit too literally when they try to answer this question. They usually look for specific things that people said to them or blanket observances like “if you got pregnant then you had to get married.” Don’t get me wrong; I think that these are valid observances. However, when I put this question to myself, I came up with a bunch of little incidents that I could recall over my life that gave me notions about love and marriage that I probably wouldn’t think influenced me all that much. Somehow, though, they influenced me so much.

Hopefully you won’t mind me sharing some of them with you as I psychoanalyze myself and look deeply into my heart on this. I’d like to start with a memory that explains a little bit about my stance on cohabitation vs. marriage. I give you “Ball of Confusion.”

When I was a little girl, a few of my family members lived with us at some point or another, so I got the opportunity to see quite a few family relationships up close. Even though a few of my aunts and uncles and even a lady I wasn’t the slightest bit related to by blood but was “family” had lived with us over the years for varying periods of time, I only remember us staying with a family member once.

We stayed with my aunt Chloe* when I was about eight or nine years old. I wasn’t really a fan of this, as I was an only child used to having my own room until I was eight, but I bore with my pallet on the floor and sharing a room with a cousin because I knew we would be moving out again soon.

I missed the normal timbre of our house: my stepdad playing his keyboards in the basement with me¬†sitting on a makeshift stool of milk crates while he taught me how he played chords; my mother cooking in her big brown pot and the black caste iron skillet, swaying along to her own music on the big radio I wasn’t allowed to touch. That was the life, the home that I was used to. I was used to taking my plate on a tray to the basement to eat with my stepdad, watching Nascar (even though I didn’t understand the appeal of watching what seemed like hundreds of cars go around in a circle really fast hundreds of times) or football or basketball (my favorites) with him while he yelled to my mom that I was downstairs and wasn’t bothering him. I wasn’t allowed to hang out with the adults when his friends would come over and they would have a jam session, but I could listen by the steps. That was the music of my life–jazz in the basement, chicken frying in the kitchen, R&B in the dining room–and I couldn’t wait to hear it again.

When we finally moved out, I thought the new place was a little small. In all honesty, I don’t remember much about that house at all. It was my least favorite house of the four I lived in growing up. I remember I got roller skates and the Anne of Green Gables series for Christmas while we lived there, and that my stepdad took my mother to see Candyman for her birthday, but other than that, I only have one other memory of our time there.

At some point, my mother and stepfather had some sort of falling out that led to a brief split. Suddenly, there was no stepfather in the basement teaching me chords or explaining the thrill of Nascar. Suddenly, there was Rob.

Rob was a guy my mother had dated before my stepfather. I didn’t remember him at all, but he apparently remembered me. My stepfather was barely out the door before he started to come around. He bought me little things and talked to me like a little kid, crouched down to my level, something I hated. He drove a semi-fancy car and called me cute all the time. He bought ice cream and all of that “I’m trying to get in good with your mother” stuff, but I didn’t like him. He wasn’t my stepdad. Who does this guy think he is?

I distinctly remember he came over one day to visit my mom and stayed almost all day. It was close to my bedtime and I had to go in my room and lay down, but I didn’t feel¬†comfortable leaving him hanging around my mom, nor did I trust him. He wanted to come and help tuck me in, but I put my foot down. I probably said something rude, too. After they went out, I propped my black and white 13-inch TV in front of the door so he couldn’t sneak in. What I thought he would do, I don’t know. I turned the volume on the TV down and watched Valley of the Dolls after I was sure my mother had shown him the door and went to bed. She may or may not have yelled “He’s gone; now cut that TV off and go to bed” on her way to her room.

When my mom and stepdad finally patched things up, I was relieved I’d never have to see Rob again (I was wrong about that one). He was a disruption in my well ordered, happy child world, an interloper who seemed to like rap more than jazz. It didn’t take too long for things to get back to normal.

Looking back, it wasn’t until this time that I realized that, unlike Pink Susie and her husband, my mom and stepdad weren’t necessarily permanent. There was nothing anywhere that said they had to stay, or even that there was anything more to be done than just leave. Not being married meant your union wasn’t secure. It was as secure or temporary as each individual chose, day by day, or even moment by moment.

After this skirmish, my stepdad and mother stayed together until his death in 2009, for a total of 22 (or 23?) years. I have a little brother who was 16 at the time. They lived and worked together to raise a family and supported each other through health issues and etc. until the end. In the end, my mother got…nothing.

That’s the other thing I learned from this whole thing. Legally, in this life you can only be three things relationship wise–single (never married), married, or divorced. No one cares about your “man” “boo thang” “baby” “hubby” (when used by singles who aren’t married to anybody), or “lover.”¬†Common law used to help you, but¬†they fazed that out for anyone who hasn’t been together since the sixties in just about every state. So, despite twenty-something years, (effectively) two children, and¬†a dependence on both incomes, my¬†mother received no insurance, social security, or¬†anything¬†Granddad wouldn’t have let her keep. Without your paperwork,¬†you are just being a wife for free, working a job with no pay, no benefits, and no retirement plan. I’m not into that.

I realize that my mother and stepfather were very¬†happy for the most part. There¬†were mostly laughs and good times in our house, along with the struggle. I was one of those kids who didn’t realize I was poor for a very long time (ahem, little brother, ahem). I was raised to¬†value education and strive to do better than they did. I was given just about any book¬†that I wanted and encouraged to write. I knew I had¬†that base of family support if I didn’t have anyone else. But¬†legally, none of that was real.

Kids need security, and adults (or maybe just this adult) need it, too. I¬†couldn’t feel completely comfortable without a legally (and spiritually) binding¬†commitment. I know all marriages don’t last, but at least divorce gives you a recourse should the marriage terminate. What do you get as a single? Sometimes not even¬†the things with which you¬†came into the relationship.

That’s the first thing I learned about relationships that I’ll be sharing. Stay tuned…

XOXO

2blu2btru

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Consideration

Tomorrow, one of the ladies that I work with is going on a cruise for her birthday (I think). She will be gone until Tuesday. My birthday is Friday. I put in for it before I worked in this department, so I was able to still get the day off. Since a few of my co-workers and I work together, we have to coordinate our schedules for things like days off, doctor’s appointments, and etc. so that there is always adequate coverage. This was a hard transition for me to make because I worked on a team of one for nearly three years. The same can be said of learning to be considerate in a relationship.

I’ve always been an “independent” person. Not an “independent woman,” mind you. I didn’t burn bras or speak out against gender roles and patriarchy; I just did things on my own. I talked about how I celebrated Valentine’s Days by myself. I also took myself to the movies, ate out by myself, and stayed in by myself. I went to boarding school in my teens. I jobs in my early teens. I went to church by myself starting at age 11. I was more than capable of keeping up with myself and deciding things for myself early on.

What I wasn’t proficient in was the art of maintaining relationships. I didn’t understand saying things to make people feel better; I liked to tell the truth as I saw it or not say anything. I didn’t understand why people would ask me my opinion if they didn’t really want it. I never have acquired the social grace of being able to tell someone what they want to hear. Even though I am still deficient in some aspects of human relationships, one aspect I have learned about extensively is consideration.

What does it mean to be considerate? According to Merriam-Webster, to be considerate means to be thoughtful of the rights and feelings of others. For example, if you are going to be late, you should think about how the person waiting for you would feel. Would they be worried about you? Calling them to let them know you are running late so they aren’t worried about you is being considerate. Sometimes not saying something is being considerate. You may think someone is fat, ugly, etc., but if it’s not a health concern and it would only hurt their feelings and not help them, why say it?

To consider is to think about carefully, to take contributing factors into account, to think of in regards to taking some action. Being considerate of someone involves knowing them well enough to factor in things specific to them in how you treat them. It requires that you think before you act or speak when you really just want to say or do some things. It means putting aside the “I’m grown; I can do what I want” attitude we can sometimes acquire when we are adult but not mature. It requires that we reign in and take control over our tongue and not to let everyone have a piece of our minds.

I’ve known a lot of people through the years who I feel have no consideration. They say things, in their mind, merely to show a distinction between them and someone else, but I can see they are using what they see as a deficiency in someone else to elevate themselves. I’ve known many of people who are just “keeping it real” but are hurting those around them and losing friends because they don’t consider people’s feelings and rights before they say and do things that affect those relationships. If they ask me, I try to help them realize that considering other people’s feelings and rights is not the same as being fake. I try not to take it personally when people aren’t considerate of me. But as I prepare to enter my 27th (o_O) year, I find myself less and less able to maintain those “relationships.”

In the last few years of life, I’ve learned it’s OK to let¬† some people leave your life if they don’t fit into it. Every relationship is not a teachable moment. I believe strongly in teaching people how to treat you. However, if the person disrespects you or treats you in an inappropriate manner and you continue to work with them, at some point you are teaching them you can be disrespected. Sometimes, you have to consider yourself and sever the relationship.

I’m not one to make grand pronouncements about cutting people out of my life; in fact, I make fun of those people in my tweets and facebook statuses/notes. If you have decided to do something, you should just do it. This isn’t my “break up letter” to anyone, but a reminder to myself that to consider doesn’t necessarily mean to keep…and maybe an encouragement to others to let go of some toxic relationships.

Do you consider yourself to be considerate? How do you deal with inconsiderate people? How do you end toxic relationships? Feel free to comment below or email me at 2blu2btru4u@gmail.com.

XOXO

2blu2btru

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Marry Me or Else!

There’s a scene in the movie Demolition Man where the cops¬†encounter¬†Simon Phoenix (the escaped criminal¬†from the¬†violent¬†90s) for the first time. One of the cops asks¬†his trusty computer guide what he should do. She tells him to say in a firm voice¬†“Lie down with your hands behind your back.” After he¬†gets a derorogatory response, the computer tells him to add the words “or else.”¬†Simon Phoenix turns around with¬†an angry look on his face, and proceeds to kill people.

I can’t say I’m surprised¬†by that response. We all know how ultimatums go down with people. But¬†I have talked about the Un-Timatum here (and here). You have to let it be known what you want without¬†“putting undo pressure” on the other person to respond in¬†a way that’s untrue to how they feel. As I’ve said before, I know people who have stated how they feel and been ready to follow through with varying results of “success,” if one can call it that. But being placed in this unique position myself¬†brings this discussion¬†up for me again.

There comes a time when you must make a decision. As my 7 Habits for Teens said in one of its¬†nuggets of wisdom, even not making¬†a decision is a decision. If I¬†captain¬†can’t decide whether to go to the right or the left, the ship is still moving forward (no smart alec quips on stopping, please. Thank you :D). More accurately, time marches on…or flies, depending on who you are.

So, in my life plan, extended relationships¬†at my age just don’t fit. I feel that a¬†certain length of time is more than¬†enough to decide yes or no to making a commitment, and anything beyond that is either biding time¬†until something better comes along or a level of comfort with the situation that doesn’t inspire a desire for deeper commitment.¬†At some point, either you do or don’t, will or won’t. Point blank period, as a friend is fond of saying.

Long story short, I had to have the “where is this ultimately going?” conversation with Mr. Perfect and state my timeline for how¬†I would like to see us progress. There was no¬†“neck rolling” or finger wagging; it was a discussion. He said some things and I said some things and we both came to understand the other’s position a bit better…and my timeline didn’t change.

I realize some people would see setting a time line for an answer on¬†whether or not you are moving to the next stage of a relationship as arm twisting, guilting someone into it, or all manner of ultimatums, but as my friends¬†say “closed mouths don’t get fed” sometimes. Besides, I know the type of person Mr. Perfect is; he won’t be swayed by pressure or forced to do something he doesn’t want to do. The purpose of the conversation¬†was to bring¬†our full attention to bear on exactly what it is we are doing here, in this relationship.

I’ll let you all in on¬†a secret: there are things¬†I want to do I can’t do until I’m married. This is just me, but I can’t move in together, sleep together, have children together without that commitment.¬†There’s no “testing the waters” here. I am not interested in playing happy families;¬†it is what it is.¬†I would like to build a home with a husband, pull out the Fredrick’s, split some costs of living, travel the world, have breakfast in bed together, read our Bibles and pray together…all of that romantic postcard stuff.¬†Call me old fashioned, too Christian,¬†or “obsolete,” but I kinda want forever, even¬†though forever includes so¬†not¬†so¬†picture perfect stuff.

The 2blu that has grown from this relationship and¬†the¬†difficult years of life has become able to¬†articulate what she wants out of life without fear of inconveniencing anyone (mostly). I¬†am not threatening anyone, either. I’m just acknowledging where I am in life, putting my blinker on. I’m indicating that I am turning a corner in life, and if you wanted to come, too, you would be welcome to do so.

How have you handled the¬†“define the relationship”¬†moments? Do you wish you had handled it differently? Do you think I’m coming into my own or going out of my mind? Am I forcing it or what? You can respond in the comments section or email me at 2blu2btru4u@gmail.com.

XOXO

2blu2btru

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Having the Difficult Conversations…& Marriage Seminars

The past few weeks for me have been taken up with having difficult conversations, getting back into writing, learning new things on my job, and more marriage seminar things. Needless to say, it’s not been an easy few weeks.

It can be hard for me to vocalize what I want (hard to believe, I know, when in writing I have an opinion on everything), especially when it comes to relationships. In relationships, you can’t just state what you want and move on; you have to clarify, listen to what the other person wants, make a decision on how to handle any conflicts; it gets stressful. But those conversations have to be had, whether it’s the “where is this going?” conversation, the “this isn’t going anywhere” conversation or the “this is what I want; are you on the same page?” conversation.

I’ve had difficult conversations at work and in my relationship this month. There’s just something about the first month of a new year that inspires evaluation and discussion. Everyone wants to know where they are so they can plan where they are going. Direction becomes so important.

As I’ve said many times before, I can understand how people can become caught up in the ring and planning the ceremony, etc., but for me, it’s about the relationship. However, you do need to get married for the marriage relationship to start. I’ve struggled with walking the fine line between being in a relationship with someone and being “committed” to it while not falling into having a pseudo-marriage relationship outside of marriage. I also don’t want to be in a relationship forever without getting married. I don’t idly date; I am in a relationship to get married. But how long is too long to be in a relationship with no ring? These are the things that I’ve been dealing with.

As my job situation begins to become more settled, I am taking on more and more tasks/responsibilities. I am dealing with inner office relationships and learning the chain of command, who is supposed to handle what, what I need to run by who before it gets done, what’s a priority and what gets put off for things that are priority. Going from being a “department of one” as far as day to day interaction, to a shared resource between two departments has called for a steep learning curve and some review of business etiquette.

Our church has decided to dedicate every fourth Wednesday to a discussion on Marriage and Family as a way to continue the marriage and family workshop. Last night, we went through the vows and what they actually mean, whether individuals really understand what they are signing up for. On top of having difficult relationship conversations this whole month, this really helped me to put things into perspective. I left with a lot to think about and a lot to decide on.

As uncomfortable as some of the discussions have been, as much as I’ve wanted to avoid some of these discussions a little longer because I didn’t know how it would turn out, I’m proud of my new proactiveness and assertiveness.

More Later…

2blu2btru