Emotional Warfare

 

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Lightning strikes
Inside my chest to keep me up at night
Dream of ways
To make you understand my pain

Clouds of sulfur in the air
Bombs are falling everywhere
It’s heartbreak warfare
Once you want it to begin,
No one really ever wins
In heartbreak warfare

If you want more love why don’t you say so?
If you want more love why don’t you say so?

{Lyrics from Heartbreak Warfare, John Mayer}


I try my best to be a glass half full, not empty person. But honest to God the past 5 months have been a test. People that really know me say they’re concerned. Maybe I should stop repressing…start sharing. If not with them, maybe to someone professional. For the most part, I just keep moving. Until recently, I just haven’t wanted to deal with any emotions.

Last weekend I felt so emotionally charged that when I stopped by my Mother’s house, I almost asked her for a hug… Almost.

Then I began thinking about what that would potentially cost me, and I high-tailed it out of there like Satan himself was on my heels!

Let me be clear about something…my Mother loves me and I love her. That said, she has been through so much… The old adage is true: hurt people hurt people.

My Father passed away this past November. I loved him, but we were not in the best place in our relationship… So many unasked/unanswered questions. I was almost late to his funeral trying to pick up my Mother. When my sorority sisters and I arrived, we waited awhile only to realize that she was gone.

After the service, no hugs…no nothing really. I get it though, I wasn’t/am not the only person grieving. I made the mistake of getting emotional one time and 2 months after the fact, got hit with classic emotional warfare tactics (via voicemail no less). Everything from I didn’t truly love him…to not being a good daughter. Maybe I’m not a great daughter – I’ll let God be the judge of that… I tell you what though, those words really packed a punch!

We all know someone that commits emotional warfare – sometimes it’s on purpose, sometimes not. It’s there when all those little things they’ve done for you out of the goodness of their hearts are randomly sprinkled into conversations with you…or others. It’s there when their love is given…as long as you follow certain conditions. It’s there when they know just what to say or do to hurt you so deeply…it feels like the most intense pain. Nothing hurts worse than pain inflicted by those that we love.

So how do you know when you’re in an emotional war…and more importantly, what do you do about it? Aside from the above, when each word that you speak feels like a verbal land mine… You’re constantly trying to make sure that nothing you say can later be used against you… When you dread any type of contact… When each interaction leaves you feeling drained like you’ve run 2 marathons across rugged terrain…all uphill. Experienced any of these scenarios? Welcome to the Emotional Warfare Club. Family, Friends, people that you thought were friends – anyone can level you with emotional manipulation.

But fear not, all is not lost. There’s one lesson that life has consistently taught me: You cannot control the words and actions of others; your reaction, though, is 100% up to you. It’s difficult to do, but the worst thing that you can do is respond to emotional puppeteering – it’s draining and very harmful to your Spirit and overall emotional well-being. Whether positive or negative, behaviors are reinforced by outcomes. Some people are not satisfied until they elicit a reaction from you. My advice…don’t give it to them.

Emotionally, you cannot afford to allow the poison of anyone’s words or deeds to infect your life. Melodramatic? No, the depth of energy that it takes to stave off the hurt from emotional warfare DEFINITELY affects you (probably more than you even realize). Love! Pray! Live! Light a candle! Have a glass of champagne, cigar or whatever you enjoy! {…and if that doesn’t work, find a therapist. That’s what I’ve decided to do}

It’s Nothing Personal (Well, Sometimes It Is) + Other Random Musings

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My head is going in a zillion directions (nothing different there), so this post is about to mirror that fact. Stay with me!

……..

Here I am writing to you (whoever YOU are)…

Ironically enough on the other side of this screen I am a very private person. Hell, sometimes I think that I even keep secrets from myself. Unfortunately/Fortunately, I just so happen to have been granted a gift. Whatever emotions I feel or are described to me, I can translate them into words. Joy – Pain – Loss – Happiness – Suffering – Confusion – Anger – Lust – Curiosity – Love. Somehow some way, I know how to get my point across.

Here’s the thing, what I want for people to get from my writing is how those feelings/situations/scenarios relates to THEIR own experience. Maybe it’s 50 words…maybe it’s 1000, but I am more than what comes across on this page. There are so many facets – each blog post is just a microcosm.

I don’t know what reading this blog does for you, but I hope that you’re finding/feeling your own experience(s) by reading these words.

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This brings me to another point – who the heck came up with the phrase it’s nothing personal?!?? Maybe it’s not personal to you, but it’s personal to others. I remember once a good friend said that she couldn’t really listen to what I had going on because she was in so deep with her own problems. Damn…really? Her next statement – it’s nothing personal. Hmmmph, okay. It felt personal to me!

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Randomness #3.

Some things need to be personal. The internet/interweb/text message/phone call is not always the best place for your “STUFF” – whatever that stuff is…

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So we live in a world where we can communicate really easily – a click, drag, copy, paste, insert pic – we have the capacity to transmit **snaps fingers** like that. With all of that ease, we need to be careful about what type of energy we are putting into the Universe. Do you create JOY with your words, or dissension? Is your tongue razor sharp, or do you genuinely seek each day to be a better person? It’s hard, but I swear that I’m trying… Are you?

made in america (poetry/race)

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made in america

i am a black woman

with brown skin

red blood flows through my veins

the system i abide by is governed by white rules

i feel like i am constantly battling preconceived notions of i, we, us, them

eloquent words of expression are often met with surprise

hands tighten on handbags when he walks by, and sometimes i catch myself doing the same

i’m not afraid of my own people, am i…

it can’t be because i was made in america

no one is judged, and everyone is equal and free?

Mr. Cosby & The Myth of Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable

I don’t know Mr. Cosby. Yes, I remember seeing him selling jello pudding pops. Like most of America, I LOVED The Cosby Show, and all that it represented for the American family in general, but especially for Black Americans. I don’t always agree with his ideologies, but I appreciate the fact that he communicates them unapologetically, as is his First Amendment right.

But none of the above is what’s at issue right now. Bill Cosby is not necessarily the same man that he portrayed when he was selling jello. And like it or not, he may not be the man of integrity that so many of us fell in love with as the one and only Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable.

I’ve seen a lot of people (men in particular), ask why now? Why would these women wait more than 20 years to bring forth such damning allegations? I don’t have the answer to that question, nor do I subscribe to automatically crucifying Bill Cosby. The reality of the situation is each woman probably has different reasons. Like the Michael Jackson child molestation accusations, 1 woman turned into 3…then 6…and I believe that we are now in the double-digits in terms of accusations of sexual abuse (13+ women). Are all of the women telling the truth? Maybe – maybe not. I don’t know them and their story. But that’s not the point – if even 1 woman was sexually assaulted, isn’t that one too many?

When I was a little girl (I couldn’t have been more than 7 or so), a pre-teen/teen attempted to sexually abuse me. He was young, too (maybe 12 or 13). I lived a pretty sheltered life, so I didn’t know what he was doing, but I knew that it felt wrong. Because of my age, certain physical things that would have aided in the assault did not occur. He gave up, and never tried again. He did make me promise to never tell anyone, and aside from (1) person in my 20s, I never told anyone.

Why do I mention that? He was just a teenager, with nothing like the implied power of Mr. Cosby. For women, it’s always just a bit more difficult when it comes to cases like alleged sexual abuse. We must have “done something” to encourage the person. Surely we gave some kind of sign that signaled yes. We must have stared suggestively, touched his arm too long…done or said something that signaled submission. Like it or not, for whatever reason women always seem to have to prove their innocence.

So for everyone that is questioning the validity of the claims against Mr. Cosby, maybe (just maybe) many of the women were scared that no one would believe them. Maybe they even feared judgment from the general public – after all, how dare they accuse a stand-up family man with 5 children of deliberately taking what they didn’t want to give… It may be difficult to admit, but perhaps the man/the ideas that we thought represented Bill Cosby simply don’t exist.

Naked…I Want To See You (DELICIOUS Music) :)

“Baby take off your cool

I want to see You…I want to see You.

Baby don’t be so cool

I want to see You…I want to see You.”


I really do. Without the coverage of Bravado. Not immersed or dipped in your Fears. Minus running from the Greatness that resides within you. The Light…the Dark. All the drops that make up your individual sea.

I really, really, really want to see YOU. ;)

Funeral Blues (or something like that)…

DaddyMother

I’m going to try to make this the last grief-related post. In fact, don’t be surprised if my next post is a link to a Nick Jonas song or something (is anyone else obsessed with that song, “Jealous”)?? Okay, I digress…

Which culture decided that a funeral ceremony was a good idea? Three days from now (2, if you include the visitation), we’re supposed to all meet at the church and lay Daddy’s body to rest. We’ll all be there – his wife, my Mother (his ex-wife), the kids (blood/step/half/whatever), siblings, nieces/nephews/etc. Yep, this won’t be awkward at all…

Dude, I am not ready. All of my black dresses are too short, but I can’t seem to make myself order another one. My tights are bright purple or animal print. My eyes are flat of emotion or threaten to get suspiciously moist at a moment’s notice. Which brings me back to my original question – who the heck decided that funerals were a good idea?!?? They are surely not for the deceased, because they’re already doing their thing on the other side!

When I kick the bucket, I want a succinct service (an hour or less). They can play a gospel song, but make it uptempo…none of that lagging Amazing Grace stuff. To be honest, I’d rather have a jazz band, or better yet, a kick @ss Prince tribute! Give me a party the day before or day after – and let’s not do a long drawn out scene at a grave site (in fact, let’s skip that whole ordeal all together).

But this is not about me… This is about allowing people an opportunity to say goodbye to him.

p/s – – – – Did I mention that I found out yesterday that there’s a Visitation AND a friggin’ PrePast (i.e. breakfast while folks are viewing the body). I will NOT be there for that. In fact in an ideal world, I would walk into the service invisible and coast through sight unseen (like Wonder Woman does in her “invisible” plane). I do not want the looks of pity, nor that dreadful tone that people use when they tell you how sorry they are… I don’t want empty platitudes or the sometimes half-hearted offers of help (death makes people seriously uncomfortable, and most folks are secretly hoping that you don’t accept – I can hear it in their voice).

Anywho, I just need to get through a few more days… I’ve been praying for peace for my father’s wife, my brothers, her kids and his siblings/the rest of the family. Soon, I will begin to pray for solace for myself.

p/p/s – I know that the picture is crazy old, but wasn’t my Daddy handsome? :)

Day _ of Grieving

To say that today has been a very rough day is the understatement of the year. From Thursday night through Friday I’ve only seen a few family members. They ask how I’m doing and I say I’m fine.

I. Just. Keep. Moving.

Yesterday I worked from 8 am to about 6/6:30. I just want to keep moving! I know that Daddy is gone, but I just want to pretend like everything is the same…

This morning (Saturday) I woke up feeling emotional, but I pulled it together. 5 minutes later I was on the phone with my Friend/Sister/Soror asking can she come over between muffled tears. From that moment on, I decided that today is a great day to pretend that everything is normal. Nope, nothing to see here.

Except… My thoughts are disjointed…nerves frayed…mind moving frantically, yet it feels like my synapses are firing through sludge. Is this what grief feels like?

I am strong. I will hold it together. I will not succumb to the onslaught of emotions that are threatening to swallow me whole.

I. Am. Strong. (I Really Am)…

I. Am. Also. An. Excellent. Pretender.

The Morning After…

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Last night I found out that our Father passed. In the blink of an eye I went from chilling sparkling almond wine to serve to my friend, to thinking about how my oldest brother was going to make it home safely…and how quickly can I get to our other brother to tell him…and who on Earth is going to tell Mother.

It’s surreal because as recently as Wednesday, my sister-In-law said that no one knew where he (Daddy) was, and they couldn’t get a hold of my stepmother. I was supposed to take some time and call around to local hospitals and rehabilitation centers to find out where he was. But time is a funny thing – usually when we think we have the most time, little do we know that it’s actually running out…

So here I sit at my desk the morning after finding out that Daddy is now with the Lord. I’m playing D’Angelo’s “Alright” because somehow I figure if I play it enough, everything really will be…  I haven’t really cried – a little bit with a couple dear friends this morning, but that’s it. I’m not sad that he’s gone because I know that with each passing year his health was diminished. I can only imagine what it felt like to go from being a big, strong 6’+ man used to handling everything to sometimes not even having the strength to walk.

I am sad that I didn’t get to see him one more time. I’m sorry that I didn’t get a chance to tell him that I loved him in spite of his imperfections – after all, no one is perfect. I hope that he knew I loved him…

So I’m just going to keep moving + doing + moving…because I know that his soul and body are finally at peace.

The Joy of Silence

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Constant Movement.

Work. Errands. Bills. Responsibilities. Clutter. Gossip. Parties. Facebook. Twitter. Texting. Laptops. Mini Pads. Small Phones. Ginormous Phones.

We live in an era where we are constantly plugged in. Even our “still” moments are not quiet because we’re constantly in motion…always thinking of the NEXT thing. We’re so busy going + seeing + doing + moving that we rarely take time to just be in the moment.

Sharing (a bit TOO much).

Social media is awesome. We can comment on our day, our new puppy, what we had for lunch, our latest love interest, etc. However, there’s nothing wrong with holding back a little something for yourself. Everyone does not need to know your innermost thoughts + turmoil…in fact, sometimes we do ourselves a disservice by exposing too much of our selves!

Peace.

There is something to be said about silence. It’s not boring, nor does it mean that you’re lonely. Instead, it means that you are comfortable enough to realize that every second of every day does not have to be crammed with stimuli.

Silence – get some!

“I’ve begun to realize that you can listen to silence and learn from it. It has a quality and a dimension all its own.”  

{Chaim Potok, The Chosen}