She decided to lace up her heart strings. No longer would she sit back and simply let life happen to her. She wouldn’t allow herself to wait and see what anyone chose for her future.
What she deserved was the best this life had to offer in life, love, career, and dreams. Accomplishments were fleeting. Defeating challenges be they great or small only temporarily brought a feeling of euphoria.
The shame of the next decision would pass, what was more important was the need to be free, to be expressive, to be passionate about life, to be passionate about each day without the looming cloud of instability that seemed to come with each connection.
There would be no notice given to loved ones because the journey, this journey, albeit familiar, it was all together different. She had to do this alone. Things were different because there was no sulking. There was no broken spirit accompanying her thought process. There was an awareness. A keen understanding of what was.
There was a knowing that what she deserved, what she should have, what she was entitled to was better. That word, better, meant so much.
That word better had been the precursor to a life altering decision to stand in the ashes, walk out of the ashes and into new.
The fight to gain entry into new was brutal in the past, but it was necessary and so she had to hold onto it by any means. She had to honor what had been given to her, previously. She had to honor the transformation and not regress into a shell of a person.
There was no sadness involved in what had settled in her heart. There was a feeling of triumph because she saw early enough to save herself.
She laced up the strings of her heart, breathed in deeply and went forward. There was no time to look back. Better was on the horizon, again.
We recently moved to Richmond, VA. As with any move, the packing part is easy. I would venture to say loading up the truck is easy as well. It’s taking things off the truck and putting them in the correct room that is more of a problem.
This problem was especially difficult the day of our move because not only was it about 85 degrees by 10 am when we arrived at our new residence, but we had a set of stairs we needed to traverse with the furniture.
Okay, let me paint a picture for you. Upon entering our townhouse there is a set of stairs that initially go straight up a short distance, they quickly turn to the right and then another quick right. All of these twists and turns would be okay if we didn’t have massive head boards, mattresses, dressers and other bedroom furniture we had to lift OVER the banister to get up the stairs. Did you pay attention to that? I said we had to lift these things over the banister.
My point in saying all this is we were exhausted as soon as we started unloading the truck. We had already been up since 6 am loading. When I say “we” I mean my husband, two children and myself. We wanted to get the unloading over with, which we did with the help of my niece.
After everything was moved in, we took things out of the boxes and had to break the boxes down in addition to finding space in the trash for the empty, broken down boxes.
Whew!! Yeah, I know you’re tired just reading this. Imagine how we felt having to do it.
Anyway, my wonderful son was shuffling along, and by this time my husband wanted to get things over with, well all did. My son was doing a bunch of nothing when my husband told him to grab a box and break it down. My son, of course, moved ever so slowly to follow his command. My husband then says, “Come on man, we have a lot to do. Move with a sense of purpose.”
Hmmmmm, ding, ding, ding. You guessed it when my husband said that, it was immediately engraved in my head.
I recently started to do yoga, and one of the things I have realized is they tell you to think about what your intention for the day is. Think about your purpose for that day.
How often have you gotten out of the bed and been purposeful about your day? I’m not counting going to work because we all know we have to go to work. However, if you’re going to work and you have the mindset that you want to accomplish more than just completing your 8 hours, then you are purposeful.
We waste so much time just wasting time. We wake up in the morning and mindlessly going about our day with no real plan because we’re on auto-pilot. We know we’re going to wake up, go to work, go home, take a shower, cook dinner, eat dinner, watch a little television, go to bed.
Months down the road we wonder why we’re depressed. We wonder why we feel like we don’t have anything going on in our lives that bring us joy.
You and I must work on being purposeful every day in such a way that when we lay down at night were happy and content with what we’ve done. I believe if we start building this muscle by practicing purposefulness every day we will find ourselves much happier.
Purpose gives all of us sense of direction. Knowing what our goal is or the plan is for the day, week, month, or year helps us to be intentional about every decision we make.
It’s not enough to wake up and go through life with no emotion. It’s not enough to do the same thing over and over again unless there is a real purpose behind it. Not just any purpose but something that will fill our cups to overflowing.
Maybe you think your purpose has to be something on a grand scale. I would venture to say each one of us has a purpose that is grand and dynamic to our lives. If your purpose is to be a stay home mom, this is dynamic. If you’re a janitor, you find happiness in it, and you want to teach other’s how to use their janitorial skills with excellence that is your dynamic purpose.
I decided to wake up every day and be intentional about what I wanted to do that day. Each day is important because each day helps us move with and towards our purpose.
My daughter Madilin has been in ballet and tap dance for the past four years. Last year she told me she wanted to play soccer but I had her wait a year because she had already started her semester in dance. When the summer hit she decided she didn’t like the heat and realized soccer wouldn’t be a good idea but gymnastics would. Off we went on our quest for all things gymnastics. I found a place that had good reviews all we had to do was go..
Madilin had been so excited leading up to her first day of gymnastics. All she could talk about for a week was how much fun it was going to be and how she would one day be in the Olympics.
On the day she was to go she repeatedly told me her stomach hurt. Over and over again I heard how nervous she was. This didn’t set off any alarms to me because Madilin will push through anything. She has a fire in her that keeps her going and allows her to circumvent any initial reservations she may have in any area and she will do what needs to be done. I asked her if she wanted to stay home but she assured me she would be fine and she wasn’t going to miss her first day.
Once we arrived I took her in the gym and I went in to sign paperwork. I wasn’t five minutes into it when Madilin came in crying, with her teacher following right behind her. She was so nervous she didn’t want to finish. I had driven 40 minutes in rush hour traffic to get her to this class so I was a bit irritated with her at that moment. All I could think was little girl you better suck this up and get in there and bounce off a beam or something! I didn’t let those words come out of my mouth instead I let the teacher talk. She calmly reassured Madilin things would be okay. She asked Madilin if she wanted to take a tour first.
In the back of my mind I knew it was all nerves and in that moment I felt so bad for my little girl. For her to cry and not want to go in at all when she had been so initially excited broke my heart. The tears coming out of her eyes and flowing down her face were not fake in any sense of the word. I thought about how large that room must have seemed. I bent down on one knee, grabbed her hand and asked her if she wanted me to come with her. She nodded her head, yes.
We walked to a trampoline, the beams and then came to the bars. The teacher asked her if she wanted to do a flip and Madilin said yes. After doing a couple of flips Madilin told me she was fine and off she went for her hour and a half of gymnastics.
As I sat watching her I asked myself how many times I had done this very thing. How many times had I told the Lord I wanted to do something and when he gave me the opportunity I backed away with tears in my eyes feeling as if I couldn’t go farther? How many times did I feel I didn’t have any support or no one would listen to me so why try? How many times had I been pumped about an idea or had a plan but failed to see it through because I felt incapable? How many times had I told myself all the reasons why I wasn’t qualified when God qualified me ? Yes we need training in many things but the good thing about being under the covering of the Lord is He moves mountains and gives us opportunities where there normally wouldn’t be because were not educationally qualified. My writing business is a great example of my attempts at something and not seeing it through. My current blog is my second attempt at having a blog but this time I will see it through.
I was moved by the teacher that kindly grabbed Madilin’s hand. The teacher saw past her tears and knew from experience that with a little coxing and time Madilin would be fine. On the other hand in order for my baby girl to go forward she had to accept the teachers hand and listen to her words. Unbeknownst to Madi once she put her hand in the teachers it was a done deal, she would succeed and finish the class.
Tom Hopkins wrote, “The Champions Creed,” which goes like this: “I am not judged by the number of times I fail, but by the number of times I succeed. And the number of times I succeed is in direct proportion to the number of times I fail and keep trying!”
How awesome is it to know that all we can try again. How fantastic is it to know that we don’t have to do anything alone. If we put our hands in The Teachers hand, He will lead us in the direction we should go in life. We may become fearful at times and feel so very overwhelmed. Our minds will know we should trust and have faith but fear is real. We know all the spiritual things we should think, all the spiritual things we should say but when our faith and our minds fail us we can place our hand in The Teachers hand and He will do the rest. That in itself is an exercise of faith.
I didn’t plan on learning anything when I took my daughter to her gymnastics class but I did. Not only was I reassured of God’s love for me but my daughter’s courage moved me.
Don’t allow fear and/or failure to keep you from moving forward. As long as our hand is in The Teachers hand we will come out with smiles in the end just as my daughter did. She went in with tears but came out at the end asking, “mama did you sign me up?” I knew she could do it.
When patients come into the emergency room bleeding one of the first things the physicians and staff try and do is figure out where the bleeding is coming from then stop it. When a patient is bleeding out their vitals drop and they are essentially losing their lives with each passing second.
Blood not only gives us oxygen but also carries waste away from our cells. This life giving substance is absolutely necessary for our survival.
What happens, when what is supposed to give us life creeps into everything else essentially doing the opposite of what is made to do. What happens when we bleed out and instead of giving life we become a contamination?
I was talking to a counselor and he went back into my formative years. He did this in an effort to understand why I do some of the things I do now. For instance my keeping at least two to three calendars is funny when people hear about it but if you knew why I have this habit it’s not so funny after all. I like my spoons turned a certain way in the drawer. All hell can break loose quickly if you put the little spoons in the big spoon area. I have an uncanny love for my friends and family. I will go across the ocean, climb mountains, and dig tunnels underground for you, but if you hurt me I will cut you off in a heartbeat because in what could be an innocent moment you have brought me pain. As we dug a little deeper into things light bulbs started going off left and right. It was on my way home that I began to think I’m bleeding out.
I have been so affected by things in life and have become so accustomed to putting them to the back of my mind and not dwelling on them at the moment that I didn’t realize they were creeping into my day today. I could give you a list of things either my husband has pointed out or I have realized in counseling that come out in my day to day actions and/or thoughts that have something to do with a past event.
Ugh that stupid past. I hate talking about it, bringing it up, dwelling on it. It’s just stupid to me to talk about things that happened over 20 years ago when I’m a grown woman that has done pretty well and besides that only cry babies keep talking about the past because they are looking for attention. Tsk, tsk, tsk this way of thinking is exactly what landed me on a sofa sitting across from Dr. Gary. Denial has been my friend and close companion but I had to let denial go and take steps to live in further truth.
It’s something like an internal hemorrhage that starts to come out externally. When a patient has an internal hemorrhage there will eventually be some sort of pain that tells them they need help. They may not know why they need help all they know is they have pain and they can’t figure out why it may hurt to the touch or why they feel sluggish and awful. It’s not until a physician steps in, does an exam and realizes there’s internal bleeding that the patient can begin to get healing.
We will go on in life most of the time not realizing we are hemorrhaging internally and it’s starting to show externally. When were not honest with ourselves and get the necessary help we don’t understand our actions however destructive or innocent they may seem, bleed into our relationships, careers, and daily interactions with others.
It’s not until we get sick of ourselves that we finally make a decision to figure out what the heck is going on. We can try and self medicate by telling ourselves that if we do A then B everything will be okay. If I just stay focused and change this or that all will be well, but this just isn’t the case. You can’t will yourself from bleeding you have to see someone that can assist you in getting to the root of what your issue is.
After my session I came to work and typed up a release form. It read something like this:
“I, Nikkia Parker, hereby release (whomever you want here) from the expectations I have imposed upon them. I release them from living up to my standard of who they should be and admit this is wrong and impossible. I release (Name) from the label I have given them as (label) and they are free to be who they are.
I admit the requirement they would be (whatever requirement you gave them) was self imposed and thereby selfish of me. I admit I am disappointed because they couldn’t be what I needed them to be but I understand this was my fault because I set the mandate without acknowledging or understanding they may not share the same viewpoint or have the same stance. “
After I typed it up I took a moment to absorb what I had done. I had to do this because although I have had many areas that have been sown up and taken care of I’m gushing in other places and in order to have life I have to do the work.
Maybe you’ve never realized you were bleeding out. Maybe someone has pointed out different issues but you were in denial. Maybe you thought work issues were work issues or church issues were church issues etc. I urge you to consider you may be hemorrhaging and your issues may be bleeding into every area of your life. Many times we think we need some sort of medication because we feel depressed and you could be but maybe it’s because you just haven’t dealt with things on a deeper level.
Do yourself a favor and do the ones you love a favor and admit, I NEED HELP! IM BLEEDING OUT!
Have you ever sat and thought for a moment about where you factor in your relationships? Have you ever once said to yourself “I don’t feel like I’m getting even half of what I’m putting out?” Never fear your not alone.
About two years ago I considered writing a book called “The Sacrificial Lamb.” I came up with this title because I thought about how many times I put myself to the back burner for the sake of my relationships. I contemplated the lengths we all go to in order to maintain something that has broken down along the way or has been broken from the start. These days I’m not so much reconsidering where I factor in others lives as much as I’m reconsidering where others factor in my life.
A good friend of mine and I were talking and she said to me, “Nikki maybe you need to re-evaluate where you rank in people’s lives.” Wow! For me even in the simplicity of that statement it was deep. My sister told me about how she only has two friends, thankfully I’m one of them and her husband. Everyone else is considered an associate. My mother told me when I was a little girl I have a tendency to call people a friend way to quickly. At 37 years of age I’m just now understanding what she meant.
You see just because you talk to someone on the phone or hang out a few times doesn’t mean you have a friendship. If your the person that’s always initiating the phone calls, your the one that’s always going over to the other parties house, your the one that’s there at the other parties beckon call, but rarely do you get a call or text that just asks how your doing, rarely if ever has your friend ever hung out at your house or even been to your house, if you feel as if your relationship is based on what you do, you may want to think about if you actually have a friendship.
We all know relationships are important. It’s great when two people can come together and have a mutual understanding as well as share in one another’s ups and downs. It’s even better when you understand that you may not speak everyday because your busy and talking on the phone all day just isn’t in the cards for you but when you do talk, you pick up right where you left off. I have an awesome friend like that her name is Carolyn.
Carolyn and I have been great friends for over 10 years now. What I respect the most about her is she will tell me the absolute truth no matter what. I can count on her to give me good Godly wisdom no matter what the situation is and she will love me regardless of what I decide to do. When I was getting married about 10 years ago she had no problem meeting with me at Applebee’s and letting me know she felt like I was going to do the wrong thing and marry a “clean up man.” If you don’t know that’s the guy you date right after another relationship to take your mind off the old relationship. To this day I respect her for that. I wasn’t mad I just said okay and got married anyway. Yes she attended the wedding still. We will go weeks without an actual phone conversation. We email pretty much everyday but we didn’t really start talking on the phone again until I made a personal commitment to actually pick up the phone and talk to people as opposed to texting all the time. When we talk or email it’s as if were sitting right in front of one another. I love Carolyn, I truly do. She is one of the most authentic people I know. I don’t have to work hard or perform we just are what we are. I don’t question our relationship, I understand the nature of it.
These are the types of relationships we all need in our lives. I’ve come to realize that I enjoy hanging out with my sister, (Carolyn lives in Detroit) my kids and my husband. I don’t have to perform for them to love me, we visit one another (lol, it helps that we live together), and even if I’m not a morning person, I’m irritable if I don’t have my coffee, I’m cranky when I’m tired, and yes I can be a bit spoiled and want my way, they love me to the moon and back regardless of myself. They know my deepest fears and are the only people that know my high level of sensitivity. I don’t wonder what they’ve said or if they will love me because I can’t be there for them at one time or another. I don’t question if I’ve been demoted on the friendship scale because I’m not fulfilling what they think is my purpose in their lives at least once a week.
I’ve called coworkers friends, people I’ve just met friends but later I’m wondering what made them a friend? Why did I feel the need to give them that label. For me to be called a friend is an honor and one I don’t take lightly.
Don’t get me wrong I value the people that I have a relationship with in general. I love them and would do my best for them but these days I’m realizing I need to give people a chance to BE A FRIEND TO ME instead of my ALWAYS BEING A FRIEND TO OTHERS. Let that sit with you for a minute. This isn’t an issue of maturity it’s reality. We can pretend all day that all of our relationships are balanced but is that true for you?
ALLOW OTHERS TO BE A FRIEND TO YOU IN THE WAY YOU HAVE BEEN A FRIEND TO THEM AND IF THEY CAN’T IT’S OKAY. ADJUST YOUR EXPECTATION AND ADJUST THEIR POSITION OR YOURS. IT’S NOT A NEGATIVE IT’S YOU REEVALUATING THINGS.
I’m learning to love myself and part of that means I have to treat myself better in all things.
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“…….for I have learned to be content regardless of circumstances. I know how to get along and live humbly and I also know how to enjoy abundance and live in prosperity. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret whether well fed or hungry, whether having an abundance or being in need.”- Paul
I was sitting at work Wednesday working my little fingers away on the keyboard at 70wpm as I always do, meanwhile my brain was going 100mph. All I could think about was how I was going to pay what bill and when. I thought about how and where I would fit my son’s soccer payment in and now that my daughter wants to take a year off from dance, how I was going to fit her soccer registration in. The thoughts kept coming, it didn’t end there. Those thoughts of bills and soccer registrations were followed by overwhelming fears of not getting my credit score up. A few years ago my credit score was fantastic, so much so I was in a position to buy a house but these days, let’s just say it’s not in a casket on the ocean floor but if one more wave hits it’ll be floating under water. My mind raced with the clothes the kids need, not to mention school supplies would be coming up soon, I want to get my wedding pictures and so on and so forth.
All these thoughts going around the race track of my mind caused a feeling that at one time in my life I thought was aura’s but found out were anxiety attacks. If you don’t know I have epilepsy. What can precede a seizure is something like a warning called an aura. It usually leaves me with just enough time to say I’m getting ready to have a seizure. Three years back I was having this feeling almost everyday. I went to my neurologist and found out I was having anxiety attacks. My mind was so bothered, stressed, and overwhelmed I could barely function during the workday.
This day I knew this feeling. I could feel the anxiety coming out of my chest, going into my head and down my arms. I closed my eyes and took deep breaths. When that didn’t work I got up from my desk and walked around outside a bit which helped calm me down.
On the way home from work I once again began to think about all I didn’t have and how things should be much better until something clicked in my brain. What the heck was I doing? Here I was driving home from work internally complaining and having my own personal pity party. I then made an active decision to say something, out loud, in my car that I was grateful for. I looked straight ahead, gripped the wheel and said I’m grateful for this car. I bought this car in 2012. It’s a 2012 Nissan Versa. It’s the first car I’ve ever purchased brand new; a fact I’m proud of. I’m grateful for a beautiful home I can go home to, a place of peace. When I walk through those doors, it doesn’t matter what has happened during the day, I feel like a weight lifts off. I’ve prayed for the atmosphere in my house to be peaceful like that, I’ve fought for it. I continued, I’m grateful for an upcoming trip to the Dominican Republic. No sooner than I said those words my mind went right back to the bills I needed to pay and my credit report. Like a thick black ooze worry tried to creep into my mind but I pushed it away. I said, out loud, yes I’m grateful for the opportunity to go out of the country on vacation. Yes, I have bills but everything will be paid and I’m actively working on my credit report. I’m grateful for the ability to fly my mother in to be with the children while my husband and I are gone. I’m grateful for the ability to take our children on a cruise over Christmas. I chuckled as I thought I’m grateful for soccer fees and having peace in knowing I can pay them.
My entire mood shifted on that car ride home. I walked into my house a happier me. When I get home my children always greet me as I walk through the door. Okay, okay who am I kidding they are like bees on honey as soon as I walk through the door but it didn’t bother me. I didn’t need a minute to get myself together because my demeanor shifted from one of fear and sadness on the car ride home to happiness and gratitude.
That evening we sat around as a family and we all said something we were grateful for. I explained my day to my children and stressed to them the importance of saying and being gracious.
We will all have things that go across our minds that at times cause a great deal of trepidation to over take us. We can allow those things to take us over and saturate every aspect of our day ruining any opportunity we may have for calm in our bodies or we can make the extra effort to just say, “thank you.” We can look for a reason to worry. Most people have a lot on their plates and those things do get to us at one time or another but just as we sit in somber silence we can use our voice, the power of the spoken word to verbally and with a loud voice say I’m grateful for my life. As much as we take it for granted we all have something someone else is lacking.
For me I have the ability to go out of the country, go on a cruise with my babies and husband, I have a job (even if it plucks my last reserved nerve) that allows me to work as much overtime as I’d like. I have a husband who gets home before me and cooks pretty much everyday. I have children that fill my life with hugs and kisses. I have made a vow to myself to wake up and say what I’m grateful for and lay down saying what I’m grateful for.
We should all do this. I’m confident that if we walked into any homeless shelter right now and told them our daily complaints they would look at us with such disdain for our ungrateful mentalities most of the time. I use the word of Paul as a point of reference often in my life. I want to learn have to learn to be content no matter the state I’m in.
Be grateful because you have so much to be grateful for.
What makes some move past their fears while others are crippled by it?
What is it that convinces them come hell or high water, good or bad, they are going to step out and pursue change in their lives?
I admit, I’m a creature of habit. I will stay in the same place, doing the same thing, even if I’m unhappy, miserable in fact, just because I know what to expect. I’ll complain along the way most of the time, the other half of the time I won’t complain but instead I’ll mentally wallow in self-pity, then lastly I’ll make a decision to accept the position I’m in. I’ll tell myself although I’m busting at the seams with creativity and knowing I can do much better than where I am, where I work, what I’m doing, I might as well stay where I am and just accept it.
That is until the cycle starts over again and I’m back to recognizing where I am is not where I want to be, then I complain and so on.
What makes Tannika Scott in Pearland, Texas step away from a job with a company she had worked with for years in a position she knew to fulfill her dream of being a realtor?
What drives Vanessa Singleton and Deborah Manson both from San Antonio, Texas, employed with full time jobs, to pursue a thriving business making custom made t-shirts?
What burned inside Devon Shanor that caused her to take her photography business, Devon Shanor Photography, from her home to studio space outside the comforts and assurances of home?
What clicked in Justin and Crystal Beards mind that propelled them towards entrepreneurship no matter what it takes?
I have come to believe what sets these people apart as well as many others is the belief that to stay where they were, in a box, within certain limits was in itself a failure. These are not things I’ve heard them say personally but what else drives one to take in my mind, are great risks when there’s so much security where they are, where we are? I have to believe along the way they may have wondered if everything would work out but still they moved forward. They allowed what was burning inside of them to consume them to the point of action.
True failure, I’m learning is not taking a risk at all. It is better to have tried and failed than to not have tried at all. In my pursuit of dream fulfillment, I’m encouraged by these people. I’m lifted with every facebook or blog post they share broadcasting their endeavors. Unbeknownst to them, they keep me motivated.
There is a quote by Alex Rosa that says, ” Simply having a dream isn’t enough. Taking the steps to fulfill that dream is key.”
Wouldn’t it be fantastic if we all actually took a step towards fulfilling and manifesting our destiny?
What if in the midst of everything that says we will not see our dreams come to fruition we in the words of Dory, just kept swimming, towards IT WILL HAPPEN FOR ME…SUCCESS IS THE ONLY OPTION!
I feel like society makes us believe every little girl grows up wanting to marry prince charming. At a young age we envision ourselves being perfect in everything we do. It kind of sets us up for failure in that from a young age we become little perfectionist. This can totally backfire.
At this point in my life I’m learning how to be at peace with where I am. Where is that? Well that’s a single mom to three children. One of those three, a teenager, who challenges me everyday. I’m learning how to balance work, church, spending time with my family, being a good sister and aunt while still somewhere in all this trying to get a few minutes here and there for myself.
I’m realizing that sometimes drinking soda after 8pm makes my stomach hurt, I think it’s the sugar. I can’t wear stilettos like I used to. The reality that I may have to go back to wedges haunts me. The possibility of wearing flats all the time is almost too much for my brain to process.
O, you thought I’d start this book with something deep? Nah, I figured I’d get your attention with something we can all relate too; the realities of aging.
No worries, for those of you who like to swim in the deep end make sure you’ve got lots of stamina we’re going far away from shore. Just hold on it’ll come.
I’m not the young doe I used to be. Everything I do requires a little more planning. In the past I would just make a decision and whether good or bad my motto was, “I’ll do what I want now and suffer the consequences later.” Later is now today and these days I think more BEFORE I do anything.
Ahhh to be young and naïve; I now appreciate and fully understand things my mom used to say such as:
“An uptown procession leads to a downtown invasion.” Then there’s my personal favorite “Nikki you don’t have to say everything you think.” Last but not least, “don’t rush to be grown.”
I’m currently navigating trying to date. I would say I’m dating but I’ve only gone on one date. I find the entire process before one even gets to the date part, annoying.
Maybe by the time I finish this book I’ll have an update and it’ll be I’ve actually gone out on a few dates. By nature I’ve always been the kind of girl that knew exactly what she wanted out of life.
I knew I wanted to get out of my hometown and live in a big city. City life always appealed to the artistic side of me. I knew I wanted to be in communications, specifically journalism. I frequently said I would be a black Barbara Walters and a ballet dancer. I knew I wanted kids and husband.
I can remember always viewing the world through what seemed to be a very real pair of lenses. By this I mean you couldn’t just tell me anything. I saw things for what they really were and I believe that made me a little wiser than most.
I never left room for “what if,” for me things were they way they looked at that moment.
I guess my childhood circumstances shaped that. Things just were what they were. I didn’t believe anything and everything.
These days I find myself internalizing a lot. I’ve found that just as my mother said I don’t have to say everything I think. I’m actually okay with not saying everything. My life is as peaceful as I allow it to be and I value that.
A year ago I had so many thoughts in my head and I was constantly overwhelmed. I was sad, happy, disappointed, hopeful. A year ago the most consistent feeling I had was one of despair. I was really trying to fight through it.
I moved into this apartment August of 2014 and it was then, it seems, my life began. I started to run, exercise, take myself to dinner, do things for me. My emotions began to linger more on the hopeful side. Then the holidays came and I was sad. I can’t say I was depressed, more than just sad.
It was the holidays and I didn’t have anyone to share it with. That’s about the point I started smoking cigarettes again. The funny thing is I don’t even think I actually had a desire to smoke. I just did it. Like, I made a decision that yeah, I’m going to smoke again.
Intentional actions are the story of my life. The definition of intentional is: done on purpose, deliberate. In many scenarios I was by definition, intentional.
This story, my story is all of those quotes my mom said. I’ll take you on a journey of abuse, marriage, discovery, marriage again, transition, another marriage, true healing, restoration, finding myself, transparency and covenant.
Let’s talk about the BEFORE. You know how did I get to this point in my life? The good stuff, my daddy issues, mommy issues, life issues.
My family consists of six girls and one boy along with a cousin raised like a sister, so a total of eight. To be honest my biggest memory is I was always cleaning. Of course with eight kids and an eight bedroom house there would always be something to clean. The house had a finished basement; it was somewhat of a hang out spot for us. It was a massive place and if you didn’t know any better you would think we were rich just based off how big the house was.
My stepfather was let’s just say present in body but not a good man. I can’t say I ever saw him or my mother hug or show any kind of affection. I never liked him from the beginning. I can’t say why I didn’t like him in the beginning but somewhere in my core from a young age I just knew he wasn’t right in some way.
He was a mean man. What I would realize later is that my interaction with him would help shape my view of men. It wasn’t uncommon for him to try and discipline me and for me to fight back. In fact this was a regular occurrence. He would pick with me constantly. I always thought about the scripture in the bible that states, “fathers provoke not your children to wrath.” in Ephesians. It seemed like he went out of his way to do the exact opposite of this scripture, if he even knew it at all. Later in life my sister and I would have a conversation on my living room sofa and she would tearfully reveal to me that she thought he would one day kill me because I never backed down. I ironically never had that fear.
Now that I’m older and have taken healing classes I do believe he parented me the best way he knew how. I don’t believe he was shown much love from his father. Our relationship was hard, it was violent. I believed he woke up every morning and asked himself, “what can I do to provoke Nikki today?”
This looked like my being on the third floor of our house and him calling me down to hand him the remote or him making me clean the house, which keep in mind was huge. He would try and whoop me, I would grab the belt and try and whoop him. I never had any fear of him in fact I rebelled against him every time because he was just a mean man and I knew what he was doing .
You may be wondering where my mother was in all this. Well she was at work; I also never told her what was going on. In my mind my responsibility was to protect my sister, my mother. My mom worked hard and I didn’t want to cause her unnecessary stress.
Needless to say I couldn’t wait until I was eighteen. Eighteen in my mind was everything. It was freedom, it was adulthood, it was a chance to escape not only him but also my strict Christian upbringing.
I so desperately wanted to hang out and smoke hahaha. I wanted to have a boyfriend. I appreciated being a Christian I wouldn’t take anything away from how my mother raised me. I couldn’t have a boyfriend until I was pretty close to eighteen. I do often wonder if my not having a bit more freedom is what made me a perfect candidate for any boy or man to take advantage of.
I don’t despise my upbringing at all. I’m not upset with my mother for keeping him around. I never felt any kind of way about that. To me, my mom was in a rut. She had eight children, six at home. My mom did the best she could everyday and to this day I don’t know how she did it. She worked full time, lots of over time and still managed to do things like crafts with us or take us to the drive-in, take us to the Wesco station to get cappuccino’s and the long bags of popcorn. I have such fond memories of sitting in our dining room learning how to make cards using the funny pages. I recall the many times my mom would call me in the kitchen and say, “your going to have a husband one day, you need to know how to cook.” Of course now that I have children I realize she was exhausted most of the time. I can’t quite wrap my head around how she found the energy to still parent us, but she did. I knew she was tired all the time. She worked third shift and when she was home trying to sleep we would come in her room one at a time and wake her up. I think I would have lost my mind but she didn’t. She was still an awesome mother.
I admired her. My mom in my eyes was a saint. I don’t think there was ever a day she didn’t tell us she loved us. In fact I recall her telling us so much that one day I asked her why she said it as often as she did and her response was because her mother rarely told her. It was in that moment I could see a hint of brokenness in my mother.
We struggled most of the time. We never had the newest clothes in fact most of our things came from the Goodwill. I was always embarrassed to be there. There were plenty of times our lights and gas were turned off and my mom and step dad would light the fireplace to keep us warm. We did have a hearty meal everyday. Even in those hard times I can’t say I ever really knew we were struggling. Yeah we had to boil water to take baths but that didn’t bother me. We did what we needed to do and those were actually some of the best times. We worked together. We would sit around the fire place with company over and tell jokes. My mom showered us with love and affection.
What she didn’t tolerate was any foolishness. My mother was very old school and rightfully so; she had all girls. There was no staying out all night on prom night. There was no back talking or smacking lips when she spoke.
We couldn’t well I couldn’t have a boyfriend until I was 17 but that didn’t stop me from trying. The few times she did let me go out there was no honking the horn, he had to come to the door and introduce himself.
I went to a private school and my mom did let me go to a few parties. I believe in her mind these were all kids doing the right things at the parties. I put emphasis a few parties. There was no going every weekend her thought process with that was it wasn’t good for a woman to be seen hanging out all the time.
We were absolutely going to church no question about that and if anyone wanted to spend the night they had to go to church as well. This wasn’t difficult because everyone we were associated with went to church.
We would get up at 6am before school and have family prayer. This meant walking around and praying. Yeah initially she would let us sit but she found out quickly we would fall right back to sleep.
I can’t say our house was the cleanest but one thing is for sure if we left without doing our chores there would be consequences. It was not uncommon to have all the dishes pulled out of the cabinets because someone had half washed them.
These are not things I despise but definitely made for a great foundation. It’s funny when your young you can’t stand what your parents want you to do but once you become an adult you really appreciate the foundation that was laid.
Over time I gained a little more freedom. I had already been working for at least a year and helping out by buying little things for the house like milk, eggs, cheese but this led to my trying to test the waters and stay out late. I was working why not? I attempted sex but that hurt to much so I gave up on that but apparently just that little bit of testing began to change my behavior. My mom once told me she could tell I’d already had sex because of the way I was acting. In my mind I was still respectful to my mother but this couldn’t have been the case. Prior to all this I’d been asking my mother to let me move to Indiana once I turned eighteen to live with my oldest sister; her constant answer was no.
No, no, no was the answer until one night I came home high off marijuana.
Yeah it was my first time getting high and I stupidly came home and walked right in my mother’s room and laid on her bed. She being a nurse upon looking at me knew I was high. For at least a year I was trying to do my own thing.
That night was the straw that broke the camels back for my mother not to mention she had found a black and mild in my room. I would find out years later my little sister told on me.
My mom confronted me the next day and told me to get my things. That night she drove me to Fort Wayne, Indiana to live with my oldest sister. I would have done the exact same thing had I been in her shoes.
After being in control for so long trusting someone else is like sitting in the seat of a roller coaster as it climbs to the top. You reach the peak and the roller coaster goes over while your heart drops to the pit of your stomach.
This is what it feels like for me, at least. Trusting my husband’s decisions is like exercising for the first time in two years. It’s foreign, sometimes painful, absolutely necessary. It is me laying myself before the altar of surrender and submitting my” Nikkia can handle it,” tendencies to be sacrificed.
I would love to say I do this willingly. It would sound great if I painted a picture of me floating in a soft white dress to the fire that would purge my control habits, but this is not the case. I practice trusting my husband’s decisions everyday because I know it behooves me to do so and more importantly it’s what I prayed for. He’s what I prayed for.
This exercise in surrender/trust is not about my husband, it’s more about my trusting that he who has been placed in my life has the vision and wisdom to guide our family. Does this mean he will not error? NO!!! I’m sure he will and to be honest my natural instinct is to prepare myself in case he does, but this preparation would actually be a symptom of my controlling tendencies. A symptom I have to keep at bay.
Instead if he should error I will be at the ready with prayer and a word of encouragement so that he will know I’m with him as he tries again. It is quite natural for those of us who have made it through tough times to try and make our world as perfect and safe as we can by manipulating and directing events in our lives. It’s easy to pray for someone or something to come and relieve us and give us some semblance of peace. We don’t live in a society that teaches us to trust. It is more common for women to get together and bring up trusting our spouse’s and most of us would roll our eyes and follow up with, “girl you better be smart and have a backup plan.”
What’s difficult is once those prayers have been answered, accepting the answer. Understand, we can finally attain, be gifted with exactly what we wanted but because of our own bull-headedness, walls, chains, we remain in our ways. We feel safe when were in control. Trust me I get it. I get it. I understand the backup plan. I have generally always had a backup plan for the backup plan. This time, however, I’m falling backwards in the hopes that my husband will catch me because I trust him. I’m not looking over my shoulder to see if he’s there. Is this comfortable for me, absolutely not! I know it’s necessary for me.
Surrender takes practice. Surrender means you must trust.
Trust is not popular. Trust takes courage.