When you get it, let me know!

When.

She had me at when.

Her long, eloquent, heart-felt text used the word When, to say things she couldn’t/wouldn’t say verbally—at least to me.

Writing camouflage the way we see ourselves and how we live vicariously  through others—sometimes unconsciously.

Warning: If someone uses when at the beginning or the middle of a sentence, pay attention to the emotional red flags.

When I share our exchange below, perhaps you’ll understand my depth of concern, the panic that ensued, and how I vacillated on sharing the truth at the compromise of our 20-plus friendship.

Hey there,

I just wanted to let you know, my daughter has accepted a prestigious summer internship.  When she leaves, that’s when my life will change.

When she gets her license, I’ll feel free! I’ll get a life!

She continues. When she travels to Thailand with her senior class next year, I plan to go as a chaperone.

Me: No response. I continue reading with tears spilling down my cheeks.

When she’s leaves for college, that’s when I’ll get my life back/together.  My time is coming,” she writes and I hear her anticipation mingled with sadness.

I hear her saying “I’ll be happier when……”

My response: Your when is now! Live intentionally!

Truth hurts. I had to say things to my friend which hurt me deeply and truthfully,  I struggled with her consistent use of the word When.

When is one of those tricky words with so many hidden meanings.

I associate when as an action or inaction/stagnation in one’s personal or professional goals or dreams.

When also connotes excuses, missed opportunities, future, near future, magically, never, fantasies, complacency and fear.

When, I asked myself, would our focus shift from her children to her personal accomplishments?

When would I get to witness her transformation into a beautiful butterfly who’s actually flying?

When I think of my friend, I think of would have, should have, could have, but didn’t dare.

A few days later, I thought about our conversation when it hit me: My when and her when is not in sync. My when was always feels/seems urgent as in today.  Her when is delayed gratification; patience and at times I’ve seen her take baby steps, but at least she was moving. Then she’d stop.

I thought I accepted her unconditionally. What changed?

And when was the last time, I took personal inventory of my own When challenges? Have I not asked myself the following when questions?

When will healing begin?

When will my book be published?

When will I be able to enjoy the fruits of my labor—both personal and professional?

Then, I’m reminded that our when (timing) is not congruent with God’s when, plans (timing) for our lives.

This biblical passage found in Habakkuk 2:3  challenges my when (s) and quiets my anxiousness. It states:  For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not delay. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.

My friend had me at when.

I know my friend and I both struggle with our own “When” or “Someday I’ll” in our conversations. I can only hope my friends will help me help when with present tense, positive affirmations and blessings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For Crying Out Loud: You’re long overdue

 

He was out with friends and truly enjoying himself when the unexpected happened: out of nowhere, he began to cry.

The flood gates just opened and he couldn’t have stopped if he wanted to.

He cried openly and sadly.

But the fact is: he cried.

His crying took everyone by total surprise.  One minute, they were all laughing and joking and the next minute, their friend had “lost it.”

What triggered this flood of emotions? they naturally wondered.

Often times, tears are a way of communicating what we cannot say; didn’t say, won’t say or to embarrassed to say what is really bothering us. When our emotions have been suppressed for a long time, we crash. Then here comes the tears.

But psychologically, shedding tears are part of the internal cleansing/shedding process.  

Tears are highly beneficial according to Laura Bylsma, a PdD student at the University of South Florida in Tampa, who has focused on crying in her research. “Crying may have a biochemical purpose. It’s believed to release stress hormones and toxins from the body.”

Well, if that’s the case, why aren’t we crying more often? If it can relieve stress and make us feel better instantly, we shouldn’t have a problem with crying. Right?

Wrong!

For many people, crying does not come easy; while others reserve their tears for a “legitimate” reason. This is the reason for the “good/happy cry” :

  • New, enjoyable things and surprises such as the birth of a baby, graduations, weddings, a new job, promotions, a dream vacation, engagements, a new house, winning a prize or a problem that is finally resolved amicably or in your favor.

The bad/ugly cry:

  • An unexpected death or even a prolonged illness resulting in death
  • The ending of a relationship whether planned or unplanned
  • Divorce
  • Loss of a job or something else that was meaningful to you (dreams, losing a home, losing your health, etc)

And I’ve cried when certain things/people/situations resonated with me:

  • A dynamic speaker
  • A really great quote
  • A picture
  • A movie
  • My children’s disappointments and milestones
  • Gratitude both given and received
  • Self-discovery, feeling spiritually centered or feeling in a good place emotionally

Years ago, a good male friend taught me the beauty of honoring my feelings. He said whatever you’re feeling, own it. Don’t let others tell you how you’re “supposed” to feel. Those feelings, he said, belong solely to you. And if you need to cry, by all means, do so.

“Your doing yourself a total disservice by pretending your feelings aren’t valid or not worth your own tears,” he said. “It’s your God-given right to cry and then get over yourself.”

Iylana Vansant, a writer, life coach and television personality, wrote this beautiful poem that sums up the beauty of crying. Enjoy!

Yesterday, I cried.
I came home, went straight to my room,
sat on the edge of my bed,
kicked off my shoes, unhooked my bra,
and I had myself a good cry.
I cried until my nose was running all over the silk blouse I got on sale.
I cried until my ears were hot.
I cried until my head was hurting so bad
that I could hardly see the pile of soiled tissues lying on the floor at my feet.
I want you to understand,
I had myself a really good cry yesterday.

Yesterday, I cried
with an agenda. ( Iylana’s Last Verse)

Me: When’s the last time you got your cry on?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mother’s Day: Dual Meaning

 

He would be the first one to tell you—as he probably reminds himself daily—he didn’t sign up for this.

He was never one to shirk his responsibilities, but this situation was wa—ay more than he could imagine or bargained for.

Worse, there was No preparation whatsoever.  Lives hung in the balance and there was no time for rumination.

Given the dire circumstances, he only had one option: He had to Man Up.

He’d have to acclimate himself for dual roles that would challenge his masculinity and some days his very sanity. He knew first hand what it was to grow up without a mother.

Unfortunately, life had a way of repeating itself in his life, but like his father, he took sole custody of his children.

Hats off to men like him who are single fathers and raising their children to the best of their abilities.

More appropriately, Happy Mothers Day to these fathers who are both mother/ fathers to their children because their ex- wives or baby mamas have decided to abdicate their roles as mothers.

Some of these mothers left willingly.

Other mothers lost custody through the courts.

 And others simply abandoned their child (ren).

Sadly, his situation is not uncommon and he’s not alone.

Enoch, another single father, began raising his daughter when she was a year old.  He resided in Atlanta while his daughter’s mother, whom he didn’t marry, lived in another state. Their first agreement stipulated he would see the daughter on holidays, some weekends and summers. In the beginning, she seemed like the perfect mother. She was well-educated; a private practice as a therapist and hired nanny and others to help with the care of her daughter. But there was a problem: she simply quit being a mother

He went to court and got sole custody of his daughter.

To say that Enoch is a great “mother/father” is an understatement.  In these complex dual roles, he had to make some hard choices: giving up his single life, changing careers in order to be available for his daughter and other sacrifices.

His daughter is now 17. He says being the dual roles does have its limitations and “setbacks.”

“I learned the value of getting help from trusted female friends and relatives for my daughter’s growth and development.”

These days, Enoch counsels other men in similar situations and says he gives fathers one piece of advice: “In this role, there’s a lot of trial and error. Being Mom/Dad is not easy, don’t beat yourself up.”

Kudos to these dedicated, determined and dependable men/fathers/mothers. Ya’ll rock!