“If I were to answer it just kind of bold-faced, I would say what scares me is that I’m going to ultimately find out at the end of my life that I’m really not lovable, that I’m not worthy of being loved. That there’s something fundamentally wrong with me … What scares me the most is not knowing and accepting that just about everything is not in my control. That makes me feel unsafe….I used to think that what scared me was the idea of being abandoned until someone said to me, ‘Only children can be abandoned. Adults can’t be abandoned because we have a choice. Children don’t have a choice.’ So I started to rethink. ‘OK, it’s not that. What’s the underlying thread that really scares me?’ I think what scares me is not having the courage to reach my full potential … That I would allow fear, insecurity, and doubt to rule me and that I would ask for only a little of what is actually there for me. It would mean that I would be settling.” ~ Demi Moore

courtesy of Page Six‘s article on Demi Moore’s Haaper’s Bazaar interview.

I need to speak on this today.  Probably because I’m fearful at this very moment.   I started writing this post on December 19 and it’s been sitting.  I was already feeling uneasy then for good reason that just continued to escalate.  When I read the quote above today from Demi, it really hit home. I need to thank her for her candor and for being open.  This statement got me right together.

I knew it was time to send this post out.  I’m not the only one who’s afraid.  She spoke about how I’ve been feeling.   Maybe that I’m fearful of the future and what’s coming.  I’m fearful of what I have no control over.  Fearful of not being loved.  Fearful of not doing the right thing or reaching my full potential.  Of losing the most valuable people in life.  Of the uncertainty of it all.

But how am I supposed to handle fear when it’s right at my door and about to come in and have a drink with me?  What happens when it greets me in the morning when I wake up?  That up-in-my-face-all-in-my-damn-business sort of fear.  I  can’t escape it.  It doesn’t plan on going anywhere.  It’s right there.  Sitting on me.  What do I do then?  Here’s a few of the things I do:

  1. Pray
  2. Get thankful. I remind myself of what I’ve gotten through at this point.  I reminisce over the good and the love in my life. It helps reset my tone.
  3. Assure myself said situation isn’t permanent.  Most things are in passing.  It’s about getting over a wave.  If said situation is permanent, there wouldn’t be anything I can do about it.  Or is there?  Am I just in panic mode because I feel hopeless?
  4. Seek help.  This is important.  There should be at least a couple of people who I don’t have to hide my true feelings or tears or nervous breakdowns aka panic attacks.
  5. Hide. This doesn’t solve anything but sometimes, just being able to be away from it all has helped me.  I “hide” at home or at a trusted friend’s “safe” space home.
  6. Take a nap.  Reset.  Start over.
  7. Breathe.
  8. Cry.
  9. Get a new plan of attack when things seem to fall apart.
  10. Find someone else that may need my help more than I feel the need to feel sorry for myself.

Thinking about everything that’s happened over the last few years, there were so many things I feared happening that STILL came to pass.  Some people will say it was the fear that brought it to pass.  Others would say maybe I knew things were coming and I was prepped in advance.  I don’t think it was either.  I just think it’s life.  Shit happens.  It’s about how you manage that shit and navigate it.  Me being afraid didn’t change anything.  Me standing still didn’t stop life.  Choosing not to move, not to fight, not to do anything is still a choice.

I admit here and now, I don’t always succeed at managing my fear.  Sometimes, I just have to stay home in bed and pull it together.  Sometimes it’s caused me to make the wrong decisions or just drop everything and not fight. Instead, I took flight. Because I didn’t face up to some things, I think I lost some valuable situations and people.  However, each situation was a learning process.   Sometimes running makes things worse.

All of us handle these things in different ways.  Sometimes it’s about loss –  the death of a loved one or it’s about a partner or spouse leaving.   The most amazing relationship suddenly falls apart.  It could be the loss of a significant amount of money, it could be unforeseen  illness or debt.  It could be a betrayal of trust.  It could be disappointment in ourselves or about where we are in our life.  Or about our own actions.  Or fear of the truth.  Fear of the truth!  Fear of having to face the inevitable.  What about the anticipation of the unknown?  Yup.  Afraid of that too.

By the way, everything on the above list has taken place in my life over the last few years in some form.   Each one has it’s own story.

But here’s the best part of it all –

When the worst of my fears were realized, I was freed.   I mean, I’m going to admit all kinds of shit has rained down.  But as it has, as I’ve forced myself to face it, I’ve become just a little bit braver, just a little bit more fierce and a little bit less fearful.  I work hard at being more brave these days.

So many things are out of my (our) control until most of the time, there’s no reason for the worry in the first place.  It doesn’t help with what I need to do and where I need to go.  It doesn’t stop things from happening around me.  It only paralyzes me.  I will say fear can save your hide, but that’s a discussion for another time.  I’m not speaking about caution today or how we process all of the warning signs that arrive before something tragic happens.  In this case, I don’t classify this as fear.  That’s intuition, caution, discernment.  I (we) should listen when that’s the voice that’s speaking.  There’s a difference.  It’s not negative.  It’s cautionary, warning.  Loving.

This fear I’m speaking of as mentioned above, is a nay-sayer.  It’s abusive.  It takes an unfair advantage over your movements and your mind and spirit.   It can wrap it’s bony little icy fingers and hold you down.  It’s not Godly.  It’s something different.  It’s the kind that talks you out of the good things appearing in your life.  It’s the kind that has you confused and making terrible, rushed and inappropriate decisions.

So, I just wanted to get this off my chest today and confess.  Yes, I am afraid.  I’m not as brave as everyone thinks I am.  I just have faith.  I have hope. I believe I can make it through because of who God created me to be and because He’s with me every step of the way.  I know where my help comes from.  Why should I be afraid?

Marianne Williamson said, “Sometimes we need to tell our fear to go to hell because that’s exactly where it came from.”

Today, I’m telling my fear to go to hell.  I encourage you to do the same.

Love,

Rae

Honestly, I have been asking myself this question for a while now.

I’ve reached the adult threshold where everyone is getting married, having children.  I mean EVERYONE.  Not just a few people, but most of the people around me and around everyone else for that matter.  Maybe it’s the recession?  Maybe it’s true love.  Fact is they are all boo’d up.  It’s a tad unnerving at times.

I’m a lover of love.  I enjoy seeing people happy and together.  I support each and every one of my friends in their unions. I laugh and cry with them.  I tell them to hold it together when it’s going poorly.  I want them to be together.

The fact remains I am still single and some days you feel some kind of way about it.

No marriage prospects in sight.  It had been this way.  You meet a guy, you think he’s the one, and then for whatever reason or number of reasons, he turns out NOT be the one.  In fact, you should have never even been dealing with this joker in the first damn place.  Right?

Right.

I am on a no dating challenge currently.  It was just time.

I realized all the time that’s has passed and found myself a little nervous.  Clocks are ticking.  I can hear the bells ringing – and not wedding bells.  I mean the kitchen timer, times up kinda bell.  Or rather a buzzer.   Waking up another morning asking, “What’s wrong with me?”

For the men reading this – yes, women think this and well, we’ll never admit it to you in your face if you confront us.  However, there a few who could care less.  This really isn’t about them (no h8).  It’s for the women, who like myself are looking for the life they thought they’d have at this point and are grappling with the life we currently have.   So it’s what is versus what I want (or expect).

Or rather, I’ve asked myself what’s wrong with me?  I’ve had this talk many times with myself and wondered what I am doing wrong.  Fact is, there were a number of things I was doing wrong.  Those are for another post.

The most important thing I had to realize is that I had to BE the prototype I was looking for.  That’s the number one thing I was doing wrong.  I wasn’t living up to the best version of myself.  The best woman.  The best Rae.

What does this mean?  It means you better be willing to give all of the things you’re asking for from your mate.  It means being long-suffering.  It means knowing what the I Corinthians verse 14: 4-7 really means & to be willing to honor it and get yourself to living as close to all of it as you can.  Practice – and not on dates!!  But on your loved ones.  For those who don’t know what it says:

4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

It means I better get to work.  I mean, there is some serious overhaul to be done.  And here I thought I was in good shape.  But then over the last year or so, and after my Lemony Snicket aka the series of unfortunate (dating) events, it brought me to a point where I realized there was a lot of work to be done – on myself.  While I could blame others, at the end of the day, the position I’m in is my responsibility.

I have some issues and they better well be resolved, or well on their way to being worked on before I even think about taking on someone else’s issues.  You realize of course when you get married, you’re taking on all of the other persons issues.  If you think you’re ready for a husband, the better question is to ask if you’re ready to be a wife.  Am I ready to be a wife?  Lord have mercy.

The gut feeling I listened to managed to serve me well.  I knew better all this time than to get married too early.  The truth is, years ago, up until very recently I probably would have made a terrible wife.  So, those brothers are probably as thankful they didn’t marry me as I am that I didn’t marry them.  Do we as women ever think about that? SMH….

Then my mind starts to wander.   I get to thinking: I’m cute; I have many “intangible” talents;  I’m stylish; I have good taste; I’ve been sensible (sometimes – let’s say enough to count me in as not crazy).  Oooooh!  Eccentric.  Okay, maybe I’m a little crazy.  I know right from wrong.  I can recite the days of the week, my address, I usually know what day it is (although I had an episode with that this past weekend – EPIC fail).  I can cook.  I can make a mean Sunday or whatever other day dinner you need.  I’m eclectic.  I’m giving to a fault.  I can empathize with you &b share in your pain.  I can love hard.  I tend to be hilarious without trying.  I’m agreeable – on most days.  I’m kinda surly at times though – but some men like that so it’s really an asset.  By the way, I also have assets. (wink)

And so does every other woman.

So why am I NOT married?  Damn.

Mainly because none of the above really matters.

It does matter, then again, it doesn’t.  How beautiful I am, how well I can cook, how well I can maintain things and hold them together – that doesn’t make a relationship stick.  Men have left for more or for less.

What matters is my character.

Ouch.

Yes. Character.

When I started to dissect all of the things I need to resolve, I realized I have my work cut out for me:

  • Deal with past  pains and hurts of exes.  No bitterness please!  No cold witchery is allowed.  No holding a man hostage for the faults of others before him.
  • Master being a Proverbs 31 woman and a women who embodies the “Love is patient, love is kind…”
  • Pay off some, if not all of this damned debt.
  • Learn to honor my commitments.
  • Learn to be on time.
  • Learn to set boundaries.
  • Discern who I should let go and who I should let stay.
  • Learn what to reveal and what not to.
  • Learn a measure of self-control.
  • Work on all of those things on my to do list : writing, publishing, house, travel, countless other things….
  • Cultivate myself into the best version of myself as I can while I’m single.
  • Maybe learn how to dance burlesque.  Just saying.  It’s helpful.  LOL….

And when you start going through that list, that’s when you get to the answers, you make the progress, the husband shows up.  Here’s the truth, we can look on to others lives as much as we want, but if we’re not making any progress in our own while watching others, we’re failing ourselves and setting ourselves up for future failure.

Fact : you’ll never have as much time as a married person to work on yourself as you do when you’re single.

Same message : I need to BE the prototype I am seeking.

What am I doing to better myself?  Am I taking classes?  Working smarter to pay off this debt?  Trying to fulfill my dreams?  Out here blogging and working on this book like I keep TALKING about?  Taking care of the obligations I am responsible for?  How’s my relationship with God?  Am I actively seeking my purpose?

Fact is, I wasn’t ready.  And if the right man had shown up these years, he wouldn’t have been looking for a girl like me.  I don’t know if I could have even recognized him.

I think when I realized this, I had to lay down in the bed for a day – okay, it was two.  Really.   I got out of bed to shower, make a snack and get a glass of wine.  I stayed in bed to drink, eat and watch those damned four-hour Lifetime love movies and Weddings on E! and all of the other girly movies.

It was deep.  I cried – a lot.  (Girl models do this…)

I didn’t like the woman I saw when I got raw and real with it.  I mean, I loved her, but there were some things she was going to have to get past before she could even consider being someone’s wife or think about even a relationship.

All of this isn’t even really about being a wife, or getting married, or having a committed relationship, or getting the man/woman we want.  It really boils down to being the best person you can be.  Being able to be your authentic self and live your life to its fullest.  Being able to get past your own bullshit, and then really get on with your own life’s business.  Not being stuck in a rut.  Not having to relive every day as if it’s the same day of mediocrity.

This whole realization was difficult.  As mentioned in previous posts, this year has visited me with some seriously difficult days.  They haven’t been as merciful as I had hoped, but then again, maybe they were all too necessary to bring me to a point where I was ready to “get it.”

So who do I see when I’m getting myself together in the morning?  Do I like her?  Do I love her?  Can I depend on her?  Can I call on her when I need her?  Do I find her worthy of a good life?  Is she valuable?

The answer to all of these questions today is a YES.

However, she still falls short.  To put it mildly, I have fallen consistently short of my expectations for myself over the years.  And well, there’s still hope at the beginning and the end of the day.  I still have it.

The main thing is progress is being made.  I’m becoming a better woman each day.

Progress.

Progress.

Pro-gress.

This issue is so close to my heart because it’s so important for us to know our worth, for us to propel ourselves to all God would have us to be.  It looks different for everyone.  What yours looks like is very likely different from mine.  It doesn’t make either any less important or more important for that matter.  It doesn’t have anything to do with who you marry or being married.  It’s dealing with you.  Your character, your attitude, your spirit.

I promise, if you’re not already whole when you end up in a relationship, the holes are going to surely cause a wind of serious change in your relationship.  You’ll lose the very thing, the very person which and who was most precious to you.

I love you enough to tell you to get whole: to work on yourself in the process of waiting.  Isn’t that what we’re supposed to do?

So don’t get the title of the post twisted.  I believe in love.  I believe there is a man out there for me.  I believe I am worthy of this man.  There is a man out there who is designed for me, fashioned for me – or shall I say, who I’m fashioned from.  He will be able to handle all of me.  All the multitudes that I contain.  He will be ready for me and I’ll be ready for him.

He will love a woman like me.  He will have been searching for a woman like me.

The point is, I need to be ready to receive him.  I need to be the best person so that when he meets me, I’ve developed or am at least in route to developing into that woman.  It’s also crucial because without this development, I just may never be able to see him and appreciate him.  I may never recognize him.

I am taking the time to work on all of those issues I see within myself that need to be squashed.  I’m meeting my demons face to face. I’m inviting God to meet me where I am and work through me, on me, with me.  I’m working to attract that which I want. To BE attractive to that which I want.   I’m working on being the best version of Rae that’s humanly possible.

I just want to offer hope for you.  I have this little blue flame of hope knowing all things work for the good in our lives.  The Word says it.  Please know if you’ve been putting it off, begin the process and all of the doors begin to open for you.  Revive your life and yourself.

What say you?  Are you working on being the prototype?  Are you working towards being as whole as possible?

I am.  I’m sure you’ll hold me accountable to it.  Please do.

Love,

Rae

I needed to get to part II of Give Up to Get Up sooner rather than later.  I waited a few days to see what everyone was saying.  Let me say thank you to everyone who reads, comments, passes through and sends direct messages to me.  I am ever grateful for it and thankful.

I began writing part II, and then I received news that the ever talented, soulful Amy Winehouse had been found dead in her London home at the young age of 27.  I mean, I JUST found out.  It stopped me right in mid-sentence while on the phone with one of my good friends.  All he heard me say was – NO! Shut the front door! NO …it can’t be.  Then I checked online and it is and was true.

It hit me hard.   Then I had to stop writing part II…or maybe this is a bridge to it.  I don’t know.   All I know is that I’m listening to an Amy Winehouse playlist – y’all know how I love my music.  I’m really having a hard time grasping the fact that the life  in this voice I’m hearing is gone.  What we have from her is it.  And man did she bless us!!!  Have you listened to the WORDS and the subject matter?  Isn’t she singing our thoughts and lives?  What she left for us is a blessing and it’s what we have to remember her by.

Mostly, I pray she has found her place in the Heavens where her voice and all that soulful talent can reign down on us.  I am thankful she was able to release her talent and share those vulnerable parts of herself and her creativity with us.  In that sharing, she leaves her legacy. So Bravo! Ms. Winehouse for being the spirit you were, for sharing with us and may your spirit find comfort and rest.   Her music alone is worthy of study.  It’s the kind of music you can listen to when heartbroken or upset and you feel it!!!  Get that ugly cry out.  You know she feels you… has been right there.  So young and she was channeling all of that soul, dropping talent on us left and right.  May we all reach the places and destinations in our lives where we can leave an indelible mark and change the world from our stage for the better.

It’s always sad and unfortunate when someone so young, so talented with so much potential is gone.  Really, it’s sad for those of us who are living, who lose someone too soon.  Period. I am saddened by her death.  Her decline was made a public spectacle and we all watched.  I’d like to think many of us wanted her to win, to pull it together.  Then there are others who watched and cheered and waited for her next fall.  Doesn’t the latter happen too much nowadays?  People waiting in the wings – hoping to see another person fail?

Only people in her situation or who have managed to come out of her kind of situation can truly know what demons she was dealing with.   Mind you, demons like this come in many forms, shapes, problems.  I stand here today stating first, that many of us should not judge her, nor should we condemn her.  So many people have been lost to those things they couldn’t let go of; many of us are losing to the things we can’t go of.  Many of us really aren’t too far above where she is and we can’t see it.  We look like we have it all together – and we don’t.  Some of us, had it not been by the grace of God – for WHATEVER reason, would not be here to even have an opinion on the matter in the first place.  So I say to those who criticize, judge, have negative words or are spewing “vitriole” – have a seat.

We have lost so many talented people over the years to various forms of what can be referred to as “troubles.” So many talented people have dealt with and are dealing with demons and troubles, so to speak, that aren’t always evident to everyone else.  Sometimes, these talented people happen to be ourselves.  And we need to know when to ask for help.  We need to be able to know when we have crossed a line and are taking things too far.  I also say we need to make sure we have people who surround us that can, hopefully, pull us back when we cannot see ourselves and honestly, don’t even want to see ourselves.  Be ever mindful of this.

We also have to make sure we know how to reach out to the other people in our lives that need help.  Have you been watching anyone you love fall apart at the seams lately?  Didn’t say anything?  Haven’t called to check on them or just stop by and say hello?  Our culture has become so accustomed to “minding our business” that we fail to look after people under the guise that we’re “minding our business.”  We’re “minding our business” at the decline of our families and our relationships.  Sometimes all it takes is a call or a visit.  Just saying.

Here’s a call to actually look after ourselves and each other.  Let’s re-learn how to do it if we’ve forgotten.  It’s easy to get caught up in the daily bullshit and humdrum of the THINGS we consider important when the only important things are people and ourselves.

I could go on and on with a list of things I need to work on.  So, I’m speaking from my own glass house right now.  I’m ok with it.  I will take responsibility for my own bullshit and shortcomings.  I ask for you take a look around your own glass house and begin those repairs before things start falling down around you and they cannot be fixed.

Be mindful, if you woke up this morning, there’s still something for you to do…someone for you to reach out to and help and love and encourage.

Look out for yourselves and after each other.

Love,

Rae