Bazinga! 39 x 39 – Day of Rae, My Blogaversary and An Announcement

Hi Loves!!

How are you?  Today is my birthday aka #Raeday!!!

Bazinga!!!!

Wooooh!  I’m thankful and excited.  I love birthdays.  It’s an honor and a privilege to see them.    *cue “Never Would Have Made It by Marvin Sapp.  It also happens to be my two-year blogaversary!!!  Which I can’t really believe.  From Rae with Love, the Little Blog that Could, is two years old.  It’s been two years!  So much has happened since I first began writing From Rae With Love.   Funny enough, I’ve only shared a handful of the stories with you.

In my very first post this time two years ago, I shared some lessons I’d learned as of my 36th birthday and then I wanted to share a few thoughts I had on turning 37.  This year, I am going to do something a little bit different.  I want to share 39 things I want to do before my 39th birthday.  Not only does the number of years I’ve spent on this earth astound me, it’s also interesting to see how others handle and deal with it as well.  I’ve been watching people who are farther(further? why worry) along on their journey.  Some of them are handling the aging process better than others.   Mostly I think many of us just weren’t mentally prepared for how the time flies.  Not to mention, according to so many others and the rhetorical bullshit that spews out of someone’s mouth, as we approach 40 that’s supposed to mean we’re old? I don’t buy into it.  I never have.  Aging and growing older (and hopefully wiser) is a beautiful process.  From what I can tell, it’s about how we each choose to see it.

I have a who shitload of stuff I want to do over the next year.   They haven’t been listed in any specific order.  Each of them is critical to me and the next year.  Without further adieu, here’s the 39 x 39:

  1. Use the mixer my mother got me last year – more..which means I’ll be baking, or making pasta, or grinding meat.
  2. Create a series of You Tube Videos.
  3. Submit these short stories for publishing in literary journals.
  4. Write the short stories I mentioned in #3.
  5. Relocate.
  6. Take more photos.
  7. Lose 20% of my current bodyweight.
  8. Purchase a DSLR camera.
  9. Create a short film.
  10. Write a script for a show treatment.
  11. Tour DC with my friends and act like a tourist.  [I’m wearing the colored protective visor and Tevas and shorts and shit]
  12. Increase my income by 50% + get a new job.
  13. Eat from 30+ new restaurants (read includes dives, mom & pop stops and food trucks – that’s where the best food is)
  14. Take a series of photos worthy for a gallery exhibit.
  15. Add 1000 new followers on twitter.
  16. Create a new series of blog posts.
  17. Bake from scratch.  [I owe a series of zucchini loaves to a very close friend]
  18. Cook 25 new dishes I’ve never cooked.
  19. Purchase and successfully meal plan around a crock pot.
  20. Journal.
  21. Buy new furniture that meets my actual home-style now.
  22. Build a home theater system.
  23. Create a logo for the website.
  24. Attend a writers workshop.
  25. Research (info, interviews etc), write and publish an article or podcast for a major publication.
  26. Get a tattoo.
  27. Participate in new twitter chats.
  28. Have a conversation with a published author I admire.
  29. Publish a series of stories on Amazon.com.
  30. Be consistently happy.
  31. Be less fearful of trying new things.
  32. Publish one blog post that scares the shit out of me.
  33. Be on a major panel as a guest.
  34. Live. Like really have more to tell you so y’all can be all up in my business.
  35. Be able to achieve certain yoga poses.
  36. Write handwritten letters and notes to my close friends and family.
  37. Sew three (3) new projects and create a few new pieces of jewelry.
  38. Him.  [Redacted No. 38 about Rae’s love life]
  39. Pray more.  Hear more.  See more. Be more. Love more.  [I cheated here but IDC]

Whew!!! There it is – my 39 x 39.  Doable?  Yes.  Now let’s see how much of it I can get done effective immediately.  It’s not just about a mad rush of checking things off of a proverbial list, it’s about living and improving my quality of life.   There are also so many other things I plan to do within this next year – like buy some skates and roll around the city!!  Which brings me to my next announcement…..

I need to take a creative hiatus (aka a creative furlough, a creative retreat).

Relax.  Don’t freak out on me and get crazy.   The blog isn’t going anywhere.  I’m not really going anywhere.  I just won’t be posting for a while.  For the record, I don’t exactly know how long a while means, however, I do know it will be through the summer.

When you have a personal blog, it becomes increasingly difficult to share certain things.  Hills, valleys, good news, life changes and events and whatever else may come along means life tends to take over.  Life has taken over which means, I need to just live.  That’s what’s most important.

I’m still going to be here.  You can still find me on twitter @fromraewithlove.  I’m on twitter daily.  Otherwise, catch me on the Facebook page for the blog or if you really need to get deep, you can email me at fromraewithlove at gmail dot com.  So see, it’s not really that bad.  I can be located.  I just won’t be blogging.

So you’re wondering what am I planning to do with all of the time I don’t spend blogging?  I still plan to write.  I have a number of writing projects I need to complete.  I have new projects that are just taking off, that I can share later this week.  I’m also on the Dr. Vibe show monthly.  A few of my blogging friends and I have started a series of Google Hangouts. In other words,  I’m still here.

I know I’ve slowed down in the last months.  That’s mostly been because I am at a crossroads as a creative, as a writer and as a woman.  I’m not in a space to post everything.   I also have so many other things planned for the blog, for my life.  So basically, it’s time to live and get some things done.  Where else do all of these wonderful posts come from?  LIFE.

As the good 39 x 39 list reflects, I have a lot of work to do, a lot of living[loving] to do and quite a bit to organize, shift and put into motion.

Check in with me.  I still need want to hear from you.  I love emails and tweets.  See info above….

BTW, I’m always watching.  Trust and believe.

Mother loves you,

Rae

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Thoughts on Being Single: Be Gentle with Your Single Friends and Family

I am a soon-to-be 38 year old woman.  I’m not married.  I don’t have children.beingsinglequotes

Newsflash: I want to be married and I still hope for children.   I shouldn’t necessarily have to explain all of this, but in today’s times I find myself in what I call “In defense of being alone.”

I am certain many of my married friends, the friends of friends and family members either think I LOVE being single and ergo don’t want to be married with all of the “trappings” or that  something is horribly wrong with me which is why no one has married me.

Seriously.

I don’t deny there are some things wrong with me – stop laughing – lol.   I tend to be moody although I manage better these days.  I’m somewhat set in my ways – but amenable most days.  I like things done a certain way.  I’m not fond of people who snore (although I do) and I like being able to have to have time alone.  I write.  Writers need time alone and time to create.  Time to stare out the window.  Of course this is the short list of what’s wrong with me.  There is the more exhaustive list I’m sure my exes would be all-too-happy to post and discuss.

I’m also weird sometimes.    Very sensitive, highly intuitive, a lover of ‘me’ time and not fond of loud background noise if I cannot control it.  I’m not a neat freak, but my kitchen and bathrooms all have to be really clean (thankfully you can’t see what they look like right now or you’d call me a damn liar).  I will turn around and go back home if I think I’ve left the stove or oven on.  I spend money on cheap wine and good food. There are a whole host of really weird things I love I won’t even go into today.

Some days I don’t want to be married because I understand the work it takes to make things work.  Being single has it’s benefits in I don’t have to be accountable to someone for where I am and what’s going on.  On the contrary, I am the single friend who wants her married and boo’d up friends’ relationships to survive.  I have sat for countless hours (maybe into the 10,000 hour level) of talking with people and counseling on relationships.  My advice is sound, it works and most days I’m on the money and right.  I tell them it’s difficult out here in singledom and unless there’s a gee-golly good reason of misery, abuse and generally irreconcilable differences then my motto is stay and work it out….

Please note, I am not making a case for marriage or singleness.  For having children versus choosing to remain without children.  Depending who I talk to, there are as many drawback as there are benefits to either.  Each of us has to decide what’s really right for our own life.

However, the questions and the looks from friends and family sometimes, when marriage and children come up is difficult and awkward – at best.  I’m also being extremely nice here.   I’ve been cornered, questioned, speculated at and preached to.  Funny thing is it hasn’t come directly from my Mother or Father – thank God.  Although I’m pretty sure they worry about me, especially my Dad (Hi Dad!), there’s been a whole host of people who feel the need to have input on this.   While I’m thankful for the concern, it hasn’t helped me not one damn bit.

I’m an only child.  I’m fiercely independent.  It’s not because I want to be.  It’s because I’ve had to be.  I would love more than anything to hand over these reigns of household management to a trusted man who would be my partner/spouse/lifemate or [insert your word of boo’d up choice].  I am fine with allowing him the ability to make decisions for us and for me to add my input.  I’d like to have a #Him to bounce ideas off of.  Someone who I could depend on when I was tired or call in case of an emergency.  I have surely built a wonderful network of friends over the years who are there.  But the intimacy of this sort of partnership is what I crave.   I don’t like having to show up for events, wedding, vacations, cook outs and house parties alone all of the time.

In the general scheme of things, I want to be with someone who is available to me when I need him, can support me when I push him away, will take over when I keep my mouth shut and generally help me.

No, I’m not broken.  There is nothing wrong with me (mostly).  I’m just single.

And that can be for any host of reasons.  Choice.  Timing.  Poor choice of who I chose to date over the years.  Spending too much time in dead-end relationships.   Trying to revive already dead situations.   I’m not new to this, not new to dating and not new to consideration of things.

I can talk about all of the bad relationship choices I’ve made over the years.  I will take ownership of them.  I made the decision to date these men.  Maybe the time spent has resulted in me being on the second half of life yearning for a family and a spouse.  But it doesn’t mean anything is actually wrong with me.    This time last year I was in the midst of a relationship that makes me thankful to come home to an empty house.  If you’ve ever had one of these kinds of a relationship, then there’s an understanding of what I feel.

The point here is many of us who are single (men and women) don’t often want to be that way.  Despite whatever our dating and prior marital history may have been, I believe many of us have settled into being alone because we don’t want to settle into the wrong relationship.   We’d rather be alone than be miserable with someone just for the sake of saying ‘Yeah, I got a (wo)man.’  Maybe our hearts are too big (in my case) and we can’t bear the idea of having to endure another heartache.  Maybe I don’t want to have to discuss another failed relationship or being publicly embarrassed by the actions of my significant other.  Maybe, just maybe, I want a place where I can go and still find love, comfort and peace.  And maybe there’s no one that’s provided that for me in years on a consistent and committed basis – despite the fact I’ve dated.

I won’t even begin to talk about how many dates I’ve been on and the mayhem and foolishness that’s ensued.  [Note to self: book material].   There are the stories those who read my blog know about.  There are stories I’ve only told my friends and there are stories  I’ve never told anyone and may never share.   There are the stories behind the stories.

The issue is many people feel as if it’s because I wanted it this way.  That’s far from the truth.  I’ve found myself on more than one occasion having to listen to the concerns of others.  I’m thankful for the concern but it seems all of the owness gets placed on me and why I’m not married.  I mean, I could have been – several times over and realized the person wasn’t right for me.  There was once or twice I met someone and I thought they were right – they didn’t think I was right.  Is anyone seeing a pattern here?

But here’s the thing – what if I didn’t want to be married or committed?  Would that make me a bad person?  No, not at all.  For those that fit under that umbrella I support them as well.  The fact remains I DO want to be married or at least in a successful long-term relationship.

I wrote this a while back and have been anxious to post it.  I just ask if you’re in a committed relationship and have a friend or a family member who is single and childless, be nice to them about their situation.  Please stop assuming things.  If you want to know and are close enough with them, then ask – the right way.  The following WRONG statements have been said to me in some form or fashion:

“oh, you like being single.”

“You love your freedom huh?”

“You like doing things alone all the time?”

“I know you don’t want to be tied down or else you’d be married by now.”

“Aren’t you dating?  Why not?”

“Why don’t you have any children yet? Have you considered finding a donor?”

“You know you can just have kids and don’t need to be married/in a relationship right?”

DONT’ say anything that even remotely looks like any of the statements above.  I have plenty of other examples.  I managed to wiggle out of each of these with grace.  I didn’t want to destroy the fabric of the relationship or turn out the family event.  Just be mindful of what you say.  No trapping them at family functions and private events where their singleness or lack of suitable suitors and dates becomes the main topic.  I’ve managed to handle it with grace but the snide remarks need to see their way out of these discussions.

Have you ever thought the person could be going through something they need to handle?  A financial situation?  A health complication?  Maybe they aren’t able to have children or are now having to debate if it’s the right thing to do?

I’m just saying there are countless reasons people remain single and childless.  Please don’t make assumptions.  Even when you love us.  It’s not fair.   Many people only tell you what they are comfortable telling you.  They may not share everything that happens in their life that’s led them to be where they are at the moment you’re speaking to them.

If you have single family members or friends and you’re married, please be nice to them.  Don’t assume they are fully content.  Don’t assume they are miserable either.  If you want to know how they are, then ask.  If you want to know if they’re dating, ask.   If there are more details, then if you know them well enough, find a considerate way to approach the topic.

I’ve come to a point of acceptance that when it happens it happens.   It can’t be forced.  It can’t be planned.   I need others to get on this page too.

Just be gentle with us.  When the time is right, it’s right.
Have you ever been cornered by your family or extended family about your relationship status?  How did you handle it?

The Not-So-Favorite F-Word

“Forgiveness is giving up all hope of having had a better past.”  ~ Anne Lamott

I read the above quote earlier today and was blown away by its meaning.  Mostly because I, Rae, in all of my desire to be nice, appropriate and kind, it makes it even more difficult to forgive someone from time to time.  Anne Lamott, in all of her infinite wisdom also says that “Forgiveness means it finally becomes unimportant that you hit back.”

Honestly, I want to hit back some days.  There are only a few people on that list.  Who even after the time has passed since the offense, actions, deception, etc where I still wouldn’t mind hitting back.  I’m human.  I try and work on it.  I find the less I try to forcefully let go, the better I feel.  In times past, I have forgiven with almost no remembrance of it having been a chore.  Like one day, I’m as angry as Bluto and seeing red and a week or two later, I’m all zen and peace like Mother Teresa.  I’ve written about the importance of forgiving myself and talked about it when I wrote about choosing (or not) to give someone a second chance.

I think the quote mostly hit me like a brick today because I’m coming upon my 38th year of life.  While I can’t be more excited – I really am!  I also often think about how differently things could have been done if I hadn’t dated a certain person (or several), hadn’t moved to certain places, had allowed others to remain out of my life and kicked some out much sooner.  During this month I become very reflective often to the tune of becoming relatively critical of myself.  But seeing that quote this morning made me stop and think about a few things.  It made me realize I need to stop the hope of having had that better past and start realizing now is the time I have, now can create the next moments, the better moments for tomorrow. 

It’s easier said than done.   Like I said, some days, I still want to hit back.  I’ve found the best thing I can do for myself is to let those people out of my life and allow for it to remain as such.

No one really likes to talk about forgiveness.  At least not most people I know.  It [seems] is much easier to hold onto whatever offense someone has committed and hold them responsible.  It seems much easier to continue to think about the past and wonder:  What if I hadn’t ________?  What if I would have ___________? 

Lous Smedes

So this month, one of the things I’ll be working on is abandoning hope of having had a ‘better’ past.  A better past would mean I wouldn’t have met all of you.  It would mean I would possibly miss out on all of the current and future goodness.  There’s no future in spending time on all of the days past.  While it’s good to have some reflection, it’s better to understand where you are and why you’re there.   In honor of that, I’ll be creating a list with items I want and expect to accomplish over the next gifted year of life.

What are your thoughts on the Anne Lamott quote?  Any words of wisdom on the F-word?

Love,

Rae

Hello, I am President of the Negro Procrastination Society….

Are you always on time? Early?  Do you turn in your projects weeks before deadline? Are you the person who has their Christmas shopping done with the presents wrapped by October? Do you plan meals out for months in advance?  Do you follow your budget?  Are you disciplined?

Then this post is NOT for you.  It’s for the procrastinators such as myself.  But if you’re orderly, we still love you. In fact, us procrastinators need you in our lives.

Hello, my name is Raegan Mathis and I am President and Founder of the Negro Procrastination Society for Colored Folk.

I accepted this position last week after God and I had a talk.  Actually, we were boxing – I box with Him a lot.  I lose all the time, but I’m like Jacob in that way.  We have regular talks about blessings.  This time was no different – I still lost. I win, because I lost.

Mostly because I felt convicted about the areas of my life where I’m slacking.  There was this realization I’m giving too much attention to the wrong areas of my life.  It’s more so that the priorities I have are being set out in the wrong order.  Period.  I have priorities.  However all of them aren’t in first place for attention.  Not only that, but I’m not working at my best possible potential and I need to figure out why.  Is it fear? If so, of what?

Really, it comes down to compartmentalizing and focusing respectively on things in a more efficient and satisfying way than I have been.

In other words, it’s time to go hard or go home. It basically comes down to the fact that I need to stop that shit.  At this point in my life, there is too much at stake to lose something because I sit on the opportunity until the last minute,  then want to cry and lay out because I missed out.  I have control over seizing those opportunities or not.

What’s interesting is I don’t know where I get this procrastination gene from.  Both of my parents are mad organized and in fact have OCD to a certain extent about how they want things, about being on time, about planning early to the best of their abilities. I am really crazy about certain things – like the bathroom and kitchen being clean, my bedroom being clean, no dishes in the sink, whether or not I turned the stove off (I’ve been known to come back home and check it), I check for my phone, keys and wallet all the time.  I know.  But when it comes down to work – job, blog, book, apps for opportunities, business things for life, I clock out sometimes.  I wait until the very last minute to make things happen.

I think it’s because I’ve gotten away with it too many times.  There have been so many times, I’ve been able to “pull it off” so to speak that I’m exhilarated by the rush I get when make things happen.  But why do I have to be like that? That whole – let me leave at 3pm when I know I have a flight at 5pm and it might take 45 minutes to get to the airport, but I’ll make it business…is not the business.  It’s almost like I’m daring myself to see if I can do it.

It’s the wrong attitude.

I don’t want to keep testing the waters on things.  I just need to get busy and at the very least, do the work I need to do.  Be on time, be early.  Get the work done I’ve set out to do or have on my plate.

I mean, how else do you succeed? Sure there are people who receive everything just handed to them – but there’s a cost.  There’s always a cost.  Procrastination has a cost too.  And I can definitely say I’ve paid the price for it over the years.  I was thinking about two things – Marianne Williamson said, if I may paraphrase it to read as I understand it – that God basically holds your blessings for you.  They are yours.  So it’s not like He’s out here giving away your book deal or that house you have your eyes on.  Then there is the other side – how many times was God ready to give me something but I wasn’t ready?  I hadn’t done the necessary work to even handle what He was going to put on the table.   So I’m the one who’s holding God up?  How is He going to give me anything else when I’m not properly caring for what He’s given me now?

Yeah, I need to get myself together.

As we watch people succeed and get the things they want out of life, it’s not that they’re smarter or better.  Maybe they are better at what they’re doing than others, but mostly it’s because they are working.  And they’re working hard.  They’re working when we’re procrastinating.  They’re up making designs and plans.  In other words, excuse my french, they’re not fucking around all the time.

Procrastinators are a unique group.  I’ve read something to the tune of us being perfectionists.  We wait until the last minute because we know we won’t get it just the way we want it.  Again, my theory is that I’m bored and not using my gifts in the right way – mostly why I started this blog.  This for sure happens at work where I have a project that has 7568 parts to it or more and I’m like ohhh, lemme just wait one week until it’s due and I have to stay up all night, all week, in order to get it done. Who does that? I do.

I also believe many procrastinators are at damn near genius level.  Like how else, besides for the grace of God do we manage to pull things off? That’s a blessing.  That’s ingenuity.  But we’re using that power in the wrong way.

It should be used to get ahead – not keep up.

I know if I stopped procrastinating, I’d win more.  I wouldn’t have room to be upset.  I’d know I had put forth my best effort. Procrastination is self-sabotage in it’s worst form.  Mostly because it’s a silent, slow way to sabotage our own success.

Fact: Did you know that ONE(1) hour of proper planning will save you 200 hours of correction?

I want you to think about it.  How many hours have I spent chasing my tail all because I was too lazy, too afraid, too nervous, too whatever to do the one hour of work I needed to do that would change my life?

Look, planning and preparation and the non-slack for whatever it is I want to do will not only bless and honor my life, but it gives me the chance to bless and honor the lives of my family and friends.  I get to help them when I have time and money.  I love my life and I love myself.  When I’m procrastinating all of the time, it doesn’t show the love.  When I procrastinate, I’m saying things aren’t important enough, I’m not important enough, to handle these things in advance.

I call foolishness and bullshit.  Because we know better.  I’ve been out here doing what I want to do, when I should be doing what I’m supposed to do.

Sidenote: I started reading Judy Smith’s Good Self, Bad Self and it’s about managing your good and bad qualities (self) to avoid crisis. She says the very qualities that make us successful are the same ones that can take us down.  The quality in itself has both a good property when managed correctly and a bad one when not – opposite sides of the coin.  That thing right there sat me down and made me think.  I’m still reading and still thinking.  Like – if I know by waiting until the last minute will produce nothing but a headache and possible failure, why do I do it?  Is that a quality I can turn on it’s head?  What’s the opposite side of this and how do I get to it? When I get the answers – because I will – I will report back.  Wayment – do you know the answer to this? Leave me a comment below.

One other thing, sometimes, procrastinating makes us feel better.  Having to actually DO something may mean it’s not something we hate or dread.  In fact, maybe we know it’s going to be painful.  Hence why we’re ignoring it.  Hmmmm….but maybe it still needs to be done.  There’s too much to list on all of the things I don’t want to do, but I will say when I do the things I’ve been avoiding, I feel better about myself and it causes less worry.  Avoidance doesn’t make the matter go away. It’s like hiding under the covers as a child from the monsters in your closet. If they really are in there do the covers save us?

So today, if there’s something you’ve been putting off that you know will benefit your life, let’s stop right now and spend one uninterrupted hour just doing that thing.  It may be research, a phone call, looking for something you’ve lost, prepping your family for something, putting in that job application, going to the doctor,  searching for new opportunities or brainstorming.  It could also mean, just cleaning your house so you can see the floor and actually use your kitchen.  I’m just saying.

What’s been your experience procrastinating? Any recovering procrastinators out there? Any advice on how you managed to change?  Comment below or tweet me @fromraewithlove.  If you’d like to join the Negro Procrastination Society, just tweet me and let me know.  We’ll have to keep an eye on each other.

I’m going to do better.  We’re going to do better.

Love,

Rae

Why Being Vulnerable is Valuable

God clearly loves fools and babies.

I fall under both categories.  I am His baby and I surely act a fool. I have done outrageously foolish things and have made a whole set of specialized foolish decisions.  Repeatedly and without abandon.  Smiling and excited and acting like I was doing the right damn thing.  Really.  No faking.  I talk it ’cause I live it. Ward 7 DC. Repping fo’ the D. by way of Bomingham (aka Birmingham).  Yeah, I’m trill.  Even on my kindest, sweetest days I can rep. I have been known as ride or die.  Mostly I was a rider.

GOD has the best and most unique sense of humor I’ve ever come to know.  If you don’t think so, just look at the variety of human beings He’s placed on this earth and all of the crazy and funny things we do.  I’d like to think laughing was invented by Him.  It’s said, “If you want to hear God laugh, tell Him your plans.”  Needless to say, He must get a regular full belly chuckle out of me.  Hell, I laugh at me many days.

With all of the hardcore in me, I’m as soft as room temperature butter.  I cry at love scenes and movies and when Benji finally makes his way home.  I get upset when I see children who look like they don’t have anyone who cares about their whereabouts.  I love love.   I love my family.  I love my friends.  I love writing.  I love fresh flowers and good pizza and cheap wine.  I. Just. Love. Period.  As I’ve also been advised by my friend Henry, I’m a softy.

And because I’m a lover and not a fighter, I’m often the vulnerable one.  I’m the girl who likes to put herself on the line and admit she’s in love.  Even when it isn’t recommended, I’ll do it because I always secretly hope I’ll meet the one (or a facsimile thereof) who loves me as much (and shows me) as I admit I love him. In the end, it makes me susceptible to many things – both good and bad.  There is much to be said for that kind of vulnerability.

I also realize how rare it is these days.

Has anyone read Watchman Nee’s The Release of the Spirit?  It talks about how God consecrates us.  How much our makeup is like the construction of the egg.  With a hard outer shell.  The egg white and the yolk.  And how God causes that outer shell to crack and fortifies us so that when others look to us, they see God and not just us with our flaws and difficulties.  If they do see those flaws, it’s that moment people see the flaws as divine.  Really, this is a blessing.

The reality of it is vulnerability is a blessing for the following reasons:

  1. It cracks you wide open.  Whether good or bad, there’s no expansion, growth, metamorphosis or increase when you stay in your shell.
  2. It frees you.  Being bound is the worst thing in the world.
  3. It frees and helps others.  Seeing someone who isn’t bound up, isn’t shackled, encourages and builds up others.

So I could be called foolish in some ways.  I mean I’m not over here draining my bank account and giving money out.  I’m just open to all of the good and the possibilities that can come my way.

Writing over this last month has made me extremely vulnerable.  Anyone who is a creative, who shares publicly?  Vulnerable. Anyone who decides to love another human or quasi-human? Vulnerable.  Starting a new job, business, personal endeavor? Vulnerable.

There’s no real way to avoid it.  At some point in time, we’ll all be ass out.  It seems I’m often ass out but it becomes me. I just decided I didn’t want to run and hide anymore.  It takes too much effort and time.

So here I am.  Sometimes with my ass flapping in the wind, sometimes flying by the seat of my pants.  There are times when it definitely backfires, but more times than not, my vulnerability has richly rewarded me. Sometimes I’m embarrassed.  But the vulnerability has been an asset.  I’ve learned to turn it into one.

I’ve found my greatest love, my greatest lessons and my greatest gains in these moments.   But really, what do we have to lose?  What could we gain from it?

Love,
Rae

My Statute of Limitations

Tonight I have so much I want to say, but I can’t.  It doesn’t mean I’m holding back.  I’m not.

But when I began to write, when I began this blog, I imposed a rule that my good friend, my brother and I had.  There were some stories we wouldn’t share in real time.  They were too fresh.  Too open.  Like having a wound, an injury where you’re “cut to the white meat,”as the old folks used to say.  The moments and the memories you want to keep to yourself.  You can’t really share them with anyone else.  Maybe because they think you’re crazy? But mostly because you just want to hold them close.  Hold them so they never really leave your arms.  Hold them because you want to protect the others on the opposite end of the story.

Mostly because I rarely write in real time.  As in I don’t think I should.  I could.  I have the capacity to do so.  I have amazing stories to tell – but such is my life.  I could say all that happens from day to day, but it doesn’t serve my life cause and path.   Maybe if my blog was anonymous? But there are people who live to figure out identities.  And rightfully, I wouldn’t have met some of the amazing people in my life now if I wrote this without a name or a face.

See there is a consequence to writing in real time.  There are real people involved.  People I love.  It’s not to say I never will.  I will probably have someone live blog/live tweet my wedding one day with real time photos of the preparation for the event. It’s just to say I have the desire to protect people I care for and although there is much to be said in real time, I cannot blog about things in real time.  Because I write, because I blog, I never want anyone to feel as if their story isn’t safe.  It is.  The love, the secrets, the stories, the time spent, the crying, the confessions… they are all safe.

Maybe one day, when my life mirrors the African-American DC version of The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond, I’ll blog about my children and my husband and his friends.  My friends and sisters.  My urban garden.  My real-time recipes.  Of course I want you to know I am fully aware my life doesn’t mirror Ree’s life but Lord knows, if I can end up on a farm and making it happen like she does…. y’all will have many stories to read.  Regardless, there are many stories to be told.  By the way, do you know who the Pioneer Woman is?  Get in to her!  I love and adore her!!

I could tell you about the dinners I cook. Someday I will.  I can tell you how much love I put into it.  Didn’t know I cooked?  I do.  And I LOVE to cook.  I make amazing meals.  Meals filled with love and care, with adoration and life.

But I won’t because that’s who I am.

But y’all know where this is going right?

Is there such a thing as a statute of limitations when it comes down to people and love?  < You of course knew I was going to bring all of this up right?

Can love expire?  Is there a time to admit it all and come clean?  Can there be a safe space to talk about it where it doesn’t hurt anyone? Is there a space and time when I can express all of it and it won’t turn a person away, he won’t run?  Is there a space to make sure all of it can be shared in real time?

I don’t have the answer.

But tonight, I have a series of songs playing in the playlist in my mind, with a series of thoughts.  I think about things that were shared, things that were spoken.  I think about all of the things that are felt but not said.  The things that go unsaid.  The things I know to be true but just can’t put to words.

The stories will come in time.  Some of them will never see the light of day.  They will only exist between God, me and the third party.  There will be other stories  I save for my memoir.

There are stories I still think about today, 15 years out, where I still think I cannot tell the entire story.  It’s like a good journalist, a good reporter never revealing his/her source.  I have to be content in knowing the story without ever telling it.  Having had the experience, but never sharing it with anyone.

But the point in writing is to share and that I do.  To teach or to evoke emotion and that happens every day.

The point is to protect who and what I love.  To be able to still connect with everyone who reads and still be real.
To be able to say there is a time to talk, there is a time to shut up, there is a time to love and protect.  A time to sit still, be still.  There is a time to question and a time to know.

In all things you do, do them for the sake of love.  It’s the only thing that will ever last.

Love,

Rae

Where My Loyalties Lie

Do you have reoccuring lessons in your life?

I do. All the time.  And years ago I was taught God doesn’t mind repeating Himself – meaning either I am in the slow class when it comes to spiritual advancement or He really cares that I “get” these lessons coming my way.

One of the lessons has been loyalty.

Loyalty to myself.  Loyalty to the people who are most important in my life.    I am amazing at keeping confidences.  Amazing at being supportive.  One lesson I had to learn was WHO to be loyal to. I’ve been too quick to jump ship sometimes when I should have stayed.  Or have valued someone’s opinion over another’s when I shouldn’t have.

So it all comes down to where do my loyalties lie?  Are they with God & myself?   Do I have loyalty to my family, close friends and significant other?  What does it look like for me?  Am I long suffering?

You know, somehow the good ‘ole I Corinthians verse on love is about to come up.

Corinthians 13: 4-7

 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

So do I embody these qualities?  In other words, the love I am looking for, yearning for, am I able to give out all of this – or have I been giving it out?  I think it depends on who you speak to.  Where some may feel like I hadn’t done enough, where others felt I had done too much.  I need to say, I despise it when people say “you’re doing too much” as it pertains to love.  Is there such a thing?  So it’s really a matter of preference (or I could also insert [self] preservation).
I have surely been loyal to friends and family.  Sometimes, when I should not have been – but here’s what I’ve learned, it helps me sleep better at night.  When I go to bed, knowing I’ve done all I can do to preserve a relationship, help a loved one – then I can sleep and rest with a clean heart and a clearer conscience.  It’s only when I don’t do what was on my heart that I have those regrets.

The issue is I really haven’t always been loyal to myself.  I’ve allowed for entirely too much mayhem and foolishness over the years.  Thankfully much of it isn’t happening any more.  But even some days I ask how deep does my loyalty to myself run?  Am I giving myself the best chance to succeed?  At love?  At work?  In personal endeavors?  Clearly there are many more questions than answers.

But something I have seen over the last few years is also how people dole out their loyalty.  I dated a man a while ago and I remember telling him his loyalties were upside down – as were his priorities.  These days, it’s only up to me to recognize this and then pull a dipset type of slide out if the person isn’t actively practicing an organization of his or her priorities and his or her loyalties – me inclusive.

I also have to give an example here – let’s say there’s a situation where a person has a partner who has a gambling addiction and lies.  The person sticks it out with the joker (literally) for a while.  The same cycle repeats itself over and over.  The person tries to hang in there for the sake of love.  Is this the right thing to do?

I can’t answer for you.  But I’ll give my answer – no.  Because how many years of hurt and damage can you take? It’s true some people need help.  We all need other people.  However, when helping them is killing you, it’s time to go.

There is a vast difference between being long-suffering and playing the martyr.

So where are your loyalties?

Love,

Rae