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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Be Concerned... I Know I Am!

When I was a little girl, I saw a woman, who was very close to me, involved in a relationship with a man who abused her.  She would go away for a while and come back with bumps and bruises on her body.  I never asked what happened to her because I already knew… As a 6 or 7 year old child I was exposed to Domestic Violence.  No one ever explained to me what was going on because they assumed I would never figure it out.  But I did.  And I still remember what her face looked like when she would return after having an altercation with her abuser.

To this day, Domestic Violence is becoming more prevalent and needs to be addressed.  Do me a favor and think about someone you love… Someone you truly care for… Now imagine them being afraid for their life because the person they are romantically involved with is abusing them. 

Being afraid, unhappy, uncomfortable or held hostage in a relationship is not how it’s supposed to be.  A great friend of mine often says, “Love doesn’t hurt…” and I completely agree.  Hurtful, harmful, abusive relationships can become tragic in a matter of moments.

“Domestic Violence is about power and control… When the abuser feels like they are losing the control in a relationship, they attack.”

Tiffany Hightower stated this during a Domestic Violence Awareness event I attended at Elite Nail Lounge in Calumet Park, IL last weekend. This statement really stuck with me as the attendees had a discussion about this epidemic.  I’ve never looked at it that way; I’ve always thought it was about anger or jealousy but she has changed my entire perception. 

The discussion led to many eye-opening thoughts for me… My friend's mother, Yolan Henry was also a speaker during the event.  In January 2009, her daughter, my friend, Nova Henry was killed by a man she was romantically involved with, along with her baby.  This situation in particular is one that I think of often, not only because it was a horrible tragedy, but because it hits close to home.  You don’t often realize the power of pain when it happens to others, but when it gets personal, you are forced to feel it... and this particular situation and the sorrow I felt and still feel is REAL. 

As I listened to my friend’s mother speak to the group, I was overwhelmed by her power.  Yes, she is powerful, influential and an advocate for Domestic Violence Awareness. She has made it her business to make sure people are educated about Domestic Violence so that it will become less prevalent.  One statement in particular has helped me and will change how I interact with those around me.

“Don’t turn your head or ignore your friends or neighbors when they are in abusive situations. You reaching out, saying something or calling the police might save someone’s life!”  

As individuals, we all have people in our lives that we care about.  As humans, we also have to use ours instincts and caring nature!  My thoughts are as Yolan suggested, if we were to pay more attention to those around us, we could possibly prevent horrible things from happening.  Sometimes people are afraid to reach out or to even leave, you never know a person’s situation.  So, before you judge or turn the other cheek, just think about mothers like Yolan Henry who’s loved ones are no longer here because of the lack of concern of a neighbor. 

I know it can be frustrating or feel like you are “beating a dead horse” when trying to convince someone that they are in an unsafe environment, but realize that every situation is different and not as easy to escape as some may think.  Domestic Violence comes in many forms and has some serious warning signs as well… We have to also be aware of the behaviors of the people we have in our lives.  I know my friend’s tragic story has definitely made me pay more attention to the signs… 

There are several avenues to help people in need… hotlines, support groups, shelters, etc… Please seek help if you need it or reach out if you know someone in need.  Domestic Violence IS NOT just going to disappear, we have to be aggressive and sincere in our efforts and less accepting of hurtful and harmful behavior.  Please check out the links below… use them, pass them on… GET INVOLVED!

Table for One please… Fighting for change… Love me or leave me alone…


Domestic Violence Help Line:  (877) 863-6338

National Domestic Violence Hotline: (800) 799-7233

Break the Cycle:  www.breakthecycle.org

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Who Do You Think You Are!?!

I’ve been talking to people a lot lately, not just running my mouth (that’s easy…) but I’ve been having real conversations, conversations about real issues that have been very enlightening.  I’m super open, always have been.  I think that it’s the best way to make progress… to be honest with yourself!

I talk to myself a lot too! LOL, I’m not crazy… I just want to make sure I am being completely honest with myself in all situations.  When I say I am content, I mean it!  The reason I know is because I ask myself often and I see clear examples in my behavior.  I compare the way I react currently in certain situations to the way I’ve reacted in the past.  A part of it is becoming more mature, but it’s also got a lot to do with how I’ve learned to accept where life has brought me.

It’s completely possible to lie to yourself, especially when you are “in your feelings” so I make SURE that I am what I say I am!

I see people on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram post about how happy they are in their single life. Then they turn around and are super sad and unsupportive of people who speak often of how happy they are in their relationships.  What’s up with that!?!

It’s ok to be sad or unhappy with where you are in your life!  Everything is not going to be “smooth sailing” all of the time, and that’s ok!!! 

Now, I can speak on this because IT WAS ME!! I was trying my best to accept my life for what it was, but then I’d get upset when I saw people who had what I REALLY wanted.  It’s a hard thing to be happy for someone who has what you are so eager to have as well…  It takes strength, faith, contentment, optimism and much more to be happy for others.  But what I’ve found is that what’s for others isn’t necessarily for me! THAT was a hard pill to swallow, but once I got it down I was able to be truly happy with the deck of cards I was dealt and I’m learning to play with what I’ve got! And I’m happy with it! FINALLY!

My point for this post is to make people think… Whether you are single or married, successful or still working your way up BE HONEST with yourself and others.  You never know, letting your true feelings show may build a new relationship or open doors you never knew were there!

Who do you live for?  I ask myself this question often.  NO I am not perfect and YES I have setbacks and bad days and disappointing times… but I’m honest about those times so that I can grow from them.  I want to be better today than I was yesterday and even better tomorrow, but in order for that to happen I must be honest with myself.

There’s nothing wrong with faking it til you make it as long as the person you are trying to fool isn’t yourself!  Just try it… After you pray and before you go to sleep ask yourself some questions and be honest! You just might be surprised with your answers.

Table for One please… Continually growing… Love me or leave me alone…

BACK TO HAPPY TIP: Find out WHO YOU ARE before trying to make improvements to yourself... You might be just fine with the person you already are!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Setbacks

Setbacks…

Have you ever had one? I almost had one the other night.  I ran across some old pictures and decided to look through them. I normally don’t do this because I know they will take me back to a time when I was Dangerously in Love and I just don’t need to go back there.  But I looked anyway…

I ran across a beautiful picture of me and my ex, we looked so happy… we were at my cousin’s 30th birthday party dancing.  I looked at the picture for a second (which was way too long in my opinion). It was a candid shot, so neither one of us was looking at the camera.  The photo seemed to tell the whole story of what our relationship embodied.  Joy, love, fun, passion, friendship, all of that and more…  It kind of upset me to know that I felt all of this emotion from looking at this picture for literally one second.  So after my glance I tossed in the trash because all that the picture represented is gone and will never be back. 

I feel that the past is just that and should be left there.  I guess I’m not strong enough to face it.  Even though it was long ago I still can see the scars that the scabs left after they healed.  You know what I mean?  The pain I felt from my break up is no longer there, but I can still see the scars that were left behind and I DO NOT want to re-live that time… EVER with ANYONE! So, I just move forward and I never plan to look back.

“I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.” Thomas Jefferson

I am so hopeful for my future that I’ve made it a point to leave my past where it is.  I have never been a “break up and get back together” kind of girl, when something in my life is over I never look back.  I don’t know if this is a defense mechanism or great willpower.  But I’ve been like this since I was a child…

If I asked my parents for something and they said no then that was the end of the conversation.  I am not a beggar…I am not a risk taker…I am not a second try girl.  I just feel that everything happens when it does and how it does for a purpose.  If it was for me then I would have gotten it. So everything that’s in my past (if up to me) will remain there.  I will not brush the dust off of anything in my past because I’m too eager for my future to look back!

Setbacks… We can either allow them to have power or toss them in the trash.  I almost had one the other day and I’m grateful for my strength.  When you have something to look forward to, old stuff has no validity and although I will never forget that time in my life it’s over!  I am grateful for the good times… the bad times… the experience… but life goes on.

Table for One please… Looking forward NOT back… Love me or leave me alone!
BACK TO HAPPY TIP: Memories should always make you smile… If they don’t, leave them where they belong… THE PAST!