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Thursday, April 11, 2013

I Am Changing

Photo: Today's #table4one post "I Am Changing" will go up later this afternoon! Can't wait to see what you think... Everyone reaches a rough road along their journey nothing else to do but CHANGE! Can't wait to see what you think... ;-)

What happens when you get sick of trying?  I wrote a post a few weeks ago called, “I Wish...”.  When I wrote it, I was slightly frustrated with dating and was simply expressing my desire for a dating situation of substance.  Sometimes, we can “wish” ourselves into the wrong situations.  The fact that I want a meaningful relationship so badly, is probably hindering me from actually attaining one; because I put so much “wishing” into meaningless situations. 

I’ve been thinking about this post since it’s gone up…just thinking if my words were perceived as I meant them.  I am not the girl who is sitting up “wishing” for a relationship, but it is very much on my mind.  It hasn’t consumed my life.  It’s just when I think about my current reality and how I’ve come so far, how I’m finally happy; I sometimes feel a little something missing. 

But, as I was reading some writings from Maya Angelou this morning, I came across a quote that seemed to be written just for me, at this time in my life. 

“A woman's heart should be so hidden in God that a man has to seek Him just to find her.”

This quote seemed to slap me in the face, as I read it.  As I wiped the shock off of my face (feeling like Dr. Angelou was talking directly to me), I began to reflect on my purpose for dating.  Am I doing this because I don’t want to be alone or because I am really ready to date someone seriously?  Sometimes we put ourselves in situations to “hold us over”…well, at least I do!  Are my current situations “seat fillers” for the “one”?

I’m not sure if they are but I know that I am changing!  My perception, my wants, my needs have become more abundant, more meaningful… I’m not wanting to “see what happens” anymore.  I want to date someone who honestly is able and ready to handle a real relationship of substance.

As I become more grounded in my faith, I have prayed for preparedness for all things in my life.  I want to be ready and able to face whatever is placed in front of me.  I’ve been told by a lot of people that I am “too much to handle”, and I’ve actually begun to use it as a crutch.  But a conversation I had with a good male friend a few weeks ago, made me think a little differently.  He said, “People tell you that because they are afraid… You ARE NOT a lot to handle…”.  As we laughed, I started to believe him! 

I have always been an open book… If I am dating you and I am happy doing so, you will know!  In order to open up to someone, you have to take a chance.  Dating is all about taking chances, right?!?  From the initial show of interest… to the first kiss and beyond…

But I’ve realized that I have to be willing to be alone and patient, as I become properly prepared.  He’s out there for sure; I think my patience is just being tested as I continue to live my purpose.  My wants have changed and so have my needs.  And when it's all said and done... I'll be better then I am...

Table 4 One please… I am changing… Love me or leave me alone…

BACK TO HAPPY TIP:  Making decisions and sticking to them is hard… especially when change is involved… But in the end, you have to make YOU happy!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The BEST OF Table 4 One: 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:

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The BEST OF Table 4 One: Seasons

Think about your favorite season…
I, for one, prefer summer because the sun is always shining, the temperature is perfect for ice cream and outdoor activities, and it just seems like people are in better moods!  When I think of seasons, I think of the elements that are present during that time, like snow in the winter, rain in the spring, leaves falling in the fall and sunshine in the summer.  This can also be the same for the relationships in our lives, because most of them go through seasonal changes.
It’s very funny how life’s seasons teach us lessons.  Of course, everything happens for a reason and I try my best to look at each situation I’m faced with in life as a lesson to make me a better person.  People come and go in our lives like seasons…they come in, do their job and leave (at least that’s how it works in my life).  I suppose it’s to make us think, analyze, learn and grow as people.  I have learned to enjoy the time I have with people, because I realize that it may only be for a season and if I am lucky, the meaningful ones will circle back around.
The first season of one particular friendship was completely euphoric, with and without romantic connections... it taught me many lessons…lessons of love, loyalty, honesty, responsibility, openness and trust… a truly undeniable, “take me as I am” friendship.  When this friendship ended, I was in shock.  I just never believed this one, the most meaningful interaction I had ever had with a male friend, would end.  But, I eventually learned the meaning of the saying “If you love someone, you’ll let them go”.  I really wanted him to be happy and even though we were not in a relationship when the friendship ended, he felt that I wasn’t what he wanted in a friend and I had no choice but to accept his wishes.
Years later, of course, he has circled back into my life and although it’s not in the same capacity as before… he’s here.  I’m not sure what this season is about.  I can usually pinpoint a person’s purpose for being in my life, but I just can’t put my finger on this one.  Although, I must admit, things are different this time… When you are use to a person being a certain way, having certain reactions and responses in certain situations (when you are truly close to a person, these things are automatically known) and then those things change… well, for lack of better words, it’s weird!  Have you ever tried to “get to know” someone you thought you already knew?  Well, it’s a very interesting process.
I’m not sure what his purpose is for resurfacing in my life, but just as I am prepared for all of the other seasons in my life, I am prepared and open to living through this one.  I am not expecting some great fairy tale or great, big obvious lesson from this; I’m just beginning to realize how this whole thing works (seasons, that is).  If someone is meant to be in your life for one season or for many, you won’t have to chase them or hold them hostage…just learn to be still and they will come back.
Just like the weather, life has seasons and there is nothing wrong with being prepared for and living through them…  Just be sure to bring your umbrella, hat, scarf, boots, and sunglasses along, because the season could change right before your eyes and there’s nothing better than being prepared!
Table for One please... Living in my PRESENT season... Love me or leave me alone... :-)
BACK TO HAPPY TIP: Be prepared!  Preparation, in all that you do, will make the process less stressful and anything that can be done stress-free is a wonderful thing!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The BEST OF Table 4 One: A Forgiving Heart

Are you forgiving?  I mean really, truly forgiving?  I know I try to be, but only when it’s granted. It actually takes a lot of strength to be forgiving; to take your feelings out of a situation and forgive the person who has wronged, hurt, angered, or WHATEVERED (yes, I made up a word) you!  I’m pretty sure it all boils down to the bigger situation and if it’s actually worth it.  But, that’s a personal choice.
Before you decide to forgive someone, do you come up with grounds for whether or not they should be forgiven or is it a choice you make, regardless of their reasoning?  I, for one, am a pretty good judge of a meaningful apology and that’s usually all it takes.  I mean, we are talking about minor, non-life changing, silly, but still significant situations that can be corrected.  I mean, who are we to judge?  The most unforgiving people usually are in the wrong or in wrong situations themselves.  I wonder why that is?
I wonder where I would be in my life if God didn’t forgive me for the things I do wrong DAILY!?!?!  No seriously, He’s perfect and He forgives us all of the time…I don’t know about y’all, but I’m human; which means, I am nowhere close to perfect and I DO make mistakes.  But I feel that it’s all about the recovery…What do you do to right the wrongs you’ve made!?!  And with that being said, how much effort is considered enough?
When I feel I am wrong, I always admit it.  I know that my big personality can sometimes get me into situations that hurt others, not often, but things happen.  Because honestly, people hurt my feelings, say mean things, leave me hanging, lie, and disrespect me all of the time!  But I’ve learned that in this life we are not ALWAYS in control of everything (even though we want to be) and sometimes SHIT HAPPENS!  But we have to decide whether the relationship, be it romantic, platonic, professional or casual is worth the work to mend broken bridges and the same with bridges that are already broken.  For instance, past relationships that ended badly or friendships that will never be the same…
I will always be forgiving because I know that I make mistakes.  And please don’t get me wrong, I am in no way, shape or form using apologies as a scapegoat because they should be sincere, but just like you get a gut feeling about a person’s character when you first meet them, you can use those same feelings when it comes to forgiveness.  And if you choose to forgive, do JUST that, because if you have to revisit the situation over and over again, did you truly forgive!?!
I will continue to live my life and take the good with the bad, the perfections and the flaws, the rights and the wrongs because when a PERSON is engaging in relationships that are sincere, mistakes WILL happen…The true test is all about the recovery.  I am grateful for my forgiving heart, do you have one?
Table for One please… imperfectly human… Love me or leave me alone…  
BACK TO HAPPY TIP:  Please gain a forgiving heart (if you don’t already have one). Holding grudges can weigh you down and if the person is that unimportant why give them the power to allow you to carry the baggage of the things they’ve done to hurt you?? FORGIVENESS is a selfless yet impacting virtue that we should all strive to live through.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The BEST OF Table 4 One: The MILK and The HONEY

As I headed to church one beautiful Sunday morning with my mother by my side, I was optimistic.  This day, there was no struggle to wake up and take care of business, no slight headache lingering from the drinks I had the night before... No reason to make excuses.

Prepared to fill-up for the new week, speak happiness into my life and hear my pastor preach... I was ready!

I rushed up the pavement, hearing myself take every step, (something about hearing my footsteps makes me feel useful, prepared, strong, womanly) I was eager to get inside.  We sat down and I realized that my pastor, the person I was so eager to hear a word from, WAS NOT preaching.  I tell myself that it's okay, that I came to hear a word not a man and to give the guest a chance!

As I preoccupied myself with reading the weekly bulletin, I heard a voice...
A female preacher stood up in front of the church and spoke to us in such a beautiful tone... It sounded like she was singing.  I had no choice but to sit up straight and pay attention.

It was like she and I were having a conversation.  I'd have a reaction to what she just said and she'd hit me with the perfect response.  I was amazed!  It was as if God was showing me that when He has something to say... HE WILL DO IT through any vessel He chooses.

The preacher addressed the congregation as if she was having a personal dialog with each member and it was inspiring!  She preached about how hard times are only preparation for the good times… That we have to go through “the wilderness” before we can get to “the milk and the honey”; I was ready to shout!  LOL!  She used these metaphors and explained them so plainly.  Saying that Milk represents strength, longevity, and health… While Honey is all of the good stuff; happiness, delight and truth… Fruition!

I just feel that sometimes I’m in the wilderness and wondering when I will get out!  I’m kind of in limbo, working on myself, waiting for something great to happen.  I am not necessarily where I feel I am supposed to be in life, but I’m on my way!  I feel like there’s one foot in the wilderness and I can see the milk and the honey, but I can’t taste it yet.  I know it’s there waiting on me, but I’m ready for it now!  All of it!! 

I know that life isn’t all sweet, but I just want to be happy!  I am currently living in the best times of my life (most of the time), but I also know that there is much more in store for me!  I’m just glad I have the milk and the honey to look forward to when I sometimes wander into the wilderness… I am ready for it all… I am ready for THE MILK & THE HONEY!

Table for one please…  Patiently waiting… Love me or leave me alone ;-)

BACK TO HAPPY TIP: Take a chance and try something new… You never know what (or whom) you may find…