Posts made in April, 2011

Why Blog?

Posted by on Apr 17, 2011 in Being Single, Being Smart, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Why Blog?

I didn’t really expect to be asked this question so many times, but the asking indicates one of the following: you’re being entertained, you’re being helped, or you’re being offended. I apologize for the latter, but if my previous posts offended you, perhaps you should not continue to follow me. I’d be sad to lose you, but just the same, no sense in your being a glutton for punishment. The terseness will not end here.

One of my colleagues (who demanded I blog tonight) commented that I was surprisingly open and cutthroat at times. I agreed. “But if I don’t show my scars and wounds, how can I help someone who’s dying inside?” I can’t pretend not to notice someone else’s pain when I’ve known it so long myself. I’ve finally come to a place of rest in my life, and even though I don’t have half of what I want or need yet, I’m content.

I’m only mildly annoyed that no one’s asked me how the title of the blog originated, but perhaps my first three posts made asking the question a moot point. But back to what you did ask…
So a few years ago I wanted to start a food blog called Pro-MsQ-us Foodie… I used to be Mrs. Q. See why that won’t work any more? Plus the less-than-tasteful title might give the wrong indication about who I was/used to be/might still be just a little. For that blog, I didn’t do anything more than upload pics of my family. Last year at one point, one of my Facebook friends told me that I could make money from blogging if I provided ad space on my page. Again, I wanted to do it, but didn’t follow through.
Last week, I don’t know what changed really. I was just sitting here (in my writing spot) thinking about things and realized that I had a lot to say and no one to listen. I had spent Saturday night in the emergency room for chest pains and discovered how horrible it must be to live in physical pain everyday. I couldn’t do much else but watch tv and write, and after a marathon of “Say Yes to the Dress” I opted for writing.

Simply put, I’ve been through a lot. I’ve gained perspective on a lot of issues, and though I don’t have all the answers, I do have peace. I can impart that to you at the very least. Of course, I’m only qualified to speak from my own experience, and I won’t presume to delve into anything else. But what I do know: family, food, faith, and failures… I will write about these things.

So what else might you expect from me in the future?

Thought-provoking, faith-building, gut-wrenching, conscience-piercing narratives of truth… I want you to take my story, apply it to your situation, and come to a new conclusion. Perhaps you don’t have all the krazy quirks that I have, but in some form or another, you’ve got some issues too… so let’s find some answers!

Whatever the topic may be, I want my readers to say at least once “I guess I never thought about it that way before.” If you have that moment, share it with me. If you think I’m absolutely insane, you can share that too. If you want to comment on the quality of my writing in a negative way, tell someone else.

Which brings me to sharing… If this blog has helped you in any way, pass it on. Perhaps you know someone who’s dealt with loneliness and abandonment, and there’s nothing you can say to help them. Share the blog. Or maybe you know someone who’s an absolute jerk when it comes to matters of the heart. Pass it on… you don’t have to tell them why. Just pass me on… I’ve made it to Tanzania once, and I’ve got my fingers crossed that a few new more nations will pop up on my audience map. It doesn’t matter where we are on the planet, we all deal with the same painful situations that damage our souls and make us easy prey.

So with that said, I shall continue meditating and reflecting on the things that have changed me, and when the time is right, I shall blog about them.

Join me as I take a few more steps towards a krazy-free lifestyle… And share how your kraziness is coming to an end too.

Your cyber-sister,

Alana

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Other Side of the Game

Posted by on Apr 13, 2011 in Dating & Relationships | 1 comment

Other Side of the Game

“Don’t worry, baby. I know there’s confusion. God’s gonna see us through yeah…”

I love the tune and the soulful crooning of a lovedrunk Badu, but when I break down the lyrics (i.e. overanalyze), I wonder why so many of us women end up on the other side of an ugly game. I know she’s talking about the drug game in the song, but I’m using my blogtistic license here.

It’s an epidemic. Woman meets man. Man turns on game. Woman falls for game. Man reveals that he’s playing and blames woman for falling because she should’ve known better. Woman sticks around dissatisfied, disgruntled, and disillusioned hoping for the impossible. Yeah, I know women run game too, so guys, apply accordingly.

So, ladies & gents, where do we go wrong when we meet a potential love? I could write ten steps to choosing the wrong person to love, which I’m TOTALLY qualified to do… Or I could just let Badu do the talking.

“It ain’t that he don’t have education cuz I was right there at his graduation.”

So, he’s got an education? He gets some respect for that. He works hard? That’s even better! But is he demonstrating what he’s learned at whatever level of education he’s attained? Potential is never good enough. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not one of those educated snobs who only talks to men with the degree qualifications that meet or exceed my own. I tend to find many highly-educated men… well, boring. But nothing’s worse than a flirty brother with poor spelling, poor grammar and a lot to say. We all get those messages on Facebook that are hard to decipher. “You used to look good in high school but now you still do too.” Yeah, that’s in my inbox. I have yet to reply.

“But it’s me and baby that he hurts.”

So he loves you so much that he keeps doing what hurts you and hurts the kids too? Let me guess. He’s either doing it for you or he can’t help it. Badu needs to read “The Doormat People.” She’s an accessory to her own victimization, and the children will only resent her later.

“Because I tell him right, he thinks I’m wrong. But our love is strong.”

Sorry, Badu. Even the good ones don’t want to know when they’re wrong. That’s just the nature of a man. Even my six-year old son has to always be right. If he puts his underwear on backwards, he’ll argue with me even though he can’t find a way to pee straight. But there is a way to let a man know when things are starting to sour… that’s another blog for another day.

“Gave me the life that I came to live.”

What the heck? No, he didn’t. JESUS did that! Get your priorities straight…

“Pressure’s on me, but the seed is grown. I can’t make it on my own.”

A real man will always take the pressure OFF, and he’ll never take your power away by planting seeds of insecurity. God gave man authority, but the woman has power. Wield it wisely, ladies. Never give away what God has given you!

Let’s backtrack to when Erykah first met this fella. At some point she knew that he had some other stuff going on and decided  to roll the dice anyway.  Why would anyone ignore the obvious signs? Well, loneliness can get the best of us. But one thing is certain; desperation landed our beloved Badu in another bad relationship. (And when I say Badu, I mean krazy me and maybe krazy you too…) Not too long thereafter, she’s telling her boo that he needs to call Tyrone…

So how do we keep ourselves on the other side of the game? If we want love, do we have to play along? I will admit I’ve gone out with people that I didn’t really like for boredom’s sake. One guy (who’s reading from his iPad) posted on Facebook that a certain woman (me) was making him rethink his game. Just that admission has disqualified him from having a chance at spending anymore time with me. (Angry text ensuing…)

I’ve discovered a few tactics to maintaining a “game-free” life. So here goes. If you meet someone and think you might be interested…

  1. Listen for what he wants. I like to know what a man ultimately wants from a relationship. Some day (not any time soon), I’d like to be married again. If he never wants to be married, then we don’t have the same aspiration, and I’ll end up wasting my time if I continue with him. People tend to be more honest early on because the stakes are low. Believe a person when they tell you or show you who they are.
  2. Listen for how he wants it. You want to know what his religious and moral beliefs are, but other convictions matter too. Life perspective is a HUGE consideration for me. For example, I subscribe to the “Life is short, so do it right the first time” way of living. I can’t be with someone who subscribes to the “Life is short, so live it up at all costs” way of living. Judgments aside, it just doesn’t work.
  3. Listen to how much he’s saying. Does he talk too much? One of my associates talks so much that he just bores me to tears. He’s a sweet guy, but boring! Does he talk too little? Ummm… did you call me so I could listen to you watch the basketball game? I have better things to do… like talk to myself. Does he do a disappearing act and a random check-up to make sure you don’t forget him? Play along for fun, but don’t get sucked in… LOL!
  4. Listen to what he’s NOT saying. Recently a fella asked me what I’d heard about him because I didn’t seem to be interested. My response: “What have you done that you don’t want me to know about?” Oh… and there’s the guy who has options. What he’s not saying is that if I don’t give him what he wants, he can get it elsewhere. My response: “Use your options. Not me…”
  5. Listen! That means be quiet!  Smile outside and scream inside. Think critically, but don’t breathe a word of it. Instead, ask a follow-up question. And don’t tell him too much about your personal convictions up front. Guys with weak game always play the “me too” game. If I say that I’m a Christian, he says “Oh yeah? Me too!”

With all of that said, there is hope for those us want the real thing. There’s no need to settle for a silly player and then ask God to bless our mess. Eventually Badu had to put Tyrone out, but only after suffering more damage than any person should sustain.

I won’t say that my transition to this point was quick or even easy. I won’t even say that where I am now is all that much fun. It’s been a while since I’ve been on a date that I’ve truly enjoyed. But what I can say is that I’m not lonely, and I enjoy possessing my soul. And when the time comes for my future husband to enter my life, I will be ready because I kept myself on the other side of very dirty and damaging game.

For those of you struggling, my heart goes out to you… Here’s some encouragement from a more positive and empowering song.

I’m coming out of krazy and taking all the broken-hearted Badus with me…
Your cyber-sister,
Alana
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The DoorMat People

Posted by on Apr 11, 2011 in Being Saved, Family, The Best Of CTheLily, Uncategorized | 3 comments

The DoorMat People
So in yesterday’s post I didn’t really tell you THAT much about myself, but I’m not sure if today’s the right time. I mean, really… it’s only the second date. How much do you need to know? I’d much rather let you inside my krazy thoughts than to give you facts and let you stereotype me accurately. But for interest’s sake, you should know that I come across as unexciting and snobby, when inside my head I’m really having a party. If you could peek into my brain, my thoughts would probably make you blush or tick you off… thus, I try to remain quiet. But now that I’m blogging, BEWARE!

I was going to write this deep, philosophical narrative about the moments of uncertainty in our lives, but that will wait for a day when I have much more time to think. Instead, I’m going to tell a story… a nutty story… a story that will make NO sense to at least 70% of my readers… so 7 out of all of you 10 that actually cared enough to click the Facebook link won’t get it. Read it anyway! You may be able to help someone else… :)

Three years ago almost to the date, I was extremely worn out from full-time grad school, full-time teaching, extra responsibilities at work, full-time mommying of a two and three-year old, and full-time failing at taking care of myself. My husband at the time was away on business, and I was beyond exhausted. I let my tiredness slip into anger, and before long I was in a full-fledged fit of rage.

I was ticked at everybody. The kids were being… well, kids. I was mad at their dad for being wherever he was for a month. I was just mad! The dang laundry wouldn’t fold itself. I had been let down by friends and family, and the only thing I could think to do was to get away from everyone and everything. Spring Break was just a few days away so I booked a trip to Atlanta. (I had a ball while I was there, but that’s not the point.)

Through my continuous fussing, crying and pouting, I packed my bags and made arrangements for the little ones to stay with their grandmother. 

I started to blame God (silly woman that I am) for my feeling like a doormat. I felt totally unloved and unappreciated because of disappointment and hurt. People just kept letting me down, and the most recent wound made the last one hurt all the more. I blamed myself… I just couldn’t do anything right.

Now don’t get me wrong. I was to blame. I had made poor decisions on how people shared in my life. Too many were too close and demanded too much but provided nothing good for me. But they were wrong as well. There’s no doubt about that.

In a weak attempt to release my anger, I fired my cell phone across the bedroom. An “unmentionable” person had let me down for the last time. That same day I loaded up the little people to find to the closest Sprint store.  What if that “unmentionable” person decided to call me back? I should be available, right? (Put your judgmental finger away… you’ve got some “unmentionables” too.)

The entire 15 minutes of the drive I cried. I sobbed and snotted… snotted and sobbed… until a sweet, tiny, squeaky voice behind me asked “Mommy, why are you crying?”

That threw me deeper into frustration. I wanted to reply “I don’t know why I’m crying!” like the women on the postpartum depression commercials do, but that would’ve been ridiculous.

“Mommy’s tired.”

Yep. That was the truth. I was beyond tired. You’ve been tired too, or maybe you haven’t experienced deep-seated disappointment on top of exhaustion and anger. Perhaps you’ve been the cause of it. If any of us think hard enough, we will find ourselves having played both roles.

So I get to stoplight on Staples Mill near the 7-11… I forget the name of the road there, but I’ll never forget that moment. To my left side I noticed a big white van. On the van was printed an ad that said “Doormat People. You can walk on us.”

My first thought… “I should get a job there. That’s something I actually can do!” My second thought was to my Maker: “Et tu, Brute?”

My third thought was a boisterous laugh, and it came out me so fast and so hard that it shattered the disappointment that I felt moments before. Was God going to walk all over me too? Of course not! But He was teaching me that if I tolerated foolishness, He would tolerate it for me. How could He deliver me out of something that I welcomed and permitted for myself?

What people fail to realize about God is that even though He is sovereign, He isn’t pushy. So in His infinite wisdom, He whipped my backside for blaming Him for my faults and for allowing others to abuse my kindness by arranging a few moments in time where He seemed to step His all-powerful, holy foot across my pitiful face. Then, I was able to ask Him for help, repent for foolishness, and laugh at myself…

Shortly after the giggling began I heard, “Mommy, why are you laughing now?”

Since that day, I’ve searched several times for the Doormat People… once just now. I can’t find them!  Maybe they went out of business because they let their customers get away with not paying their bills? I don’t know… I just can’t find them!

Creepy, right?

Just the same, I’ll hold on to the lesson. If we lay ourselves down at the mercy of those who have no interest in our well-being, we will always lose. No one can save you from yourself, but you… with help from the Maker of course, but the decision is still yours. Even though friends and family love us, the best will most likely dance around the ugliness of your face under other people’s feet, and the worst will exploit it.

Lesson learned.

And as soon as I find out what happened to the Doormat People, I’ll be one day closer to sanity. Until then I’m still coming out of krazy…

Signed,

Alana

 

Photo by Gregg O’Connell
Some rights reserved.


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Definition of Exceptional

Posted by on Apr 10, 2011 in Being Saved, Being Smart, Uncategorized | 1 comment

Definition of Exceptional

 

All my life I’ve wanted to be exceptional. I’ve strived for perfection and excellence in almost every area since I was a small child. In grade school, I only earned A’s. In college, I relished in the fact that I attended one of the top universities in the nation and chose a difficult major. I joined the top sorority, maintained a decent GPA, graduated a semester early, married shortly thereafter, had two beautiful children, earned a Master’s degree while working full-time, and divorced my husband with every bit of dignity I could muster. Even now, as a teacher, I push myself and my students to the limit just to demonstrate that I can do anything short of impossible… not on my own, of course. But with the right help, I most certainly can do it!
Unfortunately, I’ve had this type of zeal in every area of my life… and yes, I do mean unfortunately. I really thought I could do anything until last April when I faced THE most difficult challenge of my life. I shall not blog about it tonight, but I’ll sum it up by saying that my relationship history is ugly. I mean it’s just short of whatever word might be illustrated by a hopeless pit of embarrassment, despair, and bad decision-making. Again, I tried to be exceptional… as in, better than the next woman… as in, I didn’t have to play by the rules to get what or who I wanted. If I was better than the one before me, then why couldn’t I do what (and by what I mean who) I chose?
In retrospect I’ve had two totally different approaches to becoming what I thought was exceptional. Academically, I played by the rules. I applied myself, studied hard, tested well… did what I was required to do and more. With the fellas, I made my own rules. I figured eventually the very next one would be the one that would truly love me forever and ever… because really, that’s what they all say. And why wouldn’t they have loved me? I’m smart, cute, and I cook! What more does a man really need? (Note: I am NOT male-bashing here.)
On my forty-minute commute to work one morning I decided that being exceptional has nothing to do with seeking exceptions. Think about it. Everybody knows that individual who is always looking for a way out. There’s the obnoxious family member that thinks the rules don’t apply. What about the co-worker that expects everyone to come to the rescue when their imminent demise actually does catch up to their foolishness? Picturing anyone yet?
Well, I saw myself. I had no one else to blame for my poor decisions but me. I knew the rules. I had been taught all of the “Thou shalt not’s” and witnessed the result in others just as hard-headed as I was. Yet, because I thought I was exceptional…
So what makes a person truly exceptional? For me, now, being exceptional is understanding the rules and guidelines set before me. If I want to be great, then I can work my magic within the framework and, against all odds, come out on top. When a situation is absolutely impossible, I pray. Honestly, I pray anyway.
What peace of mind I’ve gained in realizing that I’m just not that great! I’m not perfect, and I don’t have to be. And really, life isn’t about me. And rules, they’re just in place to guide me down life’s little paths of impossibilities. As a child, it was right of me to want to be the best. As an adult, it’s best of me to do what’s right.
I’m coming out of krazy, ya’ll. Join me on the ride.
Always,
Alana
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