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Listening ears on: God told me to visit my ex in-laws.

Being human is hard. Add being a Christian and you have a whole list of rules and regulations you must follow in order to truly be a follower of Christ. Usually, especially now, doing the right thing and being sweet and kind has come easily. Even things that would trigger me, just goes over my head and I say a prayer in my mind, grin, and keep it moving. Last week however, I was thrown a curve ball that I really just wanted to dodge.

My ex told me that his parents were going to be cooking a big meal and asked if the kids and I would come over. Without hesitation, I said NO. I mean, why would I? Besides the fact that I’d have to drive over 45 minutes, I’d have to come in close contact with the family of the man I abruptly left in the middle of the night, with a week’s worth of clothing, and my kids. It wasn’t exactly a peaceful breakup and I found myself on the hated end of the stick. His father had a lot to say about me in the past and would quickly jump on social media in defense of his son, whenever I was the topic of a falsified rant.

I insisted that I had no business going there and I prayed to God that some crazy occurrence would happen so it would be set in stone that I couldn’t go. Be careful what you pray for because four days later a tropical storm came through AND a tornado happened 9 minutes away from us. We were obviously spared and I thought that was God’s answer to my prayers– no honestly! You want to know something? It wasn’t.

My ex told me he would be getting out of work early so he could take us if I didn’t feel like driving. I told him that was great because that meant he could take the kids and leave me out of the equation. He seemed hurt and told me not to be that way. They weren’t my family and I remember how dysfunctional it was when all of us lived together. I did not want to go so I purposely ignored all my ex’s text after that.

You know, God works in very BLUNT ways and as I headed to the bathroom I heard, “Go” in a vey soft voice. Now, don’t call the luny bin on me but I heard it clearly. I remember saying, “yeah right, God. You would never want me to go there.” I then saw a vision of me walking into their home and a voice said, “Go, so they can see all I’ve done for you. Go to be a light. ” Guys, I laughed so hard and said NO! Then I tried to convince myself that I was the one creating the instructions that I had but when I said the word “Go” in my mind it sounded different from what I first heard. This was not something I wanted to be obedient to. I didn’t want to feel uncomfortable and I didn’t want to break bread with my ex’s family.

When my ex arrived, I grabbed my purse and roughly told him to hurry up and let’s go. He was shocked but he got up from the chair quickly and we headed to me car. Once we were all buckled and ready to go, my ex thanked me for going. I heard a voice say, “I told you.” I rolled my eyes and replied ok God, of course in my head because I didn’t want to sound crazy. 😂

The drive down was actually enjoyable and I didn’t find myself ready to jump out the car or complain to the heavens. But when we got to his parents house I found myself feeling uncomfortable and nervous. My girls rushed inside and I bought myself time by getting my son out of his carseat. Surprisingly, I was greeted genuinely and asked if I wanted some food and my ex made me a plate. I can’t even lie, for a second I thought they were trying to poison me so I asked my kids if they wanted some food and when no one screamed out “No”, I knew that the food wasn’t unsafe to eat.

I stayed for maybe an hour and a half and I watched as my kids enthusiastically ran around and played with the side of their family they hadn’t seen for so long. I felt relieved. My kids were so happy and I felt good. I talked with everyone and at no point did I want to run for the door. When I left I almost felt sad. His dad thanked me for coming and said we could do something for Christmas if I had no plans.

Before last Sunday, I had so much anger towards my ex father in-law. I was upset because he knew what I went through with his son and he completely turned against me when I left. I was mad and hurt and really wanted nothing to do with him ever again. Visiting him was a healing moment for me. It thought me forgiveness in a way I did think I needed. There is so much truth in forgiveness being for you and not the other person. I was released from the grip of anger.

If there’s anyone you need to forgive, whether they said you an open invitation or not, forgive them. Listen to the voice inside that sounds crazy because it goes against every logical thing you believe in. I listened to God and went somewhere I DID NOT want to go and it ended up being a beautiful moment for me.

I hope you liked this post and as always Hugs and Love!

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Giving birth made me look at my body differently… but in a good way.

From as way back as I can remember, I always had an obsession with my image. Being the daughter of a black woman and a Puerto Rican father, who looked like a Taino Indian, there was a “look” I was suppose to have. Of course, I didn’t create that idea, instead it was implanted in me by my elementary school classmates and random people I met growing up.

I remember being told, quite often, that I couldn’t be hispanic because I wasn’t light skinned. They expected me to be Selena Gomez’s when, mind you, my mother’s skin color is comparable to Denzel Washington’s and my father was darker than her! Sadly, it didn’t stop there. You see, my father had long, straight, black hair and I don’t. So, it became “you can’t be hispanic because your hair is too nappy.” As a seven-year-old, those words knocked bits of my self esteem away.

Fast forward three years later when puberty started. When I was younger, I expected to look a certain way physique-wise. I had been surrounded by voluptuous women my entire life and when little lumps appeared on my chest, I thought I’d be a D cup the very next day. Okay, maybe not the next day but when an entire year had passed and I resorted to stuffing my bra with toilet paper, I knew something was up.

A lot of the other girls in class seemed fully developed and I felt like nothing had changed for me. I’d overhear them talking about how annoying bras were while my bra was really just for show, a placeholder for what could be. I couldn’t understand how I had started puberty earlier than most of my classmates and was now the hare losing the race. The body I dreamed of was just that— a dream.

My teen years weren’t any better. The taller I got the more my weight evened out around my body. Being tall plus having a fast metabolism equaled out to be for one very skinny me. I was embarrassed. How in the world was I still looking like a little girl when I was supposed to be blooming into womanhood? I was pissed off and I was jealous, jealous of every girl that didn’t have my struggle.

I would see other females and pick out the parts of their bodies that I liked and imagined how I’d look with them. I was creating a Dena-Stein monster in my head. Even at seventeen I was sure that I’d still have a chance of looking like everyone else. But puberty was done. My body had missed the train to Voluptuous Vile and I was stuck in a body I did not want.

I was able to give myself some reassurance that my body wasn’t all bad. I had a thing for how I looked in lingerie and by gully I bought so many pairs of matching sexy underwear that I own less actual articles of clothing. But I didn’t care. You could’ve told me to wear bikinis everywhere I went and I would’ve gladly done it. My past boyfriends always complimented me on my pretty underwear and it felt amazing. Really, I should have known it wasn’t the underwear they were excited about.

I was searching for any reason to simply like my body. I was tall and thin and though I started getting praise for it by older women and mothers who just couldn’t lose their baby weight, I hated my body. I didn’t want it. I wanted the body I was so sure I would get once puberty hit. I didn’t get that and I resented every bit of the body I felt I was punished with. I was desperate to feel proud of it but I couldn’t help but loathe it.

I was like a spoiled child not getting what they wanted from the store when there was no promise of getting anything to begin with. I’d throw tantrums in the bathroom when the jeans I had just bought didn’t fit right or my bra didn’t quite hug my barely there girls. As dramatic as I acted, no one truly knew how I felt about my body and I tried really hard not to roll my eyes at comments like, “You’re so lucky! You can eat whatever you want and not gain a pound.” I didn’t feel lucky, I felt plagued.

The grass wasn’t green on my side, in fact it was brown! Sure, I got into a relationship with a guy that loved all of me but he was over 300 lbs and hated his own body. We were an insecure mess but I loved him just as he was and he loved me the same. It’s a strange thing to come across someone the complete opposite as you but they have the same body image crisis. It’s like the universe brought us together to learn from each other or as a joke.

About three years after we got together, I became pregnant with our daughter. After feelings of fright and excitement came thoughts of my perfect body. “All pregnant people gained a ton of weight”, I thought. Finally, I was going to gain weight! I was actually looking forward to that. Imagine my surprise when I found out that’s not how pregnancy worked and even with a bun in the oven, every body is not created equally.

Normally, I weighed 141 pounds the highest my weight got, while pregnant, was 156 pounds. The crazy thing is, I gained 15 pounds but my pants were falling off of me and shirts that were tight around my arms were now loose fitted. No doubt about it, I was upset. The one sure way for me to get child bearing hips didn’t work! My body had the audacity to betray me?! I felt defeated.

After my nine month pity party, labor and delivery went easy enough. It’s funny how at no point during my thirteen hour ordeal did I think about how my body looked. Not when the EMTs wheeled me into the hospital and told me how “lucky” I was to look four months pregnant instead of 39 weeks. Nor was I thinking about my physical appearance when my stomach felt like it was getting ripped apart or when I was in my birthday suit with strangers huddled around me screaming “PUSH.” Oh, no. I just hoped that my body wouldn’t fail me— that it would dig strength from the depths of my soul to help me bring my baby into the world.

As I laid with a tiny person on my chest, I couldn’t help but look at my sagging stomach with no regrets. And when a TV commercial came on for wounded soldiers and then for breast cancer survivors, I couldn’t help but weep. I was holding a life that the body I rejected created. How could I have been so ungrateful? I hadn’t gone through war that left me disabled or gone through a life threatening disease but somehow I had less of an appreciation for my body than the people who did. They were happy that their bodies survived— that they survived. Their bodies mustered up the strength to keep going. I cried and I cried.

When you look at life through insecure glasses, you tend to find every pathetic flaw within yourself. You build this idea that first and foremost you must be good enough for everyone else. You create the assumption that somehow what others think of you is more important than what you think of yourself. From an early age, lies about who I was suppose to be trickled into my mind and created a flood of unnecessary and preventable insecurities. Even on the days that I felt beautiful, I worried about whether or not others would think the same thing.

It took giving birth and being in such an open and exposed state for me to fall so madly in love with every part of me. It didn’t come from a family member, or friend, or even from a significant other. It came from the very body that was no good to me for years. There’s a certain kind of freedom that comes from being released mentally from something that weighed you done all your life. My body impressed me more in those thirteen hours than it did for twenty four years.

I’m not saying that if I woke up with junk in the trunk I wouldn’t be excited. What I am saying is that I love the body I have for what it is now. However it changes, I’ll love it then, too. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to tweak your body here and there: Get some abs, tone up, get a bigger butt(wink wink). I’ve just learned that I have to want it for myself and make sure it’s not some idea someone else tried shoving down my throat because they think God created me jacked up.

I’m unapologetically showing off my thin frame with pride, with the knowledge that it kicks ass. Yes, I am “lucky” to have my body but not because I’m skinny. I’m lucky because it hasn’t failed me— because after all those years of completely hating what I considered a corpse, I realized how valuable it is. I look back now and pity myself. I spent so much of my life incredibly insecure for no reason.

Now, I go out of my way to tell women how beautiful they are. It doesn’t matter if I know them or not. I struggled in silence pretending to have all the confidence in the world and if I had genuine compliments instead of sugar coated insults, growing up would have been a lot easier. The truth is, there’s no such thing as the perfect body. As cheesy as it may sound, we are different and that should be celebrated not judged. Heck, if you’re the only one celebrating your body that’s really all that matters. I learned that what I think of myself is far more important than what others think of me. Others might come to that conclusion in some other way but as long as they do, it’s a major win!

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Lost in the choas

I don’t always feel like a complete failure but when I do, the voices in my head chanting my defeat are deafening. A crippling sense of  utter disaster overtakes me. For a moment I feel suspended in time, then as my heart begins to race, I’m thrusted into a fast paced world of terror.

What does that all mean? It means that you are not alone. Yes, YOU! You know you’ve been there. We all go through times in our lives that leave us breathless for all the wrong reasons. It’s okay to feel claustrophobic out in the open. Some cages can’t be seen.

Society today is unapologetically unaware of all the pressures individuals like me face. Or they blatantly don’t care. Parents, minorities, adults and children in school, people who are told they are way too skinny or way too fat— the list goes on and on, these are societies redheaded step children. Everyday people  deal with seemingly normal problems that they supposedly should be able to fix on their own.

But heres the thing, being on their own is the problem. Mothers can’t express how much they suffer while trying to raise a child without being judged. School kids face pressure from their parents, peers, and social media to be perfect. With no where to turn, many struggle in silence.

You hear it all the time, “It could be worse.” “Someone else has it worse.” That doesn’t make another person’s situation any less of a difficulty. And since when are we in the business of comparing hardships?

I can admit that there’s been moments where I wanted to fade away into the shadows because coming to the realization that my life was a mess, was too hard. Have you ever felt that way? Even your dreams seem comical and unattainable. You have this feeling of not being good enough, so everything that comes from your head seems like a wasteful fantasy.

Time…time is all we need to recenter ourselves, to get our life back on track. A moment of clarity and some positive affirmations to bring our confidence back. Truth is, support is not always easy to come by and at times you’ll have to pull yourself up by the bootstraps and it’s going to be hard!

I found myself watching the social media craziness between James Charles and others. The way he spoke, made it seem like the events that transpired gave him thoughts of ending his life. I don’t know him nor did I ever watch his videos before but what he said hurt. It pains me when anyone so overcome by grief thinks not living is a proper solution to their problems.

This great big world can feel so empty and cold. It doesn’t matter if you’re famous or a regular joe. Struggle is guaranteed. I had to learn this the hard way.

If you read my last post and are now reading this one, you might be wondering what the heck is happening to me. Well, reflection happened. I’m a mess but I’ve stumbled upon others who also frequent Hot Mess Avenue and I found it only right to express my thoughts for the sake of helping someone else.

You are awesome!  You can do it! You, my friend, are not alone in this. Everyone goes through some sort of battle and yours is not to be minimized. When doubt fills your head, remember that you have the power to overcome anything. You are STRONG! Hurt doesn’t make you less of a bad ass. Remember all the times you made it through a difficult situation and know you’ll get through anything that comes your way!

 

As always ((HUGGS & LOVE))

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A recurring pattern

via Daily Prompt: Pattern This prompt couldn’t have come at a better time. Why? Because I’ve lived a life of repeating the same nonsense over and over, and I declared yesterday that I was done with it!

What I’m referring to is the magical word “LOVE.” In relationships, I’ve managed to end up with the same bloody guys just with a different name and face. In my defense, they didn’t seem like douches at first. Regardless, somehow I created a pattern of  finding men that were complete jerks.

I am nowhere near petfect but I’ve been faithful in every relationship and committed. I can’t say the same for my ex boyfriends. I came to the conclusion that it just had to be a problem with me…right?

Picking these guys wasn’t the end of the pattern I made. No sir! I made a habit of giving a million chances to each one even though they cheated, humilated, and disrespected me. Oh you’ve only played me 99 times, this time I’m sure you’ll change. Honestly, I think that was I thought.

I took crappy boyfriends back constantly throughout the years. I hated the idea of starting over. It was easier to stay with jerk-of-the-year than risk moving on and possibly finding a new jerk when I could’ve just stayed with the jerk I already had. Great logic, I know!

Needless to say I ened up with new jerks everytime. Sadly, as high of stardards I had, I would lower them in order to not lose these men that were as bad for me as Halloween candy is for a person with diabetes. They were literally killing me off emotionally and still I couldn’t get out of that hamster wheel.

Like I’ve said in other post, becoming a mom changed a lot. That includes the crap that I won’t put up with. Yesterday I sat, cried, and thought “I can’t keep doing this.” The pattern that I was so comfortable with had shown up in my thoughts and caused a wide range of emotions. It’s heartbreaking because if I veiw this as if it was someone else, I’d feel bad for that person. I’d want to hug them and tell them they needed to STOP putting themselves in such situations. I couldn’t tell you why when I put back on my own shoes I was suddenly not that confident.

It’s a process. You must know your worth, love yourself, and stick to your standards or you won’t end the cycle. I ended the pattern but I always had a fear that whenever I was ready to enter another relationship, it would be the same thing. After being in such deep thought yesterday I know I won’t end up repeating history again. Not ever!

Let me know what patterns you’ve created, good or bad. How has it affected your life?

(Hugs and Love!!!)

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Suicide

I just came off the phone with my cousin. A really good friend of ours was rushed to the emergency room while my cousin followed behind the ambulance. My cousin has no idea what happened to our friend. Our friend, who is such an amazing person, has been through a lot. You would never know, because she hides it well behind a smile, that she is suicidal.

It got me thinking more about the dream I had last night. I dreamt one of my classmates hung herself. I prayed that it was just a dream. As crazy as it sounds, some of my dreams have came true… the bad ones anyway. Not like a dejavu but REALLY coming true, whether in entirety or in part.

Earlier my mother, who works at a school, told me that one of the students tried to commit suicide. He is 11! He wanted to jump off of a ledge and kill himself because he wanted to talk to his brother. I found out that his brother was my former schoolmate. He was shot and killed, in 2015, outside of a night club. Just a year later, this little boy’s other two older brothers were in a car crash that took the life of one of them. Heartbroken and defeated, this child would rather be dead than live with the pain of losing his brothers. It is obvious that he needs to speak to a counselor. I fear he might succeed in killing himself and create yet another tragedy for his family if he doesn’t get help.

The theme of today seemed to be suicide and it’s frightening. I’ve been through some crazy things in my life but I have never thought about killing myself. What causes a person to what to do that? How much pain are they feeling that instead of overcoming it, they rather turn it off for good?

It brings tears to my eyes thinking about it. So many people have these thoughts and now even children have begun to see suicide as their only option. I recall reading that a 7 year-old(SEVEN) killed himself because of bullying. At seven, you’re still a baby! How did he even know about such a thing?

I’ve helped three people not go through with their suicide in the past. The most recent was a couple months ago and the others were in 2009. Once I see posts about “not wanting to live” or being “better off dead” right away I jump into action. I don’t care if I don’t know you; I’ll do everything I can to stop you from taking your life. I wish other people were like that. Some either think it’s not their business or don’t take it seriously. Anyone who talks negatively about life in general and how much they don’t want to live, should be taken serious. It is a matter of life and death. It’s a cry for help.

I hope  those considering killing themselves seak help. I pray that someone gets to them before they end their life. If you have felt this way, I may not know you but, you are AMAZING, UNIQUE, PERFECT. God doesn’t make mistakes. And if you question God and where he is in your pain, know that he is in everyone willing to help you! As always guys (Hugs and Love)! Good night.

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My year long journey to self-awareness

via Daily Prompt: Aware

I’ve always thought that I knew myself, knew what I would or wouldn’t put up with. I believed I knew what I could and couldn’t take. I’d imagine myself in certain situations and think I know what I would do. I’ve been put to the test beyond my wildest imagination but nothing has come close to what I’ve dealt with in the past year.

Around this time last year I was nine months pregnant with my 1st biological child. I was already raising my ex’s daughter who I love with all my heart and soul and the new addition was a joy. The problem was my ex boyfriend. He was mean, aggressive, and manipulative. I dreaded almost every waking moment with him. He had some good moments but the bad ones always outweighed them. He made me feel like a burden because I didn’t work so I could take care of our little girl. That’s what he wanted. He said I that I shouldn’t work just take care of the baby(yes BABY) and enjoy my pregnancy. It wasn’t before long until he started saying he was the only one working hard and no one was helping him.

I would constantly be put down and I cried every day, which turned into multiple times a days. He told me to move across the country to his friends home or he would leave me. I flew at 35 weeks 5 days to live with him at his friends place. At this point I had high blood pressure, my daughter was behind in her growth, I was told by my doctor that I needed to stay off my feet, and was admitted twice into the hospital and had to get a shot to stop my contractions at 28 weeks. With all that I still had to take care of a baby by myself. My ex worked two jobs and didn’t do much besides that and because I didn’t support our family I was continuously getting heat for it. He complained that I didn’t cook enough. I didn’t even want to be there, I was getting cursed out every day, and I had to take care of a baby while having a struggling pregnancy…no I didn’t cook much! I wasn’t even supposed to be on my feet alot.

I stayed thinking he would change in the beginning but learned the hard way he wouldn’t. He doesn’t even see anything wrong with his actions still. He says I “Looked for it.” and that I should be happy and was lucky that I was only getting cursed at because other women were being  physically abused. He said I was playing victim and my “battered woman act” was getting old. I still made it my mission that whenever he would go through something bad I’d be there for him knowing he was the reason I felt like crap. He’s consistently done things to spite me and hurt me and I wonder why I took it for so long.

I was aware of what he was doing to me but I was NOT AWARE OF WHAT I WAS DOING TO MYSELF! I was putting myself through hell to keep a family. I was losing my sanity to have someone to share a bed with. I was forcing myself to pretend to be happy, when all I really wanted to do was RUN! I wasn’t aware that I had a part to play in my own misery by staying in such a situation. Believe me it’s hard to leave especially when you have no family or friends near.

When I started to really understand what was happening, I slowly started to back away. I made sure I had proper footing before I took each step. Looking from the outside in at bad relationships you think you know all the answers, then you go through it and have no clue what to do. This last year has changed me. I’ve been through things no one but me and him know. He’s told me things to break me and sometimes, when I didn’t cry, I’d say something to hurt him so he’d understand my pain. It was all a losing battle honestly.

I hope that anyone going through anything like what I did, wakes up and leaves. No man or woman is worth your self-peace. I hesitate, even now, to tell my full story. Talking about it helps me cope and if I tell people the truth it makes it impossible for me to sweep everything under the rug and go back to him. This topic is something I fear to talk about but need to and I hope it speaks to someone out there.