If anyone is familiar with Donnie Mcclurkin‘s song Shake the Devil Off, this week has been that kind of a week and I am feeling the need to do a little shimmy! We all have times in our lives where the weight of everything is suddenly palpable and no matter which way you look, there doesn’t seem to be an easy way out…that’s the kind of week I’m talking about!
When I am faced with adversity, I always try to find the meaning in why I am going through my “hard time” and finding that meaning leads to me having a lot of heart to heart talks with God. The hardest thing to do when you are in a rut, of any kind, is staying positive and when I find myself in a situation that is just too much, my initial response is to solve the problem. I am the first born and a natural problem solver (especially for everyone else) so I am always thinking of a way to find a solution to whatever the issue of the day may be but finding a way to stay positive while searching for the solution is sometimes the hardest thing to do.
There is always a way out of a problem and sometimes the way out is sitting back and letting go. The saying “Let go and let God” is easy to say but not so easy to do and it has taken me years to learn how to give control over to God. Even now, when I am faced with a stressful situation, I tend to immediately launch into “Fix-It” mode and I have to remind myself that this fight isn’t mine and instead of trying to fix-it, what I need to do is just sit down and watch how things play out.
It wasn’t until I lost my job that I fully understood what it meant to “Let go” and once I adopted a laid back attitude about my situation, I noticed how nervous it made other people. When you are put in a situation that would normally send you into a “worry frenzy” and those close to you see you respond in a calm manner, there is obvious confusion and I confused the mess out of my friends and family!
What they were witnessing was trust and faith at work. I trust in the Lord and his ability to see me through and I have faith that being in this situation is for a reason. I’ve been through too much to for me to believe that he is going to leave me and in those moments when I momentarily forget that God is in control, inevitably, doubt and fear creep back in and I begin the stressing process and it isn’t until I’m about half way through that I remember myself.
I am in the position I’m in so that I can get to the position where I’m supposed to be and for that reason alone, I will continue to to work on myself and when necessary, do a little shimmy and shake the devil off!
Every family makes excuses for bad behavior and mine is no exception. My paternal grandfather, whom I’ve met twice in my life, was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and my initial reaction was one of indifference. As I wrote in the post Demanding Reparations From Our Deadbeat Fathers, I have struggled with how I feel about this man whose last name I carry but have never had a relationship with and once I became a wife, parent and then divorcee, I had even more contempt for this man who willingly ended his relationship with his eight year old son, my father, because he was starting fresh with his new wife.
This is where the family excuses began. I was always told that after my grandfather got married, he visited my father for a while and then his wife started to have issues and in order to keep his home life calm, he wrote off my father. Now…let me breath before I continue…as a kid, I fell for this story and I blamed his wife for his actions but as I said, once I became an adult who had to make adult decisions, I began to realize how stupid this sounded and what really amazed me was how willing EVERYONE was to accept his actions. To me, this man was a sorry excuse for a human being!
When my divorce was finalized, my priorities were that my child was o.k. and that she continued to have a relationship with her father. When he started dating, he made sure that his serious girlfriends had a relationship with his child and that they understood they were a package deal. When he remarried, his new wife treated her like her own and for that, I was grateful, so when I heard family members try to invoke the “Excuse clause” for my grandfather, I reminded them that my child’s father managed to remarry and still remain in her life so why are we acting like it wasn’t possible for my father to have had a relationship with his father?
When my grandfather made the decision to discontinue his relationship with his son, it was made by him. No one else had any power. My grandfather had an opportunity to man up and take care of his responsibilities and he didn’t. What he did was go on and create a faux family that didn’t include my father, his child that everyone knew existed and chose to ignore. As I sit here, I wonder how his two sons by his wife view him? Do they think he was a real man or deep down do they think, like I do, that he fell short?
The sins of my grandfather didn’t just effect my father. His sin, I’m sure, has gone on to effect all of his children and I’m inclined to believe the person most greatly affected was him. For 58 years, he has had to live the fact that he was a failure as a parent and there is nothing that can be done to change that. So while I grapple with how I feel about the revelation that he isn’t doing well, I have decided to release some of my anger (Notice I said some…I am a work in progress!) so that I can move on and support whatever decision my father makes with regards to contacting him.
For 58 years, my family has excused and accepted his neglect and it is time to stop. My grandfather has cemented his legacy and he has had to live with the fact that he failed at the most important job in the world. So when his story is told, he will forever have an asterisk next to his name and “Deadbeat” will most surely precede the title “Father“.
“Have some self-respect!” As a teenager, my momma made sure that I understood what was expected of me and high on the list was a load of self-respect! Self-respect is a virtue that has gone MIA and nowhere is that more obvious than on our television screens. I have said before that I am a reality show junkie but the last few shows have been watched more to dissect what would possess someone to go on national television and act in a way that could only be described as someone who lacks any “Home Training!”
It wasn’t until after I grew up and left my mother’s house that I understood how important having respect for yourself is and it wasn’t until I left that I realized that what I had been given was not the norm. The workplace, where people from all walks of life come together in the name of making money, was where I first discovered how lucky I was to have had a mother who took the time to train me and to tell me how I should and shouldn’t act. I was amazed at how many times I talked to people who had never been told that it wasn’t normal to run around saying everything that came to their mind and it wasn’t o.k. to act like they did at home in public…it just wasn’t o.k.!
So when I watched shows like Love & Hip Hop and the Real Housewives of (Insert city) I sat there in complete amazement at how willing these women were to live without filter. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes you need to let someone have it and I understand that…hell I am a pro at that but even when I have found myself in situations where I have deemed it necessary to “Let a B*%&# know”, it has never been just because she was breathing or because I didn’t agree with her position. It hasn’t even been when someone has said they didn’t like me…so what…there is no rule that says someone has to like you just because you want to be liked and there is no rule that says you have to like everyone. The only rule that
is used to be universal is the rule of respect…that is until now.
The new normal makes me and my way of thinking look antiquated. Somehow those of us who were raised to act like ladies and to treat ourselves and others with respect, even if you didn’t like them, have been replaced with a new breed (I won’t say generation because some of these women are older than me) of woman and this woman has no problem showing her ass, acting irrationally and literally walking around throwing tantrums like a toddler.
The first time I watched Basketball Wives, I sat there in complete amazement and when the show ended, I sat for a second and then said–“WOW“…there was nothing else that I could say and by the second season, I found it hard to sit and finish a whole episode!
From there, as everyone knows, the shows and the antics went down hill fast and for those of us sitting on the sidelines, we couldn’t believe that this was real. These women acted like wild banshee’s and found nothing wrong with it and what I found most interesting was that they would look at you like you were crazy if you dared tell them that acting this way was an issue.
The best thing that has come from these shows is a teaching moment for the rest of us. While I do not allow my 13 year old to watch these shows, what I have learned is how much I have to step my game up because these grown women start out as little girls and junior high school is their training ground so antiquated or not, I am resolved to teach her how to carry herself and have some self-respect!
Mitt Romney doesn’t want you to know this but he and the 47% have a lot in common. After watching a very painful press conference where Mitt tried to convince us that we didn’t hear what we heard, a few things popped into my mind and when he is heard saying on the video that the 47% feel entitled to receiving freebies from–“Health care, to food, to housing…that’s an entitlement…and the government should give it to them”, I was completely offended and I found it ironic that the “entitlements” Romney spoke of are the same exact entitlements the very rich tend to feel they are owed.
I was a banker for 13 years and I worked in an affluent community for 8 1/2 of those 13 years and what I learned in my 13 years of giving “superior customer service” to both the wealthy and middle to low-income customers is how similar the attitudes are of the very rich and the 47% Romney discussed in his leaked “off the cuff” (his words…not mine) remarks at a GOP fundraiser last May. When it comes to money and getting things for free there is a feeling of entitlement but the entitled tend to be the rich.
As a banker I learned the following; The rich expect that because they are allowing you to hold their money, all of their services should be or will be given to them free. The 47% expect that you will charge them for holding their money and while they may ask for some service fees to be waived the overall expectation is that there will be a charge and they budget in that charge as a “Cost of doing business”. So I find it interesting that the very people who truly feel entitled to free services are the very people who then turn around and try to shame you for daring to think like them.
This years presidential campaign has taken on an “Us vs. Them” mentality and it reminds me of the lords and the serfs I learned about in Junior High School. History teaches us where we’ve been and how we got there and the discussions that are being held today over the haves and the have nots are eerily similar to those of the Middle Ages and for those who don’t remember, that ended with the serfs revolting.
What we all witnessed last night was the game changer. Mitt Romney’s campaign has begun to self-implode before our eyes and even for those of us who already know we are voting to re-elect the President, it is never fun to watch a man fall from grace.
Mitt’s actions and inability to clearly articulate his agenda have left him looking like a bumbling idiot with a holier than thou attitude and to the 47% of us who don’t speak the language of the “Entitled Asshole”, the one line from Mitt that was very clear and understood by all was that it is, “Not his job to worry about the 47%” and he is right because that job belongs to the President of the United States and his name is Barack Obama!
In this weeks round up of “Gaffe’s by Mitt”, we find the GOP candidate struggling to find a consistent platform on which to stand and his achilles tendon, foreign policy, being thrown in his face…the man can’t catch a break! What I find most interesting is that Mitt’s strategy seems to be throw out everything and see what sticks and this is odd because he is running on his experience and acumen in the business world and yet he can’t seem to translate all of that “experience” into the kind of strategy one would expect from a former CEO of one the foremost management consulting firms in the world.
You can tell a lot about a man by the company he keeps and the P.R. machine that Mitt Romney has enlisted to help him win the Presidency has shown that they know nothing about politics, nothing about diplomacy and I am beginning to think they know absolutely nothing about the very people he wants to represent.
After the bombing of the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, Romney missed his opportunity to show us his presidential chops by showing empathy and taking a moment to reflect and speculate on what the next steps should be and instead took the opportunity to launch a political attack on President Obama calling the Presidents response “disgraceful”.
In times of trouble, no matter how one feels politically, we, the American people, have always been able to come together with one voice. Romney’s inability to take this moment and find consensus with the president shows how ill-prepared he is to lead a nation such as the United States and one has to wonder if his vision of the United States is stuck in an era where all you had to do was show up in the boardroom and offer up a smile and a handshake?
Wherever Mitt is, it’s obvious that he isn’t in line with the American people and members of his own party. He seems to be showing signs of desperation and Mitt should know better than anyone that when a company is looking to hire from a viable candidate pool, they will most assuredly pick the candidate who shows grace under fire.
Starting over is hard to do but it could be the beginning to a whole new you! I know…it sounds corny, but why don’t we embrace starting over? I guess it’s because starting over represents change and change is sometimes scary but what if change meant you were about to embark on finding a better you? We all talk a good game about wanting to “Find ourselves” but when the time comes for the hard work to begin, we balk and sometimes run from the very thing we claimed we wanted.
I am no longer running. For years, I have talked about wanting to write and I always managed to talk myself out of it by using my favorite excuse of–“I’m too tired because I’m always working”. This was a true statement, I was ALWAYS working but really, I was ALWAYS procrastinating! In a previous post, I talked about my propensity to procrastinate and how it has affected me my entire life but what wasn’t discussed was why I was procrastinating. If I did what I claimed I wanted to do, which was write, I would have to first believe in myself and more than anything, that is what I was lacking.
I knew I had the talent to write but because I didn’t believe in myself, I blocked my own blessing and it took the Lord to step in and save me from me. It’s crazy that I had to get fired in order for me to realize what I was supposed to be doing and it’s even more crazy that even after I got fired, I still procrastinated by saying that I had to have A, B and C in place for it to be right. A, B and C never fell into place.
What did fall into place was my being faced with running out of money. Now I know that starting a blog wasn’t going to lead to immediate riches but in order for me to become the writer I wanted to be, I knew that blogging was the medium I was supposed to use to begin my career as a writer, so it is funny that even knowing this, I still put it off. I didn’t fully believe in me.
I remember the first promotion I received which wasn’t expected. I had been working hard but only because I was a hard worker and while my ultimate goal was always advancement, I wasn’t, by any means, looking to advance having been in the job as an assistant manager for two years. There had been some rumblings that there was going to be movement in the office and all indicators pointed to me being moved to an office that was further away. When the news was delivered that I was not the employee who would be moving and that I was also being given the manager position, I was shocked to say the least. When I got in my car and processed what I had just been told, I said out loud–“Well…I didn’t see that coming!” When God decides you are ready to transition to your next calling whether you see it coming or not, it is going to happen and if God believes in you why don’t you believe in you?
I am finally ready to believe in me. No matter what is thrown in my direction to deter me from my calling I am going to stay focused and apply the same skills that earned me my surprise promotion. While it is scary to be starting over, I am excited about what starting over means and I look forward to the new challenges I am about to face because I know that where I am today is in God’s plan and there is no arguing with that!
I always hated completing the self-assessment for my employer. Not because I didn’t want my work to be reviewed but because I hated having to remember everything I’d done throughout the review cycle that proved why I felt I was worthy of receiving an extra $2.25 in my paycheck! I knew it was important but it was the act of validating myself that bothered me. What is funny about me not wanting to self-assess my work, is that in every other aspect of my life, I am all about self-assessing myself and those around me. I’m convinced that I’d have made a great Psychologist!
I didn’t start self-assessing until after my divorce and the break-up of my family. Both were very traumatic events that led me to do a lot of soul searching. What was my role, if any, and could it have played out differently? How would I handle things differently next time, if there was a next time or how can I make sure that I don’t find myself in this situation ever again? These are just some of the thoughts I struggled with answering.
Self-assessing helped. I learned a lot about my likes and dislikes and I learned what I would and would not accept in both my personal and professional relationships. If I am wrong or act “out of pocket” with my significant other, by self-assessing (unfortunately and usually after the fact), I have been able to decipher what I could and should have done differently so that I can avoid mishandling the issue in the future and find a more appropriate, calm manner (I’m a work in progress on that!) to communicate.
I had an employee who could have benefited from a little “self-assessment”. She went around ruining every positive relationship she had because she couldn’t function unless she was surrounded by dysfunction. I tried everything I could think of to make her realize her potential and teach her that there was another way to interact without creating drama but I never got through and in the end, she tried to take me down as well! She was eventually moved to another office where she promptly began the “same old song and dance” until she was managed out of the company. How sad that because she couldn’t get ahold of and acknowledge her issues, all aspects of her life were effected.
Through my personal therapy sessions it has become more clear to me where I want all of my personal relationships to be and I understand the amount of work it will take to get them there. Most importantly, I am taking the time to focus on making me a better me and though I have and will falter at times, I’ve never stopped working on the end result.