I cleaned house. Emotionally and literally. I took the time to give the house the top to bottom scrubbing it needed. A few hours and some of the most ratchet music I could find was all it took. After cleaning the house I lit incense and let the scent fill the whole house.
I went further than that.
I threw out anything left from my last relationship. I found teddy bears, pics, other small things that reminded me of her… And him. If you have been following this blog then you know that before her I was engaged to him. Neither relationship ended well. I still had things that reminded me of both of them.
So I tossed everything. Anything that belonged to them. Anything that was given to me by them, and it wasn’t much, is gone now.
I feel better. I feel lighter. It sounds so stupid when I say it out loud but cleaning really did help. More than the physical cleaning, the spiritual cleaning really took weight off of me. I’m going to spiritually cleanse more often.
South Carolina holds a lot of bad memories for me. It is where my mother died. It is where she is buried. It is where I suffered from a drinking problem. It is where I stayed in a terrible relationship for far too long. It is where I first began sinking into depression.
I left and never looked back. Best decision of my life.
However, the negative memories I have of my life down there have caused me not to go back and visit the family that I left. I abandoned them along with the state. I feel guilty about that. While my sisters and I are no longer all that close, for various reasons that I won’t get into, they are still my blood. I have 12 (or is it 13?) nieces and nephews that I don’t see very often. All of this because that state holds so many bad memories for me. That’s completely unfair to them. I am depriving them of an aunt and depriving myself of the memories being made as they continue to grow.
I have to do better.
So "she" called to tell me she loves me.
She did not call to tell me she is sorry for not being a part of our household.
She did not call to tell me she is sorry for not showing any sexual interest in me while we were together.
She did not call to tell me she is sorry for expecting all and giving nothing in return.
She did not call to admit that she used me.
She called to tell me she loves me, because saying you love someone is apparently good enough.
The call did not go well.
I am a woman. I am proud of this. I do not consider myself the “weaker gender”. I am strength and courage. I pride myself in that.
However, I no longer base my womanhood on how feminine I am. This is a change for me. It wasn’t a conscious change, one day I just realized feminine does not equal womanly and vice versa.
As a kid I was a “tomboy”. Covered in dirt, scratches, and bruises with the boys, that was me. As I hit adulthood I was told this or that wasn’t “lady like”. I needed to be softer, gentler. So I stopped embracing my “rough” side if that’s what you want to call it. I kept my hair long and relaxed because guys “prefer” long hair on girls. I started wearing makeup because that’s what grown women do. I tried to dress more feminine and “cute”. I tried to soften up. I tried to learn to bite my tongue. I became a “woman”. I place the word in quotes because I became what people said a woman should be. I was always a bit uncomfortable with the “woman” I had become. It wasn’t me but I kept at it.
And then I did something I thought was insignificant. I cut my hair. Not a little trim this time. I walked into a barber shop and cut it all off. I loved it. It was freeing. That’s when I started to notice a change in me. My womanhood was no longer based on how I looked. Strange right? A haircut shouldn’t really have that much power, but it did. See, the way I got my hair cut made me look a bit “dude-ish”. Without makeup and in my comfy clothes I started getting mistaken for a guy. I got called sir a few times actually. It didn’t bother me. In fact, I would answer with no correction of pronouns. Why? Because I realized I was a woman no matter how I looked and no matter what someone called me. I am a woman. Period. I am a woman because I say I am a woman. Makeup or no makeup. Long hair or short hair. High heels or sneakers. Skinny jeans or baggy clothes. I am still a woman. On the days I am feeling super feminine, I will rock a face full of makeup and strut in my heels with the best of them. On other days, I’m in a beenie and a Nintendo tee shirt hanging with my boys and fitting in flawlessly. I can be soft and gentle and rough around the edges. I’m still a woman. I am more comfortable with the woman I am now than I’ve ever been. Short hair, bare face, loud mouth and all.
Your surroundings influence you more than you realize. The places you go, the people you choose to keep around you, it plays a part in your story.
For a very long time I was going to the wrong places with the wrong people. For a while I can honestly say I was an alcoholic. I was a true alcoholic. I went out with the sole purpose of getting as drunk as I possibly could. I went to the same clubs with the same “friends”, making the same dumb decisions every weekend. I have been to work drunk. I have driven home sh*t faced. At that time I saw nothing wrong with it because the people I was around were just like me. They were drinking to get away from their emotions just like I was. It was normal. I was in school but didn’t really have a plan for my future. I was there because I was supposed to be. That was the only reason I went to college originally. Before my mother died she made it clear that she wanted me to continue my education, so I did just that. In school and just as lose as I wanted to be. I didn’t have anyone around me to help me focus. Add in an unhealthy and abusive relationship and that was life.
I remember the moment I knew I was done with how I was living. I was about to graduate with my Associates in Science and my dad told me I could move to Virginia and live with him. As soon as he said it o started planning. I felt no connection to where I was. I didn’t feel sentimental. I didn’t even feel like I was going to miss anyone if I left. I simply made plans and drove six hours from South Carolina to Virginia. Done.
That was the best decision I have made to date. Granted, I’ve made some dumb ass decisions while up here too, but I’m surrounded by people now that will call me on my sh*t. I have a small group of friends that keep me sane, keep me moving forward, keep me focused on doing what’s best for me. Instead of helping me self destruct my surroundings now help me grow.
Change your surroundings, change your life.
We all know that one person that graduated high school but never actually left. That guy that can tell you all of his football stats but can’t tell you the last time he has held a job for more than six months… The girl who can tell you she was most popular in school but can’t tell you the names of all of her baby daddies… That one person that knows every bit of gossip about every person they went to high school with but don’t know who the two current presidential candidates are…Those people. They thrive off of their who they were and pay no attention to who they are right now. They are so focused on the past that they have no real concept of where they are in life or where they are going. It’s like they have stopped growing, stopped learning, stopped advancing.
I wonder, what makes a person want to stay in the high school state of mind? Though high school wasn’t the worst, I spent my whole four years trying to get the hell out. Don’t get me wrong, it was fun, I made some great friends, I learned a lot about myself, but when it was over; it was over. Reunions are great, a good time to reminisce about those four years of our lives. However, some people spend their whole life in mental high school reunion mode. I am just curious as to how that happens. Do you tell that person to move on, let it go… Or do you let them stay inside the bubble they have created?
The dying church is slowly becoming an epidemic. The small churches are disappearing and for a lot of them, it is their own fault. These smaller churches, especially ones that are in small towns, are stuck in the past. Often, they are afraid of change. The idea of a new sermon, a new song, a new ministry, is met with scorn and fear.
The death begins… The pastor no longer tries with his sermons and you leave feeling empty. The congregation might have 20 people in it on any given Sunday. The choir has a repertoire of 15 songs, tops. The church meetings are filled with people that want to bicker or tell you why your new idea won’t work. Slowly the youth begin to leave the church. No one is there to grow up in the church and replace the elders as they pass on. The only ones left are the people that reject anything that isn’t what they already know. These people are the ones that kill the church. They are the proverbial nail in the coffin.
Why do churches allow this? How can a congregation stand by and watch their church home die? Where does this deep seeded fear of change come from?