The strength to let go

 

He was a big guy with a tough outer appearance who obviously had a rough childhood.  His rugged looks had been the only thing that kept bad company away but on the inside he longed for someone to call his own.

But when he finally found someone who looked beyond his surface and deep into his heart, someone who would finally be his own, he didn’t know how to fully let himself trust her.  He couldn’t let her in.

It is true when they say that hurt people, hurt people because that’s exactly what he did. He threw daggers into her heart over and over and each time she would simply pull it out and smile through her tears and pain just to let him know that she wasn’t going to go anywhere.  Still, his childhood had him hardwired into believing that true love didn’t really exist and people would only stick with you until they found something new.

After years of being broken down and burned by this man she finally picked up the shattered pieces of her heart that lay in his wake and walked out the door and made a vow to never look back.

her strength was infused with anger and exhaustion, she could no longer take the uncertainty that came with trying to build a future with a man who seemingly did not want to.  She could no longer find it within herself to believe his words when he would tell her he loved her because his actions showed otherwise.

Through the years she’d lost herself trying to love a man who was incapable of loving and accepting love.  She took in her surroundings and swallowed against the bile that was building up within the pit of her stomach.  She was angry that her efforts were unappreciated, afraid that she was too damaged to love again.  Will she now be the one to hurt another?

This would be her first time facing the world alone and she didn’t think she could.  She wrestled with the option of turning back around and going back to something more familiar even if that meant she would have to endure more pain and heartache but the small resilient voice in the back of her mind persuaded her to put one foot before the other and keep going forward.

She didn’t know where she was going to go, didn’t know what she was going to do but she did know she deserved to be happy so she made happiness her destination.  She was determined to heal and when the time was right she would love again.

via Daily Prompt: Infuse

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Finding my way to you

They say that your past does not have to define your future and for the longest Tracy didn’t believe that.  She’d been homeless since she was a teenager, often turning to prostitution to survive. She didn’t always feel good about herself and she sometimes found herself wishing that she wouldn’t have to live that life anymore–or life period. She’d decided that she needed a change but didn’t know where to start, that was, until she saw an advertisement on a passing bus.  She knew just the right place to start and for the first time she felt like life was starting to look up.

****

Jordan had always tried to do the right thing but somehow his efforts always went unnoticed and instead of being rewarded, he was always punished. The way he made his money wasn’t all that great but the world refused to look beyond his current occupation and see past his skin tone; he was always just another stupid black man in America. Tsk, what was life? Granted, it wasn’t the best thing in the world to be a drug dealer and he just happened to be good at it and never got caught, but it was all about the principal for him.  His father was disabled without any medical insurance, his mother passed away from heart failure the month following his High School graduation and he had to take care of his four little siblings who relied on him for a meal on the table every night and clothes on their backs.  He was basically the man of the house now and needed do what he did in order to keep his family afloat.  But what would happen when it was no longer enough?

He liked to take a walk on the nearby beach to clear his head.  There was something about the crashing of the waves that soothed him.  He hopped on the bus and once he got to the beach an advertisement on that bus caught his attention as it prepared to drive off.  It read “Have you ever felt like you needed a change? Ever felt like you wanted more from life? It’s never too late to get a start.  Enrollment for the Fall semester at Future University starts today!”

He pulled his phone out and Googled Future University and found the address.  Tomorrow, bright and early he was going to make a trip there to see what it was all about.

****

Tracy woke up the next morning feeling refreshed.  Today was going to be the first day of the rest of her life and she was actually looking forward to it.  She put on the best outfit she could find that didn’t look too inappropriate–to her at least.  She was on her way to being a college girl, with her GED under her belt,  there was absolutely nothing stopping her from getting a college degree.

She got out of her taxi and took in her surroundings.  The university was absolutely breath-taking, though she didn’t like the side-eyed looks she was getting from the students who walked by her.  She asked for directions on how to get to the office of registration and after getting eyes rolled at her and having people ignore her, she finally found her way.

Soon as she walked into the office, she felt something in the air, maybe it was a fresh breath of air, maybe it was a new lease on life but she definitely felt it.

****

When Jordan saw her walk through the doors of the registration office, he felt as if his heart was trying to escape his chest.  The woman with the too-tight red tank top and too tight black jeans looked as if she’d had a rough life and was working with the cards she had been dealt, but nothing turned him on more than a woman who was looking for a way to better herself, just like him.  He knew he had to make the first move if he ever wanted to get to know her because from the looks of it she didn’t even notice him.  He made his way over to her, tapped her on the shoulder and said with a smile, “Hello, my name is Jordan, future pharmacist–legal one at least”

****

Tracy looked up into the strangers eyes and couldn’t help bursting out laughing.  He looked like a dope boy but there was something different about him.  She offered her hand and replied “Tracy, future nurse”

six years later when both graduated with their Masters degrees in their respectable areas of interest, on the way to obtaining their PhD’s they’d been happily married for two years and they didn’t plan on giving up any time soon.  They loved each other even through all of their flaws and past mistakes; they supported each other through all of the blood, sweat and tears that the pressure of College brought on.  She wasn’t going to let her past define her future and he was finally going to be rewarded for doing the right thing instead of being punished, life was finally looking up for both of them.

“You know,” Jordan said one night over dinner, “I think it’s amazing how big of a maze life is. We have both turned corners and hit wall after wall but somehow we found our way through and found each other and now nothing is going to be able to stop us from breaking down any wall that might pop up. We’re invincible, babe”

Tracy reached over and placed her hand on his.  Bringing his hand to her lips she kissed it smiled at her husband, she knew he was right. “I love you, Jordan”

 

via Daily Prompt: Maze

Maze

Can You Believe that?

Almost everyone around me associates themselves with a religion.  I, however, do not.  I don’t consider myself in any way, shape or form, religious.  I think that the best way to describe my belief system would be that I am a spiritual person.  But don’t get me wrong, I am very aware of the different religions out there and I try my best to learn about them; I may even take a little of what I learn and align it with what I believe.  In other words there’s a little bit in each religion I’ve learned about that I hold with me.

I feel that my choice not to be affiliated with one religion gives me the ability to be religiously free.  I don’t think there is a right or wrong religion, I don’t think that there is any belief that is wrong.  I actually respect the differences in people’s beliefs.  I try to understand why they believe what they do rather than try to tell them that they are wrong.

I remember when I was in College I had an art class–but we didn’t draw anything and that upset me! I was tricked because no one told me it was an art history class (bore, bore, snoozefest, cue in the snoring).  I remember specifically learning about the Greeks and Romans and all of this stuff about the way they lived and how they captured their lifestyles in their art.  I remember little things about why their sculptures were the way that they were and so on and so forth.  I remember one day the topic of religion came up and my professor talked about Jesus on the cross.  My sign language interpreter made just about every face in the book and kept shaking her head and adding “that’s wrong” or “that’s not true” whenever my professor would explain a “textbook fact” about Jesus.

There was one comment that she made that has stuck with me through all of these years because I remember thinking to myself, “I don’t care about what’s wrong, I just care about what the professor is saying because that is what’s going to be on the test and I need to pass this class.”

When my professor mentioned the shape of the cross and how Jesus was positioned on it, she said it was a plus-sign shape and Jesus’ arms were stretched out on his sides. my interpreter who was a Jehovah’s Witness said to me in sign language, “that’s not true, that’s the stupid Catholic belief.  In the real bible–my bible–it states that the cross was in fact not a ‘plus sign type-shape’ but it was actually a ‘x shape’ with another piece going straight down in the middle.  His hands weren’t stretched out across the cross either, his hands were actually tied up above his head because think about it, if you hang someone up on a ‘plus sign shaped’ cross with their hands stretched out, gravity would cause their body to fall and possibly detach from their arms and the cross would fall forward, whereas if it was positioned the way it shows in my bible, Jesus would have had more support. Plus, it makes more sense that way”

I remember looking at her feeling a growing pang of annoyance.  I couldn’t immediately determine if I was more annoyed by the fact that she was telling me this, or if I was more annoyed by the fact that since she started telling me this my professor possibly switched topics three or four times, or if I was annoyed with the fact that she seriously called another person’s belief stupid.  It’s a belief system as far as I am concerned, none of it is proven facts.

The bible has been repeatedly altered throughout the years to match the evolving times so what right does anyone have to say what is wrong or right?

I believe in the power of love, freedom and respect.

My grandparents are Jehovah’s witnesses, I have an uncle who is a converted Muslim (If thats the proper termonology), I have aunts who are Catholic, a whole family of Christians whether they are devout or not, I have friends who are Atheist, I know people who are Protestant, I know people who practice Hinduism, and with that being said me, not being affiliated with any religion makes it easier for me to absorb everyone’s belief.

It also makes it easier for me to see people for who they are beyond their choice of religion, or their choice of lifestyle like being Gay, for an example. (Let me just say, I don’t like using the term “homosexual” I feel it’s just as offensive as the word “Faggot” which I don’t use either; I prefer to use terms like Gay, Lesbian, Bi-sexual, Transgender etc.)

If you’re human and you happen to be Gay–as long as you are not going around killing people or harming other people in any way–I love and respect you (that goes for anyone, whether you’re gay or not). Why is it a problem that you love someone who happens to be the same gender as you? As long as you found love, and you are happy nothing else matters.  I don’t feel like being Gay is a “sin” I don’t believe that being Gay is even wrong; I honestly see nothing wrong with being Gay. I hear the saying “people should be fruitful and multiply” but some people don’t want children (even ” straight” couples) and children are expensive as hell…I know this from experience.  I’ve heard the saying “God made Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve.” Man, listen, God made, Adam, Eve, Steve, Shaquana, Taquan, Richie, Raul, Maria, Su yung and all of them, if you believe that God made all of us, right?

A belief system is a belief system, and I want to share with you my belief system.  In addition to believing in love, freedom and respect, I also believe there’s a reason why everything happens and people die (before they get old).  This might be a little confusing but I will try my best to make as much sense as possible.

Okay, so, everyone has a different walk of life, everyone goes through different things and everyone turns out to be who they are.  Why? Because every walk of life teaches people different things that could either help them grow or give them knowledge that they could pass on and potentially plant a seed in another person who would then have the power to change the world.  We all go through different things in order to polish us and groom us so that we could be functioning human beings–life to me is all about learning.  We all turn out to be the way we are so that other people could learn from us and experience some inner growth.  We need other human beings to survive, is what I believe.

I believe that if you wronged someone in any way–and if you are religious it’s always a good thing to ask for forgiveness from your God–but even if you are not, it’s also a good thing to face the person or people you’ve wronged and ask them for forgiveness as well.  Give people and yourself a peace of mind to be able to grow and move through life as smoothly as possible without carrying the weight of being angry or resentful.

Is this confusing? I hope you at least get the gist of what I’m trying to say because my belief behind death might be a little more confusing.

When people are faced with a tough situation they tend to pray on it to their God.  I pray to any loved one of mine that passed away.  In most cases I pray to my Uncle Tony.  I ask him to look over me and I ask him for clarity.  I ask him to give me signs that I am walking the path I’m meant to walk and he always comes through for me.  It gives me comfort because I actually know my uncle, I know what his voice sounds like, I know his personality.  I know what faces he might make if I ask for something ridiculous like if he could find a way to make it so that when I wake up in the morning, a million dollars would be sitting on my nightstand.  I know his laugh so when I think of something funny I can hear it.  I know him personally.

Which brings me to my reasoning as to why he and many other people passed and still pass away “before their time”. I believe that each death has its purpose.

I was too young to understand what–if anything–was going on in my family around the time that Tony passed away but I do remember feeling like my family became closer after his death.  I remember feeling like everyone was checking in on everyone often and everyone was helping everyone out more often. So, I think that the reason he had to pass away was to wake my family up and to make them aware that even though on the outside we may look healthy, we might be fighting internal battles (diseases or otherwise) and we need someone to reach out to us and help us because we may not always be too forthcoming when we need help.  I think it’s safe to assume that my family also learned to appreciate the gift of life and became more driven to achieve their goals being that Tony was in his late 30’s when he passed away. He was very young.

I’m currently twenty-six years old and will be turning twenty-seven at the end of the year and I want to do so much with my life, I have so many ideas but I don’t know where to start. I started this Blog with hopes of figuring that out.  I have to admit that I feel a little impatient because I am not where I want to be, but I do believe that when it’s my time to put all of my ideas in motion, I will do so with a bang with the help of Uncle Tony and other humans in my life or who I will eventually cross paths with.

Broken Pieces

I remember being a young girl, just starting out in the dating world.  I had an idea of my ideal husband and our family, I had an idea of how I wanted the relationship to be.  I envisioned a man who protected and provided and told me what he loved about me.  I envisioned a man who openly expressed his feelings and wasn’t afraid to let me know when something was wrong.  I envisioned happiness sprinkled with an occasional issue because if I was going to be realistic, there is no such a thing as the perfect relationship.

After years of dating and trying to find my mister right, I ultimately found my husband. Our union started on Facebook under a picture of a mutual friend of ours and our first conversation was an argument–a playful one at that.  Two days later he actually added me on Facebook–two whole days later. Ya’ll,  he was thinking about me for a whole 48 hours before he worked up the nerve to add me on Facebook.  We spoke through Text messaging, BlackBerry Messenger, and even though I was nervous we had a brief conversation on the phone.  Before that conversation, however, I stressed to him that I was Deaf to which he seemed genuinely confused.  Not because I was deaf but because I thought it was an issue for him.  In my mind I thought it was pretty much common sense–if I’m deaf, how will we speak on the phone? But in his mind it was pretty much common sense that if I could speak then I didn’t have to listen to anything I could just talk and he would do the listening.  He flat out told me “I don’t give a f***, you can talk right? Okay, cool, I’m calling, now” and before I had a chance to protest his name popped up on my caller ID.

I was nervous and of course let the phone ring a couple of times–half because I was thinking about not picking up at all, and half because I didn’t want to seem to eager and answer on the first ring.  I eventually answered and lord his voice was smooth.  It had been my first telephone conversation in years and I really felt like a fish out of water. My thing was texting, it almost seemed weird that people still spoke over the phone.

We had a little conversation about I don’t remember what, but I do remember it was an on-going conversation because I remember thinking to myself “how is it possible that I understand this guy over the phone? I’m Deaf damn it!” I took it as a sign.  We were meant to be, simply because I could understand him over the phone.

We eventually made arrangements to meet in person and I strangely didn’t feel scared; I didn’t feel like I needed to bring a friend along, ya know, just in case.  It felt right.

On March 5th, 2011 I laid eyes on my husband–in person–for the very first time.

It was like a scene out of the movies.  Or at least it was for me.  As a white limousine taxi drove by in slow motion (I swear it was in slow motion!) I looked at him from across the street, standing there wearing all black trying to look intimidating.  I heard the words “Oh, my God, I just met my husband.” Once the taxi passed and the moment was over I realized that the voice was mine and I truly believed it.  March 5th 2011 at approximately 6pm, I met my husband.

We walked to the check cashing  place, talking like we’d known each other for longer than a few weeks.

He was trying to act tough but it was a little off-putting because he wasn’t making and keeping eye contact with me.  I started to think he didn’t like me and I started feeling so sad.  But you see, I was a 20-year-old and no longer a teenager so I wasn’t going to keep my thoughts to myself so I told him, “I don’t think you like me.” The look on his face was what I would later be able to dub as his “well, that’s stupid” face and he said, “and why do you think that?” I looked up at the side of his face and replied, “because you aren’t even looking at me, you’ve barely made eye contact since I’ve been here”

Insert “Well, that’s stupid” face here and I deserved it because, well…at this point we had just met in person twenty minutes prior.  But this guy wanted to make me happy so he looked at me and didn’t take his eyes off of me.  Talk about awkward.

We went to his house and engaged in conversation and I’m not quite sure how it happened–I probably may have rested my head on his shoulder and asked him to look at me…I don’t know, because what happened next had me forgetting my own name.

No, we didn’t have sex, I’m not that type of girl. Insert hair toss here.

But our first kiss was…magical. There was passion, there was fire, explosions if you will.  It was everything. It was kind of scary having such burst of emotions but at the same time it felt right.  Meant to be.

And that was it.  I didn’t have to look any further, I had found my husband and the father of my children.

I thought that he was perfect for me and he was.  He was literally a gentle giant.  Just by looking at him, one would assume he would crush skulls if someone so much as stepped on his toes but as the months went on, I quickly learned that looks were very deceiving in his case.  That’s how he’d gotten by in life; people were scared of him but I wasn’t.

So soon in the relationship there was so much passion and we often talked about what we wanted out of life and the steps we wanted to take in order to get where we wanted to be.  We found out that we’d been in a bunch of the same places all over New York City but we’d either missed each other or been there at different times.  We also discovered that we had a lot in common.

He never really had a fight before, me neither; he’d never been arrested, me neither; he’d never been to jail, me neither. He liked to laugh, me too; he was the oldest sibling out of his mother’s children, me too; he had dreams and aspirations, me too. But then there was that thing that set us apart. He liked to sweep things under the rug, rather than face them–wait, I couldn’t and can’t do that.

This is our main issue.

Imagine listening to a song that describes your life and problems perfectly.  Imagine feeling each pluck of the guitar, each key of the piano, each blow of the horn and the singer on the track has a voice that embodies your spirit in a way that words can’t describe–oh, it’s getting intense now. Now imagine the song getting to the hook and it just becomes too much to bear, this song is stroking heart-strings that you haven’t learned to use due to lack of security in your past.  Instead of facing the music, hearing it out until the end and learning to use those feelings that it evokes you just mute the song–while it’s still playing.  You so stubbornly sit in the silence, put the song out of your mind and pick another song from the playlist–this time a song that is least likely to evoke such feelings.

Are you frustrated yet?

My husband would much rather throw himself into some sort of work than to sort through the pain that he is obviously carrying.  It’s more important to him to appear strong and together than to admit that he needs help.  No matter what I try to do or say, if he’s not ready to receive it, it goes in one ear and out the other.

But nevertheless, my husband was brought up to value the importance of family.  And I love me a family man but his inability to face his personal issues has made him seemingly too scared or insecure to make decisions where our children are concerned. In his eyes I know what I am doing so his response to everything is “ask mommy.” I have reasons to believe that he is afraid of causing damage to our children but little does he know, all parents make mistakes–I make them daily–but it’s all about acknowledging when a mistake is being made and seeking a solution–a healthy one at that–so you and your children can grow and your children can become normal functioning adults one day.

I don’t think that he would ever be able to shift his focus from himself and the family he was born into, to the family he has created until he faces some of his childhood trauma that varies from family issues to cheating ex-girlfriends.  It’s funny now that I think about it, I used to say to my husband how much I liked his ex-girlfriends because if it hadn’t been for their eff-ups he would have never been able to find me.

Ha! I don’t feel that way anymore!

Even through all of this, I can’t help but feel a little selfish like, I want him to myself sometimes.  Am I wrong for that? Am I wrong to feel like he should put me and our girls before the family he was born into more often than not? After all we aren’t the ones who caused him any of the pain he continues to bury.

Oh, don’t let me forget about my husband’s inability to slow down.  He has a huge issue with putting too much on his plate at a time and then biting off more than he can chew.  He also has a huge issue with shifting his focus often to match his current situation.  In short he’s always overworked, overwhelmed and desperately trying to make everyone happy and often times I don’t feel I’m part of that “everyone.”

When I first met him, he was all about music.  He was DJ, he was a rapper and he loved everything about music, you could hear it in his voice when he spoke, the passion he had for music.  He had a dream.

Over the years, however, his focus has been shifting quite often.  Almost as if he is still trying to find himself.  As if he isn’t sure what he wants anymore.  As a result, I imagine how much pressure he probably feels he’s under, being 26 and married and having two small children under the age of five.  His younger brother claimed he wasn’t happy living in New York City so my Husband–having his superman complex–jumped in and offered him a place to live at the same exact time our youngest was born.  It’s crowded.  Anytime there is a conflict in his family he is the one who is called on to be the mediator.  In their belief, he’s the man of the family now following the untimely death of his grandfather; in my belief he’s supposed to be the man in our family and he hasn’t been the man in their family since he became a father.

He has all of these strings pulling him in so many different directions that I feel forgotten.   When I have an issue it seems like it’s too much for him to bear; he seems too unavailable and wrapped up into his world to even notice when my stress is eating me up; he doesn’t notice when I’ve lost some weight or when I’m in pain.  If he does, he doesn’t deem it important enough to mention it to me.  When I want him to make some time so that we can talk, he disregards it claiming there’s nothing to talk about.  So me being aware of his burdens, his pain and his lack of focus I keep a lot from him and have to deal with a lot on my own.

I can easily take his baggage and sort through them for him if he would just hand it to me but my husband is broken, and I don’t know how to fix it.

Am I wrong for wanting to help him to clear his plate and start taking smaller bites so that he could have time for our family? Am I wrong for wanting him to myself sometimes? Or am I being unreasonable?