100 Day Reset

100 Day Reset

It’s been about 60 days since I started the 31 Day Reset. Even though I haven’t finished it, it really has helped me re-position my thinking. So as an update, I’ll share with you what I haven’t finished, and some highlights of what I did finish.

Still Left to Do

  • Take Myself Out on a Date – I find it interesting that I haven’t done this. Pre-baby, I did this often. I guess it just shows that I don’t carve out enough time for myself.
  • Get Rid of Stuff I Don’t Need – I have started, but I have a long way to go. I did pack up all of the baby stuff we don’t need anymore. I set an appointment with Salvation Army to come pick it up, and they didn’t come! So I guess I’ll be asking someone with an SUV to come help me. Earlier this year, I almost got my house completely organized, then I had a relapse of depression, and let it all go. So I guess it’s time to start over.
  • Remove Negative People from My Life – I have done a little of this, but it wasn’t on purpose. I have isolated myself from tons of people, so I guess now, I need to decide who I want to reach out to and who I want to leave on the peripheral.
  • Make a New Friend – I would say “no new friends,” but I’m open. I guess my first priority in terms of relationships, though, is to figure out which old friends I want to re-engage.
  • Let Go of the Past – I’m working on it, really.
  • Make a Bucket List – I have one stashed in my head–I just haven’t written it down yet.
  • Write My Own Eulogy – I imagine it will be very similar to my Ideal Life Narrative, so I’m not pressed to do this yet.
  • Create a Vision Board – I think my old vision board has become a barrier. I keep saying I will just update the old one, but maybe, just maybe, I should start from scratch. Hmm.

Of the other tasks, I really liked the day redesign that I did, and although it hasn’t become the norm yet, I am enjoying trying to make it happen. I do wake up a teensy weensy bit earlier, and I do make sure I eat SOMETHING in the morning, even if not as much as I’d like. I also have started getting a little exercise in, although not as much I really want.

Also, I’ve started back going to see my counselor, and she’s helping me on my quest to trust and believe in myself again. When I’m down on myself, we talk through why, and so far, I have had no valid reasons. I just take on guilt and blame, even when it doesn’t really belong to me. So I’ve been thankful to be able to spend my splurge money on seeing her.

Although I don’t write in it everyday, my gratitude journal has helped me alot with focusing on the good rather than the bad. I’ve even been able to let go of something that would have added to my bottom line each month but was stressing me out. I’ll pursue that when and if the spirit hits me. I’ve realized that the Lord will provide without me worrying about what I could be getting.

What’s really funny is: the day i was supposed to stop complaining for 24 hours, I ended up writing a complaint to Firestone about my mom’s experience, and it ended up being a huge misunderstanding for which I had to apologize to the person I inadvertently reported (I even sent her a card!) and to her managers for writing the note. And that caused me to stop complaining for more than 24 hours because I felt so bad. So talk about a lesson there!

And my personal mission statement has really helped me when I need a distraction or motivation to throw some negative thought out of my head. It’s kind of amazing that I can give myself a little pep. I’m glad that when I do feel powerful, I have had reasons (like this reset) to write it down so that I can look at my true-to-life words when I’m feeling down and weak.

Finally, I had to write myself a love letter, so I’ll share it with you, even though part of me doesn’t want to. But I keep realizing that I never know who I’m helping when I allow myself to be vulnerable and transparent. So here goes. Happy Sunday!

Subject: I love you.

Dear FutureMe,

Congrats on all the progress you’ve made so far! Now you have even more to be grateful for. It’s time to forge ahead. It’s time to reclaim your confidence and your passion and your “I can do it” attitude. Yes, you’ve gone through the worst part of your life, but just like the other rough patches you’ve been through, you will be better for it when it is all said and done. I know sometimes you think you are less of a woman because of your romantic failures, but please believe and know and OWN the fact that you are MORE than a woman. You are a WARRIOR and an extremely loyal, dedicated, and gifted person. Do you realize that in the worst of times, you conquered your depression, your hurt, and your bad outlook on your own life to do whatever was necessary to give Frederick everything he needed and more?? That’s powerful, young lady. Even when you didn’t want to take care of yourself, you did it anyway so that Frederick could have a strong foundation and a solid connection to his mother. Even when you despised his father, you swallowed all your hurt, anger, and sadness to try to have a cordial relationship with him for the sake of Frederick. That’s not WEAK, honey, that is STRONG.

Now, what you HAVE to do is stop owning what is NOT yours. Yes, you chose to love someone who didn’t give you that love back. But you, my darling, can’t force anyone to do anything. The horrible words that were slung at you while you were pregnant, the unwillingness to cooperate financially and physically as a co-parent, the lies, all of that—it’s not yours, and as you know after a year of trying, there’s no amount of niceness that can make a man be what he’s not. You are not responsible for his character. Got that? You’re not. And unfortunately, it took this situation for you to see his character in its fullness. And that’s ok. Because you do not regret having a beautiful, gifted, friendly, super happy child. And he’s happy! Why? Because he has you as a mother. You, who has been able to give him your all, even when you didn’t feel like the person you thought you were. You, who are still able to pour into him love and concern for his development. You, who will do any and everything it takes to see him grow into a self-sufficient, responsible young (charming–you know it!) man. YOU are the bomb.com, ma chere, even when you feel like crumbs. And that’s amazing.

So guess what. Because I love you (did you realize by now that this is a love letter??), I want to tell you this. LET IT GO. Let go of all the self-doubt, self-loathing, and self-ridicule. It’s time to move forward and follow the yellow brick road. The last road you were on was school bus yellow–you had to travel that road to get to your destiny. None of it was a mistake, dear heart. All of it happened for you to morph into an even better version of yourself. You thought you were something before?? Well guess what, now you’ve added to your testimony. You thought you were helping people before? Look how many more people you will be able to help when you show them how you bounce back and excel even after adversity. All the love and care you give to Frederick, give it to you too. I swear you deserve it. You are not less than–you are more than. You can still have everything you have always dreamed of. You can still make magic. You probably have even more magic now. You are not the sum of the bad times. You are the sum of the accomplishments you have already achieved and will continue to achieve, the family that has had your back throughout your journey, the friends who have hung in there with you, the triumphs you have experienced on the other side of every hump.

You move mountains. Keep fighting through whatever mountains will come your way. With God, anything is possible. And you know that because you have seen it over and over again in your life. Never believe that anything you have done trumps what God put in your heart. You have always been a dreamer of big dreams who wakes up and puts feet to every one of them. You can do this. You deserve this. You were made for this.

Never let anyone make you feel like you’re not worthy of honoring yourself. You have a right to your feelings. You have a right to put yourself first. You do not have to play nice with everyone no matter what. Capisce? Do what makes YOU feel good about yourself and your future and your child’s future. If it stresses you out, let it go. If it keeps you up at night, let it go. If you’re crying and it’s not worth one tear, let it go. And give all that crap to God, and don’t wonder if He’s gonna do you justice. You already know He is, so stop worrying about things you can’t control!

I hope this letter finds you in a brand new, loving, positive, promising place in your life, where you wake up with happy thoughts and new ideas and a fresh outlook on the day ahead of you. Leave the past in the past, and know in your heart that your future is #winning. And live today like the star you are.

I love you for all you are today, all you have been throughout your life, and the wonderfulness you will be in your future.

Love,
Your Past Self on July 3, 2013

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In the midst of resetting

In the midst of resetting

I’m a little less than a week behind, but my 31 Day Reset has been very positive and helpful. I’ve written letters, created a self-care plan, deleted people from social media (and I’m not done yet), written in a gratitude journal, and went a weekend with no TV. So I just wanted to stop in and share 10 of the 100 things that make me happy. Creating that list was a little difficult. I got through 50 pretty easily, and then I started struggling. I got to 88 and took a couple days off and came back to it. But it was still a nice experience to sit and mull over what makes me feel good. So here are a few of them (and they’re random, not in any order (of course–who can rank 100 things??)). I may share some more another day. 🙂 Happy Monday!

  •  Fresh flowers
  • Inspirational messages from Mike (my older brother)
  • Trying new yoga poses
  • Gchatting with friends
  • Traveling to new places
  • Hugging older people
  • Seeing comments or likes on my blog posts
  • Finding money in a pocket
  • Reading a really good book
  • Sharing milkshakes with Frederick

If you are working on infusing some goodness in your life, try creating a list of 100 things that make you happy. You’re going to smile each time you think of something.

Day 6 – Finding Who I Am Once Again

Day 6 – Finding Who I Am Once Again

Just wanted to stop in and share my new personal mission statement. After spending a couple of days writing down my values, evaluating how much I honor those, and writing down actions I am or should be employing to live up to them, I came up with my mission statement.

Part of my quest, I know, is to re-discover and/or re-accept who I am outside of motherhood.  I’ve spent most of my energy in the last year and a half, pouring myself into being a good mother and trying to build bridges that evidently weren’t supposed to be built. I ignored myself (my emotions, my needs, my healing) a lot over this time, thinking that if I put myself last, I would be encouraging others to want to be around me and help me. But all I was doing was dishonoring myself and not allowing myself to fully reach 100%, and that’s never okay. Especially since now I know that there’s no amount of niceness and humility that will get anyone else do anything they’re not going to do anyway. I should be focusing on me and my own personal dreams instead of being upset when someone won’t help me or when I feel like I don’t have any allies besides my mom. I need to be my own ally. So I used this exercise partially to charge myself to start back believing in the powerful supergirl I’ve pretty much always pictured in my brain up until my mini mid quarter-life crisis. I’m headed back to my yellow brick road.

My purpose in life is to improve communities worldwide, starting with my own. I am a devoted mother, an intelligent community advocate, a savvy connector of resources, an honest idealist, and strong, resilient warrior who protects and provides for my family. In my life, personal and career, I value economic empowerment, education, and exposure. My goal is to maximize my influence to create change in the black community. My dream is to leave a legacy that lasts for generations through my inspirational and transformational work. I would like to give a voice to the voiceless—which requires that I tap into my confidence, boldness, and self-love. I will be true to myself and honor my feelings, instincts, and dreams. In my journey to transform and improve lives, I will not allow my own life to be rerouted to neglect myself, my health, my happiness, my moral compass, my family, my spirituality, my truth, my love for travel and adventure, my affinity for style and beauty, or my finances. I will strive not to feel guilty for making choices that align with my goals but may not align with other people’s ideas of what is right for me. I will step carefully yet confidently into my destiny as a leader and stay open to life’s wonders and miracles, striving to maintain a healthy home life and reserve time and energy for my village.

values

“It’s your place in the world; it’s your life. Go on and do all you can with it, and make it the life you want to live.” – Mae Jemison

“Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.” – Les Brown

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Day 2 – Life Assessment

Day 2 – Life Assessment

Today’s task was to do a life assessment. I’ll admit that I was a little bit overwhelmed by the thought of it, but I sat down and made it happen. In this life assessment I had to answer two questions for each of 7 areas of my life: “What do I like?” and “What do I dislike?” Since part of the purpose of this reset is to shift my focus to what’s good in my life, I’ll only share the answers to the former question. Suffice it to say that it was pretty easy for me to answer the latter, BUT identifying what I do like wasn’t as hard as I expected. Progress! 🙂

Lifestyle: I like that I have a pretty impressive network. I like that I live in Atlanta and have access to many opportunities. I like that I am still connected to my hometown of Jackson since it holds a special place in my heart. I love that I get to travel and explore.

Work: I love the level of support I get from my management. They genuinely care about me as a whole person, not just as an employee. I also love that I’ve found a place where I can apply my math skills to being a do-gooder in communities across the country. I also like that I am diversifying my portfolio by not just doing research for projects but also helping with marketing and the operations side.

Education: I like that my educational background is relatively diverse. I’m also happy that I had the experience of finding out that I actually didn’t like a field I had dreamed of entering and was able to find my niche later. That was a hard time in my life because it was one of the first times I ever had to decide not to finish something I started, but I saw after the fact that it was just what I needed to steer me in a better direction. (Message!)

Finances: I appreciate the fact that even though I don’t receive help from the person I expected it from, I’ve never missed a meal and Frederick has everything he needs and more. I like that I truly have my mom’s support and that she’s been my security net.

Health: I like my weight. I like my newfound upper body strength. I like that I eat mostly fresh and organic foods now. Thanks x3, Frederick.

Family: I love being Frederick’s mother. I like seeing my son develop and flourish everyday. I love hearing him laugh and seeing him discover new things. I love his hugs and kisses. I love watching (and hearing) him sleep. I love the way he looks like he is going to tip over when he is walking full speed ahead. I love to hear him say new words. I love reading and singing to him. Also, I love my mom and my daddy and my brothers. I love my aunts and uncles and my cousins. I love that I still have a living grandmother. I love that all these people love me. I love that even though I live 6 hours away, I still have a church family that loves me and my son. I like that Frederick and I have a village.

Relationships: I like that I have friends who speak life into me when they notice I’m low on fuel. I like that I have friends who believe in me. I like that most people who have made even a brief connection with me like to keep in touch with me, which I think means they see value in knowing me.

So 2 days down, 29 to go!

FYI – if you read my pregnancy posts, I used the same password on yesterday’s post. I’ll make it public sooner or later, but until then, hope you remember the old password!

31 Day Reset

31 Day Reset

Today is the first day of the second half of 2013. I spent the first half of it pretending I was okay in public by grasping at whatever I could find to be a bright spot of my dim days. Most of the time, that bright spot has been something about my son. Although I don’t really know how I will turn my life into a happy place, I do know I don’t want to spend much more time in the life I’m currently living. Wearing the shame and regret as a badge on my chest every day and finding by accident but maybe on purpose a new way I’ve screwed up my trajectory and becoming someone I never pictured myself being. Being angry every time someone cosigns (whether they knew they were cosigning or not–I blame myself, and the world blames me too, ain’t that a bitch) the fact that I made poor decisions and makes excuses for the sorry, worthless asshole of a boy I chose as my son’s “father”. Feeling like I wear the scarlet letter even though I know he’s out living life like it’s golden all while lying on me, further reinforcing the tarnish I already smeared on the reputation and persona I spent 30 years cultivating.

But I’m ready to figure out how to spray some tarnish remover on there and rub it off, even if it’s just for me and my view of myself. I’m tired of caring what people think about me, ESPECIALLY a bunch of people who don’t contribute to the wellbeing of me or my son anyway. WHY do I let them take up any space in my already overbooked brain?

Saturday, I ended up having a good hard cry (which I almost never do, even now, in front of anyone) as a friend of mine poured into me some affirmations and positivity that I still don’t quite feel I deserve but clutch because I know I need it. She told me that I’m still who I’ve always been and that the same care I give to Frederick, it’s time to give to Ranada. She said that she wants me to stop beating myself up and to start back believing in myself and all my talents and my dreams. And as she was borderline lecturing me (which isn’t a bad thing–remember that I have 4 degrees so listening when class is in session is one of my fortes), I was thinking that there are no coincidences and that this was confirmation that I most certainly needed to participate in this 31 Day Reset that another friend invited me to do with her this month.

So I said all that to say: It’s Day 1. July 1. The first day of the second half of the year. I will not spend the next 6 months beating myself up. The task for today was to pick a personal mantra and to choose a theme song.

My personal mantra, which I have written in my new reset notebook (and I chose it because it has on the front: “It is up to you to illuminate the world.” -Phillippe Venier), is

We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come. – Joseph Campbell

I chose it because when I find myself really kicking myself in the ribs, it’s when I’m comparing myself to what I had planned in my head. I’m a planner by nature, and I had the next couple/few years lined up in my head, making the steps (I thought) daily to make my plans come to life. So now, any time something happens that is completely different from those plans, I start one more time, in case I forgot, pointing out to myself how I ruined my life. So I’m ready to keep reminding myself that the life I PLANNED may be ruined, but what God has for me is for me, including my beautiful son, who wasn’t in that short-term plan but is the best thing I’ve ever received. I have to let go of what I had in my mind, and open myself up to creating a new and prayerfully even better reality.

My theme song is a song I sing to myself whenever I’m searching and searching for a silver lining. It’s The Conversation by Greg O’Quin and Joyful Noyze. I’m almost certain I’ve blogged the lyrics before. Here are some of them again.

If I never had a rainy day, I’d never know You could brighten my day.

If I never felt some loneliness, I’d never know of Your friendliness.

If I never fell to the ground, I’d never know You could help me rebound.

If I never had a broken heart, I’d never know You could mend the parts.

If I never reached out for your hand, I’d never know You could help me stand.

If I never had to shed a tear, I’d never know You were always near.

I’d never, ever know You this way.

So there. What a first day. I’m so ready to feel happiness as a default instead of as a fleeting moment. It’s a process, but I can do it. One day at a time.