Sharing My Journey

Sharing My Journey

In my journey so far as a single mother, I have experienced an emotional roller coaster like none I’ve ever ridden. And not just romantically–that’s actually probably the easiest part of the ride. The scariest and most difficult parts of the ride have been dealing with my self-image, managing and changing the dynamics of my friendships, and reconciling societal perspectives with my reality.

Some days, I get to a place where I want to share this experience, and other days, I don’t–mostly because I don’t want to deal with any more opinions. I also don’t like that some think I sound bitter (and in some instances, I am)–when my bitterness has waned significantly over the last two years. What’s funny is that the more I talk, the more some think I’m bitter, when in actuality, the less bitter I am, the more willing I am to talk. There was a time that the last thing I wanted to do was talk about what I was going through. And I avoided people like the plague for fear of being seen by people whose opinions I valued as a negative Nancy and bitter Betty. And then I think to myself that the bitterness that’s left should be understood–why is it even such a negative label? Emotions are what they are, so who can judge me and say and too bitter–from my perspective, it’s just as relevant to wonder if I’m bitter enough because I haven’t allowed my bitterness to permeate my decision-making as a mother. So then I began to really appreciate the people who ASKED me how I was doing and stayed around no matter what I was talking about, whether it highlighted my bitterness or not. Because they still saw me, Ranada, and still cared about me as a full person, and didn’t confine me to the box I limited my own self-image to.

There are times that I also wonder why I care what people think. And I’ve realized it’s because I’m human. Humans need to be liked, accepted, affirmed, and understood. So when I’m feeling my loneliest, it’s because I feel like the group of people who have tried to understand what my life has been like in the last two years is much smaller than the group of people I considered my friends before this ordeal began. It’s all an exercise in evaluation.

Self-evaluation, which I’ve gone above and beyond in doing for the last two years and had to realize that even though so many of the self-help articles begin and end with self-evaluation, that I was being WAY too hard on myself, and there definitely is a such thing as judging yourself too harshly.

The evaluation of the people I can truly call my village, understanding that I could not have made it to this place in my life without their support and understanding that you can’t predict who will be standing there when the dust settles. And you can only trust that God sends his encouragement through the people He chooses–over the last two years, I’ve received a good word from the most unlikeliest of places, and they were salve for my soul.

The evaluation of my previous perspectives, societal ideals, and my current reality in the context of those.

The evaluation of what happiness is to me and what role hardships have in my journey.

Evaluation.

Zora Neale Hurston’s birthday was yesterday, and one of her most well known quotes is

There are years that ask questions and years that answer.

Sometimes I think 2012 and 2013 were question-asking years and I’m hoping 2014 is an answer-giving year. But time will tell, huh?

So as my bitterness continues to subside, or at least I continue becoming one with it and learning to not care if people use it as a label when I’m only speaking my truth, I am kinda looking forward to sharing the lessons and emotions and outlooks from this joyful yet painful, rewarding yet taxing, fun yet hard, loving yet lonely journey as a single mother. Happy new year!

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Repost from the blogosphere: If I Could Do It All Over Again

Repost from the blogosphere: If I Could Do It All Over Again

This was so special. I can only imagine how I will feel when Frederick is graduating from high school and I’m reminiscing about the past 18 (or 16 if he’s like me) (or 14 if he’s like this notable Chicago girl) years with my darling boy. Check out these tips. They all make me smile. 😀

If I Could Do It All Over Again.

Much Ado about Everything

Much Ado about Everything

You would think the busier my life is, the more I’d have to blog about. And that probably is technically true, but most of the time I don’t think anything is blogworthy. Until I click on another blog and see a full post with lots of comments on something I did last week. Sigh.

But here’s a mini update:

1. Frederick is a bonafide walker. I’ve been baby proofing my house because he is a Busy Body.

2. I am halfway done planting my garden. This would be a horrible thing to say if the weather were normal, but since I still have had some chilliness, I have a little time. I need to finish up before May hits.

3. I have started back tutoring. So far, I haven’t started back with the private one-on-one tutoring, but I have started on a pilot program at a local high school for Algebra students who need help with some pre-Algebra concepts. I’m hoping that program is extended in the fall.

4. My hair, my hair, my hair. It’s long and always tangled. More often than not, I have it up in a bun because it’s just too much. I’m definitely oiling it way more than I used to because having dry, brittle hair is not the business. I think I’m going to get it pressed next month for a special event. If so, that will give me a couple weeks of not having to fight with the tangles! But ohhhhhh how nervous I am that I’m still tenderheaded like I was when I got it straightened in November. That was ROUGH. I’d never been tenderheaded in my life, so I’m hoping my scalp is less sensitive next time!

5. I set a few goals at the start of the month, and I’ve been making some progress on them. One action item for one of my goals was to read I Declare by Joel Osteen daily, and so far I have stuck to that. I needed to infuse some positivity at the start of my days, and it’s been great.

Five is a good number, don’t you think? Just wanted to peek in and say hi really. One of my goals is to blog more often, but it’s not at the top of the list. 🙂 But maybe I’ll write a few longer posts about some of the stuff above. We’ll see. Stay tuned.

35 Weeks and Counting

35 Weeks and Counting

I have to say that as I head to the finish line of a fairly tumultuous pregnancy, I am so looking forward to meeting this big boy growing inside of me (and currently stretching and changing positions). I’m also looking forward to my time away from most of my other responsibilities while I just spend time with him, learning to take care of a newborn for the first time. I really can’t wait to his little face!

My house is coming along, very slowly but I think (and hope) surely. Between my cousin and my showers, I think (I’m still inventorying!) I have all the big stuff covered besides the storage things I need to order asap. His nursery has everything it needs besides paint. But back to the showers–I had nothing to do with either one, which was a brand new thing for me, and I appreciate my friends so much for such nice events. Not only were they really nice, but I also got a taste of letting go of control and letting people do nice things for me. Although I’m still not completely on board with being a “surprise” person, I can dig the surprise days of loving on Ranada. 🙂 Here are a couple of pics of me (with straight hair for the first time in two years!!) at my showers, my gracious hostesses, my core group of friends in Atlanta, and my mom and younger brother and Butterbean’s dad.

Atlanta

33 Weeks!
My Fab Hostesses minus one!
The Crew minus two

Jackson

34 Weeks!
My Hostesses and Beautiful Line Sisters
Love my family

The biggest thing I’ve had to learn over this time is that having faith is one thing when your life is moving along without many hiccups and quite another when you’re actually going through the low moments of your life. Having faith has been pretty hard, but I’m learning that although it’s so much easier to believe God knows what He’s doing when the skies are blue and the grass that really pretty shade of green, it’s most important to hold on to that belief when the sky is black in the middle of the day and it’s thundering and lightning and storming and there’s nothing but ugly concrete as far as the eye can see. And I think it’s pretty cool that the worst of my experience was during the “winter” (the little we had) where it was all ugly and rainy outside, and now that I’m so much more optimistic and positive, I see bright skies out my window and walk out into great weather. There are a couple of songs by Greg O’Quin ‘N Joyful Noize that have helped me during this trial as well as others.

I couldn’t find the other one on YouTube so here are some of the lyrics. It’s called “The Conversation”.

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

I’d never ever ever ever know You this way

If I never had a broken heart, I would never know You could mend the parts
If I never reached out for Your hand, I would never know You could help me stand
If I never had to shed a tear, I’d never know You are always near

I never knew You could save me, knew You could heal me, mend a broken heart… I never knew You could touch me, knew You could love me, I never knew until the day You showed me. To know You is to love You…

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