“Only a Fool…”

As a child I had a fear of correction.

Not so much because of the arrogance of thinking I’m always right but the fear of being found as wrong.

In my youth I connected being corrected with being a bad person.

This resulted in me learning over time to live my life in such a way where I don’t really put myself in a position to receive negative feedback.

I didn’t do this by getting my life together, I did this in part by imitating someone who has done so and at other times by hiding myself in the crowd.

But I have been told that the sages have a saying “one’s true nature is like smoke: one cannot hide it in the folds of one’s garment.”

No matter how I try to hide my true nature in the end the truth always finds me out.

I went by countless teachers and earned A’s in academics and I was praised for my wit.

However, I exposed very few of them to the disorganization of my thoughts.

That was my misfortune for had I done so one would have corrected me and helped me to fix that problem a long time ago.

I worked in sales and developed a system of doing it my way and was able to achieve high sales goals. So while I didn’t implement the methods I was taught I flew high enough that no one seriously corrected me.

And I consciously and subconsciously find ways not to be in relationships. I do this because what greater mirror is there to expose who you are then that of a life partner?

I don’t really like people at my house.

Why?

Because when people come to your home they see aspects of who you are and in doing so one just might correct me.

But the thing is I’m not fooling anyone. People can see right through me. I’m the only one blind to myself.

My hiding is akin to people posting memes on Facebook asserting “you don’t know me through my post” but to the contrary, what you post shows a side of you whether you accept it or not.

For example if you’re always posting tragic news stories, we know you live a life of fear, if you always post about how you don’t want a romantic partner, we know you do. When you post a million selfies, we know you’re in need of attention.

And when I post comical things and motivational posts I’m sure the trained eye knows it’s a mask for depression.

People know things about you that you haven’t accepted about yourself.

They often simply don’t tell you.

They may feel it isn’t there place, that you won’t receive it, they might be too busy living their on lives to try to tell you about yourself, or they may have even tried to tell you and you didn’t have ear to hear.

I knew I had taken the whole fear of correction thing too far when I realized I have a fear of being corrected by my yoga instructor.

I’m the newest person in my yoga class with an instructor who cares enough that she wants to see people do things right.

She won’t let you position your foot incorrectly, or place your hip out of alignment.

And so there I am standing in front of everyone and I noticed I only want to hear the good jobs.

How silly of me.

It’s expected that I don’t know how to do poses correctly – I’m new!

I’m paying to learn yoga, thus isn’t the reason I’m in yoga class to learn yoga!

How am I benefiting by pretending to know what my awkward movements so clearly show I don’t know?

Sadly she must have felt my fear of correction because I noticed she started correcting me in subtle ways compared to everyone else.

That is my loss. If I wasn’t so afraid of correction it would help me to go further.

I have to accept correction doesn’t mean I’m a bad person. It’s my opportunity for learning.

Scripture says only a fool despises correction.

And no matter the root cause of my fear I’ve been a fool.

Over a decade ago during an argument my cousin once told me “Renata you’re not always right, to which I snidely replied “I know it’s just that you’re always wrong”.

That comment showed my level of arrogance.

What started as a fear of being a bad person left unchecked molded me into an arrogant one.

It was during her anger that she allowed herself to tell me the truth that I needed to hear, even though I pretended not to.

And so here I am about 15 years since that disagreement and I was preparing myself to go to yoga class and in my recollection a lecture by Chief Yuya came to mind. During his teaching segment he explained that a coach has to watch a person run in order to help the runner correct their form.

I’ve been going about trying to run when the coach had their back turned. I was the one who pretended to have a sprained ankle and needed to sit this one out.

And all the while the truth is everyone sees my true nature, my sickness cannot be hidden the diagnosis is out – to include my fear of correction.

And so here I am preparing for yoga class. It would behoove me to love myself enough that this time I let go of my fear and allow my instructor to teach me how to get in alignment and hold proper form.

Love,

Renata Nicole

© Renata Pittman Smith and RenataNicole, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Renata Pittman Smith and RenataNicole with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

I Meant to Write…

I meant to write.

I give you my word that I did.

As a matter of fact I sat with my fingers tapping away at the keyboard saying what it was that I had to say, at least until I didn’t feel like tapping any more.

As I put my thoughts into words on multiple occasions during the long gap of time since my last post I didn’t finish a single blog as I was no where close to hitting publish.

Surely I had some level of growth since my last post that I could share with public.

I figure the most I could have done was finally make additions to the different unfinished sections of my website

But I didn’t feel like sharing my vulnerabilities. I didn’t feel like sharing any tips or qualified to assist.

Which may seem odd since my blog has been based upon me writing about my self love journey even as I go through the hard times of my life.

And yet when one of the hardest tragedies I had ever faced came I really wanted to wait until I was much stronger to expose my thoughts to the world.

But apparently I’ve mustered up some level of strength to share, because here I am tap, tap, tapping away.

Well what was the thing that caused me not to feel like writing.

Was it a break up?

No.

Did I get laid off again?

No.

Am I ill?

No.

So what caused me not to want to share any more?

Well….. this summer following a tragic accident my father transitioned from this world into the next.

There will be no more phone calls with his voice on the other end, no more seeing him drive his car up the road or him dropping money on the ground pretending it magically appeared and telling me that it must be for me to have.

Now there are glimpses of him in my dreams, memories of him I hold dearly and stories that I will retell.

After his transition I put things that belonged to him in each room of my home to include the closets.

I carry him with me always.

For a while I wore his old army dog tags under my shirt, just to feel close.

And yet as much as I miss him it isn’t something I like to share.

I like to pretend that I understand that while he is no longer here in physical form that he is always with me and that I’m at peace with that.

When my dad died, I felt like there was no time to cry.

What I mean by that is that after losing my dad I finally learned that when you are an adult and lose someone that close to you in relation you really aren’t afforded a proper chance to grieve.

In my case there were police reports, paperwork from the coroner, visits to the funeral home and the notary, helping to clean out my father’s home, calls to work about missing days, contacting the insurance company, picking out the urn, traveling across different state lines and so much more that had to be done.

Thankfully, other relatives stepped up and did the lions share of things so that I could sit back as the baby girl of the family and simply miss my daddy.

At my dad’s funeral I stood there and spoke without shedding a tear.

I thanked the guest for coming.

I did a really good job of pretending to be strong.

When my family sat there crying I told everyone to stay encouraged.

But boy did it hurt.

The first man I ever loved left this earth in a tragic way and I had to deal with that lost love.

Losing my dad broke my heart like no one else ever did.

And yet the heartbreak was different.

Because unlike unrequited love I lost someone who loved me dearly.

Every time my heart ached I would think of how much my father loved me and like a warm wave washing over my heartache it would ease my pain.

My father’s love for me healed my broken heart.

And ironically my father’s tragic death also helped to give me new life.

You see, after my dad died I was getting ready to lay on my couch and feel sorry for myself.

I figured no one would blame me.

My dad just died in a tragic accident and if anyone deserved to feel sorry for themselves it was me.

So I wrapped myself in my blanket and right when I was getting ready to collapse my body on the couch cushions I remembered how much my father worried about my well being.

I remember how my dad wanted me to be okay.

And I knew that it would grieve my father if he knew that his death caused me to enter into a deep depression.

And so in that moment I chose not to be depressed.

I chose to not dwell in the grieving process.

I love him and I miss him but I will honor him by not burying myself in pain.

Does it hurt?

Sure it does.

But with his strength running through my veins the pain does subside.

I am my father’s daughter and my father wants me to be okay.

July 29, 2018

Today I decided to step into the shoes of the first man I ever loved. They are too big for me to fill, too big for anyone to fill. I can put them on and walk in his energy and for a precious moment in time he is one with me. As I sit here in my father’s shoes my favorite memory of him cradles me, it comforts me, it gives me the rested assurance that he is more than a memory and there is no need for grief… And so I sit here in the present reliving the past where my father and I pulled the tabs on our cans making the crisp, clear, distinct sound of a soda being opened and I would sit there a daddy’s baby exhilarated as we satisfied our thirst with Pepsi. We let the ice cold drink splash the back of our throats and cool our tongues in a way that only a taste born in the Carolina’s can do and then I would look at him and he would look at me and in sync we would open our mouths wide and say “ahhhhh”. No, the shoes will not be filled, but I can pop open a Pepsi and say “ahhhhh” and somewhere in a not too distant dimension he says “ahhhhh” right back.

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Renata Nicole

© Renata Pittman Smith and RenataNicole, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Renata Pittman Smith and RenataNicole with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

That Scarcity Mentality

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The belief that you have no other options can keep you clinging on well after it is clear that your are only grasping a mere shadow of hope that was cast from the past.

Fear that if you walk away that you will be left with nothing.

The idea that if you say no there will be nothing to say yes to.

The notion that if you let go you will never have anything to hold onto.

There is nothing like that good ole scarcity mentality to leave us as hopeless as a penny with a hole it.

I know that feeling all to well.

It’s the feeling that I have to put up with my circumstances because I’m convinced I have no other options.

When I operate in a scarcity mentality, I feel like I have to take whatever is put before me.

In my past this has led to me working a job that I hated because I was afraid that if I left I wouldn’t find another place of employment.

And it has led to me staying in a toxic relationship because I believed that no one else would love me.

Neither of which were true, but because I had a scarcity mentality I had a hard time convincing myself otherwise.

In the work situation I found myself physically ill at the mere idea of going to my place of employment.

I would pull up to the parking lot at work with a back full of stress knots because I had so much anxiety about working at a place that I knew I should no longer be at.

But I had bills to pay, I had children to care for, mouths to feed and so I would clock in and do my job with a stomach full of anxiety.

But one day I chose me and I quit the job.

That’s right you read that correctly.

With no other job in hand, I quit the job.

Two weeks later I found employment somewhere else.

Now am I saying that if a person quits a job without having another job that they will find employment in two weeks time?

No, absolutely not.

But what I am saying is that I felt like I didn’t have any other options and I stayed at a place of employment that didn’t sit well with me because I assumed that it was my only choice.

I left with no other visible options because I decided that working in a place that was jeopardizing my health wasn’t worth the money.

I had developed a scarcity mentality in terms of employment because I had previously struggled to find the job I was so unhappy with and I also had a business fail in my past.

So all I keep thinking was that if it took such a long time to find the job that stressed me out then I would never find anything else.

For three months I had been applying for other places of employment and no one was even calling me back for an interview.

I perceived all of that as further confirmation that if I left that I would never find anywhere else to work.

My scarcity mentality had me convinced that I had no other options for work in a poor job market, however when I chose me other options opened up.

Had I not let go of the unhealthy work environment I most likely would have never pursued other places of employment with the determination that I did.

Another example of where I had to overcome the scarcity mentality in my life is in the area of love.

Much to my chagrin I stayed in and clung to unhealthy relationships because I had convinced myself that the person I was with was my only option.

I felt like if they didn’t love me no one would.

I didn’t believe I had any other options.

I failed to see what I had to offer.

I thought that because the people I interacted with at that time couldn’t see me that no one would and that I had to take the scraps that they gave me.

I had a false perception of who I was.

Thankfully, I learned from blogger Natalie Lue over at baggagereclaim.com that you have to stop looking at the men in your life as if they are the last chance saloon and she was so right.

If the person you are with isn’t treating you right you have to stop believing they are your only option.

I say this because as embarrassing as it is to confess, there was a point in my past where I have begged someone to love me.

Thankfully, I have reached a place where I don’t do that any more.

I’m happy to say that people who aren’t attracted to me are no longer attractive to me.

Asking someone to like me, love me, care about me, visit with me, spend time with me isn’t something I’m into.

I recognize that by the very definition the person for me – will actually like me!

And so when I find myself in situations where I recognize that I clearly care more than the other person I remove my energy from that interaction and refocus it towards people who give me reciprocity.

The first example of me intentionally doing this was when I separated from my ex-husband.

After accepting that my marriage was over I felt so unloved.

I felt like no one in the world loved me.

At the thought of how unlovable I felt I would get so emotionally cold and alone that I would actually physically experience goosebumps.

So one day I pulled out a dry erase marker and on my bathroom mirror I wrote the names of everyone who I knew loved me.

The list included my mother, children, aunts and uncles, close coworkers, dear friends and several of my cousins.

By the time I finished my mirror was filled with scores of people who loved me.

Everyday when I woke up I would read off the names of all the people who loved me and some days additional people would come to my remembrance and I would add them.

And then each day I would make a conscious effort to contact as many of those people as I possibly could.

Sometimes I sent text messages, other times it was a phone call, or I would drop a card in the mail. I would have lunch with coworkers who had become friends and go over to spend time with close friends after work.

But most importantly during that time I also reconnected with myself.

I started exercising, I pampered myself at the salon, I bought new clothes, I ate better, I worked on my spiritual life and I loved on me.

Refocusing my attention from the one person who didn’t love me to those who did and onto myself wasn’t easy because I had created a habit of observing evidence of me not being lovable. However, with time I stopped focusing on the person who didn’t love me and I was giving my time and energy to the people who did.

Sometimes we think that we have to replace romantic love with romantic love.

But I was able to successfully replace unrequited romantic love with requited platonic and familial love.

My point is I had convinced myself that no one would ever love me because my ex-husband didn’t and with some work I retrained my thoughts to recognize that I was overlooking all the people who do love me and that there would be more to come.

I know for some the concern is the desire to replace romantic love with romantic love.

But as for me, once I accepted that there was a plethora of people in my life who adored me and started loving on myself it helped me to retrain my thinking that if my ex-husband didn’t love me that no one else would.

And in time I started to meet men who were attracted to me.

However, I truly believe that if I would have kept holding on to the scraps of a marriage that was most certainly over I probably would have never had the opportunity to spend time with men who genuinely enjoyed having me in their company.

I would have stayed with someone who ignored me and called me names instead of having soulful conversations with someone who enjoyed me and called me beautiful.

So when I catch myself thinking that I have no other options, I recall those two situations where I let go of the fear of having no other options if I were to leave a job that I felt physically ill going to and the time when I left a marriage that beat me down emotionally and came out better on the other side.

I can truly say my life is so much richer now because I chose me.

I left those situations without a new love in sight or without a job in hand because I let go of my fear and my scarcity mentality.

Love,
Renata Nicole

© Renata Pittman Smith and RenataNicole, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Renata Pittman Smith and RenataNicole with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

I Know What I Want!

I rarely go window shopping.

When I do it’s because I have a vague idea of what I am looking for and I want to look around to help myself narrow in on what I really want.

The majority of the time when I enter a store I know the exact item I would like to purchase and cannot be convinced to get anything else.

Before making a purchase, I have done my research, I have price shopped, read all the online reviews and even know what retailer I want to purchase the item from.

Sales people have a very hard time trying to convince me into purchasing any additional accessories or picking out another item.

If it is something that I have to save up for in order to purchase I work hard at putting money away over time so that I will be prepared to make the purchase.

I’m an informed buyer, I know what I want and what I don’t want and if a store doesn’t have the item in stock, I can assure you that I will be shopping elsewhere.

My kids see me as stubborn – but I know what I want.

I have often gone shopping with friends and they would notice that I didn’t purchase any items on our outing. When they questioned me about it I will tell them I didn’t intend to buy anything and so all I did was looked around and made a mental assessment of things that I may want in the future. They would shake their head at me but like I said – I know what I want.

So today I was laying on my couch scrolling through my Facebook news feed thinking about how I struggle finding what I am looking for in love.

I playfully went over the notion that it was because as one of my friends said “I was allergic to love”, but when I became honest I accepted my truth, I didn’t know what I wanted.

Or at least I wasn’t consciously aware.

I mean ask me what I want when it came to shoes, clothes, perfume, jewelry, makeup, food, books, cleaning products, household appliances, vehicles and a home and I can tell you everything you need to know but when it came to knowing what I wanted as far as a romantic partner I had a foggy idea but it most certainly wasn’t something I was clear on.

I guess perhaps it really is true that you can’t know what you want until you know what you don’t want.

I mean of course I knew I didn’t want a partner who was physically abusive towards me and I knew I wanted someone I was physically attracted but honestly for the most part I was feeling my way out.

Sad to say it was because I wasn’t secure in who I am. I was fearful that I wouldn’t find what I really wanted because I didn’t see myself as worthy of the ideal partner I had in mind which would result in me being alone.

I’m okay with being alone if I can’t find what I’m looking for but the concept of not being good enough for the type of person I desire is pretty disheartening.

Unfortunately, I have spent the bulk of my life not seeing myself as valuable and telling myself a lie that I had to take what I could get.

That’s how I ended up married at 18, I had honestly convinced myself that if I didn’t marry him no one else would ever want to marry me.

Surprise, surprise to my 18-year-old self I have turned down multiple offers of marriage.

Thankfully, I have grown and become aware that I am indeed valuable.

I have also learned that I must have boundaries for what I will and will not accept.

By having boundaries I stopped being a doormat.

I will not be uncomfortable in order for another person to be happy.

They are free to seek someone who will allow them to do the things that make me uncomfortable but that person will not be me.

After 32 years of not loving myself I created a huge self-love deficit that I have been consciously working on for about 4 1/2 years.

While I have a lot of work to do to reverse that deficit the good news is that I have grown by leaps and bounds.

I have the strength to walk away from relationships that harm me, and that takes a lot of self-love to do.

And so I decided to use that strength to take walk away from my scarcity mentality that if I develop a criteria of what I will and will not accept then it will make it harder to find someone.

A scarcity mentality is what causes many of us to stay in unhealthy relationships because we are afraid that if we leave that no one else is coming. As I previously posted there are over 7 billion people on this planet I promise you someone else is coming.

And with that knowledge I have decided to open myself up to loving and being loved in a romantic capacity to a higher degree.

But in order for me to do that I aknowledgeI flat-out must have standards to go along with my boundaries.

There has to be standards that a guy has to meet in order for me to give him the green light. I had blogged about it before and I had created some standards but I’m going to have to raise the bar.

For one thing he has to be sure about what he wants because I have become sure about what I want.

No more attracting people who are confused all just so we can sit there together in a sea of confusion gleefully wasting one another’s time.

Much to my chargrin my low-level of self-esteem is why I hadn’t developed more standards in the past. I was afraid to reduce the size of the dating pool out of fear I would end up with no one at all.

I simply had to develop standards because when you don’t have standards or in my case very few standards for what you want you will accept darn near anything.

You have to know what you want!

If you know what you want, you will easily dismiss what you don’t want.

Once you make up in your mind people will have a hard time trying to convince you of otherwise and it will help you know what you are looking for when you see it.

Therefore, if you want someone who has the same spiritual beliefs as you and you meet someone who doesn’t you will see it as your signal that they aren’t a match.

I’m not talking about having some inordinate list of criteria for a person to meet but I am talking about having standards for what you will and will not accept in a partner.

I realized that I simply had to outline what I wanted or else I would attract people who are just as confused as to what they want as I am.

I’ve been walking around with a fear of a broken heart since my divorce four years ago and even with that fear I ended up with my biggest heartbreak only two years ago.

So being afraid of opening up is definitely not the way to protect yourself.

Dating and just seeing where it goes without being attached to the outcome has been freeing for me, but I realize I must first do a better job of pre-qualifying the men I date before I try to see where anything goes with them.

And in addition to sticking to a higher level of standards I have also decided that the same way that I do the work of saving up so that I can afford big purchase items is the same way I need to spiritually, mentally, physically and emotionally prepare myself to have someone come into my life.

And so after putting pen to paper and making my list – I know what I want!

Love,

Renata Nicole

© Renata Pittman Smith and RenataNicole, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Renata Pittman Smith and RenataNicole with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

See Me, Don’t See Me!

“If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.” – Audre Lorde 

I’ve been thinking about this quote a lot this week. It came to my remembrance while I was thinking about an interaction that I had with someone.

I was having a conversation with an individual who made it clear to me that they view me in a way that I perceive as negative.

When they expressed their opinion of me, I stood there going through my mental lexicon trying to determine what words I could say to redeem myself.

I wanted to explain to them that I wasn’t how they perceived me.

I wanted to show them they had made an error in their judgment.

But then I slowed my breath and became mindful of my thought process and I shifted my thoughts from wanting to defend myself, to doing some self-examination as to why I felt the need to do so.

For as Byron Katie says, “defense is the first act of war”.

I realized that the reason I wanted to defend myself was because I had placed value on what they thought of me.

And clearly that value I had assigned to them at the moment in time that they shared their dismay with me superseded my own value of myself.

I had made them the judge, jury and executioner of who I was and they had placed my head on the chopping block while I was getting ready to beg for mercy.

Once I realized that somewhere along the line I had placed them on a pedestal, I immediately began the process of mentally knocking them off.

They are free to think however they choose to think about me and I am free to know who I really am.

They don’t know my story, my thoughts, my hopes, my dreams, my fears, my goals, my heartbreak or my pain better than I do and yet there I was prepared to try to get them to see me for who I was.

And there lies another problem.

When people make poor judgment calls on you it shows that they don’t really see you.

And their assessment says more about who they are then who you are.

When people can’t see you it’s often because they are projecting their views, their past, their pain, their hurt onto you.

They can’t see you, they see themselves and their own inner turmoil.

And I have reached a point in my life where I choose not to surround myself with people who can’t see me.

It doesn’t feel good to me and I have decided to do what feels good.

I am at a place where I have enough healthy relationships with people who I don’t have to expend my energy on unhealthy ones.

It’s not my job to convince people of anything.

They can go about thinking whatever and however they choose and I’m still going to be me.

It took me a long time to get to where I am and while I have a pattern of choosing emotionally unhealthy people to interact with I have been working diligently to break that pattern.

I still have a long way to go but that doesn’t mean I have to go back to where I was.

I have decided that if someone judges my genuine heart-felt gestures as manipulative they are not my type of person. Perhaps they are guarded, perhaps they have been lied to a lot in the past… but guess what it’s not my problem. Furthermore, it is by no means an alarm that I need to prove that I am not manipulative.

It is projected that there are 7,530,103,737 people in the world today. I find it hard to believe that I can’t find someone who cannot see me for who I really am.

Especially when I have people in my life who currently see my authentic self.

And even if I didn’t have those people and every living soul saw me dimly, I see the light in me and my sight alone is enough.

So if I deal with someone who calls me a liar when I am speaking my truth, their claim has no bearing on me.

It probably just means they are used to being lied to.

Because only a person used to dealing with impostors would fail to be able to point out the real McCoy.

When you are familiar with authenticity you know it when you see it.

I’m not in the business of proving myself to people.

I have been there, done that and I refuse to wear the T-shirt!

My job is to remain true to who I really am.

If you have read my blog for any length of time you are all too familiar with the fact that I have previously fallen into the trap of trying to convince someone outside of myself of who I really am.

Sad to say I have tried on more than one occasion to prove to another human being who was just as flawed as myself that I was “good enough”.

Ummmmm how about no.

Never again!

See me, don’t see me, I’m still going to be me!

I have decided to give my time to people who can see me for who I am and who want to interact with me based on that perception.

Begging people to like me, love me, care about me and validate me is not, has not and never will be a healthy path.

I value my opinion enough not to need someone to give me a gold star and write good job on my work.

I don’t need anyone to co-sign or give me a good old stamp of approval.

Seeking external validation isn’t healthy and it makes you powerless.

I decided to let them go on living their life seeing me poorly, because at the end of the day I know who I am and I am pleased with me.

See me, don’t see me, I’m still going to be me no external validation needed!

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Renata Nicole

Love,

Renata Nicole

© Renata Pittman Smith and RenataNicole, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Renata Pittman Smith and RenataNicole with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Muddy Waters

Trying to figure this thing out and how to go about it and coming up empty handed.

Feeling like I’m on the right path only to realize I have no idea where I have landed.

Looking back at the past thinking I have treaded muddy waters before and certainly came out clean.

Recognizing the present and hoping that my triumphant past will mirror my present and failure isn’t what my life will mean.

Glimpsing towards the future and imagining that things are better than they seem and this nightmare isn’t reality and simply a dream.

Thinking of the time I felt like a hamster on a wheel cause no matter how hard I ran I just couldn’t gain traction.

Then remembering how now I have noticed I’ve most certainly moved forward and it was not in vain that I gave action.

And yet here I am in muddy waters hoping it will all come out clean in the wash.

Here I am trying to calculate the damage and wondering what will be the final cost.

Will I breathe when this is over or will I expire?

I mean it feels like life or death cause the life I had before has certainly retired.

It’s something about a setback that makes you set back and think.

What am I, who am I, where am I, why am I, how am I ……

I am at the brink….

The brink of something new, something foreign, something unknown, unseen yet necessary.

Perhaps the bump in the road wasn’t sent to my by my adversary.

Maybe I called it forth knowing it was needed.

Perchance in the recesses of my soul I knew this task must be completed.

Could it be that stumbling block is the very thing I need in order to get to where I am going to?

Huh…

If I am honest had I known the valleys necessary for this journey I doubt I would really have agreed to go through.

I had to get thrown off course to be put on the right path.

I had to cry those tears and relearn how to laugh.

That collapsed ego, that frustration, that heartbreak, that loss, that grief……

Eww don’t you dare mention that grief that made me ache from the crown of my head to the soles of my feet

That grief – you know that grief that left me paralyzed….

Paralyzed in the pain that was of colossal size.

I had to hypnotize my mind, and numb the pain before I could even begin to realize….

Realize that my expansion could not come forth and I could not increase in size without what appeared to me as my demise.

My heart’s truth is that even with tears in my eyes I recognize the pain was mandatory for me to achieve my prize.

Battle fatigue from fighting in war after war.

Crying out “No, please don’t send me back to chaos no more!”.

That’s the thought echoing until a new thought forms.

In the time when they tell you, you got to fight once more.

You start crying but you realize you got arsenal in store.

So you start saying okay I’m going to make it out of here or die trying,

Cause last time I fell I spent way too much time crying.

Nah this time I’m retracing my steps and my lessons learned I’ll be applying.

Cause I ain’t spending more time than necessary to go from falling to flying.

All I know is what I know.

And I’m going to take that knowledge and from here I will go.

I will go to a place previously unknown.

Yet granted to me by past seeds I have sown.

This is my story, line by line.

Every period, apostrophe, grammatical error and broken rhyme.

Yeah them muddy waters are going to be treaded and where I’m headed I promise you I’ll come out clean destination unknown except in my dreams.

Love,

Renata Nicole

© Renata Pittman Smith and RenataNicole, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Renata Pittman Smith and RenataNicole with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Don’t be a Back Burner to Your Front Burner!

I realize that everyone doesn’t like cooking.

But if you are a cook with a basic level of experience you know that there are certain things that when cooking require your focus and attention. These are the types of things you need to watch and cater to and you may even need to stir constantly.

Typically when you cook these types of items you will have it on the front burner.

And then there are other items like a sauce or stew that need some time to simmer.

Those are items that don’t need a lot of attention, so they can be placed on the back burner.

You can often put back burner items on low heat, and perhaps you can even cover the pot because there isn’t even any need to look at it.

You simply put it on the back burner, set and forget it because it isn’t something that is a priority.

When I am cooking I focus on what is on my front burner because in that moment I am more concerned about those items.

Well, there have been times in my life where I have had someone on my front burner who had me on their back burner.

I would find myself paying attention to these people, and being attentive, while all the while I was clearly on their back burner.

These are the types of people who whether consciously or subconsciously only gave me bread crumbs of attention.

If I am honest about my interaction in these situations, it occurred to me in the back of my mind that I was on their back burner but ultimately I made excuses for it.

At the time when that took place, the insecurities in me were screaming out, how do I get this person to put me on their front burner.

Well, I had to learn to calm those insecurities down.

Because what I have come to understand over the years is that if someone has you on their back burner it is not your job to figure out how to get on their front burner.

No, your job is to figure out how you are going to de-escalate their place in your life.

If you are not a priority in their life, then they should not be a priority in your life.

It doesn’t mean that they are a bad person, nor does it mean that you’re a bad person.

It simply means you are not matching where you have prioritized one another.

For some reason people are prone to do this weird thing where we think that if we keep trying to show people how much we care and value them that they will in turn elevate our position in their lives.

This is our way of looking for external validation.

I can tell you from hard knock experience validation doesn’t work like that.

Validation comes from within.

No one outside of ourselves can validate us.

I recognize that we want to be liked.

But it is much healthier to find this experience by liking the people who like you.

I have a person who is in my life who previously reached out from time to time to invite me to the movies and dinner.

At the time I had three part time jobs so I didn’t have a lot of spare time. Additionally, my money was funny and my change was strange so I didn’t really know how I could afford to do any extracurricular activities.

My thought was how am I going to pay for these things or find time in my schedule.

In turn I let her know I couldn’t go because I work all the time.

That didn’t have anything to do with her.

It didn’t mean I didn’t like her, or that she was a bad person.

It meant my priority was making sure I had enough money to provide for my children and that I had bills to pay and mouths to feed.

My children and finances were on my front burner.

Hanging out with her was on my back burner.

In turn she did something very smart.

After asking me maybe twice to do something and being turned down, she found someone else to hang out and spend her time with who was willing to put her as a priority in their life.

When my schedule changed and I stopped working so much, I gave her a call and we went and hung out and spent time together.

The the thing that she did right that many of us fail to do is that she found someone who prioritized her in accordance to the way she prioritized them.

When she realized I was not going to be her go to girl she found someone who would be.

Many of us don’t do that.

When the signs come that someone doesn’t value us we try to see if we can find ways to get people who have placed us on their back burner to change their minds and put us on their front burner.

The mistake that many us make is that we take it being on someones back burner personal.

And some of us even go as far as to ignore the signs that we are on the back burner.

Signs such as when you ask if the person would like to hang out and they respond with phrases like:

“We’ll see.”

“Maybe.”

“I’m going to check my schedule and get back to you.”

“I’m just so busy.”

And then when they want to spend time with you it’s always last-minute.

These are the types of people who always have an excuse for why they are too busy to set plans with you.

I had to accept that this was life’s way of signaling to me that I was not a priority in these people’s lives.

People who want to spend time with you, make time for you.

Perhaps they don’t always agree to hang out when you make the suggestion but they at least give you a counter offer for meeting up.

For example they might say, “I can’t hang out on Monday, but I am free Thursday.”

So now when I realize I have someone on my front burner who has me on their back burner I know I have some accessing to do.

You see, I have a tendency to try to justify people’s behavior and give them the benefit of the doubt when I really shouldn’t.

I have to consciously work not to fall into an unhealthy pattern of making excuses for their behavior by thinking ‘well their busy’.

Especially when I know full well, no one is “that busy”.

When someone puts me on their back burner the truth is that I simply am not a priority.

Over the years I have worked to get to a place in my mind where I’m not worried about losing people.

I don’t know what it is that causes many of us to believe that if we make a mistake that the possibility of a relationship is over, the person will never come back and that we have ruined it.

I myself have been so dramatic that I truly believed that it meant I would never find love.

It used to be that when it occurred to me that I wasn’t a priority in someones life I felt the need to do something to become a priority to them.

Thankfully, I know realize that if someone is too busy for me than I need to start being too busy for them.

That other person has come to an awareness that we are not matching and I needed to come to the same conclusion.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a romantic, platonic, or business relationship if the other person doesn’t see you as a top priority and puts you on their back burner than by all means mirror them and put them on your back burner.

There is no need to scream and shout for them to put you at the front of their stove.

One of the ways I have been able to move away from this unhealthy habit was by coming out of the scarcity mentality.

I used to get so caught up in thinking that “this person is the person and I have to make this work”.

That’s not a healthy way of thinking and I had to step away from it.

I started to realize that there are millions of people in this world and that this one person not liking and/or priortizing me didn’t mean that everyone else wouldn’t either.

If someone is meant to be in your life and you are being your authentic self, that person is going to be in your life.

The real thing you need to be doing is asking yourself “why on earth do I have this person on my front burner when they have made it blatantly obvious that I am on their back burner?”

If you catch yourself focusing heavily upon someone, your stirring the relationship by reaching out, adding ingredients by investing your time, money, energy and effort only to realize they have you’re on their back burner with the pot covered or heaven forbid you find yourself in their crock pot by all means stop making them a priority in their life!

That action of putting someone on high priority who has us on low priority leads to overinvesting and it will leave you feeling bitter, empty and resentful.

When we over-invest and over-give it leaves us frustrated. But if we are truly honest with ourselves the other person is giving us signals by showing us and at times even telling us as hard as they can that we are not a priority in their life.

We have to realize how people perceive us doesn’t have any bearing on who we are.

We have to stop give people so much power in our lives.

Us not being a priority to a particular person doesn’t mean that we are not a priority or that we worthless.

It simply means we are not a priority in their life.

When this occurs we need to move on and find someone who does see us as a front burner item.

Someone who does see value in interacting with us the same way we see value in interacting with them.

There was a time in my life where I sought validation from others to such an extreme that it was clearly unhealthy.

I didn’t have this problem so much from women but when it came to men I really had problems.

I took things to extremes when a guy didn’t like me, so much so that I thought it meant I was unlovable.

Thankfully, I learned that it simply meant he doesn’t like me.

I came to learn that just because someone is of the opposite sex it doesn’t mean that they get to be judge and jury of what my worth and value is.

Recognize that if someone doesn’t see your worth and value all that means is they don’t see your worth and value.

You have to get to a place where if someone isn’t feeling you that you take it as a signal that you need to start asking yourself why are you feeling them?

You have to understand that it’s okay if someone doesn’t want to spend time with you.

It could very well be that they are busy.

But ultimately when it comes to dating and matters of the heart don’t give your heart to someone who doesn’t have time for you.

It’s not a good look.

You need to invest in someone who is as excited about spending time with you as you are about spending time with them.

If they are not excited about interacting with you, it would behoove you to accept it and realize it’s not a match.

Do what my female friend did and go and be with other people who want to be in your life.

Don’t wait around for people to pick you up.

If I am completely honest with myself the people who put me on their back burner who I had on my front burner should have been on my back burner the whole time also.

The thing is they simply noticed how to properly prioritize our relationship first.

You see, when I paused and thought about if I even really liked that person that much the truth is the answer was a resounding no.

It was my neediness, insecurities, red flags and ego that were showing up and making me think the person should be my front burner person.

When you come to the awareness of what you are doing it will become much easier to station people correctly in your life.

It’s okay if someone doesn’t have you on your front burner, put them on your back burner and still eat.

Don’t try to get them to give you more attention.

One of the signs that someone is meant to be in your life is that they are going to want to spend time with you.

I’m not saying that people don’t ever circle around.

But I am saying that no one needs to be breaking their neck for people.

Check your neediness and insecurities at the door.

Step back and realize you don’t need to be breaking your neck for someone who isn’t trying to see you, pick the phone up or even return a text.

Love,

Renata Nicole

© Renata Pittman Smith and RenataNicole, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Renata Pittman Smith and RenataNicole with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.