Starting Over

Talking to someone that has wronged you is a difficult thing to deal with. The reason why that is because you aren’t sure if you can trust that person again. So, what do you do? Should you just stay away and never speak to them again? Or should you just take the high road and see what will come from it?

When I went out to lunch with my Dad Sunday, talking to each other started out slow. It was like we were strangers trying to carry a conversation on an elevator. Finally, my Dad broke the awkwardness saying, “Ariel, before you told me how you felt, I thought I was doing right by you,” “I didn’t think about how you need time with me.” My Dad said, looking at me with sadness in his eyes. I sat up in my seat. I could not believe that he actually heard me. I just knew that he would find ways to make this a non-issue. I felt so comfortable with what I was hearing, all my bitterness and anger was falling off with each acknowledgment he made. At that moment I felt so proud to say that this man is my Father. Now, I want you to understand that I am still taking things slow with him. I want to make sure that he is genuinely willing to start over with our relationship. But just knowing that he owns his fault, makes me feel that we have a chance to rebuild.

I want everyone that reads this blog who has ever been hurt or has ever hurt someone to take from this story two things. First, come in with a clear and open heart. If you are still holding on to the hurt, you will never be able to receive anything from that person. It is okay to be hurt, but if you are trying to move forward, you must let go. Secondly, only have the conversation when YOU are ready. Don’t allow anyone to rush you into a conversation. You have to move when you feel that the time is right, and only you will know when the time is right.

Daddy-Daughter Date 2020

Tomorrow I am going out with my dad, and I am so nervous about going. I feel like this is the first time I have ever met him. I don’t know what I want to talk about. Should I just talk about what’s going on now? Should I bring up our fight in May? I don’t know if I want to be open to letting him back in.

Ugh, this meeting would happen before my therapist appointment on the First of July. Get it together, Ari…

All I can think to myself, is that this man is my dad; why am I so nervous? I guess if your last real conversation with your dad were so awkward that you both and him paused for at least 20 seconds before you started your next subject, you would be nervous too.

I just have to do it. I have to stop overthinking this meeting. If my dad wants a true fresh start with me, I must allow him the room to do so. I cannot hold on to the past if I want to build a future father-daughter relationship with him. I have to come with an open mind and a heart to receive.

Happy Again

It has been about two months since I felt truly happy. Do not get me wrong; I did have some happy moments come up in my life like getting a new job as a Director for a child care center, but I wasn’t delighted.That “wake up and know your day is going to be a successful day” happy. I mean, I wasn’t even happy on my birthday, so what would make me think that I would ever be truly happy. Thank you so much, Depression, sis you did your thing right here! The question I keep asking myself while I try to run the batteries of my brain down, what are you looking for to make you happy? Happiness comes to people who are willing to find their happiness.

Often do we look to others to permit us to be happy. We forget that what others may discover is happiness, might not be our way of finding happiness. With me, I thought to have closer bonds with people will make my happiness meter jump off the scales. I thought by having my dad’s love, and understanding will lift this cloud of sadness. It did not. I only felt myself still seeking for more. It only was until I sat back and said that I would be fine with or without the approval of someone’s love and understanding. I start looking at everything I was blessed with. I have a wonderful and caring husband, a mother that would go to bat for me no matter the cost and friends that are willing to ride out with me if need be. I began to smile, thinking about the memories I have made with them, and it lifted my cloud.

When you have a moment where the cloud of sadness began to follow you, began to sit back and think of the things you were blessed with and notice how that sadness will roll away. Keep your mind focus and know that everyone deserves their happiness in their own way and time.

Are We Really Free?

I just celebrated my 33rd birthday yesterday, but I cannot find joy. Another black man was sentenced to death before he could ever stand before a judge. I cannot wrap my head around why black lives are not taken into account. Why are we always the target? A black man is murdered, but instead of talking about that, they will bring up his run-ins with the police. Does that mean he is not eligible for fair treatment by the police? Help me out because I am trying to find the reason we cannot have justice.

I think about my husband, my father, my brother and brother-in-law, male cousins, my nephews, and uncles leaving out of the safety of their homes, not knowing if today will be the day someone decides to make them their next kill. I pray every morning that they are alright, and they make it back home. This should not be the world that we live in. America is supposed to be the land of the free, right? Yeah right. We are not all free. If we can’t get the chance to plead our case before our lives are seized, then freedom is not for all. I am becoming more and more numb every time I see a black person murdered. This should not be life. It is so difficult to find happiness when sadness is all around us.

We have to fight—black lives matter. Please hear us when we say that we matter. We want the freedom that was promised to us. Allow us to live. We just want to matter too.

A Letter to Little Ari

Dear Little Ari,

I am sorry that you are hurting. I am sorry that you did not get the love that you wanted from your daddy. You are such a beautiful and smart little girl. He does not know what he is missing. You are going to become a wonderful and loving person. You will find a husband that will love you, and all the things you think are flaws. You will reach every goal you set because you have a determined spirit. Will you long for your daddy love? Yes. But you are going to make it. You will have happy days, and when your days get tough, do not be too hard on yourself, little Ari. You are human, and it is okay that you make mistakes.

I want you to know little Ari that you are loved. You are perfect just the way God made you. Do not change yourself because you do not fit a mold that was not designed for you. You have nothing to prove to anyone. Have fun, and do not overthink the things that are placed in front of you. You are very strong, even though this may feel like your lowest point. You have the heart of a fighter, and you will win at everything you set your mind to do. Do not give up on yourself. You are not a failure. You deserve anything you wish for and then some. Your mama is proud of you, and she believes in you. The support you will get from your mama will be enough to keep you going. Understand that you are not to blame for the hurt that was brought to you. Keep Smiling little Ari. You are a star in the making. I love you!

Love,

Ari from 2020

The Power of No

How many of us can say we can take no well? It is okay if you cannot, but what if we can look at the word no differently? Now before you say there is no way that the word no can be changed into a positive concept, I want to tell you a story about how the word no went from being the worst word ever created to landing my new job.

Education is my life, so much I am currently obtaining my Doctorate in Educational Psychology. Yes, I am a nerd. I always wanted to run a school or daycare, but life after Undergrad took a toll on me. When I landed a Preschool Teacher position at a child development center, I was excited. I loved the children, and I thought this could be a job that I could move up into a Director position. When I saw there was an opening for a floor lead, I quickly applied. “I should get this,” I said to myself, “I know Early Childhood Education like the back of my hand.” When I went to talk to the Director about it, she said there was no way I could be a floor lead. I was hurt. I have never dealt with someone telling me that I was not good enough. The parents loved me, and the kids did too, so I did not understand why she did not see the good work I could bring to the position. I shortly left because I knew that I would never get a chance to prove myself.

When I became an Academic Advisor at a University, I took to a Director there. He told me I had the potential to become a manager because of how effective I was at my job. He would give me articles to read about effective leadership, and I even started my master’s in Organizational Leadership to prove to him I was ready for the next step in my career. I knew I had a shot for the Advising Manager position that was opening up. I put my resume in, and I waited. When my Director came into our team huddle to announce who he was choosing, he selected a guy who did not have experience in working with students at all. You might be saying, “Ari that is rude,” hear me out, his position before that manager position was handling degree processing. Also, he could not calm a student down to save his life; and he would give me all of the “high touched” students as he called them. Again, I felt defeated. I could not understand why my Director would give me articles to read and put me on special projects that managers typically handled but could not see the leadership potential in me.

I became an Academic Advisor for another college; I knew I wasn’t going to move up there because my manager was only 10 years old than me. Also, she said I did not have the emotional intelligence to handle leadership, which, if you know anything about me, I am the definition of emotional intelligence. I know you might be thinking, “Ari, when will you get to the part where the no’s turn into something positive?” Just follow me for a little while longer. I recently applied for a Director position at a childcare center. I went in knowing that I did not have the managerial skills other than what I learned from my Organizational Leadership degree, but I could not pass on the chance to interview. I went into the interview, and I gave it my all. I left out of there feeling good about it, but still, in the back of my mind, I was thinking that another no was coming. I received a call on the last Monday of April from the Executive Director of the center. “Hi Ariel, I have some news for you about the position.” He said. “Yes?” I said nervously. Will this conversation be any different from the rest? “I want to welcome you to our team,” He said. “You are our newest Director!” I could not believe it. All the times I have heard no, and how I wasn’t ready for this type of responsibility, someone saw my passion and wanted to see me impact a team.

No’s can be tough to handle, but as my therapist said, no just means next opportunity. Someone’s no to you will be someone’s yes soon enough. You have to push away your doubts and allow yourself to get back out there to search for that next opportunity. Do not let no keep you from trying to reach a goal of yours.

Fighting the Unknowns

Many of us suffer with the future because we do not know what will happen. We want to be able to plan our next move, and no matter how well we think we have things mapped out, we are never truly prepared. Our anxiety plays a part in this because it wants to know where we are going before we get there. But how can we fight the unknown? Let’s talk about it.

One way for us to fight the feeling of the unknown is by living in the moment. We cannot change our past, nor do we know if the future is promised us, but we do have the chance to shape our present. When we live in the moment, we can prevent things from happening that may impact our future. We cannot fix anything when we are so fixated on how things were or how things maybe later on down the road. The only way you can calm your anxiety is by thinking about what you can control today.

Another thing is being okay with option number 2 or 7. We come up come with all these plans, but most of us want the very first one to stick. And do not get me wrong, your first one could be the one, however, what do you have for backup if it does not work? I have heard a lot of people say that having options is accepting failure, but that is not true; having other options is being realistic. As the old saying goes, do not put all of your eggs in one basket. By relying on one plan, you are setting yourself up from a major let down if your plan does not go the way you want it to work. Look at how many people we see as successful; they had several plans and options to fall back on if their first plan failed. Do not allow yourself to feel foolish because you want to make sure you have all your options laid in front of you.

To sum this post up, we cannot predict what the unknown looks like to us; but we can enjoy what life has for us today. Life is not a one size fit all. Life is about making choices and learning from them. Love the life you are living, and push through the unknowns. It will be worth it.

A Childless Woman on Mother’s Day

I’ve always wanted to be a mother. Ever since I’ve received my first stroller and doll, I knew that I was going to be a mother. Well, as of right now, I am not a mother, and I am becoming very defeated. I have cried every Mother’s Day since I’ve been married. I cry because although I am happy for my friends and family that are mothers, I wish that I could experience the same joy.

Since November, my husband and I have been actively trying to have a baby. I went to my Gynecologist, and he gave me so much hope. He ran tests and checked my eggs. He told me when to try and what medications will increase my chance. But every month, nothing. My mind keeps telling me that I am less than a woman because I cannot get pregnant. I cry every time I see a pregnancy announcement or new birth. When will it be me? I must have done something in my past that has caused me not to be able to become pregnant. But what is it? I want to be able to right this wrong. I look at a baby or a child and immediately wish I had a child to love. My friends tell me that my time is coming, but I do not see it. Maybe it was not meant to be. Everyone cannot be mothers, I guess.

I am trying to remain positive, but it gets harder every day to find that spirit. I know I should not beat myself up, but I cannot help it. The only thing I can do is continue to pray that one day I am blessed to have a little one call me mama. For right now, I can be happy that I am someone’s Aunt and godmother. Hopefully, my dream will come true. It has to come true.

Taking Time for You

I have another journal prompt that I want to share. The prompt reads as such: What do you do when you get time alone? This one was a tough one for me because my one weakness is giving too much of myself to everyone. But I am going to try to answer this prompt. Here we go.

One thing that I do when I want time to myself is to put my phone on Do Not Disturb (DND). Yes, I turn it on real quick! DND helps me turn the outside world off. DND is not a nasty way to tell people to leave you alone; it merely is to recharge yourself from the day. DND is a saving grace when you want to be alone and disconnect. Like my Mama always say, you cannot be good for anyone if you are not good to yourself.

Another thing that I do when I get alone time is to sit and write at Starbucks or Barnes and Noble. Being out of the house helps me to get away from the familiar. When you sit in your home, it is so easy to watch TV or start cleaning up things that are not messy. You cannot be fully productive when it is so easy to lay down and take a nap. Being out of the house makes you channel your thoughts and creativity. Just step outside of your home and watch how much work you will get done. 

The last thing that I do with time alone is to listen to music. Music has a way of calming me down from a stressful day. I put on my earphones, and I zone out. Music takes your mind on a journey. You can reflect on past relationships, on the good times that you had with your friend, or just pretend that you are at a concert. Take the time to incorporate music into your Me Time.

We feel that taking time for ourselves and being selfish, but it is not. We need time for ourselves so that we can unwind from our day or our week. Do not allow people to make you feel bad because you want time alone. Again, you cannot be your best self if you are unable to charge your batteries. Even if you take an hour out of your day to spend time alone, do it. It’s worth it.

Forgive Yourself

It can be somewhat easier to forgive others before we forgive ourselves. Why is that? Don’t we owe it to ourselves to forgive ourselves? Let us dive deeper into this topic. Yes, I have a story to tell. 😂

My last job I was as an Academic Advisor for a college. One thing that I loved about the job was watching students finishing their degrees and feel confident that they can reach any goal they set. The thing that I disliked about the job was the politics. I felt the school only cared about having students packed in the classrooms instead of making sure students were ready for their careers. There was a time where we had a student that was suffering from a mental delay and could not focus on passing the two classes she was taking. She failed two semesters, and my manager, the Dean of Students Services, wanted me to place her in another major so we can hit our registration number. I had to fight my whole team for them to understand that this student was not going to be successful in a college that cannot meet her needs.

When I left, well, when my manager got mad because I placed my two weeks’ notice in and she made me leave that same day, I felt so bad. I thought I was letting the students down who came to me for advice and a shoulder to lean on. I also thought that I was letting my husband down because I took a major pay cut. I went to my new job, regretting my decision to leave. I thought that I was selfish, and I did not deserve to be happy.  I went to therapy two weeks after leaving my job, and I cried,  “I made a big mistake.” “How so?” My therapist asked. “Because I not only let my students down, I let my husband down.”  My therapist looked at me and gave me a kind smile. “Were you happy there?” She asked.

I started thinking about the things that I did not care for while I was there. “Not at all.” I said. “Sounds to me like you left to save yourself from being miserable.” She explained. She was right. Had I stayed, I would have been depressed and possibly had a mental breakdown from the stress. “You did not let anyone down,” my therapist said, “You freed yourself from being hurt.” Then she said, “Forgive yourself, Ariel.” After that session I went home, I looked at myself in the mirror, and I told myself that I forgive me.

I said all of that to say this; we need to be kinder to ourselves. We should not beat ourselves up because of what others think about our decisions. We have to do what is right for us because we are the only ones that will know what fits us. Self-love is forgiving yourself for things you have done, or you think you did to yourself. Forgiveness is the first step in taking the baggage off of you. If you want to be free of the cloudiness that is around you, look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself that you forgive you. Trust me; you will feel much better.