What I’ve Learned From: May

I knew this was going to go by fast. I think I mentioned this in one of my older posts but I take this time to reflect on the past month because it’s my way of slowing down and being intentional about my growth.

What I like to do, now that it’s a series on my blog, is I like to read what I learned from before. I think the biggest takeaway between April and May is: learn to embrace what’s uncomfortable and unknown but always remain grounded in who you are and the path you’re on. 

A lot of things happened in May. Well first, I moved which is honestly a lonely experience. I talk about it more in this post. Moving, in a nutshell, is lonely. I am so used to having all of my close friends within a few miles of me. I don’t have that luxury anymore and honestly, it’s been hard for me. It’s helped me grow but its unknown and uncomfortable but things are getting easier. I think it’s testing my patience, for sure. It’s helped that I travel to see my friends and my person or they come here. My childhood best friend even came to visit one weekend so it’s been easier because of that. But during the week, it’s been necessary TK time.

A lot of newness this month. I’ve learned to embrace it and absorb it. I moved May 5th. I write this on June 3rd, the day before I start my internship (big girl job, woot woot). So I’ve almost been here a month and it’s gone by SO fast.

I like exploring cities and I’ve gotten more comfortable putting myself out there. Even though I am a pretty extroverted person I get so much anxiety walking up to people and starting conversations with them. But when you’re new somewhere and you aren’t interacting with new people everyday you need to put yourself out there and make friends.

I think I’ve realized that there are some things and people that need to stay in your past. You need to be able to close a chapter and just move forward. It takes a lot of strength to remain present but it’s always for the best. People will come and go but you can’t settle for what you feel is wrong. This is the whole idea around being grounded in who you are.

I’ve sat down and talked to a lot of new faces this month. It’s scary and intimidating because a lot of these people were either older than me, smarter than me, more experienced than me. I fell into this trap of thinking that I wasn’t good enough to even sit and talk to them when in fact, I was I just needed to trust that I deserved to be there. I decided that instead of trying to gain something specific I would just open my ears and mind to what they had to say. But I’ve learned so much from listening. Is Anyone Really Listening? Yeah, I am. I think my biggest goal was to become more confident in what I’m doing. You need to trust that the path you’re on, despite what everyone elses may look like, fits your goals and ambitions.

I’m lucky to have someone close to me (cough cough Jason) who unconditionally supports what I do and who I am. I’ve never really had that before. What he’s taught me is that there is no one that will trust in your ability more than yourself. I see that reflected in everything he does. He is so grounded in who he is and what he’s doing it makes me want to have that level of security within myself.  He has a side hustle like I do. It’s inspiring to see someone work so hard at their craft and also show so much support for yours. It’s been one of the big reasons why I feel so grounded because I know what I am doing is great and requires a lot of work so I don’t need to explain that to someone. I can go on and on about how amazing of a person he is but seriously, having someone in your corner no matter how much you pride yourself on being independent, matters. We all want to be seen, heard, and understood. He does that and beyond.

I always say that the most unconventional paths lead to a lot of amazing lessons. This is so true. I’m slowly getting out of my comfort zone in a way that I haven’t been used to in the past. Embracing the newness of a new job, city, or even just a new mindset makes you evolve as a person. It’s SCARY but necessary. I’ve done a lot of amazing things towards my professional career goals this month.

Some highlights

The Steminist Campaign
Taking on a new client
Learning more about Charlotte’s identity, culture, and people.
I cut my hair and I feel like a whole new person.
I attended Charlotte’s 30 Under 30 Event
Stepping out of my comfort zone and learning to be okay with it
Staying true to what I feel is right for me in this moment.
Actively practicing self-care.

How do guys self-love? I’m seriously asking

Guys…this post is for you. I hear you and I’m here to say that there is a double standard and it’s really not fair. 

I am tired of hearing this narrative of self-love and self-care being limited to women. Like what is the guy equivalent to sheet masks and journaling? What does self love look like for guys? Why do we encourage it so much for women but not as much as men? I came across this because I look at the behaviors of some of the men in my life.

I even asked on Instagram..Men, how do you self love? A lot of people responded by saying “we don’t” and THAT’S CRAZY and really fucked up because we encourage women to love themselves but we don’t do the same for men.👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽 YOU CAN’T LOVE SOMEONE ELSE IF YOU DO NOT LOVE YOURSELF….TRUSTTTT. 👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽

Everyone has a things they like, do, and maintain to feel like themselves again. Someone’s room may be a reflection of where their headspace is at or how someone chooses to present themselves may tell us something about their mental psyche or maybe I am a crazy person reading into something that isn’t there. That is a huge possibility.

No but seriously…fellas…ask yourself: how do you guys self-love and what do we need to do as women to make sure you are supported, loved, and feel a deeper level of fulfillment. Let me know!!

I don’t think we as a women encourage men to take the time they need to take care of themselves. Keep in mind there are some women that mature a lot faster than men so I think that some of the frustration women have with men is their inability to be just like us or think like we do.

When we are in a relationship we come with our own stuff. That stuff is the good, the okay, the bad, and the ugly but we carry it and sometimes we are unaware of the things we carry with us. In our relationships, it may be revealed to us that there are insecurities we never we thought we had or there were things we needed to do in order to feel like ourselves OR we just now realized that we didn’t know ourselves or love ourselves enough to be with someone romantically.

As I reflect in my past relationships, I realized I did this a lot. I rarely created the space for my man to be himself and love himself because I made it all about me. Our society promotes this idea that the woman should be the epicenter of the love when really a relationship is about balance and partnering with someone else so they can be the best versions of themselves. 

I know that sometimes I assume someone is where I’m at mentally, emotionally, or intellectually and get frustrated when they didn’t react like how I thought they should react but honestly, who made me God? No one. I have no place in getting upset at someone who doesn’t react or isn’t in the same place as I am because that’s not something that can be influenced in the given moment. That shit takes time and I know I am not the most patient person. I may be totally wrong on this so please sound off in the comments and let me know because what I think needs to happen more is being clear about what we need as individuals to feel like ourselves to the people we interact with and we should ask the men in our lives what they need to feel like the men they are. It shouldn’t always be about us and making the women happy. When you are in a relationship, you are on a team and teams run into conflict but that’s only if values, time, ideas, or the person isn’t getting what they are looking for or need to be a better partner for the other person.

We need to be better by ourselves first before we devote time into trying to be better for someone else. I think men need to be encouraged to learn how to love themselves and recenter themselves independent of the relationship and if they aren’t able to do that then they aren’t able to be the partners we want them to be.

I encourage the men out there to think about how they can love themselves. Not what a person, item, or activity can do but what can you do for you that makes you feel like yourself? No one can take that away and no one can give you that internal gratification other than…YOU.

Ladies, I hear you and I am with you but LET YOUR MANS BE HIM and make sure your needs, values, and wants are communicated to your significant other so they know what they should keep in mind. It’s okay if your man takes time for himself. Trust that it’s better for him which in turn is better for you. Let him play Fornite for a few hours and during that time, grow yourself and find a way to make yourself happy. You should be able to stand alone before you stand together as a unit. I struggle with this a lot. Honestly, I hate feeling lonely but I love being alone. I love my own time where I invest in my skincare, myself, my content, whatever it is BUT I love to be around my significant other when I have one (single af and I’m honestly cool with it). When I am in a relationship, I love to be around that person a lot but I understand that for my own sake and mental wellbeing I can’t because you fall off of your priorities and responsibilities trying to please someone else’s

Regardless of who you are and what you identify with, you need to be your own person. You need to be honest with yourself about what YOU need to feel like yourself. No one knows who they are but you’re aware enough to know what you don’t like. Work on the things you are good at and the things you find comfort in. Reflect back onto your values to determine what you need to do in order to feel comfortably independent. 

What I’ve Learned From: Being Cheated On ☕

Sadly, I know a lot of people who have gone through this so these lessons aren’t just my own. These are lessons that I’ve learned from people that have gone through the same emotions that I have. In order to protect the identity of those involved, there are no names. My intention with this is NOT to bash this person or to harm his image in anyway shape or form. I am also no relationship expert so what’s written is from my experience and some other people’s experience as well. 

My aim is to offer any comfort or relief to anyone who can connect to this story. I am a story teller and this my truth… I’ve written and rewritten this post several times but I think it would do a disservice to anyone who is listening if I didn’t tell this story that has impacted the last 6 months of my life.. 

Without going in too much detail, I was cheated on in November and he was not the one who told me, she did. I had no connection to this girl and for the most part him and I were on really good terms before it happened. I happened to FaceTime about 15 minutes before the cheating commenced. We were together for about 3 months. The nature of our relationship past or present doesn’t matter too much because this post is reflecting on the lessons myself and others have learned.

So let’s get personal…

Obviously, I was really affected by this and I kept asking myself and him “why”. We weren’t the perfect couple but then again who is? There wasn’t anything lacking in the relationship. I can confidently say this because we have spoken about this over and over again. I realize that with things like this there isn’t a good why. There is no valid reason, excuse, or explanation.

Its a painful experience, I remember crying over it for days and just kept asking God, why? why me? why couldn’t he call me, I was right there? why? why? why? Since I couldn’t find the why in it, I blamed myself. I told myself it was me because it had to be. After I spoke to some other people who went through this, I realized that this is a very common thing to do. You begin to blame yourself and question your worth. You think that you could have done more in the relationship or that you did something to cause this when really that’s not the case. That’s what I did and it led me down a very dark path of insecurities, anxiety, and feeling inadequate. You start to think of yourself less because they chose that person over you so naturally you’re going to wonder what they had that you didn’t. It’s perfectly normal to feel those emotions when you face something like this. I depended on my friends and family a lot. I looked to them and God for answers that I don’t think I’ll ever receive because like I said before there isn’t a good why.

After some time, I was able to recognize that cheating had nothing to do with me. It was a conscious choice this person made despite being in a committed relationship. They didn’t think about me or how it would change the dynamic of the relationship as a whole. They had several opportunities to stop, step back, and walk away. You didn’t do anything wrong, you didn’t drive them to cheat, it’s none of that. There are no excuses because this is a one sided, selfish choice.

I’m not saying cheaters are bad people but cheating and infidelity can affect people beyond what you may think. It betrays that barrier of trust you have with your partner and frankly, everyone around you. You start to question every move and if you choose to take that person back (I know, I know 🙄) you begin to question and speculate EVERYTHING. Even the small stuff that didn’t matter before. You also associate to every wrongdoing to that action. For example, if they do something that is a little suspicious you go crazy mentally and your reasoning is “I can’t trust this person, they cheated on me”. Something like this can make anyone go insane because you’re wondering who are they texting, are they being honest with you, do they really like you or love you.

Your mind cycles in a wheel of different thoughts, feelings, and emotions. For me, it started with: what did I do/what was he lacking to how could he to why did he and it looped over and over again. Slowing my brain down and stopping it from affecting me was the greatest problem because this action fed into every insecurity I had about myself, him, and the relationship. Also it made me wonder if this was what love was supposed to feel like when in my heart I knew it wasn’t. The person who cheated on you did not love you in that moment because if they did they would stop and think.

No, love does not feel like that. I had to accept that because your self worth is not defined by someone else’s inconsiderate actions. Something like this can destroy even the strongest of people but it doesn’t always have to.

You need to trust your gut. If you are in tune with yourself, then you need to go with your intuition. It’s probably right as bad as it is. Trusting yourself enough to walk away from something that is toxic because of their wrongdoing is not a bad thing. I learned from my mistake (no he didn’t do it again) but the infidelity caused so much additional stress, anguish, and pain that didn’t need to happen in the first place. Do I regret taking this person back? No, because the relationship itself taught me a lot about people in general. Also, no matter how much you try: you cannot be with someone who you don’t trust. 

Being the type of person I am and I’m sure many of you can empathize, I ended up forgiving them but it’s normal if you don’t. Forgiveness is on your terms and shouldn’t be forced. Your partner should never force you to forgive them or “just move on from it” because things like that are scaring and they hurt for a long time. It’s okay if you don’t forgive them but choose to be with them.

I could write a series on this topic alone but healing looks differently for everyone.  Just remember you will move past this, this is NOT your fault, and you didn’t do anything to deserve it. Down the road as far as it may seem, you will realize that your self worth shouldn’t be reduced to this one person. Some relationships can move past it and be perfectly okay but mine and a few others weren’t as successful.

As I continue to grow past this experience, I am redefining what love means for myself and relationships. I am stronger because of this experience and would never wish this pain upon anyone. Though it’s been three months, I sometimes find myself asking why and looking for answers. The biggest thing I’ve learned throughout all of this is that the emotions will come in waves and some will be much bigger than others but when it comes, stand strong, face it, and let it pass you. Healing and moving forward takes time and it looks so different on everyone but what do I know that is constant is that the love you have in your heart and the truth that you live and put out into this world will come back to you.  Do not let this experience define you or your future relationships because of this experience. No one is worth sacrificing yourself, mental, or physical health.

This was my story and my truth 💜