This Woman’s Worth

When you get yourself out of bad situations, you always come full circle just to remind you how ridiculously low you were. Sometimes you meet up with the person, or the issue, and have the same test from years ago to see if you’ve learned the lesson from the circumstance. Then you make a choice.  You’ve either  grown  or still are  ignorant about an area of your life. Full Circle.  I had one of those moments a month ago when I went to my college homecoming.

Every year  my undergrad celebrates homecoming whether I go or not. I’ve only gone twice in the last 10 years, but I always get “the” call.  HE calls once a year under the guise of seeing if I am in town. For what? You do the math.  The past three years, it always happens on a Friday night,  then I get texts throughout the weekend asking where I am  and what I’m doing. Most of the time, the first one is at a decent hour. The second….mmmm at least 11:30p but never around dinner time or daylight. It was cute when we first met  and  we hooked up. But that wore off quickly eventually when I realized I was in a jacked up lopsided empty relationship. I use the term relationship loosely because even when you aren’t committed, you are still “relating” to that person in some form or fashion. We like to kid ourselves with fake terminology but it’s real.  Like any man, he worked it so it felt like we were together all year-long. He gave tremendously when we were together, but only to keep me distracted by his lack of committment.  At the time, I couldn’t see that though because my mind was blown. And I was  dumb.   Too satisfied with his attention to realize he was just using me and it didn’t matter when he would pull his random disappearing acts. I say it didn’t matter but I didn’t care until I realized what I wanted didn’t matter to him. Ain’t that somethin? We lived in different cities so who knows who and what else he was doing in the spirit of community service. Again, I didn’t care because I didn’t care about me. You ever been there where you know the truth but you ignore it because it’s too easy to see? Because when you admit it, you can only blame yourself for allowing the bullish to continue going on? I think it was one of the lowest points for me as a woman because my attempts to force him to respect me sounded like “please do me right” weak. I could go on a religious rant right now about how your body is a temple and guard your heart, but my heart was hurting so it didn’t really matter who got a hold of it.

So like I said, this year 2012 when I got the call, I was indifferent. Because before, I’d see the number and my mind would say….”I really want to talk to you, but I can’t because you don’t want to talk to me for the right reasons I so I can’t respond to you.”  I hadn’t answered in several years, but I always remembered the feeling of being with him.  I didn’t respond to the texts, but each time he sent one I immediately remembered his scent. I asked him to not call or text anymore almost a year ago, and it worked. Until 2012. Homecoming. This time, I got angry.  Because its public knowledge he has a girlfriend. Call me proper, but I don’t mess with anyone when I know they are in a relationship. Ever. So, on top of disrespecting me as he’d become accustomed to, now he felt it was okay to boldly go into disrespecting her too? Full circle. You get to see it all and smell the scent of the ish you were knee-deep in.   So the “call” is simply now a reminder of his total and utter lack of respect for me. Because if I tell you I no longer want any contact with you, but you do it anyway, you STILL don’t respect me. You only respect what you want. Full circle. Back then, my actions weren’t lining up with my words so it didn’t matter that his didn’t either. I gave away my worth every time I entertained him. Every time I picked up the phone in response. I don’t know how I got to that point, but I do know I’m no longer there. When I got the last text at 12:30am this year, I said wow, is he for real? No longer was it entertaining. Now, it was pathetic. Full circle. My worth, not his. My response,not his. My way, or none of me at all.  Every woman learns to commands respect. Sometimes right from the start, sometimes after the lesson. I knew it before, but not well enough. I learned it again because of him.  THIS strength in knowing there is a man who will honor me. Until then, I choose to  honor myself. Full circle. THIS woman’s worth.


Growing Up Means I’ve Outgrown That

1st Corinthians 13:11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.

We all have friends that we used to run with in high school, college, and even our first job. We probably ran the streets with them, did some things we might be ashamed to admit to our current boss or our significant other. As we get older, it’s absolutely normal for a person to change their priorities and focus. It’s called growing up.   People get involved in relationships, marry, have kids (or not)  or get highly involved in their career and academic exploits. So it was odd to hear a friend complaining that an old college buddy didn’t party like he used to. Like in college? Like when his reputation in the business world didn’t matter? Or when he didn’t have enough sense to know what he did in his personal life mattered? Hmmmm…..

I don’t know about that one. I feel like when we grow up, we also grow out of some of the things we used to do. For example, you might stop trying to impress people with how much liquor you can throw back or how many men/women you claim to be sleeping with. You may decide you want a family or a committed relationship and cut out all the one-night stands. Or you may decide your circle of friends who support you as long as you aren’t trying to do anything needs to be  cut. You finally figured out that you need friends who will challenge you and help you grow.

I’m at the point where I  don’t want anyone who isn’t trying to improve their life around me. I said trying because  if you are making the effort, you are at bare minimum taking baby steps and will eventually  learn how to make it happen. So, if it’s really that important to have a hot party, maybe throw it yourself? Or let go of the past and realize, as we get older, we don’t always do what we CAN because we now it’s  no longer beneficial.  FYI, it cost a lot of money to impress people who don’t care about you.  So once you figure that out, you stop.  Sounds like someone’s growing up.

3 Lessons from Unemployment

I’m going back to work! After being laid off in March 2012, I scrambled like a chicken with her head cut off the past 6 months doing freelance gigs as an entertainer. I also went to my trusty fallback degree and worked as a counselor for the local university. There were many emotions as I questioned my talent, my decision to pursue performing again, and trusting that something good would come out of a funky situation. This was the first time in all my years of living that I didn’t know where my next paycheck would come from. Not a good feeling. And even though I used my education to work as a counselor part-time, it still ate at me that I felt so helpless. Compared to others who go years without working, six months is not a lot of time in the world of unemployment compensation.  without a consistent job. So I’m beyond grateful that I’m not back at work. The discomfort provided several lessons along the way and I wanted to share them today. I’m not completely healed from the disappointment but I can share lessons that are now closest to my heart.

  • Don’t assume the worst about  your skill set  but always check if your work environment is the best fit for your abilities.  When employment contracts came around in March and I didn’t receive an offer, my coworkers began the whisper while you work mentality. You know, the ” What happened?”, or “I can’t believe it!”, or “Well, I didn’t think she was all that anyway”  talk away from me but just close enough for me to hear it.  My goal was to not get sucked into the conjecture and let that affect my overall belief in myself. I was already fragile from the pending  financial and lifestyle change  coming and did  my best to avoid discussing the past. I had to stay focused on what was next.  I admit I worried about my overall value as a performer and wondered had I simply lost  the “it” factor. To my surprise,  I didn’t have too much time to think about it as I received several offers for freelance jobs the week my full-time employment was to end. I also used an old contact to  return to work part-time as a counselor. It was a blessing because the jobs reminded me I still had value as a performer and to watch defining myself or my worth  by what I do for a living.  Freelancing  opened my eyes to how I was limiting myself to one primary stream of income. Quick lesson learned: don’t doubt yourself. And realize that if you aren’t  the best fit for one place, another company may hold a totally different perspective.  Go where the water is warm and where people are seeking your skills.
  • Diversify I’ve never had the entrepreneurial spirit. My parents have always worked for someone and when my dad tried his own business, he quit trying and went back to the sales world. But the lay-off shook me out of my comfort zone where I just show up to work and get paid.  Being laid off  left me feeling like I had no control over anything. And, I realized I gave too much power to people  relying on them to hire and pay me for my skills. To avoid this from happening again, I took inventory of  my strengths and weaknesses and saw a lot that I wasn’t fully maximizing. As a result, I’ve decided to get another certification to enhance my counseling marketability in private practice.  My goal is to eventually manage my own clinical counseling & consulting services so that I can support myself no matter what my day job is.   I  started a blog that  addresses mental health  and social issues affecting women and minorities. This will turn into free lancing my articles in online magazines for supplemental income as well.  And I haven’t given up performing.  I took my moment to mourn the loss of one job, and then started auditioning again. it’s working as I am starting a new show as we speak.  Social media has now become  a resource for tips on rebounding from unemployment and networking. I’ve never been too comfortable bragging on myself but now my mouth is open wide sharing what I can do and how well I can do it.   Thankfully, I am starting a new full-time job today as a college counselor but have a different focus and purpose in returning to work.   I’m actively looking for ways to improve my marketability. If there’s a class, I’m taking it.  Free training? I’m there and constantly asking for emails to keep in touch with professionals I meet.   You could say I’m all over the place but it means I’m improving my areas of influence. Diversify now means making sure I am always enhancing my skills, having multiple sources of income that I control, and  constantly looking for the next opportunity for growth all while doing what I love.   
  •  Take Care….of You.  My feelings were like a roller coaster  while I was wasn’t working  consistently.  One day I’m hopeful and happy, the next I’m sad because I got a job rejection letter in the mail. The next I’m up  exercising and trying to keep my stress level down, only to plop on my favorite red couch to swallow a whole pint of Blue Bell Cookies n’ Cream  ice cream wondering when I would have medical benefits again.   My energy level dropped, I gained weight, and I was a mess. I’m so very grateful to family and friends  that supported me and reminded me of Romans 8:28: And we know that all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.  God always works things out for our good. I just had to do my part and make sure I was pursuing HIS purpose as well. I also had to readjust my social circle.  Let’s face it, it’s hard to hang with friends like you used to when you’re broke. Even harder to balance healing from the loss of a job when most of your friends still work there.  I worked hard at staying connected to church and sorority activity and even contacted  a life coach to process my own disappointments.     When I was down, my friends who also believe in God’s plan for my life  kept me grounded.   I believe in prayer, I believe in utilizing  counseling and maintaining a healthy body to stay sane. So, whatever it takes and whatever works for you, do it and take control of what you can do especially in difficult times. It’s one of the biggest keys to recovery and getting focused on what’s next, not what’s left.

There were many more lessons learned and in this economy, I know I’m not the only one who has experienced shaky employment trials.  But I firmly believe that things that can break us  have the potential to build us into a stronger and better version of who we were before IF, we allow it.