R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Hey, what you want
(Oo) Baby, I got
(Oo) What you need
(Oo) Do you know I got it?
(Oo) All I’m askin’
(Oo) Is for a little respect when you come home (just a little bit)
Hey baby (just a little bit) when you get home
(Just a little bit) mister (just a little bit)

How many of you know this song? I know it by heart and on many occasions have belted out the lyric at the top of my lungs; while shimming my shoulders for added effect. I’ve sung this song and danced around in my glory not really understanding the importance of the lyrics.

Ms. Aretha knew just how to make a statement. She has been telling us, women, what our men needed a long time to make our relationships last, but we just didn’t listen or maybe it was just me who didn’t listen. Not only did Aretha try to tell us but if you’ve listened to Dr. Myles Munroe then this concept wouldn’t be foreign to you. Or if you listen to Pastor Keion Henderson you would be familiar with it as well. They all reiterate that women need love while men need respect in intimate relationships. Shoots had I listened to my annoying know it all friend, I would have accepted this truth a long time ago. Alas, it’s better to learn late than never learn at all.

I always thought being respectful in a relationship meant being loyal and not cheating (physically) on my partner, engaging in mind-blowing sex, and being a good person. Turns out respect entails a whole lot more. More than I was willing to give as a youngster, not because I’m a bad person or a disrespectful person, but more so because it meant being completely open and vulnerable to another.  This meant communicating in a way that is clear and considerate at all times with my partner. It meant communicating through my discomfort, not shutting down, and expecting him to figure out what’s wrong. It meant being mindful of tone and body language when I engaged with my partner. It meant respecting our union as just that OUR union. Being mindful to keep our intimate conversations between us. Removing any relationship that hinders the growth of our intimate relationship. It meant providing a safe haven for my partner. By no means I am saying that this is exclusively a woman’s job, it’s the responsibility of the persons involved in that relationship.

Respecting my partner means accepting our relationship as a living organism. As we both grow and expand the dynamics of the relationship shift. Understanding and accepting that my partner has to focus on him and his goals on continually bettering himself as I do the same, is also something that should be encouraged. Yes, the relationship between us is important, however, the relationship he has with himself is equally important and should not be neglected.

Another eye-opener I encounter while exploring this concept of respect is that I have to learn how to respect myself first. How can I respect another if I was not respecting myself? Am I extending grace towards myself when I’ve made a mistake? Am I learning to forgive myself for my shortcomings? Am I intentionally living the life that I want for myself or am I living the life others expect me to be living? Do I have goals for myself that I am actively working towards? Am I honest with myself? Am I committed to continuously improving myself? After all, if I am seeking a relationship where I am able to respect my partner should I not be able to respect myself…

Anyways I’m off to listen to Respect by the late great Aretha Franklin while I dance around my bedroom contemplating what it means to me.

Happy Sunday

Journey to Self-Discovery

Have you ever had sex just because it was expected?

Have you ever volunteered to be a chaperone for your kid’s soccer game just because?

Have you ever opted to have a glass of wine instead of the cognac and cigar that you really wanted?

How many times have you worn the understated outfit just because you’re a young lady and that’s what respectable ladies wear?

How many times have you stifled the essence of who you are, to please everyone around you, ultimately losing who you are in the process?

I was a teen mom and a college dropout who did everything within my power to not live up to the stereotype. For so long I was caught up in not living up to these stereotypes that I stopped living the life that I wanted to live. I stopped focusing on my individual needs and wants and solely focused on being someone I barely recognized most days. All under the guise of being a responsible adult. Three beautiful children later and a plethora of life lessons later I’m purposefully creating the life I want for myself.

Not for my children and definitely not to be considered a respectable woman in the eyes of society.

I am releasing the concept of putting yourself first as selfish. After all, if I’m not fully charged, how can I help those around me. My children feed on my energy and my energy sets the tone for my household. I love being in a peaceful living space. I love hearing the sound of my children’s laughter, mostly in the other room. I thoroughly enjoy coming home to my sanctuary. In order to sustain this, I have to find ways to keep my being replenished. Those evening strolls along the beach, watching the sunset and those early mornings joggings nourishes me. I thrive on alone time, whether it be lost in a novel or a podcast, or a YouTube video.

I NEED IT.

I have found ways to calm my emotions and keep me focused on what’s important to me and I am willfully opened to more while encouraging you to do what works for you.

I am releasing the idea that purposefully and aggressively pursuing financial gain and sustainability as greedy. God doesn’t want me poor and begging, He wants me rich and a blessing to those around me, and having access to money allows for this. Side note, I grew up in a traditional Christian home and was taught that money is the root of all evil and it was easier for a camel to pass through the eyes of a needle before a rich man can enter the gates of Heaven. In all fairness, I must admit that the innocence of childhood kept me from questioning many things as it relates to God, the Bible, and Church. Respect for others, their property, and their life choices were drilled into us. Curiosity, however, was not always encouraged hence these limiting beliefs lingered for so long.

No more.

Daily I remind myself, that I am worthy of financial security and abundance.

And finally, I am releasing the need to have any of my life decisions validated by anyone. At the end of the night, I nestle alone with my decisions. I am also certain I’ve spoken on this before and I feel like it needs to be spoken on again. Everyone has an opinion on the way you should live your life. The kind of career they feel you should pursue. How you should dress. The car you should drive and even the way you should think. Well, I’m here to say FUCK them and their opinions, respectfully.

Funny enough, most times these opinions come from a place of what’s considered love and wanting the best for you. Learning to think for me and to do what’s best for me hasn’t always been my forte. Once upon a time ago I lived to please my family and friends. I wanted to be liked and considered the go-to person, the person that they can call at the last minute and I’ll be there. Like superwoman in my glossy cape. That delusional, no boundary having, people pleaser has been laid to rest. Those who love me will accept and support my decisions no matter what.

A few weeks back, I was listening to a Dr. Myles Munroe Youtube video and he said that we don’t always fulfill our goals because we’re distracted by things that aren’t good or right, but most times we are so distracted doing good/right that we forget to focus on our goals and this caused me to reevaluate how I operate.This journey of self-discovery has been an eye-opener for sure. And one thing it has taught me is that most times I’ve stood in my own way. Recognizing this, I am purposefully releasing limiting beliefs and continuously reevaluating myself and those relationships around me.

Tis the season to blossom and bloom, pruning all the unnecessary.

Happy Sunday