Saturday, December 31, 2016

Looking Forward to The Blank Canvas...

Smiles from the threshold of the year to come, 
Whispering 'it will be happier'...” 
― Alfred Tennyson

Navigating through my experiences and along the way writing my story one book at a time.
Page 366...

I hold the pen, ready to complete the ending of 2016; the 45th book of my life’s journey...
While the thought is ironic (as I couldn't predict today or it's ending), relaying this feeling I have of needing to “Turn the Page,” or write "The End" and start my new book is just as real as today being 2016’s last day!

As I look back, mentally going through highlights of the past 365 days, I am pulled forward. Running away from the trials 2016 have put me through as if my life depended on the distance I covered before the ball drops…

However, I have grown tremendously over this year long marathon. 
Life challenged my health, both mentally and physically.
Life challenged many relationships. Some I had to let go of, some were organically preserved, and some I'm still fighting to maintain.
Life challenged my values, and what I know to be black or white.
Life challenged my beliefs, as if they were sand castles, bound to crumble.

I am going to sit this one out. I don't think I am able to celebrate the turning of this page. I’m not quite ready to celebrate the ending with a new dawn, as pain lingers from a past sunset. And although very wishful, 2017 is a ball of uncertainties...

Therefore, I'm going to sit this celebration out, let it end gracefully. However the chips fall, I have accepted, wrote, and directed all the actions up to this point in my life. And while I am happy to see it end, stepping into the first page 2017, I know I'll be bringing the usual. I'll be bringing perspective, experience, and the wisdom that have been recorded in this series called my life.

Josh Jameson once said, "There comes a time when you have to choose between turning the page and closing the book." Well this time, I'm glad the choice has already been made for me. 2016 is coming to an end, with or without my consent. I will stand still, feel and listen to the ending. The countdown has started, and while this last page will write itself, my happy ending will be my trust in new beginnings.

To the potential of tomorrow...

Monday, September 5, 2016

Presumption, Assumption and Judgment, the Relationship Killers...

Louis C. K. once said, "Nobody leaves a good marriage."
This is certainly something I believed; until tonight...

Here I am in Las Vegas, proudly proclaimed "The City of Sin," during my second stop on my West Coast store visit trip, and as usual, I am hit with this overwhelming feeling of everything being too fast, too grand, too much and yes... Very sinful. 
I'm far from being a purist but it is clear (as I look around me) why and how the say, "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas." I also believe that statement to be partially true. Many people bring back lots of addictions, and may require penicillin shots to help deal with what happened! 

So after a long day of training and catching up with the stores, I finally sat down for dinner - alone as usual - in one of my favorite restaurants in Vegas. I ordered my drink, pulled my personal phone out and started to catch up on life, while waiting for my meal. 

A few minutes later, a gentleman was seated at the table next to me. He sat and shortly, two menus were put on the table, leading me to believe he was not like me... he wasn't going to dine alone. 

I tried placing the focus back on myself, but as he was seated directly next to me (and right opposite from me), my eyes couldn't help to be drawn to him and his nervous behavior. 

He was older, late fifties to early sixties. Balding, could afford to lose some weight and he was dressed not to impress... He got up a few times, looking left and right, as if he were waiting for the hitman to mark him as a target. My best guess was that he wanted to make sure his guest would see him. I looked down on my phone thinking, "How cute, he is probably waiting on his wife to come and join him!"
It's funny how your mind can so quickly (and effortlessly) conjure up someone's story, someone's life by just looking at them... 


Then I heard a voice. The "woman" I heard had a high pitched voice, nothing like what my mind had expected to hear, so I again took my eyes off my phone, looked at the person seated to my left and how wrong I was. 
She was young, very young. The makeup plastered on her face couldn't hide how young she was...
She started talking. They weren't related. Just barely knew each other. She just celebrated her 21st birthday.


I tried to keep to my "business", and enjoy my meal but the reveal of their relationship left this feeling of disappointment in me, as if I had any right to judge


She then asked the question: "So what's your wife like?"
The question stung as if... 

I was hoping he would at least set some boundaries. However, after a quick silence he said: "She has good days when she doesn't bitch at me and bad days when she always bitches!" 
That was the first thing he found to describe the woman who's shared his name for the past 28 years. "She use to be my best friend," was the last thing I heard. There was a hint of regret, pain and yearning in his voice... I settled my check and walked out. 

As a married woman, I always wonder how so many couples get to that point. How do you get to the point where what you've taken years to build with love can be summed up so negatively; how it can become so insignificant to your partner and vice-versa?
Who is the true victim in that situation? Is there anyone who is blameless?

The fact of the matter is, we are all responsible for the state of our relationships. The statement holds true that "For every action, there is a reaction”. But while we can summarize it at such, we need to remember that a reaction has to be thought of, weighed and communication needs to happen before any reaction. 

The truth as I believe it is, it starts with us. We want to fix the other person because they are the ones to blame for presuming, assuming and passing judgment even though we don't take the time to share why we are becoming strangers (not only to them but most of the time, even to ourselves). We don’t take the time to share the growing paths we get on and instead choose to stand by, all the while being offended at our partners who don't understand or follow. 

With every step in a relationship, growth is expected. There's a little luck but a lot of hard work that needs to be put forth for any relationship to remain fruitful and flourish. There's a lot of compromises but nothing I'm learning is more important than communicating during this journey. Communicating, not because it will maintain your relationship, no... Simply communicating because "bitching" becomes "sharing", "nagging" becomes "requesting" and "questioning" becomes "caring". At times you might be the one that loves more. The one who gives everything you can to your partner and your relationship. But don't see it as being done in vain, don't see yourself as being in a competition with your partner. Communication will establish respect, even in a failing relationship, and that respect will yield a different answer than the gentleman in the restaurant gave the young lady. It will create boundaries that no one outside your relationship could touch. It will create that invisible line in the sand. 
If you don’t feel like you can be the one that loves more, you may not be with the right person for you. Don’t be with someone that you can’t be your best self with and appreciate. 

So today I do believe that yes, many leave good marriages because somewhere along the way it has become harder to share and understand, thus letting go takes place... It has become easier to fake it and say its okay when you really mean, "It's not okay."

Imagine yourself seated across from "temptation", at that table and being asked, "So what's your partner like?"  

What will your answer be?


Friday, June 17, 2016

Thursday June 16th 9:23am... Not Your Typical Thursday...

 FEAR… God in heaven… No one (and I mean no one) ever told me about that feeling that grows simultaneously in you, with the conception of your child. It develops in your womb with your child, grows alongside your child and, as I understand, leavethe pit of your stomach only when the time comes for the eternal goodbyes. 

Rational, normal… I promise I was both of these before I had my babies

Yesterday I woke up early, got myself ready, as I was to spend the day working in our Natick store. I was looking forward to this day. We were finally going to launch the first pilot store with our new POS system which I’ve been working on for the past 2.5 years.
Left my house at 8:30am and made my way through the morning traffic on the Massachusetts PikeAt around 9:18am I received a call from the London team. I told them I was on my way and should reach the store in less than 15 minutes. We chatted a bit and then agreed on me calling them as soon as I arrived.

A few minutes later, my work mobile rang again. I was driving a little faster than I should, so while keeping one hand on the steering wheel, I held the phone high enough to gaze at the screen. The number didn’t jog my memory; it was an international number. I decided to pick up the call… 
“Hello,” I said in my most professional voice.
“Rose, listen to me and listen to me well, we have your son and if you don’t follow what I say, you will never see him again! Do you hear me? You will never see him again, we will kill him!” 
quickly moved the phone away from my ears and remember looking at it as if it was going to give me an answer to the question I couldn’t ask. There’s no way could not have just heard what my brain was trying to comprehend. I heard the voice shout my name, so I got back on the phone and screamed back
“What are you talking about? What do you mean you have my son? WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?”
“Shut the F… up and Listen to this,” he said
“Mommy, mommy they are taking me mommy. Tell them not to hurt me. I don’t know where they are taking me mommy. I’m scared mommy, help me” As I am writing this, I can’t stop the tears from pouring down my face. It was my baby’s voice, I recognized his voice, that particular intonation when he says the word “Mommy”. I had just left home, leaving him instructionon what he needed to do today as he was going to be home all day. I had just said goodbye to him, telling him that I had cooked dinner early this morning as I wouldn’t be back until the evening, and to make sure he didn’t eat everything during the day, to save some for his dad. Why my son was asking me to help him… he was supposed to be asleep…
I started screaming, crying his name, “Jayson, Jayson! Where are they taking you? Who is it?” Jayson please…
“I said shut the F… up, you stupid bitch. Listen to me, you are going to stay on the phone with me and you better not hang up, try to call the police or anyone else. If you hang up we are going to kill JAYSON. Do you hear me? As I was still screaming, he then proceed to say, If you don’t shut up and calm down you will regret it. I am going to countdown and if in 10 seconds you don’t calm yourself down I am going to hang up and he is done!” He started to countdown 10, 9, 8, 7 …
“Please, I just want to talk to Jayson” I said…
Bitch I know you don’t have a lot of money, so you think I am going to let you tell me what you want? You are going to listen to me and do what I say. You are going to stay on the phone with me and go straight to your bank. You are going to pull all the money that you have if you want to see your son again. Where are you?”
All my mind was thinking was that I needed to talk to Jayson.
In between my sobbing, I told him I was on the highway and he needed to give me time and to not hurt him. He continued to yell at me, calling me derogatory names and while he was going on about how he was aware of all my finances, I grabbed my personal phone and dialed Jayson…
He answered “Hello? Hello?” I couldn’t talk, I didn’t understand. I didn’t know if they had allowed him to answer is phone. I didn’t want them to hear me talking to him or anyone. Jayson hung up.
I remember feeling like being in an out of body experience…
I was on I90, driving way beyond the speed limit, managing two phones and clueless of everything that surrounded me. He was still yelling… I needed to talk to Jayson, I decided to hang up.
I knew I only had a few seconds. I dialed Jason back, he answered right away
“JAYSON! Where are you??? Are you okay? Are you home?” I was screaming. He confirmed that he was home and okay then asked me what was wrong. My work phone was again ringing… the same number “Jay, I need you to make sure all the doors are locked, all the windows are closed. Don’t answer the door for anyone! I will call you right back”
I picked up the call on speaker. And while I was pleading, he went on about having warned me not to hang up, that now I needed to give him street by street location of where I was and make sure I was going to the bank. I dialed The Hubby’s number with my other phone. He didn’t pick up. I redialed. He picked up. I put the phone next to the receiver so he could hear clearly this man, yelling, cursing me out. I was pleading still. All I could think about was if he didn’t have Jayson, I didn’t want him to go and get him… I was so confused… The hubby started yelling, “What is going on? What is this?” I finally got off the highway and hung up on that evil voice.

The Hubby wanted an explanation. The more I was trying to explain what I had just went through, I became more and more hysterical and irrational. I just needed him to hang up get to our son and make sure he was safe and okay… “Just save Jayson!

I made it to the Natick Mall parking lot; it was empty. I called the store and told the assistant whom answered to ask the manager to come and meet me outside in the lot. I was crying… I just needed someone, a familiar face next to me… I just needed someone. I started to hyperventilate. I couldn’t breathe, I was feeling like the car was closing up on me

It took me hours to let sync in, all that had transpired was a scam. I had been victim of the worst scam that could’ve happened to me…
In retrospect, I realized that while they did know my name and phone number, my brain must have shut down or was in auto-pilot mode focusing solely on my son... That kid voice I heard asking me for help... I guess it wasn't his voice but... And maybe, I might have been the one tipping them off with Jayson’s name as I was screaming it…
I called State Police and they said “Call Boston Police!
I called Boston Police, they said (while cutting me off as I’m trying to sharing the story) “Your son is okay right? You haven’t paid anything right? There isn’t a thing we can do with those phone numbers, they are paid numbers. We don’t take reports unless you paid them some money… Go to your local Police station and see IF they will take a report. OK? Bye”
I didn’t bother to go to the local police station…

I Heard Evil, Experienced Evil and Left Scarred By Evil…
This had been the longest 8 minutes of my life..Yes 8 minutes that felt like a lifetime…
How had I left myself so vulnerable? What did I do to allow this to happen to me? My paranoia had taken the face of reality, and for that moment in time the “what if” had become reality
Have you ever found yourself wide awake (at any given moment or in an environment), having scary thoughts or "worst case scenario" endings? Do you have nightmares during the day? I do..... Most of the time it has to do with my children, their where-about and their well-being. I like to take the philosophical approach to understanding why my mind dwells on certain questions; questions like, "What if my kids get kidnapped?", or "What if my kids get abused?" Then there are the worries that include my hubby, like; "What if they get into a bad accident?", "What if I don't show them enough love?", or "What if they're not happy?" However, no matter how rational I try to be, I can't seem to understand the random dark thoughts. Neither do I understand why they seem to surface at the oddest times…”

Reading this give me the chills… Those were what I called (in a blog post I wrote back in 2012) my ‘elusive’ fears. Fears which at times, were overwhelming in their randomness but remained manageable because while I’m unable to conquer my fears, I have learned to control them… I knew they were just that…elusive. So I thought!

I found my story in so many testimonies online that I am still in shock of how clueless I was about this scam.
I sit here wondering why this world is the way it is, why people are so mean. Mean to the point of not caring that somewhere out there, they are ripping out the soul, the life, the innocence of human being… Mean enough that for the small, temporary gain they are getting out of their actions, they are leaving a lasting scar on a stranger…
Last night I shut down all my windows. Tripled checked that each door was locked. I went to my son’s room 3 times before I finally laid down around 4:30am this morning. 

As I thank God that my daughter is away on an end of year school trip, I ask him to also give me the strength to forget the potential that situation could have been and to take it for what it was… A virtual kidnapping scam.


Saturday, April 30, 2016

My 45th Moment in Life...

45 is a solid number; a number that demanded to be celebrated. Or so I thought…

I planned in my head how grandiose I wanted it to be (after all, it needed to at least exceed my 40th celebration). 
April 30th, 2016 in my world, needed to be all about me. It needed to be about what I thought was a milestone in my life. 
And then things changed. Life happened...

The Hubby’s work obligations were going to take him away during my weekend. Upset, was putting mildly how I felt. So when work obligations started to modify my schedule to accommodate projects we've been working on, I let my availability remain open. After all, things were no longer unfolding the way I imagined. 

I don't know about you but I tend to assume milestones are universal... That for each and one of us, they are the same… But are they really? 

Births, certain (or all) birthdays, engagements, marriages, graduations, job achievements, job successes... These are most of the times labelled milestones or “rites of passage,” but are they really? 
Shouldn't they be referenced as expected moments in life, rather than milestones?

I've come to realize that WE, not society, determine what our milestones (our check points thru life) are, and their timing...
We forget that they are personal (to who we are and who we are meant to be). 
Milestones, when reached or achieved, will redirect slightly (or juristically) our life's course, unlike given "moments in life" throughout our journey. 

So I now understand…
With years, life becomes exponentially more complex and harder to decipher. Our expectation level of what's important and meaningful also heightens with each year; hence milestones become far, few and in-between as we grow older. Those will most likely be celebrated in private, unless you chose to share their occurrences as they unfold.

April 30th 2016, marks my birthday, and that of many others. And while it is certainly not a milestone in my life (the course of my life has not changed to the slightestJ), I love how the people in my world/life are making me feel specially loved through it. 
Thank you for having taken the time to think about me, bless me with so many well wishes and to have simply reminded me that no matter where, no matter with who and no matter how… life moments happen y’all there to cheer me on!

Thank you!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

These shoulders were never made to carry the world…

“Sometimes not sharing your worries, the load everyday life occurrences leave on your path, is a gift to others but a disservice to yourself.
Remember even if sharing your burden won’t change a thing, your shoulders were never made to carry the world”

When your whole being, (your appearance, personality, etc.) makes people see you as this "strong person" that can withstand anything life throws at you…

“Maybe they get shaken, get offbeat but in a split second I know they will be back on target, they have all the solutions… They are it and that is what they do… they carry the world!”

The personality or the appearance of someone never makes them who they are. It definitely doesn’t make them stronger; even if they seem to always stand strong against life's many trials. 
We all have a weakness. 
We all have a soft spot that can be greatly affected, especially when we least expect it. 
There's always that helpless (blind) side to us that needs support… It may be something that might not challenge us now, today, tomorrow or for a long period of time but it will affect us some day.

Maybe taking a step back will help people see the shoes that they wear, are very similar to the ones they are wearing.
Maybe… Yes maybe, the one you consider to be the strongest link in the equation is actually only as strong as the team that surrounds them. A link is something that holds a collection of things together, like in a chain and a chain is made with several links...

We all need to remember that our castle is only as strong as the quality of bricks we use…

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Rosiesandz Guest post: Understanding and Harnessing The Void... by Jayson Sanderson

My son...

Jayson Sanderson
Kloman C - American Literature

Jayson Tyler Lukengu Sanderson…
A seed planted deep within the soil,
Watered and Nourished by Family, Education, and Principle.
What a way to be remembered isn’t,
What a way for your legacy to start and blossom and thrive into the being you dreamed of being.
Optimistic, maybe… but should you be thinking any other way.
Is there any other way to look upon yourself as you move towards the future?
To look in the mirror, and not see the sexiest being alive.
Optimistic, maybe… but there is no other way to look at yourself and expect progress.
Big dreams lead to goals then plans then work then fantasy will never feel so real.
Jayson has big dreams.
However they're constantly replaced with projects, papers, assignments, as if they purposefully want to keep you within the system.
Purposefully want those dreams to remain dreams.
Claiming to help you reach those dreams by following their plan for your life so you can play a part in their growth as a unit rather than your growth as an individual.
Ironic isn’t it…
Ironic isn’t that those big name, athletes, singers, dancers, entrepreneurs, etc., took a chance on their dream and became something of legend.
Ironic isn’t it that they don’t want us to dropout of school or turn so much attention away from our occupation that our dreams become a stupid idea until we’re too old to realize it was more a possibility than a fantasy.
Oh, the irony is too tantalizing.
I am the one and only Jayson Sanderson.
And they surely don’t make ‘em like me anymore.

There is a recurring image whenever I think of who exactly I am at this present moment,
An endless space, speckled with dots as far as the eye can see.
That void is my unknown, my identity, my essence.
It gives me direction telling me where I should put my attention,
It gives questions and puzzles to unlock the next part of myself.
Each day passes and another dot appears, another aspect of myself is found.
However the with each dot, darkness disappears, and there are less possibilities in terms of who I'll be in the near future.
A feeling as sweet as candy, but you'd never take into account the after taste when you chose that candy.

"That darkness, it needs guidance...
My unknown, needs guidance...
However in order to guide I must know the destination.
I want to live simply.
I want to sit by the window when it rains and read books I’ll never be tested on.
I want to write because I want to, not because I’ve got something to prove.
I want to listen to my body, fall asleep when the moon is high and wake up slowly, with no place to rush off to.
I want not to be governed by money or clocks or any of the artificial restraints that humanity imposes on itself.
I just want to be boundless, endless, and infinite"... ~Author Unknown

I will be limitless and tremendous.
It's a celebration, alright.
And my present is only the beginning.

Teacher grade and comment:
Never one short of self-esteem, you wonderfully walk the reader through the wonder of who you are, what you dream, and the tribulations along the way.  There is a general abstraction in your word play and word choice that connects with a reader and compels a reader to join in your thinking!  


Sunday, February 7, 2016

Marriage Is a Movement… 19 things…lessons I’ve learned over my 19 years of marriage

I love being married. It’s so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life.
~Rita Rudner

In exactly a week, The Hubby and I will reach 19 years of marriage. What a celebration! I can't sometimes help but to think for us 19 years=21 years for the 2 years we lived together before tying the knot. I’ve forgone the prior 4 years of dating but the 2 years we lived together do count when looking at our relation’s journey. After all, strides and setbacks don’t start when you say ‘I Do”. I've also always said that I’m an advocate of living together before getting married, because if you don’t, the things you are going to find out after the he “cantdonothingwrongyears” will make you feel like you married the devil’s brother or got tricked into a bad joke!  IJS…
I’ve also stated before (and today it still stands true) how amazed I am of how long we’ve been together and what we've accomplished… Not a day is taken for granted. I mean, it took and still takes lots of patience, sprinkled with God’s grace to deal with my husband’s habits (and peculiar behavior at times), especially since the dust of lust has settled, the honeymoon years are WAY back there in our past, and cupid has taken back his arrow to find brand new lovers.
4 years ago in one of my post I said “No one will ever hear me brag about having the perfect marriage, the perfect man or that I’m the perfect wife. You will hear me brag about the fact that I have learned, worked and grown within our relationship and we are where we are because we’ve committed to making it work. Really, I look over my shoulder and re-live our history and I’m amazed by the good, the bad, the irreplaceable, the joyous, the sad, the scary, the milestones, the accomplishments, the deceptions, the rewards, the losses and the blessings we’ve accumulated over the years.”*I've Been Wowed...

And today our relation still stands true to that statement. Our 19 year journey has been the most humbling, selfless experience and one of the greatest sources of lessons learned in my life. Irreplaceable lessons which again were/are generated from joys, pains, sacrifices, blessings and pleasures.

As I reflect on our years together and the learning experience it has been, I decided to tackle, for the 2nd time, the hard task of narrowing down and picking 19 of those lessons which sticks out the most for me

So here it goes…. (In no particular order)

1.      Brace yourself this ride is NOT for wussies and quitters… There should never be an instance or time where you are left alone to navigate through this journey. For better or worse is what you sign up for and it is what you will go through ...together! BUT remember (if/before/when you ever feel like throwing the towel) getting through the "worse" will make your "better" the sweetest victory. We say for richer and poorer, through good times and bad times but should we also say through growth and changes? And welcome the hard learned, earned lessons and the sweetest, tender, gentle moments…

2.      This may come as a shock to many but NO one is perfect… Don’t elevate your spouse to a pedestal. Although they will try to live up to it, you will be the one on the disappointing end when they fail. Be realistic with your expectations. We are just human with shortfalls, flaws and we all make mistakes. I've learned one thing which is that I am part of a common pool. I am a mortal not absolute to faults. I had to learn to swallow my pride and admit my wrongs if I expected The Hubby to do the same.

3.      Be open-minded, it’s so much more than now… Any giving day you should be ready to wake up, deal with and learn something new about your partner. You started your relationship loving all the same things (or being so smitten that you were okay pretending you loved the same things). Then it was pretty clear who was the dominant person in your relation. Going through a marriage is like starting a new job and having to “learn on the job.” You are thrown in it with a bunch of ideology but until you are in it you don’t really know what the future holds. Be open-minded, don’t get overwhelmed by the changes, tomorrow can only unveil an even more evolved couple, if you are in it to succeed. It is safe to say that we have learned so much from each other, our differences allowed us to balance, set the scales to our advantage.  “A great marriage is not when the 'perfect couple' comes together. It is when an imperfect couple learns to enjoy their differences” ~Dave Meurer  

4.      I will never say this enough… PICK YOUR BATTLES WISELY!!! The difference between Love and War is that in Love you have to fight fair… You will disagree, you will fight, you will feel like grabbing a pot of boiling hot water and turn it upside down above their head so it could clean out all differing thoughts from their brain BUT can you imagine if you had to do that every time???... Save that energy… those socks thrown on the floor as if they are invisible are not worth your time and energy. So indeed…Pick wisely because disagreements WILL happen.” The question is, do you go into it with a spirit of looking for resolution or do you go into it with a spirit of getting even, vengeance, control? You’ll never win if you do that. If you make your relationship a competition that means your spouse has to lose in order for you to win. It’s not a competition, it’s a partnership.” ~Dr. Phil

5.      You alone must make you happy… If you're not happy with yourself, you'll never be happy in any situation. It starts with you and really ends there too… You really can't rely on someone else to make you happy; a wakeup call from making that mistake will be the hardest reality check of them all. Ultimately you want to find a partner that would fit into your life goals and that… THAT would be the crowning achievement in your relationship. That would be the best reward.

6.      Enjoy the moments… Responsibilities will start increasing, goals will get bigger, and stress will take over but remember how, why and where you started and how happy you were. Press “pause” and create peaceful moments, enjoy the little things that mean the most. You don’t want to achieve your goals and let go of everything that matters along the way

7.      Protect your relationship… Do whatever it takes. Make that your commitment, not just to your partner but to your relationship. No one can or should do the work for you. Privacy goes a long way: All intention and attention might be good but not needed.  Before you get to the point where you thing you need someone else to intervenes, someone like a family member, a good friend, a man of God or even a counselor make sure together you’ve done the work. There is no one other than the both of you that should know and understand the other and why you are at the place you now stand. Make your home a shelter, your solution ground, the place where all is transparent, genuine. There is no room for ego tripping in your “Storm Shelter”. Be each other number 1 cheerleader; don’t let anyone else stroke their ego more than you; validation that matters and has any substance needs to come from you!

8.      The company you keep… Don’t let negativity into your circle. While meeting new people, establishing new relation and navigating through existing ones, remember the simple goal is to find and associate yourself with people so good that friendship and family becomes a blur…

9.      Kids are a game changer in any relations… Be on a winning side! All I am saying is “don’t fall asleep on them rascals” because next thing you know they have taken over! Don’t get me wrong, I love my babies more than anything on this earth. That being said, nothing has ever been the same in our marriage after baby #1 came along. Discuss any issues that arise when they arise. Remember it’s the 2 of you on them and no other way. You're dog-tired and being pulled so many different ways, your focus starts to switch slowly but surely and all of a sudden that balance (between the attention your hubby needs and what the kids need) you promised yourself to always maintain has completely leaned over toward the kids. Having kids will put your marriage through a rollercoaster. It's the toughest but most rewarding responsibilities I've taken upon and to do it with him is definitely icing on my cake so make sure that scale always rests heavier on the winning side…Your Partner!

10.  Arguing without a point is…pointless! Learn to let go. Sometimes talking things thru is not the thing to do. Remember there is always that other solution which is “We will agree to disagree”…

11.  Make It (SEX) a Priority… I really shouldn’t have to elaborate on this because in my book SEX is the most important component in a happy relation. With that being said… J It is one of my struggles as far as maintaining it readily available for the hubby. There are so many times where it’s plainly the last thing I'd be interested in as I go back to all of the reasons why I am exhausted, busy and a list of excuses we come up with... but connecting on that level is essential to everything else. He is good at reminding me and I enjoy being reminded…

12.  Best Friend and confident… Marriage is knowing someone has your back. Always. And you have theirs. It's about interdependence. Marriage is thinking about the other one not being there anymore and not being able to grasp the thought. I love that sense of security I have knowing that I share my nights and days with my bestest friend and the confident of my deeeeepest fears and joys. You don’t need to do everything together, be each other’s official or unofficial best friend; but while cultivating your own friendship, make sure you know each other friends.

13.  Grudges are a waste of time… Be ready for the necessary struggles and fights, but move on quickly from them. Learning and moving on will make you a better person, a better partner… Life is too short for you to hold on to that minute moment and let it affect the life you want to build. There is too much energy wasted in holding on to rancor, and believe me this, You (the one holding the grudge) will be left alone in that misery state because they (the one you hold the grudge against) will happily move on to better things… Don’t sabotage your happiness.

14.  Commitment… My Saving Grace… It is one of the most important components in a marriage. There will be days where doubts, aggravations, upsets, and life itself will make you question the value of your relationship. However your pledge to commit will make you stop from running off, it will make you add an additional 50% when you are already putting in 100%... Commitment will turn your relationship into a marriage...

15.  Communication… The Answer… But above all, I would say the aptitude to have an honest, open communication (which at times can be very difficult) is the pinnacle to reach when wanting your marriage to last. All that is relevant will organically generate from communication. Commitment, trust, partnership, togetherness, and love wouldn’t survive without communication…

16.  Laugh… The hubby and I get into this endless hysterical laughs, he comes up with the craziest jokes and stories and most of the time, and it’s just about us and our silliness. This lightens up our days and nights; nothing beats a good laugh…

17.  Want to be in it…! There is no magic wand to make your marriage work, you have to want it. As I said several times, love is not the end-all or be-all to a marriage. It’s a must-have ingredient that needs to be cultivated, but much more is needed to make the relationship lasting. Fairy tales of happily-ever-after don’t exist; life tales of making-it-ever-after do. Thinking your marriage is going to be a lasting success just because you’re in love is a BIG mistake. Tina Turner said it best “What’s love got to do with it?”

18.  Compromise… is that nasty prescription pill you have to take to make things better. Know that you are equal partners but also know when to take a step back and let the other shine; every situation requires a leader but to accomplish and solve those situations you need to work as a team.

19.  The word…after it’s said…  Words once spoken cannot be unspoken or erased; they can never be taken back. One may attempt to take them back but the damage is already done. Hurtful words not only sting deep, but also leave lasting scars, so make sure you own everything that comes out of your mouth. After all is said and done, there’s really no recovering from it!
“At times, we forget the weight that words carry and how irreversible (good or bad) and lasting the aftermath can be. You can always sincerely seek forgiveness and forgiveness may be granted but remember that forgetting is a totally different beast to tame”*Looking Back

20.  Bonus… R.E.S.P.E.C.T… Do I need to elaborate on this? Naaaaa…


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Misperception of ME…Yours or Mine?

“It is good to see ourselves as others see us. Try as we may, we are never
able to know ourselves fully as we are, especially the evil side of us.
This we can do only if we are not angry with our critics but will take in good heart whatever they might have to say.”
~Mahatma Gandhi

“You can be SUPER mean!”…
There were only four people in the kitchen. And although his stare was directed towards me, it just couldn’t be… I looked over my shoulder because he COULDN’T have been talking about me… but… no one was behind me…
Was he talking about his wife??? I guess not, as she was laughing at my baffled expression… Maybe he was talking about my hubby. I turned and looked towards him but his eyes quickly looked down, avoiding mine, but the jerking of his shoulder clearly gave away the silent laugh he was trying to hold in…
“What are you talking about? Me? Mean? I am NOT a mean person… EVER!”
And while we went back and forth, my brother standing strong about what he had just stated and me rebutting all his reasons, I was wondering if he had just suffered a head injury. Maybe I had gotten hit by a soccer ball during one of his referee’s games... That must of have been it.
So I had to “agree to disagree” and hope he would come to some sort of sense or just finally look at me and say “I was kidding!”

While (that day) I brushed it off, I couldn’t let the conversation disappear completely from my “offended” brain. So a few weeks later, I brought it up again. Same milieu, same usual suspects…
“I can’t believe you told me that I could be SUPER mean!!!!” I blurred out.
I will spare you of the conversation that followed and just summarized by saying… Not a good outcome for me, so ultimately I had to really give his words some weight… Could it be?
However, the reality of what he was saying; that I “sometimes was,” stubbornly refuses to fit in with who I know myself to be…

My store staff nicknamed me “Sandstorm.” I occasionally heard from some of them that I was hard and yes …mean. But while I found humor to the nickname, I realized some were serious about how they perceived me and I was okay with it, as I charged it to them being intimidated by my assertiveness, not me actually being mean. After all, aren’t you supposed to show a level of authority in the work area? Aren’t you supposed to create a certain level of fear, separation, so your authority can undoubtedly be recognized?
The Hubby calls me mean every other day… I don’t scratch the right spot between his shoulder blades, so clearly I’m mean… so really when he does, I give the side eye treatment and move on…
But this was different… This was coming from my brother and if anyone knows me, they know I’m very sensitive when it comes to these 10 individuals with whom I share the bloodline with J

So I started to think… How Do You See Yourself?

Many of us have this dismissive attitude towards others, feeling as though, “What you think of me is yours to deal with because I know who I am.” We like to think we are self-aware and any view of ourselves that is totally outside of our perception of self is with no question, wrong and absurd… But the person giving their POV on you may have a legitimate point if the perception is positive (duhhhhh). But really… I would be lying if I say, “I don’t care about how others think about me!” At the end of the day, something in us yearns for that acceptance, the need to fit in and be part of this big social driven world.
To be able to understand how people see us is what allows us to connect with our surrounding and the people in them.
Perhaps the delicate balance between the reality of who we know we are and what others perceive us to be, is maintained by the ones closest to us; the people who will keep you on your toes but appreciate and love you for who and how you are, not just for the impression you leave.

So I reflected and I can admit there are many things about me that are ugly. A workaholic, at times a neglectful wife (sorry babyJ), at times an absent mom (sorry babiesJ), at times a neglectful friend and at times a disconnected leader. There are also many things about me that are not open to compromise, like my values (although I keep an open mind), my beliefs, and mostly my family which may have me perceived as uncompassionate, and unloving... at times. I always had this idea of myself (which I thought was exactly the same of how the world perceived me) of being friendly, likable and loving, big hearted, helpful, spoiled but not obnoxious, intelligent, opinionated but not self-righteous, approachable and respectable… And while I write down this wonderful list of adjectives about me, I realize that I see myself from a place of purpose and intention while the receiving end sees me from my actions…

While my intention is never to be mean (definitely not SUPER mean), I do see why my actions could have me perceived as such… at times, of course! I also understand that other’s perception and misconception of me does not, and has not defined me but needs to be considered!
SO I pledge to try not to be dismissive of other’s opinions of me but in turn, work at seeing myself through their POV’s so any misconceptions, false impressions can be dismantled right away and my self-awareness be based on accurate feedback and not my “unbiased” ego J J J

As I tried to put a bit of humor into this “Lesson Learned” message, it truly pains me to know that I did step away from a situation leaving someone to deal with an unintentional hurtful attitude from me. So for my own sanity, I need to promise myself to be real with regard to my own perception!

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