Lessons from the Little Robe

So lately, my youngest sister and I have been spending a lot of time together. During our teenaged years, we weren’t close but I’ve come to really appreciate our growing closeness. As I get older, I realize that family truly means a lot.

Enough with the sappy-ness. Here are a few lessons I’ve picked up from the younger “Robe”, my bighead-in-crime.

Lesson #1:

Don’t take yourself too seriously. Wind down. Be silly! Be sillier! If you feel like singing at the top of your lungs to some of your favorite lyrics, do it! Let down your hair and just embrace your silly inner child. Don’t hold back because the crowd is watching. They are all awaiting a similar permission to be free. As we Jamaicans would say “be fool fool and nuh watch nuh face.”

Lesson #2:

Be unapologetically you. Sometimes I spend a lot of time time trying to fit into the image that people have of me. To my mother, I’m the responsible daughter who factors her family’s needs into all decisions. To my coworkers, I’m the one who always delivers, sometimes at the expense of myself. To my friends, I’m the one with the advice who seems to always have it together.

Honestly, being all that all the time is exhausting. One of the things I’ve come to recognize is that despite putting your all to meet others expectations, you will still end up not meeting all. On top of that, people will forget all the great stuff you have accomplished, the moment they think you slipped up.

The best strategy then is to live for you. Be you! Live for your expectations! Anything else is just pure madness.

Lesson #3:

Use the brakes. This one will always be a joke between us. My first driving lesson, I took a corner and panicked when I realized there was a car on the curb that I couldn’t bypass quickly enough. My sister kept yelling “Brake! Brake!” as the car connected with the one on the curb. Over time, I’ve come to utilize the warning “brake” in my daily life.

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What Letting Go Has Taught Me…

After a long week, I took some time to just reflect on life and where I’ve progressed to since the year began. I realized something about myself. Many of the persons I had started the year with, has disappeared. This made me pause and reflect on how I felt about their disappearance. I realized I was okay.

A few months ago, I wrote a post about keeping persons to your standards. A confession, sometimes I write very good advice but I am generally the last to take it. What do they say about the counsellor? They need the most counseling… For weeks after that post, I would find myself getting annoyed with myself when people walked all over my standards and I kept them around. Frankly I was miserable and I decided to actively do something about it. I must say that once you begin to stand up for yourself, you will be amazed how quickly persons either pulled up their socks or disappeared.

Some of these persons tried to reappear later but I stuck to my mantra and eventually they would leave for good once they realized what I now stood for. I can’t moan about the disappearing acts, frankly, good riddance.

Another thing that changed was that I stopped allowing persons to drag me into their drama. I am a regular Miss-Fix-It. Maybe that is why I make such a good Project Manager… It is simply amazing how much energy it takes to deal with other persons’ drama. What makes it worse is when sometimes, these are the persons who you can never depend on. It made me wonder, what was the use, if these persons were only in your life to drain you. Now, whenever I want to say something or intervene, I beg the Lord to hold my tongue or simply walked away.

My final habit that changed was my “Superwoman mentality”. This on many occasions caused me to burn out and persons often took advantage of my inability to say “no”. I have begun to say “no”. Frankly, it feels good to be able to have time to myself and be able to do the things that I want to do. This meant that a lot of people walked away once they realized I was no longer available to be twisted around their fingers. Frankly, that set leaving was a breath of fresh air.

Friendship, I found, is never about quantity. It’s simply the quality. I would rather have a few good friends who look out for me than an entire army of friends whose actions are a guarantee to my destruction. I prefer to walk into my peace. Don’t you agree? Let me know your thoughts on the subject in the comments area below.

XOXO,
Chañel.

What Do You Say About You?

On my first solo business trip, I had several experiences that made me realise something integral. I’ve always spoken about the fact that I am interested in doing all the good I can before I die. Why? I am deeply interested in shaping what I will be known for. In my first solo week-long trip, I realised that your actions can say a lot about you.
One of the things, I am very purposeful in doing is ensuring that I sincerely thank whoever serves me. This, sometimes, resulted in me internally cringing when I realise that throughout the course of a meal, I end up telling the waiter/waitress, thank you for:

  1. Pouring my water
  2. Taking my order
  3. Bringing my order (multiple times if the meal has multiple courses)
  4. Asking if I am ready for the bill
  5. Bringing the bill
  6. Processing my payment
  7. Removing my dishes

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I will wait for you

For the past few weeks, much to my chagrin, I’ve found myself in a couple conversations that run along the lines of:

Person: Hi!

Me
: Hey what’s up long time don’t seen!

Person
: Girl, you nuh married yet? When you planning to tie the knot?

Me
: *speechlessness*

OR 

Random Person: Girl you so busy chasing you career, yuh no want a man?

Me
: Obviously I am sporting a “I NEED A MAN” sign that I’m not aware of.

It seems persons are under the impression that this is the 1800s and so, if at 23, I don’t have a man in the wings or I am not preparing to get married and heralding the bells, I am weird and abnormal.

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Maternal Instincts Re-Instated?

Today I had a moment. No, it was not just a moment, it was an epiphany of a moment. You know, like the epiphany of moments that probably resulted in J.K. Rowling visualizing the Harry Potter series while broke and on her way home on a train? Now I had a epiphany of a moment today which totally opened my eyes to exactly how I feel about kids.

My mom had my youngest brother when I was seven years old. To me, he was my first child. I fed him. I changed him. I gave him baths. I combed his hair. I punished him. I comforted him when he was hurt. I helped him with his homework. I chastised him out when he is rude. We have our movie nights. He is very protective of me. He is my baby! Sure I didn’t give birth to him but he is still mine.

I don’t know how or when it happened but somewhere along the way I grew scared of babies. I had mental panic attacks when I held them and so, couldn’t hold them for long. No matter how cute they were, I preferred them big. I hated the thought of giving birth and found myself vowing I would only have one unless I ended up with twins. I couldn’t imagine having anymore. If I was honest to myself, I would have realized in that moment that I was fine not giving birth to any. I only started making those vows because it was what persons expected me to say. They had no meaning behind them.

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A Jigsaw Puzzle

As a child, I was fascinated with solving jigsaw puzzles. I would spend hours matching pieces just to see the whole picture. Even today, though I am no longer an ardent player, I still spend time playing the jigsaw app on my laptop.

Have you ever noticed just how nicely two pieces will fit when they are meant for each other? I mean you don’t have to deal with the stress of squeezing the end of one into the hole of the other. They just fit in a way that takes the process one step closer to solving the problem and making the picture much better.

How many of your relationships have been like? You meet persons and they just fall neatly in place. I have many friends who came into my life like that. Even now if I don’t see or talk to them for years, when we meet again, it’s like no time has passed. That is how your relationships should be. You shouldn’t have to force it. If you have a friend which you have to continually fight to keep, maybe that friendship shouldn’t be. If you are in a relationship in which every day feels like a battlefield, maybe the universe is trying to tell you something.

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Press the DELETE button!

A few months ago I listened to a message which touched something in my soul. The speaker addressed the issue of decluttering by using the analogy of a phone. Although the owner wanted to add more resources to the device, he couldn’t because, simply put, the memory was full. In order to add more items, the owner had to delete all the junk that had accumulated on the phone over the years of ownership.

When I heard that message, I realized I was like that phone! My memory was full. Emotionally I had reached my capacity yet persons still demanded more of me. I also realized that there were too many persons around me who were literally sucking my energy and emotions dry.

Physically I was full! Whenever persons asked me how I was doing, my first reaction was to say “I’m tired!”. Truly I was, because I had never embraced the benefits of saying no and so, although I had reached my capacity, I was still accepting mundane stuff that made me feel overwhelmed. With the feeling of being overwhelmed, came my anger that persons couldn’t see that I had reached my capacity! My tiredness extended on a spiritual level as well. I was always giving yet because of the time it took to give, I had no energy or time to pour in. My Bible reading was rushed! My praying was done on-the-go! My memory had simply overflown. Continue reading