Kings Exist! They Are Not Dead.

James & Katie (1)

A dedication to J, a king who loved me and taught me to love wholesomely.

Early last year, I grew to love someone romantically for the first time in years. He was perfect not because I couldn’t see his imperfections but because I did and I still wanted him. He made my day brighter just by being in it. He had the incredible ability to frustrate me in equal proportions as his ability to do something totally ridiculous that would have me squealing with laughter until tears ran down my face or smiled until my jaws hurt. He loved to make me smile! In his words, “What’s the world without the prettiest smile from the prettiest girl?”

He was the first man I’ve been involved with who wanted to pray with and for me. Although most of the times, he was thousands of miles away, travelling, there was never a night that we did not speak or a journey that he did not call to check that I had made it.

He understood that I wasn’t perfect but still he saw perfection in me despite my imperfections. He listened when I spoke. We spoke about the hard topics. We learned to agree to disagree on stuff that we both felt strongly about. He supported, motivated and pushed me to my limits. He was the type of guy who would spend hours learning and quizzing me about a topic that he knew nothing about just because I had an exam coming up. He made me want to be a better person on all levels. He forced me to be brave and let my voice be heard. He made me see the world in a more different and exciting way.

This guy was perfect! Incredibly, we synced and fit on everything but one…the one thing that turned out to be the deal-breaker. Before I knew it, I was planning to let my perfect guy go, overruling his protestations that he wanted me more than some childhood dream. Yet, I couldn’t bear the thought that maybe, just maybe, one day that special glow in his eyes, when he looked at me, would die when the conclusion sunk in that I was really serious and wouldn’t give him the one thing he has yearned for for as long as he could remember. And so, dying a little inside, I let him go and I walked away without looking back. We haven’t spoken since…

My heart aches whenever I hear a woman say that there are no good men out there. I know that’s a lie because I had one and he treated me as his queen. The queen in me rose and aligned to the king in him. But, before I could get there, the queen in me had to be readied so that she would see, acknowledge and respond wholesomely to the king he is. Only then did the incredible and rare thing occurs where we both connected, fitted and synced on another level. This is an experience I wish for all ladies. Only, when you find him, may you get to keep him.

 


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May the Peace of God go with you!

XOXO
Chañel

 

5 Life Lessons I Learned During 2018

2018 represented my 25th year and what a year it was! Based on the pronouncements of my 17-year old self, this should have been the year I got married and completed my second degree. My seventeen year old self was wrong and wronger lol. It’s a good thing I learned long ago that, things don’t often occur the way we planned them however, leaving them in the hands of the Author as He works and fulfills on His timing, no matter how impatient I become, is the better choice. Despite things not occurring as my idealistic 17-year old self would have planned, 2018 was a fulfilling year of self-sufficiency with some crucial lessons to learn. so, here goes, 5 lessons I learned during 2018:

 

Lesson 1: Not everyone’s opinions should be needed or heeded.

I recall the first time I heard the quote “a wolf does not concern himself with the opinions of sheep”, I thought I understood it until I realized that I wasn’t living it. An acquaintance bluntly (getting a taste of my medicine is not an easy pill to swallow) pointed out that I concerned myself too much with the opinions of persons who weren’t the subject matter experts. It took months for me to stop seeking or heeding the opinions of persons not qualified to give it. When I achieved this, things changed.

The truth is, whenever you step out to do something, two things will happen:  you may doubt yourself and everyone will want to have a say, especially if the move you are making goes against the norm.

Take the opinions of subject matter experts (the wolves) with a grain of salt and ignore the sheep!

 

Lesson 2: Trust your instincts

This year, I read Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Blink, which focused on recognizing and trusting the subtle but critical messages that your subconscious sends to your consciousness. In all honesty, this year, if I had trusted my gut, a lot of things would have turned out differently. It is also a bit painful when I realize that the primary reasons I didn’t trust my gut were because:

  1. I got caught in the web of analysis paralysis
  2. I focused on my responsibilities and caught up in the moment
  3. I focused on my conscious interpretation of the circumstances and outcomes I could see.

Faith requires seeing, not with just your eyes, but deeper…sometimes beyond the physical.

Listening to your subconsciousness requires going with your first instinct even if you don’t have physical plausible explanation as to why. Trusting your instincts requires you to be attuned to yourself enough to hear the subliminal messages that your mind communicates. I like to think that our subconscious is just another think that God uses to guide and warn us.

I find it amazing that God equipped each of us with our own personal alarm system. It’s a pity we don’t listen!

 

Lesson 3: Know when to walk away!

Know who you are and what you need.

This year I chose to walk away from people I loved who were toxic for me. I turned my back on things I didn’t believe in and people who didn’t believe in me or refused to invest me. I left my fears and doubts and anything that was not good for me behind!

If anyone had told me that the key to meeting Mr. McDreamy (can’t help my Grey’s Anatomy reference) was to go off on a cruise, I would have packed my bags and gone on holiday without prodding in early 2017. I met and clicked with Mr. McDreamy in late 2017. We invested in early 2018. To me, he was perfect…at least for a few months. While we aligned on a great many things, I soon realized that there were critical areas of misalignment. McDreamy was willing to wait for me to change my mind. I wasn’t! Especially when it came to what I needed or the things that defined me. I wasn’t willing to gamble with that on a whim, so I walked away.

Walking away is a hard and constant struggle but totally worth it.

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Next Step: Being a hoe? Part 1

I recently said to a friend the next chapter of my life will be called “When I was a Hoe.” I went on to say when you read that chapter, to cut a long story short, just skip to the end, it will say “I’m still a hoe.”

It’s a rather strange way to introduce you readers to myself but I think you will find out I’m a self-deprecating mess and you will love me for it.

Chanel has been trying to get me to contribute to her blog for the longest time. I think I was her first ever editor. I always resisted the urge because I always thought I didn’t have much to say. However the events of the last few months of my life got me thinking, maybe I should find a contructive way to work through my emotions. Since I’m a professional writer I thought why not write it down.

This first post will take you through my ‘hoe’ origins. In the beginning God created heaven and earth, but, if Chanel’s religion is to be believed I came some two thousand years later. I was a smart youngster who did well in school and watched way too much television, so, I got the concept in my head that a guy should have one girlfriend. I found the person I thought was going to be perfect for me.

S.W was beautiful, smart, untamed and best of all she admitted she liked me. She was the first girl to ever do that to me. I was already impressed but now I was hooked. I did all the things I thought should be done in young love – I was about 13. We held hands, we talked for hours about the most random stuff, whenever we’d meet I would sneak a kiss or she would find somewhere to be alone.

But she was also my first heartbreak. The first step on my road to “Hoe-dom” come around next week, I’ll tell you all about it.

A Goal-den Journey

It felt like just yesterday when I decided I was ready to pursue my Project Management Professional (PMP) certification. Today in my mind but my journey began in May of 2017.

Having defined my goal, I begin reviewing what would be needed to accomplish it. I realized immediately that whilst I would have liked to have gone straight for the PMP exam, I didn’t have enough work experience hours managing projects. I could take the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) instead because it had pre-requisites that I already fulfilled. With that realization, I made a commitment to myself: I would break my plan into two sub-parts with the intent to complete part 1 in July 2017 and part 2 within a year of completing part 2.

My plan started on track but sometimes everything doesn’t work out perfectly. By the time I begin preparations to pay for the CAPM exams, I found an unforeseen issue! The exam body did not facilitate the online exam in Jamaica! Imagine my shock! Based on my initial reading and planning, I had not come across this bit of information! Even the exam facilitator that I had intended to use had not known this. I immediately set out to verify and determine alternative options.

Before long, I learnt that the exam body intended to facilitate the online exam in Jamaica by August 2017. Though I had intended to complete part 1 by July 2017, I decided to wait and took the exam in August 2017. Much to my delight, I completed the exam successful and shifted my focus to part 2.

Part 2 was much trickier! I needed to gain about 1000 project management work experience hours as well as study. At the time, I had just been onboarded to a new project that was beginning to ramp up.

Every project manager will tell you of that one project that totally made them:

  1. Question and redefine all they thought they know and understand about people and projects.
  2. Doubt themselves and their abilities.
  3. Sincerely wish they could walk away.

This was the project for me. I now fondly refer to it as my “hell project” because it was that one project that truly shook me to the core and taught me to never take anything at face value when it comes to projects “trust but verify and verify and verify again.”. Some positives came from it though. It was the project that I put so much effort into that I earned the 1000+ working hours by January 2018.

With that aspect completed, I breathed a sigh of relief and begun preparations to study for my PMP exam with the optimistic goal to complete everything by May 2018. Again, my plans were thwarted because of the amount of effort the project required. I worked truly long hours and by the time my day ended, I was too exhausted and wound too tight to even consider taking up my textbook. By April 2018, I readjusted my plan and shifted my most-likely completion goal to June 2018, factoring in the project’s completion date of a month earlier.

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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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Lonely and Alone

This one is tough guys. This one is hard to write. Last week, much to my amazement, I heard myself saying, “I’ve changed this year. I feel much lighter.” It was strange but I’ve never thought much beyond the changes that I had felt in my gut needed to be made. Neither did I examine the emotional reasoning behind logical actions such as leaving my former church. I guess you could say that in that moment, examining the situation too closely would have revealed truths I was in no way ready to handle. It was time for a self-discovery.

As I thought back on last year, I could clearly hear myself questioning the reason why I had so many people around me but only few realized I was stressed and unhappy. A lot were quite happy to add more drama to my plate. I looked deeper and realized that at that moment in my life, unhappiness was too mild a word, I was depressed.

Acknowledging depression is a hard pill to swallow because when you generally think of depression, the image of the girl with the bright aura and smile doesn’t readily come to mind. Instead, we generally visualize the emos, dressed in black, sullen, and looking for all the world to see “depressed”.

I remember a few years ago, I saw the story of a young woman who was dead in her apartment for two entire years before any noticed. I remember thinking, “How could that situation have happened? Didn’t she have friends, family, neighbors, etc.” I am afraid of getting there. Dying and no one noticing. At the time, I thought to myself, that could never happen to me. I have way too many people around me.

Yet, last year, I remember sitting down in church and on the choir, and wondering how could I be surrounded by so many people and still feel so alone. Aren’t these the same people who hugged me on a Sunday and called me “daughter”? Why did I feel so alone?

Why was my phone full of church contacts who, for the most part, only called or messaged me when they needed something? Why these numerous contacts only seemed interested in the wide white smile but none took the time to look beyond and see the sadness in my eyes? These were the persons I prayed with. These were the persons I sang on the choir with. These were the persons I joker around with. These were the persons I spent a large percentage of my free time with. These were the persons I thought of as friends yet when I needed, no one knew me enough to see.

Where were all my friends? Why didn’t my family notice something was off about me?

Honestly, I felt betrayed by God too. Where was He when I was internally screaming loudly? Begging Him for a physical sign that He had heard my cry? Begging Him for someone to speak directly to me, to my feeling during one of the Sunday messages. Where was He? Why didn’t he give me the sign I needed?

I can remember thinking to myself, “So many people but only a handful.” It was amazing that despite me knowing so many persons, only a few thought to check if I was okay when I went MIA. Even fewer thought to push deeper when I gave my regular “I’m okay” to the general polite question, “How are you?”

A part of me recognized that I wasn’t needed. I didn’t want to be in such an environment where everybody looked but few really saw. I recognized I couldn’t stay. My mitigation action was simple. I let go of my “BIG” church and a lot of acquaintances. I chose a smaller church and began focusing my energies on building strong relationships with the few friends who have shown themselves as being worthy of the title. I gave myself the permission to be free of the things I didn’t believe in at heart and focused on ensuring my emotional health. Eventually, I felt lighter.

In retrospect, I wondered how I got to the point of being depressed and yet no one or myself seemed to notice. The answer hit me. I was always the one who could fix it. Most of my acquaintances believed that I always had it together. I didn’t need help, instead, I was the one capable and always willing to offer the assistance. It just didn’t cross their minds that maybe I needed help of a different nature.

Guys, I hope my blubbering makes sense. I want to call you to action. I came close but I escaped from the clutches of depression. Don’t be one of the persons who looks but do not see. Care enough to stop and take the time to see beneath the surface. Care enough to ask deeper questions.

XOXO,
Chañel.

I Don’t Even Like Wine!

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I guess you can say that the cat is out of the bag with my post title, huh? I remember the first time I had wine…my initial thought was “who in heaven’s name would drink this horrible-tasting stuff?” Well, hello, it’s clear that I did for years… Fabulous toast to my idiocy…?

After my first experience, everytime I found myself in a social setting, I opted to fit in, be polite and have what everyone else was having. Before I realised it, it was considered my drink of choice and I found myself buying wine to relax after a long day at work. Despite this, my tastebuds protested everytime I decided to take a sip but I kept at it! While some were better than others, acquired taste is a myth (well except for coffee)! It was simply a long journey of taste after taste! Acquired taste, my ass! 😂

Well, one day I woke up! As I held a glass in my hand, I asked myself, “why the hell do you keep having this stuff when it’s obvious you don’t enjoy it…?” I had no answer.

I realized something though. I had developed this attitude towards quite a few things in my life. I did them for the sake of acceptance or just to fit in… Like the times I:

  1. Kept silent about something because everyone seemed to be on a different wavelength and I didn’t want to be the dissenting voice.
  2. No longer recognized myself but clung to the version of the person everyone expected me to be while I slowly felt like screaming inside.
  3. Refrained from saying no although I felt like I was constantly being taken advantage of.
  4. I refrained from voicing how I felt about the action of others because it offended others or resulted in argument that I couldn’t foster the energy to fight about.

All these are done at a cost to myself! These costs added up! Everytime I bit my tongue, I embraced another aspect of timidity and lost a piece of myself! Everytime I said yes when I wanted to say no, I lost the opportunity to do something I really wanted to do. Only to do something I had little desire. And everytime, I chose to cling to a older version of myself, my evolved self screamed a bit louder.

There has to be a tipping point though. I had to seriously ask myself: “How much of myself was I willing to forsake and sacrifice in order to fit in?” Mine took a while to come but when it did, I realized that there was no law that required my continuous agreement with everyone but myself. If I didn’t like something, I had the power to either accept it or walk away. I also realized that I didn’t have to be loud to be heard because my actions spoke volumes. The hardest part about coming to that conclusion was taking the first step. And even after the first step, it is still not easy when everytime you are faced with a situation where you are forced to make a decision about putting forward something the majority would agree with or putting a foot forward and being willing to say what I think and feel. It’s hard to consciously chose you!

Step by step. Day by day. I have decided to choose me. Be true to myself. Will you join me on my journey of truth?

XOXO,

Chañel.