A Dear Fear Letter

Hey Fear,

I cannot believe we have been together for this long. Understand Fear, and I am not happy with this relationship. You keep me locked in a box and have me second guess everything I do. There have been moments in our relationship; you have made me not trust the people that I love the most because you put thoughts in my head that they were not good for me. You also would make me distance myself and run away from my dreams. Fear I cannot find a happy moment with you, and you know this. So why do you want to stay around? Is it because you like it when I am beating myself up? Is it because it is funny seeing me throwing up because I cannot handle the stress? Whatever it is, I am done with you, Fear.

Please do not call or write to me to talk me out of this. I have nothing else to say to you. We are not a good fit any more Fear. You are only good for making me hide instead of fighting for what I want. I hope you never do this to anyone else. Stay away from me; I do not wish to deal with you at all. I am over being controlled by you, and I am ready to be happy.

Goodbye Fear,

Ari

Starting Over

Talking to someone that has wronged you is a difficult thing to deal with. The reason why that is because you aren’t sure if you can trust that person again. So, what do you do? Should you just stay away and never speak to them again? Or should you just take the high road and see what will come from it?

When I went out to lunch with my Dad Sunday, talking to each other started out slow. It was like we were strangers trying to carry a conversation on an elevator. Finally, my Dad broke the awkwardness saying, “Ariel, before you told me how you felt, I thought I was doing right by you,” “I didn’t think about how you need time with me.” My Dad said, looking at me with sadness in his eyes. I sat up in my seat. I could not believe that he actually heard me. I just knew that he would find ways to make this a non-issue. I felt so comfortable with what I was hearing, all my bitterness and anger was falling off with each acknowledgment he made. At that moment I felt so proud to say that this man is my Father. Now, I want you to understand that I am still taking things slow with him. I want to make sure that he is genuinely willing to start over with our relationship. But just knowing that he owns his fault, makes me feel that we have a chance to rebuild.

I want everyone that reads this blog who has ever been hurt or has ever hurt someone to take from this story two things. First, come in with a clear and open heart. If you are still holding on to the hurt, you will never be able to receive anything from that person. It is okay to be hurt, but if you are trying to move forward, you must let go. Secondly, only have the conversation when YOU are ready. Don’t allow anyone to rush you into a conversation. You have to move when you feel that the time is right, and only you will know when the time is right.

Daddy-Daughter Date 2020

Tomorrow I am going out with my dad, and I am so nervous about going. I feel like this is the first time I have ever met him. I don’t know what I want to talk about. Should I just talk about what’s going on now? Should I bring up our fight in May? I don’t know if I want to be open to letting him back in.

Ugh, this meeting would happen before my therapist appointment on the First of July. Get it together, Ari…

All I can think to myself, is that this man is my dad; why am I so nervous? I guess if your last real conversation with your dad were so awkward that you both and him paused for at least 20 seconds before you started your next subject, you would be nervous too.

I just have to do it. I have to stop overthinking this meeting. If my dad wants a true fresh start with me, I must allow him the room to do so. I cannot hold on to the past if I want to build a future father-daughter relationship with him. I have to come with an open mind and a heart to receive.

A Letter to Little Ari

Dear Little Ari,

I am sorry that you are hurting. I am sorry that you did not get the love that you wanted from your daddy. You are such a beautiful and smart little girl. He does not know what he is missing. You are going to become a wonderful and loving person. You will find a husband that will love you, and all the things you think are flaws. You will reach every goal you set because you have a determined spirit. Will you long for your daddy love? Yes. But you are going to make it. You will have happy days, and when your days get tough, do not be too hard on yourself, little Ari. You are human, and it is okay that you make mistakes.

I want you to know little Ari that you are loved. You are perfect just the way God made you. Do not change yourself because you do not fit a mold that was not designed for you. You have nothing to prove to anyone. Have fun, and do not overthink the things that are placed in front of you. You are very strong, even though this may feel like your lowest point. You have the heart of a fighter, and you will win at everything you set your mind to do. Do not give up on yourself. You are not a failure. You deserve anything you wish for and then some. Your mama is proud of you, and she believes in you. The support you will get from your mama will be enough to keep you going. Understand that you are not to blame for the hurt that was brought to you. Keep Smiling little Ari. You are a star in the making. I love you!

Love,

Ari from 2020

Fighting the Unknowns

Many of us suffer with the future because we do not know what will happen. We want to be able to plan our next move, and no matter how well we think we have things mapped out, we are never truly prepared. Our anxiety plays a part in this because it wants to know where we are going before we get there. But how can we fight the unknown? Let’s talk about it.

One way for us to fight the feeling of the unknown is by living in the moment. We cannot change our past, nor do we know if the future is promised us, but we do have the chance to shape our present. When we live in the moment, we can prevent things from happening that may impact our future. We cannot fix anything when we are so fixated on how things were or how things maybe later on down the road. The only way you can calm your anxiety is by thinking about what you can control today.

Another thing is being okay with option number 2 or 7. We come up come with all these plans, but most of us want the very first one to stick. And do not get me wrong, your first one could be the one, however, what do you have for backup if it does not work? I have heard a lot of people say that having options is accepting failure, but that is not true; having other options is being realistic. As the old saying goes, do not put all of your eggs in one basket. By relying on one plan, you are setting yourself up from a major let down if your plan does not go the way you want it to work. Look at how many people we see as successful; they had several plans and options to fall back on if their first plan failed. Do not allow yourself to feel foolish because you want to make sure you have all your options laid in front of you.

To sum this post up, we cannot predict what the unknown looks like to us; but we can enjoy what life has for us today. Life is not a one size fit all. Life is about making choices and learning from them. Love the life you are living, and push through the unknowns. It will be worth it.

A Childless Woman on Mother’s Day

I’ve always wanted to be a mother. Ever since I’ve received my first stroller and doll, I knew that I was going to be a mother. Well, as of right now, I am not a mother, and I am becoming very defeated. I have cried every Mother’s Day since I’ve been married. I cry because although I am happy for my friends and family that are mothers, I wish that I could experience the same joy.

Since November, my husband and I have been actively trying to have a baby. I went to my Gynecologist, and he gave me so much hope. He ran tests and checked my eggs. He told me when to try and what medications will increase my chance. But every month, nothing. My mind keeps telling me that I am less than a woman because I cannot get pregnant. I cry every time I see a pregnancy announcement or new birth. When will it be me? I must have done something in my past that has caused me not to be able to become pregnant. But what is it? I want to be able to right this wrong. I look at a baby or a child and immediately wish I had a child to love. My friends tell me that my time is coming, but I do not see it. Maybe it was not meant to be. Everyone cannot be mothers, I guess.

I am trying to remain positive, but it gets harder every day to find that spirit. I know I should not beat myself up, but I cannot help it. The only thing I can do is continue to pray that one day I am blessed to have a little one call me mama. For right now, I can be happy that I am someone’s Aunt and godmother. Hopefully, my dream will come true. It has to come true.

Taking Time for You

I have another journal prompt that I want to share. The prompt reads as such: What do you do when you get time alone? This one was a tough one for me because my one weakness is giving too much of myself to everyone. But I am going to try to answer this prompt. Here we go.

One thing that I do when I want time to myself is to put my phone on Do Not Disturb (DND). Yes, I turn it on real quick! DND helps me turn the outside world off. DND is not a nasty way to tell people to leave you alone; it merely is to recharge yourself from the day. DND is a saving grace when you want to be alone and disconnect. Like my Mama always say, you cannot be good for anyone if you are not good to yourself.

Another thing that I do when I get alone time is to sit and write at Starbucks or Barnes and Noble. Being out of the house helps me to get away from the familiar. When you sit in your home, it is so easy to watch TV or start cleaning up things that are not messy. You cannot be fully productive when it is so easy to lay down and take a nap. Being out of the house makes you channel your thoughts and creativity. Just step outside of your home and watch how much work you will get done. 

The last thing that I do with time alone is to listen to music. Music has a way of calming me down from a stressful day. I put on my earphones, and I zone out. Music takes your mind on a journey. You can reflect on past relationships, on the good times that you had with your friend, or just pretend that you are at a concert. Take the time to incorporate music into your Me Time.

We feel that taking time for ourselves and being selfish, but it is not. We need time for ourselves so that we can unwind from our day or our week. Do not allow people to make you feel bad because you want time alone. Again, you cannot be your best self if you are unable to charge your batteries. Even if you take an hour out of your day to spend time alone, do it. It’s worth it.

Forgive Yourself

It can be somewhat easier to forgive others before we forgive ourselves. Why is that? Don’t we owe it to ourselves to forgive ourselves? Let us dive deeper into this topic. Yes, I have a story to tell. 😂

My last job I was as an Academic Advisor for a college. One thing that I loved about the job was watching students finishing their degrees and feel confident that they can reach any goal they set. The thing that I disliked about the job was the politics. I felt the school only cared about having students packed in the classrooms instead of making sure students were ready for their careers. There was a time where we had a student that was suffering from a mental delay and could not focus on passing the two classes she was taking. She failed two semesters, and my manager, the Dean of Students Services, wanted me to place her in another major so we can hit our registration number. I had to fight my whole team for them to understand that this student was not going to be successful in a college that cannot meet her needs.

When I left, well, when my manager got mad because I placed my two weeks’ notice in and she made me leave that same day, I felt so bad. I thought I was letting the students down who came to me for advice and a shoulder to lean on. I also thought that I was letting my husband down because I took a major pay cut. I went to my new job, regretting my decision to leave. I thought that I was selfish, and I did not deserve to be happy.  I went to therapy two weeks after leaving my job, and I cried,  “I made a big mistake.” “How so?” My therapist asked. “Because I not only let my students down, I let my husband down.”  My therapist looked at me and gave me a kind smile. “Were you happy there?” She asked.

I started thinking about the things that I did not care for while I was there. “Not at all.” I said. “Sounds to me like you left to save yourself from being miserable.” She explained. She was right. Had I stayed, I would have been depressed and possibly had a mental breakdown from the stress. “You did not let anyone down,” my therapist said, “You freed yourself from being hurt.” Then she said, “Forgive yourself, Ariel.” After that session I went home, I looked at myself in the mirror, and I told myself that I forgive me.

I said all of that to say this; we need to be kinder to ourselves. We should not beat ourselves up because of what others think about our decisions. We have to do what is right for us because we are the only ones that will know what fits us. Self-love is forgiving yourself for things you have done, or you think you did to yourself. Forgiveness is the first step in taking the baggage off of you. If you want to be free of the cloudiness that is around you, look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself that you forgive you. Trust me; you will feel much better.

Anxiety Woes

I saw a journal prompt that I would like to share. The prompt asks, What is one way your depression or anxiety has held you back this week? I want to tell you how my anxiety treated me this week, and hopefully, this can help others dealing with their depression or anxiety during this pandemic.

Monday, I wanted to go to the store and pick up some things for my husband and me. As I was going to the store, my stomach was doing flips. I went into the store, trying to gather myself. I went down every aisle I needed to go on and quickly went to the register. I thought I was home free. “You can make it, Ariel,” I said to myself. Then it dawns on me, “I forgot the chips!” I yelled out loud. I did not want to go back into the store I left out of, so I went to a small convenience store. I went in, got the chips my husband wanted, and ran back to the car. My stomach is doing the Salsa at this point. It was taking every fiber in my body not to make the mistake of throwing up on myself. I did that before, and it was not pretty. I pull into the driveway, thinking that I am in the clear, but as soon as I started taking bags out of the car, I had to throw them back into the car and throw up all over the grass. It took me about 10 minutes to gather myself and continue to unload the car. I did not leave out the house for the rest of this week. Anxiety has a funny way of trying to “help” you out. 

Although anxiety may have you feeling physically sick, we have to find ways to fight back. If it means to take baby steps until you can regain yourself, do that. Anxiety’s job is to make us afraid of the world around us, and since this pandemic has changed our world, anxiety is working overtime. Find peace and know that what we are facing right now will not become the norm. Pace yourself, love yourself, and above all, listen to yourself. We can make it!

Until You Use Me Up

Have you ever given too much of yourself? I mean, you gave so much that it drained you mentally, emotionally, and physically? Well, welcome to the club! I used to think that the only way to show that I cared about someone was to give too much of myself. You may be wondering, if I do not give my all to a person, how will they know I care?

I have been in two major relationships before I dated and married my husband. The first one was puppy love. I met him when we were 18, and I just knew I was in love with him. Every time he would call, I would do everything in my power to answer. I was so focused on loving him; I did not notice he was taking advantage of me. One time we were sitting in his car, and he kept sighing. “What’s wrong, Babe?” I asked. “Man, I’m broke,” He said, holding his head. “I have no gas, but I wanted to see you.” I started thinking to myself that I had to help him, but I only had $40 to my name. Then I thought to myself, “But he came all this way to see you.”

“What do you need?” I said, taking his hand from his head. “I need like $20 bae.” He said, looking at me like a sad puppy. “Well, I have $20 I can give you,” I said, reaching into my bag to grab my wallet. “Naw, I cannot take money from you, baby.” He said. The look on his face, however, was saying something different. He was looking like, “Come on and show me the money.” “Here,” I said, holding out the money, “Take it, babe.” His eyes perked up, and he took the money from my hand so fast that it felt like a vacuum sucking up dust. “I’ll pay you back.” He said as he leaned over and kissed me on my cheek. Let’s just say that he still owes me $220.

My second one was emotionally draining. I thought he was the one, but every time something would come up in his life, I was the first person he would get rid of. I had to fight to keep him around. “Stop calling my phone Ariel,” He shouted. “I told you when I am ready to talk to you; I will!” “Why won’t you talk to me,” I cried. “I want to help you; I love you.” My phone beeped to let me know he ended the call. I would cry myself to sleep because I wanted him to let me in. He went as far as blocking my number and blocking me on social media. When he was ready to be bothered with me… I mean ready to be loved by me, he would unblock me and asked me to forgive him. It took me a while, but I decided to let him go. He was very upset about that.

I told these stories to make this point; if you are giving more than you are receiving, it is safe to say it is not a relationship you need. We cannot continue to fill everyone’s cup while you sit around being thirsty. Again, how do you care about someone without emptying yourself? You set parameters in your relationships. You let them know what you will and will not do. A relationship is all about give and take. If you are giving more than you are receiving, you are cheating yourself out of the love and respect that you deserve. Also, do not let anyone make you feel bad for saying no. That is your right to say no. You have to know when enough is enough. You can love someone without draining your pitcher, and if they do not like it, so be it.