What If

What if I made the wrong choice about my career?

What if I am not cut out for this degree?

 What if I am not as smart as my mother thinks I am?

What if I was the cause of my long-term friendships ending?

What if I don’t know how to communicate without getting in my feelings?

What if I cannot be the mother I desire to be?

What if I never find my hope again?

What if my mental illness is too much for my husband to take?

What if I never get out of my depressive thoughts?

What if…

I could say what if over and over, but the world will continue to turn. So instead of focusing on my “what ifs,” I will focus on my journey to a better, happier me.

The Late Text

*Phone chimes*

Depression: WYD?

Me: Nothing. Trying to sleep.

Depression: You’re lame for that.

Me: How am I lame?

Depression: Aren’t you sad?

Me: No.

Depression: SMH. Yes you are.

Me: No I am not! Stop saying that I am.

Depression: You’re sad AF. Just come clean.

Me: Bye.

Depression: You’re worthless.

Depression: No one wants you around.

Depression: Leave.

Me: Why are you doing this? Are you trying to make me cry?

*No reply*

*Phone chimes*

Depression: Are you sad yet? I’m trying to chill with you. What’s up?

Me. Leave me alone. I don’t want to deal with you.

Depression: What do you mean?

Me: I don’t like how you make me feel when we are together.

Depression: Don’t you like feeling like crap when I tell you people think so little of you?

Me: Wrong! I don’t like feeling like that.

Depression: But that’s what it is, though.

Depression: So… Can I come through?

Me: No. I don’t need you right now.

Depression: What?

Me: I don’t want to be with you Depression.

Depression: I am all you have.

Me: No you aren’t.

Depression: Since when?

Me: Since I started understanding that I am enough.

Depression: Whatever.

Depression: Stop lying to yourself and let me keep you company.

Me: I’m good Depression.

Depression: Excuse me?

Me: You’re excused. Now, if you don’t mind, I would like to get some rest.

*Blocks number*

The Handshake

Working as a Director of a childcare center, I see many touching moments parents have with their children; but this particular moment brought my little Ari out to play. One of my school-age children’s dad visits her at the center when she is not over his house for the weekend. They talked and laughed for about 20 minutes, and when it was time for dad to leave, they get up from the bench and do a playful handshake. As an adult seeing their playful handshake, I thought it was so sweet and innocent. But little Ari grew sad and jealous because daddy never did anything like that with her. This daddy-daughter duo would do their handshake about three times out of the week. This dad would leave wherever work is to sit down and just laugh and talk to his daughter.  He could have called her on the phone, but no, he comes to the center to see her. My dad never did that. My dad never went out of his way to make me feel seen. The man (my dad) does have inside jokes with my sister, so I know that he has it in him. But I guess it was not for me to see that side of him. I want to say that I am not jealous of this young girl for having a great relationship with her dad. I love that this man is taking time out of his day to see his daughter without any rhyme or reason. I wish I had that connection with my dad, but I understand that it was not for me.

I have to learn to love my little Ari harder. She needs to hear daily that everything will be okay and that she is loved. I have to talk to her nicely. She deserves that from me her parent.

Little Ari, we will get through this together. Just hang on. I love you.

Sisters

I thought nothing could separate us. I thought I would be around to see your children grow up. What happened? When did we lose our bond? Our connection. We were good before 2020; what did I miss? It’s my fault that I didn’t work hard enough for us. Or maybe it was supposed to be this way. What did I miss? Why am I the only one that is still confused by this? What did I do? What was said? We are sisters! Well, we were sister would be the correct response, huh? I am still trying to find what is missing. Maybe it is not for me to figure that out. Maybe our moment has passed. I mean, we all are on different journeys, right? Perhaps we were only supposed to cross paths and then go off on our journeys, never to see each other again. If that is so, why do I feel like something is missing?

Maybe I was the only one in it. Maybe I forced it. Maybe I deserve to feel how I am feeling.

We are sisters! Well, we were sisters.

Sad Again: A Letter to Sadness

Dear Sadness,

You are not needed. Why is it every time I want happiness, you come along and talk me out of it? What is it about seeing me being happy bothers you? Is it because you can’t keep me in my bed? Is it because you can’t keep me thinking my life is pointless? I have a good life. I have a family that loves me through all of my ups and downs, and it kills you. It kills you that I learn how to forgive and move forever. Well, I hate to tell you this, sweetheart, but I am not sorry for you not winning over my life. I know that one day I will see you again, but I will be ready for you. I know that I may weep during the night, but I will find happiness and joy again. Never will I let you keep me down as you have before. That is a promise I am willing to make to me.

Girl Bye,

Ari

Are You Being Served?

I was thinking about what to write today since we are coming up to the end of the year, so let’s talk about letting go of things and people that do not serve us anymore. I know it is not a happy topic, but we need to talk about it before setting any new goals for 2021.

I am huge on friendships. I would stay in them even when I do not see them going anywhere. My anxiety would make me feel bad for ending relationships, and I would go back to that relationship, knowing nothing would change. This year as I look back on relationships that ended, I realized that holding on to a relationship to make the other person feel good does nothing for you. Is someone looking after you? If you cannot say yes to this question, it is a safe bet to say that your relationship is not serving you.

We cannot continue to live our lives for others. What does it do for us to give them our all and never get that in return? We have to remember that our means should be met in the relationships we have and if they are not met, we should feel no pressure to stay. I saw a video that said, “You do not have to set yourself on fire to keep others warm.” This means we should not burn ourselves out just to be with a person. We should not be the only ones giving our all to the relationship. Find a person that will be willing to give as well as receive.

A Letter to Doubt

Hey Doubt,

I am writing to you to let you know that you have no place here with me. Yes, I know we have been friends for a while, but this relationship is not serving me. You keep me second-guessing my purpose and my gifts. You made me think that no one will ever see the good in me. Hell, you even made me think my husband didn’t want me. Doubt, you are no one’s friend and to think that I trusted you makes me upset. Please know that you are not wanted or needed anymore, and you can take all your negative thoughts that you gave me back. I never did and still do not require you in my life.

Sorry. Not sorry.

Ari

Ari’s 2021 Mantra

2020 has taught me two things: One, if people do not want to be bothered with you, leave them alone, and second, people love saying they respect you in your face, but when they get the chance, they will take digs at you. For 2021, I made a mantra for myself, and if you feel that something I wrote can help you, feel free to use it.

Ari’s Mantra

I will live with purpose

I will learn to trust my gut

Being alone does not make you lonely

I will only give from my overflow

Taking time for myself is NOT being selfish

I do not need to convince people of my worth

I will not cheat myself out of the journey

I will not place myself in a relationship that does not serve me

I will not compare myself to anyone

I am love

I am strength

I will be successful

Forgiveness

Ari,

I am sorry that I have been hard on you. I did not realize how pushing you to pass your limits would make you cry. You are smart, and doubting you were the worst thing I could do to you. You do not deserve to hear the harsh words I say to you. You do not deserve to be beaten down for making small mistakes. I understand that making mistakes only helps you grow and reach your goals. I am sorry for making you think there is a right or wrong way to get to your dreams. You are allowed to march to a different beat from others. I get it now, Ari. I get that I hurt you, and that was not fair to you. You were born to live a life that fits you, not you trying to fit a life that was not designed for you to wear.

Please forgive me, Ari.

I did not know any better, but I am willing to sit back and trust the process that has been made for you.

I love you Ari, and I am willing to do what it takes to love you every day.

NO.

How hard is it for you to say no? If you are like me, saying no feels like slapping someone in the face. Saying no makes me feel guilty even when I have a reason to say it. So what do you do? Should you say yes forever? Well, I have a list we can all use to help fight the fear of saying no.

It is okay to say no…

If it doesn’t make you happy

If you feel as if someone is forcing you

If it doesn’t fit your plans

If it makes you uncomfortable

If you want to be by yourself and relax

If your feelings are not being valued

If it goes against what you believe in

If it’s a family member

If you have no reason other than you wanting to do it

Understand that it does not happen overnight. But remember, you have the right to say no to anyone about anything. Saying no helps protect your feelings, so use it when you can.