A Comfortable Misfit: I’m not for everyone, and I’m ok with that

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I’ve racked my brain time and time again on how to eloquently write this piece without offending or hurting anyone, but I’ve come to realize those who take offense or choose to not to take constructive criticism or advice, well I am just not for them.  

“You’ve changed.”

“You’re always unavailable.”

“You are so distant.”

“ You don’t call or text as much as you used”

Those are just a few of the statements that are constantly being thrown at me.  Can you relate?

Yes, I have changed. I am no longer a 20 something young, college student without a care in a world, but rather a 20 something adult (rapidly approaching 30) that carries a million titles. When we first met, I was probably just a daughter, sister, friend, college student with limited cares in the world. However, over the years those titles have changed and inevitably  so have I. As mentioned before, I carry a million and one titles these days but the most important two are wife and mom.

You see these titles trump everything else and are by far the most time consuming. When I took on these titles my life changed forever. No, it did not happen overnight, but over the years I began to see things in a different light.

I was 19 when I met my husband, and married by the age of 22. We welcomed our beautiful baby boy in our first year of marriage and our precious baby girl during year three. This meant we had to grow up. QUICK!

I remember jokingly saying to my friends and family, “I can’t believe I’m actually someone’s mom.” Anyone that really knows me knows I was never one to want a whole gang of kids.  

If you would have told me then that I would be a wife and mom before the age of 25, I would have laughed. HARD! But here I am at the age of 28, a wife of 5 years and mother of two rambunctious toddlers.

I tried so hard to hold onto my “cool card” and not be that friend that “changed” after becoming a wife and mom. I wanted to prove to my friends that I was still down. That I could still have a life.  But in reality, things did change and so did I.

I began to realize that certain things were no longer of interest or importance to me. Certain things no longer entertained me. Certain things no longer deserved my time or attention.

I found that my interest and desires changed. It was because I wanted to grow! I wanted to evolve into the best wife and mom that I could be. I wanted to focus on becoming my best self. I wanted to do this for me!

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Now, I’m not sure how many of you have ever been intentional about making a conscious effort to change but let me tell you it is hard work and takes a lot of time and effort. True growth is uncomfortable and yields from uncomfortable situations. It is an emotional process. It challenges your mental toughness. It shows you who you really are and what you’re truly made of.

You have to decide to grow or seek out to better yourself. Life doesn’t stop or cater to you because you’re trying to grow. If I’m being honest, I feel as though that decision brings about various situations that would normally cause you to buckle. How else can you grow if you do not go through anything?

My decision to grow challenged me spiritually, mentally, physically, emotionally, and financially. I was exhausted. During this season I encountered everything you could possibly imagine. I thought I was losing my mind. I experienced back to back deaths. Felt like my marriage was falling apart. Struggled financially. Witnessed devastating pain within the church that caused me to question everything I thought I knew about Christianity. I went through repeated cycles of depression, suffered a miscarriage that I never talked about and the list goes on and on.

I felt like I had failed my growth test. I occasionally slipped back into poor habits that I knew would set me back. I didn’t care because it was comfortable for me at the time. But it was also hindering my growth.

"I knew I had to change, I had to choose courage over comfort."

During the season of growth, you will evolve in many ways and many times.

In my case, I began to find myself and my voice. I learned which traits were beneficial to me in my efforts to become my best self and which ones served as a hindrance. I made the decision that these traits had to go and if you TRULY want to experience growth, you’ll have to do the same.

Initially, I said I made this decision for me, but the truth is I made this decision for my family. I wanted my husband to be proud to have me as his wife on his arm. I wanted to become more of a breath of fresh air in our marriage. I wanted to become a better soulmate. I wanted to be so focused on fixing my vices that I wouldn’t have time to focus on his.

I wanted my children to stare at me with the same adoration as I do my mom and grandmother. I wanted to be the type of woman that I hope my sweet Kinsley grows into and that my handsome Lincston brings home one day. I wanted them to see a woman of valor and integrity. One that is nonjudgmental, caring, and selfless. In order to obtain these standards, I had to change.

The journey to be a better person can be a lonely one. You feel like no one understands what you are trying to accomplish. You will have feelings of being judged or even despised.

Friendships will challenge you and conflict may arise.  You will feel like you have to justify yourself and breaking some bonds and relationships are inevitable.

I had to come to the realization that I'm not for everyone, and I'm ok with that!!!

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You have to be willing to accept this as apart of your journey to grow. You are not meant to for everyone and you have to be okay with that!

The decision to seek out growth does not require an explanation. It’s not meant for everyone to understand. It is personal. It’s intimate. It is private. It’s mine! It is yours!

My decision to grow was personal, but nothing personal towards anyone. It was never my intent to become isolated or distant from once close friends. When life happens you will not always have an explanation.

The situations I have encountered on the journey may have been tough and even painful at times, but they have made me better.

I am better than negativity.

I am better than gossip.

I am better than nit-picking.

I am better than depression.

I am a better ME!

And your personal encounters will make you a better you. I mean isn’t the overall goal to become the best version of yourself?

We are not claiming to be perfect. We are all human and have our flaws.

I’m far from perfect. Truth be told, I still enjoy a good petty laugh with a cup of tea on occasion. But nonetheless, it’s just not my primary focus anymore and I refuse to apologize for that.

I’ve decided to spend my time more wisely.

I choose to do things that matter.

 My focus has shifted.

My actions are more intentional.

My goals are purpose driven.

If it doesn’t pertain to my family, aspirations, personal betterment, or light entertainment I’m probably not interested!!!!

Some may think it is stupid. Some may call me boring, but at the end of the day, it is not for anyone else to decide.

These areas have my complete focus.

They can be time-consuming.

They can be exhausting.  

They can even be overwhelming at times, but at the end of the day, they are worth it.

So yes, sometimes I may be distant, unavailable, or unresponsive because I have changed. It’s nothing directed personally against you. I’m growing. I’m evolving. I’m finding my way. My only hope is that one day you will understand and realize it doesn’t mean I’m intentionally trying to grow apart from you, but into a new and better me.

3 ways to stay committed to your personal decision to grow

1. Visualization

It's hard to stay focused when you can't see the light at the end of the tunnel. Take time to see yourself living your dreams. Envision what your best self looks like. What emotions do you feel? How has your life changed for the better? These are the things that you must be able to vividly see in order stay the course when things get tough.

2. Meditation

Life is noisy.  Dedicate time to yourself to silent the noise. Now this may sound crazy to some of you, but giving yourself a chance to center your thoughts around positive things helps you to retrain your thinking patterns which allows you to shift your focus when negativity creeps up on you. It also creates a safe intimate space for you to release your cares, dream freely, and focus only on things that will yield positivity.

3. Dedication

There's nothing to it but to do it! You made this decision to want more for yourself for a reason. Whatever that reason is cling to that! Dedicate time to your journey to grow by setting aside time to meditate, to dream, for self-care, and personal development. Dedicate time to grow!

How My Miscarriage Changed My Life Forever: An Open Letter To My Unborn Child

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An open letter to my unborn child

I never heard your heartbeat, but you forever changed my life.

Blood ran down my leg. Sharp pains pierced my sides. I thought I was just having an unusual cycle until the bleeding wouldn’t stop.

I never got a chance to hear your heartbeat, but you changed my life forever.

I think about you.

I cry for you.

I long for you.

I love you. But I never truly grieved for you.

 

Can you believe I never spoke of you? Consumed with disbelief, I refused to admit that I had lost you. I found it easier to deny you than to mourn you. Cause how could I truly mourn the loss of something I adamantly said I didn’t want?

“Two and through” was the phrase that I lived by. I was high risk with both of your siblings and I swore I would never put myself through that again. When family or friends asked, “When is baby number three coming?” I would proudly state that I was done. Now when they ask, I sit quietly unsure of how to feel or how I should respond.

Finding out you existed was a shock. Finding out minutes later that you no longer existed was a shockwave. First, I grew numb, then devastated, followed by guilt and it all began to set in.

I blamed myself. I felt as if I spoke this into existence. Maybe if I had not said “I don’t want any more kids” so much, you would have made it. Cause how did this happen anyway? What could the valid explanation be offered?

After I blamed myself, I blamed you.

How did you make it past my Mirana?  Why would you come, only to go?

Then I blamed God.

Why would He allow this to happen? What would make Him think that I was tough enough to handle this?

I told myself that I had to tell someone. It was weighing on me. I couldn’t bring myself to tell your dad. I knew it would only add to the devastation. I felt like I couldn’t breathe.

One day, I finally mustered up the strength to tell a friend. Her response to me was “Well at least it happened early on before you were able to get attached.” Her response made me cringe. Although I know she meant well, she was wrong. I was already attached.

I thought of you.

I often wondered who you would have been. Would you have looked like mommy or taken after your daddy? Would your dad and I have been welcoming another sweet baby boy or a precious baby girl? Would your hair have been curly like mine? These are the thoughts that constantly ran through my mind. Even though I never spoke of you, I never stopped thinking of you.

I longed for you.

I went through cycles of depression over you. I couldn’t shake the feelings of guilt. The what-ifs haunted me. When I would look at your siblings I couldn’t help but think of you. I would hear their laughs and wonder what yours would have sounded like. I would watch them play and try to imagine where you would have fit in.

I cried for you.

Some days were better than others. On the good days, I would tell myself that everything happens for a reason, even though the reason behind your loss is still unclear to me. On the bad days, I would find myself crying continuously. But I never wanted your siblings to see me cry. So I would fix them snacks, turn on cartoons to keep them occupied and then run to the back until I could pull myself back together. Sometimes your brother would catch crying. He’d pat me on the back while saying “It’s ok, It’s ok mommy.”

I became strong for you.

Losing you shook up my world. There were times I couldn’t see past the devastation. I felt hopeless. I felt heartbroken. I felt weak. But then I realized that I was no good to myself or anyone else in that state. I told myself that if I allowed this to break me then your short life would have been in vain. So I made the decision to rewrite the narrative.

I allowed the moments that I thought of you to serve as reminders that even though I had lost you, I still had two other children to be strong for.

I became stronger for you.

Rather than crying when something made me think of you, I’d find a way to force out a smile. Instead of attempting to suppress the thoughts of the events from that day, I allow them to flow freely.

Today, I’m finally able to speak of you with no guilt. I’m so sorry that it took me a whole year. I can’t make up for the time lost, but I can make the future count. I vow to use our story as a message of hope to inspire others who encounter similar circumstances. I’m sure other mothers just like me are hurting, confused, and desperate for answers. Just as you were able to motivate me, I vow to make an effort to motivate them. I’ll show them that there is strength in their pain and that they too can survive.

I want to thank you.

I thought all hope was lost. I felt as though I had truly messed up. I didn’t think that I would ever be able to see the light. You showed me that I was stronger than I thought. That I could get back up. That it all wasn’t for nothing. You helped me develop traits that I didn’t know I needed. You helped me strengthen my areas of weakness. You helped me grow.

So no, I never heard your heartbeat, held you in my arms, stared into your eyes, heard your laugh, or ran my fingers through your hair, but you still managed to change my life and for that, I’ll love you forever.

Forever yours,

Mommy

 

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A Message to Moms Who Miscarried

You are competent!!!

You are strong!!!

You are resilient!!!

You are enough!!!!

YOU ARE NOT TO BLAME!!!

I know this is a lot to digest, but I seriously want you to take a second to allow this to sink in. Allow the tears to flow if you must. It's okay to cry. No shame in that. You have experienced the most traumatic event any woman could ever go through. 

You have racked your brain trying to figure out why it happened to you. You have tried to be strong in moments when you felt extremely weak. You have tried to carry on with life as you "normally" would. But.....

Life will never be the same!

So how do you cope with such a devastating event? How do you move past the hurt and pain? How do you continue to carry on with life as you "normally" would? Honestly, there is not clear cut answer to that and if anyone tells you otherwise THEY ARE WRONG!  The process will look differently for each of us, but I will share with you what helped me.

1)  GRIEVE

I know you may be reading this and thinking this is a no brainer, but you would be surprised at the number of women that skip this stage. Trust me on this. I was one of them! I thought that if I ignored it or pretended like it didn't happen that the emotional aspects would vanish with it. I was wrong. Bottling these emotions inside caused me to fall into severe depression and that is not my wish for you. You have to be willing to acknowledge and  release those emotions in order for healing to begin.

2) Be Vulnerable

You are allowed to cry, to be hurt. to be upset. to be broken. to be emotionally unavailable.

YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE STRONG!

As women, we have been coached into thinking that we have to have it all together, all the time. Well this is not one of those times. It is okay for you to let your guard down and let it all out! This is one of those times when all of the rules go out of the window. You have to do this for you.

3) Get Connected

 

This journey is yours, but you don't have to navigate it alone. One of the most difficult things is feeling like no one around you understands how you feel or what you're going through. Connect with other women who have experienced the same hurt as you.

It may feel uncomfortable trying to explain to your best friend how you feel if she has never experienced that type of paid before; however, you may find comfort sharing your thoughts and emotions with another mom that's trying to find her way just like you.

What would typically be a moment of awkward silence amongst friends and family could potentially turn into moments of solace with your peers.

Final Thoughts

No two women will experience the same emotions, thoughts, or struggles. Your road to healing will look differently than mine. You may or may not find these tips beneficial to your journey, but now sincerest hope is that you find a means to balance it all. 

This is your journey. Don't allow anyone to tell you how to navigate it.

With love,

-Kendra

3 Self-Care Promises Every Woman Should Keep to Prevent Burnout

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It’s 4am when your alarm clock goes off most mornings. Although you’re tired, somehow you still manage to force yourself out of bed. Your eyes are still heavy with sleep. Your body is still tired from the countless activities you performed the day before, but you find a little motivation from within to get your day started.

You take a moment to compose yourself, so it’s now 15 minutes later. You try to get a little quiet time for yourself before the kids wake up in the next few hours. And then it begins. You’re cleaning the house, cooking breakfast, preparing lunches, doing laundry, and trying to organize your day all before your husband and kids get up because you know once they wake up it’s time to enter superwoman mode.

Your identity transforms from your name to “mommy or baby.” You’re constantly running around from place to place until nightfall. You barely get a second to yourself, yet in the midst of all this,  you are still receiving calls, emails, and text.  Although you have good intentions to respond when you get a second, it often slips your mind. Sometimes it is days later until you remember.

You finally get a second to yourself and that’s when the flood hits you.

“Hey girl, you busy?”

“Hey girl, wanna do lunch?”

“Hey girl, I tried calling you.”

You hesitate to respond because you already feel horrible about your delayed response. You’re slightly embarrassed that it’s taken you 3 days to get back to them. And quite frankly, you’re too tired to argue or for the slick remarks.

You come off as if you have it all together. You wear many hats and you wear them well. You’re used to having your game face on so very seldom do you allow -them to see you sweat. You truly feel bad. You aren’t trying to be a horrible friend, or a bad wife and mom. You’re just tired.

You’re tired of carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders. You’re tired from constantly running around you do day in and day out. You’re tired of being super wife and mom. You attempt to execute a million tasks daily and at this point, you are just simply tired.

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You tell yourself that you have to be there for everything and everyone. You continue to keep pushing yourself to the limit. You never give yourself a chance to breathe. You constantly feel like you’re up against the clock.  Now you’re burnt out.

Burnout is something that impacts every area of your life and it is super hard to shake it off if you allow yourself to get too far gone. It becomes harder for you to function. It creates feelings of apathy. Often times it inevitably leads to mental and physical exhaustion. By this time you are no good to yourself or anyone else.

You felt bad before, but now you feel horrible. The kids are running rampant and you just want a quiet moment to yourself. Usually, the noise does not t bother you, but because you are currently experiencing burnout you find yourself getting easily annoyed. You raise your voice to try to get a little control in your house and now the babies are crying. You immediately feel 100 times worse because you know this is out of character.

You’ve been begging your husband for more quality time, but when he attempts to snuggle up underneath him you push him away. You just want your space. You want a second to recoup. He’s confused by your behavior because just trying to do what you asked him to do. You notice the change in his mood which causes you to feel that much worse.

You finally get a second to respond to everyone that’s reached out over the past few days. You’re constantly greeted with “It took you long enough.” At this point, you just want to scream. Not only do you feel like you suck as a wife and mom, but also as a friend. You’re a woman, so quite naturally you begin to beat yourself up. But no worries, I am here to help.

By now you’re feeling like you’ve dropped the ball in so many areas that you must be a horrible person. But you’re not. You’re just tired! You’ve allowed yourself to experience an overwhelming amount of exhaustion to the point where you just aren’t yourself. Your tiredness is making you behave in ways that are out of character for you. Stop beating yourself up. You aren’t alone.

As women, we feel like it is our duty to take on more than we can bare. Women can struggle with self-care because we have been taught that there is value is in caring for others, often at the expense of our own wellbeing. So there is a fight within ourselves that self-care is a  selfish act.

You do not want to come off as weak. You feel like you can handle it. You are afraid to say no. You feel as though it’s a sign of weakness. You don't want to be inconsiderate or let anyone down. We inherently place ourselves on the back burners. You have to stop.

You have to learn to say no. You have to learn to protect your peace. You have to learn to look out for you! When you’re no good to yourself, you’re no good to anyone else. You owe it to yourself and no one else to make sure that you are taken care of. You have to take care of you! This should not be up for debate.

"Make it a priority to begin implementing self-care into your everyday routine."

 

Find time to do something just for you every day. Paint your toes, beat your face, go for a walk, meditate. I don’t care what you choose to do as long as you do something. It doesn’t have to be for a long extended period of time, but it does need to happen. I know it may be hard for you to enjoy that bubble bath while the babies are crying, but guess what? They will be ok for five minutes without you. It’s not selfish, it is self-care! You owe that to yourself and to your family.

 

Kids are very intuitive. They may not understand why you are easily angered by things that you would normally give them a pass on, but they will notice.They don’t understand why you don’t want to play today or why you’re hiding in the bathroom. Your husband doesn’t understand why you’re snapping at him out of nowhere and don’t want to be touched.

 

Failing to take the necessary measures to implement self-care is not only a disservice to yourself, but to everyone else. No one wants to deal with the run-down, mediocre version of you. And let’s be honest, can you really blame them?

So let’s make these 3 promises today

1. Stop Beating Yourself Up for Being Tired

Contrary to whatever you have been telling yourself, you are not superwoman nor do you possess super powers. You are HUMAN and humans get tired! Yes you may have good intentions that you often fail to execute, but that doesn't make you a bad person. That is a clear indicator that you need to establish healthy balances to aid you in this area. 

2. Implement Self-care into Your Daily Routine

Women are givers by nature. (Well, at least most of us are lol) We tend to give give give until we reach the point to where we feel as though we have nothing left. We do things for everyone else, but never take time to do things for ourselves. That has to stop! 

You have to get to the point where you set aside time to take care of YOU! It's ok for you to take time to yourself away from your kids, your man,  your job, your friends, your family, your RESPONSIBILITIES. Every day you should do something for yourself. Doesn't matter how big or small. Just do something. And don't feel bad about doing it. You deserve it.

3. Stick to it

How many times have you said you were going to implement something new but then you only executed for the first few days? Yeahhhhh, don't let this be one of those times. I want you to truly make a conscious effort to really make self-care a nonnegotiable part of your every day life. You're no good to yourself or anyone else when you aren't functioning at your maximum capacity.

It may not feel normal in the beginning. You may feel like you are being selfish at times, but I can guarantee you will be much happier you did later.