I Have a Doppelganger (#unrelatedtwins)

I have a doppelganger. Anyone who follows the series Vampire Diaries or The Originals knows the meaning of doppelganger. For those of you who do not, it simply means a twin unrelated to you by blood. Many people believe that everybody in the world has a double. I remember my Dad telling me the same thing growing up. When I was a little girl, I recall flipping through the pages of a book about Africa in full color showcasing their beautiful clothing and braided hairstyles. Toward the back of the book, I saw myself in a picture of a little girl around the age I was and it freaked me out! She was my identical twin; my doppelgänger. This was the first time I had ever heard the word. My Dad told me we would go there one day and find her. Well, of course, that never happened. But I’ll never forget the feeling I got looking at this little girl living a million miles away in a third world country that looked exactly like me.

Well now, over three decades later, I met a woman who reached out to me, through a group on Facebook, to tell me how much we looked alike. I was so shaking about how much we favored. After talking and looking through one another’s photos and comparing pictures, we instantly became friends. Through a little family lineage research, we discovered that we were not related by blood. Thus the term doppelganger explained our relationship!

Consuela Romero, whom I call my Sissy, is very special to me. We both have the same moles under our right eye, and strangely enough, our eyes are almost the same. We do have the same smile lines, skin color, eye color, and crochet hobby. I can’t wear earrings but that’s a small difference in a sea of similarities. I sent a picture of her with her son to my family members and they asked me who was the man in the picture with me? That was pretty amazing!

As if all the coincidences aren’t enough, we could have been meant to meet one another years ago. When I was a nurse in the late nineties, I took care of an elderly woman named Ida Mae Peoples. I remember her because she said no one in her family lived in Alabama and she was my first patient who told me they were ready to die and actually did. Well a few days ago, while talking I found out this Ms. person was related to Consuela. I am a doppelganger with my most memorable late patients’ great niece. As Ms. Peoples conditioned worsened, I recall her calling me Consuela. I hope that perhaps she felt that she wasn’t alone before she passed.

I don’t know how many people out there actually have a twin or if it’s possible everyone in the world has one. But I’m grateful to have mine in my life now. One day soon we will meet. With all that has been happening in both our lives, I can’t imagine my life without her and I love my Sissy very much! We started out just wanting to be friends and ended up family. I say we are both very blessed!

Consuela. Valerie

Valerie. Consuela

I Wasn’t Ready

Today I’m going to dive a little deeper into my private life. I have two children who are obviously my world. My marriage to their father ended badly after nine years. My children then, we’re 4 and almost 6 years old. My daughter is the oldest. I have been a single mother for what seems like forever, so I was used to just the three of us.

Fast forward to a few years ago. My son is graduating from high school and my daughter is a freshman in college. My daughter and her on and off boyfriend since she was 15 are back on again and I couldn’t be happier. He’s respectful, in the military, honest, hardworking and from a good family. As a mother, could I ask for anything more in my daughter’s boyfriend? He’s even writing her beautiful letters and in every one tells her to tell me hello. So perfect right? My daughter at the time was accepted to the elite Crimson College of Nursing RN program. Only 90 students of thousands of applicants around the globe get in and she was one of them. She’s also a member of the University of Alabama Afro American Gospel Choir and their praise team HIP (His Instruments of Praise). At this time, she had done one hair show for his mom which she rocked by the way!! Through his mom again, she was featured in her first print ad in Style Q magazine and was to do another the following February.

So with all that being said, let me get into why I wasn’t ready. As a mom, you plan your child’s life out in your mind and sometimes with your child. If your blessed to have a girl, you may even plan her wedding day with her. Well, she and I did all that together and more. We had become best friends as well as mother and daughter. Where you saw me, you saw her. I would even drag my son to her choir performances at different churches.

Her boyfriend was stationed in Hawaii. In December 2015, he came home for a funeral. He was hurting and it broke my heart because there was nothing I could do. So the day they told me they wanted to get married before he left town again, within the next day or two, it kind of caught me off guard. I was in shock basically because my daughter agreed. I tried to get them to wait a year and then get married. I wanted the privilege of walking my daughter down the aisle. Or at the very least giving her a wedding. She dreamed of that day and so did I. I still have a drawing she made when she was nine years old of the wedding dress she wanting to have.

But recently I found out we have two different memories of the actual day they got married. My recollection of the day included feeling left out. But her’s included not doing anything until I was there at the courthouse. I felt so hurt, left out, robbed of giving her a wedding, and just scared because I simply wasn’t ready to let her go. To make things worse, my son was moving out of the house into the dorms for the journalism program he was accepted to at the University of Alabama. He was only 18 and she was almost 20. It felt like someone snatched my heart from my chest. It was much more dramatic at the time than it should have been but I was hurting. Both my babies were leaving home at the same time.

After the ceremony, I was still feeling hurt because there was nothing I could do about it! It was done. I wanted things to have been done traditionally. But why? Two reasons. I wanted her to have a wedding and I wasn’t ready. It’s taken me about three years to realize not only that it wasn’t about me, but also that she is only doing what she’s supposed to be doing, living. To be honest, nothing about how things happened actually matters.

My daughter was married in a beautiful private ceremony with his mom, myself and my mom in attendance on the courthouse lawn. She is young and in love. I was married at 19 and I remember how beautiful it felt to be in love. But as her mother, I wanted to protect her from going down the same destructive road that I did by marrying so young. I found myself making the same mistake many mothers make. Transference. I can’t look at her life and compare it to my past. She is her very own wonderful woman. No strings or ties to momma, daddy or our past.

It took me staying with my daughter for a few weeks to see that she’s all grown up, handling her business, being a great mother and wife, and making her way in this crazy world. She loves her husband so very much and Lord knows he loves her the same if not more. Their little love child Avianna Faith, my granddaughter, has wonderful parents. My little girl isn’t so little anymore. And that’s okay because I’m still going to always be Momma.

So if you are becoming an empty nester, remember YOU raised your kids. You’ll save yourself a lot of heartache if you step back and take yourself out of the equation of their adult life. I don’t mean abandon them. I mean don’t think everything they do is because of you, how you raised them or the things you’ve done. You’re okay, right?? They’ll be alright too!! You’re still going to have that nagging tugging in your heart for years to come. But just give them space and time to be who they want to become. Be the best parent by letting them make their own decisions and even if you don’t always agree with them, allow them to make, learn from and correct their own mistakes.

Pray for your children every night regardless of how old they get. When they marry, pray for their spouses and their union. Don’t pray against them, pray for their success. I pray God remain in the midst of all my daughter and son in law do. I pray for their combined greatness and that God guides them in raising their child/children always. I’m a detailed prayer. My Pastor Donald Taylor Sr. taught us to be specific when praying. So I also pray that next time the Lord wants to catch me off guard to please let me be ready!! Lol.

PS… I secretly, on the low now, still hope for a wedding one day! Ssssuuuussssshhh!

Still Here, Still Standing

It’s already the end of September. I can’t believe more than half the year is gone. I’m just gonna put it out there, this year has been so hard for me and my family. Twenty eighteen has brought more tears and heartache than the past few years combined! The stress has brought on a lot of physical pain due to Fibro and emotional and mental anguish. I’m broken, hurt and in disbelief. But you know what? I’m still here! I’m still standing!

I’m one of those people who try to find the good in everybody. But there’s a downside to that. People will try to use my kindness for weakness. What most don’t know is that I have the gift of feeling trouble before it strikes. I also may never say a word but I’m by no means unaware of what being said and done. But I’m still standing. We’re still standing. God gives his toughest battles to His strongest soldiers. When it seems like all around me is falling apart I hold on to the fact that when I pray God answers. When I talk to God I’m able to listen and obey. I learned that from my momma.

I heard somewhere that life is simply a series of decisions. We all make good and bad decisions. But I think life is more than our decisions. I think the journey to a particular choice is much more important than the decision itself. I’ve spent years getting to know people who I thought were in my corner, who I thought were my sisters. But I only have two people, not including family, in my life who are truly my friends. I don’t take much away from my childhood,

but I do recognize something my father used to say as true. He said you have associates, not friends. A friend is worthy of being your family. Even if you do prove yourself worthy in your eyes, that “associate” may not see you that way. The decision they make to desert you may be because their perception of friendship is different than yours.

At any rate, this year, I have found out who is for me and who is against me. I learned that my ability to trust and see the good in everyone may not always be good for me. I have to reopen my gift of feeling people’s energy. I supposed just like many others, I wanted people to care about and people to care about me. There’s no crime in that. I’m a really closed off individual, so to open myself up to somebody means so much to me. We all get taken for a ride, hurt and used. I know now I need to take the advice that I gave to my children growing up, be careful of the company you keep. This year taught me lessons that broke my heart but I’m still here, still standing.

The depth of my love

September 2018

I recently entered my poem Inside One Another in http://www.realisticpoetry.com Perspectives of Love Contest. I wrote this poem at least 15 years ago during a point in my life where I was so deep in love that I lost myself. How is that possible, you ask? Well sometimes we love so hard and the love is not reciprocated. At least not at the level we are loving. It’s not anyone’s fault. Some people are just not as passionately mature as others. I married young at 20 years old. I thought I had found the love of my life and thought I was so lucky to find the person I’d be with for the rest of my life so early in life. That was my downfall.

I considered myself lucky instead of blessed. In other words, I did not really know God. I always believed in God but my spirit wasn’t invested in Him. I was invested in my then husband and marriage. But without God, how does a troubled marriage tainted by addiction and ruined by infidelity survive? It can’t.

But when I wrote Inside One Another, I was still trying to see the good in him. I could see his potential, what and who he could be; not who he was choosing to be. I didn’t focus on emotional and mental pain. This is why in this poem you can see the struggle of how my love for him trumped any wrongdoing. The way people think they’re loving you can be a two edged sword. It can protect you or it can destroy you.

But remember this, love itself is not supposed to hurt. There will be trials and tribulations, but once your peace is disturbed, it’s time to reevaluate your situation. Another thing about true love is that your partner is not in your life to make you happy. No! My advice is to find happiness within yourself and share it with the one you love. Below is my first poem about the depth of my love.

Inside One Another

(by Valerie Collins)

His shadows and bright lights intertwine to make him who he is
His free spirit and sternness bring forth the forces that make him a man
He holds me tight without one touch and cradles me
He lets me go with the delicate sound of a few select words
He may turn away to walk with fear but never leaves me behind
He makes me feel all the emotions of life one at a time and all at once
And even at those times when he seems to shatter my world, we know it’s not over
It is at those moments we are the only two that exist
Because although people will try to come between us, the consequence will separate us and time will betray us
We will stay strong
Living and loving inside one another

Written by Valerie Collins Copywritten 1998-2018

#perspectiveoflove #realisticpoetry.com #realisticpoetrycontest #mypoeticlifebook

Taking a break #takingabreak

Sometimes life gets difficult. In my case, it’s gotten so hard that I had to take a break in order to take care of myself. My personality is like this, I will take care of everyone else except me. I’m a caregiver. That’s one of the reasons I became a nurse. I take care of people.

My heart is huge and my kindness is unmeasurable. I have several flaws within all that, one of which is I have no patience. Another flaw is that I will let things build up and build up until my emotions overflow and I break down. I am sure someone else out there is the same way. When this happens I usually cry alone. Sometimes I’ll go to the bathroom, run the water and break down until I’m sick. But God. God has placed people in my life that believe in me and know my heart. I am able to talk things out and feel better. They even let me cry it out. Isn’t that amazing?

Have you heard the saying when God takes something or people out of your life, He’ll replace it or them with something better? Well, at the beginning of this year, I made a huge mistake that cost me what I thought was two of my best friends. When I look at who I have to talk to in my life now, I realize that if they didn’t know my heart and realize I had no wrong intentions, simply because that is not who I am, then they weren’t genuine friends, to begin with.

The friends I have in my life now are family to me and are God-fearing women. Even if, like me, you have a family you can count on, sometimes you just need a friend who is on the outside looking in. My best friends told me that if someone can’t see that you would never do anything on purpose to hurt them, then they really don’t know you. So how are they, real friends? Real friends take time to see who you are.

Now, I see the difference between the two ex-friends and friends in my life today. I’m not judged or looked down upon because I’m disabled. They accept me for who I am. I’m lifted up in their hearts and in their prayers. I say all that to say this, sometimes God will blind you until it’s time for you to see who’s really in your corner. I’ve had to take a break and reevaluate my life and those in it. I learned when I lose friends, to remember it may be God’s plan.

It is okay to take a break from life during hardships. Sometimes you need to stop and just be still, get a change of scenery, or just sit down somewhere and do some soul-searching. Make sure your circle doesn’t have individuals who will turn their back on you. I am so glad I’m not like that especially when I know deep down they never meant to hurt me.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, take inventory so when you have to #takeabreak in life those in your circle will support you. Life is too short to surround yourself with the wrong people. If you see a back turned in your time of need, regardless of the reason, cut them loose. It’ll be hard, but God will replace them with someone so much better that you can always count on. Just believe.

Focus on the positive

I sit here this Saturday morning looking at this blank screen trying to figure out what to blog this time. There are so many things going on right now that I can’t see the sun for the storms. So I’ll try to focus on the good. I’m a few steps closer to getting this book published. I’m a part of a small community of poets on Twitter that you all may have heard of called @realisticpoetry.com. Yesterday one of the administrators, PreKaya Gilky, featured my poem Love Is on their site http://www.realisticpoetry.com. I was so excited! They asked us to write about what love means to us. I posted the poem on my previous blog “What is Love”.

Every few days the Twitter page and website put a picture up and asks the poets in the community to write a short poem about what they see. They also have poetry contests that you can enter for a small fee. Each contest is on a different subject. The one I entered first was on the subject of the pain of love. The second was on addiction. Below are a few “write a short poem about what you see” poems I posted on @realisticpoetry.com.

I do see the light peeping through the crevasses but the emptiness of the darkness consumes me. I’m lost in my loneliness and destroyed in my despair. Unable to see anything but the rundown halls of my life, walking through darkness till the sunlight appears.

(These photos are the property of @realisticpoetry.com. I do not own any rights to these photos)