Sleepless in Tuscaloosa (follow up to Single Black Female)

It’s 2:17 am here and I’m exhausted and want to sleep but my mind is working a million miles a minute. I’m just thinking about my life as this year comes to a close. I want so much that just seems to all be completely out of my reach. I can be a bit melodramatic but the more blessings that I receive, the more I want to believe is possible.

I don’t want to fall back into my old habits of not finishing things I start so I am not going to get ahead of myself. I’m going to pray that all the things I desire come in due time, in Gods time. Like finding someone special. If you’ve read my blog, “Single Black Female”, you will see just how unlucky in love I have been lately. Maybe I’m asking too much from my potential Mr. Right. Y’all be the judge and let me know.

What I am looking for in someone or what I’d be asking of them are all the things I would give in return. I want someone who is dedicated to loving just me. I know this is the generation of the side chick, but at 45, I don’t have time for that foolishness!

Disclaimer: If you feel you just can’t be faithful, honest and communicate, you need not apply. This is not the job for you.

But I digress. I’m loving, caring and honest, so it’s no surprise I want a person in my life that is the same. Because the poet in me wants to speak on this. So I wrote this piece to tell what it is I’m looking for in a man. Here goes…

Is This Someone You?

I need someone who’s not afraid to live a “Volve” existence;

You know,

Evolve, Involved, Revolve…

Someone who, above all, is not afraid to love of me,

Evolve with me,

Be involved in me; in the creation of us.

Revolve around me; orbit my existence.

And allow me to be everything but the bane of his;

Never intentionally causing him harm.

Become everything that alone is not.

We will talk with one another,

Cry with one another, laugh with one another,

Pray with one another;

Believing in the us that we will build, knowing we are all we’ll ever need.

Loving one another forever with hearts that beat only for each other.

Forever assured that when this life is over,

You will be waiting for me

Or I’ll be waiting for you in Heaven

Because we’ll live such an amazing life together

That losing us both at the same time would be far too great a loss.

❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤

Now, Y’all be honest with me. Am I asking for too much? 😘🤔🤔😉

Written by: Valerie Collins

Author unknown

Depression: But God

Depression is a nameless bullet. It can strike anyone, anywhere at any time. I have suffered from depression most of my adult life. I went through years of therapy, so much so, that I could be a therapist. I’m not belittling what they did for me because a lot of the time, I left seeing things in a different, more positive light. It felt good to be happy and upbeat after leaving a doctors office you arrived at down in the dumps. I needed the help every single time. When you go through so much hurt and pain sometimes you get to the point where you know its time to talk to someone. No one wants to completely lose it, especially when you have children and other people counting on you to keep it together so you can help keep them together.

Looking back, I think a few of my issues stem from having to act strong while going through the hardest times of my life. At 19-20 years old I found myself suddenly involved in making huge medical decisions about my dad’s care and life in a coma. As a nursing student, unfortunately, I didn’t know as much as everyone thought I did, but still, I was the one everyone looked to for answers. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t mind at all. The entire situation made me work harder, research and learn more and made me determined to be the best in my field. I tried to work through my depression but struggled.

In therapy, back then, I talked a lot about the emotional and mental abuse I endured in my nine-year marriage over and over again. I kept my childhood experiences to myself. But a small part of me thought that the source of my depression had to run deeper. I didn’t truly realize until I was in my forties that I was more damaged than I thought.

Without delving too deep, out of respect for my mom and her wishes, I’ll just say we had a difficult childhood. She helped us through it whether we recognize it or not, by letting us make our own paths in the world. As the youngest, I thought I was less affected than my five siblings. I thought because I didn’t let myself believe or put any stake in the things we endured mentally, I would not have to worry about my childhood affecting my adult life.

I’m here to say that y’all, whatever abuse or hardship you go through as a child, especially for a prolonged period of time, will challenge you one way or another in your adult life unless you work through the pain. I used to catch myself yelling at my two-year-old daughter and then realizing she had no idea what was happening. I was taking my hurt and unhappiness out in her.

The day I went to hug her and she flinched, afraid of me; I packed up my two babies. I drove to my then husband’s job, told him I needed a break and was going home. From there I hit the highway. I drove 14 hours from North Carolina to Alabama with two toddlers by myself. I could not have my children afraid of me like I was afraid as a child! I needed my mom and her guidance. That was the one and only time I felt like I was following in old footsteps.

Still, I blamed my depression on my marriage and my subsequent illness. But I had to admit to myself first that my childhood had a huge effect on who I was as an adult. At first, I just wanted to experience the world. I wanted to be seen. Then once I was out there, I wanted to hide. I didn’t want to be with more than one man and married the first man I ever loved. I suffered from social phobia, agoraphobia, I couldn’t open my curtains or blinds, I was afraid of being alone, had to keep my doors locked, had fear greater than average of strangers and never made any friends outside of work and high school.

The reason I suggest therapy for anyone who has been through trauma or depression is because it helped me through these things. I’m not completely cured. I still fear leaving my home, but once I do, the fear disappears. But I’m trying. I still suffer from bouts of depression and sometimes get overwhelmed as I struggle through it. I do take a medication every day that helps with the chemical imbalance causing the depression. I haven’t been to therapy in well over ten years but I have no problem going if I need it.

These days prayer had helped me so much. I love knowing that I can ask my prayers warriors for prayer and they deliver. Sometimes I have to go into my “war room” and talk to God one on one. This year has taught me that the best place to be is by yourself. I didn’t think I could get through the things I went through this year, but I did. One of my favorite sayings is two simple words, “But God”! Because somethings, like depression and nervous breakdowns, you know you would not have survived without divine intervention.

If I know you, I’m praying for you. My mother is a praying woman. Without her prayers for all of us, I don’t want to think where we would be. It’s a blessing in itself that she taught her children, her grandchildren and now her great-grandchildren about God and how to pray. She’s the strongest woman I know because she never allowed depression to interfere in her life for too long. I wish I was strong enough to do that. But I recognize that I have gone thirty plus years denying I need to talk to someone about my childhood in order to be free of every fear it still has cast over my life. But God!

Blogging really helps me to get things off my mind and my heart. I feel free when I write and post something that I feel has had me bound. I’m adding taking care of my childhood pain to my vision board for 2019. I never thought I would get to this point where I would be open to talking about this along with the struggles of the past year. BUT GOD😇

Single Black Female ISO…

At 45 years old, in this day and time, dating is either easy or difficult with no gray area. For me, each time I got out there, I’ve been blindsided by these basic types of men: the emotionally unavailable, the liar, the loon, the drunk, the cheater, the humiliater, and the horrid list goes on. People say you attract what you give off. But that can’t be true because I’m literally the exact opposite of those basic types of men.

Maybe in the insecurity of my past, those type of men were acceptable to me. Back then, I simply wanted to be loved. Honestly, it was more important to just be with someone; to be coupled up. How many people can admit that?? During these last 17 years after my divorce, I have been in one long-term relationship. It lasted 4 years. If you consider a year as long-term then I have been in two.

You know how at first, it seems like the man is everything you ever wanted. But then as time or years progress, you find yourself not liking little things about him until they add up to the big things. Well, that would happen in every relationship I’ve had over the last decade and a half. Like most youngsters, I had a plan for my life. But as the saying goes, if you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans. After such a painful marriage and divorce, one of my issues was trust.

Now days dating is often tied to social media. You’d think I would be able to find someone compatible. Not so. After being cat-fished in the early 2000s, I don’t answer when men pop in my inboxes. But even so, I don’t respond well to strangers period. I once found someone through Black Planet.com when it was first popular but found out 10 months into the relationship that he was still married.

Those that came after him weren’t any better. One was a nut case who overstayed his welcome in my home and when I asked him to leave, he decided to hide in my living room closet. Y’all I cannot make this stuff up! Needless to say, I NEVER spoke to him again. Another had a drinking problem and showed it as he heckled my family members at a poetry reading we attended together. Yes, we broke up immediately after that.

Another guy was straight out of prison and kept offering to braid my hair because he used to do that for his “homeboys”. Ummm no, sir. I seriously could not catch a break. Another guy who I clicked with instantly, wasted my time after the first date because he wasn’t ready for commitment.

Then there was another guy with whom things started out great. But as time went on, he showed he was horribly male chauvinistic and vain. He thought I should just listen and never speak. He was one of those who thought a woman’s place was literally behind their man, like, way behind. When you raise a daughter alone, you have to be strong by yourself so she knows that she can be when she grows up. Needless to say, my daughter is my ‘Sistah soldier’, so no, I don’t do the submissive role well. Most men have that concept misconstrued anyway.

I’m a relationship girl. So I’ve never done one night stands. I’ve only dated these few men (in 17 years) because I only gave time to those with whom I may have had a future. As I talk about these different relationships, I do see a pattern. They all didn’t fall into one category or type. Each one was a mix of these basic types of men. Why was I falling for the men with these combined characteristics? Well back then, I didn’t know my worth. My failed marriage had done a number on me and I thought I didn’t deserve anything better. I am so happy none of them ever worked out. Could you imagine? I can laugh now, but boy did I go through some things.

The good thing about being my age is that now I know my worth! I know what I want, deserve and need from a life partner. You better believe the characteristics mentioned above are not even on the list! I have no time for foolery. Honestly, if you’re playing games, you deserve to have them played on you. I don’t have time for games.

I’m looking for a full grown man whose life is complete already. I don’t want a man who needs me to complete him. Who needs that kind of pressure? I don’t want any man to think he’s here to complete me or my life. I want someone who’s whole within himself; someone I can share my wholeness with and vice-versa. Never go into a relationship less than 100 percent of who you are. If you’re broken or not able to commit because some part of you is invested in someone or something else then you need to figure that out first.

I had to think, is it just my choice in men, where I live, the availability of men in my age group, or is there just something wrong with me? I’m still researching that. Am I aiming too high, too low? Or do I just need to pray and leave it alone? But prayer without works is dead. So for now, I’m doing some reading and sharpening or changing my perspectives toward my wants and needs and toward men and dating. I’m investing my time in self-fulfillment, getting my goals achieved so to be the best woman, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, nurse, writer, blogger, and etc.

We wear so many different hats as women that we don’t always see our own shortcomings. There’s so much we could correct about ourselves before we need to bring somebody else into our life. Not everything needs to be changed but just make sure you’re not asking 100 percent while only giving 70 percent. I know after I finish a few books, talk to my mom and a few other elders on this subject, I will be better equip and may have some answers. I’m going to revisit this topic every few weeks to let you all know if I find someone or better yet if they find me. In the meantime, this single black female in search of a whole man remains prayerful and patient.😘

Christmas Eve Traditions

I haven’t kept to my usual Christmas Eve tradition this year for a few reasons. One, because I’m not where I want to be financially. Another reason is that my family dynamic has changed so much this year, and a third reason is my sheer lack of Christmas gusto. This is the first year in forever that I didn’t decorate my house for Christmas. The inside of my home is usually dawned in an array of green, red, and silver decor nestled neatly in their usual places, the mantle, end tables, kitchen table, around the TV China cabinets, and lastly the door frames.

This year, I couldn’t find my ornaments, any of my decorations or anything that was on our tree or in our home last Christmas. They simply disappeared which was fittingly ok with me since my Christmas spirit percent-o-meter has never been over 35% all season. But my heart aches because I am sentimental about things I’ve kept of my kids over the years such as tree ornaments that they made in elementary school.

Hopefully, they’ll show up. But if not, thankfully, a few years ago I actually thought about what it would feel like if I ever lost those precious, physical, tangible moments of time so I snapped a photo of each one of them. I guess I know myself better than anyone as I’m always misplacing things.

Then as I often do, I look for the bright spot in this dilemma which is, my granddaughter and nieces and nephews will be bringing home many things they make and I will add them to my photographed collection before hanging them on the tree. I know everything happens for a reason anyway. Watch this turn around. Usually, by Christmas Eve I would have baked and distributed over 20 dozen cookies. But I haven’t baked any this year. I think my exhaustion is gods way of telling me to rest this year.

The bright turnaround here is that the first four months of next year will be so full and busy that I’m literally excited just thinking about some of the specifics. I can’t say anything now but I’m really excited about this one particular thing happening and if all else fails but this, I will be forever grateful.

Therefore, as my Momma told me this evening, I’m not going to worry about the things I can’t change. So I’m going to take a deep breath and walk into tomorrow and Christmas Day and every day thereafter knowing I’m blessed with a greater purpose on my life. I’m changing because as the saying goes, if you keep doing the same thing, you’ll keep getting the same results. Dr. Maya Angelou said it best in the following quote:

Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better~~Dr. Maya Angelou

This Christmas, just like this year, has taught me so much about family, friendship, loyalty, trust, honesty, and hope. It has taught me to step out on faith when you can’t see your way. Even as I’m writing this, the humanity in me wants to cast doubts saying that’s easier said than done. Maybe so. But how will I ever know if I don’t try? I have lived so complacent for so long, comfortable in my nothingness that I convinced myself that this was going to be my life. A day in and day out of solitary solitude. But God showed me different; He is not finish with me.

So this Christmas I will celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ because He has reignited a passion for writing within me and for the first time in a long time, there’s no quit in me. Can’t stop, won’t stop! I’m confident that my talent will get me so much further than I ever thought possible. I thank God for the gifts He has given me. I am in constant edit mode, not only in my writing but in my life. I’ve learned that as long as you recognize your mistakes, you can correct them and grow from the experience.

As this year closes, be mindful to remain humble. Never believe that what you have or what you do makes you better than the next man, because God giveth and God taketh away. Boastfulness is for the foolish. That’s why I invest time in other bloggers and poets and I see people much more talented than myself every day. I support and applaud them. It doesn’t matter if anyone responds back, I just want them to know their words touched my heart.

That’s what life is supposed to be about. Supporting one another. With the world wrapped up in the politics of it all, we often forget to just treat one another with human decency. I have a part of me that reads peoples energy. When I truly feel someone genuinely cares for people, I’m instantly drawn to them. This is why I like Ellen DeGeneres. She has a kind soul. She is not picky about who she helps. That’s the type of person I intend to be when I’m in a position to help others. It’s coming. I’m speaking it into existence right now.

So I’d like to wrap this up by wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. I pray everyone has a safe, healthy and fruitful holiday. Remember the best gifts we can give are to try harder to be generous when we can, pay it forward when we’re able, be supportive always, and as Ellen says, “be kind to one another”.

Jesus is the reason for the season🎄🎄

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Giving it to God

Sometimes during the holidays, some people go through a tough time. Knowing a loved one will not be with you this year by no choice of their own truly hurts. The part of our hearts that belongs to them feels shattered and at times our whole heart is broken. At those times, it’s hard to breathe.

Well, I am having one of those moments right now, so I write. I write and the weight lifts off my heart. I’m very tired, emotionally and physically but instead of making myself sick over it, I’m going to pray and give it to God. There’s been a handful of times where I can actually remember breaking down in the bathroom and talking out loud to God, beginning with, “Ok God, It’s just me and you!”

You know those conversations where you close all the doors possible between you and everyone else and you cry out for help? Those are the most reviving and cleansing acts.

I know I am so much stronger than my struggle right now. No matter how much my heart hurts, I can’t let it make me pause my life. Easier said than done. But God! Sometimes it’s easier to deep breathe, woo-sah, make peace, and realize that everybody is not going to do the right thing just because it’s the right thing. So, as far as I’m concerned this will be my last day to hold on to sadness. I know saying these words doesn’t automatically make things better, but it’s a start; a stepping stone for me to use to get off from under the weight of depression and sadness.

I believe we all have the ability to speak things into existence. You can speak positivity, happiness, and joy over your life. At times when you feel defeated, speak victory into your situation. This is what I’m doing right now to make Christmas happy for my family this year. I know I’m not in an all-out festive, 🎼We wish you a Merry Christmas or Feliz Navidad🎼 mood, but I’m going to do my best to salvage the rest of this holiday. My family deserves it.

So, God, it’s just you and me…please answer my prayers concerning this situation and help my family and everyone, everywhere have a good Christmas full of health, joy, and peace. Let us remember and celebrate its true meaning, the birth of your son, Jesus Christ! I’m giving it all to you God!❤

In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!!





In the Spirit of Christmas

As far back as I can remember Christmas has always been special for our family. We always were able to get in the spirit of the season. I remember knowing that regardless of what we were going through, my mom and dad always made Christmas for the six of us kids. I remember when my mom sold Avon and the flavored lip glosses and necklace and bracelet sets made the perfect stocking stuffers for us four girls. Our house would be filled with the scent of oranges and apples during the early weeks, and cakes and sweet potato pies as Christmas Day approached. I loved watching my mommy cook when I was a little girl. My favorite thing to make with her was her coconut cake. I must admit it was because I got to eat the leftover coconut. We didn’t always have a lot but we always had Christmas dinner with all the trimmings. I think we all remember my dads only Christmas record was by the Temptations and he would play it nonstop as we cooked and cleaned for the holiday. In fact, he played that record through our last Christmas together in 1991 before he fell ill November of the next year. That album entitled, The Temptations Christmas Card came out in 1970 before I was born!

Now as a mother myself, being that I was a single mother, I only now understand their struggle. My two children were military brats when they were younger. But prior to after becoming disabled after I moved back home I still worked several other jobs including caregiver to my father until he passed in 2009. As a mother, you never want your children to think that you are having a hard time, especially around Christmas. Before I had to stop working completely in 2014, when it appeared that my family was struggling, I tried to work. I worked as a private duty LPN, a Charge nurse at a nursing home, a medical secretary, a podiatrist assistant and even worked in sales at the mall at Rue 21. One thing about the Furr’s and the Clemons’ is that we hustle and hustle hard. I know that I always tried and although through illness I couldn’t give them the “normal” motherly attention, hopefully, they’ll know I gave them my all!

Now my children are grown. My daughter is married and has a little girl of her own. So this Christmas 2018, we have our one-year-old Avianna Faith to spoil. Yes, she was here last year as she was born in September, but she was only two months old. Now at 15 months, she gets surprised and shows it in the cutest of expressions. She has been so animated since the day she was born. Our little character lights up the world of everyone she comes in contact with. To see my daughter with her, being a mommy, brings me a type of pride and joy I never thought was possible. She’s an amazing mother. I guess I’ve done something right there.

I’m thankful my son is still home with me as he continues to find his way in this world. He is an amazing young man with a big heart! Most young men his age are out in the street or selfish with their time, but my son takes care of his family. He takes care of my brother who is unable to walk, and me and his grandma, plus do some of the cooking and cleaning (on occasion). He’s my young man who I could not have Christmas without this year! I know one day soon he’s going to make some very lucky girl a great husband. So that make two things I got right😘

So as I struggle to get in the spirit of Christmas this year, I can’t help but be thankful for my family. Im thankful that my parents took the time to make Christmas special for us against all odds (RIH Daddy). Im thankful that their work ethic was handed down to us so we could hand it down to our children. It’s easy to get caught up on what didn’t go right this year or the pain we went through, but it’s easier to just tell God and those in your life thank you. Thank you for being here; for loving me. It’s easier to pray and even easier to give someone a hug or a smile during the busyness of your day. You never know, it may be the best or only gift they get all year. And it’ll be just in time to share the spirit of Christmas.

Coping Mechanisms: When Life Gets Overwhelming

How do you all cope when your lives get so overwhelming that you don’t know which way to turn? If you have coping mechanisms you can turn to, be thankful for them. Why do I say that? Well, fibromyalgia comes with many other illnesses, conditions, and syndromes. There are so many different levels to the broad spectrum h to declutter, but where do I begin? How do I cope? At times like this, I really don’t know what to do but pray and hope God can feel my despair and hear my pleas.

Honestly, I’m surprised at my strength, because a few years ago, I would have completely mentally broken down. But at the same time, I get upset at myself for allowing life’s issues to cause my seizures. Sometimes you don’t have the answers. Sometimes you don’t have a clue what to do next and that’s ok. It’s easy to say just move on or try not to stay stuck too long. But we all know that it’s not that easy, especially when you’re broken-hearted.

But I know I have to take steps toward regaining my peace of mind. So today, forgiving myself is my first task, then I will fix everything else with Gods help, one at a time. For now, I have NO coping mechanisms to share or no advice to give to you all except for prayer. But I will be revisiting this matter. I know I’m in need of some prayers. So, if you feel closer to God than I do right now, please whisper a prayer for me and my family. All advice is welcome!

Please leave a comment at the end of this post and hit the like button if you will. If you believe in the power of prayer, let’s pray for ourselves and for one another.

A Prayer for Me

I feel like a hollow drum inside
there’s only emptiness in here
I see the exit near but it’s stalled
by the silence in the air
My God if I just look up I’ll know
The sun still shines the light in
But my heart is heavy, weighted down
too much to stay focus on Him
I have tried to pray my nightly plea
but my mind gives in to fears
my prayers are never complete
Does God read my tears?
I haven’t had this happen in so long
Where I couldn’t cry out to the Lord
I need Him so much right now but
my prayers are the most silent of words
Dear God can you hear me?
Even when my mind fails to speak
Do you know my heart hasn’t changed
Though our connection is too weak
Can you come back and fill me
Your Holy spirit is food for my soul
To please you and do you will
Is my ultimate goal
But dear God, right now I’m weak
My life story is full of holes
My broken heart and broken spirit
gives way to my restless soul
Depression haunts my happiness
As I struggle to find the light somehow
I know I can’t give up
I’ve come too far to turn back now
So God now it’s just you and me
I need you to heal my heart
I need you to bless my spirit
and give my life a brand new start
I give you my problems God
And to the Holy Spirit, I give my word
Right now I take all my cares and
lay them at the feet of the Lord
My heart can’t take any more hurt
My burdens are great but fair
Your Word says you’ll never give me more than I can bare
So Dear God I give my all to you
I surrender so that I am blessed
and even when my prayers are silent
please lift this emptiness

Lord, I’m glad that in you I have found a friend
In Jesus name, I Pray, Amen

Everything’s going to be alright!!

The Bounce Back

You know I think it’s just in my makeup to know when God is working in my life. I can bet 1000 that the devil will show up in the midst of my blessings every time. And then I lose it!! Isn’t that something? Evil will have to work extra hard, but nine times out of ten, I’ll fall right into a trap. One good thing that I’ve noticed as I get older is that my bounce back is quicker and bigger than ever. I have gotten to where I can feel God’s anointing on me. And likewise, I can feel when I lose it due to my reaction to situations. I’m not sure everyone knows what I’m talking about, but for those who don’t, it’s like having a well-paying job, but you let somebody else messiness get you demoted or fired. You end up having to start over from scratch. Well, that’s how God’s anointing works in my life. I get fired more times than I’m willing to admit, but God still has faith in me that I will achieve His work regardless of my shortcomings. Isn’t that amazing!!??

Life doesn’t always deal us the hand we originally thought we had. I know when I was younger, there was nothing I could not do. I thought I was going to work my way up the “medical ladder” from LPN to Nurse Practitioner. I was going to be married for 60 years and have a house full of children and grandchildren. Those were my goals. But God changed my hand. I ended up sick after almost four years as an LPN and divorced after nine years of marriage which produced two beautiful children. Afterward, I spent too many years asking why instead of adapting to the changes. I was so angry about getting sick that all I saw was what I had lost including my marriage and career along with myself, my dignity, integrity, and hope. I was so focused on being mad at God and at my ex-husband that I couldn’t see all I gained. I overlooked my freedom from heartache, a second chance at life, and most of all, myself. All these things, had I seen them, would have outweighed my losses. Instead, I held on to the fear and hopelessness that cradled my sadness and depression. I would receive so much therapy in the years to come, that soon there was nothing doctors could tell me that I didn’t already know. It would be over a decade before I found my peace again.

Talk about a waste of time from a mis-dealt hand. I’m going to let y’all in on a big secret, people come into your life for a purpose. At one time, earlier this year, I stepped out on faith and took a chance on love again. I soon found myself defending being over the pain of my past. I worked too hard over the last ten years focusing on myself, outgrowing old habits, letting go of my past, and becoming Valerie again to be told that lie. I think my strong will and unwillingness to be thrown back into that hole that I had already fought and scrapped to escape wasn’t appreciated. But uh, no sir i refuse to allow anyone to belittle my fight. Not today. I would rather let go of someone than to hold on to see if he would stop or change. Been there, done that, bought a t-shirt. Next, please. Writing is my therapy. So this poem was born:

Lesson or a Blessing

Seems like I’ve waited a lifetime for you,
I even thought I asked God for it too
But even He had a sense of humor, tricking me to think you were my sender
When in reality I was supposed to learn you just don’t surrender
From you, I was to learn I really have grown
Beyond the mistakes of yesteryear and the hurt enthroned
See I knew I felt that damage was no longer there
And it took you trying to convince it was that made it clear
People are put in your life for a reason, not of their own
You, sir were there to prove to me something I’ve always know
I’m mature, I’m sexy, I’m brilliant, I belong
I’m Him, I’m mine, I’m worked on, I’m strong
I’m not scared, timid, I’m not gullible or sad
I’m not that proverbial black woman bitter and mad
I’m not empty, worthless with nothing else to give
You see that one man did steal from me
But I fought to live
I climbed and I scrapped to rebuild my life
And I’ll be damned if I let you make light of my plight
What a woman has to do, you’ll never understand
She’ll become a better person but you’ll still be just a man~ (repost)

Life did throw me a curve ball but after I wrote that poem, I realized to be my partner was not his purpose in my life. His purpose was to show me my strength and to make me realize that I had so much more to offer than I was willing to give him. Plus, I was not utilizing my God-given talents. I remember his words that helped change my perspective. He said, Val when we were in school you had a sparkle in your eyes. He went on to say that my daughter has that same sparkle but I don’t anymore. That hit hard because I recognized that myself years ago. So in the months since we stopped speaking I have strived to get that sparkle back! Not for him or anyone else, but for Valerie. I must admit its back and I couldn’t be happier right now.

This year just goes to show how God can turn your life around. I can’t believe I contemplated suicide in January and by December God turned things around and now I’m completing the first of two books. I’ve been writing my poetry for this book most of my adult life. I’ve been writing my book about fibromyalgia since 2008. I’m a major procrastinator in case it didn’t show. But if you’ve followed my blog (Aug. 4, 2018), you’ll see that I’m working on finishing things I’ve started. I’ve worked hard this year, through every hardship, to stay true to myself and my crafts. This makes me remember when my son was failing his art class. He thought it was boring. I told him about how I saw art. It’s not really about the boringness of the process, but it’s looking forward to the outcome that makes the art projects enjoyable. Needless to say, he got an A in art class that semester.

See, sometimes it’s not so much what you see, but how you look at it. Your perspective about life determines how you see it. For years my perspective was narrowed through the eyes of heartache and pain. As soon as I was able to free myself of that depressing perspective, I was able to see the joy in life. When I looked in the mirror the other day, I had to stop and look twice. I almost didn’t recognize myself. The light behind my eyes was shut out for so long that when I saw it for the first time in my reflection, I had to pause and I actually heard myself say, “Wow”. In fact, the joy I feel now and how I choose to be happy instead of allowing my happiness to hinge on what others do or say makes all the difference. It doesn’t hurt that my baby Zy is back in my life. Happy 6th birthday to her and her twin brother Xavier.

Oh, I’m still going through. That’s just life, but I talk to God about it and put things in His capable hands. Plus, I have a great support system. Therefore, I like to summarize this blog post by saying I hope that my readers see through my experiences that things will not always be bleak or miserable. It may take some time, but don’t give up. Instead, try to change your perspective or the way you see your life, those in it and the world around you. Love you first and foremost before any other man, woman or child (your children are an extension of you). Be dedicated to building your own happiness. Take it back out of the hands of your spouse, your friends, your partner, your job, or your family. Own it. It’s yours. Start saying no. That was hard for me. But as I advise you to do, I had to stop being there for those who were never there for me. Take back your sanity, hope, and peace. Those are gifts that you deserve and should never give away. We tend as human beings to want to give our all to someone. I’m not saying be selfish, but save your all for you. Give of yourself without losing yourself. People want advice but don’t always take it.

I hope someone needs to hear this because I write what comes from my heart. I never think of a topic then write a blog. I just start typing. So don’t give so much that you end up empty and lonely. I don’t want anyone to have to go through my past journey; to walk in my old shoes. If I can say something to touch one person’s heart and detour their path from the loneliest of roads it would be to take a look in the mirror. If your reflection doesn’t wow you, you’re most likely on the wrong path. Reevaluate your perspective. Redefine how you see yourself. I promise you your bounce back will be epic❤.

Love, Val

@vfurrmstheblogger

The Spirit of a Warrior

I saw this beautiful post above on the Trail of No More Tears Facebook page tonight. It made me think of the times my spirit felt absolutely broken this year. But it also made me think of how much of a warrior I must be to have come back strong every time. I suppose it just felt like I was breaking because the hurt actually ached my heart and shook my world once or twice. I remember feeling like giving up on everything. My head physically and symbolically hung low. Whew, I was at a point in September where I had to leave town for a few weeks. I thought I was going to break down. But God! I was blessed to find refuge in my granddaughter’s eyes thanks to my daughter. At the time, it appeared that my life was being destroyed, but although I didn’t see it then, things were actually changing just enough to realign exactly right.

Let me show you a few examples just in case you’re going through it right now. Friends who were using me or who weren’t loyal to me left my life but I was able to focus my attention on those who truly care about me and have always been there even though I was blind to it. Look at God work. Also, my second near-death experience, in three months, occurred due to my meds and weight loss. Hold on, this is how. I was taking enough medicine for my original weight of 206 pounds but only weighed 150 pounds. This made me realize I needed to take better care of myself, lose weight permanently and get my medications adjusted for my new weight. That’s something a lot of people don’t think about, including doctors. Then, as if that wasn’t enough, I pursued a few relationships. Through the hurt, I realized they were never who I thought they were anyway. I got the closure I needed, plus it enlightened me to the fact that I had so much more to offer. It’s funny I was finally able to see my own worth through their attempts to belittle it. Thanks for that one guy!! Another thing I learned was that sometimes you outgrow people. You want and need your independence from them to grow as a person but you think you have to be loyal to them because of maybe the longevity of the relationship, the titles, guilt, or whatever the cause. I’m going to reference Mr. Steve Harvey again here. He said sometimes you’re loyal to people who are no longer loyal to you. And that’s ok, just let them go. You don’t have to have a conversation and neither of you owes the other anything. You find yourself free from the stress of trying so hard to be loyal to someone who didn’t value you. The deep breath I was able to take behind that one felt so good. Watch God though. Through hurt and loss, I gained a backbone!! Say that again. Yes, through hurt and loss I gained a backbone. I had to get sick and tired of being sick and tired first but now I stand up not only for my Mom but for myself. I’m not talking about eventually or always nicely like usual. I mean I say what I mean and I mean what I say the first time. I’ve saved so much time and energy lately just being straight and to the point with people who try to hurt me or my family. I’m still working on not feeling guilty about it, but hey, I’m a work in progress.😂

As this year comes slowly to a screeching end, due to these changes, I am more productive than I have been in years. I’ve written more poetry since July 2018, than I have in the last decade. Behind every loss, heartache, and tear, there’s been a triumph. I owe that only to God. So I believe the saying above is very true. I have stayed the path, regardless of how many obstacles have been thrown in my way and there have been many. The Bible states that God gives the toughest journeys to His strongest soldiers. I didn’t know that after all, I’ve already been through, childhood trauma, infidelity, divorce, death, sickness, heartache, failure, etc., that I still have strength left. Apparently, God knew my strength even though I did not. Now I find my strength in knowing that I’m here for it as long as God continues to use me and bless us all, including those no longer in my life. My path is the one less chosen but it’s mine and I know I’m never ever on its trails alone.

P.S.

Y’all keep your head up! No one tragic thing last forever. Find your peace in your gifts. Your gifts are those things you do best in life. If it’s poetry, drawing, painting, music, mathematics, biology, networking, logistics, etc., use it. It’s the thing or things you know, above all, you were put here on this earth to do. Everybody has at least one. Cultivate it. Focus on it. Write out your wants, dreams, desires, and goals you will achieve and start checking them off. I’m living proof, you won’t have time for the foolery that led to you being broken-spirited. Know that whether you are a believer or not, God will work for you as long as you work for yourself.

Be blessed❤

By: Valerie Furr-Collins