My millennial struck again.
She called filled with concern, that she was growing apart from a friend who she had previously shared common interests and time with, and wanted to know what to do.
She had to ask… so here goes!
Friendships, can be full of exhilaration and life! You spend hours on the phone talking about all kinds of things, you see eye to eye about mutual interests and concerns, and you pledge to have each others backs, no matter what. Weeks turns to months which turns to years, and it seems this will be someone who will be around for a lifetime. And it may very well be.
But what if it isn’t? The reality is this- MOST friendships do not last forever because interests shift, growth happens and your friend or you, aren’t always able to adapt or grow at the same pace which creates a chasm of discomfort no matter how hard we try to do otherwise.
When our mommas said that we are blessed to have one, maybe Two good friends, she was not lying. Rare is the person, that can withstand the ebb and flow of life with you into a ripe old age.
The added pressure of knowing what your purpose is and going full steam ahead while your friend is content to float along the river of life, makes for an interesting conversation down the road too.
So here are my two cents worth of advice-
- Stay honest first with yourself and then with your friend. When you feel distance happening, have the conversation, not from a place of accusations or guilt. It will be uncomfortable but it must happen.
- Don’t fester and make assumptions with forced small talk. A true friend will not want to anchor you with a rope of guilt so they can feel better about sitting sedentary while you have goals.
- Cry. Sometimes when the separation comes, it fills you with hurt and a sense of loss. Let the tears flow and keep walking in love.
- It could get ugly, because some folks do not know how to use their adult words to express that they are hurt and will instead lash out to make a clean break. That is messy in a way, neither party may soon recover from so see #1 again.
- Know that your journey in life will not always have someone by your side and be okay with that too. The wildernesswalk is effective in allowing us to become more in touch with ourselves without the well intentioned distractions of opinions.
- What you put into the world, will come back to you, so as you grow and change, others will be sent along the path, to meet you where you are in that period
- Our job is to never carry the burdens of others who refuse to carry their own. We must rid ourselves of the notion that it is okay to push, pull and tug in an effort to not “leave” folks behind. They have feet. They can either walk with you or stand back.
I hope this helps because Lord knows, it is a journey we must all take, one way or another. How you both handle it, determines if have a friend, foe or frenemy.
Walk in the light-
Deuces and mad love,
Dear Black girl-
I have been watching your growth and contentment in the last few years and wanted to share with you, just how far you have come and the obstacles you leapt, with such faith in your almost five decades on earth. You see, you were born in a time and place where girls were not encouraged to be seen or heard and from your earliest memories, you bucked that trend to the detriment of your behind. You remained respectful but steadfast in a culture that expected you to grow up, learn all the social graces like ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ so that you could get a decent job and marry a good man.
You instinctively knew that while you desired a good mate and wanted to be a mother, your desire to activate change for others was an ever present feeling you carried. And so, you did just that- spoke up, helped where you could and declared to your father at the age of nine, that you would do great things with your life.
If only you knew the journey it would take for you to get there and I still believe, you would not have changed a thing.
Do you remember the time when a boy told you that you were too opinionated and that you needed to have a man who would beat you and keep you barefoot and pregnant? Do you remember your sassy response to him? Today, he looks at you in awe as he got what he desired; the woman who would do whatever he said, even to her own detriment. You knew you deserved better by someone who would love you wholly, just as you were.
And so as a young adult, after confounding everyone around you, you struck out on a journey of self discovery and learned the hard way, that even the ones who said they loved you, had no idea what to do with all the energy you brought to the table. so you married and divorced. You had two beautiful babies and instinctively knew, raising them well, would be the best thing you could do for them and society at large.
You were told a thousand times what you could NOT and should not do; each time, you followed your gut instincts and moved ahead in prayer. the end results have been nothing but astounding. You understood that ‘belly- aching’ about a problem solved nothing and you also learned that everything happens for a reason and extracted the lessons you learned from each mishap in your life.
You learned beautifully, that building authentic relationships with others is the doorway to getting things done. You learned that doing things on your own was counterproductive. You learned the language and code words people used when they were scared of your presence and energy that floated into a room behind you.
You learned not to be naïve. You learned to have a vision and then work towards it. Vision boards are your friend.
That is you below after learning how to pit a race car and in the cockpit of an F-16 fighter jet about to take the ride of your dreams!! Who would have ever thought that? You have taught others not to ever limit themselves.
You learned to say NO when others said yes andYES, when most said no. You learned that the path less travelled, while much more difficult to traverse, lead to greater rewards. Doors have been opened for you on a national scale and you have been in the presence of those who have made huge strides for human kind. You have mentored and have been a mentee. You learned you do NOT have a poker face and it is okay.
You understood the value of having siblings who while they love you, would hold you accountable and honest in your actions and you knew they were blessings..
You embraced your health and well being by exercising regularly and because you love good food, that is a good thing. In that process, it became clear that you are not just mentally strong but physically and that too confounded many. You can flip 300 lb. tires, lift barns, push half a ton and the list goes on. you embraced climbing trees and haven’t found one that was too much of a challenge. You even climbed in flip flops!!
You understood the value in the wisdom of our elders and embrace them lovingly..You even got into serious trouble as a child, climbing trees to pick coconuts and using a machete to open it, all for the elderly man who had a heart condition. You gave YOUR own father a heart condition once he learned about THAT!
You learned that great friendships are like a balm to the soul and that laughter keeps you young at heart. You embraced being almost 6 ft. tall with zero apologies
You learned to accept people where they are and move on in love which meant holding no grudges. You are tenacious in ways that has been liberating because you understood that failure did not mean the end and kept going. You learned that without a strong knowledge of your culture and ethnicity, you were bound to accept other peoples definition of you and so you are not only steeped in your own, you are a voracious reader of others and embrace the differences we bring to the table.
when you got tired of fighting with hair, you made a declaration,cut that sucker off and remain blissfully natural, all the happier for it. You are no longer a slave to spending ten hours in a hair salon. Being black is no joke out here. And after all of that, the love you so needed, shows up and did everything in his power to convince you that marrying him would be an awesome thing. Took him several years but here you are and honey, you are glowing! The failed relationships taught you what you didn’t want, what you needed and that you had to always be your own work in progress so that you could take ownership of your own flaws.
I could go on and on but it all comes simply down to this- I am so proud of you and want to acknowledge your journey thus far.
rock on #blackgirl- rock on.
My childhood came full circle a few days ago, when someone I had lost contact with 28 years back, popped up and every memory I had of my young and teen years came rushing to the forefront like it was yesterday.
You see, We lived on what was a quiet suburban street filled with upper middle class families who worked hard and raised decent children with substance. That meant that the girls who hoped to be anything other than ” loose” worked hard to follow the regimented instructions we got from our parents while remaining average teenagers as much as we could.
Those of us who enjoyed very few freedoms that our other peers were given without regard, often felt baffled and unheard by what we considered overly strict parents.
We had gorgeous friends who had no curfew, could attend any parties they wanted to and allowed to wear whatever they desired. I could hear them at night while I was tucked in bed reading a book and wondered what a great feeling it must have been for them to have so many freedoms.
My parents would always tell us that ” freedom isn’t free and if you give away all you have without leaving anything to the imagination, when it came time for us to get mates, we would suffer for it. I thought they were nuts but here we are almost 30 years later and the fruit that bore from the trees are quite telling.
Many of us who were under strictly supervised homes, grew up on firm footing. We had convictions, worked hard, stood for something and understood our value. We faced trials like everyone else but we also knew we could find our way through and were not afraid to start over or look at things differently.
Some of our friends who were allowed all the freedoms they wanted as teens, are now adults who are slowly beginning to realize, a pretty face and a sexy body alone does not a long term and fulfilling relationship make.
These friends are sitting in marriages that have long stopped serving them or their spouses but they remain miserable because they never thought of anything beyond finding a man to support the life style they were seeking.
There is no voice to speak up, no grit and determination to be a change agent outside of being diligent mommies who are inadvertently teaching their offspring the same messages.
Smart is the new pretty and it’s about time. Men are seeking women who can not only hold intelligent conversations about most things, she challenges him through her actions to always strive for better.
If you have ever wondered why a woman who is far less attractive than you seems to have everything you desired, it’s because she used her brain not her beauty in everything she says and does.
So the next time you stand in a Mirror flipping your hair and pouting your lips just so to garner attention, be sure to remember that what is inside that head is way more valuable long term and give yourself the gift of stretching your brain to learn, experience and explore the world beyond your face.
That 28 year reminder came full circle and I was able to say thanks to my parents for keeping us from a life of mediocrity. The lessons we learned back then are the rewards we are reaping today.
One of the things my mother would say to me consistently as a teen and more vociferously when I became an adult was this; I PRAY that you are ‘blessed’ with a child who behaves JUST LIKE you!
I used to grin and say to myself ” how bad can it be? I was pretty awesome as a kid.” I was soon to find out just what my mother meant and no matter how many times I apologized to her and God, it seems I had no choice but to re-live my childhood through this second child of mine.
It all began when he was about 81/2 months old… He started learning how to walk after being born premature at 32 weeks and 3lbs. He should have been behind his peers right? Wrong. He would make his way to the refrigerator, open the door, open the egg carton, squeeze the eggs until they crushed in his fingers, close the carton and close the door.
His brother who was 4 years old, got in so much trouble because never could we have imagined it was the baby! Until one day when I turned the corner to the kitchen and caught him in the act..
I called my mother horrified and she cackled, thanked God for small mercies and hung up on me..
It only got better.. He would swing fearlessly from all kinds of things and people would marvel at his tenacity and strength. He would stubbornly tackle the toughest projects even when warned not to, so as a direct result, he and I would constantly butt heads at home.
We live in a community where our ethnicity makes up less than 25% of the population but my kid was not deterred and made friends with everyone. Many of his current friends are of Jewish descent and their parents love him dearly. He has been to more Bat mitzvahs than a few and I consistently hear how delightful and well behaved he is.
So a few years ago when he was around thirteen, he was on punishment at home and instead of allowing him to place the dishes in the dishwasher, I made him hand wash, dry and put them away.
As the tears were quietly rolling down his cheeks and I’m moving around him, he lost his composure and blurted ” I wish I was born Jewish! Those parents are so much nicer than black ones!”
I turned, looked at him and said ” well guess what buddy, you were assigned to be black and more specifically, to be MY child. Suck it up and finish those dishes!”
I went to my bedroom, closed the door and laughed until I cried…all I could think was ” help him lord and me while you are at it so he can grow up unscathed.”
He will be 18 in a few short weeks and heading off to college. We are both still in one piece but I’m going to give him the gift my mama gave me all those years ago; I wish for him, a child JUST like him when the time comes and that I am alive and well
To enjoy what I know for SURE will be his phone calls of apologies..