Feeling like you don’t belong?

Looking through pictures on Facebook and I think to myself, “I definitely wouldn’t fit in there.” “I’m so different from them.” “Wow, that’s a gorgeous group of ladies, I don’t belong there.” “Why wasn’t I there?” “Could I step that far out of comfort zone?” “They dress so nice. That’s impressive & a little intimidating.” So many questions. So many criticisms of myself. So many feelings.

I have never really felt like an outsider. I’ve never questioned where I actually fit in or where my place was. I’ve always felt 100% confident that I belonged exactly where I was at. Until lately. Lately, it’s been the opposite. I don’t feel confident about where I belong and I find myself questioning where exactly I fit in.

Have you ever looked around you and constantly questioned where you fit in?

I look around at my family, co-workers & friends and we are all in different stages of our lives, which I celebrate, but it keeps me asking where do I fit in the picture of their life? We all have busy work schedules, babies on the way (Just so we are clear – NOT ME!), different ball practices with the kids, side hustles, Student Government functions, parents we are caring for, health issues, and the list could go on forever. We are all on our own timeline and all celebrating different things. Yet, there are still times when I feel left out, picked over, inadequate, left behind, or unworthy of good things.

If I know that we are all busy and it isn’t personal, why do I feel this way? My hope is that it’s all in my head and I’m just extremely hard on myself. 9 out of 10 times, I find myself standing in my own way! Please say I’m not the only one! How many times have you stood in your own way? It’s possibly the battles that I face without telling anyone that isolates me at times. It could be my anxiety & OCD rearing it’s ugly head. It could be a lack of communication. There are a number of things that could lead to feeling like I just don’t belong. So I’ve been reflecting a lot on what Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” And y’all that is power packed! I GET TO DECIDE WHO HURTS ME AND I GET TO DECIDE WHERE I FIT IN.

I don’t want to change myself to fit in anywhere. It’s taken me a lot of soul searching to figure out who I am. I don’t want to lose myself in seeking approval from others. I want to be the best version of myself day in and day out. (And I challenge you to be the best that you can be!)

I have to find a way to get out of thinking the harsh thoughts that I often do about myself. Being so hard on myself is only resulting in making me feel stuck in a rut. After all, what you tell yourself will eventually become your reality. Right? I have to start talking to myself the way I talk to my friends. If I can build them up – I can build myself up. Sounds simple enough, right?

I’ll leave you with my thoughts on how I plan to overcome these feelings of not belonging.

1. Turn my negative thoughts about myself into positive ones.

2. Remembering that I belong to the place where I don’t feel lonely and different. I belong with the people who make me feel brave enough to seize the day.

3. Accepting that people can’t read my mind and knowing that communication is key. MY feelings are MINE to feel and I should articulate them when necessary.

4. Continuing on my journey to TOTAL self love.

5. Always being more than willing to share the REAL ME with the world.

I hope that if you are struggling with the same things, this will help you! I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Advertisements

The Final Good-bye

Death. Public speaking. I have NEVER handled either of those things very well. So, when you put them together and I’m grieving one of my greatest blessings and then am asked to speak as well.

The eulogy. I was worried about delivering a great speech at first and then I reminded myself that it has to come from the heart. The most important thing to remember about speaking at a funeral is that IT IS A GIFT. It is a gift of memories that you are sharing with everyone. It is a gift for you to stand there and speak about someone you loved dearly. It’s not a performance, there are no judges! It’s important to be honest, sincere and YOURSELF. I was honored to speak. And really nervous. Really, really nervous. I didn’t think I had it in me. I didn’t think that I could be that strong. With a quivering voice, tear filled eyes, and the shakiest of hands I stood at the podium and gave it my best shot. After all, this was the woman who did everything for me and who I know would have endured anything for me. So I can make myself uncomfortable for about 5 minutes to speak for her. Honestly, I didn’t know I had the strength to do it. With my mom and my siblings by my side, I spoke. It was shaky. It was hard to catch my breath at times, but I mustered up the courage and I DID IT. I am so proud of myself for doing what I thought I could never do. I am so honored that for a brief few minutes I got to honor my Nana. In case you’re wondering what I said, here you go!

“Thank you all for being here.

When we were discussing who was going to speak today, I knew that I needed to say something – but how do you fit all the good things about Nana, how selfless she was and all the sweet memories into a paragraph? And then I realized that you all knew her – whether she was Nana, Sis, Mrs. Fleming, Miss Jo or Aunt Jo – you all knew her and her life was her testimony. And such a beautiful one it was. So I decided to just speak from the heart and share what Nana was to me.

My nana was so much to me. She was my sounding board, my anchor (because someone has to keep me grounded), my encourager, my nurse at times, my biggest cheerleader, my only competition in my papa’s eyes, my back scratcher (The BEST one on Earth!) and so much more. She taught me to love everyone like Jesus does! More than all those things – she is the person who taught me and inspired me to have faith. Not just faith in other people, but FAITH IN GOD! No matter what situation Nana might have found herself in- her answer was “God will take care of me!” That faith she instilled in me and that faith is what has gotten me through this last week. It’s also what will pull me through the days ahead when life goes back to “normal” and I’m left with my thoughts and the reality that she isn’t 3 minutes down the road anymore when I need a hug.

Y’all! Life is short. It’s not infinite, despite what we sometimes think. It’s so fragile. It must be lived everyday. Every single day to the fullest. Loving those around us and putting aside all of the irrelevant things that get in the way sometimes. Life is unexpected. And so is death. All of us in this room thought Nana was the invincible woman, but now here we are. All gathered in her memory. My intention from this point forward is to live my life loving hard, forgiving quickly, and enjoying every moment. Just as i know my nana did and would want me to do. That being said I’m gonna go skydiving soon – who wants to come?

During this grieving process, I have had several people offer kind words and this is something that stuck out the most to me and I’ll leave it with you…Just remember those we love don’t go away, they walk beside us everyday… unseen, unheard, but always near, still loved, still missed and very dear. Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, BUT love leaves a memory no one can steal.

How lucky we are to have had something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

And then the call comes…

And it’s every emotion imaginable in a matter of seconds…

The call that we know is coming, but are never prepared for. The one that shatters us to our very core. The one that makes our heart skip a beat and our eyes fill with tears. The one that shakes your very existence in a way you didn’t know possible. That call. The one that says, “she’s gone!”

My heavy eyes were barely even able to open when the sting of the tears hit them. The tears were hot on my cheeks and they wouldn’t stop falling. Crying out. Part of me crying because my life can’t be the same without her. Part of me crying because my soul is rejoicing in the fact that she is whole and she is getting to see Jesus. Part of me selfishly yearning and telling God I’m not ready.

How do you convince your heart of something your mind understands, but your heart doesn’t?? Literally, how do you do it?

How do you pick up the pieces of your shattered heart? Of your kid’s shattered heart? Or your mother’s? Or your siblings? At 2:17 AM in the dark, with tears that won’t stop flowing…how do you find the pieces? How do feel okay again? Can you ever feel whole again? How do you stop the waves of nausea that keep washing over you? When you look all around you and everyone is broken, how do you decide who has to be the strong one? Or do you just stay right where you are? In a puddle on the floor asking God for peace. Is this where I’ll be forever? How do you put the pieces together for anyone else when your own puzzle is missing pieces now? My heart has so many questions. My heart knows Jesus, but in a time like this, My heart just can’t comprehend it. But who am I to question God’s plan?

When that call comes in, it is the onset of an unbearable pain. It’s leaves a gaping hole that can’t be filled. Although, as I’m riding home in the car, the clock reads 5:38 and I can see the sky starting to turn colors where the sun is peeking through and I am reminded of how God always shows us his light. Even in the darkest of times. Even the worst of heartbreaks. May 20th, 2018. The day my life changed tremendously. The day my Nana earned her wings.

Rest In Peace, Nana.

Josephine Fleming 6/8/36 – 5/20/2018

The family will be gathering at my home. If you would like to come by for a visit or donate a meal, please message me for address.

Thank you in advance for the continued prayers. Service information will be shared as soon as possible.

Have you ever known a saint?

Have you? A real life saint? True, in human form, SAINT? I HAVE. And how blessed am i that I have called her Nana?! How blessed am I that she helped mold me and shape me into the woman I am today?!

To know my Nana, was simply to love her! She didn’t know hate in heart, she loved everyone she met just LIKE JESUS DOES! She has always been so selfless. There were many times I watched her go without so everyone in her presence didn’t have too. Myself included. She yearned her whole life to be a mother BECAUSE THAT WAS HER CALLING. And when she couldn’t carry a child in her womb, she adopted my mom. Another SELFLESS act. (I’ll never be able to express how thankful I am that she did!) Every-time one of my friends needed something, my Nana was there. From hot meals and rides to school and the skating rink to advice and stepping in when other family members stepped out. She didn’t care about blood, she treated everyone like family.

She taught me about love. About life. About working hard. About being compassionate. Most importantly, she taught me about Jesus! She taught me how to pray and she taught me to go to church. As I sit here in this hospice house just watching her breathe, my heart is shattered at the thought of what is to come. But my heart is rejoicing because I know she will be greeted at those pearly gates.

I am not prepared for this, but I know she is! Her strength has been an amazing thing to witness my entire life. Her grace has taught me how to handle difficult situations. Her faith has taught me how to have faith. Her kind, gentle spirit has taught me how I should treat people. Not a single day has gone by that she hasn’t taught me something about life. I am so fortunate that she loved me so well.

Prayers are very appreciated during this difficult time.

I’ve been living in solitary confinement.

It’s taking every ounce of courage that I can muster up to be this vulnerable. Especially, about you. The you that broke me before I should have known what broken was. The someone that I should know and look up to. The someone that should celebrate my victories and grieve in loss with me. I have longed for you my entire life. I have cried for you. Cried over you. And most certainly, cried BECAUSE of you. I have hated you. I’ve still been angry with you. I have loved you. I have wished for you to be my hero, like a dad should be to his little girl. I have hoped for an apology for my mom. I have prayed for you! Did you hear me? I HAVE PRAYED FOR YOU!

I have prayed for you more in the last year than ever before. I bet you’re wondering why. I was sitting in church after having my son (that you probably don’t even know I have) dedicated to the Lord when my Pastor preached on forgiveness. And that is something that I have always struggled with. I can hold a grudge forever and not bat an eye. And I have. But that day sitting in church, with tears streaming down my face all I could think was – WOW! I never wanted that word and your name in the same sentence. AGAIN. I thought that I could convince myself that I had forgiven you and I would be okay. How wrong I was.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way and it certainly isn’t that easy. You see, I have been serving a life sentence in solitary confinement because of you.

Figurative, solitary confinement.

I have isolated myself from people who love me out of fear of not being enough for them. I have been insecure in every aspect of my life. I have always struggled with feelings of inferiority and inadequacy. I know you might be wondering what that has to do with you, right? Well, I’ll be happy to enlighten you. I wasn’t ENOUGH for you. I wasn’t worthy enough in your eyes for you to be an active part of my life. I was inadequate by YOUR standards. And while you never said those things, your actions did. And you also never took the time to NOT say those things! Which makes it very easy for a little girl to believe she isn’t worthy.

All these years I’ve believed those things about myself because of your actions, or lack there of. I have beat myself up so many times wondering what I (A CHILD) could have done differently so that you wouldn’t walk out. Sitting in that seat in church that day, it felt like it was just me and Pastor Rich in the room. I knew he was preaching straight to me!! I knew that God was speaking to me. All these years I’ve been harboring some awful feelings about you and for you. And rightfully so. But all these years I kept pushing aside the fact that my worth SHOULD NOT BE determined by a man who chose not to step up. My worth should be tied to my mom who fought to give me the best life she could. My nana who never once wavered being there for me. The two men who did step up for me and made sacrifices you never would, my Papa and my DAD (maybe not my blood, but he’s my dad!). My husband. My kids – who think that I hung the moon. But most importantly, Jesus died on a cross for me over 2,000 years ago and THAT ACT ALONE SAYS THAT I AM WORTH IT. That says that I am MORE than enough. In all honesty, it’s just a shame that you couldn’t see that.

The person I am today falls and gets right back up. I put my kids above all else. I strive to be Christ like, though I fail daily. I’m a daughter, sister, niece, friend, wife and momma that I am proud of. And maybe you didn’t physically contribute to any of that, you did contribute. I’m forever grateful for you teaching me all the things I didn’t want to do.

My eyes aren’t blurry anymore. My mind is no longer a hostage to your actions. And while my heart will always ache because of you, I forgive you. I FORGIVE YOU. I forgive you for me. For my own sanity. For my walk with Christ. I forgive you because Jesus forgives me daily. I, too, need grace on a daily basis and I am never denied that grace.

Brief backstory: My biological father made the conscious decision when I was very young NOT to be a part of my life. He chose other priorities over his daughter(s) and I can only speak for myself here, but I suffered a lot mentally because of that. However, if I had put someone through the hell he put my mother through – I wouldn’t have been able to look at my kids either. (That’s a blog for a different time…stay tuned!)

Did this make you think a little? Is there someone in your life you need to forgive? It isn’t easy, but it is liberating. You may not forget what they did and you may have to forgive them 100 times – but I encourage you to do it.

Blog Overhaul

Hello, again! It’s been a while since I have written anything that I published. I have been writing a lot and I just haven’t posted anything. The things that were on my heart to write were things that didn’t really fit into the realm of my “parenting” blog. I really want to share them with you all, so I decided to stray away from the “parenting” label on my blog. I’m still as Southern as ever, don’t get me wrong. However, for what I am looking to accomplish with my blog, I outgrew confessions of a southern momma! Don’t worry! I will still be confessing a lot! Haha! Just in different ways.

I wanted to be extremely vulnerable in my writings and share details of my life that many of you may not know. When I write, I can always take myself right back to that moment in time and I always feel those emotions all over again. I write to share my story. To share my truth. To evoke emotions. To let you understand that you can overcome anything. I write so that people will understand me.

Be prepared for lots of emotions, lots of vulnerability, a ton of candidness, an excess of lighthearted fun, and a lot of topics that are sometimes incredibly hard to talk about. I am looking forward to sharing this next chapter in my little blogging life with you all. While I can’t promise you a post every week, I am certainly going to try my best to make that happen. I am open to topic suggestions, questions that you want answered from a different perspective, and anything in between.

So here’s to you; thank you for following me! Here’s to blogging, which gives me an incredible outlet. And here’s to me sharing the depths of my soul with you guys. I am nervous, excited, anxious, and terrified to share some of the things that I have planned. But this is my story and it is time for me to own it. Here we go, y’all!

Second Chance; An Update

First, let me apologize for taking almost two months to post. (I should really work on that! I’ll add it to my list of things.🙄) I’m sure many of you are making assumptions based on the title of the post and that’s okay, you just might be right. 🙃 In my last post, I was very vulnerable and very upfront about the events that had taken place in my life. I will keep that same momentum for this post. (You’ve been warned! 😜) A lot has changed in two months and I have still been soul searching and falling in love with myself. And I will continue to do that from now on.

In my last post I was very adamant about two things. 1. The best thing that Chase ever did for me was to leave. 2. I don’t believe in second chances.

Well, not very much from that last post has changed. I, 100%, still believe that the best thing Chase ever did for me was leave me. We were in a rut. We were struggling to even fake a smile anymore. We were prideful and neither wanted to admit faults leading up to the “blow out.” We were in the pits and we were unhappy. (Side note: I’m not saying that leaving is the answer because I believe you should fight for love no matter what.) The day he left I learned of strength I never knew I had. Through the chaos I was able to find myself again and that is something that is so important. Even through the pain I was able to better myself and I am grateful for that. So that part hasn’t changed at all. I still stand by that statement and always will. I am a better woman for having gone through it.

What has changed is my belief that second chances shouldn’t exist. At the end of July, I was seeing someone else and desperately trying to move on. (No judgement – Chase had been seeing other people too!) I was ignoring all of Chase’s efforts to reconcile. I wasn’t interested. Or so I pretended. Deep down I had questions and hoped that one day I could get to a point where I was ready to pursue a reconciliation. Despite everything, two facts remained; I loved him. And Chase felt like home to me. From the day I met him he gave home a whole new meaning. Not like 4 walls and a door, but 2 eyes, open arms and a heart beat. No matter how hard I tried to fight it or how much I tried to outrun it, my soul got tired of running from those facts. There have been so many instances and so many occasions over the last few months that showed me how serious Chase is about making us work and just how much he has changed. So with that said, I believe him and my soul can rest! I’m home. 💜 No more fighting it, just fighting for us.

Marriage is hard and sometimes when pride gets in the way, it’s harder than it should be. We have both learned so much in the last few months, but the main things are: 1. God has to be at the center of us. 2. There is no one else in this world for the either of us. We were meant to be. 3. TRUE LOVE FORGIVES. (But true love isn’t stupid – I believe in second chances now! Not third, fourth and fifth chances. 😂😜)

On a serious note – as we start this journey, we know it will be hard and we are prepared for that! We ask for your prayers. Between the love we have for each other, church, counseling, swallowing our pride even when it’s uncomfortable and the best friends & family – we will make it. Here’s to our new life and embracing every struggle as a team. Love always wins!!! 💝

Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope. – Maya Angelou

What’s the best thing he ever did?

The day he left, my world was flipped upside down. His words were cold. His emotions didn't exist. His heart just wasn't in it anymore. And I was left wondering where I went wrong or if it was all a lie. Confused. Hurt. Angry. Guarded. And "broken". I grieved the loss of someone who was still living. Someone I thought I would never get over. I grieved a marriage, that was troubled, but one I never thought would fail.

And then something happened….I woke up one morning in my new place and looked around. Here I was laying in bed all alone in my house, that was still strange at the time. It should have been a moment where I cried, prayed, and (possibly) screamed. Instead, all I did was lay there and smile. I SMILED. I found my strength. Strength I never knew I even had. I found my courage. The courage to stand up for myself and the courage to be selfish with my time and my energy. I found my happy. Strange, huh? But I did! I found my happiness – happiness in ME! For the first time in a long time I was no longer seeking validation from anyone else. I found my confidence. I lost 36 pounds (with more to lose!) and started to feel good about myself again. I found my tribe. You know those people who ARE always there with no hesitation and no questions asked. The type of friends that we all long for. The friends that you never have to question their motives or their loyalties. I found my peace. Peace in my decisions, my life, my circumstances. I found CONTENTMENT.

And for the first time in probably 3 years, I am genuinely happy. So when the question comes up if I miss him, the answer is no. When the question comes up if I want to reconcile, again, the answer is no. The reason my answer is no is simple…..

I would have never given up, even when I should have, because that's not me! If he hadn't left, I wouldn't know what happiness was like and I will forever be grateful that he did leave.

Thoughts on Beauty

So after being called ugly today for my physical appearance I started thinking. So here are some thoughts I have strung together. Forgive me if they don’t flow properly.

What sickens me the most about the world that my kids are growing up in is the harsh reality of the pressure they feel to look a certain way or be a certain size. At 11 and 12, my girls should not be concerned about their weight. Yet, they are! 
I think that being beautiful starts in your soul and radiates outward. It’s important to me to teach my children, that physical beauty is not near as important as inner beauty. I have said it a million times and will say it a million more, you can be the prettiest woman in the world, but an ugly heart automatically makes you ugly to me. Society is trying to teach my kids and myself differently. It’s a fine line, I get it, attractiveness sells. Really though? What are good looks without some substance? 
I may never be that girl that other women envy as far as physical beauty goes. I’m not insanely fit, I don’t have a thigh gap, or eyebrows that are on fleek (whatever that really means), I don’t have hair to die for, or perfect skin. And that’s okay by me! However, I do have a listening ear to anyone who needs it, a kind word to say when someone needs to hear it, a heart that breaks when I see someone struggling, hurting or down on their luck. I do have understanding. The understanding that we all are different, that we all fall short at times. The understanding that every single person is beautiful in their own way. Physically, mentally and emotionally beautiful; and its that understanding alone that allows me to look for the good in people. 
The day that society started caring more about who the skinniest of them all is versus who the fairest (or kindest) of them all is…is exactly the day that we lost the true definition of beauty. Beauty is so much more than just the skin we wear. I wish more people could see that. I wish more people would find the beauty in someone’s soul smiling or in the laugh lines on their face or even in their brokenness. Sometimes in our brokenness we find all of our inner beauty, believe it or not. It’s where I have sought mine out more than a few times. Being broken can be beautiful too; it means you’re growing. You’re learning. YOU ARE LIVING. And living is such a thing to find beauty in. So start seeking the things that matter most and seeing their FULL potential. Their fill beauty. 
What matters to me the most is that I wear my heart on my sleeve. I want to do all I can to help whoever I can. I’m strong on the inside. I’m brave. I’m optimistic. I have Christ in my heart. And when I love, I love with every single fiber of my being! Those are the things that I want to pass along to my kids. Those are the things that I want to be envied for. Looks will fade, a good heart…it’s here to stay. So while I may not fit your mold because of how I look, you’ll still fit my mold because I’m not judging you on the outside.


 

The truth about my 30….

Today, on my 30th birthday, as I stood after a long day at work staring out my kitchen window while washing dishes. I was sobbing. Sobbing, while scrubbing pots and pans.
And no, not crying because I was doing dishes. I was crying because I’m celebrating 30 years today. Crying because that makes me happy because some people don’t get to see thirty years old or healthy kids. And I don’t take that for granted. Not one bit, I count those blessings daily. But there was more, I was also crying because I was sad. Reflecting back on my life, I’m no where near where I thought I would be at 30. Not in my career, not in friendships, not in relationships with my family, not physically, not in my writing, not financially (but are we ever there really?), not in putting a dent in my bucket list. Just not there. Let me be clear; I am educated and I have a great job. I have some of the best friends and family a girl could ask for. I have a handsome husband that loves me and healthy, beautiful kids. I go to the gym and I’m finally noticing my weight loss. I write, not as much as I would like too or the things I would like too. We live comfortably and our kids are spoiled. 😜 And we are working on the bucket list. So, I know what you’re all thinking…it’s never too late. I know that, I’m working on it. 
The thing that hurts the most? The reason I was so upset? The friendships and relationships with my family. At one point in my life I knew that there was a handful of people that could look at me or hear my voice and instantly know when something was off. But now….Not even close! You see the thing is, things haven’t been right for months now. I’ve been carrying the burden of health issues and silently fighting them…all while NO ONE in my life knew me well enough to notice. I told a select few what was going and their response was “I had no idea!” I am most of the problem here, because I become a recluse sometimes. BUT at one point, there were people that would know anyway that something was off. This is NOT the kind of relationships that I want. I don’t want surface relationships anymore. I want real, raw, intense relationships. The kind of friendships were we cry together, we laugh together, we get angry together, we learn together and we love together. 
I’m not saying this to hurt feelings or make anyone feel like I don’t value them in my life. I value each and every single person in my life. And I have a few friends like this already, so don’t get me wrong. I just want more substance in my life. Museum visits, history lessons, religious talks, childhood memories, trials and tribulations in our lives, political talks, the ugly stuff, the beautiful stuff, prayer meetings, Bible talks….I want deeper friendships. Deeper relationships in general. I want people who want to know the parts of me that I hide from the world. I want to know people on a deeper level and I want people to know me on a deeper level. 

I had a wonderful birthday and am ready to take on my thirties. Sometimes, I’m just emotional and those are the vulnerabilites I want to share with people. With that said, thank you so much everyone for your heartfelt words today and for taking the time to wish me a happy birthday. It means so much to me! Here’s to 30 and here’s to tackling life harder than ever before.  

(Picture is from this past weekend visiting the Angel Oak on St. John’s island in Charleston, SC. Don’t ever pass up the opportunity to visit….it is breath taking.)