In 25 years of living, I can say that I have accomplished much. Nearly two years ago, I graduated from a four-year university in Atlanta, GA with a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education. I founded The Pink Elite, a women’s empowerment organization, in August 2014 and hosted its first event in December of that same year (just two weeks prior to graduating from college). As a second year teacher, I have served in several capacities and leadership roles in my [very] young career. Not to mention, a couple of years ago, I started Sincerely, Honey B., a place where I share my musings, thoughts, laughter, and tears with you all.
I have accomplished much, and I am proud of those accomplishments…but have you ever looked at your achievements or accomplishments and thought to yourself, “Is this it? Is this all?”
Well, I’ve been experiencing this for a few weeks now, and baby, it’s hard to shake! Now, anyone who knows me knows that I have a real-life love/hate relationship with social media. Most of the time there’s more hate than love. Sometimes, I log into my Instagram account because I’m bored, and well, people are entertaining. But then, something tragic happens after a couple of weeks of being “back on the grid”. I found myself caught up, tied up, and wrapped up in the clutches of what I like to call “The Comparison Complex”. Suddenly, everyone’s everything seems better than mine. Their house looks like something clipped out of Better Homes and Gardens magazine. Their car looks like the dream car. Their career is soaring to the highest of unattainable heights. Their relationship deserves to be remade into a romantic film. I mean, the list goes on and on, and now I find myself questioning my very existence.
I don’t know everything about anything, but what I do know is that “The Comparison Complex” is a beast (I’m refraining from referring to it as another ugly term that came to mind)…but it doesn’t have to be. When you speak life to dry places, they begin to grow and eventually thrive…and not every dead thing in your life needs to be resurrected. Tending to everyone else’s garden isn’t going to grow yours, so why on earth to fall into the trap of “The Comparison Complex”? I believe that the answer is simple: we live in a “got to have it now” age. So much is readily available to us, and most of it is at the click of a finger. Yet the part that no one seems to be telling us is that the more you have, the more you’re going to want and the less satisfied you’ll be. Nothing will ever be enough if we continue to think with this instant gratification mentality.
The truth of the matter is, even if no one else notices, you’re still poppin’. If you wake up every morning with the intention to “get ‘er done”, you’re poppin’. If your bills are paid, you’re poppin’. If your kids are dressed, fed, and well taken care of, you’re poppin’. If you get your oil changed and tires rotated on the regular, and Ol’ Betty stays clean and running, you’re poppin’. If your man/woman is happy, and your relationship is doing well, you’re poppin’. If you stayed that 9-5 today, you’re poppin’. If you passed that test you’ve been studying all month for, you’re poppin’.
The point I’m making here is your life is just that, yours. You have to work the grace that God gave you to live your life. Don’t allow social media “bosses” to fool you into thinking that your glo-up is anything less than what it is, a growth process. As long as you’re growing and achieving your goals (find you some goals, dear), then yes, YOU ARE STILL POPPIN’. You are blessed, and you are beautiful. Your life is the shiznit!
Don’t reject the process, honey. Change is inevitable, but growth is optional. Get your glow on, boo. You poppin’.
This entry needs little to no introduction. I want you to read the title, then re-read it, re-read it once more, and lastly, re-read it again. Get. Out. of. Your. Feelings. No, seriously. Do it. Do it today, right now, at this present moment. In fact, I want you to make this your daily mantra: I will not succumb to the instability of my feelings. Now…allow me to explain why you need to get out of your feelings, and quickly.
Here is the beautiful thing about your emotions: their yours. You own them. While some may not agree with your emotions, they are yours to feel. God gave us emotions for a reason. We are creatures driven by sensation…we need to feel. The danger behind our emotions, however, is that we sometimes to tend think with them. Our brains are processors; they send signals and messages to our bodies that enable us and propel us to do certain things. When we think with our hearts or emotions and feel with our brains, our entire neurological system is thrown out of whack.
Here is a scenario: you’re in a new relationship with a special someone. It’s fun, exciting, blissful, frightening, terrifying, and scary, all at the same time. You guys are on a date, and you’re enjoying each other’s company. You’re having an awesome time with this special someone, exchanging smiles and sharing laughter. Then, a memory comes to mind…a rather unpleasant memory. You remember sharing a moment quite similar to the one you’re having now with an old boyfriend/girlfriend. The relationship probably began in a similar way…fun, exciting, blissful, frightening, terrifying, and scary, but still good. However, it didn’t end that way. It may have ended in pain, hurt, disappointment, depression, resentment, bitterness, brokenness…need I continue?
The very thought that this new special someone, this fresh and blossoming relationship could possibly end the same way suddenly kills every ounce of joy that just filled you a moment ago. You instantly feel yourself disconnect from this new someone, whether he/she feels it [immediately] or not. Your actions change and so does your countenance, but it doesn’t occur to you [in that moment, at least] that you’re in your feelings.
In that moment, you’re thinking with your heart and not your brain. In that moment, your imagination is running rampant with every possible thought of what could go wrong. In that moment, you feel yourself sinking deeper and deeper into yourself; you want to run, you want to cry, you want to scream, you’re depressed, but if you’re honest with yourself, do you know why? If not, let me help you…pieces of your heart may not have been put back in their proper place, and you may still be in a process of healing. This is okay, even in a new relationship, because everyone has some form of baggage, but remember…it’s YOUR baggage, not your partner’s. You can’t think with a broken heart. The person sharing this moment with you is not your ex or former mate. The person sharing this moment with you is an individual and should be treated as such. The person sharing this moment with you deserves a chance, and if he/she isn’t presenting any signs of danger or caution, then why are you punishing them by owning a debt they can never repay?
This is just ONE scenario, and it’s a scenario that I have actually gone through. There are countless others, but the point is, I don’t want you to be me in this scenario. Remember who you are…remember Whose you are. You’re smart, intelligent, witty, discerning, and strong. You’re not the same person who was in that previous relationship, and if you are, there’s still time and room to grow and mature, dear. Don’t be so hard on yourself; don’t lock yourself away in a mental prison, bound by the weight of your emotions which can change at any given moment. Trust God, first and foremost, and trust yourself. Get out of your feelings, and be sincerely YOU.
Often times when we find ourselves under attack, we tend to look at God sideways and approach him with the age-old question, “Why me?” We personalize the attack, owning our trouble or despair. If God is allowing the enemy to reek havoc over your life, it’s well within reason. The enemy isn’t coming for you or your “stuff”, honey. The enemy is coming for what you represent. (John 10:10) This is a war of territory and power. There is a “well of living water” on the inside of you (John 7:38) that gives nourishment (i.e. joy, peace, encouragement, purpose, correction, love, compassion, etc.) to the soul, and the enemy is seeking to cut off your supply so that this life-giving nourishment can no longer flow through you. Friend, when you find yourself under attack, don’t take it personal. It’s not about you. In the grand scheme of things, you’re just a dealer. The enemy is after your Supplier. Instead of asking God, “Lord, why are you allowing this to happen to me?”, try asking, “Lord, why did you choose me for this assignment?” When you allow God’s great and infinite power to work in you so that he can touch and impact lives through you, that is when your true purpose begins to unfold and manifest. Be abundantly blessed, friend!
Fear is real. Fear is real because trouble is real. Fear is and has been a personal struggle for me for several years.
I’ve never seen myself as bold, confident, outgoing, or a leader, although I’ve been told on countless occasions that I [secretly] embody all of the above. As a child, I was shy and timid. And I do mean painfully shy and timid. I was quiet too, a trait that I inherited from my father. I had difficulty speaking my mind and owning my truth. I didn’t make friends easily, so when I did make a couple here and there, the last thing I wanted to do was hurt anyone’s feelings or have them grow with me over something I said or did, even if it was genuine.
I began to grow out of that in college, however. I was a freshman at Tuskegee University, and my [then] best friend from high school encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone and spark conversations with people in my classes or in my dorm. Y’all…you cannot fathom how appalled I was that she would even suggest this, but I did it…and it worked! Before I knew it, I met a few people here and there that I would speak to in passing on campus, and I formed a solid circle of girlfriends (we called ourselves “HoustAtlanta” because three of us were from Atlanta, and the other three were from Houston). I started attending parties, functions, and events, and I was becoming comfortable in my own skin.
When I transferred to Georgia State, I continued to grow in this area, but there was still that tinge of fear there. Communication is still difficult for me sometimes because of fear…fear of hurting someone’s feelings or fear of their reaction or response. I began praying about fear years ago while I was still in the beginning of my college career. I desired to be fearless, so that’s what I prayed for. “Lord, take away the fear. I want to live fearlessly!”
Well, I’ve learned something over the past few years. Fear is real, and it’s also necessary in order to work your FAITH. Think about it: in the moments when you’ve really, really cried out to God, was everything going swell for ya? Or nah? Was there a sense of danger present? Did you feel alone or helpless? Did you need help, and right away? Were you afraid?
The truth is, faith works BEST [in my opinion] when it pushes you to move past fear. Faith and fear live in the same neighborhood, so fear is going to be present…but that doesn’t mean they have to live in the same house. You may not be fearless, but you can fear less. You can live boldly and confidently in the face of fear. You can have a courageous heart and bold faith, even when fear is full frontal and in your face. You can believe and trust in God when fear says that you should doubt, worry, or be afraid. Don’t allow fear to bind you, honey. So, the next time the devil tries to ring your line with fear, answer and say, “Nah, homie. Wrong number. Fear doesn’t live here. Only faith.” Oh, and let the enemy know that you’re still sincerely YOU.