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  • Dear Love – He Wants to Be Treated Special Too

    I have to look out for my guys here on this one. As I was out shopping for the holidays, I realized that I really have a hard time spending large sums of money at once. I get hot, slight anxiety and even a little nervous. But as I was shopping for my BF, I realized that he never hesitates when it comes to getting something costly for me. In general he has truly helped me to let go of my unhealthy relationship with money, but that’s another story. The moral of this story is that sometimes you have to remember to treat your man just as special as you want to be treated. So I bought a couple things for him without hesitation.

    Don’t get the wrong impression, I’m not stingy with him. Lol. If anything he has taught me how to be extremely giving. But what I am trying to show is the difference sometimes in what men will do for us that we have a hard time reciprocating. I remember in a past relationship that being one of the things that came up when the relationship began unraveling. He may have even said, “I want to feel special too.” And now that I am more mature, I finally get it.

    Sometimes as women, we want them to think of dates, send us flowers, call just because, get us great and expensive gifts and much more. But what I am wondering is how willing we are to do some of those same things for our men? Now clearly, men don’t like some of the same things we do. But I am certain that they also can appreciate when we plan a date, or schedule a trip to the spa for them as well.

    I noticed it most in my past relationship when it came to birthdays. Mine were always pretty grand and well thought out by him and somehow mine always seemed a little lack luster. Like I couldn’t get plans together in time or never could quite get him the ultimate gift he wanted. I can admit that I can see how that would be an issue. Knowing this, I am so much better with those things in my current relationship and do my best to think of thoughtful plans and things for us to do together and to make him feel like I really thought about him.

    You may be thinking, “Well, Ashley clearly you were just unthoughtful.” And that’s fine, I may have been, but one, I know there are others out there like me, and two, I believe that sometimes we as women can get so caught up in what we want our man to do that we’re not thinking about what we can also do for them.

    Maybe it’s not flowers but it’s turning on ESPN when he walks in the door and letting him watch a bit before going ham on how our day went. Or maybe it's cooking his favorite meal. It’s not about the actual thing you do for the person as much as making sure that some of those same special surprises and thoughtful things that you are looking for, also come from you from time to time.

    My Pastor says it best. “What if we just tried to out-love one another?” If both parties in the relationship are being thoughtful about what the other wants and needs, then I’m sure there would be a lot happier relationships in abundance. Trouble comes in when we start to put “me” first ALL the TIME. Yes we have to love ourselves and do things that make ourselves happy, but if you never want to think of another person first and sometimes put your feelings aside, then you should just stay single.

    I think I was a lot more spoiled back then. And even though I still am. LOL. Blame my parents and my wonderful BF, I think I know how to balance that out a lot better now and hopefully help him to feel a little spoiled as well. Though sometimes I have to check myself, all and all, I am much better.

    What do you think? Are you sometimes having all the expectations of your partner and not giving the same way in return?

  • DREAM - Brown Girls Building Brands with Karen Civil

    Karen Civil speaks at Brown Girls Building Brands hosted by FBF Fitness. 

    Saturday, Dec. 13, I got the opportunity to attend the Brown Girls Building Brands Brunch that was hosted by FBF Fitness and in conjunction with the Live Civil Tour with Karen Civil. As someone who has been to their share of panels and events, it can sometimes be hard to get me out. But I thought this would be an awesome opportunity to just be surrounded by other dynamic women. Lately, I have been forcing myself out of the box I have somehow gotten comfortable in, which could even be slightly misconstrued as a bit anti-social. haha. I'm working on it. 

    In either case, I'm glad I did come out. I got a lot more than I bargained for. I heard so much about Karen Civil but I wasn't really as familiar with her story. I just knew she was pretty successful and very ingrained in Hip Hop culture. And most recently she had been in the news based financing a playground to be built in Haiti. 

    First, the brunch was awesome. Even though I was a little mad I had to wait in the cold at the beginning. Still love you Za! But it was great to see all these beautiful brown women come together for a positive cause. Karen's remarks were very easy going and conversational and she pretty much just talked about her journey. Essentially loving the internet and figuring out how that could become a career for her and she didn't do too shabby. Getting an inside look into her thought process was so great. And I just tried to soak up as much as I could. 

    Her background was interning at Hot 97 for Funk Master Flex. After trying to move him forward with the internet and not being able to get him to see the value, she moved on and got a job to help her create her own site. One of her first interviews was with Drake, who at the time was a lowkey new artist. She was able to work with Dipset and build an online commerce store that did extremely well. And eventually just caught fire with doing some promo work with Tyga and Lil Wayne and raising their online platforms to great levels with her savvy digital media strategy, eventually creating her own company, ACE, Always Civil Enterprise. 

    Following her keynote, she took photos with all the attendees, which was dope because we all know how these things can go sometimes when the invited guest acts like they don't even want to be there. But she was so gracious and kind to everyone. We chatted a bit about my book and I was even able to give her a signed copy.

    To make it simple, here are the most important things I took away from her great keynote speech.

    1. Always give thanks. She spoke so eloquently about her blessings jar and how she writes 5 things she is grateful for every night. These are definitely two things that I am going to add to my routine. Sometimes we are working and striving but we must remember to be thankful for all God has already provided. 
    2. There is no competition. We forget because social media forces us to think about and compare ourselves to others. But what God has for us, no man can take away. STOP comparing. Run your own race and work to acheive your dreams. When rooted in purpose you will acheive it. 
    3. You can make a living off what you love. She wasn't chasing after some established job. She just knew she loved the internet and thought of innovative ways to incorporate that into businesses. Bottomline, make it plain, make a plan, pray and work. And you will get it. There was nothing that put Karen Civil ahead besides her awesome work ethic and intelligence. She came from a humble background and made it work. We all can too. 

    Check out a couple photos below. Karen, let me know what you think of the book! haha! 

    You know it's serious when I'm using my hands. lol. 

    I hate that her hand was blurred, but that's what I had to work with. lol. Love that she took the time to chat and flick it up with each person. 

  • Dear Love - To love Without Worry of Losing It

    If she is to love life and love freedom

    And be brave, then she must learn to let go.

    To see beauty without clinging to it, to

    Feel pain without holding it hostage and

    To love without worry of losing it.

    GG Renee of All the Many Layers

     

    This one is a lot more personal of a post. As I’m writing I’m thinking, “is this for your journal or for your blog?” But I am open to sharing not for you to be all in my business. LOL. But just in hopes that you realize that I am also walking in a journey of discovery when it comes to love. I don’t think we’ll ever have it all figured out. But I love to think about and analyze the journey.

    To love without worry of losing it. This resonated with me and continues to do so days after I happened upon it. In general I would say that I have trouble living in the moment. That’s what this piece from GG represented to me. Living in the moment, letting go. Which as a person who always wants and needs to be in control can be a very difficult task.

    I would say that one of the most important things that I am learning in my life right now is that love is not my possession. I don’t own it. I’m ONLY in control of how I execute love. Not my partner. As much as sometimes we as women want to think that we can control our men, guess what? There is nothing that they are going to do until they’re good and ready. Whether it’s something as simple as cleaning up behind themselves or as life changing as getting married.

    And I am a fighter so I haven’t fully succumbed to this notion that I am not in control. I thought that seeing my 8 year relationship end would make me more “comfortable” for lack of a better term with the idea that sometimes things just don’t work out. I mean, if that ended anything could right? But as I get closer to being with my current boyfriend for 3 years, the fear seems to be creeping in. As long as it was a one year, two year thing, I didn’t have those same feelings. I guess in my mind I’m saying, what if this doesn’t work after all this time?

    It’s scary to think that you can put so much time into something and it not be successful. Which is only an inkling of what couples that have been married for years and end up divorced must feel. But either way, I think we have to learn to get rid of this hyper forward thinking. We want to plan, we want to prepare, but the older I get the more the line “You make plans and God laughs,” makes so much more sense to me. I’m not really in control. I have to keep saying that out loud to myself in hopes that one day I will actually consume it into my soul.

    I want to just be in love without the worry of losing it. How did I become afraid? How does that fear stifle being the best me that I can in my relationship? How much does that make me defensive and sensitive to every move he makes or argument we have?  Does it keep me with my guard up?

    I think GG’s post has helped me to realize that I just want to love him like tomorrow doesn’t exist. I don’t want to hear another person ask, “When are you getting married?” or having children or any of the other things that people don’t realize is none of their business. I am letting go. I am letting go because I don’t think I can continue to survive peacefully if I don’t. I don’t want to be consumed with the worry of what could happen. Face your fears head on and be done with them. It’s the only way love will thrive. We can’t keep suffocating it and expecting it to grow. 

  • DREAM - Vision Boards at the GEMS Program

    Where there is no vision, the people perish: But he that keepeth the law, happy is he. Proverbs 29:18

    I'll tell you what. God works. And he works in ways that our small minds will never be able to comprehend. Recently my sis, Kathryn Serrano of The Katosphere and I had been sharing about our vision to start reaching out to young girls. We just wanted to pour into them about our life experiences and about the power of working together as women. Well very quickly things began to materialize to give us the opportunity to do just that. 

    Last Monday, I was invited by my Authentic Life Church sister, Holly Phillips to speak at her awesome GEMS program at Gratz Mastery Charter High School in Philadelphia. Immediately, I thought of Kat and thought that we could tag team and work on it together. 

    We decided to do vision boards and an "I AM" writing exercise with the girls. Which was great because it's nice to be hands on and not just talking for a million hours, especially with teenagers. And I have to admit, I was nervous and excited all at the same time! Most of my programming and outreach has been for the millennial generation. So stepping in front of brutally honest teens was a bit intimidating especially hoarse! lol. Yes I lost my voice which was really fun. :) 

    But in any case, even though we ran late, which killed me. I hate being late. We had an amazing time with the girls. I was a lot more relaxed and familiar with them than I thought I would be. And though they may have been a bit reluctant at first, they definitely got into the groove and purpose of the vision boards They had great things that represented important things to them, many girls expressing their career goals, relationship goals and affirming quotes. 

    This was a great launching pad which I hope leads to a lot more opportunities to reach teenage girls. These are the moments that mean the most. Knowing that at least one thing you said may have helped change the trajectory of someone's life. Humbled at the opportunity for God to use me in this way and looking forward to more. 

  • Journey of a NB - Protecting Your Atmoshpere

    I didn’t realize that I missed church last week until I was in church this week. Here I am wondering why I have been feeling out of whack and it’s because I wasn’t properly prepared. Yes I tried to watch a sermon online but let’s be real, there will always be something about being in His presence in conjunction with other believers.

    I was sick last week. No voice and I help usher and did not feel like being a mute directing people to their seats. But as I stood in my church this Sunday, I thought, I don’t ever want to miss another service if I can help it. From getting there early to set up, to chatting with other members, praise and worship and the actual sermon, I realized how essential that experience is to my well-being.

    It wasn’t a bad week at all. It was great and busy, but something just didn’t feel right. I was also traveling which made my morning routine of prayer difficult and in general, I didn’t seek out as diligently that important time just to sit with God. It’s important to protect your atmosphere. There is such a huge difference in my world when I am listening to word and worship music and making sure to pray outside of over my food.

    And not just church. That goes for everything. Sometimes it can seem overzealous but we really do have to be careful what we expose ourselves to. People’s energy or negativity, TV Shows, film, family – they can all have an adverse effect on the levels we are trying to get to with God. Pastor Steve Furtick from Elevation Church recently talked about how for some of us, we go to church and absolutely nothing is reinforced once we leave. It’s hard. Sometimes we are the only ones of our friends or family that is seeking something different for our lives and we have to learn how to be around them and be the light without getting dragged into their ways.

    For me, I definitely watch some shows that are probably in no way good for anything that I’ve learned about being more like Christ. I reason that I am an adult and know the difference between reality and make believe but I am definitely neglected its residual effects in my life. Urgh, eventually I hope to kick my Love & Hip Hop habit, but these things take time.

    But the more I surround myself with believers, with the things of God, the more I realize their importance. Now … you can’t just shut off the world. Jesus says we are supposed to be the light in dark places so we can’t just spend all our time around other lights. However, in order to be best prepared for the challenge and opposition we will face in the world, we need to be well equipped. Well, this week I feel like I got caught slipping. But I will certainly make the adjustments.

     

    Scriptures to Reference

    When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

    Above all else, guard your heart for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23

    For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them. Matthew 18:20 

  • Dear Love - I Beg to Differ, Love is a Choice

    I hear people say it all the time, “You can’t help who you love.” It’s something I didn’t pay that much attention to when I was younger. But at this point in my life, I realize that statement couldn’t be more false! You certainly can help who you love.

    I have found that many people confuse the emotions involved in loving someone with what love actually is. Love is a verb, an action word, something that you do. Pain, joy, butterflies, anger, uncertainty are all emotions that coincide with the act of love, but not the crux of what love is. Personally, I feel like saying “I can’t choose who I love,” is a cop out. It’s something many of us use as an excuse for the poor decisions we’ve made in the name of love.

    What is love in my book? Well it starts with God. God is love. And so everything associated with it, should be in his image. The lying, deceit, manipulation, selfishness that people try to attribute to love is not. It’s people warring between their spirit and their flesh. When we love in the spirit, we are patient, forgiving, and kind, we don’t keep score and more where that came from. Check I Corinthians 13. Right there is our example of how to love.

    For me to say in my current relationship “I can’t help but love him” would be such an underestimation of what really happens in the trenches of a relationship every day. Every day I am choosing to love. I am choosing what things to let go, what things to bring up. I am figuring out what to say, how to say it, and what I can do to make him happier. And no I am not always succeeding at it, but I am certainly trying.

    To say that you have no control over love would be telling of why so many people have no idea what they’re doing in the act of loving another person. What other important part of your life do you just feel is happening to you? In seemingly every other part of our life there are deliberate decisions being made. Whether it’s in parenting, career, or friendships. We don’t just get to love and some type of outside source takes over.

    I gather that the people who think love just happens have to be the same folks who think life in general is just happening to them. No accountability. Yes we are dealt cards but how we play them is totally up to us. Stop blaming love for the messed up things that you have allowed in your life. And stop letting fear keep you from being an active participant in loving someone. We’re all scared of something. Honesty moment, sometimes I am terrified of being hurt, but I have to just keep putting one foot in front of the other when it comes to the journey of love.

    Love is a choice. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Learn about God’s love. His love is deliberate for us, not by happenstance. And that is the same way we are groomed to love. I am intentional with every person I allow in my space that I claim to love. What they do with it, the choices they make in appreciating my love for them, has nothing to do with me. Each moment, each hour, each week, I am choosing to love him. And he is choosing to love me. It’s at the moment when someone stops choosing that trouble arises. And I don’t know about you, but I am a lot happier feeling that someone is making a decision to love me as opposed to being driven to love me solely by something as irrational as their emotions.

    Make sense? 

  • Journey of a NB - God as Source and Sustainer

    God is our source and sustainer. I had never heard it put that way until Pastor Lester Brown said it. We always hear about God being our source. But what about the fact that he also sustains us? Yes he gives to us, whether it’s our careers, cars, homes, or the like, but God also gives us the talents and gifts to keep those things.

    This made me think about making sure to be in line with his word. So often, we make choices or take steps that are really just guided by us and not necessarily God. So then we attain these things and look up a couple months later and wonder what happened when we lose them. Well, often we can look back and say “Did God really want me to make that move?” The answer will often be no or I’m not sure. Looking back on every decision that I felt led in, I was always sure. We don’t serve a God of uncertainty.

    I often pray to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit. This is often my prayer because I know how noisy my own thoughts can get. I used to run full speed ahead with everything and every opportunity until I learned that everything and every opportunity was not necessarily for me. And the frustration will always set in when you look up and see that what you acquired in your own strength is gone.

    It takes being still, which in an ADD society is more difficult now than it has ever been. But the result of being still, listening, consulting God on decisions will always be worth it in the end. He sustains are soul yes and he also helps us to sustain the things he gives us. In Pastor Lester’s example he talked about getting a house. God won’t bless you with a house and not provide you with a way to pay the mortgage. That’s not how he works. So it’s important for us to continue to listen and hear from him, once that thing we’ve been trying to attain is in our crosshairs.

    It has taken me some time to really lean into God and trust Him in all areas of my life. But honestly, I’m there now because of simply being tired of spinning my own wheels. I no longer want to fight with God for the driver’s seat of my life. You may not know God as a provider and sustainer yet, but I can assure you, once you do, you’ll wonder why you’ve wasted so much time in distrust.

     

     

    “Behold, God is mine helper, the Lord is with them that uphold my soul.” Psalm 54:4

    "And my God will meet all your needs according to his riches if his glory in Jesus Christ.” Philippians 4:9

     

  • WRITE - A Gratitude-filled Heart

    Can I just be honest and say that I hate when people say they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving? Like at this point who is really paying homage to the Pilgrims? Thanksgiving is so much more about getting together with the people you love, breaking bread, sharing stories, and whatever other traditions your family has adopted. With that out the way, lol.

    This time of year always becomes about reflection. As the year winds down, and slows down, you can’t help but begin to think about the victories and struggles of the last year. So I guess you can say that this is my, what I am thankful for this year post. Every day we should be giving thanks, but either way, a gratitude filled heart will never have room for bitterness, envy, or distress. So I do my best to focus on the amazing things that God has done in my life. And yes, sometimes I fall short, but I can truly say that if God never gave me another thing, I have all that I need.

    So what am I truly thankful for this year?

    • My Support System. I have the greatest family and friends. It’s somewhat of a tight circle, but it’s POWERFUL. The older I got the more I learned that I didn’t need a lot of friends, I needed impactful ones. My loved ones continue to push me and keep me going in all my endeavors. They’re there for me 100% and sometimes I feel like I’m not even worthy, but I just thank God and keep it moving.  
    • Consistency. In March when I released my book, Dear Love, I was coming out of a season of finishing. The fact that I was able to stick to writing the book and see it all the way through really created a breakthrough in my life. So after that season I moved into a season of consistency. This past year, I have been the most consistent I have ever been in my endeavors, including my blog. I have been pushing myself to be a lot more disciplined and I can see the benefits of it.
    • BBB Series. Wow this was an idea that started in August of 2013. Its purpose has evolved but seeing the photo shoot come together, really marked a milestone for the series. I was finally seeing the vision that I have to promote and encourage all brown women come to life and I’m ecstatic about where it will continue to go. I have also started the planning for our events starting back up in 2015 and I can’t wait to continue to push it into all that it’s supposed to be.
    • Dear Love. This book kind of happened by accident. Let’s be real. LOL. From Instagram notes that I was posting every morning, Dear Love was birthed. I cried when I received my first proof. It felt like I could do it. Like spending years reading other people’s words, that finally mine would have an effect on others. I was working on a completely DIFFERENT book. Haha. But God’s plan is sometimes better than our own.
    • Dear Love Brunch. 6 women attended the first. 22 women attended the second and many were still trying to attend after it sold out. Even with a small crowd the first time, we had an amazing discussion. After the second go-round, I felt so humbled by the opportunity I have to create a community for women to feel safe to talk and share in their lives. I look forward to our next brunch and continuing to come together with women in such a meaningful way.
    • Authentic Life Church. I hear people talk about church and religion all the time in a negative way. I am truly thankful that every Sunday I step foot in my church and say, “wow, this is nothing like what people talk about all the time.” I am truly in a place where I am in God’s presence and growing in knowledge of His word. I couldn’t ask for a better church to be a part of. I am so glad that God has led me here.
    • Confidence. I’ve never been completely lacking in this area but I have definitely struggled at certain times more than others. But as I grow older, I absolutely love the woman that I am becoming. She’s who I always wanted to be. And though I still have a long way to go, I can see her more and more in my reflection and it feels really good.

    I’m sure I could keep going but I don’t want to bore. Lol. Or sound like I’m bragging, because I am certainly not. Lord if you only knew where I’ve come from you would understand my gratefulness. Anything that I have done is because of the goodness of God. I don’t know where I would be without Him.

    What are you thankful for this year?

  • Dear Love - I Deserve to Be a Wife

    “I deserve to be a wife.” It rang in my ears for some reason. In a conversation with a friend on marriage, this was a vulnerable moment. “I don’t get it,” she went on to explain how so many other women that seemingly aren’t as “qualified” have gotten married. She cooks, cleans, supports, and more and somehow it hasn’t quite happened for her yet. This set off a multitude of thoughts in my head of course!

    I guess the first being, “how has being a wife become such a highly coveted position?” I mean here we are the working 21st Century women, with careers, cars, our own money, etc., yet we still hold being a wife as a source of validation. Now don’t get me wrong, I am all about marriage and I believe in the sanctity of it, but sometimes I hate how much it’s sought after. It often confuses me about my own motives to get married. Is it because that’s exactly what I want or because of the outside pressures of society telling me that at 28 I am somehow behind in this area?

    My second thought was “what does make a man finally decide that it’s time?” I mean in today’s society, we give so much before getting married. Most often we live together, share finances, have sex before marriage and more, so there seems to be less motivation to actually do it. There is something to be said about the olden days where a little more mystery was there. Often you got married because there was so much you couldn’t really experience before you did. But in today’s world, what is really the motivator? Why would there be much urgency to make it all official?

    Then there’s the third complexity in the statement. Well even with all the challenges of dating in 2014, some women still are getting married. What have they done differently than my friend? Have they set an expectation in the beginning of “Hey, I am only going to stick around but so long as a girlfriend?” Do they have tricks in the bedroom? (That’s a joke). But really, by no means is this friend perfect, but she does seemingly have a lot of qualities that at least the magazines tell you men are looking for in a wife. Is it possibly not being with the right one? Is she just impatient, even though she’s been in a serious relationship for quite some time?

    I hope that you can see that I have more questions here than answers. It’s honestly something that boggles my mind. And these conversations come up way more often than I’d like to admit in your late 20s. Yes every time you sign on to Facebook a new friend is posting a picture of their shiny engagement ring or that they’re pregnant with their second baby. Meanwhile you’re sitting on the other side of the computer with your degree, career, affinity for good meals and long term boyfriend wondering where exactly you went wrong.

    So what conclusions if any do I have about the whole thing?

    • Sometimes it can seem like the “hoes” for lack of a better term are winning. Way too much reality TV and housewives shows making it seem as if women with no morals or self-control are getting husbands by the second.  
    • There does seem to be a disconnect with this generation based on couples moving like we’re married before actually making it legit.
    • I don’t think that certain things can be forced. As much as I am looking forward to marriage, I constantly remind myself that God’s timing is perfect. I want a marriage, not just a wedding to show off pictures and look up 5 years later and think, “What have I done?”
    • Yes being a wife is an amazing role that I look forward to but I will continue to try not to let it validate me or my relationship.
    • Lastly, I think my friend will make an amazing wife and if the current bf is not wise enough to get it, I know that she will be blessed with a man that will. Patience is something I’ve learned most of us don’t have. But ultimately, it’s best to wait, to be sure and to be led by God when it comes to marriage. He knows our desires, we should make them known to Him and listen for what else to do.

    Have you felt pressure to be married? How do you handle it? Have you ever had to give an ultimatum? What do you think about the whole thing? Lol. I DON’T HAVE THE ANSWERS!

  • WRITE - I Am Not My Mother

    I am not my mother. A phrase that I have heard so many women say in my lifetime. How is it that we proclaim this about the women who have made us into the very women we stand to be? What is the push and pull between mothers and daughters that helps us to value and respect their contributions to our lives but distance ourselves enough to create our own personas riddled with some of the traits and characteristics of these matriarchs?

    I thought about this while watching the new Gina Prince-Bythewood film, Beyond the Lights. The controlling Momager played by Minnie Driver, seemingly wanted the best for her daughter. She wanted to create a way out for them, but in the process crushed the spirit of who her daughter really was. That was on one hand while on the other we see how her work ethic made “Noni’s” character into a star. That seems to be a delicate balance as a mother. I have only seen it from the daughter perspective at this point in my life but I can see how wanting the best for your daughter can sometimes cloud your ability to let her live for herself.

    My mom has never been the smothering type. She ruled with an iron fist when we were younger and as a result of that, allowed us to make our own decisions at a certain point, with trust that we would choose the right thing. There are a lot of other crazy habits of hers that have rubbed off on me though. Ha! So I too have proclaimed that “I’m not my mother.” But in so many ways I am. I have her fighting spirit, her determination, her stubbornness, outspoken and opinionated-ness. I also have her compassion and her ability to listen without judging, and her generosity. But if I am being honest, it’s a constant struggle to hone in on the positive attributes I’ve been given.

    She has even said herself that I am just “better” in certain areas. She knows she can be a handful. But I never want to mistake my exasperation for some of her bad qualities to reflect badly on all the amazing characteristics she has given me as well. I think that once you become an adult, everything just seems to get clearer. There were certain things that my mother did in relationship with my father that I definitely wanted to be different about. But she also taught me insurmountable forgiveness in relationships as well. The push and pull is endless.

    At the end of the day, I guess it just becomes figuring out who you want to be. Somehow you think that this happens a lot earlier on than it really does. You have to just learn to take what you want from your parents and work hard to break the bad habits that you’ve learned from them as well. At the end of it, most parents are doing the best that they can. It’s not until you become an adult that you begin to understand their humanity. They seem like superheroes until then.

    “I am not my mother” doesn’t have to be a negative term. Most parents are trying to put their children in a place where they are doing better than they did anyway. I guess from now on I can say “I am not my mother, but I am happy to be a product of her love.”