Tag Archives: Self-Development

Let It Go [but please don’t sing the song]

MM-LetItGoWPM

“Let’s imagineer a narrative.” ***

Wherever you are, try to grab as many things as possible with one of your hands. When it’s full, try to grab one more thing, were you able to hold it? Or was it overwhelmed with the task?

As a child, my mother would lovingly inquire why I held on to her so tightly. When she’d lay me down for a nap I would cling on to her neck for dear life, deathly afraid that she would let me go forever. I would grasp my dad’s hand so tightly he wondered if I was afraid or angry. Most teen sisters would be annoyed by the near constant presence of their loud baby sister. I became their proverbial cling wrap. I was so afraid of loosening my grip on people and of losing control.

Control that is...and Tom.
Control that is…and Tom.

As an adult, that constant need for emotional intimacy has translated into a string of bad relationships, both platonic and romantic, and all miasmic. If my life were a scrapbook, there’d be whole pages with trash adorned with stickers and glitter. As an Army brat, I’ve always had a difficult time letting go. I need people, things, and information to fill the void inside me. I’m not a bad judge of character, I’m just so extremely afraid of feeling the cold, stale air of that void on my skin, that I surround myself with irrelevant relationships, things, and distractions. That impulsive reasoning has come at a cost.

But times they are a changing. This time last year I couldn’t imagine my life without my soon to be boyfriend and one of my closest friends. As 2015 creeps nearer, those positions have been left vacant. At first, I did what I always do, grip tighter, hold on harder, and pray to God that I wouldn’t lose anyone. When that failed I tried to haphazardly find things and people to fill their place. I went on date after date, made out with guy after guy, and tried to forcibly convince myself that that was enough. It wasn’t.

Then the uncomfortable truths came up. That cold, stale air surrounded me and I realized that every detrimental thing I held onto had cost me something beneficial. Why? Seeds can’t take root in poor soil. Flowers can’t bloom in a garden overrun with weeds. Let go of the bad so you can embrace the good. My self-esteem, self-worth, goals, drive, all got put on the chopping block because baby girl was dickstruck, heartbroken, and afraid to be alone.

You heard me Latrice.
You heard me Latrice.

But now that more time has passed, I realize that my fear of being alone kept me from learning how to be comfortable with myself.  The internal problems I was and am struggling with cannot be resolved with external solutions. It isn’t the fact that I had a defunct relationship but the fact that I attracted, sought out, and pursued one. I needed it because it made me feel whole. But the only person responsible for my fulfillment is me. I can’t expect people to love me the way I need to be loved if I don’t set the precedent by demonstrating that to myself first.

I’ve spent my whole life searching for the missing piece in trivial, superficial things. I’ve invested in shitty relationships, my closet, my whims, but rarely have I invested in myself. By refusing steadfastly to let go of bullshit I’ve gathered, my collection has evolved into full on fuckshit. Anxiety, insecurity, perfectionism, dwindling self-esteem, fragile self-image, and a knack for lowering my standards for anyone who pays me the slightest attention. That shit ain’t cute. 

Clearly I love Latrice
Clearly Latrice is bae.

So how does one let go? It was much easier than I thought. You just:

1) Recognize your grasp

2) Identify the contents

3) Sort it out

4) Let it go

I’ve followed this for the past month and have cleared out a lot of bull. I went through my phone and deleted guys I knew there was no future with, the friends who I always contact and never seem able to contact me, and the people I haven’t seen or heard from in years. I cleaned out my email, my social media, my car, computer, and I’m about to start my closet. All the while I felt my mojo return, my confidence shoot through the roof, and my focus re-align on my goals and vision. It wasn’t easy but it was definitely worth it. The simplest solutions are often the most difficult decisions you can make, but you have to let go of the things that are holding you back if you’re ever going to moved forward in your life.

What are you holding onto? What are you ready to let go of?

 

 

***Watch The Thick of It. Malcolm Tucker’s reads are Drag U worthy. 

23 Things 23 Taught Me

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In celebrating my 24th year on this Earth I decided to look at the crapfest that was 23 and unearth all the hidden gems the tears, depression, shitty decisions, and handy push-up bras had to offer. 23 was fraught with life lessons, here are just a few I learned the hard(est) way.

1) You have a free will. You are not a slave to circumstance. You are not obligated to fate. You can always make a different choice.

2) Living in your past is a great way to avoid investing in your future.

3) Don’t chase someone else’s shooting star, don’t act in someone else’s play, don’t write yourself in someone else’s story. What’s for your neighbor might not be for you.

4) Silence is filled with the truth. Embrace it.

5) You will do anything necessary to survive. Treasure that. Your will to live is nothing you should be ashamed of.

6) You owe nothing to no one and are owed nothing as well.

7) Whatever’s on your mind, say it now, do it now. There’s nothing worse than realizing your clock’s run out with a full to-do list.

8) You choose the people in your life. Choose wisely.

9) An issue does not go away because you ignore it. Your avoidance is its permission to grow. Face it head on.

10) Fear is a prison that you send yourself to with the key in hand. Commute the sentence and live your life the way you want.

11) Perfection is poison to creativity.

12) Those dreams you had as a child are still attainable. If the people around you don’t see or support that, then make some cast changes.

13) Sometimes quitting doesn’t mean the goal wasn’t worth it, it means you didn’t think you were worthy of the goal.

14) Don’t compare your living body to someone’s still photo. Comparison will always leave you unsatisfied because it is rife with assumptions but rarely the truth.

15) Love freely but give your heart discriminately. The requestor must earn YOU, not the other way around.

16) You define who you are. No one else has the right nor should you grant anyone the privilege.

17) God already gave your heart a soulmate — it’s your mind.

18) Pretty things will not comfort you in times of distress.

19) Vulnerability is power. Don’t be afraid of it.

20) What you exude, you attract. Check your signal.

21) Resigning yourself to failure requires your compliance. Success requires your faith.

22) Love is proven, not reiterated.

23) All the time spent hating yourself could have been used to change the world.

Head Under Water

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“Come out here Jordan!”

My knuckles were white from gripping the ledge of the pool. My feet weren’t touching the bottom.

“Just let go and swim to me.”

There was no way in hell. My legs tried to latch onto the wall. I held on for dear life but I couldn’t get a good grip. I was slipping.

“Here, take my hand.”

Still clawing to the wall, afraid of the black hole I was sure would swallow me up if I let go, I turned my head to see my friend reaching towards me. I started to weigh my options. My arms were sore. I had scraped my chin. My legs were cramping. I couldn’t cling to the wall forever. In a single move, I lunged towards him. But before I could get to his hand, my legs started to sink, my arms flailed, and I was gasping for air as my head bobbed underneath the water.

I was drowning.


I thought I wanted this. My friends were able to do it seemingly unscathed. But here I was lying in bed with a man that I did not care about and I didn’t care to know.

Long hair, short hair, green eyes, brown eyes, strong chest, broken smile, it was becoming a blur of features. Nothing was learned. The only thing gained were a few moments of control. The whispers were sweet, the mood saccharine, but the reality was fractured. I could see it and I wondered why they refused to.

I didn’t know what I had expected. Some kind of awakening? Some kind of revelation? I did not feel a loss of innocence like I was told countless times in Sunday School. I did not feel any less valuable but with each horizontal exploration I felt a vertical descent into something else and further away from myself.  I was being reckless, but it wasn’t with my body.

“I think I love you.”

My back was to him when he told me. I tried to pretend that I was still asleep. But I had heard. He sat in the silence. I broke because of it. I wasn’t some femme fatale seductress. This wasn’t a game with pieces to move across the board. This wasn’t Sex in the City. This was real life. I was so willing to do anything to regain some sense of control in my life that I’d become emotionally reckless. I felt sick.


The water was starting to fill my lungs. I couldn’t make it up to the surface as much. I was growing tired. The fury and panic were beginning to subside.

Where was Joshua? Where was the lifeguard? Why wasn’t someone coming to save me?

I felt myself going under and I knew it was for the last time. No one was coming to get me. There was no use in fighting. My eyes were closed as I felt myself drift further down. It seemed like an eternity passed before I felt my feet hit the bottom. My head was pounding and my lungs burned as they tried to hold on to the last bits of oxygen they had left.

“Kick.”

I swore I heard someone speak directly to me.

“Kick, damnit.”


The truth is your greatest ally in obtaining happiness. It stings because the truth is often inflammatory. The longer we stray, the worse it burns. I’ve been running from mine for ages. I learned at an early age to lie to people in order to make them comfortable.

When I was being molested in the 5th grade and my mother would ask how my day was?

“Great.”

When I started having panic attacks and my sorority sisters wanted to check up on me?

“No problems here, everything’s great.”

When I would daily contemplate my suicide mere minutes after hanging out with my friends?

“Just dandy.”

I don’t communicate the bad. None of us do. We post our filtered photos and inspiring tweets. We blog about our great travels and moments but when it really counts, we retreat from our vulnerabilities in order to appear stronger than we are. But hiding from the root of who we really are and what we really feel is what’s cowardly. If the past few months of death, mass protest, outrage, and violence has taught us anything it’s that we all have our demons. We all have secret parts of ourselves that we hide from people but in the long run it doesn’t do us any good.  Our warts and scars concealed with a flick of our wrists and a layer of foundation only mask the reality of the situation. The pain of a secret isn’t vanquished by the shadow of its concealment but my the illumination of its unveiling.

In the past three months my PTSD has gotten a hold of me. Insomnia, anxiety, mood swings, and impulsive decisions have led me on a downward spiral. I retreated from the people I loved the most, the things I loved to do, but most importantly and regrettably, I retreated from myself.

It’s easy to look at the timeline and think this was all a hysterical reaction to a breakup but this has been brewing inside me for some time. I was running out of options for how to distract myself. Years ago, I found it in the rigidity of litigious religion, then food, then in school, then in alcohol, and I’ve recently returned to men. But with each distraction, the realization that “it” was still there rushes in like the water in my lungs. I’ve been drowning for a while, expecting these external treatments to lift me up and out. But how can anyone help you if they don’t even know you’re in the pool?  At some point you have to  to fight yourself for yourself and that’s ok.

Don’t let your fears misconstrue your strengths as weaknesses. There is no shame in feeling lonely or broken. There’s no shame in feeling afraid or left behind. There’s no shame in feeling like a ship without an anchor. These things are what define us and propel us to our greatest joys. These pains are how we learn to find our way back to each other and inevitably ourselves.

Instead of masking it, instead of running away from it, run towards it, crash into it, proclaim your arrival and wrestle it to the ground, defeat it, or just

…kick.

 

Growing Pains

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Sometimes tough decisions have to be made.

The fluorescent glow of my phone clicked off plunging my room into darkness. I tapped it again and carefully went over every line and every curve of the letters I read. I was waiting for the realization to hit me but the truth had been there all along. This wasn’t working. It was time for it to come to an end. I closed my eyes and tried to clear my mind. I entertained the thoughts that immediately told me to return to what I knew, I danced with the ones who said you’re making a mistake, and I even sat and talked to the ones who screamed emphatically that I was nothing and alone. I wooed them into silence and fell asleep.


We often sacrifice our vision for convenience. It’s not hard to see people as they are and file the red flags and yellow cards as “not that important” for the sake of not being alone. I see people do it everyday. We’ve all done it before, I had just done it for too long. It’s easy for me to get wrapped up in people, to invest time, expend energy, and devote loyalty when none has been reciprocated. In fact, often times I’m more willing to give to those who’ve taken than to nurture those that have given. It’s an unhealthy habit I’m trying to break and I suspect I’m not the only one who’s fallen prey to it. But slowly, I began to realize that what I was doing wasn’t working for me. I needed more from people who were incapable of giving it. The fault didn’t lie with them for their limits but with me for not making that a clear condition to begin with. It hurt to realize that I had only hurt myself in the end. It hurt even more when this inch of scrutiny caused me to re-evaluate other relationships and discover a disturbing pattern:

I don’t respect myself.

When you have such little self-worth you begin to place more value on your actions than your existence, you’ve got a problem. In my mind, I was more valuable to others if I was giving them something. I could understand why someone would want to be around me if I was useful. Because I saw so little in myself, I didn’t understand that I was enough. I didn’t understand there was value in who I was not just what I could do. But slowly I started to understand that I was more than enough. I wasn’t forced into bad relationships or toxic friendships, I chose them because that’s all I thought that I deserved, that’s all I thought that I could get.

But something happens when you realize that you can stop accepting crumbs from underneath the table and actually sit at it. I had to get up from underneath. There wasn’t enough space for me to stretch out. There wasn’t enough light. I needed a change.


 

The sunlight peaked through the curtains and dimly illuminated the room. My left eye fluttered open briefly, then the right. I didn’t want to get out of bed. I could feel the tightness around my eyes from crying myself to sleep. I felt the deep sunken feeling of depression pull me further down into the mattress. What’s the point? I felt very alone. Perhaps more alone than I’d ever felt. I hadn’t had to end a friendship before. I immediately regretted my decision. I tried to conjure up images and times of happier days without realizing the happier me was ironically laying in bed, not skipping down memory lane.

I watched the fan revolve as it and I collected dust. I finally decided to get up and get out of my mopey mood. Knowing the wonders Vitamin D can do for the nerves I walked over to open the curtains. The oak trees stood tall and proudly. I smiled. Bluejays flew about and chirped melodically to each other. It was a beautiful sight.  I began to pull myself out of my Cinderella moment when my hand passed over something wet. My desk was right in front of the window and was cluttered with books and plastic containers I’d forgotten about. I had purchased a little greenhouse kit and some seeds the week beforehand to try my purple hands at gardening.

The condensation had accumulated on the top. But I could also see little flecks of green. I lifted the top of the container and saw stout, spindly sprouts. The green leaves had peat on it that I flicked away from the Morning Glories and Hollyhocks. But they were more stubborn on the Sunflower leaves. I went to pinch the dirt off but there was no squish in between my fingers. This felt hard. I looked at it more closely and realized it was the seed.

The seed burst open so that the sprouts could take root.

I sat with that for a while. In life, a change can feel like you’re exploding from the inside but what comes from that is more beautiful than the dirt you were living in before. Sometimes we have to allow ourselves to go through that kind of pain in order to grow into something different. Ending relationships, enduring misunderstandings, evaluating yourself and the role you’ve played in your own misery, is painful. But that pain is a necessary part of experiencing healing and attaining growth.

A friend told me, “Just because a decision is painful doesn’t mean that you’ve made the wrong decision.” He was right.