Saturday, May 18, 2013

Daddy Issues or Just...Issues?

"Daddy issues" is frequently and conveniently thrown around like a diagnosis in reference to a black woman who appears to have any issues where her relationships with men are concerned. Any time a black woman behaves in ways that are deemed unacceptable by society, or is in a relationship with a man who is viewed as a player or otherwise bad choice, you can count on somebody to blame her father or lack thereof. Often times the woman even labels herself this way. It's viewed like cancer...people throw the diagnosis around and they know there's no they write the woman off and/or she just accepts less than desirable relationships as a fact of life.

I'm not going to pretend that I have even half of the answers, and this is really just me thinking out loud. It makes sense that if a young lady grew up without a stable and consistent father figure in her life, she could grow up to be confused about how to relate to men in a positive way. She could lack confidence and have low self-esteem, and a woman who lacks these is often prone to all kinds of self-destructive behavior. But do people over estimate the impact of a girl's father-daughter relationship on the kind of woman she'll grow up to be?

If you've read my blog in the past, you are familiar with my story. My father never really acknowledged my existence, and I saw him in 2008 or so for the first time since I was about 8 years old, and haven't seen him since. I can pinpoint some ways that I *think* this has affected me. Having a father who never really cared for you can make you feel insecure about relationships with men. If a man that you share dna with couldn't even commit to having some kind of relationship with you, it can make you a little insecure in your relationships as an adult, and make it hard to trust. I also realized that it took a really long time for my confidence and self-esteem to develop, and I'm still a work in progress.

Although my biological father wasn't a part of my life, my mom did get married (*ahem* a couple of times) and my home life was always stable. It wasn't perfect but whose life is? I still ended up with a great father figure who believed in me, and looked out for me. And he still does.

Here's the rub: I know many women who grew up with their fathers in the home and to date appear to have healthy relationships with them. Yet many of them also have issues with self-esteem. Some of them have made HORRIBLE choices in men and even married men who seem to be the opposite of the good fathers they had. Nobody is perfect so of course there are no perfect fathers out there; I don't presume to know the intricacies of people's familial relationships. But I have been truly shocked at some of the things that these women have done because I assumed that if they had good dads then they wouldn't have "issues," too.

I was hesitant to meet my dad back in 08 because I was 26, good and grown, so it seemed kind of pointless. Years later I'm glad I did because having a conversation with him showed me that he wasn't some heartless bastard, but a flawed ass human being. He fucked up and he chose to pretend the problem didn't exist rather than find a way to deal with it, which he regrets. That's just what it is. Once you take off the rose colored lenses and realize that your parents are just people like you, who were young and clueless when you came along, it puts things in perspective. It did for me. Mind you, I haven't spoken to him since but I don't feel any contempt for him, either.

At this point I don't believe that my "issues" are any worse than anyone else's. So many women cling to "daddy issues" well into their 20's and 30's and I think that if more of them would view their parents as "people" who are very capable of fucking up, they'd let it go better.

Monday, May 13, 2013

12 Birthday Observations

Just when I was getting used to being 30, here comes 31, ha.

1.       Always find the lesson. Always ask yourself what you can learn from any situation.

2.       Keep a positive attitude even if you have to “fake it.”

3.       Never feed into pettiness and negativity.

4.       You’ll never stop making mistakes so don’t beat yourself up when you do.

5.       Sometimes we can be too hard on ourselves. We can have 17 things going well but will focus on the one or two things that aren’t going according to plan.

6.       You’re never too old to change…but maybe you don’t need to change.

7.       Sometimes that person being negative, tearing you down, and making your life miserable…is you.

8.       Worrying doesn’t solve problems or change your reality, so don’t do it.

9.       “There you go giving a fuck when it ain’t your turn to give a fuck” – I tell myself this damn near daily. When I find myself getting riled over something I ask myself…why???

10.   I made good decisions in my teens/early 20’s and they’re paying off now. I struggled with some things and they seem to have fallen into place effortlessly.

11.   If something detracts from me in any way I get rid of it. That goes for people, places, and things.

12.   I’m right where I’m supposed to be.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Check Yourself Before Your Wreck Yourself

You ever meet someone, talk to or go out with them a couple of times, have it fizzle out for whatever reason then run into that person years later to find that they are exactly the same? Oh, just me?

I recently ran into someone I went out with a couple of times about 7 yrs ago and I could NOT remember why nothing ever came of it and he said he couldn't either. Then he proceeded to tell me that he's not much of a talker and that he's single b/c women don't want a good man. Note that I did not ask him how much he talks or why he's single. And for him to be such the silent type, I could rarely get a word in edgewise whenever we spoke. This man could talk you to death about everything under the sun! You ask one simple question and he would give you 3 answers to 4 questions you did not even ask, lol. When I asked how long he worked at X, he ended up telling me why he got fired from his last job plus two others...and never answered my original question. Of course NONE of those firings were his fault. Obviously that tuna was thrown back to sea, but unintentional comedy is sometimes the best kind.

It's interesting to see how people perceive themselves vs reality. So many people are out here declaring themselves to be "good" and "nice" men/women but their behavior is the total opposite of who they think they are. Or who they want people to think they are. I think people have the right to define themselves, of course, but delusion is all the rage these days. It's getting to the point where I question if everyone's brain is capable of introspection? Seriously? I mean, if you got fired from 3 jobs wouldn't it occur to you to at least consider your behavior and/or work ethic? Or if you keep running into "users," might you want to reconsider telling people how much money you make AND spend within 5 minutes of meeting them? If you keep running out of money before payday, perhaps it's time to reevaluate some things? This stuff truly doesn't occur to a lot of people who otherwise seem intelligent and reasonable ...and when someone else brings it up they get super defensive. Just know that if I have multiple people telling me the same thing, I'm going to pause because maybe, juuust maybe, that's something I can work on.

Anyhoo, it didn't take long for me to remember why things fizzled out. He was bitter as hell and never seemed to take responsibility for himself and the things going on in his life at the time. Some things never change.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Hmmm Where Do I Begin...

Lately I’ve been feeling like I need an outlet. I have a lot of things I want to say but don’t necessarily want to tweet or post on other social media outlets. When you have a personal blog vs a “topic” based one, you really have to be feeling it to keep at it on a regular basis. At some point I just stopped feeling it and I don’t like to force things, be they friendships, relationships, blogs, or anything else. I know most bloggers go through that phase from time to time. Not only was I not feeling it, but I began to feel much more self conscious about my writing. I’m not a “writer” – I just write what I feel, and for some reason that stopped being good enough, for me. So, I guess I’ll jump right back in Gangnam random style…

On July 1 I will hit the one year mark at my current job. It has been up and down for me since I started, if I’m going to be honest. I went from one University to another, working in the same field but in a more senior position in a brand new department. It’s challenging enough to work in a new position at a new organization but on top of that I started in a department that launched on my first day at the job. There was no infrastructure and the most basic things we take for granted at work had to be established. I knew that it would be a challenge going in. I had received two job offers at this organization and this position was more senior and had more room for growth…but I was afraid of the unknown and being out there on my own, as I knew I would be. We didn’t even have a copy machine, fax, or scanner. When I came on board, things were so disorganized and my manager was not a good resource AT ALL. To top it off, our Administrative Assistant quit after 3 months on the job and things were just a mess. I contemplated jumping ship MANY times within that timeframe too.

Finally after 10 months in, things are starting to come together for me. I’m starting to feel more comfortable in my position and we are becoming more stable as a department. It’s still no walk in the park but I’ve learned SO much that will only position me to do great things when I move on from here.

Otherwise things are going well for me. The past year and a half have been very interesting but it seems that things are falling into place as they should. I used to say that after a certain age there’s no changing who you are. But the past year has made me bite my tongue on that one. At the core I’m still the same ole G Kiesh, but I’ve grown so much personally and I’m thankful for all of the struggles because they’ve truly made me better.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

On Friday I wake up to my phone ringing at 6:30am and it's my mom. My heart is racing because I just KNOW somebody done died if she's calling ME that early. I pick up and she tells me that my uncle had some kind of accident at work that left him with severe nitrogen oxide burns; he had to be resuscitated, and now he's on life support w/o any brain activity and they don't know if he's gonna make it. She sounds very upset - this is her baby brother after all - which in turn makes me very upset. My other uncle passed away suddenly just one year ago from stomach cancer that nobody knew he had, so this is especially tough.

I'm going to admit that I'm not much of a religious person but I start to pray that he just makes it through this. He's only 44 years old and means a lot to all of us. He's that uncle that you can call if you're in any kind of need and he'll do what ever it takes to be there. He's knocked out a few guys who made the mistake of thinking it was okay to put their hands on any of the women in our family.

Throughout the morning I stay on the phone with my mom and aunt to stay updated on his status. All morning they were saying that he was breathing but not responsive with little to no brain activity. They end up transferring him to the burn unit at another hospital better suited for his medical needs. By the time I arrive and finally get to see him he IS responsive but still out if it because of the morphine. It's so HARD to see him this way with tubes and IVs all over the place. It doesn't take long for him to start acting like himself: STUBBORN as hell. He's trying to get out of the bed and clearly does not want to be in the hospital. One of his *ahem* lady friends calms him down and I feel a lot better because it seems that he's going to make it.

Today my mom, sister, and brother went to visit him again and he's doing much, much better. Most of the tubes are gone and he's fussing about the food, nurse treatment, and wanting to get the F outta that hospital, lol. Yup, he's back! He has a long road to recovery but that is quite all right. We're just glad he's here.

Christmas was pretty awesome. I spent Christmas day whooping my mom, her hubby, and his friend in Monopoly. My mom cooked an awesome dinner and I loved all my gifts.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Mixed Bag

I have so many blog posts in my head but haven't had the time and/or energy to actually write them.

I finished Get Your Money Straight and made myself a little action plan. One big goal I have is to buy a house in spring/summer 2013. In order to do it the way I want to do it I need to increase my income, reduce expenses, pay down debt, and save up a down payment. I just finished my Master's and have been submitting my resume for jobs that will help me achieve the first goal, so I'm not too worried about that one. As for reducing expenses, I've stopped driving to work and am now taking Septa, which will be big savings because since I work @ a University I had to pay for parking - not to mention gas and wear and tear on my car. A phone call to Comcast got $30 knocked off of my bill without changing any services, and I have reigned in my discretionary spending. I'm only allowed to spend X per week and I've been sticking to it. These changes weren't very significant or painful yet they will make a difference.

In other news I'm so over this weight loss thing. This may just be frustration talking, but for now I am through with calorie counting and stressing about this sh*t. The only thing I am focused on at this point is making exercise a routine part of my day much in the way that I HAVE to go to work - I have to get some exercise. Instead of heading straight to the gym after work like I'd been doing 3-4x a week, I've switched to morning workouts. So this week and last week I woke up an hour early to go do 40-45 minutes of cardio at the fitness center @ my apartment complex a couple blocks away. After that I just come home shower, and head to work. This has been working out wonderfully because I can just go about my day without trying to motivate myself to work out after work. Plus I was getting home from the gym around 8pm a lot and that just pretty much kills my evening. So I did the morning workout thing 3x/week but starting next week my goal is to do this Monday-Friday. As far as diet, I will continue to eat healthy 90% of the time but no more counting or stressing about it, and no more scale. I wanted to get to a certain weight but it seems that for ME it requires way more effort and stress than I'm willing to give, so I'm fine where I am.

I will get those other blog posts up this weekend if it kills me!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Revisiting: Girl, Get Your Money Straight!

I bought and read Girl, Get Your Money Straight: A Sister's Guide to Healing Your Bank Account and Funding Your Dreams in 7 Simple Steps in 2006, I believe. Over the weekend I decided to pick it back up because I have some financial goals in mind and figured that this would be a good resource. About halfway through the book I'm realizing that I didn't use the book the way I should have in 06 and I almost feel like this is my first time reading it.

It takes the author, Glinda Bridgforth, quite a while to get to the actual "7 steps," but partially for good reason. In part one of the book there's an exercise where she asks you to list family members by name and then describe that person's beliefs and behaviors regarding money and think about how they've influenced you. Sometimes I think that exercises found in books are a little cheesy but I did it anyway and I learned some things. I don't have my notebook with me but I distinctly remember my mom having that hole-in-the-pocket syndrome. You know that saying about money will burn a hole in your pocket if you don't spend it? Yeah, I totally inherited that. Whatever money is left in my checking account after the bills get paid gets spent. Every dime. Is it a coincidence that I have JUST enough money left over to supply my needs until I get my next paycheck? I think not.

In the next section she begins to break down the first of the "7 steps" which is about defining goals that speak to your heart and taking action to bring them to fruition. She takes it a step further and asks if you have your goals written down so that they're visible DAILY along with action steps to reach those goals. At the end of the day you have to ask yourself, what did I do today that will bring me closer to reaching my goals? I'm starting to think about that in everything that I do. If I say that I want to lose 25 lbs but at lunch time I'm choosing to eat a 1000 calorie burrito - how does that help me reach my goal? If I want to save $X by the 6/30/12 what actions am I willing to take to make that happen on a daily basis? Spending excess money on things that I don't need surely won't get me there.

So far I have written down my goals and a number of action items underneath each that will help me achieve them. Of course this is nothing new. The concept of writing down your goals and setting benchmarks for yourself isn't groundbreaking but this is a great read. That's all for now but I'll have more to say about it as I continue reading.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Losing Weight is Hard

Duh right? But it really, really is. It requires dedication and consistency over a long period of time (if done healthily) in order to succeed. I've been stalled for weeks now as I seem to keep going up and down with the same 3-5 lbs.

Last week was a big fat fail in the fitness department. I only worked out once and I ate like a pig on Thanksgiving (hope you all had a wonderful T-Day - I sure did) and really through the rest of the weekend. Last week Mackenzie (my physical therapist) had me do a 10 minute jogging/walking drill on the treadmill to get my knees used to running again. Me being me, I got froggy and decided that since that felt great I could do even more for my next work out. So on Wednesday I did a 30 minute jog/walk interval alternating .25 miles walking and .25 jogging. It felt great at the time but my knees - especially the problematic right one - have been pretty sore ever since. I have PT today and will talk to her about it but clearly I shouldn't have run like that just yet. While I can't control my injury I can control what I put into my mouth and I will do better.

I saw this forum post on My Fitness Pal that I printed out and placed on my fridge a few months ago (edited for my purposes of course) and it was just what I needed to read this morning:

There is a little secret to my success.
What I do is keep going.
I keep going when I know I could have done better.
I keep going when life pushes me to have comfort food.
I keep going after I have eaten out.
I keep going when my muscles are so sore I don't even want to get out of bed.
I keep going when I have a confrontation with a family member or I hear really depressing news.
I just keep going.
That's what works.
I would tell the world but they would not believe me, demanding me to tell them what I REALLY did to lose weight. So, I am telling friends the secret I've been using: I just keep going.
If you follow the plan you will reach your destination. We all want to get there in a Porshe, SO FAST, but all we have is a bike or our legs to get us there. I have also had days where I've GAINED 1.2 pounds in one week but did I give up? NO! When I have a bad week I tell myself a good week is eventually coming my way. 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Fitness Update

I'd been pretty stalled for 2.5 weeks or so in the weight loss dept. Between that week of vacation and then a week of being sick, I regained about 5 lbs.

This week I got back into my routine of healthy eating (kinda), counting calories, and exercising 4x a week which resulted in a 3 lb loss. My metabolism must be picking up from the exercise because I actually didn't eat *that* great this week. I went to this Indian buffet for lunch w/ the coworkers (but I didn't go back for seconds) and I ate falafel pitas twice this week. I estimate those pitas to be about 700 cals each and the buffet to be 1000 when my daily budget for weight loss is only 1500! So for three days I ate 1800-2300 calories yet still saw a loss on the scale. I did however step it up in the gym. Instead of doing 30-40 mins of cardio like before, I'm doing 45-60. Plus I'm still doing strength training on my own and with my physical therapist Mackenzie for my knee pain (Patella Femoral Pain Syndrome).

Starting Sunday I'm going to step it up in the food dept. I've made myself a meal plan and shopping list for the week and will be preparing my meals for the week as well. I've found that I've eaten poorly on days when I just wasn't prepared; I went too many hours w/o eating and didn't keep healthy snacks on hand to hold me over while out and about which led to poor food choices.

The Broad Street Run is coming in May which is a 10 mile marathon and I REALLY want to do it. If I make good progress with my knee rehab Mackenzie thinks I can totally do it. I really hope so! Two of my friends are on board and we plan to start training in January. I haven't run in a while but the most I've ever run nonstop is about four miles so this is a challenge I'm totally looking forward to.

At any rate, 11 lbs down and 26 to go. I initially gave myself until May but it's time to step it up - new goal is March 1. I am giving up drinking until I hit my goal so yesterday was my last happy hour for a minute. I may have the occasional glass of wine but that's it.


Everything happens for a reason. I've never really liked that phrase because it's usually said after something really bad happens. It implies that whatever horrible thing happened was supposed to and I can't really reconcile that. But I do believe that situations in life generally work out the way they're supposed to thus there's no sense in dwelling on things.

I decided that when I strarted blogging again it would be unfiltered like back in the day when I had the kieshaonline blog, ha. So I may write some things here that I would normally save for my journal. Speaking of which, I've been journaling since I was 17 and I'm almost 30 now. Through it all I would say that I've learned more about myself in the past two years or so than I ever have. That's what old age brings I suppose!

I'm not sure where I'm going with this but I'll just keep writing.

I've decided that I'm going to be happy no matter what.

I have often been too quick to accept blame or responsibility for things that were not my fault. For a long time I thought my not so wonderful relationship w/ my mom was my fault. I'm talking up until very recently. Now I see how she treats my siblings and how she's gotten brand new since the last re-marriage that it ain't me. And since coming to that realization I'm ok with the way things are b/c I can't control anybody's actions but mine.

I internalize a lot of shit that has nothing to do with me or my value as a person. Or maybe I should say used to.

I'm realizing that everyone goes through the same things that I do. Most people would probably say "duh" after reading that. But I've taken disappointments in life much harder than I should've. No mas.

On Oprah's Life Class the other day she said that forgiveness means letting go of the belief that the past could've been any different. Blew my mind. For me this resonated in terms of regrets and not just forgiveness. I haven't lived long enough to have any real regrets but I've dwelled on a lot of things in the past that were just out of my control. I was living with these If/Then statements. If _______ had worked out the way I wanted then I'd be happy. Illogical at best.

I'm getting to be more comfortable in my own skin in a way that I never have before. I'm happy with the decisions I've made and how my life has turned out and I wouldn't go back to change a thing.