I’m excited to announce my book of poetry “Conversations of the heart” is now available! I’M SO EXCITED!!!
Order your copy at http://lulu.com/spotlight/jenniferrobinson08
Paperback and ebook are available
Thank you so much for your support!
One of my life’s mantra’s is Habakkuk 2: 2: Write the vision and make it plain. It’s no secret that writing is what I love to do. For years I’ve written in journals, poetry, papers, and this blog. Most recently, I’ve started writing short stories and I’ve have a lot of story ideas. I’ve published a book of poetry “But…there’s love” a few years ago and my second one is pretty much finished. If I couldn’t write I wouldn’t know what to do with myself.
For the most part, writing for me is a hobby. It’s a catharsis. It’s often how I sort out my thoughts. It’s how I’ve connected to people (hey Randae, Keshauna and Le’Andra!). It’s the way I make sense of the world. Could I do more with my writing? Absolutely. I’ve been told that for years by a lot of people…friends, family, even my pastor. So why haven’t I? That is the better question.
It’s not a confidence thing; I know I’m good at what I do. I’m not worried about people disliking anything I write because I’m not for everyone and that’s ok. I actually don’t have a reason why other than I just haven’t. But today a spark was lit under me by my sister. She pretty much asked me why am I not doing more. The short answer is…I am not making time. Between work, school and my kids, my free time is few and far between.
But what good is having this passion for writing, this gift if I’m not going to perfect it, work on it or share it? I have to make time for this blog, my poetry and the books (come through plural!!). I have to take this more serious. I can’t let other people push me more than I push myself. I may have to give up some things, sacrifice some things and struggle through some things if this is my dream.
Not that I had to share this with the world but by putting it in writing, I am holding myself accountable. At work we say “if it isn’t documented, it didn’t happen”. So this is my documentation: I am dedicating more time to my craft. I am going to push myself. I am going to share my words with the world.
If there is one thing parenting has taught me, it’s to be my kids number one fan. It is my job to cheer for them, support them, show up for them, yell at the ref for bad call, be proud when Tra makes a good tackle, be excited when Tyler scores a goal, be enthusiastic when Jade shows me the 1,000th picture she made in art. Aside from their necessities, as a parent, I have to make deposits into their mental and emotional accounts.
Yesterday I attended Tyler’s honors day program where he received honor roll for the 4th 9 weeks. There were so many kids that made the honor roll I couldn’t fit them all in the picture. Sure I wanted Tyler to make the principal’s honor roll or have honor roll for the entire year. But please believe I am so proud of this kid for what he did receive yesterday.
When Tyler was in the 1st grade, he was diagnosed with ADHD, although he has more ADD traits than ADHD. In the first grade, he struggled bad. Simple work was a chore, homework was a struggle, classwork was taxing. At the time, I really didn’t know what it was but I know my son was having a really hard time. I worked with him, his teacher worked with him, I prayed, we talked…everything I could do. It wasn’t an issue of comprehension, he was just having a really tough time doing his work and we couldn’t figure out why.
His teacher was the first to suggest it was ADHD. He wasn’t really having behavior issues, but his attention span was pretty much non-existent. So for a few weeks, we observed him and sure enough, he seemed to mentally wonder off. I finally bit the bullet and took him to the doctor. They gave me a questionnaire and had me give one to his teacher. I was shocked by the number of items on the list described my child. He was diagnosed and prescribed medication to help him in school. That was a hard decision to make because I really didn’t want him on medicine but at this point, what choice did I have?
I know a lot of people feel that ADHD isn’t a real condition and it’s often used to subdue “bad” children. This wasn’t the case for Tyler. He wasn’t getting into trouble at school but his grades were horrible. I’m talking C’s, D’s and some F’s. I was prepared to hold him back in the first grade because I was afraid he was going to fall behind in the 2nd grade. When he started taking the medicine, his teacher noticed a huge improvement in his grades. Tyler went from failing to A’s and B’s. He’s been taking ADHD medication since first grade and is now preparing to go to the 8th and continues to be an honor roll student.
I said all of that to say this: when you see parents celebrating their kids accomplishments, it’s not always for bragging purposes. Some parents are celebrating their kids accomplishments despite obstacles. ADHD isn’t as serious as some other diagnosis and can be easily managed through medication. But it is still a struggle. I had to learn that some of his faults are beyond his control and I had to be more lenient with him in some areas. I have to push him a little harder. He has to work a little harder. His teachers have to be observant and let me know when his grades may be slipping. I have to constantly remind him that he has ADHD but it’s not something we are going to let control him. He will not be defined by it. Tyler is a great student and will continue to be…he just needs a little help to keep him on track.
So parents, continue to celebrate those accomplishments, big or small because if you aren’t your kids biggest fan, who will be?
While on Facebook yesterday, a blogger that I follow posted this picture of Lil’ Kim. I had to look at the picture twice because I did not recognize her. At all. This was not the Lil’ Kim I remember from the “Crush” video. I thought this was some photo shop foolishness so I went to her Instagram account and surely, this was Lil Kim.
More than just shocked, I was kind of…well really just shocked. What happened to her? I jumped on Google to find old pictures of her and again…I was just shocked. Well this morning, a friend of mine shared this picture on Facebook with a supposed quote from the rapper
Now I cannot say with certainty that this is a true quote but if it is…this has connected the dots for me. And while I have not done anything this extreme, I know what it’s like to think less of yourself.
For most of my life, I’ve struggled with my self-esteem. I cannot pinpoint one exact thing that triggered it but there are times when I think I’m not pretty enough, smart enough…just enough. I don’t like my height, my eyes, my breasts, my hairy arms, my long second toe. Even though these are physical things that I can’t change, I still struggle with accepting my flaws. Deeper than that, I am too emotional, I am shy, I am anti-social, I am an introvert. Being around people is a constant game of comparisons and I tend to walk away feeling inept, unpretty and judged. For some people I know that suffer with this like I do, this is not a constant feeling. There are days I am happy with me. There are days I can look in the mirror and smile at the reflection. There are days when I am confident. It’s just that when the lows come, they are pretty rough.
No matter what anybody says
What matters most is what you think of yourself
But what do you do when you think little of yourself? What do you do when “they” tell you you’re pretty but you don’t see it? Lil Kim said “I don’t see it, no matter what anyone says”. I know it may be hard to understand why someone would think so low of themselves, especially when it seems you have so many good qualities. For as difficult as it is for you to understand, try to live through it. Lil’ Kim eluded to the fact that her father and other men constantly put her down. That’s enough to make you question how you see yourself.
For me, it goes back to thinking I’m not good enough. I really couldn’t even tell you who I’m not good enough for. I know I have some really good qualities but I also have a hard time accepting compliments. They make me uncomfortable. When someone tells me they liked something I wrote or that I’m pretty or that they like my hair or even that I’m doing a great job raising my kids, I deflect. I downplay it. I have a hard time accepting it. I scrutinize myself. It’s easier to just say thank you but for whatever reason, I cannot take the compliment and go on.
Seeing the pictures of Lil’ Kim yesterday I was full of judgment. Why would she do this to herself? She wasn’t ugly before. Why does she look like an entirely different person?
But when I saw the quote today, my judgment disappeared and all I had left was empathy. Because I completely understood. Even though I haven’t done anything this extreme (the most I’ve done was cut off all my hair, later dye it red and then loc it) I get what she’s trying to do: She wants to be happy with who she sees in the mirror. And believe you me, that is often a hard, long journey.
I almost didn’t publish this because it’s baring my soul and the words took a turn somewhere I wasn’t expecting. And I don’t have solutions.I don’t have a nice bulleted list of things to do to change your vision. I want to be able to help someone with this but there isn’t a magic button that can reset my mind. This will be a journey but I’m not sure where to start. So feel free to share some advice. I know there are people who need to hear something good.
Once upon a time I fell in love and quickly, I became enamored with his definition of love. He found my insecurities and played them to a T. He told me everything I needed to hear. But I never saw anything he ever said. I was left to wonder if he truly loved me because what he told me and what he did wasn’t in balance.
But he said he loved me. So that had to account for something, right?
I finally grew tired of making excuses, for waiting for him to see me as the one he needed in his life. I grew frustrated with putting my all into us when he couldn’t acknowledge there was even a we. I was pouring myself into him but he was like a bucket with a hole in it; nothing I did for him was staying in his heart or mind.
Love or not, this wasn’t right.
I let it go. Finally. I heard that sometimes holding on causes more damage than letting go. I knew this was a fact. But I had some fears about letting him go…what if he got with the next chick and she became everything I wanted to be? What if he loved her right, gave her the love I begged for? I invested so much time into him and I couldn’t imagine all of this time being in vain.
But more importantly, why didn’t he want me? What was wrong with me? I know I’m not the most beautiful, sexy, smart, thick woman in the world, but doesn’t my genuine heart account for something? Doesn’t the passion in my soul make me a little more attractive? Don’t men want someone they can build with? Someone they can exist with outside of the bedroom? Someone they can be proud of? Someone they can trust with their life, heart, children, bank account and laundry? If I’m not good enough for him, will anyone else want me?
I wandered around in my self-pity. Vowed never to be this chick ever again. I would take pride in me, demand my worth and never settle. Determined never to hurt again, the wall I built around my heart was wide, tall and almost impenetrable. It would take real work to get to me. Anytime anyone got too close to me, I could touch the scar on my heart and remember the times I felt worthless.
Now here you are. Someone that saw the beauty in my soul. Someone that wanted to talk, to learn my mind. Someone that saw the scar on my heart, the tears in my eyes and the hurt that I’ve carried around like a blanket…and you still want to love me.
But I can’t. I don’t know what it means to love. Before, with him, he told me that was love and I ended up questioning myself. He told me he loved me and it meant absolutely nothing. I gave him all the love I had to give and it meant nothing. So what makes you different?
“First things first girl recognize who is with you now. Second thing, can’t blame me for how you were treated before I came”
I know that to be true. I know I shouldn’t take my hurt out on you. I know I shouldn’t punish you for what I allowed to happen to me before you. But…I gave away all of my love and now, I don’t have anything left to give.
My bitterness is holding me hostage. My fear is paralyzing me. Take a chance? Maybe you’ll hurt me too. But what if you don’t?
This post has been such an internal battle for me. Contemplated writing it. Gave up writing it. Wrote it. Deleted it. Now finally I’m committed to getting this out. While it’s a catharsis for me, hopefully someone can benefit from my mistakes.
I believe in love. I’m the soul mate-love of my life-cry at chick flicks-love conquers all-type. Love (and subsequently heartbreak) makes for great poetry. But being such a hopeful romantic has proven to be one of my greatest flaws. On more than one occasion, I’ve been a fool for love. Nearly to the point that my sanity was compromised.
After my divorce, I went through a few emotionally tumultuous relationships. I wasn’t really looking for anything nor was I trying to get over my ex. But after a while, I quickly discovered two things:
1. I hadn’t healed from my divorce
2. I wasn’t completely happy with me
I actually didn’t come to these realizations until I walked away from these toxic relationships. It was a hard realization for me because I felt like I put myself in unnecessary situations. But for the sake of love…I suffered.
I honestly thought love required sacrifice,and it absolutely does, but not when you’re the only one sacrificing. I was giving my all without even a promise of reciprocity. Simply put, I gave because I needed him to want me. Any sensible person (and I considered myself as such) would have walked away. Sometimes I did end it…but I always went back. I told myself it was easier to be there than to be alone. I held on to the hope that one day my efforts would be matched. And that was my second mistake. I didn’t change anything I was doing but I expected something different. I do believe this constitutes the definition of insanity. I continued to give every part of my heart and when it didn’t work out, I contended he just wasn’t worthy (which held a great deal of validity). But I gave my all even when he showed me he didn’t respect me or value my heart. I allowed myself to be used, physically, emotionally and financially. I settled. All because I believed so deeply in love.
What I had to do was truly define love for myself. Well…redefine it. What I considered to be love was actually desperation; there was nothing wonderful or happy about what I was in. The hopeful romantic in me refused to die but believing in love didn’t have to include me being a fool. What I discovered was that I was trying to put a band aid on a deep puncture wound. One man didn’t love me right? Fine, I’ll just love someone else. That didn’t work out either? Ok. Where’s the next man? All I was doing was adding on to my hurt. Imagine my frustration of trying to navigate my way through the years of hurt as I continued to pile another failed relationship onto my heart. And at the bottom of my pile was a negative image of myself. Sacrificing my all left me broken and empty. As I was pouring out, no one was pouring back into me. So what followed was bitterness and depression. I couldn’t process people telling me “Girl he doesn’t deserve you” or “You’re better off without him” because I didn’t see myself as being worthy of more than I had accepted.
How was it that no one saw me, the real me? They only saw everything I could do for them. I was used and I allowed it. That’s probably the hardest pill to swallow. Even though I was unhappy and I wanted more, I allowed myself to be second, used and ignored. I convinced myself I needed the attention and affection, even if it was part time (yes at times, I was the dreaded other woman). I needed those fleeting moments to prove I mattered. In the end, I was sated momentarily but my spirit was crushed. I felt ugly and useless. I decided I wasn’t worth loving and I was only good enough for sex. My already low self esteem was shattered beyond recognition.
How can I love somebody else if I can’t love myself enough to know when it’s time to let go?
Yes Mary J. Blige, how can I love someone else if I’m so unhappy with me? The short answer? It’s impossible because I couldn’t give what I didn’t possess.
In order for me to learn to love anyone else, I had to truly love myself first. I know self love sounds so cheesy but believe me, it was the most empowering epiphany. What I had to do was determine my worth and place a value on my heart. It wasn’t easy at all but I was so tired of going through the same thing. I cut off pointless relationships and flings. I decided never again would a man benefit from me without being with me. I had to develop a will power that I didn’t know I had. When the “I miss you”, “Can we talk”, “I was just thinking about you” texts and phone calls came, I had to be extremely selfish. I was choosing me over a moment of pleasure.
It’s simple, I didn’t know how strong I had to be/Apparently, the strength it took to hold on to what we had/Was multiplied to let go of the past
Little by little, my confidence grew. Daily, I became more comfortable with being alone. I went through some pretty empty days and dark nights. I thought a lot, I wrote a lot, I cried a lot. But what emerged was a renewed mind and a value on my heart. My love would not be free. My love would not be given away. My love would not be exploited. My love would be cherished. My love would be earned. But before my love would consider leaving my heart, I would ensure that I was loving myself first.
It was when I finally dismantled my desperation and just focused on healing my heart that someone came into my life. What makes me feel like this different is my expectation of the relationship, my definition of love and my renewed mind. See, if I had met him before, he’d be discarded into the pile of lovers past with great disdain. Unknowingly, I had begun to prepare myself to be a better me so that I could appreciate him. My self esteem has been enhanced by him but I don’t depend on him to make me feel like a woman. Because if he leaves, I still have to know my worth.
Right now, I can truly say that even if I hadn’t met him I would still be content with me. I’m not saying that I was completely happy being single, but I was content with building myself up. I’ve always wondered how people could move so freely between relationships, myself included. I now know it’s necessary to take that time to let my heart heal. I wasn’t going to write this, much less publish it because it made me take a good long look at myself and my decisions. However, as much as I want to blame those guys (and I still kind of do) I am beginning to embrace what happened and decided to learn from it.
So maybe this will help someone. Hopefully the tears that accompanied this post will be worth it. Maybe someone will see themselves where I was and decide their heart has more value than what’s been allowed. Or maybe this has proven to be a part of my healing process. Either way…it’s out and I feel a burden has been lifted!
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