Now I may be late to the game, but over the last few years, I’ve been seeing people chose their “word” for the new year. And this isn’t just any regular word. It’s a word that’s supposed to guide you into the new year. It’s how you intend to show growth as a person in the new year. It's a word that’s supposed to help you manifest the type of person you want to become.
And this year, I’ve chosen a word. Normally, scratch that, occasionally, I’ll make a vision board. But most of the time I just jot down a few “ideas” that I call goals and roll with it. I’m a naturally goal-driven person, so I don’t really prioritize new year goals. It’s a stay ready, so you don’t have to get ready type of thing. Now I have never chosen a word before, but that’s neither here nor there, because this year, I have. In fact, I’ve chosen three.
cause to coexist in harmony; make or show to be compatible.
They say what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. In hindsight, this well known cliché was originally in retrospect to the ups and downs of professional and scientific successes and failures, and how you have to take your wins with your losses to stay intrinsically motivated.
But since then, it has socially constructed into rather ambiguous meanings. I myself, interpret it as such: whatever you go through, the only way through it, is through it. But there’s two more implied parts that people tend to forget.
1. You have to learn to let go.
2. You have to learn from it, so that you do not fall back into the same predicament.
Those are the hardest parts. I know I for one, have no difficulties learning from my mishaps. It’s the goal-oriented person in me. But letting go? Whew, that’s a big one for me. I don’t hold grudges, but I never forget what’s hurt me. And I never forget who hurt me either. But at twenty something years old, I’m learning that in order for me to have healthy relationships and truly acquire mental peace, I need to let go. I need to reconcile with certain people in my life. For me, it’s my mom. Now before you guys through the ax, hear me out. I LOVE my momma. And she was a great momma to me while I was being reared in my younger days. AND I would merrily catch a charge for anyone that messes with her. But as I got older, the dynamics of our relationship as one woman to another, one person to another, has always been an obstacle for me. There’s things that I’ve never came to terms with that have shaped what our relationship is now. And a reconciliation is needed because time is ticking and tomorrow isn’t promised.
Knowing that a reconciliation of any relationship needs to happen is already a difficult feat on its own, but when it’s family, it can be even harder. But with the stresses of 2020, I believe that I may not be the only one needing to reconcile a relationship. Maybe you too need to reconcile with e family member. Or maybe it's that "friend". You know the friend I'm talking about--->the one that seems to cause more headache than heartache. So how do you do it?
1. Be honest with yourself- the first step into making a change is being completely honest with yourself that a change needs to happen. The longer that you make excuses, the longer you settle and accept the conditions of that relationship, the longer it will take for you to truly be ready to acknowledge the need for change. Instinctively, this is easier said than done. And depending on the type of relationship, (familial, friend, spousal) this first small step may seem like a tremendous hurdle. I would know. I was stuck in this stage for years.
2. Expose yourself and make a move- knowing that a relationship needs to be reconciled takes total vulnerability and exposure. You need to be upfront, bold, and specific about what in the relationship is bothering you, and how you want the relationship to change. It’s not about showing a sensitive side, or being weak, or complaining, but it’s about addressing the unhealthy nature that is, and allowing the other person the opportunity to understand or acknowledge the root of your discontentment.
3. Plan to give and take- this is the plan of execution. What steps will need to be taken to get this relationship back into harmonious alignment? Even more so, what will it take to propel the relationship to desirable heights? For some, it may take a separation to gather ones thoughts. Is this relationship even worth saving? For others it may take therapy. Because let’s face it, sometimes we just can’t get through our own shit on our own. And sadly, for some, it may even be decided that the relationship needs to end. Whatever the case may be, make a plan, and be prepared to give and take.
4. Set limitations- this happened for a reason. Whether we see the reason or not, there’s one. And within that reason came the opportunity to learn from it. How did the relationship get to the point that it is now? What choices can you make and what limitations can you place on the relationship so as not find yourselves in troubled waters again? Set those limits, discuss them, and make sure that both parties agree to them.
so as to return it to its original condition
With the recent events of 2020 going down in the history books as the craziest year ever, I’ve spent a lot of time in the house. As should have everyone else. And you could imagine that I had a lot of time left alone in my thoughts. And I’ve had more than enough time to observe and notice things I hadn't before. And since, I’ve acknowledged that yet another relationship in particular, needs a restoration. It’s stuck like chuck. And that’s my marriage. I LOVE my husband. That’s my boo! But as much as I’ve advocated for loving your partner in their love language, and learning to evolve with your partner as time goes by, there’s something I didn’t take into account-there will be seasons where you fall in and out of love with your spouse. It happens. And I’ve realized that we’ve lost our spark. Our zing. And I really had to think about why that was. Surely we couldn’t be going through this only 5 (almost 6 in March) years into the marriage. But we’ve been together going on 11 years and a lot has changed since during that time.
For one, I've basically been in school since he's met me. When we first got together, I was working on my associates degree. I now have my masters.
We have kids, 3 boys to be exact. And as much as I love being a mother, those little suckers are demanding and draining.
We have jobs (and yup, I'm right back in school as a teacher). We have goals were chasing as individuals.
And we’re adults, so we’re “adulting” day in and day out trying to handle everything within the present while still planning for the future.
And somewhere along the line of our relationship, and within the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives, that emotional connection, that emotional pizazz, has dwindled. But please don’t confuse this lack of emotional connection with sex. Sex is only a part of intimacy, and you can definitely be intimate without sex. I know. We did a #30daysexchallenge and during that time we found that, it’s down right hard to get down daily. But we found other ways to be intimate by just enjoying each other’s time. But that's just it. It took an Instagram challenge to force us to spend time together. We were always so caught up in being mom or dad, or employee, or making it to the next day, that we forgot that marriage is ongoing work that requires us to punch the clock too. And just to put things into perspective, we never really had the opportunity to "date" and just enjoy each other. When Chris met me at 18 years old, I was a mother already. But his sincere interest in me, led to him having a sincere interest in my son as well, and us simultaneously jumping into mom and dad, husband and wife mode even though it was still just the beginning.
But it’s definitely time for a restoration. We need to get back to that Alicia keys teenage love affair kind of connection, where the tingles and butterflies are in full bloom, and I can't wait to get back home just to see him. I need for us to get back to that. It’s been especially hard during COVID. We already never really had time for ourselves, let alone each other, and with being stuck in the house, it just intensified the other roles we played. We don't have all the answers for how we will return to this, but one sure answer, is finding more time for each other. So we told ourselves, without a doubt, no matter what, even if hell freezes over, that we would plan to have scheduled date nights every two weeks to make time for us to strengthen the role of "best friends" as husband and wife. (I was leaning more towards a staycation at the end of every month, but hey, tomato tomoto.)
give new energy or vigor to; revitalize.
If you know me, I’ve always been about being the best I could be. I want to be the best mother. The best wife. The best educator. Everything I do, I want to be great at it. But one thing I’ve noticed is that even though I wear many hats and balance many roles, I’ve been neglecting the most important role I play-Natasha. And I think a lot of that has to do with me not knowing my purpose. There’s plenty of things I can do. There’s plenty of things I like. There’s plenty of things I could say that I possibly even love. But my purpose? I couldn’t tell you.
Being a goal oriented person can leave a lot of room for seasons where you feel stagnant and unfulfilled. Once one accomplishment is achieved, you’re onto the next. Always being on the go, always tending to the needs of others, always just handling your responsibilities, always “doing what you have to do, so that you can do what you want to do” (a mantra my father hammered over my head literary since birth I feel) can get mentally and physically draining. Because let's face it, you're NEVER going to get done with everything you have to do. And even the phrase "have to do" changes from one person to the next. For me, I "have to" do everything. If there's still something that can be done, I need to get it done (another mantra I was reared with by my father). In fact, for as long as I could remember, my mom, and now my husband have always told me
"You don't know how to rest."
"You need to get some rest."
"You're too hard on yourself."
"You don't give yourself enough credit."
"You're always busy doing something."
"You do more in one day that most do in a week."
...and so on and henceforth...
But being stuck in that space, you forget to tend to yourself. You work yourself to the core day in and day out. And when COVID hit, with all of its own stressors, it personally hit me hard. The ever going machine that I was, finally blew a vessel. I was smacked right in the face with reality, and when I tried to bounce back, I felt as though I didn't have a leg to stand on. My marriage was stagnant so I didn't even want to burden my husband with "one more thing" of helping me put myself back together. The relationship with my mother was "odd", and the couple of friends that I have (you can read more about that in To the mom without a friend group), I surely didn't want to burden either, because I knew they were going through their own obstacles. So until recently, no one really knew how bad it hit me, not even myself. I'm the type to never let people see me sweat, again, not even myself. I would just pacify myself with affirmations, and keep it moving like I always did. It wasn't until recently that I've actually acknowledged that I am undoubtedly depressed, and I have been for a while. And it only took a pandemic to bring that epiphany to the forefront, what are the odds? (A little dark humor if you will.)
Last year, the thought crossed my mind to go to therapy, but I chickened out. How could I tell a random stranger all of my insecurities? How can I just willing invite them into my life? Why would I become vulnerable with a total stranger during an obviously trying time? But this year, I need it. I think it could be of some use. I don’t have a plan for what I intend to get out of it. But I’m hoping, just being able to talk and release, without feeling like a burden, will be a good start.
So this is the year. I plan to focus on the rejuvenation of self and figuring out what really makes me happy; what is it that really keeps me going. What is my real purpose? This year is about awakening the Natasha that I feel has been so dormant for quite some time, and how SHE will find her place on the path to feeling truly fulfilled.
Word up to 2021