Flux to Crux…Part I

When it hurts to write (my number one love), when it hurts to counsel, when it hurts to breathe…within my crux. My well is dry. My give is limited. My encouraging spirit, well it is in wound. This is new. There have been times in the past I was unable to write. This is different; my life experiences are genuine, unique. I try my best to learn from them and move forward. I hold no ill will towards anyone.  This is more than hurt feelings, more than depression, more than overworked, more than transitional. All of me is in such a painful turmoil; my thoughts, my spirit, my body…yesterday I cleaned my face with fingernail polish remover. Smh/laugh, I did.  Yet, I know this is more than I need a vacation phase.

I am not sure what this is, what it means. I quit social media for a minute. I have been fasting since May. I have taken the necessary steps to welcome this transition and yet it seems I am still failing.

My flux—Monday through Wednesday schedule is when I give all of me to others. Monday: work, see clients, facilitate grief group. Tuesday: work, see clients, and attend class. Wednesday: work, see clients, facilitate divorce group. Thursday: work, work on proposals, homework, more counseling projects. Friday: looks like Thursday. Saturday & Sunday: self-care days…even with some sort of training—in ethics or sex trafficking and conducting prayer hotlines. I think my self-care is suffocating because I do not know where I am at, who I am becoming. In addition, how is it possible that there is more to life when it all hurts?

I am alone in my crux. I see, hear so much hurt. From planned suicide to displaced wives and children to grieving individuals. Their hurt pains me so much and I know to run, walk, talk, pray for them outside of my counseling sessions. I do not carry their weight although the heaviness is substantial. I could list all my credentials, my leadership roles, my accomplishments, my wants yet it still is what I did —not what I am doing. I have only the premise that I am in the middle of something huge and I cannot go backwards nor move forward in front of God. It all frightens me.

“There is nothing My Holiness cannot do.” ~Marianne Williamson

Fighting for joy…to keep it…to live with it and in it in spite of what I see, of what I hear and no matter the mistreatment keep fighting for joy. My purposes are my purposes…God-divine. When things come up hard, when reasoning makes no sense, when everything seems to fall short, when the fluxes of this life overwhelm we must remember all that God requires is never easy. Jesus, His son suffered more than anyone. He set the standard for being obedient to God’s will. He won. His victory is for us to win as well.

There will be times I cannot be all to everyone. There will be times my spirit of encouragement is nil. There will be times when how alone I am in this world flattens me. (When Daddy & Momma are gone, it is a whole other kind of growing up.)

I do not talk. I do not complain. I encourage. I smile. I cover up. While in this transition phase one person said to me: “There’s something behind that smile.”  I broke down. I cried. Not those hard cry just silent tears. There is my brokenness. There is the pain of being told my last seven years are a farce. That my struggle, my fight to be a counselor is of all things–unethical.

Normally, I have a few choice words for people who intentionally harm or disrespect me. I have my say. I am my best advocate. Yet, this time the weight of others, of it all, of this journey made me pause. I give. I give a lot. I give out. This time, for this moment I gave in. Whammy after whammy is depleting. The core of everything I am, everything I am becoming has to be fought for and I am tired.

“I will climb up to my watchtower and stand at my guardpost. There I will wait to see what the Lord says and how he[a] will answer my complaint.” Habakkuk 2:1 (NLT)

 There is peace in my wait. There is more of me in my wait. He is there for me in my wait. I awake smiling. I enter my space, my chosen time alone is outside where I can see, hear, smell, touch, breathe in His love. There is where I begin…within my crux. I am trusting God to do His possibles for me and for you.

His grace.

Intimately worded,

Michelle

Fyi: For those who do not know I am in the practicum/internship phase of achieving my master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. 
Beauty Selfie (2)
Beginning 2009 or 2010

 

Michelle_June 9 2017
In between June 2017.  (at my daughter’s graduation from Middle School.) 

 

 

Heart Faults, when we break.

In any relationship, manipulation is the highest form of betrayal. We will have to stop eating everything that is fed to us…even if its silver spoon fed. We grow watching, observing and living to our parents and family wishes. We trust them. Believe them without reservation. When we live our lives only by observation, and with their expectations without knowing their wounds, their whys our foundation will crack.

Respectability and accountability are requirements for the things we want in life, what we require from each other. Jesus’ mandate was to love one another as we love ourselves. His commandment sounds simple enough yet I believe it is one of the most difficult challenges in our faith walk. Loving self is a lifetime journey and it becomes more difficult to do when we break. The longevity of carrying pain, damaging pain that steals your joy and stills your heart is not loyalty. Do not lose Self in your love of someone. Our definition of love has to be redefined at times for every relationship is different. I hope that you create, prepare, equip and fall in love with your perspective of love….for love does not destroy you. Remember it. Keep your personal definition close to your heart. When the fires come, you will be able to fall back on a firm foundation no matter the cracks.

Dr. K E Garland has written, “The Unhappy Wife” a book that solidifies the undoing of each woman’s heart within matrimony. The book is a collection of short stories of 12 different women and their intimate soul reveals.  I love how the book is not about failing marriages yet more about individuality and how meshing, merging are important without losing Self.

Intimacy should be a bond that transforms and grows us individually and with our mate. It is inhumane, to not be touched, or reassured in your love. Intimacy is more than sex, more than means of procreating, its right smack in the middle of the whole scheme of things. As you read this book watch how their lives differentiate from their initial dreams, from their wants and how they live, survive within those differences.

My friendship with this author, reading her book leaves me indebted to her. She writes truths that the reader unveils whether we are single, coupled, or married. She understands the schematics of how we love, how we believe with God and that the one-billionth prayer will somehow magically fix the ones we love to love us back. As I shared with her, “We have to do better” for ourselves, our daughters, granddaughters for all who are connected to us. As well as for the honor of a unique want that becomes a spiritual yet legalized covenant.

One thing I did for myself many moons ago: I stopped labeling myself as divorced within conversations, on applications and within my definition of self-love.  That word, that status carries an overwhelming heavy weight. Drop it. Move forward. Love self so that you are able to love others, equally and with compassion. The Unhappy Wife by [Garland, KE]

You are able to purchase, “The Unhappy Wife” here: www.kegarland.com. It will be one of your best book purchases this year. I promise! KE Garland’s blog link: kwoted.wordpress.com/

Please post your feedback here, encourage KE Garland on her website and blog-site. I would love any commentary on this book, this post and your heart faults, please share. I teach a monthly workshop on Identity for Women of Faith and our sessions have been remarkable. So this read, this reflection has me ever so excited for our future. It all circles back.

Keep healing; it recipriocates and removes the fault lines.

Intimately worded,

A. Michelle

Carry Hope, this Counselor’s heart

 

journey-pic  It is never easy being vulnerable nor is it ever so easy being the strongest. What I am learning is that life gets better when we share. When we open up, expose our hearts, share our pitfalls, and express our hopes and dreams, our lives become bigger. No longer are we alone, separate, on our own.

I am learning with confidentiality comes responsibility. At the beginning of my education in counseling, I thought confidentiality was a burden…a required stressor for client relationships. As Counselors we cannot share any client cases not even with our spouse. I would find this most difficult whenever my he finds me. Yet, as I grow, as I try to understand the complexities of the heart, our minds and the human spirit I am not alone in carrying or solving another’s problems. It is their story, I am blessed to hear it, to listen in…what a grand opportunity to be present for another.

Our heart’s ache with so much. Love for family, for our spouse, our friends, partners, for all we are connected to and things will get heavy, very heavy. Carry Hope. Hope is essential. Faith is a required necessity. The two enable us to pick up shattered pieces, to gain a God perspective in all matters of the heart. In addition, it is free…listening with care is priceless. Seeing a person’s heart is one of the greatest values, a treasure. God will do the rest. Carry Hope and be gracious in giving it away.

Yesterday, I listened as this woman described how her 19-year-old son has schizophrenia. How over the years he has tried to cope with the voices in his head…how loud music does not drown them out, how the medicine does not drown them out. Yet, he knows the difference in what the voices tell him…he knows which are spiritual and which ones are not. I listened as she says she has never been dismissive when he speaks to her, warns her about things. I listen, as she has become his champion, his advocate. How she works to make sure the members of the police department know him, their family for his safety. How the Church members know him, he sits in the foyer (his choice) away from everyone and he listens to the sermon, the music. How she says he looks normal and he is her son. There is no tiredness in her voice, no weariness. She smiles. She speaks of love, her son, her husband, their community. I see her heart. I am proud of her, her son, her family, her community. She “fights” for everyone. #VillageLove

My Autumn  told me she saw me as a forgiving person, very forgiving. I asked does that make me a wuss, a pushover. She responded: “It means you forgive, Mother. That is it. Stop adding stuff.” I laughed. What a great characteristic to see in a person. She is right; I tend to add more than the necessary to any situation. Forgiving frees you up. It requires a lot to forgive but even if the process is slow, we are gaining more of ourselves each time we forgive. Do not let what others perceive of you dictate the kind of heart you have. Let your heart show. Let it beat, break, heal and love some more. Continue to guard it, though guard it with love not barbwire.

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4: 23 (NIV)

Inevitably, the God-stuff happens. My heart is most happy when I can witness the miracles God works daily through our lives, nature, in our friendships, with family relations, in business ventures and once in a lifetime encounters. It was not until I went to bed last night that I realized that I was among a group of women that counsel, that are Believers, wonderful individuals and we all want the same thing. This path is so different from what I imagined. I am so grateful for my experiences; even the difficult ones for each equip me to journey on.

Again, carry hope…your definition of success is soon to follow.

Intimately worded,

A. Michelle!

© 2017 Michelle Tillman All rights reserved

 

 

Pick your battles…Parenting Autumn

IMG_217943346666549    You have the ability to choose. I think often times we lose focus on the power of simplicity because if our lives are not forced focus, in crisis mode, hectic hellish or nonstop un-normal we fight to right our ways our way. Discern what matters God has placed within your life to deal with. Remember anything He gives us He also equips us. There are difficulties we must face, know that we do not face them alone. So often, we place burdens on ourselves that are His and we blame Him for the most. We carry that ice chip on our shoulders, in our words and we embed it in our hearts. God loves and He disciplines those He loves. He is not going to allow us to outdo Him. Honestly, there is no way we can.

My Autumn is 13 years old, an awesome daughter. She is my only daughter. #motherhood As her mother, I think I mess up a lot. I think I have to watch her more so because I fear for her. I think she could have had a mother that has more expertise in all things. I think she could have had a better mother—a mother who knows how to raise daughters. (I have three sons.) I do not allow her any social media time, her friends are few and she starts high school next year. Oh, and her figure, her shape is coming in already (just like mine at her age) and she is a beauty and so smart. Therefore, I am frightened in so many different areas of her life because I am her mother. Am I too stifling? Do I suffocate her? Am I making her feel she is loved and loving? How is her self-esteem? What are boys saying to her in that school? What are men saying to her? Then again, what are girls saying to her? Do we talk enough? Am I doing right by her? Has my singleness all these years braced her or harmed her for her future relationships? Big sigh.

When I get this way, which is not often but often enough. I immediately go into a tailspin of fear after hearing about the 12-year-old girl who committed suicide on FB. This cuts my heart up in so many ways. My soul is silenced when my friend tells me. My heart aches. She sends me the link of the little girls’ suicide. I refuse to open it up.

At times when I worry and Autumn is home, I run in her room and jump in her bed with her. I snuggle up with her while she reads her book. I make her take out her ear buds and we talk. Earlier this week, she complains but is laughing, “Momma, why?! It is hot. Stop.” She says. I smile and kiss her cheek and say, “Well, I’m not. My feet are cold. Warm me up” Her: “Your feet are always cold.” Me: “Let me search your phone to see what I can see. What’s your code?” She tells me and goes back to reading her book. While perusing through her phone, I find this text: Her and her friend are discussing their hair issues:

India (is a great friend to her and has long straight hair): “Use the ECO gel on your hair.” Autumn: “I did and my hair came out so short. I did not like it. My Mom used it and her hair looked great! But she used oil on hers and I did not. I am going to use oil and the ECO gel tonight.” My eyes water, I turn to her and smile, “You don’t ever tell me my hair looks great. You just say good or act like I am getting on your nerves. You love me!” Autumn, laughs so.

She has an awesome laugh too. Her natural hairstyle, her choice since she was 9 years old. Our hair textures are different but she has embraced her hair with such creativity and uniqueness it baffles me. Her self-strength is so powerful. What an amazing mirror I have. {An excerpt from one of my original poems: “I see Autumn leaves in the coldest of winter.”~M.} She is rooted well. I am so humbled by God’s love for me.

Therefore, I am going to push aside the “what if” and “if I just had” and also the “but God” and pick my battles, the winnable ones— the God has equipped me battles. I love being her mother more than the fear. Parenting costs so much yet the rewards are priceless and non-refundable. It is impossible to do everything right, I know that but the easiest part is when we do our best for them. We do not argue about social media. It is just an “is” in my home. We have discussed the possibility of Snap chat when she turns 14. So, I am on a journey to learn all I can about that before her next birthday in order to give the right answer to her, yes or no with an explanation of my choice.

I grieve for our children. I love our children; it truly takes a village. Suicide is preventable. Autumn and I discuss the neglected and abused children, teens, her peer group. I smile because her anger, her fight is just as strong as mine. Children, Adolescents have my heart they always will. We all are accountable to all we are connected. Please see the hope in that statement, there is no condemnation nor judgment. None, zilch. We must find ways that show our children they are loved without sacrificing our moral upbringing, without them suffering the residuals of this mean, mean world.

I think if we take a firm and mindful stance to focus on the winnable– our aspirations, hopes and dreams we have no recourse but to line up with what God has purposed for our lives. #TrustHim In all we do there has to be a peace that remains. I am learning this scripture holds so much direction and guiding, Philippians 4:6-8:”Do not be anxious about anything but in everything…”

Discern and pick your battles in every aspect of your life. God has planned for you to win the war. Growing up I did not like kids, did not want to be a mother. If I married, I wanted one child that was it. I remember telling my father I was never going to marry. He laughed along with giving awesome advice. (I will share that conversation later.)  God laughed too! I have four children, married once and divorced. I have been single longer than I was married. I am a grandmother! I am a child advocate, graduate student of Counseling and I teach Sunday School. Oh, God laughed big!! Remain focused on where He has you. Be God-confident!

My heart is all over the place… I hope this read makes sense. It all circles back.

My heart–Intimately worded,

A. Michelle!

 

 

When Faith does not Fit: My 2016 in Review

My family circle grew–first grand baby girl; oldest son engaged–new daughter. Blessings!  Two more courses in my Master’s program to complete. Blessed!

Graduation and exams loom. Smh, I am already looking at doctorate programs. Yet, I think I will sit down for a minute. My professors, mentors consistently support my educational goals. They, PhD holders refer and inform my ideas and wants to others who have the greatest minds in counseling. I am president-elect of Chi Sigma Iota Mu Chi Chapter. I am chair of the Chapter’s quarterly newsletter. I am to form a scholarship fund aimed with supporting single women who are head of households and are dedicated to pursuing their education in the Master’s program of Counseling. I have registered with another scholarly program that will put me in front of professionals, professors in the teaching realm, because my mentor told me I should. My thought: I’m just some little country girl who loves and there is no way my mind can compete.

My friendship circle has shrunk and that is okay. Either people want to be there for you or they do not know how. Sometimes their behavior is more self-preservation than unfriendliness. Don’t stop. Do not quit. You really matter to a lot to people, more than you think.

“I met someone.” That commercial is so sweet. No, I haven’t met someone. I originally planned to give serious effort into re-entering the dating world. As of this date, no date this year and that is okay too. I have male friends–that are business associates and their actions are indicative of waiting for my equal, for that someone who is willing to meet me where I am and still be equipped to grow together come what may. For example, the Little Ones’ Christmas wish was answered by a gentleman, just out of the blue. Remember, there are more good people with good hearts in this world. Do not lose sight of their goodness.

I do not think what I am wanting is any different from anyone else seeking a relationship. In faith we learn how to wait, we try to do what is right. It becomes hard to believe when Someone is not the one. I blamed myself for so much. I gave so much time trying to figure out why Someone doesn’t want me. I ate and thought about it. I stopped eating and thought about it. I walked and thought about it. I prayed and thought about it. One scripture remained with me for weeks, “…in all your getting get an understanding.” Proverbs 4:7, KJV.

My understanding, 1. I will keep my hope, without settling. I refuse to let my heart become bitter, rocky and non-conforming. 2. My love life: Recently, I realized that I think I fell in love with a potential…because I gained back 20 lbs of the 40 I lost. Rejection does so many things to our psyche. The more I think of love, the growth and the capability of receiving it seems inconceivable. Someone should care enough to not place me in that position. Right?Right. Enough of that, I am back on my Michelle grind, learning that neglect is a force of continuation not a place of stagnate. Self-worth requires discipline and redefining. Growing into what God wants us to be–requires a different perspective that aligns with His will for our lives.

I have been unemployed all year yet financially the important bills are paid. My family roots are God gifted. I do a lot of volunteer work and part-time work. God is completely in control. The not having a job, the potential heartbreak, family issues, our world difficulties, and life has broken me in different ways that I am unable to understand. For the last 6 months, I have been hurting, pretty bad in every aspect of my being. All I know, what I know is so changed, so different. I want my life back…well the life God has purposed to begin. Now. This transition phase hurts and seems to be taking forever. I am so lost. I feel so inadequate. So much is coming and I no longer feel capable for any of it.

My blog readership has grown, thank you! 2016 Stats include 709 total views, 20 countries. These numbers excite me so! A few of the top viewed posts this year are:

“Broken Relationships,” https://amichelleexperience.me/2016/01/18/broken-relationships/

“Heart Moments,#NecessaryWork,” https://amichelleexperience.me/2016/09/26/heart-moments-necessarywork/

“Rejection…#BeginAgain,” https://amichelleexperience.me/2016/07/27/rejection-beginagain/

“Lion’s Den and the Vulnerability of Belief.”  https://amichelleexperience.me/2016/04/17/lions-den-and-the-vulnerability-of-belief/

As a writer, I love that I am able to read over my work and be encouraged by what I have written no matter what phase of life I seem to be in. Especially, when my faith does not fit.

The final “faith-all” of the year: I will be submitting the first draft of my first book to a woman who has never backed down in her covering of me. A wow for me: I completed my first book! Yet, the process that comes with completing a book, editing, publishing, and marketing leaves me woozy and completely frighten. We meet Friday! 🙂

In 2017, I pray our faith walk will continue to lead us towards God’s evident promises because Faith will fit the fixes.

Note: Know that God’s love is greater in levels than we could imagine. Find Him where you think you are lost. He is there. One favorite scripture when I am broken: “Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved…” Song of Solomon 8:5 KJV

We will come out of the desert. Happy New Year! Resolute to keep faithing, even when it doesn’t fit.

Me intimately worded,

Michelle

Propaganda’s plight vs Hope

Lately, my focus has been on the circumstance of my life, my status, and the way I am living and how I continue to have to put one foot in front of the other… I am looking at my fight, on the way I have to fight. I am tired yet pushing ahead on purpose.

Early this morning, I kiss the Little Ones good-bye.  Sometimes they are aware of my good-bye kisses most Saturday mornings they are not.  As I exit our home, leaving for the part-time job at the Center, I am creating a mental task list of my day, how to be, praying that the teens did well throughout the week. I think of my week…the tornado, how Brutus’ anxiety of losing me causes him to come in my bedroom and hold me throughout the night…how I have to sleep-whisper, “I love you,” “I got you” and “I am right here, baby.” I wonder if I am doing enough for him, for all my children. I think of how my family depends on me.  I think of how I have no one to fall on, another Christmas, another year alone. That it is all on me.

I hear him before I see him,  I scream, freeze and cover my mouth when I realize he was only speaking. He hugs me and just holds me…”Its okay.  The media got us so scared of ourselves.” He says. I try to break the embrace because I do not want to cry and I feel as if I have insulted him,  offended him. He holds me even tighter and says, “It’s alright. This world got us scared of ourselves. We don’t know how to be.” I return his hug, grateful, understanding, tears welling up.  Me: “I am so sorry. I was in my own world your voice startled me not your presence.” He kisses my cheek, “I know.  I know.” He hugs me some more. I hug him back. I thank him and we part ways, better, hopeful.  I am more upset with myself, how I am becoming (even for a moment) because I am unsure of what to do anymore, how to be…and this Stranger reads me, encourages me.

In my car, I focus on my breathing, cover my face with my hands  and do my best not to cry. I send up prayers for this man, this Black Man, a wonderful Black Man, this caring stranger who reminded me that I am not alone. That no matter the continuous multiple injustices of this world that God is not idly waiting or standing by. #KeithLamontScott #JoeMcKnight

     looking-out-a-window

I do not have all the answers and a big part of me would not dare to handle such a heavy responsibility. What I know, is right from wrong. What I know, creating policy and law does not make the taking of a life correct. What I know, I am letting my heart become fretful, frightful and that worries me. What I know, normally my mornings consist of peace that someone speaking to me would have never caused me so much alarm. I am actually walking in fear and worry for my life, my sons, my daughter, my nephews, my uncles, my cousins, my family, my friends, for us, this world. So much wrong, protected wrongs that leave us feeling vulnerably unprotected. I can encourage others. I encourage myself. Yet, the law of this land, the community consciousness of a few people can perpetuate so much destruction, legally. Healing is never complete before another tragedy erupts. #BlackLivesMatter

His hug reminded me that even though I handled so much for so long, it is not time to stop. I leaned into him, this Man for a moment…his heart gave me the synergy to keep going without losing hope, to continue to fight the right way, to be the change agent, to focus on what I know best: give love and to be loving. I pray you meet your “Angel” and that he/she rights your way with the needed hug, encouraging whispers and a kiss on the cheek…the kind of hug that saves your heart, hems it up and reminds you there is more. Knowing God as I do, you will. God is not idly waiting or standing by.

Know that your life is the center of God’s focus, every aspect of it. No one gets the easy way out nor will the best of us always have the easiest path of living. Just do not give up on being who God wants you to be, stop watching the self-made timeline and do the necessary work, believe and continue. #CarryHope

Choose to be amazing,

Michelle

Broken Wings

When I see myself, I see a little person who is still in a constant state of trying. Trying to achieve, be, get, will and do.

Last night I was encouraged, “Michelle, thank you for representing us so well.” I was stunned so I asked her, “What do you mean?” Again, she said, “Thank you for representing us so well.” I respond: “Thank you. Thank you so much.” Tears pricked my eyes because I still see myself as this little person who is just trying. It amazes me that this is how she views me…I am this little country girl no one wants. Being unwanted has set a precedence through major phases of my life. It is not a behavior issue; it is fact and an ugly scar…since birth. I know God orders our steps.

I have never been an attention seeker. I am really quite shy—bold and generous with my spirit (because we never know what another is battling) but my inner me is full of mush. I will fight for my family, my friends, my clients, for all who surround me. I fight the good fight, yet I am dumbfounded when told I am great at being me.

Last night’s event: I was inducted into the International Honor Society for Counselors as Chapter President-Elect. Amazing, right? After being sworn in, my responsibility is to swear in the other members. Criteria is 3.5 GPA or higher with a commitment to be excellent in integrity and to practice ethics of the highest standards in the counseling profession.

Amazing, it is such a grand experience to be among so many. We each have the same calling to work in so many different genres of the psychology field. One realization, I did not feel weird at all. I tried to sneak away from most of the photo taking but the photographer would eventually find me and whisper, “None of that.”  We laughed.

Growing up I was usually the only Black female in class, the only Black female on the job…there are so many different types of pressures when you are the only Black in any environment.Flashback at 19, just gave birth to my oldest son: “You Black, you female and you uneducated.” Exboyfriend. Flashback from 26-38: “You are fat. Stupid. No one will ever want you.” I was told I was unable to focus when I forgot something minor. (I was a tired, very tired insecure wife.) Oh, here come the tears…my point there are so many different types of fight I had to fight. Moving forward, I refuse to give any credit to the enemy.

As I am sitting listening to the speaker of the night, I am humbled. She is 61 years old. She has worked in the counseling field since she was 21. I value the softness of her voice, the gray in her hair, the simplicity of how she speaks and how she carries herself. She gives us 12 major points of advice to govern ourselves with through this journey. My favorite: “Focus on what you love, what is important, and ignore the rest. Be kind whenever possible and hold on to your humanness.”

I know I have one of the greatest life stories to share yet I am reluctant because it truly is not my platform. We learn from our past.. to grow, to evolve, to educate either by design or by example. I am amazed at how counseling found me, dragged me and continues to lead me. I love this stuff. I love how the educational achievements are celebrated at the Montreat Chapel or the Montreat Fellowship Hall, where God’s spirit is honored. Whatever our individual religion or spiritual preference is, our human hearts united yesterday to honor our dedication as well as our intent to impact and improve the lives of others through counseling.

We are adults some of us working fulltime, taking care of family and family members and maintaining a GPA of 3.5 or above in the professional field of human behavior. It is hard. It isolates you. It makes you unique. The thing is the more we do for others the better we become in whatever aspect we choose in life. Kindness is so underrated. No one should be made to feel unwanted, unworthy of affection, wasted time spent, nor of being uncared for. We cannot fix people but we certainly do not have to mistreat them.

So the compliment, “You represent us so well” has quieted and quickened my spirit.  I smile through my tears of gratitude; I am doing something right, somehow.

Broken wings

I have to fly higher than this.

 I have to reach further than most.

Words, people can no longer defeat me. I heal.

 Life situations will bend, break, and move me in resounding shifts. I heal.

How unordinary I am because I have broken wings.

 Soar with broken wings, all of it will pull shadow and carry you.

Soar anyway. ~Michelle (11.05.16)

I miss Momma and Daddy, they would be proud. Little Michelle, President-Elect of Mu Chi Chapter, Honor Society for Counselors. I have battled with going on further to receive my doctorate. I was informed that as an officer it is an expectation. I laughed. Really? Well, let me just go on and see what the end will be.

Represent well,

Michelle

(At the end of the ceremony, through all the prestige and decorum I still let out a big whoop whoop as I congratulated and welcomed the new Mu Chi members of 2016-2017. We rock!)

current-pic-happy
Keep pushing until it all matters; because it will

Heart Moments #NecessaryWork

I have a tendency to listen more than I advise. It makes me smile, being aware that I am capable of that particular attribute. #lifelessons

Volunteering has opened my eyes to so much more than an individual’s present circumstances. I volunteer with the Child and Adolescent population in different roles. Lately, my work has included working with teens that are recovering addicts. All male and of all races. They have my heart. It amazes me that so many are addicted, so young, so many trying to cope with life, their way.

I do not see myself as the typical counselor. As I journey towards licensure I pray that I do not lose sight of caring. The type of intimate caring with your heart that becomes easy to lose in all the rules, policies and regulations. I tend to mother first. I am quiet more than intrusive. I have learned in the most difficult way to be quiet, to listen.

It becomes laborious to think outside the box when policies and set therapeutic techniques are the norm. We cannot touch, hug, and show any kind of affection. We know not to preach, fuss, and become a parent to them. These rules are for my protection and quite different for me for I am a mother and I was raised old school in a two parent home. (Most of them just need a good switch and their mouths washed out with soap. I digress. Lol.)

One day while visiting the park, I listen to Brandon. He is 15 years old, Black, appears kind, great dimples. I ask, “When did you become aware of your family’s use of drugs?” He responds, “Four. I was four years old.” My heart breaks. He has seen a lot. He has become conducive to his environment. He has done more criminally than a grown man has. He is 15.  Me, turning away because I am about to cry, “I would hug you but we can’t do that. You know there is more out here. More to life.” Him: “I like my environment Ms. Michelle.” Me, heart completely shattered: “I know. I know you do.”

Our conversation bothered me so much. Why should I be this bothered? He is receiving necessary help. I find out that this is his second time in. For weeks, the word “environment” and his predicament weighed heavy on me. I called my older sons, Damien and Darius. I questioned them on implementing a journal technique, getting the clients to write. Both respond: “Not sure why you think writing is going to help them kids.” It kind of hurts when your children tell you your thinking is off base. The more I learn of Brandon’s life, the more I felt helpless. My thoughts, he is receiving what he needs. He has counselors. He is going to his NA meetings. He is going to be fine.

Yet, the way he talked, his topic of conversation did not change. He was still going to rob people, commit home invasions, and maybe not get high as much but he would still carry out the same behavioral actions. The more I kept telling myself I could not improve the system the more depressed I became. Helping is about change. Volunteering is about improvement.

As God worked my heart, an idea began to form, EFL, Equine Facilitated Therapy. A proven therapeutic technique. I spoke with my Director. She gave me the go ahead to pursue. Throughout all the required business details, I kept quiet. I just knew this was going to fall through. I presented my proposal as a recreational activity. The Director accepted as an additional therapeutic technique for the Adolescent clients! My family responds: “Good, Momma.” I know this is huge; pretty mega. I laugh and I am so giddy.

Oh, how I wish I could share photos. I love confidentiality; I do but man I wish I could share photos. First session: the experience is exciting and unbelievable. Brandon, leader, aka tough guy is the most fearful. Kenny is as well. Remember, all these teens have some sort of record. Yet, they are quiet, scared, and respectful of these great creatures.  Of the twelve, Brandon and Kenny hide behind me, and counselors whenever the horses move. At least eight, take to the horses. They are working as a team to guide, walk and command the horses. Kenny, the one so afraid is able to lead and command the toughest horse there.

As we are watching him, his counselor says to me: “He has been shot twice. Gangs are trying to kill him. He is a tough one. His dad abused him. His mom doesn’t want him.” As she is speaking, I am watching this child smile; laugh, talk and I cannot hold back my tears. Me: “I need to take the time to read their files.” Her: “You haven’t? You put all this together without reading their files. Look around you. I have never seen these boys this way. Good job.”  I smile more, whisper to God a thank you and take more pictures. Brandon, my ringleader has not taken to any of the lessons given. He actually has the other clients surrounding him for protection. Smh, awesome leadership skills. He states he does not want to come back. (The EFL therapy is mandatory!) However, our second session he is riding. He even coaches and reassures me as I ride.

EFL is more for the teens but as I learn and bond with the horses, I am learning so much more about myself. At times, the sessions are so intensifying…its overwhelming to come face to face with your past, your Self in front of others. What I am learning about me at 46 years of age….I am a good person. That although I have been told otherwise and been made to feel inferior over the years I know that my heart is pure. I am proud of me, of who I am, of where this journey is leading me and it is wonderful to be okay with myself. #becoming

The responsibility of communicating with an animal that weighs up to 1600 pounds and it is just as furious about surviving as we are is humbling phenomenal.  I come home completely drained from the experience, happy. The emotional, mental and spiritual content, connection is difficult to express, another reason I have not blogged for a while.

Listen to the nudges, pricks, ideas you receive. They should cause us to go deeper, reach further. The possibility of change begins within us. Do the necessary work, it will influence the future. We can.

Love the journey,

A.Michelle!

 

 

 

Rejection…#BeginAgain

heart   Life is anything but simple. It would seem only the elders have the answers. When I inquire of their wisdom: “Pray about it.”  “God is there.” Moreover, “You’ve lived through worse.” Great words. True affirmations. Life is still a working complication. No one has the answers to “but why?”

I am walking, working, faith-ing in crisis mode. I have been for the last few years. Truthfully, each day is a battle. We fight in so many battles. Frankly, I am pretty worn out. My heart hurts. My faith has a little thread showing that keeps being pulled…you know the one piece that if you keep pulling, it will pull the entire garment apart. That is where I am– a place where I am continuously pushed into, the fighting with faith corner.

I do not think I have any difficulty in learning life’s lessons. I find it difficult to believe my journey is more special than anyone else. Yet for God’s sake, what more do I need to learn? (Rhetorical.)

Incidently, I do not think love is very tricky. I think the responsibility of it; how we carry it, is the intended lesson. My youngest is nine years old. He is the bravest person I know. What weakens me is his tears, his worries. How he will crawl into bed with me and squeeze me tight, crying because he does not want to lose me. He does not want me to die. I realize I am his world. I am all he has. The one he believes in. #singlemother

Yet, I cannot promise him that I will be here to see his children. I promise him that I will do better about taking care of myself. My whole self. I shoulder the responsibility of his heart. His and all my children. It is just us and has been just us for the longest.

I am happy that I am not a bitter, cold person. I think life is too short to become that type of person. I am not anyone’s doormat either. All I have experienced in life either by choice or by God’s design, I will admit I am the better for it. I have to actualize and acknowledge that I am the better for it.

#Gogettr is my tagged license plate. It took awhile for me to decide on that term. It was after the divorce, after the custody battles, before Darius’ diagnosis, after Momma died, after the partial hysterectomy before unemployment and now, now, it complements the blank canvas to begin a new life at 45 years old.

Last week three situations happened that circle my faith: Tuesday, an educated man, doctorate degree greets me on the elevator: “So you are #Gogettr?” I look at him confused. Him: “Your license plate. It fits you. That is you.” I smile. He does not know my heart is broken and that my idea of love has become disillusioned. Later, I look up Cambridge’s definition of go-getter:  someone who is very energetic, determined to be successful, and able to deal with new or difficult situations easily. I nod my head in agreement and think, hmmm, a spiritual prognosis. Only me.

Friday morning, in training class on Person Centered Therapy, my table partner says: “You are amazing. You are beautiful. Your faith moves me. I can see it.”  His words make my life seem real, my faith tangible. Yet he amazes me because this stranger, this white man, married, a father, former military and in law enforcement makes me feel safe. I have not felt safe in a long time.

Then there is my client, a businessman who initially approached me about working with him. Friday afternoon, I questioned him on me becoming self-employed, taking more classes. I told him I never saw myself that way, outside of being a licensed counselor and published writer. He responds: “You are smart. I can tell how you carry yourself in conversations. I am from the street. I have no clue about the field you want to go into but I will support you. Job loss after 15 years of service!! This is fate. Believe in yourself. Get out there. Learn all you can. Knowledge is power. God has a purpose for all of this.” He is my one and only client. He has no idea how he has affected my life but every meeting he tells me how he is grateful for me.

It would be a lie if I tell you that I am walking on sunshine and I see rainbows after every storm. I will not tell you that because I do not. I am more reactive where I should be proactive in faith. The more I wail and cry silently the more God sends solidifying proof that He is working and all of this is for my good.

Rejection: I think rejection is by far one of the greatest emotional hurdles of life. It happens to the best, the innocent and in every aspect of life. Knowing this does not make the acceptance of rejection easier, nor the pain tolerable. Everything we know of ourselves comes under self-scrutiny; from the size of our waist to how many inches our eyes are spaced apart. Our waistline we can control with great discipline but the latter we have no say.

Demoralizing our self-worth, trying to understand the reasons we experience rejection is a tedious meaningless task and we give it so much work and so much energy. It is self-defeating. Advice from others, those little cliches vex me so. For example, “Hurt people hurt people.” So asinine. “Don’t have any expectations.” Now that is just plain stupid. “Let it go.” Whatever, you try it.

I want a time where I can rest. Resting in God. I got it. Love Him, I do. Yet for once just once in this lifetime I want to rest in a pair of manly arms that refuse to let me go, to let me hurt. Arms that will let me rest, finally.

I think I grieve effectively…smh, I even grieve with hope. As a writer, I write it out. As a mother, I pray it out. As a grad student, a counselor I still pray it out. Of all the heels, I have to wear I still pray it out to the One who was rejected by all. How ironic faith is, a conundrum paradox. God’s mending extends our strength. I encourage you not to settle. I promise not to either. Chin up. Keep it moving. There is great power in next. 🙂

Let us begin again,

Gogettr aka Michelle.

Kisses!

 

Heels, Heals, & Concrete

My Sunday…20160626_150107 (1)

Teen: “Ms. Michelle you play?” Me: “I can show you better than I can tell you.” I missed my first few shots so I took off my heels and we began to play. He is 15 years old, plays soccer; he has never held a basketball, heavy accent, overdosed once. He is the new kid, the quiet shy kid. My third day on post and I cannot remember his name. He shoots, misses horribly. I begin to teach him the techniques of holding a basketball, of bouncing. He continues to miss. He bounces the ball to me saying, “You try.”

I get’em all in! Sundress, barefooted, happy, sweating and connecting. During our conversation, I learn that he speaks nothing but negative statements about himself. “I can’t do it.” “I won’t get close to the blackboard.” I learn that his parents are from Honduras and El Salvador. I learn that he is a US citizen and that when others call him, “Mexican” its the only time he corrects anyone. I learn that I cannot pronounce his ethnicity but I continue trying until he laughs. He doesn’t mind repeating, teaching me.

It is just him and me. All the other teens have gone elsewhere along the park. I see him relax. I see him smile. I see him continue to try. I am learning to be his biggest cheerleader. I clap and yell when he gets a shot in. He then asks about me: “How did you learn how to play?” Me: “I have older children and I like the game of basketball. I watch it. You have to keep trying. Find a spot on the court you feel comfortable with and go from there. Keep practicing. Don’t give up.” Him: “Okay, Ms. Michelle. You got WNBA skills!” We laugh. I did outscore him.

After our interaction, sitting at the counselor table, Older Guy, smiling: “You have to meet them right where they are.” Me: “It was nice.”

Our moment healed my “self-tearing” struggle from last week. “Don’t give up.” They tell me I am no more than 32 years old. I dare not correct them. They know I am not a recovering addict and my first day they dismissed me as confidant. Yet today…today was a good day.