Sunday, April 27, 2014

Self Worth

Once upon a time, I lost most, if not all, of my self worth. It was the result of a relationship that left me with more questions than answers and a void I thought would never be filled. It caused me to severely devalue myself. I can only blame myself for this since my value was not something that was taken from me. It was something that I gave up. Yes the ingredients were laid out by another. However, I chose to pick up the ingredients, measure them out, and bake that wretched cake. It was dry, and I ate it. It had no flavor, but I ate it. I thought I measured the salt perfectly, but there was too much. I still ate it. It was a dry, flavorless, and salty cake, and I ate every last bite. How did I let that happen?  

The reasons that created that moment no longer matter except to serve as a reminder of what not to do in life. From time to time, the feeling of worthlessness creeps in, but I have to remind myself that "I is kind, I is smart, and I is important." I absolutely hate that line from "The Help", but I love what Aibileen was trying to impart to Mae Mobley. Mae Mobley's mother was going to clip her little wings before she could even fly. It's hard enough to grow up in a world that is always showing images of how we don't measure up, but to have your mother be your personal tour guide into that dark place is saddening. Aibileen was trying to give her a chance to know what feeling worthy was like. Maybe those seeds she planted could grow in any type of terrain, and Mae Mobley would have a chance to feel like she mattered. We all want to matter. We all want to feel like we belong. We all want to be loved. As we get older, we must accept that all of this must come from within first, and then we can add people to our lives who can help us be better versions of our ourselves. Seeking it from anywhere else will leave us insatiable. It's a lesson that I keep learning repeatedly, and I hope not to my detriment. The struggle continues but at least it continues.

Self worth must be protected. The world will steal it, disfigure it, or kill it if we let it. My self worth was on life support but with time comes healing. I pray that I don't ever slip that far again, but at least this time I know better.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

I Am Changing (in my Jennifer Holliday voice.) Am I?

 "I am praying to be a Proverbs 31, fearless, faithful, and loving woman. It's not easy, but I'm working on it."

I have a lot of time to reflect on so much. Although I probably have too much time to reflect, I try to at least keep the focus on my present. What is going on with me? Who am I today versus the person I was a week ago, a month ago, a year get the picture. My quote comes from a post I wrote nearly a year ago. I stumbled upon that post, and I wondered have I become this woman. It's great timing since I want to focus on the type of person I've become at the ripe old age of 30. I'll take it bit by bit. 

Proverbs 31  is a great description of the type of woman I want to be. This is one hardworking, loving, and kind woman. She really is the type of woman that most wives want to be. A provider, nurturer, cheerleader, philanthropist, and a woman who fears the Lord out of reverence. She wants the best for all of those around her. She has wisdom and a kind word on her tongue. Ooh, if I could get to the point where I always have a kind word on my tongue that would be awesome! This woman is highly regarded because she posses so many beautiful characteristics. Her wonderful spirit is so highly regarded that even her husband is known in the gates. Women can sit among the elders now, but when this was written, that was not the case. Can you imagine the type of influence this woman must have had? Honey! I love it, and I want to be her. So where am I with this? I am doing a lot more good than harm, and I am definitely far more supportive than critical. Old Kim would have looked at the situation and critiqued the hell out of it. I could turn any accomplishment into a mere whimsy. Recognizing that about myself sucked, but it created the new me. I am more likely to focus on the pluses and then constructively criticize any minuses or not say anything that won't be helpful. Changing this wasn't hard to do. I only need someone to tell me once that I'm hurting or offending them, but I need to be told. Now I just need to buy a plot of land and get myself some servants....

Fearless- I definitely am more fearless. I read a book, so it's certified now. Lol. I have pursued things that I opted not to do out of fear that I would fail. I do not accept failure well, so I've avoided it. Well, I've done the easy work. I've been accepted into a PhD program, but now I have to prepare myself for what may be the most difficult thing for me to do. On top of this, we plan on bringing people into the world next year. This is going to be interesting. Trusting in the Lord. 

Loving- It comes naturally for me to have a big heart, but for those who are rude...I've got a nanosecond for those people. I have some of these people in my life (directly and indirectly) and in an effort to try and forge some type of relationship, I've decided to fake it until I make it. If the false environment that I have created proves to not be enough, fine by me. I have other things where I can focus my energy. This is proving to be difficult. People are blind to the things that may be perceived as negative. No one wants to be anything that has a negative connotation, but got dang I can't stand it when people don't face the truth. So I'm dealing...poorly most days, but I'm dealing. 

Current assessment: I'm in a better place than where I was nearly a year ago, but I've got more work to do. I'll check back in on myself in 6 months. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Throwback Thursday

This isn't a typical throwback. I was speaking with a friend today, and I recalled a poem that was read at our wedding. We only had two readings:  1 Corinthians 13 and Why Marriage? I wanted to read it again. I really wish I had a videographer. Christina swears that I was crying first, but I know she started the water works. I'm taking a moment to count my blessings. One of my greatest blessings is the man who stood next to me on October 12, 2008. It's not been completely smooth sailing, but I wouldn't have had it any other way. I'm truly blessed.

By: Mari Nichols-Haining

Because to the depths of me, I long to love one person,
With all my heart, my soul, my mind, my body...

Because I need a forever friend to trust with the intimacies of me,
Who won't hold them against me,
Who loves me when I'm unlikable,
Who sees the small child in me, and
Who looks for the divine potential of me...

Because I need to cuddle in the warmth of the night
With someone who thanks God for me,
With someone I feel blessed to hold...

Because marriage means opportunity
To grow in love in friendship...

Because marriage is a discipline
To be added to a list of achievements...

Because marriages do not fail, people fail
When they enter into marriage
Expecting another to make them whole...

Because, knowing this,
I promise myself to take full responsibility
For my spiritual, mental and physical wholeness
I create me,
I take half of the responsibility for my marriage
Together we create our marriage...

Because with this understanding
The possibilities are limitless.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Teamwork Really Does Make the Dream Work

A long time ago, I realized that in order to have a healthy union, I needed to start viewing my husband as a team member and not as an opponent. I didn't get married to steal the ball from him, cause him to fumble or rip a backhand winner down the line to win the point. I married him because he's the one to block for me when someone is trying to force me to fumble and we play mixed doubles! Basically, we're in this together. We are not foes when arguments arise. We are partners who may have a differing view on something, but we keep the goal in mind. Fixing the problem makes life better for US.

I know many couples who didn't survive because they simply weren't a team. Promises were broken by some without apology. For some reason, they felt that they had more of a right to break an agreement with their partner than any random person on the street. Some just refused to changed. They accepted that they were lacking in an area, but they didn't change their behavior to fix the problem which only caused the rift to grow more. Many were just bad at communication. They were incapable of empathizing and listening to their partner's concerns because they were so focused on their own hurt. That is so disheartening to me. Two people who are both hurt who are "in love", but they can't help each other. My heart sinks when I think about that. Pain is a powerful emotion, and it keeps us from being able to move forward when we hold onto it like a life raft. The only problem is that it isn't a life raft. It's a weight that is causing us to sink.

Why am I writing about this? I mean I'm not a relationship blogger. This really is my personal blog that is public that I am using to track life events and occasionally some thoughts. This is a thought. A friend of mine sent a link to a video (Four Horsemen- John Gottman). I thought for some time about what we may be doing that is considered to be a characteristic of a "disaster" relationship and a "master" relationship. I feel shameful sometimes when I think about my behavior towards My Love early in our relationship. I am now able to recognize that those moments were the building blocks for what we have now. We're better for it, and it helps me to empathize with those who may have gone through a similar process. It makes it harder to judge someone when you know that you aren't that far removed from the behavior. We aren't "masters" of marriage, but in our five years of marriage I feel that I have what many never experience in their marriage until 10 or 20 years later. It took/takes work. The work never ends. It just means we have to keep finding fun and meaningful ways to make it not feel like work. It really doesn't feel like work when you are laughing all of the time, taking long strolls and learning more about the emotions and thoughts of your spouse, trying new restaurants, traveling to new lands, and getting tipsy and laughing your butts off about how tipsy you are. Just start to enjoy life together.

I think a big problem why spouses view each other as the opponent is that we're so afraid to face the ugly sides of ourselves. It's easier to blame and fight another than wrestle with ourselves. There are many who will proclaim that they don't mind people saying things about them because they can handle the truth. The loudest one in the crowd is probably the most sensitive one. If no one pinched you, why are you saying ouch? I had to look inward and see that there was a person there that I had become who was going to cause the demise of one of the greatest gifts God has ever given me if I didn't correct it. My marriage hasn't ever come close to having to talk about divorce. It's the worrier in me, that made me face this early on. For us, divorce is a last resort, and there has got to be something so broken that we have to recognize God didn't mean for us to be together. We speak about divorce in a awkward hypothetical sense. However, I'm aware of what causes divorce, so I need to fix whatever I need to work on to ensure that I'm doing everything to protect my marriage. The enemy can easily be in your home, and it may very well be you. Just pull out the mirror and start writing down what is getting in the way of your marriage being successful that you may be doing. Acknowledge it, accept it, and then fix it. People shouldn't be afraid to seek professional help as well. If we had cancer, we would do everything we could to eradicate the malignant cells from our bodies. We should treat our marriage the same way. There is a malignant force that is trying to take over the beautiful things that led us to marry this person. We need to do all that we can to get rid of that force. (Didn't mean to get on a soapbox....)

I'm not an expert on this thing. I'm just a married woman who's marriage has had its peaks and valleys like all. When he is weak, I am strong. When I am weak, he is strong. I just know that I've got the best QB, center, baseline player, forward, tackle, safety, kicker, and judo player on my team. He's got the same from me.

- One Half of Team Watkins