You deserve better.

Some of us are raised with such convoluted ideals of what is expected and acceptable in relationships. Even when we know better, we don’t choose to do better. We relent, we condone, we allow others to interject their opinions and what they feel our relationship should produce or protect. Truth is – it is not their relationship. I’ve heard wait until you’re with someone for 15 years – that is a real relationship, real dedication, and real love. The hell you say?! Real love, real dedication – has no essence of time. Period. Love is an ongoing action, not a timeline.

Being a self-proclaimed love addict that had the belief that one day, if I put up with enough these disastrous, abusive and detrimental relationships would surely blossom into a loving and healthy lifetime commitment, was a fallacy. I’ve literally laid down and allowed men to walk all over me my entire life, starting with my own Father. That feeling of worthlessness was like sewage that continued to spill into relationship after relationship. You want to know why that is? Because we believe what we are fed, things like the adage “you might as well stick it out – because the next person has just as much issues as the one you are with.” LIES! People listen here, that is completely inaccurate. Did you ever think that maybe all these closed doors, all these U-turns, was GOD saying “Hey, I love you, this is not right for you and you need to go a different direction?” Not, stick around and continue to be beat down, unloved or beaten at all.

Everyone has their flaws like leaving their clothes beside the laundry basket, forgetting to take the garbage out, not always helping with the kids, but serious issues, deal breaker issues — there are men/women without them. You can do better!

They say if you want a different outcome, you must do things differently. In each relationship, I tried that. Any previous failures from ended relationships, I would try to preempt and rectify in future ones. If the guy before was unfaithful, I made myself more sexual, more available, more pleasing. If the guy before was unhappy or felt unimportant, I learned to cook, to provide, to take care of. If the guy before was deceitful and untrustworthy, I tried to open more, communicate more, to allow and invite an openness in the relationship. If the guy was emotionally, mentally or physically abusive, I would modify my looks and my behaviors. I would give up my life, my fun, my wants and needs and dedicate myself completely to helping and fixing them. DO YOU SEE THE PROBLEM HERE?? The problems and changes to be made were not mine to make. It was simply the wrong relationship. I didn’t trust myself enough, I didn’t listen to my brain or follow my own intuition which was screaming incessantly that this was not okay, I can’t fix this, I deserve better!

It is important for you to realize this: It is not your job to take on the success or failure of a relationship in its entirety. If the marriage/relationship is failing and you are the only one fighting…STOP. Cheaters, cheat. Liars, lie. Abusers dominate and destroy. And Addicts, simply transfer their addictions. You do not need to stay in any of these situations. It is your choice – not God’s choice, or the Bibles choice, because if it was, it wouldn’t hurt you. God would never ask you to sin, or put yourself in harms way. It is not what is best for your children, or what is best for you. You will undoubtedly lose yourself as you continue to lose this battle.

Here is the thing, yes, we tend to fall into relationship ruts, and picking a different type of the same bad guy repeatedly. But you have the ability of modifying and updating your hardwired picker – your picker doesn’t have to remain broken. You are wiser than you give yourself credit for. And, my favorite part is this: Not every person will abuse you, not every person will cheat on you – repeatedly. Not every person will be systematically deceitful, selfish and manipulative.

In my lifetime, I have loved entirely and completely three men – an abusive alcoholic, a kind and gentle lost man, and an honest to goodness good man. The honest and good men – do exist. I didn’t have to settle. I didn’t have to allow someone to hurt me to feel loved temporarily. Or chase him for attention, affection, or temporary stability. He chose to stay, he chose to be kind, to be considerate, to listen, to communicate and to love me for me – even when I feel like I don’t deserve it. And, he makes that choice every day, because he chooses to.

You’ve heard the saying do not compare your behind the scenes to someone else’s highlight reel, and it is true. Trust me, I lived in a highlight reel life, I boasted and hung tightly to every UP, because I was so tormented by every LOW. I thought I needed to be thankful for the good times, because they made the hard times worth it, which is true to a point – a breaking point. When the hard times are many and the good times are few, you must be strong enough and value yourself enough to look at why that is, and when necessary, draw the line. Enough is enough.

There are several unhealthy relationships that are littered with guarded secrets, ultimatums, unstable foundations, infidelity, deceit and immoral actions. The worst part is that there are people who think this is what they deserve! That this is the best they can have. That no one will love them outside of this relationship. That they have nothing to offer the world, no dream to chase, no voice to be heard, or gift to be shared. They look in the mirror and see failure, ridicule, embarrassment and despair, when instead they should see strength, honor, integrity, beauty, hope and success. And love, damn it! You should look at yourself in that mirror and see LOVE, for yourself.

In my mirror, I can choose to see all those negative things as well, I can see my flaws and imperfections, my failed endeavors, relationships, parental screw-ups, employment mistakes, and lord knows what else. But, you want to know what I see when I look in the mirror? I see my daughter. I see her impressive beauty, her intelligence and witty personality, and her STRONG sense of self-esteem. I see my sons, their goofy ways, kind hearts, and loving souls. The reflection of my green eyes that I love, that have cried tears of happiness more than sadness, and that many have investigated, viewing the goodness of my heart. I see a woman who has been real, honest and fought when necessary and is learning to let most battles go. I see a woman who is beautiful because of my actions, my children, my mind, and my heart – not because of my physical features. And most importantly I see a woman who is gritty, quick-witted, stubborn, hilarious, bold and authentic. There is no one like me and GOD did that on purpose.

That is what I choose to see, and what I will continue to raise my daughter to choose to see. It is what you should choose to see. Choose yourself and take back the ownership of your life. It will be the best investment you will ever make.

Walk all over me, please.

Is there a sign on my back that says, KICK ME or FREE TO TREAT LIKE CRAP? Because sometimes it feels likes it.

Every once in a while, I will get a wild hair and become intrigued by people who perceive me as a defenseless pushover. Or, better yet as someone who cares enough about their opinion to allow my day to become ruined by it. During these brief moments of weakness, it takes an act of God to keep me from saying, “excuse me” as I tap on their shoulder, “what is it exactly in my overall appearance (pointing at my face in a circular motion) or personality that screams “walk all over me, please” and gives you the idea that I will actually fold and lay flat like a board and do as you say?” I don’t fold well with others and I am not LESS of a person than you are.

Not everyone gets the same version of me. One person might tell you I’m an amazing beautiful soul; another person might say I’m a cold-hearted person. Believe them both, I act accordingly.

You’ve heard the saying above and it is true. Even for a Christian. There comes a point where judgment gets a little annoying and not standing up for yourself needs to end. People’s opinions of me are none of my business – I know that. But, what it all boils down to is the simple fact of – you don’t know me. You may know me from years ago, or from a story someone shared of my past, or from an ex – because we all know how truthful those stories can be. Either way, I’m not that girl – and you can either venture out and get to know me for me, or you can continue to miss out and judge instead.

Honestly, either are fine by me but what wont happen is my remaining silent or letting anyone disrespect me – to me. I’m not that girl. There is a fine line between taking the high road and getting steam-rolled. The high road is less traveled and I will choose it 99% of the time, but during those 1% moments where my character and my family are involved and questioned – tread ever-so-lightly my friend. My feelings, thoughts, abilities and what I have to offer as a person are not any less important than any one else. The moment you think you are better than someone else, is the same moment you no longer are – written by: me.

My life is mine for a reason, because I am the only one who can live it. God made me intricately detailed, flawed, a pain in the tush and incredible all at the same time. He factored in my own stupidity knowing I would fail, and that I would need his grace time and time again. He formed my heart knowing that it would love people that would never love me back – and made sure it would have the capacity and willingness to keep beating and loving any how. It’s a heart that fights for what is right, and is unafraid to take a stand for others. A heart that at night, when I fail, or hurt someone – repents and rehashes the why behind my actions. You don’t see that though.

My mistakes are just that, mine. If I make mistakes ten times a day, every day, for the rest of my life, they are no more your business from the first mistake to the last. You can’t bet your sweet nosy tush, I will learn something new along the way each and every time though. I am a very resourceful mistake-maker. My journey is personal and specific to what is needed for my growth as a woman and as a human being. Not yours.

My beliefs are no less important than yours, nor are my priorities, except that to us individually they are significant and critical in the forefront of our lives. They are what propel us forward, the motivation and dedication that burns in our souls. We will not always see eye to eye and I don’t want to! My opinions are loud, but they are never one-sided or judgmental – they come from a personal experience of either gain or loss. You decide if my opinion matters to you, and vice versa – individually the person chooses to validate or reject it. The power belongs to the beholder, just as does beauty.

You are welcome to exit my life, at any given moment. The door is always open for you to do so. Rarely will I hold it for you as you exit, or lock it behind you, but I will most assuredly not prevent you from walking out of it. Your life, if you choose to have me in it, will get easier once you understand I am who I am. And, I love her. I love what I fight for, what I believe in, and who I believe in. And, if you’re in my life that includes you.

I’m at the point in my life, where the quality of the person, reflects my effort. My children are my main priority, I choose every day to love, trust and believe in GOD, and to live my life without regret. I know my heart, and the goodness it contains, it is not my intent nor desire to persuade you in or out of loving me. I love myself enough for the both of us, and my value will never decrease because we’re in disagreement over my worth. Take it or leave it.