What Do You Mean?

Every year, my family goes to the movies on Thanksgiving Day. I can’t remember how, why, or when this tradition started, but I think my mom’s deep love of popcorn—movie theater popcorn in particular—had something to do with it. So on Thursday evening, right after my mom secured her medium popcorn with extra butter, we sank into our reclining seats to see King Richard.

King Richard is the story of Richard Williams (father of tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams) and his role in his daughters’ rise to fame. Richard, played by Will Smith, pushes his daughters to excel in a predominately white sport and his efforts pay off handsomely. Venus and Serena are two of the greatest tennis players of all time.

The film was fantastic. #Nospoilers here, but there were many amazing moments in the movie. The one that inspired this post is honestly one of the smaller details, something many people may not have given a second thought.

In one emotional scene, Richard’s other children were mentioned.

Now, the only two Williams children I was familiar with were Venus and Serena. After seeing the movie, I looked up Richard Williams and learned he was married before his relationship with the Williams sisters’ mother. In fact, his previous marriage resulted in five children—three sons and two daughters.

I wondered how these children felt, watching their father pour into their other siblings. How they interpreted their father’s actions. If they blamed themselves for their father’s departure.

Divorce is a tough experience, especially for the children involved. When my parents parted ways, I felt like my father didn’t try hard enough to make things work. In my eyes, he abandoned us. He chose his drinking over me and my mom.

How would I feel if he then sobered up and made a new family with new kids? If he gave those children a solid, stable, supportive father figure? If he gave them everything and left me behind?

Confused. Devastated. Worthless.

I know this small section of the film wasn’t the major focus, but I felt something in my heart break when I learned of the other Williams children. I can’t speak for them or act like I know exactly how they felt growing up. But as a a child of divorce myself, I know the kids involved have a unique perspective. I hope all the Williams children (now adults) have the relationship they always wanted with their father, even if that is no relationship at all. I pray they were able to get the resolution and closure they needed.

I dream for the day I’ll have the same.

Thank U

This week I (like many of y’all) am celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday in my hometown. Family, fellowship, and food–the holy trinity of this particular celebration. An opportunity to appreciate all we have…then go out and buy more on Black Friday! And of course, the question asked around dinner tables every single year…

“What are you thankful for?”

The pandemic made me extremely thankful for the many blessings in my life. I imagine others had a similar onslaught of overwhelming appreciation for life, health, and other things oft taken for granted. COVID really helped us put things in perspective, y’all.

But sometimes it’s hard to see the sugar for all the shit.

Lately I’ve been stressed, depressed, and just plain exhausted. Work life has tried me. Home life has tried me. My inner saboteur has been working overtime to convince me I’m a terrible human being who only deserves the worst in life.

How am I supposed to find the sugar in all that shit???

I’m thankful I have a job, even if it feels like work gets added but never gets taken away. I’m thankful for my family and friends, even if we don’t always see eye to eye. I’m thankful to see another season, even with the cold, dark, windy days. Every day I draw breath is a great day, even if it doesn’t always feel like it. Because each day gives me the opportunity to be thankful for the beautiful things–big and small.

And if you have nothing else to be thankful for…

Be thankful for the ability to be thankful.

Buy Me a Rose

“Give people their flowers while they’re here.”

You’ve heard that saying, right? Basically, we should tell people how much they mean to us while they are around to hear it. It’s a call to action we can all take on.

Sometimes, I wish it were taken more literally.

I absolutely adore fresh flowers. (I honestly think it’s a hereditary thing–a lot of the women in my family are flower freaks.) While expensive to send, I know nothing will thrill my grandmother more than a beautiful bouquet. My great-aunt always had fresh flowers in the house when she was alive. Just last week, my husband surprised me with flowers and I thought my heart would explode. It’s wild how something a small as a $15 arrangement from the grocery store down the street can bring so much joy.

So I want to start giving people their flowers by literally giving them their flowers.

Over the next year, I want to send surprise flowers to people I care about. Family, friends–anyone who’s made a positive impact in my life. Not for a holiday or anything in particular, just because they are special to me.

I hope their hearts are fill with joy.

I hope they feel special, appreciated, loved.

I hope they see the beauty in the gift as a reflection of the beauty in them.

I’ve heard more than once that flowers aren’t a great gift because they eventually die. Who wants a gift that doesn’t last? Cut flowers show their colors and slowly fade away until nothing is left but the memory.

But isn’t that true of all of us?

We eventually die–we cease to exist. While we’re living, we show our colors: our talents, our feelings, our love. We grow older, and eventually all that is left of us is the legacy we leave behind.

We are flowers: beautiful, colorful, fragile, temporary. Acknowledge the beauty in everyone you meet, but especially those who’ve impacted your life in a positive way. Cherish those people; give them support and encouragement just as you’d give water and sunlight to the beautiful blooms you arrange in a vase.

After all, flowers don’t last forever.

No More (Baby Imma Do Right)

“I’m gettina lil’ tired of your broken promises, promises…”

Y’all remember that song??? 3LW had middle school me hype! I was really out there singing (definitely off-key) to my (completely imaginary) boyfriend to get his (entirely hypothetical) shit together. 😂😂😂

Now, those three little women didn’t know what the hell they were singing about either. (Or maybe they were more sophisticated young adults than I was—who knows?) Either way, I appreciate the message behind the song in a way I couldn’t back then.

Sometimes, we stay in situations we know aren’t good for us. Whether it’s a job or a relationship or something else entirely, we stay because we feel comfortable. We stay because it’s what we know. We stay because we can’t imagine another way.

So we put up with the lies. The abuse. The broken promises, promises. We push aside our intuition and let the situation control us, instead of the other way around. Eventually, we find ourselves two options: stay or go.

Not an easy decision, but a necessary one.

Today, I stand at this crossroads. I can stay comfortable (and unhappy) where I am. I could journey to a new (scary and unknown) place.

I don’t know what to choose.

Without sharing too much, I’ve been in this situation for a long time time (over a decade actually). Many aspects of the situation are excellent, but a few key areas conflict with my personal values. I can choose to overlook those few things and just focus on the good, but that makes me feel like a fraud. I don’t want to lie to anyone, especially myself.

So here I am, between a rock and a hard place. I don’t know what I’m going to choose, but I do now this—I need to make a choice. Because as those three little women sang all those years ago…

“You do, or you don’t. You will, or you won’t.”