Dear Readers, I can happily say that during 2021, I’ve had more highes than lowes. After many challenges my 3rd book was published, and I completed a cross country drive from New York City to California ( thank you Tate for being my road warrior). I became a member of the Central Brooklyn Lions Club and discovered two Ministries that helped me to revive my dying prayer life and Bible study. I joined a gym enjoying my workouts and renewed physical energy. I am deeply thankful that I was able to visit my mother in South Carolina for Thanksgiving. Finally, it took time, therapy, tears and prayer, but I battled through depression and regained my drive and focus to continue with my goals on my vision board.
Looking forward to the blessings of 2022, I am thrilled to leave behind the old negative narrative, people who gossip, and others who want to hold onto old pain. There is no room in my new negative for useless drama, distractions and holding onto yesterday’s pain. It’s been a long time since Ive walked in the light of hope and it feels amazing.
Happy New Year from J. R. Floyd, creator of dragthepen & Conversations with J. R on YouTube and Amazon Music.
This may appear to be a picture of an expensive handbag, but when I look at this handbag it represents waiting for a special occasion, the perfect outfit and broken promises. I purchased this handbag March 1, 2021, I carfully stored it away and promised myself that I would use it on my birthday trip March 25, but the trip didn’t happen. Then I said, I’II wait to find the perfect outfit and special occasion to use my beautiful new handbag. Needless to say, I never made it to the mall and the special occasion didn’t happen, so I thought.
What I am getting at is this some of us are guilty of putting things off waiting for the right time, and making promises to ourselves or others breaking them because we dont think about the conquences of not keeping our word. We wait and wait for that big occasion to wear a specal suit, dress, shoes, piece of jewelry or in my case to sport a handbag. Each time I went to my closet and looked at this handbag, I didn’t feel the same excitement as I did when I purchased it. I thought about the price, and how I had to make special room for it to sit on the shelf, with its matching wallet and key chain. When I purchased this handbag I imagined how all eyes would be on me when I walked into the room.
That was nine months ago and today is the day that I wasn’t going to wait any longer to use my handbag. You see I already had the perfect dress, shoes, and place to flash my handbag. It’s Sunday, I visit my of worship and afterwards I usually meet friends for brunch or an early dinner. How foolish of me to put so much importance on a handbag that I could have taken to the market, on my trip to visit my mother, girls night out, and to the nail salon. I forgot that the reason why I purchased the handbag was to use it. After all it’s just a handbag.
Bottom line. Stop putting off living in the moment when the time is right. No material item is worth worshipping, and each day that we live is a special occasion, especially since this pandemic continues to hold the world hostage. Tomorrow I will take my handbag to work and be thankful for being employed.
The year 2021 is coming to an end and some people are very vocal about this year being another wasted year due to this on going pandemic. I agree that this continuous mutating virus is ignoring. No matter, I am thankful for all that I have been blessed with throughout this year. I am in good health, emotionally, mentally and physically. Most thankfull for employment, and that none of my family or friends have died from this virus. Our family was blessed to welcome a new addition to the family, my great niece MeMe. I accomplished a long time dream to drove cross country, and published another book. My apartment was flooded by hurricane Ida, I am blessed to have an amazing landlord and my apartment has been restored better than new. I was able to visit my mother in South Carolina for Thanksgiving we had an amazing time just the two of us. I can go on and on, but I won’t. I choose to see the good that happened this year. We have had enough of the bad. I hope when you taking a look back you will count your blessings.. Merry Christmas and hope your looking forward to another wonderful New Year.
Have you noticed the new movement of motivational speakers and relationship experts who claim their sole purpose is to help people discover the hidden secrets of how to have a loving and lasting intimate relationships. There are thousands of books and videos posted on soical media by these self proclaimed relationship experts who earn income form speaking engagements, books and relationship workshops all at the expense of broken hearts and lost souls searching for love.
Women are pouring into relationship conferences that charge a fee to hear what they are doing wrong in their relationships, and how to attract the right partner. I’ve been unsuccessful in love, so I began to pay attention to these relationship experts, and invested money in books and workshops. For the most part I found some of the information useful and discovered areas in my life that needed improvement. But, I am not going to shoulder all the blame for not having successful relationships. Why? Because overtime while attending these relationship workshops I began to notice a trend, most experts heaped the blame for failed relationships on women.
The ideology of these experts seems to centered around advising women to be better, raise their standards, don’t date out side their league, stop chasing men, stop making life easy for men, stop having sex, stop wanting marriage, and wait for the man to make the first move. There theory is that It is the duty of women to guard their virginity because men don’t women who’ve been around the block too many times. Men want good girls, you know the saying, ” sugar and spice and everything nice.” While being a nice girl, women should concentrate on securing an education, building a career, and a solid credit score, and finances in preparation for Prince Charming. And when he comes all her aspiration should shift to serving her family and creating a happy home. I say, most of their expert advice is ” B. S.” and sexism.
Most of the dating resources and advice claim that woman are not supposed to change the rules of dating. A womans position is to be meek, humble, submissive, and attentive to her mans needs. Some relationship experts explain that women contribute to the deterioration of a relationship due to them pursuing careers over a relationship, marriage and children. The experts also suggest that most men leave their homes or have outside relationships because their current partner is not meeting their needs.
I won’t bore you with a list of books, YouTube channels, and podcasts focused on educating women in the ways of how to get and keep a man. I don’t want my readers to think that I am discouraging women from seeking advice to help them find a partner or to save a failing relationship. I am suggesting” let the buyer beware” before dooming themselves to a life of being a spinster. Ladies decide for yourself the information that will or will not be helpful because the bottom line is it takes two to tangle.
If currently not in a relationship or situationship and sitting around wondering, crying, and hating on women who are getting engaged or have successful relationships. STOP IT. I use to be in and out of dysfunctional relationships and situationships to find Mr. Right because I was under the false impression that Mr. Right and the relationship was going to make everything in my life better. I was in and out of relationships for all the wrong reasons. During this dark and miserable period of my life I didn’t understand the emotional damage I was experiencing because I was loosing myself in the hunt for a relationship. I finally had enough of being broken, mistreated, and disappointed. When I decided that I am worth a better life this is when everything changed.
I use to fight against being alone in my space. I thought the gift of peace was underrated. People kept saying to me take time to work on myself. I thought “this is a bunch of crap.” Well, I’ve changed my mind. Ladies, if your in a position where you can creat your living space to reflect who you are count is as a blessing. If you have peace in your home embrace it. Being in the presence of peace is healing, I sleep better, I have better clarity, thus my creative ideas flows. I am learning how to balance my emotions, most important, I don’t allow others to bring their choas into my creative space of peace.
Lastly, loneliness don’t freak out about being alone, or being with self, single, spending time with you, and being in your own company. Don’t allows others to make you feel sad about being alone in your space of peace and creativity. Being alone has been the most important part of GETTING to KNOW who I am. These past two years of being on lock down because of the pandemic, and on going soical distancing helped me to embrace the path of working on me. For me this means therapy, yes, therapy is good combined with my spiritual growth have been a major factor in my emotional healing. I haven’t dated or have any interest in an intimate relationship since 2018. The big question when will I get back into the dating game? I won’t not any time soon.
My path to healing isn’t about me making myself better for a MAN, it’s about setting the standards for a better life for me. I am 57, not really interested in Mr. Right. Armed with new knowledge I know it’s about the quality of the man and does he meet the standards for my life, and not me lowering myself to meet his standards. I am going full force that on the knowledge that a successful relationship depends on the cooperation of two individuals. In the meantime, the only relationship that’s important to me is the one I am cultivating with myself.
Ladies move forward into your path of healing by creating a space of peace, self care and creativity.
I stopped taking my blessings for granted. Think about all the unnecessary complainting people do about what they don’t have or the things they think will make them happier. May I suggest you take a moment to think about the Millions of people who are struggling to meet their basic needs such as food, clothing and shelter.
I was one of those people who felt that a better apartment in a rich neighborhood would make me happier. But, my reality is I am abundantly blessed to have a beautiful, affordable, clean, safe, peaceful, and warm apartment in a quiet neighborhood, where people respect their homes, and an excellent landlord who cares about his tenants.
I am employed at not one but two places of business, my dream job as an educator and writing consultant, in addition to my part time gig as a counselor in a group home. Both allows me flexibility with my schedule, thus blessing me to be financially self sufficient to meet my other basic needs of food and clothing. The extra added bonuses such as travel, girls night out, buying good wine, and recently upgrading my living room and refurbishing the kitchen is all part of the amazing ways I am blessed.
Thus far I am deeply grateful to have made it through this pandemic without losing income, or more importantly friends or family to this virus, and none of my family lost their jobs or their homes. And in January 10, 2020 our family welcomed a new addition my great niece MeMe.
It doesn’t take much to look in your own back yard, so to speak to see the blessings. Think about this the next time you walk past a person sleeping on the streets in the cold, rain, heat, and snow. Don’t judge them we don’t know what lead them to their circumstances. And there might be some truth to the saying, ” we are all one pay check away from being homeless.” The next time you are in the presence of a person begging for food and he or she might be genuinely hungry. Think about how easy it is for you to purchase food using instacart, grub hub, doordash, and Uber or the tons food we throw away. While others are digging through garbage bins, grateful for food banks, soup kitchens and the SNAP program.
Dropping money like its hot shopping like the millionaire your not. Do you need to purchase another pair of designer shoes when the ones your brought last month haven’t been worn yet. Hand bags, outfits, shoes, boots, and jewelry piling up cluttering your already cluttered home, but you claim not to have anything to wear. I remember when I was a kid living in my parents house I had to eat what my mother prepared without complaining. Fast food, Chinese food, the corner Bodega, Dunkin Donuts, or 7 eleven wasn’t an opinion. My parents where thankful that they could provide hot meals, clothing and shelter for me and siblings.
I complain about not having a car, the reality is that I live in the greatest city ” The Big Apple” where mass transit operates 24/7, in addition to Uber, lyft, and other car services, I don’t mean to bragg, but I am fortunate to have a private car service, so why am I complaining, when I see people sleeping in trains and in train station for shelter and warmth.
The bottom line is regardless to all the crap I’ve experienced, and how bad I think my life is, as the old saying goes, ” there is someone out there who would change places with me in a heartbeat.” I am learning to practice gratitude daily. I am thankful for my life, and all that I have.
Question. Are you thankful for your life and all that you’ve been blessed with?
Think about this for a second, what would happen if you unplugged for 7 days? Meaning, unplugging from soical media, television, limiting phone usage, no texting, playing games, watching movies, using your mobile phone to make or receive calls from work, your children or spouse. Image the possibility of being in a house with no Tvs, laptops, iPads, play stations, not even a microwave, and actually cooking on a stove. Image being able to have conversations at mealtime, playing board games or reading? Scary isn’t it?
Think about how productive you could be if there weren’t any electric devices to distract you. If you had to have a conversation with your children or spouse, what would you talk about? When was the last time you read a book in silence or sat in the family room with your family sipping coffee, hot chocolate or wine eating popcorn and looking through old photos reminiscing?
When was the last time you looked at your To Do List, and promised to get through it, but you got distracted by social media or binge watching TV. So, the closets remain unorganized, the garage is still cluttered, the dining room table is over flowing with junk mail, and the dust bunnies are getting bigger and bigger. I know this is alot to take in, but have you thought about how we have allowed technology to interrupt our intimate relationships and mute the communication at home with family. I am shocked that people who live in the same house text each instead of taking time to have a face to face conversation.
Think about how technology has changed date night. I remember my brother giving me this dating advice, he said, ” if a man put his phone on the table during a date, get up and leave” why because his attention should be on me not his phone. How many of you go out for a lunch date, date night, or girls night out. While you should be present in the moment your continuously checking your phone, or taking pictures and posting them on soical media. Question, what is the first thing you do in the morning? If you answered, check your cellphone your not alone.
The debate is that we can’t get away from technology, I say, it’s not about the use of technology, but the over use and abusive manner that people allow technology to rule their lives. There are many societies around the world that have no access to technology, and people pity them because the thinking is that these individuals are missing out, the question is what are they missing? Yes, the advantage of new technology has made many areas of our lives better, but on the other hand, many of us have allowed technology to invade almost every area of our lives to the point that some individuals cannot function without their devices.
I began to pay attention to my technology habits and decided to make some adjustments. First, I don’t grab my phone upon waking, I find it’s interupts my morning routine. Instead, I set a specific amount of time to check emails or text messages. During working hours I disconnect from my phone checking for messages during my lunch break. I do another check for emails before leaving work and connect to soical media during my commute home. At home my phone is on vibrate and it’s usually not in the same room with me.
I am very selective about when I watch television and the programs, but I do a bit of binge watching on Friday evenings, my way of whining down. On the weekends I have a schedule for checking emails, working on manuscripts, my soical media postings and creating a podcast. My weekends are more productive, I feel less stressed and I have time to relax and be present in the moment when I am around others. This may sound ridge, but I choose not to be a slave to technology. I enjoy and take advantage to properly use technology to improve the daily activities of my life, but I am glad I know when enough is enough.
People often say, ” it’s the little things that matter.” I say the little things become the best parts of our lives. I often write about how grateful I am to experience living in peace, and for some people experiencing peace might not be such a big deal. On the contrary, for me reaching a level of clarity and understanding of how drama from outside and inside my home contributed to me sinking into depression is a very big discovery. As long as I have known myself, my life have been one long tragedy, and I didn’t know how or when I was going to get off the wild roller coaster of one traumatic experience after another. It seemed like I was a magnet for chaos. But I digress, today’s post isn’t about the emotional damage of depression, but how I’ve achieved inner peace, maintain a healthy emotional and mental balance, and why I am determined to protect the peace in my life.
I use to mistake the peace in my home as loinliness and a punishment for not settling for abusive and unhappy. relationships. I thought that the peace in my home was the costly price I’ve paid for choosing my emotional healing. I took for granted that the peace in my home was a means of me being selfish because I didn’t want others, especially a man to intrude, so I shut my doors keeping them out.
Some people think of me as being odd, an introvert, difficult to get along with, secretive, strange, and some say sneaky. I make no apologies I’ve changed, no I have been transformed, and I can’t run with the same pack anymore. In the presence of peace my creative mind is free of chatter and distractions of other people’s needs. In the moments of peace I soak in the presence of my own company, kicking up my feet and enjoying the sound of my own laugher because there is no one around to tell me that I am too loud.
My peace means freedom from the burdens of being criticize for being too much or not enough. My freedom means that I can choose to be or not to be. My peace is healing making me stronger, self reliance, and in my strength I am capable of achieving my goals, and to create the life I deserve without the burden of him or them reminding me of my limitations or should I say the limitations that others were placing on me. I respect and own my peace and freedom because I know the burden of living and only knowing chaos and dysfunctional environments. At my worse I know that there was another way to live, but I didn’t know how to get to the other side.
I write and share about my experiences because I know that there are others out there who are struggling to find peace in their homes and in their lives. There are people who claim to have it all, the home, career, money and the perfect relationship, but that’s only what we see on the outside. I personally know people who are glad for soical media to use as a means to fake and escape their unhappiness. I can’t tell you the countless times people have said to me, ” they wish for a little peace and alone time” or that ” they should have made better choices” and the big one, ” if they could turn back the hands of time they would live life differently.” Today, I am overjoyed that I am not one of those people, and l and don’t take for granted that I have the chance to live a better quality of life.
In the presence of my peace, I take my time making well throughout decisions. I don’t open the door inviting everyone into my life because I think that they are good people. My home is not just walls and floors it’s sacrificed. Everything in my home has meaning the colors, smells, the food I cook, and even the manner I clean my home represents me on the inside and outside, and all the people who I chose to enter my home will be a representative of my peace.
To be honest I never thought that I would see the day when I would be in a position of peace. And from where I sit it’s a beautiful place to be.
Have you ever been engaged in a conversation with another person about problems that you’re experiencing, but the other person completely disregards your concerns and makes the conversation about them? I was talking to a sister friend about my decision to join a gym to focus on my mental and emotional health and at the same time addressing my physical health. I made this choice after several sessions with my therapist who helped me to understand that I have been suffering from pandemic fatigue, a term unknown to me. I thought I was experiencing simple depression, and with the threat of another virus I’ve become increasingly concerned about the quality of my life. My therapist helped me to understand that this was brought on by the pandemic. I missed working out and homeworks is not helping as much. So, I put my fear aside and joined a gym.
Anyway, out of my excitement I called a close friend of mine to meet me at my favorite coffee lounge to share my good news. However, during our conversation she completely caught me off guard by her lack of compassion and listening skills. It seemed to me that she was condemning me for the choices that I made to regain some balance in my life, and she dumped all of her issues on me. The Conversation went something like this. .
Me: Thanks for meeting me for coffee. I needed to get out of the house and just breathe.
Sister friend: I felt the same way glad you called.
Me: Since the cold weather is setting in there aren’t many places I am willing to go in doors.
Sister friend: Indoors or outdoors no place is safe.
Me: Well, that’s true, but at least here they are checking for vaccine cards and the staff wears masks. I did feel better during the summer when people could spread out. I enjoyed the outside dining.
Sister friend: Inside or outside, if the virus is going to get you it won’t matter where you were.
Me: Sipping my coffee in silence.
Sister friend: What have you been up to?
Me: Doing my best to be productive, positive and stay safe.
Sister friend: Stay safe, stay safe I am so tired of hearing people say that.
Me: What else do you expect people to say, and with the news of yet another variant of this virus people don’t even know if what they are already doing is keeping them safe.
Sister friend: Anyway, is anything new happening?
Me: Yes, I am so excited! I stopped procrastinating and joined the gym. I am done with the pandemic weight. I needed another place to connect to people. So, ready to get my workout on.
Sister friend: Girl are you crazy? You talking about staying safe and you’re going to a gym?
Me: Yes. I thought about it. I need to start rebuilding my health. I’ve been feeling off balance. I did my research, the gym is near my house, they only allow 25 percent capacity, fully vaccinated people only, they take your temp, there is a mask mandate, and it is clean.
Sister Friend: Girl, I wouldn’t dare go in a place where there is so much sweat and germs, people breathing out God knows what. And what do you mean your off balance?
Me: Before I could answer-
Sister friend: From where I sit you’re doing great. I’ve been dealing with creditors calling me, still behind on my rent, squeezing pennies to buy food, and I might not have cable next month. To make matters worse, Christmas will be here soon and I don’t have money to buy gifts, so this means I won’t be getting anything. You know how some people are if you don’t give, you don’t get. And it’s been a long time since I had a professional mani-pedi. And the only thing you’re worried about is a few extra pounds? Here is a suggestion that will save you the gym membership, stop eating. ( laughing ). Girl you know I am only kidding.
After that rant I didnt go into details about my conversation with my therapist, and how I’ve been feeling depressed more than usual, and my fears about going through the winter shut indoors alone. I wanted to ask her about all the unemployment money she received on top of the stimulus checks. I dare not go there. I left the coffee lounge feeling like the bad girl who’d been chastised for getting caught with my hands in the cookie jar.