Blended “ish”

Where is program creator Kenya Burris when you need him. If anyone knows him tell him to DM me lol… I definitely could pitch him the idea of creating this sitcom.

FUN FACT: 16% of American children live amongst a blended family.

So what exactly is a blended family… it is one that consists of a stepparent, stepsibling, or a half-sibling and any combination of up to all three. In my case mom meets dad, falls in love, gets married, have a kid, then life hits, things get live and in color and they choose to divorce. Both remarry and rinse and repeat (minus the divorce)… I guess the 2nd time was the charm. Unfortunately with that comes a lot of unpacked emotions and red tape regarding “splitting the baby” as I like to call it. So who gets the kid for holidays, what information do you share, how do you celebrate birthdays, who gets the mothers day/fathers day post, how to make everyone feel included..so on and so forth. I have spent a majority of my life with my mom, my stepdad (affectionately referred to as Herbie) and a brother (same mom) in the Midwest. And I spent a few weeks out of every few years with my dad, stepmom, 2 sisters (same dad) and a brother (same dad) in the South. My parents never really “fought” over me. They just let me be really and when I would speak up and say I wanted to go visit my dad or I wanted my dad at certain events.. they would just work it out and make it happen. The feeling of not being FORCED to be at one place or another was cool.. however it poses some challenges because I didn’t really spend a lot of time getting to know my other family. By the time I was situated it was time for me to come back home usually. Not to mention both family dynamics differ from one another; two sets of house rules, two sets of life expectations, differences in span of freedom, discipline, personalities…. just to name a few.

I was often told that you have to learn to make lemonade out of lemons and any family that goes through a divorce definitely has its share of lemons. So how do we get to the lemonade you ask??? LOTS AND LOTS of communication, quality time, and most importantly grace and forgiveness. And each person has to remember it’s a two-way street; one person can’t do it alone. If I were to be quite frank, I’d have to admit that even though families have their fair share of drama and issues; blended families for sure can take the cake if not given the time necessary to blossom naturally. The less time you spend with one another, the more they are like strangers and even though you’re “family”, you can’t just add water and hope it magically works. I look at my relationship with one of my sisters.. I often say she is my mini me and we are roughly 7 years apart. We talk/text/DM.. you name it… we support one another and cheer each other on from the sidelines! However, it wasn’t always this way. In the past, we could easily go a long time without speaking to one another. And because we weren’t forced to be around each other or talk to each other, we naturally didn’t really know each other. Our relationship took both of us making the decision (once we both were a little older to understand the dynamics) to say we want to be in each others life. So with that comes work. We have to intentionally check on one another, even when living on polar opposite sides of the country. We have to include one another and make sure that we communicate. So that despite everyone else’s relationship, we are able to have our own. And for that I’m grateful.

So let’s discuss.. for those in blended families.. or even those who just want to weigh in…

  • How do you make it work?
  • What are your biggest challenges?
  • How do you continue to push through the adverse times?

Share some tips! I want to hear from you!

Until Next Time

-Dani

Affair vs. Entanglement

How to Untangle the Entangled.

Welcome to AUGUST! The word for the past few weeks has definitely been ENTANGLEMENT. Pegged by Jada Pinkett-Smith herself. On the Red Table Talk she openly admitted to having an affair with singer August Alsina. When cornered about her relationship she referred to it as an “entanglement”. Memes have been swirling around and many people have weighed in on their relationship. Pointing fingers at who was wrong and saying how could this have happened. So I present the question.. Is there a difference between an “affair” and an “entanglement”.

To me there is a slight yet significant difference between the two. When I think of an affair, I think of an extramarital relationship happening where the person’s significant other is not aware. When I think of an entanglement, I think of an extramarital relationship where both the husband and wife have agreed to separate and entertain the idea of seeing other people. So yes, very similar yet different. However, we must take into account that in both situations, the person choosing to entertain others is STILL MARRIED. So lets clear up a common misconception.. SEPARATED DOES NOT MEAN SINGLE. I repeat SEPARATED does NOT mean single. It means still married yet contemplating the idea of getting off on the next exit ramp (i.e divorce). The only time a married person is single is when they are finally divorced..LOL.. I hope that clears it up for folks. One is not worse than the other; in my eyes they are truly equally wrong. But I’m not here to pass judgment I got enough of my own skeletons to start a small cemetery. But moving on….

So what should you do if you happen to find yourself in an “entanglement”? And when referring to this, it may not be just a sexual relationship. It could be an emotional connection that you have with someone else. So strong that you find yourself weighing the “What Ifs”… or you have thoughts that you know could really do some emotional damage to your partner. In these type of situations, you find yourself saying or thinking: “Oh XX doesn’t have the attitude like my wife” or “XX appreciates me more than my husband”. Comparing the relationship you have with the idea of one with someone else. In my opinion, to be attracted to others is healthy. You are married NOT BLIND! And if you say your aren’t attracted to others, you are LYING! Qualities that you have always been attracted too will still appeal to you. And newsflash your spouse isn’t the only one who has those qualities.

Now where we run into a hiccup is when you spend more time focusing on growing relationships with those you are attracted to and not focusing time and energy into your own marriage. It goes back to the idea that “the grass isn’t always greener on the other side” but the real idea is the grass is greener ONLY WHERE YOU WATER IT! So you want your relationship with your spouse to grow; how much time do you spending watering it. Do you go on dates? Do you speak your partner’s love language? Do you show intimacy? Do you hold your partner accountable? DO YOU ADD VALUE? Triggered yet?? I sure am! It’s easy to leave; but fighting for your relationship is a lot harder.

So how do we untangle ourselves? Like anything the first step is to admit fault and that you have a problem. Not acknowledging a risky relationship does not make it less problematic. You have to address it head on and acknowledge that this relationship could cause friction if I don’t put up the stop signs soon. The next step is PRACTICE. You must practice distancing yourself from that situation. You can’t fuel the relationship with energy because that will only cause it to grow and develop. I give the example; you are a recovering alcoholic, but you go to the liquor store daily to just walk around. WHY???! You are purposely putting yourself in direct line of fire. Especially, if you are prone to fall of the wagon and fall into temptation quickly; why put yourself if compromising situations. That doesn’t show how strong you are.. it’s stupid and risky! And finally, the refocusing of your time and energy. Be more intentional with being present. Show up for your partner each day, even when they aren’t being their normal loveable self. Conduct self awareness checks… is there anything you could be doing better or that you should stop doing. And more importantly, listen to verbal and non verbal cues from your partner; they usually can give you a pretty good gauge on what’s going on.

Happy Untangling 🙂

-XOXO-

Dani

Lowkey Insecure

*Spoiler Alert* for anyone who hasn’t seen Season 4 of Insecure!

As I like to say “Don’t play in the recycle bin” because somethings are just meant to be thrown out. Insecure Season 4 was all about relationship woes. From romantic to business to even relationships surrounding family and friends.

We have Molly and Issa at odds. Molly and Andrew on shaky grounds. Tiffany is having a rough time coping with being a new mom. And of course the Condola, Issa and Lawrence saga. Each relationship highlights challenges that are oh so common to relate to. With Issa and Molly, they have been friends forever and it seems that they are drifting apart. With Molly and Andrew, he feels that he always does the yielding and Molly just gets her way ALL the time… constantly the “Molly Show”. Tiffany is clearly struggling with being a new mom; she’s drinking all the time and finally just runs away because she doesn’t know what else to do. And then Lawrence breaks up with Condola only to get back with Issa and try to make that work.

Season 4 finale ends with Lawrence telling Issa about Canola Oil being pregnant. They strolling along on Cloud 9 and then get hit with this bombshell. To the point that Issa says it’s “too much”. And I instantly flip back to Issa’s earlier conversation with Nathan and Nathan basically saying Lawrence is a flakey F*boy. And I can’t say that Nathan isn’t far off from the truth. Issa was there supporting Lawrence through the dark times and not just financially but tried to be there physically and mentally. And he shut her out. He completely treated her like TRASH! He didn’t want her, he gave her NO ENERGY, NO AFFECTION, NO TIME…etc.. Not to mention he never could admit when he was wrong. And he NEVER supported her, yet wanted her to be at his beckon call. And when I say support it doesn’t even mean in monetary value just acknowledging her efforts. Sis couldn’t even get a “I know you working hard beautiful and I appreciate you for that“. He barely spoke to her when she walked in the door, then was looking dumbfounded when sis stumbled on to someone else. People have their breaking points and they get tired of saying “see me” and I truly believe that’s where Issa was when she messed around with Daniel. Not that she was out looking to cheat, but when you are thirsty for water and are being deprived at home.. you will eventually find something to quench your thirst. Do I condone her behavior?.. NAHH.. but I get it. There were definitely other ways to deal with her loneliness.. but again I say.. I get it. She was fighting for them to make it work all while he was barely showing up. In hindsight she probably should have avoided the recycle bin in this case. They both had moved on and were individually achieving their goals. Lawrence and her could have remained cool and they could have been happy in their separate lives. Don’t get me wrong I like Lawrence when he’s got his head on straight, but how he treated Issa was out of order. I personally see why people think Nathan is a good choice for her. He supports her; he appreciates her; he sees her. Heck he admits when he’s wrong (the boy admitted to getting help for being bipolar for Pete’s sake). He doesn’t always TAKE from her. He POURS into her as well, so she never feels empty. He saw everything she had to offer from Day 1; meanwhile Lawrence is Jekyll and Hyde and you don’t know which one is going to show up that day. Remember a few seasons back how Lawrence treated Tasha. Tasha had a plan and had her life together. Here comes Lawrence to wreck havoc, suck all her energy, lie about having a G/F and string sis along only to finally admit that he was on BS in the end. And Tasha flat out says to him that “He’s a F* boy who thinks he’s a good dude” WHEWWW.. Sis pulled his CARD!! Let’s just say I CANNOT wait until Season 5 starts.

So I recap all of that to say.. Relationships are difficult. Easily the hardest thing I’ve ever signed up for. WHY??? Because you can’t control other people. You can’t control their thoughts, their actions and even how they treat you. Like Issa, you can do any and everything for someone and yet they may not see it like that from their point of view. And that my friends can be maddening because it’s lonely AF, yet you don’t know if you should get off the ride or not. And now you walking around triggered and emotional all the time because you see the red flags and refuse to address them. And if you are anything like me, you are unable to cope with issues in real life. You would rather it all just blow over with time. But sometimes that just isn’t the case. And in those instances you have to be brave enough to face the issue head on. If you see red flags … call it out.. don’t ignore them. Even if you have to seek out professional help.. call the flags to the carpet. Addressing them doesn’t mean that ya’ll can’t work your differences out, but it helps to understand one another on a common playing ground.

Not too long ago, I ran across this article that highlighted relationship red flags and thought it was a pretty good list to share.

20 Relationship Red Flags:

  1. Forgets Anniversary dates, Birthdays, Special Occasions
  2. Complaining about every little thing
  3. Expecting to be taken care of (means you’re his mother not his partner)
  4. Stops being polite after a few months
  5. Doesn’t pay attention; complements and encouragement are out the window
  6. Doesn’t know the boundaries between work life and home life
  7. Surrounded by friends of the opposite sex
  8. No Chivalry
  9. Cares more about hobbies than you
  10. No Self-Care
  11. Doesn’t have more than one hobby (He will always be bored)
  12. His relationship with his family is always on the outs
  13. Overly “private”
  14. Doesn’t keep a steady job
  15. Doesn’t know how to “adult” or at least try
  16. Your family and friends don’t like him
  17. Poor behavior; mean spirited
  18. Bad mouths past relationships
  19. Always criticizes you and it’s rarely constructive
  20. Constantly brings up his ex

Now don’t get me wrong.. I’m sure most relationships will have a few of these. That’s normal, however if the list becomes quite extensive then you may need to re-evaluate. I’m not going to go into this list because we will be here ALL day. But I will say your heart lies wherever you place your energy/time. I’m a firm believer that people put their energy into things they care about. So for example, if your Significant Other spends more time entertaining the social media women than he does you… sis he prolly ain’t for you. That man belongs back in the streets to be some other woman’s problem. People have a way of showing you how they feel about you and it’s up to you to take heed. So the word for this article is “DISCERNMENT“. This means “the ability to judge well” and in the faith based context it means, “perception in the absence of judgment with a view to obtaining spiritual guidance and understanding”.

D-fined Moment: Most people probably don’t know, but I’m super insecure when it comes to relationships. And I like most women, I never like to admit to insecurities. I’ve been toyed with too many times to count and I’ve done my share of toying with others. Thus causing me to create a barricade that I have placed around me as protection. I rarely let people get too close because I worry that they can use what they know to hurt you. I find it hard to trust people, because time and time again they let you down. And I’m even quicker to walk away from a situation at the slightest inclination of shadiness. So insecure, that even when I’m in a relationship, I’ll hear my inner voice say things and overtime I’ve had to learn to decipher if it was my discernment kicking in or was it my insecurities playing tricks on me. To this day I have that battle! I believe that I have these insecurities because I’m such a perfectionist. I’m so hard on myself: I hate failing at things and I love to look like I have it all together (even when I’m one skittle away from flipping out). So knowing that there will always be someone out there that is better, faster, prettier and smarter than I am gives me anxiety. And makes it difficult for me to take negative criticism. I immediately take criticism (constructive and not) very personal because I know how hard I try to make things work and it takes time for me to shuffle through my feelings in order to actually receive the message . And even worse, if I start to feel that all the good I have isn’t being seen or appreciated, then it can become EXHAUSTING! You can see this in my career for sure. I often find myself saying “If you don’t see all the good I bring, then maybe I need to take my talents elsewhere”. Ask my friends they will tell you… I STAY with a new job. At one point I had like three W-2s in one year; I don’t stay anywhere that I’m not wanted. But overtime, I’ve conditioned myself to push forward and sometimes just let the chips fall where they may. Do I always take that road?.. No.. but eventually I get there.

Needless to say when people show you who they are… BABY BELIEVE THEM!!!!! People can grow and change (even for the better), but you have to look at the motive behind the change itself. Because as change occurs, you may find that you no longer agree with their decisions and behavior and that’s ok. But growth is good for everyone even if that means growing apart (I.e Molly and Issa)! If you find yourself in that situation, just stay in your own lane, focus on you, drink plenty of water, take proper care of our body and tend to your spirit. And don’t be afraid to let the chips fall where they may. Because in the end what’s for you is for you. You control your own happiness… NO ONE ELSE!

So talk to me…

  • What did you think of the Insecure Season 4?
  • Are you with a Lawrence?
  • Are you having trouble addressing some red flags?
  • What are you Lowkey Insecure about?

Drop me a line… I love hearing from you!

Until Next time my loves! XOXO-

Dani

Relationship Goals

Recently I read a book titled Relationship Goals by Pastor Michael Todd. And needless to say I was ignited. What a book! I recommend this book to anyone…especially women who have had some rough relationships through the years. I for one have had my fair share of awful relationships; habitual cheaters, liars, stalkers, controlling men, men who were ok with mediocracy … you name it. Looking back it makes me wonder, what did I see in them or how did I even get myself in that relationship. Pastor Mike talks about the importance of embracing the season that you are in. So if you are single embrace your “single hood”. Looking back that’s clearly where I failed miserably. I jumped from one relationship to the next, sometimes before the original relationship was even over. I went through this vicious cycle year after year and never understood why they always seemed to fall apart in the end. Eventually things started to shift for me. I realized it was the moment I started attending church again. I started focusing more time of improving my self- I was really walking in my truths …for the most part. The desires that I once had began to change, which caused a transformation in me that I had not seen before. The people I entertained were different and my energy was different.

Pastor Mike used the book to discuss the phases of relationships: single, dating (breaking up), engagement and marriage. And as I prepare to enter the threshold of my next phase, I was encouraged to self reflect on the qualities that I deemed important for my “relationship goals”. My list included love, compassion, faithfulness, ability to lead and unwavering. I also spent the time reflecting on areas that I could improve in (submission, vulnerability and communicating). For women like me that are in leadership roles, submission may seem like a tough pill to swallow. But remember submission is just a word of ORDER and is designed to be reciprocated. Submission doesn’t mean that you are a doormat that just get walks over. It just means that you have established that your relationship to be designed as God outlined in the Bible. Ephesians 5:21 says “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ”. Pastor Mike provides the simple equation: 1 + 1 + 1 = 1. Which translates into one whole man plus one whole woman plus God equals one full and whole relationship. It’s important to remember that in ANY relationship, it will only be as good as the individuals in it.

A message that reigned supreme throughout this book was “Progression not Perfection”. We as women spend so much of our time spinning our wheels trying to get everything perfect. What we don’t realize is that we lose valuable time that could be spent progressing forward. So to take that message further just remember, the best version of you does not mean that you’re perfect. It just means that you have grown and progressed. So much so that your desires have changed and you have been transformed.

So what are your relationship goals? Comment below! Let’s talk about it! Or if you are reading the book and you want someone to share some take-aways with; don’t hesitate to drop me a message. I can’t wait to hear from you! Until next time!

-Dani