So it’s motherfucking Spring bitches and as I do every Spring, I celebrated the occasion by pulling a Hotline Bling: wearing less and going out more.
One of these outings included a brunch with some friends over the weekend. While I was sipping on my Shirley Temple, one of my girlfriends told me how her boyfriend decided that he wanted to limit the amount of time they spent together. Of course, we all had the same reaction: dump him, leave him, kick his A-S-S to the C-U-R-B! (I don’t know why I’m acting like my friends are sassy Black women from the ’80s but I’m feeling that vibe right now). Anyway, as we attempted to yelled some sense into my friend, she simply shrank into herself and firmly whispered: “you don’t know what he’s been through.”
It was then that my heart sank. Because I understood what she was going through.
Back When I Watered His Garden
For about three years I was attached to a man who had been through hell and back. His mother died at a young age, his father wasn’t in his life, and he was in and out of jail. This man was the living definition of “a hard ass life.” This hard ass life made him almost emotionally impenetrable. But for some reason, I was able to see past his tough exterior and to his deep core. I saw through his pain and to his fear: I saw his love. He had a kind and beautiful soul.
Over the three years of our tumultuous “relationship” (relationship is in quotation marks because he refused to put a label on it) I helped him grow and take steps to break down the cement that encapsulated his warm heart. He went from calling once a month to once a week, from quick fucks to passionate love making, from telling me his day was “fine” to painting the most elaborate tales of his day. It was beautiful. I was so proud.
I watched him find his smile, thinking that that was enough for me.
So what if he never got me anything for my birthday? So what if he told me he’d never commit to me? So what is he refused to tell me he loved me, no matter how many times I cried those three words to him?
I was so obsessed with his growth and his progress and his gains that I forgot about me. Yes, this man lived a traumatic life that rendered him nearly incapable of loving and trusting another human being the way they deserved, but it was not my place to play the guinea pig. I am not a therapist. I was not getting paid for this. Yet I allowed myself to be sucked dry as I breathed life into this other human being.
Loving him almost cost me my life and I didn’t even realize it until it was almost too late.
But thank God I did. And as I sat at that brunch spot sipping on my Shirley Temple, I stared deep into the eyes of my friend and saw the same pain that lived in my own eyes for so long.
I think that some people in this world are empathizers: we look at someone and completely understand everything that they are going through and then feel like it’s our job to save them. Well I’m here to tell you it’s not your fucking job: unless you are a therapist getting paid mad bank, it is not your fucking job to save anyone.
Stop treating people or relationships like projects.
Stop watering someone else’s garden thinking that one day they will grow to water yours back.
Do you know what happens when you water a garden? They become pretty little flowers that give your sweaty, dirty ass allergies. That’s what happens. You’re left tired, aching, and with no one to support you.
Now this is not to say don’t ever help someone you love through a difficult time, not at all. This is to say don’t forget about YOU. Don’t forget that in any relationship there are two people growing together to become a we. Not two people working towards the growth of one person. That’s not fair and it’s not your job. Does someone with a severely fucked up past deserve love? Hell the fuck yes.
But so do you: and if they are not in a place to provide you with the love you deserve, then stop settling for anything less. Love yourself enough to let that person go.
SLIGHT DISCLAIMER: Now, it took me three years to hear that message so I honestly wouldn’t feel right ending this without saying this: YES you have to love yourself enough to let that person go, but also love yourself enough to forgive yourself if you aren’t quite there yet.
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You Are What You Eat
You are what you eat: this is a statement I heard a lot growing up. Eat a bunch of donuts and you will be slow and lethargic. Eat some celery and carrots, and you’ll have the ability to do magical things. Not really, but you’ll be more focused, remember shit with ease, and will be able to see better. Everyone always talks about the benefits of a physically palatable diet but no one ever talks about the benefits of a mental diet.
Defining A Mental Diet
A mental diet is defined by the editing what you expose your brain to. Eat a lot of shit and you feel like shit doesn’t just apply to food. If all you watch on television is ratchet reality television and all you read is Donald trump tweets and if all you listen to is American Top 40, this is the equivalent to eating nothing but fast food your whole life.
Time begins to addresses this concept slightly in their online article entitled “Social Media Is Making You Stupid.” The article states, “[Social networking] could be making you dumber by supplying answers and insights without requiring any actual thinking, so that your analytic powers begin to waste away like an unused muscle.” Not only are we not exercising our brains when we spend all of our time on social sites but on top of that, my theory is the more we indulge in entertainment and neglect other aspects of our brain, the more we stunt our mental and personal growth. If you aren’t eating your vegetables and instead gorge on nothing but Hot Cheetos and honey buns, don’t be surprised when you have greasy hair and a smelly vagina. It’s time to trim the fat…and the sugar
A Balanced Mental Diet
A balanced mental diet consist of all the parts of the food group.
You have your veggies: self help materials. Self help materials include anything that has you reflect on yourself and your growth as an individual. Self help books, psychiatry podcasts, motivational speeches, etc. these things, like your kales and your carrots, are essential to ingest on a regular basis. How can you grow as a person if you’re never reflecting upon yourself and opening your eyes to your flaws and ways in which you can improve upon them? (Personally, I suggest Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, it’s like the spinach of brain veggies…I’m a big fan of spinach).
Fruits: fruits are sweeter. They share many of the same benefits of veggies but our bodies like them better for some reason that a scientist would know. Your mental fruits are your self love materials. I make a distinguish between self help and self love because self help is to look at yourself from a critical lens and to dissect what makes you tick, hoping to fix it. Self love on the other hand is just living you for you. Yes you are growing as a person but you need to love yourself at every single stage in that process.
Good carbs: good carbs aren’t as great as the chips and the pastas but they’re still pretty tasty and they’re necessary to our development. This is where the politics come in. we have to understand our place in this world and in order to do that we have to understand the world. Brush up in your current events, understand what these politicians are up to and ways that you can use your voice to change the narrative in whatever level that may appear. Politics are carbs because yes it’s super important but too much of this shit and you’ll drive yourself crazy.
Protein: learning new things. We have to take the time to add something new. Growing means exposing yourself to knew things in the world. Take a dance class, learn French, finally master trigonometry. Not only is it never too late to learn something new, it is mandatory. Life is short so expand your bubble!!
Sweets and Fats: And now we have our sweets. Go on and indulge in that Kardashian whatever. These are sweets and fats because these things do not nourish you. No matter how you look at it, you’ll never gain too much from anything on VH1 except the same sick satisfaction that a Snickers gives you.We always need that little pick me up. Go ahead and eat your Snickers but know when to stop.
At the end of the day, we are all trying to improve ourselves. Being the best possible version of yourself does not start and stop with your bank account or your physical appearance. It starts with our brains and our mentality. We can only accomplish what our minds are willing to allow us to push for and if our brains are stuck on stupid then we will be too. No one is perfect. I watch enough Netflix and Hulu to fill a whole twenty-four hour period without stopping but it’s a process. We try Keto, Paleo, and all the other diets to keep our bodies healthy, how about we try something for our minds?
Question for my readers:
I didn’t include religion because I’m still figuring all that shit out for myself but I acknowledge that it should be somewhere. Where do you think religion or spirituality would fit in the mental diet? I don’t think I get enough comments to be asking questions but 🤷🏿♀️ gotta shoot my shot!
Should we treat ourselves like we treat our favorite food?
And here’s why:
So I’m sitting at home in my underwear munching on chocolate covered almonds after a very odd date. I don’t even know if I can call it a date…it was more like, an encounter. So I met this loser on OKCupid and he was all let’s go out, let’s go out, blah blah blah. Day of (today) he’s like, we’ll grab something to eat around me. So I park the car a few blocks away from his location and go to meet him there. We meet and I say, where are we headed? He says, let’s walk.
So we proceed to walk….a silent(ish), awkward(ish) walk…in the direction of my car. “Oh we’re not going to get coffee or something?” I ask. “Yeah, yeah” he says as we get closer to my car. He then “gets a call” where he tells the individual on the other line that he will be “home soon.” So I say “Alright” and he says “have a nice day!” And he heads on off.
This man met up with me. To drop me off. At my car.
Now as I sat in my vehicle sucking on my vape all I could think was, what the fuck was that?! So I start going down a list of all the possible things that could be wrong with me that he could have witnessed in that fifteen minute encounter to have warranted such an abrupt end.
Then it hits me: I (and you-we) should treat ourselves the way we treat our favorite food.
So one of my favorite foods are these yummy chocolate covered almonds I just devoured. Let’s say you offer these almonds to a friend: you want to share this delightful treat with someone else. This person says “I don’t like em” naturally your reaction is surprise: “what that’s crazy, these are the best!” You insist. “Nah, not a fan.” Your friend replies. So, you leave it at that. “Your loss” you shrug and continue to eat that yummy snack.
Now, let’s say you’re like me and always think you’re right. You’re gunna argue with this person “hey man, chocolate covered almonds are the best and here’s all the reasons why. What makes you not like them?!” you ask. “They’re too chocolatey or they’re too almondy or I don’t like sweets” your buddy responds. And with that, you shrug your shoulders and keep it moving. (We’re gunna call your friend Bob)
Your love for chocolate covered almonds didn’t decrease because Bob said he didn’t like them. You didn’t suddenly hate how chocolatey the almonds were because bitch ass Bob had a problem with them. You like how chocolatey it is. It’s not “too chocolatey ” it’s just right. And you didn’t try to make the almonds less chocolatey to get Bob to like them. You didn’t get them to be less sweet or less almondy you just counted it to Bob’s loss.
And you know what else you didn’t do? You didn’t stop offering it to those you wanted to try it just because Bob didn’t like it.
So why do we do it to ourselves?
Why is it that when we find out someone doesn’t like our hair suddenly we feel weird about our hair?
Why is it that if someone comments on our body suddenly we are considering altering our bodies?
Why is it that when one person rejects us we decide , you know what, I’m not even gonna bother any more.
Why the hell do we keep trying to feed the Bobs of the world our fucking nuts?!
We need to treat ourselves like we treat our favorite food. Have conviction in the things that make us awesome. Believe that we are awesome and stay believing it no matter what anyone else thinks.
Because just like our favorite food we will find that person that says omg I love chocolate covered almonds.
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