I haven’t blogged in a while, so this is a bit of a conglomerate post. Part of the reason I’ve been away for so long is because every time I sat down to write something in the past month, my message began to take on a stance of criticism and negativity cast toward other individuals, and as much as I’m a supporter of free expression and cleansing through the release of feelings and emotions through words, I didn’t set up ThirtyReimagined to be that kind of blog. First and foremost, this blog is a chronicle of my journey through life after my 29th year, and I don’t wish for that journey to include berating or self-aggrandizement. On occasion, I will rise to the defense of people or principles that are important to me (see Leave Karlesha Thurman Alone Already or Cold Tofurky), but this blog is mostly centered around the ways in which my life has changed in my thirties.
This includes the many, many lessons I’ve had to learn – the most salient of which I will dispense now:
- Be kind.
There are many versions of me – the hilariously witty Antoinette, the quiet and pensive Antoinette, the adventurous “try anything” Antoinette, the no excuses Antoinette (mostly exhibited in classrooms), the hardcore bitchy Antoinette (mostly exhibited in situations of extreme hunger), and the super sensitive Antoinette. Many of these versions overlap, but I’m never just one way all the time. By far my favorite version of myself is the kind, spreading positivity, keeping her head and shoulders held high Antoinette. Though I prefer to be kind and compassionate, that’s not to say I don’t get met with opposition, criticism, judgment, and ridicule. Many folks don’t agree with the choices I’ve made for the path my life will follow; it’s unfathomable that a woman can be a mother, be a wife, be a musician, be a student, be an educator, be a pole dancer, be a fitness coach, be GOD FEARING, be an ally to gays, lesbians, and transgendered individuals, be a mentor to former drug addicts, be a fan of rock, country, rap, and pop, etc. Not everyone else gets it, and that’s really okay. But no matter how many people choose to whisper negatively, smile in my face while thinking the worst, or even label me as less than worthy, I plan to carry forth with kindness. Chalene Johnson, a woman I’ve come to admire a lot through my Beachbody journey, is constantly driving home the message that we should lead with gratitude. I’d much rather lead that way than with crudeness. My feelings will be hurt, but they will heal. We attract what we emit…
- Count and cherish ALL of your blessings.
Recently, my daughter spent some time in the hospital. She’s well now and back to herself, but during the two days she spent there – with tachycardia that confused the doctors, a high fever that was tough to break, with tubes and monitors and other devices attached to her limbs and chest – I had a lot of time to think. As I struggled to sleep on an uncomfortable pull out chair while monitors and machines beeped and pulsed next to her bed, I found myself missing the most simple elements of life. It’s been a journey to restart after the move, but even our humble home is still our home. I longed for our tiny living room and the Powerpuff Girls DVD playing in the background. I missed my own bathroom sink, tub, and shower. Even something as small as holding my baby girl and pacing became a norm I longed for as her mobility was restricted to the length of the telemetry monitor cords.
At times, as parents we become really frustrated with our children. I spend the 40+ hours most adults do working in offices working from my home with my daughter’s antics happening behind me as I desperately try to satisfy my obligations to the 50+ students who are in my classes, as I correspond with people who are desperate to regain their health back, and as I try to maintain some sort of order to our home as Kennedy throws toys and sippy cups about. I lose my patience with her at times, but I’m working hard to modify this behavior now. Trust me, your kids can be annoying as they run around and knock over your pictures and don’t listen to what you’re saying or cry incessantly because of one slight request like “Put on your socks,” or “Eat your peas,” but in those moments when you want to lose it, find some shred of gratitude that at least they have the energy and ability to be a kid in those moments. Believe me when I say it’s much better to have an overactive toddler who goes nuts watching Sophia the First at home than it is to have to a toddler who looks like this:
- Just because one or two friends may have burned you, that doesn’t mean you can’t still have true friends.
My best friend of 16 years wasn’t my friend anymore when I moved from California to Florida. I’ve chosen not to speculate on the reasons why, but found comfort in knowing that though my actions in our friendship were never perfect, I did all I could to be there for her and honor the tenure of our relationship. I wasn’t always met with the same level of dedication, but that didn’t matter to me after a while. Anyway – I came to Florida determined to be a loner. I figured that if I couldn’t trust her, then who could I trust? Well, you’d be surprised. We talk all the time of how we can’t trust others and how you shouldn’t reveal too much of yourself to others, but God’s way calls for us all to help each other, trust one another, and look out for one another. I’ve learned that the people who show up and prove that they’re on your side are the definition of friends. It’s not always in how long you’ve known someone. I still keep my inner circle tight, but in the past month there are people who have gone to bat for me who I need to give a lot of credit to.
- Treat your marriage like a flower. Water it with love, kindness, and support, and it will grow and blossom.
In our journey from bad to good, I’m really grateful to have my husband as my MVP. I’ve mentioned it before on here, but I will say again that I’m really, really glad we stayed together.