Don’t Let It Happen To You!


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Dear Readers,

I hope this post finds you and your family well, and  in a good place.

The New Year opened with grim news and mass hysteria for immigrants and minorities in America. I can only imagine the panic resonating among the refugees still waiting for their chance to come to America. A distraction was very much welcomed. For the entire month of January, I challenged myself to promote only positive and uplifting messages on social media, especially Facebook. Now, before the wheels start churning, my posts are generally positive; however, when I see instances of social injustices, discrimination in any form, police brutality etc, I will get out my soap box. The posts typically garner a bit of attention and discussion. Anyway, I digress, back to the matter at hand! Today, I want to share with you one of my favorite messages from the challenge. I guess it resonated with me because I’ve dedicated the rest of my life, however long that is, to ensuring it is full, in every way possible.

Take a look again at Anne’s message above. Does it urge you pursue the type of life you want to live, with wild, passionate, and fearless abandon? God, I hope so! I’m fully aware how ridiculously easy it is to get caught up in “doing stuff”; dreams are hard to chase, when we are furiously paddling beneath the surface, to stay above water. The timing isn’t convenient. My friends, it never is. As I have said before, one day, we will wake up, and realize there isn’t enough time to do all the things we wanted to do. Whatever your circumstances, and however this message reaches you, please don’t let this happen to you. Take steps, regardless of how small. Please, try not to get overwhelmed by the obstacles which persists on every step towards the destination. The only way you can fail, is if you fail to try. Focus on the journey instead, and how magical and glorious it can be.

I’m fast approaching my 6th anniversary as a blogger. Chindeepinlife will become a Blook; some of the most well liked, popular, and searched-for posts, will appear in its pages. The Blook is currently in the editing process, and it’s so difficult to choose! Watch this space. I remain grateful for you, my audience, for allowing me this platform, on which I’ve grown, thrived, and hopefully provided you succor in your time of need!

 

Until the next post,

 

Best,

 

Juan

I Am Me.


learning-how-to-speak-my-truth(Photo Credit : veganyogalife)

In the recent past, I’ve discovered, and fell in love with a few authors. They give new meaning to the word FABULOUS.  I’m drawn to the ways in which they express themselves. Raw. Unapologetic. Authentic. Below is another piece from the incomparable Janne Robinson. I see so much of myself in the words and phrases below. I make no apologies for how I feel. You shouldn’t either.

If you’re either easily offended or prudish, with all the kindness and respect I can convey here, it’s best if you carry on, now.

This is for the women who don’t give a f**k. The women who are first to get naked, howl at the moon and jump into the sea. The women who drink too much whisky, stay up too late and have sex like they mean it. The women who know they aren’t sluts because they enjoy sex, but human beings with a healthy sexual appetite. The women who will ask you for what they need in bed.

This is for the women who seek relentless joy; the ones who know how to laugh with their whole souls. The women who speak to strangers because they have no fear in their hearts. The ones who wear “night make up” in the morning or don’t own mascara.

The women who know their worth, who plant their feet and roar in their brilliance. The women who aren’t afraid to tell a man to get the f**k out of her heart if he doesn’t honour her heart. This is for the women who rock combat boots with frilly skirts.

The women who swear like truck drivers. The women who hold the people who harass or wrong them with fierce accountability. The women who flip gender norms and false limitations the bird and live to run successful companies giving “the man” a run for his name. The ones who don’t find their success a compliment just because they have a vagina.

Women like Gloria Steinem who, when she was told, “We want a writer, not a woman. Go home,” kept writing anyway. This is for the women who drink coffee at midnight and wine in the morning, and dare you to question it. For the women who open doors for men and are confident enough to have doors opened for them.

Who use “no” to be in service for themselves. Who don’t give a damn about pleasing the world, and do sweetly as they wish. For the superheroes—the single moms who work three jobs to make it. I salute your resilient, cape-flapping, ambitious selves.

This is for the women who throw down what they love, and don’t waste time following society’s pressures to exist behind a white picket fence. The women who create wildly, unbalanced, ferociously and in a blur at times. The women who know how to be busy and know how to plant their feet in the earth and get grounded. These are the women I want around me.

Whoever you are. However you choose to express your truth. Live it. Love it. Celebrate who you are!

Until the next post,

Best,

Juan

#selflove#


MAIN-Lil-Kim-Then-and-Now(Lil Kim, then and now. Photo: google images)

Sadly, we live in a society where, as women, we’re constantly being barraged with suggestions on how we should look, dress, and act. New moms are often fielding questions about losing baby weight. The internet has become a hot bed for cyber bullying and fat shaming. Health problems are sometimes the root cause, but it makes very little difference.

Husbands often emotionally manipulate their wives, by comparing them to friends, strangers, exes, and everyone in between. Others are sexually harassed, stalked, threatened, and worse. The world as we know it, has changed. The restructuring started ages ago. Tragically, we’re just now beginning to pay attention.

I’m not a fan of Lil Kim’s music, but this radical change highlights the fact, that as women, we need to love ourselves. Body Dysmorphic Disorder is real. No amount of male companionship, closet full of shoes and clothes, nice home/car, money in the bank, etc, can replace self-love. All these things are “white noise”, and will eventually come through the back door.

Spend time with people who build you up, and appreciate you. We teach people how to treat us, by what we allow. No one will ever love you, more than you could love yourself. No one. Sad it’s come to this, for a person who was so beautiful to begin with! My heart aches for her. Despite  money, fame, and status in life, she is obviously not content with who she is.

Lil Kim has admitted to having low self-esteem. Her father, a person who should have been her champion and supporter, failed at his calling. The opportunity to develop self-love, sense of self, and nurture her spirit never stood a chance. It’s a well-known fact, women date men who remind them of their father.

Lil Kim’s romantic relationships suffered. The men didn’t appreciate her, or what she brought to the table. She stated partners eventually left for women who were “lighter” and prettier. She felt she couldn’t compete with them. The picture above has created a firestorm of ridicule and scorn, from fans and trolls alike. It’s sad and sickening.

Half of these keyboard warriors do not see a woman in pain. They do not see a woman who looks in the mirror and (probably) says to herself: “I’m not good enough. Never will be. Maybe if I change this, it might make a difference….” For someone to go to this length, the amount of emotional and mental anguish must be overwhelming.

I can’t imagine the battles she fights every day. Struggles which continually rage in her every waking moment. Instead of subjecting her to such derisive language, we can offer support, and prayers. She is a fellow human being struggling on her journey through life. We can and should do better.

The importance of loving ourselves cannot be stressed enough. Although the bullying is mainly directed at women, I know a small majority of men have faced similar issues. Nothing and no one will replace self-love. I recognize for some, learning to love themselves, is a lifetime struggle.

Keep going. Surround yourself with people who nourish your soul and spirit. If there is anyone in your life who treats you with the least bit of disrespect, move on. The damage is sometimes irreparable. The longer you wait, the harder it is to heal. You deserve to be loved, adored, cherished, and looked after, in a kind, caring, and tender manner.

You’ve got one life, body, soul, spirit. Start appreciating your talent, abilities, individuality, the goodness that is you. Dont ever let anyone, make you feel as if you’re not good enough. The world is filled with people who, no matter what you do, will not like you. But it is also filled with those who will love you fiercely. They are your people. Your are not for everyone, and that’s okay. More than okay.

Looking outside ourselves for things, people, or situations to validate who we are, is one of the biggest tragedies of life.

Until the next post,

Love and Light,

 

Juan

To You!


11032008_10154181147395410_1137754070145062435_nArcadia Spectacular, Bristol (Sept 2015)

JE is one of my favorite people. I moved to the UK around the same time she moved to Bristol in 2013. I didn’t know anyone else, save it my partner. JE, SY, and I responded to an invitation on Bristol Gatecrashers Facebook group to meet up. The group was created to bring new transplants together. We met at Molloys, the Irish Pub on Baldwin Street. It was a night that would create the foundation, for one of the two closest friendships I have in Bristol. SY moved out of the city months later, however, JE and remained in each others lives. Bristol is a very hard place to make friends, and I’ve never been more grateful for the universe to give me what I needed, when I met JE.

We had so many good laughs! Our meetings were always hours long, and packed with catching up on the business that is our lives. We each had our own personal and intense struggles. There was nothing we didn’t talk to each other about. Absolutely nothing. I know she might not have agreed with some of my choices, but, she has always supported me in all my endeavors. The absolute highlight of our activities was Arcadia Spectacular, Sept 2015. A once in a lifetime, expensive event, made possible by this kind, dear, and generous friend.

The past two and a half years have been filled with one life event after another. Regardless of the issues, JE and I have always been each others  cheerleader and champion. The relationship has been a source of joy and escape in our lives. It has now culminated with JE getting ready to move back to her hometown for a new, exciting, and rewarding job, and to be closer to her new granddaughter. I’m so happy for her! I know how much she has wanted things to begin to fall into place. We both said this was going to be her year!

While I’m saddened she won’t be as close as before, I know a new beginning awaits her. And I couldn’t be more pleased for another person. There will be no goodbyes. We are only separated by a car/train journey. It’s been years since I’ve met someone so incredibly supportive, loving, kind, generous of spirit, and compassionate. JE deserves all the good things coming to fruition in her life now, and every thing else in the years to come.

Over the years, people have come into and moved out of my life. Nothing wrong there, not everyone is meant to stay. My friendship with JE has remained an integral and important part of my life. I don’t think she realizes how much I appreciate her influence! Through her, I now I’ve come to realize what Will Smith meant in this quote: “Don’t chase people. Be yourself. Do your thing and work hard. The right people, the ones who belong in your life, will come to yours and stay”

To life, love, and happiness. I love you JE.

 

Love and Light,

 

Juan

#lookforthegood#


#lookforthegood#

I am not one for making New Year’s resolutions. For a host of reasons. I figured, if there are improvements to be made; I can work on them, at any given time, throughout the year. While strolling through the park on New Year’s Day, I decided that 2015, will be the year, I start looking for the good. In people, and more so, in my own life. As often as I can. Every day. There are several projects, which, true to my nature, I am juggling at once. So, I hope I can keep at this, and turn it into a lifelong habit.

I have to remind myself to look for the good in everyone, often. I recognize this will be the most challenging bit of the exercise. Generally, (except for family, friends, and work) I dont look for anything. I mean, how often do we need to? We go about our daily lives, not a thought for the other person. We interact, and move on. Let me hasten to add, my friends and family, would tell you, I don’t automatically look for the bad. However, I know; I need to do a much better job, of seeking out the positive attributes in everyone, especially, when it would be so much easier to see otherwise.

As for the things in my own life; at the end of every day, I write short notes, about the things I experienced, the people who helped, etc, and place them in a jar. The photo above is the actual one I use. I started with white for January. Eventually, I will need to get a much larger, nicer model.

With so many grim images and stories, of terrible things happening in the world, I want to find another way to escape its brutality. One that is often very difficult to accept. The past few years have been rough. I am sure it is for the next person. This exercise, will offer peace and comfort, when I look around, and find dimness.

If I am blessed to be alive next year, I will open it on Jan 1st, and be reminded of all the wonderful things, and people, which made up 2015. It’s been a wonderful exercise, thus far. I find myself looking forward to writing the notes every day. WHY didn’t I do this sooner? I had to resist the temptation, to reread the slips of paper. Even though I just added them. I am sure, at some point I will, as the lure will be too great. It’s a good problem to have, isn’t it? 🙂

I will update you on this project throughout the year. Wish me well.

Until the next post,

Best,

Juan

Thank You Very Much.


thank-you-facebook-cover2014 is a year I will never forget. For a myriad of reasons. I am sure, if I sat down with each of you, we can spend hours, days even, swapping stories on the lessons we learned. When it comes to chindeepinlife however, I wanted to make this post brief, and to serve one purpose.

Thank you. For following. Commenting. Liking. Sharing. Visiting. Encouraging. Your loyalty. I write for so many reasons. One evening, a few short years ago, while I sat in my small university dormitory, I decided to start writing again. I never imagined where the journey would take me. And what a journey it has been.

Through it all, you keep returning. I know days, even months might go by, without a visit, but I find great hope in knowing the blog is here, when you need it. I will keep writing as long as I am physically able to do so.

I hope and pray the year ahead brings us every good thing. I ask the heavens for continued strength, and healing.

Once again, thank you very much. See you next year.

Until the next post,

Best,

Juan

RFL. Done and Dusted.


rflpThe day dawned bright, clear, sunny, and promising. Saturday July 5th, 2014. A month ago today. I competed in my first event. I decided to take part in the Race for Life Pretty Muddy Bristol 5K. A yearly national fundraising event. Organised by Cancer Research UK, to fund research, and hopefully, one day, find a cure for more than 200 types of cancer. Find more information here.

I looked forward to this event for months. My intention was to honour the memory of my beloved cousins, Frederick Williams and Elroy Morris. Young men, both in their 20’s, who died within 2 years of each other. Frederick, died from the ravages of lymphatic cancer, and Elroy, who succumbed to liver cancer in March this year.

I didn’t train as much as I wanted. Or should. Undeterred, I decided to run, jog, walk, or crawl. Whatever it took. To cross the finished line. I hoped. Wherever they were. They were smiling. Cheering me on. Proud of my efforts. As I write this, I’m struggling to keep tears at bay. Freddy and Elroy, hope you’re both resting in peace.

I arrived at the event with time to kill. An hour or so later, the entire group of 250+ women strong, started chanting. The atmosphere was electrifying. Next, it was time for the pre race drills. In no time, we were off. The first obstacle slowed me down; we waded through a rubber through, filled with muddy water. The obstacle course got more difficult. However, I somehow made it through every one; including the climbing frame, tyre hop, cargo net, and of course the mud pit.

Organisers left the muddiest, wettest, and slickest obstacle for the end. Using ropes I climbed to the top of a massive plastic mud splattered hut. I sat for a minute or two, closed my eyes, and slid down into 5ft of pure mud, water, and filth. Waiting at the bottom, and on either side, were two men. Massive shovels in hand, heaping filthy water onto competitors. As we struggled to crawl out of the pit. Good Ole fun!

One of the sweetest memory of the event, were the sounds of people cheering me on, as I headed towards the finish line. Complete strangers shouting: “Well done number 8!” Keep going number 8!” What a feeling. Indescribable. Amazing. Thrilling. I completed the event in 35 mins.

The only thing I would change, is working harder to reach my fundraising goal. I managed to raise £65. I am not good at asking people to give. Come next year, and the year after. I will do better. I plan on competing in this event, for as long as I can.

I am so very grateful I was blessed with the opportunity to do this. Humbled, I was able to honour the memory, and life of my two cousins. Race for Life Cancer Research UK. See you next year.

Until the next post,

Best,

Juan

On Women..and Giving Credit Where It’s Due.


Start of the London Event

On Thursday 8th, I attended my first Women for Women International Meet Me on the Bridge event in London. Marchers met on the south side of the Millennium Bridge. Faces got painted. Banners and sashes made. Balloons inflated. Flyers and chant sheets handed out. Messages of peace collected. The atmosphere?Electrifying. An emergency prevented me from arriving on time.However, I was happy I got to help. I support WFWI because their work centers around helping women in war-torn countries rebuild their lives.The women are survivors of genocides. Civil war. Rape. Torture. And other injustices. Snapshots of the event can be viewed on my fb page here London March.  I was asked to write a blog or poem in support of the London event.You can find it here: Meet Us on the Bridge. The experience left me energized.Exhilarated.Firm in my commitment to do what I can to help. I am humbled to be a part of this cause. It is easy to become overwhelmed by the enormity of need. However, if we stay focus on helping the one, we will inevitably change the lives of generations. For centuries to come.

In a reflective mood after a long day, my thoughts lingered on the women, past and present, who I have admired along life’s pathway. All heroines. And trailblazers. In their own right. They defied opposition. And conventionalism. They fought. And won. Women such as my mother. Oprah Winfrey. Zanaib Salbi. Dr Maya Angelou. Helen Keller. Hillary Clinton. Amelia Earhart. Eleanor Roosevelt. Anne Frank. Ellen Johnson Sir leaf. Fay Clayton. Harriet Tubman. Madam CJ Walker. My late high school principal, Sister Patricia Ann Douglas. And Nujood Ali. The list is not exhaustive. A post I made almost a year ago, The Women in My Life highlights the quiet, unassuming women in our midst. The graceful, patient heroines. The women who show us how it’s done. With such a refined elegance, you cannot help but be awed by their achievements.

You are fortunate if you have a remarkable woman in your life. One who has profoundly influenced you. In countless ways.In the way only she can. Who continually place the needs of others before her own. A woman whose quiet, genteel spirit has sustained you in your darkest hours. One whose absence will leave a gaping hole in your life. She is one of the kindest people you have ever met. You are blessed. It’s my hope this woman (or women) in your life know that she is loved. And appreciated. That her selfless efforts have not gone unnoticed. That she is not invisible. No extra resources are necessary. No outlandish or impressive gestures. Just simple acts of gratitude. And appreciation. We all have at least one such woman in our lives. Many are blessed with more than one. If you don’t know a woman who meets this description, your life is empty. Get out there. Or better yet, be that kind of woman or person for someone else.

The world-wide celebrations continue to celebrate women, and their remarkable achievements. We are very privileged. We just don’t realize the full extent. Let us keep hope alive in our hearts for the women in Afghanistan. Iraq. The Congo. Sudan. Nigeria. Libya. And all the other regions of the world where women continue suffer to unimaginable injustices.

Until the next post, here is a quote by one of my favorite poets, Dr.Maya Angelou : “Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women”.

Best,

Juan

Take This…You Will Need It (ladies)


The one year anniversary of my return to the blogging world is fast approaching. I started this blog mainly to stay in touch with my nearest and dearest. Doing so led to a journey of self-expression, and discovery.

Valentine’s Day is upon us. Yet again. As it always does. No. This post is not about any of the sappiness generally associated it. Yes. It’s expected. Some type of declaration. Perspective on love. And the single life. A yearning for companionship. An update on your love life. I believe that if anyone. Be it a man. Or woman. Waits until Valentine’s Day to express extra love and appreciation, they are failing miserably.

This post is of a different nature. About a week ago, I received shocking news .My cousin’s long-term boyfriend (14+yrs) viciously attacked her, and another friend. The attack (a total of 18 stab wounds) was witnessed by their two children. Sadly, the last memory these kids will have of their father for a long time, is one in which he tried to kill their mother. And in the process rob them of a father too. However, it was not her time to go. If you believe in a God. Deity. Sculpture. Stature. Whatever. The powers that be have other plans for her life.

I was shell-shocked for days. The previous Christmas, I went home after being away for more than a decade. I spent time in their company. Lovely family I thought. The young man in question and I attended the same primary school. My cousin is a strong, beautiful woman. She did not deserve the emotional scars inflicted on her. Or the kids. She will get through this.

As I mulled over the incident, it was a struggle not to hate this man. I went through a series of emotions. Anger was the most recognizable. Finally, my thoughts rested on what attracts us to each other, and in particular how a relationship gets started. Generally, it all starts with a pick up line. An attraction. Yes.

Ever wonder how some guys always manage to say the right things? Listen up. A few months ago, I came across a television program, called the PUA~ The Pickup Artist. A show which taught men the techniques, body language, and words to use to score a date. Get a first kiss. Keep  women interested. Keep her wanting. To seduce her. Pretty much how to have women eating out of their hands.

I remembered SMH, and thinking how freakishly sad. I stared in disbelief as these men worked their “majic” on the unsuspecting women. I soon forgot about it however. Life went on. A few weeks ago, memories of the PUA flooded my subconscious. During a convo with someone, I learned there were places, websites, books, etc, where men can go and hone their skills.

My mind went into overdrive. So, I decided to investigate the matter. There is a book called Double-Your-Dating. With a corresponding website Double Your Dating. Users are invited to sign up for newsletter updates. I shook my head in awe. There is one company here in the UK, the  PUA which runs booth camps, complete with self-proclaimed instructors, who for a fee, will get guys into “shape” to attract women. Be sure to read the reviews! There are a lot more out there, such as This, which might be an US based sight.

I cannot keep this knowledge to myself. I have more than a few girlfriends who have been hurt so many times, I gave up counting. My own education on the matter continues. I leave it up to you, to decide how to use this knowledge. Hopefully, the women reading this will pass it onto the women in their life. Ladies, wouldn’t it be good to recognize a pick up line that is rarely used? When you are being taken for a ride? Some tactics are easily recognizable. Many are downright stupid. Others simply leave you speechless. Click on this link Top 10 Pick Up Lines  and get ready to ROFL.

However, some guys are so smooth. Their tongues are even slicker. They are clever. Charming. They are Master PUA’s. It’s harder to spot them. They are at the top of their game. It takes a while to figure them out. But eventually you do. And hopefully, it‘s not too late. You have not become another statistic.  I think it would be funny if a guy uses a one liner on a woman, and she turns to him and say ‘Double Your Dating, page 4 right?” or “The PUA episode 3”. Unfortunately, it’s happened to all of us. At one point or another. If we are indeed honest with ourselves, when we look back on certain relationships, we will wonder, what in the world?

I am well aware that not every man subscribes to this type of mentality. There are men with good souls. Warmth. Caring. Gentleness. Men who are genuine in their words and actions. I salute you. However, on the other side of the coin. Some are not. They are predators. They are unavailable. They were unavailable before you met them. During the dating process. And will be, long after you decide it’s time to move on. Read this article and see if you have ever dated a chap who fits this description of Unavailable Men. I know I have!

So, how do you separate the wheat from the tares? The wolves in sheep clothing? Practice. Learn your lessons. Pay rapt attention. A lot starts with the first meeting. How you two become so besotted with one another. Statistically, women start labeling relationships long before men. Carefully observe him. Listen to what he says and does to get your attention. See if the same words and actions continue. Or stops after a heartbeat. The majority of my followers are female. A word to the men; if you are reading this, and it does not apply to you, you will not be offended.

If you are a decent, hard-working fellow, who has never had to use any form of manipulation, to attract and keep the affections of a woman, you will not be offended. If you believe that a man should use his natural ability, be himself, and be confident in the fact that one day, he will find his companion, you will not be offended. If you are gentleman who has treated women honestly and fairly. Say what you mean, and mean what you say, then again, it bears repeating, you will not be offended. I won’t keep going. You catch my drift.  However, if this is not you. Get with it. I make no apologies for reminding you of your cowardice in using tactics to get and keep. Remember this quote: “The Karma of mistreating a good woman is the one you finally end up with”. I had to change the curse words!

Life is a risk. Loving someone is a risk. Expressing interest in someone, knowing it might not be returned. Is a risk. We cannot help who we are attracted to. This is a scientific fact. However, you can control how the relationship progresses. Sure, many of us have been forced to learn the same lessons over and over again. Until we get it. Until the brain and heart finally become synced. With love and relationships, they are generally not speaking the same language. Let alone living in the same body! I wish I had come across this information in my teens, twenties, and even in the recent past. I realize now that there are lessons I had to learn. Through some very painful, and emotionally draining experiences.

I hope this post enlightens my fellow sisters. And let the PUA know that at least the women reading has a better idea of what to look for. I hope women peruse the sites mentioned above.  Search for others. You will learn something new.  You will cringe, as I did, when you remember times when you fell for a particular line or tactic. Hook. Line. And sinker. Like a kid in a candy store.

At the risk of being repetitive; fantastic men still walk the planet. However, it’s the not so good which must be sifted. Like wheat. The ones who actually pay to be taught how to attract and seduce women. The ones who watch videos, and read books on how to manipulate you. And a situation for their benefit. So. Next time a guy walks up to us, uses body language, and lines which sound as though they were marinated with honey for weeks, you will recognize it. You will not fall for it, all over again.

You will be more cautious. And decipher whether he can be given the benefit of a doubt. You will be smarter than the average cookie. The lights will be on, and this time, someone will be home. YOU. You might actually be saving yourself from a lifetime of hurt. Pain. Disillusionment. Anger. Emotional scars that takes decades to heal. And the ones that never do. You will learn how to recognize your future ex-husband.

In the season of love, you might be lonely. Anxious. Even mildly depressed on the Valentine’s Day. Newspaper, store, and TV ads will cause you to wonder when you will get your turn. You will be reminded of a time when there was someone. This Valentine’s Day your arms are empty. There will be no flowers. No romantic dates. No passionate kisses.

I hope you spare a moment to reflect on this thought: think about the men you were saved from. You’ve had some really close calls. Afterwards, celebrate you .The wonderful. Loving. Intelligent. Caring. Gorgeous. Smart woman you are. The one your mother raised you to be. You will kiss a lot of frogs, before you find your prince. However, he will be worth it. He will look only upon your heart. He will complement your life together. All other men will be put to shame. He will love the person you are. Without reservations. And conditions. You will be happy. You have to believe that.

One final note; women play games too. I welcome a response(s) from any chap with his take on the games women play.

Here is a pick up line and a subsequent response; Guy:”What’s your sign?” Gal: “Do not enter…:)

In ending, choose well. And wisely.

Until the next post,

Best,

Juan

To the Women in My Life.


One of the drawbacks to country living, is finding fun things to do for for an entire month of school vacation. Luckily for me, in a matter of days, I’m heading to the USA. I will divide my time between Boston and New York. I am especially looking forward to reuniting with high school girl-friends. I have not seen them in more than a decade. They were an integral part of my formative years. I expect the visit be Remarkable. Wonderful. Amazing. Electrifying.

As I contemplated the experiences ahead of me, my thoughts were drawn to the remarkable women I have met along life’s path. I am in awe of their achievements. These women did not receive any educational, monetary or social accolades. These women are single parents. Friends. Caretakers. Confidants. Some of the most unassuming people you will ever meet. Quite a few are unknowingly auditioning for sainthood. One of my heroes is Zainab Salbi, founder of Women for Women International, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of women who are victims of war, genocide and rape. She works tirelessly to help thousands regain pride and rebuild lives.

Not all of us will be a Zainab Salbi. However, our accomplishments are nothing short of phenomenal. They may never appear in newspapers. Nor will they ever be the lead story on Headline News. To put it bluntly, most of our friends will never know just truly exceptional we are. We do not fish for compliments. Nor do we advertise our accomplishments. To the remarkable women I have met in my life, I dedicate today’s blog. Time does not permit an entry for all the women who fit this description. Their stories can fill novels. However, I hope these women get the picture. Hopefully, the next time they look in the mirror, they see a transformed woman. A courageous woman. A phenomenal woman. I hope they see light in their eyes.

To the woman who had the courage to take her kids and walk away from an abusive relationship. I salute you. I admire your strength. Your courage is commendable. The strength it took to make and act upon the decision was nothing short of heroic. The future was uncertain. You had no idea how you were going to sustain your family in the coming months. The most important thing was to leave while you still can. Finally, you did. It took another lifetime to rebuild your shattered lives. You are in a better place now. You made it. You are a hero to many. Especially your kids. A quote by Anais Nin sums this up:” There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom”.

To the single mother struggling to raise her children. You make personal sacrifices your children will never know about. Your needs are always met last. You love your children more than life itself. Their life will be better than yours ever was. You have cried yourself to sleep many, many nights. The needs far outweigh the wants. Yet, somehow you find a way. You are both mom and dad.Chaffeur. Teacher. Sister. Friend. Comforter. Listener. Nurse. Provider. Disciplinarian. Add to this list. Your only wish is that your children will live up to their true potential. You are an exemplary human being. I applaud you. I like this quote by Irving Washington, it applies to you: “There is in every true woman’s heart a spark of heavenly fire, which lies dormant in the broad daylight of prosperity, but which kindles up and beams and blazes in the dark hour of adversity”.

To the woman who is everything to everyone. Yep, the one auditioning for sainthood. A confidant. Friend. A “payday loan personal lender”. You say yes, when you meant to say no. The word no doesn’t exist in your vocabulary. You don’t want to be the cause of bruised feelings, so once again, you give in. You are tired of giving in to everyone one. However, your gentle, caring nature would not let you do otherwise. You give until it hurts. More often than not, it really does hurt. You listen to your girlfriend‘s never ending dating and marriage crises. You are a babysitter, with no kids of your own. You volunteer each week. Personal matters demand your attention. Your friends and family’s needs seem more pressing at the moment. You are an extraordinary woman. Your good works never cease to amaze others. Many secretly wish they could do half of what you do. You find joy in others happiness. There is no one else like you. No one can take your place in their hearts. Sarah Jessica Parker said this: As a woman, I have an inherent need to be all things to all people, to make certain everybody’s taken care of. I know I can’t sustain that level all the time, so I’m finding the proper balance and it’s made me infinitely happier.

To the woman bogged down by the deepest and most personal insecurities. No amount of words can revolutionize the opinion you have of yourself. It has to come from within. You must find the power to believe in yourself. To take charge. To believe that each day offers a new beginning. To stop allowing relationships to define you. To stop settling for less than you deserve. From friends. Men. The world. Sometimes even from family. To seek help if it’s needed. To let go of the past. Stop blaming yourself. Liberate yourself from burdens that weigh you down. To know you are beautiful. Talented. Smart. Intelligent. Amazing. To believe these words. Not just be comforted by them. Today is the day. To heed this counsel: “The thing women have yet to learn is nobody gives you power. You just take it: ~ Roseanne Barr.

To the grandmother raising another generation. Retirement is indeed for the birds. You’ve travelled this road before. The path is incredibly familiar. You have given up much. The sacrifices are innumerable. You are determined to see this through. Maybe you’ve been given a second chance. Whatever your circumstance. Your greatest reward is seeing your grandchildren succeed. The grandchildren love you. Because of you, the family is together. There was never any question or doubt. You are their angel. Their hero. You are the epitome of unselfishness. Love. Caring. Generosity. Courage. Kindness. The list is infinite. I have a high regard for you. Because of your efforts one more child will get a chance at life. This one’s for you:” Grandmothers and roses are much the same. Each are God’s masterpieces with different names” ~Author Unknown.

Finally, to the remarkable women who have loved and lost. You know the old adage: “Men are like parking spots. All the good ones are taken, and the rest are handicapped”. I am also guilty of using this epithet. I do know that good men exist. I have seen them in action. Had conversations with them. Yes,many are already taken. However, amazing men still walk the planet. Look deeper. Longer. Harder. Ask more questions. Take things slower. Take an intimate look at his familial relationships. Avoid repeating past mistakes. Realize that he will be perfect for you. No one else. He can handle you at your worst. Resolve residual trust issues. You may have to kiss many frogs before finding your prince charming. Consider this message: “The first time you buy a house you see how pretty the paint is and buy it. The second time, you look to see if the basement has termites. It’s the same with men. ~ Lupe Velez.

To all the other remarkable women I have met. The inner-city school teachers. Special education counselors. Underpaid social workers. Everyone who belongs on this list. I am grateful for your unwavering spirits. Your examples. The lessons you have taught me. Grateful it was the Lord’s design to have our paths cross. The world is a better place because you are in it. Continue to stand out. To outclass. To show the rest of us how it’s done. To love unconditionally. Thank you.

“What is better than wisdom? Woman. And what is better than a good woman? Nothing”. ~Geoffrey Chaucer”

Best,
Juan